On MSNBC's Hardball, Chris Matthews predicted that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani will be elected president in 2008. Giuliani is at least the third Republican Matthews has touted as a strong candidate for the GOP nomination or the likely winner in November 2008 -- a group that also includes Sens. John McCain (AZ) and George Allen (VA), whom Matthews has touted as "the two top guys to watch" on the Republican side
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On the July 12 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews returned to a prior prediction that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) will be elected president in 2008. Giuliani is at least the third Republican Matthews has touted as a strong candidate for the GOP nomination or the likely winner in November 2008. In addition to Giuliani, whom Matthews has described as the "perfect candidate," Matthews has said that Sen. John McCain (AZ) would likely receive the Republican nomination, and that McCain and Sen. George Allen (VA) are "the two top guys to watch" on the Republican side.
Matthews' July 12 prediction -- that Giuliani is "not only running" for president in 2008, but is "going to win the whole thing" -- follows other claims he has made about Giuliani: that he is the "perfect candidate" and that Giuliani "looks like president to me." During a panel discussion with Republican strategist Ed Rogers and Democratic strategist Jenny Backus, Matthews stated: "I believe he's [Giuliani is] not only running, I think he's going to win the whole thing come around the next election, the way things look right now." He later stated unequivocally: "I've got a position. I think he's [Giuliani is] going to win the next presidential election." But Giuliani is not the only potential candidate Matthews has touted.
McCain for President in '08
On the April 30 edition of NBC's syndicated The Chris Matthews Show, Matthews agreed with Newsweek chief political correspondent Howard Fineman's assertion that McCain is "likely to win" the Republican presidential nomination:
MATTHEWS: You still think McCain will win?
FINEMAN: I think McCain is likely to win. Yeah.
MATTHEWS: I do, too, actually.
During an interview with McCain on the February 7 edition of Hardball, Matthews also told McCain that "[w]e're all hoping for the big McCain-Hillary [Clinton] standoff here, the bake-off, if you will."
Further, as Media Matters for America noted, on the November 27, 2005, edition of NBC's The Chris Matthews Show, Matthews revealed that five of the 12 journalists and pundits polled as part of his "Matthews Meter" said that if McCain wins the Republican Party nomination, he will "inevitably" win the election, regardless of whom the Democrats nominate. The show did not disclose the identities of those who declared McCain unbeatable.
Allen for President in '08
As Media Matters also noted, on the March 29 edition of Hardball, Matthews predicted that Allen was "running" in 2008, and called him "one of the two top guys to watch, he and McCain." During an interview with Allen on the same program, Matthews called Allen "the biggest challenger" to McCain, and predicted that "it's going to come down to you two guys."
From the March 29 edition of Hardball:
MATTHEWS: Senator George Allen of Virginia is a Republican and a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. Senator Allen, thank you.
ALLEN: Good being with you.
MATTHEWS: You're running for re-election, right?
ALLEN: Yes, Sir.
MATTHEWS: You know, I think you're going to end up being, later on, the biggest challenger to John McCain for the Republican nomination for president in 2008. I think it's going to come down to you two guys, and you'll be the voice of the regular conservative Republican party, and McCain will be the maverick, trying to pretend he's Bush's best friend.
(As Media Matters noted, Matthews contradicted himself on the March 30 edition of Hardball, stating that a presidential bid by Allen "might be a stretch.")
From the July 12 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about Rudy Giuliani. We just had a little joust off camera, I'm always told don't waste it off camera. I believe he's not only running, I think he's going to win this whole thing come around the next election, the way things look right now.
ROGERS: I hope he runs. I think it says something about the Republican Party, as a big tent. And the interesting place to be in '08, with a lot of variety. It's unlikely Rudy Giuliani is going to be the Republican nominee.
MATTHEWS: What do you think, Jenny?
