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MSNBC "Hardball with Chris Matthews" - Transcript

Interview

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Governor Markell, thank you for joining us. We`re looking at a nice scene earlier but looking at some scary stuff earlier from Rehoboth going on right now. Your thoughts of what was happening.

GOV. JACK MARKELL (D), DELAWARE (via telephone): Well, it`s pretty - - it`s a very significant event. I just left Rehoboth and Dewey Beach, the bay is meeting the ocean right there, number one. Lots of flooding, lots of rain, and lots wind. A lot more people in the last few hours having lost power and, unfortunately, with this storm they could be without power for a week or more.

MATTHEWS: What do you make of this storm? Here we are late October, it`s frankly Halloween and we`re getting something that looks like it should have been hitting Florida two months ago. This climate thing and then we`re hearing snowfall in West Virginia, the wind, we haven`t seen the danger from the wind yet, it could be really horrendous and it`s coming out of nowhere. This time of year it`s pretty calm weather-wise, most of the time.

MARKELL: This is -- this is usually a beautiful time of year in Delaware and -- you know, talking to people who have been following this for a long time, they have never seen anything like this before. We`re in a bit uncharted territories and that`s why we`ve got a great community of first responders, emergency response personnel doing a great job.

MATTHEWS: Tell me about FEMA. I had a role back in the Carter administration of putting that back together, to coordinate all this stuff. Apparently, Governor Christie has said some nice things about it. We should have it.

Do we have that tape of Governor Christi Christie right now we can show it? What he said about the president`s handling.

Let`s watch Governor Christie. I want you to react to this, Governor Markell.

MARKELL: OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Thank the president for his telephone call inquiring about how things were going here and assured him that things were going well so far. He invited me to call him at any time if things are no the going well. So, we`ll make sure we do that and appreciate the president`s outreach today in making sure that we know that he`s watching this and is concerned about the health and the welfare and safety of the people of the state of New Jersey.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: That`s the adjoining state of New Jersey. You`re governor of Delaware, Governor. Tell us how this is being coordinated, how effective. Give it a rating as of the past several hours, how is it going between FEMA and the state level?

MARKELL: FEMA is a 10 and they have been. They were last year as well with Irene. They`ve been absolutely terrific. They embed themselves with our own emergency management agencies so it`s really -- it`s seamless. The president did have a call yesterday with all of us governors, a lot of mayors, and he went one by one asking if there was anything he could do.I had an issue today. I got a response within about 10 minutes. And that was from the White House as well. They`ve been terrific and we`re
really grateful for it.

MATTHEWS: Not to be too political but that`s what I do here, Governor Romney in June of this year said we ought to think about getting rid of FEMA, it may not be necessary, the states can handle he`s kinds of situations. Your reaction?

MARKELL: Yes, it`s absurd. I mean, it really is. We had -- we have had issues here where the resources of the federal government are extraordinarily important. And we expect more of that. And I think, you know, again as you say not to get too political but what`s the irony that here we are eight days before the election and people can be reminded of what he said I think just last year in one of these debates.

MATTHEWS: So, here we go, give us a sense of you as governor of Delaware, what is it going to look like in the next six hours, the next 12 hours? If we got up at seven tomorrow morning, what`s it going to be like in Delaware?

MARKELL: Well, my biggest concern still has to do with the power. I`ve been following over the last few hours, you know, a significant increase in the number of Delaware homes without power. That`s going to increase and increase and it`s going to take a while for the utility companies to get that fixed.

So to me, that`s really the major issue. We had a mandatory evacuations period. We`ve had driving restrictions and I`m appreciative that people really seem to be following those. We`ve got shelters open and we expect the number of people using the shelters to increase a lot as people lose power.

So just an amazing group of first responders throughout the state, Red Cross, National Guard, everybody pulling together. That being said, Mother Nature is very, very powerful. People have to use common dense and treat this seriously.

MATTHEWS: OK. Governor Jack Markell of Delaware, thanks for joining us tonight.

MARKELL: Thank you.

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