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2004-01-23

Michael Moore on Wesley Clark, Mumia Abu Jamal, the Democratic Presidential Debate and More

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Academy award-winning documentary filmmaker, television producer and author Michael Moore joins us in our firehouse studios to discuss his endorsement of Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark, hearing his name during the Democratic presidential debate in New Hampshire, the controversy surrounding the mention of death row prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal in his latest book, and much more. [includes rush transcript]

Last night, the remaining Democratic candidates had their final debate ahead of next Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary. The last week has seen a tightening of the race. The latest ARG poll has John Kerry at 31%, Wesley Clark at 20% and Howard Dean 18%. That means that from January 19th to January 22nd Dean fell from 28% to 18%. In the last 24 hours, Dean dropped 4 percentage points.

This past weekend in New Hampshire, Wesley Clark got a boost from academy award winning filmmaker Michael Moore, who endorsed Clark at a campaign rally at Dartmouth College.

  • * Michael Moore*, award-winning documentary filmmaker, television producer and author.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman with Juan Gonzalez. Last night, the remaining democratic candidates had their final debate ahead of next Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary. The last week has seen a tightening of the race.

The latest ARG poll has John Kerry at 31%, Wesley Clark, 20% and Howard Dean, 18%. This means from January 19th to January 22nd, Dean fell from 28 to 18%. In the last 24 hours, Dean dropped 4 percentage points.

Of course, though, from Iowa, can you believe the polls? This past weekend in New Hampshire, Wesley Clark got a boost from academy award winning filmmaker Michael Moore, who endorsed Clark at a campaign rally at Dartmouth college.

MICHAEL MOORE: Issue after issue after issue when it comes to the working people of this country, he comes forth last week with a tax proposal that says, no family under four who is earning less than $50,000 a year will pay a dime in federal income tax. They need our help. They’re the working poor of this country. They’re the working people of this country. But that wasn’t enough. He could have just left it there. Well, that sounds good. Let’s just give a huge, great tax cut to those who are the working people in this country.

He could have just left it there. But no. He says, and on top of that, if you make more than $1 million a year, you are going to pay 5% more in income tax. He socked it to the rich!! He socked it right to 'em! He didn't have to do that! Absolutely. Issue after issue after issue, I couldn’t believe it was this good. It was this good. And that — and that we have been handed a gift, a four-star general, head of his class at West Point, Rhodes scholar, captain of the debate team [Crowd cheering in background] And I know!! You’re thinking what I’m thinking, right? I want to see that debate! I want to see that debate! Oh, yeah! We want to see that debate! Oh, boy! [ crowd chanting, "We want Clark" ]

MICHAEL MOORE: That’s right. The general versus the deserter. That’s the debate we want to see.

AMY GOODMAN: And that was Michael Moore at Dartmouth College endorsing General Wesley Clark. Special thanks to Corey Boutilier of the IndependentFilm.com for providing that footage. Well...last night, Michael Moore’s comments came into the presidential debate that was held in New Hampshire as Peter Jennings questioned general Wesley Clark.

PETER JENNINGS: General Clark, a lot of people say they don’t know you well, so this is really a simple question about knowing a man by his friends. The other day you had a rally here and one of the men who stood up to endorse you was the controversial filmmaker Michael Moore. You said you were delighted with him. At one point Mr. Moore said in front of you, was saying that he would like to see a debate between you, the general, and president Bush, who he called a deserter. Now, that’s a reckless charge, not supported by the facts, and I was curious to know why you didn’t contradict him, and whether or not you think it was — would have been a better example of ethical behavior to have done so. GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: I think Michael Moore has the right to say whatever he feels about this. I don’t know whether this is supported by the facts or not. I have never looked at it. I have seen this charge bandied about a lot, but to me it wasn’t material. This election is going to be about the future, Peter. And what we have to do is pull this country together. I’m delighted to have the support of a man like Michael Moore, a great American leader like Senator George McGovern, and of people from Texas like Charlie Stenholm. And former Secretary of the Navy John Dalton. We have got support from across the breadth of the Democratic Party because I believe this party is united in wanting to change the leadership in Washington. We’re going to run an election campaign that’s about the future. We’re going to hold the president accountable for what he did in office, and failed to do, and we’re going to compare who has got the best vision for America.

