Matthews' Message to Pelosi: Don't Fund Surge

As a former aide to Tip O'Neill, Chris Matthews is accustomed to offering advice to Democratic Speakers of House. With President Bush's announcement of a surge apparently imminent, Chris Matthews made clear his marching orders for Nancy Pelosi this morning: don't fund it.

Interviewed by Meredith Vieira on the "Today" show, Matthews opined:

"She better have, it seems to me, a strong voice about the war. And that's not just putting Jack Murtha out there to lose. And she's gotta get out there and win on this argument. This is going to come down to funding, whether anybody like it or not. The purse strings are now controlled by the Democrats; they cannot abdicate that. They have to choose, whether they're for the president's position with this new escalation that seems to be coming or they're not with him. They can't fall back and tut-tut and hiss the president. They've got to do something about it."

View video here.

Matthews' earlier remarks left no doubt as to just what that "something" is that he demands Democrats do:

  • "[The surge] runs completely against American public opinion . . . the American people aren't going to like it."
  • "The American people want to leave Iraq and [Pres. Bush] is taking us deeper into it."
  • "For the president to go Wrong-Way Corrigan on this thing and increase the number of troops, take us deeper into Iraq, would be to reject the opinion of the American people."

Alright then, Speaker Pelosi; you heard Chris. How about it: will Democrats have the courage of Chris's convictions?

Mark was in Iraq in November. Contact him at

Foreign Policy Iraq Congress NBC Today