Like an MSM version of Nancy Pelosi, whose hyper-partisan floor speech reportedly angered many GOP members, Chris Matthews wasted no time in trying to pin the blame for the defeat of the bailout plan on John McCain. Appearing during MSNBC's 2 PM hour, the key to Matthews' argument was his assertion that Dems "overwhelmingly" supported the measure, whereas McCain failed to rally a sufficient number of Republicans.
Love the bailout or hate it. Decry its defeat or rejoice in it. But one thing is clear: Matthews grossly misstated the facts. Far from supporting the plan "overwhelmingly," fully 40% of House Dems voted against it: a margin of 141-94. Republicans, the more free-market oriented of the two parties, were always more wary of the plan. It was clear that passage was largely going to depend on massive Dem support. If McCain failed to deliver, surely Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama failed as much or more.
View video here.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Two-thirds of the Republicans voted against the measure that [McCain] said was essential. He said let's do it, they said, no, we're not going to do it. I think that's the hard thing for him to explain. You'll notice that Barack Obama just a moment ago made clear he wants this bill to pass: his party voted for it overwhelmingly.
Matthews is entitled to his opinion but not to his facts. 40% "no" votes is anything but "overwhelming" Dem support. To the contrary, it's stunning evidence of how unpopular this plan was even in many Dem districts.
Update: Appearing during MSNBC's 3 PM hour, NBC News political director Chuck Todd offered a much more fair-'n-balanced take. He pointed out that virtually every member in a tough re-election race, on both sides of the aisle, voted against the bill. He added that there was a lack of leadership on both sides, describing Nancy Pelosi and GOP leader John Boehner as being unable to deliver the necessary votes. Concluded Todd: "this was a bi-partisan killing of this thing." Even Norah O'Donnell pointed out that nearly 100 Dems voted against the bill. Matthews is left looking like a hard-core member of MSNBC's Olbermann wing.