Matthews: Bush a Hypocrite on “Civility” Since He “Jammed” Iraq Vote Before Election

President Bush didn’t play for with Democrats in 2002, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews complained to Senator John McCain just before 11pm EST Tuesday night. Raising how in his State of the Union address Bush had made an “appeal for comity, for civility,” Matthews charged when Bush wanted authorization for military action against Iraq, “he jammed that vote right up against the election of 2002. That wasn't a very civil thing to do, to force the Democrats to vote right before an election to give him basically full authorization to do what he wanted to do, but wouldn't say what it was. Was that a civil move?" McCain rejected Matthews’ premise and reminded Matthews of how “we had taken a vote during the Clinton administration that had called for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.” Matthews countered: "But that was by democratic means, not by war." (Transcript of the exchange follows.)

The MRC’s Brad Wilmouth caught this exchange, from about 10:57pm EST during MSNBC's special three-hour post-speech Hardball:
Matthews to John McCain, who was inside the Capitol: "What did you make of the President's appeal for comity, for civility? And I just want to offer one demurral here. I do remember that back when he wanted something, you could argue, in the worst way, which was authorization for possible military action against Iraq, he jammed that vote right up against the election of 2002. That wasn't a very civil thing to do, to force the Democrats to vote right before an election to give him basically full authorization to do what he wanted to do, but wouldn't say what it was. Was that a civil move?"

McCain: "I think the situation in Iraq called for that vote to be taken. We had taken a vote during the Clinton administration that had called for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein."

Matthews: "But that was by democratic means, not by war."

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center