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CBS "Face the Nation" - Transcript

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BOB SCHIEFFER: So Debbie Wasserman Shultz, I got to ask you just flatly, was that good politics? I mean, how is that going to shore up his African-American base and I guess the other part, is that going to help to get independent voters in the Democratic poll this time?

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (Chair, Democratic National Committee; D-Florida): Well Bob, first of all, very quickly, congratulations on your twentieth anniversary. And I was at the dinner last night, heard the speech, was in the midst of the crowd, and they gave the-- the President thunderous applause. The-- the-- the crowd at the Congressional Black Caucus annual gala understands that the President has brought us from the brink of disaster where Republicans under George W. Bush had brought us to the precipice of economic disaster to now a point where we have the beginning of a turn-around. We've created 2.4 million jobs in the private sector over the last eighteen months. We've got more to do? And President Obama has appealed to the-- the Congressional Black Caucus and the-- the attendees last night to close ranks, stand behind him, press on to make sure that we can continue to push for-- for things like passage of the American Jobs Act. And that's what we need Congressional Republicans to do. We need to come together as a country. We need to focus on a shot in the arm that the-- the American Jobs--

BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): Okay.

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: --Act would represent. And that's what he was trying to impress upon them last night.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well-- well, Mister Priebus, what are your thoughts on that?

REINCE PRIEBUS (Chair, Republican National Committee): Well Bob, Debbie has got a real problem this morning. And in her-- and her problem is-- is that she can't escape the facts on where we are in this American economy. And the facts are, Bob, that presidential elections are decided by the American people asking themselves the question as to whether or not they're better off today than they were three or four years ago. And here are the facts. Unemployment is at 9.1 percent. We've added four trillion dollars to the national deficit with 2.4 million people are unemployed. So, my question to the chairwoman is, can she point to one economic statistic in this country that Barack Obama has made better? And she--

BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): All right.

(CBS News)

REINCE PRIEBUS: --can't.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, let's ask her.

REINCE PRIEBUS: Can she name one?

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right.

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (overlapping): That's--

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, here's your chance.

REINCE PRIEBUS: One?

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: That-- that's ludicrous. Yes, I can point to the fact that before Barack Obama was inaugurated, we were bleeding seven hundred and fifty thousand jobs a month. And now, you fast forward-- and that was thanks to the-- the Bush administration that focused on making sure that we had two wars totally unpaid for that plunged us from a record surplus to a record deficit. Passed a prescription drug plan that while good for seniors to make sure we cover-- cover their prescription drugs unpaid for, to Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest most fortunate Americans unpaid for. So, the deficit that we--

REINCE PRIEBUS (overlapping): Bob--

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: --find ourselves in today--

REINCE PRIEBUS (overlapping): --people are--

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (overlapping): --and please let me answer your question--

REINCE PRIEBUS: People are hurting in this country.

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (overlapping): Please let me, excuse me, please--

REINCE PRIEBUS: People are hurting in this country.

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No, no, no.

BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): Let-- let her finish her answer.

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Now, two and a half--

REINCE PRIEBUS: Okay.

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Now, two and a half years later, we have turned the corner. We are no longer dropping like a rock. Now, we are moving forward. We've had eighteen straight months of-- of job growth, added 2.4 million jobs to the private sector month after month, passed the American recovery--

BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): Okay.

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: --and Reinvestment Act, save the American automobile industry which every Republican candidate for--

REINCE PRIEBUS (overlapping): Okay.

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: --President would have let go down the tubes.

BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): Miss Wasserman Schultz. Let's--

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: So, yes, that and more.

REINCE PRIEBUS: All right.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Okay.

REINCE PRIEBUS: Well, listen--

BOB SCHIEFFER: Quick response for that.

REINCE PRIEBUS: Uh-Huh, well, it sounds like okay, Bob, well it-- it sounds like the new--

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (overlapping): I'm sorry, I-- I can keep going--

REINCE PRIEBUS: --slogan is no longer hope-- it sounds like the new slogan is no longer hope and change. It's-- hey, it could have been worse. Great bumper sticker, Debbie, I hope it works for you, but the reality is that Americans are hurting in this country and the reason why you're losing--

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (overlapping): That's right, we need to work together.

REINCE PRIEBUS: --races like in New York nine and-- New York nine and all across the country. The President is upside down in your home state of Florida. He's upside down in all the battle ground states. And guess what? He's upside down in California and he's losing--

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: That's actually not true.

REINCE PRIEBUS: --in Massachusetts because Americans understand that this President hasn't cut it. And he has promised the world and he has delivered nothing.

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. I want to just quickly shift because I want--

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (overlapping): Okay, good talking points, Reince.

BOB SCHIEFFER: --to ask you about some big news down in Debbie Wasserman Shultz's home state, Mister Priebus, that happened last night. Businessman Herman Cain pulled off an upset in the latest straw poll, down there in Florida. He walloped the front runner for the Republican nomination, Rick Perry, who had campaigned hard down there and made a big point of saying he was campaigning hard and Mitt Romney who-- who didn't officially compete. Uh-huh, Mister Cain makes a great speech, but I don't see any particular segment of the Republican Party that has been behind him, Mister Priebus. What does that say about the Republican field that Herman Cain won a straw poll down there?

