Chris Matthews couldn’t contain his giddiness, first noted here, when he praised Michael Moore’s Sicko movie on tonight’s Hardball. After he sent his correspondent, MSNBC’s David Shuster, to chase down Moore on Capitol Hill and get an exclusive rant from Moore against the "rackets" that are American health care companies Matthews yelped: "You know I gotta agree with him on this stuff. I gotta agree with him. He's got a case and health care in this country is not working."
The following is the full segment including Shuster’s interview with Moore as it occurred on the June 20th edition of Hardball.
Chris Matthews: "Welcome back to Hardball. Today Left wing or liberal filmmaker Michael Moore is unveiling a controversial new documentary about the poor state of health care in this country and certainly that's a fat target. He's already stirred great passions with his films on both the left and the right. Earlier today Hardball's David SHuster, who is sitting across from me, caught up with Michael Moore on Capitol Hill. It's not too hard to catch that guy. He's a big guy. He doesn't move too fast, doesn't he?
David Shuster: "No you just have to corner him. Especially today, we were able to corner him but the name-"
Matthews: "I love his interviews he does on the Hill, when he grabs congressmen and said, ‘Are your kids gonna fight in this war or not, or you just gonna vote for this war?'"
Shuster: "It was great and the members of Congress, the members of Congress were lined up today. But the name of the movie, Chris, is Sicko, as you know. It opens tonight for a viewing for a variety of members of Congress. But, as you know the controversy has been building for months. In this film Michael Moore calls for the end, the end of for-profit health care. And he filmed part of this movie in Cuba, where he brought some people who volunteered on 9/11 at Ground Zero who are suffering from health problems. He brought them to Cuba, to Guantanamo Bay where they could do this little shtick where they walk up to the gates and Michael Moore can make this point about the health care that's available for detainees that is not available for Americans. In any case Michael Moore's being called everything from ‘unpatriotic.' Fred Thompson, who's mulling a run for President, has also produced a youtube video in which, he essentially declares that Michael Moore should be like a Cuban filmmaker who has been thrown in a mental institution by Fidel Castro. So, in any case, with the groundswell of antagonism that is being launched at Michael Moore as well as a lot of support, we cornered Michael Moore on Capitol Hill and here's the interview."
David Shuster to Michael Moore: "You're about to into a buzz-saw of criticism. What are you anticipating? Is there anything out there that bothers you about what's coming?"
Michael Moore: "I expect no criticism. I think millions of Americans have been suffering through this system dealing with these lousy HMOs. You've got 47 million who don't have insurance. I think that there will be a groundswell of support to fix this very broken system. I, I'm not expecting anything but support for that."
Shuster: "There's been some call for you to go to jail because of what you did in Cuba. How do you react to those, to those claims?"
Moore: "Well the Bush administration is upset because I took a group of 9/11 rescue workers, that the Bush administration will not provide health care for, to our Naval base in Guantanamo Bay, in Cuba. And I wanted them to receive the same free health care that we're giving the al Qaeda detainees. The Bush administration provides free dental, free eye-care and free medical for all the people that are accused of plotting 9/11. The people who ran down to Ground Zero to save lives, don't have health care. I think that is a travesty."
Shuster: "Fred Thompson has been particularly critical of you. What's your response to him and the complaints that he has made, both about you and about the film?"
Moore: "He is one of my favorite TV actors and I, I can't wait to see the next video."
Shuster: "Was there anything in putting this together, though, that really struck you as standing out? That really inspired you or motivated you to push forward with this issue?"
Moore: "The level of greed in our insurance companies. They actively set out to try and not cover people who are paying them a premium every month. This is amazing. I mean people should read their policies. They'd be surprised how man in's and out's these insurance companies have, where they can get away with not paying the doctor bill, not paying the hospital bill. If you get a serious illness, watch them try to dump you from their rolls. This should be illegal, it's a crime. They're a racket and I want the private insurance companies out of the equation."
Shuster: "What do you say to those who say that you are unpatriotic? What's your response to those that question your patriotism?"
Moore: "Name three people who say that."
Shuster: "Fred Thompson, Bill O'Reilly."
Moore: "When, when you love America you stand up and you ask questions. That's the most patriotic thing to do."
Shuster: "Thank you very much, we appreciate it."
Shuster: "Michael Moore. There's really only one person, I suppose, like him. But in any case, Chris, a lot of controversy generated but also a lot of Democrats today showed up at that hearing room and were happy to stand next to him and praise him and try to use this film as part of the debate that is coming in Congress over health care reform and some of the plans that Democrats are now floating."
Matthews: "You know I gotta agree with him on this stuff. I gotta agree with him. He's got a case and health care in this country is not working."