The chair of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), has the job of making sure everything the opposing party says or does can be used against them – in the court of public opinion.
On Wednesday, Wasserman Schultz said Republicans were trying to “spark panic and chaos” and called such moves “potentially devastating” to the economy.
The DNC chairwoman phoned POLITICO to express her views on a number of issues, citing “significant disappointment in where … Republicans have allowed this debate to degenerate.”
However, the real reason Wasserman contacted the media outlet was to express her outrage over a movie clip House Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) showed to those in attendance at Wednesday’s GOP gathering for its members.
McCarthy’s “Young Guns” candidate recruitment program was key in helping Republicans win dozens of close races against well-funded Democrat incumbents and challengers. McCarthy and his staff showed a clip from the movie “The Town,” that Republican aides later described by saying it was intended to convey the message, “we’re all in this together.”
Wasserman Schultz and other Democrats were not amused.
“They start the day with trying to incite their caucus with, essentially, violet movie clips – pushing their people to inflict pain and hurt people,” Wasserman Schultz said in her interview.
Michael Steele, press secretary for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), downplayed Wasserman Schultz’s comments in a statement to POLITICO. “Given how serious the situation is – and the situation is serious – why is she spending time complaining about Kevin McCarthy’s taste in movies?”
Wasserman Schultz had help from her house colleague as well. Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) in a joint press conference later in the day said, “The American people, as I’ve said, look on the Hall of the House as a classroom. They should expect us a members of Congress to conduct ourselves in such a way that when the school children from across the country look in on us … they can use that as an example of how we conduct ourselves as citizens across the country.”
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) jumped in on the fray by saying in a separate press conference, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your House Republican Majority,” mocking the Republicans.
Schumer also said Boehner is “struggling to rein in his caucus” and that Boehner is actually being “led by the fringe” in the party.
The House on Thursday night delayed a vote on Speaker John Boehner’s plan.