MSNBC's Chris Matthews didn't even wait for the balloons and the confetti to stop falling before laying into Mitt Romney. Moments after the former Massachusetts governor finished his Thursday night speech at the Republican National Convention, Matthews slammed the supposedly "very dark, very jingoistic, very anti-scientific, and, really, Know-Nothing" elements of the address.
The left-wing host concluded that "on science, on war and peace...I personally think this was a bad address for the American people." Matthews later went on a tear on how Romney was apparently "narrow-minded...small and insular and piggish...to say, we don't care about the planet we live on, which is getting hotter." [audio available here; video below the jump]
As you might expect, the Obama-cheerleading MSNBC personality reflexively defended the President's foreign policy against Romney's critique during his initial response to the speech: "The President hasn't gone around the world apologizing! That's not true! Why build this indignation against the rest of the world?"
Even as he complimented the more "positive and wonderful" elements of the Republican nominee's address, Matthews had to insert a thin-veiled attack on the Republican Party's pro-life platform by using an anecdote about Romney's mother: "I thought his tribute to his mother, Lenore Romney - who was, by the way, pro-choice, who ran against Phil Hart for the Senate - was wonderful. I thought his tribute to stay-at-home women, who work inside the home was wonderful and very compelling politically."
Almost forty-five minutes after his initial response, the host raised the supposedly "very anti-scientific" part of Romney's speech with Huffington Post's Howard Fineman and upped the ante with his "narrow-minded" and "piggish" slams of Romney. Fineman replied, in part, that "the, sort of, anti-science sentiment that you just mentioned...is a big theme in the Republican Party of today - the faith-based Republican Party, which often seems to put science in a category next to evil."
The transcript of Chris Matthews's response to Mitt Romney's speech, which came during MSNBC's live coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention on Thursday night into early Friday morning:
11:17 pm EDT
RACHEL MADDOW: I turn now to my colleague, Chris Matthews, who is in Tampa. Chris, what's your reaction?
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well, I thought it was – as you said a while ago tonight, he's better on the positive than he is on the negative. I thought his tribute to his mother, Lenore Romney - who was, by the way, pro-choice, who ran against Phil Hart for the Senate - was wonderful. I thought his tribute to stay-at-home women, who work inside the home was wonderful and very compelling politically. I thought his tribute to the American free enterprise system was positive and wonderful.
But there was stuff at the end that began to be very dark, very jingoistic, very anti-scientific, and, really, Know-Nothing. Attacking the President for his concern over climate change was, pretty much, a pretty bad line. I mean – should we be concerned about it or not – but to mock it by talking about him trying to raise – or keep the sea level from rising - making fun of that.
Going after war, it was such a war-footing speech. I bet it was written by John Bolton or Dan Senor or one of those fellows – one of those real hawks, because, I mean, he really wants to go to war, it seems - strong, strong militaristic, jingoistic language about the war. The President hasn't gone around the world apologizing! That's not true! Why build this indignation against the rest of the world? I just thought it was a Cold War speech eventually, and I think it was bad for the country in that way - very bad to get us into a war-like mentality, talking about the Russians in a way that they're our enemies again. What's the point of all that, except to just rabble-rouse and saber-rattle? And I think it's bad for the country. So, I think on science, on war and peace - on those issues, I personally think this was a bad address for the American people. On the other issues, the positive ones - about women generally; about his parents, his kids, it was all very nice.
12:01 am EDT
MATTHEWS: That thing about the oceans, that thing about the planet – what's the point? How narrow-minded, how small and insular and piggish can you be about this country, to say we don't care about the planet we live on, which is getting hotter. The climate change is manifest all over the world. I've been in Colombia recently. I've been in Alaska recently – this weekend. It is so manifestly true - what's going on - and he's mocking it.
HOWARD FINEMAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Chris, I think it's on two levels that you can question it: first of all, the, sort of, anti-science sentiment that you just mentioned, which is a big theme in the republican party of today - the faith-based republican party - which often seems to put science in a category next to evil. But beyond that - and even worse, I think - was the, sort of, smart-alecky nature of the way he said that-
FINEMAN: The rest of the speech was the 'good man' Mitt Romney-
FINEMAN: I'm a good man; I'm a decent man. Right there, he was doing a parlor snark, if you will.
MATTHEWS: But what happened to the stewardship? Every one of our religions believes in the stewardship of this planet. God gave us this planet - to destroy it? To laugh at its demise?