Matthews Rules Obama’s Dallas Speech Was ‘His Finest Hour’; ‘Proud of Many Things He’s Done’

As part of the same show in which Indiana Republican Governor Mike Pence was declared to be “almost horny for the job” as Donald Trump’s running mate, MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews oozed on multiple occasions during Tuesday’s show that the day would be known as President Barack Obama’s “finest hour” as he spoke at an interfaith memorial service for the slain Dallas, Texas police officers. 

Matthews led off the show by exclaiming “what a day” and noting how not only the President spoke in Dallas but former President George W. Bush as well before admitting that “I’d say in all seriousness it was President Obama's finest hour” that featured “so much good in what he said.”

Matthews also took a brief detour to resurrect his absurd belief that Hillary Clinton is a middle-of-the-road politician:

Hillary Clinton has always struck me as a moderate politically. On foreign policy, she's too hawkish for me. On some issues like trade, she's become more anti-trade than she was. Maybe there's a nuanced difference but it's to the left of where she was. I think that's also clear in the platform.

Liberal pollster Cornell Belcher joined Matthews for a later segment fawning over how “[t]here's not a lot of leaders we have had over the last decade who could have made that speech” since Obama “threaded the needle and it was quintessential Obama cause he lays out a critique of both sides.”

Belecher added by lamenting how “Republicans always attack him for not being [in favor of] American exceptionalism but the answer is our exceptionalism, so he falls back on our American exceptionalism, we can come together and we can solve that.”

Closing out the hour of banter with his “Let Me Finish” commentary, Matthews reiterated that “I believe what [Obama] chose to do today may be his finest hour because what he said at the memorial for those five Dallas police officers was so finely balanced, such an exquisite, eloquent statement about the social and more unpredictable situation of today's policemen and women.” 

Focusing on when the President ruled that police officers are called on to solve societal ills that voters and the rest of the government refuse to do (ex. somehow pour more money into public schools, gun control, etc.), Matthews concluded with his trademark infatuation for Obama but not to the point where he felt his leg tingle:

I've had great hopes for President Obama over the years and I've been proud of many things he's done as President and as a man who is serving as our president, today was a high point. Again, it may have been his finest hour. Quote, “I'm here to insist we are not as divided as we seem. I know that because I know America.” That's the President and that's Hardball for now. 

The relevant portions of the transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on July 12 can be found below.

MSNBC’s Hardball
July 12, 2016
7:00 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: What a day! Let’s play Hardball.

[HARDBALL OPENING CREDITS]

MATTHEWS: Good evening. I'm Chris Matthews in Washington. We are covering a big day in politics across the country and what a day it has been. President Obama joined Vice President Joe Biden and former President George W. Bush at the memorial service for the five Dallas police officers killed by an assassin last Thursday night and I’d say in all seriousness it was President Obama's finest hour. Let's watch a bit. 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I understand how Americans are feeling, but Dallas, I'm here to say we must reject such despair. I'm here to insist that we are not as divided as we seem. 

MATTHEWS: There's so much good in what he said today. 

(....)

7:08 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: Hillary Clinton has always struck me as a moderate politically. On foreign policy, she's too hawkish for me. On some issues like trade, she's become more anti-trade than she was. Maybe there's a nuanced difference but it's to the left of where she was. I think that's also clear in the platform. Somebody was holding out for free trade. Somebody was holding out for TPP, you notice. The anti-TPP forces did not win in the platform fight. So there is a push me, pull me thing going on in the Democratic Party between center, center left and left, right? And we’re hearing it tonight. It's not over.

(....)

7:19 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: President Obama consoled the grieving families and colleagues of the officers but he also expressed a disgust attentions between law enforcement people and minority communities and addressed reasons for the growing violence and divisions. It was so honest. Here he is. 

OBAMA: We wonder if an African-American community that feels unfairly targeted by police and police departments that feel unfairly maligned for doing their jobs can ever understand each other's experience. [SCREEN WIPE] As a society, we choose to underinvest in decent schools. We allow poverty to fester so that entire neighborhoods offer no prospect for gainful employment. We refuse to fund drug treatment and mental health programs. We flood communities with so many guns that it is easier teenager to get a Glock than to buy a computer or even a book. [SCREEN WIPE] And then we tell the police you're the social worker, you're the parent, you're the teacher, you're the drug counselor. We tell them to keep those neighborhoods in check at all costs and do so without causing any political blowback or inconvenience. Don't make a mistake that might disturb our own peace of mind and then we feign surprise when periodically the tensions boil over. 

MATTHEWS: The police group was a focus group there. I watched the whole thing. 

(....)

7:22 p.m. Eastern

CORNELL BELCHER: There's not a lot of leaders we have had over the last decade who could have made that speech cause Perry is right. He threaded the needle and it was quintessential Obama cause he lays out a critique of both sides and it was quintessential Obama —

MATTHEWS: But give it to me. Tell me how you heard it. 

BELCHER: Even going back to his race speech, I mean, he lays out this is what white America sees, this is what African-Americans see, but this is how we need to come together an he critiques both side. This is what he did here with this speech with both sides, calling and those — Republicans always attack him for not being American exceptionalism but the answer is our exceptionalism, so he falls back on our American exceptionalism, we can come together and we can solve that as not a lot of Presidents we’ve seen give this speech.

(....)

7:59 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with what the President said and did today. I believe what he chose to do today may be his finest hour because what he said at the memorial for those five Dallas police officers was so finely balanced, such an exquisite, eloquent statement about the social and more unpredictable situation of today's policemen and women. He said, we send them into dangerous areas undercut by poverty, bad schools, lack of drug treatments, and too many guns and we ask them to hold the line for us, keep the problems and dangers that rise up in such areas from getting any nearer to us. We ask policemen to do all this, without ever sharing in the tensions these conditions breed, without ever making a mistake on their part and he did something else, the President. He talked to the critics of police, who act as if they’re not dealing in dangerous communities, who refuse to admit the context in which jobs have to do their work and simply get home that night. Survive. I've had great hopes for President Obama over the years and I've been proud of many things he's done as President and as a man who is serving as our president, today was a high point. Again, it may have been his finest hour. Quote, “I'm here to insist we are not as divided as we seem. I know that because I know America.” That's the President and that's Hardball for now. 

NB Daily Events Dallas Police Shootings Political Groups Liberals & Democrats Race Issues Racial Preferences Racism MSNBC Hardball Video Government & Press President Obama President Barack Obama Chris Matthews Barack Obama Cornell Belcher Mike Pence
Curtis Houck's picture