Chris Matthews Calls Out Republican Party Chair Reince Priebus over Romney’s Dog-Whistle Racism

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And then Tom Brokaw interrupts the debate with the same lazy “both sides are bad” B.S. that makes the “liberal” media elite complicit with the right wing’s relentless destruction of American values and institutions.

Partial Transcript:

MATTHEWS: By the way. Your guy. I have to call you on this, Mr. Chairman. You’ve been suggesting that somehow Obama has been running a negative campaign and your guy has been running a positive campaign. That’s not accurate. In fact, if they both stopped all the negative, I’m not sure who would win. But they’ve both been negative. That cheap shot about “I don’t have a problem with my birth certificate” was awful. It’s an embarrassment to your party to play that card. This stuff about getting rid of the work requirement for Welfare is dishonest. Everyone has pointed out it’s dishonest and you are playing that little ethnic card there. You can play your games and giggle about it, but your side is playing that card. When you start talking about work requirements, you know what game you’re playing.

[Applause from the audience.]

And everybody knows what game you’re playing. It’s the race card. And this thing about birther … and, yeah, if you’re name’s Romney and you went to prep school. Yeah, brag about it. This guy has an African name. He’s got to live with it. Look who’s going further in life.

PRIEBUS: You’re…

MATTHEWS: Just a minute. Who was born on third base? It’s an absurdity. (Cross talk.) Making fun of the guy’s birth certificate issue when it was never a real issue except from the right wing.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Do you think Mitt Romney’s playing the race card?

MATTHEWS: When he said… (Cross talk.) Yeah. There’s no doubt he did with his birth certificate.


MATTHEWS: No doubt.


MATTHEWS: Why would he bring it up? Why would he say I’ve got no problem with my birth certificate? What’s that supposed to mean?

MIKA BREZINSKI: Because he’s an awkward joker.

SCARBOROUGH: Because he misfired badly on the joke.

MATTHEWS: Why would he do it?

SCARBOROUGH: Well, I’m just asking you: Do you think Mitt Romney is playing the race card?

MATTHEWS; [Garbled] Yeah.

SCARBOROUGH: Do you really?

MATTHEWS: Yeah, and I think this work requirement fits right into it.

SCARBOROUGH: That’s the race card, too, huh?

MATTHEWS: Of course it is! Welfare? Food stamps.

PRIEBUS: Well, I’m happy…

MATTHEWS: Absolutely…


MATTHEWS: You can chuckle about it, Mr. Chairman, because you have to flack this issue.

BREZINSKI: Now let him respond!

MATTHEWS: The fact is you know it’s going on.

(Cross talk.)

PRIEBUS: Well, you got your monologue in.

MATTHEWS: No, no. It’s important.

PRIEBUS: Congratulations. You’re loaded up. You got it out.

MATTHEWS: [Garbled] … this morning, the negativity on Obama.

PRIEBUS: The fact of the matter is, he’s from Michigan. He was born in Michigan. He was making the point that I was born in Michigan. And, you know what, we’ve gotten to place in politics that any moment of levity is totally frowned upon by guys like you just so that you .. you know .. push your brand and, you know what, good for you. It’s a moment of levity that he … everybody gets it.

MATTHEWS: What was the joke?

PRIEBUS: It’s a … Barack Obama came out at the Correspondents’ Dinner with his own joke, as you remember…

MATTHEWS: Well, what’s the joke in the fact that he has a birth certificate? I don’t get it.

PRIEBUS: … playing the Hulk Hogan song, “I’m a Real American…”

MATTHEWS: Well, what’s the joke in the fact that he has a birth certificate?

PRIEBUS: Every person, myself, starting in February of last year, as soon as I became chairman of the RNC, Mitt Romney continuously has said this president was born in this country. It’s a non-starter. It’s a dumb issue, a distraction. Forget about it.

MATTHEWS: It just seems funny that the first joke he’s ever told in his life was about Obama’s birth. It’s a funny choice.

Tom Brokaw interrupts to remind everyone that both parties are always equally bad.

The debate resumes at 03:33.

PRIEBUS: But I think Obama’s policies have created a sense that for whatever reason, he’s looking to guidance as far as health care is concerned, as far as our spending is concerned, as far as these stimulus packages are concerned. He’s looking to Europe for guidance.


PRIEBUS: I mean, that’s the problem.

MATTHEWS: Where do you get this from? This is insane!

PRIEBUS: We’ve got a government…

MATTHEWS: You mean the Keynesian fiscal policy…

PRIEBUS: We’ve got a government that is so far out of control…

MATTHEWS: You mean the fact that every president we’ve had has tried to offset the economic cycle with stimulus going the other direction is somehow European?

PRIEBUS: Well, look at the spending. He said he’d get the debt under control. Where are we at…?

MATTHEWS: What’s this got to do with Europe and this foreignization of the guy? You’re doing it now!

PRIEBUS: Wait a minute! You don’t think Obamacare…?

MATTHEWS: Saying he’s influenced by foreign influences? You’re playing that card again.

PRIEBUS: You don’t think the take-over of our health care system called Obamacare is a problem for most Americans?

MATTHEWS: What’s this European thing of yours?

BREZENSKI: Okay. Let’s work on tone.

MATTHEWS: What are you up to with this constant that he’s not really domestic?

BREZENSKI: [Garbled] Tone … Let him answer.

SCARBOROUGH: Chris, let him answer the question.

MATTHEWS: He brought it up.

PRIEBUS:You don’t think that the takeover of our healthcare system called Obamacare is a problem for most Americans that…

MATTHEWS: Let me tell you some history, sir. Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt pushed for that, Truman pushed for that, were they all under the influence of Europe? Where do you get this from?

PRIEBUS: I’m not going to get into a shouting match with Chris, so you guys can just move on.

BREZINSKI: That’s fair enough.

MATTHEWS: Because you’re losing, that’s why.

PRIEBUS: No, I’m not losing. I’m not going to sit here..

MATTHEWS: Cheap shots about how Obama being a foreigner is the thing your party has been pushing. [disgraced former Bush official John] Sununu pushed it. Everybody pushes it in your party.

BREZINSKI: All right…


PRIEBUS: Garbage.

MATTHEWS: It’s your garbage.


  • Christy Bishop Cricow
    August 27, 2012 - 6:54 am | Permalink

    Go Chris Matthews! The only person I see in the media these days who is willing to call these people out–face to face–on their garbage. I am proud of him. Tom Brokaw is an idiot if he believes what he said. When an official of a political party is in the thick of it, he needs to be able to back it up. Priebus deserves to be called out.

  • August 27, 2012 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    Priebus: “The fact of the matter is, he’s from Michigan. He was born in Michigan.” Well Rance, the fact of the matter is, Obama’s from Hawaii. He was born in Hawaii. And no one asks Mitt for his birth certificate, despite the fact that his father was born in Mexico, because he’s white. There. Can we make it any plainer?

    I loved Matthews’ line about Romney being born on third base and thinking he accomplished something by staying there. Whatever. Obama became president despite being born on first like the rest of us.

  • joesdaughter
    August 27, 2012 - 10:58 am | Permalink

    ‘Twas a thing of beauty.

    Soledad has been showing her journalistic chops, too.

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