October 11th, 2015
01:46 PM ET

"Can Sander's beat a Republican? Rep. Wasserman Schultz: 'any one of the Republican circus candidates"

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) joined chief political correspondent Dana Bash

For more information, see http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/. Also, text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below.

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz on State of the Union
http://cnn.it/1jiId5m

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

Rep. Wasserman Schultz’s response when asked: if Sander’s socialist label would hurt Democrats?:  [WASSERMAN SCHULTZ]:… this election is going to be decided on - based on what the voters believe is the best choice in their candidate for president, who is going to help make sure that their lives can get better.  And any one of our candidates on that stage on Tuesday night - and we're excited and looking forward to CNN putting on this debate with us - any one of those candidates is in dramatic contrast to any of the Republican circus candidates that - circus performers that are on the other side.They're talking about equal pay for equal work and making sure that we can create more jobs and making sure that we can create a pathway by - for legal status and citizenship for immigrants in this country. And the Republicans are saying, let's kick more immigrants out of the country, let's take away health care from women and from all Americans.

When asked if Bernie Sander’s could beat any Republican:[WASSERMAN SCHULTZ]:  I believe that any one of our candidates will stand in stark contrast when it comes to the priorities of the American people and how they're going to make the decision on who they vote for for president to any of the Republican candidates.  The Republicans have been trying to out right-wing one another.

FULL TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DANA BASH, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Vegas Strip adds a new show Tuesday night, when CNN hosts the first Democratic presidential debate.  And breaking this morning, we are releasing the lectern lineup.It's based on the latest polling data.  And there you see it, from left to right, former Virginia Senator Jim Webb, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley and former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chaffee.Now the one name not on that list, Vice President Joe Biden.  And that's because he's keeping us all waiting for him to decide whether or not he is running for president.

Joining me now is chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Thank you so much for joining me Congresswoman, and actually, before we get to Joe Biden, I want to start with...

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL), CHAIR, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE:  Thank you, Dana.

BASH:  - Benghazi and what we saw this morning, Brad Podliska saying during an interview with Jake Tapper that he thinks that this investigation has become partisan, but Hillary Clinton still has a lot to explain. Now, the committee insists, I should say, that this PowerPoint presentation that he developed during this investigation was actually highly political, they're - that - that he's accusing them of what - you know, they're sort of accusing each other of the same thing. So I guess it bears the question, can he be trusted? What do you think?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:  Well, I think we don't even have to go to Major Pobliska's whistleblower lawsuit to have seen that the true intentions of the creation of the Benghazi Select Committee were revealed on national television by the majority leader, Kevin McCarthy, a little over a week ago, when he absolutely, unequivocally said that this was a committee that was created and bragged about how it's brought Hillary Clinton's numbers down. I mean, so, number one, they basically have admitted on national television that the purpose of the select committee was political, was politically motivated and was a partisan witch-hunt.

And now we have a major in the United States Air Force, who worked for the committee, who now believes that he was fired because he refused to go along with the increasingly partisan targeted witch-hunt against Hillary Clinton that this select committee clearly has been moving towards and engaged in.

So now you have an admission by the people who created the committee and an employee of the committee, who, by the way, says that he is not only a conservative Republican, but intends to vote for the Republican nominee for president and doesn't think that Hillary Clinton should be president.

That - that, to me, it smacks of pretty significant credibility.

BASH:  Now, let's turn now to Joe Biden.

There were reports this week that his aides came to your office at the Democratic National Committee to get a briefing on the nuts and bolts of getting ballots and things like that.

So will Joe Biden run? Does that give you an indication?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:  Well, you know, my staff at the DNC is responsible for giving briefings to announced candidates, to candidates that are thinking about running, so that's something that we do routinely, all the time.

But vice president, as I've said many times, has been going through, with his family, a gut-wrenching remorse that no family should have to go through.

At the same time, we do know that he has been carefully considering whether he wants to run for president of the United States and of course in the Democratic primary, we would always have room and welcome the sitting vice president.

BASH:  Very diplomatic. Let's turn to somebody we know is running, Bernie Sanders.  He is a self-identified socialist. If he is your party's nominee, would socialist label hurt the Democratic Party's chances of winning the White House in 2016?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:  Dana, the - this election is going to be decided on - based on what the voters believe is the best choice in their candidate for president, who is going to help make sure that their lives can get better.  And any one of our candidates on that stage on Tuesday night - and we're excited and looking forward to CNN putting on this debate with us - any one of those candidates is in dramatic contrast to any of the Republican circus candidates that - circus performers that are on the other side.

They're talking about equal pay for equal work and making sure that we can create more jobs and making sure that we can create a pathway by - for legal status and citizenship for immigrants in this country.

And the Republicans are saying, let's kick more immigrants out of the country, let's take away health care from women and from all Americans.

BASH:  So Congresswoman, you would...

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:  But that's the way the American people are going to make this choice.

BASH:  You believe that Bernie Sanders could beat any Republican?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:  I believe that any one of our candidates will stand in stark contrast when it comes to the priorities of the American people and how they're going to make the decision on who they vote for for president to any of the Republican candidates.  The Republicans have been trying to out right-wing one another.

Look, between the 15 Republican candidates that are left, all of whom are trying to out Trump Donald Trump by saying, yes, let's - let's kick women at - let's kick immigrants out of this country, let's take away health care from women, you know, let's - let's increase taxes on the middle class to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy, let's end Medicare as we know it.

Yes, I think any of the candidates on our side of the aisle, who are talking about job creation, making sure we can expand access to health care, build the cornerstones of a middle class life by helping people get a good education and having a secure retirement, any one of our candidates will be chosen and eventually elected as the 45th president of the United States of America because of that contrast.

BASH:  Before I let you go, Martin O'Malley was just here saying, as he says all the time, he wants more debates.  There are currently six on the books.

Any movement there?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:  We're excited about the first debate coming up on Tuesday.  We have six debates throughout our cycle, along with a number of candidate forums.  We're looking forward to working with CNN on Tuesday.  There are so many people who are focused on making sure that we can look at the fact that when we had a conservative Republican president, we were losing 750,000 jobs a month.

We've come through that - 67 straight months of job growth in the private sector.  People are no longer losing their homes like they were in Nevada and across the country.  And that's the contrast that we'll talk about...

BASH:  Congress...

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:  - on Tuesday night.

BASH:  - Congress...

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:  I'm looking forward to that.

BASH:  And, Congresswoman, we're looking forward to it, as well.

Thank you for joining me.

I appreciate it.

And coming up...

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:  Thank you so much, Dana.

BASH:  Thank you.

###END INTERVIEW###

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