Prejudice? Matthews thinks Haley Barbour is smart despite ‘Mississippi accent’

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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MSNBC host Chris Matthews seems to be a regional dialect bigot.

On Tuesday’s “Hardball” on MSNBC, Matthews suggested that you can judge a man’s intelligence by his accent when asking former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele how a potential 2012 presidential candidate might unify the segments of the Republican Party.

“That the question, I guess, I’ll go back to that question – Michael can somebody come along — I guess what I don’t see, I thought that Haley Barbour despite his Mississippi accent and all that – I thought he’s a smart guy,” Matthews said. “You know he’s a smart guy. I thought you need to be somebody who can appeal to the Tea Party wing of your party, but not be one because if you’re a Tea Party, you can’t win the general election. But I thought he was one. I thought Thune was one. I think Mitch Daniels is one. Who in your party can unite the right-wing fringe with the regular right-wing?”

Nonetheless, Steele said the elements of the GOP remain strong and there were candidates the party could rally around.

“You know, the right-wing fringe or the regular right-wing – you’ve got a very strong conservative base that’s active in the GOP nominating process,” Steele explained. “And I think that a number of those who are announced already like a Tim Pawlenty or certainly a Newt Gingrich can galvanize that base around the set of ideas.”

Matthews protested Steele’s idea that Gingrich, also a southerner, could be president.