Saturday, November 19, 2005

# Posted 10:17 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

HARDBALL AS SOFTBALL, PART TWO: In addition to John Murtha, John Kerry also got the kid glove treatment from Chris Matthews. Reprinted below is a complete list of the questions Matthews asked Kerry on Thursday. Maybe someone can help me figure out which one the hardballs are:
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Senator Kerry, for having us to your Capitol office. You made a very strong statement in a press release last night. You said, “It‘s hard to name a government official with less credibility on Iraq than Vice President Cheney.” Why‘d you say that?

MATTHEWS: Are you surprised that the president himself went after you personally last Friday?

MATTHEWS: What‘s the difference between what you believe Dick Cheney had in hand when he pushed for the war, and what you had in hand when you voted to authorize the president‘s use of force if necessary?

MATTHEWS: Why did they have their [inaudible] on the war, that they would [inaudible] this sort of thing?

MATTHEWS: So it was ideology rather than fear of an attack by Saddam Hussein in this country?

MATTHEWS: Last night Vice President Cheney said there were a few opportunists, he called them, back home who are suggesting that our GIs were sent into battle for a lie. Is that a fair characterization of what you are saying?

MATTHEWS: Right. What do you think of General Casey—George Casey
saying that it could take—it takes on average nine years to defeat an insurgency? That‘s a hell of a benchmark. Are we willing to stay for nine years?

MATTHEWS: Should we be there in any form nine years from now, still having military troops in Iraq, nine years from now?

MATTHEWS: We‘ll be right back with more with Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts.


MATTHEWS: We‘re back with Senator John Kerry.
Do you have a sense now that so much information is getting out now about the, really, questions—and they‘re hard questions—about the WMD case, the connection with 9/11, all the interesting finessing that went on before the war. Do you think if it had, the public would have been better off with an election where they knew more?

MATTHEWS: Would they have voted differently?

MATTHEWS: Well, it‘s so long ago. I mean, you voted in 2002 to authorize the use of force if necessary. And then in the 2004 election, for two years, everything seemed to be under wraps.

And it‘s only now, post-election, that this stuff is getting—was there an attempt to keep everything really secure, these cases for war that turned out to be questionable—solid and secure for all these months? Why are we getting the information now?

MATTHEWS: In the fall of 2001, right after 9/11, we all knew by reading the newspapers, and even more, that al Qaeda had locations in Somalia, Sudan, the Philippines, and of course, in Afghanistan.

Why didn‘t the United States Senate say, why don‘t we track down al Qaeda, get that job done while we pacify some of the Arab world, instead of going out and starting a war in Arabia—in Iraq, that‘s probably caused us more terrorism?

MATTHEWS: Are you still right?

MATTHEWS: How did you react when you read that that woman in Fallujah and her husband—he had come back with some bodies of people who were killed as we were retaking Fallujah that time.

They go into Jordan and they try to blow up a hotel, because she‘s angry about the way we treated her hometown in Fallujah. Are we creating more terrorists?

MATTHEWS: Does the president believe, watching him all these years, that there‘s only—it‘s like an ethnic group. There‘s a certain number of people who are terrorists, and we simply have to wipe them out and we win the war. Does he look at it that way?

MATTHEWS: No, do you look at it that way?

MATTHEWS: The president‘s been very tough on the Democratic opposition and that‘s fair enough. That‘s the way it works. It‘s a debate. But you had the Republican majority operate this week to go along with a resolution which is a bit watered down from your sides, but what did you take from that Republican majority resolution this week on the war in Iraq? What‘s the message to the president?

MATTHEWS: Are you surprised that Jack Murtha, the Congressman from Pennsylvania, he‘s such a pro-military guy, another combat veteran from Vietnam, coming out so emotionally today, saying we basically have to get the troops out. This is not where we should be.

MATTHEWS: But why would a guy who‘s so fond of military say let‘s get out guys out?

MATTHEW: Senator, thank you for joining us on HARDBALL.
I don't know what Chris Matthews earns, but NBC could pay me half as much to help John Kerry recite his talking points. By the way, here are some gems from Kerry that Matthews didn't challenge:
KERRY: I think that the decision was fundamentally made that [the administration] wanted to remake the Middle East, remove Saddam Hussein, have a foothold in that part of the world, and they naively and inaccurately believed the intelligence people like Chalabi and others...

KERRY: The weapons of mass destruction were a legitimate concern. I am not saying—and I said it on the floor of the Senate. I stand by what I said on the floor of the Senate. Saddam Hussein who was allowed to develop these weapons, or if he grew his arsenal, was a threat to the United States...

KERRY: Now, you know, the fact is, that during the election, I pointed out the failure of Tora Bora. And I think I was the first United States senator to stand up and say this administration allowed Osama bin Laden to escape through their clutches...
Well, at least he's more reasonable than the senior senator from Massachusetts.
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