UPDATE: Before she was in trouble for racism: In 2012 presidential candidate Roseanne Barr answered calls from Tampa Bay listeners


Update from May 30, 2018 – On October 31, 2012 WMNF’s Seán Kinane interviewed presidential candidate Roseanne Barr days before the election. Barr has been in the news this last week of May, 2018, after her latest series of racist tweets got her rebooted show canceled by ABC. Here’s a transcript of the 2012 conversation — this was before she started frequently posting openly racist rants on outlets such as Twitter. Though in this interview she does dip her toes into some fringe conspiracy theories like “weather manipulation.”

Barr got 8,154 votes in Florida, good enough for fifth place after Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. A tenth of one percent of the total of 8.4 million votes counted for president. More voters picked Barr in Pinellas, Hillsborough & Pasco than any other Florida counties.

Update from June 11, 2018. WMNF replayed this 2012 interview with Roseanne Barr and took comments from listeners. Hear that full show here:

Roseanne Barr

One clip we didn’t get to was this audio from ABC (below). Barr caught flack in 2009 for a photoshoot in which she dressed as Hitler and placed gingerbread cookies into an oven. In 2011 she told ABC Nightline that the cookies weren’t Jews being placed in the oven; they were Palestinians. And then she and the host, yucked it up. Listen:

Below is the transcript of the 2012 WMNF interview with Roseanne Barr.

Comedian and writer Roseanne Barr is one of twelve candidates for president on the Florida ballot; she was our guest Wednesday on Last Call and took questions from listeners.

Barr is running on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket after an unsuccessful bid at becoming the nominee for the Green Party. Her vice-presidential running mate is peace activist Cindy Sheehan.

The comedienne and actor is one of twelve candidates for president on the Florida ballot.


I want to thank you for joining us on WMNF today, Roseanne Barr.

“Thanks for having me on.”

Thanks so much and happy Halloween.

“Hey, thanks, getting ready to go celebrate.”

Me, too. Some of our listeners might not have heard about the Peace and Freedom Party, can you tell us what that is?

“It’s the party that I’m the nominee for president of. It’s about a 45-year-old party. It’s a party of visionaries, radicals, and thinkers and pretty much fringe-y. What happened in the past because it hasn’t been owned by special interests or billionaires, but it has a socialist agenda and a socialist platform and you should read about it by going to RoseanneforPresident2012.org or the Peace and Freedom Party, their own website or my RoseanneWorld.com. There’s information everywhere about it and you can search it. I like the platform a lot.”

You mentioned that it has a kind of a socialistic platform, what is it about? What are some of the policies that make it socialist and what is it that appeals to you?

“Well, you’d have to read it for yourself cause I’m not really that much of a [policy] wonky person that can go point-by-point. But it does talk about seizing the means of production and all of the regular socialist things that everybody knows about. And it talks about equality, justice, freedom, peace, everything that everybody on the left is supposedly interested in. It’s got good foreign policy ideas for the end of the drug wars and just the usual host of lefty ideas, most of which I’m in accordance with.”

Ending the drug wars is one I want to talk about because on your campaign website you highlight four issues and one of them is legalizing marijuana. Why is that an important issue to you and why is it we don’t hear from Barack Obama and Mitt Romney about that issue?

“Oh boy, well, it’s an important issue to me that pot be legalized, there’s about 50,000 reasons why. … But of course the biggest one is that we live in a free country. And adults should have the liberty to relax with a drink or smoke a joint if they choose to if this is, indeed, a free country. The facts of the matter are that almost, I think it is…not totally clear about this because I forget numbers but it’s something like 6 of 10 prisoners in jail and in prison in America are there for pot arrests. And the real reason why I think it should be legalized is because the minute it is it will totally begin the disarmament of the prison-military-industrial complex of the United States, which gets a payout every time it locks a young kid, a working class kid, a teenager of color. [As] soon as they get them arrested on a joint — and they do use racial profiling to do it in working-class areas, soon as they get those kids, well, they throw them in jail and they get a payout for that of course and they get a payout for building prisons and so much of this election is about privatizing prisons. If people really were aware of what issues really are.

