Friday night on MSNBC’s Hardball, host Chris Matthews chided former president Bill Clinton for not defending President Obama more vigorously over his birth certificate and for defending Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital.
Matthews’ guests were Democratic strategist Steve McMahon and Republican strategist Todd Harris.
During an interview with Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who guest-hosted on Piers Morgan Tonight on Thursday, Clinton was asked about Donald Trump and why he keeps talking about President Obama’s birth certificate.
Clinton responded by saying how nice Trump has been to him and Hillary, and that’s it’s “pretty clear” that Obama was born in Hawaii.
That wasn’t exactly the hard answer Matthews thought Clinton should have given.
Matthews: Well, if it’s pretty clear his evidence is from Hawaii, he didn’t exactly lock it in there, did he?
McMahon: The former president’s in a different business now and he runs with people in New York. He raises money for his foundation. Some of those people—he golfs with Donald Trump, he hangs out with venture capitalists, so I’m not surprised to hear him say this. What Bill Clinton talked about, you know, it’s like being the 85-year-old man. You get to say whatever you want when you’re the ex-president, you don’t have to worry about it. But it certainly isn’t doing the Obama campaign any good right now.
Matthews: We’re noticing—just quick to this—I wouldn’t call it a pile-on, but it’s a pile away from Obama. Nobody’s making any special effort to give away credit so they can help Obama. I mean Cory Booker, Ed Rendell, all of these heavyweights now in the party, are just sort of saying, “Yeah, I don’t agree with him. I don’t agree with him.”
Harris said that what he is hearing from Democrats is that Obama has never made any special effort to reach out to them and that is now a big problem.
Matthews: No Canasta at midnight. None of that stuff. No sitting around on a –- Roosevelt would sit around all night, hanging out with southern congressmen and senators, writing checks when he lost at poker, knowing they’d never cash the check because they’ve got his signature on it. But isn’t he doing that?
McMahon said that may be true, but all the Democrats who are walking away from the President are from the Northeast and have ties to the venture capitalists. He said that while they support the President, they are choosing their friends over Obama at this point.
But they are from states that traditionally vote Democratic which made their comments, especially Clinton’s, all the more surprising.
Even a loyal liberal Democrat like Chris Matthews realized that Clinton was off message and that he may have inflicted the most damage of all to the Obama campaign last week.