Chris Matthews Presses Saujani on Wall Street Ties

Following her A1, above-the-fold profile on the front page of the Washington Post yesterday–under the headline “Candidate Banking on Sympathy for Wall St.”–Congressional hopeful Reshma Saujani appeared on Hardball last night for a tough interview with host Chris Matthews.

Matthews wanted to know if her quote in the WaPo about lending a hand, rather than a fist, to Wall Street was accurate.

Saujani thanked him for the chance to “set the record straight,” but didn’t deny the quote. Instead, she recounted part of her compelling personal biography and said her father had “lost a significant amount of his 401k because of the crisis that happened on Wall Street.”

“I believe that we need everybody to help get New Yorkers back working again,” she explained.

Matthews said that was a “good campaign slogan,” but pressed her on her why she was attacking her opponent, Carolyn Maloney, for taking special interest money, when her own donor list came from lots of financial institutions and big banks.

Saujani reiterated her stance on not taking corporate PAC money, and said her donors reflected the fact that “the business community has lost faith that Carolyn Maloney has the ability to create jobs in New York.” When she tried to steer the conversation toward the fundraiser Maloney held during the conference committee on the finanical reform bill, Matthews was dismissive.

“Well you’re both in the fundraising business, from what I can tell, and both getting money from Wall Street. So this idea of special interest is an old canard,” he told her.

When the talk turned to policy, Matthews suggested that Saujani was “basically taking the same position as Carolyn Maloney”–a similarity that’s been noted before–but Saujani said her campaign was different “because we’ve been putting forth new ideas and new leadership” and encouraged him to read her op-eds on the Huffington Post.

UPDATE: Saujani is up with a new HuffPo op-ed in an “attempt to break through the media filter and set the record straight by speaking directly to voters.” She writes: “I’m not pro-Wall Street or anti-Wall Street. I’m pro-New York City.”

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