Romney, Obama speak with Netanyahu
The White House released a photo of President Barack Obama speaking on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
September 28th, 2012
09:58 AM ET
10 years ago

Romney, Obama speak with Netanyahu

(CNN) - President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney spoke separately with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by telephone on Friday, the day after the Israeli leader publicly urged the international community to draw a "clear red line" with Iran over its suspected nuclear development program.

The White House released a statement on the president's phone call shortly after 1 p.m. ET. Obama's call with Netanyahu was more than 20 minutes, according to a senior administration official.

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Romney spoke with the Israeli leader while in his motorcade, which was parked at the Philadelphia International Airport, around 1:30 p.m. ET, according to his campaign's traveling press secretary Rick Gorka.

A statement from the White House on the president's phone call said, "The two leaders underscored that they are in full agreement on the shared goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon."

"The Prime Minister welcomed President Obama's commitment before the United Nations General Assembly to do what we must to achieve that goal," the statement continued, referencing Obama's Tuesday address to the UNGA. "The two leaders took note of the close cooperation and coordination between the Governments of the United States and Israel regarding the threat posed by Iran – its nuclear program, proliferation, and support for terrorism – and agreed to continue their regular consultations on this issue going forward."

Romney told reporters after the call that the two "spoke about his assessment of where the red line ought to be drawn and my own views with regards to Iran." When asked if there was any difference between where he and Netanyahu would draw the red line, Romney said, "We did not go into enough, into the kind of detail, that would define precisely where that red line would be."

The candidate stated his belief that "there is a strategy that would lead us to preventing Iran from developing nuclear capability."

"I do not believe that in the final analysis we will have to use military action. I certainly hope we don't have to," he said. "I can't take that option off the table – it must be something which is known by the Iranians as a possible tool to be employed to prevent them from becoming nuclear. But I certainly hope that we can prevent any military action from having to be taken."

Romney said he and Netanyahu talked about their last meeting, when Romney visited Israel, Great Britain, and Poland on an international trip this summer.

He said Obama had "moved over time" regarding his position on Iran, saying, "his words more recently are more consistent with the words I've been speaking for some time."

At his United Nations speech on Tuesday, Obama told world leaders "the United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon" and that a nuclear-armed Iran "is not a challenge that can be contained."

In his separate address, Netanyahu holding up a simple graphic of a bomb with a lit fuse used a red marker to draw a red line representing the point "before Iran completes the second stage of nuclear enrichment to make a bomb."

Obama drew criticism earlier this week, especially from Romney, over his comments about tension between Israel and Iran. In a "60 Minutes" interview that aired on Sunday, Obama was asked if he felt pressure from Israel to change his policy and draw a line in the sand when it comes to Iran's nuclear program.

"When it comes to our national security decisions, any pressure that I feel is simply to do what's right for the American people, and I am going to block out any noise that's out there," said Obama.

"Now I feel an obligation – not pressure but obligation – to make sure that we're in close consultation with the Israelis on these issues because it affects them deeply," he continued. "They're one of our closest allies in the region and we've got an Iranian regime that has said horrible things that directly threaten Israel's existence."

Romney's campaign quickly pounced, releasing a statement the same night saying Obama's "noise" comment was "the latest evidence of his chronic disregard for the security of our closest ally in the Middle East."

Critics also pounded Obama for not meeting in person with world leaders, including Netanyahu, while in New York for his U.N. speech this week. However, Obama did meet with President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi of Yemen Tuesday when he dropped by a meeting between Hadi and John Brennan, the homeland security and counterterrorism adviser to Obama.

Hadi also visited the White House on Thursday, but a senior administration official said the two presidents did not meet in person, CNN reported.

Netanyahu has ramped up his criticism in recent weeks of the international community's response to Iran, saying current targeted sanctions and diplomatic efforts are not enough. When he met with Romney in Israel in late July, Netanyahu said actions thus far have not "set back the Iranian program by one iota."

