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Chris Matthews Uses Term 'Grand Wizard' to Describe GOP to Michael Steele -- And Is Promptly Called Out

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"Oh my gosh."

We already know that Chris Matthews trips over his words (i.e. he has a tendency to not finish them while he's talking so fast), and now it looks like he's eating them.

During an MSNBC discussion on Tuesday night on Romney and the fate of conservatism this fall that featured former Howard Fineman and GOP Chairman Michael Steele, Matthews got a little fired up and threw in a KKK reference: he called the GOP the "Grand Wizard." That was after declaring boldly that Romney is a "flat-earther" and doesn't believe in science. Not only was it slightly over-the-top, but it was also slightly uncomfortable considering Steele is black. And Steele took umbrage with it.

Real Clear Politics has the exchange:

"I resent that. What is this 'grand wizard' nonsense?" Steele asked.

"I should say the far-right party," Matthews retorted.

"Are you saying that we're the Ku Klux Klan? Give me a break. Don't go there with me on that," Steele warned.

"Okay. Great. Good. Thank you," Matthews cracked. "There's none of those problems over there. All those birthers out there."

"Oh my gosh," Steele could be heard saying.

Matthews then went on to say there were "about 30" birthers in Congress right now. Here's the relevant portion:

But Matthews quickly inserted his foot in his mouth (or maybe had a producer screaming in his ear). Near the end of the segment, he tried to airbrush the comment: "I didn't mean to say 'Grand Wizard.' I want to make it very clear. I believe this: if Romney will come there  out and denounce all the birthirism, all this attempt to make  Barack Obama some kind of foreigner, who's not really one of us, who's not really one of us, I'll be with him on that point."

Here's the full segment:

By the way, this isn't the first time an NBC employee has employed the term "Grand Wizard" while talking about the GOP. David Gregory did it back in November while discussing, ironically, Herman Cain. He later apologized.

(H/T: Mediaite)

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