“Anyway when they put these kids in prison what they end up doing is using those young people as a manufacturing base, the new manufacturing base for America. This is one example. Ninety percent of all the house paint sold in America that was manufactured in America was manufactured by prison labor. So these are kind of labor camps. Some people call them FEMA camps, but they’re run because of the war on drugs. That’s how they put it all in place, the war on the drugs is the most… Like the last time we had prohibition and we created a gangster class that became billionaires and enriched themselves on the same kind of thing. It’s history repeating itself.

“That’s one reason why I want it legal, the other is because it’s good medicine and everybody knows that. A lot of people use it and it has helped a lot of people. There’s a lot of scientific fact as to…there’s a lot of scientific study — and some say fact — saying that THC has a healing effect on cancer, specifically on childhood leukemia. And it’s definitely an excellent treatment for PTSD as evidenced by the fact that a lot of Veteran’s Administration, a lot of veteran’s hospitals now are going ahead and admitting that marijuana THC is excellent treatment for returning troops who are suffering from PTSD.

“And there’s about 500 more reasons, I’m trying to get them all in here. But there’s a whole bunch of reasons. Another reason is if you look at the cover of Time, or is it Newsweek, I forget which, this week talking about just the tax base that it enlarges and the business that it brings. In Colorado they actually said that it turned their economy around. Everybody smokes it, I don’t know who we think we’re trying to fool. But our drug wars, our drug laws as I said in my speech … they’re a drug lord’s wet dream is what they are. They, like most of the laws since the Reagan administration began to deregulate everything that people fought for for a long time for fairness and for their health and for their communities and their kids and schools, important things like that that everybody says they care about. About that time they started to deregulate everything that’s just how they put a whole other system — a shadow system in place that was against the basic human rights of the individual and for corporate feudalism. And so, those are just some of the reasons. I could go on forever.”

“Once I start it’s hard to stop. I’m speaking to a level of corruption that begins in our own voting process and that’s why I decided, are you there?”

I am there, can you hear me?

“Another reason why I decided to run for president was, you know, to try to talk about common sense data and facts, those things that are missing from the election dialogue and, you know. So, I just feel like I’m serving my country and trying to point out the things that aren’t talked about. I was the first one and the only one, well not the only one because other people did talk about the legalization of marijuana and that’s a good thing. But I think I might be the only one that talked about the legalization, also, of hemp and how it can save our family farms and our country. So with marijuana and hemp we could actually turn our economy around. And those would be the first steps I would take to move our economy from one a lot of people now are calling it the media-prison-military-industrial complex. What it is is just a consolidation of power into fewer and fewer hands. The fact that there are twelve people running for president in this country is just great news. Florida is great news for freedom for that fact.”

Our guest on the phone is Roseanne Barr. The comedian and actor is running on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket. I want to take some phone calls in just a minute. You can call in with your phone calls 813-239-9663. You can also email us at [email protected]. This is the Last Call. I want to ask you, Roseanne, about another platform issue that you are focusing on and that’s the economy and you’ve been especially critical of the Federal Reserve, why is that?

“Just because it’s Ponzi scheme and a scam from top to bottom that was pushed onto the American people not long after the electoral college was pushed onto American people. I’m just like, you know, I’m a comic so we like to deconstruct things and get to the core of them so we can write jokes about them. And I wanted to take a look at what really is the driving force of this election and this election process in this country. And it’s all just rigged. People say the system is broken but it’s not, it’s fixed. It’s completely rigged from top to bottom and I just kind of got tired of hearing people argue back and forth about which side is better. Once I realized that they both work together. A case in point of that is, again, the Florida ballot, the Florida elections. Now people are saying, they’re telling me that myself and the other third party candidates are going to ruin this election for one half of the duopoly and force a Romney presidency that supposedly nobody wants. But my question is, how come this very same thing happens all the time? And it happened with [George W.] Bush in Florida [in the 2000 election] and yet knowing that the Democrats have done nothing to change that system at all. Though it means that they continually have the elections stolen out from under them. Which of course means that the people’s votes don’t matter, that’s really what it means. And that people are being disenfranchised right and left in the cities of America who make less than $25,000 a year. It’s just a class war. The fact that and the elections function, the duopolistic two-headed party which I sometimes call the RepubliCan’ts and the Demopublicans, they’ve got it all sewn up. They use obstructionism, they blame each other so that neither one of them have to solve any problems or create one job, that’s what was all about.

