Says she was misquoted and "didn't say" that the Israeli ambassador said "what the Republicans are doing is dangerous for Israel."
U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Tuesday, in an interview
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, facing criticism over a statement she made about Republicans and Israel, employed a time-honored approach to attempt to calm the fury:
Blame the media!
On Tuesday, Wasserman Schultz said she was misquoted when a Washington Examiner reporter quoted her as saying that Israel's ambassador to the U.S. told her "that what the Republicans are doing is dangerous for Israel."
"I didn't say he said that," Wasserman Schultz said on Fox News, after the ambassador in question, Michael Oren, refuted the statement.
"And unfortunately, that comment was reported by a conservative newspaper. It's not surprising that they would deliberately misquote me."
Only they didn't.
And they have the audio recording to prove it.
Examiner reporter Philip Klein captured audio of Wasserman Schultz's remarks to a group of Jewish Democrats. Wasserman Schultz's office confirmed the authenticity of the recording.
"Let me just close by telling you this and sharing this with you. We know, and I've heard no less than Ambassador Michael Oren say this, that what the Republicans are doing is dangerous for Israel," Wasserman Schultz clearly says.
"They are undermining Israel's security by suggesting that the United States and Israel don't have anything other than a unique and close and special relationship. It undermines Israel's security to its neighbors in the Arab world and to its enemies."
On Wednesday, Wasserman Schultz tried to clarify both what she said and what the Examiner wrote in an interview with the Miami Herald.
"What they put in the paper is not a surprise because they are a conservative gotcha-type publication. They ripped one line out of what I said and left the rest so it appeared as though I was saying something that I wasn't. In fact that line is the opposite of what I always say, which is, and I will say again: It is dangerous to turn Israel into a political football as the Republicans are trying to do."
Wasserman Schultz told the Herald that she spoke to Oren on Tuesday and said that the Examiner didn't report her comments in the full context. She also said that she said what she always says.
Wasserman Schultz spokesman Jonathan Beeton offered this analogy: "It would kind of be like if you and I are walking into McDonald's and you order a double Big Mac Happy Meal and I go, '... What you are doing, and I've heard no less than the surgeon general of the U.S. say this, what you are doing right now is dangerous for your health.' It doesn't mean the surgeon general said, '(Your) eating habits are dangerous for (your) health.' Instead, it would mean that the surgeon general said 'that type of behavior is dangerous for your health.' "
In fairness to Wasserman Schultz, her main point when listening to the full transcript is that Republicans have politicized the issue of Israel, and that is what's dangerous. But her comments about Oren gave the impression that he singled out Republicans for criticism.
And, of course, she was wrong to say she was misquoted. We rate her claim Pants on Fire.
Amy Sherman, PolitiFact Florida. This item has been edited for print.