On MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews repeatedly praised House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and New York U.S. Senate candidate KT McFarland, remarking that he was "proud" of Boehner and "can see this man's greatness," and describing McFarland as a "delightful candidate" who will "probably do very well in this uphill battle as the underdog."
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On the March 6 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews interviewed newly elected House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and KT McFarland, a candidate for the Republican nomination to challenge Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) in New York's 2006 U.S. Senate race. But rather than asking his Republican guests "hardball" questions, Matthews repeatedly praised them, remarking that he was "proud" of Boehner and "can see this man's greatness," and describing McFarland as a "delightful candidate" who will "probably do very well in this uphill battle as the underdog." Matthews also used his interview with Boehner as a platform to attack Clinton, claiming that "people will say" she is "Dukakis in a dress" -- a reference to unsuccessful 1988 Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis -- and pushing Boehner, unsuccessfully, to call her a "socialist."
Media Matters for America has previously documented other examples of Matthews praising Republicans such as President Bush (here, here, here, here, and here) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) (here and here). Media Matters has also documented previous attacks by Matthews on Sen. Clinton, in which he has called her "witchy" and "sort of a Madame DeFarge of the left." He also pushed Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) to call Clinton a "socialist."
From the March 6 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:
MATTHEWS: Congressman John Boehner of Ohio is the newly elected leader of the Republicans in the House of Representatives.
Mr. Boehner, Mr. Leader, thanks for coming over.
BOEHNER: Chris, it's nice to be with you.
MATTHEWS: I am very much proud of anybody who takes on a job like you have taken on. It's so great.
BOEHNER: It's a big job.
MATTHEWS: It's a big job.
MATTHEWS: If you see Hillary coming, if it looks like she's built up a head of steam and looks like she can win this thing, the Democratic nomination --
BOEHNER: Well, now, wait a minute. If ands and buts were candy and nuts, every day would be Christmas. You put all these --
BOEHNER: Listen, I don't think she can win. And there are a lot of Democrats around the country who don't think she can win the general. And as a result, you know, there are a lot of Democrats, as you well know, who are wondering, "Well, why would we want to nominate someone who can't win?"
MATTHEWS: Oh, yeah, you hear it everywhere. People will say -- you hear "Dukakis in a dress." You hear all kinds of lines like that.
MATTHEWS: What's her biggest handicap, that she's married to Bill, or she's a liberal, or she's a woman?
BOEHNER: I think the eight years she spent in the White House, along with her husband, just put labels on her that you just can't erase.
MATTHEWS: She's a liberal.
BOEHNER: How about national health care? Hello? Hello?
MATTHEWS: Well, she's backing the war.
BOEHNER: And at the same time, alienating people who could be voting for her in the Republican -- or in the Democrat (sic) primary. But I think if you go back to "Hillary care" in 1993 and 1994 -- says it all. It set a view in people's minds of here's a lady, who wants to nationalize health care in America. Now, most people know about national health care in Canada, they know about it in Europe. They're not very impressed about it, and they don't want it here.
MATTHEWS: Is she a socialist?
BOEHNER: No. I've worked with her on a number of issues on the Congress.
MATTHEWS: On the issue of health care, is she a socialist?
BOEHNER: She would be to the left of most people I know.
MATTHEWS: Yeah, but not a socialist?
BOEHNER: I wouldn't go that far.
MATTHEWS: You wouldn't go that far? What stops you?
BOEHNER: I don't like labeling people.
MATTHEWS: Well you called her a liberal, you called it Hillary care.
BOEHNER: Well she's liberal, she's left, but I don't want to call her a socialist.
MATTHEWS: Could she carry Ohio in the general?
BOEHNER: I don't think so.
MATTHEWS: Who could beat her?
MATTHEWS: Anybody. Strong words. We'll be right back with House Majority Leader John Boehner. You can see this man's greatness.
MATTHEWS: You worked for Henry Kissinger, it's on your resume. Did Henry Kissinger, in the back room, not what he says in the op-ed pages of the major newspapers, did Henry Kissinger thought (sic) this was a smart move, Henry, Henry the K, he's watching now, I'll bet you, because he watches. Did he think this was a smart move to go in there where there might be a civil war?
McFARLAND: I haven't asked him. I don't know. I'll let Henry Kissinger speak for himself. I worked for him for seven years, and I can tell you one thing, Henry Kissinger can speak for himself. I'm not going to put words in his mouth.
MATTHEWS: You're a delightful candidate, you'll probably do very well in this uphill battle as the underdog. I have to ask you the tough question -- you must answer this one. You can't foul this one off.
We have a situation in Iran right now where the Iranian government, for reasons of national pride or zealotry or Islamic whatever, wants to have some kind of nuclear capability, for whatever purpose. We can only read their minds -- we can't read minds. They probably want it for a bad purpose. The president's got a very hard line out there. He won't even let them develop for peaceful reasons, working with the Russians to keep them honest. He doesn't trust that deal.
Do you think we should take any military action to stop that?