BACKUS: Rudy Giuliani is not going to get through the Iowa caucuses. I mean, you're looking in the state of Iowa, where you have more of the sort of extremes of both parties control the caucus process. He'll raise some money, he's got some problems. Bernard Kerik was not a really stellar moment for his administration. And I just think anybody who is pro-choice, pro-gay rights, it's a huge problem.
MATTHEWS: Here's my thought.
ROGERS: It's an issue.
MATTHEWS: I want to throw it out again, I'm not going to argue again. I've got a position: I think he's going to win the next presidential election, but let me tell you something. I think the No. 1 issue, check me on this, both of you, you first, is security the No. 1 issue in the country right now?
BACKUS: Absolutely, not even a question about it.
ROGERS: Probably, yeah.
MATTHEWS: Security on the streets, walking at home tonight with your kids, being safe in your apartment or your home, is the No. 1 issue in the country?
MATTHEWS: OK, who's tougher than him on security out there, Democrat or Republican?
BACKUS: I think the question's out there. I mean he was very -
MATTHEWS: Who's tougher than him on security?
ROGERS: He is the toughest and the most credible. He's credible.
BACKUS: Tougher than him? I would, I would, I think John Kerry is pretty tough on it. I mean he's got -- He is tough on security.
MATTHEWS: Street cred. More street cred than Rudy?
BACKUS: Street credit, probably not right now, but he could get it, I mean -
MATTHEWS: We've got, we've got a murder problem in Washington, D.C., right now. By the way, we've got a murder problem in Baltimore, in Philly. There's something going on, it's not the economy. We've got a street problem, and isn't Rudy the toughest cop in the country?
BACKUS: I'm not sure, though.
ROGERS: On street stuff, he's the most credible, that's for sure.
MATTHEWS: You could walk around New York when he was mayor and wander around late at night, and you felt safe as hell.
From the February 7 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:
MATTHEWS: What do you make of Bill Clinton though, the former president, endorsing more or less his wife for president today? It was a very interesting bit of theater. I'm sure you'll catch it when you watch C-SPAN all tonight, but it was a wonderful moment when he said, "It's great to be here with a former president, a current president," and then he hinted and pointed, his body language toward his wife, which clearly indicated he was passing that torch.
McCAIN: Well, if I decide to run, I hope my wife will be that obvious.
MATTHEWS: So it's still an if, huh? We're all hoping for the big McCain-Hillary standoff here, the bake-off, if you will. What do you think?
McCAIN: I think I'll decide next year, but maybe President Clinton liked living in Washington, in the White House, better than in New York.
MATTHEWS: Oh my God. The shots have begun. Thank you very much. Senator John McCain of Arizona.
From the April 30 edition of NBC News' The Chris Matthews Show:
MATTHEWS: Let's take a look at the Matthews Meter. We asked 12 of our regular panelists, a year from now, same question as we did with Hillary: Will John McCain be stronger than he is today? Not as satisfying an answer, tied vote. I hate ties. Six say McCain will be stronger in the GOP polls from today, six say he won't be.
Howard, you say he won't be.
FINEMAN: I don't think he will, because I think it's going to be hard for him to maintain this position. The other problem with the Reagan analogy is that Ronald Reagan had the hearts of the conservatives in '76, and then he was able to exploit that in 1980. John McCain has not had the hearts of conservatives, even though he has a conservative voting record. That's why George Allen does have a good chance. And I think George Allen and [Massachusetts Gov. Mitt] Romney are going to cut into McCain's standing by this time next year.
MATTHEWS: Are you betting on -- on Romney or -- or Allen?
FINEMAN: No, I'm not. I'm not. I'm not.
MATTHEWS: Are you betting on Romney still? As the best threat to -- strongest threat to McCain?
DAVID BROOKS (New York Times columnist): Yeah. I still think McCain --
FINEMAN: That's it, a threat.
MATTHEWS: You still think McCain will win. You still think McCain will win?
FINEMAN: I think McCain is likely to win. Yeah.
MATTHEWS: I do, too, actually.