NBC's Gregory Defends Obama Mideast Policy Vs. Santorum, Defends Election Win by Muslim Brotherhood
On Sunday's Meet the Press on NBC, as guest Rick Santorum criticized President Obama because he refused to support a democracy movement in Iran that might have weakened the anti-America radical Muslim government of Tehran, but, by contrast, supported a democracy movement in Egypt directed against a pro-America government - which resulted in an election that recently handed more power in Cairo to radical Muslims - host David Gregory accused the GOP presidential candidate of being "patently contradictory." (Video below)
As he moved into the foreign policy portion of the interview, Gregory brought up a recent speech in which Santorum accused President Obama of engaging in "appeasement" against America's enemies, and then the NBC host defended Obama's foreign policy:
How can that possibly be accurate if you've taken an objective look at the foreign policy of this administration? What on Iran specifically separates the approach that President Obama has taken and that of President Bush?
Gregory notably has a recent history of arguing that GOP presidential candidates may have difficulty going after Obama on foreign policy because the President is seen as "very successful" in that arena.
After Santorum criticized Obama for not voicing support for pro-democracy demonstrators in Iran, Gregory cluelessly injected, "What would that have done specifically to disarm Iran?"
As the former Senator pointed out that President Obama had ignored the pro-democracy government that wanted to topple an anti-America government in Iran, while supporting a movement in Egypt that wanted to overthrow a pro-America government, the NBC host admonished Santorum for being "patently contradictory." Gregory:
First of all, that's patently contradictory. If you say you support democracy, there was a democratic movment in Egypt, and the Muslim Brotherhood got elected, so how could you be for democracy in some countries and not others? Which is inconsistent.
When the GOP candidate argued that the Muslim Brotherhood's rise to power in Egypt would not bring democracy, Gregory mocked him: "They're popularly elected, I think. Isn't that what democracy is all about?"
After Santorum then complained that the Obama administration had not been aggressive enough in confronting Iran, the Meet the Press host made excuses for President Obama. Gregory: "The reality is, there is no good option to disarm Iran."
Below are video and a transcript of Gregory's questions from the relevant portion of the Sunday, January 1, Meet the Press on NBC:
DAVID GREGORY: Before you go, I want to ask you about foreign policy. You've been very critical of the President, particularly on the issue of Iran, which has been a big issue of debate here in Iowa. Let me play a portion of that.
RICK SANTORUM, AT THE REPUBLICAN JEWISH COALITION CANDIDATES FORUM, DATED DECEMBER 7, 2011: This President, for every thug and hooligan, for every radical Islamist, he has had nothing but appeasement. We saw that during the leadup to World War II, appeasement.
GREGORY: How can that possibly be accurate if you've taken an objective look at the foreign policy of this administration? What on Iran specifically separates the approach that President Obama has taken and that of President Bush?
SANTORUM: Number one, he didn't support the pro-democracy movement in Iran in 2009 during the Green Revolution. Almost immediately after the election - I mean, excuse me, like within hours after the polls closed, Ahmadinejad announced that he won with 62 percent of the vote. Within a few days, President Obama basically said that that election was a legimitate one-
GREGORY: What would that have done specifically to disarm Iran?
SANTORUM: Well, I understand why the President would understand that, you know, someone announcing the minute after the polls closed that he won. I mean, he comes from Chicago, so I get it.
But the problem is that this was an illegitimate election, the people in the streets were rioting, saying, "Please support us, President Obama. We are the pro-democracy movement. We want to turn this theocracy that has been at war with the United States, that's developing a nuclear weapon, that's killing our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq with IEDs," and the President of the United States turned his back on them.
At the same time, a year later, we have the same situation where Muslim Brotherhood and Islamists are in the streets of Egypt opposing an ally of ours - not a sworn enemy like Iran, but an ally of ours in Mubarak-
GREGORY: Sir, the question I asked you-
SANTORUM: -and he joins the radicals instead of standing with our friends.
GREGORY: First of all, that's patently contradictory. If you say you support democracy, there was a democratic movment in Egypt, and the Muslim Brotherhood got elected, so how could you be for democracy in some countries and not others? Which is inconsistent.
SANTORUM: No, first of all, the Muslim Brotherhood is not about democracy. The Muslim Brotherhood are Islamists. The Muslim Brotherhood are gonna impose shariah law-
GREGORY: They're popularly elected, I think. Isn't that what democracy is all about? But I asked you about disarming Iran. There is no material difference in terms of how the Bush administration sought to disarm Iran and what the Obama administration has done. [SANTORUM]
GREGORY: The reality is, there is no good option to disarm Iran.
SANTORUM: Yes, there is.
GREGORY: The Bush administration knew that, this administration knows that. Tell me what you would do differently then. [SANTORUM]
GREGORY: Which is already being done, Senator. You know that. There's covert activity to set back their program by the Israelis, by the United States. [SANTORUM]
GREGORY: So you would lay out a red line, and, if they passed it, airstrikes by President Santorum?
SANTORUM: Iran will not get a nuclear weapon under my watch.
GREGORY: Well, two previous Presidents have said that. You would order airstrikes if it became clear that they were gonna? [SANTORUM]