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Congresswoman, good to have you with us tonight.
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL), DNC CHAIR: Thanks, Ed. Good to
be with you again.
SCHULTZ: You bet. Are Democrats very confident in the ground game, that you can duplicate this around the country, what you have been able to do in day one in Iowa?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, Ed, we`re very proud if you look at the contrast between our two campaigns, President Obama`s campaign has been in the process and we believe successfully has established the most significant dynamic grassroots presidential campaign in history. That`s why you see that the offices and the ground game and the grassroots network that we have across the state of Iowa and across states in this country.
In Iowa, President Obama was so proud to win Iowa in the Democratic primary of 2008. He had an organization there that`s never left. I can tell you that from now until Election Day, I`m looking forward to being in Iowa this weekend. We`re going to continue to go door to door and neighborhood to neighborhood to talk to voters across this country moving forward.
SCHULTZ: Give us a snapshot of the swing states and the ground operation. I mean, we just showed the map of Iowa. It`s rather overwhelming, the ntensity and the ground game that President Obama has got versus the challenger, Mitt Romney.
Does it look this way in all of the other swing states?
SCHULTZ: Well, you know, Mitt Romney -- let`s not just dismiss the organization that he has. When you have a handful of billionaires that are
essentially trying to buy the White House for you, you know, you can pay for a few offices and for some folks to get out there and knock on some doors. So, they certainly aren`t doing nothing. They`ve got an organization there as well.
But we`re proud that we have a grassroots people powered campaign. One that has folks out there, you know, thousands of door knocks and phone calls and we`ve got a lot of online outreach that occurs across the country. So, we`re counting on grassroots operations to help carry President Obama across the finish line back to the White House for a second term.
SCHULTZ: How important is the early voting? Do you expect this kind of early vote in all of these states?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Absolutely. Early voting is critical. We`re thrilled at the early voting organization that we have and the GOTV effort we have, starting in Iowa today. We also want to remind people that they`ve got to get out, there`s still time to register to vote in states across the country. Go to gottoregister.com because they can get the information they need to sign up and register to vote. Plenty of time left.
SCHULTZ: And what about combating voter suppression? Has this been the game plan? Is this the best thing you can to?
WASSSERMAN SCHULTZ: You know what we`ve been doing, at the same time
we`ve been fighting battles of voter suppression legally and been successful through federal courts with judges appointed by Republican and Democratic presidents knocking these laws down, clearing away these obstacles, we`ve not been taking that for granted.
We made sure we get the people the information they need to clear those obstacles away themselves and make sure they can get what they need to bring to the polls and also what they need to get registered to vote.
SCHULTZ: All right. There`s been a lot of conversation, congresswoman, about polls and who`s ahead. We can`t find a poll where Mitt Romney is ahead. In fact, I made the comment, I would like to be in Mitt Romney`s office because I`d like to see their game plan on how they expect to get there, if you know what I mean. What is their roadmap to victory?
Ohio is crucial. And the early -- and the get out to vote, obviously what we just talked about, is crucial. Does it have to be bigger than 2008 for President Obama to win?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, you know, I don`t want to be -- you don`t want to put too much stock in polls 40 days out. Whether we`re up, whether we`re down, we`re concentrating on that ground game. You mentioned the debates earlier in your opening comments, Ed. You know, let`s not discount the fact that Mitt Romney is an experienced and skilled debater. He --
SCHULTZ: He`s been all over the map, congresswoman. I mean, the guy has been all over the map on health care, on taxes. I mean, he`s -- huh?WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Keep in mind, though -- Ed, keep in mind, though,
he`s a pretty decent closer. He`s had a lot of time to prepare for these debates. During the Democratic National Convention, reportedly, he did a week of debate prep camp. He`s gone through 48 hours, done five debate practices.
President Obama has been practicing but he`s got a day job, and he`s been trying to balance that.
SCHULTZ: I got to have some fun with this. He had a week of debate prep? And I must believe that the way he`s been talking he`s come out more confused from that debate prep than what we`ve seen. We`ve seen him stumble all over himself just in the last cycle. He contradicted himself yesterday on health care, speaking to an NBC reporter.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Let`s remember, he`s going to come out and he`s going to be prepared to, you know, just coming on to the stage with the president of the United States gives you some gravitas right there. And typically in the first debate, five out of the last six first debates in the presidential campaign, the challenger was declared the winner.
So let`s just keep in mind that we can`t take anything for granted. Let`s focus on the ground game. We`ve got 40 days to go.
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