NEW YORK (AP) — Pennsylvania's Democratic U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz said Friday that she wouldn't cut ties with a centrist think thank that criticized high-profile Democrats last week.
Schwartz, a candidate for Pennsylvania governor, said she would remain on the advisory board for the organization, Third Way, despite an "unnecessarily harsh and divisive" attack on liberal favorites Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio.
"I'm staying on the advisory board for now," Schwartz said in an interview with The Associated Press, her first public comments on the issue. "I'm not advising them on their op-ed writing, obviously, otherwise I would have said no to that op-ed."
Third Way leaders penned an opinion article for the Wall Street Journal that described Warren's plans to expand Social Security benefits and delay Medicare reforms as part of a "we-can-have-it-all fantasy." Prominent liberal groups immediately called on Schwartz and other Democratic officials who serve on its advisory board to end their affiliations with it.
The conflict reflects Warren's growing popularity among liberals as they work to shape the national debate over the social safety net. Social Security and Medicare, while popular, are major drivers for the nation's debt.
The debate also carries political risks for Schwartz as she wades into a crowded Democratic primary for Pennsylvania governor. Republican incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett is seen as vulnerable in the 2014 contest, and several prominent Democrats are lining up for the chance to challenge him.
Schwartz has been critical of Republicans' plans to reshape Medicare and reform Social Security but acknowledged Friday "there's work to be done to make sure that it remains strong."
She refused to offer any details when asked if she would rule out all entitlement cuts, except to say, "I'm not ruling everything in."
"What I will not do," she said, "is to hurt beneficiaries."