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MSNBC "The Rachel Maddow Show" - Transcript


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Congresswoman Jackson Lee, I want to ask you, is this game on for the Democrats? Did the president lay out a very progressive vision that you can stand behind and this is where the Democrats have to go?

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), TEXAS: Ed, game on. This is truly a home run, renewed nationalism. I`m almost standing on my tippy toes because of the excitement of the president taking charge on behalf of the
American people.

Teddy Roosevelt talked about busting monopolies. He was called, as the president said in his speech, a socialist, a communist, and then turned out to be a hero, because in busting those monopolies, he created jobs for the American people.

The president today laid out a roadmap and asked us, are we prepared and willing to sacrifice to get a better education, better opportunities for jobs and infrastructure, for the American people? By saying to those
top 1 percent, many of whom are in agreement, but they have been taken hostage, themselves, by the Republicans who use them as pawns to keep Bush tax cuts that have done nothing to create jobs but only diminish the American people`s opportunity for their genius and their job opportunities to grow.

So, the game is on. I will not in any way accept an extension of the Bush tax cuts or a permanency of the Bush tax cuts. We`ve got the payroll tax ready to go to save 160 million people over $300,000 and we got the unemployment insurance ready to go to invest in the American economy.

SCHULTZ: And, Congresswoman Sutton, do you stand with your colleague there, that under no terms would you ever go along with extending the Bush tax cuts? Because, you know, I`ve said for weeks, this is where the Republicans are going. And now, Jon Kyl has said it.

REP. BETTY SUTTON (D), OHIO: Yes. I think that the idea of extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy is, as you put it, a nonstarter. It`s time that those who have done well in America do well by America. And they
just frankly haven`t been paying a fair share, as has been pointed out not only by you for months on this show, years, perhaps, but also by the president so brilliantly today.

And he showed the vision -- a vision, by the way, that I think won`t just be embraced by Democrats, but will be embraced by Americans across the board.

SCHULTZ: Well, I was going to ask you about that. There`s a lot of independent voters in Ohio. Ohio clearly is a big state in 2012. What the president said today, does that play well in the Buckeye State?

SUTTON: He spoke right to the hearts and the needs of the state of Ohio and the people that I`m so honored to serve there. He`s asking for a fair shake.

He`s talking about what kind of a country we`re going to be. Are we going to return, are we going to strengthen that middle class? Because it was the middle class that makes our country so great.

And all of the things that the president was talking about, today, and putting into prospective how we got to be where we are. Through the tax cuts that were given so generously to those at the very top at the expense of the middle class. Getting rid of that and aiming policies that will benefit working families, and people who are doing everything right and just want a fair shot.

SCHULTZ: The president went after taxation and inequality again and again. Here it is.


OBAMA: It`s wrong that in the United States of America, a teacher or a nurse or a construction worker maybe earns $50,000 a year should pay a higher tax rate than somebody raking in $50 million.


SCHULTZ: Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, does this play well for Democrats as a theme until November of 2012?

LEE: Ed, as you have championed over these weeks and months and for a long time, we`ve got a clarion call. I hear a bugle playing the music and calling us to stand up for the American people. I hear the resounding applause.

I was so excited to hear in Kansas, the heartland, Republican territory, give such a resounding applause when the president spoke about the fact that those who made this country great have benefited less than
those who are now wealthy.


LEE: They who are wealthy did not make this country great. So frankly, I think we do have a roadmap to victory. Not for ourselves, Ed, but really for the American people. We can take back the House and the
Senate and keep the Senate. It is to go this pathway of opportunity for all.

SCHULTZ: Well, I think the president, today, talked about everybody`s kitchen table and asked pretty basic questions and basically laid out what we have seen as a radical agenda by the Republicans. And put the choice out in front of the people.

Congresswoman Betty Sutton of Ohio and Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas -- great to have you with us tonight on the program. Thank you so much.

SUTTON: Thank you, Ed.


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