GOP Takes the Bait: Debbie Wasserman Schultz Insists All Dems Will Run on Obamacare
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Republicans are looking to make political hay out of the comment on Tuesday night by U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), that Democratic candidates will be defending President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law in 2014.
Debating Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus on CNN’s “Crossfire” on Tuesday, Wasserman Schultz doubled down on her support of the law.
Pressed by Priebus on which Democratic U.S. senator in a close race in 2014 will campaign on the law, Wasserman Schultz said all her party’s candidates would back it.
“The question that’s on the table right now is, which person that’s running as a Democrat in these targeted states -- who?” Priebus asked.
“All of our candidates,” Wasserman Schultz insisted. “All of our candidates are able to run on the provisions of Obamacare.”
“But you won’t say it,” Priebus said.
“I just said it,” Wasserman Schultz fired back.
“OK, so they’re going to run on Obamacare?” Priebus asked.
“All of our candidates will be able to use Obamacare as an advantage,” Wasserman Schultz insisted. “Because, you know what? When a woman comes up to me who’s dealing with breast cancer and she’s told me that under the old system she had to choose between the radiation or the chemo because she couldn’t afford the co-pay or deductible on both, you’re darn right that our party brought that peace of mind.”
Priebus welcomed her comments and pointed to three states where Republicans hope to flip Senate seats currently held by Democrats. “Have you seen the polling in Montana, in South Dakota, in Arkansas on Obamacare?” Priebus asked. “I mean, it’s unbelievable ... I’m happy you’re going to run on Obamacare.”
Republicans quickly moved to pounce after Wasserman Schultz’s comments.
On Wednesday, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) hit former state CFO Alex Sink, who is the Democratic candidate in a special election for the congressional seat left open by the death of U.S. Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla. The NRCC looked to tie Sink to the law and brought up Wasserman Schultz’s comments.
“Thanks to her liberal friends in Washington, Alex Sink is now forced to run on her support of Obamacare which has already caused 300,000 Floridians to be kicked off their health care plans,” Katie Prill, a spokeswoman for the NRCC, said on Wednesday. “While Sink is in Washington, D.C., today collecting campaign cash from the liberal creators of Obamacare, maybe she can get some of the DNC chairwoman’s magical talking points which will help her explain her support of this dysfunctional law.”
This was not the only time this week Republicans looked to bring up Wasserman Schultz while hitting Democratic candidates in Florida on health care. The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) ripped into former Gov. Charlie Crist on Tuesday, insisting he was following advice offered by Wasserman Schultz in defending Obama’s health-care law. After spending most of his political career as a Republican, Crist left the GOP to run for the U.S. Senate with no party affiliation in 2010 and joined the Democrats in 2012. Crist is now running for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.
"Charlie Crist and Washington Democrats like Debbie Wasserman Schultz are truly out of touch with Floridians if they think that Obamacare can be used to gain political advantage,” Lenny Curry, the chairman of the RPOF, said on Tuesday. “Floridians are experiencing the pain of losing their health insurance plans, losing the doctors they like and seeing their costs go up. We can't afford Obamacare and Floridians can't afford Charlie Crist and his Democratic buddies in Washington."
A poll released on Tuesday shows voters across the nation believe Obama’s law is flawed. A poll of likely voters from Rasmussen Reports finds 50 percent of those surveyed believe the law should be repealed, and Congress and the White House should start over. An additional third of those surveyed -- 31 percent -- want Congress and Obama to make piecemeal changes to the law. Only 16 percent want to keep the law intact as it currently is.
The poll of 1,000 likely voters was taken on Dec. 1 and had a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.