LAESCH: I will challenge his word. I‘ll get out there and say so. On page 186 of Dennis Hastert‘s book, he says that he listens to everything, and, you know, he knows everything that is going on. Use his words. Apparently he forgot, but on page 186 of his book, he says he listens to everything and he remembers everything..
Maybe he couldn't remember that he wrote a book at all…
(Full transcript below the fold) (please donate if you can)
MATTHEWS: Do you think—we have some tough customers on this show, Pat Buchanan, as you know, he‘s a pretty tough customer on the cultural values front. And we had Tony Perkins, who‘s a Christian conservative activist, the other day, a leader, I should say. Both raising the question, maybe it‘s a hobgoblin, it‘s being raised now in the this context, should we have—should gay people serve in Congress? These guys raised this issue. And do you think that is a fair issue to raise, to broad brush people who have that orientation, given these events?
LAESCH: No. I think America is a country of equality and that every person should have equal rights, regardless of your race, creed, sex, sexual orientation.
MATTHEWS: And so you think that is a wrong attitude about this case?
LAESCH: Absolutely. Absolutely.
MATTHEWS: So you believe a gay member of Congress can serve with the same kind of sexual restraint expected of a heterosexual member?
MATTHEWS: Every member of Congress should be held accountable by their actions by the voters. We live in a democracy. Right now you see a page who was sexually abused, who was pretty much voiceless, and is now taking on the highest levels and the highest members of Congress. In a democracy, everybody is supposed to have equal opportunity and their voice is supposed to be equal. And you‘re starting to see democracy play its course here.
MATTHEWS: So you believe Mark Foley abused that former page?
LAESCH: Well, at least he, you know, was acting in inappropriate behavior, you know, sending unwanted e-mails to several members.
MATTHEWS: Last question.
I‘m being pushed here. John, I‘m being pushed here. I got to ask you a question.
Do you believe that Denny Hastert is a man of character?
LAESCH: I think that this issue has defined the clearest difference between myself and Mr. Hastert, that being I stand for honesty and integrity..
MATTHEWS: And he doesn‘t?
LAESCH: … and I‘ll let the voters decide where he stands.
MATTHEWS: But you‘re not challenging his character here or word? Is that right? You don‘t challenge his word here? You think he might be telling the truth?
LAESCH: I will challenge his word. I‘ll get out there and say so. On page 186 of Dennis Hastert‘s book, he says that he listens to everything, and, you know, he knows everything that is going on. Use his words. Apparently he forgot, but on page 186 of his book, he says he listens to everything and he remembers everything.
MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you very much, John Laesch, the Democratic candidate running against Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.
Hardball has the full interview on their website.