Chris Matthews Warns GOP’s ‘Nasty’ and ‘Insidious’ Politics on Benghazi Could Backfire Like ‘Watergate’

MSNBC's Chris Matthews slammed Republican policies like voter ID laws and a special investigation of the Benghazi attacks as an "insidious plan" that could backfire like "Watergate."

"Let me finish tonight with this insidious plan to scare up right-wing voters and scare off the votes the of those who tend to vote Democratic," Matthews ranted at the end of Thursday's Hardball. "The trouble with nasty politics like the kind we're getting from the House leadership is it makes you look nasty," he continued.

He added the Democratic talking point that Republicans are profiting from the Benghazi attacks: "It makes it look like you're moneygrubbing on the deaths of those four American diplomats, like you're ready to kill a little more faith in government to get a few more votes."

And Matthews warned that "I've watched how exactly this kind of stuff blows up in your face," like with Richard Nixon "when he took a sure win for re-election and turned it into Watergate."

Below is a transcript of the May 8 Hardball segment:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this insidious plan to scare up right-wing voters and scare off the votes the of those who tend to vote Democratic. This is just the kind of campaign mentality that leads to trouble on the part of those who pursue it. Everyone knows the Republicans are heading for a good election night this November. They are poised to win the Senate. Poised, at least, and to pick up five to ten seats in the House of Representatives. You know it. They know it. Believe me, smart Democrats know it.

So why this plan to roll up the score, to bring out the crazies on the right and to drown out the progressives, including many minorities who will be intimidated by the new Republican-pushed voter laws. I've watched how exactly this kind of stuff blows up in your face. It did with Richard Nixon several times in 1950 when he called his senatorial opponent pink right down to her underwear and in 1972 when he took a sure win for re-election and turned it into Watergate.

The trouble with nasty politics like the kind we're getting from the House leadership is it makes you look nasty. It makes it look like you're moneygrubbing on the deaths of those four American diplomats, like you're ready to kill a little more faith in government to get a few more votes. It's a rotten deal, and the people who play it will pay for it. Maybe not this year, but in the years to come. You can't build a brand by painting a bathtub ring around your rivals. Why? Because people, voters, are watching when you do it. So is the media. Nobody wants somebody in the White House who got there through scare tactics and keeping people from voting.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014