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MSNBC "Hardball with Chris Matthews" - Transcript


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MATTHEWS: -- Joan Walsh (INAUDIBLE) Salon. She`s the author of "What`s the Matter With White People?"

Let me ask you, Madam Chairman -- I, first of all, do not get the joke that Mr. Huckle-chuckle Huckabee last night said you were rehearsing your speech in the room next door. Now, Joe, my friend, says it was sexist, and I thought that was over the top until I thought, Well, what else is the joke here? Is there any joke? He said, I heard this awful noise, meaning the sound of a female voice, which, apparently, is an awful noise to Mr. Huckabee.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL), DNC CHAIR: The joke is, apparently, that Mike Huckabee is unfamiliar with the voice of a strong women.

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s hear -- let`s hear Huckle-chuckle right now. Let`s hear him. Let`s hear him, Huckabee taking a shot at the madam chairman.


MIKE HUCKABEE (R-AR), FMR. GOV., HOST, FOX, "HUCKABEE": But the only hitch in an otherwise perfect week was the awful noise coming from the hotel room next door to mine. Turns out it was just Debbie Wasserman Schultz practicing her speech for the Democratic national convention in Charlotte next week. Bless her heart.



MATTHEWS: Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. What is the joke? What is the joke?

OK, let`s talk about the serious stuff. I can see a congressman playing politics. I can see overstating and rhetoric (INAUDIBLE) We`ve all grown up with it. But he said that plant closed because of President Obama. It closed in his district before Obama took office. How could he not have known that, when he was involved in trying to save that plant?

SCHULTZ: He knew it. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have put the Republican national convention on a diet, on a fact-free diet, one that means that they`ve spent this entire week doing their best to distort, lie, mischaracterize the president`s record because they know they don`t have the facts on their side. They know their policies are so extreme. They know that they`ve proposed to increase taxes on the middle class to pay for budget-busting tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires. And they`ve got the wrong policies when it comes to women`s health, the wrong policies --

MATTHEWS: Let`s stay on --


MATTHEWS: Like, this is what I want you to do --

SCHULTZ: I could go on.

MATTHEWS: I know you can!


MATTHEWS: Anyway, I just want to stick to this because it`s so (INAUDIBLE) When you catch him in a lie, focus on this thing. Anyway, Ryan also put the blame for the country`s credit downgrade squarely on the shoulders of President Obama. Let`s listen to that.


RYAN: It began with a perfect triple-A credit rating for the United States. It ends with a downgraded America!


MATTHEWS: Well, that`s a total mischaracterization of what happened, since the reason Standard & Poor`s downgraded the debt rating had a lot to do with the Republican Congress playing a dangerous very game of chicken over the debt ceiling. And we all watched it.

Ryan also pushed some bogus information about the stimulus. Let`s listen to that.


RYAN: The stimulus was a case of political patronage, corporate welfare and cronyism at their worst.

You, you, the American people of this country, were cut out of the deal. What did taxpayers get out of the Obama stimulus? More debt.


MATTHEWS: Well, it`s just not true. Of course, taxpayers got everything, a lot out of that stimulus. More than 25 percent went to tax breaks alone. It wasn`t spending. A lot of it was tax cuts.

Also, most economic studies found that the stimulus had a positive effect on the economy.

Let me go to you, Joan, on this thing.

I don`t understand why he did the plant closing. That`s sticking his chin out. He`s going to be banged for that. He knew it was wrong. I also don`t know how he thought he`d get away with saying the president didn`t back the debt commission. I think, in retrospect, he should have done it.

But he was on it and he brought it down.

WALSH: That`s right. No, it`s ridiculous.

The thing about the plant closing is even more interesting, Chris, because I wrote a piece last night that I called Paul Ryan`s brazen lies -- I called them lies -- and I`m getting all this right-wing pushback, which you`re very familiar with.
The thing they keep saying is, well, after the auto bailout restructuring, there was a potential that Janesville might have reopened, but it wasn`t. I`m sitting there like, so, President Obama was supposed to be the czar, picking winners and losers out of the economy, which is what they hate. He would be like one of those central planners that they hate.

