June 13, 2014

For second time this month, South Florida politicians drop in on Iowa politics

@CAdamsMcClatchy

For the second time in two weeks, a lawmaker from South Florida is dipping a toe into Iowa politics.

On June 2, it was U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican and potential 2016 presidential candidate, who dropped in to give an assist to state Sen. Joni Ernst in her bid to win the GOP primary for an open U.S. Senate seat. Turns out Ernst probably didn’t need the help, going on the next day to cruise to an unexpectedly easy win in the five-person field (she pulled 56 percent of the vote despite being massively outspent by one of her competitors).

Ernst now faces U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, a Democrat from the northeast part of the state; early polls have her ahead.

On tap Friday is a visit from one of Braley’s House colleagues, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat from Weston who doubles as the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

For Iowa Republicans, this is a significant weekend, with a state party convention set for Saturday in Des Moines and three possible presidential candidates scheduled to appear (Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania).

According to The Des Moines Register, Wasserman Schultz is on hand to “counterbalance all that conservative speechifying” and that she will stress that the GOP has been taken over by the tea party.

Senate candidate Ernst has already attempted to counter that counterbalance; her campaign says Wasserman Schultz is an ideal spokeswoman for “Beltway Bruce Braley,” who they are working to portray as out-of-touch with Iowans.

March 03, 2014

Wasserman Schultz: Obama ‘looking’ at Venezuela sanctions, should act on immigration

@MarcACaputo

President Barack Obama’s administration is considering imposing sanctions on Venezuelan officials culpable in that nation’s repression and who travel to and hold bank accounts in the United States, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Monday.

“There should be sanctions on individuals. ... The administration is looking at those,” said Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chairwoman, citing an unnamed “high-level” state department official she spoke with earlier in the morning.

A measure to impose individual sanctions on Venezuelan apparatchiks was introduced last week in the U.S. Senate by Republican Marco Rubio and co-sponsored by Florida’s other senator, Democrat Bill Nelson.

Wasserman Schultz said she’s also speaking to the administration about Obama taking executive action to clear up the immigration status of some Venezuelans in the United States.

Continue reading "Wasserman Schultz: Obama ‘looking’ at Venezuela sanctions, should act on immigration" »

February 05, 2014

Congressional Democrats blast Rick Scott for turning back on Medicaid expansion

@tbtia

Gov. Rick Scott made national headlines and disappointed his tea party base last year when he expressed support for using federal Medicaid expansion dollars to help uninsured Floridians get coverage. He supported the plan created by Senate Republicans to use the $51 billion in federal funding, but it was blocked by House Republicans at the end of the 2013 session.

At the time, Democrats criticized Scott for not doing more to back the Senate plan. Since then, it's gotten even worse with the governor refusing to say flat out whether he still supports Medicaid expansion and returning to old talking points criticizing the federal health care overhaul.

Recently, Scott's 2014-2015 budget proposal was silent on the Medicaid expansion issue although there are bills filed in the House and Senate to ressurrect last year's failed plan.

The governor's refusal to address Medicaid expansion has angered congressional Democrats who wrote a letter to express "extreme disappointment" that the subject was not discussed during his budget presentation last week.

"Governor, last year you said your conscience wouldn't allow you to stand in the way of an expansion," they wrote. "We hope your conscience now will compel you to at least ask legislators to find a way to get this done."

The letter is signed by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and U.S. representatives Kathy Castor, Patrick Murphy, Joe Garcia, Corrine Brown, Alan Grayson, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Ted Deutch, Alcee Hastings, Frederica Wilson and Lois Frankel.

Click here to download the letter from congressional Democrats to Scott on Medicaid expansion.

January 28, 2014

Course correction? AIPAC comes to Debbie Wasserman Schultz's aid over Iran sanctions

As an Iran sanctions measure appears to die, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is now actively working to bolster U.S. Rep. and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Behind the scenes, Wasserman Schultz was said to oppose the sanctions bill, which was backed by AIPAC and some Democrats but was strongly opposed by the White House. Wasserman Schultz refused to talk about it in detail with us recently (column here).

Huffington Post:

[I]n a Jan. 24 letter obtained Monday by the Washington Free Beacon, AIPAC’s Southeastern states director, Mark Kleinman, issued a strong defense of Wasserman Schultz. The letter also claims the HuffPost story was "inaccurate," but doesn't say why.

“Friends, I wanted to forward a statement issued by AIPAC national board member Ike Fisher after the Huffington Post released an inaccurate article regarding AIPAC and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz,” Kleinman wrote in the letter, before feeding into Fisher's comment: “Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz has a strong record of support for the U.S.-Israel relationship,” read Fisher’s statement. “She is a good friend of Israel and a close friend of AIPAC, and we look forward to our continued work together for many years to come.”

More here

January 19, 2014

Debbie Wasserman Schultz wants to talk NJ bridge scandal, not Iran issue splitting Dems

@MarcACaputo

Debbie Wasserman Schultz trashed New Jersey’s “scandal plagued” governor for hiding out from the press as he fundraised for Gov. Rick Scott in Florida.

“Chris Christie,” the Democratic National Committee chairwoman said Saturday, “doesn’t want to be answering any uncomfortable questions.”

The same, however, is true for Wasserman Schultz.

The Weston congresswoman doesn’t want to respond to any uncomfortable questions about a Democratic revolt over President Obama’s nuclear-disarmament talks with Iran.

