Chris Matthews Hints Ryan's 'Very Nasty' Speech Was Directed to Racists

Minutes after Paul Ryan finished his RNC speech on Wednesday, MSNBC's Chris Matthews slammed the Republican vice presidential candidate for supposedly ignoring blacks during his "very constricted, very negative, very nasty speech," and suggested that he was directing the address to racists: "It's clear that Paul Ryan was talking to people who think about rights as something...produced by Thomas Jefferson, ignoring the people for whom the rights only came in the 1960s."

Matthews added that "for some reason, they never mentioned those things, because they're talking to people - let's be honest about this - who didn't feel – the benefit, at all, from those civil rights, and I think that's very important to point out." [audio available here; video below the jump]

After he gave Ryan's speech the "very nasty" label, the left-wing host sang the praises of Condoleeza Rice's speech, which came before Rep. Ryan's: "I thought Condoleezza Rice's speech was spectacular; it was thrilling; it was American....It was a complete smackdown to all the attacks on Barack Obama's past. I thought Condoleezza Rice was presidential tonight - wonderful, in fact - and this speech [from Ryan] was pretty much a canned political advertisement."

Several minutes later, he dropped his extended hint that the GOP vice presidential candidate was appealing to racists across the country. He then returned to complimenting former Secretary of State Rice: "She's a first-class American who thinks big and talks to the whole country, and I don't think Ryan spoke to the whole country tonight. In fact, a lot of these speakers have not, and it's obvious if you listen to their words."

It was the second night in a row that a MSNBC personality accused a major speaker at the Republican convention of ignoring a large segment of the population. On Tuesday, Lawrence O'Donnell blasted Ann Romney and accused her of disregarding women who have taken government assistance in their lives: "The one population that was specifically excluded from her discussion of women's struggles in this society was any woman who needed, at any point in her life, to rely on any form of government assistance...That population was completely ignored in this speech."

The transcript of the relevant portion of Chris Matthews's commentary on Condoleeza Rice's and Paul Ryan's speeches during MSNBC's 11 pm Eastern live coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention:


11:04 pm EDT

MATTHEWS: I thought it was a very constricted, very negative, very nasty speech, that didn't have anywhere near the elevation of Condoleezza Rice's speech. I thought Condoleezza Rice's speech was spectacular; it was thrilling; it was American. It talked about the wonders of immigration - to Route 128 and the Silicon Valley and the brilliant people that come to this country to work and live; and talked about - it's not where you come from. It's where you're going. It was a complete smackdown to all the attacks on Barack Obama's past. I thought Condoleezza Rice was presidential tonight - wonderful, in fact - and this speech was pretty much a canned political advertisement, compared to Condoleezza Rice tonight.


11:13 pm EDT

Chris Matthews, MSNBC Host; Screen Cap From 29 August 2012 Live Coverage of Republican National Convention | NewsBusters.orgMATTHEWS: Rachel [Maddow], I think that you can always – the thing I always look for in these speeches is, who's the person on the podium up there – at the lectern, talking to? And I don't want to get too sectarian about this, but it's clear that Paul Ryan was talking to people who think about rights as something that were – produced by Thomas Jefferson, ignoring the people for whom the rights only came in the 1960s; no reference to the fact that a good portion of the country was denied those rights, especially the important right to vote, up until 1965. And it was given to them through a lot of effort and fighting between the two parties, and it became a bipartisan effort led by Lyndon Johnson, and, of course, Everett Dirksen of Illinois. But, for some reason, they never mentioned those things, because they're talking to people - let's be honest about this - who didn't feel – the benefit, at all, from those civil rights, and I think that's very important to point out.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center