On Thursday, it was a non-story. Pressured by French officials to keep the incident quiet, we didn’t even find out that Presidents Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy forgot to turn off their microphones at the G20 meeting until Monday, when a French media watchdog reported they were making catty remarks about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
It was picked up by the mainstream media, which is to say they stopped keeping it a secret, on Tuesday, and by today its become a major international incident, one which the White House is desperately trying to downplay.
ADL Director Abraham Foxman loudly condemned the comments, saying it was unacceptable for US and French officials to make “disparaging remarks” about Netanyahu. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney insisted it proved Obama didn’t respect “our special relationship with Israel.”
Romney’s comments were quickly trumped by rival Rick Perry, who suggested that the comments had something to do with Iran’s putative nuclear weapons program and that Obama needed to respond by moving against Syria and Iran.