May 10, 2016

THE HILL: White House seeks to contain fallout from aide’s comments about how he lied to reporters too dumb to notice, which was all of them.

Ben Rhodes might have a “mind meld” with President Obama, but he is causing headaches for the White House.

Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, managed in a recent New York Times Magazine profile to undercut the president’s message on the Iran nuclear agreement while angering the Washington press corps and foreign policy establishment.

The broad backlash triggered by the piece rippled throughout the nation’s capital and caused the White House to go into damage control mode.

In a blog post late Sunday, Rhodes wrote that the public relations campaign he ran to sell the Iran deal was meant “to push out facts” and not “spin” the public and members of Congress.

He wrote that the White House and its allies “believed deeply in the case that we were making,” that the deal represented the best chance at cutting off Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon while avoiding war.

The longtime Obama aide was responding to criticism to his comments in the profile, which was published online last Thursday.

In the profile, Rhodes said he “created an echo chamber” of support for the deal by spoon-feeding talking points to friendly think tanks and experts.

Rhodes, who is 38 and holds a master of fine arts in creative writing, derided the press corps as too naive to cover world events.

He said the average reporter the White House talks to “is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns,” suggesting that allowed him to easily manipulate media coverage of U.S. foreign policy.

“They literally know nothing,” he said.

The piece was clearly a source of frustration for the White House, which is looking to burnish Obama’s foreign policy record during his final year in office.

The Iran deal is a debacle, and the press went along because (1) Rhodes is right and they don’t know much; and (2) They’re happy to be lied to anyway, because they’re Democratic operatives with bylines.