Axelrod downplays talk of rift between Obama, Netanyahu ahead of meeting

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Obama's top political adviser David Axelrod on Sunday downplayed disagreements between the U.S. and Israel on addressing Iran's nuclear program.

"There's no difference between the United States and Israel on the issue of whether Iran should get a nuclear weapon," said Axelrod on ABC's This Week. "There's no difference between, in the objective here. 

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They're going to sit down and they are going to talk through the tactics involved, but no one should doubt the president's resolve. Not just because of the security of Israel, but because of the security of the United States of America. It is important that Iran not get a nuclear weapon," said Axelrod.

President Obama will speak Sunday morning at the American Israel Public Affairs Conference and meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday.

Obama's meeting with Netanyahu will be dominated by discussion of how to halt Iran's nuclear weapons program.

Iran insists that its program is for peaceful energy purposes, but the U.S. and western allies fear Tehran is seeking nuclear weapons.


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The threat of an Israeli strike on Iran has raised the states for the meeting.

Obama is also facing criticism Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates that he has been insufficiently supportive of Israel amid the crisis.

Axelrod though dismissed concerns of a rift between the two governments. 

"All I can tell you is that Shimon Peres, the president of Israel, was interviewed a couple of nights ago, and said there has never been closer security cooperation. Ehud Barak, the defense minister of Israel, has said the same. Prime Minister Netanyahu has said that the security assistance that we have given to Israel is unprecedented," he added.

Axelrod also defended the president's decision to apologize to Afghans after the accidental burning of Qurans by American servicemen there.


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Obama's apology has been attacked by GOP hopefuls as a sign of "weakness."

Axelrod on Sunday said that military commanders supported Obama's decision.

"The reality is, that the president has in his hands the fate of all those service people over there, and that's foremost in his mind," he said. "And the commanders on the ground felt that a high-level apology was warranted and necessarily for the security of those troops, and the president acted on their recommendation."

The burned Qurans sparked a week of protests that left four Americans dead, including two officers who were shot by an Afghan within the Interior ministry in Kabul.