PETER JENNINGS: Let me ask you something else then, because since this question and answer in which you and Mr. Moore were involved, you have had a chance to look at the facts. Do you still feel comfortable with the fact that someone should be standing up in your presence and calling the president of the United States a deserter?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: To be honest with you, I did not look at the facts, Peter. That’s Michael Moore’s opinion. He is entitled to say that. I have seen — he is not the only person who has said that. I have not followed up on those facts. And frankly, it’s not relevant to me, and why I’m in this campaign.

AMY GOODMAN: And that is General Wesley Clark being questioned by ABC’s Peter Jennings last night at the democratic presidential debate in New Hampshire. Academy award winning filmmaker Michael Moore joins us in the studio. Well, where were you when the debate took place and you heard your name invoked?

MICHAEL MOORE: I was sitting at home eating a slice of pizza, and I saw that. First thing that caught my attention was Peter Jennings pronouncing my name in the Canadian — Michael Moore[Pronounced like "moor"] — I think that’s just about all that’s left of his Canadian-ness, though.

What a pathetic question, I thought. And then for him to say it was a reckless charge not supported by the facts. Well, the facts are all there. The "Boston Globe," again, on May 23rd of 2000, did an excellent investigation on Bush and how he skipped out on his service to the Texas Air National Guard. "Washington Post" did a story, "The New Republic", TomPaine.com has all of this on there. My website has it. You can read all the sordid details about how Bush went missing up to a year, maybe longer.

At that time, Senators Max Cleland, Daniel Inouye, and Bob Kerry held a press conference demanding to know where Bush was. And pointing out as Inouye said, if I had done this I would have been court-martialed. If I had done this, I would be in prison. So, you know, Bush was not able to present any documents or any proof, showing where he was during this time that he essentially got off from the Air National Guard to go work on a campaign that his dad wanted him to work on in Alabama.

AMY GOODMAN: We have the "Boston Globe" piece right here. It says after George Bush became governor in '95, the Houston Air National Guard unit that he'd served with during the Vietnam War years honored him for his work, noting that he flew an F-102 fighter interceptor until his discharge in October ’73. And Bush himself in his ’99 autobiography "A Charge to Keep", recounts the thrills of his pilot training which he completed in June of 1970, saying "I continued flying with my unit for the next several years."

But both accounts are contradicted by copies of Bush’s military records obtained by the Globe in his final 18 months of military service, 1972 and 1973, Bush did not fly at all, and for much of that time, Bush was all but unaccounted for. For a full year, there is no record that he showed up for the periodic drills required of part-time guardsmen.

MICHAEL MOORE: Right, even his own commanders said that we never saw the guy, and when he was supposed to be in Alabama, the Alabama commander said, I have absolutely zero recollection of this guy ever showing up, ever. So, for Peter Jennings to just make a statement of fact like that, that was a reckless charge not supported by the facts, the facts are all there.

What’s reckless is that Peter Jennings and the mainstream media for the most part, with a few exceptions like the "Boston Globe" — don’t do their job. Don’t follow through, and when information is reported, drop the story as quickly as they can.

Just some of the stories that you mentioned about Halliburton and all of the stuff, you know, this will be in the news for a day or two, and then nothing will happen. These people commit these crimes and then they just go scott-free. So, you know — I thought Clark handled it well. I mean, he’s — he doesn’t really want to debate this issue from the past, because there’s so much going on right now.

The real issues are how Bush is AWOL right now on so many of his responsibilities to the people of this country, and that — you know, that is really what we should be talking about, but it was just interesting — it was interesting watching.

