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Debbie Wasserman Schultz says GOP has gone too far in responses to Paris terrorist attacks

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Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz is accusing Marco Rubio and other Republicans of descending to the bottom of the barrel in their partisan responses to the Paris terrorist attacks.

“This weekend our three Democratic candidates for president held a substantive conversation about keeping our country safe that remained serious and demonstrated respect for voters,” Wasserman Schultz said, referring to the Democratic presidential debate broadcast live on CBS on Saturday night from Des Moines.

“In sharp contrast, Republican candidates for president have spent the days since the terror attack in Paris launching ugly, partisan attacks and using the tragedy for political gain. The presidential candidates of the Party that tried to rename ‘French fries’ as ‘freedom fries’ is now trying to make political hay out of the deaths of innocents.”

Among her accusations is that Rubio used the Paris attacks to raise campaign funds.

The source for that charge is a tweet that Rubio issued out on Sunday evening.

By clicking on the link, the reader then goes to Rubio’s website, where there is a picture of him talking to voters with the headline, “We won’t be able to take more refugees.” Below that is a link to Rubio’s appearance on ABC’s This Week on Sunday discussing the situation in Paris. The reader would then to scroll down towards the bottom of the page before seeing a box that reads, “Spread our positive message: Donate today.”

Wasserman Schultz also criticized Rubio’s comment made on This Week, where host George Stephanopolous began the interview on Sunday by showing a clip of Hillary Clinton telling moderator John Dickerson at Saturday night’s Democratic presidential debate that she preferred the term “jihadists”as opposed to “Islamic terrorists.”

“I don’t understand it,” Rubio responded on ABC. “That would be like saying that we weren’t at war with the Nazis, because we were afraid to offend some Germans who may have been members of the Nazi Party, but weren’t violent themselves.”

He went on to say that, “Of course all Muslims are not members of violent jihadist groups,” adding that there is a “global, jihadist movement around the world.”

The DNC Chair didn’t see it that way.

“It is outrageous to suggest a peaceful world religion with 1.6 billion members is akin to a political party whose leaders and members were bent on the destruction of Jews and other innocent people,” Wasserman Schultz said. “Muslims have been the biggest victims of ISIS and other jihadist terrorist organizations, and a failure to recognize the role Muslims play here at home and around the world to defeat violent extremist terrorist organizations shows Marco Rubio just doesn’t get it and isn’t ready to be president. That kind of rhetoric makes forming the necessary coalition we need to defeat ISIS even harder.”

Wasserman Schultz also quoted comments made in recent days by Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Carly Fiorina and Jeb Bush as being insensitive.

The line that Bush used that offends the DNC? His statement calling for screening refugees fleeing Syria based on religion, saying, “I think our focus ought to be on the Christians.”

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Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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