‘Just Look at Him!’; Aroused Matthews Offers a Final Gush on ‘Fine Man’ Obama

Yes, it’s as bad as you think it was. On Wednesday, MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews allowed himself to have his knees quake maybe one last time, paying tribute to President Obama, who he deemed “a fine man” offering unparalleled levels of “sentiment,” “temperament,” and “optimism.”

“To say that no person can make a difference, I give you the fine case of that fine man, Barack Obama,” Matthews mythologized at the end in a quote that could be in the running for the next issue of Notable Quotables.

For his “Let Me Finish” commentary, Matthews began by stating he had a few words about “the American president we're about to lose” because “Barack Obama is, above all, a fine man.” 

Matthews then shrieked, imploring everyone to “[j]ust look at him” and wonder aloud:

Is there a husband, a father that we would wish more as a model for our sons, for our sons-in-law to have and raise our grandchildren? Is there anyone who carries himself better in word, in sentiment, in temperament, in optimism? Hope. That was the word on that poster. It’s the feeling he exemplified in his last press briefing. 

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Famous for having a thrill up his leg over Obama, Matthews oozed with glee in the same way someone would have for their high school crush:

The only thing that’s the end of the world, he said, is the end of the world. He spoke not just as a political leader but as a man looking to the problems that still divide us, he said we need to imagine being the other person, growing up in the inner city without a job within 20 miles, being the guy stuck out in the country who, too, doesn't have the prospect of a job in some different 20 miles. 

Moments later, Matthews went into spin mode, touting Obama withdrawing troops from Iraq, passing ObamaCare, and crediting him with doubling the stock market. 

Not to be forgotten, Matthews touted on gay rights as well: “He came into a country where marriage equality was well over the horizon and brought the LGBT community into the sunlight of recognition, freedom even because of his own fine good will, admiration.”

Earlier in the show, he told author, Aspen Institute president, and former Time editor Walter Isaacson that Obama’s “been a fine President” and declared that “I don't know how anybody right, left, or center could have had a problem with what he said today.”

“I thought the end of the press conference in particular, when he talked about his daughters, how his daughters reacted to the election, he was talking to all of us at a country and that sort of beautiful ending of I believe in this country, I believe people are more good than bad. That type of thing is exactly what we needed now. There was an elegance to him as well as an eloquence and I hope everybody watches that press conference because it makes you feel really good about democracy, even if you're on the losing side. This is the way countries work,” Isaacson responded.

A few hours beforehand, former Clinton administration official and ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos didn’t go as far as Matthews but still fawned over the President after his last press conference.

“He came to the White House promising hope and change and President Obama now leaves his final press conference in the White House on a note of hope. A litany of hope really of what he still believes about America...Began with a note of thanks to the press, still pretty careful talking about his successor, Donald J. Trump, who will be inaugurated less than two days from now,” hyped Stephanopoulos.

Here’s the relevant portions of the transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on January 18:

MSNBC’s Hardball
January 18, 2017
7:03 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: I think he's a fine man. I think he's been a fine president. We can argue about policy, that's what we do in this country. I thought the way he’s raised his family, the way he presented himself today, the way he talked about his daughters and how patriotic they've been raised, I don't know how anybody right, left, or center could have had a problem with what he said today. 

WALTER ISAACSON: I thought the end of the press conference in particular, when he talked about his daughters, how his daughters reacted to the election, he was talking to all of us at a country and that sort of beautiful ending of I believe in this country, I believe people are more good than bad. That type of thing is exactly what we needed now. There was an elegance to him as well as an eloquence and I hope everybody watches that press conference because it makes you feel really good about democracy, even if you're on the losing side. This is the way countries work.

(....)

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with the American president we're about to lose. Barack Obama is, above all, a fine man. Just look at him. Is there a husband, a father that we would wish more as a model for our sons, for our sons-in-law to have and raise our grandchildren? Is there anyone who carries himself better in word, in sentiment, in temperament, in optimism? Hope. That was the word on that poster. It’s the feeling he exemplified in his last press briefing. He talked about being proud of raising patriotic daughters, about people being more good than bad, that at his core, he believes we can be okay that the only thing is the end of the world is the end of the world. Well, this President said all this knowing full well who won this election who’s going to sit next to him in that car ride up to Capitol Hill on Friday, who’s going to take his place at noon. The only thing that’s the end of the world, he said, is the end of the world. He spoke not just as a political leader but as a man looking to the problems that still divide us, he said we need to imagine being the other person, growing up in the inner city without a job within 20 miles, being the guy stuck out in the country who, too, doesn't have the prospect of a job in some different 20 miles. 

He talked about imagining being in the other guy's skin and that's when we'll make progress. But he's not leaving us before saying that we have made progress. He came to office when we were divided by an unpopular war, crushed by a Great Recession with unemployment heading to 10 percent. He's leaving us having cut that rate in half and tripled, by the way, the stock market, and by the way, a lesson hopefully learned of no more wars like Iraq. He came in with decades of unfulfilled promises for health care in this country from both parties and met the promise with a program the incoming President has now made clear he needs to match or better. He came into a country where marriage equality was well over the horizon and brought the LGBT community into the sunlight of recognition, freedom even because of his own fine good will, admiration. To say that no person can make a difference, I give you the fine case of that fine man, Barack Obama.

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