- By Uri Friedman
Uri Friedman is deputy managing editor at Foreign Policy. Before joining FP, he reported for the Christian Science Monitor, worked on corporate strategy for Atlantic Media, helped launch the Atlantic Wire, and covered international affairs for the site. A proud native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he studied European history at the University of Pennsylvania and has lived in Barcelona, Spain and Geneva, Switzerland.
Mitt Romney has called President Obama’s decision to not meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the U.N. General Assembly a “mistake.” The Republican National Committee has criticized the president going on “daytime TV instead of meeting with foreign leaders at the U.N.” Conservative news outlets have eagerly picked up the story. This morning the Drudge Report offered its take: photos of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meeting with heads of state in New York alongside a story on Obama campaigning in Virginia — all below the headline, “President Clinton?”
The criticism isn’t entirely original (see the New York Times) or accurate (Obama did meet, albeit briefly, with Yemen’s president and the U.N. secretary-general on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly), but it has been a recurring campaign theme this week. The president’s U.N. schedule hasn’t made its way into campaign ads yet, but the conservative group Let Freedom Ring did release a spot on Tuesday highlighting the fact that a U.S. delegation did not walk out of a U.N. meeting on Monday in which Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad criticized Israel. “Why did your administration sit with Iran rather than stand with Israel?” the narrator asks.
The U.S. delegation did boycot Ahmadinejad’s General Assembly speech on Wednesday, but I imagine we won’t see a Let Freedom Ring ad praising the action.