Chuck Todd Admits Iran Deal Vote More ‘About Avoiding Defeat’ for Obama

Appearing on Sunday’s Today, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd conceded that President Obama obtaining the 34 Senate votes to sustain a presidential veto on the Iran deal was not a victory but rather “about avoiding defeat. It’s surviving.” 

NBC’s Peter Alexander surprisingly framed the Iran vote not as simply a victory for the White House and actually wondered “is this a victory or is it more that he’s just avoiding defeat here?”

Todd’s acknowledgment that Obama merely avoided “defeat” on the Iran deal was in stark contrast to how the “Big Three” (ABC, CBS, and NBC) networks covered the vote earlier this week, calling it “unstoppable” and a “victory lap” for Secretary of State John Kerry.  

On Wednesday, September 2, all three network newscasts cheered Obama securing a 34th vote for the Iran deal which included Chuck Todd’s colleague, NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt, who proclaimed the vote a “major win for the Obama administration” for a deal that “now appears unstoppable.” In addition, the networks repeatedly dismissed the overwhelming majority of  Congress who opposed the Iran deal and refused to provide soundbites of those who planned to vote against the controversial agreement. 

While Todd admitted the 34 votes for the Iran deal was merely a way for Obama to avoid “defeat” he made sure to blame our “polarized” political “climate” for the divisiveness over the deal rather than recognize that most Americans view it as a poorly negotiated agreement: 

Look, in our polarized climate everything now is done through a red/blue prism. I think foreign policy being viewed that way now as well. We're seeing this Iran deal Republicans essentially uniformly against it. Democrats some splintering but mostly for it, at least as far as elected Democrats are concerned. And this way of -- it makes conducting foreign policy I think more difficult than ever before.

See relevant transcript below. 

NBC’s Today 

September 6, 2015

PETER ALEXANDER: I also want to ask you about Congress. They're now wrapping up their five week summer recess. Must be nice. Congress will be back in session this coming week, and the Iran deal is on the horizon for them. The president has secured a veto proof Iran deal. That means that this thing is going to go through. But is this a victory or is it more that he’s just avoiding defeat here? 

CHUCK TODD: Yeah, it’s more about avoiding defeat. It’s surviving. Look, in our polarized climate everything now is done through a red/blue prism. I think foreign policy being viewed that way now as well. We're seeing this Iran deal Republicans essentially uniformly against it. Democrats some splintering but mostly for it, at least as far as elected Democrats are concerned. And this way of -- it makes conducting foreign policy I think more difficult than ever before.

CyberAlerts Foreign Policy Asia Iran NBC Today Chuck Todd Peter Alexander