Hardball? Matthews asked McCain: "[W]e've had enough softball, Senator. ... Is Barack Obama an elitist?"

››› ››› KATHLEEN HENEHAN

On Hardball, Chris Matthews said to Sen. John McCain, "[W]e're back at Villanova, and we've had enough softball, Senator. It's time for the show to start here." Matthews continued: "Let me ask you a tough one here. We've done the Abu Ghraib stuff. We're getting to the domestic Abu Ghraib here. Is [Sen.] Barack Obama an elitist?"

During an interview with Sen. John McCain on the April 15 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews stated, "[W]e're back at Villanova, and we've had enough softball, Senator. It's time for the show to start here." Matthews continued: "Let me ask you a tough one here. We've done the Abu Ghraib stuff. We're getting to the domestic Abu Ghraib here. Is [Sen.] Barack Obama an elitist?" McCain replied, in part, "No. But I do believe that his statements were elitist." Matthews then asked: "Why do you think he thinks like an elitist or talks like one, if he's not an elitist?" Following McCain's response, Matthews appeared to refer again to Obama's recent comments: "Is it relevant to the general election? If you face him in the general election, would you bring that back and remind him of that, remind the voters of that? Or would your independent committees, do you think they'd be doing it as well?"

During the previous day's edition of Hardball, Matthews touted his upcoming interview with McCain by saying, "[A] whole hour with John McCain, with me asking questions. I hope they're hard enough."

From the April 15 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:

MATTHEWS: We're back at Villanova, and we've had enough softball, Senator. It's time for the show to start here.

McCAIN: Those last two --

MATTHEWS: These two wise guys, with these setup passes to you --

McCAIN: Those last two --

MATTHEWS: -- these alley-oops, alley-oops, right at the basket. You had to put them in. Let me ask you a tough one here.

McCAIN: Those weren't tough?

MATTHEWS: We've done the Abu Ghraib stuff. We're getting to the domestic Abu Ghraib here. Is Barack Obama an elitist?

McCAIN: No. But I do believe that his statements were elitist. I think the comments about America and small towns in Pennsylvania, which I guess would apply to across America, the values and the faith that they have, I think, is immutable and unshakable. I think that the fact that they like to hunt has nothing to do with their economic conditions. I think that they respect and cherish the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. And I think their faith, as I said, is something that goes on in bad times and good.

These people were the ones that went through the Great Depression and then went to war and made the world safe for democracy and came home and built a better nation than we have today. And I think that it's from the small towns and the large, but from all over America, that people have hope and optimism and faith in this nation and their future, and a real feeling of the unique nature of the United States of America. And we are a unique experiment in history. And the greatest thing about America and these young people out here today is a small -- from the -- people from the small towns in Pennsylvania want to continue to serve a cause greater than their self-interest.

MATTHEWS: Why do you think a guy, Barack Obama, grew up in -- you -- not exactly easy circumstances. His father went back to Africa after he was just born basically. He was raised in Indonesia, a third-world country. A white American mother, basically never had any breaks, except he's a smart guy obviously. Why do you think he thinks like an elitist or talks like one, if he's not an elitist?

McCAIN: I don't know. I don't know what shapes his views. I don't know what would cause someone to say something like that. Frankly, those kinds of thoughts have never been in my realm of view about this great nation.

MATTHEWS: Is it relevant to the general election? If you face him in the general election, would you bring that back and remind him of that, remind the voters of that? Or would your independent committees, do you think they'd be doing it as well? Or otherwise?

McCAIN: One of the things I regret most about this general election is the, quote, "527s." Many of the people in this audience don't know what a 527 is. It's this independent, and I use the word loosely, independent, unlimited expenditure of money to run attack ads on candidates. And it's unfortunate because I think that Americans want a respectful debate, as I said before, and I think they want to know about the qualifications of the candidate, not just attacks.

I defended [Sen.] John Kerry [D-MA] when he was attacked on his war record in 2004, and I would do so again. But it's unfortunate, and it's against the '74 law, and I won't go into that detail.

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
MSNBC
Person
Chris Matthews
Show/Publication
Hardball
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