Chris Matthews wants to set the record straight about a sound bite from a Hardball interview with John Kerry that aired on January 6, 2004.
The sound bite was used in an RNC web-video recently to claim that Kerry had 'flip-flopped' on his Iraq war position and that he that he declared himself as the "anti-war" candidate.
In addition, President Bush seemed to make reference to this Hardball bite when he claimed in Sioux City on Saturday that John Kerry "declare[d] himself the anti-war candidate."
Chris felt the interview back in January with Kerry was taken out of context. ( Click here for the full RNC video which used the bite.)
Below is the FULL exchange between Chris Matthews and John Kerry:
MATTHEWS: Do you think you belong in that category of candidates who more or less are unhappy with this war? The way it‘s been fought? Along with General Clark, along with Howard Dean, and not necessarily in companionship politically on the issue of the war with people like Lieberman, Edwards and Gephardt? Are you one of the anti-war candidates?
KERRY: I am. Yes. In the sense that I don‘t believe the president took to us war as he should have, yes. Absolutely. Do I think this president violated his promises to America? Yes, I do, Chris. Was there a way to hold Saddam Hussein accountable? You bet there was and we should have done it right.
This is what the RNC-related web video used:
MATTHEWS: Are you one of the anti-war candidates?
KERRY: I am. Yes.
On last night’s Hardball, he asked Bush-Cheney '04 Sr. Strategist Matthew Dowd and Sr. Advisor to the Kerry-Edwards campaign Tad Devine on whether or not the way the interview was used is fair.
“The impression John Kerry was trying to leave when he was up against Howard Dean in the primary was he was the anti-war candidate after he voted for the resolution,” Matthew Dowd said. “You asked John Kerry a yes or no question. And he said ‘yes, absolutely.’”
“I want to be perfectly fair here,” Chris Matthews told Dowd. “Eight million supporters of the president received a videotape. Do you think that was a fair cropping of what he had to say? You cut him off after he said, yes. And you did not let him continue on to say, ‘in the sense that I don‘t believe the president took to us war as he should have.’”
Matthews went further and asked Dowd to ask the president to stop claiming that Kerry “declared himself the anti-war candidate.” “Is the president going to keep saying that something that was said on this show wasn‘t said? Would you like to have your sentences cut down like to a third of their length and let people decide on the first three or four words what you meant by the 20 words? I think you guys should consider taking this off your loop. I think the president ought to be shown this tape so he knows what he‘s talking about, instead of having it fed to him by somebody who doesn‘t show them full sentence.”