Like an offensive-line blocking for their quarterback Chris Matthews and the rest of Wednesday night's "Hardball" panel game-planned to protect Barack Obama from what they saw as the coming "vicious" and "nasty" attacks from Republican sack artists in the fall.
On Wednesday night's "Hardball" Matthews, along with NBC's Norah O'Donnell and Newsweek's Howard Fineman continued to gripe about conservative talk show host Bill Cunningham's emphasis of Barack Obama's middle name of Hussein as Matthews worried: "Is this gonna be a vicious, almost ethnic fight, going after the guy because of his heritage, his name and saying, He's gonna sell us out.’ Is that what's coming?"
In the course of offering a tribute to William F. Buckley, Jr. on this afternoon's Hardball, Chris Matthews made a surprising revelation: that he came to political consciousness as a WFB conservative.
You'll find the transcript of the Hardball host's remarks below, but I'd encourage you to view the video, here. See if, like me, you're struck by the heartfelt nature of his comments.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: If you want to influence someone, get to him or her in high school. It's my experience that people at that age are the most impressionable, the most searching for guidance, for example, for purposes. It was in high school that I came under the charm and the influence of William F. Buckley, Jr., the dashing, charismatic young conservative who wrote God and Man at Yale, McCarthy and His Enemies, and founded the wistful, precocious, companionable monthly, National Review. As a high schooler, I could tell you which drugstore got National Review first. I went to hear Bill Buckley at a meeting of the Montgomery County Young Republicans. It was from National Review that I gained my early affection and appetite for political philosophy and argument.
On Tuesday night's "Hardball", Chris Matthews took offense to radio talk show host Bill Cunningham's criticism of Barack Obama, during a John McCain rally, as he called the comments "rotten business" and wondered "Is this now gonna creep into the debate, the discussion? This ethnic stuff and whatever?"
The following exchange occurred on the February 26 edition of "Hardball:"
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well let's take a look at, we had some really rotten business today. Here's radio talk show host Bill Cunningham at a John McCain rally today.
The airwaves have been filled today with the clip of an angry Hillary saying "shame on you, Barack Obama," and another of Clinton mocking the notion that, to believe Barack, "celestial choirs will be singing."
But on this evening's Hardball, Chris Matthews unearthed yet another clip of Hillary at her harshest. And after playing it, a butter-wouldn't-melt-in-his-mouth Matthews ripped the Clinton campaign strategy. Words won't do justice to Clinton's fingernails-on-blackboard tone, but here's what a raspy-voiced Hillary said in the video Matthews played.
HILLARY CLINTON: Quit misleading people about what I do. [Ed.: shades of Bob Dole's unsuccessful line to George H.W in 1988: "stop lying about my record.'] Quit telling people what is not true about my plan. You know, come on: enough is enough! Let's get real here, and compare exactly what both of us stand for!
An interesting thing happened during MSNBC's coverage of Tuesday's primaries: Keith Olbermann humiliated Chris Matthews as studio employees laughed in the background (video after the jump).
As the campaign coverage waned late into the evening, Matthews was interviewing Barack Obama supporter Kirk Watson (D), and was trying to get the Texas state senator to list some of the Illinois senator's legislative accomplishments.
Unfortunately, no matter how many times Matthews asked Watson to name something of importance Obama has done since getting elected to the Senate in November 2004, Watson refused, leading to a very indignant "Hardball" host :
Chris Matthews on this afternoon's Hardball, speaking with Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.).
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Congressman Burton, why do you think Cubans on the island still support the Castro brothers? What is it that allows that lock on those people to continue?
DAN BURTON: I don't think they do support Castro, I don't think they supported Fidel or Raul. That is a Communist regime where they have block captains who watch everybody in each invidual block, and anybody that even speaks out against the government ends up in a gulag.
Slip of the tongue, or was the man who gets a thrill up his leg from Barack Obama's rhetoric voicing his innermost apprehension at the prospect of Hillary Clinton regaining the upper hand?
