Under siege on multiple fronts and with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. at her side, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz declared Thursday she’s not afraid to stand alone on the Iran deal.
The Florida Democrat faces calls for her resignation from her perch atop the DNC from party activists who worry the relatively skimpy debate schedule could be seen tilting the scales for front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton and for her potential apostasy when it comes to supporting President Barack Obama’s Iran deal — what amounts to his signature foreign policy achievement and one backed by all of the Democrats running for president save for Jim Webb. Indeed, she can expect a torrent of calls for her to go if she defies the White House this time — even with the Iran deal already having the votes to sustain a presidential veto in the Senate. (A passel of ex-White House aides have already given such treatment to Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y. ).
Biden, in Florida to pitch the deal to Jewish people in her district, praised her lavishly as the “face of the party” and even said he worked for her.
Wasserman Schultz said she met one on one with Biden, “grilling him” at length, with Obama, the Treasury secretary, the Energy secretary, nuclear experts, economists and others and pored over every line of the agreement.
She said she would make her decision solely based on what she believed would be the best chance to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon — “not on politics, not on anything else.”
“I am not afraid to make this decision. I am never afraid to stand alone when necessary to stand on principle and to do so based on a thorough review of the facts.”
She said her vote would be the most consequential decision in her 23 years in public life.
“This is a decision not only to be made based on your head but one that will be made with my Jewish heart, and that is equally important to me.”
She called Biden a “mensch. … I think there is universal agreement about that,” and “one of us” in “everything but blood.”
She, meanwhile, shut off the mics for the question-and-answer period after Biden’s lengthy remarks and told attendees not to discuss what was said or record it to maintain the “integrity” of the process.
Correction Sept. 4, 4:52 p.m. A previous version of this article misstated the amount of Democratic presidential candidates who support the Iran Deal. One Democrat, Jim Webb, opposes the deal.