OVERHEARD — at Speaker John Boehner’s reception for Netanyahu immediately following the Prime Minister’s address to a joint session of Congress: “Seems like Bibi hit it out of the park after the President loaded the bases.”
—The reception, held in the Rayburn Room on the second floor of the House side of the Capitol, was catered by Michael Medina of the Kosher Kitchen Catering co. and prominently featured the Speaker’s menorah that he received a few years ago from American Friends of Lubavitch. In his short remarks, Bibi joked about how Boehner was one of 12 children growing up — “obviously, the twelve tribes of Israel.”
—Spotted: Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Amb. Ron Dermer, Howard Friedman and his son Alex, Norman Brownstein, Alan Lazowsky, Yitz Applbaum, Sander Gerber, Tevi Troy, Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, Amb. Mel and Betty Sembler, former Sen. Joe Lieberman, former Speaker Newt Gingrich, Shmuley Boteach, and the RJC’s Matt Brooks.
“At Netanyahu’s Speech, Scenes from the Amen Corner” by David Weigel: “Shortly before 11 a.m., hundreds of supporters of the state of Israel would fill the galleries for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s third speech to Congress. Their number included a Nobel Prize winner, Elie Wiesel; one of the most powerful donors in the Republican Party, Sheldon Adelson; a former speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich; and a former nominee for vice president, Joe Lieberman.” [Bloomberg]
—Also spotted at speech: ADL’s Abe Foxman, Mort Zuckerman, Ron Perelman, Bill Kristol, Mark Levin, Alan Dershowitz, Norm Coleman, David M. Flaum, Frank Luntz, Steven J. Weiss.
NEAR MISS: “Where’s my speech?!” — “As we were lining up to go into the chamber, he realized he forgot his speech,” Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), who was among the lawmakers chaperoning Netanyahu, said with a laugh afterwards. “He said, ‘We have a little problem.’ I said, ‘What’s that?’ He said, ‘Nobody handed me my speech,’ ” Israel added. The scare didn’t last long. It turned out an aide had already placed the text on the dais.” [TheHill]
“The falling pocketbook and the lawmaker it almost knocked out” by Al Kamen and Colby Itkowitz: “Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, were in the House gallery for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress on Tuesday when Miriam Adelson’s bag fell and almost clocked Rep. Brad Ashford (D-Neb.)… Told after the speech that it was Adelson’s wife’s bag that fell on him, Ashford joked to the Omaha World-Herald’s Joe Morton: “I wish I’d opened the purse. Do you think she carries cash?”… The bag in question was a purple alligator Hermès clutch. If Ashford had opened the clutch, he would have been disappointed. There were business cards, Apple earphones and lipstick. But no cash.” [WashPost]
RE-WATCH the Prime Minister’s speech [CSPAN]
Key Paragraph: “One calls itself the Islamic Republic. The other calls itself the Islamic State. Both want to impose a militant Islamic empire first on the region and then on the entire world. They just disagree among themselves who will be the ruler of that empire. In this deadly game of thrones, there’s no place for America or for Israel, no peace for Christians, Jews or Muslims who don’t share the Islamist medieval creed, no rights for women, no freedom for anyone. So when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.” [Transcript]
HOW IT PLAYED: “Netanyahu Event Similar to a State of the Union Address, but More Electric”[NYTimes] • “Netanyahu makes his case on Iran deal, but to audiences with limited leverage”[WashPost] • “Netanyahu’s Bet: Congress Will Emerge Dominant in Iran Debate” [WSJ] • “Netanyahu Speech Raises Burden for Obama on Iran Nuclear Talks” [NYTimes]
OPS: Josh Rogin: “Netanyahu’s Careful, Clever Speech to Congress” [BV] • James Oliphant:“Netanyahu Delivered Just What Obama Feared” [NJ] • Jeffrey Goldberg: “Netanyahu’s Real Targets: President Obama, and the Israeli Swing Voter” [AtlanticMag] • Bloomberg View Editorial:“Netanyahu on Iran: Tough, Fair, Unconstructive” [BV] • WSJ Editorial: “Netanyahu’s Challenge”[WSJ] • David Horovitz: “Netanyahu’s devastating, irrevocable indictment of Obama” [ToI]
WHITE HOUSE RESPONSE: President Obama discussed Iran and the Prime Minister’s speech with reporters in the Oval Office yesterday. Watch [CSPAN] • “5 things President Obama’s team thinks Benjamin Netanyahu got wrong” [Politico] • Washington Post Editorial: “Obama needs to provide real answers to Netanyahu’s arguments” [WashPost]
RESPONDING TO THE RESPONSE: “Netanyahu Says He Gave ‘Practical Alternative’ To Iran Deal”[AP]
LongRead: “Why Obama hates Netanyahu, and vice versa” by Haviv Rettig Gur [ToI]
IRAN TALKS: “The U.S. and Iranian foreign ministers began a third day of talks over Iran’s nuclear program on Wednesday, just hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had warned that the deal being negotiated was a serious mistake.” [Reuters] • “Democrats turn against own Iran bill” [Politico]
2016 SCENE: Over kosher roast beef sandwiches, salad, and fresh fruit, around a hundred and fifty of the top Republican, mostly Jewish, donors and activists gathered for lunch at the National Republican Club of Capitol Hill yesterday to hear from Sen. Lindsey Graham about his thoughts on the Israeli Prime Minister’s speech, pending Iran sanctions legislation, and a potential 2016 run for President. The group also heard from Senators McCain, Tillis, Gardner, Ayotte; Reps. Zeldin, Gowdy, Royce; and former Sens. Joe Lieberman and Norm Coleman. McCain and Coleman urged the group to “get on board early and often” to support Graham 2016. McCain called Bibi’s speech, “the finest I’ve ever seen in Congress.”
