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Chris Matthews: U.S. Wants A Little Bit of Fascism

Media Matters | February 9, 2007  

On the February 7 edition of MSNBC's Imus in the Morning, MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews heaped praise on GOP presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, calling the former New York mayor "the kind of gutsy, street-corner politician we all grew up with" who "stood on the corner during the fire and told us what was going on." Matthews said that he would like "[a] guy who wasn't on the ranch during Katrina -- who was out on the street corner answering questions," adding: "I'm so sick of southern guys with ranches running this country. I want a guy to run for president who doesn't have a fucking -- I'm sorry -- a ranch. Wouldn't that be good?"

Matthews again touted the progress Giuliani made in improving olfactory conditions in New York City, asserting that "subways didn't smell like pee anymore" and that "[e]ven the phone booths in New York have always smelled like pee." Matthews made similar claims on the February 5 editions of MSNBC Live and Hardball, both noted by Media Matters for America. Matthews also claimed that Giuliani "made you feel like you had a right to walk the street safely" and added, "I think the country wants a boss like that, you know? A little bit of fascism there. Just a little bit. Just a pinch of it."

As Media Matters has noted, Matthews has previously made the similar claim that Giuliani "is a front-runner because the voters like this guy because during 9-11 he was the one guy there on the street corner, not hiding like all the other pols did."

From the February 7 edition of MSNBC's Imus in the Morning:

MATTHEWS: The subways didn't smell like pee anymore. Even the phone booths in New York have always smelled like pee -- when there's not even a booth, it's just a phone and it smells like pee. And this guy cleaned it up, and he made you feel like you had a right to walk the street safely. I think he did a great job. I'm sorry. And I think the country wants a boss like that. You know, a little bit of fascism there. Just a little bit. Just a pinch of it.


IMUS: Well, the lame observation being made by a lot of folks, maybe it's not lame, but -- that he can't get the nomination because, you know the right-wing nuts, you know --

MATTHEWS: Well, you know what -- that is such conventional wisdom, it is the kinda crap people should -- there should be a buzzer that goes off when people say that kind of crap. Look, if you go down to Jackson, Mississippi, you go to Atlanta, Florida, you go anywhere in the South to men's clubs for lunch, who is the number one speaker they want? Giuliani.

You go around the suburbs of New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago, everywhere -- all those suburban areas where people used to live in cities and loved their cities and had to leave them. And they say, "I still love my city I want to go back. This guy Giuliani's saving my city for me." I mean, I felt that way about Eddie Rendell in Philadelphia. We love good mayors 'cause we love our cities, and Giuliani's the city guy.

And I'm so sick of Southern guys with ranches running this country. I want a guy to run for president who doesn't have a fucking -- I'm sorry -- a ranch. Wouldn't that be good? A guy who wasn't on the ranch during Katrina -- he was out on the street corner answering questions. Giuliani was answering questions.


IMUS: Did you beep that? Hang on a minute. Did you get that, Lou?

LOU RUFINO (engineer): Yes, Bernard [McGuirk, executive producer] got it.

IMUS: Did you get it on MSNBC?

RUFINO: We'll have to ask them.

MATTHEWS: Hah!

RUFINO: See if they effed up.

IMUS: Did you, Tom? Well, we're not -- weren't we on delay when we had Sid [Rosenberg, sports commentator]?

MATTHEWS: I think I got about half the syllable in there. I think.

IMUS: What were you swearing for?

MATTEWS: I don't know. I get excited.

IMUS: I already told you that it was a lame observation people were making. I hope you weren't barking at me about that, I said --

MATTHEWS: No, I was joining you as a Greek chorus.

IMUS: No, but I mean, if you were on Meet the Press or the Today show, would you do that? No, of course not.

MATTHEWS: I think I said something the other night on my show like that.

IMUS: Well, no. Your show -- nobody watches your show.

[...]

MATTHEWS: Well here's my thought between all that, is that I think Giuliani's the kind of gutsy, street-corner politician we all grew up with. When there was a fire, the police commissioner showed up with the fire commissioner and stood on the corner during the fire and told us what was going on. We miss that.


IMUS: Oh, I love the guy -- no, you're not -- you're preaching to the choir here.

MATTHEWS: I mean, even [Sen.] Hillary [Rodham Clinton (D-NY)], you know, every time she says something you figure, well, two days later she'll come out and explain it after she's talked to her staff. And the president's on his ranch somewhere getting DVDs of what's happening. I want a guy or a woman as president who is actually there.

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