On Hardball, Matthews and Shuster critiqued Obama's "weird" beverage selection at Indiana diner

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On Hardball, while remarking on Sen. Barack Obama's reported request for orange juice after being offered coffee at an Indiana diner, David Shuster asserted: "[I]t's just one of those sort of weird things. You know, when the owner of the diner says, 'Here, have some coffee,' you say, 'Yes, thank you,' and, 'Oh, can I also please have some orange juice, in addition to this?' You don't just say, 'No, I'll take orange juice,' and then turn away and start shaking hands." Host Chris Matthews agreed, "You don't ask for a substitute on the menu."

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On the April 10 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, after reporting that Sen. Barack Obama "campaigned today in northern Indiana, shaking hands and chatting with people at a diner near South Bend," MSNBC correspondent David Shuster stated to host Chris Matthews: "Well, here's the other thing that we saw on the tape, Chris, is that, when Obama went in, he was offered coffee, and he said, 'I'll have orange juice.' " Matthews replied, "No," to which Shuster responded: "He did." Shuster continued: "And it's just one of those sort of weird things. You know, when the owner of the diner says, 'Here, have some coffee,' you say, 'Yes, thank you,' and, 'Oh, can I also please have some orange juice, in addition to this?' You don't just say, 'No, I'll take orange juice,' and then turn away and start shaking hands." Matthews added, "You don't ask for a substitute on the menu," and then said: "David, what a regular guy. You could do this. ... I mean, go to the diners." Matthews then began an interview with Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), an Obama supporter, by asking Casey: "Isn't that interesting, Senator Casey, that Barack Obama, your candidate, can walk before 15,000 people with complete calm and assurance, but he seems a little out of place in A) a bowling alley and B) a diner? What is the problem with your guy?"

Earlier in his discussion with Shuster, Matthews asserted that Obama is "not that good at that -- handshaking in a diner," adding: "Barack doesn't seem to know how to do that right." Shuster agreed, stating: "He doesn't do that well." Matthews then asserted: "What's so hard about doing a diner? I don't get it. Why doesn't he go in there and say, 'Did you see the papers today? What do you think about that team? How did we do last night?' Just some regular connection?" Matthews also asked Shuster, referring to Obama's support among college students versus support for Sen. Hillary Clinton: "So you think the college crowd can beat the regular people there, if it comes down to that, in terms of Hillary's support?"

As Media Matters for America noted, Matthews has previously suggested that the Democratic Party does not consist of "regular people," and that African-Americans and college graduates are not "regular people." During the April 8 edition of Hardball, after playing a clip of Clinton bowling on the April 7 edition of the syndicated The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Matthews asserted, "Well, it looks like bowlers won't have a champion in the race at all. I'm actually surprised by the fact that neither Barack or Hillary have bowled much in their lives. Maybe that tells you something about the Democratic Party." 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 a segment on that same program, 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?" In addition, during MSNBC's February 5 coverage of that day's primary contests, Matthews suggested to Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean that he should be concerned about the party's lack of broad appeal, noting polls showing a large number of "college graduates" and voters of a "high economic and social echelon" voting in the Democratic primaries. Matthews added, "I just wonder where regular people are in this."

From the April 10 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:

SHUSTER: As for Barack Obama, he campaigned today in northern Indiana, shaking hands and chatting with people at a diner near South Bend. Then Obama headed to Gary, Indiana, where he spoke in front of a raucous crowd at Roosevelt High School. Obama's theme was the economy. He sharply criticized John McCain's support for extending the Bush tax cuts. And Obama said, McCain's housing plan, announced today, does not go far enough.

[...]

SHUSTER: Well, look, Chris, seriously, though, keep an eye on these college towns in Indiana, because I was just talking a few minutes ago, there are -- in a close primary, especially in a conservative state --

MATTHEWS: Right.

SHUSTER: -- you have a lot of people in -- who may be Democrats in a place like Indiana. Watch turnout in places like Bloomington, Terre Haute --

MATTHEWS: So you think the college crowd can beat the regular people there, if it comes down to that, in terms of Hillary's support?

SHUSTER: In a state like Indiana, if Obama can turn out the large crowds in the college towns --

MATTHEWS: Did you see him there?

SHUSTER: -- but that's --

MATTHEWS: He's not that good at that -- handshaking in a diner.

SHUSTER: No --

MATTHEWS: Barack doesn't seem to know how to do that right.

SHUSTER: -- he doesn't do that well. But then you see him in front of 15,000 people in some of these college towns, and that's why, Chris, we've seen Chelsea Clinton and Bill Clinton in Bloomington and South Bend and Terre Haute. I mean --

MATTHEWS: What's so hard about doing a diner? I don't get it. Why doesn't he go in there and say, "Did you see the papers today? What do you think about that team? How did we do last night?" Just some regular connection?

SHUSTER: Well, here's the other thing that we saw on the tape, Chris, is that, when Obama went in, he was offered coffee, and he said, "I'll have orange juice."

MATTHEWS: No.

SHUSTER: He did.

And it's just one of those sort of weird things. You know, when the owner of the diner says, "Here, have some coffee," you say, "Yes, thank you," and, "Oh, can I also please have some orange juice, in addition to this?" You don't just say, "No, I'll take orange juice," and then turn away and start shaking hands. That's what happens [unintelligible] --

MATTHEWS: You don't ask for a substitute on the menu.

SHUSTER: Exactly.

MATTHEWS: David, what a regular guy. You could do this. Anyway, thank you, David Shuster. I mean, go to the diners.

Here you have a guy that can do it. Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania is out on campaign. He campaigned all throughout the state lately for Barack Obama.

Isn't that interesting, Senator Casey, that Barack Obama, your candidate, can walk before 15,000 people with complete calm and assurance, but he seems a little out of place in A) a bowling alley and B) a diner? What is the problem with your guy?

CASEY: Chris, he was fine in the bowling alley. His score was a little low. But I was able -- it was the only thing I was able to beat him at during our bus tour. But he had a great response.

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