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Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is new DNC chair

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Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the new chairman of the Democratic National Committee Chair. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File) Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz will succeed former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine as chair of the Democratic National Committee, a move aimed at putting a proven television presence and able fundraiser from a swing state atop the organization heading into 2012.

“In selecting Debbie to lead our party, President Obama noted her tenacity, her strength, her fighting spirit, and her ability to overcome adversity. President Obama expressed great admiration for her as a leader, and he was honored that she accepted this important challenge on behalf of the Democratic Party,” Vice President Joe Biden wrote in an email to supporters informing them of the move.

Wasserman Schultz is the first female chair of the DNC since Debra DeLee in the mid 1990s. She is expected to remain in her House seat as she serves as chair.

Obama himself offered the job to Wasserman Schultz just before 5 pm eastern time today, according to a Democratic source. Obama 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina conducted interviews of several of the potential chairs and spoke with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi over the weekend to solicit their recommendations.

Wasserman Schultz and former Ohio governor Ted Strickland had long been consider the two frontrunners for the job.

In choosing Wasserman Schultz to replace Kaine, who is running for the Senate in Virginia in 2012, President Obama is installing a gifted communicator and fundraiser who also happens to hail from the swing state of Florida.

First elected in 2004 to a Fort Lauderdale-area district, Wasserman Schultz has rapidly risen up the House Democratic leadership ranks thanks to her tenacity as a fundraiser. She was under consideration to be the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee this cycle, but New York Rep. Steve Israel won the nod instead.

Of the Wasserman Schultz appointment, Israel said: “Debbie is passionate and a tireless advocate for Democrats and a role model for women.”

Wasserman Schultz is also a close friend of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who was shot in an attempted assasination attempt in January. She helped organize a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser to collect cash for Giffords on March 15.

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