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Thankful for a chance to 'be myself'

Let me finish tonight on this eve of Thanksgiving to give thanks for this opportunity I have.As you can tell, it's really fun - even toward the end of week when

Let me finish tonight on this eve of Thanksgiving to give thanks for this opportunity I have.

As you can tell, it's really fun - even toward the end of week when we all get tired no matter how good the job.

What I'm thankful for is to have this chance to basically "be myself" - a citizen of this country - and to show my human reaction to the events and issues of the day.

I have always cared about them, actually.

Since I was very young I cared about the two enduring issues of national government: what role we Americans should play in the world and what role the U.S. government - the government in Washington - should play in our lives here at home. 

Those are the central questions and, because times change, they will never have a final answer. It's why we have these debates.

I want to make a couple promises to myself - and to you - on how I play my role in these matters of who should lead us, and, of course, what our government should be doing.

I am allowed to have an opinion on this show.  That's obvious.  People actually want to know what I think.  That's why they watch.

But my first job is to get the facts straight, to tell what I believe to be the actual reality we're confronting. Nobody needs propaganda, certainly not you people who tune in to find out what's really happening.

"Reality" - the cold reality - is what you want because it's the only thing you can really use to build your "own" opinions.  You can hear what I think or what someone else thinks.  But "you" can't think - or at least not usefully - without knowing the facts in their true proportion and context. Can you? Can anybody?

Second, fairness is important to me.  If I catch someone doing something - an unfair TV ad, a dishonest claim or attack, I will hit them hard - even if I may agree with them generally. I am quite willing to call them as I see them.

Third, you need to hear the other side.  This show - Hardball - is based on the argument back and forth.  It's built on tough questions - on confronting people who may or may not know what they're talking about - forcing them to belly up to the bar and answer the damn question. 

If I'm "on", on my game if you will, I know precisely what question to ask that will open up the reality of an issue - will unpack the matter for all of us, including me.

And you, the Hardball-ers out there, only get to hear from both sides if I get people who have different views to come on and defend themselves, at least do their "best" to defend themselves.

So this is Hardball - a show I always wanted to do - fact-based, heat-seeking, asking truth of those with power, and, where I think I've found some bit of truth, speaking right back to power, right in its face.

For this I am truly thankful - because if I weren't doing it here, I'd be doing it over the dinner table or anywhere else I could find someone to listen.

As Donald Segretti of Watergate fame once scribbled on a report of his latest dirty trick: Love this job!