On the December 17 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews claimed: "Every day I pick up the paper and there's another quote out there from somebody who's a wannabe, saying whatever the Clinton people told them to say apparently." Moments later, Matthews asked Financial Times U.S. managing editor Chrystia Freeland: "[A]ren't you appalled at the willingness of these people to become castratos in the eunuch chorus here or whatever they are?" Matthews made the comment in the context of discussing endorsements of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and specifically that of former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-NE), who made reference following a December 16 campaign event to, among other things, Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL) middle name.
Freeland responded: "Well, I'm not going to comment on whether they have been castrated or not, but what I do think is interesting is whether these stings are really going to work."
As Media Matters documented, Matthews' colleague, MNSBC host Tucker Carlson, has repeatedly made castration comments in reference to Clinton. On the March 20 edition of MSNBC's Tucker, Carlson said: "[T]here's just something about her that feels castrating, overbearing, and scary." Media Matters has also documented that nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh has repeatedly used the expression "testicle lockbox," claiming that Clinton has one.
In addition, Media Matters also documented that Matthews previously asked on the November 13, 2006, edition of MSNBC's Hardball, if Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the then-presumptive speaker-elect of the House of Representatives, was "going to castrate [Rep.] Steny Hoyer [D-MD]" if Hoyer were elected House majority leader in the 110th Congress.
From the December 17 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, which also included Congressional Quarterly reporter Jonathan Allen and Washington Post staff writer Chris Cillizza:
MATTHEWS: You know, I'm looking at this thing and I'm watching people like Bob Kerrey show up, who you used to think of as kind of an independent force in American politics. You know, he gave up his Senate seat, he dated Debra Winger. A lot of sizes -- a lot of things suggest a really independent guy.
ALLEN: An officer and a gentleman, right?
MATTHEWS: Officer and a gentleman. Then he moves to New York and becomes president of the New School, a big school, and now he's out there sort of playing whatever for Hillary, saying things all about Barack Obama having a Muslim father and having Hussein for a middle name. You gotta wonder if this isn't The Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
ALLEN: Well, what I think you got going on is a lot of Democrats who are looking at possible jobs in a Clinton administration potentially. The look at, you know, if they are on her side and not on Obama's side --
ALLEN: -- he's gonna -- he's gonna have to forgive a lot of Democrats for that anyway. If you get on the wrong side of her and she becomes president, you're out. And also, Kerrey's living in New York now. We know he wants to get back in the Senate. Maybe he'll run for her Senate seat if she wins.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask Chris Cillizza. Are these the meal tickets lining up? Is that what we're watching?
CILLIZZA: I -- you know, Chris, I think Jonathan's right to a point. Remember, though, that Hillary Clinton was always going to be the establishment candidate. I don't care who else ran. She was always going to be the establishment candidate because of her husband, because of the reach that the Clintons have within in the party. That works, but only to a point. That all the weight of the establishment support behind her -- and it feels like she's announcing the support of three or four endorsements from elected officials a day -- all that weight is all well and good if you win. If you lose, that weight all of a sudden becomes a --
CILLIZZA: -- crushing weight on you.
MATTHEWS: I'm talking about the moral weight. I'm talking about the moral weight on these people who are willing to do anything now. You got [former Iowa Gov. Tom] Vilsack out there, [Ohio Gov. Ted] Strickland, [Sen.] Evan Bayh [D-IN]. Every day I pick up a paper, there's another quote out there from somebody who's a wannabe, saying whatever the Clinton people told them to say, apparently.
CILLIZZA: Politics is politics, Chris.
MATTHEWS: These lines look like they're being fed -- well, let me find some outrage here. Can I get some from Chrystia? I'm not getting any from you. Chrystia, do you -- aren't you appalled at the willingness of these people to become castratos in the eunuch chorus here or whatever they are? What do you call them? I don't know what they are. What do you think of these people?
FREELAND: Well, I'm not going to comment on whether they have been castrated or not, but what I do think is interesting is whether these stings are really going to work.