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CBS "Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer" - Transcript

Interview

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BOB SCHIEFFER: And we welcome now to the broadcast New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Governor, thank you for being here. Well, Governor, I have got to start off by saying I don't hear very many Republicans these days who think Mitt Romney is doing very well. What's your take here?

GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-New Jersey): Well, listen, yeah, he's-- he's had a tough couple of weeks. Let's be honest. I mean I'm not going to sit here and come on this morning and-- and sugarcoat the last couple of weeks. They've been tough. But here's the great news for Republicans. We have a candidate who is going to do extraordinarily well on Wednesday night. The first time he has the opportunity to stand on the same stage with the President of the United States and the first time a majority of the people that are going to vote in this race will have an opportunity to make that direct comparison and see the two of them. When they do-- I've seen Mitt Romney do this before. He's going to come in Wednesday night. He's going to lay out his vision for America. He's going to contrast what his view is and what the President's record is and the President's view for the future and this whole race is going to be turned upside down come Thursday morning.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, if he's had such a hard time so far, why suddenly will it be a whole different deal?

GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: Well, because I think it is a whole different deal. What he is going to be doing on Wednesday night is not going to be filtered by anybody. It's not going to be spun by anybody or filtered by anybody. The American people are going to get ninety minutes to look these two men right in the eyes in their living rooms and make a judgment about their visions for the future, their experience and their records and be able to say who do we trust the most to be the President of the United States during these incredibly challenging times? And I just know--I've watched Mitt Romney do this, and so have you, Bob--over the course of every time he was backed into a corner in the primaries. He came out with a great debate performance because that's where he shines and he is going to do a great job on Wednesday night.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Governor, I-- I certainly take your-- your point, and I have respect your opinion but talking about being spun and so forth it seems to me most of the problems Governor Romney has had thus far, he has created for himself. For example, this tape where he said he's just basically writing off forty-seven percent of-- of the electorate. That was not the campaign. The governor himself said that was me. Has that thing-- is that thing really hurt him?

GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: You know, Bob, I just don't think so. I really don't. I don't think a majority of the American people are focusing on that. And here's what I think the American people and their voters are much smarter about than we give them credit for. They know that political candidates at times, when they're being taped every minute of the day are going to say things inartfully. Now I mean let's face it, this President of the United States said when he was running four years ago, that he was campaigning in all fifty-seven states. Do any of us really believe that the President doesn't know that we only have fifty states? Does that mean that he is not smart? I mean come on. That's ridiculous. He misspoke. And-- and I think what Governor Romney did was inelegantly say something. He has admitted that. But here's what I know he really believes. What he believes is that everybody in America should have skin in the game. Everybody in America has to be part of a shared sacrifice to create opportunity for greatness again for our people and our country. And he's going to convey that message on Wednesday night clearly and directly to the American people. And I'm telling you, Bob, Thursday morning, you're going to be scratching your heads and saying, wow, we've a barnburner now for the next thirty-three days.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, it-- it's certainly going to come as a surprise to a lot of Republicans, as you well know, because some of the leading voice--if that is the case--because some of the leading voices, people like Bill Kristol, of the Weekly Standard, Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal and-- and they're quoted as, you know, Bill Kristol said the forty-seven percent thing was-- was stupid. Peggy Noonan has said it more elegantly, but said about the same thing. And when you talk, Governor, to some of these Republicans when you don't use their names, they're even more critical thus far.

GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: Well, of course, they are when you don't use their names. Everybody knows to be critical in Washington when you don't use their names, right, Bob? Listen, I have great respect for Peggy and for Bill Kristol and for Charles Krauthammer and the people who have been critical. But it's their job to be critical. It's their job to do those kind of things. And as I said to you, the campaign hasn't had a good two weeks. But the bottom line is it changes on Wednesday night. I-- listen, I believe in Governor Romney. I believe in him as a leader. And I know that he is going very, very well do the job on-- on Wednesday night.

BOB SCHIEFFER: The shift toward Medicare reform does not seem to be going over well with seniors, especially in some of these key states like Florida and Ohio. I'm looking at polls here that say sixty-five percent of the seniors in Florida don't want to change Medicare; fifty-nine percent in Ohio; fifty-six percent in Virginia. Did the campaign make a mistake by going off in this direction? I think most people know you got to reform Medicare, but they don't seem to be taking--seniors--don't seem to be taking very well what-- what Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to do about it.

GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: Well, the first-- the first bit of good news 1is that-- that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are not going to change Medicare for those seniors. They are going to change Medicare for folks like me, who just turned fifty, and-- and-- and younger, who are going to need to know that if you want to have any semblance of Medicare, that you're going to have to make some changes to it. And here's the-- here's the dirty little secret, Bob, President of the United States knows that, too, but he's not talking about it. He's not being honest with the American people about it. In the end I think the American people, if we lay out our vision well, will reward us for telling the truth and the President right now is avoiding the truth, the way he's avoided so many hard truths over the last four years.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Governor, are you-- if Mitt Romney does not win, are you going to run for President in 2016?

GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: Mitt Romney's going to win, and so-- it's-- it's a question that-- you know, I don't need to address. I hope in 2016 to be working hard for Mitt Romney's reelection as President of the United States. And any conversation about anything else is going to turn out not to be necessary because Mitt Romney is going to be elected President on November 6th.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Governor, it's always fun to have you. Thanks for joining us this morning.

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