The White House has won the backing of Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz for the Iran deal — avoiding what would have been an awkward split at the top of the party.
The Florida congresswoman released a lengthy statement to the Miami Herald Sunday morning outlining her support, which she told a Jewish audience with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. last week would be made with "my Jewish heart" after weeks of meetings with top administration officials including President Barack Obama as well as opponents of the deal. Wasserman Schultz's support won't affect the outcome in Congress; Obama already has more than enough votes in the Senate to successfully block an attempt to kill it. But if she had chosen another path, she could have expected a turbocharged effort to remove her from her DNC post from liberal interest groups and White House allies who had already targeted Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York, the heir apparent to succeed Harry Reid, D-Nev. It could have complicated her future ambitions to succeed Iran deal backer Nancy Pelosi of California as the House Democratic leader.
It also would have pitted her against the leading Democratic presidential candidates at a time when she is already under fire over the debate schedule; former Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia is the only one opposing the Iran deal.
She said she concluded a better deal was no longer possible because other countries would no longer stand fast with the United States on sanctions — ensuring Iran would have access to billions of dollars without an inspections regime and other restrictions included in the deal.
"I was not able to make sense out of the argument that with access to additional resources, we should leave Iran without a deal, unguarded and unchecked," she wrote.
She also said that arguments on the Iran deal had sometimes amounted to "thinly veiled and sometimes blatant tropes of anti-Semitism."
She said Jews opposing the deal had been wrongly attacked as having dual loyalties. And she said supporters had been accused of abandoning Israel and their faith.
"Some of that hateful rhetoric has already been hurled my way, and I’m sure more is to come, though nothing could be further from the truth," she said.
No. 2 House Democrat Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, meanwhile, still hasn't announced a position. One of his best friends, Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland, has opposed the deal. Related: Debbie Wasserman Schultz 'Not Afraid to Stand Alone' on Iran Deal Five House Democrats to Watch on Iran Deal See photos, follies, HOH Hits and Misses and more at Roll Call's new video site. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.