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Chris Matthews, Reince Priebus Spar About GOP, Tea Party (VIDEO)

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CHRIS MATTHEWS

Chris Matthews and Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus had a testy exchange on Friday's "Hardball."

It was Priebus' first time on the show, and Matthews seemed determined not to make him forget it. He began by asking about whether or not many Republicans running for president believe in evolution or climate change.

"Wouldn't that be kind of scary to have somebody who is so anti-intellectual as president?" Matthews asked.

"Come on," Priebus said, adding that the "fundamental question" of the election was whether people are "better off" than when President Obama entered office.

"If that's the issue, you win," Matthews said. "...[But] philosophy is important. You guys are always talking about the philosophy of our president...isn't that fair to ask about [Republican] philosophy?" Priebeus said he couldn't talk about the philosophy about all of the candidates.

"Well, you're experts on Obama, you call him a socialist!" Matthews shot back. Priebus pivoted back to Obama, saying that his policies had failed and that Americans were "starving for real, authentic people" to lead.

"Do you have a hard time with the fact that your party left this country in wreckage?" Matthews said. "...You think you left this bed all made for him." When Priebus tried to respond, Matthews cut him off.

"Just say that to me!" he shouted. "Tell me he walked in the door into hell."

"I don't think that there's any party or any person blameless for this," Priebus said. Matthews let him talk some more until he mentioned Obama's vacation to Martha's Vineyard. "You're scoring all your points," he said. "You've got all your points and you've made them."

The two then argued about the difference between the Republican Party and the Tea Party (Priebus demurred, saying the Tea Party was too amorphous to compare to the Republicans). Matthews said the Tea Party "basically [has] a bad attitude towards race, towards black people, towards immigrants," a statement that Priebus did not respond to.

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