CNN Anchor Wonders: ‘Would It Be So Bad’ If Iran ‘Had a Nuclear Weapon?’

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, in an interview for the September 20 "Situation Room," questioned President Bush about Iran and wondered, "Why would it be so bad if this Iranian regime had a nuclear weapon?" Blitzer also alternated between complaining that not enough has been done to fight terrorism and wondering if the President was unnecessarily scaring the American people.

On the subject of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the CNN anchor quizzed Bush as to why he couldn’t meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:

BLITZER: "Given the stakes involved -- a nuclear confrontation -- what do you have to lose by sitting down with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?"

President Bush replied by reiterating the need for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment. Not to be deterred, however, Blitzer tried again a few minutes later:

BLITZER: "But if it would help -- if it would help to sit down, talk to them and try to convince them....What would be wrong to just sit down with them and tell them, you know what, here are the options before you?"

This led Blitzer to wonder if it would really be so bad if the noted Holocaust denier and threatener of Israel had nuclear weapons:

BLITZER: "India and Pakistan already have a nuclear weapon. Israel has a nuclear weapon. Why would it be so bad if this Iranian regime had a nuclear weapon?"

BUSH: "This Iranian regime is -- promotes militias like Hezbollah to create instability. This Iranian regime has made it abundantly clear that they would like to destroy Israel, who is our ally."

Earlier in the interview, which aired at 7:02PM EDT, Mr. Blitzer quizzed Bush as to whether he was unnecessarily scaring the American people:

BLITZER: "...Your critics say you're simply trying to scare the American public to score political points."

Oddly, this led directly into Blitzer charging that the President had not taken enough action in the war on terror.

BLITZER: "Osama bin Laden's still at large, Ayman al-Zawahiri is still at large -- what went wrong?"

President Bush proceeded to point out that a number of Al Qaeda leaders have been captured or killed and this exchange followed:


BLITZER: "But major guys are still at large."

BUSH: "Well no question Osama bin Laden's at large, but the man who ordered the attack and about 75 to 80 percent of al Qaeda that was involved in planning and operating the attacks are in.."

BLITZER: "But the United States is the most powerful country in the world..."

BUSH: "Can I finish? Let me finish."

BLITZER: "Why can't we find these guys?"

Whether it’s complaining, or downplaying Iran, CNN certainly has the liberal talking points covered.

A partial transcript follows:

 [7:28PM EDT]
BLITZER: "They faced off at the United Nations without ever coming face to face. President Bush and Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, are standing firm in their nuclear standoff. I asked Mr. Bush about that in my exclusive interview.

You're here in New York. The president of Iran is here in New York. You have a chance -- I don't know if you still have a chance, but you had a chance to meet with him. Given the stakes involved -- a nuclear confrontation -- what do you have to lose by sitting down with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?"
BUSH: "Our position is very clear to the Iranians that if they want to sit down with American officials that they first must verifiably suspend their enrichment program. They know our position, the world knows our position, and I clarified it at the United Nations..."

BUSH: ... over the past couple of days


BLITZER: "But if it would help -- if it would help to sit down, talk to them and try to convince them. You know, there have been other moments where great leaders have made that major decision, have a breakthrough -- Nixon going to China, Sadat going to Jerusalem. What would be wrong to just sit down with them and tell them, you know what, here are the options before you."

BUSH: "Yes, well, he knows the options before him. I've made that very clear. Secondly, Wolf, in order for there to be effective diplomacy, you can't keep changing your word. At an important moment in these negotiations with the EU3 and Iran, we made it clear we would come to the table, but we would come to the table only if they verifiably suspended their enrichment program.

And the reason that's important, that they verifiably suspend, is because we don't want them to have the technologies necessary to be able to build a nuclear weapon. A nuclear weapon in the hands of Iran in the middle of the Middle East would be a very destabilizing and troubling occurrence.

BLITZER: "India and Pakistan already have a nuclear weapon. Israel has a nuclear weapon. Why would it be so bad if this Iranian regime had a nuclear weapon?"

BUSH: "This Iranian regime is -- promotes militias like Hezbollah to create instability. This Iranian regime has made it abundantly clear that they would like to destroy Israel, who is our ally."

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org