President Obama seems to have completely lost patience with Republican efforts to sabotage the nascent Iran nuclear deal, judging by his remarks Saturday evening. During a press conference to conclude the Summit of the Americas, at which he met with Cuban President Raul Castro for the first time, the President was asked repeatedly about recent comments by Republicans, as well as Iran’s supreme leader.
Asked if he’s bitten off more than he can chew by attempting politically difficult deals with Cuba and Iran, the President began with a laugh and a “No,” but his responses got steadily more harsh. He blasted Senate Republicans for their letter to Iran’s leaders, and singled out Sen. John McCain for “suggest(ing) that our Secretary of State, John Kerry ,who served in the United States Senate, a Vietnam veteran, who’s provided exemplary service to this nation, is somehow less trustworthy in the interpretation of what’s in a political agreement than the supreme leader of Iran,” and added “That’s an indication of the degree to which partisanship has crossed all boundaries.”
He concluded his response with what amounts to the closest thing to a warning that this president has issued on this subject, and he has not been shy to this point, either:
“When you start getting to the point where you are actively communicating that the United States government and our secretary of state is somehow spinning presentations in a negotiation with a foreign power, particularly one that you say is your enemy, that’s a problem. Needs to stop.”
The tough talk didn’t stop there, as President Obama expressed clear frustration at what he sees as opponents of the deal “working so hard to anticipate failure,” and asking that they all “wait and see what the deal is.” The President also included what amounts to a not-so-veiled reference to the consequences for Iran if a deal isn’t done. “We’re not disarming,” the President said. “We’re not getting rid of our nuclear weapons. We’re not getting rid of our navy. We’re not giving anything up.”
The President was also asked about Hillary Clinton’s expected announcement of her bid for the presidency, and whether he thought she would run on the Obama record. The President offered words of praise and support. “She was a formidable candidate in 2008,” the President said. “She was a great supporter of mine in the general election. She was an outstanding secretary of state. She is my friend. I think she would be an excellent president.”
He added, “And I’m not on the ballot.”
Here’s the full video of President Obama’s press conference: