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MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript

Interview

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SCHULTZ: You bet.

Joining me now is Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, a member of the Senate HELP Committee.

Jobs is going to be a big issue tonight for the president. He"s got to knock it out of the park and convince the American people that we are headed in the right direction.

Senator, what do you want to hear President Obama say about jobs, considering in your back yard in Ohio, it"s at 10 percent, I believe, unemployment in your state?

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Yes, Ed. I want to hear the president talk specifically about--first I want him to set the context.

A year ago, 700,000 people lost their jobs the month he was sworn in. The banks in this country were about to implode, sending us into a depression if he hadn"t acted.

In the auto industry, which is so important to my state, but so important to every community in this country, frankly, auto dealers, component suppliers, manufacturers, all that, the auto industry was teetering, too. And he righted that ship with, again, no Republican help.

And I want to comment on something that Congressman Clyburn said. The problem is that the Republicans, yes, they want to work with us, but they want to do it their way. And frankly, we tried their way. For eight years, we tried their way and it simply didn"t work.

And their answer to all these problems, more deregulation, more tax cut for the rich. So, if we did it bipartisanly, they only want to work with us if we do it that way. And that is so discredited.

So, I want them to work with us. But not one of them in the House and only three in the Senate--and one of them switched parties--

Republicans, voted for the stimulus package. They wanted more tax cuts back then even though we compromised and gave them some of that.

They clearly just believe in this sort of George Bush economics that doesn"t work for our country. It sure as hell didn"t work for my state.

SCHULTZ: So, does the president tonight strike somewhat of an aggressive tone and say, look, Republicans, we"ve had our hand out, we"ve had olive branches coming out of the White House left and right, and you just haven"t gotten on board with anything, and tell the American people, as a political tactician tonight, tell the American people that one party is holding a lot of stuff up in this country and blame the Republicans?

Do you think he should go that far?

BROWN: I do. I mean, I hear some of my colleagues say you"ve got to move to the center. One of my Senate colleagues said that we should try to do bipartisanship on health care again, give them another chance.

I mean, that"s what we"ve done. That"s why the country has drifted. That"s why we don"t have a health bill yet. That"s why we haven"t had the economic growth we"d like to have, because we couldn"t do the stimulus--the Recovery Act the way we really should have done it.

We did it generally well, but we would have done it better if we could have done more direct spending on highways, bridges, rail, water and sewer systems, broadband, community college construction. All of that. Instead, we didn"t do it quite right.

So, I hope the president is aggressive and says to the country, here"s what we need to do, I want to work with Republicans on this, join us. But I"m not going back to the George Bush tax cuts for the rich, more infrastructure, more run up the national debt.

Don"t forget, eight, nine years ago, we had a surplus in the country. We had a war that wasn"t paid for, a trillion dollars. We had tax cuts for the rich that our grandchildren get to pay for. We had to a giveaway to the drug and insurance companies that our great children get to pay for, and that doesn"t work for the country.

That"s why we have this huge budget deficit. It"s not because of Barack Obama. It"s because of bad economic policy for eight years before last January 20th.

SCHULTZ: Senator, good to have you on tonight. Appreciate it so much.

BROWN: My pleasure. Thank you.

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