A frothing Chris Matthews on Wednesday excoriated Rush Limbaugh for an "astounding assault on women's rights." Matthews shrieked that the conservative talk radio host's commentary on liberals and birth control "sounds like hatred of women."
The Hardball anchor began by playing a clip of Limbaugh asserting, "Could it be that Democrats fear kids? I mean, they are aborting their own people. The vast majority of people having abortions are Democrat voters." An angry Matthews responded, "It is an astounding assault on women's rights that he's playing to there. I don't care what language he uses about aborting." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The left-wing host piled on, "That sounds like hatred of women. That's a weird kind of message."
Matthews proceeded to speak for Limbaugh, suggesting, "He is basically saying 'Me, this big guy, this big guy is telling women there is something wrong with you and deciding whether you want kids or not.'"
A transcript of February 15 segment, which aired at 5:42pm EST, follows:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Here is an example of a crazy guy, not crazy, smart normally but here is Limbaugh taking you guys off the cliff with him by talking about- and here is a big guy, a male figure- talking about birth control yesterday. Not about the church. Just birth control.
RUSH LIMBAUGH: What do Democrats inherently fear about pregnancy? Well, they've made it into a disease. Pregnancy is a great health risk for women. Could it be that Democrats fear kids? I mean, they are aborting their own people. The vast majority of people having abortions are Democrat voters.
MATTHEWS: Okay. Is that helpful to your campaign? I think women would like to hear-
ED ROGERS: That is what is called in politics playing to your negative stereotype. Rush Limbaugh is a good man and a wise man. He ought not have said that.
DAVID CORN: Oh, Ed.
ROGERS: It's not helpful to the Republican cause. You ought not- And the worst thing you can do in American politics is play to negative stereotypes.
MATTHEWS: You mean, a guy with four wives and no kids is talking about the evils of birth control?
ROGERS: And I hope he has your next diatribe I hope on his show.
MATTHEWS: Doesn't bother me any.
ROGERS: He'd be flattered by it.
CORN: If this plays with the Republican base-
MATTHEWS: This hatred of birth control.
CORN: It shows- this is the problem Mitt Romney is having. The Republican primary base has ved so far to the right but it's also animated by a tremendous hatred of the left, of Obama, and Democrats.
ROGERS: You always say that. Democrats always say the Republicans hate-
MATTHEWS: That sounds like hatred of women. That's a weird kind of message.
CORN: But, this is expanding it beyond Obama to say Democrats are aborting their own, Democrats are immoral. They don't like women. Women- I don't like women. I don't know what he is even saying there but whatever he is one of the leaders of the right.
MATTHEWS: He is challenging the right of a woman today in the 21st century to decide if she wants to get pregnant. It is an astounding assault on women's rights that he's playing to there. I don't care what language he uses about aborting. He is basically saying "Me, this big guy, this big guy is telling women there is something wrong with you and deciding whether you want kids or not." He has been married four times without kids. I wonder if birth control has something to do with it.
ROGERS: Come on. There is no point in personalizing it.
MATTHEWS: I have to!
CORN: Rush Limbaugh personalizes everything.
MATTHEWS: He's accusing the Democrats of aborting their young.