MSNBC "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" - Transcript
MSNBC "COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMANN" INTERVIEW WITH REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL) INTERVIEWER: KEITH OLBERMANN
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MR. OLBERMANN: Besides keeping alive a shadow of a doubt about the legitimacy of the president of the United States, the other main play out of the Republican playbook these days would seem to be delay of game.
For more on that, I'm joined by Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, member of the House Judiciary Committee, who's with us from Washington.
Congresswoman, thanks for your time tonight.
REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thanks for having me, Keith.
MR. OLBERMANN: Red states, blue states -- Americans in any kind of state are in a state of suffering financially. We have several governors talking about not taking unemployment insurance money out of the stim as a matter of principle. If this is a kind of financial equivalent of 9/11, and offering, in Governor Sanford's case, only prayers instead, where's the Republican Party in terms of actually leading and actually serving its own constituents?
REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, the Republican Party, led by their governors, continue to show that they are the heartless, insensitive organization that they have been for the last eight to 12 years, which is why the American people ousted them and wanted to put their support behind Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress to move this country in a new direction.
And Keith, let me tell you about the unique hypocrisy of Governor Bobby Jindal -- (audio break) -- talking about how he was planning to reject the unemployment insurance increase and modernization assistance that's coming down from the Congress to help his constituents. This is a guy who, while I served with him in Congress, voted for that assistance twice and is certainly willing to take funding from the federal government to help people who are out of a job and out of their home as a result of a hurricane, but not willing to take that assistance when his constituents are out of a job and out of their home as a result of this economic crisis.
I'm not really sure what the difference is. A crisis is a crisis. When you don't have a job and you're getting kicked out of your house, it doesn't matter whether it was the result of a hurricane or an economic crisis. You're still out on the street and you still need to feed your family.
MR. OLBERMANN: We have heard so much about the failure of bipartisanship in the first 35 days of the Obama administration. Republicans keep saying they have alternatives. I'm waiting to see any announced publicly. Maybe being on the inside, have you seen one they haven't told anybody publicly about, other than just to stand in the way?
REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Sure. The alternative that they introduced to our economic stimulus and economic recovery package was more tax cuts. Their pure solution was the same tired tax cuts for the wealthiest few that the American people rejected on November 4th of last year and that didn't work and got us into this mess and took us from a record surplus at the end of the Clinton administration to the record deficit that we're struggling with right now.
MR. OLBERMANN: If the tax cuts worked theoretically or practically in the last, say, 10 years, would we, in fact, not be in any sort of situation resembling the one we're in now? Isn't the situation we're in now proof that the tax cuts didn't work?
REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, I would think so. But, you know, apparently when you're a Republican, you don't understand that if you repeat history, that you're doomed to get more of the same. And what we're trying to do is focus on change, focus on moving the country in a new direction.
We want the Republicans to join us. We've extended the hand of bipartisanship. President Obama came to Capitol Hill to meet with the Republican caucus and was essentially rebuffed. The minority leader, John Boehner, actually stood before his caucus before the president arrived and urged his caucus to vote no on the economic recovery package.
So they will have voted no on jobs, voted no on helping turn this economy around. They essentially voted to leave the American people out in the cold. And we need to come together and try to come up with some solutions, because people are out there suffering.
MR. OLBERMANN: And you've seen that, though, in your own state. The Republican governor, Mr. Crist, campaigned with the president for the stimulus, today defended him, said that arguing over nuances is fine. "We're in an economic crisis. We need to come together as a country and focus on the big picture."
Did he pay any price in the polls for campaigning with Obama, and will he pay any price for standing with him now?
REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: You know, on the contrary, my governor, Governor Crist, who has really been consistent in extending the hand of bipartisanship, is showing a record in terms of his favorability in our state. I think he's something like 62 percent and rising, because, like he said on "Meet the Press" yesterday, he looks into the eyes and the hearts of his constituents and knows that they're suffering and knows that we have to put party aside.
Governor Schwarzenegger said, "We can't think about what's good for our party right now; we have to think about what's good for the people." And, I mean, I know that the Republicans are really focused on trying to get victories in the 2010 election, but we've really got to come together and help get this economy moving again and turned around for the American people.
MR. OLBERMANN: We have to get the electorate in shape to be able to afford the 2010 elections. (Laughs.)
REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: (Laughs.) Yeah, that's true.
MR. OLBERMANN: Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, as always, great thanks for your time tonight.
REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thank you.