He’s gone! After 23 years at CNBC and MSNBC, Chris Matthews has “retired” as Hardball host. But it wasn’t his multitude of nasty attacks on conservatives and sycophantic praise of liberal pols that did him in, but his years of suggestive comments to women that finally caught up to him.
Oh, and he crossed the Bernie Bros for daring to suggest a socialist could not win a national election. In that area, Matthews’s “retirement” clears the way for MSNBC to go even further left, if that’s possible.
Here at the MRC we’ve documented Matthews’s long career of slams on conservatives and his thrills over “immaculate” Obama and Jesus-like Bill Clinton.
The following are just a few of those Hardball lowlights over the years:
Chris’s First “Thrill”
“I have to tell you, you know, it’s part of reporting this case, this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama’s speech. My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don’t have that too often.”
— Hardball host Chris Matthews during MSNBC’s live primary coverage after Obama won primarioes in Virginia and Maryland on February 12, 2008.
Still Thrilled By “Perfect” “Immaculate” Obama
“This guy’s done everything right. He’s raised his family right. He’s fought his way all the way to the top of the Harvard Law Review, in a blind test becomes head of the Review, the top editor there. Everything he’s done is clean as a whistle. He’s never not only broken any law, he’s never done anything wrong. He’s the perfect father, the perfect husband, the perfect American. And all they do is trash the guy.”
— MSNBC’s Chris Matthews talking about President Obama on Hardball, July 17, 2012.
“Instead of going and grubbing the money on Wall Street, he [Barack Obama] went out to people and helped his community....He’s done everything right. He’s been immaculate in the presidency. Nobody has accused him of any corruption. His kids are perfect. His wife is perfect. He’s done everything that these right-wing, white conservatives say we’re supposed to be in this country. He’s done everything right. And this sleazy comment, that he has no class....He has plenty of class.”
— Host Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball, July 22, 2015.
Clip of Barack Obama from 2008: “My family gave me love. They gave me an education. And most of all, they gave me hope. Hope, hope that in America, no dream is beyond our grasp if we reach for it, and fight for it, and work for it.”
Host Chris Matthews: “I get the same thrill up my leg, all over me, every time I hear those words. I’m sorry, ladies and gentlemen, that’s me. He’s talking about my country and nobody does it better. Can President Obama stir us again and help his party keep power this November?”
— Setting up a segment on MSNBC’s Hardball, September 7, 2010.
Shut Up You Religious Gun Nuts with Your “Thoughts and Prayers”
“Thoughts and prayers....I’m sorry. That should be outlawed. I know it’s well intended in some cases....It’s a throwaway line by a staffer who knocks off some script, some product, some wordage for somebody political to make it sound like they give a damn.”
— Host Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball, November 8, 2018.
“Someone’s Going To Jam a CO2 Pellet Into Rush’s Head”
“You guys see Live and Let Die, the great Bond film with Yaphet Kotto as the bad guy, Mr. Big? In the end they jam a big CO2 pellet in his face and he blew up. I have to tell you, Rush Limbaugh is looking more and more like Mr. Big, and at some point somebody’s going to jam a CO2 pellet into his head and he’s going to explode like a giant blimp. That day may come. Not yet. But we’ll be there to watch. I think he's Mr. Big, I think Yaphet Kotto. Are you watching, Rush?”
— Hardball Host Chris Matthews on MSNBC live coverage on October 13, 2009.
Finally, An Hour When Chris Wasn’t Focused on Race
“You know, I was trying to think about who he was tonight, and it’s interesting: He is postracial by all appearances. You know, I forgot he was black tonight for an hour.”
— MSNBC’s Chris Matthews during live coverage following the State of the Union address, January 27, 2010.
Chris “Can’t Resist” Obama’s “Julia Roberts Smile”
“Well, it’s pretty well known I’ve always gone for this guy [Barack Obama]. I’ve liked the way he speaks about our country, from the time I first heard him in 2004 up in Boston at the convention....It was magnificent....He has that Julia Roberts smile of his that he saves and when he does it, you can’t resist the guy.”
— Hardball host Chris Matthews during MSNBC’s live Democratic convention coverage, July 27, 2016.
Election Night Rudeness: Is Bachmann Hypnotized? Can Palin Even Read?
Chris Matthews: “Congresswoman Bachmann, are you hypnotized tonight? Has someone hypnotized you? Because no matter what I ask you, you give the same answer. Are you hypnotized? Has someone put you under a trance tonight? That you give me the same answer no matter what question I put to you?”
