Obama Assures AIPAC: 'I Have Israel's Back'
On Iran, president warns of 'loose talk' about war
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2012 1:31 PM CST
President Barack Obama pauses as he addresses thousands at the opening session of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's (AIPAC) annual policy conference Sunday, March 4, 2012, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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(Newser) – President Obama followed a speech by Israeli President Shimon Peres at AIPAC today with a blunt assessment about Israel: “There should not be a shred of doubt by now: when the chips are down, I have Israel’s back." He reminded the audience of recent US aid to the Jewish state and said American support should stay bipartisan—which drew a standing ovation from some, but not all, of the thousands in attendance. On a nuclear-armed Iran: “When it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, I will take no options off the table, and I mean what I say."

But he listed "military effort" behind other uses of US power, arguing that economic sanctions are producing "bite" against the regime: "Already, there is too much loose talk of war," which has increased the price of oil and helped "fund their nuclear program." For the sake of world security, he said, "Now is not the time for bluster. Now is the time to heed the timeless advice from Teddy Roosevelt: Speak softly, but carry a big stick.” Next up for Obama: a Monday meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose relationship with the president has been rather chilly, Politico reports.