In February of 2008, NewsBusters first highlighted MSNBC’s Chris Matthews oozing “I felt this thrill going up my leg” while listening to a speech by Barack Obama. Conservatives reminding him of it has certainly annoyed Chris Matthews ever since, so much so that he lashed out at C-SPAN’s Steve Scully, sinking to including the non-profit cable network’s senior executive producer as amongst the “jackasses” who dare to ask him about his infamous Obamagasm moment.
The confirmation of Matthews’ incredibly thin skin came Tuesday at a panel session during the National Cable and Telecommunications Association’s convention in Boston. “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 snarled.
“Perhaps I shouldn’t have” made the 2008 remark “because I’ve given a lot of jackasses a chance to talk about it,” Matthews complained. “Thank you, Chris,” a bemused Scully responded.
Audio: MP3 clip
Scully had simply wondered: “Is the thrill still there today?” Matthews’ initial defense was to lash out at Scully for failing to recognize that Matthews had said the same thing four years earlier, as if that makes him look less sycophantic. Fishbowl DC’s Betsy Rothstein, who on Wednesday afternoon first caught the video on FORA.tv, related: “‘If you had done your reporting over at C-SPAN,’ he said, dripping with sarcasm, ‘you would have checked that I said the exact same thing in 2004.’”
A snide and defensive Matthews lectured Scully:
I want to help you with your reporting first. I also said, thereafter in 2004, which you didn’t pick up, when I said – four years ahead of time – we’ve just heard the first African-American President, which is on the tape as well, which you failed to mention, which makes me look a little sharper. But you didn’t offer that.
Oh, Matthews eventually gave a yes answer to Scully: “I’m thrilled as I speak about it now.” Not a shocker.
Just as the MRC’s Brad Wilmouth first noted Matthews’ “thrill” comment in a NB post on the primary night of Tuesday February 12, 2008 (“Matthews: Obama Speech Caused ‘Thrill Going Up My Leg’”), back in 2004 the MRC’s Geoffrey Dickens caught Matthews’ excitement during the Democratic National Convention. From the July 28, 2004 MRC CyberAlert:
-- Following Obama’s speech, in the 10pm EDT hour, Matthews gushed: “I have to tell ya a little chill in my, in my legs now. That is an amazing moment in history right there. It is really an amazing moment. A keynoter like I’ve never heard.” Matthews soon parroted Dick Gephardt: “A star is born.”
– In the 11pm EDT hour, Andrea Mitchell proclaimed: “I think the real breakout tonight is Obama. I mean Teresa is a fascinating story but Obama is a rock star!”
-- Matthews added moments later: “Maybe I’m a romantic and I was rooting for, for Colin Powell who turned out to be a little less important politically than I thought he might be in his career. More of a soldier in the last situation we all know about. But I've just seen the first black President there. The reason I say that is because, because I think the immigrant experience combined with the, with the African background combined with the incredible education, combined with his beautiful speech, not every politician gets help from a speech. But that speech was a piece of work!”
FORA.tv, a site which hosts videos for conventions and exhibitions, posted the video excerpt of Matthews lashing out. For the video above, I’ve edited it to make it a little shorter and boosted the low volume. At FORA.tv you can also watch the entire panel discussion.
Transcript which matches the video/audio from the May 22 session where Matthews appeared with CNN’s John King and Univision’s Maria Salenas:
STEVE SCULLY: I’m going to read this as a quote so I get this right. I’m going to ask you a yes or no question. Chris Matthews, just yes or no, good luck, quote from 2008: “I have to tell you it’s part of reporting this election the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama’s speech, my I felt this thrill going up my leg, I mean I don’t have that too often.” Is the thrill still there today?
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well, I had, actually if you had done your reporting over at C-SPAN, you would have checked that I said the exact same thing in 2004 after I heard his address up here in Boston.
SCULLY: This is 2012.
MATTHEWS: No, I said this in 2004.
SCULLY: No, but is it there today?
MATTHEWS: I know, I want to help you with your reporting first. I also said, thereafter in 2004, which you didn’t pick up, when I said – four years ahead of time – we’ve just heard the first African-American President, which is on the tape as well, which you failed to mention, which makes me look a little sharper. But you didn’t offer that...
And when he talks about it the way he did, that’s my definition of American exceptionalism. I’m thrilled as I speak about it now. I think this is the great country and I’m thrilled by it and I’m willing to say this, and I meant to say as part of my reporting because I felt it. A guy like Tom Brokaw wouldn’t have said it. I’m an un-traditional person, but I have traditional values and I love the country and I said so. Perhaps I shouldn’t have said so because I’ve given a lot of jackasses a chance to talk about it.
SCULLY: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: So 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. And usually they say tingle, which tells me about their orientation, but that’s alright.
A nice little anti-gay slur there at the end – the kind for which Matthews would excoriate a conservative.