Matthews: Obama "can't walk into a dinette with five or six guys there, white guys, in some cases ... He can't just shake hands and hang out"

››› ››› TOM ALLISON

Echoing a familiar Chris Matthews refrain, the Hardball host said of Sen. Barack Obama: "He can't walk into a dinette [sic] with five or six guys there, white guys, in some cases." Matthews continued: "He can't just shake hands and hang out. He doesn't seem to, 'Hey, you know, how are the Eagles doing?' Or 'How are the Phils doing?' " Pat Buchanan responded by claiming that Obama "is very much Columbia and Harvard Law and all the rest of it."

On the April 16 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, during a discussion of the upcoming April 22 Pennsylvania Democratic primary, host Chris Matthews asserted that Sen. Barack Obama has "got another problem. ... He can't walk into a dinette [sic] with five or six guys there, white guys, in some cases." Matthews continued: "He can't just shake hands and hang out. He doesn't seem to, 'Hey, you know, how are the Eagles doing?' Or 'How are the Phils doing?' " MSNBC contributor Pat Buchanan added: "And there are black leaders up there that can do that. But he is very much Columbia and Harvard Law and all the rest of it."

As Media Matters for America documented, on the April 10 edition of Hardball, Matthews similarly asserted that Obama is "not that good at that -- handshaking in a diner," adding: "Barack doesn't seem to know how to do that right." MSNBC correspondent David Shuster agreed, stating: "He doesn't do that well." Matthews then asserted: "What's so hard about doing a diner? I don't get it. Why doesn't he go in there and say, 'Did you see the papers today? What do you think about that team? How did we do last night?' Just some regular connection?" During that same segment, Matthews and Shuster also critiqued Obama's reported request for orange juice after being offered coffee at an Indiana diner. Shuster described Obama's behavior as "weird," and moments later, Matthews began an interview with Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), an Obama supporter, by asking: "Isn't that interesting, Senator Casey, that Barack Obama, your candidate, can walk before 15,000 people with complete calm and assurance, but he seems a little out of place in A) a bowling alley and B) a diner? What is the problem with your guy?"

Media Matters has documented numerous other examples of Matthews and other MSNBC personalities and guests purporting to identify actions by or characteristics of Obama that they have suggested demonstrate that he is not a "regular guy."

From the April 16 edition of MSNBC's Hardball:

MATTHEWS: He's got another problem. He's got another problem, Barack. And he's inspired me, I have made it clear on this program and elsewhere. But there's something he can't do, which I don't understand why he can't do it. He can't walk into a dinette with five or six guys there, white guys, in some cases. He can't just shake hands and hang out. He doesn't seem to, "Hey, you know, how are the Eagles doing?" Or "How are the Phils doing?"

[crosstalk]

MATTHEWS: He doesn't seem to know how to do that.

BUCHANAN: Charlie Rangel could do that.

MATTHEWS: Yeah.

BUCHANAN: And there are black leaders up there that can do that. But he is very much Columbia and Harvard Law and all the rest of it.

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, Race & Ethnicity
Network/Outlet
MSNBC
Person
Chris Matthews
Show/Publication
Hardball
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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