MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews got a little testy at the National Cable Television Association’s Cable Show when C-SPAN’s Steve Scully asked him about his now infamous “thrill up his leg” statement after listening to Barack Obama speak in 2008.
Scully: Quote from 2008: “I have to tell you it’s part of reporting this election the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama’s speech. My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don’t have that too often.” Is the thrill still there today?
Matthews: Well I had that actually—if you had done your reporting over at C-SPAN, you would have checked that I said the exact same thing in 2004 after I heard his address up here in Boston—
But Scully didn’t ask about 2004, he just wanted to know if Matthews feels the same way today about Obama as he did on that day in 2008.
Matthews was clearly irked by the question and rather than address it head on, he launched into a long explanation of what he said in 2004. In an attempt to defend his feelings about Obama, he tried to equate them to what Reagan felt when he entered the House chamber.
Matthews: Back when Ronald Reagan—I’ve been reading a lot about him, I’m working on a book on him— every time he came into the House chamber, he would feel a thrill up his spine. I do have physical reactions when people are talking about my country…And whatever else you think about this guy’s politics—which I think are left of center—whatever you think about his politics, his story is an amazing American story. And when he talks about the way he did it, that was my definition of American exceptionalism. And I am thrilled as I speak about it now. I think this is the great country. And I am thrilled by it, and I’m willing to say this…Perhaps I shouldn’t have said so, because I’ve given a lot of jackasses a chance to talk about it.
But Matthews wasn’t done ranting.
Matthews: Raised the most obvious question that is raised by every horse’s ass right-winger I ever bump into. And usually they say “tingle,” which tells me about their orientation, but that’s alright.
Scully: So let me conclude, on that note. Our next question is coming from—
Matthews: Not that there’s anything wrong with it, of course. I have to throw that in. But thank you, Steve, for serving up that little soufflé you’ve been working on since last night sometime when your brain exploded with this idea that you’re going to ask me about it.
Maybe Matthews thinks that any “right-winger” who uses his term and who brings up this topic is a jackass, but if he wants to know who the real jackass is, I suggest he take a good long look in the mirror.