After the vice presidential debate Chris Matthews criticized Sarah Palin for, of all things, looking into the camera because it made her look like a "dolt." In fact, the "Hardball," host took several stylistic shots at Palin that implied the Alaska Governor wasn't very intelligent. Audio here
When guest panelist Roger Simon noted Palin looked directly into the camera, Matthews observed:
You know what I think of people when they come on "Hardball," and they look at the camera, I think they're dolts.
In addition to the "dolt," remark Matthews viewed Palin's performance as "so reciting," and "automatic," "like a spelling bee," and charged:
The dangerous thing about these debates is that you can really recite your way to victory. You can memorize an awful lot of material and get away with it as intelligence, when in fact, it's just really good preparation.
The following exchanges occurred during MSNBC's October 2, post vice presidential debate coverage and then later on a special midnight [EDT] edition of "Hardball:"
During the 7pm edition of Thursday’s "Hardball," Chris Matthews repeatedly asked his guests if Sarah Palin's "brain" was up to the task for tonight's vice presidential debate. Matthews even managed to go where a Democratic Congresswoman wouldn't, when he asked Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz: "Is this about her brain power?" To which, even the Florida Democrat balked: "It’s really not nice to suggest that there's something wrong with her brain power."
However Matthews didn't let Schultz's hesitancy stop him from questioning the Republican vice presidential nominee's intelligence as he asked these series of questions about Palin to Schultz: Mp3 Here
Well do you think cute will beat brains?
Do you think she'd do better on the questions on "Jeopardy" or the interview they do during a halftime?
Congressman how much would you, how much would you like to be debating her tonight?
Then a little later on in the program, during a segment with the Politico's Mike Allen and New York magazine's John Heilemann, Matthews worried Palin's perceived lack of intellectual curiosity was "scary."
On the 5pm edition of Thursday night's "Hardball," Chris Matthews ventured out into the crowd of students on hand for tonight's vice presidential debate at Washington University to see what they were looking for in a candidate. When one student responded: "I'd like a display of knowledge and expertise." Matthews interjected: "So you're on the Obama side, right?"
Matthews then asked a different student, in an apparent shot at Sarah Palin, if a "candidate for Vice President should be able to get into Washington University?"
On Tuesday night's "Hardball," Chris Matthews wondered if Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, "an Ivy League grad" and "genius," was really a good choice to play the role of Sarah Palin in Joe Biden's debate prep. During a segment with Democratic consultant Nancy Skinner, who is prepping Granholm, the "Hardball" host implied the "Harvard Law" graduate may not be the best "fit" to play the Republican vice presidential nominee:
She's a genius. You think she is, in, in her manner, in her background and she's born in Canada. How does she sort of fit the role of Sarah Palin? Why is she a good sparring partner to play that role?
A little later in the segment Matthews painted Palin as empty-headed as he worried the "neo-conservatives" would "home-school" her in the "ideology of the right," like they did to Dan Quayle and George W. Bush.
The following exchanges occurred on the September 30 edition of "Hardball":
For the second day in a row, NBC's Andrea Mitchell depicted Sarah Palin as a bumbling neophyte, as she claimed that even the McCain camp is concerned: "The McCain campaign is so worried about Palin's ability to debate Joe Biden, she's gone home with the McCains, for debate camp in Arizona." However Mitchell didn't point out that Joe Biden himself is taking time off the campaign trail to prep for Thursday's vice presidential debate.
On Monday's "Today" show, NBC's Andrea Mitchell loved Tina Fey's parodying of Sarah Palin on "Saturday Night Live," so much that she played a clip the "30 Rock" star mocking Palin's inexperience, while simultaneously airing an actual clip of Palin being interviewed by Katie Couric, as Mitchell charged: "the reviews have been withering for her interview with Katie Couric, only her third since nominated."
Meredith Vieira, apparently believing "NBC News" caught Sarah Palin in some credibility-destroying gaffes, questioned Bill Bennett, about Palin's "trustworthiness," on Thursday's "Today" show.
Vieira, reciting charges made on last night's "NBC Nightly News," hit Bennett on relatively trivial matters about Palin's record, such as whether or not she had crossed the Iraqi/Kuwaiti border or if her plane had stopped in Ireland.
