On the March 26 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews asserted that "[i]t's the women" who criticize Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and that the men he talks to "don't knock Hillary." Matthews added, "[T]he crowd I hang out with don't want to be caught knocking her, because it's sexist." However, Media Matters for America has noted numerous examples of Matthews himself making remarks about Clinton that could be construed as sexist:
- On the January 29 edition of Hardball, Matthews asked how former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) could "go into a debate with Hillary Clinton and land a punch against a woman." Matthews continued: "Isn't that going to be tricky for somebody like Rudy, who knows how to land a punch, to go up ... against a woman?"
- During MSNBC's election coverage on November 7, 2006, Matthews said: "We were watching Hillary Clinton earlier tonight; she was giving a campaign barn-burner speech, which is harder to give for a woman; it can grate on some men when they listen to it -- fingernails on a blackboard, perhaps."
- On the September 19, 2006, edition of Hardball, Matthews stated that Clinton "may not want to risk being another Dukakis -- this time in a dress." Later, Matthews declared, "[G]o see Deer Hunter if you think [Clinton] can get elected president," adding that "Midwest guys" whose "idea of heaven is out hunting with the beer cans and shooting a pheasant or a bear" are "not up to modern women as president."
- On the December 19, 2006, edition of Hardball, Matthews compared Clinton to a "strip-teaser," said "her hair looked ... great," and wondered if Clinton is "a convincing mom."
- On the July 11, 2005, edition of Hardball, Matthews said Clinton "looked more witchy" because she criticized the Bush administration's homeland security spending priorities on July 8, a day after the London bombings.
- On the April 24, 2005, edition of the NBC-syndicated Chris Matthews Show, Matthews referred Clinton as "sort of a Madame Defarge of the left," a characterization he repeated on the March 25, 2007, edition of the show.
Later on the March 26 edition of Hardball, as noted (subscription required) by the National Journal's Hotline's Wake-up Call, Matthews asked, "Is there out in the country, or out in the Atlantic Ocean, some gigantic monster, big, green, horny-headed -- all kinds of horns coming out, big aggressive monster of anti-Hillaryism that hasn't shown itself"?
From the March 26 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:
MATTHEWS: You know, I love the -- Dee Dee [Myers, former Clinton White House press secretary], you know as much about politics as I do. Let me ask you this question. The latest polling from Zogby says that 51 percent of American men of all ethnic groups, all racial groups -- I hate that term -- but ethnic groups, basically say they'll never vote for Hillary under any circumstance. That's a slight absolute majority. Fifty-one percent will never vote for Hillary, they say right now, no matter what she does, no matter what happens, no matter who she's running against. Forty-two percent of women say that, which is a very high number.
Is there, out there in the country or out in the Atlantic Ocean, some gigantic monster -- big, green, horny-headed, all kinds of horns coming out, big, aggressive monster of anti-Hillaryism that hasn't shown itself: it's based upon gender, the fact that she's a liberal, that she's Bill, what -- and that hasn't shown itself, because people are being so nice in the polling, they are saying all the correct things?
Is there an anti-Hillary monster waiting out there that could deliver this nomination, or this election, to someone else?
MYERS: Boy, you know, I -- I certainly don't think the anti-Hillary sentiment is a secret. There is a large and strong feeling in certain segments of the country. They just don't like her.
At the same time, I think it's interesting that we've gotten this far in her candidacy, which is to say that she's been the most-talked about presidential candidate for going on two years, and there's been very little discussion, I think, about what effect the fact that she's a woman will have.
It's all about the fact that she's a Clinton at this point.
MYERS: It's very little about the fact that she's a woman.
MATTHEWS: Well, therefore, does that silence tell you that there's something hidden out there in terms of animosity?
MYERS: Yeah. I mean, we've all seen the polling that says -- you ask people -- 90 percent of Americans will say, oh, sure, I'd vote for a qualified woman; and then you ask them, what about your next-door neighbor? You know, would he or she vote for a woman? And the number --
MYERS: -- drops dramatically into the 50s. So, I think that certainly suggests there is a hidden reluctance.
MATTHEWS: So, that monster may be out there in the Atlantic. That monster may be out there.
MYERS: I think the monster's already shown its head in many ways. It hasn't shown its whole body.
MYERS: To torture the analogy.
MATTHEWS: Tony [Blankley, Washington Times editorial page editor], do you think so?
BLANKLEY: No --
MATTHEWS: You know, men don't knock Hillary that I talk to; it's the women. For some reason, men are being politically careful. They don't want to be caught being --
MYERS: I wouldn't go that far, Chris.
BLANKLEY: But you --
MATTHEWS: The crowd I hang with don't want to be caught knocking her, because it sounds sexist, but women are so tough on Hillary.
BLANKLEY: I -- but I don't -- I don't take that number terribly seriously for her or anyone else, because, ultimately -- people may say that, but, ultimately, it's a binary choice at some point.
MYERS: That's right, Tony.
BLANKLEY: And they've got to pick either her or someone else. Now, if it's her or Bob Dole, then, a lot of Democrats --
BLANKLEY: A lot of Democrats --
MATTHEWS: You're cruel. You're so cruel.
BLANKLEY: A lot of Democrats will say --
MATTHEWS: How about -- how about Rudy Giuliani?
BLANKLEY: Yeah, even -- I mean, whoever it is --
MATTHEWS: All right. Yeah.
BLANKLEY: -- they're going to say, well, no, I can't vote for him. So -- so, I --
MATTHEWS: They're not telling -- they're not telling the truth to themselves?
BLANKLEY: They don't know yet, because they haven't seen --
BLANKLEY: They haven't seen the choice.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let me ask you, is there a horny-headed green monster out in that ocean that's anti-Hillary or anti-woman that's just hiding down there, waiting for the race to get interesting?
BLANKLEY: Well, Dee Dee's right. Obviously, a good percentage of the country -- 40, 45 percent -- say they don't like her. I think she's not only viable for the nomination, I think it's -- I wouldn't say it's hers to lose, but it's pretty close to hers to lose.