Matthews on Obama shooting pool: "[I]t's not what most people play. People with money play pool these days"

››› ››› MATTHEW BIEDLINGMAIER

On Hardball, Chris Matthews said of Sen. Barack Obama: "I think, being an African-American, it's all the more important to get in there and show who you are, introduce yourself as a person, not as an identity group, but as a human being, and connect with people. I think that's still going to be his challenge." Matthews then stated: "Playing pool, not a bad start, but it's not what most people play. People with money play pool these days." Matthews added: "The guys who have pool rooms in their house in the basement. You know what those tables cost?"

On the May 13 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, discussing Sen. Barack Obama, host Chris Matthews asserted: "I think, being an African-American, it's all the more important to get in there and show who you are, introduce yourself as a person, not as an identity group, but as a human being, and connect with people. I think that's still going to be his challenge." Matthews then stated: "Playing pool, not a bad start, but it's not what most people play. People with money play pool these days." Matthews added: "The guys who have pool rooms in their house in the basement. You know what those tables cost?" After Matthews spoke, Hardball aired footage of Obama shooting pool.

As Media Matters for America has documented, Matthews has on numerous occasions purported to analyze whether Obama has the ability to "connect" with "regular" voters. Specifically, during the April 1 edition of Hardball, Matthews referred to Obama's bowling performance at a March 29 campaign stop at Pleasant Valley Lanes in Altoona, Pennsylvania, and asked, "[C]an Obama woo more regular voters -- you know, the ones who actually do know how to bowl?" During another segment on March 29, Matthews asked Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), "Let me ask you about how he -- how's he connect with regular people? Does he? Or does he only appeal to people who come from the African-American community and from the people who have college or advanced degrees?" Additionally, on the March 31 edition of Hardball, Matthews said of Obama: "[T]his gets very ethnic, but the fact that he's good at basketball doesn't surprise anybody, but the fact that he's that terrible at bowling does make you wonder." Matthews has also criticized Obama for turning down an offer of coffee at a diner in favor of orange juice and asserted that Obama has "got another problem. ... He can't walk into a dinette [sic] with five or six guys there, white guys, in some cases. He can't just shake hands and hang out. He doesn't seem to, 'Hey, you know, how are the Eagles doing?' Or 'How are the Phils doing?' "

According to a Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association 2007 study posted on the Billiards Congress of America website, "There are 46,990,000 Billiards participants in the U.S." -- defined as people who play billiards at least once a year -- and "60% of all Billiards participants have a household income of under $75,000 per year." Additionally, 54 percent of billiards participants also participated in bowling, and "30% of all Billiards participants have a college degree or higher."

From the May 13 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:

MATTHEWS: Andrea, this whole question -- Hillary Clinton goes down there and rolls up the score, as she ought to, because it's a state she can do well in. The Barack Obama dissing of that state, not even going in there to fight the primary, is that going to hurt him in the general if he's the nominee?

MITCHELL: Well, that's what Joe Manchin, the governor, was concerned about -- that people here need to size him up. He said, you know, these are hard working people, but they have a Ph.D. in life and in human nature, and they want to see you. They want to have, you know, dinner with you. They want to break bread with you.

MATTHEWS: Yeah.

MITCHELL: They want to get to know what motivates you.

MATTHEWS: Yeah.

MITCHELL: And that's what he wants to see.

MATTHEWS: I agree. Well, I think he's right. I think, being an African-American, it's all the more important to get in there and show who you are, introduce yourself as a person, not as an identity group --

FINEMAN: Right. Right.

MATTHEWS: -- but as a human being, and connect with people. I think that's still going to be his challenge. Playing pool, not a bad start, but it's not what most people play. People with money play pool these days.

FINEMAN: Oh.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you. The guys who have pool rooms in their house in the basement. You know what those tables cost? Anyway, Howard Fineman, thank you, Andrea Mitchell. Up next, it's the Hardball sideshow.

Network/Outlet
MSNBC
Person
Chris Matthews
Show/Publication
Hardball
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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