Bloomberg News

DNC Leader Says Romney Is Jell-O, Republicans ‘Interchangeable’

October 15, 2011

Oct. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is like “Jell-O,” failing to take firm positions on important issues.

“Mitt Romney is pretty difficult to pin down,” Wasserman Schultz said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital With Al Hunt,” airing this weekend. “It’s sort of like trying to nail down Jell-O,” she said.

“I like my candidates to have a little bit more courage of their conviction,” she said.

The Florida congresswoman dismissed the notion that Romney would be the toughest opponent for President Barack Obama in the November 2012 general election. Obama is facing a difficult re- election effort with voters disapproving of his job performance and feeling downbeat because of the economy.

Romney and the other Republican candidates haven’t offered policies that would help create jobs, Wasserman Schultz said. All of them are “completely right wing” and are beholden to the Tea Party, making them incapable of governing, she said.

“It doesn’t much matter which of these nine Republicans is the nominee because they’re all interchangeable,” she said.

Democratic leaders and Obama’s campaign have aimed their strongest criticism at Romney. Many believe he will eventually win the Republican nomination even as voters’ preferences have shifted from candidate to candidate early in the primary season.

Bachmann, Perry

Romney was the presumed frontrunner when Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann, a Tea Party favorite, won the Iowa straw poll in August. She was quickly overtaken by Texas Governor Rick Perry who entered the race and shot up in the polls, raising $17 million in campaign contributions in just over two months.

This week, Herman Cain, the former chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza, took the lead in polls after proposing to replace the current tax system with one that taxes personal income, business income and sales all at 9 percent.

Obama’s popularity has plummeted since his election, with only 38 percent of respondents approving of his job performance, according to yesterday’s daily Gallup tracking poll.

That hasn’t shown up in the money contest. Obama and the Democratic National Committee raised $70 million in the quarter that ended Sept. 30.

Wasserman Schultz said she is confident Democrats will regain the U.S. House majority they lost last November. Democrats need to win 25 new seats, and 47 seats are held by Republicans in districts that voted for Democratic presidential candidates in the last two elections, she said.

Tea Party ‘Stranglehold’

“You have the Tea Party that has such a stranglehold on the House Republican caucus they refuse to allow anything through that would help the middle class,” she said, adding that they “haven’t done anything to create jobs in almost 11 months that they’ve been in charge. I think that they’ve gotten a test run, these Tea Party members of Congress, and they’re going to be rejected.”

Wasserman Schultz criticized Senate Republicans for refusing to allow a debate on the jobs plan proposed by the president, and said she remains hopeful that some parts of the plan will eventually be enacted.

“We are singularly focused on getting the economy moving again,” she said. “Unfortunately, they’re playing politics because they only care about one job, Barack Obama’s.”

She predicted the new trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama will help create jobs and boost the economy, and credited Obama with approving the deals that Democrats opposed in the past.

Environment, Labor

“They address environmental concerns, address labor concerns,” she said. “There’s some angst among Democrats, but I think because it will help give a shot in the arm to the economy and create jobs for Americans it’s a good thing overall.”

She also sought to minimize any differences with the president on whether the U.S. should punish China for suppressing the value of its currency.

The Senate on Oct. 11 passed a bill that would let U.S. companies seek duties on imported goods to compensate for “misaligned” currencies. Wasserman Schultz voted for a similar measure in the House in September 2010. Romney has said he will immediately label China a currency manipulator if he is elected.

Obama hasn’t taken an official position on the Senate bill, though he said this month he wants to avoid laws that “are symbolic, knowing that they’re probably not going to be upheld by the World Trade Organization.”

Wasserman Schultz said the administration’s position “is that we need to address China’s manipulation of their currency. There is no question of that.”

--Editors: Laurie Asseo, Jim Rubin.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alison Fitzgerald in Washington at afitzgerald2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net


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