On Hardball, Chris Matthews invited former Rep. Tom DeLay to "define" the "worst thing about Democrats" and allowed DeLay to claim that the number of U.S. casualties in the Iraq war has been "less than what was expected."
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On the June 9 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews invited former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX), on his last day in Congress, to "define" the "worst thing about Democrats that they're hiding from the public." In addition, Matthews allowed DeLay to claim that the number of U.S. casualties in the Iraq war has been "less than what was expected."
When asked by Matthews to reveal the "worst thing" about Democrats that they purportedly keep secret, DeLay responded: "Oh, their liberalism and their view of the world." Matthews persisted, stating: "Well, define it. What's it really?" After DeLay responded that the Democratic agenda includes "more interference in your personal lives" and support for "the culture of death," Matthews concluded: "Congressman Tom DeLay, we'll be hearing and seeing a lot more of you in the years to come, I'm sure, on programs like this. I hope, anyway."
Earlier in the program, Matthews did not challenge DeLay's claim that "[o]ur casualties" in the Iraq war "are less than what was expected." While the Bush administration was careful not to give casualty estimates in the lead-up to the Iraq war, the administration repeatedly said that Americans would "be greeted as liberators" and underestimated the length of the war. For example, in February 2003, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said "it could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months." Vice President Dick Cheney also said he expected the war to last "weeks rather than months."
By June 12, according to icasualties.org, there have been 2,497 U.S. soldiers killed and 18,356 wounded since the invasion began on March, 19, 2003. Since Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech on May 1, 2003, 2,358 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq and 17,813 have been injured.
In addition, a Gallup poll (subscription required) from March 22-23, 2003, showed that, at the start of the war, 41 percent of Americans expected that the number of U.S. forces killed and injured in the war would be less than 100, while 34 percent expected several hundred would be killed or wounded.
From the June 9 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the war in Iraq. It has not gone well overall. We got Zarqawi, the Air Force did the job. We got some help, apparently, from the Jordanian intelligence people -- the tribes people, perhaps -- and they got some people to turn our way. But are you sure -- are you as sure of this war as you were when you accepted the need to go in there in the beginning?
DeLAY: Absolutely, and I respect you, Chris, but I strongly disagree. The war has been going very well. Our casualties are less than what was expected. We now have a new government in Iraq. We are getting the bad guys. We are sending a very strong message to the entire world that we will not stand for terrorism, for the killing of innocent people, and we will do something about it, waiting -- instead of waiting around and treating it as if it's a law enforcement issue. We're winning this war. We will win this war, and America and the world will be better for it.
MATTHEWS: What's the worst thing about Democrats that they're hiding from the public?
DeLAY: Oh, their liberalism and their view of the world. More government --
MATTHEWS: Well, define it. What's it really?
DeLAY: More government; more taxes; more interference in your personal lives; more -- their hand on your wallet. They believe in big government. They believe government can solve all solutions, and -- but they're afraid to go to the American people and understand that. And they generally lean towards the culture of death, and their support of abortions, and the judiciary, and those kinds of issues.
MATTHEWS: Well, thank you very much. Thank you very much for taking the time on this big day for you. Congressman Tom DeLay, we'll be hearing and seeing a lot more of you in the years to come, I'm sure, on programs like this. I hope, anyway. Thank you very much.
DeLAY: I hope so, too.