CNN Does a 'Behind the Scenes' Interview With Alan Grayson
CNN's Randi Kaye did a "behind the scenes" interview with Alan Grayson and some of his staff and they did a pretty fair job of going between some of what they considered Grayson's flame throwing and the big money interests who are looking to take him down this mid-term election. Alan Grayson has been a great champion for progressive values and whether anyone thinks his rhetoric is over the top or not, I'll take a little flame throwing back given what we're up against any day of the week and his calling a spade a spade when it comes to how terrible Republicans have been in the way they've governed this country and run it into a ditch.
Playing nice with these people hasn't proven to be all that productive and I'd rather see our politicians get public opinion on their side rather than worrying about whether the pundits in Washington think you're playing "nice" and are going to upset the obstructionist Republican's sensibilities. You usually know a tactic is working or is going to work by just how much the beltway Villagers and Republicans start screaming like banshees as soon as you try it. Grayson definitely managed to do that when he called out the GOP for their health care plan being one where you "don't get sick" and if you do "die quickly".
It was an interesting bio on Grayson and his family life and all of those young kids that are keeping him busy. He's definitely got his hands full with taking care of them and his business in the House to boot.
You can donate to Grayson at Blue America here if you want to make sure some wingnut Republican doesn't take his place in the House.
Transcript via CNN:
COOPER: As the mid-term elections draw closer, we're periodically giving you inside access to the inner workings of some key campaigns, to kind of take you behind the scenes.
Tonight Congressman Alan Grayson, first-term Democrat in Central Florida. Although he's only a freshman, Grayson has repeatedly and harshly criticized Republicans. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D), FLORIDA: If you get sick, America, the Republican health-care plan is this. Die quickly.
I'm the only member of Congress who actually worked as an economist. And this lobbyist, this K Street whore, is trying to teach me about economics.
There's an acronym that's used to apply to situations like this. It's STFU. I don't think I can say that on the air, but I think you know what that means. I have trouble listening to what he says sometimes because of the blood that drips from his teeth while he's talking.
I understand what the president is doing. And, you know, people attack him, and he turns the other cheek like any good Muslim would do.
COOPER: Well, tonight, an up-close look at Congressman Grayson's campaign. Here's Randi Kaye.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the war room at Alan Grayson's headquarters. Grayson is a Democrat, a brash and combative former lawyer for whistle blowers and now a congressman running for his second term in Orlando, Florida. His staff just got word a new attack ad against him was coming.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cuts $500 billion from Medicare.
SUSANNAH RANDOLPH, GRAYSON'S CAMPAIGN MANAGER: They're spewing false claims about cutting Medicare.
KAYE: His campaign manager quickly shifts into damage control.
(on camera) What are you hearing about this particular ad that could be coming?
RANDOLPH: This particular ad is trying to distort the congressman's record on senior issues when, in fact, he's been one of the biggest proponents and biggest deliverers for seniors in the district.
KAYE (voice-over): The group behind the attacks describes itself as the conservative alternative to the AARP.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nasty name calling.
KAYE: A lot of retirees live in Orlando, and they tend to vote. But Grayson tells me they won't be fooled by, quote, "special interest groups" trying to buy an election for his Republican opponent.
(on camera) How do you tackle that?
GRAYSON: Four hundred thousand knocks on the door, 600,000 live phone calls already. And we have seen over and over and over again that that matters a lot more than whatever people are seeing on TV because frankly they're on to it.
KAYE (on camera): Well, maybe. But if a campaign is war, it's safe to say those conservative groups are massing to defeat Grayson. And for Grayson's opponent, Dan Webster, they are reinforcements here in the knick of time.
That's because after a seven-way Republican primary, Dan Webster has little cash left, but those conservative groups have millions to spend and would love to bring Grayson down.
(voice-over) After all, he said the Republicans' plan for health care was, quote, "if you get sick, die quickly."
He's also said that putting Republicans in government was like making al Qaeda members pilots.
As for Dick Cheney, Grayson called him a vampire. In other words, in politics, Grayson is a take-no-prisoners warrior.
GRAYSON: I think it's...
KAYE: But at an amusement park on a night out with his wife and five children, Grayson is a different man.
GRAYSON: The thrill of a 5-year-old going on his first roller coaster ride, you know, it's inscribable. This is actually the happiest place on earth. You know, fun is never more than five minutes away.
KAYE: Grayson believes he's the only member of Congress to have five children in school.
GRAYSON: My daughter, Skye, is 15. My daughter, Star, is 11. My son, Sage, is 9, and my twins, my beautiful, adorable twins, Stone and Storm, are 5.
KAYE: On another note, some have compared you to Sarah Palin because of the unusual children's names. How do you feel about being compared to Sarah Palin?
GRAYSON: I hope she runs for president. I hope that she chooses me as her vice president, and I hope that she quits her third day in office so that I'll have my shot. She does that, you know. She quits.
KAYE (voice-over): Grayson never quits. He learned that growing up far from Orlando in the Bronx, New York. When he was 11, he says, a bully pushed him under a moving bus. But he managed to pull himself to safety. That was the beginning. That's when he began fighting. The son of two school teachers, Grayson attended the prestigious Bronx high school of science, then Harvard and Harvard law. He worked there as a janitor to help pay tuition.
As a lawyer, he exposed waste among military contractors in Iraq but then eventually figured out he might have a greater impact in Congress than in the courtroom.
GRAYSON: You know, we have to fight.
KAYE: So back at campaign headquarters, a new attack ad targeting him means another fight. They are planning how to defeat the conservative group behind it.
RANDOLPH: Ad limitations, though, and we've got to figure out what they are. And if they're breaking -- if they're coming anywhere near the line, then we're going to -- we're going to stop them.
KAYE: Grayson is ahead in the polls. He's raised plenty of money for this, but he's learned to expect attacks could come from anywhere. And he says he's not wired to lose.
Randi Kaye, CNN, Orlando.
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