WOW: Matthews Wonders If Biden Can Survive After Kamala’s ‘Amazing Night in History’

Along with the rest of his MSNBC colleagues late Thursday night and early Friday after night two of the first 2020 Democratic presidential debate, Hardball host Chris Matthews similarly professed his newfound love for candidate Kamala Harris not just having a good night but “an amazing night in history” which made Matthews wonder whether former Vice President Joe Biden and his candidacy will “survive.” 

Matthews had the table set at the end of MSNBC’s two-hours of post-debate coverage with more Harris praise from co-hosts Nicolle Wallace and Brian Williams and, when called upon, asserted that he saw Harris calling out Biden as a military and political term called “the attack from a defensive position.”

 

 

He opined that Harris played the roles of “a prosecutor equipped with the role of victim as well” by being both the “young girl who was terrified by an — about being in a terrible busing situation where white kids were rejecting her, the whole thing” in addition to “attacking Joe Biden.”

And then it was here that Matthews stunned Williams by wondering whether this meant the end of Biden as not just a front-runner but a candidate period (click “expand”):

MATTHEWS: I thought it was a powerful moment. I think it was planned. The picture went out of her as a young girl, it was tweeted out just as she made the explanation of what had happened. It was a powerful narrative. I don't know how Biden’s going to survive this. He probably will survive it, but I think she hit him with something she wasn't ready for which was a direct, personal, self-defense attack on his role in defending busing. 

WILLIAMS: I have to say I'm a little surprised you're questioning Biden's survivalability. You know he's still got a Serta Perfect Sleeper under him. He's still got a padded floor of support under him in this party.

Matthews did backpedal, framing Biden versus Harris as “David and Goliath” with Congressman Eric Swalwell playing a supporting role by having taken “the first shot at him for being too old and not passing the torch then she took a shot, and I think that was a mortal blow.”

“We'll see. Biden looked stunned tonight as I saw him and I think his staff is reacting that way as well. We’ll see,” he concluded.

“We'll see. Biden looked stunned tonight as I saw him and I think his staff is reacting that way as well. We’ll see,” he concluded.

Rewinding to 20 minutes before midnight Eastern, Harris arrived in the Spin Room to a hero’s welcome on MSNBC. Here was how Matthews greeted her:

I've got Senator Kamala Harris here for an amazing night in history I thought tonight and I want to ask you about I think you had to be there was the message I think Biden was trying to use to explain his behavior with the segregationist senators, but you were there with regard to busing and you talked tonight in that debate about the hurt you felt when you heard him talking about his civil — in fact, to some extent, praising the civility of this old seggys. What was the hurt? 

When it came time to actually asking her questions during her Spin Room interview, Matthews told her that her attack on Biden was “very dramatic” and done “in almost a way that a prosecutor has to point a finger at a defendant and say you did these things” as if to signify that she still “fe[lt] that memory.”

And finally, in a moment folks at places like the Daily Beast and Mediaite have already pointed to, Matthews next asked Harris whether her experience with racially integrated bussing as a child made her hate white people:

Have you — and this is really important to people of all backgrounds and ethnicities. I don't like the word race — ethnicities. How did you come out of that and not have hatred towards white people generally? I just ask cause you talked about being a kid and having other kids being kept off as friends because their parents looked at you as someone else. 

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s post-debate coverage on June 27 into June 28, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Democratic Debate: Post-Debate Analysis
June 27, 2019
11:41 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: I've got Senator Kamala Harris here for an amazing night in history I thought tonight and I want to ask you about I think you had to be there was the message I think Biden was trying to use to explain his behavior with the segregationist senators, but you were there with regard to busing and you talked tonight in that debate about the hurt you felt when you heard him talking about his civil — in fact, to some extent, praising the civility of this old seggys. What was the hurt? 

(....)

11:42 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: And the picture tonight we saw you turn to him, look him in the eye in almost a way that a prosecutor has to point a finger at a defendant and say you did these things. It was very dramatic. 

SENATOR KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): Well, I mean it — I felt that. I felt that. It — look, going back to when I was a young girl, I mean, everything I said on that stage is the truth. I grew up where the kid next door said she couldn't play with us anymore because we were black. What I said about —

MATTHEWS: Do you feel that still? Do you feel that memory? 

(....)

11:44 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: Have you — and this is really important to people of all backgrounds and ethnicities. I don't like the word race — ethnicities. 

HARRIS: Right.

MATTHEWS: How did you come out of that and not have hatred towards white people generally? I just ask cause you talked about being a kid and having other kids being kept off as friends because their parents looked at you as someone else. 

(....)

June 27, 2019
12:49 a.m. Eastern

WILLIAMS [reacting to Harris clip on immigration]: I'll tell you that was

WALLACE: Wow.

WILLIAMS: — a moment we have not replayed. 

WALLACE: We've not talked about that. 

WILLIAMS: Or reflected upon some measure of how a forceful a night she had that we're just now getting to that. 

WALLACE: It also speaks to how much — there was so much news in tonight. I mean, that was a moment and a conversation worthy of more time than it got here, but this is the ongoing, rolling tragedy at the border that is Trump's immigration policy. 

WILLIAMS: Chris Matthews, for one final time after two long days journeys into two nights, I think you were there to witness something. I'm not sure what it was yet. 

MATTHEWS: You know, I've been trying to figure out political moves for 40 years, and I saw one of the moves tonight I recognized. It's called the attack from a defensive position. It's a military term. It's a political term. There you go again and she was not offering herself up simply as a prosecutor, but a prosecutor equipped with the role of victim as well. She talked about herself as a young girl who was terrified by an — about being in a terrible busing situation where white kids were rejecting her, the whole thing. So when she came across tonight it wasn't attacking Joe Biden. It was defending kids like her and the hearts they still carry and the hurt they feel when he defended working against busing with the segregationists. I thought it was a powerful moment. I think it was planned. The picture went out of her as a young girl, it was tweeted out just as she made the explanation of what had happened. It was a powerful narrative. I don't know how Biden’s going to survive this. He probably will survive it, but I think she hit him with something she wasn't ready for which was a direct, personal, self-defense attack on his role in defending busing. 

WILLIAMS: I have to say I'm a little surprised you're questioning Biden's survivalability. You know he's still got a Serta Perfect Sleeper under him. He's still got a padded floor of support under him in this party. 

MATTHEWS: Right. Well, there's a David and Goliath aspect of this. Obviously he's been stunned. He’s down on the ground. He may get up. He’ll try to get up, but she'll be on the next debate stage as she'll be on every debate stage, and he has to face her and I asked if he — I asked her as she sat with me later tonight, I said you think he can fix it, and she was noncommittal. I think she’s going to keep up the assault. Swalwell took the first shot at him for being too old and not passing the torch. Then she took a shot, and I think that was a mortal blow. We'll see. Biden looked stunned tonight as I saw him and I think his staff is reacting that way as well. We’ll see.

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2020 Presidential Debates Liberals & Democrats Race Issues Racism MSNBC Other MSNBC Chris Matthews Brian Williams Kamala Harris Joe Biden
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