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Public Statements

MSNBC "The Rachel Maddow Show" - Transcript

Interview

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Location: Unknown

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Senator Boxer, thank you very much for being here. It`s nice to have you here.

SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: Good to be with you.

MADDOW: Tonight you heard a clip of it, Mr. Romney making an appearance at a Latino voter event tonight. He has dramatically scaled back his public schedule, but he is continuing to do events with Latino audiences. You won 65 percent of the Latino vote in your last re-election effort. Do you have any advice for him on reaching a Latino audience and helping them hear his message?

BOXER: Rachel, I`m for President Obama, but if I were to advise this candidate, I just think he`s already gone so far in the wrong direction with Latinos, I don`t know how he gets back.

When you are very clear in a primary and you say, people will just have to leave, because we`re coming after them, when you say we would veto the DREAM Act, that means that you would actually make criminals of young people who have been here since they`re 2 years old, 3 years old, 10 years old, never knew another country.

You can`t win these people back, because they`re smart and they know. You know, when I ran, I ran against someone who was also a corporate CEO, who had also shipped jobs overseas, who really didn`t feel for the people, for ordinary people, and you showed those polls, I listened carefully to you. And by 43 points, I think it was, you told us that in the poll, it says that President Obama connects better with people.

Mitt Romney cannot connect with people. He has shown his disdain for almost half the population. So, frankly, I don`t think there`s anything he can do or say to win them back. I really don`t think so.

MADDOW: You know, one of the things, Senator, that we saw consistently throughout the Republican convention, we are seeing it tonight from Mitt Romney in this appearance that he`s doing in Florida, it`s become sort of an aggregate Republican message, even when he hasn`t been a great messenger for it for himself.

It`s a really up by the bootstraps message. They`ve been talking about social mobility. A lot of people talking about that they didn`t come from hard circumstances, but people in their family did. One or two generations back, there was hard circumstances in their family.

Now we see Mr. Romney trying to talk about his father working his way up from poor circumstances to being the rich man he later became in life.

What is the difference between the Democratic message on social mobility and the Republican message? Are there two different bootstrap stories to tell from the two parties?

BOXER: Well, the question is, (a), do you have bootstraps? That`s the first question.

And then the second point, I would say, is this: Mitt Romney believes that anyone -- and this is what he said in that private little fund-raiser, anyone who has gotten any help from the government, at any time -- and he says there`s 47 percent of those people, just are playing the victim and they absolutely don`t deserve his attention. And he said, I can`t teach them responsibility.

Now, a new little tape emerges of his mom, Mitt Romney`s mom saying that Mitt Romney`s dad was on welfare. Now, if Mitt Romney dad were to hear that, he would be a little shocked at it. What he told those very wealthy people is, 47 percent of people who got help, who don`t pay income taxes, I`m writing them off. I can`t deal with them. I can`t take responsibility.

You know, Rachel, those are wounded warriors, over 100,000 of our service men who are serving in Afghanistan and in combat zones. We`re talking about citizens who have paid into Social Security, who don`t pay into the income tax. We`re talking about millions of college students.

We`re talking about people who are so disabled, it takes them longer to get
their clothes on in the morning than it does for us to get up, get breakfast, and go to work.

So he has written all these people off. And I don`t think you can compare him, even to other Republicans.

Look, I`ve been involved in presidential politics since the `70s. That is a very long time. I never heard any Republican or Democratic candidate for president write off almost half the people, show disdain for almost half the people.

And I never saw a candidate who would refuse to put out his income tax -- if he thinks paying income taxes are so important, show us the money.

Show us the tax returns. So it`s rather stunning, to me, the whole thing.

MADDOW: Senator Boxer, let me also ask you, as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, one of the things that has received, I think proportionately less attention from that tape, from Mr. Romney`s fund-raiser, was his remarks about the Israeli and Palestinian peace process, essentially describing it as too hard to work on and saying that his strategy would be to not to expect anything to work and to just kick it down the road and hope that something would happen, to hope that something would get better.

I don`t know why that would be an appealing message for donors to hear. I don`t understand why he would be trying to sell that message to people who he was trying to get to give him money. But I wondered if you feel like even saying that just as a candidate, that that affects America`s position in the world in terms of trying to be a positive influence in that region.

BOXER: Rachel, it`s a message of despair. It`s a message of despair. And I can again say that I`ve never heard a candidate for the presidency that they wouldn`t at least try to be an honest broker, to bring people together.

We have such an important role in the world to do that, and to bring peace and security to Israel. And side by side, the Palestinian states, which is what George W. Bush tried to do, and Clinton tried to do, and Obama is trying to do. And for him to just say that he would walk away from that, it`s just not what we do.

We are a hopeful people and we do our best to bring people together. I was -- I think he has made one gaffe after another on foreign policy, and you know, from the time he went to the Olympics, it`s just been one disaster after another. Speaking out when our people were in danger, before he had all the facts.

Again, I was -- I`m here a long time, and I will tell you, the very morning of 9/11, we had that attack on our soil, we were sitting just that morning in a meeting, talking about how we were worried about George Bush creating more of a deficit and dipping into Medicare. As soon as this happened, we pulled together as one nation.

And I will say this. Again, I have never seen this before. And it`s disturbing. It really is disturbing.

MADDOW: Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California -- thank you for your time tonight. I really appreciate having you hear tonight, ma`am.

BOXER: Thank you.

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