Michael Moore: Americans identify with Palin

Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore said Tuesday that Americans identify with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), claiming that “she looks like a lot of people I know.”

In an exclusive interview with The Hill, Moore said he had heard some Democrats privately express that the news of the pregnancy of Palin’s 17-year-old daughter would help Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) get elected president.

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But Moore said criticizing Palin would alienate millions of Americans who got pregnant before they married or know family members in similar situations.

He also said that if the shoe were on the other foot, Republicans would use the pregnancy news against Democrats.

“[Karl] Rove would go after that, but we don’t want to become them,” Moore said.

Yet Moore said Democrats must be tough this election year and hit back when attacked.

“Being tough doesn’t mean swimming in their sewer,” Moore said.

Moore agreed with some fellow Democrats that until recently, Obama was not mixing it up enough with Republicans. But Obama’s convention speech — which repeatedly mentioned Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) by name — quieted that criticism, Moore noted.

Moore, who attended the Republican convention in 2004 as a guest columnist for USA Today, said he will not be in the Twin Cities this week.

“I hate to let McCain down, but I will not be able to join him,” Moore said.

McCain referenced Moore in his 2004 convention speech, calling him a “disingenuous filmmaker.”

The documentarian, whose 2004 movie “Fahrenheit 9/11” was highly critical of President Bush, said he is hoping to help Obama in his swing state of Michigan.

Moore said he is working to register voters and urging some of his more conservative-leaning neighbors to back the Illinois senator.

“I’m not asking them to join the Democratic Party,” Moore said. “I just ask them if they’re happy with the war and gas prices and tell them, ‘It may not work and if it doesn’t, you can throw the bum out in four years.’ But it might work.”

He is also helping the Democratic candidates running against Michigan GOP Reps. Joe Knollenberg and Tim Walberg.

Moore, whose 2007 film “SiCKO” highlighted problems in the U.S. healthcare system, is hopeful that Congress next year will pass a healthcare reform bill that is more aggressive than Obama’s proposal.

The so-called single-payer bill crafted by House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) is favored by Moore. Asked if Democrats have the votes to move such a bill, Moore noted the Conyers bill has 91 co-sponsors and said he believes it could pass next year with expanded majorities in the Congress.

“I hope we get 30 seats in the House and 12, if we’re lucky, in the Senate,” Moore told The Hill.

Most political analysts believe that Democrats will pick up seats in both chambers this fall, but not that many.

Obama has not proposed a single-payer bill, but Moore said he would not veto it if he were elected and Congress passed such a measure.

Republicans have long opposed single-payer legislation, saying an increased government role in healthcare would stifle competition.