Wasserman Schultz and local Dems rip Romney on eve of caucuses

With Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum all in Colorado Monday to campaign in advance of Tuesday’s caucuses, Democrats brought in a big gun of their own. National Democratic Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Florida, participated in conference calls with reporters on Friday and again on Monday.

On both calls, she said that Romney “… has shown time and again on the campaign trail, he has no core values, he’ll say anything to get elected.”

A screenshot of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-FLA, on Meet the Press (Pic via msnbc.msn.com)

She was speaking specifically about his position on the DREAM Act, which he opposes–sometimes more vociferously than others. What Romney won’t do, she said, is answer questions from the public. Romney, somewhat famously, stopped taking questions from the public at his events nearly a month ago.

“He’s out of touch with working and middle-class Coloradans. Romney says that he was a job creator at Bain Capital – when in fact he was a corporate raider who lined his pockets by leading companies to bankruptcy, outsourcing jobs and destroying communities,” she said.

“… He is out of touch with working and middle-class Americans who just expect that if they work hard and play by the rules that they have a shot at the American Dream. His extreme positions are wrong for Coloradans – and they know it,” she said.

“When it comes to restoring our economic security, the contrast between President Obama and Mitt Romney could not be clearer. Just look at the January jobs report, showing that under the President’s policies, the economy has added private sector jobs for the 23rd straight month for a total of 3.7 million jobs over that period. Furthermore, the American auto industry and the more than 1.4 million jobs it supports were saved, and manufacturing is creating jobs for the first time since the 1990s.”

She said Romney opposed the government stepping in to help the auto industry. “He would have let Detroit go bankrupt,” she said.

Colorado Democratic Party Chair Rick Palacio also spoke on the calls.

“We should remember that Mitt Romney and his fellow Republicans didn’t lift a finger in the efforts to help our economy recover. His political chameleon act will change colors once again to try to ignore whatever isn’t convenient right at that moment. The same is true for Mitt Romney’s record in dealing with our Latino communities. Hispanic voters are the fastest-growing voter bloc in the country, and Colorado is a leading example of this, as we saw our Hispanic population grow by 41% in the past decade. But with his extreme rhetoric on immigration during televised debates rejecting our history as a nation of immigrants, Mitt Romney has alienated millions of Hispanic voters across the country.”

Commerce City City Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Dominick Moreno was on the Friday call, and he was not happy with what he sees as Romney’s lack of interest in the problems of working people. Romney, himself, noted recently that he was not concerned with the very poor.

“As a local representative, I’m in tune with what’s happening neighborhood by neighborhood, block by block. Colorado has the ninth highest rate of foreclosures in the country,” he said. “Mitt Romney’s approach to the housing crisis is a failed one, and the contrast with President Obama could not be clearer. Following through on the commitment he made during his State of the Union address, the President has sent Congress a broad refinancing plan that would let responsible homeowners save hundreds of dollars a month and an average of $3,000 per year. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney hasn’t offered a single proposal to lend a hand to America’s struggling homeowners, make it easier for them to refinance their homes or help them avoid foreclosure. Instead, earlier this week we saw him double down on the outrageous statement he made late last year: that we should let the housing market hit rock bottom. Let it hit bottom – let homeowners lose their homes and let the banks make a quick buck from the wreckage of middle class families.”

Echoing the theme of a recent Washington Post poll, Wasserman Schultz said, “The more voters learn about Mitt Romney, the less they like him.”

Colorado State Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, said on the Monday call that the first duty of elected officials is to work to further the interests of the middle class and working people. “Mitt Romney has nothing to offer regular Coloradans,” she said.

“As a state legislator, I spend my time focused on the tangible things I can do for the communities I represent and the state I serve,” Fields said. “It’s the most basic thing every public official should look to do.

“If Mitt Romney is going to come to our communities and our schools to campaign, he ought to come with a plan for helping working families and students access the opportunities they need to succeed.

“And to add insult to injury, he won’t let voters ask him about how his business experience comes from buying and bankrupting American companies as a corporate raider. Romney bought companies across the country, making millions in the short term as he closed factories and slashed pensions and worker benefits. Then he maximized returns by firing workers and shipping their jobs overseas before plunging the companies into bankruptcy.

“These aren’t the job creation values that Colorado believes in. We believe in hard work paying off and rewarding responsibility, not recklessness. Mitt Romney would have us vote for the opposite,” Fields said.

Fields hammered Romney on Pell Grants, which he says he would reduce.

“Not only does Mitt Romney offer no real plans for Colorado’s students and families, he would undo the progress that we’ve made. While President Obama expanded Pell Grants to make college more affordable, Romney would cut them in half. How are students supposed to afford rising tuition with half as much help?”

Pell Grants were also on the mind of Lori Budziak, a 50-year-old single parent from Arapahoe County.

“If Mitt Romney were president, I would have no hope for the future,” she said. She talked about struggling with unemployment and health issues and said repealing healthcare reform would be disastrous for people with preexisting conditions.

“My 29-year-old daughter is a mother of two girls, almost 1 and 5 years old. My daughter works full time and goes to school. She can afford it because she’s received a full Pell Grant, which covers her tuition and book costs as she prepares to get her B.A. in nursing. If Mitt Romney were president, would he have done what President Obama did by extending access to Pell Grants to 3 million more students like my daughter? As the mother of someone who’s getting an education and preparing herself for a good career because of public funding, it sounds to me like Mitt Romney would rather give a leg up to Wall Street and the wealthy instead of America’s students.

“I’m currently unemployed, and I’ve been on unemployment for about 15 months. Those unemployment benefits are keeping a roof over my head, keeping my car payment checks in the mail and allowing me to look after my two grandchildren while my daughter works and goes to school full-time. If Mitt Romney were president, come last December people like me would have lost their unemployment benefits in droves. As a person who’s unemployed, it sounds to me like Mitt Romney doesn’t believe me when I say I want to work and that I’m looking for work every day.

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003, and I’ve been in and out of jobs since the recession hit in 2008. When I had a job briefly, I was enrolled in my employer’s group plan. But the insurer wouldn’t pay for my cancer-related care – which at this point is aimed at keeping the cancer from returning – because they said it was a preexisting condition. Because of health care reform, I’ll never again be denied coverage because I had breast cancer. But Mitt Romney wants to repeal the President’s health plan and leave me exposed. If Mitt Romney were president, he would let insurance companies deny me coverage and leave me scrambling to pay for medical care. As a breast cancer survivor, it sounds to me like Mitt Romney doesn’t care about keeping me healthy or out of medical bankruptcy.”

The Romney campaign did not return a call seeking comment.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.