Video: What Hillary Clinton should say
updated 11/1/2007 5:40:55 PM ET 2007-11-01T21:40:55

On Thursday’s “Hardball,” Chris Matthews, a former speech writer, offered his advice to Sen. Hillary Clinton on what she should say regarding the negative backlash to her performance at NBC’s Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate. 

His suggested speech is below:  

"Taking the heat is what leadership is all about. As Harry Truman said, 'If you don’t like the heat, stay out of the kitchen.' Taking heat is all part of the process of proving yourself for the world’s most important democratic office.

The fact that I am the first woman has nothing to do with the heat on me in this week’s presidential debate. I was the target because, quite simply, I am running well in the national polls. I have gotten nothing but respect from my rivals for the nomination and have no complaints, certainly none to do with our difference in gender.

So let’s move on. They’ll be more debates. There’ll be more shots from my opponents. There may even be a few from me at them. But those were the rules we agreed on, not in Philadelphia this week, but in Philadelphia back when we declared Independence.

Besides, a little trouble I don’t mind. If I get to be the first woman elected to lead this country I don’t want it said it was because my rivals went soft on me - or I on them."

Matthews spent 15 years in politics, working in the White House for four years under President Jimmy Carter as a Presidential speechwriter, as the top aide to Speaker of the House Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill, Jr. for six years and in the U.S. Senate for five years on the staffs of Senator Frank Moss (Utah) and Senator Edmund Muskie (Maine).

Watch 'Hardball' each night at 5 and 7 p.m. ET on MSNBC. 

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