White House slams Cruz-Trump event as a 'big pro-war rally'
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The White House on Friday blasted Republican presidential candidates Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Dems add five candidates to ‘Red to Blue’ program White House notifies Russia that no new sanctions are coming: report Senators push HHS to negotiate lower prices on opioid overdose reversal drug MORE and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzNew Zealand's female prime minister 'extremely angry' at Trump comparisons Trump's NASA nominee advances after floor drama Poll: Cruz running neck and neck with Dem challenger MORE for planning a protest against the Iran deal on Capitol Hill, labeling it a “pro-war rally.”

“Senator Cruz and Donald Trump have announced they are going to hold a big pro-war rally on the steps of the United States Capitol,” press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.

The phrase is a familiar one for Earnest, who also used it to dismiss an anti-Iran deal event organized by Cruz in July.

The spokesman noted former Vice President Dick Cheney’s plan to slam the Iran deal in a speech next week.

“The same people making the same arguments against the Iran deal were the people who advocated for us getting into the war in Iraq in 2002 and 2003,” Earnest said. “The fault lines of this debate should be familiar to anybody who has been covering American politics for the past 12 or 13 years.”

Supporters and opponents of the Iran deal are ramping up lobbying efforts to sway lawmakers and the public ahead of a key congressional vote in mid-September.

The White House has sought to frame the debate as a choice between diplomacy or military force to cut off Tehran’s path to a nuclear weapon.

Opponents, such as Cruz, say the agreement doesn’t permanently prevent Iran from building a bomb. And they argue the country will use billions of dollars in sanctions relief to destabilize the region and fund terrorist groups that threaten Israel.

The Trump-Cruz event will take place on Sept. 9 on the West Front of the Capitol, giving two of the biggest names in the GOP presidential field a megaphone to attack the deal.

Cheney’s speech will take place one day earlier at the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington.

Obama has expressed confidence he will have the support he needs to prevent Congress from killing the agreement, but Earnest noted that opponents made a “very forceful” effort too.

The White House is just four votes shy of having enough votes to sustain a presidential veto of a resolution against the deal, but the White House is taking nothing for granted.

"Public commitments are much more valuable than private ones,” Earnest said of the vote count. “We’re not putting anybody in the yes column until they have issued a public statement indicating their support.”