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Interview Highlights: Mick Foley discusses Orton feud, Bush, Voting, His Politics, Vince

Aug 23, 2004 - 12:36:00 PM
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The following is a summary of this morning's interview with Mick Foley on Air America Radio's Morning Sedition with Marc Maron and Mark Riley. Mick spoke with the hosts for 40 minutes and covered a lot of ground. Thanks to Brendan McDonald, Associate Producer, Morning Sedition for providing this summary.

Mick is introduced as a three-time heavyweight champion and bestselling author.

Mick says he heard one of the hosts call President Bush a turd. He says Bush is three things: steadfast, determined, and resilient. When people say he's a deer caught in headlights, they need to remember he's a steadfast, determined, resilient deer in the headlights. Everyone laughs and they play a clip of President Bush making a verbal gaffe on the campaign trail. Mick says Bush didn't sound like he was ad-libbing and that he sounded pretty confident in what he was saying.

Talk turns to the Smackdown Your Vote campaign. Host Mark Riley talks about being at the RNC in 2000 when The Rock was there and how it caused a media frenzy. He asks Mick if this stuff has an impact on voting. Mick says it does. Some people say the fact that the media covered The Rock at the RNC swayed some voters toward voting Republican. It's not that The Rock is a Republican, he's a Democrat with conservative values. Which is what Mick considers himself. "I believe in a lot of Democratic values, but I'm also a gun-loving, homophobic racist." (kidding, obviously)

foleymickwk_005.jpg
Mick Foley (photo by Wade Keller, PWTorch)

Mick talks about Jerry Lawler going off on Al Gore before the last election. "I think he was going against [Joe] Lieberman mostly, because Lieberman was aligned with the Parent's Television Council, who's only purpose it seemed was to get Smackdown off the air at that time." Mick says Lieberman is guilty of not checking out the people he's associating with, like Brent Bozell who is "a pioneer of smear tactics." Host Marc Maron says he absolutely hates Bozell.

Mick says wrestling fans are all over the board politically and many of them don't vote. The Smackdown Your Vote campaign tries to appeal to young voters to let them know their vote does count. "I am voting for John Kerry. But my job is not to tell people to vote for John Kerry. We've got some pretty staunch conservatives out in WWE who are going on record saying they're voting for Bush. So our deal is to say, 'Hey, I've looked at the issues and this is the choice that's right for me' and we're trying to get voters to look at the choice that's right for them."

--Commercial Break

Mick clarifies that his comment about being a homophobic racist was in jest. He says he doesn't want it to be used against him in a smear campaign. Host Mark Riley points out that Mick already was the subject of a smear campaign. Mick talks about the PTC's real smear campaign against the WWE. He says this campaign's purpose was to frighten Smackdown sponsors and cancel the show. Mick talks about Brent Bozell's smear campaign history.

Mick then talks about the storyline smear campaign he helped create with Randy Orton. He went to Vince McMahon with the idea because he saw politics stealing ideas from wrestling. "Crossfire on CNN is essential wrestling interviews with political overtones. And four years ago they introduced a big screen at the Democratic National Convention which was basically the Titantron. And even when President Clinton appeared, they had the low-angle appearance shot, and we were like, 'That's our appearance shot from Smackdown!' So I figured if they were borrowing from us, we would borrow from them. I came in and told Vince I wanted to be the first wrestler to ever chicken out of a match. It had never been done. In a tough-guy culture like ours, you never back out of a fight. And Vince was like, 'Hmmm. I'm not sure that's possible.' And I said, 'No, it'll be great, Randy will air a bunch of political smear ads on me.' And he said, 'Smear ads?' And I gave him one line; I said, 'Mick Foley claims to be the Hardcore Legend, but is he really?' And Vince started laughing and he wrote it down." Mick says he was at home cheering the ads on when they aired. They play one of the ads on the show.

Host Marc Maron says the Orton ads show that real politics are not unlike wrestling in that they're putting on a show and creating electricity for a particular candidate. Mark Riley says whoever wrote the Randy Orton ad should write for Kerry.

