Republican 2016 Contenders, Hillary Clinton Spar Over Letter to Tehran

Despite criticism that the Senate GOP overstepped by writing to Iran, some of the party’s presidential hopefuls are shouting, “Me, too!”

National Journal
Kimberly Railey and Adam Wollner
Add to Briefcase
Kimberly Railey and Adam Wollner
March 11, 2015, 8:43 a.m.

The GOP’s 2016 contenders aren’t just rallying behind a controversial letter Senate Republicans sent to Tehran. Many are eager to affix their signatures.

Most potential Republican presidential candidates are expressing support for the letter signed by 47 GOP senators, warning Iran that the next president could easily undo any nuclear agreement brokered by President Obama if it is not approved by Congress.

The letter, written by Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, already includes the names of four senators who are considering White House campaigns: Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Lindsey Graham.

From outside Washington, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal was the first to weigh in Tuesday, calling on all prospective presidential candidates in both parties to sign on.

“[E]very single person thinking about running for president, on both sides, should sign on to this letter to make clear to Iran that they are negotiating with a lame-duck president,” Jindal said in a statement. “Make no mistake—any Iran deal that President Obama makes is not binding on a future president.”

Later Tuesday, Cotton’s office announced that Jindal’s name was added to the letter.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry also was quick to announce he would aid the effort, tweeting, “I would be proud and honored to sign the letter @SenTomCotton has put forward on Iran.” Cotton tweeted back, “I welcome your signature!”

Rick Santorum, former senator from Pennsylvania, praised Cotton’s effort too, adding that Obama cannot “usurp” the Senate’s authority. “I am grateful that the U.S. Senate is exercising their constitutional prerogative to stop this reckless diplomacy by the Obama-Kerry-Clinton foreign policy team,” Santorum said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Scott Walker and Jeb Bush signaled their support for the Senate Republicans’ efforts without explicitly signing on to the letter.

“Republicans need to ensure that any deal President Obama reaches with Iran receives congressional review,” Walker said in the statement. “Unless the White House is prepared to submit the Iran deal it negotiates for congressional approval, the next president should not be bound [by] it. I will continue to express that concern publicly to the president and directly to the American people.”

Bush took a similar route, criticizing the White House’s handling of the issue. “The senators are reacting to reports of a bad deal that will likely enable Iran to become a nuclear state over time,” Bush said in a statement. “They would not have been put in this position had the administration consulted regularly with them rather than ignoring their input.”

For her part, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina said in a statement to The Huffington Post that Republicans “need to continue to work toward a bipartisan, veto-proof majority of senators who will demand their rightful and constitutional place in the negotiation approval process.”

What about the Democrats? Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the letter “out of step with the best traditions of American leadership.”

UPDATE: Clinton further criticized the letter afternoon, this time explicitly going after her 2016 rivals in a tweet: “GOP letter to Iranian clerics undermines American leadership. No one considering running for commander-in-chief should be signing on.”

Jindal’s Twitter reply: “.@HillaryClinton No one who allows Iran to become a nuclear power should consider running.”

What We're Following See More »
TRUMP CANCELS FLORIDA TRIP
Congress Heads Back to Work to End Shutdown
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"The Senate was expected to be back in session at noon, while House lawmakers were told to return to work for a 9 a.m. session. Mr. Trump on Friday had canceled plans to travel to his private resort on Palm Beach, Fla., where a celebration had been planned for Saturday to celebrate the anniversary of his first year in office."

Source:
CLOTURE FAILS
Government Shutdown Begins, as Senate Balks at Stopgap
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"A stopgap spending bill stalled in the Senate Friday night, leading to a government shutdown for the first time since 2013. The continuing resolution funding agencies expired at midnight, and lawmakers were unable to spell out any path forward to keep government open. The Senate on Friday night failed to reach cloture on a four-week spending bill the House had already approved."

Source:
HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS IN SUSPICIOUS CHECKS FLAGGED
Mueller’s Team Scrutinizing Russian Embassy Transactions
3 days ago
THE LATEST
PRO-TRUMP SPENDING COULD VIOLATE FECA
FBI Investigating Potential Russian Donations to NRA
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

"The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency." Investigators have focused on Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank "who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA." The solicitation or use of foreign funds is illegal in U.S. elections under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) by either lobbying groups or political campaigns. The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections.

Source:
DISCLOSURES MORE THAN DOUBLED
Mueller Investigation Leads to Hundreds of New FARA Filings
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"Hundreds of new and supplemental FARA filings by U.S. lobbyists and public relations firms" have been submitted "since Special Counsel Mueller charged two Trump aides with failing to disclose their lobbying work on behalf of foreign countries. The number of first-time filings ... rose 50 percent to 102 between 2016 and 2017, an NBC News analysis found. The number of supplemental filings, which include details about campaign donations, meetings and phone calls more than doubled from 618 to 1,244 last year as lobbyists scrambled to avoid the same fate as some of Trump's associates and their business partners."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login