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Hardball: Matthews Hammers Pfotenhauer Over Palin

Update: Nicole Belle adds: Chris Matthews talks to Obama spokesperson Bill Burton and McCain spokesperson Nancy Pfotenhauer about the final days of

Update: Nicole Belle adds:

Chris Matthews talks to Obama spokesperson Bill Burton and McCain spokesperson Nancy Pfotenhauer about the final days of the campaign. Pfotenhauer has a great tell: whenever she gets flustered and is desperately trying to spin the unspinnable, her smile gets wider and she laughs nervously. Matthews had her beaming like a high intensity flare over whose choice it was to spend the $150,000 on Palin's clothing, something the RNC has thrown back in the lap of the McCain campaign and how pathetic it is that Palin doesn't know what the role of the Vice President is.

MATTHEWS: We talked about the superficial, now let's talk the reality here. And I want to talk about this: the role of the Vice President. I want to give you a shot at it, Nancy, you're a pro. You're not somebody in from out of town. You know how politics works. What is the role of the Vice President under the Constitution? Simply put, you know it or you don't. Either a person understands the role of the Vice President or they don't. What—as you understand it from the Constitution – as a professional, is the role of a Vice President. It's very important you know this answer. We're filling the part in two weeks.

PFOTENHAUER: That's right. That's right. Well, I mean, obviously the role of the Vice President is to support the President, but to also to preside when necessary over the US Senate. And I think that this is also a tempest in a teapot…

MATTHEWS: No, that's not the role of the Vice President. I gave you a shot, Nancy, I want you to try again. What is the Constitutional role of the Vice President? In the Constitution? What's written in the Constitution? You're…look, you're all strict constructionists…

PFOTENHAUER: I'm not a Constitutional scholar but I do know …

MATTHEWS: Have you ever read it?

PFOTENHAUER: I'm not a Constitutional scholar, but I have been reading the commentary on this and seems to me that people are parsing words and she was obviously trying to explain to a young child…

MATTHEWS: Let me…Okay, let's take a look at this…

PFOTENHAUER: …what the Vice President would do…

MATTHEWS: Nancy, I appreciate you coming on the show. It's a tough defense of this person, Sarah Palin.

PFOTENHAUER: Oh my…

MATTHEWS: Apparently, she doesn't understand. The role of the Vice President—let me state it very clearly right now—is to replace the President, if that is necessary. As Colin Powell said on Sunday, that's the job of the Vice President, to stand ready, under the Constitution in the tragic circumstances to replace the President. Now that's one role. The other role is to have only a tie breaking role, as presiding officer of the US Senate. That's it. The Constitution specifically prescribes that. In fact it says that's all the person has the right to do. Now here's Sarah Palin with her definition of this role, which sounds strange to me and I've been in this city a long time. I have never heard anybody say, and by the way, it's very similar to what she said in her debate with Joe Biden, which made me wonder then: where did she get her civics?

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