MEREDITH VIEIRA: Hey, listen, you have referred to Sarah Palin as an extremely strong candidate, even electrifying. You've called her electrifying. But what about her credibility? You just heard this report, she claimed her state produced 20 percent of the energy in this country. Not true. Her campaign aides say she had visited Iraq. Not true. And then there's that Bridge to Nowhere that she did support before, she said she was against it. McCain has come out against Obama in terms of his trustworthiness, but what about her trustworthiness?
You'd think Chris Matthews would learn his lesson. First he insulted Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell as "showcase appointments," only to apologize for it later. Then, on Tuesday's "Hardball" he essentially called Sarah Palin an empty "vessel" with no "independent thinking" of her own, just "like a Clarence Thomas." [audio excerpt available here]
Matthews made the following gaffe during a discussion about Sarah Palin's readiness, on the September 16, "Hardball":
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me ask you Paul [Begala], because I know your politics. But is this a, like a Clarence Thomas where they wanted to pick an African-American for the Supreme Court so they picked the kind they wanted, which was in this case, a guy who was very conservative who hued to the, sort of the, the line of the conservative court. They have a person [Sarah Palin] here, who's apparently, to some extent, in terms of foreign policy, tabula rasa. Someone they can fill up with all this neo-conservative thinking, including vocabulary, apparently based upon her performance with Charlie, Charlie Gibson. Is that what they wanted, just sort of a vessel to sell and carry their product, rather than someone with independent thinking on foreign policy?
Samuel L. Jackson came on Tuesday's edition of "Live With Regis and Kelly" to promote his latest movie, Lakeview Terrace, but couldn't resist getting in a plug for Barack Obama. The Pulp Fiction star told Regis Philbin that when he was at the Deauville Film Festival in France, nobody really wanted to talk showbiz, instead the festival goers asked him about the upcoming election: "They're all hoping that we come into the world community by electing, you know, Barack they say. So we hope so."
The following exchange occurred on the September 16 edition of "Live With Regis and Kelly":
Chris Matthews spent most of Monday night's "Hardball," laying out a blueprint for how Barack Obama can hit John McCain on the economy, as he compared the GOP presidential nominee to Herbert Hoover.
Opening the September 15 show, Matthews greeted viewers with the following teaser:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Why is John McCain talking like Herbert Hoover? Depression or just depressing? Let's play "Hardball."...Did John McCain really mean to say the "fundamentals of the economy are strong?" Herbert Hoover, who presided over The Great Depression, said quote, "the economy is fundamentally sound." So is it fundamentally good politics to say, with the stock market plunging, that things are hunky-dory?
Then, in the first segment, Matthews kept pressing Sen. Charles Schumer about why Obama wasn't being more aggressive against McCain on the economy:
Chris Matthews spent the entirety of Wednesday night's "Hardball," debunking the idea that Barack Obama was referring to Sarah Palin, when he made his "lipstick on a pig," remark as the MSNBC host questioned if it "insults...everyone's intelligence?" But didn't Matthews insult his viewers' intelligence, on Monday, when he accused Palin and Rudy Giuliani of using coded racist language when they joked about Obama's experience as a "community organizer?"
At the top of Wednesday's show, Matthews invited on Republican strategist John Feehry and Democratic strategist Jenny Backus to discuss the topic, and hit Feehry hard, as he admitted to Backus: "I’m doing your job," and dismissed the "lipstick" controversy: "This is like Seinfeld, this is about nothing."
But on Monday's show Matthews, similarly, tried to make a big deal out of "nothing," when he saw racism in Palin and Giuliani using the words, "community organizer":
MATTHEWS: Rudy Giuliani got the biggest giggle out of that. And then, of course, Sarah, Sarah Palin did. They're giggling over the community organizer role as if it's, has, it carries more freight than just a job you once had. Is this the new "welfare queen?" Is this a new symbol, that we're talking about here?...Do you it has an ethnic piece, an urban piece even?
The following exchanges occurred on the September 10, "Hardball":
Chris Matthews, on Monday night's "Hardball," speculated that Republicans were playing the race card, when they made fun of Barack Obama's experience as a community organizer, even going as far to say they're using the phrase like a "bullwhip." In a segment with NBC's Chuck Todd and pollster Stuart Rothenberg, Matthews suspiciously noted that Republicans like Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani, at last week's GOP convention, were "giggling" over the "community organizer" title as he pondered: "Is this the new 'welfare queen?'"
