Matthews on Clinton's performance: "good enough here for women who wanted to root for her anyway"

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

During MSNBC's coverage of the New Hampshire Primary, Hardball host Chris Matthews said of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's performance during a January 5 Democratic presidential candidates debate: "I wasn't clear at all that she won it. But maybe she was good enough to seem good enough here for women who wanted to root for her anyway." He further stated that the 2008 presidential election is "a pioneer opportunity for women voting -- especially older women voting, who may figure this is their last chance to elect a woman president."

During MSNBC's coverage of the January 8 New Hampshire Primary, Hardball host Chris Matthews, responding to exit polling regarding women voters, asserted of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (NY) performance in the January 5 Democratic presidential candidates debate at St. Anselm College, "I thought the debate Saturday night, and I was in the room, was a draw. I wasn't clear at all that she won it. But maybe she was good enough to seem good enough here for women who wanted to root for her anyway." Matthews continued, "By the way, we keep forgetting, this is the first campaign a woman can actually win the presidency in, ever. So it's just as striking as a pioneer opportunity for women voting -- especially older women voting, who may figure this is their last chance to elect a woman president."

After Keith Olbermann, host of MSNBC's Countdown, noted that "there was a survey of girls who thought -- 40 percent of them thought they would not see a woman president in the next 10 years and still some large number, 30-35 percent, thought they would never see a woman president? That's from five years ago," Matthews asserted, "Well, there's only one candidate still. And even one -- there's not even another on the horizon. Where are the governors? Where are the big-state women governors? Where are they? Name one." Four of the last five U.S. presidents had previously been governors, and several of the men currently running for president are or have been governors. But Matthews did not mention that several of the states that currently have women governors are comparable in population to the states in which the male candidates serve or have served as governor. A Media Matters for America analysis of 2006 U.S. Census population estimates indicated that:

  • Massachusetts, where Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney served as governor, had an estimated population of 6,437,193. By comparison, Christine Gregoire (D) serves as governor of Washington, a state with an estimated population of 6,395,798; and Janet Napolitano (D) is governor of Arizona, a state with an estimated population of 6,166,318.
  • Arkansas, where Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee served as governor, had an estimated population of 2,810,872. By comparison, M. Jodi Rell (R) is governor of Connecticut, a state with an estimated population of 3,504,809; and Kathleen Sebelius (D) is governor of Kansas, a state with an estimated population of 2,764,075.
  • New Mexico, where Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson serves as governor, had an estimated population of 1,954,599.

Matthews mentioned that Jennifer Granholm (D), the current governor of Michigan, a state with an estimated population of 10,095,643, is constitutionally ineligible to run for the presidency since she was not born in the United States. Other incumbent women governors include: Linda Lingle (R), governor of Hawaii, a state with an estimated population of 1,285,498; Ruth Ann Minner (D), governor of Delaware, a state with an estimated population of 853,476; and Sarah Palin (R), governor of Alaska, a state with an estimated population of 670,053.

From the 10 p.m. ET hour of MSNBC's January 8 New Hampshire Primary coverage:

OLBERMANN: Lee Cowan at Obama headquarters and he's right about the women: 47-34, Clinton over Obama. And Chris, in Iowa, of course, that was 35-30 Obama over Clinton. And when you ask where John Edwards was, we're waiting for his comments in a few moments. Obviously he's not going to win this. It will be very interesting to see what he says this night compared to what he said in Iowa after the strong second-place finish there.

MATTHEWS: Well, this was fairly predictable until a week or so ago. The Democratic Party is still driven largely by women, issues like health care, education, child enrichment, parental issues like Social Security and Medicare. The Democratic Party has made those issues its preserve. Those are the ones they're primarily interested in.

OLBERMANN: What was number one in the exit poll for both parties tonight? It was the economy.

MATTHEWS: Right. Well, that's of interest to every family, by definition.

OLBERMANN: All right, fine.

MATTHEWS: But clearly, Hillary Clinton -- well, we're going to know more because we're going to get more anecdotal information over the next couple days of people who saw her on television break down to some extent. She did not break down. She had an emotional --

OLBERMANN: Teared up. Teared up is the easiest way to describe it.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Possibly watered up a bit. But I think that was it. And I have to say that I thought the debate Saturday night, and I was in the room, was a draw. I wasn't clear at all that she won it. But maybe she was good enough to seem good enough here for women who wanted to root for her anyway.

By the way, we keep forgetting, this is the first campaign a woman can actually win the presidency in, ever. So it's just as striking as a pioneer opportunity for women voting -- especially older women voting, who may figure this is their last chance to elect a woman president.

OLBERMANN: What was the number from just five years ago, six years ago, that there was a survey of girls who thought -- 40 percent of them thought they would not see a woman president in the next 10 years and still some large number, 30-35 percent, thought they would never see a woman president? That's from five years ago.

MATTHEWS: Well, there's only one candidate still. And even one -- there's not even another on the horizon. Where are the governors? Where are the big-state women governors? Where are they? Name one. They don't exist. Michigan, she's a Canadian. She can't make it.

OLBERMANN: Yeah, Governor Granholm. That's right, she's ineligible. Unless we change the, you know, Schwarzenegger rule to bring her in as well.

MATTHEWS: That would be the Schwarzenegger-Granholm rule, I think you'd have to call it.

OLBERMANN: All right. We haven't checked in with Pat Buchanan and Rachel Maddow going head-to-head on the issues in a little while. Let's bring them back in now. Pat, what about this still-too-close-to-call Democratic race and the shift, particularly for women from Iowa and how they voted for Barack Obama handily there, to how they voted for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire?

PAT BUCHANAN (MSNBC analyst): This is an astonishing development. Look, the pollsters were dead wrong. They were predicting seven, eight to a dozen points for Obama. The press was dead wrong. We had virtually canonized Obama and said he'd been born in Bethlehem, and now you've got a race where Hillary Clinton is running three or four --

MATTHEWS: I don't think you were on that list of apostles.

BUCHANAN: -- three or four points ahead of this fellow. Something has happened. There is a hidden vote here somewhere, or my guess is this: The New Hampshire voters said, look, the press has been telling us Obama's the second coming. We don't think so. The press has been telling us she's gone, and the women came out and said, no, she's not. What New Hampshire did was stand up and body slam the national establishment, the press corps, the pollsters, the whole bunch that came in here, as well as Barack Obama's folks, who must be in a state of shock tonight.

RACHEL MADDOW (Air America host): Pat, I will tell you that on the influential -- influential perhaps on the left -- website Talking Points Memo today, you want to know who they're blaming for women voters breaking for Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama? Who they're blaming for this late showing in a big vote for Hillary Clinton? They're blaming Chris Matthews. People are citing specifically Chris not only for his own views, but also for as a symbol of what the mainstream media has done to Hillary Clinton.

MATTHEWS: Which website is this?

MADDOW: This is talkingpointsmemo.com. And it's -- you're being cited anecdotally, not statistically.

MATTHEWS: My influence in American politics looms over the people. I'm overwhelmed myself.

MADDOW: People feel that the media is piling on Hillary Clinton. They're coming to her defense with their votes.

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, Gender, Elections
Network/Outlet
MSNBC
Person
Chris Matthews
Stories/Interests
Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
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