“And it’s like, wow, I deconstructed it down to it’s actual original integrity and that’s what it is. It’s a fixed system. If you watched the third-party debates — which, of course, I was not invited to because, I don’t know, for how many reasons. More evidence that it’s all fixed. But they were talking about the top two parties and all that fake stuff. And the fact of it is that our Constitution, none of our founding parents ever foresaw that we would have the kind of government we have now. That’s basically a failed government and it’s just really sad to see that Americans have totally swallowed the ‘you have to vote for the lesser of two evils’ trick. Which they call it a choice, the choice to vote for the lesser of two evils that I say that is not a choice that’s a false choice. That’s the same false choice as offering working class kids the choice between prison and the Army. Those are false choices, those are not real. It doesn’t seem to me as if they are in keeping with what America is really about, those kind of choices. I wanted to see if it was possible for a regular person like me who isn’t owned by any corporate interests or special interests or big money, if it was possible at all for me to get on the ballot simply by talking about how crooked our election system is. And I did it so I’ll have to eat a little bit of crow when I said I didn’t this country was all that free. I think that my being on the ballot proves that it is indeed. And now, due to that great fact, it’s time to come up with some solutions that actually work for people. Not for just a small amount of people at the expense of the rest of them but for everybody.”

You’re on the ballot in Florida, what other states are you in?

“I’m also on the ballot in Colorado and in California. And I’m also, I’m happy to say, on 24 other states that I’m a legal write-in candidate. And we add more every day, of course we’re coming close to the end now. So that means I’m a candidate on about 27 states.”

Let’s take a phone call from Ken in St. Petersburg. Hi Ken, what would you like to ask Roseanne Barr?

First of all, I’ve been a fan of Roseanne, I grew up with her, she reminds me of my mom. How do people expect to take Roseanne serious? Shouldn’t she run for mayor or governor first and hold that position before we take her seriously on a presidential level, especially when the only thing she can talk strongly about is drugs?

“That’s not true, I’m talking about the economy too. I understand where you’re coming from, though, but I’m talking about the economy, I’m talking about life and death. I’m talking about war and peace. I’m talking about values. I am most definitely not discussing only one subject, I’m also very vocal about health coverage for women for their pregnancies and for abortion and for health care. So there’s nothing that you can…You can’t call me a one issue candidate because that would be really ignorant and incorrect.”

Thank you so much for that call, Ken. Why don’t we go to another call while we have the chance, Zebulon in Tampa. Hi Zebulon.

Hi. First I wanted to tell Roseanne that I, like the previous caller, have been a fan of yours since your show first came on the air and the thing I liked about the show is that you showed what ninety-eight, ninety-nine percent of Americans go through every day just trying to pay their bills and make sure that kids don’t become criminals. And so I really loved the show and I loved the message behind the show, which was common sense, pull together, make intelligent decisions and work together as a community to help everyone.

“And also to do the right thing. And you know, Americans are just kind of mind-controlled because they think that they can keep doing the wrong thing and get good results. But the fact is, and common sense tells us, you have to do the right thing to get the right results. That’s an important issue that I raise also.”

And like you say, the right thing to do now would be to legalize marijuana. That is the linchpin holding a lot of this stuff together. I’m one of the people who have suffered and actually done jail time for nothing more than just a little spliff. I have to say that if I was able to vote — I am disenfranchised — but if I was able to vote, I was going to vote for Jill Stein but after hearing you break it down the way you just did, you would get my vote this election.

“Well, sir, I’m sorry that you live in a free country and that you are not allowed to vote. That’s too bad, but thank you for your comments.”

Love what you’re doing, love what you said and I agree with you 100 percent.

