The White House is weighing options for a media blitz that will direct attention away from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s U.S. visit and speech before Congress.
The AP reported that the White House is weighing several options:
Administration officials have discarded the idea of President Barack Obama himself giving an Iran-related address to rebut the two speeches Netanyahu is to deliver during his early March visit. But other options remain on the table.
Among them: a presidential interview with a prominent journalist known for coverage of the rift between Obama and Netanyahu, multiple Sunday show television appearances by senior national security aides and a pointed snub of America’s leading pro-Israel lobby, which is holding its annual meeting while Netanyahu is in Washington, according to the officials.
This is a variation of the same strategy that the president has used more often in recent times. After the Republican victory in the 2014 midterm election, the White House countered any growing Republican momentum with a strategy of action and media appearances that took anyway any honeymoon period that the new Republican congressional majority might have enjoyed.
The White House is very good at counter-programming against staged Republican publicity stunts like the Netanyahu visit. The strategy to undercut the Boehner/Netanyahu conspiracy illustrates that despite what the administration might say publicly, the Netanyahu visit is not welcome.
The power of the bully pulpit is strong. It would have been a bad idea for the White House to feed the media storyline of Obama versus Netanyahu by having the president give his own speech on the Iran nuclear talks.
If Boehner and Netanyahu thought that the president was going to sit back and allow them to tear him apart in his own country, they were wrong. The White House is going to derail the Republican attempt to embarrass the president. Netanyahu is free to visit the United States, but that doesn’t mean that he has to be given an uncontested platform to insult President Obama.