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Politics & Government

Trump, Cruz Take The Stage At Tea Party Rally Against Iran Nuclear Deal

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We're also tracking this news. Congress is preparing to vote on the nuclear deal with Iran. We likely know the ending but we're still watching the show. It is believed that President Obama's side has enough support in the Senate to prevent Congress from blocking the agreement. House Republicans are still seeking ways to stop it, and they had support from opponents who rallied yesterday in Washington. Some say they hope, and others say they believe, the deal will be overturned. NPR's Sam Sanders was there.

(SOUNDBITE OF BAGPIPES PLAYING)

SAM SANDERS, BYLINE: It was quite the scene, bagpipes playing "God Bless America," posters and signs, larger-than-life American flags fluttering everywhere and a few people dressed up as founding fathers. Hundred came to the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. They braved 90 degree heat and high humidity. They were there to protest the Iran nuclear deal, a deal that, for all intents and purposes, seems to be a lock. Eileen B. Toomey came in from Bergen County, N.J. She said the deal was so bad for America that she couldn't live with herself if she didn't fight it.

EILEEN B. TOOMEY: They're giving billions of dollars to Iran. They're allowing them to develop nukes with no inspections. There's secret deals that even the congressmen don't know about. And it's just a bad deal all around.

SANDERS: The event was part campaign rally, part festival and part church revival. Roy Hostetter took an eight-hour trip from Ashland, Ohio to be at the rally. For him, the fight over the Iran deal is biblical. A sign he held made that clear.

ROY HOSTETTER: It says that, no deal with the devil. Iran - the devil is leading Iran.

SANDERS: When Texas Senator Ted Cruz took the podium, though, it was all politics. His remarks were aimed right at his Democratic Senate colleagues who support the deal.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TED CRUZ: If you vote to send billions of dollars to jihadists, then you bear direct responsibility for the murders carried out with the dollars you have given them.

(APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: You cannot wash your hands of that blood.

SANDERS: As he closed out his remarks, Cruz thanked the next speaker to take the podium, another presidential contender.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CRUZ: I want to thank my friend, Donald Trump, for joining us today.

SANDERS: Trump spent his time at the mic tearing into Iranian leadership.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONALD TRUMP: They rip us off. They take our money. They make us look like fools. They don't want Israel to survive.

SANDERS: And he also took great care to explain how a Trump presidency would be pretty amazing.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: It will change. We will have so much winning if I get elected that you may get bored with winning. Believe me.

SANDERS: Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin spoke too, but the stars of the show were Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, who seemed to be, at least for a few hours, not competitors but friends. It was a little odd, two men competing for the same votes, behaving like besties. It almost felt like a "Survivor"-style alliance from the reality show. You know only one person will ultimately win, but if you can partner up and get some votes before tribal council, maybe you can stay in the competition a little longer. Eileen B. Toomey is ignoring that whole reality show format. She thinks this time two people - the alliance itself - can ultimately win the entire show.

TOOMEY: They might end up being a ticket if things work out the right way.

SANDERS: Cruz-Trump 2016 or Trump-Cruz 2016, she didn't say. Sam Sanders, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.