Read time: 18 minutes

Matthews And Walsh Slam Ron Christie For Cheney's Hackery

Looks like good Tweety was back today taking a whack at Dick Cheney's former aide Ron Christie along with Salon's Joan Walsh. True to form Christie

Looks like good Tweety was back today taking a whack at Dick Cheney's former aide Ron Christie along with Salon's Joan Walsh. True to form Christie defended Cheney's recent stenography session at The Politico. Ron Christie is one of the more annoying pundits out there so this didn't bother me one bit. I'll give him this as annoying as he is though. He's got more stones than his former boss since he's at least willing to come on MSNBC and defend the turd. That's more than you can say for spineless Cheney who hits you in the back with a knife and runs. But that's not anything that should be surprising from someone who got five deferments during Nam.

Transcript via Lexis Nexis.

MATTHEWS: We start, however, with the security blame game. You have to call it that. Ron Christie is a Republican strategist and former aide to Dick Cheney. We`ve got to read a statement here from the former vice president. He got up the other day, or I guess it was early today, and released this statement. And I guess he wants us to read it aloud because it`s something that he obviously put pen to paper so that we all would do just that.

This is the former vice president of the United States, Dick Cheney. Quote, "As I`ve watched the events of the past few days, it is clear once again that President Obama is trying to pretend we are not at war. He seems to think if he has a low-key response to an attempt to blow up an airliner and kill hundreds of people, we won`t be at war.

"He seems to think if he gives the terrorists the rights of Americans, lets them lawyer up and reads them their Miranda rights, we won`t be at war. He seems to think if we bring the mastermind of 9/11 to New York, give him a lawyer and a trial in civilian court, we won`t be at war. He seems to think if we close Guantanamo and releases the hard-core al Qaeda- trained terrorists still there, we won`t be at war. He seems to think if he gets rid of the words `war on terror,` we won`t be at war.

"But we are at war, and when President Obama pretends we aren`t, it makes us less safe. Why doesn`t he want to admit we`re at war? It doesn`t fit with the view of the world he brought with him to the Oval Office and doesn`t fit with what seems to be the goal of his presidency, social transformation, the restructuring of American society. President Obama`s first object and his highest responsibility must be to defend us against an enemy that knows we are at war."

Could you, Ron Christie, as someone who has served the vice president and remains totally loyal to him, explain to us why he comes out of wherever he lives, gets to a word processor and puts all those words together to say over and over again what the president seems to think is that we`re not at war with terrorism? What does he mean by that?

RON CHRISTIE, FORMER DICK CHENEY AIDE: Well, good evening, Chris. I think the vice president`s statement speaks for itself. I think if you go back -- and I think it was very wise, the way that you started this segment, of connecting the dots. President Obama, when he was on the campaign trail, was very strong about prosecuting the war on terror. When he came in, immediately the war on terrorism vernacular disappeared from the president and his officials.

You had the secretary of homeland security saying that we`re dealing with overseas man-made contingency operations. You move forward later into the year, you had Guantanamo Bay, which President Bush also wanted to close but recognized that bringing enemy combatants and terrorists onto American soil would convey certain constitutional rights, Miranda rights, habeas corpus petitions, that would transform that from a war footing to a civilian footing.

And then you get this latest incident, Chris, where President Obama was on vacation. There was a Muslim radicalized individual who tried to blow up an American airliner on Christmas Day. The president`s response was muted. And again, he came out and said the "alleged" attempt and "the suspect."

And I think that there are people -- Dick Cheney, a number of politicians, Peter DeFazio, a Democrat from Oregon, Maureen Dowd from "The New York Times," Ruth Marcus from "The Washington Post" -- who look at President Obama`s reaction throughout the entire year and say, Is he showing the emotions, is he showing the fight and the vigor to fight a war on terrorism, rather than transform this into a civilian prosecutorial matter? I think that`s where Dick Cheney was coming from with his statement this morning.

MATTHEWS: Joan Walsh is editor of Salon. Joan, your thoughts on what Cheney`s up to here with this language of his? I read the entire statement, I believe, for the record here. What do you make it?

JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: I think he`s reached a new low, Chris. But one thing I want to say in response to Ron -- I mean, President Bush stayed on vacation, didn`t make a single statement about the shoe bomber incident in 2001 for six days, and then he made an off-hand reference at a press conference. So the double standard here is outrageous.

