Sean Smith, Lieberman’s campaign manager joined Chris Matthews on a special edition of Hardball at 1am this morning. Matthews seemed especially, okay, practically obsessed with President Bush’s so-called infamous kiss on the cheek.
Matthews spent several minutes asking Smith if Bush or the White House contacted the campaign, he even went as far to inquire if Karl Rove has. Smith, who was surprised, answered “no”. However, the interrogation didn’t stop there. Matthews continued his line of questioning: “Do you expect to hear from the President?”, Will the campaign “ask the President to come into Connecticut and campaign for Senator Lieberman?”, “Have you ruled out accepting an endorsement from President Bush?”.
Towards the end of the interview Matthews made it clear what this was all about, a kiss on the cheek.
Full transcript below.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Has there been any contact with the White House since the results came in from your campaign? Has the President called to console Senator Lieberman? Have you heard any communication from Karl Rove or other people in the White House about what happened here in Connecticut today?
SEAN SMITH, LIEBERMAN CAMPAIGN MANAGER: No, no, not at all.
MATTHEWS: Do you expect to hear from the President?
SMITH: I do not, I do not. I expect Senator Lieberman is going to hear, though, from people in his own party and from his friends in collegues in the United States Senate and from well wishers all over the country.
MATTHEWS: Are you going to ask or is your campaign or the candidate going to ask the President to come into Connecticut and campaign for Senator Lieberman on the Independent ticket?
SMITH: President Bush?
SMITH: Yeah, no, I don’t think so.
MATTHEWS: Have you ruled out accepting an endorsement from President Bush?
SMITH: I can’t imagine a scenario where President Bush would support Joe Lieberman, this is a man who ran against him twice for national office, a man who is opposed to him on nearly initiative from tax cuts to wealthy to social security privatization and been very critical despite supporting over all goals in Iraq. Been very critical of the handling and manage
MATTHEWS: [in protest] But George Bush kissed Joe Lieberman, he kissed him on national television. Don’t you expect him to endorse him?
SMITH: [laughing] No, I don’t think so.