On Friday's All In show on MSNBC, as host Chris Hayes was joined by fellow MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow to gush over President Obama being the first American president since 1979 to speak with an Iranian president, Hayes at one point drew an analogy between former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's more radical faction and former President George W. Bush's "kind of neocon cowboy who liked to go around the world inflaming the world with rhetoric."
After making the obnoxious link, Hayes then clarified that he did not intend to suggest that Bush was "morally equivalent" to Ahmadinejad. Hayes:
I mean, Iran, Iran had their own kind of Barack Obama election in which they threw out the kind of neocon cowboy who liked to go around the world inflaming the world with rhetoric. And this is not to make a moral equivalence between Ahmadinejad and President Bush, but to say that the domestic political considerations of the populace there was that they wanted a new course and they elected someone who gave them that and apparently, supreme leadership is also behind this.
Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Friday, September 27, All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC:
CHRIS HAYES: Watching this news break over Twitter, and then watching the President announced it and sitting and observing it, I felt like I was watching the man that I voted for in 2008, very proudly, who ran an entire foreign policy campaign about choosing diplomacy over war. A man who, as President, has been drawing to a close the two wars he inherited, but also expanding our military activities in a variety of countries through counterterrorism and drones and special forces.Today, I saw that candidate from 2008.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Our Iran policy is a complete failure right now and that's the policy that John McCain is running on. He has nothing to offer except the naive and irresponsible belief that tough talk from Washington will somehow cause Iran to give up its nuclear program and support for terrorism.
I believe we need to use all elements of American power to pressure Iran, including tough, principled and direct diplomacy. That's what John F. Kennedy did. That's what Ronald Reagan did when dealing with the Soviets.
HAYES: The guy who said he would talk with Iran on a campaign trail, today, talked to Iran. According to a senior administration official, Iranian President Rouhani wanted to speak with the President on the phone before leaving New York City.
This after Rouhani reportedly turned down a meeting with the President in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly earlier this week. Today, at approximately 2:30 p.m., the two leaders engaged in a, quote, "cordial" phone call, lasting approximately 15 minutes. A translator facilitated the call as is common practice as the President made calls to foreign leaders.
HAYES: I mean, Iran, Iran had their own kind of Barack Obama election in which they threw out the kind of neocon cowboy who liked to go around the world inflaming the world with rhetoric. And this is not to make a moral equivalence between Ahmadinejad and President Bush, but to say that the domestic political considerations of the populace there was that they wanted a new course and they elected someone who gave them that and apparently, supreme leadership is also behind this.
MADDOW: Yes, I'm with you for now, right?
HAYES: For now, right? So, you also have domestic political considerations inside Iran, which have changed the situation.
MADDOW: And maybe we did influence those with sanctions. I mean, sanctions ratcheted under the Obama administration in a way that made them a qualitatively different experience for most regular on the street Iranians, and maybe that did affect what happened in that election in what Rouhani says is his mandate, which has allowed him now to have this call with Obama.
You know, maybe we do have influence, maybe those things work, and maybe it's mysterious. But what you need to know as an American government is that we need competent governance. We need people who are good at diplomacy all the time and working at it even when it seems hopeless because sometimes, it takes 34 years for that phone call to happen. But when it happens, you better have done the work along the way because those opportunities come along very, very rarely.