Obama to Sarkozy on Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu: "You're fed up with him? I have to deal with him every day!"
Reporters were able to listen in on a conversation between Obama and French President Sarkozy that the two thought was private at last week's G20 Summit. During the conversation, Obama criticized Sarkozy for not having warned him that France would be voting in favor of the Palestinian membership bid in UNESCO, despite America's strong objection. Sarkozy declared of Israeli Prime Minister Ben Netanyahu, "I cannot stand him. He's a liar." Obama reportedly replied: "You're fed up with him? I have to deal with him every day."
The exchange was first reported on the French website Arrêt Sur Images, and was later confirmed by a Reuters reporter who also heard the remarks. The gaffe came before a press conference while the two presidents were in a private room.
Arrêt Sur Images reported that while the two presidents were in private discussions in a closed room before their press conference, Élysée staff handed out translation sets to waiting journalists.
A staff member reportedly explained that the headphones to go with the translation sets were not yet being handed out because this would have allowed journalists to listen in on the private conversation still going on. Half a dozen journalists immediately plugged in their own headphones and caught three minutes of the private exchange.