Sheriff Civility AKA Chris Matthews Calls Michele Bachmann a 'Nut Case'

Ever since the Tucson shooting, MSNBC's Chris Matthews has been on a tirade accusing conservatives of creating a climate of hate that led to an attempt on Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' life. Yet on Wednesday's Hardball, Matthews himself insulted GOP Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, as he blared that she was: "a screamer, and in many cases pretty close to a nut case."

What was the great affront from the Minnesota Congresswoman that caused Matthews to spew such vitriol? She dared to openly root for a Republican presidential victory in 2012.

The following consecutive exchanges Matthews had about Bachmann, with Republican Congressman Bobby Schilling and Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, were aired on the January 19 edition of Hardball:

(video, audio and transcript after the jump)

(MP3 audio)

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let's listen to Michele Bachmann from Minnesota, the Congresswoman, she made a rather dramatic statement on the floor just a couple minutes ago.

(Begin clip)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN: This is not symbolic. This is why we were sent here, and we will not stop until we repeal a president and put a president in the position of the White House who will repeal this bill, until we repeal the current Senate, put in a Senate that will listen to the American people and repeal this bill.

(End clip)

MATTHEWS: Is that the use of the - I've never seen the floor used like this. I mean I worked on the Hill, you're a member, elected member. I've never seen politicians come on and say their purpose in life is to say their purpose is to end someone's political career. To defeat another politician. Isn't there any minimal, minimal civility left? That somebody like Bachmann - well first of all she's there. She was elected. Nobody can do anything about that. But there she is saying her purpose in life, right now, is to eliminate a presidency. Do you think that's good politics? To just talk like that?

REP. BOBBY SCHILLING: You know I think what she's saying basically, is here's a president that's, or she feels is taking us down the wrong pathway. You know I believe that we're gonna see President Obama become more of a moderate. We're already seeing some shifting going on.

MATTHEWS: I saw it too.

SCHILLING: Yeah, so I mean that's a good thing-

MATTHEWS: Well when is Michele Bachmann gonna become a moderate?

SCHILLING: You know, you'll have to ask Michele Bachmann that.

MATTHEWS: Yeah I think when the - Hell freezes over.

...

MATTHEWS: This is more in the question area of tone and what happened with your friend, Congresswoman Giffords, and she's still recovering and we're praying for her to make it, and she's been showing good signs. Let me ask you this. This kind of talk from Michele Bachmann. I don't know why she's allowed to be an extremist, and everybody is coaxing on the Right, Republicans saying the President should move to the center and be reasonable and moderate, where she's allowed to be out there as a screamer, and in many cases pretty close to a nut case. This kind of talk. She's standing on the floor of the House, her job is to enact legislation, and yet there she is standing there saying her goal in life is to eliminate a presidency. That's how she talks? Is that what you do on the floor of the Congress now? You talk about eliminating somebody else's political career? I thought there was some deference about these things.


REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I think she clearly did not get the message of the last week and a half, which is that the American people want us to dial it back. They want us to make an effort to reach across the aisle and reset the tone of civility, engage in some civil discourse. But what, what's really disturbing is that her raison d'etre, the raison d'etre of Mitch McConnell, their reason for existence is to end a presidency. Their reason for existence and perhaps they're suggesting even their reason for serving the public is to end someone else's political career, rather than work together. I think if we learned anything from the, that Tucson tragedy, it's that the American people want is to work together and find a way to reach some common ground and even when we can't agree, they want us to make sure we do that without treating our opponents like they're our enemies. Clearly she and Sarah Palin have not gotten the message.

MATTHEWS: Well I think Sarah Palin is the best news your party has ever had, thank you, and maybe Michele Bachmann, too. Thank you so much U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

—Geoffrey Dickens is the Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here

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