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Sunday Talk: Rahm Emanuel, Newt Gingrich, Tina Brown & More (VIDEO)

Rahm Emanuel champions Obama’s Iran record, Newt Gingrich says the White House’s Mideast policy is ‘falling apart,’ Marco Rubio says the campaign gender gap is closing, plus more in our Sunday Talk roundup.

10.21.12 11:50 PM ET

Helene Cooper: Sanctions Brought Iran to the Table

‘U.S. Officials Say Iran Has Agreed to Nuclear Talks.’ That was the top story in Sunday’s New York Times, and reporter Helene Cooper sat down on Meet the Press to discuss why Iran has agreed to talk and what the negotiations might mean for the future of the Middle East. “This is something the Obama administration has been pursuing for years now,” she said. “Iran has been not so sure.” But the heavy sanctions stifling Iran’s economy, “particularly the European oil embargo that went into effect in June,” pressured the Iranians to agree to negotiate, she said. Still, “nobody has rose-colored glasses,” she made clear, and the negotiations might even be a precursor to war. “The belief is that you cannot make any sort of case for going to war if you haven’t exhausted all diplomatic options.” Yikes.

Rahm Emanuel Champions Obama’s Iran Record

Speaking of Iran, Chicago mayor and former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel defended President Obama’s record to This Week’s George Stephanopoulos. Emanuel cited the “withering, very tough sanctions” on Iran and credited Obama with Iran’s current political isolation. When Obama took office, “the world was criticizing us on Iran,” said Emanuel. “Today the world is criticizing Iran on its attempt to acquire nuclear weapons.” There’s no doubt that Iran will be a hot topic in Monday’s third presidential debate, which focuses on foreign policy.

Gingrich: Obama Middle East Policy ‘Falling Apart’

In a surprise to nobody, Newt Gingrich disagrees with Rahm. The “Obama approach” in the Middle East “is all falling apart,” said the former speaker on State of the Union. “If we can’t figure out what went on in a relatively open city [Benghazi] in a country we had helped liberate [Libya],” he asked, “why do we think we know what’s going on with the Iranian nuclear program?” Throwing in phrases like “apologizing for Islam” and “self-deception,” Gingrich berated the president’s “strategy” failing to advance American interests in the region. “I think you can go country by country and see sort of the fraying at the edges of the Obama policy,” he said.

Cutter Defines ‘Romnesia’

Responding to conservative jabs at the new “medical condition” coined by the president, deputy Obama campaign manager Stephanie Cutter explained “Romnesia” on Face the Nation. “It’s a playful term used to describe what Mitt Romney’s actually doing in the closing days of this race,” she said. Obama unveiled the term during a speech in Fairfax, Va., on Friday. It’s just the latest attack tactic in a campaign that hopes that highlighting Romney’s frequent shifts can give Obama a boost in an increasingly tight race.

Rubio: ‘Economy,’ Not Abortion, No. 1 Issue for Women

Countering a Gallup poll released last week that found abortion to be the top issue for women voters, Sen. Marco Rubio said Sunday that “the No. 1 issue in America, especially for women but for all Americans, is an economy that’s growing and creating opportunities.” Talking to David Gregory on Meet the Press, the Florida Republican said the gender gap between Obama and Romney is closing because “Barack Obama is not offering anything [economically].” Rubio then shrugged off criticism that Romney doesn’t get what women are going through in the workplace, saying, “his record speaks for itself.”

‘We Don’t Make Predictions Here at Gallup’

Who knows what to make of the polls? Some show big leads for Obama, while the esteemed Gallup seven-day tracking poll has Romney up by 6 points. But Frank Newport, Gallup’s editor in chief, told Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace that Romney’s advantage is “not solid at all, in the sense that things can change.” Newport noted that both candidates are still spending “hundreds of millions of dollars on both sides to try to move voters.”

Tina Brown No Longer Goes to Newsstands

On Reliable Sources, Howard Kurtz asked Tina Brown, editor in chief of Newsweek and The Daily Beast, whether she was sad about stopping print publication of Newsweek. Brown said she has “always been a great print junkie” and she feels “a certain romance still for print.” But she also acknowledged that she no longer stops by newsstands and often reads on her Kindle.