Appearing on the Monday, July 21, Tonight Show, MSNBC host Chris Matthews defended his declaration from last February that a Barack Obama speech caused him to feel a "thrill going up my leg," and suggested he really is not biased in the presidential race as he contended that "I’m a freaking American" and "who I’m rooting for" is "us." Referring to Obama having "seen on both sides of that San Andreas Fault of race in this country," Matthews effused that Obama was "inspiring." Matthews: "I was inspired by it, and I said so at the time, and I took some heat for it, but I’d rather be honest and say what I feel ...You know, I mean, I'm a freaking American. I do have a reaction to things, and I do react emotionally to my country. I care about this country. I want to look out for it. It's my job. I'm not just some umpire. You know, I take a side: Us. That's who I'm rooting for." Video of Matthews' "thrill" comment from February 12 can be found here.
But after seeming to claim that he was not cheering for either candidate, as he discussed the expected closeness of the election, Matthews focused on his fear that many 70- and 80-year-olds will be "suspicious of change," which sounds like a reference to Obama, as he advised the elderly to "think like your kids for once." Matthews: "I hope one thing. When people go to vote, they look at the guy's background, they look at the age of the two candidates, they look at their abilities and really open up their hearts and say what's really good for my kids, who don't have any color awareness. Kids don't think about that, race. Think like your kids for once. Think the way they think. It would be great if the older people in the country, the 70-year-olds, the 80-year-olds who are suspicious of change, to say, ‘You know, why don't I think the way my kids are thinking and think about the future?’ Whatever they decide, just open up your heart to this prospect of something different. That's what I hope we do." (Transcript follows)
The screencap captures it nicely: Heather Wilson, smiling. Robert Wexler, mouth agape. On this afternoon's Hardball, the feisty, brilliant [bio: high honors Air Force Academy grad, Rhodes Scholar] GOP representative from New Mexico took on the duo of the combative congressman from Florida and host Chris Matthews, and walked away a winner. The subject was Obama's Berlin speech, and by extension his presidential qualifications.
You'll find excerpts below, but they don't do begin to do justice to Wilson's brio and the coolness under verbal fire she displayed. That's why I'd strongly encourage readers to view the video. Wilson kicked off her tour de force in commenting on a clip of Obama in his Berlin speech proclaiming that various walls, including one between American and Europe, "cannot stand" and must be torn down.
Barack Obama is still giving Chris Matthews thrills. On Thursday night's "Hardball," before throwing to an Obama clip, Matthews gave the following rave review, on his July 24 show, to the Illinois senator's speech in Germany:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: What, what do you make of this? Let's take another bite here because it was quite a speech. You have to judge for yourself but the speech had its thrill factor, certainly once again. Here he was.
However Matthews wasn't in such a jovial mood near the end of the program.
Apparently it's not just the American press corp that has fallen head over heels for Barack Obama. On Wednesday night's "Hardball," NBC News' Martin Fletcher revealed the quote that "went rushing around the media" in Israel was that a Shimon Peres female assistant remarked of Obama, "What a hunk!"
When asked by MSNBC host Chris Matthews, on the July 23 "Hardball," to give his assessment of the media coverage given to Obama in Israel, Fletcher dropped the following nugget:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me ask you Martin for a final question there, as Barack Obama leaves the Middle East. What's the general assessment of the people over there, in terms of news coverage? Has he shown himself to be a commander-in-chief, potentially?
When a writer for the New York Times questions his own paper, for refusing to publish an editorial by John McCain, and a former Clinton press secretary questions the "balance" of the coverage of Obama’s foreign tour, you know the media has reached a bias tilting point.
On Tuesday night's "Hardball," New York Times political writer John Harwood said of the Times decision to spike a McCain editorial: "I was surprised that they did not take it, especially having just run Barack Obama."
And former Bill Clinton press secretary, Dee Dee Myers, called the press coverage of Obama overseas, "extraordinary" and admitted: "It’s legitimate question. Is the press coverage between the two candidates balanced?"
The following segment occurred on the July 22, "Hardball:"
For years Chris Matthews has been proclaiming defeat in Iraq, on an almost nightly basis, on "Hardball" but on Tuesday night he finally admitted the success of the surge that John McCain supported. However, the MSNBC host claimed it would be Barack Obama that would get to enjoy the spoils.
