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Obama pushes back at Iran critics on "The Daily Show"

President Obama speaks with Jon Stewart, host of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," during a taping of the show in New York, July 21, 2015. The appearance marks Obama's third time on the show as President, and seventh overall.

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President Obama defended the nuclear deal with Iran in an interview on "The Daily Show" set to air Tuesday evening. It is Mr. Obama's seventh appearance on the show and his last with host Jon Stewart, who is stepping down in early August.

The president said opponents of the deal believe, "if you had brought Dick Cheney to the negotiations, everything would be fine."

But he defended the agreement, which is facing stiff resistance in Congress.

"We have taken off the table what would be a catastrophic problem if they got a weapon," Mr. Obama said. "This is not a situation where we're being taken to the cleaners."

Much of the interview focused on serious topics like the Iran deal and reforms at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), but there were a few lighter moments. When Stewart asked Mr. Obama if he was giving advice to "future President [Donald] Trump," the president responded, "I'm sure the Republicans are enjoying Mr. Trump's dominance of their primary."

"Anything that makes them look less crazy," Stewart said.

Mr. Obama also opened the interview by quipping, "I'm issuing a new executive order that Jon Stewart cannot leave the show," a nod at his expanded use of executive authority in his second term.

The president took a jab at the media when Stewart asked if they focus on the wrong things.

"The media are a bunch of different medias," Mr. Obama said. "some get on my nerves more than others."

His big concern, he said, was not about whether or not the government is being treated fairly by reporters but rather that the media "gets distracted by shiny objects and doesn't always focus on the big tough choices and decisions."

But he also acknowledged that the changing nature of technology has changed the environment in which consumers get their news.

"It's tough for folks to do an hour-long special on urban America," he said.

Stewart also pressed the president over the slow pace of reforms at the VA and the past targeting of conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Mr. Obama talked about the structural challenges at the VA in a segment that will air only on Comedy Central's website, saying that the agency struggles because it was built on 1930s models and also gets short-changed in its budget.

When Stewart said there was "almost unanimous agreement that you've failed," the president responded that there were a lot of people coming home from wars.

"When you got a lot of wars," that shouldn't be a surprise, Stewart said.

Mr. Obama also lamented budget problems at the IRS said that the "real scandal" around the agency is that it is so poorly funded it can't chase down people who are avoiding tax payments. He also blamed Congress for passing "a crummy law" to provide guidance to IRS employees, but said those employees implemented the law "poorly and stupidly."

"Boy, you really do only have a year left," Stewart responded.

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.