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MSNBC - Transcript

Interview

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MSNBC - Transcript

MS. MITCHELL: Straight talk on the economy. John McCain says his administration would crack down on Wall Street and CEOs who survive financial collapse while American workers suffer.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ) (From video.): I'll give you some straight talk, my friends. The top of our economy is broken. We've seen self-interest, greed, irresponsibility and corruption undermine the hard work of the American people. It's time to set things right and I promise to get the job done as your president.

MS. MITCHELL: Here with us now is Barack Obama supporter, Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. He's in your home state, congresswoman. He sounds like a Democrat.

REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, he sounds like a hypocrite because he's got a group of lobbyists and corporate interests running his campaign, including Carly Fiorina who walked away when she left Hewlett-Packard with $45 million, including a $21.5 million severance package.

So John McCain needs to back up his words with action. When he surrounds himself with people who have benefited from the balloons that are floated out with CEOs as they leave or bonuses year to year, that is not the change that we need; it's more of the same.

So I have a hard time believing John McCain is going to actually pursue the policies that he's talking about when he has surrounded himself with people who profit from it. It's just absolutely - it's not believable.

MS. MITCHELL: Well, the McCain campaign argues that he had a very striking role on the Hill for all of these years as someone who, you know, opposed some of these deals, who challenged them. Didn't get along with all of his fellow Republicans as a result of that.

REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: But we're talking about John McCain who prides himself on calling himself the deregulator. When he was the chairman of the commerce committee, his hallmark and his signature issue was deregulation. Barack Obama believes that that's the problem that has caused us to be in this mess. He believes that when a company is borrowing from the government that there ought to be some regulation. There needs to be transparency and there needs to be a much closer gap between the pay and bonus package of CEOs and the workers that get a salary from these companies.

I mean - I think about this in terms of being a minivan mom, which I am. It cost me $77 to fill up my gas tank last week when I was driving my kids around. Over the weekend, I bought a gallon of milk and it was on sale for $3.79 and when it costs you almost $4 for a gallon of milk and I have three kids, you know, Sarah Palin has five kids. You're going through a lot of gallons a week. That's $4 at a clip every single time. We're talking about real holes in Americans' pockets and John McCain wants to continue to deregulate and have no oversight of transparency over these companies that are robbing us blind.

MS. MITCHELL: Why do you think that the Gallup Poll shows a virtual tie between McCain and Obama on who people think would be better suited to handle the economy? Why don't Democrats have when you would think would be a natural lead on pocketbook issues, especially this year when you've got a White House that is, frankly, not very popular?

REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, in congressional district by congressional district, we see that voters are choosing in generic polls and in head-to-head matchups that they're going to vote for the Democratic candidate for Congress, and I think as these economic issues crystallize and as the messages that are sent out over the airwaves and also when the debates occur, the stark contrast between Barack Obama's idea behind government regulation, making sure that we have some oversight over these companies and John McCain's belief that we just need to continue to deregulate and the fact that he surrounds himself with people who are profiting from the status quo, it'll become much more clear to the American people.

I just think that a lot of people are not paying close enough attention to the race yet.

MS. MITCHELL: Congresswoman, I know the Speaker is about to have a briefing. What is your expectation about the bill today to open up the continental shelf, or at least portions of it for oil drilling? Big issue in Florida. McCain has reiterated his support for it today down there.

REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, we cannot drill our way out of this problem. That's clear. What we need to do and what the Speaker and our Democratic leadership is focused on is making sure we can have a comprehensive energy package that will truly invest in alternative energy research, make sure that we can wean ourselves off our dependence on oil, not just foreign oil, but oil.

MS. MITCHELL: Is the compromise going to pass?

REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I think it will pass. Yes. Absolutely.

MS. MITCHELL: Okay. Congresswoman, thank you very much for joining us.

REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thanks, Andrea.


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