Then a little later in the program, in a segment with the Financial Times' Chrystia Freeland and the Independent Women's Forum's Michelle Bernard, Matthews returned to the subject as he declared: "It seems to me that the use of the word, 'community organizer,' is almost like a bullwhip."
The following exchanges occurred on the September 8 edition of "Hardball" [audio excerpts available here]:
Apparently fed up of hearing what they believe was a phony line being delivered by GOP spokesmen – that women across the country were offended by the media questioning Sarah Palin's fitness as a mother – Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann defied critics to find examples of any news outlets making that charge.
Matthews and Olbermann, spurred on by criticism from Hawaii's Republican governor Linda Lingle at around 8:09pm [EDT] during MSNBC's live coverage of Thursday night's (September 4) Republican convention, threw down the following gauntlet:
Just moments after MSNBC aired the Republican convention's video tribute to victims of 9/11, shown at about 8:40pm EDT Thursday night (September 4), Keith Olbermann offered this angry rebuke of his own network for doing so (CNN and PBS also aired it):
I'm sorry, it's necessary to say this and I wanted to separate myself from the others on the air about this. If at this late date, any television network had of its own accord showed that much videotape, and that much graphic videotape of 9/11, and I speak as somebody who lost a few friends there, it, we, would be rightly eviscerated at all quarters, perhaps by the Republican Party itself, for exploiting the memories of the dead and perhaps even for trying to evoke that pain again. If you reacted to that videotape the way I did, I apologize. It is a subject of great pain for many of us still and was probably not appropriate to be shown. We'll continue in a moment.
During MSNBC's Wednesday night live coverage of the Republican National Convention Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Tom Brokaw and others scoffed at the idea they had an anti-Sarah Palin agenda. Brokaw depicted the charge of liberal bias as a mere "tactic," by the GOP, Matthews played it off as just "an old, old conflict," and even tried to write off the media's fascination of Obama, as just a mere fondness of "the new."
Brokaw dismissed the contention of any real liberal bias:
This is a political tactic on their part. And the shorthand is, "Let's go after the media." And are they sorting out, for example, Fox or conservative blogs or others who have, in fact, been defending all of this? No what they want to do is just raise the specter that everything that America sees is controlled by a tiny band of Eastern liberal elites.
And for her part Norah O'Donnell insisted:
There is one important thing to point out. The media is not attacking Sarah Palin. The media has done investigative pieces, in their job, about the way Sarah Palin was chosen.
The following are just some of the anxious rebuttals from the MSNBC crew to Palin's charge that the media was biased against her, as they occurred on MSNBC’s September 3, coverage of the Republican Convention:
Chris Matthews has had it with Karl Rove, and he told the Reverend Al Sharpton, during MSNBC's live coverage of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night, to "beat" Rove in Ohio, "before we have the count." After Sharpton claimed the Democrats were "robbed" in 2000 and 2004, Matthews urged the Reverend not to let it happen again.
MATTHEWS: Well let's hope if you, for the purposes of your cause, Reverend Sharpton, that Karl Rove and Don King and the rest of them don't get together in Ohio again, like they did last time, and use the marriage issue to drum up a divisive vote, to take that state away. So you ought to keep your hands on that situation and beat them before we have the count, instead of joining in the pity thereafter.
Before Matthews interviewed Sharpton he bemoaned the tactics of Rove as he yelled, "People really do hate the politics of Karl Rove!," and "I really do think that hurts our patriotism."
The following rants occurred around 12:03AM [EDT] on MSNBC about an hour after Barack Obama's acceptance speech:
Chris Matthews shook the proverbial fist at this detractors as he delivered the following praise of Barack Obama's acceptance speech on MSNBC's live coverage of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night, earning loud applause from the audience gathered by the channel's outdoor location:
KEITH OLBERMANN: For 42 minutes not a sour note and spellbinding throughout in way usually reserved for the creations of fiction. An extraordinary political statement....I'd love to find something to criticize about it. You got anything?
CHRIS MATTHEWS: No. You know I've been criticized for saying he inspires me and to hell with my critics!
Contrasting how Barack Obama won the nomination of the Democratic Party to how Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell achieved their successes, Chris Matthews insulted the aforementioned as "showcase appointments."
