But let's move on to the Iranian elections over the weekend. We've seen protests in the streets for the last couple of days, after these elections, you know. What we can't tell is exactly how rigged the elections were. Ahmadinejad wound up with more than 60 percent of the vote, despite the fact that his lead opponent, Hossein Mousavi, was -- had a lot of support in the streets just before the elections.
So setting that question aside, which is hard for us to know, how big a crisis is this for the Iranian regime?
WILL: Hard to say. Ferdinand Marcos held an election improvidently in 1986. And four days later, he was gone because it was widely considered rigged.
The difference is that the Catholic Church in the Philippines said it was rigged, and there was an enormous moral authority there.
Ahmadinejad is such a repellant figure, part Zedong, part Joseph Goebbels. And he has a clear base in the country. So the fact that we can't tell this was rigged or not is a disaster for the Obama administration, because you can hardly engage this man now when his legitimacy, such as it ever was, seems much diminished.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You know what's weird, George, to see them call the election before all the votes had been counted. And at one vote, they said he won an overwhelming mandate, you know, less than 20 percent of the ballots coming in.
I think democracy has been unleashed. And regardless of what happens going forward in Iran, there is now a new democracy movement.
And you notice that during the middle of the campaign, they'd turn off the computers. They shut down Twitter and Facebook, the main tools used by the opposition to try to unseat the president. Now that the supreme leader has basically said that the president won re-election, I don't know if there's going to be a recount.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Mousavi this morning has now filed an official appeal. And the election is not official until the guardian of elders, all of them on the set, come out and certify. The administration (ph) of Iran is waiting for that to happen before they make their plea for reengagement.
And I guess this is -- picking up on George's point, going forward, the administration was ready to deal with Ahmadinejad before. Should they continue that policy of engagement? Or should there be a rethinking in order to resolve it?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, whether or not there should be, they are -- they are certainly keeping -- as they made clear yesterday, they are committed to moving forward. And we'll deal with Iran as the way it is, basically.
But there's no doubt, it makes it more -- much more complicated. If you did a ledger on this from the U.S. point of view, I think you would say that this election has clearly shown that that there is a substantial constituency with Iran for reform within and perhaps a different relationship with the outside world.
But it also shows you, perhaps even more clearly, that those who have their hands on the lever of power are not going to concede very much to that constituency. And those two forces are going to be in tension and in play. And clearly, the U.S. goal has got to be to speak to the first and strengthen it. And hopefully, that provide the leverage on those who are now and remain in power.
STEPHANOPOULOS: There has been no change in power, because Ayatollah Khameini is the supreme leader, will be the supreme leader. He calls the shots on U.S. policy.