Stephen Colbert: Chris Matthews' 'Thrill' Up His Leg Is 'The Hardball'

March 13th, 2008 5:56 PM

Appearing on the March 12 edition of "The Colbert Report," Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz discussed the media’s fawning coverage of Barack Obama, noting Chris Matthews famous "thrill going up my leg" comment when hearing Senator Obama. Kurtz comically stated "we don’t know how high that thrill went." Host Stephen Colbert replied "that thrill is what you call ‘the hardball.’ [see video here]

Kurtz noted the mainstream media’s excitement over Obama and felt they got a little bit tougher when "Saturday Night Live" parodied the pro-Obama bias. When Colbert noted the press probably loved to talk about the potential bias because they got to talk about themselves. Kurtz conceded "we are a very self absorbed profession."

Amy Menefee also wrote on the Kurtz interview noting that the big three networks are still relevant and opining that journalists put their "feelings aside."

The transcript is below.

STEPHEN COLBERT: Now, you’re one of those guys who believes that Barack Obama was getting a free ride from the press, correct?

HOWARD KURTZ: The fact is that Barack Obama, you know, sometimes they had to hose these reporters and pundits down, great speaker, yes he is. Oprah endorsed him. That was wow. Ted Kennedy endorsed him. He was the new JFK. He was the new crowned prince of Camelot. And then what happened is a couple of weeks ago, "Saturday Night Live" started making fun of us, us journalists! Said that we were in the tank for Obama. And now the coverage has gotten a little bit tougher.

COLBERT: Do you really think that late night comedy shows should have any influence in what goes on in politics? [laughter and applause] Now, the take on this was, the take on this was that everybody was, you know, soft on Obama and too hard on Hillary. Maybe they were just bored with Hillary because she was a story they already knew. I mean, she had been codified, she had been fixed and riggled upon a pin, okay? They kind of knew who she was, you know. He’s got gray hair and she was unkillable. [laughter] Okay, that was the story. But Barack Obama was the new story. But then he became the old new story and not treating her well became the new, new story. And the press not only got to talk about her, but talk about themselves which is their favorite subject.

KURTZ: Now that is very amenna of you.

COLBERT: Isn’t that the truth? The press got excited about being "fair" to Hillary because they got to beat their own breasts and say "look at us."

KURTZ: We are a very self absorbed profession.


KURTZ: But the fact is that Hillary Clinton since 1992 has been the old story. And Barack Obama is the new kid on the block. He seemed cool. And, you know, look, Chris Matthews said he got a thrill running up his leg whenever Obama gave a speech. We don’t know how high that thrill went.

COLBERT: That thrill is what you call "the hardball."


Audio available here.