In an emotional assault on the Republicans, new Democratic Party Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz today called the GOP agenda "anti-women" and "a war on women" that will backfire on Republicans in the 2012 election and provide a cushion for President Obama's re-election bid.
"It's just so hard for me to grasp how they could be so anti-women as they are," she said at a breakfast roundtable with reporters.
"The pushback and the guttural reaction from women against the Republican's agenda out of the gate, the war on women that the Republicans have been waging since they took over the House, I think is going to not only restore but possibly helps us exceed the president's margin of victory in the next election," added the popular Florida congresswoman.
The basis of her charge was the recent vote to defund Planned Parenthood and Title 10 funding for clinics that perform abortions.
That, added to the GOP's budget plan to reform Medicare and slash spending, she said, amounted to a radical agenda that will turn women off and restore the Democratic Party's grasp on their vote, lost to Republicans in the 2010 midterm elections, a blip she blamed on the bad economy and Obama not being on the ballot. [Read how Obama can run on the economy in 2012.]
"So if you look on balance at the entire record, their record is anti-women, their record is a war on women and it's a priority for them," said Wasserman Shultz.
Those issues played a part in helping the Democrats win a New York Republican House seat in a special election this week, she said. "The voters got a glimpse of what it would be like under Republican control, an extreme radical social agenda that was noting short of an assault on women." In the end, she added, "the voters have seen the preview, and they don't like it." [Read: New York special election Medicare fight enters spin mode.]
By comparison, she said, voters will be reminded in the upcoming election that Obama signed women pay equity legislation, named two women to the Supreme Court and established an office in the White House for women's issues.
The outreach to women during the campaign, she said, "will be unprecedented."
The Republican National Committee shrugged off her attack, however, in a statement to Whispers. "Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz is in a very difficult position because she has been forced to defend a president who has failed to show any leadership on the most important issues facing this nation so once again she has resorted to negative attacks," said Sean Spicer, communications director for the RNC. "The president and the Democrats have utterly failed to offer solutions that would put Americans back to work. And not only have they failed to pass a budget or attempt to control Washington spending—but, embarrassingly, the president could not get a single vote on his budget in the Senate which is controlled by his own party."
And Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said: “The truly ‘anti-woman’ organization here is Planned Parenthood and the party that continues to defend its taxpayer funding when it has raked in more than $300 million in profits over the past four years. Fifty-four percent of Americans don’t want to be coerced into contributing to an organization they don’t believe in just by paying their taxes—nor should they be.”
- Check out a slide show of the 2012 GOP primaries: Who's in and who's out.
- See editorial cartoons about the 2012 GOP field.
- See editorial cartoons on the economy.
This article was updated on 5/26/2011