On Hardball, Chris Matthews again used violent imagery to portray Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, asking, "[W]hat does she do with the body? How does she get rid of a Barack Obama if she ever gets to beat him?" Matthews has previously asked, "Is the Hillary Clinton campaign trying to obliterate Obama's candidacy? Not just beat it, but strangle it in the crib before there's any chance he catches on?" Other media figures have also portrayed Clinton and her aides as violent or ruthless, including Maureen Dowd who once wrote that Clinton, like Tony Soprano, "is so power-hungry that she can justify any thuggish means to get the prize."
On the January 4 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, while discussing the Democratic presidential candidacies of Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (NY) and Barack Obama (IL), host Chris Matthews asked: "[W]hat does she do with the body? How does she get rid of a Barack Obama if she ever gets to beat him?" Matthews added: "How does she say, 'Now, step aside and go back to being junior senator from Illinois. Oh, you'll never be on the ticket because, hm, I have other plans. I'm going to give it to -- oh, I'll give it to [Sen.] Evan [Bayh (D-IN)]. ... I'll give it to [Ohio Gov. Ted] Strickland.' "
This is not the first time Matthews has used violent imagery to portray Clinton and her aides. As Media Matters for America has documented, Matthews and other media figures have repeatedly used violent and ruthless imagery to portray Clinton and her advisers. For example, during the December 20 edition of Hardball, Matthews asked: "Is the Hillary Clinton campaign trying to obliterate Obama's candidacy? Not just beat it, but strangle it in the crib before there's any chance he catches on?" During the one-hour show, Matthews also invoked imagery of Clinton murdering an infant Obama on four occasions, including saying that there were "[m]ore efforts today by the Clinton people to smother the Barack Obama campaign in its crib" and that "[t]he picture is not pretty, but it could very well be deadly. The goal is to smother the young senator in his crib." He later said: "She needs Luca Brasi to do this stuff for her," referring to a Mafia enforcer in the Mario Puzo novel The Godfather.
Additionally, on the April 24, 2005, edition of his NBC-syndicated television show, Matthews referred to Clinton as "sort of a Madame Defarge of the left," referring to a villainous character in Charles Dickens' novel, A Tale of Two Cities. According to BookRags.com, a website that provides study guides for classic novels, Madame Defarge is "a cruel, vengeance-seeking agent of the [French] revolution ... [who] spends her days knitting a 'register' of names of people she has marked for death."
Media Matters has noted that other media figures have also portrayed Clinton and her aides as violent or ruthless. For instance, in her June 20, 2007, column, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote about an online video produced by Clinton's presidential campaign that features Sen. Clinton and former President Bill Clinton spoofing a scene from the series finale of HBO's The Sopranos. Dowd wrote that Sen. Clinton, like main character Tony Soprano, "is so power-hungry that she can justify any thuggish means to get the prize." Additionally, on the January 24, 2007, broadcast of National Public Radio's Morning Edition, discussing the potential 2008 presidential candidates who attended President Bush's State of the Union address, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank asserted: "Hillary Clinton was situated immediately behind Barack Obama, making it easier for her to actually place the knife into his back, if that's what she was trying to do."
Further, Media Matters has documented numerous instances (here, here, and here) of nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh insinuating that the Clintons were involved in the death of then-deputy White House counsel Vince Foster, who committed suicide in Northern Virginia's Fort Marcy Park on July 20, 1993. Limbaugh also once advised a caller to "go to Fort Marcy Park" when she visited Washington, D.C., and "[s]ee if you get out alive."
From the January 4 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:
JOE SCARBOROUGH (MSNBC's Morning Joe host): I would like to know, though, what is the last great American political speech that rivaled what we saw last night with Barack Obama?
JENNIFER DONAHUE (New Hampshire Institute of Politics senior adviser): See, but he's been giving that speech --
SCARBOROUGH: Well, wait --
DONAHUE: No, you gotta listen --
SCARBOROUGH: Wait a second.
MATTHEWS: [Ronald] Reagan's in '64. [Barry] Goldwater.
SCARBOROUGH: Reagan's in '64, maybe Bobby Kennedy's the night Martin Luther King died. This was one of the great speeches, one of the great moments of modern American politics, and you can't buy that. If you have that, plus a hundred million dollars --
DONAHUE: Right. No, I agree with you.
SCARBOROUGH: -- get out of the way.
DONAHUE: I agree with you --
DONAHUE: -- on that. It was --
MATTHEWS: And by the way, what does she do with the body? How does she get rid of a Barack Obama if she ever gets to beat him?
DONAHUE: Oh, my God.
MATTHEWS: How does she tell him --
MATTHEWS: How does she say, "Now, step aside and go back to being junior senator from Illinois. Oh, you'll never be on the ticket because, hm, I have other plans. I'm going to give it to -- oh, I'll give it to Evan."
SCARBOROUGH: Evan, yeah.
MATTHEWS: "I'll give it to Strickland." Also --
DONAHUE: OK, wait, wait, wait.
MATTHEWS: -- how does she say no when that drum is beating at the convention. And then in Denver --
DONAHUE: She can't. She's in a box, guys.
MATTHEWS: -- demanding this guy.
DONAHUE: She's in a box.