"Face the Nation" transcript: February 26, 2012

GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: I don't. Because I don't think there's been this enormous emphasis on it. Listen, we've gone through a couple of weeks where Senator Santorum has made some comments. Remember this is all been Senator Santorum, has made these comments that have-- it fascinated the media in part because he's been doing better lately. And so everybody is covering him very intensely. But listen to what Mitt Romney has been talking about. Governor Romney has been talking about a twenty percent tax cut, making the tax code fairer, simpler for people, so you don't have to hire an accountant to file your tax returns. Those are the things he's been talking about. So I-- I don't agree, Bob, with the characterization of the party as a whole. This is Senator Santorum who is discussing these. Listen, I care about some of these social issues. So do a lot of your viewers. But what people care about the most is getting a job, being able to put food on the table, being able to pay their mortgage. Those are the things they care the most about. Those are the issues Governor Romney is facing head on right now. And will take the President on the fall over.

BOB SCHIEFFER: But I wonder how you get the focus back to that if you do because, I mean, you know, we've spent the last couple of weeks here talking about running against birth control for goodness sake.


BOB SCHIEFFER: I mean, I admit, I mean, I-- I believe the President made a serious political mistake when he tried to say to the Catholic Church, you have to buy birth control pills for the folks that work in your hospitals and-- and your schools--


BOB SCHIEFFER: --and so forth. But he backed away from that. And yet, the Republicans keep pushing. They say that's not enough. That you've got to be totally against the birth control the way some of-- I mean how--

GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: But I don't think-- I don't think, you know, most Republicans have said that. I certainly was asked about this-- this in just a week.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, that's certainly what Santorum has been pushing.

GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: Well, again that's-- but you're proving my point. Rick Santorum is talking about these things. I think he's trying to appeal to a certain sector of our electorate. And like I said, a lot of these social issues are important to me but I also know that what's most important to the people of the Republican Party and of America right now, Bob, is to talk about jobs. And so you say how are we going to get back to that? The passage of time. You know, the great thing about the twenty-four-seven news cycle is, you guys get bored and then you move on to something else. And so Governor Romney, though, has not taken his eye off the ball. He's been talking about tax cuts, simplifying the code, cutting spending and getting our country back on the right track to have an entrepreneurial economic explosion in this country.

BOB SCHIEFFER: How do you go after Barack Obama, though, right now? I mean, stock market is up. It looks like the unemployment is going down. David Axelrod in his campaign said the other day Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive. It's going to be a tough job for you. Is it not?

GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: Listen. I've always said that the race against President Obama--I said this a year ago, that anybody who took Barack Obama lightly did so at their own peril. And I think he will be a very formidable candidate, but he also has some real weaknesses, Bob. I mean, you know, he said unemployment was never going to go over eight percent if we pass this stimulus plan. We went up over ten percent. A lot of people are still suffering out there, Bob. Foreclosures are high. And people don't feel as if they've gotten the hope and change that the President promised. So part of this is going to be, yes, some progress is being made sure. We see it in our state. But on the other hand, has enough progress been made? And the people, who are really hurting, are they going to feel like they want to stay in this direction or do they want to change direction? And that's what the election is going to be about. But that's why we have these elections. Let's have the argument. Let's have the fight. And I think Mitt Romney will bring that fight to the President. The President is going to have to defend his record. But I'm not going to be one of these guys who is going to say nothing good happens ever. I mean you-- you have no credibility if you say that.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me just ask you this. It's hypothetical to be sure. But if Mitt Romney does lose Michigan, I think you're going to hear a lot of voices in your party saying, maybe we ought to rethink this whole thing. Maybe some other people ought to think about getting in. You said before, no way, no how. But if that should happen, is there anyway you would ever consider getting back in this race?