Via the Free Beacon, for one brief shining moment, this guy got to see what life with the media is like for a Republican politician.
The answer to Garrett’s question, incidentally, is that the prisoners are undoubtedly being held to sweeten the pot for the next big U.S/Iran deal, which the Iranians themselves have reportedly been dangling.
[A]ccording to top administration officials, Mr. Obama has always been after something much bigger than capping Iran’s nuclear program, and he got it—the strategic opportunity to begin converting Iran from foe to “friend.”
Iranian negotiators understood well what’s been driving the U.S. president, and they have used the prospect of becoming “a friend” as their best bargaining card. For over a year now in small private conversations and strolls, they have been painting rosy pictures of Iranian-American cooperation.
The Iranian list of possibilities goes to most of Washington’s principal worries about the broad Middle East. They would step up their fighting alongside Iraqi troops to combat the so-called Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) in central Iraq. And they would do much more in Syria to go after the headquarters and main forces that ISIS has there. They spoke of finding “solutions” to the civil war in Yemen between Sunnis and Iran-backed Shiites. They raised hopes of forging better relations with America’s “partners” in the Gulf. They pressed the idea of renewing the cooperation they once had with the U.S. fighting the Taliban at the beginning of the Afghan war.
Yesterday I argued that including the prisoners in the nuclear deal would have been smart for Obama since it’d give him at least one concrete victory to tout among its many failures. The counterargument is that the bad news surrounding the deal would have overwhelmed that good news and would have left the two sides with nothing to build on, assuming there are already plans in the works to build on this. Maybe the prisoners are being saved for when sanctions are actually lifted; that sort of goodwill gesture from Iran will be Obama’s cue to tell Americans, “See? I told you they would start moderating if we came to terms on their nuclear program. It’s happening exactly as I said.” That would be a shrewd way to lock in public support for the deal, which exists if polls are to be believed but which is heavily qualified by the fact that Americans don’t expect Iran to stick to it. A few well orchestrated olive branches during implementation could move those numbers, which will help Hillary during the campaign.
Oh, by the way, no questions today about Planned Parenthood selling off the organs of dead babies for fun and profit despite the fact that the presser ran for more than an hour. He did, however, get a question about Bill Cosby because of course he did. Ed will have something on that soon.
Update: And so the media scolding of Garrett begins.