Despite Apology, Matthews Spends Spin Room with Dems Hammering Bernie

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MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews made clear Tuesday that, despite an apology Monday to socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for comparing his Nevada win to the Nazis taking France, he would continue to be firmly anti-Sanders. Along with his takes both pre- and post-debate, Matthews used his time with other candidates in the spin room to bash Sanders.

Noticeably, Matthews only scored interviews with four of the seven candidates. The three he didn’t? Mike Bloomberg, Joe Biden, and, of course, Sanders.

 

 

Impeachment-obsessed billionaire Tom Steyer was first and Matthews dispatched with focus on Steyer but instead praising CBS’s 60 Minutes for having “got[ten] the question out there on the table” about “Bernie Sanders’s ideological flirtations, whatever you call them over the years.”

As you can tell, Matthews didn’t ask Steyer a question here:

I grew with Castro as a kid. We all rooted for him until he started executing everyone of his enemies by a firing squad, aligning himself with the Soviet Union, and at one point, aiming medium-range nuclear weapons at every one of our major cities short of Seattle. We began to think maybe he’s not our friend.

Needless to say, this pattern continued. Here were two examples (click “expand”):

There are real issues in this campaign and one of them you talked about tonight. The nature of the health care system. All Democrats struggle for some universal health care system, but we also struggle for freedom. It's a big part of our culture. And I looked it up and The New York Times had a great story in it today, you can talk about it tonight, that in the U.K. and Canada, there are alternatives. You don’t have to — you're not sucked into one system. You have to — you're not told you have to believe and rely on the federal government, in this case, to give you your health plan. You're allowed to have private options in all these other countries. 

(....)

Well, what’s democratic socialism? I think democratic would mean you have an option not to do it, there’d a free society option. Democratic — it doesn’t seem democratic if you must go with the health care system to you is — is federal government run and if you don't like it you're stuck. 

Ooof. And all fair points. Freedom is one of those things that makes America different.

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) came second and Matthews complimented her for having grabbed his “attention” when she said Sanders’s “total package of spending is $60 trillion, which is three times the United States economy. Not the government, three times the entire thing.”

While anything but a moderate (despite what the liberal media have claimed), Klobuchar has expressed uneasiness with single-payer health care, so Matthews felt comfortable lamenting to her that the top GOP “talking point” after the convention would be the party’s draconian plans for health care (if Sanders emerges as the nominee).

In other question, Matthews griped: “What happens if this big Medicare for All thing goes bankrupt, that you can't raise all these sources of money, trillions of dollars — what happens if they don't come? It's the only system we have.” 

Pete Buttigieg came third and, once again, Matthews was in his element, hammering Sanders to a friendly face (click “expand”):

MATTHEWS: Talk about division, people have health care now, a plan they're happy with, maybe a good corporate job, they want to keep it. People like what they have, bird in the hand, the whole thing. Is it — is it consistent with a free society to tell people, you take the government plan or you don't get health insurance? There is no option, there is no free option, there’s no private sector option like in other countries like the U.K. and Canada where you can have additional health care option. 

BUTTIGIEG: Right. Part of what I was pointing out tonight is even in countries that have public single payer or — 

MATTHEWS: Like Denmark. 

BUTTIGIEG: — yeah even where countries that have straight up socialized medicine there is at least the option of a private plan. 

MATTHEWS: Is it a free — is it a — Is it consistent with a free society to deny people the option of how to provide for their health care? 

On Sanders’s love for the murderous Castro regime, Matthews gushed that Buttigieg was “pretty rough” in attacking Sanders and stating that, to paraphrase him: “[Y]ou said nobody is getting elected in this country talking about the bright side of the Castro regime.”

And finally with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Matthews honed in on her Bloomberg obsession and the push to remove the filibuster (the latter Sanders doesn’t support). But there was still time on Sanders in which Matthews wondered “what....basis” Warren had to suggest she’d be more effective in pushing a radical agenda than Sanders.

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s post-debate coverage on February 25, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Decision 2020: Debate Analysis
February 25, 2020
10:20 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS [TO STEYER]: I think 60 Minutes deserves credit. They got the question out there on the table. Bernie Sanders’s ideological flirtations, whatever you call them over the years. I grew with Castro as a kid. We all rooted for him until he started executing everyone of his enemies by a firing squad, aligning himself with the Soviet Union, and at one point, aiming medium-range nuclear weapons at every one of our major cities short of Seattle. We began to think maybe he’s not our friend.

(....)

10:22 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS [TO STEYER]: There are real issues in this campaign and one of them you talked about tonight. The nature of the health care system. All Democrats struggle for some universal health care system, but we also struggle for freedom. It's a big part of our culture. 

TOM STEYER: Yeah and choice. 

MATTHEWS [TO STEYER]: And I looked it up and The New York Times had a great story in it today, you can talk about it tonight, that in the U.K. and Canada, there are alternatives. You don’t have to — you're not sucked into one system. You have to — you're not told you have to believe and rely on the federal government, in this case, to give you your health plan. You're allowed to have private options in all these other countries. 

(....)

10:23 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS [TO STEYER]: Well, what’s democratic socialism? I think democratic would mean you have an option not to do it, there’d a free society option. Democratic — it doesn’t seem democratic if you must go with the health care system to you is — is federal government run and if you don't like it you're stuck. 

(....)

