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CNN "The Situation Room" - Transcript: Governor Elections

Interview

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BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

BLITZER: We're waiting for the first election night results. That's coming up.

But let's talk about the stakes of what's going on today with Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida. She's the chair of the DNC, the Democratic National Committee. She's joining us right now from the headquarters of the candidate for Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe.

She also, by the way, has a brand-new book that's out there. You see it right there. It's called "For the Next Generation: A Wake Up Call to Solving Our Nation's Problems."

Congresswoman, thanks very much for coming in.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA: Thank you, Wolf. Great to be with you.

BLITZER: I know you and the Democrats have been working very hard for Terry McAuliffe in Virginia, where you are, but it looks like you just gave up in New Jersey, not much support for the Democratic candidate against Chris Christie. What happened? Why didn't the president at least go in there and campaign for the Democratic candidate?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, the DNC has actually been involved with Barbara Buono's campaign since the beginning of this year.

We have had a staffer permanently -- permanently assigned to the Buono campaign. We have helped her with digital and phone banking. And I went in to campaign with her. We have -- we have actually provided her -- we sent some e-mail to help raise her money. And so we have been there for her pretty much every step of the way.

But what we're focused on is, we have got races all over the country. Tonight, we expect that we will elect a Democratic mayor of New York City for the first time in almost 25 years. We're very excited about the opportunity here in Virginia. And, you know, Barbara Buono is an excellent candidate. We want people to get out and make sure that they vote for her. The polls are still open. And nothing is finished until the last voter casts their ballot.

BLITZER: But I was a little surprised. We didn't see the president, the vice president. I don't think the vice president was there. Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, none of them really showed up in New Jersey to help the Democratic gubernatorial candidate. It looks as if you just gave up hope in New Jersey, which is a pretty Democratic state.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, I can tell you that we -- not only have we not given up hope. But the polls are still open. And we really encourage people to go out and vote for Barbara Buono. She's the best candidate.

If you look at Chris Christie's track record, his track record certainly doesn't square up with New Jersey's values. And we're hopeful that, when the polls close tonight, that Barbara Buono will be successful.

BLITZER: But if he wins in a landslide tonight, and all the polls indicate that is certainly possible, that puts him on a clear path, potentially, to the Republican presidential nomination. Would you agree?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: You know, Wolf, what I think the message after tonight will be is leading into the 2014 elections that the American people will elect Democratic mayors and Terry McAuliffe tonight as governor of Virginia because they reject the Tea Party extremism.

There's been a civil war raging in the Republican Party. And the Tea Party has won. They shut the government down. They were willing to bring us to the brink of economic disaster. And we will win the majority of these races tonight because the American people just want us to work together and focus on creating jobs, getting the health care -- the Affordable Care Act implemented and making sure that we invest in education and in our future. What the Tea Party does -- has done is focused on a really extreme agenda that the American people voted -- rejected last year when they reelected President Obama, and that they will consistently reject tonight with the election results when they come in.

BLITZER: Should -- knowing what we know now -- and, obviously, all of us are a lot smarter with hindsight, but knowing what we know now, should they simply have delayed the rollout of the Obamacare Web site, since it's been so flawed from day one?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: You know, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act is more than just a Web site. And, clearly, the Web site needs to be fixed. No one was more concerned about the problems with it than President Obama.

But, keep in mind, when the Affordable Care Act was signed into law by the president in 2010, it kicked in a number of really important reforms, like that the young adults can stay on their parents' insurance until they're 26. Children with a preexisting condition can't be dropped or denied coverage.

Seniors have their prescription drugs much more affordable now, and preventative care available to women and to seniors without a co-pay or a deductible, like mammograms and colonoscopies and wellness visits. So, the benefits that Americans are already feeling are the reason that the Affordable Care Act approval ratings have actually gone up, particularly since the Republicans were so insistent on shutting the government down in order to deny people access to quality, affordable health care.

BLITZER: All right. We will continue this conversation, Congresswoman. We will see what happens later tonight. Thanks very much for joining us.

(CROSSTALK)

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thank you.

BLITZER: I will be here throughout the night with updates on all the elections.


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