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MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript

Interview

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Location: Unknown

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SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

I had an opportunity today to sit down with House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi earlier at the Democrats` retreat in Maryland. I asked her about the Republican presidential field, the state of the race, and about
her starring role in a Romney campaign ad.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCHULTZ: How do you feel about being in a Romney campaign ad hitting Newt Gingrich?

PELOSI: Well, it`s happened before. Welcome to the climate change ad. So, you know, it`s so funny. Everybody makes it, oh, you sat on the sofa with Nancy Pelosi.

The point is, we came together to talk about the climate crisis, which I thought he had an interest in. I wasn`t particularly interested in sitting on the sofa with him either, but the bigger issue of climate change
brought us together. And Al Gore bringing people who had been on opposite sides of different issues together. And I thought it was powerful, it was worth it.

I haven`t seen the ads, but you know what? This is more about what President Obama`s going to do as he wins re-election. It`s about reigniting the American Dream. That`s what Democrats are gathered here to
do in Cambridge, Maryland, is to talk about how we do the work that is necessary to reignite the American Dream. To make it in America, build our industrial and manufacturing base, to build the infrastructure of America, to have the education and training necessary for our children and for America`s competitiveness.

SCHULTZ: If the ad is inaccurate, should the Romney camp pull it?

PELOSI: You know what? I haven`t seen the ad. I don`t want to get involved in that campaign. I have just casually mentioned that people should read the public record, and much has been read into that.

I think it takes away the focus of what is really serious here -- the risk that President Obama pointed out in his State of the Union address, the risk to the middle class. How crucial this time is to the middle class. And how we have to make decisions, which are a stark contrast to what the Republicans have put forth.

SCHULTZ: We are having a big discussion in this country right now about income inequality and taxation, the president brought up, challenged the tax code in the State of the Union address. And we have one of the
candidates over on the Republican side who has money in a Swiss bank or had money over there and money in the Cayman Islands.

Does that present a problem, do you think?

PELOSI: I think it presents a problem. But the issue of income and equity equality, it`s not just about what people earn, it`s about what they can own -- their home, their small business and the rest. It`s about
fairness.

And this income inequality is immoral. It`s an immorality. I wish that some of our faith-based groups would speak out about this as well.

SCHULTZ: Is it immoral that Mitt Romney pays 13.9 percent at least one of the years he released?

PELOSI: Well, you know what? You`re better versed on his tax returns than I am. All I`m saying is that we need to eliminate the tax cuts for the wealthiest people in our country, that we have to have fairness and
simplicity in our tax code and we have to do it in a way that encourages the entrepreneurial spirit of America, that encourages small businesses, that is fair to wage owners and earners, as well as those who want to start their own business or be self-employed.

So, the imbalance of it all is not good for the country, and many people who are high income earners know that. They don`t subscribe to the Romney route.

SCHULTZ: Well, the Romney route is to have money offshore. The Romney route is to have accounts offshore. What message does that send to the American people?

PELOSI: You know, Republicans are going to have to make a judgment. I think they have a contest without a winner. That`s how I would describe the Republican.

We`re calling it primary, caucus, whatever, their nominating process. I think it`s a contest without a winner. Just -- and it will be interesting to see what values they choose, one over the other, in terms of
is it more important to have money, can I bring money offshore and unfair taxes? Can I ignore what Newt Gingrich --

SCHULTZ: Where do you think the American people will come down on that?

PELOSI: Well, you know what? That`s the Republican Party. I have no doubt that President Obama will be re-elected president of the United States. He is a person of vision, of knowledge, of judgment -- a person
who thinks in a strategic way, with a plan to get things done for the American people.

SCHULTZ: The president seems to be getting rave reviews from Democrats, from his State of the Union address. But he also said in the State of the Union address that somebody`s going to have to take a hair
cut. We can`t have it both ways as far as the tax cuts and cutting programs and budgets.

How essential is it, in your opinion, that the Democrats don`t let Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid become a punching bag financially to allow the Republicans to get what they want? And this really is
something that is very important to the Democratic base.

PELOSI: Well, it`s not only important to the Democratic base, any measure of public opinion will show you that whether it`s the Democrats, Republicans, independents, young people or old people, women in particular, know that Social Security and Medicare are essential to their wellbeing.

SCHULTZ: Will you protect it?

PELOSI: Yes, we will.

Let me also say this. The president has been clear. We`ve made the discretionary cuts that we`re going to make. You know, when they try to keep a tax break at the high end and say, now you have to cut some place, we`re not going there.

In terms of the mandatories, which is different from the discretionary, forgive me talking --

SCHULTZ: Sure.

PELOSI: -- that language. The fact is, if there`s a way to make Social Security solvent for a longer period of time, let`s put that on the table and keep that money in the Social Security trust fund.

The message has to be clear that Social Security is not a slush fund or an ATM machine for tax cuts for the rich. And so, if you want to talk about Social Security and strengthening it, let`s talk about that, but not
to take money from it. It has not contributed to the deficit and it`s not going to underwrite tax cuts for the rich.

SCHULTZ: Citizens United playing a big role in the campaign. Will the Democrats be able to compete against the corporate money that is just flowing in to Romney, Gingrich, even Governor Walker in Wisconsin, where
there is going to be a recall election?

I mean, how do you view Citizens United playing out and affecting 2012?

PELOSI: Well, as you well know, last Saturday was the two-year anniversary of this most unfortunate Supreme Court decision. I understand a lot about government and politics. I`ll never understand why they
thought that that was a good idea, that you could have unlimited, unidentified special interest money, drowning --

SCHULTZ: We`re seeing that now.

PELOSI: -- deluging the political system in our country.

And that`s why when we talk about reigniting the American Dream and building ladders of success, you cannot have opportunity and fairness in our country as a policy unless you have openness and transparency in the political system. So, we`re talking about a new politics, free of special interest money. Chris Van Hollen has taken the lead on the Disclose Act, something that we can put forth now, disclose.

When we win, we will reform. We have to have clean campaigns. The status quo cannot exist.

And at the same time, we will work to amend the Constitution, to eliminate this travesty of justice.

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