On Hannity & Colmes, Dick Morris claimed that "MSNBC biased [the Republican candidates] debate against" Rudy Giuliani, and that Chris Matthews, who was one of the debate's moderators, had participated in "a deliberate act by Politico.com and MSNBC ... to hurt Rudy." Morris also stated that Matthews "decided to gut Rudy Giuliani because he's the one that can most likely beat the Republicans." At no point did Morris mention that Matthews has previously showered praise on Giuliani and other Republican presidential hopefuls.
While discussing the May 3 Republican presidential candidates debate on the May 7 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, syndicated columnist Dick Morris said: "I don't think that Chris Matthews wanted to elect [former Massachusetts Gov.] Mitt Romney or [Arizona Sen.] John McCain, but I do think that this former staffer to [former House Speaker] Tip O'Neill [D-MA] decided to gut [former New York City Mayor] Rudy Giuliani, because he's the one that can most likely beat the Republicans." Morris also claimed that "MSNBC biased that debate against" Giuliani, and that Matthews, who moderated the debate along with The Politico's executive editor Jim VandeHei and editor in chief John Harris, had participated in "a deliberate act by Politico.com and MSNBC ... to hurt Rudy." At no point did Morris mention that Matthews has previously showered praise on several of the Republican presidential hopefuls, including Giuliani.
As Media Matters for America has documented, Matthews has said that Giuliani "may well be the perfect candidate to replace" President Bush. Matthews has also claimed that Giuliani "has street cred" on the issue of "protect[ing] this country against the bad guys." Matthews has touted Giuliani as a "hero" and praised him as "the one tough cop who was standing on the beat when we got hit last time and stood up and took it." Additionally, as Media Matters has noted, Matthews continues to praise Giuliani's purported elimination of the "pee smell" in New York subways.
Matthews has also asserted that McCain "deserves" the presidency. On the March 29 edition of Hardball, Matthews stated: "John McCain certainly deserves to be president, based on his contribution to this country over the years." Matthews has also lauded McCain as a "maverick," "kind of a party renegade," and a "lone gun." On the January 19 edition of Hardball, Matthews said of Romney: "He has the perfect chin, the perfect hair, he looks right. He looks like a Mountie. He looks like from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police."
Morris' comments echo CNN and Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz who asked on the May 6 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources: "Republicans were willing to participate in an MSNBC debate with a guy who used to work for [former President] Jimmy Carter and Tip O'Neill. Should Democrats be refusing to debate on Fox News?"
From the May 7 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:
MORRIS: But you mentioned the debate. MSNBC biased that debate against Rudy Giuliani.
HANNITY: Why do you say that?
MORRIS: Because Rudy got 1,600 words, McCain got 2,000 words, and Mitt Romney got 2,300 words. Now, when you give one candidate 44 percent more air time than the other candidate --
MORRIS: -- you're biasing it against the other candidate. And I don't think that Chris Matthews wanted to elect Mitt Romney or John McCain, but I do think that this former staffer to Tip O'Neill decided to gut Rudy Giuliani, because he's the one that can most likely beat the Republicans.
HANNITY: That's interesting.
ALAN COLMES (co-host): By the way, you know, Dick, this is --
MORRIS: And I think it was a deliberate act by Politico.com and MSNBC, to [inaudible] --
HANNITY: To hurt Rudy?
MORRIS: -- Democratic organs to hurt Rudy.
COLMES: Dick, let me point out to you, Dick, that Politico has actually been accused of being conservative-owned and -run, and not exactly something with a liberal bias. The Politico is --
MORRIS: It's headed by a wonderful man who is a brilliant journalist --
COLMES: Yeah. Right.
MORRIS: -- but whose previous job was with The Washington Post.
MORRIS: And he makes the -- and he was the one who was on the stage that night.
COLMES: But it's owned by Allbritton, who's conservative.
Colmes was referring to Politico publisher Robert L. Allbritton, whose family has ties to Bush's. Allbritton's father, Joe L. Allbritton, serves on the board of trustees of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, and Jonathan J. Bush, George H.W. Bush's brother, was a top executive at the Allbritton-controlled Riggs National Corp., which was bought by PNC Financial Services Group Inc. in 2005.