Matthews: Is Obama 'Smarter Than Us?' Newsweek’s Fineman: 'Of Course He Is!'

It's hard to imagine two Chris Matthews Show panelists publicly admitting that the President was smarter than them, during the George W. Bush administration, but that's precisely what happened during this weekend's episode when host Chris Matthews asked Newsweek's Howard Fineman that very question. When a frustrated Matthews worried that Barack Obama wasn't being more aggressive in pushing health care reform, Fineman calmed Matthews down by assuring him that "one of his great qualities...is patience" which prompted Matthews to ponder: "Howard is he smarter than us?" to which Fineman affirmed: "Of course he is! Much smarter!" [audio available here]

The following exchange occurred during the November 1 edition of The Chris Matthews Show:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: He's hung back at a point that's almost driven us crazy. He has let Harry Reid carry the ball.

HOWARD FINEMAN, NEWSWEEK: Well Chris one of the things-

MATTHEWS: Is that smart? 

FINEMAN: I think it may turn out to be. I've been like you, all over cable TV, saying, "How come he isn't out there pounding away at this? He ought to do it like Ronald Reagan and have four points and pound!"

MATTHEWS: Right. Right.

FINEMAN: That's not Barack Obama. 

MATTHEWS: I know.

FINEMAN: He is, one of his great qualities, whether you like him or not, is patience. And he's playing a very patient game here.

MATTHEWS: Howard is he smarter, Howard is he smarter than us?

FINEMAN: Of course he is! Much smarter!

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