Matthews Cozies Up to ‘In Touch with the Working Guy’ Sen. Brown; Asks Him to Sing

MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews is no stranger to awkward and bizarre outbursts of affection for liberals (plus the occasional fellow cable host) and so Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown (Ohio) could be added to the list as he professed his admiration during Tuesday’s live coverage of the Kentucky and Oregon primaries with a full-blown testimony and even a plea for Brown to sing.

Touting Brown as “in touch with the working guy” despite having an Ivy League education, Matthews did his best to lobby the Hillary Clinton campaign to put Brown on her ticket even though it might lead to his Senate seat going to the Republicans.

Matthews welcomed Brown by proclaiming that “I've been pushing you for months” but could see why others wouldn’t want Brown to leave the Senate due to the affect it could have on the balance of power. 

Before Matthews could continued, Brown mentioned how he brushed off the VP talk with fellow rumored name Democratic Senator Tim Kaine (Va.) earlier in the day and recognized the problems any departure would cause with Republican Governor John Kasich appointing any interim successor. 

Alas, it was then time for Matthews to resume his open campaigning for Brown and even did Democrats a favor by providing them some talk points for what a Clinton-Brown ticket would be like:

Well, you know the reasons why you would be a great running mate for Hillary Clinton. You’re a male-female that would balance and I think it’ll end up a balance of a male and female. You're from state the Republicans historically have to win and if you can help her take away that state from them, they will lose historically. You’re an Ivy League graduate, but you don’t act like it. You seem more like in touch with the working guy.

“You know what I mean. You have a like gruffer manner than the guy with the sort of more precious Ivy League background. You don’t act precious to me and you come off as a regular guy and a labor kid of guy,” he pontificated. 

Brown reiterated that any decision on a running mate would rest with Hillary Clinton herself and he doesn’t “dwell on it.” However, he recognized that it was Matthews’s job to ask about the speculation since his wife and journalist Connie Schultz “knows you, obviously, Chris”:

I really don't dwell on it. You know, my wife is a journalist as your wife is and she knows you, obviously, Chris and — you know, I expect, cause she says you do your job, you need to ask this question. I'm fine with that, but there's no reason to dwell on it. 

Before going to commercial break, Matthews actually asked Brown to sing a union tune:

MATTHEWS: And can you sing the look for the union label song? 

BROWN: I have worked hard on Made in America. I will continue to. Singing is probably not my strength and it will not help Hillary's campaign, so I'll demure on that. That wasn’t yes or no, but I guess it’s no, so thank you Chris.

The relevant portions of the transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on May 17 can be found below.

MSNBC’s Hardball
May 17, 2016
6:23 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Among those who have been viewed as a potential choice is Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who joins me now. Senator, I've been pushing you for months and then, I began to think how could they give up a Senate seat in Ohio when they’re fighting for that majority role in the Senate. What do you think is going on? Are you really on the list, as you understand it as a possible pick? 

DEMOCRATIC SENATOR SHERROD BROWN (Ohio): Tim Kaine and I were talking together today at lunch. We’re very good friends. His name and my name were mentioned. We have no idea how this is done. I have not been asked by Hillary’s campaign to talk about this. I know they’re looking at people, but my interest all along has been stay many the senate and fight for the issues that you talk about on your show. What we do to provide opportunities to working class families and poor families and fight for those issues and I understand too that if I run the ticket and Hillary would win that John Kasich could nominate — I would appoint my successor and that bothers me, so I have no idea what she’s going to do. I know that my focus is doing this job and come August and September, besides my Senate duties, is to fight for Hillary Clinton to be the next president. 

MATTHEWS: Well, you know the reasons why you would be a great running mate for Hillary Clinton. You’re a male-female that would balance and I think it’ll end up a balance of a male and female. You're from state the Republicans historically have to win and if you can help her take away that state from them, they will lose historically. You’re an Ivy League graduate, but you don’t act like it. You seem more like in touch with the working guy. You know what I mean. You have a like gruffer manner than the guy with the sort of more precious Ivy League background. You don’t act precious to me and you come off as a regular guy and a labor kid of guy. Why wouldn't she pick you except you lose a seat in the Senate? 

BROWN: I don't know. I don't know what she thinks. I mean, this is a decision of ultimately one person and I really don't dwell on it. You know, my wife is a journalist as your wife is and she knows you, obviously, Chris and — you know, I expect, cause she says you do your job, you need to ask this question. I'm fine with that, but there's no reason to dwell on it. 

MATTHEWS: Well, let’s not dwell on it. Let's talk about the ticket. How does Hillary Clinton break what looks like to be the offensive from Trump in the industrial states of the upper Lakes. Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsyvlania, Michigan, those — the thing that he’s clearly targeting — that sort of rougher crowd, working guys up there. They may be labor members, but they might be open to Trump. How do you break that assault by Trump?

(....)

MATTHEWS: Two short questions with yes or no answers. Have you been vetted by the Clinton campaign for VP? 

BROWN: Not that I know of. I have no idea, but they’ve not talked to me.

MATTHEWS: And can you sing the look for the union label song? 

BROWN: I have worked hard on Made in America. I will continue to. Singing is probably not my strength and it will not help Hillary's campaign, so I'll demure on that. That wasn’t yes or no, but I guess it’s no, so thank you Chris.

MATTHEWS: Okay. Thank you so much. It’s great to have you on. Senator Sherrod Brown.

BROWN: Thanks.

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