AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And NPR's Sam Sanders is at that rally on the Capitol that Mara just talked about. He joins me now. Hey there, Sam.
SAM SANDERS, BYLINE: Hey, Audie.
CORNISH: So tell us. What's the scene like out there?
SANDERS: Well first and foremost, it is very, very hot. It's been in the 90s all afternoon, high humidity. There were a good number of people out here today who were about as far back on the West line as they possibly could be away from the action because that's where the shade trees were.
But in spite of the heat, it was a very lively scene. There were bagpipes playing "God Bless America," all types of posters and costumes. There was a man dressed up as a Marvel superhero who ran through the crowd over and over again with a gigantic - maybe 15-foot tall U.S. flag. The folks here were excited, and that just speaks to the level of energy that Ted Cruz and Trump can generate.
And that excitement kind of made you forget for a second that this Iran deal is pretty much a done deal. The president has locked up the votes he needs in the Senate to make sure this deal survives. But even so, I spoke to one woman - Becky Hostetter from Ashland, Ohio - and she told me that it's not too late to change that.
BECKY HOSTETTER: God does miracles. Even though it doesn't look good, we still got to do this. We still got to do this, and God can honor it. But it's all in his plan. There's always a chance when you got God (laughter) - yeah, a miracle.
SANDERS: And that was a sentiment of a lot of people there in the crowd. They still think this Iran deal can be overturned.
CORNISH: And we heard a little bit from Mara on what the event headliners had to say. But what else struck you about Trump's speech or their reception from the crowd?
SANDERS: So this event, for sure, was long. The MC announced, at the beginning of this rally which began at 1 p.m., that there were about 50 speakers scheduled to take the podium. And because that list was so big, the organizers would use music to play folks off the mic if they had to, and they had to several times. But the stars of the show - Trump and Cruz - did not disappoint. Trump bashed Obama. He bashed Congress with some very simple, incendiary language.
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DONALD TRUMP: We are led by very, very stupid people.
SANDERS: Trump also said that if he becomes president, America will start to win again. He said that we'll win so much, in fact, that we, quote, "get bored of winning."
CORNISH: And Sam, what else did Ted Cruz have to say?
SANDERS: Cruz also said that those who support the Iran deal will have blood on their hands, and he asked some senators who support the measure how they could even look American soldiers in the eyes. He said that one day soon, Barack Obama will not be president and that the country's next commander in chief should be dead set on killing the Iran deal.
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TED CRUZ: Any commander in chief worthy of defending this nation should be prepared to stand up on January 20, 2017 and rip to shreds this catastrophic deal.
CORNISH: Sam, what should we make of the fact that Trump and Cruz are doing this event together?
SANDERS: Well, it's a win-win for both of them. Ted Cruz knows that doing anything with Donald Trump will get him more attention, and for Trump, this event here at the Capitol makes him look more presidential. But Audie, some of the folks that I spoke with today are actually expecting a Trump-Cruz ticket. So for them, this is just a start of what could be a very long partnership.
CORNISH: That's NPR's Sam Sanders at the Capitol. Sam, thanks so much.
SANDERS: Thanks, Audie.
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