Matthews Warns Bad-Boy Bill: 'Behave' for Hillary's Sake!

Does Chris Matthews know something about what Bill Clinton's been up to, so to speak?

Not once, not twice, but no fewer than 12 times in under two minutes on Friday's Hardball, Matthews raised the question of whether the former president would "behave himself," not cause "distractions" with his "private life," etc. Chris' guest was Hillary confidant and campaign aide Ann Lewis, who is also sister to Rep. Barney Frank.

View video here.

Here's how it went:

Matthews: "Is Bill Clinton going to be a problem in this campaign? Is he going to behave himself?

Lewis pretended not to know what Matthews was referring to, answering instead about how Clinton had been around the campaign and traveling around the world to save lives.

Chris continued to pound the point, getting less subtle. He described Bill as a "multi-tasker," meaning he could perform his campaign duties but still have time for extracurricular activities. Again Matthews demanded to know: "Is he going to behave himself? Is he going to behave himself, and not cause publicity that's going to get her embarrassed?"

Again, Lewis answered a question different from the one Matthews was asking. She suggested Chris speak with Schumer and Rahm Emanuel as to the number of campaign appearances Bill had made.

Matthews, yet again: "He's going to behave himself, right? No bad publicity?"

After alluding to a New York Times story speculating about Bill's private life, Matthews yet again asked the question: "so he's going to behave himself? He's going to behave himself so Hillary can be the first woman president?"

And then: "I think it would be great for the country if we were not distracted by what you call 'private life'. And I think the way not to get distracted is to have nothing there to distract us."

Proving that time doesn't fly when you're not having fun, Lewis complained that they had spent three minutes on the subject. It had only been 1 minute, 15 seconds.

In closing, Chris went into virtual Hillary campaign-consultant mode, using Lewis as a vehicle to get his message back to Bill: "I want to have some assurances from people that I trust and like to spread the word that he better watch it. I am watching it."

Got it, Bill? Behave!

Contact Mark at mark@gunhill.net

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.