Search Form
First, enter a politician or zip code
Now, choose a category

Public Statements

MSNBC "Hardball with Chris Matthews" - Transcript


Location: Unknown


MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about -- you made some comments about the quality of the campaign, the tone of the campaign, and the tone of the administration that will follow it. You talked about -- you compared, I think, what was going on now from the Romney campaign with what happened in 2004 with the Swift-Boating of John Kerry and how that sort of polluted the water, if you will, keeping the metaphor, for what happened in the second Bush term. He couldn`t get things done, like privatization.

That`s right. One of the reasons I began drifting towards running was a paper I wrote in the summer of `04, which said that on 53 issues, John Kerry was in the minority by an average of 77 to 17, that he was to the left of Teddy Kennedy.

You could run a clean, straight choice campaign of big issues, and they would have won by a margin like Nixon did McGovern, or you know, Reagan-Mondale. They couldn`t break loose. For some reason, they were
just committed to trying to take on Kerry personally. Well, when you do this, when you run negative ads that are personal, you may break the other guy, but you also break yourself.

MATTHEWS: And divide the country.

GINGRICH: You divide the country.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about this campaign. I know you want to go positive, but the nature of this campaign, and what was done against you in Iowa -- let`s talk about it because we all watched it. You couldn`t turn on a TV set without hearing a negative on you, and they were about you personally, and they were written by somebody who did the ad copy, but they were never signed by anybody.

GINGRICH: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: There was no name on it that said, I paid for this ad.

KLEIN: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: My name`s Mitt Romney.

GINGRICH: Right, and I...


MATTHEWS: ... our system.

KLEIN: Well, and I took Romney head on about this because it`s all baloney. Those are his staff from the last campaign with his millionaire friends paying for it. Those are his ads. He just didn`t have the guts to
admit it, OK?

MATTHEWS: Well, he did come out and say, I could have called off the dogs -- not using his words. I could have made it less negative, but why should I? This guy ought to be taking the heat. I mean, he basically
backed them up.

GINGRICH: And here`s my answer. He has grandchildren. He ought to run a campaign worthy of his grandchildren. He ought to take those ads home and show them to his grandson and say, Grandpa did this. What do you think about this kind of trash on television? What do you think about somebody being beaten up like this on television? We should run campaigns worthy of our best, not campaigns that demean us to our worst.


MATTHEWS: Well, what was it like sitting in a hotel room, watching these ads?

GINGRICH: I didn`t do much of that. I was out campaigning.

MATTHEWS: But you heard about them.

GINGRICH: Well, I knew about them. I saw some of them. Look, the reason you`re now seeing me relentlessly compare a Massachusetts moderate to a Reagan conservative is...


GINGRICH: ... is the ad of me that was "Saturday Night Live" was one where Romney`s people questioned if I was a conservative.

And I thought to myself, let me get this straight. This is a guy who didn`t support Reagan in the `80s, who said in `94 he didn`t want to go back to the Reagan policies, who voted for Paul Tsongas in `92, who
appointed liberal judges, has tax-paid abortions, puts Planned Parenthood into Romneycare, and he`s questioning whether I`m a conservative?

MATTHEWS: Are you running a negative campaign right now, when you say something like that?


GINGRICH: No. I`m running a fact...


MATTHEWS: You just went through a list of the tyrannies of the left here, basically, as you see them.


MATTHEWS: And you`re laughing, but you say you`re running a positive campaign.

GINGRICH: Well, no, I`m running -- look, I`m running a campaign of contrast on public policy, which I would not have run if Romney had been willing to run a -- if he`d run a campaign of policy ideas, I would have stuck with policy ideas. And, by the way, I would have beaten him.

MATTHEWS: You called him a "Saturday Night Live" joke. Well, that`s pretty strong.

GINGRICH: Well, that ad was a "Saturday Night Live" joke.

For a Massachusetts moderate to put out an ad questioning my credentials as a conservative is the kind of chutzpah that you really don`t quite expect to find in somebody like Romney. I mean...

MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s talk about Tampa. I have always thought watching this thing from the other side, watching it from the middle sometimes, and sometimes sympathetically, I look at this Tea Party phenomenon, which is a real phenomenon.

GINGRICH: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: It may be wearing itself out, I don`t know. Here we are today at a Tea Party. How do these people and their representatives go down to Tampa come the end of this summer, when it`s sweltering down there?

I always like to get the atmospherics. It`s hot. The humidity`s 105, and they sit around and they cheer Mitt Romney. How does that work?

GINGRICH: They don`t. He`s not going to be the nominee.

MATTHEWS: Could it be -- could it work if he were the nominee? Would they ever be able to cheer him?


