Obama ‘Effective Messenger, Period:’ DNC Chair

Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD), rear, exit the Democratic National Committee and Obama for America Gotta Vote Bus in the Little Havana neighborhood on Oct. 25, 2012 in Miami.

Photograph by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD), rear, exit the Democratic National Committee and Obama for America Gotta Vote Bus in the Little Havana neighborhood on Oct. 25, 2012 in Miami.

For all the political bruising that President Barack Obama has taken — his job approval hovering just above 40 percent in opinion polls — his party will be calling on him to campaign for congressional candidates in the fall midterm elections.

“President Obama is an effective messenger — period,” says Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chairwoman. “I do expect President Obama to be out campaigning in the fall.”

Asked at a Bloomberg Government breakfast in Washington this morning if the president, suffering a slump in national polling, is good for anything other than the frequent party fundraising that he is headlining across the country, Wasserman Schultz said, yes, “The president is not only relevant because he has a phone and a pen, but because he has the bully pulpit, because he has the executive authority to be able to take action that moves us forward.”

The president will be forced to make more use of that pen as well, the congresswoman from South Florida said, as  the Republican-run House has been overtaken by a Tea Party minority that prevents House Speaker John Boehner from accomplishing anything. Now that “the specter of impeachment has been raised,” she said — despite the speaker’s protestations that the House has no plans to impeach the president — the Tea Party” tail is wagging the dog.”

The fight between the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Tea Party-backed candidates in Republican primaries is a measure of the party’s problems, she said — suggesting that the Chamber does not speak for the general business community, but rather for the biggest corporations looking for tax breaks. “The chamber’s involvement,” she said, “is emblematic of the civil war that still rages within the Republican Party.”

“We now serve in the do-nothing-est of do-nothing Congresses,” she said.

If the House were to take up the Senate-passed immigration bill, she said, it would pass. And, while “the best solution is a legislative solution,” she said, “rather than doing nothing… I believe the president should do, within the parameters of his executive powers, what he can do” about immigration.

Asked about the political ramifications for the parties in any course taken on immigration, she maintained, “I just don’t look at this issue through a political lens.” She is more concerned about the economic and humanitarian issues, she said. “If you do the right thing, the politics takes care of itself.”

In the fall elections, she said, the Democrats have “an opportunity to knock off the minority leader” of the Senate, with Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky facing a close race back home. They have a chance to win a Senate seat in Georgia, where Michelle Nunn, daughter of a former senator, faces businessman David Perdue in November.

“We will pick up seats in the House — we will hold the Senate,” she asserted.

As she travels around the country talking to people, Wasserman Schultz said, “One of the key things that I consistently hear, they just want to know who’s got their back.” In Washington, she said, “what they see is a very stark contrast” — Democrats talking about helping the middle class, and Republicans ”in the House Rules Committee doing what? Approving a resolution to sue the president for doing his job.”

“`When they ask themselves that consequential question, `Who’s got my back?’ they’ll (realize) that Democrats have their backs.”

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