December 24, 2015

AP: Gyrocopter protester to challenge DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz

WASHINGTON — A Florida man who landed a gyrocopter on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol as a political protest says he will run for the congressional seat held by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

Douglas Hughes, a Democrat from Ruskin, Florida, said earlier this month that he intended to run for Congress but only indicated he would challenge a South Florida Democrat. In a court filing Wednesday, he says he will run in Florida's 23rd District, which Wasserman Schultz represents.

Hughes was arrested April 15 after flying through restricted airspace over and around the Capitol. He agreed to plead guilty to a felony and will be sentenced next year. His lawyers argue that the conviction does not make him ineligible to run for Congress.

December 18, 2015

How South Florida members of Congress voted on budget deal


The U.S. House and Senate passed a $1.1 trillion spending and tax-cut package Friday, called the "omnibus" bill. All of South Florida's House members, Republican and Democratic, voted for it. So did Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. Republican Sen. Marco Rubio missed the vote -- he's campaigning for president in Iowa. He nevertheless issued a statement against it.

The Florida Republican House members voting no: Curt Clawson, Ron DeSantis, Jeff Miller, Bill Posey, Dan Webster and Ted Yoho.

Here's a compilation about what some of the lawmakers had to say:

Continue reading "How South Florida members of Congress voted on budget deal" »

December 11, 2015

Debbie Wasserman Schultz gets a Pants on Fire for her claim that Marco Rubio called for Muslim internment

Democrats are trying to link Donald Trump’s incendiary statements about Muslims to comments by other Republicans in the presidential race.

Democratic National Committee chairwoman and South Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz bashed several GOP candidates, most notably fellow Floridian U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, in a Dec. 9 interview on CNN.

"It's not just Donald Trump that has said that Muslims are unacceptable for admission to this country," said Wasserman Schultz, highlighting comments about refugees by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie before turning to Rubio.

"Marco Rubio after the Paris attacks said not only that we should be considering internment, he actually suggested that maybe we should close down cafes and diners where Muslims gather, and in fact, compared them to the Nazi party," Wasserman Schultz said.

Did Rubio actually say those things about Muslims?

Our research shows Wasserman Schultz distorted Rubio’s recent TV interviews. We will explain each portion of her statement and why it creates an inaccurate picture of Rubio’s comments.

Keep reading from PolitiFact Florida.

November 23, 2015

'Debbie Wasserman Schultz' makes another Saturday Night Live appearance


Saturday Night Live's Kate McKinnon played U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz again this weekend, this time weighing in to the satire show's parody of Fox & Friends on Syrian refugees.

"I'm from Florida," she says. "We're full of refugees. We have Cubans escaping communism. We got Guatemalans escaping drug cartels. And we got old people escaping winter."

("That's a Wasserman Schultz original," she adds. And pumps her fist victoriously into the air.)

McKinnon's Wasserman Schultz also refers to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio as a "grown-up Elián González." 

November 19, 2015

2 Florida Democrats vote for Syrian refugee crackdown

via @learyreports

Ignoring a veto threat from the president, the House today easily approved a bill calling for a halt to accepting Syrian refugees until more stringent safeguards are in place.

The vote on the American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act of 2015 was 289-137. Two Florida Democrats joined Republicans: Gwen Graham and Patrick Murphy. (All told, 47 Democrats voted for the legislation.) Graham and Murphy have long taken votes that protect them from criticism from the right, and Graham is facing a tough re-election while Murphy seeks the U.S. Senate. Murphy's rival Alan Grayson issued a statement blasting the vote as "cowering in fear of widows and orphans."

All Florida Republicans voted for the bill.

Continue reading "2 Florida Democrats vote for Syrian refugee crackdown" »

November 02, 2015

Donald Trump: Debbie Wasserman Schultz is 'crazy'

via @LightmanDavid

WASHINGTON -- Debbie Wasserman Schultz is “crazy,” “highly neurotic,” and a “terrible person,” Donald Trump said Monday of the Democratic National Committee’s chair.

Speaking to Brietbart News Daily, the real estate mogul and Republican presidential candidate was discussing how a possible reshaping of his party’s presidential debates.

He contrasted the effort with the Democrats’ debates. “You have this crazy Wasserman Schultz, Debra Wasserman Schultz,” he said. “who’s in there -- highly neurotic woman. This is a woman that is a terrible person.”

Democrats fired back.

"The Republican front-runner's misogynistic attacks are sadly representative of the GOP's outdated approach to women and the issues that affect them and their families,” said DNC spokeswoman Kaylie Hanson.

“Whether it's trying to get between them and their doctor, opposing equal pay for equal work, or using offensive language, the Republican Party is wrong for women."

Trump recalled how he watched Wasserman Schultz on television, and “in all fairness, she negotiated a great deal for Hillary because they gave Hillary all softballs.”

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, debated four rivals last month. Another debate is scheduled November 14 in Des Moines.