—Graham lines: “People negotiating this Iran deal have clearly never bought a car”… “Boycotters worry more about Israeli politics than protecting our country”… “Y’all see Nancy Pelosi’s face on the floor during the speech? Complete disgust. If you can get through all the surgeries, there’s disgust” [BV]… “There’s room at Gitmo for a reason; if any Republican doesn’t support my bill then they’re headed straight there.”… “In a month, I’ll make an informed decision about running for President”…
2016 WATCH: “Awash in cash, Bush asks donors not to give more than $1 million – for now” by Matea Gold: “An unusual request has gone out to wealthy donors writing large checks to support former Florida governor Jeb Bush: Please don’t give more than $1 million right away. The requested limit, confirmed by multiple people familiar with the amount, may mark the first time that a presidential hopeful has sought to hold off supporters from contributing too much money.” [WashPost]
“Can Maryland’s Donna Edwards be the Ted Cruz of the Left?” by David Weigel: “Today, as most of Maryland’s delegation sat and listened to Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech, Edwards was conspicuously absent. The left, which has not quite matched the right’s success in putting its insurgents into Senate seats, sees the same opportunity in Maryland that Tea Partiers once saw in Ted Cruz’s Texas.”[Bloomberg]
TALK OF THE TOWN: “Mayor de Blasio Seeks Stronger Ties With Jewish Voters” by Alexander Burns and Michael M. Grynbaum: “Two weeks ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio stood shoulder to shoulder with France’s chief rabbi at the Park East Synagogue and challenged European leaders to break their “atmosphere of indifference” toward anti-Semitism. A few days later, he slipped out of New York City to attend the wedding of a Hasidic leader’s grandson. Last week, he loosened city regulations on a medically questionable ultra-Orthodox circumcision ritual. Amid rising anti-Semitic violence abroad and his own political travails at home, Mr. de Blasio has embarked on a furious campaign to define himself as an international spokesman for Jewish concerns, and to deepen his relationship with New York’s often fractious Jewish community.” [NYTimes]
“Schneiderman probed for allegedly tapping Trumps” by Carl Campanile: “The state ethics watchdog has launched a probe into whether state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman illegally solicited campaign contributions from Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband while investigating The Donald’s for-profit school.” [NYPost]
“Could Rahm actually lose? Chicago’s mayor is in the fight of his political life” by Alex Isenstadt: “A runoff that was expected to be a slam dunk for Rahm Emanuel is turning out to be uncomfortably — even dangerously — close, leading the Chicago mayor to ready a scorched-earth offensive to save his job.” [Politico]
“The Rabbi Behind That Susan Rice Ad Apologizes, But Isn’t That Apologetic” by Rosie Gray: “Boteach began the panel by apologizing, saying that his group which was responsible for placing the advertisement, This World: The Values Network, had not meant it as a personal attack against Rice. But in an interview after the panel with BuzzFeed News, Boteach struck a slightly less apologetic tone.” [BuzzFeed]
SPORTS BLINK: “Robert Kraft shows off Super Bowl trophy on Capitol Hill” by Sylvan Lane: “Congressional staffers and Capitol staff lined up for yards Tuesday afternoon to meet New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and take a picture with him in front the Lombardi Trophy. Representative Richard Neal of Springfield hosted a 3:30 p.m. meet-and-greet for the New England delegation and its aides in a House of Representatives room.”
“A line of staffers and fans from all over the District — some sporting suits while others donned Patriots gear — stretched down Capitol hallways and eventually had to be cut off for time. Kraft’s event was scheduled to coincide with his trip to Washington at Netanyahu’s invitation, so he could watch the speech from the House gallery.” [BostonGlobe]
HAPPENING TONIGHT: At 6:30PM, “The Great Washington DC Purim Western” at The Shul – Chabad Lubavitch at 2110 Leroy Place NW. [JewishWashington]
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Rick Perry turns 65… Eva Moskowitz turns 51… Gal Mekel turns 27…
That’s all folks; have a great day!
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