The Odd Couple: President Obama and President Ahmadinejad

In an interview to that aired last night on CBS’s 60 Minutes, President Barack Obama said that Israel’s concern over Iran’s march toward a nuclear program was  “noise.”

When it comes to our national security decisions — any pressure that I feel is simply to do what’s right for the American people. And I am going to block out — any noise that’s out there.

Here’s a partial transcript:

STEVE KROFT: “How much pressure have you been getting from Prime Minister Netanyahu to make up your mind to use military force in Iran?”

PRESIDENT OBAMA: “Well—look, I have conversations with Prime Minister Netanyahu all the time. And I understand and share Prime Minister Netanyahu’s insistence that Iran should not obtain a nuclear weapon, because it would threaten us, it would threaten Israel, and it would threaten the world and kick off a nuclear arms race.”

STEVE KROFT: “You’re saying, you don’t feel any pressure from Prime Minister Netanyahu in the middle of a campaign to try and get you to change your policy and draw a line in the sand? You don’t feel any pressure?”

PRESIDENT OBAMA: “When it comes to our national security decisions—any pressure that I feel is simply to do what’s right for the American people. And I am going to block out—any noise that’s out there. Now I feel an obligation, not pressure but obligation, to make sure that we’re in close consultation with the Israelis—on these issues. Because it affects them deeply. They’re one of our closest allies in the region. And we’ve got an Iranian regime that has said horrible things that directly threaten Israel’s existence.

Romney press secretary Andrea Saul responded:

Tonight on 60 Minutes, President Obama called Israel’s legitimate concern about the impact of an Iran armed with nuclear weapons ‘noise’ and referred to Israel as merely ‘one of our closest allies in the region.’ This is just the latest evidence of his chronic disregard for the security of our closest ally in the Middle East. Governor Romney’s views stand in sharp contrast to the President’s. Governor Romney strongly believes that Israel is our most important ally in the Middle East and that support for Israel is essential to extending freedom, peace and democracy throughout the region. As president, Governor Romney will restore and protect the close alliance between our nation and the state of Israel.

Obama also said that he

understands and agrees with Netanyahu’s insistence that Iran not be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons as this would threaten both countries, the world in general, and kick off an arms ace.

Romney, who was also interviewed on 60 Minutes last night, said that Obama not meeting with Netanyahu

is a mistake and sends a message throughout the Middle East that somehow we distance ourselves from our friends and I think the exact opposite approach is what’s necessary.

Well, I’m hope you’re sitting down. Guess who is in full agreement with the 44th President of these United States? Would you believe ol’ “Imadinnerjacket” himself?

In an interview with The Washington Post, Ahmedinejad was asked about the possibility of a war with Israel. He answered:

“We, generally speaking, do not take very seriously the issue of the Zionists and the possible dangers emanating from them,” he said early in the interview. “Of course, they would love to find a way for their own salvation by making a lot of noise and to raise stakes in order to save themselves. But I do not believe they will succeed.”

Asked if he thought Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was bluffing in his threats to strike Iranian nuclear facilities, the Iranian president said he agreed with that view and asserted that this analysis was a “common consensus.”

Ahmadinejad’s bland self-assurance is partly a matter of style, for no politician ever wants to display weakness before his adversaries. But in this third interview I’ve had with the Iranian president, I had the sense that he genuinely believes the world is going Iran’s way. He sees an America that is facing reversals across the Muslim world — in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and most recently, in dealing with the Arab uprisings. Close U.S. allies such as Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak are gone, and Ahmadinejad is still standing.

In discussing Iran’s negotiations with the international group known as the P5+1, Ahmadinejad said Iran was willing to make a deal to limit its stockpile of enriched uranium. But he implied that the Obama administration wants to slow the negotiations down until after the November election, to avoid bargaining concessions that might embarrass the president.

“We have always been ready and we are ready” to make a deal that will address the P5+1’s concerns, he said. “But experience has shown that important and key decisions are not made in the U.S. leading up to national elections.”

Ahmadinejad observed at another point in the conversation: “I do believe that some conversations and key issues must be talked about again once we come out of the other end of the political election atmosphere in the United States.”

In talking about America, Ahmadinejad several times referred to a country that, in his words, is tired of “back-breaking expenses” of foreign wars overseas and where public opinion is trending against Israel. He didn’t cite evidence for these views.

“Will the people of the U.S. accept meddling and intervention in the affairs of others?” he mused at one point, before answering his own question. “I don’t believe so. I believe the people of the U.S. are peace-loving people.”

Translation of Ahmadinejad: Their president does not like Israel either. I expect no trouble from that wuss.

Lord… I wish we had an American President. 

C’mon, November 6th.

2 thoughts on “The Odd Couple: President Obama and President Ahmadinejad

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