Just hours after a producer for deranged MSNBC host Chris Matthews was accused of physically assaulting Republicans outside the party’s national convention last night, Matthews himself has admitted to verbally confronting several GOP delegates at a restaurant in Tampa, Florida calling them a “douchebag convention.”
According to The Hill newspaper, the perpetually angry liberal television host confronted the delegates early Friday morning following taunting questions they asked about whether he felt “thrilled” following GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech.
The controversy began, according to a witness interviewed by The Hill when Matthews twice refused to acknowledge a New York delegate named Eric Ulrich who had greeted him. This prompted other Republican patrons of the restaurant to begin heckling him for the perceived slight:
He headed back into the restaurant to mix it up with them. “I wanted to confront them,” Matthews said, describing his exchange with the men as “towel-snapping” among guys.
Matthews said he told the rowdy group, “What’s this, a douchebag convention?”
The Republicans became angry and retorted back.
“I told him that’s next week," said New York delegate Anthony Nunziato, referring to the Democratic convention in Charlotte, N.C., that will start on Tuesday.
Matthews was far less confrontational in a subsequent email to the newspaper, claiming that, “I was trying in my way to engage, as I often do, with critics, hoping to find some common ground. Sometimes it works out better than this.”
As NewsBusters noted earlier today, the MSNBC host was at the center of an outbreak of physical violence when a producer of his allegedly charged at two men who were also referencing Matthews’s infamous “thrill going up my leg” remark which was made famous by NewsBusters in 2008.
According to the anchor, he is continually teased about it by critics who spot him on the street. Earlier this year, Matthews lashed out at C-SPAN host Steve Scully who had asked him an innocuous question about it during a panel discussion.
“I hope you feel satisfied that you raised the most obvious question that is raised by every horse’s ass right-winger I ever bump into,” Matthews sniped.
Matthews's famous throbbing leg has been brought up by guests on his shows over the years as well, perhaps most famously by former GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachman after he derisively mocked her as "hypnotized" and "in a trance" during a 2010 interview.
Bachman shot back and referenced Matthews's most famous moment stating, "The American people are the ones [...] coming out of our trance [...] I think people are thrilled tonight. I imagine that thrill is probably maybe quite not so tingly on your leg any more."
After the interview ended, Matthews was razzed by fellow co-host Rachel Maddow who began a quip saying "between the trance and the tingle" before Matthews hastily interrupted her to assert that he had never used the word tingle.
"No, that's not a tingle. That's their [conservatives'] word. I never used that word," he interjected. Video of the earlier exchange is below: