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CNN "Piers Morgan Tonight" - Transcript


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Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz chairs the Democratic National Committee. She hasn't spoken since the failed recall. She joins me now.

Welcome, congresswoman.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, DNC CHAIR: Thank you, Piers. It's great to be with you tonight.

MORGAN: I don't know if you listened to Donald Rumsfeld there, but he concluded that the only possible reason President Obama didn't go down to Wisconsin to try and win this thing is because he knew he'd lose. Your thoughts?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, I wouldn't -- it's not really surprising that the secretary would say something like that. The president deployed his entire machinery, grassroots machinery on the ground in Wisconsin, 40 offices, more than a million and a half dollars, our key neighborhood team leaders and volunteers. And we put an unprecedented effort of grassroots into this recall.

We came up short, but at the same -- of the ultimate goal, which was to make sure that Governor Walker couldn't adopt his extremist policies and continue to hurt middle class and working families. But we did apparently succeed in flipping the state Senate. The state Senate is likely now to be controlled by the Democrats.

So we're going to be able to stop Governor Walker from being able to really continue to pursue those extremist policies. So ultimately we were at least in part successful. We're -- what we demonstrated, Piers, was that Democrats are not going to just lay down and allow the middle class and working families and workers to get run over when an extremist governor has run amuck.

MORGAN: You keep calling him this great extremist who everyone apparently is terrified of and everything else, but the reality is he won. He won pretty convincingly. So the only people laying down, it would seem to everyone else, are the Democrats on this. How are you claiming some kind of weird victory out of all this?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: There's nothing weird about flipping the state senate. Last year, there were recalls of state senators that were put on the ballot and there were recalls last night. As a result of those victories, the state Senate has gone from being Republican to very likely being Democrat now. And really I'm certainly not going to call it a victory. Like I said, we lost the actual recall of the governor, but --

MORGAN: Let me just jump in there. That is my point. If you keep calling him an extremist, but you accept that he won, what does that say about the people in Wisconsin? Are they all a bunch of mad extremists?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No. What it says is that voters look at a recall very differently than they look at a straight up election. If you look at the exit polling, about 70 percent of the voters that cast ballots yesterday were uncomfortable in some way with the actual recall of a governor.

So while they didn't like his policies, they didn't think that they were comfortable with a recall. At the end of the day, I think if you asked any Republican governor in the country if they would trade places with Scott Walker for the last year, and if they would, if they had it to do it over again, take the same steps that Scott Walker did and had to go through a full recall and --

MORGAN: You could argue Scott Walker's probably thrilled that he had to go through it now, because it's made him a national superstar. It's revved up his party. He's the hero of the hour. So I would imagine he's thinking, bring on the recalls. Let's move on to --

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No, I can't imagine that he would be saying that. Most governors in the country wouldn't trade places with him having to raise 31 million dollars, and really having to spend the last year defending policies --

MORGAN: I suspect Scott Walker's chuffed to bits tonight. let's move on. Move on to President Clinton, who in an interview with Harvey Weinstein who was standing in for me, while I was on royal duty in London, revealed a very interesting thing. He has defended Mitt Romney. He called his career as a businessman a sterling career.

What did you make of that when you were watching it? Were you choking on your soup? WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Yeah. I wasn't choking on my soup. Certainly everyone is entitled to their opinion, including President Clinton, but --

MORGAN: Was his opinion correct?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No. I don't agree with President Clinton on that point. In fact, Mitt Romney is basing his entire candidacy on his experience in the private sector. And the only application that we have in government to -- of Mitt Romney's sterling private sector experience is when he was governor of Massachusetts, in which he brought Massachusetts from being 36th to 47th out of 50 in job creation.

MORGAN: What are you going to do about the road --

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Come on, Piers. Let me answer -- let me answer your question.

MORGAN: No, no. I know where you were going there. But I'm actually fascinated by the fact that you have President Clinton appearing to be diametrically opposed on this key battleground point.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No, see, if you listen to the rest of it.

MORGAN: Not a very helpful scenario.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No. Piers, if you listen to the rest of President Clinton's interview, he made it very clear that he thinks that Mitt Romney's practices and the way he carried out his private sector experience does not make him suitable to be president of the United States. President Clinton is 100 percent behind President Obama, and believes that President Obama should continue as president of the United States. That's the bottom line.

The rest of it is sort of window dressing. But there's no getting away from the fact that the only example we have of Mitt Romney's supposedly sterling private record experience is in Massachusetts, in which on top of being 47th out of 50th in job creation, he also lost manufacturing jobs at twice the national rate. Really, when it came right down to it, had very little, if nothing, to show for that private sector experience as governor of Massachusetts, and actually made things worse.

So I think if you look at President Obama's record by comparison, taking us after inheriting the largest set of problems at once of any president since FDR, now three years later, thanks to his policies, even Governor Bob McDonnell last Sunday on "Meet the Press" acknowledged that it was President Obama's policies that helped Virginia be able to not have to cut their budget.

MORGAN: I'm going to have to cut you off in mid-flow there. Hopefully President Clinton is watching tonight and will now be better informed about the less than sterling nature of Mitt Romney's business career.


MORGAN: Debbie, as always, thank you very much.



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