The 2011 Harkin Steak Fry in Indianola, Iowa (September 18, 2011)
The 2011 Harkin Steak Fry in Indianola, Iowa: Senator Bernie Sanders (I) (September 19, 2011)
The 2011 Harkin Steak Fry in Indianola, Iowa: Paul Begala – part 1 (September 20, 2011)
“…President Obama, with help from the senators who are here, is going to sustain Medicare. Which works. Which helps. And let me tell you something about, this is what I’ve learned. My father is alive today because of Medicare. He’s old right wing guy, used to be a salesman in the oil field industry. But he is alive because of Medicare. And now, he voted for Reagan when I was working on him, he’s a big conservative, you know, now, oh my goodness. Don’t get between him and his Medicare. Right? He’s now the chairman of old right wing white guys in Texas for socialized medicine. [laughter] [applause] [cheers] You know why? [applause] Here’s the dirty little secret, now don’t just think it’s my daddy, we really like being alive…”
Paul Begala speaking under the big tent at the Harkin Steak Fry in Indianola, Iowa on September 18, 2011.
Paul Begala was one of the featured speakers at the annual Harkin Steak Fry in Indianola, Iowa on Sunday. The second portion of Paul Begala’s speech:
Paul Begala: ….And so, yeah, Senator Harkin mentioned now my, my governor, last night we were having a, a dinner. And he was pointing out that, that, by the way, it’s been a great year and, and I do thank the Lord for the rain, because it’s been a great year for Iowa farmers. He said corn exports is up, bean exports are up, hog exports are up. And he asked me, what do you all export in Texas. And I said underachieving governors. [laughter] [applause] That’s about all we’re raising down there now. And so, now we have inflicted Rick Perry on you all. [voices: “Oh.”] Yeah, the pride of Texas A and M. [laughter], which is this little remedial school we have in Texas. [laughter] I’m a Texas longhorn, listen that’s way bigger than [inaudible]. So, if you meet him, be nice to him but talk real slow. [laughter] And somebody, now get this, this, this is a man, he took office and he’s running, he’s running, oddly enough at all, he’s running as a Republican. I thought he was running as a joke. [laughter] But, apparently now he’s running as a job generator. Now, just know this about my beloved state of Texas. On the day Rick Perry became governor unemployment in Texas was four point two percent. Today it is eight point four percent. And he thinks that’s a miracle. [laughter] Holy smokes, what if he becomes president? What’s he gonna take it to, eighteen? You know, and, and now they released his transcript from Texas A and M. He got a D in economics. Now we understand. [laughter][voices: “Oh.”] Um, but for a guy who got a D in economics he’s made millions while being a public employee, which is pretty remarkable. So, he must be fairly astute. My favorite thing in that transcript, though, he got, this is true, he got a, check my notes, a C in animal breeding. [laughter] Hell, I got goats that got an A in that. [laughter] I mean, how stupid do you have to be [laughter][applause] to get a C in animal breeding. Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it, governor. [laughter] Holy smokes. So, ya’ll can have him. Uh [laughter], he, he may win the Iowa caucuses, I don’t know, but he ain’t gonna win Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader. [laughter][applause] I don’t know who they’re gonna nominate. It’s none of my business, but I’m just enjoying it, enjoying the show…
…Uh, there was one poll, before Perry got in, that showed, um, Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin tied. And I thought, well, you know, not to be disrespectful, but, you know, one of ’em is just kind of another pretty face, obsessed with hair and clothes and makeup, and the other, the former Governor of Alaska. She’s a little [laughter], she’s a little more substantive, she’s a little tougher than Mitt. She’s got a lot more to her. Uh, I , I think. But he does. He’s beautiful. [laughter] He looks like the guy in the picture frame that you buy when, you know, the drug store. [laughter] [applause] But, of course, you know what happens. When we get home we take that out and put a real person in, don’t we? [laughter][applause][cheers] He, he, too, he, too, wants to run on his record of jobs. He has created thousands of jobs in Bangalore, India,[laughter] but shipped thousands of jobs from America over there. At least five different companies he took over, loaded ’em with debt, pulled out millions of dollars for himself and then shipped those jobs overseas. [voice: “Right.”] That’s astonishing. And he wants to run as the jobs guy. And as Senator Harkin said, now he goes out, and he was here at the state fair, right? And he said, yeah, well, corporations are people, too. And I felt like saying, well, people are people, too, Mitt. [laughter] How about treating us like corporations? He actually said in one of the debates that it was immoral, that was his word, immoral to have disaster relief. Immoral to help our neighbors when, when the floods have hit Senator Sanders’ state of Vermont, the fires have hit my state of Texas, it would be immoral to help them. He wants to privatize it. He did. He said we should as much as this over to the private sector because, you know, Enron and BP will be all over it. Man, right there. [laughter] That’s all they want to do is help. [laughter] It’s astonishing. So my advice, actually, to the folks in, in Vermont who, who need assistance or in New York or New Jersey where they’ve got terrible, terrible flooding or in Texas where there’s wild fires? We gotta couple options, I think. One, is to hope that somehow Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld invade us. [laughter] Because then, oh my God, then they’ll flood us with aid, right? [laughter] And then they’ll , they’re big for rebuilding those countries. Or, the alternative is, incorporate yourself as an oil company. ‘Cause, boy, they will be there for you then. [laughter] They’re great at subsidizing the oil companies.
