August 04, 2016

Wasserman Schultz defends calling Sanders' campaign manager an 'ass'

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@PatriciaMazzei

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston isn't sorry she once called Bernie Sanders' campaign manager an "ASS."

“Well, he was acting like an ass,” she told the Miami Herald editorial board Thursday.

She was defending an internal Democratic National Committee email obtained apparently by Russian hackers and published by the website WikiLeaks. The email trove forced Wasserman Schultz out of her position as DNC chairwoman just before last week's presidential convention.

Wasserman Schultz, who is running for re-election, told the Herald she and her staff expressed themselves assuming their emails would remain private. But she expressed no regret over her characterization of Jeff Weaver, Sanders' campaign manager, who at the time had suggested Sanders would extend his campaign until the convention.

“The Sanders campaign — and I give them credit for it — their strategy at that point was to make the DNC the bogeyman, and make me the bogeyman, so they could rally their supporters,” she said.

Wasserman Schultz also denied a Politico report that she asked Vice President Joe Biden for a video to play at her daughter’s bat mitzvah.

“Not true,” she said. “I really don’t think it’s appropriate for me to be responding to anonymous criticism. If people don’t have the nerve to be critical and put their name to it, then I’m not going to box nameless, faceless critics.”

Read the story here.

Photo credit: Shannon Kaestle, Miami Herald

'The buck stops with me,' Wasserman Schultz says of leaked DNC emails

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via @alextdaugherty

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston took responsibility Thursday for the leaked emails that eventually led to her resignation as Democratic National Committee chairwoman, saying "the buck stops with me."

She also denounced an email by her former party staff questioning Bernie Sanders' religious beliefs as "unacceptable" and "outrageous."

During her first local public appearance since resigning on the eve of last week's national convention, Wasserman Schultz denied the DNC was attempting to thwart Sanders' bid for president against nominee Hillary Clinton. She spoke at a briefing Thursday in Wynwood that Gov. Rick Scott, touring the neighborhood due to Zika, had with Congressional leaders.

"We followed the rules according to the DNC, primaries and caucuses were run according to state law," Wasserman Schultz said. "At the end of the day, who the DNC chair was, I could not allow to be a distraction."

The congresswoman said party staffers under her made mistakes. But she said leaked emails published by the website WikiLeaks weren't any more damaging than emails that would come out of any other private organization.

"Were there mistakes made?" Wasserman Schultz said. "Sure … but who among us in thinking about whether your private emails were stolen would survive the light of day?"

More here.

July 29, 2016

Florida delegate remains unpersuaded by Clinton: 'Hell no'

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via @learyreports

PHILADELPHIA -- Dawn Abate was willing to give Hillary Clinton a chance.

"Hillary has to figure out how she can make us believe she’s going to do any of the things she says she will do," the Florida delegate said Thursday afternoon, hours before Clinton gave her speech.

Abate, 39, of Stuart, is a hardcore Bernie Sanders supporter and had a neon yellow Sanders shirt draped across her shoulders. “It’s been a very emotional week. We’re all in mourning,” she said. “The energy here has been so unfriendly." 

But she said she would hear out Clinton, who did acknowledge what Sanders had done and addressed some of his core issues, including campaign finance and income inequality. "You've put economic and social justice issues front and center, where they belong," Clinton said. "And to all of your supporters here and around the country: I want you to know, I've heard you. Your cause is our cause."

Was Abate moved?

"Hell no," she said Friday by text message. "But I will not let Donald Trump be president either, so sadly, I have to bubble in her name."

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

In battle against Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Tim Canova hires Bernie Sanders' consultants

Tim Canova's campaign has hired three of Bernie Sanders' media consultants.

The new hires are Tad DevineMark Longabaugh, and Julian Mulvey. All three have started, said Canova's campaign manager Richard Bell. The hires were first reported by Politico. The consultants run a Washington D.C. based Democratic media consulting firm together and have represented a long list of Democratic candidates and liberal causes. Their firm was the one behind Sanders' "America" ad which the main audio features Simon and Garfunkel's America song.

Canova is battling U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Broward/Miami-Dade Congressional District 23. 