10:32 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS [TO KLOBUCHAR]: Senator, you know, it's so interesting. Lawrence O’Donnell knows a lot more about this than I know about the Senate rules and all, but I am stunned at these arguments. First of all, they just say we'll get rid of the filibuster rule just like that. The thing has been part of our tradition from since the beginning. Just, oh, we're going to do it here in this debate and I go — 

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Yeah.

MATTHEWS: — is that really something that's going to happen? 

(....)

10:33 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS [TO KLOBUCHAR]: You said something that jumped out at me and I don’t like numbers on TV. It’s the worst medium for it, but you said something really smart. You said, this guy's total package of spending is $60 trillion, which is three times the United States economy. Not the government, three times the entire thing. 

KLOBUCHAR: Exactly.

MATTHEWS [TO KLOBUCHAR]: Oh, I think that got my attention.

(....)

10:35 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS [TO KLOBUCHAR]:You know, I have a young person working on my staff who says we have to have hope. In other words, someone has to come out and say I'm going to make radical, dramatic changes in your life, whether it's student loans or public college tuition or it's health care and if you're too practical, it doesn't grab them. 

(....)

10:36 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS [TO KLOBUCHAR]: In terms of watching the debate as an observer and I do take an interest in it, why do people like your colleague Elizabeth Warren go after Mike Goldman [sic]? 

KLOBUCHAR: Well, she has every right to go after the mayor —

MATTHEWS: Bloomberg.

KLOBUCHAR: — on the debate stage. 

MATTHEWS: But he's not the leader. The leader is Bernie. He’s the one to beat. Everybody knows that. 

(....)

10:37 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS [TO KLOBUCHAR]: It seems to me the number one Republican talking point starting pretty soon after Milwaukee, whoever — it’s Bernie is the nominee, will be we're getting rid of your private health care and people are always more concerned about what they have rather than what they might get and it seems to me by saying you can't have private health insurance once this is over. Once I get in there, you don't have an option. What do you think about — is this an issue? 

(....)

10:38 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS [TO KLOBUCHAR]: What happens if this big Medicare for All thing goes bankrupt, that you can't raise all these sources of money, trillions of dollars — what happens if they don't come? 

KLOBUCHAR: That is a —

MATTHEWS [TO KLOBUCHAR]: It's the only system we have. 

(....)

10:39 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS [TO KLOBUCHAR]: It's just that the moderates seem to have maybe most of the votes, but they're dividing them up about four or five ways. Isn’t that a problem?

(....)

10:47 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS [TO BUTTIGIEG]: Talk about division, people have health care now, a plan they're happy with, maybe a good corporate job, they want to keep it. People like what they have, bird in the hand, the whole thing. Is it — is it consistent with a free society to tell people, you take the government plan or you don't get health insurance? There is no option, there is no free option, there’s no private sector option like in other countries like the U.K. and Canada where you can have additional health care option. 

PETE BUTTIGIEG: Right. Part of what I was pointing out tonight is even in countries that have public single payer or — 

MATTHEWS [TO BUTTIGIEG]: Like Denmark. 

BUTTIGIEG: — yeah even where countries that have straight up socialized medicine there is at least the option of a private plan. 

MATTHEWS [TO BUTTIGIEG]: Is it a free — is it a — Is it consistent with a free society to deny people the option of how to provide for their health care? 

(....)

10:48 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS [TO BUTTIGIEG]: Speaking of bad countries, bad leaders, Putin — I love to pronounce that name that way. Putin has decided it's in his weird ass interest to promote the chances of Bernie Sanders winning this nomination fight. What do you think he's up to? What scurrilous effort is he up to here? 

(....)

10:49 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS [TO BUTTIGIEG]: You said something that was pretty rough, and I thought it was very much in tune with the mood of the week given what happened on 60 Minutes this Sunday, and the discussion of Bernie Sanders’s comments over the years — over the years about Castro and you said nobody is getting elected in this country talking about the bright side of the Castro regime.

(....)

11:04 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS [TO WARREN]: Let's shift the attention to Bernie Sanders, who is doing very well right now, and he may win down — you may win down here. Your very strong statement about him was that you can do a better job as president. 

SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): I believe that. 

MATTHEWS [TO WARREN]: That gets to, you know, executive ability. It gets to relations with other political figures. 

WARREN: It gets to effectiveness. 

MATTHEWS [TO WARREN]: And where do you — where do you find that? In other words, what's your basis for saying it? It's experience? You've noted your ability as a legislator compared him? Give me some anecdotal evidence of where you are a better — a president potentially than he is. 

(....)

11:06 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS [TO WARREN]: I worked on the Hill a long time and watched what could get done and what couldn't. I watched the filibuster. It took 60-vote requirement. In every serious legislative initiative, you need the 60 votes or at least you need to be able to use reconciliation which deals with fiscal totals, and you can use that sometimes to just operate with the majority. Now, everybody has ideas. You've got more modest ideas than Bernie in terms of quickness and universality and all that other things. How do you get anything through a Congress that's so 50-50 divided? It's going to end up 50-50 roughly one side or the other. You know how it’s going to end up in this election.

(....)

11:08 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS [TO WARREN]: And you think we can make historic legislation passed with only a 50-50 situation?

WARREN: Chris, here’s what I think.

MATTHEWS [TO WARREN]: Because this is an issue. It took Ted Kennedy and 60 — 59 other Democrats to get ACA. It took 60 and you’re going — and you and Bernie are talking about big changes that you would get in a 50-50 — is that healthy for the country? 

WARREN: Here's the thing. Look, the country is where it is. Progressives are going to have one chance to make transformative change. 

MATTHEWS [TO WARREN]: I know that.

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