"Face the Nation" transcript: April 1, 2012

Vice President Joe Biden talks about the 2012 presidential race with Bob Schieffer in Milwaukee on March 29. CBS News/CHRIS USHER

(CBS News) Below is a rush transcript of "Face the Nation" on April 1, 2012, hosted by CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer. The guests are Vice President Joe Biden; Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul; and a roundtable featuring Romney strategist Kevin Madden, PBS's Gwen Ifill, and CBS News' legal analyst Jan Crawford and political director John Dickerson.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Today on FACE THE NATION, the Republicans may not have their nominee yet, at least not officially, but the general election campaign is already underway and we'll devote the next hour to it.

JOE BIDEN: This is not your father's Republican Party. This is a different party that I'm used to.

BOB SCHIEFFER: The vice president took the fight directly to the Republicans this week and set the tone for the coming campaign in an interview with us.

JOE BIDEN: Speaking of flexible-- Governor Romney is a pretty flexible guy.

BOB SCHIEFFER: The vice president was on the stump with his sight set on Romney because the White House is convinced that Romney will be their opponent this fall.

JOE BIDEN: It just seems to be uninformed or stuck in a cold war mentality.

BOB SCHIEFFER: But what do the Republicans think about that? We'll talk to two of the candidates, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. Will they and Rick Santorum hang in until the convention or is it time for them to go? Romney himself is taking nothing for granted.

MITT ROMNEY: I've got ways to go before I get eleven hundred and forty-four delegates, so I'm not counting the delegates before they hatch.

BOB SCHIEFFER: We'll get analysis on that. And this week, Supreme Court arguments on health care from our political round table, Romney advisor, Kevin Madden; PBS's Gwen Ifill; our political and legal correspondent, Jan Crawford; and political director, John Dickerson.

This is FACE THE NATION.

ANNOUNCER: From CBS News in Washington FACE THE NATION with Bob Schieffer.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Good morning again. And welcome as we begin the new one-hour edition of FACE THE NATION and we start with the Vice President Joe Biden who sat down with us for an interview earlier this week in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Well, good morning, Mister Vice President--

JOE BIDEN (voice overlapping): Good morning.

BOB SCHIEFFER: --and welcome to FACE THE NATION. We did some checking. This is your third appearance as vice president, your fifty-fifth appearance on FACE THE NATION, that's more than any other Democrat. You still haven't caught up with John McCain--

JOE BIDEN: Oh.

BOB SCHIEFFER: --who-- who's the leader right now. Well, let's get right to it.

JOE BIDEN: Yes.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You really laid into Governor Romney this week. You said he was consistently wrong about everything. Does this mean that you and the President have decided that Mitt Romney is the nominee, that he's who you're going to be facing come fall?

JOE BIDEN: Bob, I can never figure out who the Democratic nominee is going to be in the primary. I don't-- that-- that's not the-- he seems like the front-runner. But what he's saying is not fundamentally different than-- than Santorum have said.

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