“Thank you very much. We didn’t even get, I didn’t even get to talk about the issue of Israel which, when you watch the main party debates as well as the third party debates it seems to be the reason most people are voting this election — it appears to be so. I do have a definite opinion on there and that’s why I wanted to be on the ballot in Florida so that when people go in that very private booth to make their choice their eyes just glance on my name and they know that they did have a choice on the ballot to pick peace and peace-making rather than constant and endless war, weapon sales, and oppression and I just want them to know that I really worked hard so that they could have the chance to vote their conscience and not their fear. I pray that that is what they’ll do or at least consider.”

Roseanne sometime today you Tweeted that the electoral college was part of the problem and Tagg Romney’s ownership of voting machines, stand your ground gun laws, AIPAC, Halliburton and war with Iran, these all combine into a Florida vote. Now somehow you put that into 140 characters.

“I’m gettin’ good at the tweetin’. [laughs] Yeah I did. I was proud of that.”

So break that down for us, how does all that relate to the Florida vote?

“Well that’s kind of what people I think in the back of their mind, I think that people have all of those issues in their mind as they go to choose who to vote for in Florida. At least people like me do and I’ve had all those things in my mind too when I think about who I might endorse by the end of this whole thing. Maybe not vote for, but endorse. And it’s really hard, it’s really hard to do that when just real issues are kind of not … they don’t have time to cover the real issues because the only things they’re covering is how to get Wall Street more money. That’s basically what I thought Obama and Romney’s whole debates were mostly about. And I found that disturbing. But, maybe that is what we’re supposed to do, and if it is then I would say for people who believe that kind of way, that this would be another great opportunity to actually vote your belief, hence your conscience, rather than your fears. And if you’re going to vote to attack Iran by voting for Romney in Florida, then understand exactly what that means for Israel. And how many more deaths that means for everybody in that area, which I think is not the intent, that’s not what anybody wanted. People didn’t want that. At least I hope they didn’t want that. I hope they don’t want it now and I hope they’ll say no. I hope they’ll say ‘we’re going to have to figure out how to get along with neighbors everywhere and work together in order to move on to a green and sustainable economy and world.'”

We’re speaking with Roseanne Barr. The comedian and actor is running on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket. She’s on the ballot in Florida for president and I want to ask you about …

“I like being called a writer rather than an actor.”

A writer?

“I’m not a real good actor but I think I’m a pretty good writer.”

All right. I wanted to ask you about Hurricane Sandy which turned into Superstorm Sandy and it’s gripped the Northeast of this country and a lot of parts of the Caribbean. The topic of climate change is now being started to be brought up again when it comes to these superstorms, what are your thoughts?

“Some people call it climate change but I’m a little bit beyond saying climate change. I know the Green Party’s Jill Stein, she talks a lot about climate change. I don’t think she’s wrong to do that. But I think that climate change, it’s a code word like everything political is a code word and I prefer the other couple of code words. One of them is Agenda 21, AFRICOM, and HAARP as well as ?BARCA. Those are the code words that I more go by than … I’m more subscribed to the theory of weather manipulation for depopulation purposes.”

So, you say, let me make sure I have this right, you’re saying that there are people who are doing it intentionally?

“I’m saying it’s weather manipulation.”

Okay, but I don’t know what that means, I’m sorry.

“That means HAARP, and you may disagree with me but go ahead and look up HAARP and look up the history of HAARP, some people think that’s just a bunch of conspiracy BS. Okay, fine, maybe it is but make yourself aware of it, it’s interesting if nothing else. I do, I do believe that weather is being manipulated, it’s all part of a pattern to depopulate. Yes, I do. That may not be the exact platform position of the Peace and Freedom Party but I’m not a robot, I’m not a mouthpiece. I don’t go out and say what somebody tells me to say. I say what I think in my own mind and heart. Which is another reason why I like the Peace and Freedom Party. It was the original party of the Black Panther movement and I guess I’m kind of like … I think that I agree with a lot of radical thought and I don’t agree with a lot of middle-of-the-road clap trap.”

