Matthews referred to Hillary Clinton as “sort of a Madame Defarge of the left”

MSNBC host Chris Matthews referred to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) as “sort of a Madame Defarge of the left” -- a slur previously advanced by conservative syndicated columnist and CNN host Robert Novak, MSNBC political analyst and former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan, and MSNBC host Monica Crowley.

Madame Defarge is a villainous character in Charles Dickens's novel A Tale of Two Cities. According to, 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.”

From the April 24 edition of the syndicated Chris Matthews Show:

MATTHEWS: But does anyone think that Hillary will have a pro -- you say she'll have a problem reconciling her current move to the center with her past image as sort of a Madame Defarge of the left?