This Happened: Matthews Shrieks That Hillary’s Anti-Trump Lines ‘Jumped Out Like a Cougar’

Whether it’s a 2008 speech by Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton’s June 2 foreign policy speech, MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews can be counted on to have a hot take that’ll evoke some head scratching and Tuesday can be added to the list as he shrieked that Clinton’s primary victory speech lines attacking Donald Trump “jumped out” at him “like a cougar” and made him think “wow.”

Matthews blurted out when tossed to by breaking news anchor Brian Williams that “it was a hell of a speech, let’s just say that” because “[i]t was historic and she put the focus where it ought to be on the history she made and she didn't really take credit for it personally” in noting the 19th Amendment.

After a brief criticism about her not speaking to the dangers of terrorism, Matthews let his true fan boy show when he praised her attacks on Trump with a line that NewsBusters readers surely won’t forget:

I thought it was very tough on Trump, very tough. That line where she said he’s temperamentally unfit to be president, jumped out like a cougar. It just jumped out at you like, wow. There is a very, very powerful statement to make about your opponent who is the presumptive nominee of the other party, talking about the code — the code he uses. When you say, Make American Great Again, she says basically, that's a claim she'll take us back to an industrial country....

Further praising Clinton’s level of “magnanimity” as something he “love[s]...in a political speech,” he later interrupted AM Joy host Joy Reid to fawn over how “powerful” it was that she spoke to the crowd as if she was “your president”: “I thought it was so powerful when she said as your president. She’s never said that before. The first time she walked into this thing saying I'm going to be your president. As your — Joy, I thought it was so powerful.”

Reid applauded Matthews’s thoughts and told host Rachel Maddow that she “concur[s] with everything that the great Chris Matthews just said” but added:

And it’s important because Hillary Clinton has been so many things. She's been First Lady of the United States. She's a different role even though it shares the home of the president of the United States. It's a big trajectory, I think, for a woman, particularly a woman of her generation to make that trajectory from wife of the president to the embodiment of the presidency.

Before Clinton’s speech, Maddow looked forward to Clinton “claim[ing] really her moment in the sun and her moment in history as the first woman to ever be nominated for president by either major party” that surely will “change your country forever.”

She also made sure to frame Clinton’s candidacy seconds before an introductory video aired that it would lead to “a different kind of country” going forward:

This is also a moment that’s about our country in the same way that we, as a country, became a different kind of country when an African-American man was nominated and then elected. We'll be a different kind of country tonight when it becomes clear that a woman will be the Democratic candidate for president this year for the first time ever in 240 years.

The relevant portions of the transcript from MSNBC’s The Place for Politics 2016 on June 7 can be found below.

MSNBC’s The Place for Politics 2016
June 7, 2016
10:16 p.m. Eastern

RACHEL MADDOW: Hillary Clinton is about to claim really her moment in the sun and her moment in history as the first woman to ever be nominated for president by either major party. If you're a woman or a girl or if you're the parent or the brother or the uncle or the — or the father of a girl in this country, this is something that's going to change your country forever. 

(....)

10:17 p.m. Eastern

MADDOW: Members of the press who have been there have been tweeting about their experience just being in the press pen tonight are talking about the size and density of this crowd, but the sort of intense enthusiasm in this crowd as these supporters wait for Hillary Clinton and you know, obviously, this is a moment that is about her. This is also a moment that’s about our country in the same way that we, as a country, became a different kind of country when an African-American man was nominated and then elected. We'll be a different kind of country tonight when it becomes clear that a woman will be the Democratic candidate for president this year for the first time ever in 240 years.

(....)

10:45 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well, it was a hell of a speech. Let’s just say that. It was historic and she put the focus where it ought to be on the history she made and she didn't really take credit for it personally. She talked about the 19th Amendment, of course, that gave women the right to vote in the first place, the suffrage moment, the suffragette movement with Seneca Falls. She really shared it tonight, I thought and just in a technical sense, I think she's still on a roll from last week's speech. It had a confidence to it. She has that new ability to go with the rotation, let the audience applaud and then respond it to it. Let them applaud, respond to that, not fighting it anymore. Very confidence approach and I think it gives them more heavyweight stature. I thought it was interesting what she didn’t talk about, didn’t talk about the terrors of the world, the dangers of the world, the need for a stronger security. We always thought she would run a security campaign, a safety campaign up against Trump's unevenness to put it lightly. She didn't mention that tonight, didn't mention really the President at all tonight. She will convention by November mention him a lot, but I thought it was very tough on Trump, very tough. That line where she said he’s temperamentally unfit to be president, jumped out like a cougar. It just jumped out at you like, wow. There is a very, very powerful statement to make about your opponent who is the presumptive nominee of the other party, talking about the code — the code he uses. When you say, Make American Great Again, she says basically, that's a claim she'll take us back to an industrial country he’ll never be able to bring back us from, an industrialized big city. It isn’t going to come back again and he's also saying I'm taking you back with where the whites ran the show. I think that is very powerful and rough as hell. So I think magnanimity, there was some of that was there, too. She said I'm going to make America better, including for the people that don't vote for me. I love that kind of magnanimity in a political speech. It was a winner’s conversation with the American people. Okay if you vote against me, I’m still going to be working for you if I get the job, appealing to Democrats, Republicans and independents. Reaching across the political spectrum, not acting like a Progressive only but somebody who has progressive — a progressive agenda. But it's for everybody. I thought it was a very magnanimous speech and also a tough one, guys, very tough. 

(....)

MATTHEWS: Rachel, Rachel, I thought it was so powerful when she said as your president. She’s never said that before. The first time she walked into this thing saying I'm going to be your president. As your — Joy, I thought it was so powerful.

REID: And it’s important because Hillary Clinton has been so many things. She's been First Lady of the United States. She's a different role even though it shares the home of the president of the United States. It's a big trajectory, I think, for a woman, particularly a woman of her generation to make that trajectory from wife of the president to the embodiment of the presidency. She could not have been in starker contrast to Donald Trump. She was a grown-up. She is an adult and she’s saying that she is prepared to be your president. That is so important for her to do.

Tell the Truth 2016 NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Political Groups Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Sexuality Feminism MSNBC Other MSNBC Video Government & Press Joy Reid Rachel Maddow Chris Matthews Hillary Clinton Donald Trump
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