Five years ago, MSNBC host Chris Matthews famously declared that then-presidential candidate Barack Obama gave him a “thrill up my leg.” Now, amid two ongoing scandalous situations at the White House, Matthews said that the Obama presidency no longer has any “thrust.”
For the last two days, Matthews has delivered blistering critiques of Obama. Matthews has combined his own frustration at Obama’s inability to pass any of his agenda with the flap over the IRS and AP phone scandals that have developed over the past week.
“There’s a reason the President’s an easy target tonight,” Matthews said on Tuesday, opening his show “Hardball.”
“He’s a ship with the engine off. He can go play golf, take Marine One up to Manhattan, but none of that matters. None of it. What matters is that he commands no big cause. There’s no thrust to his presidency right now.”
It was a critique that mirrored the more conservative critics of Obama’s administration. Matthews, of course, has always been one of his staunchest supporters.
On Wednesday morning, Matthews appeared on “Morning Joe” and doubled down on his frustration, this time targeting Obama for the IRS’ inappropriate targeting of conservatives and the revelation that the Department of Justice obtained months of AP journalists’ phone records.
“When you pick Obama, you want to know the steering wheel that you just turned to the left a little bit, you want that to matter,” Matthews said, targeting Obama’s leadership. “That means you want that president you voted for to run things. That’s the only power you have as a citizen. Pick the person you want to run things, and then they run them.”
“For anybody to run around in Washington and say, ‘We don’t run the IRS,’ or, ‘We can’t control the Justice Department and I’m recusing myself,’ … the steering wheel doesn’t control the car any more.”
Finally, on “Hardball” Wednesday, Matthews went off on a tangent when on the air with the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank.
“What part of the presidency does Obama like? He doesn’t like dealing with other politicians — that means his own cabinet, that means members of the Congress, either party. He doesn’t particularly like the press. What part does he like?” Matthews said.
“He likes going on the road, campaigning, visiting businesses like he does every couple days somewhere in Ohio or somewhere. [But] what part does he like? He doesn’t like lobbying for the bills he cares about. … He doesn’t seem to like being an executive.”
Here’s a clip of Matthews’ first critique from Tuesday:
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