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"I haven't seen much of you lately, where have you been, the last couple months?"
Back in 2010, when Glenn Beck interviewed Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, comedian Jon Stewart compared the exchange to a conversation between Hannibal Lecter and Agent Clarice Starling in "The Silence of the Lambs."
That was an an unfair comparison. But in the case of Chris Matthews' intro to Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz on tonight's "Hardball," it's extremely apt. As Wasserman-Schultz comes on, Matthews introduces her with a set of questions that sound as though they should be accompanied by heavy breathing.
"I haven't seen much of you lately, where have you been, the last couple months? Have you been out on television?" Matthews asked. Wasserman-Schultz, visibly a little surprised to be asked this, responds that her duties as a mother have kept her somewhat under the radar. Fair enough, and you would expect Matthews to drop it after that response.
Actually, it's at this point where Matthews' previous questions go from sounding intrusive, to sounding creepy. "I've been missing you," he says with a furtive look downwards into his lap. "We want you for our own show business reasons, but also I like to see the partisan combat."
The weirdest part of this "why don't you call me anymore" style exchange is that it doesn't set the tenor for the following interview at all, in which Matthews grills Wasserman-Schultz on the tactical choices of the Democratic National Committee and the Obama campaign. All in all, it's a surprisingly aggressive interview (if one that's obviously biased toward the extreme Left).
Watch below and see what you make of the exchange:
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