The following is an excerpted transcript from Michael Moore’s appearance on CNN’s Larry King Live
Larry King: He is many things, but dull isn’t one of them. Michael Moore, the academy winning documentary filmmaker. The latest film is "Slacker Uprising: A Look at the Youth Vote." His latest book is "Mike’s Election Guide ’08". He is a supporter, as you might imagine, of Barack Obama.
He comes to us from
You want to explain this? Where are you?
Michael Moore: I’m in a senior citizens house here in
King: What do you make of the "Joe the Plumber" thing with McCain?
The Republicans, their whole tax plan is to punish the plumbers and everybody else who has a job like this in this country. And yet they somehow have taken this guy — I feel kind of sorry for this guy, too. He probably didn’t expect to be in the limelight like this. And but it’s not really about him as an individual. And I don’t think people should be getting down on him just because he isn’t a licensed plumber or his name isn’t Joe or anything else that’s come out. I just think that that’s kind of irrelevant.
The only relevant thing is that McCain is going to make sure that the wealthy get another incredible tax break while everybody else suffers. And Obama is going to make sure that the guys like this who are working behind me tonight here in
King: What do you make of this, Michael?
Actually, when these guys behind me here if they were to ever write a check for money that they didn’t have in the bank and actually use that check to buy something with it, they’d be arrested. It’s called check kiting.
But that isn’t what happens to Wall Street. That’s not what happens to the CEOs and the hedge fund people. They get away with this. It’s these people, McCain, his campaign, they stand for socialism for the rich. Obama and the Democrats stand for giving these guys and other people like them a break.
King: Let’s say Obama promises tax cuts for 95 percent of the people. How do you do that and solve health care and all the other problems that need to be paid for?
Moore: Are you asking me if I were drawing up the next budget?
OK. Here’s what you do. You end the war in Iraq. That’s $10 billion a month that we’re spending that could be spent on repairing our roads, building bridges, building schools, increasing our workforce of nurses — all the things that we really need in this country. We could start by taking the money away from this war and the money away from crazy Pentagon ideas that haven’t done us any good and have only hurt us. That’s one really good place to begin to find the money that needs to happen.
But the thing about health care, you bring that up. You don’t have to go and print money like they’re doing to pay off the rich in this big, you know, theft that’s going on right now in Wall Street. Health care actually will pay for itself, if the government ran it, if it was non-profit. Remember, so much of our health care problem is because the health insurance companies have to make a huge profit. And they build that profit in. And that’s why we pay more for health care than any other country on this planet.
So if we actually did it the way that every other civilized country does it, it would not cost anywhere near what it costs right now. There actually would be a savings.
King: Last Sunday, Colin Powell, on "Meet The Press," a very strong endorsement for Obama. Conservatives have blasted — some of them have blasted Powell for it. [Including] Rush Limbaugh:
Rush Limbaugh clip: "Well, let me say it louder. And let me say it even more plainly. It was totally about race. The Powell nomination or endorsement — total — totally about race."
King: Do you know how he would know that?
Moore: Yes, because, I think it is totally about race for Rush Limbaugh and for the people who follow him. This is the sort of sad underbelly of this election. And I guess that there are millions of Americans out there — the majority of Americans, who are hoping against hope that this race won’t be about race and that those who keep trying to inject race in a negative way, in a way that will bring out the worst in some people — let’s hope that these last 11 days will be the last 11 days that we’ll have to listen to talk like that in this country.
General Powell, I don’t think, really, has ever made any of his decisions based on race. I’m not a fan of his. That’s for certain. He has a lot a lot — a lot of repenting to do for leading this country into war.
But I’m a strong believer in redemption. And the words that he spoke were so powerful, on "Meet The Press," so powerful, what he said about what’s wrong with being a Muslim in this country?
So what if Obama was?
I mean that’s the that was like the key thing. And no one has really said that, Larry. And it was so powerful that he said it and talked about that young Muslim soldier who died in the service of this country. I’ve never seen seven minutes uninterrupted like that on national television since I got seven minutes with [CNN's] Wolf Blitzer.
King:The talk of Obama and terrorism has spilled over at McCain rallies. Here’s a clip of a McCain exchange with a confused older voter:
Unidentified female voter: I can’t trust Obama.
McCain: I got that.
Unidentified female voter: I have read about him and he’s not — he’s not — he’s a — he’s an Arab.
McCain: No, ma’am. No ma’am. He’s a — he’s a decent family man, a citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues. And that’s what this campaign is all about. He’s not. Thank you. King: Did he not handle that well, Michael?
Moore: I know his conscience was trying to handle it well, because I think at John McCain’s core, you know, he’s not a racist. He doesn’t believe this sort of thing. And he just chose the dark road to go down.
But to say that no ma’am, he’s not an Arab, he’s decent, that was what Powell was saying. It’s like wait a minute, you’ve said the wrong thing again. One isn’t exclusive of the other.
You know, when I saw that, I thought to myself you know what, Obama’s main opponent in this election on November 4th is not John McCain, it’s ignorance. It’s Obama versus ignorance.
And will ignorance and hatred and racism win or will whoever should be the next president, who the majority of the people want to be the president?
Is that what’s going to happen?
Everything that we have to deal with, it seems that we’re dealing with in the last few weeks.
Instead of talking about the greatest robbery of all time on Wall Street by the top 5 percent of this country, we’re still talking about the ignorance and stupidity of some people and how that’s going to guide their vote.
Moore: I’m going to believe that people are going to go into the polls, and I believe that many people will vote for John McCain and it’s because they’re ignorant, it’s because they really believe in what McCain believes in.
But if a certain number of millions of people are going to vote out of ignorance I hope that they would educate themselves sometime in the [final days].
