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Time's Stengel: GOP Nominee Will Treat Tea Party Like Sister Souljah, 'Tragedy' That GOP Wants to Cut AmeriCorps

Appearing as a panel member on the syndicated Chris Matthews Show on Sunday, as host Matthews led the group in discussing potential Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's recent gaffe about President Obama growing up in Kenya, Time magazine managing editor Richard Stengel predicted that the eventual Republican nominee would have a "Sister Souljah moment with the Tea Party." Stengel:

Right, what we've seen in presidential politics always, always, always is that pragmatism trumps purity. These guys are now trying to be too pure. What we're going to have somewhere... I mean, Huckabee, all of these folks are trying to be ideologically aligned with the Tea Party. What's going to happen at some point is the Republican candidate will have his or her Sister Souljah moment with the Tea Party and say, you know what, we have to-

After Matthews jumped in and asked if Stengel meant "standing up against ... nativism," the Time managing editor agreed, "Absolutely."

Panel member Norah O'Donnell of MSNBC noted that the Tea Party is more associated with economic issues than cultural or racial issues.

Later on, Stengel complained that the Republican Party wishes to cut spending on AmeriCorps, calling it a "tragedy." Stengel:

As we all know, nondefense discretionary spending is a measly 17 percent of the national budget. Republicans want to cut a lot of that. One of the things they want to cut is AmeriCorps, which actually supports programs like City Year and Teach for America which are designed to halt American decline. That's a tragedy.

Matthews added, "I agree."

Below is a transcript of the relevant portions of the Sunday, March 6, syndicated Chris Matthews Show:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: George Will says this is going to skunk the Republican Party next year, all this talk about Kenya and all this ethnic stuff that's clearly nasty, intended to be nasty, has nothing do with fixing this country's economic wagon.

RICHARD STENGEL, TIME MAGAZINE: Right, what we've seen in presidential politics always, always, always is that pragmatism trumps purity. These guys are now trying to be too pure. What we're going to have somewhere-

MATTHEWS: Who's that? What do you mean by that?

STENGEL: I mean, Huckabee, all of these folks are trying to be ideologically aligned with the Tea Party. What's going to happen at some point is the Republican candidate will have his or her Sister Souljah moment with the Tea Party and say, you know what, we have to-

MATTHEWS: Oh, stand up against this (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and this nativism?

STENGEL: Absolutely.

...

STENGEL: As we all know, nondefense discretionary spending is a measly 17 percent of the national budget. Republicans want to cut a lot of that. One of the things they want to cut is AmeriCorps, which actually supports programs like City Year and Teach for America which are designed to halt American decline. That's a tragedy.

MATTHEWS: I agree.

- Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.