A veteran Democratic lawmaker voiced concern Wednesday that Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) could overextend herself by taking on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairmanship.
Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) expressed confidence that the Florida Democrat would do good work as party chairwoman, but cast doubt on her ability to juggle her responsibilities as a member of Congress and head of the party.
McDermott is one of the first Democratic officials to publicly question President Obama's selection of Wasserman Schultz as DNC chief.
The fourth-term lawmaker received statements of support Tuesday from party leaders in Congress. Democrats circulated endorsements from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) and Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver (Mo.).
"There have been a number of people who have served in elected office and chaired the DNC at the same time – and members from both sides of the aisle serve in Congress and run their party’s respective political committees with great success," said a Democratic official, who requested anonymity. "There is not a scintilla of doubt that she can perform both roles with flying colors."
Another senior Democratic strategist even took a swipe at McDermott's career in Congress.
"Jim McDermott has never served a day in leadership in Congress so he
really doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about," the strategist said.
In addition to her new duties at the DNC, Wasserman Schultz has served as a chief deputy whip in the House and as a vice chairman on the House Democrats steering and policy committee. She was in charge of the DCCC's incumbent retention efforts last cycle.
McDermott made it clear he admires the Florida congresswoman, despite his concern.
"She's a very competent, very skilled woman. She's done very well in the House," he said. "This is a lady who broke her ankle sliding into second base playing baseball ... She is a go-for-broke lady."
This story developed throughout the day. Check here for the latest.