Chris Matthews Panders to Barbara Boxer, Becomes Censure Cheerleader

Watching Chris Matthews and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) on Tuesday’s “Hardball,” it was impossible to differentiate between the political talk show host and the Democrat senator searching for mid-term votes for her party. In fact, at times, it seemed that the host was the Democrat senator, as Matthews appeared to be beseeching his guest to censure President Bush regarding terrorist surveillance.

Matthews began the segment (hat tip to Expose the Left): “Let me ask you this, Senator, are you going to follow through with this? Are you going to try to get him censured?” As Boxer answered, Matthews could regularly be heard in the background saying “Right” to the senator’s statements as if he was one hundred percent in agreement with everything one of the most liberal members of Congress was saying.

For example, when Boxer said, “Now we see how hard the president himself tried to hurt Ambassador Joe Wilson, who told the truth about Saddam Hussein and the nuclear weapons program. He told the truth that it wasn`t happening,” Matthews said, “Right.” Boxer continued, “And yet in fact, this president wanted to release information that even he knew, and the administration knew, was suspect.” Matthews again interjected, “Right.”

Matthews then went into full cheerleader mode sans miniskirt and pompoms:

“How do you add that up? We now know due to some good reporting, that the president made the case that there was a nuclear threat from Iraq based upon an argument from the Defense Intelligence Agency, which was challenged by the CIA, challenged by the State Department and all the other agencies and by the U.N. He still went ahead and made that case in the State of the Union, and then as you point out, used it afterwards to knock down Joe Wilson`s whistle blowing. What can you do to challenge that kind of action?”

Amazing. Matthews is still unquestionably convinced of Wilson’s veracity regardless of some recent court statements by Patrick Fitzgerald to the contrary. Is this how a good journalist should behave, Chris? Or, are your Democrat leanings just overwhelming your ability to remain even remotely impartial? Matthews quickly answered that question with the following: “Do you think [Bush is] purposely telling what he knows not to be true, A; B, he`s being led by advisers who are ruthless and just want to get their policy followed, which we`ve seen before in American history, truth doesn`t always win the argument, or is he basically confused?”

Hmmm. So, in an interview with one of the president’s staunchest opponents, as well as one of the most liberal members of Congress, Matthews actually asked if the president is lying to the American people, or just stupid?

Now that’s some truly fine, unbiased interviewing, Chris. You go, boy.

What follows is a full transcript of this segment along with a video link courtesy of Expose the Left.

MATTHEWS: With us now in California is California`s own Barbara Boxer, the Democratic senator, who wants to censure President Bush for the NSA`s domestic surveillance program and today SHE called on the president to apologize for, "declassifying information for political reasons during the Iraq war."

Let me ask you this, Senator, are you going to follow through with this? Are you going to try to get him censured?

SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, I absolutely feel that we can`t close our eyes to what this president has done. You could ask me is it a smart, strategic move for the Democrats, I don`t know if it is or isn`t, Chris. But every day you think it can`t get worse and it gets worse.

Now we see how hard the president himself tried to hurt Ambassador Joe Wilson, who told the truth about Saddam Hussein and the nuclear weapons program. He told the truth that it wasn`t happening. And yet in fact, this president wanted to release information that even he knew, and the administration knew, was suspect. And it`s --

MATTHEWS: How do you add that up? We now know due to some good reporting, that the president made the case that there was a nuclear threat from Iraq based upon an argument from the Defense Intelligence Agency, which was challenged by the CIA, challenged by the State Department and all the other agencies and by the U.N. He still went ahead and made that case in the State of the Union, and then as you point out, used it afterwards to knock down Joe Wilson`s whistle blowing. What can you do to challenge that kind of action?

BOXER: The first thing we should do, censure resolution aside for a moment, we should be investigating, we should be checking this administration. That`s the role of the Congress. The trouble is, you`ve got the Congress owned and operated by the Republicans, owned and operated by Karl Rove, and we can`t even get the Senate Intelligence Committee to investigate what has gone wrong with the weapons of mass destruction in the first place.

You can`t get them to do the second part of that investigation. The question was, did the president use that information for political purposes. They won`t even do it. And that`s why Russ Feingold wrote the censure resolution and to be honest, when I first saw it I put my head in my hands and I said oh God, I don`t want to go down this path --

MATTHEWS: Did you feel like it was the old Watergate days? Is that what you felt?

BOXER: No, I was to young. No, but I thought back to Clinton and all the horror that happened to this country when we were doing this impeachment, we were doing these investigations. But at the end of the day, I tell my people, these young people here, who count on me, I can`t turn away from the truth. And we have people dying in Iraq, as we speak in huge danger, it`s a slow boil, civil war there, if not worse, and now we find out a lot of this was trumped up.

MATTHEWS: One thing we`re finding out is how public opinion is moving. I know you took your stand before public opinion. Look at this new poll by The Washington Post and ABC news. Just out, 45 percent say the president should be censured, 53 percent say he should not. That means the 45 percent, is hardly a wacky position, it`s close to being 50/50 now. What`s going on?