I was watching the pundits afterwards trying to turn me into the Sista Soulja of this election. Clark must distance himself from this man!! You know it’s just — especially the Fox — the Fox News Channel, they are just — that is just a piece of work. You have to — it —- I think in my mind, it has surpassed "Comedy Central" and "The Daily Show" as the funniest thing on television. I just turn on the Fox News Channel and -—

JUAN GONZALEZ: Fair and balanced reporting?

MICHAEL MOORE: Yeah. It’s just a knee-slapper. One thing after another. So, anyways, Chris Matthews last night said this is going to be the big story for the next couple of days. Will Michael Moore be repudiated?

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, Michael, but on the bigger issue, as you say, of your endorsement of General Clark, I saw that debate as well, and it was clear to me that especially on the issue, again, of the war, that general Clark still has a lot of difficulty being able to explain his position — his position on the war. Could you talk a little bit about what made you decide to endorse him?

MICHAEL MOORE: Sure. Sure. Well, we’re in very difficult times right now. That’s how I look at this situation. I’m not a democrat. I don’t support the Democratic Party. I — you know, I have said for a long time what I think about them. They’re a nicer, kinder version of the republican party, and sometimes not so nice and not so kind. You know, we have someone in the White House right now that has to be removed. Absolutely has to be removed.

I think there is a general consensus on this.

How do we do this? How do we do this? Well, clearly for me personally, Al Sharpton and Dennis Kucinich are people that I agree with, I think probably on all of the issues. Dennis Kucinich and Al Sharpton are not going to be the next President of the United States. Sometimes it’s important to vote — you know, to make a statement, to make a point, certainly many of us who were involved in the Nader campaign in 2000 felt that way.

We sat there and watched Al Gore in that second debate with George W. Bush agree. They agreed with each other 39 times on the issues. It was absolutely disgusting. But I think that early on in 2000, most people thought, you know, Gore — you know, running on peace and prosperity, and incumbency, you know, would probably be the next president, but that — we couldn’t allow that to happen without a strong showing from the left, letting him know that he wasn’t going to have the support. And we needed to push him to take better positions.

I think that’s why a lot of people initially got involved in the Nader campaign. Ralph had made the commitment to — you know, he wasn’t going to focus on the swing states that could throw the election. He was going to — you know, we were going to go to the other states. Get the 5%, get the Green Party on the ballot. Once Gore actively prevented Nader from participating in the debates, which was absolutely wrong, Ralph then decided to change his tactics and decided to go to the swing states to hurt Gore.

People involved in the campaign such as myself decided to get off the bus at that time. I said to Ralph at the time, I said, you know, after this election, we’re going to have to work with these democrats. Not everybody is where we’re at.

And yet, yet —-We exist -— in what I believe is a majority liberal mainstream in this country. As I say in my book, with all of the poll statistics, you can see that the majority of Americans are very liberal on the issues. Whenever they’re asked — about choice, about the environment, about gun control, affirmative action, gay and lesbian issues — go down the whole list, the majority come down on the good side.

So, we need to figure out how to coalesce and bring together that majority so that we actually, you know, get some power in this country and make some good things happen. So — and as I explained in "Stupid White Men" I went down to Florida on my own once Ralph decided to go to the swing states and I conducted my own campaign to tell voters, I’m voting for Nader in New York, but that’s easy for me to do, that’s not going to put Bush in office. But you have a different job here, and that’s to stop George W Bush.

I’m the kind of person that believes there’s a part of your voting that has to be purely on principle and there’s a part that has to be on strategy. And with Clark, you know, that’s pretty much what it comes down to. Dennis and Al Sharpton are not going to get anywhere near the White House. So, who then becomes the most left of the candidates? And as "The New York Times" pointed out last week, Clark, if you look at his positions, is actually to the left of Dean, and, you know, I — you know, I have problems with Dean and all of this, but I feel like the poor guy has been through enough this week. But I go down a list of things where I think Clark is very strong in terms of being pro-choice, pro-environment, pro-labor.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Michael Moore, let’s play a clip from the debate, and this was the questioning of Wesley Clark by Fox’s Brit Hume.

