The head of the Democratic National Committee said Thursday that a recent string of special election victories “really bode well” for the party’s chances in 2012.
Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, speaking to reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, pointed to Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul’s upset win in New York’s 26th congressional district this week, as well as favorable outcomes in Jacksonville’s mayoral contest and a state House district race in New Hampshire.
“All of those elections turned on the hardcore, radical, right-wing agenda that the Republicans have given us a preview of if they were to be given total control of all branches of government,” Wasserman Schultz said.
“The voters have resoundingly rejected those overtures,” the chairwoman added.
Wasserman Schultz called on Republicans to “take the signal” from the election results to sit down with Democrats and negotiate a compromise on Medicare instead of pushing forward with their proposal to convert the program into a voucher system.
“It doesn’t appear that they’re getting that message. They seem to be doubling down,” Wasserman Schultz said, noting that 40 Senate Republicans voted Wednesday in favor of the GOP proposal authored by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
The event also delved into foreign policy, with Wasserman Schultz pushing back on the characterization that President Obama’s speech last week — calling for Mideast peace negotiations to be based on 1967 borders for Israel and the Palestinian territories with mutually agreed upon swaps — had damaged his support within the Jewish community.
“To suggest that the president did significant damage to his support in the Jewish community is a gross overstatement,” Wasserman Schultz contended.
The newly-installed DNC chair also touched on presidential politics, hammering some members of the 2012 Republican field for opposing the government’s efforts to rescue domestic auto manufacturers General Motors and Chrysler.
“If it were up to the candidates on the Republican side we would be driving foreign cars. They would have let the automobile industry in America go down the tubes,” Wasserman Schultz said.