As far as MSNBC's Chris Matthews is concerned, David Petraeus, four-star general, commander of the Multi-National Force-Iraq, someone who has devoted his life to serving our country, is no better than Charlie McCarthy, a ventriloquist's dummy.
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As I noted yesterday, "Hardball" host Matthews had gone apoplectic over the fact that in his initial response to a senator's question, Petraeus wouldn't say whether the war in Iraq makes America safer. Shortly thereafter, in the course of the same Senate testimony, Petraeus made clear his view that America's security is indeed tied to our effort in Iraq. I observed that Petraeus's clarification had come after Matthews's rant had aired, and mentioned that I'd be looking for the "Hardball" host to acknowledge Petraeus's subsequent statement. But on this afternoon's "Hardball," Matthews utterly ignored Petraeus's clarification, and continued to hector the general for his original remark.
When guest Joe Klein of "Time," albeit in a back-handed way, made reference to the general's revision of his remarks, Matthews made his ugly "Charlie McCarthy" analogy.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: When [General Petraeus] was asked is this war, this blood and treasure we're losing over in Iraq making us safer over at home, he said "I don't know." I can't imagine Ike having said that at D-Day.Remember Matthews's snide Charlie McCarthy/puppet poke next time he or other liberals claim to respect the military.
JOE KLEIN: Well, you know what? It was the truth, it's what he really believed, and then a really funny thing happened; I was in the room. They went into recess, and clearly, someone from the White House called him up and said "are you kidding me?" And when he came back, he was asked another question by a senator, and he went back to that statement, and he corrected himself, and said he hadn't thought it through, or whatever. I think that both Crocker --
MATTHEWS: That's sort of like "Charley McCarthyism," isn't it? I mean, are they using this guy as their puppet? They said he's speaking independently, and the minute he gets off the talking points, they fix him.
KLEIN: I think it's too strong to call him a puppet. I think he really believes what he testified to.