McConnell to Obama: Stop Demonizing Iran Deal Opponents

WASHINGTON (AP) -
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, as the Senate began its summer recess. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, as the Senate began its summer recess. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

President Barack Obama is treating his drive to win congressional approval for his nuclear deal with Iran like a political campaign, making attacks on opponents that need to stop, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday.

McConnell’s comments came as the Senate left town for a summer recess that both sides in the dispute plan to use to try lining up support for showdown votes next month. The remarks also followed a tumultuous early debate over the nuclear agreement in which Republican opponents of the agreement have used strong language to criticize Obama.

Obama so far “is treating this like a political campaign,” McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters. “Demonize your opponents, gin up the base, get Democrats all angry and, you know, rally around the president. To me, it’s a different kind of issue.”

McConnell also said that:

-Congress will pass no major immigration overhaul through next year, which he blamed on anger over Obama’s efforts to unilaterally ease restrictions;

-He will not allow spending fights this fall to lead to a government shutdown;

Lawmakers are required to vote on whether to accept the Iran agreement by Sept. 17. Opposition is overwhelming from Republicans arguing that the U.S. gave away too much in negotiations and from many Democrats sympathetic to Israel, which considers the pact a disaster.