Now, on the Cheney remarks, first of all, I think he needs to get Sarah Palin to show him how to use FaceBook. Then he wouldn`t have to go to Politico and use it as his personal billboard so that he gets his point across and he gets his lies across.

Lie number one: Obama is pretending we`re not at war. That`s ridiculous. Obama is bogged down in a Cheney war in Iraq. He`s escalated in Afghanistan. He`s escalated in Yemen, as well as in the tribal areas of Pakistan. The man knows we`re at war.

And you know, there -- if you`re going to play the blame game, two of the Yemeni plotters that worked with Abdulmutallab actually were released from Guantanamo by the Bush/Cheney administration.

So this is really foul. This is really foul behavior on the vice president`s part. And it`s just -- it shouldn`t be surprising, but it is a little bit surprising, it`s just so beyond the pale.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, Ron, about the statement that -- do you want Obama, the president, to act like he`s Mussolini, to walk around with a big chin stuck out, to act like he`s matching the zealotry of our enemies, to engage emotionally, as they do, those who sit, those thousand or so people out there who plot against us? Do you want him to act like them? Is that what you want? In other words, he must act like he`s zealously involved in a war for you to be convinced he knows we`re at war.

CHRISTIE: Chris, I don`t...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: ... want from him.

CHRISTIE: I don`t want him to act zealously. I want him to show some emotion...

MATTHEWS: You say he`s not showing the right emotion.

CHRISTIE: He`s not showing the right emotion. And it`s not a Republican attack or a Ron Christie attack. Look what Maureen Dowd said in "The New York Times"...

WALSH: Oh, please.

CHRISTIE: ... this morning. She said that he appeared like Dr. Spock, this sort of -- you know, a little bit detached...

MATTHEWS: It`s Mr. Spock.

CHRISTIE: ... aloof. And I think, Chris...

WALSH: Mr. Spock.

CHRISTIE: ... frankly, this is a time of war. As much as Joan and as much as many on the Democratic left don`t like to admit it, we are dealing with very serious issues right now.

WALSH: Ron, I admit that!

CHRISTIE: And Americans are looking...

WALSH: When in God`s name...

CHRISTIE: Joan, I didn`t cut you off!

WALSH: ... did I ever...

CHRISTIE: Excuse me! We are looking...

WALSH: But you just made few (INAUDIBLE) accusations.

CHRISTIE: Excuse me, Joan. We are looking for the president of the United States on Christmas Day -- when you have a radicalized Muslim trying to take down an American airliner or Christmas Day -- to reassure the American people. I think he could have come out and said, We`re assessing the facts. We`re assessing the situation. We`ll get back to you. But I think that`s what all Americans, not Republicans or Democrats...

MATTHEWS: OK, you haven`t responded...

CHRISTIE: ... but Americans want from their president.

MATTHEWS: ... to the double dealing charge against you personally, sir, that you have a different attitude about President Bush and President Obama. President Bush took six days, according to the record, to respond to the shoe bomber. The president we have now, our president, took three days or 72 hours, I believe it was.

What`s the difference in the way you score this? You seem to score it differently -- is there is bell curve for Republicans...

WALSH: Really!

MATTHEWS: ... where they`re given more time? Is this the Katrina rule, where if it`s anything faster than a week, it`s somehow Speedy Gonzalez here?

(LAUGHTER)

CHRISTIE: Chris...

MATTHEWS: I mean, why do you give credit to Bush for six days you don`t give to this president for three days? What`s your scorecard, sir?

CHRISTIE: I`m not looking at a scorecard, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Well, what are you looking at?

CHRISTIE: I`m looking at connecting the dots. If you go back to Major Hasan Nidal (SIC) this past summer...

MATTHEWS: You`re changing the subject.

CHRISTIE: ... the shooting at Ft. Hood...

MATTHEWS: Why does Bush get six days?

CHRISTIE: No, no, Chris! No! I`m going to actually answer this question. Again, we had a very tepid response from the Obama administration initially. First they said everything was under control. Then they said it was an isolated incident. Then we come forward to the Christmas incident. Chris, the difference is one thing and one thing only, Christmas Day is one of the most holiest day in the Christian religious faith.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

CHRISTIE: This was a radicalized Muslim who tried to kill 300 Americans on Christmas Day. I wanted my president to come out and say, We recognize this is an act of terror by a radicalized Muslim on Christmas Day...

WALSH: That`s ridiculous.

CHRISTIE: ... and we have the situation under control.

MATTHEWS: Why did he have to say "radicalized Muslim"? Why is that lingo so important to you?

