MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews, who in the past has roundly criticized and ridiculed Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, did a complete one-eighty last night and praised her for her performance in the GOP debate on Monday night:
Matthews: We all ran our table this afternoon, in fact all day today think Bachmann was the big sleeper last night. She came out of nowhere to really be the second star and maybe the real star last night, using the podium to announce her presidency, something I’ve never seen done before. Let’s listen.
Matthews then cuts to Bachmann making her announcement.
Matthews: Well there’s a woman, a person not afraid of the mainstream media, not hiding over in Fox land. What did you think of her performance last night? We thought she was great.
What a difference a debate makes.
Back in November of 2010 Matthews had an entirely different opinion of Bachmann when interviewing her on his program:
“Let me ask you, are you hypnotized tonight?” Matthews asked. “Has someone hypnotized you? Because no matter what I ask you, you give the same answer. Are you hypnotized? Has someone put you in a trance tonight? You gave me the same answer no matter what question I put to you.”
Then in January of this year Matthews had this to say to Sal Russo, co-founder of the Tea Party Express:
“Why do you put someone like this forward who is a balloon head?” he said. “Who knows no American history? It’s a ridiculous decision you guys have made. Do you know how little this woman knows about our history?”
And every time Matthews mentions Bachmann on his program he uses a very unflattering picture of her to reinforce what he is saying.
Yet last night it was as if he forgot just how mean and nasty he has been to Bachmann as he tried to paint himself as some sort of fair-minded arbiter of the GOP debate.
The sudden change of heart about Bachmann will probably be short lived, especially if she proves to be a credible threat to Obama. This may be more of an effort to set her up for a big kill later on. Or perhaps he thinks she would be the easiest for Obama to defeat in 2012, and is hoping to help her win the nomination.