Chris Matthews got together with the Politico's Jeanne Cummings and the Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page to look down their collective noses at the concept of Sarah Palin as a writer on Tuesday's Hardball, with Matthews even questioning the former vice presidential candidate's mental state as he pondered: "Is this delusion here?" After playing a clip of Barbara Walters' interview with Palin, in which Palin says of a possible talk show hosting gig that she'd "rather write than talk," the MSNBC host called the idea "daffy," and Cummings giggled, "It's all illusion and delusion. Smoke and mirrors everywhere!" while Page insultingly interjected, "Well Chris don't forget...she was a journalism major. That's what she got her degree in. So I suppose in...her head she's...still a writer who just hasn't written in a while." [audio available here]
The following exchange was aired on the November 17, edition of Hardball:
BARBARA WALTERS: Do you ever want to be President of the United States?
SARAH PALIN: That certainly isn't on my radar screen right now, but when you consider some of the ordinary, turning into extraordinary events that have happened in my life, I'm not one to predict what will happen in a few years.
WALTERS: One way you could have enormous influence is, of course, to have a talk show.
PALIN: I'd probably rather write than talk.
WALTERS: Have you been offered your own talk show?
PALIN: There have been lots and lots of offers in these last couple of months especially, coming our way.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: So she's Ernest Hemingway now. "I'd rather write than talk." Jeanne Cummings where does this writing background coming from? She had somebody write the book for her. This Lynn Vincent from the evangelical world. No evidence of having written before. Now she says, "I want to go back to my career as a writer." Is this delusion here?
JEANNE CUMMINGS, POLITICO: Well it's all illusion.
MATTHEWS: Is this absolute delusion?
CUMMINGS: It's all illusion and delusion. Smoke and mirrors everywhere! You don't know what to believe and what not to believe in the book. There are so many contradictions with Sarah Palin it is amazing. And you know I'm, I'm sure, you know that she, you know, just as she tries to do with, where she puts out a book that basically is personality driven and slamming insiders and then complains that she doesn't get respect on policy, and get cred on policy. You know, so she wants to be a writer, instead of a talk show host, even though her greatest claim to sha-, to fame is talking.
MATTHEWS: Yeah I just think, Clarence, that she couldn't say what she read when she was asked a simple question by Katie Couric and then she says she's got a book and it's been put out that she had a ghost writer for her. And now she's saying, "I don't know whether I should go back to my main career of writing." I just think the whole thing is absolutely daffy, but she proceeds on here and she'll have a bestseller with not having written anything. It's amazing! Great work.
CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Well Chris don't forget, don't forget she was a journalism major. That's what she got her degree in. So I suppose in, in her head she's, she's still a writer who just hasn't written in a while and she "just got a little help," quote, unquote with writing her book here.
MATTHEWS: Okay, how many, how many days Jeanne and then Clarence will it take for John McCain to finally come out and say what George Bush Sr. said about Dan Quayle? "It was my decision and I blew it but I'm not about to say that I blew it." It took George Bush Sr. awhile to get that in his diary. It was released by Herbert Parmet, the historian, later on. There it is showing up in that book. Is he ever gonna come out and just say "I should have never picked Sarah Palin to be my vice presidential running mate?" Jeanne?
CUMMINGS: Well it's possible that ultimately that he will acknowledge that, but I wouldn't expect anything like that soon. I think John McCain definitely does not want to get into this fight. He's trying to stay away from it. Depending on how many more of his senior aides and advisers she attacks, he might.