If NewsBusters were ever to use in its promotional material a photo this unflattering of Hillary Clinton, we'd be accused of the worst kind of sexism, of unfairly attacking a candidate based on her looks rather than her views. Check out the image of Hillary that MSNBC used in its promo of tonight's Hardball with Chris Matthews that aired at 5:59 AM EDT today just before Morning Joe came on the air.
Hillary, shot from below to highlight her wattles, lit like something in a horror flick about to emerge from a closet wielding an ax. If there's a less-becoming snap of Hillary in MSM circulation, I haven't seen it.
View video of promo, and Carlson's comments, here.
Can it be coincidence that on the day it's reported that Keith Olbermann is feuding with Chris Matthews, the Hardball host goes out of his way to shine up the clown prince of Countdown?
As NewsBuster Noel Sheppard has noted, the New York Post, in the course of reporting today that Olbermann has been "lashing out" at his network's talking heads, stated that Olbermann's "feuding with 'Hardball' host Chris Matthews is nothing new."
So on this evening's Hardball, how does Matthews promote tomorrow night's primary coverage that he will be co-anchoring with Olbermann?
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Remember, tomorrow night with Keith Olbermann, we're going to be working together for complete coverage of the Oregon and Kentucky primaries. As I said, for me it's Christmas morning. I don't know how it feels to Keith.
On Monday's "Hardball" Chris Matthews scolded the Georgia Republican Party State Chair for comparing John McCain to Jesus but back in 2007 the MSNBC host declared of Bill Clinton: "There are times when he sounds like Jesus..."
First up, during the "Sideshow" segment of the May 19 show, Matthews delivered the following critique of Georgia Republican Party Chair Sue Everhart:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Now to the most absurd analogy of the day. In praising John McCain for his stoicism while he was tortured in Vietnam, Georgia Republican Party Chair Sue Everhart had this to say about her candidate, quote, "John McCain is kind of like Jesus Christ on the cross." Well I think John Lennon made that mistake when he said the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. Let's cool it with those comparisons.
However, last year Matthews compared Bill Clinton to Jesus and actually won "Quote of the Year," for it at the MRC's 2008 DisHonors Awards. The following quote is from the February 28, 2007 edition of "Hardball:"
On Thursday's "Hardball" Chris Matthews accused George W. Bush of delivering "a sucker punch" to Barack Obama in his speech to the Knesset. In the speech Bush warned against appeasing enemies, which Matthews took to be a cheap shot at the Illinois senator's willingness to talk to the leaders of hostile nations like Iran. [audio available here]
Matthews made the "sucker punch" remark on the May 15, "Hardball" in the following question to the "Dallas Morning News'" Wayne Slater:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me ask you while you're up now Wayne, this question of the President. You've written about "Bush's Brain." What was he up to in the Knesset today with that, well you'd have to call it a sucker punch over there. In the Knesset, in Israel, which was, you know, so much to do with the Holocaust, let's be honest. In terms of the world and the way it looks, the necessity of a state of Israel, a Jewish state. And to go in there and basically accuse the Democrats of selling out the Jews of Europe. I mean an amazing charge right there in, in the homeland! Incredible!
Message to Chris Matthews: when ripping a guest for his lack of historical knowledge, try to avoid making a history mistake of your own in the same segment.
It happened on this afternoon's Hardball. After lambasting a guest for not knowing his Neville Chamberlain history, Matthews surmised that the attack on the USS Cole in October, 2000 happened under . . . President Bush.
Toeing the "Green is Universal,"corporate line, MSNBC's Chris Matthews seemed shocked that anyone would dare question whether climate change was real. During a discussion about John McCain's eco-friendly rhetoric the "Hardball" host was dismayed when conservative radio talk show host Heidi Harris called it a move "to the left," as Matthews decried: "You think climate change is an ideological issue?!"
The following exchange occurred on the May 13 edition of "Hardball:"
Them thar Wellesley gals is so country. Kinda like good ol' "can I git me a huntin' license here" John Kerry, nothing makes Hillary Clinton feel more comfortable than to find herself in the hills and hollers. Thus it was entirely natural, and not at all a cynical campaign ploy, for Hillary to slip into some country vernacular when addressing a Mountain State gathering.
Check out the video, aired on this evening's Hardball, of Hillary speaking in West Virginia today. There was something of a Southern cast to Hillary's accent throughout, but it hit a high note with her "sumpin'."
