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MSNBC "Hardball with Chris Matthews" - Transcript


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MATTHEWS: You know, just in terms of voice sounds, I"m overwhelmed by what he sounds like. He sounds like Dr. Bob Arnot, in the same way that Newt Gingrich sounds like Orson Bean. They have strange voices.

But let"s move on to the facts here.

This guy backed, in 1994, when he was running against Ted Kennedy, exactly what Barack Obama got passed into law, with the Democrats" help. How can he run against exactly what he was for nationally and statewide when he was governor up there?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, it"s really mind-boggling.

What his speech reminded me of today is--you remember at the end of "The Wizard of Oz," Chris, when--


WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: -- Toto runs over and pulls the curtain back to reveal who the wizard really is--


WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: -- and Dorothy and the Scarecrow see, and what the wizard has been trying to do the whole--the whole movie is prevent people from seeing who he really is? That"s what this speech reminded me of today.

I mean--


WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: -- Mitt Romney can"t run from the fact that he supported and--and proposed an almost identical plan to the Affordable Care Act. It was the right thing to do. It made sense.

It insured people who didn"t have insurance. And it made sure that it spread risk, spread costs so that you could bring down the cost of health care. Made sense. And that"s why he"s having a difficult time saying that he wants to repeal and replace, which he really prefers to repeal and erase his own record--


WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: -- vs. trying to continue to defend what he actually proposed and passed in Massachusetts. It"s--it really boggles the mind.

MATTHEWS: Do you remember what the wizard said?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.


MATTHEWS: Well said.


MATTHEWS: Thank you. Exactly.

Here"s Governor Mitt Romney praising his own work with Democrats on health care reform. Let"s listen.


ROMNEY: What"s remarkable to me is that such a disparate group of people could come together on a workable consensus.

My son said that having Senator Kennedy and me together like this on this stage, behind the same piece of landmark legislation, will help slow global warming.


ROMNEY: That"s because hell has frozen over.




MATTHEWS: Well, he jumped on his own line there.

But, you know, he was a moderate governor of Massachusetts, as you would have to be as a Republican. He--he sort of trimmed his sails, if he has any sails. Do you have any idea what Mitt Romney believes, Congresswoman?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No. No, I mean, that"s the--I don"t think Mitt Romney know what he believes. He seems to believe whatever he needs to say he believes, depending on the electorate that he"s asking to support him.

And right now, he"s planning to put himself in front of a very conservative, Tea Party-leaning Republican electorate, and his past record is haunting him. And he"s definitely trying to twist himself into a pretzel to run from it. And it"s--it"s impossible.


MATTHEWS: What do you make of the Republican Party? One last question, Congresswoman. I know you"re a Democrat and a leader of the party now, the leader.

And I"m wondering what you"re up against, because I get a sense you"re not just up against an opposition this year. You"re up against a--sort of a coalition of an opposition party led by Boehner, the speaker, who is a reasonable Republican. He"s a Republican.

And then you have this protest element in the party that is not really an opposition party. They want to say no to everything. They don"t like government. How are they ever going to get a candidate who fits both ports -- parts of that coalition?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, what"s worse for America, Chris, is that we"re up against a party who has allowed themselves to be strangled by a right-wing fringe of the party which has made it absolutely impossible to come around the table like President Obama has asked us to and commit to shared sacrifice, really address creating jobs and turning the economy around, and take a balanced approach to reducing the deficit.

Unfortunately, the stranglehold that the Tea Party has on the Republicans is not allowing them to do that and unfortunately, Speaker Boehner is allowing that to happen, which is unacceptable.

MATTHEWS: Thanks so much. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, congresswoman from Florida and chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.


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