During a segment on tonight's Hardball centered around Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders's criticism on the campaign trail that Hillary is insufficiently liberal and a flip-flopper on key issues, host Chris Matthews insisted that the architect of single-payer Hillarycare – and the hands-down favorite of abortion-rights absolutists like NARAL Pro-Choice America – is a down the middle centrist, or, at worst, merely a "progressive Democrat" as she self-identifies.
Matthews was once again expressing his frustration that Sanders seems to be a credibly dangerous primary challenge to Hillary, at least in New Hampshire, when he's a self-avowed socialist who is technically an independent, not a Democrat:
MATTHEWS: The socialists used to carry a bad tinge.... But Hillary doesn't want to be a socialist. She made clear that yesterday [in her interview on Hardball]. That title would kill her in the general, I assume, she's thinking. And it's probably not at all true. I think she is a centrist Democrat in my own thinking.
Governor [Howard Dean], your thoughts about this. This nomenclature fight. I knew what I was doing yesterday when I asked her, you know, the difference between a socialist and Democrat. We taught about it here. But, you know, the average person watching this from the center right or the center or the left, what's wrong with the discussion about what you mean? Say who you are. She says I'm a progressive Democrat, not a socialist. That's how she puts it.
HOWARD DEAN: Let me just, I'll stand up for Bernie, for a second, although I'm clearly for Hillary.
MATTHEWS: He's never been a Democrat.
DEAN: He's not a Democrat.
MATTHEWS: What's this flip flop? He's now running as a Democrat and he's always run against Democrats.