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February 18, 2004

THIS PASSAGE FROM HARDBALL seems like it deserves more attention. James Hoffa of the Teamsters is explaining why he supports Kerry:

MATTHEWS: How about ANWR? You guys want to see ANWR because you want to see guys working in your business. I guess there‘s a lot of Teamsters jobs up there lined up and organized, if you could put a pipeline up to the Alaska wilderness. He is against that.

HOFFA: Well, we talked about that.

He says, look, I am against ANWR, but I am going to put that pipeline in and we‘re going to drill like never before. . . .

MATTHEWS: But he is against drilling up there. What are they going to run through the pipeline?

HOFFA: Well, they are going to drill all over, according to him. And he says, we‘re going to be drilling all over the United States. And he says that is going to create more jobs. . . .

MATTHEWS: It just seems amazing that he has turned around on NAFTA, turned around on WTO, turned around on ANWR, anything to get the Teamsters.

HOFFA: Oh.

Oh, indeed. This seems like big news to me, if it's true. And Hoffa certainly seems serious.

UPDATE: Apparently it only seems serious in print -- from the context you can tell he's kidding, as reader Steve Jennings emails:

Limbaugh played the excerpt from Hardball with Hoffa today. After Hoffa made those statements that Kerry was in favor of drilling there was an outburst of laughter from others on the show. Hoffa doesn't believe that and no one believed him.

Thank goodness that Rush Limbaugh is clearing up what could otherwise be an embarrassing moment for Kerry.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Roger Simon emails: "A reader of my blog just posted he or she) saw the show and that Hoffa was definitely NOT kidding. Matthews looked incredulous." Stay tuned. Did anybody TIVO it? (Link to Simon post here).

MORE: Reader Paul Hrissikopoulos emails:

Hoffa seemed serious to me. It seemed to me that the people on the Hardball panel laughed because Matthews' jaw almost hit the ground when he said it.

He blogged it here. And another reader emails:

Hoffa was dead serious. The laughter from the panel was in response to Matthews' shock at Hoffa's statement. HOFFA WAS DEAD SERIOUS.

Why doesn't some enterprising reporter ask Hoffa -- and Kerry -- about this? Personally, I hope the story's true, as it would suggest a measure of realism regarding energy policy.