Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) tried to emphasize the positive one day after President Obama clarified his remarks about where to begin in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process after his initial statements on the issue last week created a firestorm among ardent supporters of Israel.
"I'm glad he clarified his remarks," Lowey told TPM at the annual American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee conference. "I'm glad we're all on the same page now."
Rep. Steve Rothman (D-NJ), a strong supporter of Israel, was much more sympathetic to Obama and his comments over the last few days, arguing that Obama never meant to advocate for a return to the 1967 armistice. He also gave Obama high marks for his follow-up speech.
"He wanted to make a strong point that these would be adjustments to the armistice," Rothman said. "And he said the relationship between the two nations is outstanding ... that the U.S. commitment to Israel is ironclad."
Obama had alienated the Jewish community during a speech last Thursday in which he called for the peace negotiations to begin with the boundaries that existed before the 1967 Six Day War in which Israel forces captured east Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. Obama stressed the need for additional "mutually agreed upon" land swaps, but that didn't prevent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from angrily denouncing any return to the 1967 boundaries while sitting alongside Obama in the Oval Office on Friday.
The President on Sunday appeared to mend some fences with the Jewish and pro-Israel community by addressing 10,000 AIPAC attendees and insisting he is a "real friend" of Israel.
Regarding his speech last week at the State Department and his comment about 1967 lines the president was adamant that he had been "misrepresented several times."
Obama agreed that Israel could not go back to the 1967 borders as they were, and that "mutually agreed" land swaps would be necessary. Yet, to the consternation of some at the conference, he continued to suggest that Israel's actions were creating delays that were unacceptable to the international community.
House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md), who spoke to the conference earlier Sunday, provided a stark contrast to Obama's speech by urging Palestinian leaders to return to the negotiating table without preconditions and urging the United Nations not to recognize an independent Palestinian state as long as it continued an alliance with Hamas.