Will Thrills Abound When Obama Plays Hardball?

By Gail Shister Comment

Gail Shister
TVNewser Columnist

Matthews_4.2.jpgChris Matthews is no Obama Boy. Despite the thrill in his leg.

Though he practically recites love sonnets to the Democratic frontrunner, MSNBC’s Matthews insists he’s not endorsing him for president.

With the Pennsylvania Democratic primary looming, Obama will join Matthews today on his ‘Hardball College Tour’ at West Chester University. Sen. Hillary Clinton has been invited but has not accepted, thus far.

Republican Sen. John McCain will do the tour April 15 at Villanova University.

“I hope to complete a triple play and get all three before the primary” on April 22, Matthews says.

Back to Obama Boy, er, Matthews…so what if he called Obama’s March 17 speech on race “worthy of Abraham Lincoln?” Who cares if he “felt this thrill going up my leg” during Obama’s Feb. 12 primary victory address in Wisconsin?

Matthews — dubbed “Rain Man” by Brian Williams in a Christmas staff video — is just reporting the facts, m’am.

The leg thrill “was an honest reaction to the speech,” he says. “I have no regrets. I report what happens. I report my reactions to speeches. I react emotionally and intellectually.

“People are allowed to criticize me. I want to be honest. I give an honest report of what I experience. It’s a fuller report than others have given.”

Still, it looked like Matthews was ready to jump through the screen and bitch slap Mika Brzezinski on “Morning Joe” last week when she pushed him on whether he had just endorsed Obama. (BTW, her father is an adviser for the campaign.)

Regardless, Matthews makes no attempt to hide his admiration for Obama’s eloquence on race.

“This race issue confounds America,” Matthews says. “I find his ability to speak on the issue dramatic and inspiring. I’ve never heard an American speak about it that way.

“When somebody talks to me about race, it’s not a question of who I’m going to vote for. It’s a simple American reaction to someone who speaks in a way that can unify us. Race is the most important issue in our history.”

Oh, we almost forgot. How does Clinton rate as an orator?

“She’s good. That’s not really the topic here.”