Obama campaign adviser: The President doesn’t need to meet with foreign leaders face-to-face because he has a phone
Obama campaign adviser and former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs defended President Barack Obama’s decision to not to meet with Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu or any other world leaders during their upcoming visits to the United States for the United Nations general assembly meeting, saying that the United States President doesn’t need to meet face-to-face with foreign leaders – phone calls are sufficient.
Gibbs made the comments on Fox News Sunday in response to criticisms from host Chris Wallace that the President was making time in his schedule for “The View” and “The View” host Whoppi Goldberg during the trip to New York, but not for foreign leaders.
“Chris, they have telephones in the White House.” Gibbs said, adding that since the September 11 strikes on US embassies in Libya and Egypt President Obama has spoken on the phone with both the Libyan and Egyptian Presidents. “We don’t need a meeting in Washington just to confer with leaders.”
He tried to turn the tables on Wallace, saying that if Obama was doing an interview with him instead of the ladies of “The View,” Wallace would “probably have no problem with that.” (Wallace used that opportunity to point out that the President hasn’t even done an interview with him, “but that’s not the point.”)
The former Obama administration official said that he has “no problem” with the President’s decision not to meet with foreign leaders in lieu of appearing on “The View” because he will still be “actively involved” in the conference.
By actively involved, Gibbs means the President will merely be giving a speech during the international affair, Wallace pointed out.
Gibbs explained that even though the President himself would not be meeting with world leaders, other qualified administration officials would be taking meetings on his behalf.
“Well, look Chris, I think that we have schedules, leaders have schedules, and in many cases those schedules aren’t going to overlap,” Gibbs claimed. “But understand that Ambassador Rice will be seeing many people and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be seeing people.”
He also tried to put the incident in a broader context, saying that,”This isn’t just about one meeting on one particular day in New York. The President’s actively involved and engaged in the most dangerous place in the world every single day of the week.”