The title of Laura Ingraham's new book is "Power to the People," and the conservative commentator paraded power of her own to burn in her smackdown with Chris Matthews on this afternoon's "Hardball." The bone of contention was Matthews's suggestion that former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan had, in his new book, said that oil was the key to the Bush administration's decision to go to war in Iraq.
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CHRIS MATTHEWS: If this war is about oil, as Alan Greenspan pointed out the other day, and many other people have, if it is about oil, why are the oil companies making such huge, windfall profits at the cost of what we're paying in this war?The conversation turned elsewhere, but there was obviously some quick staff work on the "Hardball" set because a bit later, Matthews returned to the fight, armed. Or so he thought . . .
LAURA INGRAHAM: Alan Greenspan, as you know Chris, has stepped away from the way that book was marketed, and he said the Bush administration, he doesn't believe they thought the war was about oil. He's making a comment about the reality.
MATTHEWS: Let me tell you, I went back and read the book on the air and I will do it again.
MATTHEWS: The book speaks for itself. He is trying to cozy up with his former allies and colleagues, but clearly Alan Greenspan spent years writing this book. He wrote what he believes; he said the war is obviously about oil.
INGRAHAM: Take it from someone who's out there selling a book. The way press materials sometimes are written doesn't always necessarily reflect what the real sentiment is of the book.
MATTHEWS: I'm not going by the PR, I'm going by the text of the book. I read it. It's still in there, Laura. You oughta read it, I think it's on 232.
INGRAHAM: I did read it Chris. He did not say that the Bush administration got into the war in Iraq because of oil. And if you think he did, then go to the [unintelligble] where he doesn't say that.
MATTHEWS: We'll get the book and read it again.
INGRAHAM: Thank you. Please do.
MATTHEWS: You don't have to thank me because we read it and [exasperated pause] Laura, we read the book verbatim here and we'll do it again.
MATTHEWS [after yet another exasperated pause]: You know it's hard to do it after you make it into an order, Laura.
MATTHEWS: Let me read you the quote, by the way, let me read the Alan Greenspan quote.Where are the Republican candidates with Laura's moxie?
INGRAHAM: OK, here we go.
MATTHEWS [quoting from Greenspan book]: I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everybody knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.
INGRAHAM: Did he say that George Bush believed when he went in that the war was about oil?
MATTHEWS: He's just said the Iraq war is largely about oil.
INGRAHAM: "Is" largely -- he has since commented that he doesn't believe the administration went into Iraq for oil, as many times on this show, I believe, people have implicated.
MATTHEWS: What does it mean to say the Iraq war was largely about oil?
INGRAHAM: I don't care, I really frankly don't care what Alan Greenspan is writing. Alan Greenspan is not a national securty expert last time I checked. Last time I checked, he was keeping rates too low in 2004.
MATTHEWS: OK, that's a fair, that's a critique, but it's not a denial. Laura, you're always welcome [on the show] but that was the quote directly from --
INGRAHAM: I like your [Republican] brother better than you right now.
MATTHEWS: Laura, you know it's hard to face the truth.
INGRAHAM, with a laugh: Yeah, right. Good try!