This was, of course, an election filled with gaffes–and Chris Matthews (aka Tweety Bird) opened Hardball last night by apologizing (and apologizing, and apologizing) for saying he was “glad” that superstorm Sandy hit, thereby shedding light on Obama’s ability to lead in a crisis while crossing party lines and working constructively with Republicans like N.J. Governor Chris Christie. Matthews obviously wasn’t celebrating the fact that many lost their homes (and in some cases their lives) to the benefit of Obama’s campaign, but it was a dumb thing to say.
Matthews quickly realized that fact and began Wednesday’s show by saying, “I said something terrible…I said something not just stupid but wrong”. During his long-winded but genuine apology, he also refrained from blaming fatigue for his lapse in judgement:
I could say it was because I was tired, but the fact is I wasn’t thinking of the horrible mess this storm has made of people’s lives up here in New York and elsewhere…
No. I was too deeply enmeshed in political thinking, deep in a world of numbers and issues and people and stakes and focused on who would win and who would lose. But I left out the number one job of anyone on air: To think about the lives, the real lives of people, their losses, their relatives and friends who died in this disaster, their dreams that have been hurt and even destroyed.
…I am determined to do what I can to help the people who have already been hurt enough, who are suffering and have suffered enough hardship without hearing stupid stuff from me.”
Even if you don’t like Chris Matthews, his response provides a good example of effectively removing one’s foot from one’s mouth in the wake of a big prime-time slip-up.