Continue reading "Debbie Wasserman Schultz wants to talk NJ bridge scandal, not Iran issue splitting Dems" »

January 18, 2014

As Chris Christie hides in FL, Debbie Wasserman Schultz trashes him in two major media markets

@MarcACaputo

BeTIFSDIAAA3INkNew Jersey Gov. Chris Christie hasn’t had a winning media day ever since news erupted early last week that a senior staffer and an ally clearly conspired to shut down traffic on a bridge in an apparent act of political retribution.

Saturday was another public-relations loser for Christie, a 2016 GOP White House hopeful, who hid from the press when he flew into Florida for a series of closed-press hush-hush fundraisers for Florida Gov. Rick Scott, one of whose own donors called the secrecy "stupid.” (NOTE: Picture at left courtesty of WFOR/CBS4)

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz happily filled the void, holding two press conferences in Orlando and then in her congressional district in Dania Beach where she addressed at least seven broadcast TV cameras and even more reporters. 

“It’s a little bizarre that Rick Scott would bring the chair of the Republican Governors Association -- something that arguably he should be proud of in a normal situation -- and not brag about it, not show him off, not spend some time in front of the cameras, take some photo-ops and take some questions,” she said.

Continue reading "As Chris Christie hides in FL, Debbie Wasserman Schultz trashes him in two major media markets" »

January 10, 2014

Conservative Israel group to air TV ads bashing Debbie Wasserman Schultz over Iran sanctions

@MarcACaputo

The Emergency Committee for Israel, a longtime critic of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is targeting the Weston Representative in a TV ad that accuses her of trying to block an Iran sanctions bill.

It's not clear if she is (we're awaiting comment).

Update: Wasserman Schultz's spokeswoman, Mara Sloan, said the claim isn't true: “Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been a strong supporter of sanctions against Iran and will continue to be. She has cosponsored and voted for the additional sanctions bill that has already passed the house. Currently, there is not a resolution on sanctions offered in the House. As soon as one is filed, she will review the language, as she does with any legislation and decide whether it helps to ensure that Iran will never have a nuclear weapon.” 

The conservative Washington Free Beacon, which leveled the charge three days ago, quoted anonymous Democrats advancing the claim and reported that Wasserman Schultz's office wouldn't comment.

Regardless, starting Sunday, the committee plans to air the ad that just happens to feature a fellow Jewish Democrat as a counterpoint, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer. The size of the buy is unclear, but the committee says it'll air on all the Sunday news shows and be visible enough to cable viewers who watch sports in South Florida.

The text of the ad:

“Why is Debbie Wasserman Schultz trying to block a bipartisan Iran-sanctions bill? Pro-Israel Democrats support new sanctions.

“[Voice/image of Chuck Schumer, D-NY]: ‘Democrats and Republicans believe the best way to avoid war and get Iran to give up nuclear weapons is by ratcheting up sanctions, not by reducing them.’

“She says she’s pro-Israel. She says she’s tough on Iran. Then why is she against bipartisan Iran sanctions? Call Debbie Wasserman Schultz and tell her: ‘Stand with Israel and stop standing in the way of Iran sanctions’”

October 27, 2013

Wasserman Schultz: Obamacare's working, Rubio's delay plan is "baloney"

@MarcACaputo

ImageIt’s tough to find an Obamacare success story.

But one of them– Plantation resident Carolyn Newman – found her local congresswoman, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who's touting her case to pushback against Republican criticisms that the Affordable Care Act is a failure because of the problems plaguing its website.

“Obamacare is working,” Wasserman Schultz told reporters Saturday. “It’s working, and when we get the website kinks ironed out, we’re going to make that everybody has access to quality affordable care.”

A 50-year-old cancer survivor, Newman got a letter from insurer Florida Blue that informed her Sept. 26 that it was she cancelling her high-risk plan.

But then came the good news, she said: The plan they were offering had more benefits and a significantly lower monthly premium cost, $640.82 – 49 percent less than she pays now.

“I think I’m going to frame that letter,” Newman told The Herald in a recent interview.

Continue reading "Wasserman Schultz: Obamacare's working, Rubio's delay plan is "baloney" " »

October 08, 2013

DNC targets shutdown 'architect' Marco Rubio in robo calls

@MarcACaputo

The Democratic National Committee is robo-calling voters in Florida to remind them of Republican Sen. Marco Rubio's support of tying budget talks to defunding, degrading or delaying Obamacare, which has led to a partial government shutdown. Other Republicans are targeted in other states.

Rubio's fellow South Floridian, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, issued a press release noting that poll after poll shows Republicans, who precipitated the shutdown, are generally more vulnerable than Democrats. But Democrats have helped prolong the shutdown by refusing to negotiate with the GOP.

Who should give what (if anything) probably depends on your political persuasion, though Quinnipiac University's poll last week showed a majority of Americans want generic "compromise."

Rubio prefers the term "slowdown" to shutdown, as we noted recently when a passenger on his DC-bound plane relayed to us the concerns that some shared with the senator. Technical note: as a member of the minority in the Senate, Rubio's no vote on the Democratic senate's budget bills has less effect on the shutdown than the votes of the Republican House.

Here's the robo script:

Continue reading "DNC targets shutdown 'architect' Marco Rubio in robo calls" »

September 08, 2013

Want straight answers on Syria? That's classified

@MarcACaputo

The Obama Administration, in media-marketing parlance, is trying to “sell” a war.

But the American public and its caveat-emptor Congress aren’t buying.

The administration’s so-called product — a bombing campaign in Syria — has a series of non-disclosure clauses bound up with an implicit government promise: “trust us.”

Continue reading "Want straight answers on Syria? That's classified" »