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Despite his gaping sword wound, David Shuster has no bitterness toward MSNBC.
“Does it bother me that I was thrown under the bus to pay for the sins of the father? No,” he says in an exclusive interview. “As somebody who’s covered politics for a while, I understand all the forces that were in play.”
Sen. Hillary Clinton‘s forces pressured MSNBC to punish Shuster after he used the p-word in reference to Chelsea Clinton‘s presidential politicking for her mother. He was slapped with a two-week suspension, which ends today with his return to Hardball.
“I’m aware of the long list of complaints the Clinton campaign had about people from MSNBC” (like Hardball host Chris Matthews), says Shuster. “Tensions were clearly building. I was at the wrong place at the right time, or the right place at the wrong time. I donâ€™t know which.”
No word yet whether his absence will be addressed on Hardball tonight. “If MSNBC thinks it’s appropriate, I will,” Shuster says. “It’s weird being the subject of a story. The faster I get back to covering stories, the better it will be for viewers.”
Shuster’s forced hiatus wasn’t all bad. He and his wife, Bloomberg News political reporter Julianna Goldman, spent five consecutive days together — the longest stretch since their honeymoon in early June.
From the beginning of his suspension, MSNBC executives “were perfectly fair and upfront, from the top on down,” Shuster says. “I have no bitterness, no regrets.”
Well, maybe one. File it under “Lesson Learned.”
“I have the responsibility to make my point precisely and aggressively, without using coarse language. Clearly, it was inappropriate for a lot of viewers. I made a horrible mistake by allowing people to be distracted by some words rather than focus on the story.”