As you have heard, the tone of the speeches here at the Democratic National Convention went from brazen attacks on the Romney campaign to inspirational speeches from First Lady Michelle Obama.
On "Starting Point" this morning, Governor Dannel Malloy (D-CT) talks to Soledad O’Brien about President Obama’s track record in office and the strong arguments against Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
"If you can't stand the heat you should stay out of the kitchen," Malloy says. "Mitt Romney has a record and we can talk about it. It's fair game to talk about. Speakers are going to do that. We're going to also talk about what the president has accomplished. And he's accomplished a great deal and actually much more than he gets credit for."
Gov. Malloy also challenges Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) on his claims that the country is not better off with President Obama.
"Let's stop for a second. Which president saved the automobile industry? Your candidate wanted the automobile industry to go bankrupt. That's what he said. He wrote an editorial in the paper. That would have cost another million jobs. In fact it would have taken the great recession into the great depression. And by the way, when you talk about your desire to create jobs, where have you been on a jobs bill?"
Read the transcript from the interview after the jump.
O'BRIEN: As you have heard, the tone of the speeches here at the DNC went from brazen attacks on the Romney campaign to inspirational speeches from first lady. One of tonight's speakers is on the starting point team, Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy. That the entire strategy for this event, someone will come out like Governor Strickland, he warned us that's what he was going to do and he came out on the attack, sort of moderated by high inspiration.
GOV. DANNEL MALLOY, (D) CONNECTICUT: If you can't stand the heat you should stay out of the kitchen. Mitt Romney has a record and we can talk about it. It's fair game to talk about. Speakers are going to do that. We're going to also talk about what the president has accomplished. And he's accomplished a great deal and actually much more than he gets credit for.
O'BRIEN: Whose fault is that?
MALLOY: I wish you would tell a story about the president a little more. The fact that we've created 4.5 million private sector jobs -
O'BRIEN: That number was thrown out there a lot and you know when the fact checkers look at that, they say, true, but you have to realize you need another 300,000 before you're back up to the number to what we lost, correct?
MALLOY: And then you would immediately repeat when the president was elected we were losing 700,000 jobs a month. That's where we were. That what Bush had done to us. And yes, we had to find a bottom before we could build off that bottom, but we've done that and done a lot of others things.
I was listening earlier. The fact is the federal government is smaller now as a percentage of our total spending than it's been in decades. The fact is that we're spending less on domestic side spending than in any time since as a percentage as any time since Eisenhower was president.
O'BRIEN: Congressman Chaffetz is sitting next to you going - you disagree?
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ, (R) UTAH: With all due respect spending has been north of 24 percent where historically it's been 18 to 20 percent. That's what the Romney/Ryan plan says we have to get that domestic spending as a percentage of GDP to less than 20 percent in order to eventually achieve some sort of balance.
MALLOY: Well, when the president of the United States offered a $4 trillion cut to spending, Republicans pushed it away. Now the president did sign into law a $2 trillion cut, that's reality. Doesn't get credit for it but the president did offer a grand bargain and Republicans refused to accept it.
O'BRIEN: So then we head into the conversations about jobs, sort of this number that you talk about but I think there's a measurement that is how people feel. You can talk about bottoming out and 4.5 million jobs and the number was much bigger, et cetera, but if people don't feel job secure, that's a huge problem.
MALLOY: You're absolutely right. If you didn't get one of those 4.5 million jobs, you can't be happy. But the reality is the economy is growing and we've added jobs. That's a reality. And there are some amazing things going on in the United States, things that we should be very proud of. One of which is the creation of 4.5 million jobs, but many other things, support for education going up. Now the Republicans want to roll that back. They want to attack Pell grants. So we have to tell both sides of the story and that's what a convention is about.
