"Wow!" That was Chris Matthews' immediate reaction to Barack Obama's response to a question from a Fox News reporter about why his pick for Commerce Secretary, Bill Richardson, shaved off his beard. After playing, on Wednesday's "Hardball", a clip from Obama's press conference introducing Richardson, Matthews expressed awe at the "intellectual" way Obama analyzed Richardson's personal grooming habits.
Matthews made the following observation during the "Sideshow," segment of the December 3 edition of "Hardball":
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Back to "Hardball." Time for the "Sideshow." A brilliant pollster friend of mine once said that every great politician has three characteristics: Motive, you know why he or she is there, passion and spontaneity. Well Barack Obama certainly has got that third characteristic. Talk about being quick on your feet. Here he is today giving Bill Richardson, his new clean shaven pick for Commerce Secretary a ribbing.
WENDELL GOLER, FOX NEWS: And if I may also ask the Governor, what happened to the beard sir?
BARACK OBAMA: I'm gonna answer this question about the beard. I think it was a mistake for him to get it, get rid of it. I thought that whole Western, rugged look was really working for him. For some reason, maybe because it was scratchy when he kissed his wife, he was forced to get rid of it.
MATTHEWS: Wow! Reminds me of that same mock serious way that Barack Obama went about describing his dog-buying decision. The less important the issue, the more intellectual he gets.