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MSNBC "Hardball with Chris Matthews" - Transcript

Interview

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Location: Unknown

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

MATTHEWS: Among African-Americans, there`s no contest, 94 to zip. I don`t know where that six percent went. Among women, the president leads Mitt Romney by 10 points. Among voters under 35, Obama leads by 11. This week, Obama needs to make sure they`re fired up and ready to vote.

Anyway, joining me right now is U.S. Congressman Elijah Cummings, who`s on our show a lot. He`s from Maryland, a great guy and a great representative. Now we have United States Senator Amy Klobuchar, who`s a lot harder to get on this show, but we`re so glad she`s here.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Thank you so much. You know, I feel like the odd man out here. Older white guys are the only people that aren`t voting for Obama.

Now, what`s going on here? Congressman, you represent all kinds of people
in Maryland.

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: What`s going on in this division? And what can the president do to keep his part of the American electorate and gain some more from the other side?

CUMMINGS: I think the president just -- first of all, he needs to talk about what he`s already done and tell us about -- you know, remind us of the journey that we`ve been on. You talk about it all the time, Chris, what a difficult situation he started with.

And then I think he needs to just give us a bridge to the future. He needs to talk about the fact that he -- and I know this for a fact -- he works every day and he thinks every day about how he can improve the lives of Americans. And he`s in touch, trying to protect the middle class, trying to expand the middle class, and address those issues that affect people every day.

And as far as women are concerned, I think, you know, he has a phenomenal record, and I know Senator Klobuchar feels the same way.

MATTHEWS: You know what`s going on on the Republican side? You`re the politician. I`m watching it. It`s clear what they`re trying to do.

They`re first of all going after married women, who have husbands who make
a lot of money. And they basically are saying, Defend your husband`s tax bracket. I mean, the candidate`s wife`s saying it, and it`s all fair game, but their game is basically saying, Protect your interests. If you got money, you don`t want to pay any taxes. That seems to be what they`re doing on the other side.

KLOBUCHAR: Well, Chris, I just spent the last 10 days at the Minnesota State Fair, standing in front of Bob`s Snake Zoo, where my booth is located, with lines of people, talking to them.

And I will tell you that the American women are attuned to what`s going on. They look at those pocketbook issues, not just the macro issues, but the macaroni and cheese issues. And they were saying things to me like, You know what? If you are going to actually add tax cuts to people making over a million dollars a year, that they`re going to get an average of $250,000 more in tax cuts -- they said, I want to bring the debt down.

I know we have to do it in a reasonable way, but that doesn`t make any
sense.

So I think American women are going to be making their own decisions in this election. And you can see how strong they are, when I`ve been standing in that booth, to be sensible, pragmatic and looking out for their families. And that means reelecting Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: Just to stay on women for a minute, have you read the Republican platform, how zany it is?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I mean, it`s one thing to be pro-life. A lot of Americans are pro-life. It`s a perfectly decent position to take. I can disagree with how the law should be used, but I understand the concern about human life.

But when you try to give 14th Amendment rights of personhood to the fertilized human egg, rights of liberty and property, you get into crazy-land, it seems to me. What is that all about? Are you attorneys, both of you?

CUMMINGS: I am.

MATTHEWS: Mr. Cummings, what does that mean legally?

CUMMINGS: Basically, what it means is an embryo -- if you do anything -- any harm to an embryo, that`s murder. That`s basically what it`s boiling down to. I think that they are -- I think we are dealing with the far, far, far right, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Well, they wrote the platform, sir.

CUMMINGS: Oh, yes. And Ryan is a big part of that, as you well know.

MATTHEWS: I know.

CUMMINGS: I just think that they have gone to a point -- you know, keep in mind, we had Sandra Fluke before our committee. And when we had
her --

MATTHEWS: This is the Georgetown undergraduate (SIC) who --

CUMMINGS: That`s correct, who wanted to testify about contraception. Chairman Issa of our committee, Republican, refused to let her testify, saying that she was not qualified to testify with regard to contraception.

Give me a break.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

CUMMINGS: And, if you will recall, Rush Limbaugh beat her up.

And, again Romney, said nothing about that, basically, and while at the same time the president gave her a call. My point is, is that this president has been very sensitive to these issues. And I know women knows that he stands on the side of the pocketbook issues.

A lot of people don`t realize that pocketbook is very significant.

