Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), who holds President Obama's old seat in the United States Senate, has been one of Israel's staunchest supporters in Congress. And despite his recent struggles after suffering a stroke -- which has earned him get-well wishes from no less than Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- he has been at the forefront of U.S. efforts to constrain Iran's nuclear ambitions. In fact, he authored the most recent sanctions imposed on Iran, which are the most severe yet imposed by the United States, and which President Obama only recently (and reluctantly) signed into law.
However, that didn't stop Obama from taking credit for them in his speech to AIPAC today:
I have said that 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. That includes all elements of American power: a political effort aimed at isolating Iran, a diplomatic effort to sustain our coalition and ensure that the Iranian program is monitored, an economic effort that imposes crippling sanctions and, yes, a military effort to be prepared for any contingency.
Watch the speech here:
The catch was that Obama took credit for the sanctions while completely forgetting to mention Kirk. Alana Goodman at Commentary Magazine fills in the rest:
This is the third time Obama had an opportunity to mention Kirk in an address and declined to do so. At the last State of the Union, Obama gave a warm hug to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, but made no acknowledgement of Kirk, who had the stroke just days earlier. This is despite the fact that Kirk holds the same Illinois Senate seat that Obama held before he became president.
Obama also neglected to mention Kirk in a statement he sent to Congress after signing the Executive Order on the latest Iran sanctions. In the note, the president took full credit for the policy.
It’s not that Obama should have to give Kirk a nod every time he mentions the sanctions. But a brief acknowledgment for the man who had the foresight to fight for them – even when the president was reluctant to support them – would be the classy thing to do.
Critics argue, however, that this is not the first occasion the president has taken credit for others' work.