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In his March 22 column, Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman wrote that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) makes "some want to drink a gallon of rat poison while lying across a railroad track." He also asserted, without evidence, that "[m]uch of the support she has comes from people who wish her husband could serve a third term." The column's subhead read, "The Big Sister we can do without," a reference to an unauthorized video produced by a self-identified supporter of Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and uploaded to YouTube in which Clinton is portrayed as a Big Brother-like figure.
On the March 21 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, while discussing former Vice President Al Gore's testimony that day before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, of which Clinton is a member, MSNBC correspondent David Shuster claimed it was "no sort of secret" that Clinton and Gore "don't like each other very much" and noted that "there was nothing personally warm at all in [their] interaction." While showing footage of Clinton speaking at the hearing, host Chris Matthews commented, "Look at those eyes. Look at the cold eyes that she's giving him. Look at that cold look."
Later in the show, when discussing the pro-Obama YouTube video, Matthews asked Bloomberg columnist Margaret Carlson, "But is she Big Brother? Is she Big Brother?" Carlson responded that Clinton is "big mama" and likened Clinton to a "domineering mother." Matthews, who had previously commented that Clinton had a "scolding manner in terms of her public speaking," added, "She's going to tell us what to do."
Clinton is leading the polls for the Democratic presidential nomination.
From Chapman's March 22 Chicago Tribune column:
Everyone knows Hillary Rodham Clinton, and everyone has a different reaction to her. Some find her as irritating as fingernails on a chalkboard. Some find that she makes their skin crawl. Some run screaming from the room. And some want to drink a gallon of rat poison while lying across a railroad track.
Much of the support she has comes from people who wish her husband could serve a third term. But weak nostalgia is a poor campaign theme.
From the March 21 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:
SHUSTER: It was, of course, great political theater today, Chris. And in part because, in addition to sort of the battles with [Sen. James] Inhofe [R-OK], there was Al Gore with [Sen.] Joe Lieberman [I-VT], his former running mate. Joe Lieberman yukked it up with Gore, and they reminisced and talked about what it was like back in 2000.
And then there was Hillary Clinton, and there is no sort of secret in Washington that Hillary Clinton and Al Gore don't like each other very much. And it was noteworthy, Chris, that Hillary Clinton was all business. She sort of said "welcome" to the vice president --
MATTHEWS: She doesn't like him, does she?
SHUSTER: No, and she immediately launched into talking about his ideas.
MATTHEWS: Look at those eyes. Look at the cold eyes that she's giving him. Look at that cold look.
SHUSTER: And at one point she did say, you know, "Your ideas are exciting, this proposal is very interesting," but there was nothing personally warm at all in the interaction between Hillary and Al Gore.
MATTHEWS: Gore thinks that the Clintons screwed him, they humiliated the White House, they humiliated the party because of the president's misbehavior. And Hillary got off scot-free. In fact, she benefited as a victim. She looked like the poor victim of her husband's misbehavior, whereas Gore looked like, you know, he was the bathtub ring left over by Clinton.
SHUSTER: Well, and Chris, the rivalry has gotten so intense between them that you now even have advisers and assistants to Hillary Clinton who are paying attention to Al Gore's weight under the idea that if Al Gore is losing lots of weight, then that must mean that he's getting ready for a presidential run. And the Clinton campaign fears that.
MATTHEWS: [Panelist and radio host Michael] Smerconish, I tell you, that ad is either going tap into something that's out there, this giant monster of anti-Hillaryism that's out there in the Atlantic somewhere, waiting to come up to the surface, partially based on gender, partially on ideology, a lot to do with her personality, her scolding manner in terms of her public speaking -- something huge might be coming out, and if it doesn't come out, she's going to win.
MATTHEWS: OK, what do you think, Margaret?
CARLSON: You know, the ad plays into -- it's not something coming, it's pre-existing, the feeling people have about Hillary, that she's overly programmed and inauthentic. You said Democrats voted for Bill Clinton despite some things.
CARLSON: Well, there are some people that you would expect to be for Hillary that have these reservations, and they don't want to vote for her. And that encapsulates --
MATTHEWS: But is she Big Brother? Is she Big Brother?
CARLSON: She's big mama!
MATTHEWS: Big mother --
MATTHEWS: She's going to tell us what to do.
CARLSON: A domineering mother is worse.
MATTHEWS: You are very good at vocalizing what you don't want to hear.