Average American citizen Katy Abram's impassioned plea against socialized health care, at Senator Arlen Specter's town hall meeting on Tuesday, got her noticed by the "Hardball" producers as her clip was featured on Tuesday's show and she even received an invitation to appear tonight -- complete with the requisite scolding from the program's liberal host. Subbing for Chris Matthews, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell incorrectly challenged Abram's fear that Barack Obama wanted to move to a single-payer plan.
After Abram recalled that, "I heard him say on a quote, on television, that...we will move to a single-payer" plan, O'Donnell rebuked "He never said that." When Abram again insisted that she "Heard it on TV," O'Donnell adamantly asserted "The President of the United States has never said that." It turns out Abram knew her facts better than the cable news host, as Obama as recently as last year declared: "If I were designing a system from scratch, I would probably go ahead with a single-payer system," And, as Red State noted, in 2003 Obama told a crowd of AFL-CIO members: "I happen to be a proponent of single-payer, universal health care coverage."
The following exchange was aired on the August 12, edition of "Hardball":
Although the glory days of Chris Matthews and his MSNBC program "Hardball" are surely a thing of the past, getting beaten in the prime time cable ratings by a D-list comedienne has got to add insult to injury.
Filling in for Larry King on CNN Monday, Kathy Griffin -- with a guest lineup that featured Joan Rivers, the parents from TLC's "Toddlers and Tiaras," and Levi Johnston -- actually drew more viewers than Matthews.
Here are the numbers posted by Drudge (h/t Paul Bedard):
Chris Matthews, on Tuesday's "Hardball," painted town hall protesters as racist as he charged, "I think some of the people are upset because we have a black president." Matthews invited on Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and the Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore to analyze the uproar at the town hall meetings and after Moore offered that some of the protesters' rage was caused by the "$800 billion obscene fiscal stimulus bill," Matthews interjected with his own explanation for the anger as he exclaimed: "Are you telling me that these guys were created by this new president? That the people we're watching on television with their guns and their attitudes about the republic weren't around before January 20th?!...Okay I think, I think some of the people are upset because we have a black president." [audio available here]
The following exchange was aired on the August 11, edition of "Hardball:"
MSNBC, the place for left-wing politics strikes again.
If there ever was a textbook example of what not to do in a TV interview for broadcast journalism students, "Hardball" host Chris Matthews put it on display during his Aug. 10 show. In a segment with Americans For Prosperity President Tim Phillips, Matthews did his dead-level best to discredit the opponent of Obama's health care policy proposals, first by trying to link him to those questioning Obama's presidency on the claims of an invalid birth certificate.
"Tim, where are you from politically? What's your story? Who are you politically?" Matthews said, peppering his free-market conservative guest with questions. "Are you one of the people that question's the president's legitimacy as president?" "You're not a birther or anything like that?"
Chris Matthews, on Tuesday's "Hardball," invited on California Senator Barbara Boxer to dismiss the increasing number of townhall protestors opposed to Obama's liberal agenda as the "angry, and "noisy," "well-dressed middle-class people in pinks and limes...Brooks Brothers Brigade." After playing brief clips from the townhall protests Matthews devoted the first half of his show to knocking down their legitimacy, something Boxer actually instructed Matthews to do, as she urged the MSNBC host: "You, you in the media have to take a look at what's going on here. This is all planned. It's to hurt our president and it's to change the Congress." To which Matthews suggested the grassroots revolt should be ignored, as he depicted the protestors as stooges of the health care industry.
MATTHEWS: Do you think the health insurance companies that have made money for years on health care are the bad guys here? Do you think they're behind these so-called Astroturf demonstrations? That they're not really grassroots. These Brooks Brothers attacks on these congressional meetings?[audio available here]
Before the Boxer interview, Matthews invited on the Politico's Jeanne Cummings who also pooh-poohed the demonstrators:
Certain MSNBC hosts have been fixated over using the “birthers” to discredit conservatives, highlighting a poll commissioned by the far-left Daily Kos site which found a majority of Republicans (58 percent) either believe Barack Obama wasn't born in the U.S. (28 percent) or are not sure he was (30 percent). Chris Matthews led Friday's Hardball with the beliefs of the GOP's “lunatic fringe” and “wack jobs,” but where was MSNBC two years ago ranting about the Democratic Party's “lunatic fringe” and “wack jobs” when a survey discovered a bigger majority of Democrats (61 percent) think or are not sure if President George W. Bush knew in advance of the 9/11 terrorist attacks?
