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September 2, 2004
Transcript of Zell Miller Vs. Chris Matthews

MS-NBC has posted the transcript of Zell Miller's appearance on Hardball with Chris Matthews, during which many of you wrote or commented last night that Zell took the wood to Matthews in a most satisfying way. After reading the transcript, I have to say you were right, and I think that maybe the appearance on Hardball may be even more effective that his appearance at the convention. Miller made it clear that he was not about to allow Matthews to throw strawmen at him as Matthews does with lesser-prepared guests. The turning point occurred early on, as far as I read:

MILLER: But I think his record is atrocious.

MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you, when Democrats come out, as they often do, liberal Democrats, and attack conservatives, and say they want to starve little kids, they want to get rid of education, they want to kill the old people...

MILLER: I am not saying that. Wait a minute.

MATTHEWS: That kind of rhetoric is not educational, is it?

MILLER: Wait a minute.

Now, this is your program. And I am a guest on your program.

MATTHEWS: Yes, sir.

MILLER: And so I want to try to be as nice as I possibly can to you. I wish I was over there, where I could get a little closer up into your face.

(LAUGHTER)

MILLER: But I dont have to stand here and listen to that kind of stuff. I didnt say anything about not feeding poor kids. What are you doing?

MATTHEWS: No, Im saying that when you said tonightI just want you to...

MILLER: Well, you are saying a bunch of baloney that didnt have anything to do with what I said up there on the [crosstalk].

From this point forward, Matthews reeled backwards on defense, a position from which J. C. Watts rescued him somewhat after Miller went away. At one point, Miller defended Michelle Malkin and regretted that the days of dueling were over:

MILLER: I wish we lived in the day where you could challenge a person to a duel.

(LAUGHTER)

MILLER: Now, that would be pretty good.

Dont ask medont pull that...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Can you can come over? I need you, Senator. Please come over.

MILLER: Wait a minute. Dont pull that kind of stuff on me, like you did that young lady when you had her there, browbeating her to death. I am not her. I am not her.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Let me tell you, she was suggesting that John Kerry purposely shot himself to win a medal. And I was trying to correct the record.

MILLER: You get in my face, I am going to get back in your face.

(CROSSTALK)

MILLER: The only reason you are doing it is because you are standing way over there in Herald Square.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Senator, Senator, can I speak softly to you? I would really like you to...

MILLER: What? No, no, no, because you wont give me a chance to answer. You ask these questions and then you just talk over what I am trying to answer, just like you did that woman the other day.

MATTHEWS: Well, Senator...

MILLER: I dont know why I even came on this program.

Matthews, truth be told, is a terrible interviewer for the exact reason Miller used to bash him on his own show. Matthews has a long-running love affair with his own voice and can't seem to put aside that addiction long enough for any of his guests to answer. He asks long-winded questions and routinely cuts people off after a few words in response. Put bluntly, Matthews is a windbag, and while windbags can entertain, they don't draw much out in the way of truth.

Hardball doesn't interview guests, it subjects them to a gauntlet in which they can only hope to survive rather than inform viewers, especially if Matthews disagrees with them. Miller not only called Matthews on his tactics but he got the response for which he looked. When you hit a bully in the nose, they inevitably back down and claim they meant no harm, which Matthews did several times at the end of his interview with Miller.

In fact, he was even nicer with Zell on his Hardblogger entry, the MS-NBC blog that their stars write. (Captain's Quarters is blogrolled there with the rest of the RNC bloggers, but they've misspelled the title. Apparently, they only looked at my URL rather than actually visit the site.) Here's what he wrote about his interview with Zell:

Senator Miller didn't buy what I was saying. I can't tell you why. And I was pretty surprised with his reaction. Maybe because it was a remote and there was a lot of noise in the convention hall, he just couldn't hear what I was asking.

I'd hate to leave things where they are without giving him the opportunity to discuss these important issues. I was glad he said he wanted to come over and meet with me in person, so I hope he accepts my invite to join me at the MSNBC set Thursday evening.

But prior to that, Matthews argues that Kerry's votes against the weapons systems were the type of legislative maneuvering that accompanies all bills, where votes occur at various stages of a bill's progress. Matthews still either doesn't understand or doesn't want to acknowledge that Kerry's votes on these systems were final votes, nor does he want to acknowledge that Kerry campaigned on his opposition to these systems, which is what Miller tried to tell Matthews while Matthews kept talking over him. Casting Kerry's opposition as procedural amounts to intellectual dishonesty, especially coming from a former Tip O'Neill staffer.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 2, 2004 6:01 AM

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» RNC: A study in contrasts - Zell Miller and Dick Cheney from Right Reading Room
The contrasts between Zell Miller's speech and Vice President Dick Cheney's speech at the Republican National Convention tonight could not be more stark. Where Zell Miller's speech will easily be most remembered and talked about for its passion and ove... [Read More]

Tracked on September 2, 2004 8:57 AM

» And Speaking Of Being On Crack... from Ubique Patriam Reminisci
Chris Matthews, blowhard extraordinare, took on Zell Miller last night. He quickly found out that it's easier to beat up on women than it is to beat up on a fiesty old scrapper from Georgia. Here's the video, and it's delicious. You can almost se... [Read More]

Tracked on September 2, 2004 9:27 AM

» Kerry: Let's Focus On The Issues....No Wait! from Josh Ferguson
With the Swiftboat Vets coming hard at John Kerry and his campaign, the thing you hear from Kerry and his supporters the most is that we should focus on the issues. Well, last night at the Republican National Convention, Zell Miller decided to focus ... [Read More]

Tracked on September 2, 2004 2:28 PM

» Smackdown! from The Gantry Launchpad
Just cruised on by the VodkaPundit, where he put up a link to the Zell Miller interview on Hardball after his speech. My analysis: Damn! Miller is a real bulldog. He got right back in Mathews' face and didn't back... [Read More]

Tracked on September 2, 2004 3:12 PM

» NYC NBC Affiliate Flips Matthews & McLaughlin from A Stitch in Haste
I can't help but wonder why New York City's NBC affiliate, WNBC-TV, has suddenly decided to put Chris Matthews on at 10:00am... [Read More]

Tracked on September 5, 2004 9:55 AM



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