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Public Statements

MSNBC "Hardball with Chris Matthews" - Transcript

Interview

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I want to start with Congressman Peter King. As an elected official from the Northeast, is part of this just the sense that George Will mentioned the other day in a column, that our part of the country up here
has been underrepresented in your party? Is it essentially you need somebody with attitude? What is it that`s missing in the field right now?

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: You know, I`ve actually been a supporter of Chris Christie for a while. I actually drove all the way to Trenton. And to drive from New York to Trenton, you know, you`ve got to be
serious about it. This was last September, I guess, a year ago. And I spent about two hours with him, urging him to run. He pretty much convinced me at that time, certainly at that time, he did not want to run.

I saw him again a few weeks ago, and -- again, I`m not part of the inside with Chris Christie, but I was talking to him and his wife and he -- I don`t know, he didn`t seem as resistant now as he did then. But that
could have been me just reading into it.

Why is he attractive? I think, Chris, the fact -- and you said it yourself. He`s tough talking. He gets the job done. And I think -- and this is an old thing I have. I think he would appeal to the Reagan Democrats, the Irish, the Italian, the Catholic...

MATTHEWS: To your crowd, yes.

KING: ... ethnics, the conservative Jews. Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: What is it, though, about -- about -- something about that`s missing. I`m trying to figure out, without being derogatory -- I know you don`t want to trash the other Republicans who are out there
running and you may have to back. But what is it missing in -- let`s start with Romney. You know that old story about the dog food? They had great commercials for it, they had great advertising, great can it came in, and they wouldn`t -- the dogs wouldn`t eat it. And somebody says, Why don`t the dogs eat it? It`s well advertised. They said, The dogs don`t like it.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: There`s something out there about the voters in the Republican Party, Peter, that they just don`t like this guy, Romney.

KING: I wouldn`t say they don`t like him. I have only been with him really for one extended period of time.

And, actually, I disagree with what you said before, or what the reporter said. I found him one on one to be actually very friendly. When he is in front of a crowd, he does become more stiff. So, I think his competence comes across and his sincerity as far as wanting to get the job done, but, no, he doesn`t have sort of the Bill Clinton or George Bush or Lyndon Johnson -- I`m trying to think -- or a Giuliani or D`Amato or Cuomo.

MATTHEWS: Or you.

KING: OK. I will take that. Thank you.

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