Despite the bipartisan opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, on Tuesday, MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell and Wall Street Journal political editor Jeanne Cummings accused critics of the plan of being “partisan.” Mitchell began by touting a video of former Vice President Dick Cheney being shouted down by a left-wing protester: “Dick Cheney today speaking about Iran with a very tough attack on the President, but interrupted by a protester.”
After the clip, Cummings declared: “It's become a very partisan issue and that's allowed the President to appeal to votes from Democrats as a legacy that they need to be with him because this will be part of his legacy, and it’ll be an important cornerstone for the party's foreign policy going forward.”
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She added: “But the opponents of the Iran deal, they – by making it partisan, they actually undercut their case. And bringing out Dick Cheney, one of the most partisan voices, also in opposition, is only going to harden the position of those 41 senators who’ve said, ‘That's it, we're done, we're going to go with the deal.’”
As a parting shot, Mitchell decided to also go after the Israeli prime minister for daring to object to the deal: “And [Benjamin] Netanyahu is gonna have a lot to answer for in the way that Israel has handled this as well.”
The fact that prominent Democratic senators Chuck Schumer, Robert Menendez, Ben Cardin, and Joe Manchin all voiced opposition to the deal was also ignored.
Here is a transcript of the September 8 exchange:
12:08 PM ET
ANDREA MITCHELL: And Luke, you're going to be very busy because the Iran vote’s coming up, some starting this week. Hillary Clinton, Anne Gearan, is going to be giving a speech on Iran tomorrow, even as Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are leading rallies against the Iran deal. And today they went over the top in the Senate with the 41st promised vote, and that means that they could face a scenario where it doesn't even come up to the floor, the disapproval motion doesn't even get to the floor. They can prevent it by filibuster if they choose.
ANNE GEARAN [WASHINGTON POST]: Certainly that's what the White House is hoping and presumably something that Hillary Clinton will talk about and try to advance when she gives her Iran policy speech tomorrow. One of the main things she wants to do in this speech is talk about how the origins of this deal actually happened while she was secretary of state and how she kind of got a lot of this stuff going. Because she saw it all along, in her words, as the better alternative to any of the other, you know, pick one bad scenario that could happen. Iran gets the bomb or there's a war or you know, Israel bombs them or something, you know, any number of the bad things that could have happened she said she was trying to head off by getting these talks going years ago.
MITCHELL: And she telegraphed that she would, as well, prescribe certain tough measures, Jeanne, going forward to make sure that Iran lives up to this. I wanted to just play for all of you what happened when Dick Cheney – with a new book out with his daughter, Liz – tried to give a speech at the American Enterprise Institute, which has been very, you know, familiar territory to the Cheneys, his wife has had an office there for years when she was writing books at the time, and this was Dick Cheney today speaking about Iran with a very tough attack on the President, but interrupted by a protester.
DICK CHENEY: They have watched the Iranians get the better of us in these negotiations.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN [PROTESTER]: Why should we be listening to him?!
CHENEY: Thank you very much.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
MITCHELL: Cheney certainly responded with aplomb. What you saw there was somebody from the audience, he doesn't work for AEI, jumping up and getting into a tug-of-war with that young woman protester over the banner that she was trying to unfurl.
JEANNE CUMMINGS [WALL STREET JOURNAL]: Yeah, it might have been better to let her just walk out with the banner instead of getting into a tug-of-war with a-
MITCHELL: Still, obviously a touchstone controversy. Cheney has been amping up his criticism and Hillary Clinton and obviously the White House and Colin Powell on Meet the Press this weekend clearly laying out a different scenario.
CUMMINGS: It's become a very partisan issue and that's allowed the President to appeal to votes from Democrats as a legacy that they need to be with him because this will be part of his legacy, and it’ll be an important cornerstone for the party's foreign policy going forward. Hillary Clinton is expected, you know, to ramp up that message as well, and give a strong endorsement of the Iran deal.
But the opponents of the Iran deal, they – by making it partisan, they actually undercut their case. And bringing out Dick Cheney, one of the most partisan voices, also in opposition, is only going to harden the position of those 41 senators who’ve said, “That's it, we're done, we're going to go with the deal.”
MITCHELL: Well, of course, Dick Cheney is defending a legacy as well and with a new book, so the timing of his book perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not coincidentally, with the Iran vote coming up. And Netanyahu is gonna have a lot to answer for in the way that Israel has handled this as well.