GINGRICH: They would never cheer him. Why would you cheer someone -- if you are a Tea Party person, why would you cheer somebody who raised taxes, created the prototype of Obamacare, appointed liberal judges to appease the Democrats -- that`s his language, not mine -- and put in tax-paid abortions, took care of Planned Parenthood?

I mean, here`s an easy question for you to ask. Name one conservative accomplishment in public policy in Romney`s career.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

We`re back with John Heilemann and more of the interview we did with Newt Gingrich last night.

Gingrich`s chief rival now for second place is Rick Santorum, of course, to go up against Romney. But before he can go after Romney, of course, one on one, he`s got to beat that other guy, Rick Santorum.

So let`s look at this criticism coming up right now of Rick Santorum. It`s in the interview. Let`s watch.


MATTHEWS: You have a lot of common interests now with Santorum.


MATTHEWS: In fact, I don`t think you dislike him in any way.


MATTHEWS: I don`t think there`s any personal problem. You call him now your junior partner.


MATTHEWS: OK, well, that`s a knock. You have to hit him a little. You have to check him, don`t you?




MATTHEWS: How are you going to be the alternative to Romney unless you check him out of the fight?

GINGRICH: I think it will happen by attrition.

I think people are going to look and make a judgment over the next few months. Maybe I won`t be the judgment. My hunch is I will be. We have a national campaign. We`re organized to compete in a lot more places.

And I wasn`t trying to knock Rick.

MATTHEWS: Junior partner?

GINGRICH: He`s a good guy. I was the speaker of the House.


GINGRICH: He was a senator who wasn`t in leadership at that point. He did some very significant things. He was the key to passing welfare reform. I scheduled it three times. I`m just saying, we can go through
these kind of games.

MATTHEWS: You got Clinton reelected.


GINGRICH: Well, I created an opportunity for Bill Clinton to decide to sell out the left.


MATTHEWS: Jimmy Carter`s another one where he ran against four liberals back in `76 and won the nomination, but was never really the hero of the party.

GINGRICH: Right. Right.

MATTHEWS: Same thing.


MATTHEWS: And Romney, look, he`s running against a number of conservatives, yourself, Santorum, Rick Perry, different kinds of conservatives. He`s splitting the conservative vote -- 75 percent of your party in all the polling says they want a conservative, not Mitt Romney.

But you`re dividing that up, the same way the liberals gave Jimmy Carter...


GINGRICH: But, look, as a real practitioner of this game, you will love this.

The great irony for Romney is, this is the year in which you have the longest period of proportional representation.


GINGRICH: And, therefore, he`s never going to give more than 25 or 30 percent of the delegates until April. By April, I think it`s going to be Gingrich vs. Romney. And, at that point, he`s going to be down -- he`s
going to lose.

MATTHEWS: So you can deny him majorities up until then?

GINGRICH: I think so. Oh, yes. I don`t think he will ever get near a majority.

MATTHEWS: In none of these primaries?


MATTHEWS: What do you think he will get up here?

GINGRICH: Well, he was at 41 this afternoon.


GINGRICH: He will be very lucky if he`s at 41, I think.

MATTHEWS: What is it about your party that solidifies around the 75 against Romney? Just one more time into the trenches here, why do the 75 percent reject him?

GINGRICH: Because he`s a Massachusetts moderate and he`s not even willing to be honest about it.

They know it. They all know who he is. He just hopes they don`t. He goes around and he says, oh, I`m really a conservative.

They just think...

MATTHEWS: But how does the Tea Party who you`re with tonight here, Thursday night, how do they accept him when they know he would never come in his life -- if he lives to be Methuselah`s age -- will never go to a Tea Party meeting? Because there`s maybe a class difference. There`s all kinds of reasons why Mitt Romney won`t show up at...


GINGRICH: Right. And that`s why he`s not going to get their vote.


You said you`re up against an amateur conservative and an amateur moderate. Who are these people? Do you want to put their names -- the amateur conservative is Rick Santorum?


GINGRICH: Well, when you`re talking about trying to create a national majority...

MATTHEWS: He`s an amateur?

GINGRICH: Nobody -- they haven`t created a national majority.

MATTHEWS: Well, who are you talking about when you say amateur conservative? You must be talking about Rick Santorum.


MATTHEWS: And the amateur moderate, just to nail it down, is?

GINGRICH: Is Mitt Romney.


So you are going to be the one that makes the last stand against Romney?

GINGRICH: I think so.


Skip to top

Help us stay free for all your Fellow Americans

Just $5 from everyone reading this would do it.

Thank You!

You are about to be redirected to a secure checkout page.

Please note:

The total order amount will read $0.00 but know that a recurring donation of the amount and frequency that you selected will be processed and initiated tomorrow. You may see a charge of $0.00 on your statement.

Continue to secure page »

Back to top