Don't look for Vice President Joe Biden on the bimah when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks before a joint meeting of the Congress on March 3.
He'll be out of town, his office said. Normally, the Veep, in his role as President of the Senate, sits alongside the Speaker of the House above and behind the guest addressing the chamber. But the administration is miffed at Speaker John Boehner and Bibi for organizing the speech behind the White House's back, in what they rightly consider an intentional snub of the President. It is an unprecedented break of protocol.
Boehner, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry had earlier said they would not be meeting with Netanyahu while he is in Washington because it is only two weeks before the Israeli election and they don't want to be seen as interfering one way or the other.
Of course, by not seeing Bibi they are, even if it is unintentional, sending a message to Israeli voters that they don't feel he has been a good steward of the critical American relationship. They clearly resent Boehner and Bibi colluding to lobby the Congress against administration Iran policy. Both men seem to relish the opportunity to poke their fingers in Obama's eyes.
Biden's office said he has prior plans to be out of the country on March 3 but is not yet ready to say where.