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GOP: Obama Comparing Critics of Nuke Deal with Islamic Radicals 'Idiotic'

GOP: Obama Comparing Critics of Nuke Deal with Islamic Radicals 'Idiotic'
Pres. Barack Obama (Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 05 August 2015 06:45 PM EDT

Republicans Wednesday slammed President Barack Obama for comparing those in Congress who opposed the Tehran nuclear deal to Iranian hardliners, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell challenging the president to "retract his bizarre and preposterous comments."

"These Democrats and Republicans deserved serious answers today, not some outrageous attempt to equate their search for answers with supporting chants of 'death to America,'" the Kentucky Republican said. "I imagine the Democrats who’ve already come out against this agreement will be especially insulted by it."

Three key Democrats said Tuesday that they opposed the deal struck last month with Tehran.

"This goes way over the line of civil discourse," McConnell said. "Defenders of the president’s deal with Iran should reject this offensive rhetoric."

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called it a "defensive speech" and accused Obama of "fear-mongering."

"President Obama’s shameful fear-mongering doesn’t change the fact he and Hillary Clinton negotiated a deal that never ultimately blocks Iran’s pathway to a nuclear weapon," he said. "That’s why the American people, and many top Democrats, oppose this dangerous agreement."

GOP presidential candidate Scott Walker pledged to purge the deal, which would bring Tehran billions of dollars that have been held up through years of crippling economic sanctions, should he be elected to the White House next year.

"President Obama could give 100 speeches attempting to justify his appeasement of the rogue Iranian regime — and it wouldn’t change a thing," the Wisconsin governor said. "The truth is, the Obama-Clinton bad deal with Iran jeopardizes American safety and that of our allies, especially Israel.

"That’s why, as president, I would terminate this disastrous agreement on day one."
In his speech at American University in Washington that lasted nearly an hour, Obama warned that no deal with Iran would put the United States on the path toward another Mideast war.

"The choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy and some form of war," the president said. The address was part of an intense lobbying campaign for the agreement.

"Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not three months from now, but soon."

He blasted Israel as the lone country standing against the agreement, saying "I believe he is wrong" of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's fierce opposition to the agreement.

The president also equated GOP members who opposed the accord with Iranian hardliners who have called for America's destruction.

"In fact, it's those hardliners who are most comfortable with the status quo," Obama said. "It's those hardliners chanting 'death to America' who have been most opposed to the deal.

"They're making common cause with the Republican caucus," the president said.

Congress votes next month on the Tehran deal. Republicans have been virtually united in their opposition, saying that it would leave too much of Iran's nuclear infrastructure intact and that it would allow Tehran to begin rebuilding its program after a decade.

Critics further charge that Iran will use the influx of funds now frozen under the sanctions to boost terrorist activity in the region.

The administration has also come under fire for not presenting Congress with two verification side agreements between Tehran and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Republicans Wednesday were biting in their attacks on Obama's speech.

"President Obama's speech is just another example of his reliance on endless strawmen to divert attention from his failed policies," said Arizona Sen. John McCain and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. "It is particularly galling to hear the president try to defend his nuclear agreement by claiming that its critics also supported the war in Iraq."

Both sit on the Senate Armed Services Committee, which McCain chairs. Graham also is running for the White House.

"Having presided over the collapse of our hard-won gains in Iraq, the rise of the most threatening terrorist army in the world, the most devastating civil war and humanitarian catastrophe in generations in Syria, the spread of conflict and radicalism across the Middle East and much of Africa, a failed reset with Russia, and escalating cyberattacks and other acts of aggression for which our adversaries pay no price, the president should not throw stones from his glass house," the senators said.

Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who also serves on the panel, dubbed Obama's speech "a false choice between military action and his deeply flawed agreement with Iran.

"But President Obama is hiding behind this false choice because he knows he can’t defend this deal on its merits," added Cotton, an Army veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. "No one understands the horrors of war more than a soldier who has fought one."

House Speaker John Boehner responded by releasing 12 questions that Obama needed to address in order to persuade legislators to back the deal, as well as excerpts from Netanyahu's speech to Congress on the accord in March.

"As Congress and the American people review this deal, President Obama’s rhetoric is raising far more questions than answers," said Boehner spokesman Cory Fritz. "Instead of offering facts and proving this deal will make America safer, the president is relying on partisan attacks, false claims, and fear."

GOP presidential candidates Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee slammed the speech on Facebook.

"President Obama is a predictable propagandist," Huckabee said. "Comparing critics of his nuclear deal with the Islamic radicals running Iran is beyond insulting, it's idiotic.

"To use his own words, his comments would be 'ridiculous if they weren’t so sad,'" the former Arkansas governor added. "Obama's election to office is the biggest victory for these evil ayatollahs since the Iranian revolution."

In his post, Christie asked: "Did you just watch the president? As I've said before, I wouldn't let this president buy a car for me, let alone negotiate with Iran."

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said this on Twitter:

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Republicans Wednesday slammed President Barack Obama for comparing those in Congress who opposed the Tehran nuclear deal to Iranian hardliners, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell challenging the president to retract his bizarre and preposterous comments. These...
GOP, reaction, Iran, nuclear, deal, compare, critics, radicals
Wednesday, 05 August 2015 06:45 PM
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