Video: Omarosa plays 'Hardball'

updated 3/9/2004 6:07:25 PM ET 2004-03-09T23:07:25

Cher, Hillary, Oprah, Madonna-- you‘re a superstar when your first name says it all.  To loyal viewers addicted to NBC‘s hit show “The Apprentice,” that name is Omarosa.  She was fired last week by Donald Trump.  

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews talked to Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth on why she was fired, what she thinks of Donald Trump, her plans for the future, and her politics, as a staffer for former President Clinton.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  Why didn‘t you win it? 

OMAROSA MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH, CONTESTANT, 'THE APPRENTICE':  The first reason I got fired was very simple.   I was truly the strongest player.  And, as a result, the other contestants put a big bulls-eye on my back and they wanted to get me out.   The name of the game is to be the last man or woman standing.  And they knew that they could not go to the end with me in the game.  So they made me a target very early in the game. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, let me ask you.  I was going to ask you to do your own vetting, since you‘ve been through being vetted by this guy Trump.  Let me ask you this:  What is your strength and what is your weakness in life? 

MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH:  My strength really is my commonsense approach to business and to problem-solving.  I am a natural leader.  I have no fear.  And on the other hand...

MATTHEWS:  Well, if you‘re a natural leader, you just went through a mutiny. 

MATTHEWS:  Because those people overthrew the natural leader. 

MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH:  Well, this was a unique situation.  Usually, when I‘m working on teams, we‘re working towards a common goal.  This was quite the opposite.  Everybody‘s goal was to get you out.  So, I didn‘t realize that until later in the game, that everyone was targeting me and I was the one that was about to go. 

MATTHEWS:  Couldn‘t you have assumed that starting off, Omarosa, that that was the game, to get the strongest person out so all the less strong people would have a shot? 

MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH:  Well, I thought that they would want to keep me actually, naively, so that we could actually go to the finals together.  But it became very clear to me, probably episode three and four, that oh, my gosh, I am the one that they are targeting.  And I tried to survive as long as possible.  But I‘m very pleased that I stayed around for nine episodes. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about this game you were in:  What was the real game of “The Apprentice”?  I mean the real game, because you said you messed up on not knowing that you had to be Ms. Popularity as well as is the strongest person there.  You had to win the troops behind you.  What could you have possibly won this game if you had done something different? 

MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH:  The real game here was to try to fly below the radar, try not to tick anybody off.  The real game was that this was survivor in the corporate world.  And there was no apprentice for us to study and say, OK, let me make an alliance or let me try to be a great team player.  Let me not show how strong I am. 

But I think that I could have played it better by developing better interpersonal relationships and focusing on the relationships, as opposed to the task. 

MATTHEWS:  What about playing Miss Humble Pie?  If you had gone in real humble, 'Gee, whiz, I just hope I can keep you with you other people,' would that have worked? 

MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH:  It wouldn‘t have worked.  As you noticed, the first eight contestants fired were the weak ones.  They were the ones that said, I‘m going to be nice.  I‘m going to be Miss Congeniality or I‘m going to be Mr. Nice Guy.  And those are the ones that Trump took out first. 

MATTHEWS:  What do you think of Trump? 

MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH:  Trump, he is a very interesting character.  He has great business sense, very good instincts.  And he has a lot of charisma. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you like him? 

MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH:  Yes, he is a fun guy.  We have a great relationship. 

MATTHEWS:  You really like him?  You‘re not mad at him?  You‘re not going to wake up in the middle of the night some night cursing him to death, are you? 

MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH:  You know, the great thing is that the man respects me.  In business, you want to either be respected or some people want to be liked.  I would prefer to be respected.  And Mr. Trump respects me.  And I equally respect him.

MATTHEWS:  Who do you respect more, him or Clinton, who you worked for? 

MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH:  Oh, that‘s not a fair question, two different genres, I mean, politics and business.

MATTHEWS:  Well, it‘s a fair question.  If Trump had asked you the question, you would answer it.  You can‘t answer it?  Who is the stronger leader? 

MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH:  Oh, I would have taken Trump out, just like I‘m saying to you.

MATTHEWS:  Huh?

MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH:  You know, I think I really enjoyed watching President Clinton do what he did.  He was a brilliant man.  He had very good ideas.  And, more importantly, he connected with people on a level that I don‘t think most leaders do. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes, I know all that, but what was wrong with him? 

MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH:  What was wrong with him? 

MATTHEWS:  Why did he get impeached? 

MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH:  Well, you know, he had some shortcomings.  All of us are human and we all make mistake. 

MATTHEWS:  Does he have the same problem with women that you—you pointed out in one of these interviews somebody did with you that Trump sees all women as either beautiful or not and he only pays attention to them if they are.  That was your basic point, wasn‘t it?

MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH:  Well, it‘s kind of consistent with a lot of the powerful men that I‘ve interacted with.  Women tend to be their weaknesses. 

MATTHEWS:    I know you don‘t want to talk about political preference or not.  I‘m going to ask you a different kind of question.  If you were a political consultant to both the guys running for president right now, Bush and Kerry, what would be your advice to each of them? 

MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH:  My first advice to the president would be to focus on the economy and look at the true things that Americans are concerned with. 

That‘s jobs.  That‘s health care.  That‘s education.  To Kerry, I would just tell him that he has to look at all the issues that are most pressing specifically to liberals.  I mean, come right back to the base.  Make sure that you‘re taking care of African-Americans.  Make sure you‘re bringing the Hispanics into the fold.  And focus on foreign issues, foreign policy issues.  Make sure that we start talking about our true biggest threat, which is terrorism and making sure that we‘re taking care of the homeland. 

MATTHEWS:  Donald Trump, you know, when you watch a running back in football, you can see why they‘re great.  They cut fast.  They got quickness.  They can break tackles.  When you‘re watching Donald Trump every day, all those days you watched him, could you see why he was a billionaire?  What were the moves?  What were the moves you saw that explained his wealth? 

MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH:  Oh, yes, very clever.  And he was always progressive in his thinking, anticipating the next move, looking at markets and trend that others just didn‘t see, a very smart man. 

MATTHEWS:  Where did he get his ideas from, “The Journal”?  How does he know the best place to put a building up and that kind of thing? 

MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH:  I think it is intuitive.  It truly is intuitive.  If he had some scheme or plan, I think everybody would probably be hip to it.  It really comes internally.

The man is really, really smart.  And I‘m trying to mold myself after him by branding my own line of business suits and business accessories, coming out with my own book, designing my own talk show.  So...

MATTHEWS:  And promoting all that stuff on HARDBALL. 

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  You know, you just did it. 

MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH:  I know, Chris. 

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  I know that‘s why you came on the show.  You‘re working me. 

You‘re using me. 

(LAUGHTER)

MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH:  I always wanted to come on your show, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  OK, well, that‘s a tribute I do accept.  Anyway, thank you very much, Omarosa.  I‘m sure I‘ll be seeing you in the headlines as bold print for as long as you live. 

'Hardball with Chris Matthews' airs weeknights, 7 p.m. ET

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