Matthews Bored By Possible Pawlenty VP Pick: 'There is No Splash'

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.

The following conversation between Matthews and Keith Olbermann occurred at 12:36am [EST] on the August 27 (through Thursday morning) of MSNBC’s live coverage of the Democratic National Convention:

KEITH OLBERMANN: Listen well we're talking about the Republican vice presidential choice and the prospect of it being leaked out to sort of blunt the Obama acceptance speech tomorrow. Chris and I were sitting here talking about this and I thought you made an excellent point. It's great to leak that out if it's going to be a wow, a wow moment! That would be news.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: News! Yeah, Joe, Joe Lieberman.

OLBERMANN: Joe Lieberman or-

MATTHEWS: The Democrat who's pro-choice who agrees with you on the war in Iraq but disagrees with you on other things. But to pick a Tim Pawlenty? It's like two little puddles of water coming together. There is no splash. There is no news. Tim Pawlenty? The name itself suggests, "not interesting."

OLBERMANN: It sounds like something you order on the side with a dinner.

MATTHEWS: No it's, it's like, it's like, remember Mario Cuomo used to talk about polenta?

OLBERMANN: Exactly!

MATTHEWS: You know it's some sort of basic food that's somewhat substantive but has no bit to it. I really think the news would be obviously Kay Bailey Hutchison. That would be-

OLBERMANN: Out of nowhere, yeah.

MATTHEWS: -a woman who many believe and I think she's a really impressive public figure could be easily the next governor of Texas. But not necessarily pro-life in a very dramatic way. A little bit murky there. I think that's the way she wants it in fact. If you pick Joe Lieberman it would be the first time since, what, Andrew Johnson when you'd have a split ticket. Where you'd have someone from the other party, Johnson was a Democrat, a pro-Northern Democrat.

OLBERMANN: Correct.

MATTHEWS: But to pick someone because you couldn't pick anyone else, because no one else came to mind, in a state you will not carry, Minnesota. Is this to help defeat Al Franken? Is this the goal? We're putting everything we can into defeating Al Franken.

OLBERMANN: Because, right into Tim Pawlenty, because, because Tom Ridge was too edgy.

MATTHEWS: Yeah I know. Ridge again, another, a spectacular choice if you want spectacle. But again 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. To make an unfortunate reference.

OLBERMANN: So there are a lot of Democrats having had a big night are saying, "Pick Lieberman, Pick Ridge!"

MATTHEWS: But I think if it's Mitt Romney or it's Pawlenty it's not interesting.

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