Reporting from Washington -- Delegates of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee rewarded President Obama with standing ovations for his toughest lines on Iran, but the overall reception of the speech, which also stressed the importance of peaceful solutions in the Middle East, was mixed.
The crowd got to its feet when the president emphasized Israel’s right to make its own foreign policy decisions. It came out of its seats again moments later when he stressed that the American policy on Iran's nuclear ambitions was to prevent the country from getting a bomb, not containing it once it was nuclear armed.
But if the conference delegates wanted strong words, the end of the speech, which took a more moderate tone, left some deflated. As they left the main hall at the Washington Convention Center, delegates expressed a more muted view of the address, questioning whether the president’s rhetoric on Iran was tough enough.
"I don't think it's his business if Israel attacks Iran," said Shai Nussbaum, a delegate from New York. "Did America tell Israel when they started the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? No."