Playing Hardball with
Chris Matthews

Chris Matthews.
Chris Matthews.

By Irish America Staff
August / September 2003

In his new book The Clinton Wars, Sidney Blumenthal, former Clinton aide, takes aim at Chris Matthews, the host of Hardball on MSNBC. Blumenthal writes that Matthews wanted a job in the administration and “lobbied the White House” to succeed Dee Dee Myers as press secretary but the job went to Michael McCurry.

Blumenthal goes on to say that Matthews then “turned into a detractor of Clinton.”

Matthews says it’s simply not true and Leon E. Panetta, then Clinton’s chief of staff, is backing him up. Panetta said he made the approach to Matthews, who was once a top aide for Tip O’Neill, and Matthews declined the offer.

“It was not by any means him calling me and lobbying for the job,” Panetta told the New York Times. “I was calling him to check out his interest.”

Blumenthal, however, stands by his story and said he had “numerous sources” confirming his account.

Meanwhile two Roman Catholic bishops skipped commencements because Matthews was being honored, saying he supports abortion rights.

Bishop Daniel Reilly said he couldn’t support Holy Cross’s plan to give an honorary degree to “a Catholic person who publicly espouses the view that, in some cases, people have a right to terminate a life in the womb.”

And the Bishop of Scranton, James Timlin, stayed away from ceremonies at the University of Scranton saying Matthews “espoused a viewpoint on abortion which Catholics believe to be contrary to the moral law.” ♦

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