WALSH: Richard Reid was a radicalized Muslim three days before Christmas. I had relatives flying in. It was 2001. I was actually scared to death at that point. So were a lot of Americans. But nobody thought to bray about President Bush staying on his vacation because that wasn`t the climate at the time.

The climate right now is that Republicans use everything they can to undermine and delegitimize this president. And it`s actually un-American. It`s traitorous, in my opinion. Do you want to give aid and comfort to our enemies? Continue to treat this president like he wasn`t elected and he doesn`t know what he`s doing! He knows what he did. He knows what he`s doing. I`m proud of him. I believe that he has the stalwart, resolute nature to get this done. In my opinion, sometimes he goes too far, but to talk about him like he`s some socialist out-to-lunch...

MATTHEWS: OK...

WALSH: ... is just outrageous!

MATTHEWS: Ron, here`s my concern, and I don`t limit this to Dick Cheney, your old boss, the man you`re loyal to, but I do think he`s part of this problem. I`ve been reading the New York tabs today. I`m up here in New York. And I have to tell you, every person on the right has used this attack or this attempt on our lives, on that plane, to go through their checklist of wars they`d like to start. Some people want to go to Yemen. This guy, Michael whatever his name is, in "The New York Post" wants to go to war in Iran now.

WALSH: Always.

MATTHEWS: He says this is grounds for regime change. You know what that means. That means go to war again. These guys on the right are dying for an all-fronts war on Islam. Every country they want to go to war with -- well, Michael Ledeen, let`s go to war in Syria, let`s go to war with Iran, now it`s Yemen. They want an all-front war with the billion-person Islamic world. That`s what our enemy wants to start.

WALSH: Right.

MATTHEWS: Doesn`t anybody get it on the right that what the enemies of America want is an Islamic war against the United States, a million people forced to choose between East and West? That`s what they want, and your guys sometimes sound like they want it, too.

WALSH: Really.

MATTHEWS: Does Dick Cheney want an all-out war with Islam? Is that what he wants?

CHRISTIE: Well, of course not, Chris, and...

MATTHEWS: Well, then, why does he talk like this?

CHRISTIE: Chris, I think the notion that we need to recognize...

MATTHEWS: You just did it yourself. You had to throw the shot...

CHRISTIE: Chris...

MATTHEWS: ... at the guy`s religion on Christmas.

CHRISTIE: Chris -- Chris, let me...

MATTHEWS: What`s the point?

CHRISTIE: Chris, let me answer the question. The question that needs to be answered here and the recognition that we need to have is that there are radical elements from the Islamic faith that have been at war with the United States...

MATTHEWS: Right.

CHRISTIE: ... since 1979. You go through the shah...

MATTHEWS: Right.

CHRISTIE: ... you go through the fall of the shah, you go through the embassy hostage taking, you go through the embassy bombings in 1998, you go to the USS Cole in 2000, you go to the World Trade Center...

MATTHEWS: OK, so what do we do about it?

CHRISTIE: ... in 2003 -- what we need to do is we need to seek out those who are trying to kill Americans, our way of life, our democracy, our freedom...

MATTHEWS: Right.

CHRISTIE: ... and we need to take the fight to them. And I think...

MATTHEWS: And we`re not doing that?

CHRISTIE: ... that`s what conservatives are doing -- that`s what conservatives want to do and conservatives are very, very...

MATTHEWS: Well, wait a minute. Let me get straight...

CHRISTIE: ... concerned -- yes?

MATTHEWS: Who`s the secretary of defense?

CHRISTIE: Who`s -- well, Chris, you know who the secretary of defense is.

MATTHEWS: It`s Robert Gates.

CHRISTIE: It`s Robert Gates.

MATTHEWS: OK? So you`re not exactly...

CHRISTIE: Who is a Republican holdover.

MATTHEWS: ... had -- you know, we haven`t had exactly Mother Teresa take over our country...

CHRISTIE: Well...

MATTHEWS: ... and assume (ph) an end to war.

CHRISTIE: Chris, I think Republicans...

MATTHEWS: We`ve got -- we`ve got Gates. We`ve got General Jones...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Go ahead, Joan.

WALSH: And Abdulmutallab got his American visa under Bush/Cheney. He traveled back and forth to Yemen under Bush/Cheney. He could have been caught years ago. I`m not blaming them. I don`t think all the signs were there. But this is a bipartisan problem.

MATTHEWS: I know.

