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Public Statements

MSNBC "The Rachel Maddow Show" - Transcript

Interview

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Joining us is the Democratic senator from Ohio, Sherrod Brown. Senator Brown, I should say, is the lead sponsor of legislation addressing the China currency issue, a bill that, surprise, is currently stalled in Congress.

Senator Brown, thank you for being here.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Thanks. Good to be back.

MADDOW: The Romney campaign is hitting this reset button for the fifth time now. It doesn`t go away. You get to hit it a lot I guess. But they are resetting by going to Ohio and talking about China.

Why are they picking Ohio to talk about China?

BROWN: They are picking Ohio because we lost between 2000 and 2010, Ohio -- the nation lost 5 millions manufacturing jobs. And many of them were in Ohio. We`re a manufacturing state, number three in the country.

What they are not talking about is how we have gained 500,000 manufacturing jobs back across the country, a number of them in Ohio. It`s about the automobile rescue in part. It`s about enforcing of trade law.

There`s a new steel mill in Youngstown.

There are new steel jobs because of enforcement of trade laws by the administration and by those of us that pushed the International Trade
Commission, steel jobs in Lawrence, steel jobs in Cleveland, tire jobs in Finley, aluminum jobs in Heath (ph) and Sidney, Ohio.

So, we`re seeing Ohio come back and it`s really because of the Recovery Act. It`s because of the auto rescue. It`s because we`re enforcing trade law and Mitt Romney could help us by writing a letter to Speaker Boehner and tell him to pass the legislation you mentioned.

We passed our bipartisan trade bill, China trade bill, the currency leveling, level the playing field jobs bill overwhelmingly, bipartisanly in the Senate, including the other Republican senator from Ohio. We`re asking the House to move on it. Governor Romney could call John Boehner and say, when he`s in Ohio, and say schedule this bill for a vote, send it to the president to sign it.

MADDOW: On trade and manufacturing and China specifically, I thought that this campaign would be fought on totally different ground on that subject, because in his book, the book "No Apologies," and his previous sort of punditry early on in the Obama administration, Mr. Romney was essentially arguing for not getting tough with China, was essentially arguing against efforts by the previous administration and by the Obama administration to confront China on trade issues. Now, he`s saying, no, no, this is a door mat. I`m the one who will be tough.

BROWN: That was Romney 2.0. That`s clear that`s the case. One of the specific cases that Romney criticized the president on was the Chinese tire dumping case, which has resulted in jobs in Cooper tire in Finley, Ohio.

Mitt Romney just senses an opportunity here. There`s no real -- there`s been no real interest in his career in standing up to China. The president is doing the right thing.

I want him to be more aggressive. I urged him to be a bit more aggressive. He`s doing the right thing on China. He needs to move more aggressively on currency.

This legislation would matter. I mean, there`s no question. The president recently came to Ohio to announce an auto parts trade action. We went from a billion-dollar trade deficit in auto parts with China, bilateral trade deficit, to $10 billion over the last 10 years.

That`s a lot of job loss and a lot of jobs we could start to regain when we enforce these rules that China clearly is cheating. They subsidize capital and energy and land and water. They don`t play fair on currency.

We stand up to them, it will mean jobs, good paying industrial jobs to create a middle class in Ohio.

MADDOW: In your own campaign in Ohio, reelection campaign in Ohio, as I mentioned in the introduction, you`ve raised money for your own campaign.
Your opponent has raised not dissimilar amounts of money for his own campaign. The big difference is the amount of outside money that`s coming
in on his behalf. You`re being outspent 3 to 1, 4 to 1, depending on how
you look at the numbers, at least as far as I can tell today.

Why are these groups from outside your state so interested in seeing you lose, (a), and (b), why do it in Ohio when there`s a premium on the ad dollars because the presidential campaign is spending so much money?

BROWN: Their money may be unlimited. I mean, almost as unlimited as it ever in politics, and, you know, they are going after me because it`s dark money. We don`t know for sure who it is.

We think it`s the oil industry because of my efforts to try to take on the oil companies and the subsidies they get. We think it`s Chinese interests, corporations, American corporations that outsource to China because of the China currency bill. We think it`s Wall Street because of my legislation to break up the six largest banks.

So, it`s not surprising this money is being put in. The amount $18 million is more than any other place in the country. That maybe a bit surprising that it`s that level, but that`s what they are doing this year.

And I expected it, in some measure, and we`re fighting back with a really good grassroots effort and that`s how we blunt the spending in many ways.

MADDOW: When you say grassroots, you mean shoe leather, you mean door
to door?

BROWN: It means door to door. We have organizers on the ground, paid organizers. The Obama campaign is very well organized in Ohio. It will make a difference.

People have come to my Web site, SherrodBrown.com, signed up to help us. Those efforts nationally and in Ohio have mattered and we expect to win this election, being outspent three, 3 1/2, maybe four to one. We expect to win by out-organizing them, talking about the auto rescue, talking about trade enforcement, talking about the middle class, talking about what we have done with health care.

And I feel optimistic about it because our message is strong and our organization is good.

MADDOW: A man staring down the face of $18 million against him feeling optimistic, you are a silver lining in a dark cloud. Thank you for being here.

BROWN: Thank you, Rachel, always.

MADDOW: I should mention, Senator Brown`s opponent is named Josh Mandel. Since Senator Brown just gave you the address for his campaign Web site, which is fine, I also just as a matter of fairness have to tell that Mr. Mandel`s Web site is Joshmandel.com. It`s M-A-N-D-E-L.

BROWN: You didn`t spell my name Rachel.

MADDOW: Brown?

BROWN: Sherrod, I don`t know.

MADDOW: Sherrod, two R`s.

Next time, I`ll come up with signage.

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