Interview with DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Interview with DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz

By The Situation Room - May 15, 2012

BLITZER: With polls suggesting that Mitt Romney is even with or even leading President Obama, is it time for the Democrats to panic?

Let's discuss that with Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida. She is the chair of the Democratic National Committee.

James Carville, a man you know, the man I know, our CNN contributor. He wrote this blog last week saying, I'll put it up on the screen. WTFU, translated, wake the you know what up, there is an earthquake. What are you smoking? What are you drinking?

What are you snorting or just what in the hell are you thinking? Earlier he said, it's time to panic because so many Democratic leadership in the party and the campaign seem to be complacent that the president has a lot before being re-elected. He says you have to fight.

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRWOMAN: Well, I guess, it's my job to peel folks like James Carville off the ceiling because it's certainly not time to panic.

I haven't noticed complacency at all. I mean, in the last year, I've traveled to 33 states and almost 100 cities, Wolf and people our very focused.

Our supporters understand what's at stake here. They know the dramatic contrast in the two directions that we could go. They understand that this will be a close election and they are fired up and ready to go. And we've got a tremendous amount of activity through our neighborhood --

BLITZER: You are not just resting assuming it's a done deal.

SCHULTZ: Kicking back and relaxing, I can assure you.

BLITZER: All right, because this "New York Times"/CBS poll today shows, what, 32 percent, a third of the country thinks the economy is good right now and 67 percent, two-thirds think the economy is bad. You agree the economy is issue number one.

SCHULTZ: Absolutely. We need to continue President Obama's laser focus on creating jobs, getting the economy turned around. Remember that he's brought us from really the worst economic crisis that we've had since the great depression in most of our lifetimes.

And now three and a half years later, we've created more than 4.2 million jobs. We got 26 straight months of private sector job growth and we need to keep our eyes on the prize and focused on fighting for the middle class and working families and giving everyone know opportunity to be successful.

When Mitt Romney and his cronies and the Republicans Party and the extremists and the Tea Party are fighting for people who are already doing quite well and trying to make sure they can do even better. That's the choice.

BLITZER: As the Republicans keep saying that the president's campaign, the Democrats, the DNC, the organization you hold, you keep trying to change the subject away from the economy to other issues.

SCHULTZ: Really?

BLITZER: Same-sex marriage, for example.


BLITZER: Or if it's a Bane Capital, Mitt Romney's capital at Bane Capital and anything, but talking about the economy, which they say is the president's weak spot.

SCHULTZ: You see, what I've noticed is that the Republicans are really good at projections, which means that anything that actually applies to them they try to put on their opponents.

It's the Republicans that are focused on everything, but creating jobs and working with this president and compromising so we can reduce the deficit because they focused on social issues. They're had an obsession with culture.

BLITZER: During the Republican primary, but what about now? SCHULTZ: Just over the last few months.

BLITZER: He doesn't want to focus that. He wants to focus the economy. Romney, I think that's a fair assessment. He doesn't want to focus on social issues, which the other Republican candidates like Rick Santorum and those guys.

SCHULTZ: Mitt Romney and the people around him have focused on making sure that the top of their agenda is defunding Planned Parenthood. The top of their agenda -- I mean, you just look at the Republicans when they took over the majority in the Congress.

Their number one bill, HR-1 was the repeal of the affordable care act. HR-3 was a bill that would have defunded Planned Parenthood and ended funding for birth control and family planning. HR-3 also would have made sure that we change how we define --

BLITZER: The Republicans in Congress, does not necessarily Mitt Romney.

SCHULTZ: Mitt Romney certainly has not distanced himself from the Republican leadership and the Congress. He's fully embraced the Romney-Ryan budget, which would end Medicare as we know it. He's completely twisted and intertwined with the extremists in the Tea Party.

BLITZER: As far as you're concerned, you want this race to be focused on jobs and the economy.

SCHULTZ: It has been President Obama's focus since day one and that's why we are moving in the right direction. It's also why that poll showed that most Americans believed that a year from now they themselves would be better off economically and that the economy will continue to improve.

BLITZER: You know, that's very disturbing to me.

SCHULTZ: They're optimistic.

BLITZER: You're a congresswoman. You're running for re-election in your district. I know there are a bunch of Republicans vying.

SCHULTZ: Yes, a couple.

BLITZER: I don't know if you noticed this one individual who's now put up a web site and he's got a picture of you with a dog collar on it. There is it right there. It's a really degrading picture and stop Barack Obama's biggest attack dog is the headline. Do you know this individual Ozzy Defario whatever his name is?

SCHULTZ: I don't know him, no.

BLITZER: Is he a serious Republican challenger potentially to you?

SCHULTZ: I'm focused on representing my constituents and making sure they understand I've been fighting for them and working hard to make sure that we can continue to get this economy turned around.

That they have a seven-way Republican primary and I think that web site itself demonstrates what kind of person he is and it speaks for itself.

BLITZER: Coming on the heels of Alan West's ugly comments about you, you remember those a few months ago.

SCHULTZ: Sticks and bones can break my bones and names can never hurt me. I'm just going to keep focused on my job and work hard and be the grassroots door to door, neighbor to neighbor legislator I've been for 20 years.

BLITZER: Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the DNC. Thanks for coming in. 

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