While being interviewed on Friday's “Today” show by Meredith Vieira, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews attempted to explain the rationale behind a bizarre question he posed to Republicans the night before at the debate he moderated. Matthews had asked the presidential candidates: "Seriously, would it be good for America to have Bill Clinton back living in the White House?"
Republicans laughed in unison, with Mitt Romney retorting: "You have got to be kidding."
On the May 4 "Today," from the site of the debate, the Air Force One Pavilion at the Ronald Reagan Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California, Matthews defended his question:
"I thought they all agreed they didn't want Clinton back in the White House. I thought that was an interesting response. Because, I thought, you know, Republicans are having a hard time uniting and one thing they unite around is they don't want the Clintons back in the White House. And yet when you say, 'What do you think about Bill Clinton back in the White House?' they all sort of guffawed. Well, that's a particularly Republican response.
"If I offered that same question up to Democrats or independents, it would be kind of mixed on the independent side, and on the Democratic side they would be cheering like mad. So, it really is this sort of a cultural question about the Clintons that becomes so iconic. 'Do you like the Clintons? Do you viscerally like them?'"
Other conservative bloggers have weighed in perplexed at Matthew's ludicrous question: