RUSH: A couple things here about Edwards. Let's play Mike Huckabee last night from the debate. Wendell Goler said, "The Alternative Minimum Tax caught four million..." Now, this is 37 seconds. All I really want is the last couple lines, and you've heard this. I don't have time to edit it now. Just put it up with the first 30 seconds to get to the last seven.
HUCKABEE: If we had a Fair Tax, it would eliminate not just the Alternative Minimum Tax, personal income tax, corporate tax, it would eliminate all the various taxes that are hidden in our system, and Americans don't realize what they're paying. It wouldn't be a revenue increase or a revenue decrease. Revenue neutral. But it also enables people at the lowest end of the economic spectrum to have a chance to reach the next rung on the ladder. It's the best proposal that we ought to have because it's flatter, it's fair, it's finite, it's family friendly -- and instead what we've done is what Senator McCain has suggested. We've had a Congress that's spent money like John Edwards at a beauty shop.
RUSH: All right. So there was applause, people laughed, and the Drive-Bys are not happy. This is a "cheap shot." That is "the politics of personal destruction." That is a "personal assault." Never mind the stuff they say about Bush, Republicans, me, and whoever else. So this afternoon on PMSNBC, the anchorette info babe, Contessa Brewer, is interviewing Chris Matthews about the debate last night. She said, "Let's talk about Mike Huckabee. He sort of had the humorous line of the night."
MATTHEWS: That was a set piece, though. He brought that in with him. These guys write this stuff down ahead of time, with their staff people. They bring in a board, and they waste our time with these set pieces. I'm far more impressed by the candidates who can respond intelligently and spontaneously to the actual debate than the people who bring in -- to me it's like bringing in notebooks with -- with information on it, bring these set pieces in with them. It's embarrassing to everybody when they do these jokes.
BREWER: So what you're saying is they go into this, they prepare -- and they're gonna -- they're gonna figure out a way to use this line somewhere in the debate?
MATTHEWS (getting louder): Yeah. It's just -- it's hokey pinokie, it's Mickey Mouse. So what? What a stupid thing! What did it have...? John Edwards paid the price for his haircut weeks ago! To bring that up in front of that audience was pandering, let's face it.
RUSH: Oh, come on. I can't believe this. He's actually upset, because the line was good. He's upset because it was funny. Who cares whether it was canned? The Democrats -- you media people, when do you not read something on the TelePromTer, for crying out loud? Of course they prepared the Clinton question for the Republicans. Here's another thing. I'll never forget the debate that Clinton had with Bob Dole. Dole started talking about Clinton's morality and so forth, and Clinton comes out, "All I want to say is, no attack ever fed a hungry child."
I grabbed my heart. You tell me that line wasn't scripted and Clinton wasn't just waiting? But no! To these guys, Clinton is brilliant. Why, everything was improv. He didn't have to plan anything. he's so smart. It's the same thing with Mrs. Bill Clinton. It's just another illustration of the double standard and two worlds we live in.
RUSH: Chris Matthews made a comment about, "It's just pandering to go into a debate with staged, setup lines. It's stupid. It's truly stupid." We all remember the Lloyd Bentsen line at Dan Quayle. "I knew JFK. JFK was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no JFK." Reagan had a bunch of them. "I paid for this microphone," and "There you go again." Chris Matthews worked for Jimmy Carter! You don't think that Chris Matthews did everything he could to get Jimmy Carter to say something funny or intelligent now and then, because left to his own devices Carter couldn't pull any of that off? Chris Matthews cannot even expect to have credibility with conservatives or Republicans watching MSNBC with a comment like that. No such analysis will be offered a Democrat in a debate forum. The guy had been waiting here for over an hour and a half. I understand what that's like.