Only two days after admitting that Barack Obama has a problem with his "frightening" birth control decision, Chris Matthews on Thursday was back on offense. He berated Rick Santorum as a "theocrat" and knocked Reverend Franklin Graham as a "disgrace."
The Hardball host singled out Family Research Council President Tony Perkins as the representative of all those who would question Obama's faith. Matthews interrogated, "Tony, do you think this president is a Muslim?" He added, "Why [do] your people" make such allegations?
An exasperated Perkins replied, "no" and shot back, "My people?...The things that we have said have always been about the President's policies. That's what we can clearly analyze. I don't know what's in a man's heart."
Matthews sought to draw a distinction between Obama and Santorum, mocking, "Tony, there's a big difference...between being a theocrat and believing a president should impose his religious believes and someone who is anti-religious."
The liberal anchor brought up Santorum's 2005 speech on the Senate floor about the Terri Schiavo: "Don't you think that's verging on more theocracy in this country than the French Revolution?"
Matthews previously smeared Rick Santorumon on January 5, 2012, saying that the former senator wants a "theocracy" that will "trump the Constitution."
A partial transcript can be found below:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Franklin Graham is a disgrace. Okay? I don't think he's the typical Christian minister, do you? With his commentaries on Islam and his comment- his partisanship?
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Tony, there's a big difference and a lot of space- and we call it America- between being a theocrat and believing a president should impose his religious believes and someone who is anti-religious. I mean, let's talk about Santorum here. You gotta play defense a little bit here. You think Santorum is legitimate? Santorum, during the Schiavo case, went into the Senate floor with just two other senators and he played chaplain that night when the Senate- [Video of CPAC appears onscreen. Santorum is praying with some people.] Look here. Laying hands or whatever you called it going on here. A religious-style crusade for the President of the United States. He was the guy that brought this session, intervening in the Schiavo case in Florida, which I think cost him his seat by the way, and played chaplain. Don't you think that's overreach? Don't you think that's verging on more theocracy in this country than the French Revolution?
TONY PERKINS: No. When you're actually talking about theocracy, you see this administration using its power to impose this ideology and extract allegiance from the public.
MATTHEWS: Tony, do you think this president is a Muslim?
MATTHEWS: Why does your people, why do people like Rick Santorum standby-
PERKINS: My people?
MATTHEWS: Well, Rick Santorum stands by while a person, right in front of his face, accuses the President of being a Muslim. And he says nothing about it.
PERKINS: [exasperated]: I don't know. I mean, look, the things that we have said have always been about the President's policies. That's what we can clearly analyze. I don't know what's in a man's heart. I don't know if he's accepted Christ as his savior. If he says he has, that's between him and God.