Norah O'Donnell Hounds Cantor Over 'Positive' Nuclear Deal With Iran

Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell stayed true to form and badgered a Republican/conservative guest on Monday's CBS This Morning – this time, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor over his criticism of the Obama administration's nuclear deal with Iran. Rose questioned the congressman's opposition to the proposal, which he labeled "dangerous". Rose asked, "Why isn't that a good deal to freeze things and delay?"

O'Donnell twice touted the deal as "positive", in an attempt to defend the White House's controversial diplomatic efforts: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

NORAH O'DONNELL: Congressman, for the first time in a decade, we have halted Iran's nuclear program. There is a freeze. Also, for the first time, there will be daily inspections – unprecedented inspections of the enrichment facilities at Natanz and Fordo. Can you say that that is positive – that development?

Cantor bluntly replied, "Well, first of all, since when do we trust Iran? Iran has demonstrated again and again it cannot be trusted. I believe that the attitude should be mistrust and verify." The CBS anchor repeatedly interrupted when the Virginia Republican tried to continue his critique:

REP. ERIC CANTOR, (R), MAJORITY LEADER: ...And what this agreement does, is it just allows Iran to continue with all that it has, in terms of centrifuges. It doesn't require any dismantling. It allows for the enrichment up to five percent, which used to be something that we wouldn't stand for. Iran could, once again, turn around tomorrow and throw away this-

O'DONNELL: But sir-

CANTOR: And the problem is, what we've done is we've given up on-

O'DONNELL: Sir, Iran – but as part of the deal – sir – but as part of the deal, Iran cannot install or-

CANTOR: What we've done is we've allowed the – we've allowed-

O'DONNELL: Start up new centrifuges, as – as you know, so it's not – it's not the final deal, as you're talking about, and I know there's a great deal of mistrust out there. But I wonder why there's not some acknowledgment that an interim step could lead to a bigger deal. Why isn't that somewhat positive – that you can push for what you want in the final deal?


CANTOR: There's two things that are wrong here, Norah – two things. One is we have now let the door open to sanctions going away. We have said that we will ease up on sanctions, and – which have taken years and years of progress for them to build and to be able to apply the kind of pressure that it did. And what we see also, is there's no requirement that we comply with the U.N. Security Council resolution – which the international community had united behind – which says we need to keep the pressure on Iran until it suspends its nuclear activity, and it suspends its enrichment activity. And we know, in this agreement, there's no requirement for Iran to dismantle its plutonium reactor; there's no requirement for it to dismantle enrichment facilities. So, we've got a real cost to us, as we are now opening the door to the weakening of international sanctions that have been in place.

Exactly a week earlier, O'Donnell, along with Rose, took a similar hostile posture during in an interview of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. The two journalists went after the Republican politician on ObamaCare, the 2016 presidential race, and on immigration.

[Update: the full transcript of the Eric Cantor interview from Monday's CBS This Morning is available at MRC.org.]

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center