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MSNBC "Hardball with Chris Matthews" - Transcript

Interview

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GOV. CHARLIE CRIST (I), FLORIDA: It"s unbelievable. You know, to have common sense means that you have to compromise--trying to do what"s right for the people instead of the party. I think what you see is evidence of the fact that there are certain segments of both parties view compromise as a dirty word. And if you say you"re willing to compromise, in other words, use common sense, try to do what"s right for the people instead of the party, then you may get shunned by your political party.

And that"s what No Labels, a meeting that we attended today, is really all about. You know, having the ability to say, look, you know, it"s all right to be a Republican, a Democrat or an independent, but you should suppress your labeling in order to move America forward and do what"s right for the country.

MATTHEWS: Congressman Inglis, Jack Kennedy once said, "Sometimes party loyalty asks too much." I wonder if you felt that. Where there were certain things that you had to eat that you said, I can"t believe that I have to agree to this today, but I"m going to have to do it to keep some my red hats happy? Is that what being a party person is like these days? You have to go with the far right or the far left?

REP. BOB INGLIS ®, SOUTH CAROLINA: Well, I think that"s--what the governor"s just talking about, this is what we"re trying to do in New York here today, is try to repopulate the discussion around--really cooperation rather than this grudging compromise. What I"d rather see, really, is creative collaboration, rather than this grudging compromise, where we pull it out of each other.

The reality is that conservatives like my party, we"ve got a lot to offer to this country about wealth creation. Liberals have something to offer by way of fairness and fair rules on the road. If you hit both of those together and pull the best out of both parties, then we can move America forward.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

INGLIS: And what No Labels about is not left, not right, just forward.

MATTHEWS: Well--that sounds like MSNBC.

Let me go to the Governor Crist here--lean forward, you know? Let me ask you about this thing. It seems to me that you have a label, and I grew up in Pennsylvania. You"re an Eisenhower Republican. And so, are you, Mr. Inglis, perhaps a more conservative version.

And Eisenhower Republican was for free trade, for fiscal responsibility. Not too big on the right wing social issues, strong defense. I mean, why don"t just say you"re Eisenhower Republicans instead of pretending that you don"t have a label? Because all of you guys seem to be--even Bloomberg fits that category.

CRIST: Well, I think that"s true and that"s why I say it"s OK to stay Republican or a Democrat.

MATTHEWS: Or Rockefeller Republican.

CRIST: Rockefeller, Eisenhower, you know, even Republican Reagan--
I mean, here was a guy--

MATTHEWS: No, no, you"re not a Reagan Republican. No, you"re not.

CRIST: He understood at least civility, Chris, which is so important. You know, he and Tip O"Neill, who was speaker during much of his term, probably didn"t agree on much of anything and yet, they have the common sense, if you will, and the civility to be able to get together after hours, a couple of Irishmen, and have a cold one.

And, you know, we have to get back to that point where there can be personal relationships where, you know, some people in one party and those in another party are really treated as traitors if they actually, you know, dare to break bread with somebody else. I mean, especially in this season, that"s just not the right thing to do. We need to come together for the country and put the country ahead of the party in order for the people to be victorious in the end.

MATTHEWS: You"re talking about a book I"m going to write some day.
It"s all true, by the way, about those two guys.

Let me--let"s take a look at Mike Bloomberg. A lot of people are talking about Bloomberg, including Mike Bloomberg is talking about Mike Bloomberg, Congressman. I want you to watch what he said what he"s asked by David Gregory, the key question on "Meet the Press" yesterday.

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DAVID GREGORY, MODERATOR, "MEET THE PRESS": Advisers came to you and said, "You know, Mr. Mayor, we"ve taken a hard look at this, we think this would not just be a vanity play, you could actually win this thing"--will you change your mind?

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MATTHEWS: Congressman Inglis, I don"t think that he"s running.

That"s my assessment right now. What do you think?

INGLIS: I don"t really know.

MATTHEWS: You were there with him today. He doesn"t share his thoughts with me, but, you know, it didn"t sound much like today. What it sound like is he was committed to this concept of No Labels where we pull the best out of both parties.

And, by the way, Chris, I just defended something the governor said about Reagan Republicans. You know, the difference between Reagan and what we got going on now is Reagan believed that the best day are still ahead and--so, he was very optimistic. I"m not sure he could have won in this primary environment that we faced in the midterms because the electorate was really, in the primaries, was much more down on America. Reagan was this optimist who said--

MATTHEWS: You are sure right about that.

Thank you so much, Congressman Bob Inglis. Good luck with your career as you develop it now, having Republican politics.

And the same with you, Governor Crist. Please come by anytime when you"re in Washington.

When we return, "Let Me Finish" with the remarkable return to the White House of Bill Clinton and what it means for Barack Obama. What a duo, what a duet.

You"re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.

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