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09/15/2011 01:04 pm ET | Updated Nov 15, 2011

Chris Matthews Denounces GOP, Praises Bernie Sanders On Poverty (VIDEO)

Disheartened by news of higher poverty rates, Chris Matthews praised Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for his insights on Wednesday's "Hardball."

Matthews reported that the poverty rate is now 15.1%, up by half over the past decade. He denounced Republican calls to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, and candidates like Rick Perry and Michele Bachman, who he said "have said poor people aren't paying their fair share of taxes."

Matthews turned to Sanders, who chaired a hearing on poverty on Tuesday, for his take on the issue. "You are a 60s guy and you've got a heart about this stuff and I really think we ought to hear from people like you more often in these times," he said.

Sanders agreed that poverty is not a priority in America, and blamed politicians who care more about political contributions than remedying the problem. He said that poverty has much more serious consequences than most Americans believe. "If you are in the lower 20% of income earners, you are going to die, D-I-E, six and a half years earlier than somebody in the top 20%," he stressed.

Matthews replayed a clip of the GOP debate on Monday, where some audience members cheered the suggestion that society should let a sick person without health insurance die. He called the scene "graphic" and questioned how people could say such a thing.

"Who started the new religion that taxes and government are bad?" he asked. "They now treat taxes, these abolitionists, the way antebellum Republicans talked about slavery, like it was an essential evil."

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