Before we move on to the next call I want to ask you if HAARP stands for High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, is that what you meant?”


Okay, got it.

“Thank you for talking about it. And also let’s mention chemtrails. That’s also a weather modification program that you can read about, chemtrails. Like here in Hawai`i where I live they spray — look up in the sky at what they’re spraying up there. There are movies too called ‘What are they spraying and why are they spraying?’ You should just get some awareness if you haven’t any, you might be interested in those things.”

We’re speaking with Roseanne Barr, the writer and comedian is running on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket for President in Florida. We’re going to go now to Phil in Pinellas County. Hi Phil. Phil, are you there? All right, let’s try John In Brandon. Hi John.

Hello. Hello Ms. Barr, when you get elected we’re going to have three-hour State of the Union speeches. [Laughter] Hey, what I wanted to ask you, I think Joe Biden is the biggest buffoon in America. He’s a low-grade moron, can I have your opinion on that?

“Well, he’s an interesting person and his views are interesting, I think he needs a tin-foil hat.”

Thank you for that call, John. Let’s try Sam in Brandon. Hi Sam.

I am truly disgusted. You all continue to host these liberal loony bins on your radio show. I just want to make one question here. This is so unamerican I can’t wait for Romney to take control and take back this country.

Why? What’s he going to do? Is he going to produce twelve million jobs out of his ass, or what?

We’re going to take this country back.

“Back from what and to where? The stone age?”

You liberals are destroying America. Liberal loony bin.

“Don’t you dare call me a liberal, you son of a bitch!”

Liberal looney bin.

“Don’t you call me any loony bin, either.”

I am done talking to you guys. This is so unamerican.

“You’re unamerican, sir.”

Well, Sam, thank you for that call, that was kind of an interesting call there. Well, we’ll go on to the next question. Are you making a film about your campaign?

“I am not making a film. I was documenting it. Of course I am documenting the whole thing, I’m not sure if it’s going to be a home movie or what. But I certainly have compiled a lot of great footage and it sort of proves my point.”

I also wanted to ask you about some controversy. Recently you sent a tweet out that some people interpreted as a slam on transgender individuals. Can you clarify things, what are your positions on the rights of people who are transgender?

“Well, I wrote about it on RoseanneWorld.com, I can’t say it in two sentences. But I laid out 40 years of activism and what it means to me and also what it’s like to be misunderstood, and purposely misunderstood. So everybody go read it if you’re interested at all. RoseanneWorld.com explains the whole thing. Basically I retweeted something and people think that, I guess they think that retweeting something means that you endorse it or believe it or whatever. But I’ve always been trying to encourage conversation because I am an American. I’m not someone who wants to see conversation ended with name calling. I think it’s a good conversation, I continue to want to have it. I don’t know if it’s possible to do so without attacking your opponent’s character, though. So I’ve kind of put a hold on it for a while.”

All right, let’s try to go to the phone now, Marcella in Tampa. Hi Marcella.

Hi, I’m sitting in my car waiting to talk. This is the first I’ve heard that you’re running, Roseanne. I just have so much admiration for you to speak out so clearly and you are expressing things that I’ve been thinking about. I’ve been working on the Obama campaign. And I’ve just stopped volunteering I said, ‘well I’ll drive people.’ You know. It’s just nobody’s talking. You have said more …

“I have and I haven’t even begun to go into the rights of our women troops and what’s happening to them. This one guy called into question my patriotism, which of course desperates and scoundrels have to do. But our female troops, combat troops are really, really suffering and that was another reason why I wanted to run for President to bring that fact of it. This whole machine that clamors for war and clamors to sell weapons to neighbors who might be in a squabble and then to accelerate it to the point of nuclear annihilation. They need to be questioned and stopped. A lot of people say I’m crazy. I may be, but I’m not that crazy.”

Thank you so much for that call Marcella. I want to thank you for joining me today on WMNF’s last call, Roseanne Barr.

“Hey, thank you. Are we done?”

We are done. I appreciate so much that you called in and have a happy Halloween.

“Happy Halloween to you to.”


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