Amb. Rice pushes back on GOP candidates over Israel

Perry and Romney have criticized Obama for not showing Israel enough support, with Perry calling President Obama’s policy in the Middle East "naive and arrogant, misguided and dangerous." Rice, like others in the administration, pushed back against that characterization, defending Obama’s record of commitment to “to bringing the Palestinian and Israelis to a final agreement.”

Rice said, “For those who want to play politics, they’ll play politics. But the reality is Israel has had no better partner than this administration.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to take his bid for statehood to the United Nations Security Council this week. The Obama administration opposes the action, warning that it would undermine direct Israel-Palestine negotiations. GOP candidates Romney, Perry and Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) have blamed the Obama administration for allowing the situation to get this far.

Rice said a Security Council vote on Palestinian statehood will not succeed.

The White House announced Tuesday evening that Obama would meet with Abbas on Wednesday prior to Obama’s General Assembly address, likely a final attempt to dissuade Abbas from the course of action.