5 Times Debbie Wasserman Schultz Angered Her Own Party

Democratic National Committee chairwoman hasn't always said the right thing

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, right, at a news conference at the Capitol with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in April. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, right, at a news conference at the Capitol with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in April. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted May 25, 2016 at 12:49pm

Debbie Wasserman Schultz will step down as chair of the Democratic National Committee later this week. But there has long been grumbling about her leadership and whether she could restore unity after a bruising primary between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.  

Wasserman Schultz was a rising star from a swing state when President Barack Obama selected her for the chairwoman post in 2011 . Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., in a letter to supporters, said Obama picked her for her “tenacity, her strength, her fighting spirit and her ability to overcome adversity.

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Reports: Murmurs About Ousting Wasserman Schultz at DNC

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But those qualities have at times rubbed some in her party the wrong way. Here are a few of those times:

  • 2016: She limited the number of Democratic debates in the primary cycle to six, compared to 25 in 2008. The decision was seen by some as an effort to pave the way to the nomination for Hillary Clinton, whom Wasserman Schultz supported in 2008.
  • 2015: Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaignsued the Democratic National Committee after Wasserman Schultz and other party leaders blocked his campaign from accessing a DNC voter database because a Sanders staffer had accessed Clinton’s data.
  • 2014: Wasserman Schultz was widely criticized for comparing members of the Tea Party and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to wife beaters, saying Walker has, “given women the back of his hand,” and “What Republican tea party extremists like Scott Walker are doing is, they are grabbing us by the hair and pulling us back.”

She was already in hot water for criticizing the Obama administration’s policy of sending undocumented immigrant children back to their home countries a couple weeks earlier.

  • 2014: A scathing Politico report, based on interviews with Democratic Party insiders, attributed a litany of ills to Wasserman Schultz. They include alleged requests for the DNC to pay for her wardrobe; an alleged attempt to double-cross Hillary Clinton by secretly pledging her support to Obama in 2008; and allegedly complaining to Obama in 2011 about a blocked attempt to award a patronage job.
  • 2008: She raised $230 million for Clinton as co-chairwoman of Clinton’s first presidential campaign, a fact cited by detractors as evidence of her bias against Sanders.

Contact Akin at stephanieakin@rollcall.com and follow her on Twitter at @stephanieakin
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