At the top of Thursday’s NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie hailed President Obama’s Wednesday press conference: “Unfiltered. President Obama launches a vigorous defense of his controversial deal with Iran.” Introducing a report on the topics minutes later, Guthrie proclaimed: “...a news conference some are calling unplugged. During a more than hour-long session with the reporters, the President was as emotional as we’ve seen him...”
White House correspondent Kristen Welker took on the role of cheerleader as she declared: “For President Obama, getting the Iran deal through Congress is key to securing his foreign policy legacy. So in a feisty press conference yesterday, he laid out an impassioned defense for the agreement...”
She hyped the President’s willingness to answer questions: “It was President Obama like we've rarely seen him....Begging reporters to bring it on in the Iran debate, while taking on critics....he seemed to relish the fight, even asking for more questions once his list had run out.”
In reality, after Obama made a big show of asking for more questions, he only allowed one more brief question before leaving the presser.
While Welker seemed amazed by the President actually tolerating the media, she was simultaneously thrilled that Obama denounced one of her colleagues for asking a tough question: “And while he’s known as ‘No-Drama Obama,’ the President even scolded a reporter when asked about U.S. hostages in Iran.”
A soundbite played of CBS White House correspondent Major Garrett confronting Obama over American hostages still being held in Iran, followed by the President dismissing the challenge: “Major, that's nonsense. And you should know better.”
Perhaps the only thing “unplugged” at Obama’s next press conference may be Garrett’s microphone.
On Thursday’s CBS This Morning, co-host Charlie Rose actually sided with the President and asked Garrett if he had any “second thoughts” about being so hard on Obama.
On Wednesday, all three evening newscasts applauded the commander in chief for his “spirited defense” of the Iran deal.
Here is an excerpt of Welker’s July 16 report:
7:05 AM ET
KRISTEN WELKER: Savannah, good morning to you. For President Obama, getting the Iran deal through Congress is key to securing his foreign policy legacy. So in a feisty press conference yesterday, he laid out an impassioned defense for the agreement, but it didn't end there. He also had sharp words for some in the room, and as we mentioned, even addressed Bill Cosby.
It was President Obama like we've rarely seen him.
BARACK OBAMA: I just want to make sure that we're not leaving any stones unturned here.
WELKER: Begging reporters to bring it on in the Iran debate, while taking on critics.
OBAMA: If we don't choose wisely I believe future generations will judge us harshly for letting this moment slip away.
WELKER: The President arguing the deal, which requires Iran to scale back its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, is better than the alternative.
OBAMA: And if the alternative is that we should bring Iran to heel through military force, then those critics should think so.
WELKER: And while he’s known as “No-Drama Obama,” the President even scolded a reporter when asked about U.S. hostages in Iran.
MAJOR GARRETT [CBS NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT]: Can you tell the country, sir, why you are content, with all the fanfare around this deal, to leave the conscience of this nation and the strength of this nation unaccounted for in relation to these four Americans?
OBAMA: Major, that's nonsense. And you should know better.
WELKER: Still, he seemed to relish the fight, even asking for more questions once his list had run out.
OBAMA: Have we exhausted Iran questions here?