During MSNBC's coverage of President Bush's final State of the Union address, Chris Matthews told Sen. John McCain, "Senator McCain, you know you're in my heart!" later concluding, "Well, you show a lot of courage out there, Senator." Matthews has repeatedly gushed over McCain and his candidacy.
During MSNBC's January 28 coverage of President Bush's final State of the Union address, Chris Matthews -- host of MSNBC's Hardball -- began an interview with Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (AZ) by saying, "Senator McCain, you know you're in my heart!" At the end of the interview, Matthews said: "Well, you show a lot of courage out there, Senator." Earlier on Hardball, during the "Power Rankings" segment, in which he predicted "who I think has the best shot right now at being the next president of our country," Matthews ranked McCain last out of his picks for the top four presidential candidates, saying, "At number four: the least promising -- break our hearts -- Senator John McCain, a regular of this circuit." McCain was ranked last behind Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), and Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL).
As Media Matters has extensively documented, Matthews has repeatedly gushed over McCain:
- On two occasions, Matthews asserted that McCain "deserves to be president"; he had previously stated that McCain "deserve[s] the presidency."
- On the July 10, 2007, edition of Hardball, Matthews described having to report on problems in McCain's campaign as the "worst part of my job."
- On the February 13, 2007, edition of Hardball, Matthews touted McCain's "maverick reputation," as well as "the cut of [his] jib."
- On the December 13, 2006, edition of Hardball, Matthews described McCain as "a firm man," despite many instances of McCain's shifting positions and inconsistent rhetoric.
- On the November 19, 2006, edition of the NBC-syndicated Chris Matthews Show, Matthews described McCain as "kind of like a Martin Luther ... reforming and finding the pure conservative movement" and even praised McCain's office as "really a senator's office out of the movies."
- On the September 10, 2006, edition of The Chris Matthews Show, Matthews asserted: "The press loves McCain. We're his base."
- On the August 27, 2006, edition of The Chris Matthews Show, Matthews asked his panel of guests: "Why does the media like McCain? I mean, what's going on here? Does he seem to be more authentic than other politicians?"
- During a panel discussion on the May 10, 2006, edition of Hardball, Matthews said he is "still hanging in there for a McCain-Giuliani ticket" for the 2008 election.
- On the March 14, 2006, edition of Hardball, Matthews characterized McCain as "a maverick," adding that "everyone knows he's a solo fighter pilot out there."
From the 10 p.m. ET hour of MSNBC's January 28 coverage of the State of the Union address:
MATTHEWS: Let's go to Senator John McCain, Republican presidential -- there he is! Senator McCain, you know you're in my heart! I have to tell you the president gave your speech tonight.
McCAIN: I know that pundits like you and [MSNBC host] Keith [Olbermann] were making different predictions about who was going to win about a month ago, not only on the Democratic side, but on our side as well. So, I think a lot of things can happen between now and a week from now or even -- so, I just think --
MATTHEWS: I know.
McCAIN: -- things are very unsettled. I think a lot of Americans are undecided.
MATTHEWS: Well, you show a lot of courage out there, Senator. Thank you very much for coming on tonight. And by the way, we have our jobs, too. Our job is to predict what's --
McCAIN: I know you do. Tell Keith.
MATTHEWS: -- going to happen tomorrow night and we can't do it very well, but we do like doing it.
From the January 28 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to Hardball; time now for the Hardball "Power Rankings," my favorite time of the week. Although it's scary, I'll tell you who I think has the best shot right now at being the next president of our country.
Here with me is Newsweek's senior political correspondent Howard Fineman, who's also an MSNBC analyst, of course, and Newsweek's; and also, NBC's own Andrea Mitchell. And up in New York, Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson.
Well, it's the final hour -- "Final Four" tonight. It's like the NCAA. We've got down to four teams tonight, here we go.
At number four: the least promising -- break our hearts -- Senator John McCain, a regular of this circuit, coming off a big win in South Carolina. Last week, he wanted to bump off Rudy Giuliani in Florida. That may be easier done than said as it turns out. But Rudy is not the problem; it's Mitt, running neck-and-neck with McCain in Florida right now.
McCain keeps picking up endorsements from newspapers and lawmakers, but will he win in Florida tomorrow and set himself to go national a week later on February 5th? We got him in fourth. I'm going to go to Howard on him. Howard, how are John McCain's chances?