The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics -

Con­gres­sional Democrats were busy last week de­fend­ing Pres­i­dent Obama’s han­dling of Iran, coun­ter­ing Repub­li­can calls for more vo­cal sup­port of street demon­stra­tors in Tehran and other Ira­nian cities protest­ing the con­tested pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

“This pres­i­dent, I be­lieve, has set the right tone here. And what’s im­por­tant is a lot of Repub­li­cans have said that as well, Repub­li­cans like [In­di­ana Sen.] Richard Lu­gar and oth­ers,” said Sen. Bar­bara Boxer, Cal­i­for­nia Demo­crat, on MSNBC. “The fact is, we stand with th­ese demon­stra­tors . . . and I think the pres­i­dent’s been clear on that.”

Echo­ing Mr. Obama, Mrs. Boxer said the U.S. gov­ern­ment must be sure not to give Ira­nian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ah­madine­jad “the ex­cuse to say that Barack Obama and Amer­ica is med­dling in this. So it’s this fine line. And I think he’s do­ing it.”

Some Repub­li­cans are, in fact, tak­ing a pass on crit­i­ciz­ing the White House over Iran. When Sen. Richard C. Shelby was asked on MSNBC for his view on the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s han­dling of the Iran cri­sis, the Alabama Repub­li­can took a pass.

“We all know it’s very volatile, and it’s kind of sad that we see what’s hap­pen­ing there,” Mr. Shelby said. “A lot of peo­ple killed, a lot of peo­ple in­jured be­cause they’re try­ing to voice their ba­sic rights and con­test­ing the elec­tion. And, of course, that is a very sup­pres­sive so­ci­ety there, as we all know.”

Mr. Shelby’s com­ments were a sharp con­trast to South Carolina Repub­li­can Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham’s re­marks June 21, when he called the pres­i­dent’s early state­ments on Iran “timid and pas­sive.”

“The pres­i­dent is fac­ing a ma­jor chal­lenge here,” he said.


Thumbs up: Sen. John McCain gave his for­mer ri­val high marks for his first five months in the White House, but hit Pres­i­dent Obama for fail­ing to bring bi­par­ti­san­ship to Wash­ing­ton.

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