As Mahmoud Ahmadinejad leaves the United States today he is likely pleased with his New York performance. Even though he was panned in the U.S., he’s likely to be lauded back home for his rants against Israel, the West and Columbia University, too.
Despite the top-level security, the motorcades and the visas provided to the tyrant and his sizeable entourage, he complained that we were bad hosts. He was mad that students at Columbia asked him a few tough questions — and he was mad when someone asked him for a simple answer.
Over the past few days he spoke to journalists who had gathered at the National Press Club in Washington and to students at Columbia. We heard him repeatedly dodge questions, obfuscate and waste time. Sorry, sir, when we're trying to figure out life or death matters (such as your nuclear intentions) we want a straight answer. That's the American way! Gee, and forgive us for not cozying up to a guy whose regime is responsible for sending weapons and bombs into Iraq. In fact, many in America (and in New York in particular) thought we were too nice and that he shouldn't have been here at all!
By the way, did any of you notice the reaction of the crowd at Columbia when Ahmadinejad said that Iranians were victims of terrorism? Or the cheers when he went after Israel? I spoke with many students who were inside the forum. They told me that the Iranian president's entourage was mostly responsible for the cheers, not the students. When the tape is played back home in Iran, I have no doubt that his official press minions will air those select excerpts on television to make it seem like Americans agree with his positions.
OK, well I'm off for the night. My former producer, Katie Sargent, is visiting New York. (She left FOX News to move overseas with her husband.) We are getting together tonight to talk about old times.
Watch Heather Nauert weekdays at 5 p.m. ET on "The Big Story w/ John Gibson & Heather Nauert"