BRIT HUME: You’re a good guy, but he thinks you’re a republican. We are told that you did vote for several Republican Presidents, President Nixon, President Reagan, said good things about the first President Bush and even about this president Bush. You said in an article published in the "Times of London" back in April as the war ended, quote, "Liberation is at hand. Liberation, the powerful bomb that justifies painful sacrifice, erases lingering doubt and reinforces bold actions."

As to the president, you wrote, "President Bush and Tony Blair should be proud of their resolve in the face of so much doubt." Given those statements, given your votes, I think it is not unreasonable to ask you when you first noticed that you were a democrat?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Well, actually — actually, Brit — actually, I did vote for Al Gore in 2000, for Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996. But when I was in the military, I was not a member of any party. I was an independent, and that’s the way it is done in the state of Arkansas. When I got out, I looked at both parties, and I am a fair-minded person. And when the president of the United States does two things that i agree with, one of them attacking the Taliban in Iraq, and the other is not quitting in the use of military force in the middle of a dust storm, then I’m going to say so. And when I’m President, I hope that republicans will praise me when I do things right. But — but I — can just finish my statement?

BRIT HUME: Please.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: I’m running for president because I don’t like the direction George Bush has taken the country in. I am a democrat, and I want to turn this country around and set it going in the right direction. I want to put a strong basis of values back into this Democratic Party, and take George Bush head-on, because family values is our issue in the Democratic Party. It is not the republicans’ issue.

BRIT HUME: Could not a reader be justified in concluding from this piece that you wrote for the "Times of London" in April that you did indeed support this war, and was pleased by its outcome, and as you said the first time, when asked the question, probably would have voted to support it.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: No. That’s not true. In fact, if you look at the whole article, what you will see is that the article lays out a whole series of tasks that have to be done later on.

And it’s written in a foreign publication. I’m not going to take U.S. policy and my differences with the administration directly in to a foreign publication, but I made it clear in the article, and I think you have it there, if you will read it on down, you will see that I say this doesn’t mean they have to focus now on the peacekeeping, the occupation, the provision of order. There’s a whole series of tasks that I laid out for them to do that in fact they were incapable of doing.

BRIT HUME: All right.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: I did not support this war. I would not have voted for the resolution. But — once American soldiers are on the battlefield, then I want them to be successful, and I want them to come home safely.

BRIT HUME: Thank you, general.

AMY GOODMAN: An excerpt of the democratic presidential debate last night in New Hampshire, Fox’s Brit Hume questioning Wesley Clark. We’re going to get Michael Moore’s response when we come back from our break.

AMY GOODMAN: Our guest is Academy-Award-Winning filmmaker Michael Moore, he won the Academy Award for "Bowling for Columbine", his latest book is Dude, Where’s My Country. Can you respond to Brit Hume’s questions of Gen. Wesley Clark but also our listeners called in with–their major concerns were two; One was your endorsement of Gen. Wesley Clark and the other, we’ll get to in a minute, and had to do with what you wrote about Mumia Abu-Jamal in your book, but let’s hear from our listeners.

MASON GOSHET: Hello, my name is Mason Goshay, I live in Eugene, Oregon, I listen to 88.1 KWVA, and this question is for Michael Moore. I just heard that you support Wesley Clark and I want to know why the hell you do that.

