CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: It's a hard thing to say, and I think there's a big difference to be made, or enforced [?] actually, between being a veteran, being old, being experienced, and simply being elderly and borderline senile. Now a year ago --
CHRIS MATTHEWS: You believe that?
As you'll see in the video clip, Hitchens makes his case as to McCain's alleged decrepitude based in significant part on his debate performances. Say what you will about McCain in the debates. The argument could be made that he was too aggressive. But I would place it beyond cavil that in the first and third debates, McCain was absolutely in charge, setting the agenda and taking the fight to his opponent. This was anything but a man past his intellectual prime. Indeed, after the first debate, it was Matthews himself who decried how often a dominated Obama abjectly agreed with McCain.
Note: Before pulling, I briefly had up an item in which I suggested that a voice that could be heard off-camera mocking Weld during his interview might have been that of Keith Olbermann. As a keen-eared reader pointed out, the voice had a British accent, and was certainly that of Hitchens, who though he hadn't yet been introduced was sitting at the table with Matthews and came on immediately after Weld. My thanks to the astute reader, and apologies to all.
Note: In March, Hitchens was calling Obama a "very shallow and flaky candidate."