Chris Matthews declared that he didn't think Republicans "would have put up with" Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky because "I think a lot of Republicans were very tough on Richard Nixon." But Republicans apparently "put up with" former Rep. Mark Foley even after House leaders learned -- months and possibly years ago -- of potential misconduct on the part of Foley toward underage former House pages.
During a conversation with Republican strategist Vin Weber on the October 30 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews declared, "I don't think your party would have put up with" former President Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky because "I think a lot of Republicans were very tough on [former President] Richard Nixon." Weber readily agreed that Republicans would "have been pretty tough on a Republican version of President Clinton."
In claiming that Republicans would have responded to the Lewinsky matter in a different manner than Democrats, Matthews ignored a much more recent GOP scandal that involves minors (as opposed to an adult in Clinton's case). Indeed, the Republican Party apparently "put up with" former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) even after House leaders learned -- months and possibly years ago -- of potential misconduct on the part of Foley toward underage former House pages. Foley retained his place as co-chairman of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus and his seat on the House Ways and Means Committee. Additionally, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) accepted a $100,000 contribution from Foley's PAC in the summer of 2006, and the NRCC even reportedly encouraged Foley to run for re-election in 2006. Moreover, House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) has made contradictory statements about whether the House leadership played any role in Foley's resignation after the sexually explicit instant messages Foley alledgedly sent to underage former congressional pages surfaced, as Media Matters for America has documented.
From the October 30 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:
MATTHEWS: Do you think the Republican Party would have put up with Clinton the way the Democrats did and his behavior at the end, '98 on? His behavior around '97, '98, I think we can isolate it there. But the problem with Monica, your party -- I don't think your party would have put up with it.
WEBER: I doubt very much they'd have put up with it. I have to say I've got a little different point of view. I don't think impeaching a president of the United States is almost ever in the country's interest. I think it hurts us around the world, and I was not happy with what we did then. But you're asking me what the average Republican would think. I think the average Republican takes a pretty tough attitude. They're willing to throw their own out if they think they've committed wrongdoing. I think they'd have been pretty tough on a Republican version of President Clinton.
MATTHEWS: I think a lot of Republicans were very tough on Richard Nixon, and I remember it well. Thank you very much, Vin Weber.
WEBER: Thanks, Chris.