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 . . .
NORAH O'DONNELL: Hillary's campaign is increasingly worried about the state of Texas. Not only because the polls show it tightening, but also because of this very convoluted delegate what that it's apportioned in that state, which means that she could win the state in terms of percentage points and that he could end up winning more delegates.Have a look at the video. It does seem that Matthews realizes that he let his pro-Obama cat out of the bag, and quickly moves to cover himself by casting the matter in terms of what Hillary needs to do.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Who gets the headline, Norah?
O'DONNELL: Which isn't fair.
MATTHEWS: Who gets the headline?
O'DONNELL: She may get the headline because --
MATTHEWS: Now, is it the popular vote that gets the headline or the delegate vote gets the deadline?
O'DONNELL: Well, the delegate vote in the end matters.
MATTHEWS: Well who gets the headline the next day? I'm asking about this because of momentum. If Senator Clinton does do well tomorrow but loses by seven or eight points in Wisconsin, still able to say "I'm still in the game," then you go to Ohio and Texas on the fourth of March, which is two weeks hence, whoever gets that headline? Who gets the double-header? That's gonna matter. We're talking momentum here, we're not talking delegates because Hillary is way behind in delegates.
What I'm worried about is -- what I'm looking at -- Hillary's got to keep the momentum thing in check by getting that headline: "I won Texas and Ohio."