Mixed-Up in the Morning: Matthews Discusses 'Ann Edwards' Dust-up

Update (Ken Shepherd | 09:16 EDT): Matthews appeared with Joe Scarborough a few minutes ago on MSNBC to discuss the matter. Expect more coverage in a followup post on NewsBusters shortly.

Chris Matthews should keep his evening job. Appearing on this morning's "Today," the Hardball host was manifestly bleary and off his game.

Matthews was in, at 7:12 am EDT, to discuss with "Today" co-host Meredith Vieira the dust-up on last night's "Hardball," reported here by NewsBuster Geoffrey Dickens, between Ann Coulter and Elizabeth Edwards. Matthews couldn't keep his names straight. He first referred to Coulter as "Ann Edwards," then recycled the "Ann Edwards" moniker in referring to Elizabeth Edwards.

HARDBALL HOST CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well that was a pretty tough [translation: pro-Coulter] crowd, and if you think Ann Edwards is over the top, she had a lot of people behind her last night who agreed with her.

And later . . .

MATTHEWS: Unfortunately, you're dealing with a real-life situation with Ann Edwards' medical challenges, which we all know about, and the fact that they did lose their son Wade, and you don't make jokes about that.

View video here.

Hear that, Ann Edwards? Stop taking those shots at Ann Edwards and her husband, John Obama.

Speaking of shots, Matthews took one at the readers of Ann's [Coulter, in this case] books.

MATTHEWS: She's an agent provocateur, she sells huge numbers of books, because I think a lot of relatively boring guys like to walk around carrying her books, to be honest with you.

JOURNALISTIC ASIDE: Note that Vieira never put the journalistic question to Matthews as to the propriety of the Hardball host apparently having blind-sided Coulter with the Edwards call-in. Matthews referred obliquely to the sand-bagging, stating that "Elizabeth Edwards wanted to call in yesterday when she knew that Ann Coulter was going to be on the program." During the 6 am EDT hour of "Morning Joe" on MSNBC, host Joe Scarborough criticized that kind of gotcha tactic, saying he certainly hoped that Ann had been given advance notice of the Edwards call.

Contact Mark at mark@gunhill.net

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.