Howard Dean To Matthews: 'Oh, Thanks For Taking Me Out Of Context, Chris.'

As the head of the DNC, Howard Dean suffered through another Tweety interview that is not meant to be informative, but destructive. [media id=4469]

As the head of the DNC, Howard Dean suffered through another Tweety interview that is not meant to be informative, but destructive.

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Dean: Chris, four years ago, my opponents got together and had a political action committee, all four of which, uh, contributors contributed to the thing, which morphed me into Osama bin Laden, so this is patty cake. This is a tough campaign between two well- well-spoken, smart people, either of whom are capable of being president of the United States. But this is not, by and large, out of bounds.

Find the hidden meanings in Matthews questions unfold before your eyes....(Full transcript below the fold)

C&Ler Karen wrote in via email:

{This is where my fury began to bubble. I've highlighted the sentence where Dean acknowledges that he'd like to have a nominee, because Matthews will consistently ignore it. It's not quite the answer that he wants. He wants to hear that Dean will intervene to stop the elections. So here, although Dean has said that he would like to have a nominee, thereby implying that there would be an advantage to having a clear winner now, Matthews follows up with a question that pretends Dean said something else.

Dean handles the situation nicely, injecting some self deprecating humor. And he notes again that there would, indeed, be an advantage to knowing who the nominee is before the convention.}

Matthews: Let me ask you, Governor, did you meet this past week with Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, and the Senate Democratic leader about terms of ending this campaign?

Dean: No. We did meet, and we talked about how to keep the Democratic Party together. [ ] I know that was reported by somebody who leaked it, but that is not the tone. The tone of the meeting was, "How do we keep this party together as we go forward?"

Matthews: Well, how do you do that if Senator Clinton loses the delegate fight, but decides to stay in this race, just to hope that something breaks her way or because she wants to get closer to the convention or because she doesn't want Barack Obama to win the general -- we can't get into motive here, we have no idea why she might want to stay in the race -- but isn't it up to her?


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Dean: Well, you know, Chris, I---- No, actually I think it's up to the voters. Consistently, I think the voters have a lot of wisdom, and I think they're going to make a decision. You know, there's a lot of angst about this partly to fill cable shows, and the truth is John Kerry clinched the nomination on March second, four years ago, and today it's March fourth. So, it's not like this is some interminable campaign. You've got two very, very strong candidates; we've been in front of twenty million voters so far -- now, of course Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont -- our turnout is fifty percent higher than the Republicans. Look, I think we're in very good shape. I really do. Would I like a nominee? Yes. But the voters are going to have to make up their own mind about what they want to do, and the voters control this process.

Matthews: So, you don't think there's any advantage to the Democrats' finishing this up?

This is where my fury began to bubble. I've highlighted the sentence where Dean acknowledges that he'd like to have a nominee, because Matthews will consistently ignore it. It's not quite the answer that he wants. He wants to hear that Dean will intervene to stop the elections. So here, although Dean has said that he would like to have a nominee, thereby implying that there would be an advantage to having a clear winner now, Matthews follows up with a question that pretends Dean said something else.

Dean handles the situation nicely, injecting some self deprecating humor. And he notes again that there would, indeed, be an advantage to knowing who the nominee is before the convention.

Dean: I think there's an advantage to knowing who the nominee is before we get into the convention, but it's not finished for a while. After this, we've got Mississippi next week. Then we've got Pennsylvania. Nor-- we've got North Carolina. [smiles] I'm gonna sound like my speech four years ago.

Matthews: Sure.

Dean: South Dakota too, and all that kind of stuff [smiles, laughs, laughter heard in background]. There's a long way to go here.

Matthews: But you know, Senator Clinton has been tagging her rival pretty hard. She's going after him on who do you trust at three o'clock in the morning, which certainly will be reused in the general. She's even given sort of a hesitant, sort of a hiccup answer to the question, "Is he a Muslim or not?" A little slow on the draw on that one. She's going after him on his initial speech back in 2002 opposing the war in Iraq, undermining his credibility in that regard. Isn't all this useful fodder for John McCain?

Dean: My job is to go after John McCain, and talk about his ethics. Just today we found out that he withheld some information that would have affected the Alabama governor's race so he could get his endorsement. A couple years later, in the Abramoff case, we find that he's violating campaign finance laws; that he took a hundred thousand dollars in campaign contributions in vacations to the Bahamas, during the Keating schedule; that he's totally out of touch with America on Iraq, on the economy, on children's health care. That's my job is to make sure that John McCain is out of the race, not worry about what the voters want to do with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Matthews: Okay, you're on offense, but you don't believe that the Republicans are picking up useful material in these weeks of combat between Clinton and Obama?

Dean: I can't imagine that what we're seeing now between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is anything but a tea party compared to what the general election's going to be like in the fall.

Matthews: Well, since you hesitate to call this a quit, here's the ABC poll and the Washington Post poll that's come out, and shows that two thirds of the voters basically believe that the race should continue on, so I guess you're with the voters. I thought you wanted this thing to end. I was misinformed.

Dean: [Smiles] It's always better to be with the voters. And I want---

Matthews: I'm being sarcastic governor. This is---

Dean: All right---

Matthews: When I get sarcastic, I smile. [Dean laughs] Because I do think you want this thing to end, to clean it up, to have a nominee, to move on, and attack McCain, which is what you're already doing.

Dean: If we're--- Well, we're certainly going to do that. But if we could have a nominee before the convention, that would be helpful, but we got a long way to go between now and the convention.

Matthews: Is there any rules that are being broken? The Republicans have this Eleventh Commandment that Reagan sort of codified. Is there anything that's improper in the way you've watched this campaign? Is either side, Clinton or Obama getting a little too dirty for you?

Dean: Chris, four years ago, my opponents got together and had a political action committee, all four of which, uh, contributors contributed to the thing, which morphed me into Osama bin Laden, so this is patty cake. This is a tough campaign between two well- well-spoken, smart people, either of whom are capable of being president of the United States. But this is not, by and large, out of bounds.

Matthews: Are you a big enough ref to blow the whistle when you think it's time for this to end? Are you going to wait for Senator Clinton or Senator Obama to say when it's over? In other words, as the referee, as the party chair, can't you just say, "Lady and gentleman, it's over," or don't you have that authority?

Dean: Uh, well, look. I think the voters have that authority. And---

Matthews: Well, wait a minute, the numbers suggest that one person will win by the end of tonight, won't they? Won't the numbers be the way the people speak? By how they vote?

Dean: I don't think that one person is necessarily going to win by the end of the night. It would be nice to have a nominee, but as long as we have one by Denver, we're fine.

Matthews: Ok, you finally said what I thought you believed, which is it would be nice to have a nominee. [Smiles] Governor, thank you so much, sir. It's always nice to have candor.

Dean: Oh, thanks for taking me out of context, Chris. [Smiles back]

Matthews: No! It's called a clear, simple statement with an active verb.

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