During a discussion about how federal money should be spent on essentially make-work jobs, Matthews cited his own children's love of high-speed trains in Europe, "My kids talk about getting through the Chunnel...in a couple of minutes," and (pun intended) railed, "Why can't the federal government use the power of the workforce...and build a train system...so we can - and this sounds so pathetic - catch up to Europe and Japan!"
Matthews then went further as he targeted defense spending and exclaimed: "I hate to sound like a lefty but the fact is we're spending all this money on our defense programs - McDonnell-Douglas, Boeing...Why can't we do what other major powers do? Build a modern society! Instead of fighting all the wars supposedly for everybody else," to which both his Democratic guests responded with their pleas for him to run for office.
The following exchanges were aired on the December 8, Hardball:
CHRIS MATTHEWS TO PHILADELPHIA MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER: You know I don't understand why this country is so far behind other countries. If you go, if you're lucky enough to get to Europe, you know my kids talk about getting through the Chunnel, under the English Channel, in a couple of minutes. These kids studying overseas in their third year. The Europeans seem to have fast trains that go 300 miles and hour and we're chugging along with Amtrak and Acela and we're still flying around short distances.-Geoffrey Dickens is the senior news analyst at the Media Research Center.
First you, Mr. Mayor. You're on the Amtrak route. Why can't this federal government use the power of the, the workforce we have out there, put 'em all to work and build a train system in this country of fast rail so we can - and this sounds so pathetic - catch up to Europe and Japan! Why don't we do that?! Catch up to the other major countries!
MATTHEWS: Well the trouble is Governor, I hate to sound like a lefty. But, but excuse me Governor, I hate to sound like a lefty but the fact is we're spending all this money on our defense programs - McDonnell-Douglas, Boeing. All we do is build weapons so that the Europeans and the Japanese don't have to build them. They're building up infrastructure. They're doing everything. Their economies are doing okay now.
We're still fighting all these wars for them, aren't we? Isn't this a question of, and it sounds like a sixties term but aren't our priorities a bit screwed up now? Why can't we do what other major powers do? Build a modern society! Instead of fighting all the wars supposedly for everybody else. That's a thought.
GOVERNOR JENNIFER GRANHOLM: Chris you should run for office. You should run for office.
MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER: Yeah.
MATTHEWS: No, these are reasonable questions. You don't have to run for office, I can ask you.