On MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews compared President Bush's post-Iraq visit speech earlier that day to "[former New York City Mayor Rudy ] Giuliani at his best at 9-11," adding that the president "spoke a lot like the best of [former British Prime Minister Sir Winston] Churchill." Matthews also noted that Giuliani would be the "perfect" candidate to replace Bush in 2008, and praised newly elected Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA) for his stance on immigration. Matthews made these comments during a show in which he conducted solo interviews of three Republicans, but no solo interviews of Democrats or progressives.
On the June 14 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews again gushed over Republican politicians, comparing President Bush's performance at a recent press conference to that of Sir Winston Churchill, touting former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani as the "perfect candidate" for president in 2008, and stating that he is "signing up" with newly elected Rep. Brain Bilbray (R-CA) because Bilbray is "the best," and "the clearest voice" on the issue of illegal immigration. Matthews's statements came during a show in which he conducted solo interviews of three Republicans but no solo interviews of Democrats or progressives.
During a solo interview with National Review Washington editor Kate O'Beirne, Matthews stated that at a press conference earlier that day, Bush "spoke a lot like the best of Churchill" by giving "facts, bad [unpleasant] information, complete information." Matthews also likened Bush's performance to "Giuliani at his best at 9-11," adding that this "convinces me again that Giuliani is the guy ... who may well be the perfect candidate to replace [Bush]."
Media Matters for America has previously noted numerous examples of Matthews gushing over Bush, including his comparison of Bush's performance at a May 25 press conference to Abraham Lincoln. Media Matters has also noted several instances of Matthews touting Giuliani as a candidate for president or vice president in 2008.
Later, Matthews gushed over Bilbray during a solo interview with the newly elected congressman. Matthews asked Bilbray whether there was a "dirty deal" between the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the "Chamber of Commerce," and the Democratic Party, to prevent the establishment of a national identification card system that would discourage the hiring of illegal immigrants. When Bilbray responded that these three groups "want to undercut" a national ID card system, Matthews stated: "I'm with you. I'm signing up. You're the best. You're the clearest voice I've heard on this issue. Thank you very much, I see why you won [your race]."
Matthews also conducted a solo interview of White House communications director Nicolle Wallace on the program but conducted no solo interviews of Democrats or progressives. He hosted separate panel discussions with Dave "Mudcat" Saunders, senior adviser to the campaign of former Navy Secretary Jim Webb, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate from Virginia, and Dick Wadhams, campaign manager for the re-election campaign of Sen. George Allen (R-VA) and with reporters Mike Allen of Time and Richard Wolffe of Newsweek.
From the June 14 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:
MATTHEWS: Did he shift the image today from the notion you and I probably share -- which is U.S. GIs over there fighting, walking through the streets with heavy weapons, automatic weapons, trying to look for bad guys -- to an image of an American ally over there, the new prime minister of Iraq, in that democratically elected government, that we're now going to be helping? In other words, the focus in our brains now -- thanks to the last couple days -- is a government over there led by an actual person who looks normal. OK, and we're trying to help him. In other words, the burden's on his back now.
O'BEIRNE: Well, they've done a certain amount of that all along, Chris. Remember the incredible attention paid to those elections in Iraq.
MATTHEWS: Yeah, but those are processes.
MATTHEWS: Now we have a person. That's my argument.
O'BEIRNE: Well, you have a full compliment of the cabinet.
O'BEIRNE: And we've always understood -- he's always made the case that ultimately the fate of Iraq is in the hands of the Iraqis.
MATTHEWS: He made it today.
O'BEIRNE: He's always said that because in fighting an insurgency, you've got to get the politics right. And he's telling us now he thinks this new cabinet is capable of doing that. They're reconciling with the Sunnis, a key piece -- part of taking the emphasis, the motivation out of the insurgency, and he's cracking down on the militias.
MATTHEWS: I think he spoke a lot like the best of Churchill today, in the beginning of that press conference: facts, bad information, complete information. Giuliani at his best at 9-11: facts on the ground immediately as it came in. I thought he was very effective in briefing us this morning in that press conference, which convinces me again that Giuliani is the guy -- with all his problems -- who may well be the perfect candidate to replace this guy.
MATTHEWS: Is there anyway put to together an ID card or some kind of registry that makes it so if a guy comes in and says, "My name is this. I just -- I grew up here. I'm legal." And they clearly -- you don't think they are, to be able to check it.
BILBRAY: Absolutely. In fact, [Rep.] David Dreier [R-CA] who is a Republican Rules [Committee] chairman, and [Rep.] Silvestre Reyes [D-TX], who is the former leader of the Hispanic caucus over on the Democrats, has a Bill 98 that says that we ought to make our Social Security cards as tamper-resistant as the new drivers licenses will be in '08. And every employer only hires someone with a new Social Security card.
BILBRAY: And it will be the federal government's job to make sure only those who qualify for employment get those cards. Make it simple enough to where you can really crack down on anybody who breaks the law. So, you really know who is purposely breaking the law and those who are just making a mistake.
MATTHEWS: Is there a dirty deal including the LULAC, the Latin -- Latino group, that represents a lot of Latinos and legitimately so, big business, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Democrats who don't want anything like that to really work?
BILBRAY: They don't want it to work. And what they want to do is they always want to undercut it and then say, "Well, it's such a failure that now we have to surrender." I think that's the greatest thing.
MATTHEWS: I'm with you. I'm signing up. You're the best. You're the clearest voice I've heard on this issue. Thank you very much, I see why you won.