King: Do you think you’re controversial?
Moore: Yes, I heard the promo to the show about, you know, the king of controversy is on tonight. And I’m thinking what is it about me that’s I’ve never understood this.
What have I done to make myself controversial?
I’m a filmmaker. So I made my first film almost 20 years ago. And I said that maybe we should look at General Motors and the auto industry. I think they’re going belly-up. I said that 20 years ago.
There won’t be a General Motors next year, the way we know it. There won’t be a General Motors next year. But when I said that at the time — I remember, it was my first appearance on your show. And I remember there was a pro-G.M. person on the show with me. And, boy, it was like I was the devil incarnate for going after America’s most blessed corporation, General Motors.
And all through my career, whether it’s "Bowling for Columbine" because I thought school shootings were a bad idea, or "Sicko" because I think it should be a right to be able to see a doctor in this country if you get sick, or "Fahrenheit 9/11" where I just had the crazy notion that there probably aren’t going to be any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and we were being led down the wrong road there. I have just told you my resume. What about that is controversial? So why have I had to suffer through this onslaught from the right?
King: Good point.
Moore: I’ve never understood it.
King: [Major Asian stock markets are tumbling.] Michael, what’s going on?
Moore: Well, a lot of things are going on. I can’t really speak to Japan as much as I can to what I think is going on here. My feeling is that the wealthy that have, you know, been calling the shots here for so long, their party has been in power for 20 of the last 28 years, the Republican party. and I think they know they’re probably on their way out. And on their way out, they’re like thieves — actually, they’re like guests at a dinner trying to steal the silverware on the way out the door.
They’re trying to pack as much money away as they can. I mean, everything that’s going on right now, all the hiring that the Treasury Department is doing, all the consultants they’re bringing in, all the million dollar contracts, these people are just going to get rich over and over and over again as they try to pull themselves out of a mess that they created, because it was one big check-kiting scheme, using money they didn’t have to buy other money to make more money.
I mean, again, if an average person did that, they’d be in jail. But not these guys. And I think, in the end, as Americans, maybe we have to look at ourselves and think about this whole — this so-called ownership society. You know, the wealthy, you know, they convinced a lot of middle class people to put their savings and what little money they had into the stock market. And you know, that’s the rich man’s game. You know, if you’re sitting at the poker table and there’s two guys at the table with stacks of chips, and you’re sitting there with just a few, it is very hard to play in that game. It’s very hard to actually ever win that game. You can’t win it, in fact.
I’m talking about not the Wall Street people, but the rest of the country, needs to look at a different way to invest money and to do it with the regulations that they have in other countries who are now really suffering because of what I think began in this country. And to put this off on people who tried to buy a home, buy their first home, the way that, again, John McCain and the Republicans have done this, to beat people up, you know, the very Joe the plumber he talks about, that he wants to be on the side on. And yet — when Joe the plumber wanted to buy a first house, he needed some help and so the government’s supposed to be there to offer helping hand.
That is the way our grand parents, our parents, from FDR on, that’s what made this country strong. That’s why we have a great middle class. That’s why everything grew, because when you — when people have a good job and they’re paid a good wage, they spend that money, which then creates more jobs. We used to make money from our labor, from our ideas, from our inventiveness.
Then it switched under a Reagan. Let’s start making money off money. Let’s just keep moving money around. That’s how we’ll get rich.
King: Let me get a call in. Clovis, California, hello.
Caller: : Hello. Michael, CNN released a poll stating that globally people four to one were in favor of an Obama presidency. Can you give me your perspective on what’s happening globally?
Moore: Well, I think we all know that the rest of the world really loves this country. They actually do. They look up to us. They admire a lot of things about us. We have given the world a lot of great things. And I think that they wish that the old America would come back. And so, I think a good chunk of the rest of this planet, according to your statistic 75 percent of them, believe that they’ll live in a better, a more peaceful world when we remove these people who have been in power for eight years and elect Barack Obama.
I think that’s a good thing. It’s a good thing for us. It’s a good thing for them. It’s a good thing for the planet. And I think that’s the world we all want to live in.
King: We have a blog question from another Michael. "What is your take on the likelihood of having a Democrat majority in the House and the Senate, as well as an Obama presidency? Wouldn’t that be too much of a good thing?"
Moore: Yes, it would.
King: Well, isn’t there some danger in unanimity?
Moore: Yes. Yes, there is. But we’re going to need unanimity now to undo all the damage that’s been done. We are going to need an FDR-style era, where we have a president and a Congress that will work together to enact legislation and things that we need to pull the country out of the mess that it’s in. If we had a Republican Congress and a Democratic president, and Obama comes in there and says we have to start withdrawing from Iraq and stop spending 10 billion dollars a month, and we have Republicans stopping that, we would be in the same stalemate that we have been in.
So, no, we need a strong, Democratic Congress. We need Democrats elected to Congress throughout the country. And I think people need to send a message to the people who did this for the last eight years, to the people who ran our economy into the ground, to the people who took us to this war; they need to be spanked. And the nation needs to show up and elect Democrats to the Congress, to Senate and to the White House. And I’ll tell you, that will send a clear message to Democrats and Republicans to never try that again. .
King: Are you surprised that neither Bush or Cheney have made any appearances?
Moore: It’s shocking, isn’t it? Where are they? Of course not. I mean, they know they’re the least popular president and vice president ever. They’ll go out that way. History will not treat them well. And so it should be. And frankly, I hope when they’re gone, there’s a commission that looks into the lies that were told, the crimes that were committed. These are serious, serious crimes. I can’t think of a worse crime than to lie to a country in order to take it to war, so that the friends in your industries that you’re from get their pockets lined with our American tax dollars.