Consistent with his increasingly edgy tone of recent months, President Obama on Monday evening in remarks from Henderson, Nev., used a flourish to describe his political enemies: “Harry and I drove over here together and we were doing a little reminiscing, and then figuring out how we’re going to deal with the crazies in terms of managing some problems,” said the president, referring to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). “And then we talked about riding off into the sunset together.”
In that utterance, Obama didn’t specify those “problems.” Or just who were those “crazies.”
Yet a Politico article posted late Monday night under the byline of Edward-Isaac Dovere carried this headline: “Barack Obama calls opponents of Iran deal ‘the crazies.’ ”
Some dissent surfaced on social media:
@IsaacDovere No, he didn’t.
— Christian Divine (@Chris_divine) August 25, 2015
@IsaacDovere this article is weird, where does he call Iran deal opponents ‘crazy’?
— JJ (@JJGomez127) August 25, 2015
A look at the transcript shows a nine-paragraph gap between “the crazies” and the first mention of Iran.
Even so, the Daily Caller picked up Politico’s interpretation of the president’s remarks: “Obama Calls Iran Nuclear Deal Opponents ‘The Crazies’.” Fox News, etc., etc. A story with a similar headline by the International Business Times appears to have gone poof. International Business Times Global Editor-in-Chief Peter S. Goodman tells the Erik Wemple Blog, “Our breaking news team produced story this morning after seeing piece on politico, then white house sent transcript and we saw the piece was in error and we took the story down. We should have corrected the story as is our normal practice. This has prompted us to reinforce standards for errors.”
Such Obama-Iran-crazies chatter explains why Eric Schultz, a White House spokesman, had to do some work today on the trip home aboard Air Force One. “There’s nothing when the president was recalling his conversation with Sen. Reid that mentioned Iran,” Schultz told reporters. Not only does the transcript back him up; so does a pool report from a Washington Times reporter: “POTUS also said Congress must not block the Iran nuclear deal — a remark that drew big applause from the crowd.”
The remarks from Schultz amounted to news, so Politico had to cover them. In a story posted this afternoon, Politico reporter Sarah Wheaton took note of Schultz’s remarks, including his claim that the president was being “flip” in using the “crazies” term. The key graph is right here:
Some interpreted the “crazies” comment as referring to opponents of the Iran deal. But Schultz insisted Obama wouldn’t count anti-Iran deal people on the Hill or elsewhere — a number of them Democrats — among “the crazies.”
Republicans, already outraged by Obama’s efforts to tie them to protesters in Tehran shouting “death to America,” took renewed umbrage.
We’ve asked Wheaton: Just who are those “some” people who interpreted the “crazies” comment as referring to opponents of the Iran deal? Aside from Politico, that is.