TAMPA, Fla. -- Republicans are "desperate to appease the Tea Party," Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz said, hours before GOP candidates were due to appear in a debate co-sponsored by the Tea Party Express.
"Tonight, I think we are likely to hear the Republican candidates for president continue to worship at the altar of the Tea Party," Wasserman-Schultz told reporters here. Viewers "won't find a candidate on stage tonight with a plan to do anything but return to the policies that we're all so familiar with and that got us into this mess in the first place."
Republicans "would shred the safety net" of Social Security and Medicare, Wasserman-Schultz said in her press conference at the Florida State Fairgrounds. "At least [Texas Gov.] Rick Perry was honest about his hostility toward Social Security, calling it a 'Ponzi scheme.'… But Mitt Romney was not straightforward about his support for privatizing Social Security, a scheme that would be as dangerous to the future of the program as Rick Perry's attitude and rhetoric."
The DNC chairwoman said Romney's "hypocrisy in galling" in his attacks on Perry over Social Security. "Romney would gamble with our Social Security in the stock market, a scheme that would devastate Social Security and leave seniors twisting in the wind."
She also promoted the president's recently proposed $400 billion "jobs plan," promising that it "won't add a dime to the deficit, while slamming the GOP as beholden to extremists.
"Each of the Republican candidates in this race is desperate to appease the Tea Party," said Wasserman-Schultz, who represents a South Florida district in Congress. "They've rubber-stamped an ideologically driven agenda to end Medicare as we know it, erode Social Security, weaken middle-class security and eliminate millions of jobs."
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