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Florida Democrat says Paul Ryan won't play in her state

August 17, 2012|By Seema Mehta
  • Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schult, who doubts Rep. Paul Ryan will perform well in Florida.
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schult, who… (Allen Eyestone / Palm Beach…)

As newly minted GOP vice presidential candidate Paul D. Ryan prepared to campaign Saturday in Florida, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee said he was being given shelter because his event would be held in a private retirement community that is a Republican stronghold.

Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said that if Ryan appeared elsewhere in the state he would be hampered by his proposal to move Medicare toward privatization.

“He’s going to the senior mecca for Republicans, so I think he will probably have a pretty positive reception, because they’re putting him in about the safest place you could possibly put a Republican in Florida,” Wasserman Schultz said in an interview Friday. “They know Paul Ryan won’t play anywhere else .… Let him come down to Century Village. I would love to see how seniors in my district and Century Village would respond to him.”

PHOTOS: Paul Ryan's past

She said that the GOP ticket would be harmed by Ryan’s congressional votes against the embargo on Cuba, an anathema to Cuban American voters in Florida and a stance that Ryan has since repudiated. In Florida, Obama strategists said they believed Ryan’s Medicare position would provide them with a boost, while Romney backers, well aware that the position has been unpopular, were hopeful they would be able to make their case. Democrats were also working to heighten the backlash over Ryan’s opposition to the Cuban embargo.

“I think they will be a problem for him in the Cuban American community, as well they should be, because I think Cuban Americans want to make sure the candidates that are asking for their support aren’t being patronizing or taking politically expedient positions when they’re most convenient for them,” Wasserman Schultz said. “Cuban Americans expect that if you talk the talk, you walk the walk, from beginning to end, not suddenly change your mind when the politics of it changes and your former position is politically untenable.”

Wasserman Schultz made the remarks shortly before a trip to Los Angeles. On Monday, she is scheduled to hold a news conference on education with United Teachers Los Angeles and to speak at a convention of the American Postal Workers Union, who will likely vote to endorse President Obama.

seema.mehta@latimes.com

Twitter:@LATSeema

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