Remember when pundits criticized former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s claim during his run for the Republican presidential nomination that he fell into the trap of marital infidelity because he loved America so much? Remember MSNBC host Chris Matthews piling on?
It turns out Matthews has a similar explanation for why he crossed the boundaries of traditional journalistic decorum and admitted to feeling physical sensations from hearing President Barack Obama speak, first in 2004 and again in 2008.
At The Cable Show convention in Boston this week, CSPAN’s Steve Scully, hosting a media panel that included Matthews, CNN’s John King and Univision’s Maria Elena Salinas, asked Matthews if “the thrill” was still there today.
“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 in Boston,” Matthews said. “[T]he thrill was real. In fact, Ronald Reagan, I’ve been reading a lot about him, I’ve been working on a book about him, every time he came to the House chamber, you would feel a thrill up your spine. I do have physical reactions when people are talking about my country.”
Matthews said it was Obama’s “amazing story” that gave him that “physical reaction,” which he deemed “American exceptionalism.” He doubled down on that sentiment and admitted “a guy like Tom Brokaw wouldn’t have said,” but it was part of his reporting.
“I’m an untraditional person but I have traditional values and I love the country and I said so,” he said. “Perhaps I shouldn’t have said so because I’ve given a lot of jackasses the chance to talk about it. So, I hope you feel satisfied that you raised the most obvious question that is raised by every horse’s ass right winger that I ever bump into.”