Chris Matthews, on Thursday's Hardball, cast Barack Obama in the role of savior of the neo-cons as he pondered if the President's Nobel Peace Prize speech could, "Lead those neo-cons...out of the valley of evil?" Matthews wondered if Obama could rescue Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Michael Gerson and other neo-cons from their "belief in torture and Gitmo." Cynthia Tucker, of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, joined Matthews in declaring "This speech won’t make Dick Cheney happy."
The following exchange was aired on the December 10, edition of Hardball:
(Begin clip of speech)
BARACK OBAMA: I believe the United States of America must remain a standard-bearer in the conduct of war. That is what makes us different from those who we fight. That is a source of our strength. That is why I prohibited torture. That is why I ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed and that is why I have reaffirmed America's commitment to abide by the Geneva Conventions. We lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideals that we fight to defend.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Chuck do you think the President gets enough moral authority with the rest of this speech to lead those neo-cons and Cheney types, Karl Rove and the rest of them, Michael Gerson, out of the valley of evil here? Can he take, can he, can he save them from their, at least short term, belief in torture and Gitmo and the rest of this?
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: Well certainly as far as the relationship to the world is, if, if that's the, if that's where you're asking that question from, judging by that applause line. You know, not many parts of his speech invoked applause. And sometimes on foreign soil when a president, when the President is giving speeches people will not, not a lot of applause, sometimes that will be translation issues. That wasn't a translation issue. I think that was because of the soberness of the speech and the topic. But that is the part, and Chris it goes to your earlier point. That's the part where he separated himself from his foreign policy doctrine with President's Bush's foreign policy doctrine.
CYNTHIA TUCKER, ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION: And that's what American Exceptionalism is all about in my view Chris. We are the people who have the good values, even when it is tough to do so. We don't torture. Yes we will try-
MATTHEWS: Cheney does!
MATTHEWS: The neo-cons believe in it!
TUCKER: Well that is not...
MATTHEWS: They come on this show every night. We had Ron Christie here, sitting in that chair last night, defending it down the line.
TUCKER: And that is why this speech still won't make Dick Cheney happy. But I think many Americans ought to be very proud of the speech that President Obama gave this morning.