Wasserman Schultz: Romney Moves onto South Carolina as ‘Wounded Candidate’

By Melanie Arter | January 11, 2012 | 2:35 PM EST

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D.-Fla.)

(CNSNews.com) Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said Wednesday that GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney’s support has eroded recently because of a demonstrated “disconnect” with middle class Americans.

“While we saw Mitt Romney ultimately come out on top, he now moves onto South Carolina, I think, as a wounded candidate,” said Wasserman Schultz, speaking at the “Politics and Eggs” breakfast in New Hampshire, hosted by the New England Council and the New Hampshire Institute of Politics.

“Over the course of the last few months, Mitt Romney has been regularly trending toward 45 percent support among Republican voters here in New Hampshire. At one point, he enjoyed a nearly 30 percent lead over the rest of the Republican field, and yesterday’s primary couldn’t have happened soon enough for him, because his support in the state was rapidly eroding,” she said.

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“As I watched it erode, it seemed to me that the more people got to know Mitt Romney, the less they liked him,” Wasserman Schultz added.

“Now his margin of victory last night fell short of meeting expectations, especially when you consider the fact that Mitt Romney is a part time resident of New Hampshire and that he raised a family and served as governor of Massachusetts right next door. Add to it that he’s really been running for president here for the last seven years,” the DNC chair said.

She said that Romney had not been having a “very good week” prior to the New Hampshire primary, because he “wounded himself in a few different episodes that left” voters wondering whether he understood the needs, concerns, and worries of the middle class.

“Just a few days ago during a campaign event, Mitt Romney attempted to relate to struggling Granite staters by making the claim that he once feared getting a pink slip. Now for New Hampshire voters and voters across the country, not only does this statement ring untrue, but it suggested a disconnection with middle class Americans,”

she said.

Wasserman Schultz said that Americans were “rubbed the wrong way by Mitt Romney’s comment on Monday that he enjoys being able to fire people.”

“I mean, no matter what context you listen to that remark in, when an employment relationship ends, it’s never enjoyable. It’s never something that’s fun. It’s always, or at least it should be – if you have some sensitivity – uncomfortable, whether it was warranted or not. So, I think that just really was another example of the disconnect between Mitt Romney and just average working folks,” she added.

Wasserman Schultz also took Romney to task for his claim that he created 100,000 jobs during his time at Bain Capital, a venture capital investing firm.

She said that claim has been discredited by GOP candidates and independent fact-checkers, who agreed that “he didn’t create jobs as a corporate buyout specialist at Bain Capital – he made a profit at any cost by outsourcing jobs, closing plants and bankrupting companies, and deliberately bankrupting companies in order to make a profit.”

Wasserman Schultz said both incidents demonstrate that Romney has “an out-of-touch attitude and an insensitivity” to the challenges that working-class and middle-class Americans face. She credited this to Romney’s drop in the polls among New Hampshire voters.

“Now what has even worse repercussions for Romney is the fact that he leaves New Hampshire, essentially a weakened candidate with the central rationale for his candidacy unraveling before our eyes,” she added.