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MSNBC "Hardball with Chris Matthews" - Transcript


Date: Oct. 21, 2010


C. MATTHEWS: So steel in Pennsylvania is a bad business model. We shouldn"t be making steel. Your witness. Pat Toomey.

REP. JOE SESTAK (D-PA), SENATE CANDIDATE: It"s interesting. In 1999, he didn"t mind bailing out the Long--I think it was called Long Term Investment Corporation that was going under on Wall Street, from which he came. My gosh, manufacturing prowess is what made Pennsylvania and this country great. And yet Congressman Toomey has actually said that buying American is an unfortunate tendency.


SESTAK: You open up his book, man, that"s pretty scary. You know, remember when he was a lobbyist for Club for Growth?

C. MATTHEWS: Remind me!


SESTAK: Probably should be called Club for Shrinking because he actually tried to kick out of the Republican Party--


SESTAK: At that time, if I--you know, he actually circulated a petition, a petition for senators to sign up to oppose tariffs against Chinese illegally dumping cheap goods into America. Whose side are we on?

C. MATTHEWS: Well, I just want to know this--I grew up in north Philly, up along Huntington Park--

SESTAK: Right.

C. MATTHEWS: -- Hunting (ph) Park. We call it Huntington Park. It"s says Hunniger (ph) Park on the signs. There used to be jobs. My grandpa was the Democratic committeeman. He used to get on the subway, walk--take two stops on the subway and have a factory job and come home with a good income. There are no manufacturing jobs around north Philly anymore. You have to have a service job or go into crime or something like that.

When are you going to bring back real manufacturing industry jobs to Philadelphia? How do you do it?

SESTAK: Well--

C. MATTHEWS: That"s my question.

SESTAK: You"re just--my grandfather--Lukens (ph) Steel, just up the road in Coatesville (ph), half empty right now. Look, we have to stop those corporation tax cuts that Congressman Toomey voted for. You know a company today--it can close town a factory in America right here in Philadelphia, if there were one left, and then it can fire its employees, go to China, actually invest in a Chinese factory, have cheap labor, sell it back here to America. And you know what? Their profits in that factory aren"t even taxed.



C. MATTHEWS: You"re an activist Democrat against a laissez-faire Republican. Let"s listen to your opponent. Then you react to it. Here he is. We couldn"t get him here today. We invited him. Anytime you want to come, Pat Toomey, come here. You can"t come to Temple, though. You missed your chance.

Here"s George Stephanopoulos asking Toomey about Palin--that"s Governor Palin, former governor Palin"s--by the way, she"s endorsed Toomey. You worried? Here she is. Let"s listen.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, "GOOD MORNING AMERICA": What do you make of her role in this campaign? And do you think she"s qualified to be president?

TOOMEY: Well, George, you know, I"m very grateful for the support that I have from people all across the political spectrum--Republicans, independents, Democrats. I welcome the endorsements that I"ve had from high-profile candidates and political figures and ordinary folks that I meet every day.


C. MATTHEWS: What a BS answer! What kind of an answer was that?


C. MATTHEWS: I mean, he said, Do you think she"s--George asked him a good question. Do you think she"s qualified to be president, Sarah Palin? I"m going to ask you the same question. Is Sarah Palin qualified to be president of the United States?


C. MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you.

SESTAK: And notice he didn"t even mention her name. And remember that he once called her a spectacular governor, and she"s funded his campaign, and won"t even mention her name. Pretty extreme. I know she is, but so is Congressman Toomey.

C. MATTHEWS: Well, it looked like he"s running away from her like a rabbit. Let"s take a look here at Matt Lauer asking Toomey about the Tea Party this morning, another big question to your opponent. We couldn"t get him here. I"ve to use surrogates. Here he is answering.


MATT LAUER, CO-HOST, "TODAY": You have a good deal of backing from the Tea Party. Dick Armey, who"s one of the organizers of that party, has told the story. He says that when George W. Bush backed Arlen Specter, a moderate Republican, over you, back in 2004, you being a fiscal conservative, that the Tea Party was born. Are you happy with that description?

TOOMEY: Well, I think, you know, Dick Armey is entitled to his opinion about that. Here"s the--here"s what"s really going on, right? The Tea Party movement is a group of ordinary Americans who are very worried about this country"s future. They see too much growth in government, too much spending, a staggering amount of debt and they"re worried about the future of our country.


C. MATTHEWS: Well, you"re running against a guy who says, "Well" every time you ask him a question, "well"!

SESTAK: Yes. You know, I"m really most--here"s what I"m most concerned about. It"s those extreme candidates like Christine O"Donnell in Delaware, Congressman Toomey--
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C. MATTHEWS: What do you think of O"Donnell?

SESTAK: -- that represent them--

C. MATTHEWS: Should she be in the Senate?

SESTAK: No. Absolutely not. How could someone--

C. MATTHEWS: Do you think she"s a witch?

SESTAK: -- who wants to do away with the 14th amendment--

C. MATTHEWS: Is she still a witch or just once a witch?

SESTAK: Look, here"s what I say. Congressman Toomey--


C. MATTHEWS: Here she is. Here"s Christine O"Donnell last night, in last night"s debate. Let"s listen to her. She"s from Delaware, right nearby here. I"m sorry, this is--well, let"s talk about this one. Here"s you bringing up Christine O"Donnell last night. Let"s listen to that.


