October 26, 2016

Matthews, Who Should Know Better, Lets Biden Claim He’s Never Criticized the Tea Party

Joe Biden appeared on MSNBC’s Hardball on Tuesday, and claimed that “You never heard me criticize the tea party.” Millions of people with decent memories and the ability to hear know that this is not true. Those with longer memories know that Biden’s strident criticisms of the Tea Party movement, its members and its political candidates and officeholders go back over six years.

Center-right outlets are having a field day with Biden’s bogus claim, as they should be. Meanwhile, the establishment press is predictably virtually ignoring what Biden said. One person who has mostly escaped criticism thus far is Chris Matthews, Hardball’s host. Matthews didn’t challenge Biden’s obviously untrue statement, even though he discussed the Vice President’s fiery rhetoric five years ago when he made a speech at a union picnic in Cincinnati. At the time and in the context of other events that day, Matthews and his guest clearly believed that Biden was targeting the Tea Party.

Here’s the Tuesday Hardball clip (HT Washington Free Beacon):

Transcript (bolds are mine throughout this post):

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Trump comes along and for example, you never heard me criticize the Tea Party. And the reason I didn’t, there’s a lot of people who are scared and beat up and what happens?

They lost a lot in what happened during the Bush administration …

For fuller context, here’s the transcript of the first half of a longer video found at Real Clear Politics:

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Trump comes along and for example, you never heard me criticize the Tea Party. And the reason I didn’t, there’s a lot of people who are scared and beat up and what happens?

They lost a lot in what happened during the Bush administration and the Great Recession. And they’re angry. And so there’s two ways to deal with it. And people go out and you find a scapegoat. And it had to become the government.


BIDEN: I remember we were running in 2008, a woman standing up on a sign on a chair at a corner with about 100 other people saying “Don’t take my Medicare!”

MATTHEWS: I agree.

BIDEN: Government out of my life.

MATTHEWS: Isn’t that funny?


MATTHEWS: They think government is not a — is not the people that created…


MATTHEWS: — Medicare.

BIDEN: So — so I think — look, when you appear — when you’re appealing to people’s fears and anxieties, you can, you can make some gains. But the end of the day, I think, you’re going to find, I’ll make you a bet that in the state of Pennsylvania, a significant number of those non-college educated white women and men vote Democratic before this is over.

In 2008, the best guess as to what “Don’t take my Medicare” meant is that this woman was in a Medicare Advantage plan, something which was already known to be a target of then-candidate Obama if he were to become President. So her message probably wasn’t “Get the government out of my life.” It was likely, “Don’t screw up the health care system any more than you already have, and don’t take away our choices.”

As to appealing to people’s fears and anxieties, Biden’s an expert at that. I seem to remember someone telling a Virginia audience that his Republican opponents were “going to put y’all back in chains.” Oh, that was Joe Biden, in 2012.

Matthews should have known, and I would argue does know, that Biden’s claim about having “never criticized the Tea Party” was rubbish.

On the September 6, 2011 edition of Hardball, after a fiery series of Labor Day speeches the previous day by Biden in Cincinnati, as well as James Hoffa Jr. and President Barack Obama in Detroit, Matthews discussed those speeches with hard-leftist David Corn and former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele (links to related videos added by me):

… CHRIS MATTHEWS: Anyway, let`s take a look at Jimmy Hoffa who’s made it clear. Let’s have some fun now. Let’s go to the left. Jimmy Hoffa made clear who Democrats need to find — let’s listen to this.

Now, it’s speakable. Boy, has our lingo dropped in class. You’re allowed to say this stuff on television. Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP; YouTube link here)

JAMES HOFFA, TEAMSTERS PRESIDENT: We got to keep an eye of the battle we face, a war on workers. And you see it everywhere as the Tea Party. And you know, there`s only one way to beat and win that war. The one thing about working people is we like a good fight.

Everybody here`s got a vote. If we go back and we keep our eye on the prize, let’s take these sons of bitches out and give America back to where America where we belong.


MATTHEWS: Well, who is this guy? Patton? I mean, SOB?


MATTHEWS: This is what we say now on the stump?

DAVID CORN: He’s a union guy talking to union crowd. This is what they’ve been saying for years.

Michele Bachmann, as “The Post” reported, has used that same phrase. Let’s take them out in the context that you played.

