Matthews asked: Is Hillary Clinton unable to "admit a mistake" on Iraq vote because she would be criticized as a "fickle woman"?
On two straight days, Chris Matthews cited hypothetical critics in saying that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is reluctant to admit she made a mistake in voting for the Iraq war resolution because she would be denigrated as a woman who is unable to make up her mind.
For the second consecutive day, MSNBC's Hardball host Chris Matthews  cited hypothetical critics in saying that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) is reluctant to admit she made a mistake in voting for the Iraq war resolution because she would be denigrated as a woman who is unable to make up her mind. On the March 15 edition  of Hardball with Chris Matthews, Matthews suggested that the reason Clinton "doesn't admit" that she regrets her Iraq war vote is that her critics would say, "It's a woman's prerogative to change her mind." On the next day's show, Matthews added that Clinton could be criticized by Republicans as a "fickle woman" if she changed her position on Iraq, and asked: "Is her gender a problem in her ability to change her mind?"
From a discussion between Matthews and former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) on the March 16 edition of Hardball with Chris Matthews:
MATTHEWS: You know, Hillary Clinton, the senator from New York, will not say what you just said. She has a way of skirting the issue. We had her spokesman on, Mr. [Howard ] Wolfson , on last night who said there wouldn't have been a vote to allow force if the administration hadn't made the case it made.
But she won't say that she made a mistake. Is she hemmed in by the fact that she's a woman and can't admit a mistake, or else the Republicans will say, "Oh, that's a woman's prerogative to change her mind," or "another fickle woman?" Is her gender a problem in her ability to change her mind?
EDWARDS: Oh, I don't think her gender has anything to do with this. I think this is an individual, personal --
MATTHEWS: I mean, because how it would be used by the other side. How it -- not objectively, obviously --
EDWARDS: Right. Right.
MATTHEWS: -- but how the other side would use it.
EDWARDS: No, I wouldn't -- I don't think she's concerned about that. I don't think any woman leader in this country should be concerned about that. This is a difficult, independent judgment that people have to make.
From a discussion between Matthews and Wolfson on the March 15 edition  of Hardball with Chris Matthews:
MATTHEWS: They said that we would be received as liberators. The vice president said that. And [deputy Defense Secretary Paul] Wolfowitz said the war would be paid for, which now cost us a trillion dollars -- maybe $2 trillion -- before we're out of there. Wolfowitz also said that would be paid for by Iraqi oil. The promises were complete. We bought our way -- we were sold this bill of goods.
Senator Clinton has said, and you know this, she said if she -- the country had known the facts, there would have never even been a vote. Does that explain the fact that she voted for the war to authorize it or is that to say, she would never have even thought of voting for this war?
WOLFSON: Well, look, I think, in life, in politics, you don't get to do do-overs, and we are where we are.
MATTHEWS: Sure we do. We get to dump presidents we don't like. We did over Jimmy Carter, who I worked for, he was bounced. Gerry Ford was bounced.
WOLFSON: You can bounce a president --
MATTHEWS: We bounce presidents all the time. We bounce policies all the time.
WOLFSON: You can -- you can bounce a president, but you can't go back in history and undo what's happened. And I think --
MATTHEWS: Sure you can, you can say, "I'm sorry I voted the wrong way. I was misinformed."
WOLFSON: Well -- But you don't get to turn the clock back and do it over again. You don't get to do a do-over.
MATTHEWS: Would she like to turn the clock back?
WOLFSON: Not that she's told me. It's not something that I've talked about with her.
MATTHEWS: I understand why she doesn't admit you're wrong, because then they'll say, "It's a woman's prerogative to change her mind." I know they'll do all the gender stuff on her. I know why you're not doing it.