Obama and Netanyahu held a rare, hour-long phone conversation two weeks ago, as "part of their ongoing consultations," the White House said. The call followed reports that the White House had rejected a request by Netanyahu to meet with Obama this month to discuss Iran's nuclear program–reports that the White House strongly denied.

While Romney insists his Iran policy stands in stark contrast to that of Obama, Romney earlier this month conceded a rare comparison between himself and his opponent, saying the two would draw the same "red line" on nuclear weapons in Iran.

"My red line is Iran may not have a nuclear weapon. It is inappropriate for them to have the capacity to terrorize the world," Romney said on September 14 on ABC's "Good Morning America."

"Iran as a nuclear nation is unacceptable to the United States of America," Romney added.

The president has used almost identical language to describe the situation in Iran. When asked if the two would have the same "red line" going forward, Romney said "yes."

"And recognize that when one says that it's unacceptable to the United States of America that that means what it says. You'll take any action necessary to prevent that development, which is Iran becoming nuclear," Romney said.

- CNN's Ashley Killough, Rachel Streitfeld, Michael Martinez, Dan Lothian, and Dana Davidsen contributed to this report

Filed under: 2012 • Benjamin Netanyahu • Iran • Israel • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (242 Responses)
  1. Would we do this

    Why is it that we when have a problem with another country we handle it. We do NOT go crying to another country to sacrific our Tax payer money. Our american lives. If isreal has A problem let isreal take care of it. DO NOT GO LOOKING FOR SOMEONE Else to take care of our problems

    September 28, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  2. Fair is Fair


    Don't let the big nosed guy draw us into a war with Iran!.
    Racist anti-semite.

    September 28, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  3. Mete Krop

    Who the heck is this Romney who gives a call to foreign leader? What is he talking about? Does he think he is a leader in US. dirty clown......jerk

    September 28, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  4. GI Joe

    From some of the comments I bothered to read, I thank GOD that I don't feel that negative, hateful, and mean every day the way they do. If you don't have any hope, or anything good to say it is best to not try to spread the negativity.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    September 28, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  5. Jocho Johnson

    Obama should phone up Ahmadinejad and talk, why the heck not

    September 28, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  6. GI Joe

    I would not want to be the child of some of you republicans and have to hear what you spew constantly. How depressing that would be.

    September 28, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  7. Matt

    Netanyahu is a complete liability for US. He is like wild dogggg, which can not be controlled. He is abusing Plaestenians for over 30 years, by detroying their houses daily, cutting their drinking waters, arrensting every kids send a stone and go on.

    He called himself a civilized person.

    Israel has over 420 atomic bombs and three of their submarines equipped with Atmic missiles shipping not far from Iran and other countries. He is a total shame and disgraceful leader of Israel. As French prime minister said last yaer, he is a lier. Obama had enough of him as Bush did.

    Problem with our country is that Good Jewish colleagues are controlling and dominating US policy towards Israel. That is a main reason, Middle east can not have peace and Israel present leader like runaway d..... come to US each time and create complication for everybody. I am tired of pampering Israel and Pay $6b charity every year, as well as free militarty equipments and etc. He is trying to put US president in a corner.

    I do NOT like his behavior and ,.....

    September 28, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. Woman In California

    Willard needs to go back to writing love letters to Ann (from some foreign county), something he seems to be good at.

    September 28, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  9. Gurgyl

    Israel is the biggest BS and drama. Keep that idiot out of USA......

    September 28, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  10. MK

    Net is Romney's "friend"... geez, he met him during his oh so successful two days in Israel.... yeah, best friends.

    September 28, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  11. Jeckiebeanz

    It is imperative that we take the threat of a nuclear Iran seriously – now. Waiting is not a luxury that we have at this point.

    September 28, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  12. from the west


    Is Mitt Romney the first person to hold a fundraiser on foreign soil? I think that any country outside the US should hold fundraisers for either candidate. Romney did have one in Israel. Now he is speaking to the Israeli President when it certainly is not his place.

