Michelle Bachmann demands president put Netanyahu meeting ahead of political events
Will President Obama's appearances with David Letterman, Jay-Z and Beyoncé on Tuesday become a campaign issue?
His conservative critics hope so. Republican Rep. Michelle Bachmann and the conservative media are questioning Obama's decision to appear on "The Late Show" and attend a fund-raiser with Jay-Z and Beyonce Tuesday. They note that he hasn't scheduled an in-person meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, despite rising Middle East tensions. (The White House says Obama and Netanyahu spoke last week by phone.)
It's a familiar critique of any sitting president: Why isn't he constantly focused on leadership, rather than fund-raising/golfing/exercising/sleep? Liberals used to complain, for example, that the famously fit George W. Bush should have spent more time on intelligence briefings and less at the gym.
But the latest talking point also feeds into a familiar conservative critique that Obama is more interested in celebrity than doing his job.
"President Obama needs to get his priorities straight," Bachmann said last week, according to the conservative site CNSNews.com. "What he needs to do is cancel his planned interview with David Letterman, cancel his meeting with Beyoncé, cancel his meeting with Jay Z, and instead agree to meet with the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, because you see, America and Israel have a commonality of interests."
The story received a prominent link on the right-leaning Drudge Report Monday.
The use of the word "meeting" subtly suggests that Obama will be talking policy with pop stars. In fact, he'll be raising money for his campaign, a process that has become a bigger part of any American political campaign. Obama's Letterman appearance, meanwhile, is an attempt to show voters that he's a regular guy, though no president or candidate actually is.
To that end, Mitt Romney will appear with his wife, Ann, on Tuesday's "Live! With Kelly and Michael."