Welcome Hardball's Chris Matthews to Operation Yellow Elephant
Hardball's Chris Matthews hosted Senator John McCain (R-AZ) at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, on Wednesday, October 18.
Matthews Asked The Question and the only members of the audience of college students planning to serve were already in ROTC. Then, Matthews asked everyone who supports the war to stand up. Lots of people responded. But when Matthews asked THEM to sign up, well, they were speechless. Here's the transcript:
MATTHEWS: How many other people, men or women, are thinking of making a military commitment in the next couple of years in this audience? Anyone else? Stand up, please, if you‘re thinking about making a military commitment. Well, you guys are already ROTC, right? And we have the ROTC people here.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, and thank you for your future service. Let me ask you …
MCCAIN: Could I respond to that? I think if young Americans, young people in this audience that‘ll have—at Iowa State are told—the ones at Ohio State, too, but at Iowa State are told that we need them for a worthy cause, that we will compensate them well, that we will provide for further educational benefits, that we will offer—that‘s the job of recruiters. That‘s our job to …
MATTHEWS: But why isn‘t it working? I mean, so few people here— we‘ve got a couple of thousand of young people here, and a very, very small percentage have expressed a commitment, even by standing here. Doesn‘t that mean we might have to think of the draft again?
MCCAIN: I don‘t think we need to think of the draft again because I don‘t think it makes sense in a whole variety of ways. But I guarantee you, if these young people felt that this nation was in a crisis and we asked them to serve, virtually every one of them would stand up because I have the greatest confidence in the young people of America.
MATTHEWS: But, if you were paid better and you had a greater opportunity for education in the military, would anybody else want to stand up here? See, I‘m wondering, because the military—we talked to John—McCaffrey says we can‘t do this thing.
MCCAIN: I talk to young people all the time. I talk to them one-on-one, I talk to them in small groups. I don‘t expect a group of people to stand up. But I‘ll tell you, if I have the chance—with the ones I have a chance to talk to, they understand how wonderful this country is and they are willing to give something back to it. And that‘s what America‘s all about.
MATTHEWS: I agree. How many in this room believe in the war in Iraq from beginning to now, support the war in its full reality? The senator is one of those. Who else agrees with him? Stand up.
Stand up, stay up. Everybody now stay up who intends or would consider participating in this war. Participating in the war.
MCCAIN: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: All you people standing up are planning to participate in the war in some way? Really? Everybody here.
MCCAIN: Thank you very much, my friends.
MATTHEWS: Because I asked a minute ago how many were going to join the military. I wonder what your participation would involve.
MCCAIN: Chris, your bias is starting to show.
MATTHEWS: No, I‘m just trying to get an answer now. Wait a minute—
I want the people that are standing up. Somebody yell out why are you standing if you‘re not joining the military.
OK, you were one of those. Keep going, anybody else? Of course, look at all the people in the back. I asked before if anybody was joining the military. And now you‘re standing up in support of the war but not in terms of a plan to actually participate in a war. I don‘t get the connection. Would somebody explain it?
MATTHEWS: Guys, more?
MATTHEWS: Pardon me? Strategy, what was that?
MATTHEWS: We‘ll be right back with the audience. We‘re going to get more questions and answers from the audience when we come back with Senator John McCain.
OYE Comment: Maybe they want to 'fight' the 'War' of Ideas.