Despite most Americans and members of Congress being opposed to President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, on Wednesday, the press proclaimed that the White House eking out just enough Democrats to sustain a veto against legislation stopping the deal was a “major victory” for the commander-in-chief.
On CBS This Morning, co-host Norah O’Donnell anticipated the supposed win: “This morning, President Obama has nearly locked up victory for his Iran nuclear deal....Two Senate Democrats pledged Tuesday to support the landmark agreement. That means Republican-led efforts to sink it will almost certainly fail....The President needs just one more to shield the deal from Republicans.”
Once the news broke at 10:30 a.m. ET that Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski would back the plan, CNN Newsroom host Carol Costello announced: “I want to tell you about this major victory for President Barack Obama concerning the Iranian nuclear deal....the White House [has] the votes it needs to prevent Republicans from scuttling that agreement.”
Correspondent Sunlen Serfaty reported from the White House: “Well, Mikulski’s support really does ensure that this will become a major foreign policy legacy issue for President Obama and this administration.”
Moments later, fellow correspondent Jim Acosta, traveling with the President in Alaska, declared: “...this a major diplomatic victory for the President....this is something that will shape the Obama legacy...”
Reiterating the point minutes later, Costello updated viewers: “And again, if you’re just joining us, there has been a major victory for President Obama this morning.” She turned to Foreign Policy magazine editor David Rothkopf and wondered: “First off, just your reaction to President Obama's victory today?”
Rothkopf asserted: “Well, I think the hand writing was on the wall. These votes were there. I didn't think that there was much chance that the opposition would prevail. And I think that everybody starts – needs to start coming to grips with the fact that this deal is gonna be a reality.”
Costello also touted how colleague Christiane Amanpour was in the midst of interviewing Secretary of State John Kerry “on the heels of very good news – apparently President Obama has enough Democratic support to get that Iranian nuclear deal through.” (video)
By contrast, MSNBC host Jose-Diaz Balart actually provided a toned-down accurate assessment of the development:
Breaking news on the Iran nuclear deal. Just moments ago, Democratic Maryland Senator Mikulski announced she will support it. She becomes the 34th senator to do so, ensuring that the deal will survive. Congressional opponents won't have enough votes to get the veto-proof majority they need to kill the deal.
That restrained coverage lasted until Andrea Mitchell took over at 12 p.m. ET and heralded: “Victory lap. The White House hits the magic number today, enough Senate votes to sustain Iran deal. In Philadelphia today, Secretary of State Kerry vigorously defending the deal from critics, especially Israel.”
However, in the report that followed, Mitchell tripped over her own words while trying to explain the convoluted way Obama had achieved that “victory”:
And we have breaking news. The White House has picked up enough Senate votes today to sustain a potential veto of the Iran deal – rather to block a potential veto of any Senate action....So Kerry gets the votes. Barbara Mikulski...became the final vote needed to stop the Senate and the House from vetoing, but that still doesn’t mean – to stop them from – rather, stopping the President from overturning a veto. I really balled that up.
The Associated Press touted: “President Barack Obama secured a landmark foreign policy victory Wednesday as Senate Democrats amassed enough votes to ensure the Iran nuclear deal survives in Congress despite ferocious opposition from Republicans and the government of Israel.”
Meanwhile, PBS host Gwen Ifill took to Twitter to celebrate the news. While retweeting Obama administration propaganda about the agreement, she added her own commentary, “Take that, Bibi,” in reference to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – a fierce opponent of the deal.
Take that, Bibi. https://t.co/V9Gn9vP6xN— gwen ifill (@gwenifill) September 2, 2015
After getting backlash for the tweet, Ifill remarked: “Every now and then, you inadvertently poke twitter in the eye. And it never disappoints.” She later claimed: “I was RT'ing a @TheIranDeal tweet. Should have been clearer that it was their argument, not mine.”