Obama Defends Iran Stance -- Quietly
By Ben Pershing
President Obama has already made clear that his strategy in dealing with post-election unrest in Iran will continue to be marked by caution. But has the administration's effort to sell that strategy itself been too cautious?
"The last thing that I want to do is to have the United States be a foil for those forces inside Iran who would love nothing better than to make this an argument about the United States. We shouldn't be playing into that," Obama explained in an interview with CBS broadcast this morning. But the Associated Press notes, "The White House did not book any surrogates on the Sunday talk shows to defend or explain the administration's approach [while] Republicans used their broadcast appearances to call the president timid or feckless." The processsion of GOP senators who criticized Obama Sunday included John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Chuck Grassley. A few Democratic lawmakers defended the administration, but there was no Hillary Clinton or Rahm Emanuel on the air to directly rebut the charges.
The partisan sniping in the U.S. comes as Iran finally admits that there were irregularities in its vote count. Nate Silver notes incredulously that an Iranian government spokesman says that there were more votes recorded than there were people eligible to vote "in only 50 cities." Oh, is that all? So the electoral process in the rest of the country was presumably pure as the driven snow. Making the situation stranger, the government says the vote discrepancies did not violate Iranian law. Perhaps that law needs an update.
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Posted at 8:35 AM ET on Jun 22, 2009
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