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Tom Morello Calls Paul Ryan 'Jackass,' Accuses Obama of 'War Crimes'

'I drank a little bit of the Kool-Aid,' guitarist says of president

Tom Morello
Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images
October 15, 2012 1:50 PM ET

Tom Morello had some pointed words for Paul Ryan in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, calling the GOP vice presidential candidate a "jackass" while expressing disappointment with President Barack Obama. When asked how the conservative Ryan could have become a fan of a band as left-wing as Rage Against the Machine, Morello replied, "[Rage] is a band that casts the nets really wide, and that's part of the strength of the band. People are drawn to it by the music, the aggression, the rockingness of it, and then they’re exposed to different ideas. Paul Ryan was a jackass before he listened to it, came out a jackass at the end, so he missed a lot of it."

Morello also revealed that he's not too thrilled with the president, either, despite supporting Obama heavily in 2008. "I drank a little bit of the Kool-Aid initially," Morello said. "It looked different than any other president, sounded different than any other president and then he acted the same as all the other presidents. If you have war crimes on your record, and you still continue to suck at the corporate teat like he does – my hopes were higher."

Morello doesn't just talk about politics: he gets involved, particularly with the Occupy movement, which he says has helped keep the economy at the forefront of issues dominating this year's election. "I think that there have already been great successes. One is, the idea that this horrific economic inequality exists, it's already something on the front page," Morello said. "The great, dirty, five letter word you can't say in America – class – is on the front page of The New York Times. When in memory has a Republican candidate had their feet held to the fire because they're too rich? That's a result of Occupy. It's just not okay, when some people are starving to death, and others have six yachts or whatever, that shit's not cool."

Still, Morello thinks poverty is the most important issue this election season. "It seems like it's a contest, between the two candidates, who can say the words 'middle class' the most," he said. "Like, if you say 'middle class' the most, you win. Well, half the country is in poverty, kids are going hungry, from West Hollywood to Appalachia tonight. But those people don't have a lobby, and they don't donate to the campaign in a way that they're going to get something back for it."

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