The following excerpt from Matthews occurred about 9:30 PM EDT during MSNBC's live coverage of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night, August 28:
Again he [Barack Obama] carries with him the history of tonight. And it's important to point out, as we have not so far, Barack Obama was not given this nomination, he won it. He was not offered a nice title like Secretary of State, like Condoleezza Rice got from the Republicans. He was not offered the title of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs as Colin Powell was, or Secretary of State. He won the nomination of a Democratic Party voting together. He defeated all other opponents and took the prize and took the leadership. He is the chosen leader of the Democratic Party.
He is not some popular appointment or a showcase appointment. He is the victor here tonight. That's why he dictates the agenda. That's why he says, personally, what the Democratic Party will do if he's elected President. He is the leader of the party. He may be the leader of the country through a democratic process. It is so vital to understand the history being made here tonight. This is not something cute or wonderful. It is something compelling and powerful. This country has changed its history.
Chris Matthews liked the pick of longtime Senator Joe Biden for Barack Obama but the prospect of John McCain picking a veep, of similar voltage on the Republican side, like Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty or former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, caused Matthews to yawn: "not interesting."
Of a potential Pawlenty pick, the "Hardball" host, during MSNBC's live coverage of the Democratic Convention on Wednesday night, described it this way: "It's like two little puddles of water coming together. There is no splash. There is no news." Matthews trumpted Tom Ridge, however, as "a spectacular choice if you want spectacle," but regretted:
Pat [Buchanan] is probably right knowing the Republican Party. You would have the, the Tony Perkins of world and the Focus on the Family people and he knows the rich list of those people who would immediately rebel. It would be like the Dixiecrats walking out.
Just seconds before Nancy Pelosi acknowledged the nomination, by affirmation, of Barack Obama on Wednesday night, Chris Matthews cheered the organizers who were able to bring the "magic moment" to fruition.
Praising the negotiators who were able to bring the Hillary Clinton and Obama camps together on the nomination process, Matthews, during MSNBC's August 27, live coverage of the Democratic National Convention hailed the occasion:
During MSNBC's live coverage of the Democratic National Convention, on Monday night, Newsweek's Howard Fineman pronounced that Michelle Obama, in her opening night speech, had "dug herself, beautifully and completely, out of the hole she put herself in...when she said her husband's success was the first time she was proud of her country."
Fineman made the following declaration at 12:03am [EDT] on the Monday, August 25 (to Tuesday morning August 26) coverage of the Democratic Convention:
On Wednesday's "Hardball," substitute host David Shuster previewed a new book targeting Barack Obama by issuing the following warning to viewers at the top of the show:
DAVID SHUSTER: It was right around this time four years ago that the dishonest and highly effective Swift Boat attacks on John Kerry began. Now the man who started it all, with a book about Kerry, has one out attacking Obama. Can the Swift Boaters repeat their success, or does Obama know how to fight back?
In an ensuing segment with Republican consultant Mike Paul and Democratic consultant Rich Masters about the new book, The Obama Nation, Shuster derided the author, and by extension, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and demanded that John McCain condemn the anti-Obama book. The following are the relevant excerpts from the August 13, "Hardball,":
Ron Suskind's charge, that the Bush administration forged a letter to falsely link al-Qaeda with Saddam Hussein, landed the journalist/author not only a spot on Thursday night's "Hardball," but also the following recommendation for his book, The Way of the World, from guest host Mike Barnicle:
MIKE BARNICLE: And in reading the book, I have to tell you, in reading all your stuff, I admire all your stuff. But in reading this book and these charges that have laid out here and because of my background, covering like city stuff and everything for years, I can't help but come to the conclusion, at the end of this book, this book is basically charging the President of the United States, or the Vice President of the United States with being an accessory, before the fact, to 4000 murders and more in Iraq. They lied us into war, according to this book.
The following is an excerpt of the interview as it occurred on the August 7, "Hardball":
In a pre-taped segment, delivered from the Forbidden City in Beijing, NBC's Matt Lauer pointed out a poll that showed the Chinese are happier than Americans and repeated his line that protestors could be seen as "party crashers," on Tuesday's "Today" show.
During an interview with NBC News China analyst, Joshua Cooper Ramo, Lauer made the following observation:
LAUER: There's a recent poll that said some very high percentage of the people in China are happy with their lot in life. Something around 80 percent. You compare that to polls in the United States that say only about 25 percent of Americans are, what's the root of their happiness here?
