SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Good to be back. Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: What do you think about this idea that the president himself
has talked about sometimes, which is that sometimes there are things that
Republicans say they want, and then once President Obama comes out and
says, "Yes, I want that too," they change their mind and they run from
them. I`m thinking about things like cap-and-trade and individual mandate
and health reform, even some elements of immigration reform that Democrats
and the president now support, the Republicans used to support and they
have run from.
Are there issues like that that the president has on his plate right
now that would be better for him to not put his imprimatur on by putting it
in this speech?
BROWN: No, I think the president is -- I think the inauguration
showed that. The election showed that the president needs to step forward,
and it`s his agenda we should be talking about and debating. It doesn`t
mean the House and the Senate obviously adopt everything that he wants to
I think you go back, Rachel, to the December 31st tax deal. It really
was ultimately -- it wasn`t everything we wanted, but it was an affirmation
that trickle-down economics doesn`t work. It hasn`t worked for our
lifetimes, and you grow the economy from the middle class out. I think
that`s what that vote on December 31st at the end of the year on the tax
I think that`s the way -- I think that`s what the elections said.
That`s what polling shows. And that`s what voters and citizens of this
country want to hear the president talk about. It means it`s a
manufacturing agenda. It`s a jobs agenda. It needs to be all about that.
MADDOW: You have really made a centerpiece of your time in office a
lot of different economic populist issues, manufacturing you were just
talking about, trade, other issues about jobs effectively for your Ohio
Are there issues where you felt like you and the president had
different agendas in the first term? Are there issues where you would like
to see the president move where he hasn`t been there yet and you`re
expecting him -- you`re expecting that he may move more toward your way of
seeing things in the second term?
BROWN: Yes, sure. Tomorrow night my guest for the State of the Union
will be a steelworker from Cleveland from a company called ArcelorMittal in
downtown Cleveland. She has been a steelworker at that company for a
number of years. That plant, that mill in Cleveland is the first time in
world history where one person hour of labor produced one ton of steel.
That had never happened before.
So we have the most productive. We have some of the most productive
workers in the world. It means we need to do something like the
president`s and my national network of the manufacturing innovation. The
first one of those was located in Youngstown a few months ago. We expect
the president I hope tomorrow night to announce a series of them around the
It`s not the only part of a jobs agenda. It`s infrastructure, it`s
better job training. It`s working to in-source, if you will, some of the
jobs that have gone offshore. Senator Levin from Michigan has been a real
leader in pointing out all the kind of tax breaks that the tax code has put
-- included in the tax code over the years that give far too many
incentives for companies to move offshore, not bring jobs back.
And there is real potential there. And I hope the president where he
has not gone far enough. He has been more aggressive than his predecessors
in enforcing of trade laws.
But he has still not really been where we ought to be on a trade
policy that works for workers, works for American companies, American
manufacturers, and ultimately strengthens our community.
We`ve gained back manufacturing jobs in the last three years. But we
lost far too many in the decade before that. And that`s not the solution
to everything, but it really is a ticket to the middle class for millions
of working class Americans.
MADDOW: Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, thank you so much for being
here tonight. I really appreciate it, sir.
BROWN: Thanks, Rachel.