Matthews Remembers Mission Accomplished (Some of It)

On Wednesday (5/2/12), MSNBC host Chris Matthews played a long clip from the Daily Show, where Jon Stewart mocked Republicans who are complaining about Barack Obama’s celebration of the killing of Osama bin Laden. Stewart naturally recalls George W. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” photo op stunt from 2003.  Stewart points out that if Republicans are angry about Obama “spiking the football,” Bush was spiking the ball before the game started.

So the clip played, and then we cut to Matthews, chuckling away. Of course Stewart’s point is right on–anyone who listens to this whining from the right is bound to recall Bush’s celebration of the Iraq “victory.” The hypocrisy is staggering.

But if you’re going to have a laugh about this, then you might want to remember how excited Chris Matthews (5/1/03) was about that Bush stunt. It probably won’t make you laugh, and Matthews probably doesn’t want to remember it either:

We’re proud of our president. Americans love having a guy as president, a guy who has a little swagger, who’s physical, who’s not a complicated guy like Clinton or even like Dukakis or Mondale, all those guys, McGovern. They want a guy who’s president. Women like a guy who’s president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president. It’s simple. We’re not like the Brits.

A few more, courtesy of Media Matters (4/27/06):

MATTHEWS: What’s the importance of the president’s amazing display of leadership tonight?


MATTHEWS: What do you make of the actual visual that people will see on TV and probably, as you know, as well as I, will remember a lot longer than words spoken tonight? And that’s the president looking very much like a jet, you know, a high-flying jet star. A guy who is a jet pilot. Has been in the past when he was younger, obviously. What does that image mean to the American people, a guy who can actually get into a supersonic plane and actually fly in an unpressurized cabin like an actual jet pilot?


MATTHEWS: Do you think this role, and I want to talk politically… the president deserves everything he’s doing tonight in terms of his leadership. He won the war. He was an effective commander. Everybody recognizes that, I believe, except a few critics. Do you think he is defining the office of the presidency, at least for this time, as basically that of commander in chief? That… if you’re going to run against him, you’d better be ready to take [that] away from him.


MATTHEWS: The president there — look at this guy! We’re watching him. He looks like he flew the plane. He only flew it as a passenger, but he’s flown….He looks for real. What is it about the commander in chief role, the hat that he does wear, that makes him — I mean, he seems like — he didn’t fight in a war, but he looks like he does.

Matthews is mocked–and rightly so–for saying that hearing a Barack Obama speech made a thrill go up his leg.  His ability to be dazzled by politicians would appear to be bipartisan.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.