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MSNBC "Hardball with Chris Matthews" - Transcript

Interview

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Congressman Larson, you are a levelheaded leader of the party, the Democratic Party, and I keep waiting for that crosswalk, for all this energy and passion in the streets of New York and elsewhere across the
country to come up with, A., a clear message, a clear demand for a specific action, and for you guys on the center and left in American politics to, damn it, do it. When will that day occur?

REP. JOHN LARSON (D), CONNECTICUT: Well, from your lips to God`s ears, Chris. We hope it would happen.

The frustration just mounts here. I don`t think that there`s any third-grader in America who doesn`t the understand that two-thirds of the nation supports the president`s jobs bill -- 14 million Americans out of
work, 25 million underemployed, and they read in the paper bill passes Senate 51/49, president`s bill defeated.

It doesn`t add up. It doesn`t make sense. But, then again, neither does the cloture vote, in my opinion, and I think the opinion of a lot of Americans. And then the act that the Senate does do, in terms of China
currency, is approved by an overwhelming majority, and yet held up from coming to the floor in the House.

There is hope in this super committee. And I think the efforts of people who have taken this frustration to the streets are important. Now, whether or not we`re able to tap into that -- when I say we, I mean the
country. What`s at stake here is the country seizing this opportunity to do the right thing on behalf of 14 million Americans out of work.

MATTHEWS: OK. But you guys keep blowing it.

Look, here, why didn`t...

LARSON: Yes. Well...

MATTHEWS: ... Harry Reid jump on McConnell the other day, when McConnell said, I`m going to give you an up-or-down vote right now on either the president`s version of the bill or Harry Reid`s version of the
bill? And he could have said, OK, we will do it, and I`m going to give you 51 -- or 50 votes plus the vice president and we will have the damn jobs bill passed. He could have done it that split-second.

Instead, he held back and said, oh, I can`t get Bill Nelson on this or I can`t get Mary Landrieu.

If he had been able to deliver his troops, we would have a jobs bill, maybe, at least through the Senate. You know that.

LARSON: Well, certainly at least in the...

MATTHEWS: Well, I`m telling you what you already know.

LARSON: Yes, at least in the Senate, yes.

MATTHEWS: But I wish -- I wish the Democratic Party would jump and see their opportunities and say, damn it, it`s never going to be perfect, and you know I`m right, and grab that baby.

LARSON: Yes, you are right.

nd you know what, Chris? I think you were probably one of the few people that pointed out -- and I share this view -- that Mitch McConnell should have been "TIME" man of the year last year. I mean, when we were in the majority, they blocked 497 bills.

To see this bill fail, when the majority of America supports it and a majority of the Senate supports it -- you`re right. They should have seized the day. It should have been a carpe diem moment for the Senate.
They did not.

And the prospects of the House taking up the bill are probably nil. So, our hopes really pin on this select, this super committee that`s out there. And as you have heard me say several times, we believe very
strongly that, look, deficit -- job creation equals deficit reduction.

The CBO has said very clearly, a third of the deficit can be reduced by putting people back to work. And there are like-minded Republicans.

MATTHEWS: OK.

LARSON: We`re hopeful that we can reach across that divide, but I hope the people continue to take to the streets and put the pressure on.

MATTHEWS: I just -- it seems to me, Congressman, and you have all the leadership ability and you`re respected by your colleagues, it just seems to me this tax structure is going to get changed eventually, I suppose. Maybe you`ll get rid of capital gains treatments, maybe some day in 100 years.

But the jobs situation is right now -- you`ve got an unemployment situation that looks like it`s going to stay with us for two or three years, around 10 percent. It may go back up by over 10. We don`t know.

Isn`t it seems it`s time to do something more than just even this bill, and really put 2 million or 3 million people to work right now, it would be a healthier country? And I don`t know why the president can`t
find some way to do that. I don`t know what he does. I don`t know what he does, but put the pressure, go on the road and don`t stop pounding. I don`t know.

LARSON: Exactly. And I don`t know how many more times he can reach out to the other side.

But clearly, he has a bill that`s before Congress. And whether you agree or disagree with that bill, my God, give it an up-or-down vote. It`s -- we know that it`s got a majority of the Senate that supports it by
virtue of the vote yesterday.

MATTHEWS: I know.

LARSON: Take the bill up, for God`s sake, including Eric Cantor`s proposals, include Mitch McConnell`s proposals. But let`s act on behalf of the American people. That`s the frustration of the Wall Street movement is that there`s no action down here. And it`s all caught up in inside the Beltway jargon.

Who, for God`s sake, understands what a cloture vote is out there? You do. Other people do. But most of the American public says, my God, can`t they do something down there? And that is the frustration expressed by people who have taken to the streets.

MATTHEWS: Well, maybe you should take every port proposal by every Republican in the last 10 years, put it in one bill and say yes.

Anyway, thank you very much, Congressman Larson. That`s almost serious about that. Thanks for coming on. Good luck in translating the actions and voices in the street into action.

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