September 05, 2014

Wasserman Schultz: 'I shouldn't have used the words' about Scott Walker

@MarcACaputo

Add one more person to the list of people who think DNC Chair and Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz went too far in bashing Scott Walker: Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Her statement:

 "I shouldn’t have used the words I used.  But that shouldn't detract from the broader point that I was making that Scott Walker’s policies have been bad for Wisconsin women, whether it's mandating ultrasounds, repealing an equal pay law, or rejecting federal funding for preventative health care, Walker's record speaks for itself.  As for the issue of domestic violence, it's unacceptable that a majority of Congressional Republicans opposed this critical legislation, of which I was a proud cosponsor, after blocking its reauthorization for more than a year.”

Blog note: Normally, we'd add her statement to the prior-posted blog but, considering the interest and outrage (phony and otherwise), it merited its own space.

FL GOP tries linking Charlie Crist to Wasserman Schultz' hair-pulling controversy

@MarcACaputo

Sharp-tongued DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz got too trenchant in Wisconsin this week when she criticized that state's governor, saying he and other conservatives gave "women the back of his hand" and "are grabbing us by the hair and pulling us back​."

Oops.

Democrats have distanced themselves from the Broward congresswoman's comments. Local papers condemned them. And Republicans are trying to make sure they're not forgotten.

Cue this Republican Party of Florida email that just dropped:

As President Obama’s top apologist, it’s no surprise that DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is all in for Obama’s favorite liberal – Charlie Crist – as one of his top surrogates.

On Wednesday, Wasserman Schultz stepped over the line with comments about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker & fellow Republican governors saying he “…has given women the back of his hand…” & “…they are grabbing us by the hair and pulling us back.” The remarks have been roundly criticized by the media, Republicans and Democrats.

Ask Charlie Crist if he condemns these offensive remarks or if he agrees with using the plight of abuse victims to score cheap political points.

But as the candidate of TALK over ACTION, it’s likely that Charlie will fail to ACT on Debbie’s offensive TALK.

September 04, 2014

In Context: Wasserman Schultz's comments about Scott Walker giving 'women the back of his hand.'

Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz made national headlines and stirred controversy when she sharply criticized Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker during an appearance in Milwaukee on Sept. 3, 2014.

The South Florida congresswoman was the featured speaker in a round-table discussion on women's issues at the Milwaukee Athletic Club. She was joined by U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, and Wisconsin Democratic Party chair Mike Tate, among others.

At one point, Wasserman Schultz said: "Scott Walker has given women the back of his hand."

She added: "What Republican tea party extremists like Scott Walker are doing is they are grabbing us by the hair and pulling us back."

Republican Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch said the remarks were "absolutely hideous and the motive behind them was despicable."

And a spokeswoman for Mary Burke, the Democrat who is challenging Walker in the Nov. 4, 2014 election, said: "That's not the type of language that Mary Burke would use, or has used, to point out the clear differences in this contest."

The controversy makes the remarks a good candidate for In Context, a periodic feature that provides a fuller look at comments that gain widespread attention. Read the report from PolitiFact Florida and PolitiFact Wisconsin.

August 21, 2014

DNC chair Wasserman Schultz bucks lame-duck Obama on deporting unaccompanied minors

@MarcACaputo

It's August, and in Washington Democratic insider circles that usually means some anonymous person from Obama World would have something nasty to say about Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Weston's congresswoman.

But the third time wasn't the charm.

And last night it looked like Wasserman Schultz was ready to put some daylight between her and President Obama over a most-sensitive topic: the unaccompanied minors who flooded the border.

Here's Politico:

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz also thinks deporting children detained at the border is sending them back to “certain death.”

The White House went apoplectic last month when likely 2016 presidential candidate Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said, “We are not a country that should turn children away and send them back to certain death.” Tuesday night, Wasserman Schultz said twice — strongly — that she thinks O’Malley was right.

“As you know, Gov. O’Malley said that to send them back would be to send them to certain death. Do you agree with him?” Fusion’s Jorge Ramos asked in an interview.

“Not only do I agree with him, but,” the Florida congresswoman said, launching into a long story about a boy she’d met during a visit to a facility in Miami who told her of being kidnapped and forced into the drug trade, and showed her a bullet wound through the back of his arm.....

“That was the first she was hearing about Martin O’Malley,” said Wasserman Schultz’s congressional office communications director Sean Bartlett. “She was reacting to Jorge’s question and thinking about the tour she had just come from.”

Putting aside the potential political calculus of courting Hispanics or firing up liberals or simply saying something heartfel, maybe it's just a coincidence that Wasserman Schultz happened to say this now.

But regardless, the lame-duckness of President Obama is looking lamer and lamer.

July 01, 2014

Fact-checking claims about Hobby Lobby

On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that certain companies with religious objections can opt out of a mandate under the Affordable Care Act to provide free contraception to their employees.

The 5-4 ruling involved a case brought by two companies owned by Christian families: Hobby Lobby, a chain of hobby stores, and Conestoga Wood Specialties, which makes wood cabinets. The companies opposed providing certain types of contraception that they believe is equivalent to inducing abortion, including morning-after pills and IUDs. (They didn’t oppose other methods of birth control.) They based their case on the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act signed by President Bill Clinton.

The issue arose because birth control is included among the free preventative services mandated by President Barack Obama’s signature 2010 health care law. Houses of worship and religious institutions were already exempt from this aspect of the law. The court’s ruling applies to "closed corporations" which are in control by a few people, rather than public companies with many shareholders.

Associate Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion, stating that women who work for these corporations can still access these types of birth control either by the federal government paying for it or through a third-party administrator.

Though the ruling was narrower in scope than it could have been, supporters of broad access to contraception expressed disappointment. One of these supporters was U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chair from South Florida. In a statement attacking the decision, Wasserman Schultz said that contraception for women isn’t just about avoiding pregnancy.

"Nearly 60 percent of women who use birth control do so for more than just family planning," she said.

We fact-checked Wasserman's claim and rated it Mostly True.

We're fact-checking a few other claims from the case and will update this story as we complete them.

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" »