SESTAK: There are those that are running with Congressman Toomey, Ms. O"Donnell next door, for example, that want to do away with the 14th Amendment, that actually thinks there can be a state-established religion. Palin, Toomey, O"Donnell--they all would like to overturn Roe versus Wade. I don"t think our law enforcement officers should have to go up against what we in the military had to, as the Army and the Marine Corps did in Iraq. I think those views with O"Donnell and others are too extreme for (INAUDIBLE) Pennsylvania.


C. MATTHEWS: What did you mean by, Our law enforcement officials shouldn"t have to go up against what we"re facing in Iraq?

SESTAK: Well, Congressman Toomey once said that his idea of gun control is a steady aim. And he"s opposed to an assault weapons ban for military weapons.


SESTAK: My gosh, when we did away with those weapons, 20 percent less law enforcement officers were murdered by them. But here"s the zaniest idea of all. Congressman Toomey actually wants to do away with all taxes on corporations. Zero. None for AIG, none for PP (ph) or anything. And that is really where we have (INAUDIBLE)

C. MATTHEWS: This new Republican Party--I grew up with a moderate

Republican Party, people like Hugh Scott and Bill Scranton and Rockefeller



C. MATTHEWS: -- Javitts. Look at these people. They want to get rid of--the 1st Amendment she doesn"t recognize. She doesn"t know there"s no establishment clause.


C. MATTHEWS: Well, that"s true!


SESTAK: We recognize him!

C. MATTHEWS: They want to change the 14th Amendment. They want to change the 16th amendment. They want to get rid of the 17th amendment.


C. MATTHEWS: They love the Constitution, except any particular provision in it. What are they up to in the Republican Party?

SESTAK: I don"t know. And I--

C. MATTHEWS: Are they going far right?

SESTAK: They are going outside the Republican Party we once knew. And that"s why Dick Armey called Congressman Toomey the "father." Again, when he was head of Club for Growth, as "The Philadelphia Inquirer," right here in this city, said, his number one job was to purge, kick out of the Republican Party any moderates. If you can"t work with someone in your own party because you"re so extreme, how are you ever going to work with the rest of us? And if the Senate needs anybody, it"s how to get down there and work together to solve our problems.

C. MATTHEWS: Let"s talk about you.


C. MATTHEWS: All right? You ready?


C. MATTHEWS: OK, Joe Sestak wasn"t supposed to beat Arlen Specter. You beat him. Specter was unbeatable. Everybody told me that. You can"t beat Arlen Specter. You can"t beat him in the primary. You can"t beat him in the general. He"s been around for 100 years. Nobody beats Arlen Specter. You beat him.

You"re now coming on against Toomey in the worst year for Democrats in

what, forever. You"re running even with a Republican in a big state. What

how do you run? You"re not an establishment guy. You"re not part of the regular Democratic organization. You"re not especially popular among these guys. You"re on your own.


C. MATTHEWS: You"re laughing, and you know it"s true. You"re a loner politically. How can a loner win in this kind of environment if he"s a Democrat?

SESTAK: By exactly running as I have. That young man right there said it all. Joe, was the first guy--you were the first guy I ever voted for, right there.

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SESTAK: Why--in the military--in the military, you go on aircraft carrier, you know what their average age is, those 5,000 sailors, Chris? Nineteen-and-a-half. They want to believe that somebody"s in it not to be a politician but to be a public servant. And that"s the man--and that Pennsylvanian I want to serve. And they want someone to be independent, standing up to the party, or definitely--willing to work with the other side, but making sure that by leadership, you can change that darn Senate that"s just not working.

C. MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask you about what kind of Democrat you are. Back years ago, the great governor, Casey, of this state got elected by what, a million votes last time he ran. Casey said that Pennsylvania"s a tough state.


C. MATTHEWS: It"s not a Jane Fonda state, it"s a John Wayne state.

You got it?

SESTAK: I understand well.

C. MATTHEWS: It"s a tough state. What kind of a Democrat are you, a Jane Fonda Democrat or a John Wayne Democrat, if there"s such a thing as a John Wayne Democrat?

SESTAK: Well, you know, Bob Casey, Jr.--


SESTAK: I went to see him right afterwards, and he said, Joe, you"re the only guy who"s ever run statewide from the southeast that won in the T and won across all the state. Why? They respect veterans, but they also respect what we stand for. We swept all that state. And you know where I did best? Allegheny County.

C. MATTHEWS: Yes, Pittsburgh.

SESTAK: Yes, Slovaks--Sestak. No, more than that. They actually do respect hard work and--

C. MATTHEWS: What kind of name is Sestak?

SESTAK: -- perseverance--Slovak. My father was an immigrant. Best man I ever met.

C. MATTHEWS: How many Slovaks we got here?


C. MATTHEWS: I doubt it! Anyway, thank you. Good luck in the race.

SESTAK: Thanks for being here.

C. MATTHEWS: You got a lot of cojones.

SESTAK: And thanks--