Tags: 2014 Midterm Elections | Exclusive Interviews | Steve Malzberg Show | Reince Priebus | Debbie Wasserman Schultz | Florida | Jolly

Priebus Chides Wasserman Schultz for Downplaying GOP Fla. Win

By Bill Hoffmann   |   Wednesday, 12 Mar 2014 04:48 PM

David Jolly's stunning victory in a Florida congressional race is a big win for the Republican Party, and Democratic National Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz's pooh-poohing of it is "goofy," Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus says.

On Tuesday, well-known Democrat Alex Sink was defeated by first-time GOP candidate David Jolly in a special election — a defeat seen as a backlash against the Affordable Care Act. But Schultz said the win "fell short" despite millions of dollars in contributions by Republican special-interest groups.

"It's such a goofy thing to say when you just lost the race that almost everyone on MSNBC and CNN were predicting you were going to win and you lost it," Priebus told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

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"It was a big night for us. There is no way you can – you can't turn that thing any other way. It was a good night, a good way to start the 2014 midterms," Priebus said Wednesday.

"And it should give some encouragement to people out there that with a better ground game and good data and a good message, which is obviously that Obamacare is a disaster, is something that most people agree with us on, and we're going to win a lot."

Priebus said Jolly's dramatic win is particularly impressive considering the substantial political help Sink had.

"You had a candidate, Alex Sink, who ran statewide, raised a ton of money, had a bunch of friends in town, including the Clintons . . . and a lot of other outside money," he said.

"Quite frankly, I have to say the Democrats [were] viewing and talking pretty cocky the last week and a half about this race. They were already chalking it up as a win, and 'lo and behold, David Jolly did a great job, the Florida GOP, and everyone in between.

"The fact is, people don't want and don't like Obamacare, and that's far more powerful than the money that the Democrats poured in. That should tell you something."

Priebus says President Barack Obama's continual tweaks of the Affordable Care Act are doing more harm than good to Americans' psyches — and will help the GOP.

"They are prolonging this cloud of uncertainty over a lot of people in their lives," he said.
"You're going to have a choice on the ballot . . . between the person that's going to clear that cloud from your life, or you're going to go with the person that defended the fact that this cloud is over your head.

"The choice is still there . . . and they can't take it away, not with a president as stubborn as Barack Obama, because he is not willing to delay the whole thing or scrap it or start over. He is too stubborn. It's what he is all about, and people are rejecting it everywhere across the country."

Despite what Democrats hope, the disaster of the ACA is not going away,  Priebus said.

"We're going to tattoo this on the foreheads of these Democrats, and we're going to run against them all over the country, and you know what? We're running in red states all through the U.S. Senate race, and the president's popularity is totally upside down, far worse than it was in 2012 when he lost almost all . . . those red states," he said.

"But he's losing them by even more now, and it's just going to make it even better for us to win the U.S. Senate."

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