SONNY ROSEN: Hi, my name is Sonny Rosen and I’m calling from Los Angeles, California. I listen to KKFK 90.7 FM and my question for Mr. Moore is; Since you apparently made your endorsement choice well known by backing Wesley Clark, I wonder if you are aware that your candidate has been a huge supporter of the infamous School of the Americas. Publications like CommonDreams.org and the New York Post document how Clark testified before Congress to fight the attempts to close it, that were being led by none other than Representatives Kucinich and Gephardt. While I too, am seriously troubled by some of the positions of each major candidate, from Edwards’ and Kerry’s support of the Patriot Act and the Iraq invasion when it mattered most, to Dean’s desire to keep the military spending in excess of $400 billion, can you really endorse a candidate who repeatedly calls the sole mission of the SOA the promotion of human rights? No show has done more to prove this assertion utterly false than Democracy Now!, so can you possibly explain your stance, in light of these facts, here on their airwaves? Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: Two of our listeners, who represented a lot more of the people who called in.

MICHAEL MOORE: The other show that’s taken on the School of the Americas was my show, TV Nation. I went down there; I’ve been very involved against this. Clark’s position as stated last week, not from some quote from back whenever that was, again, in the Boston Globe when he was asked about this last week, he said that if anyone can bring forth any abuses or show anything that the new school — because it’s no longer the School of the Americas, they closed it down by an act of Congress, reopened it under a new name–and if anyone can bring forth any abuses since this has happened, I will be the first one to shut down the school. I then contacted the School of the Americas watch and the people involved in the campaign that I know, and asked them to put together the abuses since the reopening of the school. And I will present them to Wesley Clark, and I will right now take him at his word that if this is proven to him that he will support the — you know, the closure of the school. He also said in the same article why doesn’t anyone call for the closing of the Harvard Business School. Because he said he could make the point that the graduates of the Harvard Business School have perhaps caused even more death and destruction, and chaos, and poverty around the world than the School of the Americas. I thought that was kind of an interesting idea, I never really thought of it, and I’d like to encourage all of my fellow comrades in the fight against the School of the Americas to join in that fight, too. Which maybe I’ll just initiate myself, the closing of the Harvard Business School.

AMY GOODMAN: But on that issue of the war, while he’s called the anti-war warrior, he was on CNN all the time. It surprised many to hear him characterized afterwards, since he was on the record almost 24 hours a day, to hear that he was anti-war, castigating countries to get on board, castigating the United Nations to get on board.

