Chris Matthews Tells Charlie Crist: ’You Got To Beat This Guy’ Rick Scott

Charlie Crist, Republican turned Independent turned Democrat, is challenging Governor Rick Scott (R-FL) in the upcoming November election and on Thursday night he was treated to a softball interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews following the “Fangate” controversy from a recent gubernatorial debate with his Republican opponent. 

Appearing on Hardball, Matthews obnoxiously called Scott’s actions during the debate “a clown act” before enthusiastically telling his Democratic guest that he’s “got to beat" Rick Scott in November. 

The segment began with the Hardball host asking Crist “Were you aware that he was going to pull that stunt? Because you`re known for having that fan. I have known about it. I think everybody in the business and television knew about it. I guess it`s to avoid sweating on camera or whatever…They knew about it. Why do you think he pulled this stunt right before an election?” 

Unsurprisingly, Matthews failed to mention that Rick Scott didn't appear on stage with former Governor Crist because he had been informed the Democrat wasn't going to attend the debate. Instead of mentioning this important detail, the MSNBCer instead played up Crist using “Fangate” to raise money: 

And now your campaign is using this incident last night to make a fund-raising push. This is pretty funny. And your fan has become famous on the web. Take a look at this. I`m sure you have seen this image. With your supporters, they have retweeted today, "I`m a fan of Charlie Crist.” Is this making lemonade out of lemons? Or what -- it seems like you have made a campaign issue out of this guy`s weirdo number on you.

As the segment progressed, the subject switched to Crist's party swtich and Matthews argued that GOP intolerance led to Crist’s split with his former party: 

Is it anti-minority? You know, I looked at your party`s reaction to this Ebola scandal tonight. And so many people just say, slam the door on Africa. You know, just slam it shut -- led by Donald Trump of all people, slam the door. Instinctively, what the Democrats are thinking, is that really going to work? Or is that really something we should be doing? A little more thoughtful on the Dems` side, I think.

The Crist promotional segment concluded with Matthews gleefully mocking Scott's explanation for not appearing on stage with Crist: 

GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: I waited until we figured out if he was going to show up. He said he wasn`t going to come to the -- he said he wasn`t going to come to the debate. So, why come out until he`s ready.

MATTHEWS: What an articulate man that guy. Anyways, you got to beat this guy. Charlie Crist, thanks for joining. That was a clown act by him.

Chris Matthews’ shameless promotion of Democrat Charlie Crist is nothing new for the lifelong liberal MSNBC host. Earlier this week, Matthews interviewed Senator Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and the two teamed up to slam the North Carolina Republican Party’s push to require photo ID’s in the 2016 election. 

See relevant transcript below. 

MSNBC’s Hardball 

October 17, 2014

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Now from Florida, the man with the tan, a fan, and a plan, Florida`s Democratic candidate for governor, Charlie Crist. Were you aware that he was going to pull that stunt? Because you`re known for having that fan. I have known about it. I think everybody in the business and television knew about it. I guess it`s to avoid sweating on camera or whatever.

CHARLIE CRIST (D), FLORIDA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Yes.

MATTHEWS: They knew about it. Why do you think he pulled this stunt right before an election?

CRIST: I don`t know. In my wildest imagination, Chris, I can`t tell you why. It defies logic to me. And whenever there`s something that I`m asked about that is illogical in my mind, it`s really hard for me to explain it. I can`t explain it.

MATTHEWS: Well, the latest polling down there -- and I`m sure you must go to bed at night with this -- has you actually tied 44-44, according to a recent CNN/Opinion Research poll.

CRIST: Right.

MATTHEWS: And now your campaign is using this incident last night to make a fund-raising push. This is pretty funny. And your fan has become famous on the web. Take a look at this. I`m sure you have seen this image. With your supporters, they have retweeted today, "I`m a fan of Charlie Crist.” Is this making lemonade out of lemons? Or what -- it seems like you have made a campaign issue out of this guy`s weirdo number on you.

CRIST: Yeah, it`s pretty strange. And I think what people really care about -- I mean, this is really kind of a trivial issue. I mean, let`s be honest about it. What`s really important are issues like education, ethics, the environment, the economy - - you know, the kind of things that Floridians are concerned about, that I`m concerned about going forward, you know, to make sure that our teachers are appropriately paid, that we care for our environment, that we have an economy that`s good for the middle class. Those are the issues that are meaningful to all of us.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you a question that`s been in the air right now, and you wouldn`t be surprised I ask you this. Who did you vote for for president in `08 and 2012? Who did you vote for?

CRIST: In `08, I voted for John McCain. As you know, I was almost his running mate.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

CRIST: And in `12, I voted for Barack Obama.

MATTHEWS: What made you change your mind?

CRIST: Campaigned hard for him, as a matter of fact.

MATTHEWS: Why did you change your mind?

CRIST: Just the direction of my former party. I mean, Jeb Bush said it better than anybody.

Today`s leadership in the Republican Party is -- appears to be anti- women, anti-minority, anti-gay, anti-immigrant, anti-education, anti-environment. I mean, you know, the Republican Party left me Chris—

(CROSSTALK)

CRIST: I mean, it`s pretty clear.

MATTHEWS: You know that party. You were with it for most of your life. Is the party not just looked at that way, is it that way? Is it anti-minority? You know, I looked at your party`s reaction to this Ebola scandal tonight. And so many people just say, slam the door on Africa. You know, just slam it shut -- led by Donald Trump of all people, slam the door. Instinctively, what the Democrats are thinking, is that really going to work? Or is that really something we should be doing? A little more thoughtful on the Dems` side, I think.

CRIST: Yeah, I think so, too. You know, it`s a shame to see it and what it has become. I want to be careful here, though, because my mom and dad are still Republicans. There`s a lot of good Republicans across the country. But the leadership of the party -- I mean, just look at the House of Representatives in Washington. They can`t get anything done. They won`t agree to do anything.

MATTHEWS: Well —

CRIST: They can`t reach across the aisle. It`s sad to see.

MATTHEWS: They can`t even agree on a fan. Here`s what you and Governor Scott had to say —

CRIST: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: -- when the moderator asked you both about that fan. And this is how trivial -- I agree with you, Governor. This is how trivial it`s gotten. Let`s watch it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELIOT RODRIGUEZ: Why did you insist on bringing a fan here when your campaign knew this would be a contentious issue?

 

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CRIST: Why not? You know? Is there anything wrong with being comfortable? I don`t think there is.

RODRIGUEZ: And, Governor Scott, why the delay in coming out over a fan?

GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: I waited until we figured out if he was going to show up. He said he wasn`t going to come to the -- he said he wasn`t going to come to the debate. So, why come out until he`s ready.

MATTHEWS: What an articulate man that guy. Anyways, you got to beat this guy. Charlie Crist, thanks for joining. That was a clown act by him.

Campaigns & Elections 2014 Governors MSNBC Hardball Charlie Crist Chris Matthews Rick Scott

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