Previewing a segment on Rudy Giuliani's declaration of candidacy for the 2008 Republican presidential race on the February 5 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews asked: "Could America's mayor beat maverick [Sen. John] McCain [R-AZ] in the primaries?" Matthews also touted Giuliani's performance as mayor, saying "he did clean up that atmosphere in New York," and asking, "How did he get the pee smell out of the subway?"
Media Matters for America has noted (here, here, here, here, here, and here) instances of the media repeating the characterization of Giuliani as "America's Mayor" despite the numerous controversies surrounding his tenure as mayor of New York City. Media Matters has also noted numerous instances in which media figures have characterized McCain as a maverick without noting his frequent adherence to Republican Party doctrine and support of President Bush.
Earlier in the day, on MSNBC Live, Matthews had told anchor Chris Jansing, "You don't [sic] smell the urine in the subways when he was mayor."
On that program, Matthews also praised Giuliani's 2004 Republican Convention speech, which he called "the great speech that everybody remembered." Matthews echoed that claim later on Hardball, saying that Giuliani "actually knows how to give a great speech" and that "[w]e've seen it at the Republican Convention." As Media Matters noted, that speech falsely suggested a connection between Iraq and 9-11.
From the February 5 edition of MSNBC's Hardball:
MATTHEWS: And Rudy Giuliani moves closer to running. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani files his statement of candidacy today in the presidential race. Could America's mayor beat maverick McCain in the primaries? Could we see a "subway series" between Hillary and Rudy in 2008?
MATTHEWS: How did he get the pee smell out of that subway?
FORMER REP. SUSAN MOLINARI (R-NY): He stopped -- they -- all of a sudden -- how did he stop the squeegee people from --
MATTHEWS: Well, he got the pee smell out of the phone booths up there. Even phone booths in New York that aren't booths, they're just a place to make a phone call, had that smell around them before -- I think -- having gone to New York enough times, he did clean up that atmosphere in New York.
MATTHEWS: Well, I'll tell you, three things going for him. He acts and talks like a president.
MATTHEWS: He actually knows how to give a great speech. We've seen it at the Republican Convention. At the time the country was most afraid, he seemed to be the strongest.
MATTHEWS: So he rises to the occasion. Third thing is, I think -- I think there's something about an ethnic -- I hate the word because we're all ethnic in one form -- their time has come. We had presidents named Ford, Carter, Bush, you know what I mean? Reagan. It's about time we had someone with a name with an "I" at the end of it.
MOLINARI: Doesn't bother me.