Dem Congresswoman: McCain VP pick shows 'colossally bad judgment'
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) spoke by phone to NBC's Andrea Mitchell on Friday morning about Senator John McCain's selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.
Wasserman Schultz was a strong backer of Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries and is known for her interest in women's issues. She told Mitchell, "If John McCain thinks that he can substitute Sarah Palin for Hillary Clinton in the minds of Hillary Clinton supporters he's sadly mistaken. I know Hillary Clinton, and Sarah Palin is no Hillary Clinton."
"She's been governor of Alaska for eighteen months, and before that she was the mayor of a town of 8,000 people," Wasserman Schultz continued. "She's already under investigation by her state's legislature. ... They voted to spend $100,000 on an investigation, because she is accused of firing a state commissioner who refused to fire her sister's husband. ... This is not the kind of change that we need."
Mitchell pointed out that there may have been "some family abuse" on the part of Palin's sister's husband and that "she might have been protecting a victim who needed help" in firing the commissioner.
Mitchell then asked, "What about the pull of gender politics? Will there be a ... large number of women -- independents, Republicans, people who you all wanted to bring into the Democratic tent -- in suburban towns and cities around this country, who will like the idea of a woman on the ticket?"
"Women in this country don't want a candidate on the ballot just because of the parts that she has," Wasserman Schultz replied. "They want a woman candidate running for president or vice president because they support equal work for equal pay, they support a woman's right to make her own reproductive choices, they support access to children's health care, they want to make sure that we improve the quality of public education. Sarah Palin is against all of those things. So it's not just electing a woman for the sake of getting a woman in there."
Mitchell then quoted from the official McCain campaign announcement, which calls Palin a "tough executive [who's] ready to be president ... has a record of delivering on change and reform [and] has challenged the insolence of the big oil companies while fighting for new energy sources."
"Sarah Palin is inexperienced, unethical and wrong on all the issues that Americans care about," Wasserman Schultz replied. "Do we have the confidence that if, God forbid, something happens to John McCain that Sarah Palin is going to know what to do and is going to have her hands on the tiller of American foreign policy? What makes her ready to be commander in chief? This is just an example of colossally bad judgment on the part of John McCain."
"The other thing ... that's important to note," concluded Wasserman Schultz, "is there has been a culture of corruption hanging over the state of Alaska. ... Senator Ted Stevens, Congressman Don Young, Governor Sarah Palin, they are all cut from the same cloth. The last place we need to pull an elected official who wants to be vice president is the state of Alaska right now. They need to clean up their act."
This video is from MSNBC's News Live, broadcast August 29, 2008.