It's really telling ya a lot about history to point out that it was West Virginia that made it possible for John Kennedy to become president. Now, John Kennedy didn't have the number of delegates he needed, when he went to the convention in 1960, but he had sumpin' equally as important: he had West Virginia behind him. Because, it's a fact, that Democrats don't get elected president unless West Virginia votes for you, and --
Heavens to Murgatroyd! Chris Matthews has reduced Hillary Clinton to a cartoon character. Snagglepuss to be precise. "Exit stage left" was one of the Hanna-Barbera animation's catchphrases, and Matthews used it to wonder whether Hillary was prepared to leave the presidential race, given her flagging political fortunes. Here's how Matthews put it at the top of today's Hardball:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Meanwhile, listen carefully. That sound you hear is the slow falling of electoral delegates, of superdelegates, to Barack Obama. Seven more came aboard today. So with Obama way ahead in elected delegates, now trails Hillary Clinton by only four-and-a-half superdelegates. It didn't help Clinton when her long-time supporter and U.S. congressman Rahm Emanuel of Illinois called Obama today "the presumptive nominee" of his party.
As Snagglepuss flashed on the screen, Matthews wondered out loud: "does Hillary have an exit strategy at this point?"
Four years before Barack Obama gave Chris Matthews a "thrill" up his leg, the senator produced a "chill" in the MSNBC host's leg. On July 27, 2004, during coverage of the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Matthews reacted to Obama's prime-time address by rhapsodizing, "I have to tell ya, a little chill in my, in my legs now." [audio available here]
On February 12, 2008, following primary results in Virginia and Maryland, the "Hardball" host again gushed over Obama, this time after a victory speech. Speaking of the Democratic candidate, he fawned, "I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often." So, first there was the "chill." Four years later, Obama produced a "thrill." One can only imagine what feelings the likely presidential nominee will createfor Chris Matthews's appendages at the 2008 Democratic convention.
Here's something you probably never thought in your wildest dreams you'd hear a Democrat say about MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews:
Do I think he is shamelessly biased and doesn’t care about being biased? Absolutely.
Be still my heart.
As I'm sure you're in as much disbelief as I, and must hear it from the horse's mouth so to speak, the following was reported by The Hill Monday, and somehow slipped underneath the radar until NB member Par for the Course made me aware of it moments ago (emphasis added):
Was it Hardball—or the World Series of Poker? Interviewing Hillary's Howard Wolfson today, Chris Matthews accused the Clinton campaign of playing the white race card. Just minutes later, when Wolfson suggested Matthews might be discriminating against Puerto Rican voters, Chris protested "don't play that card on me."
Are "Totally in the Tank for Obama" media members focusing on Rush Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos" in order to force Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton out of the race?
Consider if you will all of the attention Limbaugh's months-old plan to keep the Democrat nomination process going as long as possible got Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning following Hillary's tough night in North Carolina and Indiana.
Critical update at end of post: El Rushbo sends NewsBusters German article on this subject!
For instance, ABC's Jake Tapper reported the following at his blog late Tuesday evening in a piece called "Is Limbaugh’s Operation Chaos Working?" (emphasis added, picture courtesy Rush Limbaugh.com):
Dittoheads, you've been dissed. Chris Matthews has dismissed you as "manipulable"— mind-numbed robots, you might say. CNBC's John Harwood seconded the snub. It happened on this evening's Hardball as Matthews mused about the potential impact of Operation Chaos on the upcoming primaries.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: How much of a move do you hear, John Harwood, the so-called Operation Chaos is going to play next Tuesday in Indianapolis [sic], the effort by Rush Limbaugh, the lovable Rush Limbaugh, I must say, to encourage Republicans, registered Republicans, to go vote for Hillary just to cause chaos and perhaps get her the nomination? How big a role will that be?
JOHN HARWOOD: My suspicion, Chris, is that's a lot more talk than action. I think there aren't that many voters who can be manipulated in that way to go make trouble in a primary election. And one of the things that's striking--
MATTHEWS: Butwhen you call yourself a "dittohead," it seems to me you've already defined yourself as someone who is, uh, let's put it this way—manipulable.
Chris Matthews invited on former President Jimmy Carter on Tuesday’s "Hardball," and not surprisingly tossed softballs at his former boss and prompted him to weigh-in on Jeremiah Wright as he asked: "Do you think his pastor will be used by people on the right to play the racial card?"
The following exchange occurred on the April 29 edition of MSNBC’s "Hardball":
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Do you think his pastor will be used by people on the right to play the racial card?
JIMMY CARTER: I don't have any doubt. They'll use everything they can by the racial card. That's what the Republicans have done, at least in the South, ever since 1964 when Lyndon Johnson ran against, against Barry Goldwater. And my mother was Lyndon Johnson's campaign, campaign leader in Sumter county. So yeah I think they will use everything they can against Obama if he gets the nomination.
One small step for David Axelrod, one giant leap for Barack Obama away from Jeremiah Wright . . .
When chief Obama strategist Axelrod appeared at the end of this evening's Hardball, I expected him to dodge the current Rev. Wright controversy with some bromide about the reverend's right to express his opinions. But—in evidence of just how badly Wright's current comments are hurting Obama—Axelrod surprised me by acknowledging that he wished Wright hadn't piped up and suggesting that the good reverend's out for Numero Uno. Axelrod did manage to work in a blame-the-media angle.
