Howie Kurtz: Obama Undermined His Own Case by Lashing Out at Major Garrett

‘Major Garrett asked a vitally important question’

KELLY: “Breaking tonight. New reaction to a tense moment after the President lashes out during a White House news conference on the deal with Iran. Now some in the media are accusing CBS News reporter Major Garrett formerly a Fox of asking a disrespectful question. Major was pressing the President about why the four Americans held hostage in Iran were not part of this negotiation. Watch.”

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GARRETT: “Can you tell the country sir, why you are content with all the fanfare around this deal to leave the conscious of this nation, the strength of this nation unaccounted for in relation to these four Americans?”

OBAMA: “I have to give you credit Major for how you craft those questions. The notion that I am content as I celebrate with American citizens languishing in Iranian jails. Major, that's nonsense. And you should know better.”

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KELLY: “Hmm. Joining us now Howie Kurtz, host of "Media Buzz" right here on FNC. Also, Lieutenant General Michael Flynt, former director of national intelligence and 2016 presidential candidate Ted Cruz is also here. We begin tonight with Howie. Howie, was it inappropriate as some -- even some of our competitors are alleging?”

KURTZ: “Major Garret asked a vitally important question about these four hostages in Iran. And that is what they are, hostages. Now, and by lashing out at him President Obama called attention to his own admission that they weren't even part of the nuclear negotiation. Now, I happen to think major used a loaded word there. Content. Why are you content? But presidents needs to be able to deal with provocative questions. And by the way, Major is a big boy, he says he was trying to be provocative. He's not ruffled here. But by doing this, President has made this the story of the press conference. I have seen the exchange you played over and over.”

KELLY: “Brit Hume was on ‘Special Report’ tonight with Bret saying, he felt that the President looked thin-skinned and that he doesn't like when the President behaves this way because he said it diminishes his dignity. Fair point?”

KURTZ: “It's a fair point. Now look, presidents are entitled to punch back when tough questions are asked. And this was a very long press conference, Megyn. Where the President was sort of in low profession mode, giving an elaborate explanation of the Iran deal and the defense of it.  But by getting so personal with one reporter who clearly got under his skin you saw the President pause there before he decided, you know, what choice of words he was going to use, I think he undermined his own case. And all of the other words in the press conference didn't really form a headline.  In fact, it happened an hour later, what the television and web were buzzing about was the President commenting on what he said he wasn't going to comment on and that was, he's not going to revoke Bill Cosby's presidential Medal of Freedom.”

KELLY: “We're going to get to that later.”

KURTZ: “Instead of, the lead from the White House point of view should have been his defense of the Iran deal.”  

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