Imagine that Chris Matthews was interviewing the former head of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, someone who helped engineer the election of a Republican House member after the incumbent Dem had been caught in a sex scandal. Now imagine that same Republican was currently stuck in a sex scandal of his own, and just that afternoon a credible report emerged that he might drop out of the race. What are the odds Matthews wouldn't have raised the new scandal with the former RCCC chairman? About as good as Keith Olbermann suddenly endorsing McCain-Palin after tonight's debate, you say? Agreed.
Yet when Matthews had Rahm Emanuel on his show this evening, the Hardball host failed to raise the matter of Tim Mahoney with Emanuel, the hyper-partisan Dem and former DCCC chairman. This despite the Politico's report that Mahoney might be dropping out, he who won Mark Foley's seat after the Republican was forced out of the race in 2006 after sordid details emerged of his text messaging with male House pages.
There was one amusing moment: after defending William Ayers as a "distinguished professor," Emanuel balked at calling him a "good guy" on the grounds he didn't know him. Right.
View video here.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: We're pre-gaming this big debate tonight; it's going to be 90 minutes. Somewhere during the debate Bob Schieffer, who's a veteran, will bring up the name Bill Ayers. I can absolutely predict it because it's been a big part of the McCain-Palin campaign. She's accused, Governor Palin has accused, the Democratic candidate for president, of palling around with terrorists. Now you know Chicago politics [Emanuel is from Chicago]; you know the mayor, Richard Daley. Who is Bill Ayers in terms of today's politics in Chicago? Who is he??
RAHM EMANUEL: He's a professor at a university--a distinguished professor on education policy and education reform. And people come to Chicago to look at the city because of all the reforms we've done for public education. But let me get back to --
MATTHEWS: Is he a good guy?
EMANUEL: I don't know him! Let me get back to --
MATTHEWS: You said he's a distinguished person in education.
EMANUEL [voice rising]: Well he is! But I don't know him well. You asked me if he's a good guy. I could only answer that if I knew him.
Insert my favorite Church Lady quote here. Funny how, when questioned, these Chicago politicians suddenly draw a blank on Bill.