REINCE PRIEBUS: Well, Bob, look, I mean, these-- a lot of different candidates are winning these straw polls. Herman won a-- a couple of days ago. You know, Michele Bachmann won in Iowa. Polling shows Perry and Romney back and forth. Rick Santorum won a straw poll in Pennsylvania. I mean, I know he's from Pennsylvania, but he won that straw poll. Here's the deal. We're going to have a rigorous debate in this country on our side of the aisle. We're going to put up an articulate intelligent alternative to this President. And I think that people are hungry in this country, uh, not necessarily for all Republican answers or all Democratic answers. They're hungry for real authentic people to lead this country. And guess what they have. They have a record to-- to measure this President on and his record is--

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (overlapping): Bob--

REINCE PRIEBUS: --is Solyndra--

BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): Well, let me--

REINCE PRIEBUS: --which is south of me--

BOB SCHIEFFER: --just ask you this.

REINCE PRIEBUS: --where eleven hundred people lost their job in the President's--

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (overlapping): Bob, I would like to--

(Cross-talking)

BOB SCHIEFFER: Mister Priebus, let me ask you this question. Do you think this suggests that somebody else--

REINCE PRIEBUS (overlapping): Sure.

BOB SCHIEFFER: --ought to get in the Republican field maybe Chris Christie of New Jersey?

REINCE PRIEBUS: You know, listen, I-- I said before, look, I-- I'm happy with the field. I think it's a great field. And you know what? Yes, is there a time through nomination processes technically to still get in? Sure there is. I mean, it gets harder and harder as you get closer to Iowa. But listen, I mean, the fact of the matter is, is that we're having the debate on our side of the aisle. The horsepower, the excitement is on the Republican side of the aisle. And the reason why is because people in this country want to save--

BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): Okay.

REINCE PRIEBUS: --this country economically and this President isn't doing the trick.

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (overlapping): Bob.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Congresswoman?

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Bob, since I'm-- since I'm from Florida, let me weigh in on that. It doesn't much matter.

REINCE PRIEBUS (overlapping): Where the President is upside down, too.

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, excuse me. It doesn't much matter where-- where, you know, which one of the Republicans get nominated because they're all the same. This will be a very stark contrast. They are all embracing and bear hugging the Tea Party. Moving to the right, they can't move to the right far enough. No matter which candidate is nominated by the Republican Party, they all favor privatizing Social Security, which would pull the safety net out from under our seniors. They all favor ending Medicare as we know it and embrace the Ryan plan to turn it into a voucher program. They-- they all are wrong--

REINCE PRIEBUS (overlapping): Right. And--

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: --on immigration reform when it comes to-- when it comes to Hispanics in the states. So as a Floridian, I can assure you, Mister Priebus, that when it comes to the dramatic contrast between Barack Obama and his-- and his notion that we should preserve Social Security and Medicare, that we should make sure that we acknowledge that there is an immigration problem and we should come together around comprehensive reform--

REINCE PRIEBUS (overlapping): Well, Bob, let me--

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: --my state will go--

REINCE PRIEBUS (overlapping): --Bob, let me respond to that.

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: --in the win-- excuse me.

REINCE PRIEBUS: Let me respond to that.

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Not until I finish. My state will go until-- in the win column for President Obama again because the extremists in the Tea Party control your party. And it-- and this is the second debate in a row now.

REINCE PRIEBUS (overlapping): Debbie, we-- we only have twelve--

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: That you can embrace--

REINCE PRIEBUS: --we only have twelve minutes here, Debbie.

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: --that you can embrace the-- the candidates that are there now because you know all of them are wrong for America.

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. One-- one last response--

REINCE PRIEBUS (overlapping): Bob--

BOB SCHIEFFER: --from you, Mister Priebus.

REINCE PRIEBUS: You bet. You bet. Here-- here is the problem. In spite of all those words, her problem is-- is that in spite of all of this hyperbole, the President is now losing in Florida. And-- and you know, you could-- you can talk hypotheticals all day long. But guess what. Debbie and the party and the congressional committee on the Democratic side tried all of this in New York-9 in a heavily Democratic district and guess what. They lost. So this has already been tested in a Democratic district. These talking points have been tested.

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (overlapping): It was tested in a Republican district in New York-26.

REINCE PRIEBUS: And they're losing and they're imploding.

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: And we won.

REINCE PRIEBUS: They're imploding. And their base is imploding.

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (overlapping): All across the country--

REINCE PRIEBUS: Hispanics are on board.

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (overlapping): All across the country--

REINCE PRIEBUS: African-Americans are leaving the President.

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (overlapping): --voters reject ending Medicare as we know it.

REINCE PRIEBUS: His base isn't there, Bob. And that's his problem.

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. I could just let the both of you just keep on going here because you're--

REINCE PRIEBUS (overlapping): We are probably--

BOB SCHIEFFER: --you're talking together, separately and so on. And thank you both for being with us this morning.

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thank you so much.

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