Rep. Michele Bachmann: “I think the American people are the ones that are finally speaking tonight. We’re coming out of our trance....I think people are thrilled tonight. I imagine that thrill is probably maybe quite not so tingly on your leg anymore.”
— From MSNBC’s election night coverage, November 2, 2010.
“Senator, do you think Sarah Palin is qualified to be President of the United States?...If she were on Jeopardy right now and the topic was national government, American government generally defined, would she look like an imbecile, or would she look okay? Does she know anything?...Have you ever been an eyewitness to her actually reading something? Have you seen her - no, I'm dead serious about this. Have you ever seen her reading words on a piece of paper? A newspaper, magazine, anything? Have you ever seen her read something?”
— Matthews to Alaska’s Democratic Senator Mark Begich, November 2, 2010. (Matthews bombed when he was a contestant on Jeopardy in 2012.)
Matthews Compares Trump to Hitler and Mussolini
Host Rachel Maddow: “Interesting portrait of power in the new – in the new White House. Jared Kushner is the son-in-law of the President....A lot of people felt like the anti-nepotism laws would prevent a hire like that but they believe that they're on firm ground. Jared Kushner will be a senior adviser to his father-in-law.”...
Chris Matthews: “It’s hard to – Rachel – it’s hard to fire your son-in-law....but Mussolini had a great solution to that. He had him executed. So, it’s – ”
Maddow: “Jesus, Chris!
Matthews: “So, if I were Jared, I’d be a little careful.”
Maddow: “Well, all the people who are waiting for the reference to Mussolini have just started drinking.”...
Matthews: “But I’m thinking when he said today ‘America first’ it was not just the racial, I mean the, um, I shouldn’t say racial, the Hitlerian background to it.”
— During MSNBC’s live coverage of Trump’s inauguration, January 20, 2017.
MSNBC = Mean-Spirited, Nasty, Belligerent Chris
“If only the people who voted in 2010 show up this November, you can kiss all this goodbye. You’ll see the beginning of the end to what could have been — what many of us believe should have been — an historic turn toward full democratic government in this country....It will be a doubledowning of efforts to suppress the votes of those who voted for him in historic numbers, the return to something like Jim Crow days, redolent of all the old anti-black gimmickry of that
time — literacy tests and poll taxes and all the rest. The goal will be to erase not just Obama from the history books, but any evidence that someone of his background should ever think of being President. It will mean victory for the haters.”
— MSNBC’s Chris Matthews opening the January 7, 2014 Hardball.
Host Chris Matthews: “One thing I notice about black people at different conventions. You go to a Democratic convention with Donna [Edwards] and black folk are hanging together and having a good time. They’re smiling, they’re enjoying themselves. They feel very much at home. You go to a Republican event, you get a feeling that you are all told, ‘Individually now, don’t bunch up. Don’t, don’t, don’t get together. Don’t get together, don’t crowd, you’ll scare these people.’ Is that true in the Republican Party? Is that still true in your party? Did you fear that if you got together with some other African-Americans, these white guys might get scared of you?”
Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele: “No! What are you talking about?!”
— MSNBC’s Hardball, January 17, 2011.
“There’s a troll-like quality to Cruz. He operates below the level of human life....What is he, a theocrat? Maybe he is....There’s something about that guy — who’s always reminded me of Joe McCarthy — and there’s something about him that is negative and menacing.”
— MSNBC’s Chris Matthews on Morning Joe, February 10, 2016.
“What’s worse, Thom Tillis or Ebola?”
— Matthews on Hardball, October 27, 2014.
Newt Gingrich Looks Like A “Car Bomber” Who “Loves Torturing!”
“But he [Newt Gingrich] looks like a car bomber. He looks like a car bomber. Clarence, he looks like a car bomber. He’s got that crazy Mephistophelian grin of his. He looks like he loves torturing. Look at the guy! I mean this, this is not the face of a president.”
— Host Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball, March 2, 2011.
Bill Clinton Like “Jesus”
“When I watched him [former President Bill Clinton] at Mrs. King’s funeral, I just have never seen anything like it....There are times when he sounds like Jesus in the temple. I mean, amazing ability to transcend ethnicity – race, we call it, it’s really ethnicity – in this country and, and speak to us all in this amazingly primordial way.”
— Host Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball, February 28, 2007.
“Hardball is absolutely non-partisan.”
— MSNBC’s Chris Matthews in an interview with local Washington, D.C. host Carol Joynt, as quoted by Politico’s Patrick Gavin in a December 9, 2010 article.