WATCH: Obama Official Calling Netanyahu 'Chickenshit' Will Impact U.S. Election, Says Tapper

CNN's Jake Tapper on the Hugh Hewitt radio show said he believes that in the last week of the U.S. midterm campaign, 'not just Jews but evangelicals, will be making huge hay out of that comment.'

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Transcript from the Hugh Hewitt Show:

HH: Yeah, it was a hard-hitting, very fair question, and it shows that you can actually do that. And you were hard-hitting and very fair to Rick Scott as well. And it’s just possible to do a debate like that. Let’s turn to the big issue of the afternoon. I know you know Jeffrey Goldberg, at least I assume you do

JT: Yes.

HH: And he probably knows American-Israeli relations better than anyone else in Washington, D.C. He has this piece at The Atlantic in which he quotes an unnamed senior administration official as calling Benjamin Netanyahu chicken****. Noah Pollak says he’ll put a thousand bucks on Jeffrey Goldberg’s chicken**** source being the very chicken****, Ben Rhodes. We don’t know, but that makes sense. That’s who Goldberg talks to. He talks to the national security deputy advisors and the President. This is a big deal. Even though Ebola’s a big deal, and ISIS is a big deal, the elections are a week away, and you have the President’s senior staff calling the prime minister of our strongest ally in the Middle East chicken****. What is wrong with that White House, Jake Tapper?

JT: Well, there are, I should say first of all, I haven’t read the story. And I talk to Ben Rhodes all the time, and I’ve never heard him say anything like that. So I have no idea if that’s accurate when you hypothesize and speculate that it’s him. There are a lot of, but I mean, what the quote gets at is there are a lot of really tough feelings, hard feelings going on between both the Netanyahu government and the Obama government right now. I mean, I think one of the things I just heard the other day, I was at an event, and somebody was telling me about somebody from the United States challenging an Israeli government official, like how come Obama and the Obama administration constantly gets attacked by members of the Netanyahu administration in Israel, like what purpose does that serve? So I think it goes both ways. We obviously pay more attention to the stuff that breaks in the English and American press. Look, they are, it’s hard to pick a leader of this country and a leader of that country that would like each other less than those two, with the possible exception of Obama and Ariel Sharon. It’s just, they are diametrically opposed when it comes to Israeli policy, and I think that those very substantive differences come out. I think that Netanyahu made no secret that he would have preferred Mitt Romney, who he’s known for decades, to be president, and that he views Romney as a stronger supporter of Israel. And I think Obama’s made it very clear that he thinks that Netanyahu is leading Israel down a path that is not in the best interest of Israel.

HH: But I’ll put it in this term

JT: When I was in Israel a few months ago, Netanyahu made a comment to the American ambassador, basically along the lines that don’t tell me what to do when it comes to protecting my people. So these are very serious substantive differences. And while the difference might come out in anonymous quotes like that, using epithets, it’s not about small potatoes. It’s about big difference.

HH: And sure it is. But what surprises me is that it’s a week before an election in which the Jewish vote might indeed make a difference in a place like Florida, or a Senate race like New Hampshire, or a Senate race in Colorado. And these are not large numbers of voters who are motivated primarily by the American-Israel relationship, but they’re not insignificant, either. And this President has done repeatedly over the last three weeks things that Democratic candidates must be banging their head. And I don’t know if you’ll cover this on Election Night. You’re anchoring Election Night, aren’t you, with Wolf?

JT: Oh, yeah. It’s me, Wolf, Anderson. We’ve been rehearsing for weeks. It’s going to be a good, I’m going to be, we’re going to be there from 5pm to 3 or 4 in the morning. I can’t say until the last votes are counted, because

HH: Alaska.

JT: IT’s quite possible that there are going to be a couple of run offs.

HH: Yeah.

JT: But it’s going to be exciting. I’m really excited.

HH: Well, you’ll be on in the corner of my radio studio. We’ll be going that night. But I hope you’ll find some time to talk about the President. We’ve got 30 seconds, Jake Tapper. It’s just been enigmatic to me how he’s conducted the last three weeks of this campaign. Do you agree?

JT: Well, I completely agree with you that Rick Scott and others in tight races, where there is a significant vote of people who support Israel, not just Jews, but Evangelicals, will be making huge hay out of that comment. And I bet it becomes a big issue in those Israel-supporting communities, absolutely.

HH: Jake Tapper, we’ll watch on Election Night. We’ll hopefully talk to you before that broadcast begins.

End of interview.



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