Washington Examiner columnist/blogger David Freddoso pointed out a couple of hours earlier, during another MSNBC segment devoted to the Daily Kos poll (his post about his appearance), what Rasmussen Reports found. That poll released on May 4, 2007 determined:
Democrats in America are evenly divided on the question of whether George W. Bush knew about the 9/11 terrorist attacks in advance. Thirty-five percent (35%) of Democrats believe he did know, 39% say he did not know, and 26% are not sure.
After Sgt. James Crowley did a good job at his post-beer press conference, a condescending Chris Matthews—apparently surprised that a policeman could handle himself well in such a situation—said "I think we've got our Susan Boyle here."
Here's how Matthews ended the post-Crowley press conference kibitzing on the 7 PM edition of Hardball:
Apparently, MSNBC's Chris Matthews could not wait for the audio (courtesy of Real Clear Politics) release of the 911 call made by Harvard employee Lucia Whalen. If he did, he would have discovered she never inserted the race of the individuals she was describing during her conversation with the 911 dispatcher, while she reported what she thought was a burglary in progress. Her call led to the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates. However, Mr. Matthews and his guest Michael Eric Dyson decided to attack Ms. Whalen instead on a July 21st Hardball segment. Below is a transcript:
President Obama's experience last year earning fawning press coverage as a “genius” on race relations lulled him into assuming “he can say anything on race and is so smart that he will be untouchable,” columnist Charles Krauthammer postulated Friday night on FNC in suggesting an explanation for why Obama so misunderstand how his remarks on Henry Louis Gates would ensnare him in controversy. Krauthammer opined: “A lot of the Obama presidency is a contest between his intelligence and his arrogance” and he thought “he can say anything on race and is so smart that he will be untouchable.”
One reason for that, Krauthammer contended, is that after he “gave the famous speech in Philadelphia” on race in March of 2008, in which “he did not renounce Jeremiah Wright” as “he blamed everybody for racism -- black, white and grandmother, except himself,” he nonetheless “was hailed by a supine press as the second coming of Lincoln at Cooper Union. So after, that you think you can say anything on race and be hailed as a genius.”
Indeed, hours after Obama's Tuesday, March 18, 2008 address, MSNBC's Chris Matthews, NewsBusters recounted, praised it as “worthy of Abraham Lincoln” and also claimed it bypassed Martin Luther King Jr.'s “I Have a Dream” address as the “best speech ever given on race in this country.”
NBC's medical correspondent, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, was “rooting” for President Barack Obama to do well in selling his health care takeover during his Wednesday night press conference: “As a physician, you know, I felt like I understood the complexity of the problem. As an American citizen, I was rooting for the President to hit a home run.”
On the 10 PM EDT Hardball an hour after Obama wrapped up, Snyderman, who hosts the noon EDT weekday hour on MSNBC, fretted that he had “whiffed” in not making some persuasive points, such as using “plain talk to take the scare out of things like rationing, which basically is what's going on now -- some people get medicines, some people don't. It didn't come through tonight.” She also ominously warned of disaster if Obama does not prevail: “We're going to pay big time if we don't get this. I don't think we're going to be a great world power.”
Chris Matthews, on Monday's "Hardball," invited on Dan Rather to remember Walter Cronkite and the former CBS News anchor – famously fired for letting his bias spiral out of control during the George W. Bush National Guard story – called Cronkite "a straight news reporter," and claimed Cronkite advised him and others at CBS News to "Tell it straight without fear or favoritism. Pull no punches. Say it like it is, insofar as is humanly possible. Keep your own prejudices and biases and feelings and emotions out of it."
