Obama: Republicans Listening To Tea Party ‘Damages The Country’ – VIDEO

Iran-Debate

President Barack Obama sat down with VICE founder Shane Smith to discuss a host of issues important to Americans from foreign policy and marijuana legalization to global warming and political gridlock. The interview, conducted last Tuesday, was posted to VICE News on Monday, March 16.

In a segment covering negotiations with Iran, Obama expressed his embarrassment for the 47 Senate Republicans who signed an open letter to the leaders of Iran warning them that any nuclear deal they signed with the president could be annulled once Obama leaves office.

“I’m embarrassed for them,” the president remarked of the letter’s original 47 signatories, adding “It’s not how America does business.

For them to address a letter to the ayatollah — the supreme leader of Iran, who they claim is our mortal enemy — and their basic argument to them is: don’t deal with our president, because you can’t trust him to follow through on an agreement… That’s close to unprecedented.

The president went on to note that:

So this is a good example, I think, of where the state of our politics leads Republicans to be more worried about a Tea Party primary than they are about what ordinary folks are thinking.

It damages the country. It damages our standing. It’s not productive. In this day and age where we’ve got such big issues, we can’t afford it.

You can watch the segment, below, followed by a transcript.

TRANSCRIPT:

I think it’s entirely legitimate for my friends in the Senate who signed that letter to ask very hard questions about how can we assure that Iran’s not getting a nuclear weapon. You know, why would we lift sanctions now, given how they’re causing problems in other parts of the world, given the venomous things they’ve said about Israel. You know, how can we even negotiate with them?

Now, I will have responses to each of those questions, and I will say that I’ve committed to making sure Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapon. I’m prepared to take all options to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon. But the absolute best option is a diplomatic resolution. And if we do get a deal, it’s gonna be because I can verify that they won’t have a weapon and I will have the international community helping us verify that.

We can have that debate. For them to address a letter to the Ayatollah, the supreme leader of Iran, who they claim is our mortal enemy, and their basic argument to them is “Don’t deal with our president, cuz you can’t trust him to follow through on an agreement” – that’s close to unprecedented.

We were looking at the history to see if there was an example of it. We couldn’t find one.

And by doing so, they were effectively making common cause with the hardliners in Iran who also don’t want any kind of diplomatic resolution, because they are invested in getting a nuclear weapon.

So this is a good example, I think, of where the state of our politics leads Republicans to be more worried about a Tea Party primary than they are about what ordinary folks are thinking.

It damages the country. It damages our standing. It’s not productive. In this day and age where we’ve got such big issues, we can’t afford it.

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Samuel Warde

Samuel is a writer, social activist, and all-around troublemaker.
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