Obama pitches Iran deal to vets, Daily Show's Stewart

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 21, 2015 6:09 PM

By Julia Edwards

NEW YORK (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's campaign to convince Congress to support the Iran nuclear deal led him on Tuesday to a veterans' convention and The Daily Show, where he took jabs at those opposing the agreement.

In a back and forth on Comedy Central's nightly political satire show, Obama pushed back against hard questions from host Jon Stewart.

"This is an adversary. They are anti-American, anti-Semitic, they sponsor terrorist organizations like Hizbollah," Obama said of Iran.

"Sounds like a good partner for peace," Stewart responded sarcastically.

"Well, as has been said frequently, 'you don't make peace with your friends,'" Obama said. "The issue here is, do we want them having a nuclear weapon? The answer is no."

Obama urged Americans to write their representatives in Congress to express their opinion of the deal.

Tuesday's efforts widened the administration's efforts to gain support for the deal, from Capitol Hill to the general public.

Congress is reviewing the agreement, reached last week, and could vote to reject it. The process has prompted a lobbying effort on Capitol Hill from both the Obama administration and opponents of the accord.

The White House started the Twitter handle @theirandeal on Tuesday to inform Americans about the contents of the agreement.

Speaking to thousands of veterans at the 116th annual Veterans of Foreign Wars conference in Pittsburgh, Obama pushed back against Republicans who oppose him on the issue.

“Some of the same politicians and pundits that are so quick to reject the possibility of a diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear program are the same folks who were so quick to go to war in Iraq and said it would take a few months,” Obama said.

“We know the consequences of that choice, and what it cost us in blood and treasure.”

The Daily Show interview was Obama's seventh and last appearance before Stewart leaves the show next month.

Stewart asked Obama for his take on Republican presidential contender Donald Trump, who has made a series of comments, ranging from criticism of Mexican immigrants to insults flung at Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

Obama joked, "I'm sure the Republicans are enjoying Mr. Trump's dominance of their primary."

(Reporting by Julia Edwards; Editing by Dan Grebler)