President Barack Obama pegged the chances of a nuclear agreement with Iran at “less than 50-50,” even as he worked to reassure Senate Democrats that he won’t accept a bad deal, according to a U.S. senator who attended a gathering at the White House.
During something of a working cocktail party Tuesday night, the president sounded a fresh note of pessimism as the nuclear talks in Vienna missed yet another self-imposed deadline — and as his administration has sought to refute accusations that it is desperate for a deal.
“He said the chances he thought were less than 50-50 at this point and that he wouldn’t agree to something he thought was weak or unenforceable,” Sen. Dick Durbin said in an interview with POLITICO on Wednesday. “But if he comes up with an agreement and it meets his standards he wanted us to take an honest look at it and not prejudge.”
Over drinks and hors d’oeuvres in the State Dining Room, Obama also discussed a range of Democratic priorities with his Senate colleagues, including an upcoming fight over spending bills, climate change and the latest court victory for Obamacare, according to senators who attended. The invitation came just weeks after a hard-fought legislative battle over trade policy that frayed relations between the president and his congressional allies.
SOURCE: SARAH WHEATON and BURGESS EVERETT