Obama Quick To Congratulate Friends, Slow To Call Netanyahu

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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The White House’s silence about Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s election is standard operating procedure for President Barack Obama.

It took him one week to congratulate Netanyahu for his Jan. 22 electoral victory in January 2013.

In contrast, leaders favored by Obama get quick congratulatory phone calls.

Obama called Italian President Sergio Mattarella on the same day of his 2015 election victory, Jan. 31, and plied him with compliments. “I congratulate President Sergio Mattarella on his election as President of Italy and applaud his distinguished record of public service,” read Obama’s Jan. 31 statement.

Obama released a press statement the day after President Maithripala Sirisena won election in Sri Lanka. “Beyond the significance of this election to Sri Lanka, it is also a symbol of hope for those who support democracy all around the world,” Obama said.

Who gets congratulations from President Barack Obama, and how and when, according to White House records:

Italian President Sergio Mattarella, 2015,                 Same day, call

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena, 2015,      1 day

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, 2014,                1 day

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, 2014,               2 days, call

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, 2015,             3 days, call

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, 2014,         4 days, call

Russian President Vladimir Putin, 2012,                  5 days, call

Israel Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu in 2013,       6 days, call

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, 2014,       13 days, call

Tunisian President Caid Essebsi, 2014,                  14 days, call

A White House statement attributed to Obama congratulated Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, the same day of his Dec. 14, 2014 win. Vice-President Joe Biden called Abe four days later.

Obama called Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to congratulate her two days after her Oct. 26, 2014 win.

Another left-winger, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, got a call from Obama three days after his Jan. 25 election. “The President spoke with Prime Minister Tsipras today to congratulate him on his recent election victory. The President noted that the United States, as a longstanding friend and ally, looks forward to working closely with the new Greek government,” said the White House statement.

But other leaders get later calls.

Obama called Tunisia’s first elected president, Caid Essebsi, 14 days after his election results were announced Dec. 22.

Romania’s president, Klaus Iohannis got a congratulatory call from Biden on Nov. 25, nine days after his Nov. 16, 2014 win.

Sweden’s left-wing prime minister, Stefan Löfven, got a call 13 days after his win, partly because Obama wanted to thank him for Sweden’s role in the effort to contain the Ebola plague.

“The President congratulated the Prime Minister on his recent election and thanked him for Sweden’s generous contributions in response to the Ebola crisis,” the White House statement said.

In 2013, Obama called Netanyahu Jan. 28 to congratulate him six days after his Jan. 22 victory.

“President Obama spoke today by telephone with Prime Minister Netanyahu to congratulate him on his party’s success in winning a plurality of Knesset seats in Israel’s recent election,” read the White House’s statement.

“The President indicated that the United States looks forward to working with the next government. He also reiterated his commitment to the deep and enduring bonds between the United States and Israel, and pledged to work closely with Israel on our shared agenda for peace and security in the Middle East.”

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