After Newsweek's Howard Fineman suggested, "We're not losing," and pointed out the surge success would make it easier for a troop pullout, Matthews admitted the following:
MATTHEWS: Senator McCain wanted the surge to work, it worked politically and Barack Obama is the beneficiary. Not exactly the right development, politically, for him.
Matthews began the segment by playing a clip of McCain criticizing Obama on the war but then wondered if the Republican presidential nominee, "should take it back?"
The following is the full exchange as it occurred on the July 22, "Hardball":
Andrea Mitchell might be a doyenne of the liberal media, but she has her reporter's pride and principles, which have been trampled by the way the Obama campaign has managed the media during the candidate's current trip to Afghanistan and Iraq. Mitchell let loose on this evening's Hardball, speaking of "fake interviews," and decrying that she was unable to report on pertinent aspects of the trip because the media has been excluded and that the video released is unreliable because it's impossible to know what has been edited out.
Before Mitchell made her displeasure known, Roger Simon of Politico, Chris Matthews's other guest during the segment, depicted the images coming out of the war zone as all Obama could have dreamed of.
ROGER SIMON: The optics are all very good on this trip. I mean, the beginning of this trip is so good, Senator Obama might just want to call off the end and just keep running the videotape.
Once again MSNBC president Phil Griffin is claiming that his cable outlet is not liberal on purpose. (I know what you're saying, if you believe that he has a bridge to sell you) In an interview with a TV reviewer for the Kansas City Star, Griffin once again made the claim that the extreme leftward tilt that MSNBC has taken over the last few years was a complete accident and that they aren't "tied to ideology" like Fox News is. Griffin also attacked Fox News saying that, "you can't trust a word they say."
It all started when Aaron Barnhart of the Star asked Griffin for his reaction to statements made by Fox News executive John Moody who said that MSNBC only gained their current market share because of the "messianic ranting" of its anchors, Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews. This set Griffin off at the outset of the interview.
What if someone gave a war & Nobody came? Life would ring the bells of Ecstasy and Forever be Itself again. -- from"Graffiti," poem by Allen Ginsberg .
Maybe so. But what of the converse? What if someone sued for peace but the enemy didn't go along? That was the gist of General David Petraeus's observation today on the Obama withdrawal plan. Petraeus made his comments in the course of an interview with Andrea Mitchell, in Baghdad. A clip of the interview was aired on this evening's Hardball, with Mike Barnicle sitting in for Chris Matthews.
MIKE BARNICLE: Andrea, earlier today, you had an interview with General David Petraeus, and I'd like to play a clip of it when you asked General Petraeus about Obama's 16-month plan, and here was his response to you.
DAVID PETRAEUS: It depends on the conditions; depends on the mission set. It depends on the enemy. The enemy does get a vote and is sometimes an independent variable. Lots of different factors, I think, that would be tied up in that and the dialogue on that, and the amount of risk. Because it eventually comes down to how much risk various options entail. That's the kind of discussion I think that is very important as we do look to the future.
Greta Van Susteren is quickly becoming one of Fox News's most ardent defenders against attacks from the ultra-left.
Writing about Netroots Nation -- the gathering in Austin, Texas, of the most liberal people in America -- Greta bashed her former network CNN as well as MSNBC, Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, and all those in attendance.
Fasten those seatbelts tightly, for Greta, in a blog posting Friday morning, wasn't taking prisoners (emphasis added, h/t TVNewser, photo courtesy FNC):
I have my issues with Pat Buchanan. Anyone who writes a book arguing we should have found a modus vivendi with Hitler isn't necessarily high on my list. Still, when it comes to spot-on analysis of the political scene, Pat is without peer. But when Buchanan—his own opposition to the Iraq war notwithstanding—argued on this evening's Hardball that McCain's support for the surge is a winning issue for him, it drove Chris Matthews into such a frenzy he was reduced to a reality-defying scream that the surge isn't working.
Air America's Mark Green was along for the bumpy ride. An extended clip was rolled of McCain at a town hall in New Mexico saying that he knows how to win wars, that Obama was wrong to oppose the surge, and that he McCain will build on the Iraq experience to lead us to success in Afghanistan.
