Amid accusations of misogyny, Matthews slams 'View' hosts
In condescending tirade, MSNBC host argues 'historic fact' that Bill's infidelity only reason Hillary's in Senate
Responding to criticism of his perceived misogyny from the hosts of The View, MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews delivered a lengthy, condescending tirade reiterating his suggestion that Hillary Clinton's political career is precipitated on her husband's infidelity, belittling those who would suggest otherwise and claiming to know more about history than the View women.
After prematurely writing Clinton's political obituary before the New Hampshire primary, Matthews reversed himself after her stunning victory, promising Tuesday night to "never underestimate" the former First Lady again. The next morning, Matthews displayed what many saw as a dramatic example of just how far he could put his foot into his mouth.
"Let’s not forget, and I’ll be brutal, the reason she’s a US Senator, the reason she’s a candidate for President, the reason she may be a front runner, is that her husband messed around," Matthews pronounced Wednesday on MSNBC's Morning Joe.
That observation opened the oft-criticized Hardball host to another round of criticism in the blogosphere. The hosts of The View, ABC's daytime chat show aimed at women, weighed in on Matthew's punditry as well.
"I'm very careful here as you know ... not to give my personal opinions," Barbara Walters said. "I had thought that people in news didn't do that. Forget it. The way to get ratings: Come out and slam."
Joy Behar chimed in: "It's almost like a pile-on of these men against her, and I think they're going to get the real backlash for it."
Matthews took offense at Walters' insinuation and took to Morning Joe Friday morning to defend himself. Host Joe Scarborough began with a nice ad hominem attack on Walters.
"Chris, we don't want to take sides," former GOP congressman Scarborough said innocently. "So I'm not gonna bring up the fact that Barbara Walters, a journalist, told Nancy Pelosi she wanted to have sex with Nancy Pelosi's husband. We also will not bring up that journalist Barbara Walters told Faith Hill she wanted to have sex, on air, with Tim McGraw. Instead, I'm just going to ask you this straight question: Does Barbara Walters have a point?"
(For the record, Walters told Hill, "We'd all like to do your husband [Tim McGraw]," but she said it was co-host Whoopie Goldberg who "would like to do" Pelosi's husband.)
Matthews said it was Clinton's performance campaigning for New York Sen. Chuck Schumer in 1998, after revelations of her husband's affair with Monica Lewinsky, that launched her own senate bid two years later. He said Walters and Behar -- whose name he either was unable to remember or refused to acknowledge -- had their facts wrong.
"Those are this historic facts, Barbara and the other woman, those are the historic facts. I know how you play to a crowd, I know how talk radio works, which is the way a lot of programs work, where you find something to argue about," Matthews said.
"If Barbara Walters wants to debate history, and politics and what's happened in this country the last 50 years, if she wants to go on Jeopardy and see what she knows and what I know, I'll take her on," Matthews promised. "If any of the women on that show want to take me on on historic political information ... let's talk political history. Let's talk facts, not opinions, facts, and I'll take them on."
This video is from MSNBC's Morning Joe, broadcast January 11, 2008.