Vox Populi: The O'Shaughnessy Files

By William O’Shaughnessy | Go to book overview

CHRIS MATTHEWS,
“BREAKFAST AT ‘21’ ”

Known for his no-nonsense approach and MSNBC political
commentary, Chris Matthews has been the host of “The
Chris Matthews Show” on NBC since 2002. He spoke at the
“21” Club on October 2, 2007.

BRIAN MCGUIRE: Welcome to “21.” It’s October in New York, and that means post-season baseball in the Bronx and “wait until next year” in Queens. (laughter) This is another in our series of breakfasts at “21.” What began as a VIP program ushering in the millennium is now in its tenth year. Many of our distinguished speakers return as guests, and our special guest today is Chris Matthews, host of “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” which just celebrated its tenth anniversary on MSNBC. In addition to “Hardball,” he also hosts “The Chris Matthews Show” and is a contributor to NBC’s “Today” show. One of America’s most acclaimed journalists, Chris has covered American presidential election campaigns since 1988.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Is this on the radio? I see Bill O’Shaughnessy here. I have to be somewhat careful. Thank you, everybody. Thank you, Your Honor. Thank you, Governor. Hey, didn’t Jay Kriegel run this place once? Anyway, I want to talk about what is happening right now in the presidential election of 2008, the particular moment we are in on October 2, 2007. And I won’t give you what I did on television.

It seems to me every presidential election we all grew up with had one fundamental reality you could see in your rearview mirror as you got further away from it. But you had a hard time realizing it at the time. It’s the kernel, the core, the nut of the campaign.

In 1952, for example, the first election of which I have any recollection, all the Catholic kids were starting to go Republican. Everybody had “I like Ike” buttons on the school bus, except for poor Mike Matthews, my friend, who was the son of the Democratic Committee leader. He stuck with [Adlai] Stevenson. But

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