After playing an old 1996 clip from an interview with Cronkite from his CNBC show, in which Cronkite admits to being a liberal, Matthews asked Rather to comment, to which Rather hailed that Cronkite: "Stood for, the beacon he sent out was, 'Straight news reporting. Whatever your political persuasions are, however anyone wants to label you, get to the story, tell the story as straight as you can and the American public will understand.'" [audio available here]
The following exchange was aired on the July 20 edition of "Hardball":
Leave it to Chris Matthews, a former speechwriter to Jimmy Carter, to actually commemorate the 30th anniversary of the former president's infamous "malaise" speech. On Wednesday's "Hardball," Matthews invited on his former bosses from the Carter White House, former speechwriter and now New Yorker senior editor Hendrick Hertzberg and former aide Gerald Rafshoon to mark the event and claim that Carter was vindicated by history as Matthews proudly asserted Carter was "Dead on," about "putting on a sweater, lowering the thermostat," to solve the energy crisis. And Hertzberg did Matthews one better by proclaiming Carter a "prophet."
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Rick it seems to me Carter was dead on, on the need for energy sufficiency and dealing with the energy conservation. Putting on a sweater, lowering the thermostat. All of those things made sense. He was right about the problem of nuclear proliferation. Of arms getting to countries like Iran. He's way ahead of his time on that. And also his concern for human rights. Right? So he was right, but?
Chris Matthews, on Tuesday's "Hardball," invited on HBO's Bill Maher to mock GOP criticism of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor as Maher accused them of being "racist," and Matthews marveled at how Republicans can admire Sarah Palin but not someone who worked as hard as Sotomayor to achieve her position, as he pondered: "Why do they like somebody who's shown no sweat equity against somebody who's shown nothing but sweat equity?"
Before discussing Republican treatment of Sotomayor Matthews asked Maher to rate the audiences that come to see him in the South. Maher, not surprisingly, belittled most of the region, saying the ones that do come to his shows are the minority as they are "marbled in and surrounded by a bunch of hillbillies and rednecks." To which Matthews rejoined: "Isn't it refreshing to meet Southern liberals? Because the great thing about Southern liberals is they don't, they're not competing for the latest nuance of sexual freedom like in Greenwich Village. They are liberals, meaning they're, they're for black equality for example. Things like that, that are pretty nice and wholesome." [audio available here]
Not long after that slam against non-liberal Southerners, Maher threw out the charge of Republican racism:
On Friday night’s Hardball, guest host Lawrence O’Donnell enthusiastically promoted HBO’s new, glowing Ted Kennedy documentary.
He began by declaring "There‘s so much ground to cover. We don‘t have enough time for this. And I want to show the people out there, people under 60, who don‘t know the early Ted Kennedy, don‘t remember the early Ted Kennedy, I want to show what you have got in this movie." But O’Donnell’s interview completely left out the biggest scandal of "the early Ted Kennedy" – the death of Mary Jo Kopechne at Chappaquiddick.
This seemed especially odd as O’Donnell recounted with filmmaker Caroline Waterlow how Richard Nixon was obsessed with Ted Kennedy:
O'DONNELL: Imagine that. Here you are, a senator. You have a president of the United States obsessing all day, is there something we can hang on him. Is there something we can accuse him of?
WATERLOW: With all—to think of Teddy, with all the things he was dealing with politically and within his family and all of the losses he has suffered, he was also—
Chris Matthews, on Monday's "Hardball," mocked Florida GOP Senate candidate Marco Rubio for pondering, on his Twitter page, that the "situation in Iran would be a little different if they had a 2nd Amendment like ours." Matthews, completely missing the point that our Founding Fathers understood that it is much harder to repress a free people that is armed, derided Rubio in the "Sideshow" portion of his June 22 show:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Next up, a reminder to think before you hit the "send" button. You've all seen what's happening in the streets of Tehran. How people are getting beaten, getting hit with tear gas, getting shot. Take a look at what Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio of Florida posted on his Twitter page after watching those scenes that we've been watching.
