This time the tables were turned on MSNBC host Chris Matthews when he appeared as a guest Tuesday on Larry Elder's radio show to promote his new book, "Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero." Elder, however, wasn't impressed by Matthews' apparent beatification of Kennedy in the book. At one point during the interview, Elder asked if Matthews thinks his job as a journalist is to "help Obama succeed," and later interrupted the Hardball host in the same manner he cuts his own guests off everyday.
The Hollywood Reporter brings us some of Elders thoughts when the radio host wrote about the interview on his blog Thursday:
“You know things didn’t go well when, a few minutes after the interview concludes, Matthews’ booker emails my producer,” Elder wrote Thursday.
The email read: “I wish you would’ve let me know that Larry was planning on attacking Chris. Chris is always up for a good, healthy debate, but that was really not professional or cool.”
The exchange between Elder and Matthews started something like this:
"Chris, first do you still feel as a journalist, it is your job to help Obama succeed?" Elder asked.
To which Matthews replied: "Well, I certainly feel it is my job to help any new president succeed and I said that. And I think it was true when I wrote it for Bush in 2000 with hopes that he would do well until he made some decisions I couldn’t live with and when that comes with Obama, I will break with him."
He added, "So far he [Obama] has done what I think he should, but he hasn’t been the leader I think he should be but he’s made the decisions I think I would make."
"Do you consider yourself a journalist?" Elder pried.
"Yeah, I’m a journalist. I’m a columnist. I’m a commentator."
Elder qualified "No, no a journalist – you think you’re an objective down-the-middle journalist?"
"No, I’m not down the middle. I’m slightly to the left," Matthews stated.
"Slightly to the left?" mocked Elder.
"I’d say 40-yard-line."
Elder then critiqued Matthews for saying Republicans want people "who don’t have insurance to die on the gurney.”
While Matthews attempted to respond, Elder interrupted: “I’m sorry for cutting you off the way you cut your guests off.”
Below is the audio of the interview. A transcript follows:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/ms6t9E-IX9E?version=3&hl=en_US expand=1]
But that was just the kick-off. Things got even more heated when Elder delved into Kennedy's "heroism in World War II," which lead to the movie "PT 109."
Below, HR summarizes the contentious exchange that followed:
“Okay, let’s talk about PT 109,” says Elder. “You don’t at all discuss how the boat got into trouble in the first place. A lot of historians feel that it was his own irresponsible handling of PT 109 that caused the boat to get into trouble.”
“That would be a conservative or right-wing point of view. A person who was prejudiced against Kennedy,” Matthews says. He tries to expand, but Elder interrupts.
“You called me right wing, so I want to deal with what you now just said,” says Elder, before citing a historian who called Kennedy’s handling of PT 109 “the most screwed up PT boat action of World War II.”
“What is this a game? Is this a game show?” Matthews says.
Next, when Elder cites historians critical of Kennedy’s handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Matthews says: “What is the purpose of this conversation?”
“The purpose right now is to show that you are glossing over Kennedy. You are airbrushing the bad things,” Elder answers.
“Do I have any role in this show, or do I just sit here and listen to your rap?” Matthews says.
“If you wanna hang up, go ahead and hang up, Chris,” Elder says.
A few times during the interview, Elder thinks Matthews has already hung up on him. “Are you there?” he asks on two separate occasions.
Elder seems most upset that Matthews dedicated so little space to the Kennedy tax cuts, which Elder called his “singular economic achievement.”
“You spend about a half-page on the tax cuts, why is that. You still there?”
“I’m trying to be polite, and I come on your show because you invited me,” Matthews says.
But the two can’t even agree on that.
“No, no, no, no. You called us and you asked to come on. I didn’t invite you,” Elder says.
“How can you write a book about Kennedy and spend a half a page on the tax cuts? How can you do that? You still there?” Elder says.
“This is an embarrassment,” Matthews says. “This is why this country is being torn apart, with this kind of hatred.”
“It’s called a disagreement,” Elder says. “You perceive it as hatred, just like you perceive that the Republicans want people to die on gurneys, and they don’t care about illegal aliens, and all the other silly things that you’ve said. That’s hatred. That’s hatred, Chris.”
It seems odd that Matthews was so defensive about the interview, when he many of his own guests are subjected to far worse lines of questioning and interruptions from the Hardball host on any given day.