Chris Matthews isn't even trying anymore. The liberal anchor on Wednesday went into full Democratic adviser mode. Talking to Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, he turned an interview into a strategy session, saying of the campaign against Republican Scott Brown: "Let me help you on this, to the extent that I, as a journalist, can help you."
Providing an additional contribution, Matthews somehow managed to skip the controversy that's been plaguing Warren's campaign for a month and a half: The fact that she has repeatedly tried to pass herself off as a Native American. (At one point, the Democrat claimed she was 1/32 Cherokee.) While avoiding this embarrassing subject, Matthews incredulously wondered, "Why are the polls so close?...You should be miles ahead of [Brown]." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Amazingly, Matthews marveled, "What's going on out there? Are people voting for [Brown] who like his style over his politics? What's going on?"
This prompted Matthews to segue into giving his "help."
The liberal host continued to give advice, suggesting that Brown's appeal may be all style and not issue related: "But lately, [voters] got a sense that some of the Democrats a little too wine-and-cheesy, a little too Ivy League, a little too thinking they're better than us."
Matthews urged Warren to seem like more of a regular American. He concluded by pledging to continue to work to elect the Democrat: "I agree with everything you said. I think you got to take a couple of whacks at the cultural elite once in a while, but that's just me."
"Maybe I'll do it instead of you," Matthews decided.
A partial transcript of the June 13 segment, which aired at 5:01pm EDT, follows:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well, why are the polls close? Why are the polls even between and you Scott Brown, a guy who drives around in a truck, good PR, wears a barn coat like John Kerry, very clever, acts like he's not one of the wine and cheese Ivy Leaguers. Fine. But he votes with the Republicans, with the Wall Street guys. You vote and you've got a record as being a person who cares about policing Wall Street. You should be miles ahead of him. What's going on up there? Are people voting for him who like his style over his politics? What's going on?
ELIZABETH WARREN: Well, let's be clear. The election is not for another five months, and this is what we are going to talk about over the five months. Just last week, the Boston Globe came out with a story about how Scott Brown is running these advertisements saying he was tough on Wall Street, and then it turns out he was doing secret negotiations to try to weaken all the rules over Wall Street. That's what we're going to talk about, person by person by person across this commonwealth getting it out there.
MATTHEWS: Let me help you on this, to the extent that I, as a journalist, can help you. We have a new figure that just came out. And this shows the American people- and people in Massachusetts, as well as everywhere else- how they got screwed under the W. administration.
MATTHEWS: Look at this number. Politico reported today just how much Wall Street has turned against Obama. Well, I want to put that number up for a minute. Here's a number I'm interested in, real-life people like you, we're talking- $126,000 was the amount of money that the average family in America was able to accrue over a lifetime.
MATTHEWS: That's how much money they had in their house, in their car-
MATTHEWS: Maybe whatever else, some money in the bank, maybe something like that. That's down- by 2010 by 2010 -- basically, a year or so after Obama got into office, it was down to $77,000.
WARREN: That's right.
MATTHEWS: A dramatic decline in the prospects, the kitty people have-
WARREN: That's right.
MATTHEWS: -the kitty they used to buy a condo once so they can retire. Look how...
WARREN: What they use to send kids to college.
MATTHEWS: ... it's diminished. Why'd that happened? Why did people get screwed that way, the average family?
WARREN: This you lay right at the feet of what the financial industry did on Wall Street. They blew up a big bubble. They took on the risks. They sucked out the profits. And then when the whole thing came crashing down, it was American families right there who took it right on the chin.
MATTHEWS: Now, here's what I think is something you've got to cut through between now and November. There are a lot of regular people out there, Red Sox fans, regular people who have been Democrats in the past -- Irish, Italian, Armenian, Jewish, whatever, a lot of people. They have voted Democrat. They voted for the Kennedys all those years. But lately, they got a sense that some of the Democrats a little too wine-and-cheesy, a little too Ivy League, a little too thinking they're better than us. Now, some of that came through with Dukakis. Some of that came through with the last candidate for the Senate against this guy Brown. And they don't like the looks of it. Talk to those people. Why should they vote for you, even if that stuff bothers them, that cultural wine-and-cheese elitism that Howie Carr likes to bash into all the time up there? Go ahead.
WARREN: You know, I think-
MATTHEWS: How do you get through that?
WARREN: I think that this election is going to be from the heart. I'm out there talking to people every day, and they fundamentally do get it. They understand that they're getting the short end of the stick and that what's going on in Washington is a game that's rigged against them. It's a game that pays off for the folks that can hire all of the lobbyists and have all the money. People are living this one right on the ground day by day by day. And they understand that they don't have anybody who's arguing for them when they've got Scott Brown as their senator. And that's what I'm doing. I'm just getting out there and talking with folks. They know I'm a fighter. They've watched me fight.
MATTHEWS: Okay, great. Thank you so much for coming on. I agree with everything you said. I think you got to take a couple of whacks at the cultural elite once in a while, but that's just me. Maybe I'll do it instead of you. You're a nice lady and I think you know what you're talking about.