BOXER: I think people are so distressed and disappointed. They didn`t expect this from this president and he`s in a free fall. It seems as if this president will tell the people anything. Now when he leaned forward and said to the American people, I`ll never forget this, we never listen in on your phone conversations unless we have a warrant. Chris, it wasn`t true. Why did he to have to leave his prepared remarks and go out and do that?

Now he says, he attacked everyone who ever leaked classified information, and he leaked classified information. So people are beginning to see something that`s extremely disturbing. They`re looking at this president, and they don`t believe him, and that`s why I think he`s in a free fall right now.

MATTHEWS: Do you think he`s purposely telling what he knows not to be true, A; B, he`s being led by advisers who are ruthless and just want to get their policy followed, which we`ve seen before in American history, truth doesn`t always win the argument, or is he basically confused?

BOXER: I don`t know the answer, Chris. I only know that I told people in my state that I would fight for them and I would fight for the truth. And that I would try to end this war and when you hear lie after lie after lie and you realize now that people understand it, it leads me to this election that`s coming up and what I believe now is the only way to check this president, if you believe in checks and balances, you`ve got to bring back the Democrats in charge.

Now we`re not perfect, that`s for sure. But I think the American people should give us a chance, because this guy is on a runaway train, now as you talked before, maybe toward another war, before we`ve even completed this mission, and it`s just -- he needs to be stopped and he needs to be --

MATTHEWS: What is your rudimentary basic thought right now about the possibility of Iran developing a nuclear weapon five to 10 months from now. What should be the U.S. policy right now?

BOXER: Well, if it was five to 10 months from now, I would have a different answer than I`m going to give you. But it is five to 10 years from now. So my first thought is you take a deep breath. I`m on a bill that would begin sanctions on Iran if they keep going down this path. There is a whole host of sanctions you can do with people visiting there, buying their oil.

But you need the world. So we are back to where we were early in the Iraq situation. We have to lead the world. The trouble is, we have a president who is being shunned by this world.

MATTHEWS: Why do you think Iran wants a nuclear weapon if they want one? Why would they -- Israel`s got one, Pakistan`s got one, India`s got one. Is it prestige, is it to intimidate Israel? Because I don`t personally see how you use a weapon in that crowded Middle East without killing a lot of your people, if you`re in Arab for example. How do you drop a bomb in the Middle East without killing thousands and thousands of Arabs?

BOXER: Well it is mutually-assured destruction. We used to call it MAD. And so maybe that will mitigate what happens -- but I think...

MATTHEWS: ... I think just the weapon itself.

BOXER: No, I`m saying, if you look at Iran, if you look at India, all those countries, it is a matter of personal pride. And it is a matter of strength and it is a matter of telling the people we have common enemies, and it`s very, very, very dangerous.

There is no question about it. And I don`t think there`s any problem with having different scenarios. But let me just say, to leak information, if that`s what happened, we don`t know how this happened, that we might use nuclear weapons against Iran, is stunning to me.

MATTHEWS: Can the president of the United States as you understand the constitution, act without the authority of Congress in this regard? Can we wake up tomorrow morning and see that he`s already done it?

BOXER: Well we know that`s happened in the past.

MATTHEWS: No, he got authorization last time.

BOXER: No, no, no, I didn`t mean the past with this president. The fact is that presidents believe they have the power to take action and then come back and get approval. It`s very, very dangerous.

MATTHEWS: Any chance your Senate, even though it`s a Republican- dominated Senate, would issue a resolution saying, "Mr. President, we do not believe your commander-in-chief authority extends to attacking Iran?"

BOXER: No, I don`t see that happening with the Republicans in charge. But what...

MATTHEWS: ... Would you vote for such a resolution, saying the president has to come to you to get approval?

BOXER: I`ve always believed in the War Powers Act. Now obviously there are circumstances where if we were attacked, no, then you fight back. But on this preemptive idea, I always believe you come to the Congress and by the way, you have a debate.

As we said, we`re talking about five to 10 years away. Chris, we need a new president. Someone who knows the history of the world, someone who can use back door channels to avoid this. I mean, my people, when I go in the supermarket, everywhere I go, if I walk...

MATTHEWS: Excuse me, Senator, but we`ve got two and a half years with this elected president.

BOXER: Yes, yes we do. And there`s only one thing to do, check him. Check him at the polls in `06. Give us Democratic control so we can stop the worst things from happening and get this country moving in the right direction again.

MATTHEWS: Thank you for having us -- you didn`t have us out here, but thanks for joining us out here. It`s a great school, University of Southern California. We`ve got all the students out here, around us, and some faculty people.

How is she doing, all right, or what, what do you think?

(APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: Well that`s dangerous because Cheney got booed at the ballpark today, you never know. Anyway, must be a liberal campus.

Video Link

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.