Presumptive Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan was heckled Monday by protesters at a campaign event in Iowa.
Time senior political analyst Mark Halperin told MSNBC's Chris Matthews these were Democrats "on duty" (video follows with transcript and commentary, photo courtesy Des Moines Register):
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Anyway, Paul Ryan was met by a loud group of protesters today who joined his supporters at the same state fair event in Iowa. They booed and yelled throughout his ten minutes, but he handled it pretty well. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL RYAN: My guess is - [Interrupted by protesters] - my guess is the reason President Obama isn't making it here from Council Bluffs because he only knows left turns.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, there you have it, Howard. Let's talk in human terms. How is he handling his first couple of days out there as the new kid on the block?
HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST: Well, Mark and I have both seen him in action. At least I've seen him here. I haven't seen him in his district. I mean, he's a born pol. He's excellent at it. He's well liked. He's solid on his feet. He's good on the campaign trail.
A scene like that in Iowa doesn't help the Democrats at all. People in Iowa like their politics, you know, polite, and they like it decorous, and they don't like to see something like that. The Democrats are going to have to at the grassroots be careful not to overplay their hand. If they're going to view the Romney/Ryan ticket as somehow extreme, they've got to restrain themselves in their critique of it.
MATTHEWS: I wonder if they were in charge of those people at the state fair today.
FINEMAN: Yes. Good question. Good question.
MATTHEWS: You never know, Mark. Mark, you think they had them, were they on, were they on, were those people on duty or were they just regular ticked off people that hang out at the state fair that happen to be liberals?
MARK HALPERIN, TIME/MSNBC SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think they were as on duty as someone who shows up in a giant chicken costume outside an event.
You think Fineman, Halperin, and Matthews would be laughing if "on duty" Republicans showed up to protest President Obama?
Yes, that was a rhetorical question.