With the news that American hostages in Iran were being released in a prisoner swap on the day the nuclear deal was implemented, presidential contender Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., accused President Obama of putting “a price on the head of every American abroad.”
“Our enemies now know that if you can capture an American, you can get something meaningful in exchange for it,” Rubio said Sunday.
Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Rubio was asked what he would have done as president to bring the hostages back safely.
He repeatedly insisted that, “we would have gotten them home.”
“It will be like Ronald Reagan, where as soon as he took office, the hostages were released from Iran,” Rubio said.
"We would have given them sanctions, crippling sanctions ... there would have never even been a discussion on these deals until they were released. Iran needs more from us than we need from them. We need to remind ourselves of that," he said.
Republican candidate Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., had a more optimistic view of the nuclear deal and the release of the prisoners from Iran.
“I'm very thankful to have the folks coming home from Iran,” Paul said, adding that he personally had worked to get Christian preacher Saeed Abedini freed.
“Our hope is this is a thawing in relations with Iran and is going to become a better behaved and more civilized Iran,” Paul said of the implementation of the nuclear deal. “But I think it's going to take continued vigilance on the foreign relations committee and we're continuing to watch to try to make sure that they are adhering to the nuclear agreement.”
On the Democratic side of the 2016 race, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders also weighed in on the news in separate interviews.
Clinton recalled her time in the Obama Administration, saying, "I’m very proud of the role that I played in getting us to the point where we could negotiate the agreement that puts a lid on Iran’s nuclear weapons program."
However, she continued, "the way we’re going to hold them accountable is to have consequences when they do anything that might deviate from the agreement."
Clinton has also called for new sanctions against Iran over its ballistic missile program.
When pressed on whether Iran remains a national security threat to the United States, Clinton replied, “Certainly we have lowered that threat, because of the nuclear agreement. But they continue to destabilize governments in the Middle East, they continue to support proxies and terrorist groups like Hezbollah. They continue to threaten Israel. There are a lot of concerns.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Sanders attacked Clinton for criticizing then-Sen. Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary on the Iran issue: "She was critical of him. A question was asked to Obama and said, ‘Would you sit down and talk to the Iranians?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, I would.’ Point being that you talk to your adversaries. You don't run away from that. Secretary Clinton I think called him naïve. Turns out that Obama was right."
Sanders continued, "The agreement to make certain that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon was a huge step forward. The fact that we had this prisoner release today was a good, important step forward. So I hope that we can continue to go forward to improve relations with Iran."