Matthews's Motor-Mouth Leaves Guests Grimacing

I haven't seen Chris Matthews this excited since a Barack Obama speech sent a certain sensation skyward.

The Hardball host is in an absolute frenzy over Scott McClellan's allegations. So much so that guests on this evening's show are having a hard time expressing themselves as Matthews expounds at length. Ari Fleischer finally called Chris on it. And while David Gregory didn't express his ire in words, his facial expression left little doubt as to his annoyance at being cut off in mid-sentence.

The screencap shows Gregory's grimace. But be sure to view the video here to get the full effect. A bit later, former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer appeared. He could be seen on many occasions attempting to speak, only to be submerged in a sea of ceaseless Matthews chatter. Talk at one point turned to VP Cheney's involvement in policy-making. Fleischer was again repeatedly frustrated in his attempts to talk, and finally had enough.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well knowing how the White House worked when I worked there [for Jimmy Carter] years ago, the Chief of Staff to the Vice-President got access to all the paper flow going to the President, including the State of the Union, certainly the State of the Union. The question of the 16 words, the questions about his overlying responsibility for intelligence-gathering. I mean, it seems to me you would know, the role of the Vice-President in this regard. You would know his institutional role, having worked there. The Vice-President was the chief of intelligence. He was the G2 as they say in the military, he was the President's chief intelligence guy, and he was also involved in making the case for the war, wasn't he or not?

ARI FLEISCHER: Chris, when your filibuster's over, I'll answer.

MATTHEWS: No, no. You don't have to be sarcastic, Ari. I'm not being sarcastic to you.

Meanwhile, kudos to Gregory—whose virtual surname during his White House correspondent days was "chief administration antagonist"—for his independence of mind in declining to join in Matthews's apotheosis of McClellan. Gregory more than once made the point that whereas the former press secretary was entitled to his point of view, it was essentially derivative. In Gregory's view, McClellan hadn't been positioned on the front lines of policy-making and thus didn't know the innermost workings at the highest levels of the administration.

Update | 8:15 PM: Matthews Gets Carlson Grimacing, Too

Chris is absolutely incorrigible. Later in the show, in one fell swoop he managed to talk over both Bob Herbert of the NYT and MSNBC's Tucker Carlson, provoking from the latter yet another grimace, as captured in the screengrab. It was so egregious that Matthews had to offer an "I'm sorry"—not that it will stop him from cutting off his next guest.

View video here.

Olby Chat: McClellan Doing the Full John Dean?

A promo aired during Hardball announced that McClellan will be Keith Olbermann's guest tomorrow. Is Scott the next John Dean, an Olby fave?

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.