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Public Statements

MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript

Interview

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EN. BYRON DORGAN (D), NORTH DAKOTA: Hey, Ed.

SCHULTZ: There seems to be a real culture that has developed that the Republicans not only say no to everything, but they give ultimatums.

What do the Democrats have to do to stand up to this? What has to change? What has to happen, in your opinion?

DORGAN: Well, look, the president has been right on this tax issue all along. What he has said is there is no excuse for us to continue to give $80,000-a-year tax cuts to people that make $1 million a year when we have a $13 trillion debt and a $1.3 trillion annual deficit. And yet that represents the Republican leadership"s highest priority.

I mean, you"ve lost your claim to talk about you"re concern about the federal budget, debt and deficits if you"re pushing for more tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. It makes no sense to me, and the president"s been right about this all along.

SCHULTZ: Don"t you think the president--or I don"t want to put words in your mouth, but I think the president is somewhat naive if he thinks that the Republicans are going to work with him on anything after working with him on nothing.

DORGAN: Well, the clip you showed, I think the president was being diplomatic. I think that"s what you suggested. And I"m sure that"s the case.

But the Republicans have blocked almost everything for two years now. And, you know, what I think the president needs at this point is some help from the American people.

I hope the American people who hear this debate will jam the phone lines of those people who are saying, our highest priority at a time when we"re up to our neck in debt is to give more tax cuts to people that are at the highest income levels in our country. That ought not be the highest priority. It ought to be the lowest priority. Let"s have them pay their taxes and help get this country back on track.

SCHULTZ: Along the lines of ideological beliefs, 41 percent of Republicans think it"s important to stick to their beliefs. I mean, I find that a very high number. And then 59 percent of Democrats think it"s more important to compromise.

Now, there"s a time to compromise, but then there"s a time to say no, we"re not going to do that. I think that there are a lot of liberals in this country who think that President Obama can"t put the hammer down on these guys and is constantly going to be saying, well, let"s compromise, let"s work on it, and come away with nothing.

I mean, shouldn"t President Obama, for the sake of his own base, get tougher on these guys, even in the first week?

DORGAN: Yes. He"s not going to go give up on this, but he needs some help from the American people as well, Ed. I mean, we need people to weigh in on this. The absurdity of very large tax cuts going to the wealthiest Americans at a time when we"re choking on debt makes no sense.

If I may make one other point to you, the other thing we ought to do, we"ve got these tax breaks that go to those that ship American jobs overseas. All the Republicans voted against my efforts to shut down those tax breaks. What I"d like to do is shut them down and use the money from that to be able to incentivize American companies that stay here and hire American citizens here and produce products that say "Made in America" here.

That"s the way to put this country back on track.

SCHULTZ: But, Senator, if they do that, then we"d actually create jobs, and then President Obama would get credit for it, and that"s not the mission. The mission is to defeat him.

Do you agree with that?

DORGAN: That"s the mission. That"s what majority leader--excuse me

Minority Leader McConnell said, the highest priority. Think of all the problems and challenges we face. The highest priority for him is to make sure that the president doesn"t get a second term? That"s unbelievable.

SCHULTZ: Senator Byron Dorgan, good to have you with us tonight.

DORGAN: Thanks. Good to be with you, Ed.

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