Does my headline bury the lede? On the one hand, it's catchy to hear Chris Matthews proclaim his belief that reparations for slavery "make sense."
But in the grand scheme of things, one more liberal pundit coming out for reparations might be small potatoes. Perhaps the bigger story was the statement on this evening's Hardball by Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC). The former head of the Congressional Black Caucus revealed that he saw nationalized health care as a part of reparations.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews appeared on Montel Williams' Air America radio show on Wednesday to slam John McCain: "I think McCain put his finger on the idiot button." The Hardball host fumed about McCain's criticism of how Barack Obama has handled the response to Iran's disputed election. He also unflatteringly compared the Senator to Sarah Palin.
After getting a laugh from the Montel Across America host, Matthews reiterated, "I'm telling you, the idiot button." He complained, "That's my new term for when you start putting your finger on the button that's got Sarah Palin's fingerprints on it." Matthews broke off his attack and then explained that McCain is a "very smart, patriotic American."
Walsh's grave transgression: calling the senator, "ma'am." For that, the "Hardball" host treated Walsh as part of the day's "political sideshow," literally, in his June 18 program:
Sen. BARBARA BOXER: Do me a favor. Could you say, "Senator," instead of "Ma'am"? It's just a thing. I worked so hard to get that title. So I'd appreciate it. Yes, thank you.
Brig. Gen. WALSH: Yes, Senator.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: She sure did, she's been elected three times, by the way. So I guess the question is this: Had he said "sir" to a male senator, would that senator be correct in correcting the general? There is a history, however, and let us not forget, of male-female condescension in the U.S. Senate. Just recall the Anita Hill testimony of not too long ago.
Introducing Howard Dean, on Wednesday night's "Hardball," Chris Matthews indirectly compared Barack Obama to Jesus Christ as he introduced the former head of the DNC and 2004 presidential candidate as "the man who really laid out the path for Barack Obama. He was the St. John the Baptist...leading for that fellow." In the Christian faith St. John the Baptist is considered to be the precursor to Jesus Christ, so in Matthews' metaphor of Democratic presidential politics that would have to make Obama, Jesus. [audio available here]
For his part Dean, justifiably, appeared uncomfortable with the comparison, as he appreciated Matthews' promise to "not make any further reference there to the Deity." After that awkward introduction Matthews, in the ensuing segment, went on to call Republicans like John McCain, Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney "imbeciles" for their various criticisms of Obama, as he continued his "idiot button" routine that he began on Tuesday's show.
The following exchanges were aired on the June 17 edition of "Hardball":
I don't just put my foot in my mouth on television -- I do it at dinner parties, too -- but at least, in that case, it doesn't show up on YouTube. Appearing on Hardball With Chris Matthews on June 5, I compared President Obama with God.
Or at least that's how it seemed to some bloggers and talk-show hosts, who made me a poster child for the argument that the liberal press is hopelessly in love with Obama.
An outraged Chris Matthews scolded John McCain, on Tuesday's "Hardball," for criticizing Obama's stance on Iran's elections as the MSNBC host exclaimed: "The difference between the President, who is being very calm and not jumping up and down, and those on the right who are hitting the idiot button right now. And the idiot button is the one often pushed by Sarah Palin,but this week by John McCain and others." Matthews -- who also mocked Sarah Palin for praising the troops in her acceptance of David Letterman's apology -- attacked conservatives in general for engaging in "idiot talk."
