MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript

Interview

By:  Ted Deutch
Date: May 25, 2012
Location: Unknown

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Senator, good to have you with us tonight.

Have the Democrats done a good job in defining Mitt Romney early in
this campaign? What do you think?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: I think they have done a reasonable
job. But we can do and Democrats can do a lot better.

Look, at the end of the day, after everything is said and done, what
Romney`s economics is about is trickle-down economic theory. That`s what
George W. Bush practiced for eight years. We lost during that period
600,000 jobs. Median income went down. The rich got richer. Poverty
increased.

So, I think what the Democrats have got to be very clear about and
what the president has got to be very clear about is to say we cannot
afford to give more tax breaks to the richest people in this country when
we already have the most unequal distribution of wealth and income of any
major country on earth and it`s far greater in this country than in any
time since the 1920s.

We can`t do more deregulation of Wall Street when deregulating Wall
Street caused the horrendous recession which has led to so much suffering
in America.

In my view, you can`t do more unfettered free trade when we`ve lost
6,000 factories in the last six years. And, by the way, that is Mitt
Romney`s economic program. End of discussion. That`s all he has.

SCHULTZ: There`s no doubt about it.

What do you see his biggest weakness right now? The Romney campaign
as they seem to be counter-punching quite a bit on the defensive. What is
their biggest weakness as you see it?

SANDERS: I think the biggest weakness is when you pare away all of
the rhetoric, they`ve got nothing to say about how they`re going to create
decent-paying jobs in America. Their biggest weaknesses, they support the
Paul Ryan Republican budget, which will devastate Medicare, Medicaid,
education.

His biggest weakness is he doesn`t want to invest in infrastructure or
transform our energy system. Bottom line, this guy is as clear as I can
see a candidate of the rich and large corporations, and I think if the
Democrats go after him effectively, he`s got no legs to stand on.

SCHULTZ: It is just the extension of the Bush years as I see it,
Senator. There`s an "Associated Press" report out that shows that top CEO
pay in this country is equal to 3,489 years of pay for a typical worker in
this country.

How in the world can Republicans go around denying the existence of
income inequality in this country? Just those numbers alone tell the
story. What are your thoughts on that?

SANDERS: Ed, I think as a nation we have got to focus on this issue.
Let me give you one fact, just one fact. The latest statistic we have from
2010 showed that 93 percent of all new income created during that year went
to the top 1 percent.

So, the whole economy, all of the economic growth is going to make the
richest people richer while ordinary people are working longer hours for
lower wages. And t hat is the kind of economic mentality that a Mitt
Romney has.

And Obama was quite right in saying that we have to make sure that
when economic growth occurs, the middle class benefits, working people
benefit and not just the wealthiest people in America.

SCHULTZ: Senator, I don`t want to take you off topic or blind side
you here, but you`re one of the revered voices of liberals in this country,
and there`s been a lot of discussion starting to heat up in what`s going on
in Wisconsin with the recall with relationship to Citizens United. You`ve
seen the governor defending himself with outside money. He`s out spent his
opponent 25 to 1.

I want your thoughts and I think the audience wants your thoughts on
what`s unfolding in Wisconsin. What does it mean? We`ve heard a lot of
Republicans who are coming in and defending Scott Walker saying this has
big ramifications beyond the vote on June 5th.

I`d be curious to know, what are your thoughts on what`s unfolding in
Wisconsin, and what does it mean?

SANDERS: Well, two thoughts. I hope that Tom Barrett wins. I hope
we can show the entire country that right wing extremism as practiced by
Governor Walker is not going to work.

But the other thing, Ed, that you just indicated that we are seeing,
is that with Citizens United now, billionaires and corporations can pump as
much money as they want into the political process. We`re seeing it in
Wisconsin. We`re seeing it in the presidential election. We`re seeing it
all over this country.

I just saw an article the other day where the bankers association is
saying, hey, in so many words, we are prepared. You want to oppose us, you
want to have -- protect consumers, we`re prepared to spend a half a
million, a million dollars on your opponent.

So, what you`re seeing right now is big money exercising their power
in way we have never seen in many, many, many decades.

SCHULTZ: Senator Bernie Sanders, always great to have you with us.
Have a great memorial weekend, appreciate what you do. Thanks so much.
Remember to answer tonight`s question there at the bottom of the
screen. Share your thoughts on Twitter @EdShow. We want to know what you
think.

Trump embraces birtherism and Romney embraces Trump. And that is a
big problem for the Republican candidate. Errol Louis and James Peterson
join me for the discussion.

How much will Mitt Romney`s car elevator cost? Our panel will take a
guess at that. Mike Papantonio, Caroline Heldman and Jimmy Williams weigh
in on that tonight.

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