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CBS "Face the Nation" - Transcript

Interview

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SCHIEFFER: Well, the head of the Democratic Party also happens to be a Florida congresswoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose district is just to the north of here.

SCHULTZ: Yes. Welcome to South Florida.

SCHIEFFER: Thank you very much.

(LAUGHTER)

Well, this thing has really gotten nasty, this Republican primary. Are you enjoying it?

SCHULTZ: Well, as a representative of the state of Florida and someone who represents millions of senior citizens and struggling homeowners who are really hoping to be able to remain in their homes, what I'm not enjoying is seeing this extreme Republican field led by Mitt Romney that thinks that we shouldn't anything to help homeowners remain in their homes; when it comes to seniors, has a proposal that he supports that would end Medicare as we know it.

Mitt Romney in particular sat on the board of a corporation, Damon Corporation, that, at the time, got the largest Medicare fraud fine in history. And we already have experience, Bob, in Florida, our governor was the CEO of a company that at the time -- and since has had the largest Medicare fraud fine in history.

When you elect someone like that who thinks it is okay to take advantage of senior citizens, then we see how it works out, our governor is the least popular in the country. He has presided over massive budget cuts in education and healthcare and really taken our state a turn for the worst. That's what I think Mitt Romney would do for the country.

SCHIEFFER: You know, you have got a very popular senator down here, though, Mario Rubio...

SCHULTZ: Marco, yes.

SCHIEFFER: Marco Rubio, I beg your pardon. And a lot of talk he will wind up on the Republican ticket. If he does, do you think that means the Republicans will carry Florida?

SCHULTZ: I don't. And I think that because whoever the Republicans nominate, but particularly if it is Mitt Romney, I think that Mitt Romney is so out of step with the priorities of Floridians, I mean, I stood in line, Bob, behind senior citizens in my district who had to leave one or two of their prescriptions at the counter because of the doughnut hole in the prescription drug program.

Mitt Romney would repeal the Affordable Care Act. Any of the Republicans would, and that would mean we would reopen the doughnut hole and seniors would have less affordable prescription drugs again.

On countless issues -- on immigration, Mitt Romney thinks that undocumented immigrants should just line up and self deport and leave the country, would veto the DREAM Act. So whatever Marco Rubio, as nice a guy as he is, he won't be able to salvage the really extreme positions that Mitt Romney and the rest of the Republican field have, since they are dramatically out of step with the priorities of Floridians.

SCHIEFFER: This new Miami Herald poll that was out this morning shows that in a head to head contest that right now Mitt Romney would beat Barack Obama. Do you think that is right?

SCHULTZ: Well, no, I don't. Actually, there is a variety of polls, there are other -- another poll that has President Obama beating Mitt Romney and the entire field, some by more than others. and that is because -- I mean, just look at the contrasts from this week, President Obama began this week with a State of the Union talking about his priorities: the importance of focusing on creating jobs here in America, talking about making sure that we can have a tax policy that gives everybody an opportunity to succeed.

The Republican field, led by Mitt Romney -- Mitt Romney benefits from the tax loopholes that exist in the tax code today, and he wants them to continue. That's the dramatic contrast. Barack Obama is fighting for the middle class and working families and the tax code that makes it possible for everyone to be successful, Mitt Romney and the rest of the Republican field thinks we should extend tax breaks for the wealthiest, most fortunate Americans so they can do better.

SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you this, Donald Trump told me last night that if the Republicans wind up mom neigh somebody who he thinks can't beat Obama that he is thinking about running himself as an independent. What do you think that would go to the race?

SCHULTZ: Well, I think just the fact he says that is emblematic of the unacceptability of the entire Republican field. I mean, we have seen the race unfold on the other side with each of them out trying to right wing each other. Their circular firing squad has really been pretty remarkable. And as a result of how extreme they have been, you have seen Mitt Romney's numbers with moderates and independents across the country crater because he is so out of step with what middle class Americans care about.

Making sure there's a tax code that is fair, making sure that we have a job creation focus that stands up to the middle class and working families. Making sure that small business owners have tax breaks rather than corporations who already are doing well. We need to make sure we balance the scales and give everybody a fair shot.

SCHIEFFER: All right, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who has the Democratic take on all of this. And we will be back in just a minute.

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