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Transcript of Trupiano Interview

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Trupiano is the Democratic nominee in Michigan's 11th District. The audio of this interview is here:

David Swanson: Tony Trupiano, it's great to talk to you; so how does campaigning compare to working on the radio?

Tony Trupiano: There is no comparison. As you and I are talking, we are 22 days out of the election. David, I can honestly tell you I am not the same person today that I was when I sought your advice and counsel some 14 months ago when I began this process. I have a much different and I think a much more passionate appreciation for the process of democracy. At some level, I'm profoundly disappointed and at other levels I am amazingly empowered.

David Swanson: I know that I've seen some national media; I mean, I've seen you on Laura Flanders and Tom Hartman and other shows; has there been any support from outside the district for a good progressive candidate, and what can people do to help who are not around your district?

Tony Trupiano: Well, amazingly, most of the support, and I want to be careful here, certainly with other districts I'm getting lots of support, but the majority of the real activism has come from outside my community; whether that has been in terms of donors or earned media, when you mentioned Laura Flanders and Tom Hartman and Mike Malloy and many others that have been nice enough to have me on their shows, and I think part of the empowering stuff that I was talking about earlier is this: Whether you live in small-town Iowa or, big-town California, people have reached out to me and in amazingly uncommon ways, whether that is just to offer support or to make a donation. You know, interestingly, as we look at the world of big-time politics, we have raised just over $200,000. The average contribution, David, to my campaign, is $27. That speaks volumes about those that are supporting me.

David Swanson: Yes, if that's the average, that means you're getting grassroots support...

Tony Trupiano: Absolutely, always could use more money, even with 22 days left, there is a real sense of urgency for money. We recently got some very good press and I'll forward that to you, David, when we are done today. I got some mention in the major newspaper chain in the district. They have not come out with their endorsement yet, but I think you'll see when I send you this stuff that even the more conservative publications throughout the district are beginning to understand that being a progressive doesn't mean anything but perhaps somebody with vision that's not afraid to say what needs to be said.

David Swanson: When the media talks to you and at events, does the topic of impeachment ever come up? I know that at ImpeachPAC you were the first candidate that we endorsed who was willing to say I'm for moving forward, and one of the criteria for ImpeachPAC is that you are publicly demanding immediate impeachment hearings for Bush and Cheney. Have you been doing that?

Tony Trupiano: Well, you know, earlier on, as you know, because you were part of the firestorm immediately after I accepted that endorsement, I mean I rarely got a call or immediate queries that did not involve the topic of impeachment. Whatever it is, maybe it's just there are so many things that have happened from last December until where we are today, I rarely get asked about that any longer, and I think some of that might be, and certainly this is not a disparaging remark against Congressman John Conyers, but he has really softened his rhetoric, as you know, David, with regard to impeachment. I am just not asked a lot, and as a matter of fact, I can't tell you the last time somebody asked me about impeachment; now part of that, quite honestly, is the campaign as we get deeper and deeper into it becomes more and more local, so you're dealing with the issues that are most important to people locally, and unfortunately here in southeast Michigan, that's jobs and the economy, as I'm sure you're aware. We are suffering some horrendous job losses, but I don't want to get away from your question. You asked me if I'm asked. . I'm really not asked anymore, but certainly, everything is out in public. I've not changed my position at all. I just think that we do, but, again, all politics is local, I think this race, like all races has just become very local about the things that are mattering both to the people locally right now.

David Swanson: Has your position changed though? There is nothing on your web site any longer about impeachment.

Tony Trupiano: No, that's not true, it's all there. We just moved a lot of the stuff from the outside inside as we have been attacked lately, David. My campaign is being attacked by my opponent, so we are trying to respond to that first and foremost, as I'm sure you can understand, but everything that's ever been on the web site is on the inside. The press releases are all there, my statements are all there, so no, I have not backed away from anything.

David Swanson: That's great to hear. What have the attacks been primarily, you're not mean enough to immigrants and gay people or....?

Tony Trupiano: Well, you know, actually it is about immigrants and my opponent actually dropped a mail piece that showed me in a spaceship, the left-leaning mother ship, that I was looking to grant amnesty to 25 million illegals, and then he went on the radio was the same attack, which is, of course, just not true. We had our first and only "debate" Thursday night, and that's what I'm actually going to send you it is the press coverage of what happened Thursday evening. At some level, and really kind of surprises me, and I guess in speaks volumes about the political system; David, you know me, you and I have talked many, many times and I am no different on the stump than I am on the phone, and I things that a lot of people are just having trouble, and I'm talking media types and others in politics, are just having a difficult time wrapping their heads around the idea that an intelligent, articulate, passionate person that has progressive values that believes in smaller government and fiscal sanity could actually go out there and start to move the populace, and of course, that's what I've done. That, of course, threatens my opponent a great deal, and so yes, he has gone out with those attacks. We know there are more coming. We don't know what they are, and of course, our challenge is trying to make sure that we have the money to fight this is best we can. That has been a real challenge.

David Swanson: And is your response, I mean what I've seen on your web site and what a lot of candidates around the country are responding to these attacks with, is basically, I'm going to be as tough on immigrants as anybody else, you know, and I'm not about letting people become citizens. I'm about cracking down on the immigrants, and needless to say, we need to have an immigration policy, but at a time when our government is demonizing certain sections of the population, I'm wondering what your position is and which voters are going to go with McCotter and which voters are going to come to you on the immigrant issue.

Tony Trupiano: Well, I think that first of all, we do need to have a sane and responsible policy to allow people to legally immigrate to this country. I can't fathom that we are looking to turn our backs on the entire world. Many of us wouldn't be here without some kind of immigration, of course, and so no, I don't think we turn our backs on people that want to come here; we just need to have, I guess, a clarified way to do that, but one of the bigger issues here that nobody ever talks about is these fractured families that are living in multiple countries. You have recently had a child. Can you imagine going to another country and not be able to bring your wife or your son with you?

David Swanson: No.

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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at and and works for the online (more...)
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