“Hardball” host Chris Matthews was Jay Leno’s guest on “The Tonight Show” Tuesday, and did more Republican bashing than even he usually does (grateful hat tip to Greg Tinti at Outside the Beltway with video link here). One of the first zingers was directed at former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Leno asked Matthews what he thought of Gingrich’s claim on Sunday that what is going on now in the Middle East is World War III. Matthews responded, “I think Newt is World War III.”
A bit later, Leno asked about the recent expletive that President Bush was caught saying to British Prime Minister Tony Blair at the G8 summit, and what Matthews thought about the press feeling that they needed to cut the word out of their broadcasts. Matthews saw this as a great opportunity to swipe at the Bush administration about a totally irrelevant issue: “I wish they'd cut out the 16 words that got us into Iraq, however, but they didn't cut those 16 out.”
The next interesting vignette was when Leno asked Matthews his opinion of Rudy Giuliani. Matthews began with something that will strike many conservatives as the height of hypocrisy: “I hope -- well, I don't want to say hope 'cause I'm a journalist -- I hope the American people take the next election very seriously and don't just vote partisan or personality or who has the happiest smile, but picks the person that makes us feel the safest.” Yes, Chris, you are well known for being the consummate professional, and always hiding your personal, political biases from your written and stated opinions.
Yet, Matthews was just moving into Bush-bashing high gear:
Because I think that they want -- we want a guy who'll be tougher than the president we have now, quicker to tell us what's going on, he won't have a ranch. I am tired of presidents with ranches. I want a guy that’s working in town, you know. He's nearby, he tells us what's going on. It ain't three days later they show him a movie of what's been happening. I just want a president who's there.
Of course, no self-respecting Bush bash would be complete without bringing up Hurricane Katrina:
I really mean this. I think that, you know, the problem the president had with Katrina, three days later they showed him a DVD of what was happening. Well, everybody else knew from television what was going on. 9/11. He was great on 9/14, three days later. He was dynamite when he hit the rubble. I loved what he did. I was -- I thought that was the most inspirational thing in the world.
Now, remember earlier when Matthews postured as not wanting to say what he hoped because he’s a journalist? Well, that sentiment was quickly forgotten: “But I think we want a president, like we grew up in a big city, you know, you grew up near Boston.”
Hmmm. We need a president that grew up in a big city like Boston. Any questions?