Trump noted how Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont “totally destroyed his campaign” when he urged a stop to discussion about Clinton’s emails while Secretary of State.

“His audiences have gone,” Trump said. ‘’And you know I have by far the biggest audiences, even before. But his audiences are gone now. When he gave up that email thing, he said, ‘Here, Hillary.’

“And you know,” Trump added, “that was orchestrated by the Democratic Party.”

--DAVID LIGHTMAN, McClatchy Washington Bureau

October 30, 2015

McCaskill, Kobuchar and Senate candidates highlight Florida Democrats' Orlando line-up


Florida Democrats are gathering in Orlando this weekend for their annual convention, aiming to energize their base -- and Floridian voters -- into making the Sunshine State a bluer shade of purple after the 2016 elections.

There's a lot on the line next year, with Florida once again being a swing state in the presidential race and with the victor of Florida's open U.S. Senate race potentially deciding which party will control the chamber in 2017. The Florida Democratic Party is emphasizing those stakes with the convention's theme, "Florida's Future."

The convention line-up includes prominent Democrats from Florida and around the country, including Minnesota U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who's scheduled to speak Saturday morning and is acting as a surrogate for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign since the former Secretary of State won't be in attendance.

The gathering kicks off today and runs through Sunday at Disney's Yacht & Beach Club convention center.

Saturday night, the two congressmen seeking to be the party's nominee in the race to replace Marco Rubio and join Bill Nelson in the U.S. Senate -- U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, of Jupiter, and U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, of Orlando -- will get their chance to address the party faithful. Murphy also has scheduled a Saturday afternoon press conference to make "an important announcement" with some yet-to-be-named special guests.

Other prominent Democrats attending this weekend include: Democratic National Committee Chairwoman and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy, U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham of Tallahassee, state legislative leaders and several mayors -- including Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam.

Panels and seminars will also be held on topics such as LGBT equality issues, education, and the minimum wage.

October 14, 2015

Lively debate doesn't sway Debbie Wasserman Schultz on schedule


LAS VEGAS -- Democrats debated for the first time Tuesday, and they seemed pretty darned pleased about it.

"Look how glad we are, actually talking about the issues!" former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said from the debate stage at the Wynn Las Vegas. 

He looked straight out in the audience at U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, the Democratic National Committee chairwoman. O'Malley has lambasted the party for limiting the total debates to six, and his public relationship with Wasserman Schultz is, at best, frosty.

Wasserman Schultz smiled.

O'Malley had suggested the schedule was "rigged" to benefit former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. But she came out so strong Tuesday some Democrats wondered whether Clinton needed any protection.

Wasserman Schultz remained unmoved.

"There's five more debates coming," she said afterward in the debate spin room.

The candidates, she added, "were enthusiastic about the debates -- and that's good, they should be. So was the audience."

As for that smile at O'Malley (and the TV cameras)?

"I'm just a smiley kind of person," she said. "I'm full of smiles. This was a great debate."

October 13, 2015

Debbie Wasserman Schultz under fire in Las Vegas over Democratic debate schedule, rules



LAS VEGAS -- U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston traveled to Nevada as the Democratic National Committee chairwoman to bask in the glow of her party's first presidential debate. But she got caught up in an intra-party tiff over Democrats' debate rules.

A DNC vice-chairwoman, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, said Monday the party rescinded her debate invitation after she spoke out about rules limiting the number of debates and punishing candidates if they agree to participate in unsanctioned events. Hillary Clinton's challengers have complained limiting the number of debates to six benefits the well-known former secretary of state.

Tuesday morning, Wasserman Schultz told MSNBC and CNN that Gabbard's version of events wasn't true.

"That's simply not the case," Wasserman Schultz said on MSNBC.

"She's welcome to come here?" interviewer Andrea Mitchell asked her. 

"The congresswoman was asked to focus on our candidates on the issues that are important to Americans to draw a contrast with the Republicans -- " Wasserman Schultz continued.

Mitchell: "But she says there should be more than six debates."

"We are a big-tent party and welcome those opinions," Wasserman Schultz insisted. "But this debate and every debate going forward is about the issues. She is continuing to focus on process, which she's entitled to do, but we asked her if she could focus on those issues and she chose not to come because I guess she can't."

A clearly irritated Wasserman Schultz then told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that the issue was "silly."

"This is so ridiculous," she said. "This is my point: We need to focus on our candidates. It's not about her or me or anyone else."

Later, when Wasserman Schultz appeared before reporters at a "roundtable" discussion with a firefighter, a nurse and an undocumented immigrant, she refused to answer more questions on the matter.

Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate minority leader, told reporters, "I am satisfied with six debates." ("I didn't think the congresswoman from Hawaii is running for president," he added dryly.)

Gabbard, meanwhile, was offered a debate ticket by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, one of the candidates who will be on the stage. She told CNN she turned it down.

October 12, 2015