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Obama at AIPAC: Determined . . . to Win Their Votes

Author: Elliott Abrams, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies
March 4, 2012
Weekly Standard


President Obama's speech this morning to the AIPAC Policy Conference put the best spin possible on his record, and he had a good story to tell. Military and intelligence cooperation is excellent, and American diplomatic support for an isolated Israel was repeatedly (though not always, as he suggested) forthcoming. Still, any effort to paper over the differences between his administration and the Netanyahu government—or worse yet, to make believe there really are no important differences—was bound to fail. What many in the audience noticed, like many in the press, was the defensiveness of the speech. Bill Clinton in 1996 and George Bush in 2004 did not have to spend long paragraphs explaining to AIPAC that things were not as they seem and that relations were really dandy. Nor did they have to warn the audience not to believe the "distortions" they were soon to hear from speakers representing the other political party.

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