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REP. PATRICK MURPHY (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Thanks for having me back on, Rachel. I appreciate that.
MADDOW: Is privatizing veterans" care as third rail of an issue as I think it is? To me, this seems like a positively nuclear proposal.
MURPHY: Absolutely. And that"s why they don"t want to talk about it except in Republican circles. And it is outside the mainstream. I mean, this is not where the American people--and I can assure you: this is certainly not where the American veterans believe to privatize the V.A.--we need to make sure it"s strengthened, not to privatize it and cut it loose.
MADDOW: Who is out there in the government right now or, in politics really, who is--who is defending these programs? Who is talking about how popular these are? Who are their cheerleaders? Sometimes, it seems to me that the people who receive this kind of care, who benefit from it, either as Medicare beneficiaries, Social Security beneficiaries or veterans getting V.A. care, they"re sort of left on their own to defend this thing that they"re benefiting from.
MURPHY: That"s right. And that"s because, you know, the veterans in America, they"re the minority of the population. And the fact is this, is that you talk to the veterans that I served back in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and northeast Philadelphia, they love their V.A. care and they want to make sure that they have more of it.
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We went through years and years of the Bush administration short-changing the V.A. And they were short-changed not by a little bit, by $3 billion. We now get a Democratic president and Democratic Congress and we have increased the V.A. funding at the largest level ever to make sure that we take care of these heroes, especially the ones that are coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan.
And to see the Republican Party try to privatize it and get rid of it is absolutely insane.
MADDOW: Do you--do you agree with what I see as the big picture thing going on here, that Republicans are essentially this year trying to run on the abstract idea of free market ideology but they"re really running away from what the specifics of that mean? They"re really not willing to spell out what that translates to in terms of specific policies.
MURPHY: Absolutely. You know, when I won a very close race in 2006, Rachel, I"m the second Democrat ever to hold my seat, I talked--not just why the guy, the incumbent who by the way I"m going against again, why he should be fired, I talked about why I should be hired, I talked about the timeline in Iraq so we could bring our troops home, which President Obama implemented by the way. I talked about how we need to bring jobs here and make things in America and not outsource jobs, unlike my opponent when he was in--when it was Republicans in the House, the Senate and the White House, when they outsourced jobs and extended bad NAFTA, our trade deals to Central America and to the Middle East.
But this is their agenda. They don"t want to exactly talk in the specifics, because let me tell you what the specifics are, Rachel. They are to privatize the V.A. They are to privatize Social Security and put it in Wall Street and make sure you put that money, take it out of Social Security, and put it in Wall Street. And what would have happened two years ago? The seniors would have been devastated.
MADDOW: Congressman Murphy, you"re in such a difficult district, as you explained, difficult district for a Democrat. You"re in a tough race this year, right now. The national conversation right now among Democrats is how they can close that enthusiasm gap, how they can get Democratic voters to be as enthusiastic and as likely to turn out on Election Day as the conservative voters who are so motivated this year.
What"s your specific approach in your district to try to make that happen? How are you trying to get out the vote?
MURPHY: My race and the races across this country are about a contrast, you know? If you want to privatize Social Security, I"m not you were guy. If you want to protect it, I am your guy. And by the way, with Medicare, we extended an additional 12 years and closed the donut hole.
How about jobs? If you want to lose another 8 million jobs, which we did it under the Bush administration--and by the way, with the majority of those years, we had a Republican House, Republican Senate and Republican White House, and they extended NAFTA to Central America and we lost manufacturing jobs, I"m not your guy.
But if you want to make things in America again, I am your guy. If you want to go fight unnecessary wars--and, you know, I was proud to serve in Iraq, but let"s face it, the Iraq war was a diversion from our focus where it should have been, and that"s Afghanistan. But the Iraq war has cost the American taxpayer $3 trillion. That"s $10,000 per person, every man, woman and child.
And guess what? We haven"t paid off that $10,000 per person yet. And that"s wrong.
And we need to make sure when we talk about war fighting, when we talked about the wars going on, we"re doing it in the right way, not the wrong way.
And I"ll tell you, I hear the cheerleaders about Iran right now and other places, it"s like--listen, you know, let"s make sure we"re doing all our diplomatic efforts before you start another war. But that"s what you"re hearing from the far right.
And I will tell you, Rachel, you know, painting that contrast, showing people what we have done, like in my district, you know, we brought back 3,000 jobs in Bucks County, during a worst recession since the Great Depression. For the last eight months, you know, we have had job growth in the private sector--every single month.
The last three months, by the way, of the Bush administration, we were losing 800,000 a month. Now, a lot of folks in Bucks County will say, well, Patrick, let"s not talk about the Bush administration. I wish I didn"t have to talk about the Bush, Fitzpatrick administration, except they"re trying to reheat the same economic policies that got us into this mess to begin with.
We need to start making things in this country, not outsource them.
MADDOW: Iraq war veteran and Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania, giving a little bit of a master class there to Democrats looking at how they"re going to run right now in tough districts and in tough races--Congressman Murphy, thanks for joining us.
MURPHY: Thanks, Rachel. You"re a great American.
MADDOW: It"s very nice of you to say that.
All right. The Republican Party"s pledge to America was supposed to reflect the suggestions of America. And it does if by America you mean one very specific lobbyist. That embarrassing bit of fail is next.
And today marked an important milestone in this year"s big campaign. Democrats have avoided bragging about their truly profound achievements in, say, health reform for so long that Republicans are now claiming the Democratic record for their very own, despite having opposed it.
Through the looking glass, the political looking class, with Gene Robinson--coming up.
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