FLASHBACK: Zell Miller Challenges Chris Matthews to a Duel

March 23rd, 2018 4:30 PM

Sad news today, as former Democratic Senator Zell Miller passed away. But here at NewsBusters we choose to honor the Senator from Georgia – who wasn’t afraid to go against progressives in his own party – with a fond memory of him challenging Chris Matthews to a duel. That’s right, a duel. 

The back-and-forth took place during the 2004 Republican National Convention, where Miller was the Keynote Speaker.

Apparently Miller had been upset at the MSNBC host for a previous show where he mistreated conservative writer Michelle Malkin. When Matthews pushed Miller about breaking ranks with his fellow Democrats that’s when the firebrand senator let him have it: 

“You know, I wish we, I wish we lived in the day where you could challenge a person to a duel. Now, that would be pretty good.”



At the Media Research Center’s “2005 DisHonors Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of 2004,” which were presented on Thursday night, April 21, 2005 before an audience of more than 950 in the Grand Ballroom of the J.W. Marriott in Washington, D.C, Miller accepted, in jest, the “John Kerry Suck-Up Award on behalf of Byron Pitts.”

Miller’s acceptance was preceded by an excerpt, from 2004, of Miller’s battle with Matthews.

The following is a the complete transcript (made by NB's Brad Wilmouth at the time) of Miller’s takedown of Matthews as it was aired during MSNBC's live coverage of the 2004 Republican convention on September 1, 2004:

Chris Matthews: “If a Republican Senator broke ranks and came over and spoke for the Democrats, would you respect him?” 
Sen. Zell Miller: “Yes, of course I would.” 
Matthews: “Why?” 
Miller: “I’ve seen that happen from time to time. Look, I believe – ”
Matthews: “What did Jim Jeffords, what's Jim Jeffords say to you?”
Miller: “Wait a minute. Well, listen.’”
Matthews: “Jim Jeffords of Vermont switched parties after getting elected.” 
Miller: “If you’re gonna ask a question – 
Matthews: ‘Well, it’s a tough question. It takes a few words.”
Miller: “Get out of my face! If you're gonna ask me a question, step back and let me answer it!” 
Matthew: “Senator, please.”
Miller: “You know, I wish we, I wish we lived in the day where you could challenge a person to a duel. Now, that would be pretty good. But don’t ask me, don’t pull that, don’t pull that, wait a minute, don’t pull that kind of stuff on me like you did that young lady when you had her there brow-beating her to death. I’m not her.”
Matthews: “She was suggesting, let me tell, she was suggesting – ”
Miller: “You get in my face, I’m gonna get back in your face.”
Matthews: “ – that John Kerry purposely shot himself to win a medal, and I was trying to correct the record.” 
Miller: “And the only reason, the only reason, the only reason you’re doing it, the only reason you’re doing it is because you’re standing way over there in Herald Square.” 
Matthews: “Senator, Senator, can I speak softly to you? I would really – ”
Miller: “What? No, no, because you won’t give me a chance to answer. You ask these questions, then you just talk over what I'm trying to answer just like you did that woman the other day. I don’t know why I even came on this program.”