MATTHEWS: Okay yeah, let me try to get to your left, let me try to get to your left Lawrence because I feel like getting over there tonight. Snuggling over to your left Lawrence O'Donnell because I disagree with you. I think there's become, there's become this new idiot button on the right where you have to punch this button in order to be considered a real conservative now. "Obama is a socialist on health care. He's a socialist. All his fiscal programs are insanely socialistic." You have to punch that button. Then you gotta say this [Iran] election was "bogus." You gotta punch that button. If you don't talk in that, that right wing, idiot talk you're not considered a conservative any more. The idea of being a thoughtful person is wrong now, politically, on that side of the aisle. That's where I think it's going. [audio available here]
The following exchanges were aired during the June 16 edition of "Hardball":
Yesterday Chris Matthews invited on Salon.com's Editor in Chief Joan Walsh to link the Holocaust Museum shooter to Rush Limbaugh but it was the "Hardball" host himself, on Thursday's show, who connected Sarah Palin to James von Brunn as he wondered if the Alaska Governor was "getting very close to the edge," of the same "attitude" of the "far right," and questioned "Is she talking their language?" [audio available here]
After playing a clip of Palin expressing her concern that the federal government could get more involved in the running of the states, something any governor of a state would rightfully be worried about, Matthews asked his guest, terrorism expert Roger Cressey: "What do you make of that comment Roger? What does that say to some of the nut cases on the right? The far right? The nuts? What is, is she talking their language? Not saying she's triggering them. But is she talking the language of, of paranoia?"
The following is the full exchange as it was aired on the June 11, "Hardball":
Salon.com Editor-in-Chief Joan Walsh, on Wednesday night's "Hardball," cited "conservatives" like Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin and Bill O’Reilly for "whipping up" a climate that sparks the likes of alleged Holocaust Museum shooter James Von Brunn and "Hardball" host Chris Matthews wondered if access to guns were to blame for the tragedy as he cried, "It's easier to get your hands on a gun than to get somebody to make you a waffle." Blaming Limbaugh while insisting she was not, Walsh charged:
There is a very disturbing and disturbed element of political discourse. And I would, I would throw in Rush Limbaugh. Not blaming him, but when you say that our President is more dangerous than al-Qaeda you've gone off into crazy nut job land. You are off the charts crazy. And you are, you are whipping people up.
In the ever-expanding aura of liberal hysteria surrounding MSNBC, Chris Matthews is regularly outpaced by the formerly coherent sportscaster, Keith Olbermann. But Matthews may have won the nightly laurel wreath last night, with his insight on Sarah Palin’s warning against federal bailouts.
The offending quote from Palin is not unlike many other things heard from other current leading Republicans:
GOVERNOR SARAH PALIN: We need to be aware of the creation of a fearful population and a fearful lawmakers being lead that believe that big government is the answer. To bail out the private sector because then government gets to get in there and control it and, mark my words, this is going to happen next I fear, bail out next debt-ridden states, then government gets to get in there and control the people.
Palin is referring to the possible federal use of forced funded mandates. It is conceivable that, if a Mark Sanford is legally required to use federal money, with all of its attached mandates, state governments could be forced to use more money to provide more services – possibly services that the voters in the states do not need or desire. That is conservatism du jour these days – and not rhetoric outside the norm, for the GOP.
Continuing his obsession with Dick Cheney, Hardball host Chris Matthews on Monday compared the former Vice President to movie monster Freddy Krueger, a child-murdering serial killer. After Republican strategist Michelle Laxalt suggested that Matthews missed Cheney, the host retorted, "Well, he keeps coming back...Freddy Krueger comes back in every movie and this guy is back every day."
Interestingly, while Matthews linked the ex-VP to the deformed murderer, it was the MSNBC anchor himself who wore a Freddy Krueger-esque sweater on the December 18, 2007 edition of Hardball. (See file photo above.) On Monday, Matthews, Laxalt and businessman Fred Malek were discussing the "troll-like" Cheney and his public comments about Colin Powell and the new Obama administration.
Newsweek editor Evan Thomas brought adulation over President Obama’s Cairo speech to a whole new level on Friday, declaring on MSNBC: "I mean in a way Obama’s standing above the country, above – above the world, he’s sort of God."
Thomas, appearing on Hardball with Chris Matthews, was reacting to a preceding monologue in which Matthews praised Obama’s speech: "I think the President's speech yesterday was the reason we Americans elected him. It was grand. It was positive. Hopeful...But what I liked about the President's speech in Cairo was that it showed a complete humility...The question now is whether the President we elected and spoke for us so grandly yesterday can carry out the great vision he gave us and to the world."
