On Wednesday's Hardball, MSNBC host Chris Matthews made perfectly clear he is incensed at Republican outrage over the Islamic Republic of Iran's capture of 10 U.S. Navy sailors. In his mind, they need to chill out.
They "pounced on it with doom and gloom. You'd have thought that the guys were never coming home," Matthews – who once served as an aide to expert Iran handler Jimmy Carter – complained.
No, really, check out the video clip. You can also watch a larger video clip at the bottom of this post.
Matthews also made sure to work in another shot at Marco Rubio and Republican donor Sheldon Adelson, whom he called the "neocon king" who wants to be ever "militarizing the Middle East" and "bigfoot[ing] Iran in the Persian Gulf.
You can read the relevant transcript here (emphases mine):
January 13, 2016; 7:41 p.m. Eastern
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Welcome back to Hardball. We’re continuing to follow this dramatic confrontation with Iran as ten American sailors were detained overnight, then released by Iranian militaryforces after drifting into its territorial waters.
Iranian state television has released footage, there it is, of soldiers in camouflage pants and beige shirts with their hands in the air while being watched by armed military guards. The video also shows the sailors on the floor eating some kind of meal. The Iranians also released footage of a one of the U.S. soldiers [sic] apologizing.
MATTHEWS: These images, by the way, have sparked quite the reaction on the American campaign trail. Here’s Marco Rubio speaking at a rally today in South Carolina.
MATTHEWS: Ken [Vogel of Politico], I don’t, I’m not surprised. Is this just political Kabuki dancing? We have an incident overseas, a bit embarrassing, and the opposition jumps on it as a sign of weakness.
MATTHEWS: Even though the sailors were released this morning, Republicans like Chris Christie of New Jersey sounded like they’re itching for war.
MATTHEWS: You notice how they relished it last night. They liked it.
MICHELLE BERNARD: Of course.
DAVID CATANESE, senior political writer for U.S. News and World Report: It’s a layup for them.
MICHELLE BERNARD: Well, It's a layup for them. It happened right at the time that the president was about to give his final State of the Union address and they wanted to sort of dumb down everything that we think about Obama.
MATTHEWS: It wasn’t like they thought for a moment and decided what to say. Look at this. Republicans telegraphed their outrage regardless of the outcome of the incident. In fact, before the outcome, when word of the incident first broke yesterday, before the president's State of the Union, the Republican field pounced on it with doom and gloom. You’d have thought the guys were never coming home.
MATTHEWS: Well, every time I hear Marco Rubio, I hear somebody sending a love letter to Shelly Adelson, to the neo-con king, asking for more money. It's just always the same. We must be militarizing the Middle East, we must be the main military power in the Middle East, we must move in with everything we’ve got and somehow bigfoot Iran in the Persian Gulf. We must be there with all our strength, because that’s what Adelson wants.
KEN VOGEL: Yeah, the Republican field this time around is pretty much a neo-conservative’s dream...
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