Guests: Senators Chuck Schumer & Lindsey Graham

By This Week, This Week - March 11, 2012

STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning, everyone. It has been a packed week in politics, and we have new results this weekend in the Republican primary fight. Five more contests yesterday. Rick Santorum won the big prize in Kansas, but Mitt Romney claimed more delegates in the territories and Wyoming, and that means he still holds a commanding lead in the delegate hunt, more than double Rick Santorum's total, four times as many as Newt Gingrich.

Our powerhouse roundtable is standing by live to analyze what's next in the GOP race and what it means for the big battle with President Obama. But first, our headliners, Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer and Republican Lindsey Graham.

Senators, welcome to both of you. And, Senator Graham, let me begin with the economy. We saw those strong jobs numbers come out on Friday, three months in a row of 200,000-plus job creation, and that sparked a pretty remarkable concession from Rick Santorum last night coming off his victory in Kansas. He said, "The economy may be getting better and the Republicans may lose their edge on that issue." Is he right? And what does that mean for the general election?

GRAHAM: Well, no, I don't think he's right at all. This is an anemic recovery as a pretty long recession, 37 months in a row over 8 percent unemployment for the people in the United States, the longest streak since the Great Depression. Last month in February, $229 billion monthly deficit, the highest deficit in the history of the nation. When you look at the stimulus package two years ago, they projected unemployment at 6.5 percent. Obamacare said that everybody's premiums would be lowered by $2,500; they've gone up by $2,200. And we're producing less oil on publicly held lands than any time in the nation.

So the economy is not -- is anemic at best, and the policies of the president are going to make it impossible for this country to recover. Big things haven't happened very well on his watch.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, Senator Schumer, not even half -- a glass half-full from Senator Graham.

SCHUMER: Well, I think the Republican Party is on the defensive. The president was handed an awful situation, everyone knows that, greatest recession since the depression, 700,000 jobs lost the year he took office, and now it's turning around because of his steadfastness. Two hundred thousand jobs a month gained in the last three months. If that continues, there will be more jobs during this administration when it concludes at the end of this first term than when it started, and that's a real accomplishment.

In addition, George, Democrats are focused like a laser on jobs, the economy, and the middle class. Republicans, realizing that that's not their strong suit, are going off on these other things, women's issues and women's health and contraception. And as a result, we're in a stronger and stronger position.

The women's vote, latest polls show we're up by 15 percent, because they want us to focus on the economy and the middle class, and we are doing it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But, Senator Schumer, let me -- let me follow up on that. Let me follow up on that, because you have -- this has clearly become a Democratic theme this year, and you -- and several Democrats made a lot of hay with the comments of Rush Limbaugh last week.

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