WASHINGTON — Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz took the helm of the national Democratic party Wednesday, pledging to “work every single day” to re-elect President Barack Obama and Democrats up and down the ballot.
“We must trumpet President Obama’s agenda from the rooftops,” said Wasserman Schultz, 44, who becomes the fourth female DNC chair and the first female DNC chair to be nominated by a sitting president. “We must make sure that our friends, our neighbors, and everyone in our communities sees that President Obama and Democrats are delivering on the kind of change that is making America stronger.”
Obama called into the meeting from the White House to thank attendees for voting unanimously to put the Broward congresswoman at the top of the party.
“I am reminded of something that Michelle said: ‘If you need something important done, give it to a busy woman," Obama said to cheers from the audience. "I’m absolutely positive she is the right person for the moment, not only because she has got great strategic sense, not only because she has unbelievable energy but she embodies the core values of what we cherish as Democrats and as Americans."
Wasserman Schultz was selected as much for her legendary tenacity – she battled breast cancer in 2008 while campaigning across the country -- as her fundraising skills and passion for campaigning. She’s expected to energize a base that has been frustrated with Obama. she drew cheers from activists when she pledged to "explore every nook and cranny of this country in seeking support for the President and Democratic candidates."
Outgoing DNC chair Donna Brazile – who held the job for a month – dubbed Wasserman Schultz, “the fighter from South Florida.”
And Wasserman Schultz – whose three young children, Rebecca, Jake and Shelby led the Pledge of Allegiance -- told DNC members to expect “the toughest campaign in the history of America.” Republicans, she said, are trying to erase Democratic gains and “are going to throw everything they have at us.
“Every time they attempt to roll back these important gains, we must rise up to stop them. We must call them out,” she said. “We are going to run on our accomplishments, and we will not allow Republicans to undo or distort them.”
DNC member Stephen Bittel – one of four nominators – suggested “if there is a superwoman, it’s Debbie Wasserman Schultz.”
He said he's been the frequent recipient of her “phone calls, emails and texts at all hours of the night. She is this person who never stops thinking, never stops dreaming and never stops working to move our country forward.”
A press availability planned after the meeting was scrapped: Wasserman Schultz – who is keeping her congressional district -- had to return to the House to cast a vote on a controversial anti-abortion GOP bill.
She made it to the floor – and voted against the measure.