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President Obama is dipping into his past political successes to promote his biggest pending diplomatic accomplishment. In a speech Wednesday at American University, Obama will argue that the same people who supported the now-unpopular invasion of Iraq in 2003 are trying hardest to sink the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, including the U.S. Obama's early opposition to the Iraq War helped propel him to the White House.
Obama is framing the looming vote in Congress on the nuclear deal as the most consequential foreign policy decision since the Iraq War, but he will also draw parallels between the Iran pact and nuclear treaties Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan negotiated and signed with the Soviet Union.
The speech is the public face of a big push to shore up support among congressional Democrats, in the face of near-unanimous Republican opposition and a $40 million campaign to sink the deal led by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Three on-the-fence Democrats — Sens. Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Tim Kaine (Va.), and Ben Nelson (Fla.) — formally backed the Iran pact this week, while three others — Reps. Steve Israel (N.Y.), Nita Lowey (N.Y.), and Ted Deutch (Fla.) announced their opposition.
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Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), who is leaning toward supporting the accord, tells USA Today that Obama's lobbying is "appropriate and needed.... God knows there are plenty of people pushing on the other side who have never read the agreement, don’t understand the agreement, who are pushing very hard to make sure it’s deep-sixed." Obama needs enough Democrats to sustain a potential veto.
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