On Monday's "Hardball" Chris Matthews was so upset about the New Yorker's cover, depicting Barack Obama in a turban and Michelle Obama toting an AK-47, because he feared "the right will be using that as t-shirt material within the next couple of weeks."
Matthews, along with The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza and the Atlantic Media's Ronald Brownstein also insulted all the non-New Yorker subscribers who didn't get the joke as unsophisticated, or as Lizza put it, "a little slow."
The following exchanges occurred on the July 14 edition of "Hardball:"
If there's one person in the NBC news stable who combines solid analytical skills with a commitment to fairness, it could be political director Chuck Todd. Evidence thereof comes from no less a certified conservative source than Tom DeLay. Appearing on this evening's Hardball just after Todd had offered his breakdown of the electoral map, DeLay allowed that he "can't dispute" any of Todd's analysis, prompting Chris Matthews to exclaim "that's a development for us here: objective truth for you!"
So what was that Todd analysis that DeLay didn't dispute? There was much to it, but for present purposes let's focus on this: Todd can't see how Obama wins without Pennsylvania, and that having former governor Tom Ridge on the McCain ticket would help deliver the Keystone State. The catch is that Ridge is pro-choice, which in turn poses the question of whether pro-life Republicans would revolt if McCain chose him for the veep slot.
You'd think Chris Matthews might wish Howard Wolfson well on the news that the former top aide to Hillary Clinton has joined Fox News as a Dem analyst. Think again. The Hardball host has ungraciously predicted that the move to Fox could spell the end of Wolfson—and in doing so revealed his own pop-culture roots.
Here was Matthews on this evening's Hardball:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Fox News loves presenting itself as the alternative to the other news networks. Roger Ailes, the guy behind the network, figures that the Hillary campaign needs a new home, now that she's out of the race for president. So, abracadabra, Howard Wolfson, the voice of the Hillary campaign, has just been hired by—you guessed it—Fox News. Wolfson has just signed a contract as a regular contributor. He told the New York Times, quote, "it is important to have a strong progressive voice on the network." Well I think it's the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Reminds me of a movie: it's called Howards End.
What do you do when you just can't win your ratings time slot? Answer: Cook the books. That's what MSNBC tried to do regarding "Hardball with Chris Matthews" and the 5:00pm slot:
CNN and Fox News Channel both pointed out Tuesday that MSNBC included special coverage of Tim Russert’s death and memorial in its June data ratings for Hardball With Chris Matthews – prompting MSNBC to say it made an error.
The flap was over a press release that MSNBC issued, based on Nielsen data, with the headline “MSNBC’s ‘Hardball’ No. 1 Among Adults in June at 5 p.m.”
See Bonus Video at foot: Mika Victimized by Retching Rover!
In polite liberal circles, Ralph Nader's suggestion that Barack Obama "wants to talk white" and avoid appearing like another Jesse Jackson is infra dig. Take, for example, Joan Walsh's reaction on yesterday's Hardball. Said the editor of Salon.com:
I don't think that racism is too strong a word for what he said.
Added NY Times columnist Bob Herbert:
It's a lousy, reprehensible comment.
But as uncomfortable as Nader's statement might make some people, could there be a kernel of truth to it? Joe Scarborough seems to think so. And even Prof. Michael Dyson—Obama fan and commentator on matters racial—seemed to acknowledge that "ghetto-speak" would hurt Barack, going so far as to imitate the kind of street accent that could damage the candidate's campaign.
If we're going to promote a candid discussion of race in our country, we can't jump down the throat of everyone who ventures onto the racial minefield. Rather than finding offense in Roger Simon's suggestion that choosing Bobby Jindal as his VP running-mate would hurt John McCain among racist voters, I propose we simply analyze it. Here's what Simon said on this evening's Hardball, as guest host Mike Barnicle led the Politico reporter and Newsweek's Howard Fineman through a tour d'horizon of possible VP picks.
MIKE BARNICLE: Interesting new Republican face, Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana.
