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EN. BYRON DORGAN (D), NORTH DAKOTA: Hey, Ed. It"s good to be with you.
SCHULTZ: Did the president do the right thing in freezing federal pay raise says for two years? And what message does this send?
And my other question--an my other question dealing with this, why do it now? He gave away a bargaining chip. What do you think of all of this?
DORGAN: Well, I think what he did was serious. And he said, I"m willing to take some tough steps here. And I understand, you know, if you"re a federal employee, you feel like you"re the one who that"s sacrificing, but the fact is that we"ve got to get this debt and deficit situation under control.
And I heard your description. I mean, it is unbelievable to be here in the Congress and to watch the Republicans say, you know what? Our highest priority is to give tax cuts for those that are the wealthiest Americans. And by the way, to those that have lost their jobs and are hoping for an extension of unemployment, take a hike. We"re going to bring blankets to the rich and say to the rest of the folks that are unemployed, go take a hike.
It"s unbelievable to me.
SCHULTZ: Senator, what does President Obama have to do to get his mojo back? I mean, it just seems that the Republicans are hammering him at every corner. He can"t get the uptake on any of the issues that have been out there.
Is it a messaging issue? What"s your advice leaving the Senate? What does the president and his team have to do to get the mojo back?
DORGAN: I think just, you know, carve out this agenda and push hard. Today was a step to say, I want to be serious about this budget deficit situation. I want to put the country back on track.
He"s also said, I"m not interested in providing tax cuts for millionaires at a time when we"re at war. He"s saying exactly the right thing on those issues. And I understand the other side has a big cheering section with a lot of right-wing radio and television, but the fact is the president just has to continue to push and drive this message through.
There"s a big difference between those who are warm-blooded and those who are cold-hearted. And just look at this policy and ask yourself, do the American people really want this?
We"re at war and we"re supposed to be giving tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, even as we tell those that are jobless that it doesn"t matter, we"re not going to extend their unemployment benefits? Most Americans don"t support that nonsense.
SCHULTZ: Senator, in your opinion, is there any chance that unemployment benefits would get the 60 votes in the Senate?
DORGAN: I sure hope so. I mean, if--
SCHULTZ: But you don"t feel that it"s going to happen?
DORGAN: I just don"t--it doesn"t appear to me there"s much cooperation on anything. And this is something that there ought to be cooperation on.
There"s a good reason to stand on the floor of the Senate when you speak, and that is to stand up for something that"s important. It is important to say to those that are down and out, out of their jobs and out of their homes, and, you know, out of luck, to say to them, you"re not alone, this country wants to help you through this.
SCHULTZ: It"s amazing to me, it really is.
Senator Dorgan, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
DORGAN: Thanks, a lot, Ed.
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