On this afternoon's Hardball, host Chris Matthews was discussing the March 4th Texas primary with Wayne Slater of the Dallas Morning News, John Heilemann of New York magazine, and Norah O'Donnell. The MSNBCer made the point that under the arcane Texas rules in which the race is a hybrid of caucus and primary, it's possible for one candidate to win the popular vote and the other to walk off with more delegates.
That seemed to trigger Chris's anxiety reflex at the prospect of Hillary getting good publicity . . .
If you had any doubt that low-rated MSNBC host Chris Matthews is completely in the tank for Democrat Barack Obama, take a look at this week's New York Observer.
Before giving you the gag-inducing quotes, I must pause to wonder: Why does anyone allow this man to take part in presidential debates? The Hillary Clinton folks who previously said that Fox News Channel was so hopelessly pro-Republican that it wasn't worth debating on their network have clearly dropped the ball with Matthews. He has no interest in keeping things fair for Clinton.
That's true in spades when it comes to the Republicans, though. As much as he loves John McCain's pandering to liberal journalist sensibilities, there's no chance Chris Matthews will abandon someone he believes is the "New Testament" of politics:
On January 18, Cramer appeared on MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews" and warned if the government didn't intervene and prevent the failure of two large insurance companies, Ambac and MBIA, the Dow Jones Industrial Average would drop 2,000 points in the upcoming weeks. Cramer isn't talking about that sort of collapse anymore.
"For months I was worried about [MBIA CFO] Chuck Chaplin and MBIA (NYSE:MBI) and ABK [Ambac Financial Group, Inc.] (NYSE:ABK)," Cramer said on the January 31 "Street Signs." "Everyone's worried about it now? Why should I be worried about it? When you have a problem on your hands and everyone's worried knows about it, [New York State Superintendent of Insurance] Eric Dinallo to [President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York] Tim Geithner, it's done. It's done."
Can you remember where you were at any point during the four years of the Jimmy Carter presidency?
Most people who were alive don't look favorably toward the economic situation during those years. But MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews, who was gainfully employed as a member of the Carter administration, might look back a little fondly.
The reviews are in and Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama was a bit hit with the crew over at "Hardball." Chris Matthews compared Kennedy to King Arthur and said of the liberal Senator's speech: "Today we got a glimpse of the early 1960s when politics was alive." The Washington Post's Eugene Robinson admitted it gave him "goose-bumps," and MSNBC's Mike Barnicle called it "electric."
On Monday night's "Hardball" the endorsement of Obama by the brother of John F. Kennedy threw the gang at "Hardball" into a wave of '60s nostalgia as they recalled glory days gone by of liberal legends like JFK and RFK.
The following are just some of the exhortations as they occurred on the January 28 edition of "Hardball":
Living in the DC area, Chris Matthews has surely been stuck in traffic more than once behind someone sporting the classic NRA bumper sticker: "If Guns Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Guns." Was Chris was listening too intently to NPR to consider the the truth of that pithy aphorism? You might think so, considering his anti-gun rant that seemed to assume that criminals, rather than law-abiding citizens, will obey restrictions on gun ownership.
On this evening's Hardball, riffing off Mitt Romney's Second Amendment defense during last night's GOP debate, Chris took aim at National Review's Deroy Murdock, a Giuliani backer.
After the Fed made an "emergency" 75-basis-point rate cut this morning, CNBC's "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer, who has gone from bull market cheerleader to bear market doom and gloomer in the last six months, said it was too little too late.
"[T]his is obviously the kind of action I was most fearful of - which is that they would have to go panic and that they would get way behind the curve," Cramer said on CNBC's January 22 "Squawk Box." "But, you know but once they do it, I'm less ... I can't hammer them as much. This is the kind of action if they had done it three months ago, we would have been safe."
On MSNBC's January 18 "Hardball," Cramer predicted the Dow Jones Industrial Average would decline 2,000 points over the next couple of weeks. However, he was a little less pessimistic after this rate cut.