ROGER SIMON: Interesting. Young. Very young, almost too young to run, not quite, he gets over the constitutional limit. But I gotta raise the delicate subject: if you're John McCain, and you know that you're going to get an 'x' percentage of votes based on race, do you pick a dark-skinned vice-presidential candidate, who some people are going to say–wrongly—is black, is a Hindu converted to Catholicism, who's an Indian-American? You know, none of that should matter in American politics, but is it a safe choice, or is it a choice that is going to get everybody chattering? I think McCain is going to go for a safer choice than that.
When Georgia Republicans ran an ad against former Senator Max Cleland, which included a photograph of Osama bin Laden, attacking the Democratic Senator's numerous votes to apply labor union rules to the Homeland Security Department, liberals were outraged as they claimed the ad was an attack on the "patriotism" of war hero Cleland. MSNBC host Keith Olbermann expressed outrage by mentioning the attack on Cleland several times in the last few years as he claimed that Cleland was "cut down," "sandbagged," "blindsided," "cheap shotted," "mugged," "hamstrung," and subjected to a "hatchet job," in part because of the inclusion of the bin Laden photograph.
But Olbermann himself recently employed a photograph of Osama bin Laden as he teased a story contending that "John McCain's top guy [Phil Gramm] on the economy made it easier for bin Laden," and charging that Gramm was "on the side of the terrorists' bankers before and after 9/11." The MSNBC host has also accused McCain of "betraying" U.S. troops, and has suggested that McCain does not "understand [the] risk and sacrifice" of U.S. troops serving in Iraq, and that he has "abandoned" them. He even went so far as to suggest that McCain has ulterior motives for supporting an extended U.S. presence in Iraq because he supports "war-profiteering" by U.S. firms who would benefit. And Olbermann once mocked McCain as "awol" during as Senate vote because he was at a fund-raiser "supporting himself instead of the troops." (Transcripts follow)
Chris Matthews was not happy and seemed overly sensitive when John McCain compared Barack Obama to his old boss Jimmy Carter. On Tuesday night's "Hardball," after Matthews played a clip of McCain saying Obama was running for "Carter's second" term, he declared "I don't like it," and tried to write the attack off by saying not enough voters "even remembered voting for the guy."
The following exchanges occurred throughout the June 10 edition of "Hardball":
JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC: Look John McCain has a more complicated task because he's got to try to discredit Obama but also say he's not gonna be like George Bush either. And I think the difficulty of this task is highlighted by, you look at the examples, Barack Obama is saying John McCain would be George Bush's third term and McCain comes back with Jimmy Carter. Well you know there are a lot of voters out there saying, "And who was Jimmy Carter exactly?" They don't remember that.
Chris Matthews put the choice before voters in 2008 in the starkest terms possible on Tuesday's "Hardball" as he claimed a vote for McCain was akin to staying on a sinking Titanic and a vote for Obama was a chance at "deliverance."
CHRIS MATTHEWS OPENING SHOW: You're on this big comfortable ocean liner and it's starting to sink. Do you board the little life boat or stay on the big ship with the light still shining, the band still playing? You're the American voter, the year is 2008 and you've got till November to decide. Let's play Hardball!
Vote Obama: it's a matter of life or death! That's essentially how Chris Matthews characterized the choice confronting voters this November. Matthews not only put voting for Obama in the category of something to be done to "save your life," he analogized voting for McCain to a decision to remain on the Titanic rather than man the lifeboats.
The Hardball host was a guest on today's Morning Joe.
Keith Olbermann is not good for the news industry.
Such was the opinion of former Los Angeles Times television critic and Pulitzer Prize winner Howard Rosenberg in a rather scathing article published Saturday.
Adding delicious insult to injury, Rosenberg didn't have very nice things to say about Chris Matthews, Dan Abrams, MSNBC, or that network's obvious love affair with Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama either.
Here were some of his candid observations (emphasis added, h/t TVNewser):
For well over a year, NewsBusters has been reporting the media's almost romantic obsession with Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama.
This unprofessional infatuation eventually became so obvious that press members themselves have been openly discussing it for the past couple of months.
With this in mind, conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin absolutely skewered two of the most obvious Obama lovers during his program Wednesday, describing the "slobbering" that happens when "the news in this country is turned over to politicians, or the staffers of politicians."
