The White House is trying to put out an enormous fire surrounding one of its top aides

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The White House is scrambling to clean up the political mess created by a New York Times Magazine profile of President Barack Obama's deputy national-security adviser, Ben Rhodes, who offered surprisingly blunt comments about the Iran nuclear deal and other contentious topics.

In the interview, Rhodes was candid about how the administration has sought to shape its foreign policy, and went into some detail about how "Beltway insider" experts and reporters helped the White House sell the Iran nuclear deal to the general public.

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The profile has sparked backlash among those who feel that Rhodes admitted to being part of a campaign to "spin" the narrative and deceive Americans into approving the landmark nuclear deal.

Rhodes' comments also angered Washington reporters, whom he characterized as "27-year-olds" who "literally know nothing" or as "handpicked Beltway insiders" who report on the White House uncritically. And he was critical of the Washington foreign-policy establishment, which he apparently refers to as "the Blob."

Rhodes responded to the criticism in a post on Medium published on Monday morning: "How We Advocated for the Iran Deal." In the post, Rhodes defended the strategies the White House used to sell the deal to the general public and protect it from its opponents.

FLASHBACK: Iran releases detained US soldiers

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The White House is trying to put out an enormous fire surrounding one of its top aides
This picture released by the Iranian state-run IRIB News Agency on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, shows detention of American Navy sailors by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the Persian Gulf, Iran. Iranian state television is reporting that all 10 U.S. sailors detained by Iran after entering its territorial waters have been released. Iran's Revolutionary Guard said the sailors were released Wednesday after it was determined that their entry was not intentional. The nine men and one woman were being held at an Iranian base on Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf after being detained nearby on Tuesday.(Sepahnews via AP)
This frame grab from Tuesday, January 12, 2016 video by the Iranian state-run IRIB News Agency, shows detention of American Navy sailors by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the Persian Gulf, Iran. The 10 U.S. Navy sailors detained by Iran after their two small boats allegedly drifted into Iranian territorial waters around one of Iran's Persian Gulf islands a day earlier have been freed, the United States and Iran said Wednesday. (IRIB News Agency via AP)
This frame grab from Tuesday, January 12, 2016 video by the Iranian state-run IRIB News Agency, shows American Navy boats in custody of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the Persian Gulf, Iran. The 10 U.S. Navy sailors detained by Iran after their two small boats allegedly drifted into Iranian territorial waters around one of Iran's Persian Gulf islands a day earlier have been freed, the United States and Iran said Wednesday. (IRIB News Agency via AP)
This frame grab from Tuesday, January 12, 2016 video by the Iranian state-run IRIB News Agency, shows Iranian Revolutionary Guards sort out detained American sailors' weapons in the Persian Gulf, Iran. The 10 U.S. Navy sailors detained by Iran after their two small boats allegedly drifted into Iranian territorial waters around one of Iran's Persian Gulf islands a day earlier have been freed, the United States and Iran said Wednesday. (IRIB News Agency via AP)
This frame grab from Tuesday, January 12, 2016 video by the Iranian state-run IRIB News Agency, shows American Navy boat in custody of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the Persian Gulf, Iran. The 10 U.S. Navy sailors detained by Iran after their two small boats allegedly drifted into Iranian territorial waters around one of Iran's Persian Gulf islands a day earlier have been freed, the United States and Iran said Wednesday. (IRIB News Agency via AP)
This picture released by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, shows detained American Navy sailors in an undisclosed location in Iran. Iranian state television is reporting that all 10 U.S. sailors detained by Iran after entering its territorial waters have been released. Iran's Revolutionary Guard said the sailors were released Wednesday after it was determined that their entry was not intentional. (Sepahnews via AP)
This picture released by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, shows detained American Navy sailors in an undisclosed location in Iran. Iranian state television is reporting that all 10 U.S. sailors detained by Iran after entering its territorial waters have been released. Iran's Revolutionary Guard said the sailors were released Wednesday after it was determined that their entry was not intentional. (Sepahnews via AP)
This picture released by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, shows detained American Navy sailors in an undisclosed location in Iran. Iranian state television is reporting that all 10 U.S. sailors detained by Iran after entering its territorial waters have been released. Iran's Revolutionary Guard said the sailors were released Wednesday after it was determined that their entry was not intentional. (Sepahnews via AP)
