Ode to a president: Chris Matthews found ‘a little bit of Mark Twain’ in Obama

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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The admiration Chris Matthews has for our current commander-in-chief, President Barack Obama, is well documented. He once admitted that Obama gave him “a thrill up his leg.” He also admitted to having been mesmerized by Obama to the point that he forgot he was a black man.

On his Thursday night broadcast of “Hardball,” Matthews explained how the “birther” crowd has failed after nearly two-and-a-half years of trying to destroy Obama’s presidency. First he chastised Republicans for even showing the perception of having any sympathies for the birther crowd.

“Let me finish tonight with the baby the Republicans just threw out with the bath water,” Matthews said. “The baby was their reputation for seriousness by pandering to the haters and nutcases of birther-land. The Republicans might have just kissed away their credibility as a practical alternative to the Democrat now running the White House.”

As Matthews has said for the years since Obama’s been front-and-center, even back during the 2008 presidential campaign when the birth certificate issue originally surfaced, he believes the birther movement is about something deeper than just challenging the president’s eligibility to hold office.

“I was stunned to see today how many are still pushing the birther angle,” he said. “Newt Gingrich is still saying there’s something strange afoot. The whole thing he says is strange. Trump, who said he suspects the president was the biggest con in history by claiming to be born here, continues to bam out charges about the president’s upbringing. Others demand to see his grades from school, anything to keep the weird music playing. And out in crazy land, the bloggers are still saying the birth certificate is a fake. So it’s not about a birth certificate, is it? It’s not about the facts, is it? No, we know what it’s about and so do the people still hot about digging up something on Obama to weed him out from the list of presidents. That’s the angle here.”


But Matthews admitted his own skepticism – that he didn’t think it would be possible for someone named “Barack Hussein Obama” to be elected to the American presidency.

“This isn’t about skepticism,” he said. “I was a skeptic myself, not about where he was born but about this fellow Barack Obama’s chances early on to even get elected president. When I first heard his name maybe 10 years ago, I was convinced a guy named Barack Obama, whose father was from Kenya, didn’t have a chance. This country’s been electing WASPs to the presidency ever since the beginning. We had simple names like Truman and Ford and Bush, yeah? Once in a blue moon, we elected an Eisenhower, but he was a great hero of World War II.  Usually it’s names Jackson and Adams and Carter and Clinton – no Baracks or Obamas, or had I known his middle name, Husseins. I just didn’t think it was possible with all those three names to get elected to the high office in this country.”

However, Matthews was eventually won over and the “Hardball” host said in Obama’s writings he found something that reminded him of Mark Twain.

“And then I found out more about him,” Matthews said. “I started reading his book and found a rich American texture there – a bit of Mark Twain really. I heard him speak then watched him campaign and deal with people and I said, ‘This guy’s got something.’ That’s right. Then I said, ‘This guy just might be our president someday if he can deal with the challenge of Hillary Clinton and the media and John McCain,’ and he did. Some people never let him get past his name and his background. They never did. No way were they going to let this guy into the living room, to be there on the television being the elected leader of their country. They were simply going to deny him.”