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MSNBC "Hardball with Chris Matthews" - Transcript: Minimum Wage


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MATTHEWS: You just moved into that microphone space! Your thoughts, Governor, about minimum wages and why they`re not the white flag.

GOV. DANNEL MALLOY (D), CONNECTICUT: Well, first of all, I`m the youngest of eight. I had to fight for food. So, I know how to do that kind of stuff.


MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. But, listen, we had a nice --


MATTHEWS: By the way, Michael Steele is with us too. Go ahead. Go ahead.

MALLOY: All right.

We had a good meeting. We actually -- governors in agreement on how to handle National Guard issues, unanimous. We`re in agreement on what we can do to improve Medicaid and Medicare, unanimous agreement. The press conference itself was going very well.

Jindal, I think, is trying to gin up his own numbers and gin up his own popularity. And I think he -- I think he -- he thinks he can run for president, which is, quite frankly, a little bizarre.


MATTHEWS: Is this the new -- is this the new way in, Governor, where you have to talk like Rand Paul and go after Bill Clinton, hit him below the belt, do this kind of stuff, really be little bit out of it, risk being a little over the top in order to get the attention of the press?

Because the right wing, I thought about this, you can`t go too far right for the Republicans these days. There is no far right. It`s anywhere you go, there is happy hunting ground. So go crazy against the president right after he has fed you, gave you coffee, gave you a place to sit, let you in the White House.


MATTHEWS: And on your way out the door, you trash the guy. That seems to be the cool way to behave. Your thoughts.

MALLOY: I think what the next Republican product is going to be is foam that you can spray around your mouth yourself, rather than have to work it up.


MALLOY: It really is quite remarkable. We had a good meeting. We are having serious conversations.

Governors actually work on a bipartisan basis, not only when we talk to one another, but very frequently we have to go back to our own states. I`m supporting a minimum wage increase. We have done it already once in Connecticut by 45 cents. We want to get to $10.10. Let me point this out.

The people who will benefit the most are women. Women who are raising families need this raise in our country. And let me point another thing out, just out of Louisiana today, a poll that shows that, overwhelmingly, folks in Louisiana support an increase in the minimum wage, Democrats, Republicans, and independents.

And women support it by 79 percent. He should actually understand and get in contact with the voters who live in his state who understand that $7.25 is not -- not only not a working wage; it`s a poverty wage. We need to move people out of poverty. We particularly need to move women out of poverty.

And I think he is just out of touch, quite frankly.


MATTHEWS: Governor, are there any downsides, any downsides to having minimum wage go to 10 bucks?


MALLOY: First of all, that`s not what -- that`s not what he was saying. He was saying he is dead set against it, period. That was the end of the question. That`s what he was saying. He is accusing of the president -- the president, who has created 46 months of job growth, of raising the white flag.

So, with all due respect to what was just said, that`s not what he was saying. And, quite frankly, what he doesn`t get is that women in our country deserve to work 40 hours a week and not live in poverty. Women in our country deserve a minimum wage that will allow -- lift them out of poverty to raise their children, to raise their families, and to contribute.

And if you have a better way to do it, make a suggestion. Do you want to increase the Earned Income Tax Credit? Republicans say no. Do you want to find another way to do it? Republicans say no. Do you want to increase the magic? Republicans say no. You can`t have it both ways. Either you`re for women, either you`re for building a middle class, or you`re against it.

And this game that the Republicans play with the CBO, listen, the CBO says that Obamacare is going to save $1.25 trillion in the next 20 years. But the Republicans don`t accept that. They don`t quote the CBO on that. The CBO says what the president has done with respect to supporting the economy has preserved and created over five million jobs.


STEELE: Well, Governor, I appreciate --


MALLOY: They never quote that.

There is a reality about what is going on statistically. Nobel laureates are saying raise the minimum wage; 432 economists have said raise the minimum wage. Only Republicans in this country say don`t raise the minimum wage.


MATTHEWS: Michael, Governor, we tried to get Jindal to come here, OK? It wasn`t a one-sided conversation set up here, just so you know that. Your thoughts.

MALLOY: Let me give you a big number; 532 counties have been studied where the minimum wage was raised, and right across the county line, it was not.

You know what county did better? The county -- time after time after time, the county that did better was the one that raised the minimum wage, in the South, in the West, in the East, and in the North. Now, let me point something else out to you. The vast majority of people earning minimum wage work in the food-related businesses. You don`t go across the border to buy your food. You don`t go across the border to buy -- to go a restaurant you. You buy it in the state in which you work.

So either you`re for lifting out of people out of poverty or you`re not.

I`m going give you a statistic. We have seen surveyed all the folks who work in banks as tellers in the United States. Do you know that 30 percent of the tellers in the United States have to rely on a federal program to not be in poverty, even though they`re working 40 hours a week?

Let me -- how do you defend the idea -- how do you defend the idea that somebody would work 40 hours a week and still live in poverty?


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