Quite the Segue: From Talking About an Alcoholic Dad to Praising Ted Kennedy

August 26th, 2015 9:35 PM

Does MSNBC host Chris Matthews give ANY thought to the structure of his interviews? In a chat on Wednesday night's Hardball with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) about her memoir, The Senator Next Door, Matthews shifted from talking Klobuchar growing up with an alcoholic father to asking her thoughts on, I kid you not, what it was like to hang out with Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) in his Capitol hideaway office.

Here's the relevant transcript: 

August 26, 2015

Sen. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-Minn.): So, in fact, I think part of this book is about how you can't do everything perfectly. You try your best, you overcome obstacles. I talked about my dad's struggles with alcoholism for years. He was a columnist for the newspaper. My parents divorced. Growing up was going out to schools where I had never met anyone on the entire East Coast. But I made this case that you want to have normal people with regular backgrounds running for office and in Congress and you want to have people that go to represent their neighbors. And that's why I called it The Senator Next Door

CHRIS MATTHEWS, host: Isn't it amazing how many kids of alcoholics have done so well? I mean, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan. What is it, do you think? I'd never thought I'd ask that question but you just told me you sort of prompted me there. 

KLOBUCHAR: Well, you know, first of all, my dad's recovered. He's very happy at age 87. He is married happily for the third time, but I think what it is, I actually devoted time to it in the book. I think being the kid of an alcoholic, means for me, first of all, I don't like lies. You think about things that you grew up with, and I have aversion to that. And the second thing is, it means you try to fix everything. 

And that's why I think you see a lot of kids of alcoholics going into government, because they grew up trying to fix things, trying to make things better, trying to in my case take the keys away from my dad when I'm 17, when I see him drinking out of the trunk of the car, and I don't want him to drive 300 miles and then we don't speak for four hours. Those are things that happened to kids of alcoholics. And in my case, it has a happy ending, and ending of redemption and that was a story I also wanted to tell. 

MATTHEWS: You are great. I say that too often, but you really are. Thank you. Let me ask you about the great stories of your book. You know, a lot of us looked up to Ted Kennedy an awful lot. And you talk about what it was like to be in one of those Capitol old hideaways that nobody else gets to see but U.S. senators. What was it like late at night when there were late votes and you were there with a couple other younger members of the Senate and there was Teddy Kennedy, the old lion.

KLOBUCHAR: He was amazing. He would actually sort of talk to -- he'd bring people in when they had those vote-a-ramas, and they would leave messages, his staff on your phone, that said, "the lantern is lit." And that means head over to his hideaway, and he'd always have a group of people there. We'd have some wine and he'd tell these incredible stories from the past about his brother...