The man formerly hailed as a messiah was having a bad day. The Iranians snubbed him. The Brazilians upbraided him. Ted Cruz fauxlibustered him. And you just know that, behind the scenes, the Russians were messing with him. At the end of a long, hard day at the United Nations, he escaped into the sweaty and freighted embrace of the Clintons, who had to explain and defend the presidentâs own health care plan for him at their global initiative conference/Hillary 2016 pep rally. The choreography of diplomacy danced around the tantalizing possibility of a historic handshake that could end three decades of poison. (Even though the last climactic clasp, between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasir Arafat, disappointingly proved that sometimes a handshake is just a handshake.) With the welcome exit of the provincial Iranian fruitbat, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, could the country W. declared part of the âaxis of evilâ reach out to the country smeared as the âGreat Satanâ by Ayatollah Khomeini? Obama administration officials at the U.N. on Tuesday explained to reporters that there would not be a bilateral between President Obama and President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, or any sort of âformal meeting.â âWeâre not prepared for heads of state to negotiate or presidents to negotiate on the nuclear issue,â an official said, speaking on background. An âencounterâ would be permissible. Not a long one, but an âinformal, brief encounter.â âSo,â a reporter asked, âlike a handshake?â âYes, that type of thing,â the official replied. âExactly. On the margins here.â Except that, after the White House spent a week suggesting that there could be a press-the-flesh moment, Rouhani snubbed Obama. And not on the margins. Maybe the tweet-happy Iranian president was too busy retweeting Christiane Amanpour to have time to pretend to bump into the American president in a U.N. hallway. âUltimately it became clear that that was too complicated for them at this time,â the Obama official said just before 3 p.m., trying to put a good face on the scuttled face-to-face, adding that âthe Iranians, number one, have an internal dynamic that they have to manageâ and they âwere not ready to have an encounter at the presidential level.â Even a brief encounter wasnât brief enough.