President Barack Obama attempted to clarify controversial comments he made during a speech last week in which he seemingly compared Republicans in opposition to the Iran deal to Iranian hardliners who chant "death to America."
“Just because Iranian hardliners chant ‘death to America’ doesn’t mean that’s what all Iranians believe,” Obama said in a speech, adding that they also oppose the deal. “Those hardliners are most comfortable with the status quo … they are making common cause with the Republican caucus.”
In an interview with Mic published Monday, Obama denied the characterization of his comments.
"In your speech yesterday, you seemed to compare Republicans who are against this deal to hardliners in Iran who are chanting 'death to America' in the streets. There's also Democrats who are on the fence about this deal. What would you say to them?" Mic's editor-in-chief Jake Horowitz asked the president.
Obama first responded, saying he is talking to Democrats "all the time." He then attempted to clarify his earlier remarks.
"First of all, remember what I said was that it's the hardliners in Iran who are most opposed to this deal. I said in that sense, they're making common cause with those opposed to this deal here. I didn't say they are equivalent," Obama said.
Republicans, however, interpreted the president's comment to mean something else. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released a statement blasting it as "bizarre and preposterous."
“Members of both parties have serious and heartfelt concerns about the Iran deal. These Democrats and Republicans deserved serious answers today, not some outrageous attempt to equate their search for answers with supporting chants of ‘Death to America,’” he said.
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