Former SC First Lady Tells Chris Matthews Notion of Racist Voters In Her State 'Stirred Up By the Press'

As NewsBusters reported Tuesday, MSNBC's Chris Matthews accused Republican voters in South Carolina of being racist.

On Thursday's Hardball, former South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford told Matthews this depiction of her fellow residents "is absurd and nonsense and frankly just, you know, stirred up by people in the press" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Why do you think people like Newt Gingrich bring up issues like food stamps in these discussions? I haven't heard that phrase in years and all of a sudden it's all over the place with Newt talking about President Obama being the best food stamp president in history and how people are going to, let's take a look at this tape from a Newt Gingrich event yesterday, and I want to get your thoughts on whether race is a factor the way Gingrich is talking in South Carolina. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNKNOWN SPEAKER: I would like to thank you, Mr. Speaker, for putting Mr. Juan Williams in his place the other night. [Applause] His supposed question was totally ludicrous and we support you.

NEWT GINGRICH: Thank you very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Why do you think, Mrs. Sanford, that the voters of South Carolina, at least those there that were cheering this comment by this woman, this regular woman that Juan Williams of Fox News should be put in his place?

JENNY SANFORD, FORMER FIRST LADY SOUTH CAROLINA: You know, I think that politicians can be known to pander to certain audiences or segments on certain issues. But so can pundits. And I think that the press likes to make issues sometimes about things where there are no issues. I mean, I for one live on the coast. My congressman is an African-American named Tim Scott, a Republican of whom I'm very proud, and my governor is an Indian-American woman named Nikki Haley of whom I'm also very proud. So those for both people that were elected by the electorate here in South Carolina. So the notion that we have a racial electorate here in South Carolina is absurd and nonsense and frankly just, you know, stirred up by people in the press. And I think that that's, you know, I think that people in general are sick of politics as usual and part of that is they are sick of the press stirring thing ups with an angle. And you know what, I think that woman is right. People should be cheering.

MATTHEWS: Who in the press do you know has ever brought up the issue of food stamps, ever brought up the issue of how as Rick Perry said the other day in that debate on Monday that South Carolina is at war with the federal government as is Texas, bringing up these old states' rights issues. The press doesn't bring them up, the candidates do.

SANFORD: Oh, I think the press brings up all sorts of things. I mean, I think that this race in particular is one as I said that's long on rhetoric and short on substance, long on the sensational if you will. So, you know, we have 24/7 news these days where we have just a proliferation of channels each one seeking to find things that they can sensationalize. So, if you look hard enough at all these candidates, you can find all sorts of things to sensationalize.


One has to wonder if Sanford was directing her comments right at Matthews.

After all, he's been all over the airwaves since Monday's debate in South Carolina crying racism.

If only he'd get the point.

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Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.