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Jeb Bush ‘anxious to hear’ PM’s speech on Iran

Netanyahu trades messages of support on Twitter with GOP presidential candidate, as Democrats try to get address postponed

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015, in Chicago. (photo credit: AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015, in Chicago. (photo credit: AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Republican presidential prospect Jeb Bush shared messages of support on Twitter Thursday, after the former Florida governor said during a speech the day before that he thought it was important for the prime minister to address Congress on a possible nuclear deal with Iran.

“I don’t blame him for wanting to share his views and in fact, I think it will be important for the American people to get the perspective of our closest ally in the region,” Bush said Wednesday during a wide-ranging speech on foreign policy in front of the nonpartisan Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Netanyahu thanked Bush for his comments, and appeared to indicate he was moving ahead with the controversial talk.

Bush, whose older brother and father both occupied the Oval Office, responded that he was “anxious to hear” Netanyahu’s views.

Bush has recently been among the most prominent in a crowded field of Republican politicians contemplating a run for the White House.

Netanyahu’s March 3 speech is controversial because it comes as the Obama administration is negotiating with Iran over that country’s nuclear program — negotiations that Netanyahu says could put Israel at risk. The speech is also set just two weeks before Netanyahu faces voters at home for re-election.

Republicans are pushing tougher sanctions on Tehran. House Speaker John Boehner did not consult with the White House before inviting Netanyahu to give the talk before Congress.

Almost two dozen liberal Democrats on Thursday asked Boehner to postpone Netanyahu’s address.

US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry indicated early on that they would not meet with Netanyahu during his visit, with the State Department announcing Thursday that Kerry was likely to be out of town during the speech. Earlier this week, officials in Vice President Joe Biden’s office said he would be on a state visit to Latin America when Netanyahu addresses the joint session of Congress.

The planned speech has caused an uproar in Israel as well, coming just two weeks before national elections. Netanyahu has rejected the criticism, saying it is his duty to lobby against the nuclear deal.

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