On last night's edition of Hardball, Chris Matthews made up a quote that First Lady Laura Bush did not say. Matthews claims that Bush said "God wants us to rebuild New Orleans", when no such words came out of her mouth. However, Bush did say "she didn't really think she could speak for God" and then added that she "believes Nagin wants New Orleans to be rebuilt".
On a various segments, Matthews claimed that Bush said "God wants us to rebuild New Orleans" and questioned several guests about it. One of those guests, adviser of Former President George H. W. Bush's Strategist Ed Rogers, was called "ignorant" for not knowing this and not commenting on it. Matthews later brought it up when interviewing Mike Allen of Time Magazine, saying that she said the "same thing" as Mayor Ray Nagin did.
Full transcript follows.
MATTHEWS: What did you make of Laura Bush saying, regarding the Mayor Nagin thing of New Orleans, a very famous guy, obviously controversial, because of the way things went down down there.
But Laura Bush saying, “No, Nagin was wrong when he said that God, whatever, is mad at blacks.” He had a couple of comments which I think are a bit off the wall. But then she came in with one that I think topped him. She said, “God wants New Orleans to be rebuilt.” How does she know? Why are people talking for a deity? We can argue whether there is a God, but then to be hearing voices. This is the Joan of Arc stuff.
ROGERS: There do appear to be a lot of people hearing divine calling right now. I haven't read what Mrs. Bush said, but I'll give her the benefit of the doubt.
MATTHEWS: She said God wants us to rebuild New Orleans.
ROGERS: Well, maybe he does.
MATTHEWS: Well, sure. Maybe he hasn't given it any thought, I'm not sure. I just don't know, but I wouldn't presume.
ROGERS: I don't want to pick on Mrs. Bush. I don't know what she said. I give her the benefit of the doubt.
MATTHEWS: Well, I just told you what she said. But you can hide behind ignorance.
ROGERS: Ignorance is bliss.
MATTHEWS: I know. I've heard that before.
Dee Dee, what do you make of this godliness on the part of political figures like Nagin, like Robertson talking about how Sharon got sick because he wanted to cut a deal on land and peace? And now the first lady, who everybody likes—I like her—has jumped into the thing and she's talking for God now.
MYERS: I certainly don't look to political leaders of either party to interpret God's intentions for me. And I hope most Americans—and I don't think most Americans do either.
MATTHEWS: I'd like to know where they were last night, let alone tell me where God is. Just give me the basic information—how did they vote and how much they collected. And, by the way, who at the White House has been entertaining Jack Abramoff? Is that a fair question?
MATTHEWS: Well, mixed bag. Probably most politicians are mixed bags. Most reporters are mixed bags. Most people are. That's fairly safe, isn't it?
He's saying he wants to bring back a chocolate city—a clear ethnic reference, a racial reference if you will, although race means we're all of the same race.
ALLEN: Well, he presumed to speak for God which, I think, is a mistake for any of us.
MATTHEWS: Well, what about Laura Bush doing the same thing today, saying God wants to rebuild New Orleans.
MATTHEWS: Or is that just general lunch-time Christianity, just the kind of thing you say—we know God wants us to rebuild our city, we know God roots for our downtown booster club, we know God—that sort of generalized sort of Kiwanis-type (ph) of religion, you know?
ALLEN: I think a good rule for living—in fact, I just saw this on a billboard the other day—it said “If you want to know what God's thinking, stop talking.”
And maybe that's a good rule for all of us.