Appearing on Monday night's edition of "Hardball," ESPN host and Philadelphia Inquirer sports reporter Stephen A. Smith declared himself not to be a fan of Rudy Giuliani. When asked by Chris Matthews about what he thought of the former New York mayor's chances to become President, Smith blurted: "It'd be a disaster!....Giuliani is a dictator as far as I'm concerned."
On Tuesday, in a report concerning MSNBC's Keith Olbermann publishing his first article at the liberal website Daily Kos, NewsBusters pointed out that the "Countdown" host certainly "knows exactly who his audience is, and exactly what they want."
This observation was demonstrably confirmed by Olbermann himself on Friday when in his second posting at DKos, he actually apologized to readers for having Lawrence O'Donnell on as a guest the night before.
I kid you not.
To set this up, as NewsBusters reported last Friday, O'Donnell had written an article at the Huffington Post harshly critical of Democrat presidential candidate John Edwards.
This didn't sit well with the Kos Kidz, nor, according to Olbermann, did O'Donnell's appearance on "Countdown" Thursday evening (emphasis added, h/t NB reader Thomas Stewart and Inside Cable News):
After playing a clip of Hillary Clinton slamming George W. Bush as "pathetic", during the Democratic debate in Nevada, Chris Matthews compared Clinton to former British Prime Minister and Cold War hero Margaret Thatcher as he exclaimed of the former First Lady's attack on the President: "It just struck me as very Thatcher-ite!"
The following exchange occurred between Matthews and fellow MSNBC host Tucker Carlson on the January 16, "Hardball":
On Friday's Hardball, during the show's regular "Big Number" segment, Chris Matthews went after Mike Huckabee for quipping during Thursday's FNC presidential debate that those who attack the American military should be prepared to see the "gates of hell," as the MSNBC host asked if we're all "learning to talk like jihadists now," and contended that Huckabee's comments earn him a "10" on the "irresponsibility scale." Notably, Huckabee's remark was very popular with "Republican-leaning" focus group participants as shown by pollster Frank Luntz Thursday night during FNC's post-debate coverage, as the former Arkansas governor's words scored around 90 percent in terms of approval. (Transcript follows)
Anchoring MSNBC's live coverage of the Iowa caucus, "Hardball" host Chris Matthews couldn't contain his excitement for Barack Obama. Even before the results came in Matthews predicted an Obama victory would be: "The shot heard 'round the world. This is Lexington and Concord with the target being not King George but President George this time."
Matthews also claimed Iowa Democrats delivering a win for Obama could only be seen as a "rebuke" of Bush: "There's no doubt about it. And there's no way to read it except as a rebuke to President Bush."
On the eve of the Iowa caucuses Chris Matthews seemed to be issuing marching orders to Democratic voters as he declared that only a Barack Obama victory would send the message to the world that a "despised" America was truly ready to "change." In the event of an Obama win Matthews offered the following preview of his election night spin on the January 2 edition of MSNBC's "Hardball":
Credit Chuck Todd for candor. The NBC News Political Director has acknowledged that the media is poised to take a third-place finish by John McCain in Iowa, declare him the winner and catapult the Arizona senator to victory in New Hampshire. Todd appeared with the Politico's Roger Simon on this afternoon's Hardball.
FNC's morning anchors highlighted a few of the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2007" on the Monday edition of "Fox and Friends." Included were a quote of MSNBC's Chris Matthews comparing Bill Clinton's speaking ability to that of "Jesus at the temple" when the former President spoke at Coretta King's funeral, and a quote of comedian Bill Maher commenting that if [Vice President Cheney] died, "more people would live." FNC co-anchor Alisyn Camerota joked that Matthews has a "man crush" on former President Clinton: "I think he has a man crush on Bill Clinton. He's using such rhapsodic language. I believe he has a crush on Bill."
At the end of the year, people always have, news outfits always have these "best of" lists and stuff like that. Over at the Media Research Center, what they did was they took a look at some of the outrageous things that people in the public eye said in the past year. And we're going to play this little game. Who do you think said this? We're going to do a quote, and then you try to figure out who said it.