Playing audio clips of NBC's Tim Russert and MSNBC's Chris Matthews, Levin accurately demonstrated how the sycophantic adoration exhibited by the press for the junior senator from Illinois during this campaign is a bias and a journalistic disgrace likely worse than anything Americans have ever witnessed concerning a presidential candidate.
Chris Matthews looked at Barack and Michelle last night, and saw Jack and Jacqueline. Opening this evening's Hardball, the host was almost overcome by emotion in describing the scene of Obama's victory speech last night in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Here was Chris, discussing the matter with NBC's Andrea Mitchell, Roger Simon of Politico, and Ed Gordon of BET.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let's dwell for one moment at least on the man who won last night. I swear. I had no idea this would ever happen in America. I don't know if it will ever happen again. This is a trend, I don't know, this is an odd occurrence. But it was . . . spectacular.
. . .
Last night's magic moment for a lot of Americans. In fact, me included. I, that picture is right out of Camelot, as far as I'm concerned.
Chris Matthews took to the air on MSNBC's "Hardball," just moments after former Obama fundraiser Tony Rezko was convicted on fraud and money laundering charges, but Matthews wasn't about to let that bit of breaking news ruin the moment, as he never mentioned the conviction once on the hour long program.
However, he did find time, during the 5 PM EDT edition of Wednesday's Hardball, to gush about Obama's "magic moment" with his wife Michelle:
On an evening where Barack Obama was on the verge of clinching the Democratic nomination and there was news that Hillary Clinton wanted in on the ticket, it was all too much for Chris Matthews to handle. The "Hardball" host couldn't contain his glee as he blurted on the 5pm edition of Tuesday night's show: "I'm getting giggles!"
Matthews made the following admission as he concluded a panel segment, with the "Politico's" Roger Simon and NBC's Andrea Mitchell and Chuck Todd, that discussed such topics as Obama's locking up the nomination and the possibility of Hillary Clinton landing the VP spot, on the June 3 "Hardball":
When Karl Rove went on Fox and suggested former White House press secretary Scott McClellan sounded like a left-wing blogger in his book, he was hardly alone. Reporter Mike Allen of the Politico completely endorsed that view on a giddy Wednesday night "special edition"of MSNBC’s "Hardball" exploiting the McClellan book, even though he thought the valiant David Gregory yelling at a series of press secretaries proved them wrong. MRC’s Geoff Dickens sent me the transcript:
MIKE ALLEN, POLITICO: The other great power of this book is that it validates, as David [Gregory] said, these criticisms that have come from the liberal and left wing bloggers.
ALLEN: Most especially his point that the White House press corps was too deferential to this administration. David and I have fought back about those charges over the years. Largely because of the work of people like David Gregory it just wasn’t true. But now the left can say, "Even Scott McClellan says you guys were too easy on the Bushies."
"I'm not fit to be a Senator. I'm not fit to live. Expel me! Expel me! Not him. Every word that boy said is the truth! Every word about Taylor and me and graft and the rotten political corruption of our state. Every word of it is true. I'm not fit for office! I'm not fit for any place of honor or trust. Expel me!"—Claude Rains as the corrupt Sen. Joseph Paine in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"
Chris Matthews has broken out a Jimmy Stewart/Mr. Smith Goes to Washington analogy to assess Scott McClellan's book. Here's how the Hardball host put it on this afternoon's show:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: When you read the book, it reads like Claude Rains in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. You know: "everything the guy says is true." I mean, he's admitting that the other guy–the good guy's–right. I mean, if that's your perspective.
I haven't seen Chris Matthews this excited since a Barack Obama speech sent a certain sensation skyward.
The Hardball host is in an absolute frenzy over Scott McClellan's allegations. So much so that guests on this evening's show are having a hard time expressing themselves as Matthews expounds at length. Ari Fleischer finally called Chris on it. And while David Gregory didn't express his ire in words, his facial expression left little doubt as to his annoyance at being cut off in mid-sentence.
The screencap shows Gregory's grimace. But be sure to view the video here to get the full effect. A bit later, former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer appeared. He could be seen on many occasions attempting to speak, only to be submerged in a sea of ceaseless Matthews chatter. Talk at one point turned to VP Cheney's involvement in policy-making. Fleischer was again repeatedly frustrated in his attempts to talk, and finally had enough.