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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.

Continue reading at Political Browser »

By Ben Pershing  |  June 22, 2009; 8:35 AM ET
Categories:  The Rundown  
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Comments

I'm thankfull we have a level headed, Democratic President. Imagine that damn fool George Bush thinking that he should call our enemies names or worse yet retaliate. We need a nuanced approach -
-hope for the best maybe and they will go away.

I'm sleeping better at night knowing that if Iran slaughters some more demostrators Barack is going to ramp it up and completely block their access to the twittering network.

Damn the Republicans, give em hell Barack !

Posted by: masssgt | June 24, 2009 6:04 AM | Report abuse

Obama handles this crisis the right way. What would you expect him do to other ways. Invade Iran? No, what good would come from that? Absolute nothing. On the contrary any open support of any kind form the American government would be counterproductive, because the Iranian government blames America and other western countries for the protests and declare that foreign media fueled the rumors about the election fraud. Ahmadinejad still enjoys strong support form a great part of the Iranian people and with any involvement from America or other countries the number of his supporters will grow. The election fraud was the straw that broke the camel's back and there are a lot of people in Iran who want Iran go another way, a way of dialog with western countries, way of respecting human right and individual freedom. And with every dead protester lying in the street Ahmadinejad and Khamenei loose support in the population. The people of Iran have to take matters in their on hands.
This isn't about putting on a strongman act; it is about doing the right thing for America and Iran. At least that's what Obama is elected for.

Posted by: sam1984x | June 23, 2009 4:07 AM | Report abuse

The problem with Obama's policy it is nuanced and will change over time which automatons on the right will get confused by. They think because it is not belligerent that it is not showing strength.

The Iranian government blamed the US but the rest of the world knows that we have not interfered. This policy will give us maximum flexibility in the future. The Iranian government is going to complain that the US is the problem but the rest of the world will not accept this interpretation.

The right never cares about anything but beating their on chests. Complain on about Obama and show the rest of us that you are buffoons. The real test by Iran has yet to occur. Obama has left open all options when it does.

Posted by: Gator-ron | June 22, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

We'll see what happens at press conference tomorrow.

Posted by: JakeD | June 22, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Thank God that we have a level headed President of the United States of America who knows that the aspirations of the Iranian citizens best lay in their self-discipline to take a cue from Dr. Martin Luther King. When non-violent demonstration is met by governmental, retaliatory violence it then is clear to everyone who is the Evil party to the dispute. This is a battle between Good and Evil: don't kid yourself that it is not. Ideologically (as is evidenced by behavior) Republicans are war mongers: they are consistently the first in any federal, domestic election to raise the specter of "class war." Republicans are the party traditionally supporting tobacco interests, the gun lobby, litigation lawyers (Japan: 10 engineers per 1 lawyer; United States 10 lawyers per 1 engineer). Republicans are anti-environmental in their sentiments. Republicans are against the general availability of health care for all of its citizens, in the face of such being more than feasible as demonstrated in multiple nations around the world. Yes my friends: this is a battle between Good and Evil. President Obama is on the side of Good. Republicans, eat your heart out.

Posted by: DarylAtamanyk | June 22, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

First, is Obama even a "natural born" citizen and therefore President of the United States? Second, if he is, then what new inroads could a President with his Muslim background have in the region?

Posted by: JakeD | June 22, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Interestingly, the heckling from McCain and other GOP senators, will help Obama make progress because Iran sees that as the worse alternative.

Posted by: YoungAtheart | June 22, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Aint this just great, Obama releases all the terrorists from Gitmo then won't support freedom in Iran. This is not a good trend

Posted by: ilikestupidpeople | June 22, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

http:/www.cnn.com Quick Vote

Should President Obama condemn the actions of Iran's government?

Yes 62% (137,062 votes)

No 38% (82,545 votes)

Total Votes: 219,607

Posted by: JakeD | June 22, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

I imagine the White House believes it doesn't need to rebut Republican talking heads on this issue. They're in no position to offer anything but more bluff and bluster. The saber rattling of Rummy, Cheney and Bush got us exactly NOTHING from Iran.

The pirate hostage event should have taught the news media something. This President may not be talking to the press. That doesn't mean the wheels aren't moving.

So why doesn't the media have anything to report about what might really be going on in the State Department and the White House?

Is it because all they've got right now is petty speculation based on what the president isn't saying?

Get a clue. You guys are missing the story.
It isn't about White House PR.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | June 22, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

bigotize?

Posted by: JakeD | June 22, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Finally a President with a brain. We haven't seen that for 8 years other than the election of President Gore. So far as the republican protesters go, they would say and do anything to bigotize a democrat. The majority of them consist of kooks and people with split personalities. What would their strategy be to say or do anything? If they even have one it would be a stupid idea.

Posted by: kimkimminni1 | June 22, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Obama is obsessed about the Muslim world, given his Muslim and Kenyan background. Instead of going to Turkey and Egypt, he should have gone to Beijing and Moscow. During the election campaign, many political analysts predicted that Obama has not the competence, maturity and shrewdness to handle foreign affairs. He thinks that by creating Palestine State, Muslim terrorism will come to an end. That is why he is not bold enough to handle Tehran. If Israel is the issue, why Indian cities are bombed by terrorists? Why suicide attacks in Islamabad, Bali, Dacca and other cities? Obama has not understood the sinister agenda of Islamists. No wonder political commentators predicted that Obama will make foreign policy messy and nasty for America.
A.Yeshuratnam
India

Posted by: yeshu2004 | June 22, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Obama's (lack of) a coherent policy or even posture towards Iran undrscores a lack of conviction..
which underscores a lack of belief in anything except Obama and his anti-Americanism and his hope for friendshp with Islamo Nazis.
Of course the press is compliant with this lack of direction & helps facilitate this emasculation with such headlines as 'Head Count Company Commander' 'Tense Calm'and the ever popular 'Obama Signs Smoking Bill...'

Posted by: myron3 | June 22, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Obama's instincts' are to blame America first and to run away from what may be called the real "Bush Doctrine". The "Bush Doctrine" is to promote democracy, especially in the Muslim Nations. Obama could have avoid criticism by immediately making an annoucement that the USA stands for free fair elections and support those who desire representation in the running of their government.
Instead, Obama is tipid in his response; while implying that his Eygpt Speech had influenced the desire of the Iranian people for change. If anything influenced the Iranian rebellion it is the budding representative governments in Iraq and Afghanistan. The "Bush Doctrine" and exit strategy from Iraq and Afghanistan has always been to stand up a representative government which would be responsive to the needs of its people. Governments which are democratic in policies are governments which will be govern by the rule of law. These countries can be trusted not to use nuclear power to bring terror to their neighbors.
Obama blames America for the problems around the world failing to recognize the fact that liberty always comes with a price paid in blood and at the point of a gun. It took Obama days of polling to finally come up with an adequate response. No one on the "right" is advocating sending troops into Iran; just a clear statement that the USA stands with the people of Iran and their desire for change.

Posted by: kc4WV | June 22, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

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