View video here. [Note: Axelrod comments come after Matthews takes shot at Bill Kristol.]
You're a member of the MSM and a Barack Obama backer. But I repeat myself. More specifically, you're Chris Matthews. What better way to promote your guy's candidacy than to claim that Republicans would really rather run against Hillary?
That's just what the Hardball host did on this afternoon's show. Here's his exchange with the–in my opinion–very impressive Republican strategist Todd Harris, who worked for McCain in 2000, and with Dem strategist Michael Feldman.
In Chris Matthews's mind, a bigot is someone who's "culturally conservative" on race. Matthews equated the two on this evening's Hardball in attempting to explain exit polling from yesterday's PA primary showing that 38% of white Catholic Democrats wouldn't vote for Obama in the general election.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well, somebody who doesn't like that group of voters might call them Archie Bunkers. I'll call them Reagan Democrats, John [Baer of the Philadelphia Daily News], they're Reagan Democrats: people who are culturally conservative, maybe a little culturally conservative on the racial front, on the ethnic front. They like to think of themselves as Democrats on the economic issues, but when it comes to the squeeze, on some of these cultural issues--didn't this all come up earlier about three weeks ago in San Francisco, this conversation.
On Wednesday night's "Hardball," Chris Matthews thought he saw racism in two ads targeted against Barack Obama, but when his media panel full of liberal journalists disagreed he back-pedaled a bit.
First up Matthews ran a clip of what he called a "nasty," ad by the North Carolina Republican Party. The Politico's Roger Simon agreed with Matthews that it was "nasty" but said, he wasn’t sure it was "unfair."
Then Matthews ran an ad hitting Obama for opposing the death penalty in Chicago for gang members and claimed:
"It's a giant permission slip to somebody who doesn't want to vote for him to begin with. And it’s also a permission slip for the Republican Party to use him as a target throughout the general election."
However Simon disagreed with Matthews’ implication that it had a racial tinge as he pointed out:
Update 7:50 PM: Chris Proclaims Polls Closed 1/2 Hour Early! See foot.
The problem with Chris Matthews playing footsie with the idea of running for US Senator from Pennsylvania: when he says something nowadays, how can you tell whether he means it, or is just trying to position himself for a possible run?
Take this evening's Hardball, during which Matthews castigated Joe Lieberman as having been a "terrible" running-mate for Al Gore in 2000. Kiki McLean, a senior Clinton advisor, was Chris's guest. McLean mentioned that she had been an aide to Lieberman in 2000, and to Gore when he was the Veep candidate [1992?]. That set Matthews off.
During Morning Joe's opening segment today, Joe Scarborough, in an apparent allusion to the ambitions Chris Matthews has expressed, facetiously wondered whether the panel should start calling the Hardball host "Senator."
But just a bit later, Scarborough seized on a question Matthews posed to John McCain yesterday to illustrate a classic bit of MSM bias: the way the liberal media only speak of a "litmus test" when it comes to Republicans choosing pro-life nominees, never in regard to Dems picking pro-choicers.
Stephen Colbert called it "an announcement." Chris Matthews went on the Comedy Central show last night and, responding to the host's importuning to declare his candidacy for US Senator from Pennsylvania, ultimately stated: "I want to be a senator."
Over on MSNBC, Morning Joe played a clip of their colleague's appearance, then chewed it over.
STEPHEN COLBERT: There's a lot of talk that you might be running for Arlen Specter's seat.
Not that it comes as a surprise, but should Chris Matthews reveal his pro-Obama rooting interest as blatantly as he did today?
On this evening's Hardball, the man who gets a thrill from Barack expressed "concern" that Hillary might have a stronger-than-expected finish in the Pennsylvania Dem primary. Matthews was reading the tea leaves with two Keystone State pros: Dick Polman of the Philadelphia Inquirer and veteran journalist Larry Kane. After Kane reported that the Obama people are more optimistic than they're letting on, and believe it's going to be a "close finish," Matthews let his Obama slip show in this exchange with Polman.
A week ago I was mystified when Chris Matthews went out of his way to butter up Ed Rendell when the Dem Pennsylvania governor appeared on Hardball, and described the schmoozing here. Now, call it mystery likely solved. According to one account, Matthews has approached Rendell for help in a possible 2010 U.S. Senate run. That seems an ever-more-likely scenario, given Matthews's decidely non-Shermanesque response to a suggestion that he's well-positioned to make a run against Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) in 2010.
The "Hardball" host's intriguing comments came in response to Philly-based radio talk show host Michael Smerconish who speculated on Wednesday's show about the possibility of a Matthews Senate campaign.
