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MSNBC "Hardball with Chris Matthews" - Transcript

Interview

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So the three biggest ones are mortgages, state and local taxes and charitable contributions. These are not loopholes. These are the major deduction of our lives. And they`re talking about getting rid of them so the rich can go from 35 percent to 28 percent. Your thought, Congressman?

REP. JIM MORAN (D), VIRGINIA: Well, you`re absolutely right. That`s the game plan, though. Blame Obama, promise everything, and avoid specifics, and I guess stay off HARDBALL and assume we`re all dummies and are going to buy it. It`s just impossible.

You can`t cut taxes by $5 trillion over the next decade, spend $2 trillion more on defense than is budgeted, and then think no one is going to have to cover it, and you`re not going to increase the deficit. Of course you`re going to increase the deficit.

It`s far worse than anything that the Reagan administration did when they quadrupled the deficit. It`s worse than what George W. Bush did when he cut -- when he had two deep tax cuts, started two wars, and then expanded Medicare. That`s why we`re in the situation we`re in.

But what Romney is trying to do is double down.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: I know.

MORAN: He`s promising even more tax cuts and we`re going to pay less. I mean, it`s incredible what he thinks -- how gullible he must think we are.

MATTHEWS: I don`t know why the Democrats have such a problem. You`re better off than you were four years ago? Are you better that you have than you were under Bush? Does anybody think we are better off in this country under Bush? I mean, just think it through -- wars, financial crisis like we`ve never had since the Great Depression, a stock market dropping down to nothing, an unemployment rate spiking up to double digits.

Who -- why is it such a complicated question? Go back to this kind policy.

DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Go back to December 2008 when
we were losing 850,000 jobs a month. I mean, making -- creating 96,000
jobs is not enough, but it`s certainly better --

MATTHEWS: OK, let`s go back, here`s George Will. I want to get to him first because you will be surprised what he says. Here`s conservative columnist George F. Will this weekend, doing a job explaining what`s wrong with Romney`s proposal. Let`s listen to Will on Romney.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE WILL, CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST: This uncertainty surrounding the Romney/Ryan tax cut plan because they have not specified the deductions that will be closed, and we know where the big money is. Mortgage interest deductions, charitable deductions, taxing as compensation which it is, employer provided health insurance, and state and local taxes. All of those you either hit only the rich in which case you don`t get much money or you hit the middle class.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Exactly my point. All the deductions he talked about, charitable contributions, mortgage deduction, and state and local are what hit everybody.

CORN: Listen, this is part of a theme, and you can see --

MATTHEWS: But he won`t tell it.

CORN: You can see it building to the debate. He won`t show us his taxes, won`t tell us his tax plan. And the Ryan budget, remember, we talked about this months ago, and last year. Paul Ryan has all these unspecified spending cuts.

So when Obama and others say are you going to take people of Pell Grants and throw them out of Head Start, he goes, no, we`re not, that`s not in the plan, but he won`t say where the spending cuts come from. So, on taxes, personal taxes and spending cuts, they won`t give the basic details.

Details -- we don`t need to stinking details is the message to the public. And I think this creates a real big opening -- and you saw what David Gregory was able to do to him or what Jay Leno does in talking about earlier in the show. Barack Obama will have a wide opening on the debate to say, Mitt, if you can give us magic ponies, please tell us how it`s going to happen.

MATTHEWS: Congressman Moran, what do people out there in your district, you live in Virginia, northern Virginia, you represent that area. What are people saying about Romney? Do they get this complication here that he`s sort of hiding behind, "I`m not telling what you I`m going to do"?

MORAN: I hope they understand it. I hope they watch shows like yours, Chris. But the problem is they`re being besieged in Virginia, as you know, with these 15 to 30-second ads, and, of course, they also avoid specifics. That`s what we`re into. We`re into all these promises, these vague generalities. We only have ourselves to blame if we let them get away with it.

I`m hoping in the debates they will be nailed down, that they have to get specific. Because, you know, neither party has really come to grips with what you`d have to do to really reduce the deficit, but you can`t reduce revenue by another $5 trillion, increase spending by another $2 trillion, and then not touch the big tax expenditures.

For example, you could say $1 trillion over a decade if you eliminate mortgage interest deductions. You could save $1 trillion if you eliminated investment income. Of course, that would apply directly to people like Mitt Romney who are paying less than half their taxes because their taxed on unearned income which is the less than half -- earned income --

MATTHEWS: They don`t want to touch that.

MORAN: I mean, those -- of course not, and then charitable deductions, which is $53 billion a year. That would be half a trillion over a decade. You can show how it would work, but if you do that, it`s clear he has no intention of taking that on.

Congress would never consider eliminating all those deduction deductions.

MATTHEWS: We`ve got to get to Hillary now. I`m sorry. The show turns to Hillary now. It`s going to get as exciting as it`s ever been in our lives. Jim Moran is a big Hillary person. So --

MORAN: Nobody has ever been better qualified than maybe George Washington to be president of the United States.

MATTHEWS: I know.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: We gave Mr. Moran a chance to make sure he`s on the bandwagon in 2016. Thank you, Congressman Moran.

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