Jindal, Santorum, Walker, Perry Add Support to Cotton's Iran Letter

A sudden litmus test for the prospective 2016 presidential candidates has emerged.

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US Republican Governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, on March 15, 2013.

Photographer: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

A sudden litmus test for the prospective 2016 presidential candidates has emerged: Was Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton's letter to the leaders of Iran worth signing? 

One day after a controversy erupted in Washington over a letter organized by Cotton, signed by 46 of his Republican Senate colleagues, and sent to Iran's leaders warning them against a nuclear deal with the Obama administration, three more Republican presidential hopefuls added their support, while the Democratic frontrunner took the legislators to task.  

“Every single person thinking about running for president, on both sides, should sign on to this letter to make clear to Iran that they are negotiating with a lame duck president,” Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said in a statement Tuesday. “Make no mistake—any Iran deal that President Obama makes is not binding on a future president.”

Jindal's call was a bit late for Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Lindsey Graham, all of whom signed the letter that went out on Monday. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry, however, quickly obliged. 

https://twitter.com/GovernorPerry/status/575363838347870209

Appearing on Fox News' Hannity the night before, Perry expanded on his belief that whatever might be in the nascent deal between the two nations, it would not last long after President Obama left office. 

“This Congress has no idea what’s in this plan—we have ideas about what’s in it,” Perry said. “But the president’s not being open and honest with Congress, and I will suggest to you the next president of the United States shouldn’t be held to this agreement at all.”

Not to be outdone, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum also signaled his support on Tuesday. 

"Senator Cotton is correct, the United States Senate plays an important role in moments like this and President Obama cannot usurp their authority. The deal is a bad deal and what is necessary is to make it an acceptable deal for our national security isn't even on the table to be negotiated," Santorum said in a statement. "I am grateful that the U.S. Senate is exercising their constitutional prerogative to stop this reckless diplomacy by the Obama-Kerry-Clinton foreign policy team." 

Jumping on the bandwagon Tuesday, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker added his thumbs-up for the spirit of the letter. 

"Republicans need to ensure that any deal President Obama reaches with Iran receives congressional review," Waker said in a statement. "Unless the White House is prepared to submit the Iran deal it negotiates for congressional approval, the next president should not be bound [by] it. I will continue to express that concern publicly to the President and directly to the American people." 

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush did not, like many of his GOP rivals, rush to add his name to the symbolic letter, but indicate a level of empathy with those in the Senate who had done so. 

"The Senators are reacting to reports of a bad deal that will likely enable Iran to become a nuclear state over time," Bush said in a statement to Talking Points Memo. "They would not have been put in this position had the Administration consulted regularly with them rather than ignoring their input."

Hillary Clinton, speaking at a Tuesday news conference focused on her use of a private e-mail account during her tenure as secretary of state, took a moment to criticize the letter-signers—and, by extension, Jindal and Perry—for their attempt to scuttle an Iran deal. 

"A recent letter from Republican senators was out of step with the best traditions of American leadership, and one has to ask, what was the purpose of this letter?" Clinton said. "There appear to be two logical answers. Either these senators were trying to be helpful to the Iranians or harmful to commander-in-chief in middle of high-stakes international diplomacy. Either answer does discredit to the letter's signatories." 

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson have yet to comment on whether they support Cotton's letter. 

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