The tax cut issue, giving tax cuts to the rich and taking away from the middle class, that affects a lot of women in my district who are single women head of households trying to make it.

MATTHEWS: How do you get -- you have to raise money. You have to raise money, sir. And let`s be practical.

As Democrats, it seems to me -- and this isn`t a partisan assessment, it happens to be a fact -- a lot of people with a lot of money, and there are some who are Democrats, give to the Democratic Party out of values, not enough self-interests. They`re paying for a political party that`s going to raise their taxes, right?

KLOBUCHAR: Right. A lot --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: How do you do -- should you avoid the rhetoric of populism when it says screw Wall Street, these guys are all a bunch of pigs? How do you avoid that lingo and still win over the voters who really care about inequality?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, I have a very strong business community in my state, just like they have here in North Carolina. And it`s incredibly important for our state. It`s one of the reasons that our state`s unemployment rate is about more than two points better than the national average.

But what I do is, when I talk to businesspeople, they want to see consistency and they want to see move forward on bringing the debt down in a balanced way, not do something that`s going to put us over the cliff.

They would like to see the corporate tax rate go down. The president said
he wants to see that corporate tax rate go down.

But the way we do it is by closing loopholes, by adding things like oil subsidies, by doing things that will really bring us there in a balanced way, not on the backs of the middle class and senior citizens.

It`s interesting, Congressman, that the Republican advertisers, when they point to good times, they don`t point to W. They don`t point to senior Bush. They don`t even point to Reagan. They point to Clinton.

CUMMINGS: Yes. That`s right.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Isn`t that interesting?

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CUMMINGS: And that`s because Clinton did it right.

And I think Clinton was another one who was very sensitive to what was going on with regard to women. Again, he created some 21 million jobs doing his eight-year tenure. So, he was doing it right. It will be interesting to see when he comes before our convention, when he begins to talk about some of those issues and support the president.

I want to see what they have to say. Again, they put him in their commercials saying what a great president he is, and now he`s going to come along and say this is the guy for us.

MATTHEWS: Yes. And he`s going to be detailed apparently about economic policy, not just general B.S. He`s going to tell --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at Ann Romney. A lot of people had some problem with this. She made the case for her husband by talking about what
he hears on the trail. Let`s listen to Mrs. Romney.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANN ROMNEY, WIFE OF MITT ROMNEY: I`m hearing from so many women that
may not have considered voting for a Republican before that said it`s time
for the grownup to come, the man that`s going to have -- that`s going to
take this very seriously and take the future of our children very, very
seriously.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BOOING)

MATTHEWS: The grownup.

CUMMINGS: I can tell you one thing.

MATTHEWS: What did you think of that when you heard that?

CUMMINGS: I can`t -- I`m not going to comment on that.

But I will comment on this. Barack Obama`s the one who has been for Planned Parenthood. A lot of the women in my district --

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CUMMINGS: -- the only way they get health care is through Planned Parenthood. Romney is against it and Ryan, against it. They want to abolish it.

And so that`s just one thing.

KLOBUCHAR: And I think you have got to remember Planned Parenthood --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: A grownup. What -- so the president is a boy? What`s the point here? What`s the point of this grownup thing?

(CROSSTALK)

KLOBUCHAR: The president has shown a steady hand. The president is the one that gave the order to go after Osama bin Laden, right? That`s a grownup thing to do. The president inherited an economy where the first month that he got in, we were shedding more jobs than there were people in the state of Vermont. And now we`re adding private sector jobs. He has had a very difficult, as he once said, portfolio that he had to inherit, and he`s taken it on.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I know. It`s just an odd shot. It`s an odd shot.

(CROSSTALK)

CUMMINGS: I don`t know what it is , but I can tell you one thing, keep in mind the first thing this president did, the first bill he signed was Lilly Ledbetter, which is equal pay for women.

When they asked Romney how he felt about it, they didn`t even know.

So, I mean, I think that -- I know the president is the grownup -- the grownup. And I don`t know what she`s talking about.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: I don`t know. I think it`s awful because I think when you watch the president -- you have been with him close range.

CUMMINGS: Oh, yes, many times.

MATTHEWS: There`s a man taking the burdens on his shoulders and carrying it right. It`s not like he`s walking away from anything.

Anyway, thank you, Senator Amy Klobuchar. It`s great to great to have you on, as usually.

Congressman Elijah Cummings of Maryland.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT


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