WALSH: And the Bush/Cheney administration didn`t keep us safe from this young man from Nigeria...

MATTHEWS: OK...

WALSH: ... in the years...

(CROSSTALK)

CHRISTIE: That is absolutely absurd! And Chris, we recognize, of course, that the CIA knew that this individual wanted to come to the United States.

MATTHEWS: We`re going to get to that in the show tonight.

CHRISTIE: There was a breakdown in the system.

MATTHEWS: We are getting to the points of catching the bad guys here. Here`s my problem with the way this is being politicized here by your side of the tracks. And here`s the problem. I understand that the two guys over in Yemen right now that basically were this guy`s control, that were feeding this guy, were released from Gitmo under Bush. One of them was released to go back for something called art rehabilitation. We could play this game of making fun of this. He`s doing his paint by numbers back there. It`s a joke. But we all know it`s an imperfect science, trying to figure out who the bad guys are and which ones to release and which ones to deal with permanently.

But the Democrats at least don`t make a big joke out of this and say how your side are Willie Hortons and you`re the bad guys because you let some guy go back to Yemen who may be the control guy for this guy who tried to blow up the plane over Detroit. They`re not playing that cheap shot political game that the Republicans like Cheney are playing. That`s my point. Your response?

CHRISTIE: Well, and my response to that is...

MATTHEWS: Cheap response because no Democrat is out there saying, Bush let these guys go back in his watch, you know, or whatever. I mean, what`s the point here? It`s just cheap politics by Cheney.

CHRISTIE: And again, I think the point here, Chris, is that we need to...

MATTHEWS: Why doesn`t he retire?

CHRISTIE: We need to -- we need to...

MATTHEWS: He`s out of office. Why is he still in our face?

CHRISTIE: The reason...

MATTHEWS: Why is he -- does he have a robo room? Where does he -- where does he release all these statements from?

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Most people don`t have a room in their house to issue statements.

WALSH: He`s planning the neocon...

CHRISTIE: Chris -- Chris, let me...

WALSH: ... restoration.

CHRISTIE: ... let me -- let me answer...

MATTHEWS: I think he is. I think the American Enterprise Institute...

CHRISTIE: Let -- let me answer...

MATTHEWS: ... and all the other clowns over there...

CHRISTIE: Let me -- let me answer that...

MATTHEWS: ... are waiting for their chance. Go ahead.

CHRISTIE: Let me answer your question, Chris. The important thing here is that we don`t need to make this a political issue. We do need to recognized that radicalized Islam is at war with us. We need to take the steps necessary to protect the country.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

CHRISTIE: Republicans welcome the opportunity to work with President Obama and the senior leadership in the Congress to make sure that we don`t have a situation where we`re going to try to close Guantanamo Bay for political reasons, not have a viable alternative in place where these people...

MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask you a question, Ron...

CHRISTIE: ... can be released in the United States...

MATTHEWS: Real simple opportunity on this holiday season. Whose fault was it, the Democrats or the Republicans, that this character got on that plane and this character tried to blow it up? Is either party, political party, responsible? Just answer my question?

CHRISTIE: I`m -- I`m not going to...

MATTHEWS: Is either political party responsible?

CHRISTIE: I`m not going to say the Democrats or the Republicans are at fault for this. It`s a system that has failed the American people.

MATTHEWS: OK, thank you for that.

CHRISTIE: The system failed us.

MATTHEWS: You`re not like your old boss because he`s just blamed the Democrats. Thank you -- at least you`re not a complete flack, Ron. Thank you, sir.

CHRISTIE: I`m an honest broker, Chris.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: You`re not a complete flack. Thank you, sir.

CHRISTIE: Honest broker.

MATTHEWS: Joan Walsh, as always, thank you for coming. Happy new year to both of you fellows.

WALSH: Happy new year.

CHRISTIE: Happy new year, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Happy new year to Ron. You`re seeing the religion. It`s neither party`s fault.

Coming up: As more details of the terror attack are exposed, it`s clear now that all the clues were there. In fact, a lot of them were there. Wait until you hear all the clues. We`re going to go through them. The CIA knew there was a Nigerian working with al Qaeda over in Yemen. The father of the Nigerian warned our embassy, and the CIA got the word. So the CIA knew all about this situation, and they turned it over to a bureaucrat in Washington, who never turned it over to the FBI, never got on the watch list and nothing was happening. We`ll be right back to talk about this incredible snafu that could have cost several hundred lives. We`ll be right back with HARDBALL.

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