Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer reacted angrily to President Barack Obama’s suggestion Friday that senators pushing to renew Iran sanctions temporarily disabled by the White House are doing so for political reasons, saying the remarks represented “a deliberate attempt to distort and devalue the other side.”
Krauthammer appeared on Fox News’ “Special Report” Friday night, joining The Washington Post’s Chuck Lane and The Weekly Standard’s Steve Hayes to comment on Friday afternoon’s presidential press conference.
The panelists largely panned Obama’s performance, but reserved special ire for his dismissal of the many Senate Democrats — including power players Chuck Schumer and Robert Menendez — opposed to his deal with Iran over its nuclear program. “I’m not surprised that there’s been some talk from some members of Congress about new sanctions,” the president said. “I think the politics of trying to look tough on Iran are often good.”
Krauthammer was furious:
KRAUTHAMMER: That is a quintessential Obama statement. Notice how he completely discounts the substance of the arguments, of those who think he cut a really bad deal, and it needs to be backed up by sanctions that a Congress can pass. Instead he says, “I understand the motives of the other guys: Political. Re-election.” He acts in the national interest, anybody who opposes him is acting for a base motive. He does that all the time! And the reason it upsets me is I have seen him in private twice over these five years. He knows that there are strong arms on lobbyists, he is sophisticated thinker on politics. He understands the other side. And that is pure demagoguery. The worst part of it is it’s not ignorance. It’s a deliberate attempt to distort and devalue the other side.
Chuck Lane warned that Obama’s remarks against his fellow Democrats may come back to haunt him. “I think that comment he just made — attributing political motives to these Democrats — might qualify as the biggest mistake he this year. If he’s going to try to manage this issue with them and limit the sort of internal squabbling, this is not the way to go about it.”
The panel also briefly touched on President Obama’s remarks on the NSA — including his deliberate distancing from National Director of Intelligence James Clapper, accused of lying to Congress over domestic surveillance activities. “Special Report” host Bret Baier noted that the president had hinted at personnel changes in the NSA, prompting Krauthammer to crack that Clapper will soon join “a large assembly under the bus. It’s getting really crowded down there.”
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