This picture released by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, shows detained American Navy sailors in an undisclosed location in Iran. Iranian state television is reporting that all 10 U.S. sailors detained by Iran after entering its territorial waters have been released. Iran's Revolutionary Guard said the sailors were released Wednesday after it was determined that their entry was not intentional. (Sepahnews via AP)
This picture released by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, shows American Navy boats in custody of the guards in an undisclosed location in Iran. Iranian state television is reporting that all 10 U.S. sailors detained by Iran after entering its territorial waters have been released. Iran's Revolutionary Guard said the sailors were released Wednesday after it was determined that their entry was not intentional. (Sepahnews via AP)
This picture released by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, shows American Navy boats in custody of the guards in an undisclosed location in Iran. Iranian state television is reporting that all 10 U.S. sailors detained by Iran after entering its territorial waters have been released. Iran's Revolutionary Guard said the sailors were released Wednesday after it was determined that their entry was not intentional. (Sepahnews via AP)
In this Nov. 15, 2014, photo, a Riverine Command Boat from Costal Riverine Squadron (RIVRON) 2 escorts the USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) in the Persian Gulf. Iran was holding 10 U.S. Navy sailors and their two boats, similar to the one in this picture, on Jan. 12, 2016, after the boats had mechanical problems and drifted into Iranian waters. American officials have received assurances from Tehran that they will be returned safely and promptly. (LaTunya Howard/U.S. Navy via AP)
This Nov. 2, 2015, image provided by the U.S. Navy, shows Riverine Command Boat (RCB) 805 in the Persian Gulf. Iran was holding 10 U.S. Navy sailors and their two boats, similar to the one in this picture, on Jan. 12, 2016, after the boats had mechanical problems and drifted into Iranian waters. American officials have received assurances from Tehran that they will be returned safely and promptly. (Torrey W. Lee/U.S. Navy via AP)
In this Oct. 30, 2015, photo provided by the U.S. Navy, Riverine Command Boat (RCB) 805, along with its crew members, is shown transiting through rough seas during patrol operations in the Persian Gulf. Iran was holding 10 U.S. Navy sailors and their two boats, similar to the one in this picture, on Jan. 12, 2016, after the boats had mechanical problems and drifted into Iranian waters. American officials have received assurances from Tehran that they will be returned safely and promptly. (Torrey W. Lee/U.S. Navy via AP)
In this June 27, 2013, photo provided by the U.S. Navy, a Riverine Command Boat assigned to Coastal Riverine Squadron (RIVRON) 4, Task Group 56.7.4, transits open water in the Persian Gulf. (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter Lewis/U.S. Navy via AP)
This Nov. 2, 2015, image provided by the U.S. Navy, shows Riverine Command Boat (RCB) 805 in the Persian Gulf. Iran was holding 10 U.S. Navy sailors and their two boats, similar to the one in this picture, on Jan. 12, 2016, after the boats had mechanical problems and drifted into Iranian waters. American officials have received assurances from Tehran that they will be returned safely and promptly. (Torrey W. Lee/U.S. Navy via AP)
In this Feb. 23, 2013, photo provided by the U.S. Navy, sailors assigned to Riverine Squadron (RIVRON) 2 perform an âEâ stop while conducting patrol operations. Iran was holding 10 U.S. Navy sailors and their two boats, similar to the one in this picture, on Jan. 12, 2016, after the boats had mechanical problems and drifted into Iranian waters. American officials have received assurances from Tehran that they will be returned safely and promptly. (Blake Midnight/U.S. Navy via AP)
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In his daily press briefing, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that Rhodes was motivated to discuss the administration's communications strategy further because "there has been an attempt by opponents of the Iran deal to say that the effort to protect the deal was based solely on 'spin.'"

"I recognize that there is an attempt by those who either lied or got it wrong to re-litigate this fight," Earnest told reporters. But "time and time again, the critics of the deal have been wrong. I think that is an indication that our attempts to protect the agreement were rooted in fact. And that's what Ben wanted to reiterate in his piece."

Jonathan Karl, ABC's chief White House correspondent, asked Earnest if it is "the White House view that Hillary Clinton is part of the foreign policy 'blob'" Rhodes referred to in his interview, which he said was clearly meant as a "derogatory" term.

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Earnest replied that he had never heard Rhodes use the term "blob."

"I'm not even sure what that means," Earnest said.

Earnest also told reporters that Rhodes' comment about the "27-year-old" reporters was "not meant as a put-down" of the White House press corps.

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"Based on that reaction I'm confident he would say it differently if he had the chance," Earnest said.

Fox News White House correspondent Kevin Corke later confronted Earnest again about the administration's attempts to sell the Iran deal.

"Can you state categorically that no senior official in this administration has ever lied publicly about any aspect of the Iran nuclear deal?" Corke asked.

"No, Kevin," Earnest replied.

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