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'Netanyahu asked Obama how he was feeling and Obama said, I could fall asleep standing up.'

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Pirate Smile Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 07:46 AM
Original message
Edited on Wed Jul-23-08 07:51 AM by Pirate Smile

Time's Karen Tumulty on Swampland blog plus pool reports:


Posted by Karen Tumulty

As a first-time visitor to this part of the world, I was unprepared for the lushness of Jerusalem--especially after the bleached landscape of Amman. The city, or at least what I've seen of it, reminds me of the Hollywood Hills in both the terrain and the weather, which today is as close to perfect as it is possible to be on this planet.

Last night's dinner at the Amman palace of King Abdullah II must have gone well; indeed, the King hopped into his Mercedes and drove Obama to the airport himself, and through the window of the charter, it appeared they bid each other a very warm goodbye.

We landed here around 11 local time after a half-hour flight. Security was tight, as you can imagine after yesterday's bulldozer attack near our hotel, and the motorcade (where I was in the pool) had a tense urgency to it. I was up until 3 a.m. local time filing my story for dead-tree TIME (will post a link when the High Sheriffs put it up), and out of bed a few hours later to cover Obama's visit to Yad Vashem, the heartbreakingly beautiful holocaust museum.

Yet again, I was struck at how this feels far more like a state visit of an incumbent world leader than a trip with a presidential candidate. The holocaust museum hosts a regular parade of foreign dignitaries--including, last Sunday, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and French President Nicholas Sarkozy a few weeks back. Obama, wearing a white yarmulke, rekindled the gas flame in the Hall of Remembrance and laid a wreath of white flowers on the stone slab under which are buried the ashes of holocaust victims. He also had private sessions this morning with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Likud Party Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu at the hotel. And as I type this, Obama is meeting with President Shimon Peres.

This afternoon, we go to Ramallah, where Obama is scheduled to meet with President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad and to the besieged town of Sderot on the Gaza-Israeli border.

Pool reports from this morning after the jump:

Pool Report #1: Obama breakfast meeting with Israeli Defense Minister and Labor leader Ehud Barak
8:05 a.m. King David Hotel, Reading Room on the lobby level
Your pooler was brought in along with photogs for photo spray at the top only.

Obama and Barak already were in the room when we were let in, along with Obama advisors and some other Israeli representatives. Obama was accompanied by advisers Dennis Ross, Jim Steinberg, former U.S. ambassador to Israel Dan Kurtzer; former Navy secretary Richard Danzig and Dan Shapiro. Jerusalem-based wire pool said Barak was joined by Israeli welfare and social services minister Isaac Herzog.

Obama had a wide smile on his face as he shook hands with Ehud Barak for the cameras, and also put his right hand on Baraks left shoulder as they made small talk that your pooler could not hear. Obamas tie was blue with white stripes, Israel colors. Where are we sitting? Obama asked and Barak motioned him to the other side of a large wooden table, which had 13 chairs set around it; a centerpiece of dark pink lilies and red roses; and a spread of pitchers of fresh-squeezed orange juice, and platters of fruit, cheese, salad and breads. Obama was about to sit down when U.S. photographers were rotated out and a set of foreign press photographers were rotated in. Oh, Im sorry, thats the second pool, he said, and went back to Barak to smile, shake hands, and put his hand on Baraks shoulder again.

OK, guys, Obama said, and we were shown out.

Netanyahu meeting is next pool to follow


Pool 1A _ Names of additional Israeli officials/aides in the Barak meeting, as provided by Obama staff: Ehud Baraks chief of staff Mike Herzog; Gen. Amos Gilad, chief of defense ministries military political department; defense ministry director Brig. Gen. Pinchas Buchris; Gen. Eitan Dangot, military secretary to the minister of defense.


Pool #2: Obama meeting with Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu 8:59 a.m. lower level of the King David Hotel
Your pooler was escorted into a crowded, underground room along with photographers and we were in and out in about a minute.

As per Bloombergs Tel Aviv correspondent Jonathan Ferziger, who was well situated and kind enough to share, Netanyahu asked Obama how he was feeling and Obama said, I could fall asleep standing up.

I could see only Obama, Netanyahu, and Obama advisers Susan Rice and Jim Steinberg. Obama staff said his advisers Richard Danzig and Dan Shapiro also were attending.

Netanyahu was joined by former Ambassador Dore Gold; Uzi Arad, former national security adviser; Zalman Shoval, former ambassador to U.S.; Netanyahus counselor Ron Derner and Netanyahu chief of staff Ari Harrow

Obama and Netanyahu shook hands.

Mr. Obama? began one of the poolers. Theres not going to be any questions now, Obama said, and we were escorted out.

And here, per the campaign, is what Obama wrote in the Yad Vashem guestbook:

I am grateful to Yad Vashem and all of those responsible for this remarkable institution.
At a time of great peril and promise, war and strife, we are blessed to have such a powerful reminder of mans potential for great evil, but also our capacity to rise from tragedy and remake our world. Let our children come here, and know this history, so they can add their voices to proclaim never again. And may we remember those who perished, not only as victims but also as individuals who hoped and loved and dreamed like us, and who have become symbols of the human spirit.

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