Report: White House mulls how to push back at Bibi
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The White House is reportedly exploring how to handle Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE's upcoming address to Congress and is considering a media blitz to counter his messaging.

The Associated Press reported Friday that U.S. officials are mulling multiple responses, including having President Obama sit for an interview with "a prominent journalist known for coverage of the rift between Obama and Netanyahu."

Other options include senior White House national security aides appearing on multiple Sunday morning shows as well as the administration bucking tradition and sending lower-level foreign policy officials to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference, the AP reported.


The conference, which is a major gathering for pro-Israel activists, will be held in March while Netanyahu is in Washington.

Administration officials are considering sending recently-confirmed Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken to speak at AIPAC's annual policy conference, AP reported, though Treasury Secretary Jack Lew could also attend. More senior officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Biden, have attended the conference in the past. Obama spoke in 2012.

Two potential Republican presidential candidates seized on the report to reaffirm their support for the Israeli leader, who accepted an invitation to speak from Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerCoronavirus poses risks for Trump in 2020 Lobbying world Pelosi-Trump relationship takes turn for the terrible MORE (R-Ohio).

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush tweeted that he was "very disappointed" the White House would attempt to "undermine" Netanyahu's speech, while Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTed Cruz takes aim at Alabama vasectomy bill: 'Yikes' 'Medicare for All' will turn into health care for none Cruz 'impresses' his daughter with Chris Evans meeting MORE (Texas) tweeted that the U.S. is "stronger when we stand firmly with our allies."

The White House did not respond to a request for comment on the report.

Netanyahu's address to Congress has roiled already tense relations between Israel and the Obama administration. The White House is currently hammering out a framework deal over Iran's nuclear program that faces a self-imposed deadline at the end of March.

Many congressional Democrats have said they will not attend the speech, on the basis that inviting a foreign leader to deliver a rebuke to a sitting president in front of Congress is disrespectful.

Obama and Kerry have said they won't attend the Israeli prime minister’s March 3 address since it falls two weeks before Netanyahu is up for reelection in his country.

Biden will be in Latin America discussing immigration, the White House said this week.