MIAMI ( – It’s not often that both sides of the aisle in Washington enjoy the performance of a party chairman, but that’s currently the case with the Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz of South Florida.

Democrats believe she is growing into her role and is galvanizing rank-and-file Democrats and the party’s liberal base. Republicans have been happy to highlight mistakes by Wasserman-Schultz and see her as a gaffe-prone attack dog.

President Barack Obama selected Wasserman-Schultz to head the Democratic National Committee and at a recent fundraiser in Miami, gave her a vote of confidence.

“You want Debbie on your side,” Obama told the audience. “She’s a mom, she’s got that cute smile and all that, but she is tough. Don’t mess with Debbie.”

Republicans have seized on Wasserman-Schultz saying the GOP wants to return to Jim Crow-era laws with voter identification and immigration laws. She walked backed the remarks, but the GOP also criticized her for what Republicans saw as a mis-characterization of their plan to turn Medicare into a voucher system.

Republicans say that overall, Wasserman-Schultz is in over her head and struggling to make the change from being an individual member of Congress to being the Democratic Party spokeswoman.

“We’re in an intense 2012 cycle, and the glare and the pressure will only get tougher,” said Kevin Madden, a Republican consultant and adviser to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. “It’s fair to say she’s had a rocky start.”

But Democrats counter that Wasserman-Schultz is excelling at many jobs, including growing the party base.

Democrats say she has given President Obama a powerful spokeswoman in the swing state of Florida, provides a block against Republican criticism of Obama’s Israel policy, and has become an effective fundraiser including bringing Bill and Hillary Clinton into the mix raising money for Obama.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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