Canova's first-time race drew more attention in the past week since Wasserman Schultz stepped down as Democratic National Committee chair following the leak of more than 19,000 party emails. Those emails showed that the DNC was favoring Hillary Clinton over Sanders -- a charge that Wasserman Schultz had repeatedly denied for months. The emails also showed that DNC staffers who are not on Wasserman Schultz's campaign were tracking Canova's media coverage and appearances.

The primary in the left leaning district is Aug. 30 but voters are already starting to cast ballots by mail. So far, about 28,000 Broward Democrats in the district have requested mail in ballots. A slice of the district is also in northern Miami Dade.

July 26, 2016

Bernie Sanders crashes Florida delegation breakfast in Philadelphia

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via @learyreports

PHILADELPHIA -- Bernie Sanders made an unannounced visit to the Florida delegation breakfast, imploring Democrats to come together to defeat Donald Trump.

"Thank you very much for allowing me to barge in," he said, taking the microphone from Rep. Kathy Castor of Tampa.

"We did not do particularly well in Florida, but I want to thank all of you who were there with us. Now, whether you supported me or you supported Secretary Clinton, we all know what our task is and that is to make sure Donald Trump is not elected president."

"... This man has a unique feature that not all Republicans share by any means: He is a demagogue, a bully and somebody that does not believe in the Constitution," Sanders said, looking at revved up as he was last night.

Stunned Democrats pressed the stage at the downtown Marriott, some with tears in their eyes. "The political revolution has begun and it will continue," Sanders said before being hustled away.

"Wasn't that awesome?" Florida Democratic Chairwoman Allison Tant exclaimed.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

'The choice is not even close,' Sanders says of Clinton

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@PatriciaMazzei

PHILADELPHIA -- In a rousing speech Monday night, Democratic presidential runner-up Bernie Sanders tried to rally his political party to the progressive agenda that endeared him to millions of primary voters — while also urging the party to unite behind the woman he lost to, Hillary Clinton.

“This election is not about, and has never been about, Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump, or Bernie Sanders or any of the other candidates who sought the presidency,” he said. “This election is about — and must be about — the needs of the American people and the kind of future we create for our children and grandchildren.”

Sanders was the most anticipated speaker of the first night of the Democratic National Convention — not only because he took the microphone last, but because it came at the end of a day full of discord stirred by some of his supporters, who are still reluctant to accept Clinton’s coming nomination.

“We need leadership in this country which will improve the lives of working families, the children, the elderly, the sick and the poor. We need leadership which brings our people together and makes us stronger — not leadership which insults Latinos, Muslims, women, African Americans and veterans — and divides us up,” Sanders said. “By these measures, any objective observer will conclude that — based on her ideas and her leadership — Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States. The choice is not even close.”

Unlike his remarks to supporters earlier in the day — also attempting to smooth hard feelings — this time, on the floor of Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Arena, Sanders didn’t get booed. He did get interrupted, with chants of “We want Bernie!”

“He’s with her!” Clinton fans counter-chanted after Sanders’ speech.

More here.

Fact-checking the first night of Democratic convention

LoveTrumpsHateDNCnightoneAP

The Democratic National Convention kicked off Monday in Philadelphia, Pa., with boos and shouts from Bernie Sanders supporters disappointed in Hillary Clinton as the presumptive party nominee.

Saying "no one else is more disappointed than myself" in his second-place finish, Sanders used his primetime DNC address to emphasize unity behind the Democratic ticket and Clinton.

"By these measures, any objective observer will conclude – that based on her ideas and her leadership – Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States," Sanders said.

The convention opened after a contentious weekend following the release of nearly 20,000 emails showing party officials appearing to favor Clinton over Sanders, leading chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to announce she would resign after the convention.

Republican nominee Donald Trump got into the action from afar, tweeting that Sanders would have won the nomination had it not been for superdelegates (a False claim).

The night also heard speeches from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and First Lady Michelle Obama.

We took a look at what was said, and how it fared on the Truth-O-Meter.

Keep reading from PolitiFact.

