Madam Hillary on the letter

In the press conference she held yesterday on her email issues, Madam Hillary turned to the Democratic talking points on Senator Cotton’s open letter to the powers-that-be in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Washington Post has posted a transcript of the press conference here.

It would be easy to lose the thread of her comments on Senator Cotton’s letter and the deal in process with Iran. This is what she had to say on the subject in her prepared statement:

I want to comment on a matter in the news today regarding Iran. The president and his team are in the midst of intense negotiations. Their goal is a diplomatic solution that would close off Iran’s pathways to a nuclear bomb and give us unprecedented access and insight into Iran’s nuclear program.

Now, reasonable people can disagree about what exactly it will take to accomplish this objective, and we all must judge any final agreement on its merits.

But the recent letter from Republican senators was out of step with the best traditions of American leadership. And one has to ask, what was the purpose of this letter?

There appear to be two logical answers. Either these senators were trying to be helpful to the Iranians or harmful to the commander-in-chief in the midst of high-stakes international diplomacy. Either answer does discredit to the letters’ signatories.

The quotient of truth in these few sentences comported with the rest of Clinton’s statement. Clinton has taken her cue from the White House in disparaging the letter as “helpful to the Iranians.” She apparently would have us believe that the deal in process is not “helpful to the Iranians.”

Does anyone in his right mind really believe this? Jay Nordlinger makes puts this train of thought in the context of the Democrats’ Cold War talking points. Jay observes: “This was practically the theme music of my upbringing. And it was always bunk.”

Clinton’s reference to Obama as “the commander-in-chief” in this context isn’t much better. The letter addresses Congress’s the meaning of Congress’s role or lack of it in confirming the deal. Yet this is the best Clinton and her team can come up with in a written statement that tries to change the subject.

UPDATE: Michael Barone declares that Clinton’s press conference performance generally fails the laugh test and specifically interprets this passage in Clinton’s statement here.

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