Tim Canova goes after Debbie Wasserman Schultz again on her support for Iranian nuclear deal


Seizing on an issue he believes could help him in his primary election later this month, Florida Congressional District 23 candidate Tim Canova is again attacking Debbie Wasserman Schultz for her support of the Iranian nuclear deal finalized in 2015 — and now he’s bringing up a controversial interview made by an Obama Defense Department official to further his case.

Canova previously had been equivocal about whether or not he would have supported the deal if he were serving in Congress, saying he didn’t have the information necessary to confidently make any claim. However, in the only debate of the campaign to date, Canova declared on Sunday it was “not a good deal.”

In a statement issued Monday, Canova went much further. He cited an interview that Ben Rhodes, a national security adviser for the White House, conducted with the New York Times earlier this year. The article implied Rhodes and his colleagues had misled Americans about the nuclear deal by creating an “echo chamber” of allies who promoted the administration’s talking points and emphasized a timeline that suggested negotiations began later than they really did. The article compelled congressional Republicans to demand Rhodes come before them in a committee hearing, while others called on him to be fired (he was not fired and did not testify to Congress).

Citing Wasserman Schultz’ own words that she was given “the most thorough review that any member was given access to” regarding the nuclear deal, Canova is now asking, “Was Wasserman Schultz part of the plan to sell a bad deal to the American people, or did she get duped herself?  Was she distracted by her other full-time job as head of the Democratic National Committee, or protecting that position by going along with the White House on a bad deal? Either way, Floridians deserve much more effective and reliable leadership from their elected representatives.”

Canova has touted other South Florida Democrats who opposed the Iran deal in making his case, citing Ted Deutch and Lois Frankel — both of whom are supporting Wasserman Schultz, it should be noted.

Canova has inspired progressives from around the nation to donate to his campaign in part by accusing Wasserman Schultz of being insufficiently progressive. Now he’s going to her right on the issue of Israel, in a district with a large number of Jewish voters.

“Iran is the greatest threat to Israel’s existence today,” Canova says in his statement. “The Iranian regime has pledged to destroy the Jewish state and it continues to fund and arm Hezbollah and Hamas with rockets and missiles aimed at Israel every day. That’s why it’s so troubling that Wasserman Schultz may have known the truth about the nature of the Iranian regime and continued to risk Israel’s security. She needs to explain to her constituents how she got this so wrong. Was she suckered into a bad deal? Too busy engaged in party politics? Or did she know the truth all along?”

During Sunday’s debate, Wasserman Schultz pounced on a statement on Canova’s website calling for diplomatic efforts to negotiate a “general disarmament for the entire region that includes nuclear, missile, and conventional arms reductions.”

Canova said he was not singling out Israel, the only nation in the Middle East with nuclear weapons, but was instead focusing on Saudi Arabia and Iran.

 “Tim Canova has no credibility when it comes to Israel and its security,” said Wasserman Schultz campaign spokesman Ryan Banfill. “For example, depending on the audience, he has been against, for and undecided on the Iran agreement. Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz understands the threats facing Israel from dangerous nations and terrorist organizations and is deeply committed to protecting and defending Israel.”

Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at [email protected].


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