BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
NORAH O'DONNELL: --you're here focused on many of the Republicans, who are part of the Iowa Straw Poll, but it was another Republican in South Carolina Governor Rick Perry who threw his hat into the ring and also offered a withering attack on President Obama's economic leadership and he talked about the S&P downgrade. I want you to listen.
GOVERNOR RICK PERRY: The fact is for nearly three years President Obama has been downgrading American jobs. He's been downgrading our standing in-- in the world. He's been downgrading our financial stability. He's been downgrading our confidence and downgrading the hope for a better future for our children. That's a fact.
NORAH O'DONNELL: The governor said that for nearly three years President Obama has been downgrading American jobs, downgrading our standing in the world and downgrading our financial stability. I am sure you disagree with that. But what's factually inaccurate about what he said?
REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I-- I am incredibly proud of President Obama's accomplishments. This is a President that took on the health insurance industry and reformed health care to make sure that every American could have coverage and insurance companies couldn't drop you or deny you coverage. Took on Wall Street, made sure that banks were not ev-- ever again too big to fail, made sure that we began to get our economy turned around. So I think Americans are appreciative of the-- the hard work and effort and accomplishment that President Obama has made and certainly that those accomplishments are not reflective of any of the government-- governor's inappropriate comments.
NORAH O'DONNELL: Inappropriate, but what about the--
REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (overlapping): In-- inaccurate.
NORAH O'DONNELL: --and what about the argument that since the President has taken office that there hasn't been a strong turn-- turnaround. For instance, you have said repeatedly that we're in much better shape than we were when President Obama took office. But the facts are-- are very difficult, perhaps for the Democratic Party and that is this. That unemployment was at 7.3 percent, when he took office, now it's at 9.1 percent, unemployment up twenty-five percent, 11.1 million were unemployed then compared to almost fourteen million unemployed now. And thirteen and a half million more people are on food stamps today. How are we in quote, unquote "much better shape" as you argue?
REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, President Obama inherited a huge problem, the-- the worst recession that we have had since the Great Depression, created by the policies-- the failed policies of the previous Republican administration, where we went from a record surplus to a record deficit. And so, working our way out of that problem is incredibly challenging but-- but the fact remains that before President Obama took office, Norah, we were bleeding seven hundred and fifty thousand jobs a month, the economy was in freefall, we were on the precipice of economic disaster. And now, two and a half years later, although, we have a long way to go and we need to work together and come together to get the economy to continue to move, we've created 2.4 million private sector jobs, seventeen straight months of private sector job growth. So, we have begun to turn things around. We acknowledge that we have a long way to go and we are certainly no longer in freefall. We've just got to keep our nose to the grindstone and-- and keep focused.
NORAH O'DONNELL: But how you draw a contrast then against the governor of Texas, where nearly half of the jobs that have been created in America were created in Texas?
REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: There are dramatic contrasts with-- with the governor of Texas, not the least of which is that it's extremely difficult for him to deserve credit for that job creation when you have rising gra-- gas prices that created oil jobs that he had nothing to do with, when you had military spending as a result of two wars that he-- that created military jobs that he had nothing to do with. When you had the Recovery Act championed by President Obama that created jobs in Texas that he had nothing to do with. So it-- it is way over blown to suggest that the job creation in Texas is-- is squarely on the shoulders of-- of his policies.
NORAH O'DONNELL: We're going to have an interesting day on-- on Monday here in Iowa, because not only is Governor Perry going to be here but President Obama is going to be here in Iowa. He's getting-- launching a Midwest bus tour through three different states, key swing states--Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa. His approval rating, I just want to show you his approval rating in some of these states. In Iowa, it's dropped from sixty-one to forty-nine percent in just two years. In Minnesota, it's dropped fourteen percent, sixty-six to fifty-two percent. And even in his home state of Illinois, the President's approval has gone down seventeen points, seventy-one to fifty-four percent. Is the President in trouble?
REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Not at all. The President is-- in actually remarkably good shape given that he is still struggling to help pull our economy out of the Republican-- the Republican recession that he inherited. He-- his numbers are still strong. He still has widespread support. If anyone is in trouble, it's the Republican Party. Right now, they have a collection of candidates for President, who are busy out trying to-- trying to out right win each other. Essentially, they are all so similar that they might as well be Legos. They are that interchan-- they are that interchangeable. You have a-- a President who has asked the country to compromise, tried to bring them together, and all nine presidential candidates the other night raised their right hand at a debate and said, even when faced with the most reasonable question, would you support a deficit reduction deal that would be ten to one cuts to revenue? They still said no. That's how strangled by the Tea Party that they are and that's not what Americans are looking for, they are looking for solutions.
NORAH O'DONNELL: All right, the debate has begun, Congresswoman Debbie Wassermann Schultz. Good to see you.
REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: You too.
NORAH O'DONNELL: Thank you so much for joining us.
REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thanks so much, Norah.
NORAH O'DONNELL: And I will be back in a moment with our political panel. Stay with us.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT