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.