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Public Statements

MSNBC "Hardball with Chris Matthews" - Transcript

Interview

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Why would a guy named Sheldon Adelson, who`s all made his money, fair
enough, over in Macau, over in China -- apparently, he makes more money
every night in his casinos in Macau in China than they make in Vegas
overall.

So, L.V. Sands is booming. Why does he want to nail you?

SEN. BILL NELSON (D), FLORIDA: Chris, I don`t think he cares about Florida.

I think he is just symptomatic of the others that are throwing money in because they want to buy elections and have the public policy enacted what they dictate. And so I think it`s pretty clear. We`re seeing the influence of money coming in.

But, you know, at the end of the day, I don`t think it`s going to be successful. I think the American people are going to really stand up on this one.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

Well, it`s this funny money. We have got a count here, $15 million. Let`s look at the figures, Senator. Look at this. Karl Rove`s super PAC, American Crossroads, announced last week they had reserved over $6 million in airtime this fall to run against you. Then Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, I mentioned, has given a million dollars to a pro-Connie Mack super PAC. And the Koch brothers, of course, from the oil and gas industry, their group, Americans for Prosperity, their prosperity, has spend a million dollars in the race.

In total, outside conservative groups are spending nearly $15 million. It`s not even part of the official campaign.

Now, let`s go down the list here. You`re very pro-Israeli. Sheldon Adelson, fair enough, cares about it. He is hawkish on Israel. You`re pretty hawkish. What has he got? Has he raised any issue with you on foreign policy, anything that really would justify a voter switching sides down there?

NELSON: The short answer is no.

And at least we know who Sheldon Adelson is, because he`s not hiding behind these IRS (c)(4) organizations that don`t have to disclose their donors. And, of course, that`s why we had the legislation trying to get it considered -- and it was blocked with a filibuster -- in order to disclose the names.

Just like all the rest of us have to disclose our contributors, why shouldn`t they? But it`s because they can hide behind that masquerade, and, therefore, they can give their billions of dollars, and not be known.

If you required a lot of those donors to put their names out there in the public, like everybody else has to, they wouldn`t do it.

MATTHEWS: Well, you know, in Pennsylvania and other states now, you can`t vote. If you`re just a little person, a regular human -- I shouldn`t say little -- a regular human being in this country who is an American, and you want to vote, you have got to get a photo I.D. card issued by the government.

You have got to walk in with that photo I.D. These people can walk in with millions of dollars and never show their face.

NELSON: That`s correct.

And, by the way, just to add insult to injury, in the state of Florida, the legislature has passed what in effect is a voter suppression law specifically to cut down on the amount of minorities, specifically Hispanics and African-Americans.

So they`re really stacking the deck here. You take those kind of efforts that make it harder to vote, and then add that with this avalanche of TV advertising that is attack -- and, by the way, all the stuff that has been run against me, the fact-checkers like PolitiFact and the Annenberg school, they all said, it`s not only false, it`s pants-on-fire false.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

NELSON: And, yet, that`s what the public is being dished.

Now, Chris, you and I know, you put enough TV advertising, you can sell a box of soap.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

NELSON: And so that`s what we`re up against, and that`s what I`m fighting.

MATTHEWS: And they`re also trying to confuse Connie Mack with his father.

Anyway, thank you very much, Senator Nelson, a moderate Democrat who
ought to get reelected.

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