Um, I did see that Ms., uh, Congresswoman Bachmann, who I guess is a native of Iowa. [voices] Is still running pretty strong here. [voices: “Oh.”] Oh, come on, if I have to deal with Rick Perry you all [laughter] can take Michele Bachmann. [laughter] And she, I saw she went out, she went out to Waterloo, right, isn’t that where she was born? [voices: “Yeah.”] And then she bragged that that was the birthplace of John Wayne. [laughter] Even I know, Winterset, the Duke. [laughter] Waterloo, John Wayne Gacy. Oh. [laughter] [applause][inaudible] She also said that the, the Revolutionary War began in New Hampshire, not in Massachusetts and that, that, that Paul Revere was riding to warn the British. [laughter] The Americans are here, the Americans are here. Well, no. [laughter] No, congresswoman, we were already here, they were coming. [laughter] Um, but that’s what she, she congratulated Elvis on his birthday when it was actually the anniversary of his death. [voices: “Yeah.”] My suspicion is that she has hired Sarah Palin to be her fact checker. [laughter][cheers][applause]
I, I’ve seen Rick Santorum running. I, I, in fact I worked for, uh, uh, Bobby Casey, Senator Casey, Bob Casey, uh, who defeated Rick Santorum, made him an ex senator. And so, I don’t want to speak about the Santorum campaign because I was raised not to speak ill of the dead and that campaign is dead, dead, dead. [voices: “Oh.”]
But I can’t, I cannot resist a little shot at our friend Newt Gingrich who is ap
parently still running, right? [voices: “Ssssss.”] Yeah. No, I, I , I asked, it was, I was, at, I was downtown DesMoines and I asked somebody about that and said, is Newt still running? This man said, yeah, we were just laughing about that a minute ago. [laughter] But he is one of the finest minds of the twelfth century [voice: “Oh, yeah.”] And so we [laughter], we’re glad to see him.
So this, this, America, this, Iowa, is what they have put up. This is what they have put up. This is what we have to put up with. But this is what they have put up to lead our country, the only super power left on God’s earth in some of the most difficult challenging times we have ever had. And I know some of us, we get frustrated, we get disappointed, I hear the grumbling, believe me, about our president and our party. But, here’s the deal, as a political strategist, you know who our chief political strategist for twenty-twelve needs to be? Henny Youngman. [laughter] Remember Henny Youngman? Every time somebody asked him, how’s your wife? He said, compared to what? [laughter] That’s all I want to ask. Every day. How’s our president? Well, compared to what? [laughter] Right? Compared to Republicans who want to roll back the clock on equal rights and civil rights and women’s rights Barrack Obama signed the law that Senator Harkin and Senator Sanders helped to pass, the Lilly Ledbetter Equal Pay Act. [cheers][applause] You know it, so, if that’s the choice that’s easy. I’m for Barack Obama. Right. The Republicans have said, Mitt Romney said it himself and all the rest of them repeated it. If they get a chance to put, uh, justices on the Supreme Court they will be justices like Thomas and Scalia. [voices: “Oh.” “Boo.”] Okay? Compared to what? [voice: “Yeah.”] Barack Obama appointed Justice Sotomayor and Justice Elana Kagan two, two brilliant [cheers][applause] , brilliant justices. Compared to what? [applause] The Republicans, Senator Harkin used to say this, the Republican’s idea of, of a good farm program is Hee Haw. Right? [laughter] Compared to what? [laughter] Barack Obama, who has worked with Harkin for years to try to save family farms, I know in that choice, compared to what, who I’m for. I’m for Barrack Obama. It’s an easy choice [applause] for farmers here in Iowa. [applause] Compared to a Republican Party that wants, as Senator Sanders and Senator Harkin said, they want to, uh, in Rick Perry’s case, abolish Social Security. [voice: “Yep.”] He believes it’s unconstitutional. It’s criminal, he says. So we have to abolish it. Oh, and the so, the moderate is Mitt Romney who just wants to hand it off to Wall Street. Which is the functional equivalent, friend, right, what are we gonna do, invest it in Enron and, and Lehman and, you know? This is their position on Social Security, compared to what? Barrack Obama, who is gonna preserve it and protect and defend Social Security so that my mother can [applause] retire in dignity. [applause] I know which side I’m on in that fight. [applause] And the same goes for Medicare. You know, when, when Paul Ryan, the Republican House Budget Committee Chairman, passed his budget through the House of Representatives it includes an attack on Medicare so complete that the Wall Street Journal, not exactly a left wing institution, said this, it essentially ends Medicare. [whistle] Because it does. And ask Mitt Romney if he would sign it, he said, yeah, we’re on the same page, yes I would. He would essentially end Medicare. And all the rest of them are worse. Again, Perry thinks it’s unconstitutional. Right? It, it, apparently he thinks, the only thing that he’s ever read in the Constitution is the Second Amendment. He’s never read any of the rest of ’em. [laughter] President Obama, with help from the senators who are here, is going to sustain Medicare. Which works. Which helps. And let me tell you something about, this is what I’ve learned. My father is alive today because of Medicare. He’s old right wing guy, used to be a salesman in the oil field industry. But he is alive because of Medicare. And now, he voted for Reagan when I was working on him, he’s a big conservative, you know, now, oh my goodness. Don’t get between him and his Medicare. Right? He’s now the chairman of old right wing white guys in Texas for socialized medicine. [laughter] [applause] [cheers] You know why? [applause] Here’s the dirty little secret, now don’t just think it’s my daddy, we really like being alive. [voice: “Yeah.”][laughter] And we don’t want to join those forty-two thousand that Senator Sanders talked about, right? So, we’re gonna stick with Barack Obama who is gonna help preserve and protect and defend Medicare for my father and your father and all the other mothers and fathers who need it. This is the choice. This is the real world rock bottom choice that we have to face….
The final portion of the transcript will follow in a subsequent post.