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MSNBC "Hardball with Chris Matthews" - Transcript


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OLBERMANN: As long as the point is clear.

Let"s turn to Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, vice chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Thanks for your time tonight, Congresswoman.


OLBERMANN: Given this "Politico" story about the intentions first of Congressman Issa and Smith, what does next to you look like if Republicans are to regain the House?

SCHULTZ: Well, I think we will see an obsession with investigating the Obama administration, the likes of which would make the Clinton years pale in comparison. I served with Darrell Issa on the judiciary committee for the last five years, and he definitely is salivating to sink his teeth into the Obama administration.

The Republicans" leadership has only one interest, and that"s to essentially do everything they can to dismantle our new direction and to take the Obama administration down. And that"s--that would be a travesty, and I think the American people will reject it.

OLBERMANN: Will it be pointed out to them? Are the Democrats going to run on this? Because vote Republican and you"re going to get, if you like, 1998, "99, and 2000 -- you"re going to get them all over again?

SCHULTZ: You can be sure that our members and our candidates across the country are going to be talking to our voters, to the American people about the choice that voters face in November. We can continue to move in a new direction. We can continue to focus on creating jobs, turn the economy around, making sure that we can broaden our policy to help the working families and middle class of America--or we can do exactly what Pete Sessions, the head of the NRCC, said on "Meet the Press" a few weeks ago: return to the exact same agenda, focus exclusively on the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans.

OLBERMANN: The president did not lay one law enforcement finger on the Bush administration. That may not be a permanent state of affairs, but it"s true for the first 18 months. Congress has held virtually no hearings on one of the most extraordinary presidencies in our nation"s history.

Is there a point at which Democrats sort of collectively learn that there really doesn"t seem to be any real return on the investment of kind of playing to a higher standard than the Republicans do, or playing genteel with the Republicans?

SCHULTZ: Well, I think what"s important now and what"s been important for the last 18 months is to focus on jobs and the economy. That is, I can tell you, all over the country--and I"ve spent quite a bit of time in my colleagues" -- a lot of my colleagues" district and my own district--and everywhere we go, the American people want to us focus on getting the economy turned around and creating jobs, Keith.

There--what happened during the Bush administration, there is a mountain of things that could be investigated, but I think we needed to take a "first things first" approach. There are things that I think need to be examined. But first and foremost, we need to make sure that people can remain in their homes, they can have a job, and that we can get this economy turned around so that the middle class and working families have something to build upon.

OLBERMANN: One last thing about this "Politico" piece. In it was reported that the DNC is going to unveil a new strategy to campaign on the theme of essentially, do you really want these extremists in charge of Congress? Is that a generic term, or are there individual extremists, and what"s so bad about them?

SCHULTZ: Well, there are--the Republican Party, aka, the Tea Party, is running rampant with extremists. I mean, you have Ken Buck in California, Sharron Angle in Nevada, Dan Webster in Florida, Marco Rubio in Florida. I mean, my home state is a cornucopia of right wing extremist that are nominees of the Republican Party.

And we are going to be pointing out all across the country that there is a very stark contrast between the choices that Americans have in November, that they can go with hope and go with change and go with the new direction that we"ve been taking this country, jump starting the economy. We"ve got a long way to go, but we really need to continue that focus.

Or we can go off the deep end and end stem cell research funding. We can focus on extremely right wing policies like privatizing Social Security, ending Medicare as we know it. Those are the types of policies that the majority of Republican candidate as cross this country totally embrace. It"s not--I think it"s going to be rejected by the American people in November.

OLBERMANN: Thank you for the specificity of your answer. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, the vice chair of the DNC--always a pleasure. Have a good weekend.

SCHULTZ: Thanks so much, Keith. You, too.


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