Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Wasserman Schultz brings her Democratic 'war room' to the RNC

TAMPA — There are not-so-goodie bags in Debbie Wasserman Schultz's "war room" a few blocks from the Tampa Bay Times Forum, this week's GOP stronghold.

Call them the Democratic National Committee chair­woman's anti-party favors.

Inside each bag are water bottles and tchotchkes adorned with Mitt Romney's face, the word "Wrong" and related nay-saying. Outside this just-say-boo enclave on Tampa Street is parked a moving billboard with the same message: "Romney Economics — Wrong for the Middle Class."

Wasserman Schultz is a lot of things — one of President Barack Obama's brassiest mouthpieces, proud Jewish mom and wife — but subtle is not one of them. Of course, that's a bonus when your main job this week is to rabble-rouse. She's a party pooper, and proud of it.

You could even call her the best-dressed protester in town.

Looking tan and typically go-go-go, with her "emphasized curls" (her words) photo-op-ready, the 45-year-old U.S. representative for Florida's 20th Congressional District showed off the war room to fans, friends and supporters at a shindig Saturday.

When asked what will be more fun — being a beacon of hope at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., starting Sept. 4 or being a giant fly in the ointment in Tampa — Wasserman Schultz said this about being here during the RNC: "There's a lot at stake in this election. We can't afford to take a step back."

When asked that same question again, her polite smile broke into a wide one: "I love every bit of it. … It's going to be crazy, but I wouldn't have it any other way."

Wasserman Schultz's "counter-conventioning" will be shortened by the threat of Tropical Storm Isaac; a Sunday news conference was scratched so she could fly home to Broward County. But she'll be back in Tampa Bay on Wednesday — and look out.

War room guest and former U.S. Rep. Jim Davis, one of Tampa's own, said of his host: "What's the winning formula in politics these days? Being yourself. She just shows up and she's herself. I don't know what it is about her, but she always goes full-throttle."

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, another Democrat who is watching her own back yard invaded by the Other Guys, thanked Wasserman Schultz on Sunday for opening "an oasis away from the wind, rain and … policies that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are espousing."

Wasserman Schultz followed that with a dig at Romney "reinventing himself" on the RNC's big stage: "They might as well put the biggest Etch a Sketch behind that podium."

There was no one to fight back. No one to rebut. Not in here. No one dwelled on Wasserman Schultz's Thursday spat with CNN's Anderson Cooper, who took her to task for misquoting the Los Angeles Times in a DNC fundraising email. No one nudged her about her possible dreams of becoming the next governor of Florida.

Instead, in the calm before the storm (and the storm), people ate fancy-looking pizza. And laughed. And, for the most part, small-talked. For Wasserman Schultz it was a time to mingle. After all, she said, "I don't think I'll get invited to too many parties this week."

Sean Daly can be reached at Follow @seandalypoplife on Twitter.

Wasserman Schultz brings her Democratic 'war room' to the RNC 08/26/12 [Last modified: Sunday, August 26, 2012 8:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trigaux: How Moffitt Cancer's M2Gen startup won $75 million from Hearst


    TAMPA — A Moffitt Cancer Center spin-off that's building a massive genetic data base of individual patient cancer information just caught the attention of a deep-pocketed health care investor.

    Richard P. Malloch is the president of Hearst Business Media, which is announcing a $75 million investment in M2Gen, the for-profit cancer informatics unit spun off by Tampa's Moffitt Cancer Center. Malloch's job is to find innovative investments for the Hearst family fortune. A substantial amount has been invested in health care, financial and the transportation and logistics industries.
  2. A boat lays on its side off the shore of Sainte-Anne on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, early Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, after the passing of Hurricane Maria. [Dominique Chomereau-Lamotte | Associated Press]
  3. 7.1 magnitude quake kills at least 149, collapses buildings in Mexico


    MEXICO CITY — A magnitude 7.1 earthquake stunned central Mexico on Tuesday, killing at least 149 people as buildings collapsed in plumes of dust. Thousands fled into the streets in panic, and many stayed to help rescue those trapped.

    A woman is lifted on a stretcher from of a building that collapsed during an earthquake in Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. [Rebecca Blackwell | Associated Press]
  4. FHP seeks semitrailer truck driver that left fiery wreck on I-75


    TAMPA — The Florida Highway Patrol is looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an Interstate 75 crash that left another car burning on Tuesday afternoon.

    Troopers were looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an accident scene on Interstate 75 in Tampa on Tuesday afternoon that caused a car to catch fire. [Courtesy of Florida Highway Patrol]
  5. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the standing ovation from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute seemed proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.