Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown doing media blitz as 2020 run talk grows

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Ahead of his tour of four early-primary states, Sen. Sherrod Brown is doing a media blitz in New York City, where he’s stressing his frustration with the 5–week–old partial government shutdown and continuing his flirtation with running for president in 2020.

Brown, who appeared on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show Tuesday night and MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Wednesday morning, is also scheduled to appear on Late Night with Seth Meyers on NBC Wednesday night. He’ll also tape the Van Jones show while he’s in New York, which will air on CNN on Sunday.

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The Ohio Democrat and his wife Connie Schultz have not decided whether Brown will run for President yet, but their appearances are aimed at advancing his profile ahead of his visit. He’s heavily emphasizing his focus on what he calls “the dignity of work” – an agenda aimed at focusing on middle-class workers.

“People have the same hopes and dreams,” he said on Maddow’s show. “If you work hard, you should be able to get ahead.”

That message dovetails well with his irritation about the shutdown, which had left 800,000 federal workers furloughed or forced them to work without pay.

“People in this country are working harder than they ever have before,” he said. “Corporate profits are up, their productivity is up and wages are flat. There’s something intrinsically wrong with our country and it starts with respecting work and governing that way.”

He said his upcoming trips to Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada are not aimed at producing large rallies or big crowds. “I want to listen to people,” he said.

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He’s also dug in on his argument that Democrats cannot cede to President Donald Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, saying that while he supports stronger border security, including technology, more border agents and helicopters, giving in will only spur Trump to hold federal worker hostage in future negotiations.

“We all know if he gets $5 billion that three months from now, whether it’s the debt ceiling, whether it’s another opportunity like this, he shuts the government down again and demands something,” he said on Morning Joe. “It’s a $30 billion wall. This is only $5 billion of it….Democrats understand if we give him $5 billion as I said, he does it again and again and again, and we can’t run a government that way.”

He said Trump is “malleable” and his “lack of understanding” is “shocking” and “when you’re in a meeting with him, he doesn’t have a basis upon which to dig in and have a real strong view unless it’s something like the wall that’s a political thing for him.”

Democrats, he said, “are open to any ideas that don’t encourage or entice the president (to shut down the government) again. I don’t know how you put strings on a bill saying the president can’t keep acting like a jerk.”

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