MSNBC Guest: Obama Showed ‘Strength’ on Iran Unlike Bush Who Showed ‘Weakness’ on Iraq

Appearing on Monday’s edition of MSNBC’s The Last Word, former Clinton and Bush administration diplomat Hillary Mann Leverett gushed that what President Obama has achieved with Iran is “[s]imilar to what President Nixon did with China” and “profoundly important, strategically grounded diplomacy” whereas George W. Bush “showed weakness on the world stage” with the Iraq War. 

Host Lawrence O’Donnell asked Leverett to comment on the Republican criticism of President Obama on Iran and she began by first lamenting that besides Rand Paul, the GOP candidates have not embraced the belief that “what Obama has done with Iran is profoundly important, strategically grounded diplomacy.”

Leverett hyped that it’s “[s]imilar to what President Nixon did with China” as “[i]t's just as profound, just as important for the United States, but this is narrative on the Republican side that it somehow shows weakness about President Obama.”

Boasting that she’s “spent a lot of time in the Middle East and in China,” Everett chose not to debate the substance of the President’s policies and nuclear deal with Iran, but drag out the tired, liberal drumbeat about how the Iraq War was a disaster and an example of how George W. Bush failed as President:

[W]hat shows weakness there from their perspective about us, what showed real weakness was that the United States deployed hundreds of thousands of troops to Iraq and Afghanistan, spent over a trillion dollars and failed. That showed weakness. What Obama has done with Iran has actually shown real strength.

Touting the idea that the Chinese president’s impending visit to Iran is “follow[ing] in President Obama’s footsteps,” Everett described Obama as showing true “strength through leadership” while her former boss showed the opposite:

What we had before with trillions of dollars wasted, hundreds of thousands of troops sent, thousands of American troops killed, let alone all the Iraqis and Afghans, that showed weakness on the world stage. That's how it's seen in the Middle East and China, that we were weak to doing that and now we're strong taking this leadership stand in leading off diplomacy with Iran. 

The relevant portion of the transcript from MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell on January 18 can be found below.

MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell
January 18, 2016
10:25 p.m. Eastern

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: Hillary, what should voters who haven't followed this very closely know when they hear Donald Trump saying things like that? 

HILLARY MANN LEVERETT: Well, there are two things. One is there's this narrative coming out from Republican candidates across the board, perhaps without — accept for Rand Paul, that what Obama has done with Iran is profoundly important, strategically grounded diplomacy that he has done with Iran. Similar to what President Nixon did with China. It's just as profound, just as important for the United States, but this is narrative on the Republican side that it somehow shows weakness about President Obama. You know, I spent a lot of time in the Middle East and in China and what shows weakness there from their perspective about us, what showed real weakness was that the United States deployed hundreds of thousands of troops to Iraq and Afghanistan, spent over a trillion dollars and failed. That showed weakness. What Obama has done with Iran has actually shown real strength and we have the Chinese president in fact is going to go to Iran in about a week or so to follow in President Obama's footsteps to try to solidify this deal with Iran and the world is actually taking — following America's lead in pursuing this kind of diplomacy. This is strength through leadership. What we had before with trillions of dollars wasted, hundreds of thousands of troops sent, thousands of American troops killed, let alone all the Iraqis and Afghans, that showed weakness on the world stage. That's how it's seen in the Middle East and China, that we were weak to doing that and now we're strong taking this leadership stand in leading off diplomacy with Iran. 

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center