As Noel Sheppard noted, MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Thursday hyperventilated about a joke made by a Rick Santorum donor, frothing that "big money" Foster Friess and his candidate must be from the "Cro-Magnon" era. The Hardball host was only one of several liberal MSNBC hosts to go after Mr. Friess.
On Politics Nation, Al Sharpton offered typical outrage: "Now, This is not just a backer. This is a big money backer....Can you imagine the arrogance of saying that?" Ed Schultz ominously tagged him as Santorum's "money man" and then segued into a discussion of the "GOP war on women's health." Matthews incorrectly referred to the donor as "a major spokesman" for Santorum, and said of the former senator: "I mean, you're talking about a guy from the Cro-Magnon era, in terms of politics."[See video below. MP3 audio here.]
He continued, "And there he has his guy out there making a joke about women. I mean, talk about an insulting comment...That was insulting, clearly."
Piling on, he queried guest Eleanor Holmes Norton, "What do you make in this that we're still in a world where this is still going on, that point of view?"
How serious did Matthews take a minor, probably ill-advised joke? He lectured, "By the way, if any woman votes for Rick Santorum after that comment today by his number one spokesman, I will be surprised."
Friess appeared on MSNBC's Last Word. Host Lawrence O'Donnell actually allowed the donor a platform to explain himself, offering open-ended questions such as "Well, tell us what you think [the controversy over the joke is] all about."
A transcript of Matthews' February 16 comments can be found below:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me go back to Congresswoman Speier. And, again, I respect your views so much on this because- the fact that you are who you are. And I want to ask you this: I didn't put that on lightly what Foster Friess said. He's is a major spokesman now for- for former Senator Santorum. He's out there a lot, all the time. And he is now representing a candidate, Santorum, who said it would be fine with him if states outlawed the sale of birth control. I mean, you're talking about a guy from the Cro-Magnon era, in terms of politics. And there he has his guy out there making a joke about women. I mean, talk about an insulting comment, Congresswoman Norton. That was insulting. Clearly. What do you make in this that we're still in a world where this is still going on, that point of view?
MATTHEWS: I think it's one of those "Render unto Caesar, Render unto God things." I think the line is pretty clear and I think it was clarified, as Eleanor Norton pointed out a moment ago, Congresswoman Norton. It was clarified on Friday. The line has been drawn and I think it's done fairly. By the way, if any woman votes for Rick Santorum after that comment today by his number one spokesman, I will be surprised. I think, If he doesn't fix this thing within a few hours, I'm talking to you Rick Santorum, if you don't fix this in a couple hours, you can kiss off all the women voters in this country. And a lot of men.