Democratic Party Chair Says Clinton Will Get Primary Challenger
Hillary Clinton may be the only Democrat officially in the race for the White House, but the head of her party doesn't expect it to stay that way long.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, who doubles as chair of the Democratic National Committee, is so convinced that there will be a contested primary for the presidential nomination that she has has begun planning for "a series of sanctioned debates that we expect our presidential candidates will participate in," she told C-SPAN's Newsmakers program on Friday. Referring to Bloomberg's poll showing that Democrats want a challenge to Clinton, Wasserman Schultz said, "I expect that voters who believe we should have a Democratic primary will get their wish."
Wasserman Schultz said she has been talking about the planned debate series with both official candidates (so far, there's only one) and potential entrants. She mentioned Vice President Joe Biden, former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, former Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, former Senator (and Governor) Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and Senator Bernie Sanders—although she noted that Sanders, a Vermont independent, would have to change parties to qualify for a Democratic primary.
Interviewed from New Hampshire, where she was observing and offering tart commentary on a two-day conference featuring GOP presidential hopefuls ("a clown car," is how Wasserman Schultz described the gathering), the congresswoman was especially critical of her fellow Floridian Jeb Bush. Noting that she had served in her state's legislature for six of the eight years of Bush's governorship, Wasserman Schultz called him "inflexible" and "unreasonable."
"He had absolutely no interest in working with anyone who didn't share his opinion," she said of Bush, who is having difficulty convincing some conservatives in his own party that he's rigidly ideological enough.