    That is a real misstep in terms of having any influence or any perception of integrity and ability to negotiate for US interests in the Middle East. Israel needs better and more honest leadership and Neytanyahu to stop trying to meddle in elections in the US.

    September 28, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  13. Squigman

    I don't give a damn, Romney, should not be involved with any executive decisions made, contemplated or implemented. He's a candidate, not the President. He's a candidate, not the Prime Minister. He's a candidate, not the Pope. He's not elected, and it's likely he won't be. The more this kind of intrusion occurs, the more I'm commited to the election of Obama. Don't like it, Kiss off.

    September 28, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  14. ART

    MIke in Fairfax he doesn't need to tell us anything we can see by his actions that he is a man of conviction and steadfastness unlike some flip flopping moron we know

    September 28, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  15. Guest

    Even God wont be able to Help USA If Romney gets elected

    September 28, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  16. Dou

    Obama will get re-elected....too bad

    September 28, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  17. Howard

    If Iran gets the nuke ... and, gives dirty bombs to it's terrorist buddies ... it will dwarf all other concerns ... affecting the entire world ... but, Obama doesn't have time to address this problem ...

    September 28, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  18. SuperD

    For all you stupid Liberals who don't want a war of any kind, let me ask you a question?

    How long are you going to take this crap from Iran? When is enough enough? Are we going to still be talking about this in 20 years? This whole sorry situation is the results of Jimmy Carter and Obama has the same sorry foreign policy.

    Obama blew it when the Iranian people were demonstrating, they had that sorry regime on the ropes and Obama shows his cowardice and acts like nothing happend!! Because he did nothing!!

    Will you pull your heads out of Obama's rear end and understand what is at stake here!

    September 28, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  19. jp

    Why are people calling the benghazi incident a cover-up? Roswell was a cover up do you people even know what the word means?? Oh wait, I forgot, you have rush limbaugh giving you all your "news"

    September 28, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  20. don in albuquerque

    Dear SuperD-
    Speaking of pulling your head out, I think you should check to see where yours is. If you have not noticed, since WW II, we don"t have a real fantastic score for winning wars. Oh wait, seems I remember we did invade some little island in the Carrib and may have won that against an army of maybe 50, no navy, no air force. Rattle those sabres, then bend over and see where some little third world country is going to stick them.

    September 28, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  21. kw

    It's nice to see someone is willing to call our ally and let him know he's still our ally. Too bad Obama has given Netanyahu every indication that he doesn't care about Israel on bit. Publicly doing so too is sending a message around the world. Such a disgraceful president Obama is.

    September 28, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  22. Canuck

    "For all you stupid Liberals..."

    Is there any point reading the rest of this post?? How about some civility???

    September 28, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  23. Wake up people!

    Well here's another comment for you to delete. CNN is as much of a joke as Faux Noise. They haven't done one story on the company that the GOP/Willard hired to register voters. This company has registered dead people and nonexistent people. They also have done this same thing twice before. It's happening in Florida today. But let Sarah or Bristol Palin say something offensive or stupid and they are trending all day. Voter suppression is alive and well, maybe CNN is too cowardly to talk about it but I'm not!

    September 28, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  24. iran is not in any way deterred...whose fault is that?

    folks, this IS 1938 and the facts are all plain for all to see....iran is building nukes. Anyone who thinks this is a good idea, is out of their minds. We're going to see just exactly who obama is shortly. My guess is, in the end, he will try for containment. His whole foreign policy is a joke...muslim outreach is in flames...and yet he makes time to go on the view...can you say idiocy? and yet, the vaunted new york times is silent about this moronic move. go figure.

    September 28, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  25. tinykhan

    I personally think it is absurd that Mitt Romney, a person who is unemployed and does not have a govt position, which questions his security clearance status, is receiving intel briefs on world security issues. I can understand Paul Ryan being briefed as he is a govt employee, but not some one term former governor.

    September 28, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
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