Matthews: Palin 'Talking About God,' is 'Troubling'

After airing an interview clip of Sarah Palin telling Fox News' Greta Van Susteren that she was looking for guidance from God about running for national office again, an appalled Chris Matthews called it "troubling," when he let loose this rant on Tuesday's "Hardball":

Is, is this commentary about theocracy and going to God for approval? We've been through that with President Bush who said he, "didn't take advice from his father, he got it from another father." And we've been through this sort of Joan of Arc period. Are we gonna get another piece of this where God's leading candidates to run for president? I mean that sort of keeps us out of the conversation doesn't it? I mean, seriously, I mean God is telling her to run? And she's saying it openly on a secular television show? This isn't the religious hour....Talking about God, in a political setting is troubling to a lot of people. If you're talking about a big tent, this looks more like the church tent, not the big tent.

Then a little later in the program, Matthews returned to Palin's expressions of faith and noted that kind of talk can be,"dangerous." And when his guest, former Dick Cheney aide Ron Christie, said he was tired of the media picking on Palin when, in fact, Joe Biden made a lot of blunders, Matthews let this howler fly: "Joe Biden took more hits from the media than anybody for the last 30 years!"

The following exchanges occurred on the November 11 edition of "Hardball":

[5:16pm]

(BEGIN CLIP)

SARAH PALIN: We are gonna have a 2012. I don't know who's gonna be a part of it. You know I, I, faith is a very big part of my life and putting, putting my life in my creator's hands. This is what I always do in life. Okay God if there is an open door for me somewhere – this is what I always pray -- I'm like don't let me miss the open door. And if there is an open door in '12 or four years later and if it's something that's gonna be good for my family, for my state, for my nation, an opportunity for me, then I'll plow through that door.

(END CLIP)

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Welcome back to "Hardball." That was, of course, Governor Sarah Palin addressing the prospects of her running for president, four years from now. Palin is hitting back at her critics in interviews and tomorrow she is set to deliver a big speech at the Republican Governors Association meeting in Miami. Well is she rehabilitating her image? According to the polls she took a hit during the campaign. Is she emerging as a new leader, a possible Republican candidate come the next time? NBC's Kelly O'Donnell covered the McCain campaign. She's in the know. And Lois Romano, my pal, is also always in the know. Knows everything about these kinds of things which is anything really deeply interesting personally.

Let's go to Kelly. Kelly what's up here? Is, is this commentary about theocracy and going to God for approval. We've been through that with President Bush who said he, "didn't take advice from his father, he got it from another father." And we've been through this sort of Joan of Arc period. Are we gonna get another piece of this where God's leading candidates to run for president? I mean that sort of keeps us out of the conversation doesn't it? I mean, seriously, I mean God is telling her to run? And she's saying it openly on a secular television show? This isn't the religious hour.

...

MATTHEWS: Talking about God, in a political setting is troubling to a lot of people. If you're talking about a big tent, this looks more like the church tent, not the big tent.

[5:46pm]

MATTHEWS: Okay let me ask Ron [Christie] a final question. Sarah Palin, tonight, in her interview with, with Greta Van Susteren last night, we're actually watching it tonight, on "Hardball," before you came on. She said she was waiting to get the okay from God. Now I have nothing wrong with prayer, I pray all the time. But to talk about that in secular environment. To talk about that in a country which is so broad in its different views of Jesus, in fact, is that a good political move? To talk about God and whether you should run getting the okay from him? Didn't we have enough of that in the last eight years? God leading our politics? Self-selected views of God?

...

MATTHEWS: I'm not talking about faith, I'm talking about using it politically and talking about it this way, as if that's a determinant. You know we've, "God is on our side," kind of talk is very dangerous in the world because a lot of our enemies talk like that. And I think it's just a dangerous way to talk. Just a thought.

RON CHRISTIE: Chris, Chris can I say one last thing about-

MATTHEWS: Sure.

CHRISTIE: I mean again everyone jumps on Governor Palin, "Oh my goodness, she mentioned God, you know, in her decision." If you go back and look at some of the blunders that Joe Biden said during the campaign, no one ever criticized him. No one ever jumped on him.

MATTHEWS: It's all we talked about...

CHRISTIE: I'm, I'm, I'm tired of people picking on Governor Palin.

MATTHEWS: ...didn't even know about it because we talk about him. Joe Biden took more hits from the media than anybody for the last 30 years! He's been paying for Neil Kinnock for, since that election!

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