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MSNBC "Hardball with Chris Matthews" - Transcript


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The same question to you, Governor Schweitzer. You win (ph) in a state that is called by the pundits a red state, and yet you`re a blue guy.

You`re a Democrat, at least your party affiliation. What`s the trick? How do you unite?

GOV. BRIAN SCHWEITZER (D), MONTANA: Well, I don`t think that there`s necessarily a trick, but I can tell you this. In Montana, we say, Well, you can lead a horse to water, but you can`t make him drink. And old Mitch McConnell -- you can haul (ph) for him and take him to the trough, you can offer him any kind of water you want, and he`s going to say no.

And that`s what President Obama`s been faced with. On the very first day in office, the Republicans said, The way we beat this guy in reelection is we say to America we`re not going to work with him, we`re not going to do anything, we want to shut this country down. And they have. They have.

And it`s -- look, it`s time -- it`s time that we hold these leaders in Congress accountable. They are the ones who have said no.


SCHWEITZER: We don`t want to move this country forward, we just want
to stop Barack Obama. And that`s wrong.

MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you about this whole question of division. Now, there are on the other side, I think, ads which appeal to division. I think all this talk about welfare and getting your checks without work, which is a totally dishonest ad, is also code. Now, I don`t want to push that any further. I think everybody here knows what I`m talking about and agrees with me.

So the question is, how do you respond to that without making it worse? How does a president who`s African-American say, OK, I`m African-American. I have an interesting background, but I`m not going to fight this fight on the racial basis I`m not going to play that game. You`re not going to trick me into that.

That`s your game.

How do you do it, once it starts from one side?

RICHARDSON: I think what the president is doing, Chris, is moving forward, saying that we`re all in this together. I`m going to take my community, the Hispanic community -- and all Hispanics want is we want the American dream. We don`t want extra treatment. What we want is a fair immigration bill. What we want is a remax (ph), so that Hispanic kids can go to college and move towards legalization (INAUDIBLE) soldier (ph).

What we want is just what every American wants. We want jobs. We want education. And I think what this president is saying is everybody in America will have this opportunity.

SCHWEITZER: We`ve overcome racism in this country before. We have continued to move forward. The Irish people came here, they said, Help wanted, Jews and Irish need not apply." You know that. And we moved forward and elected an Irish Catholic president. That was a big deal in 1960. You know about this. It was a big deal.

And this was a big deal when we elected a black person as president of the United States not just for the United States, but for the entire world because it is a symbol that we`re moving forward. And we`re not going back. We are not going back!


SCHWEITZER: We are a united country. We are a -- we are a rich quilt of colors in this country. That`s what`s made us the most innovative, the most future-loving people in the history of the world. And we`re not going back with all of this race baiting.

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s take a look at -- here`s an interview with the Colorado CBS affiliate. President Obama gave himself a grade of "incomplete." I thought it was a pretty good answer, actually, in these times which are very difficult.

Let`s listen to the president give himself a grade.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your party says you inherited a bad situation.

You`ve had three-and-a-half years to fix it. What grade would you give yourself so far for doing that?

OBAMA: You know, I would say incomplete. But what I would say is the steps that we`ve taken in saving the auto industry, in making sure that college is more affordable, in investing in clean energy and science and technology and research -- those are all the things that we`re going to need to grow over the long term.


MATTHEWS: What do you make of that, gentlemen? My reaction was I thought the White House people were a little bit tongue-tied because my answer is simple. Would you rather be in 2012 or 2009? In 2009, the stock market was going through the floor. Unemployment was going through the roof. We were at the edge of a cliff.

We`re back from that cliff. Unemployment`s been coming down. The stock market has doubled. (INAUDIBLE) GM (INAUDIBLE) back alive. We thought the auto industry was dead. It`s back alive like gangbusters. We caught the bad guy, killed him.

If Bush had done it, he`d be still in the end zone doing hot dogs, you know?


MATTHEWS: I mean, right? These guys don`t know how to brag. Your thought, Governor Schweitzer?

SCHWEITZER: Well, look -- look, what he said was incomplete because we`re going to need four more years to finish this job.


SCHWEITZER: And we have come a long ways. Do you remember what it felt like in September 15th of 2008, when we opened the newspapers and saw
that Lehman Brothers had just gone upside down? And banks all over America, all over the world, didn`t know what was coming next. We were an American people that didn`t know whether we were in 1929 or 2008.

And it was this president who led us out of the great recession. So I would say it`s incomplete because we`ve got more to do.



MATTHEWS: I think Mr. Axelrod and Plouffe should spend some evenings with you, sir, and listen to that. Anyway, just a thought. Mr. Richardson?

RICHARDSON: Well, internationally, if the election were held around the world, the international community would want President Obama back. He ended the war in Iraq. He`s ending the war in Afghanistan. We`ve got free trade agreements all over the hemisphere. We`ve got a nuclear agreement with the Russians. We`ve got al Qaeda down. We`ve got bin Laden.

This president internationally has restored America`s prestige abroad -- human rights, democracy. This president deserves reelection for being a superior foreign policy president.

MATTHEWS: And you`re the expert.


MATTHEWS: You are the expert. I`ve never heard it put so well. By the way, we had McCain on the other night, watching him down in Tampa -- I counted. He wants us on six war fronts. Six wars! He wants us fighting in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan. He wants us going to war with the Russians again. He`s unbelievable! China.

SCHWEITZER: Chris, these Republicans are amazing because they said that during the Recovery Act, to help states pay teachers, pay firefighters, pay Medicaid workers, government jobs don`t matter. And now you`ve got McCain and Lindsey Graham traveling the country saying government jobs in the military-industrial complex matter.


SCHWEITZER: Well, where is the equal discussion about what matters in government? If we`re taking care of people and educating children and moving forward, those don`t count? Building bombs are the ones that count?


MATTHEWS: Well, I don`t know what to say. I think you`re a very powerful guest, sir, Governor Schweitzer. Have you got your boots on? just look at the -- look at the cowboy boots on this guy.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you.

SCHWEITZER: These boots are by Eddie Rendell! He saw me in the airport and he said, You got to get them shined up. He paid for these boots to get shined!


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