MICHAEL MOORE: I think he, as again in the mainstream of where most Americans are at, believed that Saddam Hussein was a bad guy and most Americans actually take the word of their president when he tells them there’s weapons of mass destruction. That’s why there was the polls long before the war started, the people were clearly against this war in the United States, and then once the war started, the people, then, were behind the war. If we’re going to go and convince people that this has to stop, and that we cannot go into any other wars like this again, we need someone who is really of them, who can take that message to them. You know, as good as I may think my skills are, or how I wish, you know, Pacifica and this show was on every single market in America and everyone listened to it, you know, the reality is that he’s closer to them than Michael Moore or Amy Goodman. And so, if he’s willing to take his four stars and go out there in Middle America, and explain why this war is wrong and why we should never go to war and it should only be as a last resort, that’s a very powerful thing. It doesn’t bother me, like people say, he voted for Republicans or he was a Republican or whatever–he voted for Reagan. My attitude is, yeah, the majority of Americans voted for Reagan. You know, where I come from, Michigan, all of these blue collar Democrats who voted for Reagan. That we have one of them on our side now, that he switched, that he can then take that message to them–that’s a good thing. This is why we lose so many times is because we get up on our high and mighty horse. It’s like, no, not pure; no, wait, he voted for Reagan; no, he has a position I don’t like. The other side, the Republicans, the right-wingers, you know, they welcome anybody to come over. Reagan was a Democrat. Reagan voted for FDR. The Republicans didn’t go, "Oh, Reagan voted for FDR, oh, can’t come in, he’s a commie. No, they were like, "Welcome, welcome and bring millions with you." And we’re like "No, hmm-umm." We have got to start having the attitude that we’ve got the big tent and we want everyone in the tent, not just the Michael Moores and the Amy Goodmans and the people who listen to Democracy Now!. We want the people who voted for Reagan. If you voted for Reagan or Nixon if you supported this war at one time, welcome, welcome now. If you’ve changed your mind, welcome. This needs to be our attitude if we are going to win. George McGovern and Gene McCarthy voted for the Gulf of Tonkin resolution. George McGovern and Gene McCarthy led us into Vietnam. George McGovern and Gene McCarthy are in part responsible for the deaths of 58,000 American kids and 3 million to 4 million South Vietnamese. Do we hate George McGovern and Gene McCarthy or did we say, when they finally decided to change a few years later, "Welcome, thank you for coming out against the war, thank you for running for president." That was our attitude. It took McCarthy and McGovern a couple of years to figure it out. It took people like Wesley Clark just a few months to figure it out. Once you figure it out, I say "Welcome." And if you will go out there and be the fighter for us, and try to bring down Bush along the way, and you do all of these other things, too… You know, he’s on the cover, Clark is, of The Advocate here this month, he’s wearing a white tee shirt and leather jacket. Basically saying if he were president, he would throw out this don’t ask, don’t tell business, it’s absolutely trash. And that he would not get in the way of any state who would want to pass a civil unions or gay marriage or whatever you wanted that call it act. This is how he is on these — to me, the way I look at this, is–look, he’s not me. I don’t agree with him on everything, but if, this isn’t like Gore. This is the good thing about this election year is that actually, all of these candidates are to the Left of Gore in 2000. Actually, Gore, this year, is to the Left of Gore in 2000. This is a good thing, they’re not everything we want them to be, but we’re not having to compromise for less than 50% of what we want. We can get 60, 70, 80% of what we want with many of these candidates, and I think with Clark, we cannot only get that, but we can win. If I can just say this, Juan, this election is going to come down to 15 states. One of those states is not New York; it’s not California. It’s going to be those 15 swing states; it’s going to be a small percentage of votes. That’s what’s going to determine whether George Bush gets another four years. You look at the map. You see what the states are and you have to honestly ask yourself the question, who stands the better chance of beating Bush in Florida? Who stands the better chance of beating Bush in West Virginia, in Nevada, in Arizona, Ohio, Missouri...? Look at the map. That’s the central question. And as difficult as it may be for some of us on the issues that we don’t like, say with Clark, we have to say, he is our best chance. He is very good on these issues. Here is the University of Michigan, the affirmative action case; he filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in support of the University of Michigan’s case. He doesn’t mouth these liberal platitudes. He walks the walk. He actually does things that he doesn’t really have to do. Why does he want to get involved in affirmative action, you know, 59-year-old white guy? Well, because he is involved because he’s an American and we all benefit when we reach out a hand to those who have been traditionally discriminated against.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to get to, before the end of the program, another issue that people have raised around the country since your book came out, Dude, Where’s My Country, and that is the issue of what you said about Mumia Abu-Jamal in the book, saying that you felt he was guilty. Let’s just hear a few listener comments.

MICHAEL MOORE: I didn’t say that, though.

AMY GOODMAN: Why don’t you explain what you said?

MICHAEL MOORE: First of all, it’s in a satirical chapter called "How to Talk to Your Conservative Brother-In-Law." I’m going through a bunch of ideas how to convince that knucklehead down at the other end of the table at Thanksgiving dinner why he should maybe see things our way. And as certain icebreakers, I say you could say to him–you know, we should just admit, why don’t we just admit some of the things that we’re wrong about and that will get him to open up. I go down this whole list. And — clearly, at least to me, it was tongue-in-cheek. Some people have taken this completely literally, and you know, I feel bad about that now, because you shouldn’t make light of somebody whose on death row and could die. I say in the book, you know, why don’t we — just say to your conservative brother-in-law, "Mumia probably killed that guy." Then I say, you know, I don’t know if he did or didn’t, but what I do know is that he didn’t get a fair trial and he deserves a new trial. Neither he nor anyone should be executed. That is the bottom line with everything. Then I go on to say, tell your conservative brother-in-law that teen-agers shouldn’t have sex, and then I say maybe I’m just saying that because I didn’t have sex until I was 32. Clearly, I hope that people understand that was a joke and that I actually had sex by the time I was 31. But having said that, though, I do — I received a lot of letters. I feel bad because this is a man’s life we’re talking about. Sometimes with comedy it’s a fine line between–do you take it too far, and maybe I took it too far in this case, but you know, that’s how I feel about it.

