Chris Matthews Compares Obama to Mark Twain

On Thursday night’s "Hardball," Chris Matthews compared Barack Obama's writing abilities to those of the great American writer Mark Twain. Prompted by Philadelphia radio talk show host Michael Smerconish’s praise of Obama's first book "Dreams From My Father," the "Hardball" host effused: "It's almost like Mark Twain. It's so American, it's so textured."

The following exchange occurred on the March 13 edition of MSNBC’s "Hardball:"

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I think that this argument that he's an empty suit is gonna get tested and proven false. I just finished and have spent all week long, reading to my radio audience excerpts of "Dreams From My Father," Barack Obama's first book. And I'm telling your audience on "Hardball," if you want to know what makes this guy tick forget the grandiose, highfalutin speeches this is the real deal.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Great book.

SMERCONISH: And people can make up their own minds but it's gonna get totally fleshed out.

MATTHEWS: It's unique because he's a politician and not since U.S. Grant has a politician written his own book.

SMERCONISH: Exactly.

MATTHEWS: And that is refreshing.

SMERCONISH: Yes.

MATTHEWS: And you're thoughts here? Did you read the book? Once you read it you have a different take. It's almost like Mark Twain. It's so American, it's so textured. It's so, almost sounding like great fiction because it reads like us. It's picturesque. Is that the right word? Picturesque? I think it's got that quality.

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.