Chris Matthews followed-up his, now infamous, staging of the Ann Coulter vs. Elizabeth Edwards throwdown by inviting on John Edwards to join his wife in the pile-on of the conservative columnist. On tonight's Hardball, Edwards condemned Coulter's "hate-mongering" but Matthews never brought up the fact that Edwards' own staffers spewed some pretty hateful things, or that Matthews on the very same show compared conservative students to violent inbred hicks. While Matthews did mention Edwards campaign has used Coulter to raise money, most of the interview was full of softballs.
The following is a sampling of some of the, not-so-quite hardball, questions from Matthews to Edwards that occurred on the June 27th Hardball:
Chris Matthews: "Elizabeth had one, I think Elizabeth may have made one strategic error last night. That's assuming that she could get Ann Coulter to express shame."
Matthews: "Well how do you explain the fact, that, you, you see people with good educations walking around the streets of New York and Wall Street, people with big business jobs in equity firms, hedge fund people, all buying books by Ann Coulter? How do you explain the fact, that even last night's fight involving your wife Elizabeth and Ann Coulter, probably helped her sell some books to these kind of guys?"
John Edwards: "Because I think there is a segment of the population that responds to this sort of hateful craziness. It's always been true, Chris. When I, when I was young, growing up in the South, people were very responsive to name-calling of African-Americans, prejudice and discrimination against African-Americans. And people would say the most outrageous, demeaning things about good human beings and there would be a response. And so there's always been hateful, hateful language. Hate, hate-mongering in this country. It's been true for as long as I've been alive and it's still true today but that doesn't mean we have to tolerate it. We have to speak out about it. We have to stand up."
Matthews: "Do you think people should buy Ann Coulter's books?"
Matthews: "Okay, we'll be right back. That's a good answer from John Edwards."
Matthews: "How is Elizabeth doing?"
Edwards: "She is actually doing real well, Chris, so thanks, first of all, thank you for asking."
Matthews: "Well you know we love her. I love her personally because she's the greatest person in the world and she battles with you as to who is the best of the two of you. She is a piece of greatness, I think, but that's my opinion."
Matthews: "Let me ask you about how you explain this kind of, it wouldn't be a tit-for-tat, this nastiness the other night, to your older daughter, your, your college aged, or actually law school aged daughter, Kate. How do you explain these kinds of things that happen in politics?"
Matthews: "Have you heard from any of your colleagues, I mean they're your colleagues but they're also your rivals for the nomination? Has anybody stood up and said to you, 'Don't let her get away with that,' meaning Ann Coulter?"
Matthews: "Yeah what did you make of her attack on Hillary? She made fun of her build, her weight. She made fun of a couple, she made fun of Barack Obama's middle name, 'Hussein.' What do you make of that? This sort of general invective you get from her now?"
Matthews: "By the way, what's the reaction out on the campaign road now? You've been campaigning, as you said. Are people rooting for you, in this regard? Are they mentioning it or what?"
Edwards: "Oh yeah, yeah. I've heard it a lot just since yesterday. People are very excited about the fact that, that we're standing up and speaking out about this hate-mongering. They, they want to see strength. They want to see us standing up and fighting back."
Matthews: "Okay thank you very much, Senator John Edwards. Please come back, you're always welcome on Hardball, as is the lovely Elizabeth. Thank you for joining us tonight."