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CNN "The Situation Room" - Transcript


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BLITZER: Strong words from Newt Gingrich. Let's discuss. Joining us from Davie, Florida, the chairwoman of the Democratic National committee, the Democratic congresswoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz. So, what do you want to say to Newt Gingrich about what he just said? He really blasted president for trying, supposedly, to skirt Congress in this coming year, this current year.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, CHAIRWOMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMITTEE: Well, not really surprising. What President Obama has been doing is making sure that we can continue the fight to lift up the middle class and working families. He has a, you know, Republican House who refuses to even sit down and work through the appropriate balance between cutting the deficit and making sure that we have an appropriate amount of spending and make sure that we don't devastate the middle class in the process.

We've got Republicans in the Senate who have declared through their leader that their number one priority is defeating him. So, essentially, the Republicans in Congress are in full blown campaign mode.

President Obama is busy being president, and he has executive authorities to make sure that we can do things like stand up for the folks who are losing their houses, which Mitt Romney, for example, has said, don't matter, and we should just let the housing and foreclosure crisis hit rock bottom.

I mean, we're looking at a field of presidential candidates, Wolf, that really have stood up for the wealthiest and most fortunate Americans, while President Obama, since day one, has been in there swinging for the middle class. That's the contrast you have in this election.

BLITZER: Let's talk politics for a moment. It is a political season. The DNC has put out some ads really slamming Mitt Romney. He's the only Republican candidate you've really been going after in these ads. Is that right?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well he spent -- no, no, we've actually mentioned several other candidates, Newt Gingrich, at one point, but Mitt Romney --

BLITZER: In formal commercials that you pay for?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No. The Mitt Romney has earned the focus because he has essentially relentlessly been attacking President Obama, lying about his record --

BLITZER: All of them have been doing that.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Mitt Romney in particular. And he's, you know, he's near the top and near or at the top of the pack in spite of the fact that there is, clearly, and anybody but Romney campaign going on in the Republican primary. I mean, there's obviously so much angst. You have a flavor of the month in this primary every single week.

Santorum is now the new one, and that's because with Romney, there is no there, there. I mean, this is a person who has no conviction, who is willing it say anything to get elected, and when you're asking the American people to select you as president of the United States, the minimum that they expect is that you stand for something.

Not that you stand for anything that you need stand for at the time to earn the voters support. And people need to know that. People need to know that Mitt Romney won't release his tax returns. They need to know that he was pro-choice and supported Roe versus Wade, and now, he says he's pro life.

They need to know that he, at one point, said he didn't support the payroll tax, and then, he said he did and then he said he didn't again.

BLITZER: He's the one who scares you the most out of all these Republicans, let's be honest, right?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No. It's not about being scared. We have been gearing up and focusing while the Republicans have been duking it out in their primary, and essentially, in a circular firing squad. We have been laser focused on gearing up for the most grassroots presidential campaign that has ever been waged.

In Iowa alone, we've made 350,000 phone calls. We've had 4,000 one-on-one meetings. We've had 1,200 house parties and meetings. We have eight offices open statewide. We have offices in all of the battle ground states now. So, while they are out there trying to be as extreme as possible and embrace the Tea Party on the Republican side, President Obama is busy being president.

And at the DNC and the Obama campaign, we're getting ready to run the most significant grassroots campaign in presidential history.

BLITZER: Very quickly because we're almost out of time, and I know you got to run as well.


BLITZER: What if Romney gets the nomination, these are two what- ifs, Romney gets the nomination and he picks Florida senator, Marco Rubio, as his running mate, Romney-Rubio in Florida. He's pretty popular, Rubio, in your state, isn't he?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: If there was a ticket like that, it would be, particularly, the most extreme ticket in history when it comes to immigration. That would be a ticket that has -- Mitt Romney who has said that he would he veto the Dream Act if Congress centered (ph) him, even a Republican Congress.

Marco Rubio who shuns comprehensive immigration reform, shuns his own roots, and ignores the fact that the overwhelming majority of Hispanics in our state are supportive of immigration reform. They don't support payroll tax and other cuts for the middle class and working families.

You know what, if we have to go up against a ticket like that, Floridians would embrace President Obama like they did in 2008.

BLITZER: Debbie Wasserman Schultz is not only a congresswoman from South Florida, she's also a chair of the DNC. Congresswoman, thanks very much for coming in.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thanks, Wolf. Take care.


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