AMY GOODMAN: This is what some of the listeners said.

LISTENER: Hi, Michael. I’d like to thank you for your work. In your latest book, "Dude, Where’s My Country" you twice said, Mumia probably killed that guy and once that "those defending him may have overlooked the fact that he did indeed kill that cop." I am convinced that not only did Mumia get this glaringly unfair trial, but also that Mumia is indeed innocent. Are you aware of the Columbia University Law School study that showed that at least two-thirds of all people on death row are either innocent or that there’s enough evidence of innocence that if they did receive a fair trial, they would be released?

KATHERINE: Hi, my name is Katherine, I’m calling from Oakland. I listen to KPFA and I’m calling to ask Michael Moore what he was thinking when he mentioned Mumia in his book, that Mumia probably did shoot the guy, and I’m sure he has a reason for it, but I’m sure he has gotten many calls regarding this issue. And whether he felt like it was really necessary to use a man’s life to make the point that he was trying to make in that chapter of his book.

MICHAEL MOORE: Very good calls. I hope my explanation suffices there. I have been very active in the past in calling for a new trial, opposing his execution. I continue to be that way. Do you know who Nicholas Yarros is? Have you ever heard of him? Anybody listening ever hear of Nicholas Yarros? He’s another death row inmate in the Pennsylvania death row along with thousands of others who are on death row in this country. Except for Nicholas Yarros was exonerated on December 9. He was let go from the Pennsylvania death row because he didn’t commit the crime. It turns out since Pennsylvania has re-instituted the death penalty in '78 they have executed three people, but exonerated five. So, there's almost been twice as many people found to be actually innocent, who were going to be executed, than the number of people they have executed in Pennsylvania. My point is that we need to know about not just the Mumia’s but the Nicholas Yarroses and the other people who are going to be executed. If you live California or anywhere in the country, you should know about Kevin Cooper, who the state of California is planning to execute in the next couple of weeks. We need to write to Governor Schwarzenegger and ask that this person — you should go to the web site, I think it’s — I forget the name of the web site–look him up on the web. He’s easy to find. You will see Noam Chomsky and Danny Glover and all the people who are trying to stop this execution. All of these executions have to be stopped. We need a moratorium. Clark, for instance, told the Miami Herald that he would consider a moratorium. He is one of the few candidates who have ventured into that area because people are very afraid to talk about the death penalty, and so that’s how I feel about this.

AMY GOODMAN: Michael, given that you have said that you think people misconstrued what you said, would you consider changing it in your book, as it’s increased —

MICHEAL MOORE: Yeah, I have considered that. Before I put the paperback out, I think I’ll clean this up a bit because we are talking about a man’s life. I think that’s how it is when you are attempting to be funny, hopefully most of the time you’re funny. Sometimes, it’s maybe not so funny, especially when it involves a man’s life. That’s how I feel about it.

AMY GOODMAN: On that note — I give you ten seconds

MICHAEL MOORE: Well then I can’t get into what I was going to get into.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you very much for coming out here today. Michael Moore, Academy Award-winning filmmaker, did "Bowling for Columbine" and wrote the book Dude, Where’s My Country? That’s his latest book. Thank You

MICHAEL MOORE: Thanks a lot, Amy.

AMY GOODMAN: if you would like to get a copy of the show, call 1-800-881-2359. Democracynow.org is our web site.

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