Iranian hardliners 'making common cause' with Republicans?

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," August 5, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Something that's far more pressing for the world right now, the on-again/off-again nature of this Iranian deal, the president making his pitch at American University today, the same venue John F. Kennedy used to use as an opportunity to talk nuclear arms disarmament, if you will, with the Soviet Union back in 1963.

This president using Iran in the same role as the Soviet Union. Big difference to many. But this is the pitch that has Republicans furious.  Listen.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Just because Iranian hard- liners chant death to America does not mean that that's what all Iranians believe.

In fact, it's those hard-liners who are most comfortable with the status quo. It's those hard-liners chanting death to America who have been most opposed to the deal. They're making common cause with the Republican Caucus.




CAVUTO: It's the first time we have ever heard hard-liners in Iran being linked with Republicans who have concerns about this deal. And it's a comparison that is not sitting well with my next guest, New Hampshire Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte, of course a member of the Armed Services Committee.

What did you think of that, Senator?

SEN. KELLY AYOTTE, R-N.H.: Well, Neil, it was clearly over the top.

And how far we have come from President Kennedy to President Obama. I think, as you look at this, one of the things that the president did not point out, when those rallies were held in Iran where they were saying death to Israel, down with America, right before this deal was inked, do you know who was at one of those rallies? The president of Iran, President Rouhani.

So, these aren't just outliers within Iran. This is part of the leadership of Iran that is actually participating in these rallies.


CAVUTO: But he drew a distinction. But, Senator, he drew a distinction.  And it might have changed this whole -- how this measure goes forward here.  But he drew a distinction between what those leaders are saying, for effect, he says, and what the Iranian people feel, and that you, that is the right, that is those opposed to the deal who are actually bringing the world closer to war than anything he is doing.

And it was the first time he put it in those terms. What did you make of that?

AYOTTE: What I make about it is you have to listen to what the leaders of Iran are saying.

And for us not to take them on their face with their state sponsor of terrorism around the world and all their other activities -- and I will tell you this, Neil. As I listen to those comments, for the president of the United States to compare those who have very legitimate concerns about this agreement on both sides of the aisle -- let's not forget there are members of both sides of the aisle that have deep concerns about this agreement -- to somehow these hard-liners in Iran, I mean, frankly, I think it's beneath that office to be able to make these analogies.


CAVUTO: All right, but let me ask you this. And I do want to -- Shep is going to have an update for us very shortly, very quickly on what's happening in Nashville.

But before I get to him, I did want to clarify something with you. Oil prices have been tumbling, Senator. I only mention that because the markets seemed to have factored in that this deal is going to go through, that Iran oil is going to be on the market, and that no matter what you say, no matter what Republicans say, it's a done deal.

AYOTTE: Right.

CAVUTO: He has the upper hand, you don't.

What do you say to that?

AYOTTE: What I say to that is that Congress still has an opportunity under the law to weigh in. And we know the president knows it, or he wouldn't be pushing this on such a partisan basis and making over-the-top comments like he's making.

And so, yes, I think you already see some countries acting around the world, in part because the administration went to the U.N. before Congress had an opportunity to act on this. But that does not mean that the decision that we have to make in September is not an important one. And I think the president understands that or he wouldn't be using such over-the- top language.

CAVUTO: So, real quickly, you don't think it's a done deal or finished deal, that you might have the votes to reject it, but you don't have the votes to override an expected presidential veto?

AYOTTE: It's hard to know where the votes are right now, Neil.

CAVUTO: Right.

AYOTTE: But I would hope we would reject this, from what we're hearing about this agreement, because I just had -- there was another hearing in the Armed Services today and yesterday. Formal -- former General Hayden, who was the head of the CIA, described it as Iran getting guns and butter and more of it to support terrorism.

CAVUTO: All right.

Senator, thank you.

AYOTTE: It's a real issue.

CAVUTO: Thank you very, very, very much.

A big day here. It's changed the complexion of this debate about the Iranian vote here that now is tipped and linking Republicans, or those opposed to it -- that would by extension some Democrats -- as being in line with those Iranian mullahs and supreme leader who are similarly saying outrageous things. Now, the two have been linked, and the message the president is sending to Democrats who might be wavering, do you want to be in that camp?

It changed the entire debate today, some say to the president's advantage, whether you agree or not.

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