My own take. It is problematic that the media chose to keep this secret or frankly that they were asked to do so. That said, let me offer what I think would be the pro-Obama angle on this conversation just for the sake of it, since no one else is likely to try to do it. This conversation is damaging as a whole so Obama advocates in general are likely to avoid trying. So here it goes:
Obama challenges Sarkozy about France’s disregarding of the US on the UNESCO issue. One could even argue that Obama was upset about France’s abandonment of Israel on this for which the US was advocating, but that might be going a bit far here. [Supporters will see a strong pro-Israel intent here by Obama]. The conversation leads to Netanyahu. This is interesting because there could well then be linkage between Sarkozy’s decision to vote for statehood in UNESCO, to abandon support for Israel, and to disregard the US. That personal dislike could have that impact on Sarkozy would be a major indictment of his character in and of itself. Sarkozy calls Netanyahu a “liar.” What did he lie about? I am wondering here. Anyway this leads to Obama.
Now with the leader of France being attacked by Obama for not supporting the US and EU stance and launching a tirade about Bibi as a liar, Obama’s response is not “You bet. He’s lied out his you know what!” Nor is it “I can’t stand the man. He is awful!” Instead, Obama actually deflected the conversation in an attempt to create camaraderie with Sarkozy, or to avoid an argument, while playing DOWN the situation. By saying he has to deal with Bibi every day, Obama ended the conversation.
Considering the fact that we already know that there have been a number of heated exchanges over the past couple of years between Obama and Bibi, Obama’s response to Sarkozy was highly restrained, in fact frankly surprisingly so. While Obama would not have said what he did in public, what he did say is a far cry from the sentiments that many ascribe to him and would have expected to hear from him under these circumstances.
Meanwhile, there are plenty of people who each of us like very well to whom we might refer at times as a pain in the ass, and certainly might in response to others who are very angry at those people. I think that Obama supporters will see Obama’s response as nothing more than that, essentially calling Netanyahu a pain in the butt. In fact, one could argue that no few of Netanyahu’s political opponents in Israel would say similar things about him or much worse. Sarkozy’s comments on the other hand are not acceptable at all and were clearly much more hostile and even slanderous.
On the whole, I think that people who dislike Obama will play this situation up, while those who support Obama will have an easy time maintaining that support. Sarkozy has some explaining to do. I think that this conversation will have little or no impact on swaying the opinions of those who support the President and consider him a friend of Israel.