Nostalgic Matthews Relives the ‘Thrill Up the Leg’ from Obama; Hillary ‘Can’t Match’

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews on Thursday night reminisced about the “stellar” Barack Obama from 2008 and how the Democrat gave him a “thrill up the leg.” Matthews finally conceded that such excitement couldn’t live up to expectations. He also added, “Hillary can’t match that.” 

In a special post-debate Hardball, the host fondly recalled, “I think Obama was so exciting. I think, you know, I was the ‘thrill up the leg’ and all that. I admit I was overwhelmed by his speeches.” Matthews, who still sounded overwhelmed, remembered, “I had never heard anybody speak like Obama. His presidency obviously couldn't live up to that level. It couldn't. It was so stellar.”     

It was back on February 12, 2008 that the MSNBC host gushed, “I have to tell you, you know, it's part of reporting this case, this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama's speech. My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often.” 

On July 27, 2004, during Obama’s appearance at the Democratic National Convention, Matthews uttered a little-known variation, saying, “I have to tell ya, a little chill in my legs now.” 

It’s odd that the journalist would mention “thrill up the leg” as he usually gets angry when it’s highlighted. On May 22, 2012, Matthews ripped “horse’s ass right-wingers” who cite the comment. On December 15, 2015, the Media Research Center’s Dan Joseph cornered him and brought it up. Matthew’s response was “go to hell.”  

A partial transcript is below: 

Hardball
3/11/16 (3/10/16 on west coast) 
12:47:51 a.m.

MATTHEWS: I wonder if that’s just something, you know, what are we going to do now? We did that before. Don’t we got something new? I think Obama was so exciting. I think, you know, I was the thrill up the leg and all that. I admit I was overwhelmed by his speeches 'cause I’d go to all these rooms with 200 people in it and I had never heard anybody speak like Obama. His presidency obviously couldn't live up to that level. It couldn't. It was so stellar, the excitement in those crowds. First African-American, young guy, incredibly educated and who could give a speech like nobody’s been able to do since — well, certainly since on the Democratic side, since Kennedy. 

Tell the Truth 2016

LOS ANGELES TIMES’s KURTIS LEE: Absolutely One of the best orators that a lot of people have seen on the political stage and, yeah — it’s ---

MATTHEWS: Hillary can’t match that.

LEE: I mean, there was talk about Rubio being solid on the stump, but, you know, that kind of fell off as the cycle went on.

MATTHEWS: Rubio, this message has been prerecorded. That's what I think every time I hear him. 

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the associate editor for the Media Research Center's NewsBusters.org site.