The reason why President Obama is not meeting with any foreign leaders during this week's United Nations General Assembly in New York is, as one aide to the president explained, because "If he met with one leader, he would have to meet with 10."
The reasoning was explained that way to the New York Times.
"Mr. Obama was scheduled to attend a reception for world leaders at the United Nations on Monday night. But a campaign adviser acknowledged privately that in this election year, campaigning trumped meetings with world leaders. 'Look, if he met with one leader, he would have to meet with 10,' the aide said, speaking on the condition of anonymity," the Times reports today.
Former deputy national security advisor Elliott Abrams says this is unprecedented:
I cannot recall an occasion when a president went to speak at the General Assembly and simply refused to meet anyone. Perhaps this is the product of Mr. Obama’s fight with Israeli prime minister Netanyahu, for having refused a meeting with him Mr. Obama must now pretend (for obvious political reasons) that it isn’t personal and he simply has no time for these unimportant personal meetings. So dozens of foreign leaders–presidents, prime ministers, sheiks, kings–are in New York, have serious things to say to us, want to hear about our policies, and will not be able to see the president. This is a serious failure by Mr. Obama and limits the effectiveness of American diplomacy. One can only hope that if he is re-elected, Mr. Obama will somehow recognize the costs this failure have imposed. Or perhaps in her exit interview secretary Clinton can explain it to him. Someone should.
Meanwhile, President Obama sat down with the ladies of The View yesterday for a chat.