Liberal MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews on Wednesday hinted that Mitt Romney's confrontational attitude during the debates might have a sinister undertone. After playing a clip of the Republican telling the President to back off and that "you'll get your chance" to speak, Matthews derided, "...Through it all he looked down at the President. He looked down at him as a person."
As for the reason, Matthews began to speculate and then backed off: "I don't even want to get into-- but we can guess and none of it good." (The left-wing journalist sees racism everywhere.) After guest James Lipton considered a motive, Matthews cut him off and suggested that "many" of the possibilities are "bad." He also somehow derided Romney as a constitutional illiterate for questioning Obama.
Matthews fumed, "I don't think he understands the Constitution of the United States. He's the president of the United States. You don't say, 'you'll get your chance.'"
(The Constitution says presidents aren't to be challenged?)
However, it was the very same talk show host who in July encouraged Obama to promote his policies by talking down to Americans: "He needs to sell his auto-rescue plan, his jobs act, his health-care act as if he were talking to a two-year old."
Lipton, the host of Inside the Actor's Studio, echoed Matthews' anger, huffing, "It is rude, it's inexcusable. I think it's a very, very sad day when the presidency..."
A transcript of the October 17 exchange, which aired at 5:52, follows:
MITT ROMNEY: I don't think anyone really believes that you're a person who's going to be pushing for oil and gas and coal. You'll get your chance in a moment. I'm still speaking.
BARACK OBAMA: Well, Governor, if you're asking a question–
ROMNEY: That wasn't a question. That was a statement.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: You know, a couple points. I don't think he understands the Constitution of the United States. He's the president of the United States. You don't say, "you'll get your chance." And secondly, under the rules of the debate to which he subscribed, well advertised now, there will be no questioning of one candidate by the other. He subscribed to that. Yet, he's a literalist when it comes to the Constitution. But not on the deal he's cut. Your thoughts, James.
JAMES LIPTON: If Mitt Romney were the president and Barack Obama were the challenger and these roles were reversed and Obama treated Romney, the President, in this construct, the way he was treated, you would have heard an outcry from coast to coast and you would never, ever hear the end of it. It is rude, it's inexcusable. I think it's a very, very sad day when the presidency, which has been under fire since Nixon, and particularly this president can be treated this way by someone who is an American citizen.
MATTHEWS: Yeah. Well, I think there's a lack of deference. I thought in the first debate he covered up his deference with some opening cordiality and civility. but through it all he looked down at the President. He looked down at him as a person. I think a lot of that, I don't even want to get into, but we can guess and none of it good. Your thoughts on that? I don't think he respects the president as a person.
LIPTON: I can't say that because I don't know. I can't read his mind. It's very hard to read that mind, in any event, I'd like to read his tax returns. But he is-- I find him very, very mysterious. Is he looking down on the president? I wouldn't be at all surprised. A lot of people look down on the president. And, as you said, there's some reasons for it that perhaps--
MATTHEWS: Many of them bad. Any way, thank you, James.