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Public Statements

MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript

Interview

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Date:
Location: Unknown

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SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: I like -- I like watching -- I love
watching Nina on your show.

SCHULTZ: I get you passionate Ohio folks mixed up every now and then.

BROWN: That`s OK. I can live with that.

SCHULTZ: All right. Sherrod Brown with us and, also, Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, who met with the president today.

And I would be remiss, Mary Kay, if I did not ask you right off the bat, did the president say that he was not going to budge on taxes? He did it once in 2010, and he won`t do it again.

HENRY: The president was incredibly serious and focused and really relieved to hear that we are going to keep our ground game going, that our working people and community members all across this country are ready to have this fight, and want to have the middle class tax cuts permanently extended. That`s the action that Congress can take right now. And then work together to make sure that the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share so we can get back to work.

SCHULTZ: Well, did he tell the group that he was not going to budge on taxes?

HENRY: He was crystal clear about that, yes.

SCHULTZ: So you`re confirming "The Huffington Post" report tonight that he said that he moved in 2010, and he won`t do it again?

HENRY: I don`t know the exact words, Ed, but he was very, very clear that what he said right after the election is that he believes he has a mandate from the majority of this nation that wants to make sure that we can reinvigorate this economic recovery that he started in his first term. And we are completely proud to have his back and to make sure that every American knows what`s at stake in this debate.

SCHULTZ: Senator Brown, how do you take that information?

BROWN: I take it the way I think he meant it. And that is -- I talked to him the day after the election. He was pretty excited about carrying our state -- thanks to many, including Mary Kay and her union and so many other people, Grassroots union and nonunion all over the state.

He was solid then. He says it again. He means it.

And I think that the organizing around it so very important. The labor movement, consumer groups, women`s groups, advocates all over the country that care about more tax fairness. It`s not just -- you know, you don`t just tax your way into a balanced budget or cut your way. You also grow your way, and there`s going to be a jobs component on this with infrastructure and helping local governments and all the things that we should be doing to make sure we see the kind of economic growth we need to give people a shot at the middle class. Most of America would rather be paying taxes than they would drawing an unemployment check. That`s what -- we operate under that assumption, and we need as part of this taxing the wealthy to pay a little bit more and some reasonable balanced cuts, but more of a 1:1 ratio rather than what Republicans want to do. You got a jobs component, too, as you know.

SCHULTZ: But, Senator, this comes down to negotiations. And from what is being reported about what the president told these basers in that meeting today, doesn`t that send a real hard line message to Mitch McConnell, and that`s what`s lacking in all of this?

BROWN: I think Mitch McConnell is a little worried. I mean, you saw some of these people on election night. You saw Karl Rove`s response. You saw McConnell the next day. You saw Speaker Boehner, who`s been actually the most -- I think the most flexible of the group.

And they know that they`re going to have to come to the table and they`re going to have to give on a lot of things. I mean, not just that we won the election, but when I see the organizing around the president`s message. He`ll travel the country and he`s going to talk to people, and the country is overwhelmingly with him. Even people that didn`t vote for him, many, many, many of them think that the rich should pay a little bit more and that we need to focus on jobs.

And I think when you put that together, it`s pretty clear that the president is in a good position to win this. It really is another campaign in so many ways.

HENRY: Ed, I think people think the negotiations happened for the last year in this country. We had a national debate on this question. The people have spoken. We want our government to answer the call. And so, for us, the issue of negotiating is we need the Republican right wing in the House to extend the middle class tax cuts permanently so that they can show they`re really serious about restoring the American middle class in this country.

SCHULTZ: All right. Day one, getting everybody on the same page. It sounds good to me. Senator Brown --

BROWN: Thanks, Ed.

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