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Opinion

Newsmaker Interview: Jerry Springer Talks Politics

Feb 26, 2011 – 5:00 AM
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David Goodman

Special to AOL News
Jerry Springer is known for his trashy daytime television talk show. But Springer's resume also includes stints as mayor, television news anchor and actor. I talked with him about everything from the political landscape of the country to his career to Sarah Palin.

In an interview with Howard Stern, you said we are a liberal country. If that's the case, why was the tea party so successful in 2010?

Jerry Springer
ZUMA
Jerry Springer, host of "The Jerry Springer Show" for 20 years, ran for Congress in 1970, was mayor of Cincinnati in 1977 and tried for Ohio's Democratic governor nomination in 1982.
Well, I don't think we always vote for liberal candidates. Nor do I think we always give liberal speeches. But, in terms of how we live every day, we're far more liberal than we've ever been. We're liberal on the issue of civil rights. We're more liberal on the issue of gay rights. Twenty years ago, when I started "The Jerry Springer Show," we did a show on interracial marriage. There were protesters outside our studio. Now, 20 years later, we have a president who is a product of an interracial marriage. That shows you how far we have come. It is inevitable that the world will become more liberal in time. The world is much more liberal today than it was 50 years ago, or a hundred years ago.

But you're talking about the social issues. What about the economic issues, the fiscal issues? Are we really a liberal country when it comes to spending?

Yes. And the perfect example is, everyone says we have to cut spending, particularly the Republicans or the conservatives. And yet, when asked what particular thing they want to cut, they won't be specific. And the reason they won't be specific is they know if they tell someone their particular program is cut, they'll lose votes. We all give lip service to conservative ideas because it makes us sound grown up. But, the truth of the matter is, we are far more open than we ever were.

What do you think of Sarah Palin?

I don't want her to be president. I don't agree with her views. But, I would never say anything mean about her. I think she's incredibly charismatic. I think she takes her religion very seriously and her views very seriously. I don't think there's anything mean-spirited about her. I think where liberals may be doing the wrong thing is when they try to make fun of her, because they're making fun of a large section of America that has those fundamental beliefs that she has. And I think that's dangerous. I don't think that's right to do. So, I can honestly disagree with her. But I would never say anything disrespectful of her.

Before you were a talk show host, you were a politician. You served as the mayor of Cincinnati. Do you ever regret leaving politics?

No, because I never really left. I spend most of my time doing politics. I don't run for office. But I spend most of my time raising money, giving speeches, organizing. So I never really left. I just don't run for office right now. And as I get older, it becomes less probable simply because by the time I would have seniority, I would be in my 90s.

Why do a show like "The Jerry Springer Show"? Do you ever think, gee, I could be doing something more worthwhile? Something with more of an impact?

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If someone offers me the job to host a political show, I'd love to do it. It's not the job I have. I'm hired to do this show. I enjoy doing it. It's a lot of fun. But, it's not my show. I don't own it. The rules by the company are that it has to be a show about outrageousness. So, I'm not allowed to change this show. Would I like to do a political show? Sure. If someone offers it to me, I'd certainly want to take them up on it. But it's not like they're banging down the doors wanting to give me a political show.

What would you like to do that you're not doing already?

What a lucky life I've had. I've had great jobs. I loved being a lawyer. I loved being the mayor. That was the best job I've ever had. I loved being a news anchor and a commentator for 10 years. I loved being a talk show host. I loved being on Broadway. What a life. I've been so lucky. I don't have any particular talent. And I get all these great jobs. And for some reason, I lead this lucky life, and I'm very grateful. It'd be a little arrogant for me to say, well I want to do this. I've been given so many great jobs.

David Goodman is the host of 77WABC Radio's "Goodman to Go," a newsmaker interview podcast on wabcradio.com. He has also produced some of the top talk radio shows in the country. He is currently the associate producer of WABC Radio's "The John Batchelor Show." He previously served as senior producer of WABC Radio's "The Bob Grant Show." Before that, Goodman was the drive-time news anchor at WERS-FM in Boston.
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