[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/21/art.kerry.gi.jpg caption="Kerry defended President Obama on The Situation Room."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. John Kerry defended President Obama Thursday for staying out of the controversy over the elections in Iran, telling CNN this was an "Iranian moment" and saying it would be an "enormous mistake" for the president to get involved.
Kerry continued his criticism of Sen. John McCain, who had called Obama's response "tepid." In an editorial published Thursday morning in the New York Times, the Massachusetts Democrat wrote that the "tough talk" of McCain and his advocates "only empowered hard-liners and put reformers on the defensive."
He echoed that point on The Situation Room Thursday.
"Specifically for the president of the United States to get in the middle of what is happening in Iran right now, I believe and I think many people believe, would be an enormous mistake, because it just gives the Iranian clerics, who are already in some cases oppressive and restrictive with respect to what people in Iran can do, more excuse to make America the target and America an excuse for their actions," Kerry told CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer.
"I think there are serious questions about the election, but I think the Iranians are carrying that message to their own leadership," Kerry said. "There is no need for the United States of America to step into the middle of it and make this about America when it is an Iranian moment spurred on by Iranians."