Matthews purports to channel Dem party "grandee" in suggesting Obama pick Jewish running mate for "ethnic balance" to his middle name
Research ››› ››› SIMON MALOY
On the noon edition of MSNBC Live on April 22, MSNBC host Chris Matthews -- purporting to channel Robert Strauss, former Democratic National Committee chairman, chairman of Jimmy Carter's 1976 presidential campaign, and ambassador under former President George H.W. Bush -- suggested that Sen. Barack Obama could provide "ethnic balance" to the "interesting, sort of Middle Eastern Hussein in his name" by selecting a Jewish running mate in the 2008 presidential election. According to Matthews, Strauss -- whom Matthews called "one of the grandees of the party"-- "would sit there and say: 'You know what we need? We need a Clinton person on this Barack ticket. We need some ethnic balance. He's got that interesting, sort of Middle Eastern Hussein in his name. Let's put a Jewish running mate with this guy. Put [Pennsylvania Gov.] Eddie Rendell on the ticket with him.' "
From the noon ET hour of the April 22 edition of MSNBC Live:
BRIAN WILLIAMS (NBC News anchor): You put anything behind this New York Times thumb-sucker this morning about them being each other's running mate? This is more than Kennedy-Johnson, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Oh no, this is more than Johnson saying Kennedy had Addison's disease, because Kennedy did have Addison's disease. This is more like: "You're bad news." And I think the Clintons believe deep in their souls -- I know this is perhaps self- -- you know -- justifying, but they do believe he can't win the general. They believe he can't win. I don't think they necessarily want him to win, but they don't believe he can win. They think he's a bad candidate for the party. On the other hand, I think the Barack people feel that the Clintons are out to destroy him. So it's very serious. This is not just a little tiff here.
WILLIAMS: You don't see them getting together --
MATTHEWS: No, but I do think something clever could be done. If I were -- you mentioned [former Democratic National Committee chairman] Bob Strauss, one of the grandees of the party. He didn't smoke a cigar but he could have. Adolphe Menjou from the old movies, you know. He would sit there and say: "You know what we need? We need a Clinton person on this Barack ticket. We need some ethnic balance. He's got that interesting, sort of Middle Eastern Hussein in his name. Let's put a Jewish running mate with this guy. Put Eddie Rendell on the ticket with him." Something clever, a Clinton person who could lock down Pennsylvania, help in Florida, help in California, maybe help in Ohio. He's going to need one hell of a Clintonite running mate, I think, to seal this deal.