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Public Statements

MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript

Interview

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Congresswoman, if -- I got to ask you. If 98 percent of the American people -- and it`s actually a little bit more than that -- are not going to get touched by this, how in the world can`t the Democrats get behind it?
There are some reservations coming out of some of the Senate and a few in the House.

REP. MAXINE WATERS (D), CALIFORNIA: Well --

SCHULTZ: Isn`t this something easy for the Democrats to sell? What do you think?

WATERS: Well, I think that many of the Democrats are looking for the details of the overall proposal.

But on increasing taxes on the millionaires and billionaires, we have to get behind that. I think it is fair. It makes good sense. The American public supports that. They have been getting away with not paying
their fair share.

And I think that aspect of the proposal is going to get widespread support among Democrats and I think Republicans are going to have to not do what they`ve been doing in the past and protecting the richest 1 percent in our country. They`re going to have to come on board on this. American workers and people out of jobs are not going to stand for this unfairness in the taxation situation.

SCHULTZ: And, Senator, is this going to be a hard sell for senators who are going home? There`s 16 Democrats and one independent facing reelection. It would seem to me that it would be an easy sell to say to 98 percent of your constituents that you`re not going to get touched by this and it`s about time those who have had the tax breaks over the last 10 years have got to step to the plate? How can that be a hard sell? Why are some Democrats in the Senate getting cold feet on this?

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Well, let them speak for themselves. It`s easy for me.

I mean, I was on a conference call with a bunch of seniors today in eastern Ohio. It`s pretty simple. Do you want to protect oil companies, oil company subsidies and hedge fund operators on Wall Street? Or do you
want to protect Medicare? I mean, it really can`t be both ways.

I mean, the Republicans, if they want to protect their oil company friends and they want to protect hedge fund operators and they want to protect these tax breaks to send jobs overseas, then they`ve got to cut
Medicare to pay for it. And, you know, it`s real clear to me that we ought to have some tax fairness here, people who have had a good last 10 years ought to pay a little bit more. And then we can preserve Medicare and Social Security, make some significant budget cut where is we have to, protect Pell grants, Social Security, Medicare, the kinds of things -- invest in the future, community colleges and all that.

These are real simple, clear choices. Politics is about choices. And Republicans, as Maxine just suggested, Republicans that stand in the way of this are going to see a steamroller running over them because the public clearly says, increase taxes on people who have had an easy ride and can afford it, and don`t balance the budget on the backs of middle income and senior citizens.

WATERS: Yes.

CHULTZ: And, Congresswoman, the Congressional Black Caucus has struggled with this president at times. But it seems now that he has turned the corner.

Is this something that`s going to galvanize the Congressional Black Caucus and really get them totally behind this president? Because if he`s going to get reelected, I don`t know how he could do it with anybody in your caucus that is not totally behind him. What do you make of that?

WATERS: Well, you know, he -- the Congressional Black Caucus really does support the president. And we want him to work with us to do things that will get him the votes that he deserves to have. We believe that
paying attention to the jobs crisis, doing those job fairs we did all over the country, and helping people to connect with opportunities and keeping this on the agenda, and then helping to try and target the resources toward the worst places in this country will help him, not hurt him.

We support him. We want to see him reelected. And we want to make sure that his base constituency understands that he`s on board on all of these issues.

You know, one of the things that I think we have to do is this -- many of the Republicans represent poor people and struggling people in the rural areas and areas where they don`t get any representation here in Congress. They don`t have anybody fighting for them. They are misled oftentimes on issues that don`t have anything to do with their economic well being.

And I think we`re going to have to reach out beyond the urban areas, beyond the suburban areas, into many of these rural areas, into these mining areas, and talk to people about what their representatives are not doing and how their economic interests are not being taken care of.

SCHULTZ: And, Senator Brown, are you concerned that President Obama might backtrack? He has a habit over the last several years of making a statement and then backing off a little bit and looking for the deal. Is
this it? How determined do you think he is and will this motivate some to support him even more because they know he means business now?

BROWN: I think he does mean business. I think when all the talk shows -- my wife and I were getting ready to watch the Cleveland Browns football game on Sunday. Before that, we were watching some of these
shows.

And, you know, you heard all these conservative Republicans and conservative politicians in Washington say the president`s committing class warfare. And when the president didn`t back down when they accused him of that -- because this is a group that`s committed class warfare for 20 years, going after Medicare, going after Social Security, giving tax breaks to the wealthy, helping corporations outsource jobs. They`re committing the class warfare.

The president is standing strong. He`s putting up with that. He`s driving forward. He means it.

And Maxine is right, there are a lot of rural people in Appalachia, Ohio, for instance, that are going to be welcomed what the president is doing, because it`s not just the fair tax system, it`s the focus on jobs.
And the most important thing the president is doing is focusing on infrastructure, going to Cincinnati Thursday to begin to put people to work on that bridge, the Brent Spence bridge.

We`ve got that all over our state -- rural areas, urban areas, people wanting to go to work. That`s what the president is fighting for. That`s why I`m on board on this new proposal he has.

SCHULTZ: Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California, great to have you both with us tonight, from the House and the Senate, speaking strong for the president.

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