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MATTHEWS: So I`m thinking, Senator Boxer, I`m in your state. I will be up at Dominican University in your own stomping grounds of Marin.
SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: Yes.
MATTHEWS: It`ll be a great night. I`m so glad to be in your territory.
BOXER: Lucky you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Lucky me.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, you and I were chatting the other day about this phenomenon. So let me ask you about this. What`s in the water this year or these cycles in which women citizens decide, I`m going to step up?
BOXER: Well, I think men and women are going to be looking at all the candidates running. We have an incredible list of women incumbents and challengers.
And I think this is the year to win with women, 2012. And I have a whole Internet program on that, WinWithWomen2012.
Well, let me tell you why. You raised 1992, the year I was fortunate enough -- thank you, California -- to get to the Senate. There were only two women in that year, and we did get to six. They called it the year of
Chris, we could get to over 20 women this time, 20 percent of the United States Senate. And I know Debbie will agree there are so many economic, kitchen table issues that women are good at. And there`s a war
on women, let`s face it. You talked about what happened in Mississippi. Several other states are saying we don`t think women should be able to end a pregnancy even if she`s raped or she`s that victim of incest.
BOXER: And we don`t think she should be able to even get fertility treatment. So I think if you put the economy together with the war on women, plus our terrific candidates, it adds up to WinWithWomen2012, as far as I`m concerned.
MATTHEWS: But there is also a pattern sort of hanging over this. You had the Clarence Thomas issue, a long hearing that went on with him and Anita Hill and that TV drama, you would have to call it, but it was real-
life drama, where there was clearly a harassment charged and believed by many people. But Clarence Thomas still was confirmed as the United States Senate by an overwhelmingly male jury of senators.
Do you think that we`re seeing the same kind of situation leading to women wanting to run now because of this whole Herman Cain fandango, or whatever it is now? It`s worse than a fandango. It`s a series of serious charges that he seems to be dancing away from.
BOXER: Well, we all know even Herman Cain himself said that sexual harassment is very serious business.
And I`m going to leave it up to the Republican voters to determine how they feel about Herman Cain. But there is an amazing irony here that 20 years after the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill situation that brought sexual harassment to the forefront, that we are now looking at this again. And that`s a very interesting combination with everything else that I talked about.
So I just -- I`m not saying that women who are running now are running because of Herman Cain. They were in there before. But I really think that people -- even if it`s this or frankly looking at Penn State, I think
women tend -- excuse me, women and men voters will turn to women in these difficult times.
MATTHEWS: Well, and the Penn State thing is so sad, so awful, what went on up there and awful that people condone it in any degree.
Let me go to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the congresswoman from Florida and also the chair of the Democratic National Committee. Let`s look at the bright side of things. You`ve got some really good candidates -- well, there`s women -- you`ve got Lingle running, the former governor out in
Hawaii, but you`ve also got a very strong challenge now to Scott Brown up in Massachusetts.
It looks to me like Elizabeth Warren`s going to be a very firm bread and butter Democratic candidate.
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA: Absolutely. And in addition to the fantastic candidates that are running, the women candidates are running in the U.S. Senate races, we have 31 incredible women running against incumbent Republicans on the House side. We are at about 17 percent of the Congress right now are women.
And we know that women care about creating jobs and getting the economy turned around. And we know that they have (AUDIO BREAK) the policies could have been put forward by Republicans who are embracing the Tea Party. I mean, Chris, the Republicans, first act in the House of Representatives was to repeal HR-1, the Affordable Care Act, which made sure that women couldn`t get dropped or denied coverage for simply being a woman.
A woman was treated as a preexisting condition. There are policies that the Republicans have consistently engaged in on a war on women like the personhood amendment that for me as a woman who gave birth to two of my children through in vitro fertilization, it is unbelievably offensive that they would try to pass amendments that would (AUDIO BREAK) able to be apparent. That`s unacceptable, and that`s why so many good women are stepping up not because of allegations against one presidential candidate,
because women know that their future and their children`s future hangs in the balance and they`re ready to step up and have (AUDIO BREAK).
MATTHEWS: OK. Let me go to senator boxer in the United States Senate right now in Washington.
Look at these numbers. Back in 2008, the last presidential election, President Obama, the Democrat, carried the women`s vote. This is pretty stark. This looks more like California than it has been in the past.
Fifty-six percent of women went for the president, 43 percent in other words, the rest of the vote went for McCain. What is that about? That begins to reflect, it seems almost the pattern you see in your home state
where women are overwhelmingly supportive of the Democratic program.
BOXER: I honestly think that women as well as men are looking at the two parties. And you know, Chris, because you used to be around here a long time ago. The parties have moved so far away from each other. And I believe really the Republicans have moved so far to the right that they have lost the mainstream.
Just need to look at Ohio, at the way they overreached. A lot of those union members are women, nurses, teachers, and they were just hitting away at these people. And they don`t seem to care as Debbie Wasserman Schultz so beautifully stated about women getting treatment and care -- that being a woman almost was a preexisting condition before.
We now make sure that women and families can keep their children until they`re 26. So people in this country, women in particular, look forward. They don`t want to go backwards. They don`t want to lose rights. They want to continue to gain rights.
They don`t want to go backwards in their economic status, they want to move forward.
BOXER: So I think it`s the combination of Democrats standing for the things that these women want, but also the Republicans have lost touch, frankly.
MATTHEWS: When is the last time President Obama called you for political advice, Senator?
BOXER: Oh, I talked to the president and his people quite a bit.
MATTHEWS: The president himself. When did he last call you for advice or talk to you about politics?
BOXER: Oh, very recently when he was in California. And I actually was in the White House, and I feel that I can pick up the phone and talk to him any time. I talk to Joe Biden a lot because I`m trying to leave the
president alone. But I do talk to Joe a lot more because, you know, I feel like I don`t want to interrupt the president.
MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you so much, Barbara Boxer, senator from California since 1993, and U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Up next, let`s have some fun with the one and only Darrell Hammond. He`s coming here next. He`s got a book.
And I`m here in the Bay Area right now. And tonight, I`ll be speaking at the Dominican University of Marin County about my new book "Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero" and about Jack`s incredible heroism in World War II.
This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
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