Despite having savaged Republicans two weeks earlier for voicing opposition to an Iran nuclear deal in an open letter to the totalitarian regime, on Friday, NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell and Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd suddenly realized such a deal would be a bad idea.
On her MSNBC show, Mitchell worried: "...this is a really fraught political issue here because the Iran nuclear agreement...is going to be a hard sell politically for this White House....And you've got a tailor-made issue for Republican critics saying, 'Until you stop Iran's moves throughout the region, why are we doing a deal with Iran?'"
Todd followed: "Why make Iran stronger? Right? That, ultimately – any deal with Iran is going to make Iran stronger in the region....Iran's strong without this deal, giving them a deal will make them stronger. So how do you then sell that politically?"
On March 12, Mitchell and Todd eviscerated Senate Republicans for the Iran letter. Mitchell touted Secretary of State John Kerry's "outrage" at the move. Todd proclaimed:
"...did they not realize what they were signing on to? Did they not realize sort of how big of a deal this was going to be or how much it was going to be promoted? It is – look, let's just look at the political mistake of the letter....forget the actual policy and the historical precedent and all of this other stuff, just on a political front it was stupid.
On Friday, neither Mitchell nor Todd admitted that Republicans may have vindicated in their objections.
Here is a transcript of the March 27 exchange:
12:19 PM ET
ANDREA MITCHELL: And Chuck Todd, this is a really fraught political issue here because the Iran nuclear agreement – we can talk about that in a moment – is going to be a hard sell politically for this White House, if it comes together as anticipated. And now they've got the Iranians on the move in Yemen and also – and I'll talk to Richard [Engel] about that – taking more and more control of the ongoing war against ISIS in Iraq. And you've got a tailor-made issue for Republican critics saying, "Until you stop Iran's moves throughout the region, why are we doing a deal with Iran?"
CHUCK TODD: Why make Iran stronger? Right? That, ultimately – any deal with Iran is going to make Iran stronger in the region. And that is going to make – if Iran is causing us problems in Yemen, an important, it was an important Arab Spring victory, if you want to call it that, that the President touted for a long time, an important one-time partner in trying to get at Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula – and now strengthening Iran is a good thing here?
And I think it already was a tough sell. Now there's evidence that Iran – Iran's strong without this deal, giving them a deal will make them stronger. So how do you then sell that politically?
I just – I understand the rationale, though, that the administration's saying, "Hey, a deal with Iran is still better. You have more access to them and that's what this is about, trying to get in – keep them in the tent, not out of the tent." But boy, it's just – if it was politically tough before with Iran on the march and our allies in Saudi Arabia fighting them here, rationalizing a deal with Iran that makes them stronger makes the President's job that much harder.