Chris Matthews Squirms as Scarborough Discusses JFK Buying West Virginia Primary in 1960

There was a truly delicious moment on MSNBC's Morning Joe Monday as the gang discussed the Republican presidential race from Florida.

When host Joe Scarborough recollected John F. Kennedy buying the West Virginia primary in 1960, Hardball host Chris Matthews, one of JFK's biggest fans, was seen visibly uncomfortable shifting position in his chair (video follows with transcript and commentary):

JOE SCARBOROUGH: I'll give you another example. John Kennedy, you know this story very, very well, John Kennedy doesn't do well in Wisconsin. He goes to West Virginia in the 1960 primary, and after a Catholic wins West Virginia, Teddy White was like, "This is amazing. They're so open-minded." And what was the cynical remark behind the scenes to Teddy White? "Yeah, they're very open-minded when you're paying every sheriff and every county commissioner tons of cash." [Matthews shifts in chair] I mean, but that never got in the paper. It was all about Kennedy's brilliance.

For those unfamiliar with the name, Teddy White was an author that went to Harvard with Kennedy's brother Joe. He later wrote a series called "The Making of the President" beginning with JFK's election in 1960.

As for Scarborough's historical recollection, this is one of those really inconvenient truths that folks like Matthews care not to discuss.

While he and his colleagues consistently complain about the money in politics - this lengthy Morning Joe segment began with Matthews bemoaning the news that Mitt Romney has outspent Newt Gingrich by four to one in Florida - they choose to ignore the immutable fact that Joe Kennedy Sr. bought his son a presidency, and it began with the West Virginia primary.

Keep that in mind the next time you hear someone like Matthews carping and whining about the money in politics, for these folks only care about campaign finances when someone's outspending their candidate.

Those really up on their history should recognize the picture above as a May 11, 1960, AP photo of JFK reading about his surprise victory in West Virginia.


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