Nightly News

Nightly News   |  March 06, 2012

Obama lashes out at Republican candidates

At a Tuesday news conference President Barack Obama said Republican candidates were forgetting the cost of war and reaffirmed his hesitance in using military force against Iran. NBC’s Savannah Guthrie reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> let's swing east to the white house . president obama chose this super tuesday of all days to take on his gop rivals who have been criticizing him on the campaign trail over the issue of iran . savannah guthrie watched the president with us earlier today, part of our politics team here tonight. interesting day in the briefing room.

>> yeah, and as you mentioned the white house knew this super tuesday news conference would get more than the usual attention, as you said. the questions dealt mostly with foreign policy but with the presidential campaign at home, clear tli backdrop, the president sounding off on republican rivals who have been talking tough on iran . at a news conference that coincided with the gop's marquee primary night the president lashed out at republican candidates he accused of, quote, popping off with with loose talk of war.

>> those folks don't have a lot of responsibilities. they're not commander in chief. this is not a game. there is nothing casual about it.

>> he has turned his back on the people of israel . [ applause ]

>> reporter: the president's rivals were not letting up.

>> we would not keep talking while the iranians keep building.

>> reporter: today, before a pro israel lobbying group hammering mr. obama for being soft on iran .

>> i will station multiple aircraft carriers and warships at iran 's door. i will bring the current policy of procrastination toward iran to an end.

>> i reserve all options.

>> reporter: the president has spent the week trying to mollify leaders assuring benjamin netanyahu the u.s. won't tolerate a nuclear iran and would use military strikes to stop it. he made it clear he has no appetite for war.

>> the notion that somehow we have a choice to make in the next week or two weeks or month or two months is not borne out by the facts.

>> reporter: republicans argue the president's hesitance about military force and efforts to dissuade israel from acting alone against iran send a message to the iranian regime which the president rejected.

>> if some of these folks think it's time to launch a war they should say so. they should explain to the american people why they would do that and what the consequences would be. everything else is just talk.

>> reporter: on the republican candidates' other criticisms of him, the president side-step an offer to respond.

>> what would you like to say to mr. romney?

>> good luck tonight. [ laughter ]

>> no, really.

>> really.

>> back on iran , american decision-makers are operating under the assumption that israelis will take action against iran in the coming months. some believe the israelis are well aware the backdrop of an american presidential election will increase pressure for all candidates to show they are tough on iran and they will want to show they are standing by israel .

>> interesting dynamic in the briefing