Matthews smeared Lamont; heaped praise on Santorum, Talent, and Kean; and pitched softballs to Card


On the November 2 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews blasted a Democratic Senate candidate while praising two Republican senators running for re-election this year and one Republican challenger. Matthews claimed that his predicted concession speech by Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), who has been consistently behind challenger Bob Casey Jr. in the polls, would be "Churchillian," and that Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO) was "pretty impressive." Matthews also described New Jersey Republican Senate candidate Tom Kean, Jr. as "a very WASPy, rich, sort of nice, old money sort." But earlier in the show, Matthews had a very different take on Democratic Senate candidate Ned Lamont's (CT) privileged upbringing, labeling Lamont "some sort of Ivy League ... twit." The distinction did not go unnoticed by Newsweek columnist Howard Fineman, who asked Matthews why Kean "get[s] to be described that way and Lamont doesn't." Matthews answered that "there's different strokes." Media Matters for America has documented Matthews's pattern of gratuitously bashing Democrats (most recently here and here), as well as other examples of Matthews praising Republicans such as President Bush (here, here, here, here, and here) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) (here and here).

Also on the November 2 edition of Hardball, Matthews conducted a softball interview with former White House chief of staff Andrew Card. The interview, in which Matthews referred to Card as "the cleanest guy in the world" and someone who "left office without a scratch," included the following questions:

On President Bush and first lady Laura Bush:

  • Do they really go to bed at 9:30 at night in this crazy town -- where everybody seems to stay up until midnight?
  • Do they read in bed?
  • Are they reachable after 9?

On Bush's morning schedule:

  • What time does get to work in the morning, the president?
  • Did he already -- has he already shaved and showered and all that. He already had breakfast?
  • Does he read the paper before he comes to work?
  • Did he ever come into work with a bad mood because Maureen Dowd dumped all over him again in The New York Times?

On Bush's reading habits:

  • Horoscopes? Did he do the horoscopes?
  • How about the comics?
  • Doonesbury?
  • Does he finish books? I never finish books.

On possible Republican presidential candidates in 2008:

  • Does he [Bush] think that McCain's a Republican or a maverick?
  • A Rudy [Giuliani, former New York City mayor] campaign -- a McCain/Rudy ticket would be tough to beat? (Matthews has previously stated that he is "still hanging in there for a McCain-Giuliani ticket.")

On Bush's life after the White House:

  • Is that rumor true, he wants to go in the Peace Corps for a couple of years in Africa?

On Bush's presidential papers:

  • Where are the papers going?
  • How about [Texas] Wesleyan [University]?

From the November 2 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:

MATTHEWS: Lieberman-Lamont. As much as we have championed that cause up there, the excitement of a real battle over the war in Iraq, it looks to me like Joe Lieberman, the old big-city pa, ethnic grandpa, best friend of everybody, seems to have put that race to bed early. People like him. They like the fact he's been around. They like his personality -- who he is, where he came from. And, Lamont comes off as some sort of Ivy League -- what's the right word? I can't say it -- twit? What's the problem, Charlie?


MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about another race that seems to have been decided now. Tom Kean Jr. in New Jersey, son of the former governor -- a very WASPy, rich, sort of nice, old-money sort. Howard, you are shaking your head positively -- you like those guys --

FINEMAN: No, I just --

MATTHEWS: -- against Bob Menendez

FINEMAN: How does he get to be described that way and Lamont doesn't, you know?

MATTHEWS: I don't know. Well, I guess there's different strokes.


MATTHEWS: And what about the best concession speech of the night, what do you think? Santorum? He'll give out a Churchillian address, I expect.

KATE O'BEIRNE (National Review Washington editor): I think Senator Santorum, should that happen, will be really worth listening to, and I assume Bob Casey Jr. won't be; he has -- he hasn't -- he hasn't been yet during the whole campaign --

MATTHEWS: Aren't you funny! Aren't you funny!

O'BEIRNE: -- worth listening to. I think the Republicans probably hold Tennessee, although I agree with people who talk about what a terrific candidate Harold Ford has been.


O'BEIRNE: I think Jim Talent wins in Missouri. It's, as you know, a barely sort of red state. They have really close races.

MATTHEWS: He's pretty impressive.


MATTHEWS: Do they -- do they really go to bed at 9:30 at night in this crazy town where everybody seems to stay up 'til midnight?

CARD: They would prefer to be able to go to bed at 9:00 or 9:30, yes. And they --

MATTHEWS: Do they read in bed, or are they --

CARD: They're early to bed.

MATTHEWS: Are they reachable after 9?

CARD: They both like to read. They're both great readers. I could reach them both when I needed to, but I tried not to want to.

MATTHEWS: What time does he get to work in the morning -- the president?

CARD: Before 9-11, he used to show up at 7 at the Oval Office. After 9-11, he showed up at 6:45. Now, 15 minutes may not sound like much to you, but when I was the chief of staff and I had so much reading to do in the morning and I would show up at the office at 5:30 -- that extra 15 minutes of time that I lost because I had to go down and greet the president when he walked into the Oval Office was pretty tough.

MATTHEWS: Did he already -- has he already shaved and showered and all that. He already had breakfast?

CARD: Oh yes, no. He was ready to start the day.

MATTHEWS: He already had breakfast.

CARD: He was ready to start the day.

MATTHEWS: Does he read the paper before he comes to work?