Any man who is under 30 and is not a liberal has no heart; and any man who is over 30 and not a conservative has no brains. - Winston Churchill
I guess we know what old Winston would think of Chris Matthews, then. Appearing on Morning Joe today, the Hardball host turned the Churchillian maxim upside down, claiming his gut leans right but his head pulls him left.
Chris was conversing with MJ panelist Mika Brzezinski. After calling her "a cutie pie and "very smart," he continued.
Chris Matthews was in full flight on today's Morning Joe, vividly expressing himself on everything from the historic shockwaves that an Obama Iowa victory would send, to Media Matters's role as a Hillary front, to the attitude of NewsBusters. But the Hardball host was especially animated in describing the way the Clintons use intimidation to keep people in line.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: In the world, in the universe, the biggest American political story of modern times if Obama wins the Iowa caucuses. It will be all over the world; it will sweep the headlines in every newspaper in the world: friend, foe or neutral. It will be the Third World story of the century, of the last century [Barack's Time Machine?], the biggest story of modern Third World history, really, if Obama wins the American presidential caucus in Iowa.
Ed Rollins is Mike Huckabee's National Campaign Chairman. Appearing on this evening's Hardball, the renowned political consultant declined to say that Romney's religion wasn't relevant to the campaign. For good measure, Rollins suggested that a senior Romney aide is . . . an atheist.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Does faith bring you guys together or separate you?
ED ROLLINS: Well, first of all, you and I are Catholics and Ron [Kaufman, senior Romney aide], are you still an atheist or have you basically converted, now that you're rich?
As noted here, Chris Matthews yesterday named former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack a member of Hillary's "eunuchs chorus," people he derided for "saying whatever the Clinton people told them to say." Today, Matthews might be claiming vindication. In an MSNBC interview with Andrea Mitchell, Vilsack parroted Hillary's word-'o-the-week--"change"--no fewer than eight times.
View the edited video clip of Vilsack crooning Hillary's "Change Chorus" here.
Despite his war wounds, can Bob Kerrey still kick Chris Matthews' butt? We might soon find out, because on this evening's Hardball Matthews lumped Kerrey into a group of Clinton sycophants he derided as "castratos" and a "eunuch chorus."
Chris was kvetching about the way a variety of Hillary Clinton supporters including Kerrey have lined up to take shots at Barack Obama. In endorsing Hillary yesterday, the former Nebraska senator went out of his way to draw attention to Obama's Muslim background.
"Does Bill Clinton want his wife to win this thing?" Chris Matthews teased as he opened the December 17 "Hardball." After all, the former president, Matthews added later, was full of "chutzpah" and "a total card shark" in his December 14 interview with Charlie Rose.
Clinton told Rose essentially that Barack Obama should take a page from his decision not to run for president in 1988. The former president told Rose he concluded an '88 run was unwise due to his lack of political experience. Neither Matthews, nor guests Howard Fineman of Newsweek and Linda Douglass of National Journal were buying it.
It certainly won't come as a surprise to NewsBusters readers that MSNBC's Keith Olbermann is more separated from reality than virtually any member of the media.
Still, the idea this former sportscaster and current liberal commentator actually considers what he does as "really journalism" should shock and disgust any member of said profession, even Bill Moyers who had Olbermann as a guest on Friday's "Journal."
Wonderfully, referring to himself as a journalist wasn't the only hysterical utterance from Olbermann during this interview, as he also had the unmitigated audacity to criticize conservative radio host Michael Savage for "basically just spattering invective on people he didn't like."
Hey, Keith, have you ever actually watched your program or read a transcript?
Those Clinton campaigners sure know how to slip the "subliminable" shiv in. Yesterday, chief Hillary strategist Mark Penn managed to work "cocaine use" into his comments while supposedly disassociating the campaign from charges of Obama drug use made by Hillary's New Hampshire chairman. See video of Penn in action here.
Today, it was the turn of Hillary supporter Evan Bayh to whack Barack while pretending to take the high road. A bit after 3 PM ET this afternoon, the Dem senator from Indiana with the Eagle Scout aura [who might well have his eye on the VP slot] was being interviewed by MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell about the current turmoil in Camp Clinton.