Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren clearly expected a softball interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews on Thursday night.
But midway through her predictable talking points, the left-wing “Hardball” host unexpectedly struck out at the progressive darling over what he views as Democratic inaction on jobs and infrastructure.
Warren had just finished a diatribe against Republican recalcitrance on issues like education investment and income redistribution when Matthews pounced.
“We’ve got nobody working,” the host said angrily. “I don’t understand the union movement in this country. Why aren’t they BITCHING and moaning and complaining every day? We want big construction projects. And the President of the United States is not doing it. I don’t hear him talking about it. He talks about one thing next day, something else the the next day.”
Warren’s eyes became saucers as Matthews plowed on. “But I’m telling you, I don’t hear YOU getting it done!” he accused. “The Democrats control the U.S. Senate. The Democrats control the White House. When are you going to do what you just said you’d like to do? Just when, gimme a date? Is it 2017? 2023?”
“No, now!” a shocked Warren pushed back. “It’s now. Stop this! It’s now. We just voted on this last week. You stop and think about it! Because all of the things you have talked about, every time we get up and talk about helping education, whether it’s preschool or college, we talk about roads and bridges and power grids. We talk about NIH research every time.”
Warren went on to blame the Republicans, saying they always claim there’s not enough money. “You’re blaming the Republicans, but you control the Senate and you control the White House,” Matthews charged.
But the progressive senator continued to blame Republicans, particularly filibusters in the Senate. She claimed that Democrats must “make it clear what the choices are” and “push back on the Republicans who say it is more important to protect billionaires, people who already made it, then it is people who are trying to make a start.”
That seemed to please Matthews, who kind of looked like he was deliberately goading Warren into a fiery response. “Well everything you’re doing is good,” the liberal host said. “I just don’t see the main hope coming back to the American people when it comes back to real jobs.” He went on to call Warren “a fine senator,” much to her apparent delight.
Perhaps Hillary Clinton’s series of gaffes and lackluster book tour pushed Matthews to audition Warren for the role of Democratic candidate in 2016? If so, it appears she passed the “Hardball” test.