CARD: He skims the newspaper. Laura reads it and, sometimes, Laura would read it to him or at least I could tell that she had.

MATTHEWS: Did he ever come into work with a bad mood 'cause Maureen Dowd dumped all over him again in The New York Times.

CARD: He didn't really read Maureen Dowd, but I think Laura did and, sometimes -- the president did not dwell on the editorial page or the op-ed page of any of the newspapers. He did look at the sports page; he looked at the front page. He had a good sense of what was going on.

MATTHEWS: Horoscopes? Did he do the horoscopes?

CARD: He didn't do the horoscopes.

MATTHEWS: How about the comics?

CARD: Sometimes, the comics, but, you know, he was really into the sports page.

MATTHEWS: Doonesbury?

CARD: And he liked the sports page and the front page, and he was pretty well on top of what was happening around the world, but he didn't want to be told what he had to do by the editorial writers of The New York Times and The Washington Post. And sometimes, I would call his attention to an article or an op-ed piece, if I thought it was pretty good, but, no, he did not dwell on it. Laura Bush, on the other hand, she consumes anything in print.

MATTHEWS: She's a real librarian, a real intellectual.

CARD: She loves to read, and she reads everything. The president is also very, very well-read. He's usually got two books going all the time. He has a nonfiction and a fiction, and he reads an awful lot.

MATTHEWS: Does he finish books? I never finish books.

CARD: Oh, absolutely. He finishes them -

MATTHEWS: Does he?

CARD: -- and then he likes to have little discussions about them.

MATTHEWS: I always have five or about 10 going and I never finish them. Let me ask you about this race for him. This is his last race.

CARD: This is his last race, and he loves politics, but he also knows that the stage is going to get real small for him after this election because other people will be looking to stand on a stage and compete for the right to represent the party.

MATTHEWS: OK. If he had to choose right now between [Massachusetts Gov.] Mitt [Romney] and McCain, who would he go with?

CARD: Oh, I don't think the president should have to choose right now.

MATTHEWS: Oh, come on! Who would he root for?

CARD: Well, I would not predict who the president would be --

MATTHEWS: Who's he going to root for?

CARD: He will root for the Republican nominee. I guarantee you that.

MATTHEWS: Does he think that McCain's a Republican or a maverick?

CARD: Absolutely. Senator McCain has been a tremendous asset to the president as he's helped to get a lot of tough things done.

MATTHEWS: But Mitt's trying to win his love, too, now, right?

CARD: Mitt Romney is a good leader, and he's proven himself to not only be a good leader --

MATTHEWS: Is that the field? Mitt and McCain -- is that the field for such --

CARD: Well, I think there are others. You know, you got Rudy Giuliani, [New York Gov.] George Pataki --

MATTHEWS: Do you think that Rudy will run? You think Rudy will run?

CARD: -- [Arkansas Gov.] Mike Huckabee. I don't know. I don't know who's going to run.

MATTHEWS: You're being generous. But come on, do you think Rudy's running?

CARD: I don't. I don't. But I know a lot of people who would like him to run, and they're out there working hard for him.

MATTHEWS: A Rudy campaign -- a McCain/Rudy ticket would be tough to beat.

CARD: It would be a tough ticket -- a touch ticket.

MATTHEWS: But McCain or -- and this other guy, Mitt Romney, started to warm me up lately. I think --

CARD: But, you know, the voters that are going to the polls in a few days, five days --


CARD: -- they're the ones that should be paying attention to taxes, because if the Democrats win, taxes are going to go up.


CARD: Republicans win, we'll keep taxes down.

MATTHEWS: You've paid for your dinner tonight.

CARD: I -- I believe it.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you one last -- I know you believe it. Let me -- it is the selling point for Republicans. That's the reason your party's been in the House for years, in control. It's people fear more taxes from the Dems.

Let me ask you: What's the boss going to do now that he's out in two years? Where's he going? Is he going -- he's not going to go sit in a library somewhere?

CARD: Oh, no, no, no. He will always be an active American and he'll be a great citizen to this country. And he's someone who cares a lot about the world.

MATTHEWS: Is that rumor true? He wants to run -- he wants to go in the Peace Corps for a couple of years in Africa? Is that true?

CARD: I haven't heard that rumor, but I can tell you this much. The issue that was number one on his mind when he took office was educating kids.


CARD: Leaving no child behind. It was the first initiative that he presented to Congress. We got the No Child Behind Act [sic] passed. He is committed to making sure that kids get a good education, they know how to read, and they're prepared for the future.

MATTHEWS: Where are the papers going?

CARD: Where are the papers going?

MATTHEWS: Presidential papers for him.

CARD: No decision has been made. It'll be in Texas; and we're looking at a bunch of different options. I happen to serve on the committee that's helping to advise the president and the first lady on that.

MATTHEWS: [Texas] A&M [University] is Bush Sr. and Jimmy Baker's at Rice [University].

CARD: That's right.

MATTHEWS: So, there's a few schools left over.

CARD: And we've got a lot of good schools in Texas.

MATTHEWS: How about Wesleyan?

CARD: A lot of good schools in Texas, and he'll be taking a hard look at them -- SMU [Southern Methodist University] and Baylor [University].

MATTHEWS: I think I'd pick -- I'd pick SMU. I think Laura Bush being a Methodist, it makes perfect sense. Thank you. I love figuring these things out. You don't have to get involved.

Chris Matthews
2006 Elections
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