Guest hosting on Tuesday's "Morning Joe," MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews assigned dark motives to the voters of West Virginia and repeatedly reaffirmed that nobody should be surprised if Barack Obama loses the May 13 primary to Hillary Clinton. According to Matthews, "You could have predicted West Virginia 20 years ago on this one." Making his racial overtones more clear, Matthews derided, "These people made up their mind in '57." [audio available here]
This was all too much for fellow guest host Pat Buchanan. One of the few conservatives on MSNBC, he first laughed and then alluded to the fact that West Virginia has been almost exclusively controlled by Democrats: "What an indictment! What an indictment of your party, Chris!" Matthews snidely responded by claiming his remarks indicated "a suggestion of understanding the geography of America." He followed up by jokingly referring to Buchanan's previous presidential runs and not-so subtlety asking, "How did you do in West Virginia? Pretty good, huh?"
Matthews certainly has been protective of Obama. After all, this is the man who described getting both a "chill" and "thrill" in his legs from speeches by the Illinois senator.
A transcript of the segment, which aired at 6:15am on May 13, follows:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: [On West Virginia]: Well, I'm not sure how we're going to play it tonight.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Yeah.
MATTHEWS: Whether we're going to play it as another significant bout in this fight or as, sort of, a residue of a fight that's already over. I think most people, like Pat, understand that the fight is over for the nomination. Again, assuming though, development (sic). And that, really, that development which is nothing to do with the election. I'm not sure the election is still about vote count.
MATTHEWS: I think it's about positioning between these two amazingly interesting people. How well will Hillary Clinton exploit her situation to the country's advantage and to her advantage in the next magical three weeks? That to me is the great question.
PAT BUCHANAN: The question here is, what are the voters-- not what Hillary is doing or Barack's doing-- I mean, that looks decided. What are the voters of West Virginia saying to the Democratic Party? I think they're saying, we don't want your nominee.
BRZEZINSKI: [To Matthews] See, that's what I was asking you earlier. And you laughed. You gave me the Chris Matthews [Does the Chris Matthews "Ha!"]
MATTHEWS: Well, I guess we disagree. Oh, I disagree. Because I think this-- You could have predicted West Virginia 20 years ago on this one.
MATTHEWS: You could predict this election-- I'm-- seriously.
BRZEZINSKI: All right, you know what we're going to do--
MATTHEWS: These people made up their mind in '57. I mean, I don't think any other argument-- Should it be Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton?
BUCHANAN [Laughing]: What an indictment! What an indictment of your party, Chris!
MATTHEWS: No, it may be a suggestion of understanding the geography of America.
BRZEZINSKI: All right, we got to wrap it up. Oh, Lordy. We'll be right back. We do have a big show this morning. Polls opening up in West Virginia in 15 minutes. David Axelrod will be here.
MATTHEWS [To Buchanan]: How did you do in West Virginia? Pretty good, huh?