Chris Matthews, who earlier on Monday attacked RNC chairman Reince Priebus on MSNBC’s Morning Joe program for playing what he called the race card, met his match on Monday night on Hardball when he continued harping on GOP racism, only to be called out by Newt Gingrich for his “racist thinking.”
Matthews used Mitt Romney’s joke last week about never being asked for his birth certificate as proof that Romney and the GOP were racists. In Matthews’ warped view, any reference to Obama’s birth certificate is only meant to remind people that he is black.
But it wasn’t just the Romney joke that had Matthews wound up on race, as he accused Gingrich of using ethnic politics when he called Barack Obama the “food stamp president.”
Gingrich responded by telling Matthews that his assumptions were “absurd” and that Romney’s joke was clearly not malicious.
Matthews wasn’t satisfied with Gingrich’s answer and played the Romney clip from last week. He told Gingrich that he had received emails from African-Americans, and said they see this as racial talk.
Gingrich laid some of the blame for that sentiment on Matthews:
I think there are a lot of people in America who listen to people like you, who tell them all day, every day how they should see everything. You just had a panel where the guy who was black was telling the two guys who were white that they were nuts. The two guys who were white were going, gee why are you not more sensitive to being black? I think Michael Steele knows he’s black. I don’t think this is a great shock to him.
Matthews then switched to food stamps and asked Gingrich what a food stamp president was. Gingrich replied:
A food stamp president is a guy whose policies are so destructive that he creates the longest unemployment since the Great Depression and he puts more people, most of them white on food stamps than anyone. Why do you assume food stamps refer to blacks? What kind of racist thinking do you have? You’re being a racist, because you assume everything is about blacks.
Matthews defended himself by saying that Ronald Reagan talked about the African American Welfare Queen in the 1980’s and the “young buck waiting in line for food stamps to buy booze with.”
Gingrich questioned Matthews assertion that Reagan ever was race specific about the Welfare Queen. Matthews admitted that he didn’t, but said that he didn’t have to since everyone knew what he meant, since it was a part of our history.
At that point Matthews effectively admitted defeat for his specious argument that the Republican Party is racist based on his interpretations of what they meant, rather than what they said. He then quickly changed the subject.