Republicans are seizing on comments President Obama made privately at the G20 to argue he is no friend to Israel.

Obama was caught on a live mic talking about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a private conversation with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

In the talk, Sarkozy slammed Netanyahu, unaware his microphone was on, according to Reuters. "I cannot bear Netanyahu; he's a liar," Sarkozy told Obama in comments overheard by reporters in a separate room who were listening to a simultaneous translation.

ADVERTISEMENT
"You're fed up with him, but I have to deal with him even more often than you," Obama replied, according to the French interpreter.

Obama and Netanyahu have long had a strained relationship over Netanyahu's policies toward the Palestinian people, which has led to GOP candidates arguing that Obama is not a true ally of Israel.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus was among the first to pounce on Tuesday, saying in a message on Twitter that if Obama does not want to work with Israel, "let's elect someone who will."


Herman Cain pounded Obama for his "foggy foreign policy" in a Friday speech and promised that if elected president he would stand by Israel, a statement that has become commonplace in GOP presidential speeches.

Rick Perry has also criticized Obama on Israel, slamming the president in a September op-ed and speech for how he has handled diplomacy in the region.

Republicans have sought to use Israel as a wedge issue with Jewish voters and to appeal to evangelicals who see Israel as a crucial ally in the Middle East. 

They can be expected to use this latest incident to score points on the issue.