BASH: Bill Clinton is speaking tonight. You probably remember back in 1992 when he won, the incumbent, George W. Bush - George H.W. Bush was arguing the economy was getting better and Clinton was saying it's not. And it turned out the economy was getting better. Are you concerned now it is turned on its head that -
MALLOY: The president has created more jobs on the net basis than his predecessor did in eight years, that's the reality. So we have to start telling that. But we also - there's lots of other things we can do. A president ended one war and in the process of ending another. You want to ask whether things are better than they were, ask Osama bin Laden. We did amazing things - O'BRIEN: When people go to the polls I just think don't they vote on how they feel about the unemployment number, right? There's no way to argue that that number is better.
MALLOY: It is better than when this president took office. You want to measure this president by the - by some year prior to his being elected. The reality is we created 4.5 million jobs. The economy is moving again. We can be proud of what we've accomplished internationally and what we've accomplished in this country, particularly when it comes to support for education. We can be proud of many things and I think employment will be one of those.
O'BRIEN: Go ahead, Ryan.
CHAFFETZ: Well, I would just disagree with unemployment when the president took office it was 7.8 percent. They argued they need this 800 plus billion dollar stimulus and unemployment has been north of 8 percent for 42 months. You add to that the 23 million people unemployed or underemployed at this point. You look at the household income which is less than $4,000. I think both sides want the economy to go forward. We want the jobs numbers coming out on Friday to be better. There is a fundamental difference on how you approach that and how you do it. We would just argue that, with all due respect, despite having the house and Senate and presidency and Democrats able to do everything they want, jobs and the economy have not been priority one and they have not achieved what we need to achieve in the country.
O'BRIEN: Priority one is the stimulus. We heard that consistently -
CHAFFETZ: They got that and did it but it didn't work.
O'BRIEN: How do you say that's not a priority?
CHAFFETZ: Because unemployment, unemployment went up.
LIZZA: Every independent assessment says the stimulus shaved 1.5 to 2.5 points off unemployment -
CHAFFETZ: You're talking $500,000 per job. One hearing we were at it was very difficult for this administration - remember they were going to talk about jobs created and jobs saved and then they could never define what jobs saved meant.
MALLOY: Let's stop for a second. Which president saved the automobile industry? Your candidate wanted the automobile industry to go bankrupt. That's what he said. He wrote an editorial in the paper. That would have cost another million jobs. In fact it would have taken the great recession into the great depression. And by the way, when you talk about your desire to create jobs, where have you been on a jobs Bill?
CHAFFETZ: We have passed - the house -
MALLOY: The president's job bill -
CHAFFETZ: Absolutely I did. Yes, I did.
MALLOY: - more teachers in schools right now if you would passed it?
CHAFFETZ: We have passed out of the House 32 jobs bills sitting in the United States Senate. The reality is we have passed a budget for two years in a row. The president in his plan, which is exemplified in a budget, has never had a single Democrat support it. Think about how stunning it is the president's budget this year had 99-0 defeated and the House had 414-0. The president may say he has a plan but nobody supports it.
BASH: Now difficult is it to prove that things really, really would be worse if we didn't do these - take these steps?
O'BRIEN: Proving a negative.
BASH: To convince people something they can't necessarily imagine?
MALLOY: I have to go back to this - 4.5 million jobs. You folks - you want -
O'BRIEN: I think I found the theme of the DNC tonight.
MALLOY: You want to refuse or deny -
O'BRIEN: I'm not denying anything. I'm saying 300,000 more and you'll break even.
MALLOY: Break even to what?
O'BRIEN: To what the president came into office.
MALLOY: The prior administration was losing 700,000 jobs a month. That's reality. Now we've had job growth going on 30 months in a row. That's reality. And people are getting back to work. If you're not back to work, or if you're underemployed, you're absolutely hurting. We understand that and that's why we want to do a whole bunch of other things to get the economy going, including the Americans Jobs Bill, which has not gotten a vote in the Congress.
O'BRIEN: We're going to talk about all of that as I go to commercial break. Still ahead this morning, CNN's prime time coverage kicks off this evening at 7:00 p.m. eastern with Wolf Blitzer and the entire team. Former President Bill Clinton will address delegates with midnight and that's all tonight here on CNN.
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