Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

November 30, 2013

Did Obama team announce Iran deal to distract?

By PolitiFact.com

Within hours of the United States announcing an initial nuclear deal with Iran on Nov. 23, 2013, a few critics of President Barack Obama began to muse publicly about whether the announcement was timed to distract the American public from the troubled launch of Obamacare.

“Amazing what WH will do to distract attention from O-care,” tweeted Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, at 10:15 p.m. the same night as the deal was announced.

Former presidential candidate Herman Cain cited the Iran deal as an example of how Obama “is desperately trying to change the subject from Obamacare to just about anything else.”

And on Fox News’ Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy asked, “Don’t you think it’s a little curious? Some of my friends were talking over the weekend, isn’t that curious timing? Out of nowhere, you know, in the midst of Obamacare not unrolling correctly, the president’s poll numbers never been lower. Then, look, (Secretary of State) John Kerry pulls a rabbit out of his hat and changes the subject.”

To this, Fox anchor Bret Baier replied, “You’re right, it is questionable timing, as far as how much this is sucking up the oxygen in the room, and Obamacare was taking a lot of front page space.” He then backtracked a bit, adding, “They had been working on the deal for a while, and it did come together at this time.”

Is there any evidence that the White House delayed a deal with Iran in order to distract the American people from the Obamacare rollout? We aren’t able to put this claim to the Truth-O-Meter due to the lack of transparency surrounding closed-door, high-level negotiations.

Still, we thought it might be useful to look at the evidence that is available, and to check with people who have some experience with such diplomacy.

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