This was ugly. On his MSNBC show this evening, Chris Matthews criticized Jeb Bush, who will be speaking at Liberty University, for "stooping" to "that evangelical crowd"
Let's play some political madlibs and imagine that instead of "stooping to that evangelical crowd," Matthews had criticized a candidate who spoke at an Islamic center for "stooping to that Muslim crowd." Cue the cries of religious bigotry!
CHRIS MATTHEWS: It seems to me watching this thing, somewhat dispassionately , I've noticed for example that Jeb Bush is now going to give a commencement speech at Liberty University. You know he's a Roman Catholic convert. His family was Episcopalian. And somehow he finds himself comfortable in that evangelical crowd. His father had to do some of that stooping last time he ran. He had to go out and say things he was born again and all that. He had to say things he was never taught religiously in his growing-up years. They have to do all this--Ted Cruz was at Regent or Liberty. They're all -- does the Rrepublican candidate in 2016 have to be focused on the religious right? Do you have to tag that base before you can be the nominee?
MATT SCHLAPP: Well, there's two things there. First of all, evangelical voters, this is a totally legitimate group of people to go after.
MATTHEWS: Do you have to tag up with them?
SCHLAPP: Look, the question of faith in our politics is important. And evangelical Christians, born-again voters are an important constituency. And it's a very important consistency for the Republicans.