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MSNBC "Hardball with Chris Matthews" - Transcript


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U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the chair of the Democratic National Committee. She joins us now.

Congresswoman, thank you so much for joining -- are you, as a leader of the party, still trying to figure out the cut of their jib up in New York, whether it`s a group you want to get identified with or what? Where
are you with the protesters in New York and across the country now?

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (FL), DNC CHAIR: No, I`m not still trying to figure it out. As both a leader of my party and also as a representative of my congressional district in south Florida, I think the
Occupy Wall Street movement represents a reflection of the callous indifference that for years under Republican leadership in this country really ignored the needs of the middle class, gave all the benefits and all
the advantages in the terms of a regulatory scheme in the financial services industry to corporations and to Wall Street and to the wealthiest, most fortunate Americans.

And this is the pushback. This is the point at which that middle class folks say, No more, it`s time for some balance. And I think the worst of it is reflected in Mitt Romney`s unbelievable -- within 24 hours, saying two sides of the same coin, in one day going from calling these protesters dangerous to being able to the next day say that he identified with the 99 percent.

I haven`t ever seen anything that Mitt Romney`s done that`s shows a sensitivity or an orientation towards the 99 percent of Americans who are struggling to make sure that they can put food on the table and have some balance in their lives economically.

MATTHEWS: Let me show you three top political leaders, allies of yours, colleagues in the Democratic Party, extending their hands to the protesters. Listen.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think people are frustrated, and you know, the protesters are giving voice to a more broad-based frustration about how our financial system works.

JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The American people do not think the system is fair or on the level. That is the core of what you`re seeing on Wall Street.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: I support the message to the establishment, whether it`s Wall Street or the political establishment and the rest, that change has to happen. We cannot continue in a way that does not -- that is not relevant to their lives. People are angry.


MATTHEWS: When do you believe, Congresswoman, that Democratic officials will begin to meet with the people who are protesting, the way that Republicans in the last election certainly met with Tea Partiers and
used them to get elected to control the Congress?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, I think many of my colleagues would be willing to sit down and meet with them.

I know that I have not had requests in my congressional office to meet with the Occupy Wall Street protesters in South Florida, but I would be glad to meet with them. I agree that it is a reflection of the frustration of the middle class and working families, who feel like the policy under the Republicans gave -- put the wind at the backs of the wealthiest and most fortunate, and that, thanks to President Obama, now we do have an orientation and a pressing forward of trying to put some balance in there, focus on the needs of consumers, add some weight to the scale on behalf of consumers.

And Occupy Wall Street protesters are pushing for that advocacy to make sure that we can even the scales up. That`s what President Obama`s doing on the policy side as well.

MATTHEWS: Well, can you list the things that you would do as a member of Congress and a leader of the party that`s going to make them happy? What are you doing to win the support? From what I understand, the people in the streets are so alienated right now, so angry, they don`t like either political party.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, for starters--

MATTHEWS: It`s not a place where President Obama, for example, could go up and get a big -- a big applause from showing up, or he`d be there now. How do you make them see you guys as the good guys?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, for starters, we`re pushing to get Richard Cordray, the president`s choice for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to be approved by -- as his nominee by the United States Senate.
The Republicans are blocking that.

So continuing to advocate for the full implementation of the consumer protections of the Wall Street reform legislation, that`s a way to help address the concerns of Occupy Wall Street, but we have already accomplished quite a bit, the credit card holders` bill of rights law that passed and was signed into law by President Obama, that really makes sure that credit card companies can`t jack up interest rates arbitrarily and focuses on the needs of consumers that are credit card holders.

And there`s more that we should do. But we have got to balance the scales here. The Republicans want to put all the weight on the side of the wealthy, most fortunate Americans and corporate America. Mitt Romney even said that corporations are people.


WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Democrats believe that people are people.

MATTHEWS: Well, well-said. Thank you much. Thank you for joining us up in New Hampshire--


MATTHEWS: -- scene of the somewhat-less-than-interesting debate, I think, tonight, because I haven`t even figured out what channel it`s on.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, congresswoman from Florida--


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