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:"
MATTHEWS: But for a while there I thought I was listening to a person recite to the point and I mean recite speech parts, to the point I thought I was watching a spelling-bee. It was so reciting. So automatic. It sounded like a spelling-bee where you read each word out, you recite the word, give the spelling, give the word back again, exactly the way you were taught. I think it sounded a bit automatic, but let's leave it to the viewers. Some people might find that bracing.
MATTHEWS: David [Gregory] I think 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.
ROGER SIMON, POLITICO: When she faced the audience, she always looked directly into the camera, always directly at America. Joe Biden was turned for most of it.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: He was looking at Gwen.
SIMON: At Gwen Ifill, exactly! Which came across better?
MATTHEWS: Well apparently according to all the polling, talking to, answering the questions of the moderator, not ignoring those questions, not doing what every, every first year candidate does is go right to the camera. You know what I think of people when they come on "Hardball," and they look at the camera, I think they're dolts. I think that's the one thing people don't like, because when you're looking at me right now, that's real. You're looking at me that's real. You start looking in the camera right now and answer my question and see how you look. Okay just see how you look.
SIMON: Joe Biden went through-
MATTHEWS: Go ahead talk to the camera, don't talk, don't talk to me, see what you looked like. You look like a dolt!