MATTHEWS: How about the SOB line?

CORN: He was talking about political action. Use your vote. Let’s take out these SOBs. In the grand course of things, it’s not that big a deal.

MICHAEL STEELE: OK. I want to keep this tape and so the next time a Republican says something that`s a little off color like that, I want to play it back so that we`re all clear –

CORN: Anytime, sure.

STEELE: This is fair game. Anytime. Absolutely. So, you know, the reality of it is, you know, Republicans have said either you lie or made some other, you know, loud noise about the president.

CORN: That`s not the same?


STEELE: — get out there start screaming, so, you know –

CORN: It’s not the same thing.

STEELE: Its not an appropriate way to introduce the president of the United States. Let’s call it what it is.

MATTHEWS: I don’t think it`s not used yet. But if somebody says SOB in the White House, you will be right.

Let`s take a look at, here’s Vice President Biden. His language is much better. Here he is calling upon labor unions to stand up and fight in an neither language. Here he is. Let’s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP; YouTube clip of “barbarians” statement is here; full speech is here)

JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a fight to the heart and soul of the labor union. It’s a fight literally for our right to exist. Don’t misunderstand what this is.

Don’t misunderstand — not a joke. Not a joke. Not an applause line. You are the only folks keeping the barbarians in the gates. You are the only nongovernmental power, the only nongovernmental power. The other side has declared war on labor’s house and it’s about time we stand up.


MATTHEWS: Well, there he is. Joe Biden, regular guy. Can he do it? David Corn, can he take the labor movement along with the people like James Hoffa and turn on the passion that we’re seeing from the right?

CORN: Well, you know, I think it’s OK to call them barbarians.

In context, especially following on what Hoffa had said in an earlier clip, it’s clear that Corn understood that Biden was referring to Tea Party supporters and the politicians they had elected, and that Matthews also understood that to be the case. Yet there he was five years later on Tuesday, letting Biden lie about something covered for several minutes on his own show five years earlier.

Biden has criticized the Tea Party on at least a half-dozen other occasions:

  • On August 1, 2011: “Biden likened tea partiers to ‘terrorists,’” “agreeing with a line of argument made by Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) at a two-hour, closed-door Democratic Caucus meeting.” Biden denied this at the time, but in a 2015 interview with Fox News’s Chris Wallace, he admitted that “In 2012, I also said the Tea Party ‘acted like terrorists.’”
  • In October 2014, “in a closed-door meeting with black clergy in South Carolina,” he called the tea party “crazy.”
  • In July 2010 (“Biden criticizes Tea Party, says voters shouldn’t be ‘generically angry’”), Biden said, “I’m not questioning their integrity. I’m questioning their judgment.”
  • In June 2013, he ridiculed Virginia’s “Republican statewide ticket as extreme captives of tea party ideology.”
  • In Nevada in October 2010, he said that “It’s not good to see the Republican Party taken over by the Tea Party.”
  • In October 2014 in Iowa, he said, “If we don’t stop the march of the Tea Party now, those majority Republicans in the House and Senate who know better are never going to have the courage to stand up and vote the right way.”

The idea that Chris Matthews knows none of this history — and can’t remember what was discussed on his own program at length in 2011 — is absurd. That he let Biden make his claim without challenge demonstrates how totally in the tank he is for Democratic Party politicians and liberal causes.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.



  1. It was never about knowing better. This is a standard ploy out of the liberal dirty tactics bag: Make a false assertion and let the opposition do the leg work to discredit it and then quietly drop the subject when caught. In the meantime, liberals will have uttered 10 more lies.

    “A liberal assertion is nothing more than a falsehood waiting to be exposed.” me

    Donald Trump was right to be crass, just call them liars. You notice that the MSM has dropped the Trump is a groper meme? IF it were true then liberals would be riding that horse all the way to November 8th and if he lost the election, just to rub it in his face would say it right up to Inauguration Day. We are dealing with a group of really rotten people who only care about themselves and power, not about the country.

    Comment by dscott — October 26, 2016 @ 4:55 pm

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    Pingback by MSNBC's Chris Matthews Lets Biden Falsely Claim He's Never Criticized the Tea Party – NewsBusters (blog) – The Liberty Extra — October 26, 2016 @ 11:17 pm

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