Matthews depicted as inherently unprincipled those who support the Iraq war but believe administration botched it

Video ››› ››› RAPHAEL SCHWEBER-KOREN

On MSNBC's Tucker, Chris Matthews suggested that politicians who claim to support the Iraq war but criticize the Bush administration's handling of it are motivated only by political calculation. He singled out Sens. Joe Lieberman and Hillary Rodham Clinton, specifically, for retreating to a "parking lot of ambition," which Matthews explained as "where [politicians] like to put their car and say, 'It's safe here. I'll look like I'm a little anti-war -- of course, I'm a hawk.' "

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On the August 8 edition of MSNBC's Tucker, MSNBC's Hardball host Chris Matthews suggested that politicians who claim to support the Iraq war but criticize the Bush administration's handling of it are motivated only by political calculation. Matthews claimed that this position, which he attributed to Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-CT) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), exists only in a "parking lot of ambition," which Matthews explained as "where [politicians] like to put their car and say, 'It's safe here. I'll look like I'm a little anti-war -- of course, I'm a hawk.' " Asked by host Tucker Carlson what he thought of Lieberman's position on the Iraq war, Matthews went "into [his] analysis mode," saying that he didn't "understand the political position that you're for this war all the way; you think that was the great decision of this president; you're totally for the forward-leaning, aggressive policy in the Middle East. ... And then you say you've got problems with the way it was managed. ... [T]hat's not really a political position," adding, "except you're a hawk."

Matthews -- unprompted by Carlson -- also said that this position was like Clinton's, "who says she voted for the war, but she doesn't like the way it was run."

As Media Matters noted, Matthews recently stated that if Democratic critics recognize that President Bush made a "smart decision" to invade Iraq, then Bush "deserves to have a place in history" because "[y]ou can't say he did the right thing but he didn't quite do it right."

From the August 8 edition of MSNBC's Tucker:

CARLSON: And Chris, quickly, The New York Times page one story today indicated that Lieberman is -- appears to be changing his tune on the war in Iraq, running a two-minute ad suggesting that he doesn't agree with the war, at least the way the war has been executed. Has he become a last moment anti-war candidate? Is that your impression?

MATTHEWS: You know, I will now go into my analysis mode. I don't understand the political position that you're for this war all the way, in fact you're a champion of this war in Iraq; you believe we should have gone in; you think that was the great decision of this president; you're totally for the forward-leaning, aggressive policy in the Middle East -- one hundred percent hawk. And then you say you've got problems with the way it was managed. Well, that's not really a political position -- except you're a hawk. And so I think that maybe, like Hillary, who says she voted for the war, but she doesn't like the way it was run -- I think most voters are falling into one of two camps: the 55 percent or so who say they think it was a big blunder to go in there -- in fact, we were led in there under false pretenses -- and the minority who still support the war. I think it's only politicians that look for this parking lot of ambition where they like to put their car and say, "It's safe here. I'll look like I'm a little anti-war -- of course, I'm a hawk." And I think that the voters tonight, my hunch is, will begin to clarify and divide the flock between those who are hawks and those who are doves, and we'll know more around midnight. We're going to be on the air, of course, MSNBC will be on throughout the evening. We'll be on at one o'clock Eastern time this morning when we think we will have complete results. And I guess as a political person, I'd like to see clarity at the end of the night.

CARLSON: Yes, me, too.

MATTHEWS: So, when we get up tomorrow, we know which way the wind's blowing on this war.

CARLSON: That's right. I don't see how that's bad for the country. Chris, I'm glad you're there covering this. Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Thank you, Tucker.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, War in Iraq
Network/Outlet
MSNBC
Person
Chris Matthews
Show/Publication
Tucker
Stories/Interests
Attacks on Progressives, Propaganda/Noise Machine, Hillary Clinton
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