--Commercial Break

Mick Foley says wrestling is to somehow to blame for "this current mess. I believe honestly, and I've told Stone Cold this, somewhere around 1998 then-Governor George Bush was watching Raw, and let's face it, you know he watches the show. He took a look at Stone Cold Steve Austin and said, 'That's who I'm going to be.' Because that's when the swagger came around and it's my feeling that if Vince hadn't copyrighted Texas Rattlesnake, Bush would be calling himself that now." Marc Maron says John Kerry should start calling himself The War Hero and dressing in fatigues, but Mark Riley says Sgt. Slaughter already had that gimmick.

Mick says wrestling is guilty of using xenophobia and nationalism to sell angles. He says he's even guilty of using homophobic ideas to get the crowd to turn on heel wrestlers. He uses the example of tricking Kurt Angle into saying that he would get married to a man. Marc Maron says, "But you know there have to be gay guys out there watching wrestling and saying, 'Oh, these guys are so gay.'" Mick then talks about how Billy and Chuck were positive gay role models. Riley asks if Dustin Rhodes was gay. Mick says no. They start talking about Terri Runnells and Dusty Rhodes, but Marc Maron says this is turning into a fan-boy conversation. They all laugh.

Mick says when he was breaking into the business in West Virginia, one of the Moondogs came up to him and said, "You know, there's a fag in the dressing room.' And I said 'Who?' And he said, 'Kiss me and I'll tell you.'"

Mark Riley says he's got to ask him about the fall from the Hell in the Cell, even though it's a question he's always asked. Mick says it's the only questioned he's asked. He says he goes to schools to give lectures against bullying, and no matter how heartfelt the speech when he takes questions and 100 hands go up, 98 hands go down when he says, "Yes, it did hurt when Undertaker threw him off the cell."

They take a caller who says he's a gay wrestling fan. He says the gay community has the hots for Randy Orton. Mick says apparently Stone Cold had a big following in the gay community. Mick says he wishes he was a sex object with either men or women. He says both genders like him but aren't filled with lust for him.

The caller asks if Mick is ever going to run for office. Mick says he just wants to speak out a little bit for the disenfranchised. He says all the proceeds from the children's book he's got coming out in October will go to an education center in the Philippines. The book is called "Tales from Wrescal Lane." It's about the WWE characters as little kids all living on the same block. He wrote it several years ago, but couldn't publish it because he had a falling out with WWE. "How could you possibly not get along with Vince McMahon all the time?" he asks sarcastically. Now that he's back working with the company, he said to Vince, "There's no reason this shouldn't be published."

Regarding why he's doing what he's doing, Mick says, "I understand that you might lose fans by coming on a show like this and saying, 'I'm pushing for Kerry. I'm not happy with the direction the country is heading.' You might lose fans who say 'Leave your political beliefs and helping out kids overseas aside.' But I'm 39. I have four kids. I entertained people for 17, 18 years in the ring and I'm hoping now I can shed some light on some situations that need light shed on them." As for politics, Mick says he wouldn't ever look for any position higher than a Congressional seat. He said right now he's really happy with the Congressman in his district, so maybe somewhere in the future he would consider getting into politics.

--Commercial Break

Marc Maron tells listeners that he is on the verge of tears because during the commercial there was an exchange of gifts in the studio. Mick gave Mark Riley a Mankind action figure and Riley said, "I'm going to put it up next to my picture of me and Nelson Mandela." They all laugh.

Foley says WWE thinks the young people that register for this election could swing the vote this year. Mick wants to make people who don't do well economically aware of their need to vote. He says the people who don't make enough money often don't vote, so they are under-represented when it comes to the electoral process, even though they have the most to gain by forcing political change. Mick says he'll talk to people in Ohio (an important swing state) about voting when he goes there to promote his book.

He says there will be plenty of wrestlers supporting Bush, so it is a bipartisan effort. In 2000, the wrestlers kept quiet about who they supported. But he says that didn't come across as heartfelt. He said if wrestling fans see that voting matters to the people they watch and like on TV, they'll realize it matters to them, too.

"I have a conversation in my mind where a father is putting his son to bed, and we have 40 million people living below the poverty line, 30 million other people that low-wage labor is failing them, and this kid being put to bed says, 'Daddy, I'm hungry.' And there's no excuse for going to bed hungry in the land of plenty. And the father says, 'Hey, that may be. But at least those two gay people you'll never meet in a city you'll never be in can't get married.' It just seems like our priorities are out of order."

The hosts thank Mick for coming on the show.


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