Hallandale Beach, Fla. (CBS TAMPA) — Democratic Party Chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, said on Sunday that the 2014 midterm elections are “absolutely not” a referendum on President Barack Obama’s policies, adding that Democrats have an advantage over the Tea Party “extremists” running as Republicans.
Speaking with NBC News, the Florida Democrat said that she isn’t concerned by the distance that some vulnerable Senate Democrats are putting between themselves and Obama’s signature health care act and Keystone XL pipeline indecision.
“[T]hese elections, particularly the Senate elections, are referendums on the candidates running,” she told NBC News. “They have to talk about and focus on the issues that are important to their constituents. And what’s also true is, if you look at the success rate and the track record of these incumbent members — Mark Pryor, Mary Landrieu, Mark Begich — they are all ahead of any of their Republican opponents.”
She said these vulnerable Democrats are simply going to “run their own race.”
“That’s Legislation 101,” she added. “I mean, that is how we have handled laws and their evolution throughout American history. The president is right, and Jeanne Shaheen is right,” referencing the New Hampshire Democrat who has read a statement criticizing the Affordable Care Act.
But Wasserman-Schultz pointed to the successes of the health law, particularly the 8 million people who have signed up through the Obamacare exchanges, and are no longer denied coverage.
She said the midterm elections are to the Democrats’ advantage, noting that the party “ran circles around the Republicans in 2012 and in 2008.”
In addition, Wasserman-Schultz said the Republican Party is “mired in a civil war” and that the “Tea Party has won.”
“You have the Republican Party who is strangled by the Tea Party. They are weighed down by Republican primaries in which the Tea Party candidates are the likely winners,” she told NBC News. “And we have countless elections now that Democrats have won because the Republicans have nominated extremists that their voters reject. And that’s the advantage we will have going into this election.”
“And these Republicans are mired in a civil war where the tea party has won, and they are consistently nominating the most extremist candidates. And we’re on offense in states as well, so you’ve got Georgia and Kentucky and even Mississippi where we have a very good chance to pick up both seats.”