Matthews's Hint to Hillary: Bring Back Mr. STD
Claiming that someone is less popular than venereal disease is a quintessential hit below the belt. So if you were counseling a candidate to hit her opponent above the belt, the last person you'd suggest she hire is a guy who just compared someone to an STD . . . unless you're Chris Matthews.
Matthews's advice to Hillary Clinton is to hit Obama above the belt . . . by bringing in Paul Begala, the man who just this week used the VD comparison to slur President Bush.
The Hardball host was a guest on this morning's Today.
View video here.
MEREDITH VIEIRA: Last debate [today] for the Democrats before the Iowa caucuses and the heat is on for Hillary Clinton. Do you expect her to come out swinging?
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well everybody's wondering where she's going to swing. Will it be above the belt or below the belt? These shots at what Obama said in kindergarten and what he may have done as a teenager look like they're below the belt and her people are delivering them. She's got to come out with a clean hit if she's gonna hit him.
VIEIRA: Obama's people said it was an act of desperation by her camp. Is that the kind of attack, particularly about Obama's past drug use, that could backfire on her?
MATTHEWS: You know, Obama represents optimism and idealism, and he got the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval from Oprah this past weekend. He looks pure as the driven snow right now. And for her to go after her on character right now I think is a big mistake. She has got to go after him on his shallow record as a public official, the brief time he's had in public life and his lack of having accomplished much in public life. She's got to hit him where everybody says "fair hit, good shot."
VIEIRA: You know, you mentioned Oprah, which is his secret weapon and not so secret weapon. On Hillary's side you have her husband, Bill Clinton, who's very frustrated with the way the campaign's going. what can he do to help her turn things around? Is there anything he can do?
MATTHEWS: What he ought to do is get Paul Begala to come back and work in the campaign. She's got a lot of hard-hitters around her, but no one with any heart.
What? Bring back Paul Begala for purposes of hitting above the belt, for taking fair hits? Paul Begala, whose talent for the cheap and vulgar shot was on display just this week? As noted here, appearing on CNN on Monday, Begala had this to say about the relative popularity of Hillary and President Bush:
BEGALA: Hillary Clinton in some Republican areas is unpopular. George W. Bush across America, he would poll behind several different forms of venereal disease in most of this country. I mean, they hate Bush!
Is that Chris's idea of a "fair hit, good shot"?