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Forward 50 2012

Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Her position as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee has brought Florida congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz plenty of attention, some for better and some for worse. She was in the national spotlight chairing the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte and took center stage at one of the convention’s most moving moments, when she accompanied her friend, former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, to the stage.

As a leading member of President Obama’s re-election team, Wasserman Schultz split her time between rallying the party and fending off Republican attacks. But even the home front wasn’t easy for her, as leaks from the campaign blamed her for being too aggressive and not an effective surrogate for the president. Wasserman Schultz brushed off such claims, stating that adopting a softer approach wasn’t part of the DNC chair’s job description.

A key speaker on behalf of Obama on all issues relating to the Jewish community, Wasserman Schultz became a prime target for Jewish Republicans, who accused her of misleading voters and covering up Obama’s record on Israel.

But Wasserman Schultz, 46, who battled breast cancer while working her way up the party ladder, does not seem daunted by the criticism her highly visible position attracts.

The congresswoman has said that her job in this election year was to help “push President Obama across the finish line.” It is this role that will now shape, to a great extent, the future of her political career.

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