What are they talking about?

But this is what they`re doing. And they feel like they can get away with it.


MATTHEWS: Congresswoman?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Paul Ryan didn`t mention last night in his speech that he asked for stimulus funds for his district.

WALSH: Right.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: And in the letter that he asked for the money said that it was because he thought it would create jobs, so this is a guy who voted against the stimulus, and then asked for money from it because he said it would create jobs, but said that it didn`t.

MATTHEWS: You know how his budget -- you`re an expert on the budget.

You have studied it.

But you`re the expert. You have been in there voting. You know how it systematically cuts poor people`s stuff. It cuts Medicaid, which we know is for poor people, people below the national poverty level. We know he`s cutting all this discretionary spending because that`s the poor people stuff. We know that.
Here is his brave claim last night. He talked about the responsibility that he felt of the strong in society to protect the weak.

This by the way is why he was protested at Georgetown for failing to meet
Catholic standards of social justice.

WALSH: Right.

MATTHEWS: But here he is denying that and claiming he`s better than that. Here he is.


RYAN: We have responsibilities one to another. We do not each face the world alone. And the greatest of all responsibilities is that of the strong to protect the weak. The truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves.


MATTHEWS: Well, what do you make of that, Joan?


WALSH: Well, I think that might have been the most brazen lie or distortion because the Catholic bishops who are often on the side of the Republican Party, unfortunately, the Catholic bishops went out of their way to slam him on his budget and to say that it doesn`t honor the preferential option for the poor that Catholic social teaching requires us to have.

The Catholic bishops have said how horrible it is to poor people and that it doesn`t balance the budget, but that it takes money from poor people to give more tax breaks to rich people.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: You know, I sit on the Budget Committee. I had a front-row seat for the Romney-Ryan version of how we should budget.
And they take a slash-and-burn approach to education, to college aid, to Head Start, to health care. If that is reaching out and understanding the plight of people who are struggling in this country, it`s a really bizarre definition.

MATTHEWS: OK. You know things we don`t know. We watch from the outside. You`re on the inside, Congresswoman, Madam Chairman.

When you got the money that the Koch brothers have, when you got the money that super PACs can spend maybe the last weekend of this election and
just blow us out, blow the country out in terms of time, does truth matter?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, truth matters to Democrats and it matters to
President Obama.

MATTHEWS: But to the voter, if they`re only going to get blasted with
this stuff?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: What matters is that for us, we know that President Obama is going to get outspent.

We know that they have super PAC corporate-infused special interest billionaires who are going to try the buy the White House. That`s why we have systematically and steadily been running and setting up the most significant grassroots presidential campaign in history, and we will carry President Obama back to the White House on the shoulders of the people of this country.

MATTHEWS: Will the American people in the middle, the 6 percent that have to make up their minds on this election, will they know that that plant closed under Bush, not under Obama? Will they know he walked away from the debt commission before he trashed the president for doing the same thing? Will they know these facts?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: They`re going to know that and they`re going to know who has been in the White House fighting for the middle class and working families and going to bat every single day to make sure we can create jobs and get this economy turned around.

WALSH: It`s also our job, too, because last night, everybody was great. Last night, everyone said these are lies, these are inaccuracies, fact checked, these are not true.

But today, I saw all over cable news a little bit of slippage about, well, you know, this is the kind of liberty that politicians get to take and so --

MATTHEWS: I`m not hearing that about "The Nightly News" here at NBC and our sister organization. The news division is looking at this as a hard news --


MATTHEWS: I`m not sure there`s going to be that slipperiness about hard facts.


WALSH: I hope not. I hope not, because we need to keep saying what it is. They were lies.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Facts matter. The cynical approach the Republicans are taking that they don`t matter and that they are trying to basically dupe the voters --


MATTHEWS: I think Mr. Ryan lost about five of his merit badges last night.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you. Thank you, Congresswoman and Madam Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz --



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