Photo by the AP

July 25, 2016

Strife threatens to derail first night of Democratic convention

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@PatriciaMazzei

PHILADELPHIA -- Political strife threatened to turn the inaugural night of the Democratic National Convention into an uncontrollable wreck Monday, as fervent Bernie Sanders loyalists repeatedly — and loudly — resisted the impending presidential nomination of Hillary Clinton.

Masses of Sanders delegates booed every time a speaker dared mention Clinton — even during the invocation prayer — and continued after convention chairwoman Marcia Fudge, an Ohio congresswoman, used her opening remarks to beg for civility.

“I’m going to be respectful of you, and I want you to be respectful of me,” she said sternly. “We’re all Democrats, and we need to act like it.”

Sanders supporters proceeded to heckle U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland as he spoke about his father, a poor sharecropper. “Stop TPP!” they yelled, referring to the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

To make peace with Sanders’ delegates, convention organizers scheduled speeches from several Sanders backers now campaigning for Clinton. But some of the pro-Sanders delegates didn’t seem to hear the pro-Clinton message.

“This is what democracy looks like!” they chanted. Outside Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center, they protested.

This was after Sanders himself, one of Monday night’s keynote speakers, had urged his followers earlier in the day to unite behind Clinton.

“Immediately, right now, we have got to defeat Donald Trump, and we have got to elect Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine,” he said.

They booed Sanders, too. Neither his speech, nor his text message to supporters, nor his former spokeswoman’s tweeting “NO ONE STOLE THIS ELECTION!” seemed to quell the unrest.

More here.

Photo credit: John Taggart/Bloomberg

Dave Barry meets the Bernie Bros in Philadelphia

via @rayadverb

So now the Russians are involved. Yes! According to rumors circulating here — and if we can’t trust circulating rumors, what can we trust? — it was the Russians who leaked the Democratic National Committee emails, because they wanted to embarrass Hillary Clinton. The theory is that the Russians are secretly supporting Donald Trump, as evidenced by the following evidence:

▪ Ivanka” sounds kind of Russian.

▪ Vladimir Putin has been wearing a baseball cap that says “Make America Great Again.”

In an effort to end the email controversy, the DNC has ritually banished Debbie Wasserman Schultz to a Motel 6 in southern Delaware, but supporters of Bernie Sanders are still outraged. Granted, Sanders supporters are always outraged, but now they’re REALLY outraged, to the point where convention organizers have equipped the podium at the Wells Fargo Center with a Unity Water Cannon.

All of this is of course wonderful news for the 15,000 of us media people here, because we were expecting a hideously boring convention where we would be reduced to doing feature stories about cheesesteaks. Rest assured that we will do everything we can to flog this email controversy to its logical conclusion, which ideally from a journalism standpoint would be global thermonuclear war.

Don’t thank us: We’re just doing our job.

More here.

 

July 24, 2016

Debbie Wasserman Schultz's tricky role at Democratic convention

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A week before the start of the Democratic National Convention, its chairwoman, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, strolled into the arena — of the opposing party’s presidential convention.

Heads turned. What’s she doing here, mouthed incredulous Republicans at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

But Wasserman Schultz, persona non grata at the GOP, wasn’t engaging in covert political ops. She was being escorted into one of CNN’s makeshift studios to do what she does best: aggressively deliver the Democratic Party line.

“We should never let Donald Trump anywhere near the White House,” she said in another CNN appearance later in the week.

Consider it a warm-up for the Democratic convention, which begins Monday in Philadelphia and which will mark the culmination of more than a year’s work for the Weston congresswoman.

For Hillary Clinton, the presumptive presidential nominee, the convention will feel like a coronation. For Wasserman Schultz, the target of devotees of Clinton rival Bernie Sanders, it will probably feel much different. The woman tasked with holding the national party together is one of the reasons some of them feel divided.

On Friday, the WikiLeaks website published a trove of more than 19,000 Democratic National Committee emails that detail the party’s rancorous relationship with Sanders’ campaign. Last month, Wasserman Schultz acknowledged a “serious” email breach, that people knowledgeable about the incident blamed on Russian hackers.

More here.

UPDATE: CNN reports Wasserman Schultz won't deliver a convention speech -- unlike her Republican counterpart Reince Priebus last week -- "to keep the peace" among delegates in the wake of the email leak.