Mike Pence can't even manage to keep his spin straight during a single interview. h/t John Cole: Ignore the Words Coming Out of My Mouth.
Wolf Blitzer: As we've reported, Iran's state-run media is insisting that the U.S. is meddling, meddling in what it calls Iran's affairs and says that is intolerable. The Obama Administration strongly denies that. Let's bring in Republican Congressman Mike Pence of Indiana. He's the Chairman of the House Republican Conference, a key member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. You have introduced a resolution in Congress to support the dissidents - what you call the dissidents in Iran. Would that be seen as meddling, Congressman, in Iranian affairs?
Congressman Mike Pence: Well, I'm not really worried how it would be seen by the tyrants in Tehran. What I'm interested in doing is what Americans have done throughout our history, and that is to stand with those and to give encouragement to those that are courageously standing for free elections, free expression, for democracy. And it is hard to look at these past five day and the images have been so well covered here on CNN and across the internet and not be deeply moved by the courage of people that are at least risking their liberties and probably risking their lives for free and fair elections and democracy.
Blitzer: So specifically, Congressman what do you want the President to say and do?
Pence: Well look, I appreciate the fact that the President said the protesters have a right to be heard and respected and I appreciate the fact that he said he is troubled but I respectfully disagree with the administration's decision to essentially draw the line at not meddling and not interfering.
Look, the cause of America is freedom. And in that cause, we must never be silent. And if the President wants to draw the line and say that we are not going to stand with those brave citizens of Iran who are taking to the streets these last five days on behalf of democracy, on behalf of the freedom of speech and free elections, then I think the Congress behind me ought to take up a resolution that very simply expresses the support of the American people, through their elected representatives, for the people of Iran who are taking a stand for freedom.
Wolf, I really believe we may have an opportunity for a fresh start here, not with the tyrants in Tehran, not with Ahmadinejad, who even looks at what this administration is doing and accuses them of meddling, but rather with the good and decent and courageous people of Iran who are stepping forward and risking their liberty and their lives for principles that we as Americans cherish.
Blitzer: The President was on CNBC in an interview and he said the differences between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi may not necessarily be as significant as a lot of folks on the outside are hoping they are. I'm going to play a little clip for you. Listen to this.
President Obama [clip]: Although there is amazing ferment taking place in Iran, that the difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi in terms of their actual policies may not be as great as has been advertised. Either way, we were going to be dealing with an Iranian regime that has historically been hostile to the United States.
Blitzer: Is he right, Congressman?
Pence: Well, look, I don't think we should be in the business of endorsing the opposition candidate. What I want the Congress of the United States to do, and frankly what I would like to see the President of the United States of America do, is speak a word of support to the people of Iran. Those demonstrators, those soccer players playing in South Korea, at least for half of the game, are wearing the green arm bands. They are walking out onto the streets of Tehran and they're taking a stand. I would suggest not so much for a person, but for a principle. It is the principle of free and fair elections; it is the principle of a free and independent press, the freedom of association.
We ought to affirm the fact that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Iranians are risking their liberty and even perhaps their lives to take a stand upon the values which we have really founded this nation. But again, the President can draw the line where he wants. I'm working with Republicans and Democrats here on Capitol Hill to give the opportunity for the American people to be heard through their elected representatives. I think Congress ought to pass a resolution that says to the people of Iran who are standing for freedom and free elections, that we support you. And that's the message that Americans have sent around the globe for generations.
Blitzer: We got to leave it there, Congressman. Good luck. Thanks very much.