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CBS "Face the Nation" - Transcript

Interview

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SCHIEFFER: Now for his take on how it's going joining us from Greenville, South Carolina senator Jim DeMint who is the author of the new book "Now Or Never" and is a leader in the Tea Party movement.

Senator DeMint, let me ask you first about these charges that are being leveled. Newt Gingrich says that Republicans in South Carolina -- and he suggests Republicans in general -- will be very uncomfortable if Mitt Romney winds up being the nominee of your party. How would you feel about that?

DEMINT: Bob, I'd feel fine about any of our candidates. Frankly, I think you're going to see Republicans and independents unite behind whoever our nominee is because the further we get into this administration, the more worried Americans are getting. That's what now or never is all about, we really think we're on the edge of a cliff.

So I think Republicans are going to be very united.

SCHIEFFER: Well, so far they're not though.

The New York Times Magazine this morning, senator, has an article by Matt Bai in which he interviewed the head of the Spartanburg, South Carolina Tea Party who says, and this is a quote, she does not know a single Tea Party person who does not despise Mitt Romney to the very core of their being.

Is that so?

DEMINT: Well, I don't think there's anyone who can speak for the Tea Party. That's a very misunderstood. There are thousands of Tea Party groups around the country. And Romney is now polling well in South Carolina. A lot of Tea Party folks are for him and Gingrich and Santorum. And frankly, he's polling well ahead of what I did in my primary. So South Carolina is often divided in a primary when there are four or five people.

Again, I think you're going to see the people in South Carolina and all over the country unite behind the Republican nominee. They're all good men. And I think they'll all do a much better than our current president.

SCHIEFFER: Are you planning to endorse anyone before the primary next Saturday? And i wonder why not if you're not?

DEMINT: Absolutely not, Bob.

I'm going to keep my focus on the Senate Conservatives Fund. The best thing I can do for the next president is to help deliver a conservative senate, because it's the congress that does the legislation, that does the budgets. And if we send good legislation over to any these candidates I think they'll sign it.

SCHIEFFER: Senator, in your book, one chapter is titled "No Compromise With Democrats." How can government work if there's not a compromise somewhere along the line?

DEMINT: Well, I know a lot about compromise. I used to teach team building in organizations. And ten years ago I would have never said it. But today, Bob, the Democrat Party is the party of those who want more from government, who are dependent on government, who believe in the concentration of power in Washington. And the rest of the country that's paying for government, that's working, that knows better, needs to unite.

And that's why I've said a lot in the last week at the Republican Party needs to embrace not only the Tea Party which includes I think a wide cross-section of Americans but a lot of the libertarian thoughts that we're hearing from Ron Paul of individual liberty and his concern about our monetary system.

We really need to unite as Americans because we're at a tipping point. We've got about half of Americans who want more from government. The other half are paying for it.

SCHIEFFER: Let me just ask you about uniting. Why is it conservatives are unable to coalesce around one single candidate so far in this campaign?

DEMINT: Well, Bob, it's really not unusual. And I was telling the truth, when I ran for the senate here in South Carolina, I got about 23 percent I think in the first round of the primary. But we had five or six people running. And then we had a run-off. It's not unusual when you have a number of good candidates which I think we do for people to be divided.

What I hope is that our eventual nominee will recognize the strengths of the other candidates and take a lot of those ideas and incorporate it into a platform that will unite us. I think they will.

We've seen great attributes of people like Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain and I think eventually we've got to pull all of those together.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Well senator, thank you so much for giving us your perspective. We'll be back in just a moment.

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