- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker shouldn’t criticize the U.S.-led nuclear deal with Iran until he’s had more time to “bone up” on foreign policy, President Obama said in an interview with NPR released Tuesday morning.

Mr. Walker, a Republican and likely 2016 presidential candidate, has said he would undo this administration’s agreement with Iran on day one of his presidency. The preliminary Iran deal, struck last week, still must be finalized.

While it’s unclear whether the agreement ultimately will be cleared by Congress, Mr. Obama said it would be a grave mistake for the next president to walk it back, and the president used the issue to take another shot at Mr. Walker.

“I am confident that any president who gets elected will be knowledgeable enough about foreign policy and knowledgeable enough about the traditions and precedents of presidential power that they won’t start calling into question the capacity of the executive branch of the United States to enter into agreements with other countries. If that starts being questioned, that’s going to be a problem for our friends and that’s going to embolden our enemies,” Mr. Obama said in the NPR interview, which was taped Monday at the White House.

“It would be a foolish approach to take,” the president continued. “And perhaps Mr. Walker, after he has taken some time to bone up on foreign policy, will feel the same way.”

The foreign-policy criticism marks the second time in just a few months that Mr. Obama has taken aim at Mr. Walker, a rising star in the GOP who sits near the top of most presidential primary polls. A Monmouth University poll released Tuesday, for example, showed Mr. Walker tied with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at 11 percent, trailing only former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 13 percent.

Mr. Obama also attacked Mr. Walker after Wisconsin passed right-to-work legislation, which the president called harmful to the middle class.

Mr. Walker quickly shot back at the president’s own foreign policy record.

“President Obama’s failed leadership has put him at odds with many across the country, including members of his own party, and key allies around the world. Americans would be better served by a president who spent more time working with governors and members of Congress rather than attacking them,” the governor said in a statement. “Whether it is cutting a bad deal with Iran, calling ISIS the JV squad, or touting Yemen as a success story, Obama’s lack of leadership has hurt America’s safety and standing in the world.”

White House officials say the repeated Obama-Walker clashes are solely about policy.

“I assure you there is nothing personal,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said. “But there is no doubt … there are significant policy differences between the two men. And there will be ample opportunity over the course of the next year, year-and-a-half, to discuss those differences.”

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