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."
Hardball had some fun this evening at Hillary's expense over the mystery of The Sniper Who Didn't Fire. Credit Politico's Roger Simon with the most devastating remark.
Hillary's heroic claim has been that "we used to say in the White House that if a place is too dangerous, too small or too poor, send the First Lady." Simon said what in retrospect might be obvious but something I hadn't previously heard anyone else observe.
ROGER SIMON: She says I was there because it was too dangerous for the President. It was too dangerous--so he sent his wife and only child? It makes no sense.
The Big Three Networks and Their Plan to Protect Obama (PPO)Why did it take until Thursday March 13, 2008, for the nation to begin to learn about Barack Obama's pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright? The man whose Trinity United Church of Christ Obama has attended and generously funded for seventeen years? Whom he had publicly and repeatedly cited as his mentor and had named as a campaign advisor? Whom he chose to perform his wedding and baptize his two daughters?
Because, until then, we were in the midst of Phase I -- preventative medicine -- of the media's version of campaign health care for the Senator's Presidential bid. Call it the Plan to Protect Obama (PPO).
The Reverend Wright story had been percolating beneath the surface for several years. It finally broke through to widespread dissemination last week. A picture is worth a thousand words -- moving pictures with audio of Wright's anti-American, paranoid rantings from the pulpit have finally inspired many more than that.
Somebody better break it to the New York Times: they might still be the paper of record in their own minds, but to the rest of the world they're just one more dead-tree joint struggling for attention.
The Old Grey Lady's unjustified conceit was on display during this afternoon's Hardball, when one of its columnists was aghast that Chris Matthews had had the audacity not to have read her oeuvre.
Deborah Solomon, who has a weekly column in the NYT Sunday magazine, had interviewed the Rev. John Hagee, a minister who has endorsed McCain and has made a number of controversial statements. I'd mention in passing that while Hagee's critics have accused him of anti-Semitism, he has in fact received numerous awards from Jewish groups for his steadfast support of Israel.
Reciting three quotes highlighted Tuesday night on NewsBusters (and the MRC's Wednesday CyberAlert), plus one from CNN's Campbell Brown which we missed, FNC's Brit Hume led his “Grapevine” segment Wednesday night by illustrating how “Barack Obama's speech on race yesterday played to rave reviews in much of the national media.” Hume recounted:
On NBC, the Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart said the address was, quote, "a very important gift the Senator has given the country." NBC's own Chris Matthews said it was, quote, "worthy of Abraham Lincoln" and quote "the best speech ever given on race in this country." ABC's George Stephanopoulos said Obama's refusal to renounce his highly controversial pastor was, quote, "in many ways an act of honor." And on CNN, Campbell Brown called the speech "striking" and "daring," asserting that Obama had, quote, "walked the listener through a remarkable exploration of race from both sides of the color divide, from both sides of himself."
On Tuesday night's "Hardball", Chris Matthews praised the current Democratic frontrunner's speech on race 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." Of Barack Obama's speech in Philadelphia today, Matthews went on to declare: "I think this is the kind of speech I think first graders should see, people in the last year of college should see before they go out in the world. This should be, to me, an American tract."
The following comments from Matthews on Obama's speech occurred on the March 18 edition of MSNBC's "Hardball":
CHRIS MATTHEWS OPENING THE SHOW: A divide as American as the Grand Canyon, a speech worthy of Abraham Lincoln. Let's play Hardball!
On Thursday night’s "Hardball," Chris Matthews compared Barack Obama's writing abilities to those of the great American writer Mark Twain. Prompted by Philadelphia radio talk show host Michael Smerconish’s praise of Obama's first book "Dreams From My Father," the "Hardball" host effused: "It's almost like Mark Twain. It's so American, it's so textured."
The following exchange occurred on the March 13 edition of MSNBC’s "Hardball:"
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I think that this argument that he's an empty suit is gonna get tested and proven false. I just finished and have spent all week long, reading to my radio audience excerpts of "Dreams From My Father," Barack Obama's first book. And I'm telling your audience on "Hardball," if you want to know what makes this guy tick forget the grandiose, highfalutin speeches this is the real deal.
On Tuesday's Hardball, MSNBC host Chris Matthews voiced agreement with New York Times columnist Orlando Patterson, a Harvard sociology professor, as he read a passage from Patterson's latest column during which the Harvard professor declared that, in watching Hillary Clinton's recent campaign ad questioning Barack Obama's qualifications for handling a 3:00 a.m. emergency, he "couldn't help but think of D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation, the racist movie epic that helped revive the Klu Klux Klan with its portrayal of black men lurking in the bushes around white society." Declaring that the ad reminded him more of "a 911 call than 9/11" with "a mother protecting her kids from a prowler outside," Matthews declared such an ad "would be racist." (Transcript follows)
Obama still has his fans in the MSM, or Hillary her detractors . . .
Appearing on this afternoon's Hardball, the seemingly mild-mannered Evan Thomas of Newsweek took a surprisingly tough shot at Clinton, disputing the very premise of her now-famous "it's 3 AM" ad. Discussing Hillary's comeback, Evans offered his blunt assessment with no real prompting.
EVAN THOMAS: What I don't get about this ad, the whole idea about 3 AM is you want coolness and detachment, right? She's not cool and detached. She's either really hot and angry, or she's icy cold and tough. But I don't think of her as cool. I think of Obama as being the cool, detached guy. Now maybe he doesn't have the experience, but I think if you peel this onion, there's something about it that just doesn't make sense to me. She doesn't strike me as the person who's the cool, detached, steady person at the other end of the phone.
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":