Matthews predicted midterm elections will be referendum on Pelosi as House speakerSeptember 5, 2006 4:18 PM EDT ››› ROB MORLINO
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On the September 5 broadcast of NBC's Today, MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews, discussing the November elections with host Matt Lauer, asserted that "the stakes" in the midterms would include "whether we want [House Democratic Leader] Nancy Pelosi [CA] to be the first woman speaker of the House or not." Matthews predicted that, in the event that Democrats take control of the House of Representatives in the November elections, "that iconic fact of that woman sitting behind the president during a State of the Union address is an enormous change in our culture," referring to Pelosi. Matthews continued: "A lot of professional women and men will say, 'Great.' A lot of the more conservative people will say, 'Wait a minute, this woman's from San Francisco, she's a liberal.' " Matthews's comments were flagged in a September 5 entry on the ABC News political weblog The Note.
The Hill newspaper reported in a May 16 article that congressional Republicans planned to "scare voters about the prospect that Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) likely would become Speaker if Democrats retake the House in November," through a media campaign initiated by House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). In a May 30 New York Times profile by reporter Mark Leibovich that focused on Republican efforts to tie the prospect of Pelosi as House speaker to the elections, Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman "said she was neither a 'New Democrat' nor an 'Old Democrat' but a 'prehistoric Democrat.' "
As Media Matters for America previously noted, on the August 29 edition of his nationally syndicated radio program, Fox News host Sean Hannity sought to encourage Republican voters and candidates to ensure a Republican victory in the November elections by proclaiming that "there are things in life worth fighting and dying for, and one of 'em is making sure" that Pelosi "doesn't become the speaker." Hannity then urged his listeners to "[i]gnore the polls, ignore the media, ignore the pundits. It's 70 days to go. The end is not here yet. We still can turn this thing around."
From the September 5 broadcast of NBC's Today Show:
MATTHEWS: I think it's interesting, Matt, that both sides agree on the stakes. It is Iraq. It is whether we support the president's policy in Iraq or not. It is whether we want Nancy Pelosi to be the first woman speaker of the House or not. My own view is that iconic fact of that woman sitting behind the president during a State of the Union address is an enormous change in our culture. A lot of professional women and men women will say, "Great." A lot of the more conservative people will say, "Wait a minute, this woman's from San Francisco, she's a liberal."
MATTHEWS: So they're arguing over the same things.