Unexpectedly, the former Tip O'Neill aide declined to tamp down the rumor:
On Wednesday's "Hardball" Chris Matthews repeated his charge that neo-cons believe in enforcing human rights only at the "point of gun." During a discussion on protests following the Olympic torch's path to China, "The Financial Times'," Chrystia Freeland pointed out that "neo-cons" as well as liberals, believed in spreading human rights to which Matthews interjected: "Yeah but at the point of a gun!"
The following exchange occurred on the April 9 edition of "Hardball":
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, is this a bit of an elitist issue Chrystia? In other words, college students, people who are perhaps more interested in international events than it is a trade issue?
For those interested in a political giggle this fine Saturday, I recommend a cute sketch done by Comedy Central's Jon Stewart Thursday evening (embedded right).
First, Stewart lampooned Chris Wallace for placing a "24"-style ticker on the screen to illustrate how long it's been since the host of "Fox News Sunday" challenged Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama to come on his program.
Next, Stewart went after "Hardball's" Chris Matthews for his shameless cheerleading for Obama.
Yet, in the end, Obama had the last laugh, deliciously at Matthews' expense (viewers are cautioned about mild vulgarity in the clip):
Like characters in a Currier & Ives scene, a gentle snow has covered the Clintons. Make that a gentle Snow . . .
On yesterday's Hardball, Chris Matthews, smelling a rat, was livid when he learned that the Clintons had failed to file or release their 2007 tax return. But on today's Good Morning America, Kate Snow managed to make a silk purse out of the sow's ear of the Clinton's delay. Far from depicting it as a means to evade the promulgation of inconvenient facts, Snow painted the procrastination as proof of the Clintons' humanity. Compare and contrast . . .
HARDBALL APRIL 4TH
DAVID SHUSTER: As far as the details we do not have the details from last year. We don't have those specific consulting fees for last year.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: I was predicting [that] . . . now Joan [Walsh of Salon.com], it seems to me everybody wanted to know where the Clintons got their income. Is there any sticky income? We're not getting that information. The one thing we were promised to get.
Chris Matthews got Barack Obama one-on-one on Wednesday night as part of "Hardball's College Tour," but didn't admit to getting a "thrill" up his leg from the Illinois senator's appearance. However, Matthews did ask Obama questions mostly from the left, like if he was "tough enough to take the heat," from "right wing radio," and warned him the "Republicans will bring [Jeremiah Wright] back."
On the lighter side, Obama didn't directly address Matthews about his leg tingles but did seem to make an allusion to it in the following exchange:
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about, at any time in this campaign, did you have a chuckle that you just couldn't get rid of? Something weird that happened, that was so crazy that you just went to bed laughing about?
OBAMA: Oh I think that, that happens about once a day. You know? But then I stopped watching cable news.
MATTHEWS: I got another set of cards in the back room.
The following questions from Matthews to Obama occurred on the April 2 edition of "Hardball":
Ed Rendell is too truthful to be a good vice-presidential candidate. Just ask him. The Pennsylvania governor and Hillary supporter was a guest on this afternoon's Hardball. Wrapping up the interview, host Chris Matthews broached his availability as Veep.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Do you think the Democrats have a shot at carrying Florida on the best of conditions this year?
ED RENDELL: Oh, absolutely, absolutely. Particularly when the issues about Social Security are fashioned. I think this is going to be the best chance we've had to carry Florida since 2000.
MATTHEWS: I think Hillary has a better chance than Barack in Florida.
RENDELL: No question.
MATTHEWS: But I think Barack has a better chance if you're his running mate. Would you be available, Governor, to be a running-mate with Barack Obama--
He calls it Hardball, but again tonight Chris Matthews showed he's a softy when it comes to Barack Obama. Chris was crestfallen when NBC News political director Chuck Todd laid out the case, chapter and verse, that political payback, even revenge, explained Sen. Bob Casey's endorsement of Obama as much or more than the "spiritual" reasons Chris so wanted to believe in.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Chuck, I didn’t expect this guy. He’s a very cautious U.S. senator in his first year, his first term, and what did he do? Almost a spiritual announcement he made today: I’ve got to be for Barack.
"After me, the deluge" (après moi, le déluge) -- popularly attributed to Louis XV
Look for Chris Matthews to start calling her "Louie." The Hardball host was as roiled as Robespierre today at Hillary Clinton's threat to take the Dem party down in a convention credentials fight over the seating of the Florida and Michigan delegates.
In the course of an interview with Greta Van Susteren of Fox News yesterday, Clinton made clear her intention to take things to a floor fight if necessary, and went so far as to preemptively undermine Barack Obama's legitimacy as a candidate if he doesn't go along with her proposal to seat the Florida and Michigan delegates. That set Matthews off, though it was panelist Tucker Carlson who supplied the most colorful language, describing Hillary as a "kamikaze" who is "ready to wreck the party."