Matthews discussed Obama’s upcoming speech marking the 65th anniversary of D-Day and compared it to that of Ronald Reagan. He then turned to Thomas and asked: "Reagan and World War II and the sense of us as the good guys in the world, how are we doing?" Thomas replied: "Well, we were the good guys in 1984, it felt that way. It hasn't felt that way in recent years. So Obama’s had, really, a different task We're seen too often as the bad guys. And he – he has a very different job from – Reagan was all about America, and you talked about it. Obama is ‘we are above that now.’ We're not just parochial, we're not just chauvinistic, we're not just provincial."
MSNBC’s Tamron Hall attempted to justify multiple stories on Rush Limbaugh supposedly comparing Barack Obama to Al Qaeda: "We have a right to cover people who are speaking out...Many people listen to this man, and we have a responsibility to report all sides and you can't try to duck and hide, throw the rock and then hide in the bush."
Hall was responding to criticism by Republican strategist Alex Conant, who, in the 4PM hour on Thursday, pointed out MSNBC’s excessive coverage of Rush: "Well, let me just make an observation. Two weeks ago, Rush Limbaugh challenged this network, MSNBC, to go a whole month without repeating his name, and this is like the fifth segment you guys have had this afternoon talking about Rush-" Hall immediately interrupted: "Oh, you know – okay, that's ridiculous, absolutely. You know, I don't know if you've ever, ever watched Keith Olbermann, who just obliterated Rush Limbaugh on this topic."
The segment with Conant, opposite liberal talk radio host Bill Press, was the third story MSNBC had done on Rush’s comments on Thursday. Hall herself had covered the story only an hour earlier, with liberal blogger Peter Slutsky and conservative Brian Faughnan from Redstate.com. During that segment in the 3PM hour, Hall asked Slutsky: "...do the Republican leadership, conservatives out there, need to speak out against this kind of language? I cannot imagine, you know, if there was a liberal blogger who had compared George W. Bush directly to Al Qaeda or some of the other language that’s coming out recently."
Chris Matthews, on Monday's "Hardball," was outraged at the RNC's criticism of the Obamas wasting taxpayer money to go see a Broadway play as he railed that it was a "jealous, pathetic swipe at the First Couple," and remarked "What a jealous, little political party the Republicans have become." Matthews also took a shot at former President George W. Bush as he contrasted Obama's tastes with Bush's as he claimed the problem he and others had with Bush was his, "Utter disdain for any kind of thought or culture. His total lack of curiosity toward anything beyond his own backyard." Matthews then questioned if the GOP attack was made out of "jealousy or simple nincompoop anti-intellectualism?"
MATTHEWS: Well let's get this straight. President Bush's jaunts to Crawford, Texas were okay by their lights, but President Obama's day trips to New York are cause for outrage? This is the kind of pissant criticism that makes you wonder why Michael Steele still has his job. Is this jealousy or simple nincompoop anti-intellectualism? Whatever it is I like having a president who takes his wife up to Broadway. [audio available here]
The following are all of Matthews' teasers and then his anti-RNC rant as it occurred during the "Sideshow," segment of his June 1, edition of "Hardball":
After playing a clip of Rush Limbaugh charging Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor with bigotry and racism, Chris Matthews, on Wednesday's "Hardball," implied Limbaugh was the racist as he asked a guest panelist Jeanne Cummings of the Politico, "Is this the pot calling the kettle black?" To which Cummings responded that the radio talk show host was going to "chase," all the Hispanics away from the GOP:
Well all I know is it's the worst nightmare for the Republicans, I mean they're trying to calculate whether they should vote against her, how aggressively they should try to sort through her record and challenge her during hearings. And with things like that, and all that calculation to try to keep Hispanic support, even as small as it's gotten for Republicans. Rush Limbaugh can chase ‘em all away in an afternoon with that kind of talk." [audio available here]
The following is the full segment as it was aired on the May 27 edition of "Hardball":