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MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript

Interview

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Joining me now is California Congresswoman Maxine Waters.

Congresswoman, good to have you with us tonight.

REP. MAXINE WATERS (D), CALIFORNIA: Good to be with you.

SCHULTZ: You bet.

Last night you used the word "disappointment." That was your first reaction. In reflection, 24 hours later, do you feel the same way?

WATERS: Absolutely. As a matter of fact, the more I thought about this effort to talk about wind-down by indicating that they will start to bring our troops out by 2011, even though it's qualified depending on what is happening on the ground, just said to me this is an attempt by the president to satisfy the left, but it doesn't work.

It is not credible. And so, yes, I'm disappointed. And I want us to bring those troops home. I want us not to have to spend $30 billion.

I'm so focused on this domestic agenda and the lack of jobs. We need jobs. We need economic development.

Do you realize our businesses are closing, our newspapers are shutting down? We need to focus on this domestic agenda. We're not in any imminent danger from Afghanistan or Iraq at this point.

SCHULTZ: So you think the president is not credible on this subject?

Did I hear that correctly?

WATERS: I think that if the president believes that by saying that they're going to train the troops in Afghanistan, and they will secure Afghanistan, and we will start to pull out by 2011, and then qualify that by saying, depending on what's happening on the ground, it doesn't work. It doesn't really ring true.

SCHULTZ: Do you think the Congressional Black Caucus will be with the president on this move?

WATERS: Well, I can't predict that, but I can tell you what the Congressional Black Caucus is focused on.

Today we had a big press conference, and we said that we are tired of sitting back and voting for bailouts and voting for everything except our communities. We are suffering in these communities.

We have joblessness to the tune of 17.4 percent. Our youth are unemployed to the tune of about 30 percent, 35 percent.

We can no longer sit back and play the political game of getting along, going along. We have got to step outside of the box. We have got to be against anything...

SCHULTZ: What are you going to do?

WATERS: Well, we have already started to meet with the administration. We're making some demands.

Ten members of the Financial Services Committee who happen to be African-American didn't vote for the big economic recovery bill today. We had to send a message that we are not going...

SCHULTZ: Well, Congresswoman, this would be my point in this. It's all about horse trading. It's all about the negotiation.

Why doesn't the Congressional Black Caucus go in to see President Obama and say, look, we'll give you 18 months in Afghanistan if you go to the firewall for a full, robust public option? Why not do that?

It's all tied together, the economy, Afghanistan and health care.

It's all together. Why not do that?

WATERS: It's all together, and we have to determine what our priorities are. And even though you talk about horse trading on two of the issues, we have a broader agenda that's dealing with fairness and equity in contracting and employment.

Do you realize that the Department-DOD spends billions of dollars on just advertising alone? Do you know how much the minority newspapers get? Zilch, nothing, not a dime.

And so we're talking about opening up opportunities for the businesses in our community that will create jobs, stabilize our communities, and get out of this devastation that we're in.

SCHULTZ: And you think the $30 billion that we're going to spend in Afghanistan is going to harness all of those efforts?

WATERS: It would go a long way. Some of what could be done could be done without new money. For example, just depositing money in minority banks doesn't cost the government anything.

SCHULTZ: I'm for that. I am absolutely for that.

WATERS: Yes.

SCHULTZ: But I think the president, he can do all of these things. I think that you're in a great negotiating position right now.

WATERS: We are. We are.

SCHULTZ: He is going to need your support to get this deal done.

Congresswoman, you know I love you. You're such a fighter out there.

WATERS: Thank you.

SCHULTZ: Keep going. Keep going.

WATERS: We cast the gauntlet today.

SCHULTZ: You did what?

WATERS: We cast the gauntlet today. We laid down the gauntlet.

SCHULTZ: I'm with you.

WATERS: Thank you.

SCHULTZ: I like it. I like it.

WATERS: Thank you.

SCHULTZ: It all sounds good.

WATERS: All right. Thank you.

SCHULTZ: Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California tonight.

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