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MSNBC "Hardball with Chris Matthews" - Transcript - Taxes


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Playing Vice President Joe Biden is Democratic congressman from Kentucky, John Yarmuth. He`s from Louisville. And playing Congressman Paul Ryan is U.S. congresswoman, Marsha Blackburn, Republican from Tennessee. We like having her on.

So, Congresswoman Blackburn, I have to ask you a question, and you`re playing Mr. Ryan tonight, he`s going to call himself Mr. Ryan, not congressman. Is the emergency room a great place to treat people without insurance? Is this the future of American health care?

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R), TENNESSEE: My hope is that the future of American health care is going to be solved by a lot of the innovation going on out there and that we`re going to do something to preserve and expand affordable access to good quality health care and that`s what our focus should be. How do we make certain that everybody has access to affordable, quality health care.

MATTHEWS: What do you make of your running mate`s statement, Governor
Romney`s statement, that we don`t let people die in their apartments, we get them to the hospital, to the emergency room, and that`s how we handle people in this country. Is that satisfactory? What the governor has been saying now twice in a couple of weeks now?

BLACKBURN: What we want to make certain is that there is a continuum of care. Of course, when there is an emergency situation, we are blessed to have great hospitals, great trauma centers that have those emergency rooms that can tend to those immediate issues.

What we want to make certain that we do is have people moving through the process so that they have that primary care physician, so that they have health insurance and they also are accessing quality care, making it affordable, and making certain that it is accessible as one of our goals to health reform.

MATTHEWS: Well, we have 40 million people right now -- well, if the vice president, rather, the governor of Massachusetts has his plan right now, it`s to get rid of Obamacare which covers 40 million people not insured. You`ll have 40 million uninsured going to the emergency room.

Let me go to Biden. Vice President Biden, do you believe that the anti-terror strategy which you advocated for Afghanistan was the right one in a war, not in counterinsurgency strategy which has kept our men there and women there, and caused the casualties?


MATTHEWS: Were you right or was the president right in Afghanistan?

REP. JOHN YARMUTH (D), KENTUCKY: No, I think -- I think the president`s right. I think we can no longer --

MATTHEWS: So you were wrong?

YARMUTH: I think I was wrong. Absolutely. This is a new world. We can`t be the world`s police force. This is an entirely new dynamic. Most of the threats we face in the world today are not deterrable, and that`s why we -- historically we`ve had these enormous forces. We need to be much more intelligent about how the way -- they way we combat these again, because there`s no deterrents to the type of people who don`t care if they die.

MATTHEWS: Let me go back --

YARMUTH: So I think the president`s approach is right.

MATTHEWS: OK. Let me go back to congresswoman -- or Congressman Paul Ryan with a different look tonight. Do you think a fertilized egg, a human egg should have the right to property under the 14th Amendment? As the Personhood Amendment supports?

BLACKBURN: I think that life begins at conception. And let me go back to your health care question, also. If you want to see what happens and how a health plan that is a government-run health plan does not work, take a look at what happened when Tennessee put 10 Care in place and that was going to be government-run, it was the test case for Hillary Clinton health care. And I have to tell you, we still had the same number of uninsured coming into our hospitals and seeking treatment.

The thing is, Chris, you don`t have an example where government-run health care has increased access, lowered cost, and gotten more individuals into the health insurance rolls.

MATTHEWS: I thought that that`s what Governor Romney bragged about
doing in Massachusetts.

BLACKBURN: I think that when you look at government-run health care,
what you do not have is an example --


MATTHEWS: So Romney was wrong in Massachusetts?

BLACKBURN: -- where you have --

MATTHEWS: So he was wrong in Massachusetts?

BLACKBURN: Romney tried something that worked for -- for Massachusetts. He feels like letting the states solve the issue, and I agree with that, let the states take this up. Just like with our Medicaid.

MATTHEWS: OK. So government-run doesn`t mean government-run.


BLACKBURN: There are so many of our government -- on a bipartisan basis that say --


BLACKBURN: Say send it back to the states.

MATTHEWS: OK. Back to my question, you didn`t answer it. If a fertilized egg of a human being is a person, then someone who has an abortion is a murderer, because that`s a person who was killed? Under the law you want written.

BLACKBURN: No, I said I believe that life begins at conception.

MATTHEWS: Is that true?

BLACKBURN: I think life begins at conception.

MATTHEWS: Is it a person?

BLACKBURN: I said life begins at conception.

MATTHEWS: But is that -- is that life a person? Well, let me ask you, Congressman Ryan, you endorsed and co-sponsored a bill, you, Congressman Ryan, endorsed, co-sponsored a bill to make the fertilized human egg a person. You stand by that tonight or not?

BLACKBURN: I don`t know what Congressman Ryan would say on that issue. I can tell you that I do believe life begins at conception.

MATTHEWS: In other words, it`s a little tricky admitting that he might be right or admitting that he`s wrong. Which is worse?

BLACKBURN: I am telling you what my statement is.

MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you.

This is not Congressman Ryan anymore. This is Congresswoman Blackburn speaking in her own political interest. Anyway, I want to -- and I know why, by the way.

Anyway, let me ask you about this bin Laden. Vice President Biden is notoriously responsible for saying, don`t go in there with the SEALs, go in there with drones, don`t take the chance. The president took the chance, it worked out.


MATTHEWS: Are you wrong, Vice President Biden?

YARMUTH: Well, I think I was. And clearly --

MATTHEWS: Aren`t you a humble man tonight?

YARMUTH: I know.


YARMUTH: This is all 20/20 hindsight. It`s easy. No, the president was brilliant and he made a tough call and it worked out.

MATTHEWS: So the president`s brilliant?

YARMUTH: He was in that instance for sure.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you this. I got to ask you right now, I`ve got a chance to ask Congresswoman Blackburn, my friend on the show. Let`s make a prediction tonight. I want you to make one. And I want you to be honest here.

Does your guy, Ryan, have to win tonight or would it draw suit the purposes of your ticket?

BLACKBURN: I think that what you`re going to see is a very strong performance by the vice president and by Congressman Ryan. Congressman
Ryan is going to move to a lot of facts and figures and be personable and be himself out there. He`s prepared. And he is going to do a good job.

He`s going to represent himself and our party well.

MATTHEWS: Is he going to do what you did a few minutes ago, represent yourself and not the running mate?

BLACKBURN: He is going to represent himself. He`s going to represent the ticket. He is going to do a great job.

MATTHEWS: Oh, that will be tricky. That is too tricky, Congressman.

There I have a problem with. You cannot be Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney at the same time. It is impossible.

Hey, you`re a good sport to come on. Thanks so much, Congresswoman Blackburn of Tennessee.

BLACKBURN: Hey, you know what, Chris, the great thing about it is --


BLACKBURN: The great thing about it is, is that we in our party are a party of big ideas. We love having people bring great ideas to the table.

That`s why we`re a big tent and we don`t have to have everybody walking in
lockstep. You`re going to see that --

MATTHEWS: OK. We`ll see.

BLACKBURN: -- as we search for answers that are going to be best for America.

MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you very much, it is nice having you on. And thank you very much, Congressman John Yarmuth of Louisville.

BLACKBURN: Thanks, Chris. Sure.

MATTHEWS: Thanks for coming on tonight.

YARMUTH: Thanks, Chris.


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