Then a little later in the segment the "Today" co-host, repeating an earlier worryhe made on Monday's program, declared the average Chinese citizen would disapprove of any protests:
NBC's Meredith Vieira, at the top of Tuesday's "Today" show, greeted viewers with the following teaser and jarring charge that "A scathing new book...claims the Bush administration's case for war...wasn't a mistake but deliberate deception...It is worse than Watergate."
Vieira, in the 7am half-hour interviewed journalist/author Ron Suskind about his new book, The Way of the World, and his claim that the Bush administration ordered the CIA to forge a letter that would link Iraq and al Qaeda. While Vieira and David Gregory did cite denials from former CIA Director George Tenet and Condoleezza Rice no Suskind critic appeared, live on the air, to debate him. In fact Vieira, at the end of the interview, noted that Suskind will be on tomorrow's "Today," as well.
The following is a complete transcript of the Gregory set-up piece, followed by the full Vieira interview with Suskind as it aired on the August 5, "Today" show:
Mike Barnicle went into hyper-sensitive mode on Wednesday night's "Hardball," as the substitute host feared the McCain campaign was questioning Barack Obama's citizenship, simply because a McCain ad placed the words "foreign oil," right next to Obama's face.
Barnicle did pull back a bit, as he asked if he was "overreacting," but his initial reaction to the ad was reminiscent of the New York Times' claiming the word, "Rats" popped up in a GOP ad back in 2000.
The following exchange occurred on the July 30 edition of "Hardball:"
MIKE BARNICLE: You know we sit here in living rooms and dens across America and these ads come beamed across and you sort of, half pay attention to them. I think a lot of people just half pay attention to 'em. But there's an element in that ad, right toward the end of the ad where it has Obama's face up and the word "foreign," next to it with "more foreign oil." There it is, it's right there on the screen now.
Barack Obama is still giving Chris Matthews thrills. On Thursday night's "Hardball," before throwing to an Obama clip, Matthews gave the following rave review, on his July 24 show, to the Illinois senator's speech in Germany:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: What, what do you make of this? Let's take another bite here because it was quite a speech. You have to judge for yourself but the speech had its thrill factor, certainly once again. Here he was.
However Matthews wasn't in such a jovial mood near the end of the program.
Apparently it's not just the American press corp that has fallen head over heels for Barack Obama. On Wednesday night's "Hardball," NBC News' Martin Fletcher revealed the quote that "went rushing around the media" in Israel was that a Shimon Peres female assistant remarked of Obama, "What a hunk!"
When asked by MSNBC host Chris Matthews, on the July 23 "Hardball," to give his assessment of the media coverage given to Obama in Israel, Fletcher dropped the following nugget:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me ask you Martin for a final question there, as Barack Obama leaves the Middle East. What's the general assessment of the people over there, in terms of news coverage? Has he shown himself to be a commander-in-chief, potentially?
When a writer for the New York Times questions his own paper, for refusing to publish an editorial by John McCain, and a former Clinton press secretary questions the "balance" of the coverage of Obama’s foreign tour, you know the media has reached a bias tilting point.
On Tuesday night's "Hardball," New York Times political writer John Harwood said of the Times decision to spike a McCain editorial: "I was surprised that they did not take it, especially having just run Barack Obama."
And former Bill Clinton press secretary, Dee Dee Myers, called the press coverage of Obama overseas, "extraordinary" and admitted: "It’s legitimate question. Is the press coverage between the two candidates balanced?"
The following segment occurred on the July 22, "Hardball:"
For years Chris Matthews has been proclaiming defeat in Iraq, on an almost nightly basis, on "Hardball" but on Tuesday night he finally admitted the success of the surge that John McCain supported. However, the MSNBC host claimed it would be Barack Obama that would get to enjoy the spoils.
After Newsweek's Howard Fineman suggested, "We're not losing," and pointed out the surge success would make it easier for a troop pullout, Matthews admitted the following:
MATTHEWS: Senator McCain wanted the surge to work, it worked politically and Barack Obama is the beneficiary. Not exactly the right development, politically, for him.
Matthews began the segment by playing a clip of McCain criticizing Obama on the war but then wondered if the Republican presidential nominee, "should take it back?"
The following is the full exchange as it occurred on the July 22, "Hardball":