Larson on MSNBC: “This Is Personal!”
WASHINGTON – On MSNBC today, House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (CT) told Martin Bashir that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney doesn’t understand how personal his attack on 47% of the country is to Americans because they are “invisible to him”.
Martin Bashir: Joining us is Democratic Congressman John Larson of Connecticut who sits on the tax writing Ways and Means Committee. Good afternoon, Sir.
Mr. Larson, you grew up as one of seven brothers and sisters in public housing.
Chairman Larson: Correct.
Martin Bashir: How do you like Mr. Romney's assessment of half the population as feckless free loaders who can barely brush their teeth?
Chairman Larson: Well, you know, what I think Mitt Romney doesn't understand is that this is personal. He's talking about my mother here. An 87-year-old woman who is in a nursing home currently. He's talking about my Dad who was a firefighter. Both who paid into Social Security and Medicare, both who paid income taxes.
My dad never lived long enough, Martin, to collect either his pension or his Social Security or Medicare but my Mom did, and everything he put in is paid forward to take care of her care.
I walk down the hallways of the home that she's in now because she requires 24 hour care. She's had three congestive heart failures, multiple sclerosis for more than 40 years and now with the onset of dementia needs that attention all the time. She's no burden. She never has been. We love her with all of our hearts. She's been an inspiration and so have all the people that Mitt Romney demeans.
He doesn't understand how personal this is with people because they're invisible to him. In his world, he's out of touch with them.
That's what I think is so galling about this, this assault on demeaning the American people, the people who work hard and play by the rules and have sacrificed to pay it forward. This notion of entitlement, give me a break. They paid for this. Dearly. And I am proud to be a part of a system that helps support them.
You know, Martin, you talk a lot about -- in your commercials – about individualism and community, the two great strengths of this great country. They have so dissed the community as President-elect of this, it's incredulous. I think that's why people are so outraged by his comments.
Martin Bashir: Thank you so much for that personal reference and may god bless your father and your Mother, your Mother who is obviously still alive.
I want to read what Romney says of these 47%. He says they, quote, "believe they are victims who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing," to you name it. What does that tell you about the heart of Mitt Romney?
Chairman Larson: It reveals his total character. It reveals who he really is in those moments where no one is watching. He speaks the truth to his donors. He tells them how he really feels about America. It's pathetic. It's sad to see that someone who would seek the Office of President of the United States would so dismiss all of the people he is sworn to serve if he should be fortunate, which certainly I believe he won't, to succeed in this quest.
It is really disheartening to hear him say that.
Martin Bashir: Congressman, you worked alongside Dr. Edward Zeigler who, of course, developed the highly effective Head Start Program. I had the great privilege of interviewing Dr. Zeigler. That has been so crucial in helping children in challenging family circumstances. But given Mr. Romney's contempt for half the population, I guess it's no surprise that his running mate, Paul Ryan, his running mate's budget would slash Head Start to pieces.
Chairman Larson: It would slash Head Start. It slashes college education and tuition. It slashes Medicaid as well, which also hurts the very seniors that they claim they're going to protect.
The cynical nature of this has had even the bishops joining with the nuns and saying this is an immoral budget that he has put forward because of how it decimates the poorest amongst us.
Dr. Zeigler would be amazed by all of this, not shocked, but I think amazed, by how they could be so thoughtless. When we understand that by investing in American people, by understanding what we need to do, especially amongst our children at their very young and formative stages, provides for their growth and their prosperity and makes us one as a nation. Appeals to that community side instinctively of what has made us a great nation. Not giving a hand out, but giving a helping hand and instructing people in ways of education and nurturing and understanding so that they become the productive citizens we all want, Martin.
Martin Bashir: Congressman John Larson of Connecticut.
Chairman Larson: Thank you, sir.