Matthews: 'To Hell With My Critics,' Obama 'Inspires Me!'

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!

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The following is a more extensive transcript of both Matthews and Olbermann's post-speech reaction from about 11 PM EDT:

KEITH OLBERMANN: And now at this hour Barack Obama is officially the Democratic Party nominee for President of the United States. Vote for him or do not but take pride that this nation can produce men and speakers such as that. For 42 minutes not a sour note and spellbinding throughout in way usually reserved for the creations of fiction. An extraordinary political statement. Almost a fully realized, tough, crisp, insistent speech in tone and in the sense of cutting through the clutter. Akin to the words that were given to the fictional title character in that Aaron Sorkin film, The American President, only this "cut the crap!" moment is not the stuff of fiction. This is the real thing out here. 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!

(LOUD APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: I think what he said was about us and that's why we care about what he said. It was not about an ego, it was about a country. And when he said it at the end he rally challenged, I think the country to make a decision. He said, "Our strength is not in our money or our military or even in our culture," he said, "It's the American spirit. The American promise that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain, that binds us together in spite of our differences. That makes us fix our eye not on what is seen but what is unseen. That better place around the bend. That is America!"

And I think, I think that is, that's a challenge and it's an open challenge through the hearts and minds of the country. What they do with that challenge. They can choose him or the other guy. It's an open choice, it's a free election. But what he was saying is, choosing the unknown is what we did when we picked Roosevelt. It's what the, what happened when the country chose Reagan. It's what they chose, when they chose Clinton. Often times you have to take the unknowable and move away from the unacceptable. And in this case he's saying place your bets on the 90 percent. Not the ten percent where McCain disagrees with Bush.

I thought it was an amazing but, I've written speeches all my life. Of course nothing like this. And let me tell you what was great about it. What he did was, and it's a military practice. It's called attacking from a defensive position. It's how Henry won at Agincourt. It's how Alexander won. It’s how Reagan kicked the butt of Jimmy Carter. And what you do is this, you take your opponent’s best shot and you throw it back at 'em! "Are we a nation of whiners?" "If this is an ownership society, you own your failure!" "Was my upbringing a celebrity’s upbringing?" "If your gonna follow Bin Laden to the gates of hell, how about going to his cave and getting him?!" "And how dare you say this election is a test of patriotism when we are all in this together." It was a great way of throwing back the other side's best shot and saying it's full of crap!

OLBERMANN: And there is one word from this, one word said more sharply and with more emotion than all the others, not to say the others did not contain emotion, but he took the last eight years of the Bush administration and shouted at America, "Enough!"

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