When Benjamin Netanyahu first visited the White House as Israel's prime minister in 1996, things didn't get off to such a great start.
Undeterred by the razor-thin nature of his upset victory, Netanyahu was on the offensive from the start against President Bill Clinton, trying to reshape American policy. Clinton was so vexed after that first meeting that he vented to aides, "Who's the f—ing superpower here?"
The famously thin-skinned Netanyahu even tried to get Clinton to fire his press secretary, Mike McCurry. "He didn't like how I was describing the meetings between the two leaders," McCurry told National Journal. "When we went into the Oval Office for one session, he saw me against the wall, pointed at me, and told the president, 'That one, over there, is one of your problems.'"
Clinton later emerged from a private session with Netanyahu and said the prime minister again lobbied for the spokesman to be fired. "He wants you out," a bemused Clinton told McCurry, who stayed at the White House until 1998.
Now, almost two decades later, Netanyahu has set his sights higher. This time, he'd like to replace the president.
Netanyahu left no doubt in 2012 that he wanted his old friend Mitt Romney to beat President Barack Obama. And his decision to blindside Obama by accepting Speaker John Boehner's invitation to speak to a joint meeting of Congress is a clear slap at a president who has a different policy toward Iran's nuclear program. His persistence in giving the speech has sparked a round of stories declaring U.S.-Israeli relations at an all-time low.