Is context a four-letter word to MSNBC's Chris Matthews?
During the "Sideshow" segment on Friday's "Hardball," Matthews ripped a comment conservative Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) made during a recent speech to the Federalist Society in order to paint DeMint either as a birther or as one playing cynically to those who believe President Obama was not born in the United States.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Here's what he said: "This whole idea that the president is the leader of our country is a mistake." This whole idea that the president is the leader of our country is a mistake. How does that make any sense, unless you're a birther, and that's what he sounds like.
The liberal Talking Points Memo (TPM) blog broke that story Thursday afternoon, but at least TPM provided the full context of DeMint's February 17 comments (emphasis mine):
During a speech covering the national debt, earmarks, the 2012 Presidential election and the repeal of the health care law on Thursday, DeMint told members of the D.C. chapter of the conservative Federalist Society, "This whole idea that the President is the leader of our country is a mistake."
DeMint added, "Leadership starts in the homes in the communities, in businesses, in churches. I've lived in a community and I know where the leaders are and it's not in Washington. And this pretense that he's our nation's leader... I'm not just talking about Obama I'm talking about any President."
"A candidate who goes out and makes all these promises about what he's going to do in all areas of our society needs to be removed from consideration," DeMint said to applause from the audience.
In other words, DeMint was saying we need to stop considering the U.S. president to be THE leader of the nation on any and every problem imaginable under the sun. Some things, nay, most things, are not properly issues to be addressed by tossing federal money and federal bureaucrats at the problem.
The only question is did Matthews mindlessly riff off a quote taken out of context by one of his producers, or did he intentionally misrepresent DeMint's sentiments in order to tar him as a conspiracy theorist?