On the December 19 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews compared Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) to a "strip-teaser"; said she had "a nice, mellifluous voice" and "her hair looked ... great"; and wondered if Clinton is "a convincing mom."
Discussing a possible Clinton presidential candidacy, Matthews asked New York Times columnist Bob Herbert, "[W]hen is a politician like Hillary Clinton or anybody else going to admit they have the A-word, ambition?" He then wondered when candidates such as Clinton were going to "stop with this coy thing," about how they're "flattered" by all the attention, a façade he said was "just like a strip-teaser saying she's flattered by the all the attention." Matthews added: "Hillary is running for president. She wants to be president. What's wrong with saying it?"
Later on, Matthews remarked that Clinton, in a video clip, "had a nice, mellifluous voice," was "calm," "charming," and although "her hair looked just to be cosmetic, her hair looked great," and "she looked great." Matthews then wondered if Clinton could "soften her image from the more strident Hillary and do well without it?"
National Review columnist Kate O'Beirne said that "given her previous image," Clinton, in a December 18 interview on NBC's Today, "went out of her way ... to talk about the kids, as a parent, as a mom." At that point, Matthews interjected to ask, twice, "Is she a convincing mom?" O'Beirne responded, "She's certainly trying to be."
From the December 19 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:
MATTHEWS: Bob, I know you're a liberal, but when are -- when is a politician like Hillary Clinton or anybody else going to admit they have the A-word, ambition, and stop with this coy thing about, "I'm so flattered by so much" -- it's just like a strip-teaser saying she's flattered by the all the attention. Hillary is running for president. She wants to be president. What's wrong with saying it?
MATTHEWS: There's not -- why don't they just say, "You know, I'd really like to run this country. It would make me feel great to be president of the United States, to be on that short list"?
O'BEIRNE: Chris, I'm sympathetic here with Senator Clinton. We've got to hear from her early in the year. This is like the last level of control she might have. I mean, once she jumps into that field, she knows, she's been there. So she's got to control her announcement. I don't fault her for that. She's running.
MATTHEWS: Bob, didn't you think she had a nice, mellifluous voice there? She was calm, she was charming, her hair looked just to be cosmetic, her hair looked great, she looked great. Can she soften her image from the more strident Hillary and do well without it?
HERBERT: Actually, Hillary has been very, very impressive, and here in New York, we've watched her grow in the Senate. And so, she's got a command of the television camera when she talks now, she's got a command of the room if you see her in person. I mean, her political skills may be, in my opinion, a little bit higher or better than a lot of people are giving her credit for.
MATTHEWS: But do you still think she's -- do you still think she runs into a buzz saw of opposition?
HERBERT: Oh, I think there's no question about that. I mean, for any woman to become president, I've been saying, sort of, the stars have to be perfectly aligned. Everything has to be just right because I think it's tough for a woman to win at all, although I do think that it's possible. I don't think the stars are perfectly aligned for Hillary.
O'BEIRNE: Although, look what she did early in this interview. Bob, I don't disagree with you that it's particularly challenging for a woman. But given her previous image, I thought she went out of her way in this Today interview to talk about the kids, as a parent, as a mom --
MATTHEWS: Is she a convincing mom?
O'BEIRNE: I ask myself --
MATTHEWS: Is she a convincing mom?
O'BEIRNE: She's certainly trying to be. I think she appreciates that a whole lot of women who aren't all that liberal and maybe don't -- are not necessarily on board because of her role model aspect of this are a little distrustful of Hillary Clinton. I think they might --
MATTHEWS: Well, should they be?
MATTHEWS: -- she lets her husband get away with what he's gotten away with? Don't women resent that?
O'BEIRNE: No, I think -- I think a different problem is there, too, that she might look sort of down on them.