The conversation started off with a rather simple question. "Do you believe in evolution, sir?" Chris Matthews asked Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), a leading House conservative.
"Um... I, do I believe in evolution? Ah, I, I, ah... I embrace the, uh -- the, uh -- the view, ah, that God created the heavens and the earth, the seas and all that's in them..."
Matthews interrupted. "Right, but do you believe in evolution as a means to get there?"
The sparring continued for the next several minutes, as Matthews demanded the Republican congressman own up to his party's continued skepticism over theories and facts that have broad support from the scientific community, such as evolution and climate change.
At one point, Matthews had Pence confirm for the record that he "accepts the scientific method." Pence said he did, but argued that the mainstream media was ignoring alleged growing skepticism among scientists over global warming.
Asked about teaching evolution, Pence suggested schools should cover "all these controversial areas" and let the children decide. Matthews concluded, "I think you believe in evolution, but you're afraid to say so because your conservative constituency might find that offensive."