An uncomfortable moment occurred on Tuesday's "Hardball" when Chris Matthews and guest Roger Simon of Politico disagreed with the meaning of something Barack Obama said during a "backyard chat" in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
After playing a clip of the President talking about his mother not being much of a churchgoer when he was a child, Simon asked, "Did he really have to throw his family under the bus to make this point?"
"To me this is the worst thing he's done since comparing his grandmother to Reverend Wright," he continued.
At that point, Matthews can be seen in the split-screen grimacing and shaking his head before flatly disagreeing with his guest (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Well, speaking of President Obama, he has to deal with the problem of people out there still spreading the rumor that he's not the religion he says he is. Here he is in Albuquerque today talking about his Christian faith.
BARACK OBAMA: You know, I'm a Christian by choice. You know, my family didn't, frankly, they weren't folks who went to church every week. My mother was one of the most spiritual people I knew, but she didn't raise me in the church. So I came to, to my Christian faith later in life, and it was because the, the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life I would want to lead.
ROGER SIMON, POLITICO: Let me take a pot shot about this. I mean, did he really have to throw his family under the bus to make this point? I mean, you know, his family didn't go to church but he went to church. To me this is the worst thing he's done...
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well, come on.
SIMON: ...since comparing his grandmother to Reverend Wright to make a point about...
MATTHEWS: You're wrong.
SIMON: ...everybody eventually. No, I mean, this disturbs me. How far do we go in politics to get a few extra votes? I mean, he's a Christian. Fine, say he's a Christian.
MATTHEWS: That's not...
HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST: I don't agree with that. I don't agree with that.
MATTHEWS: That's not how, I don't agree with that at all. Not at all.
FINEMAN: I don't agree. I think he was trying...
MATTHEWS: I don't agree with that because I know his background. His mother was kind of a hippie.
MATTHEWS: His mother was a free thinker. She wasn't a churchgoer. That's all he's saying. He wasn't saying his mother wasn't spiritual. He was building her up.
Matthews then changed the subject to Bill Clinton.
Seems like you better be careful saying something negative about Obama when Matthews is around.