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Chris Matthews
Chris Matthews.jpg
Chris Matthews, October 2007
Born Christopher John Matthews
December 17, 1945 (1945-12-17) (age 64)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Education College of the Holy Cross
Occupation News anchor and political commentator
Spouse(s) Kathleen Matthews
Notable relatives Montgomery County, PA County Commissioner Jim Matthews (brother)
Ethnicity Irish American
Religious belief(s) Roman Catholic
Notable credit(s) Hardball with Chris Matthews
Official website

Christopher John "Chris" Matthews (born December 17, 1945) is an American news anchor and political commentator, known for his nightly hour-long talk show, Hardball with Chris Matthews, which is televised on the American cable television channel MSNBC. On weekends he hosts the syndicated NBC News-produced panel discussion program, The Chris Matthews Show. Matthews makes frequent appearances on many NBC and MSNBC programs. On March 22, 2009, Matthews renewed his contract to do his show on MSNBC through 2012.[1]


Early life, education, and family

Matthews was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Irish American parents and is a Roman Catholic. He attended La Salle College High School. He is a 1967 graduate of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, and did graduate work in economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.[2]

Matthews served in the United States Peace Corps in Swaziland from 1968 to 1970 as a trade development advisor.

Matthews is married to Kathleen Matthews, who anchored News 7 on WJLA-TV, the ABC affiliate in Washington, D.C, before accepting a position as an executive vice president with J.W. Marriott. The couple has three children: Michael, Thomas and Caroline (who was a student at the University of Pennsylvania, and had studied in London, UK for the fall term of 2009). His brother Jim Matthews, a Republican, is a County Commissioner in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

In 2002, Matthews was hospitalized with malaria, which he evidently contracted on one of his visits that year to Africa. He has also had other health problems, including diabetes (which he acknowledged having on the Hardball broadcast of December 7, 2009), and pneumonia.[3]

Political career and views

When Matthews first arrived in Washington, D.C., he worked as a police officer with the United States Capitol Police.[4] Subsequently, he served on the staffs of four Democratic members of Congress, including Senators Frank Moss and Edmund Muskie. In 1974, he mounted an unsuccessful campaign for the Pennsylvania's 4th congressional district seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, in which he received about 24% of the vote in the primary campaign.[5] Matthews was a presidential speechwriter during the Carter administration. Matthews later worked six years as a top aide to long-time Speaker of the House of Representatives Tip O'Neill, playing a direct role in many key political battles with the Reagan administration.

Despite having worked for Democrats, Matthews has said, "I'm more conservative than people think I am. ... I voted for George W. in 2000."[6] Matthews has been accused of having panels of guests that skew to the right by liberal media watchdogs[7] and of supporting Republicans in his own questions and comments.[8][9] Conversely, he is also often criticized by conservatives for his opposition to the Iraq war among other stances he took against the Bush administration. Conservative watchdog groups also accuse Matthews of constantly taking Democratic Party positions.[10] On the April 14, 2008 edition of The Colbert Report, Matthews alluded to a possible run for the United States Senate from Pennsylvania. When directly questioned by Stephen Colbert about his intentions, he stated that there is a difference between celebrities and those who work for the people, and it's a greater thing to work for the people. He also said that his boyhood dream was to be a senator. Four days later, on April 18, 2008, Matthews told Bill Maher that he has "made a commitment to covering politics in a liberal way, starting in 1987, and [he is] honoring that commitment, not getting involved in it."[11] The seat in question would be the one held by Sen. Arlen Specter, whose current term in the Senate ends in 2010. On November 28, 2008, and The Politico reported that Matthews has been in contact with senior staffers of Obama's campaign about a possible run.[12][13] On January 7, 2009, The New York Times reported that Matthews told his staffers that he would not run for the Senate.[14] On May 25, 2009 Chris Matthews appeared on the Charlie Rose show where he stated that he was intending to run for Arlen Specter's senate seat in 2010 stating "I could see myself winning the democratic primary and I could see myself going on to face Arlen in the general [election]," but that he felt he had to decide between being a journalist and being a politician once Specter became a national figure by supporting the stimulus.

While discussing proposed healthcare reform on the December 17, 2009 edition of Hardball, Matthews stated: "The Republicans will know they have lost... Let them keep score and it's easy. It's complicated when liberals get to keep score. We're always arguing. Well, I'm a liberal, too."[15][16]

Author and talk show host

Matthews during a special edition of Hardball

Matthews worked as a print journalist for 15 years, spending 13 years as Washington, D.C. Bureau Chief for The San Francisco Examiner (1987–2000), and two years as a nationally syndicated columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle. Matthews covered the fall of the Berlin Wall, the first all-races election in South Africa and the Good Friday Peace Talks in Northern Ireland. In 1997 and 1998, his research in the National Archives produced a series of exclusives on the Nixon presidential tapes. Matthews has covered American presidential election campaigns since 1988.

In 1997, Matthews began his own talk show, Hardball with Chris Matthews, which originally aired on CNBC but is currently on MSNBC. Hardball features pundits and elected officials as guests.

In 2002, The Chris Matthews Show began airing in syndication. The show is formatted as a political roundtable consisting of four journalists and Matthews, who serves as the moderator. He is estimated to earn more than $5 million a year. He also wrote a book called Hardball.[17]

Allegations of bias and controversy

Progressive organization Media Matters for America named Matthews its 2005 Misinformer of the Year, in part for statements he made in support of President Bush.[18]

On January 9, 2008, the morning after Hillary Clinton's surprise victory in the New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary, Matthews appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe program and said of Clinton,

I'll be brutal, the reason she's a U.S. senator, the reason she's a candidate for president, the reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around. That's how she got to be senator from New York. We keep forgetting it. She didn't win there on her merit. [19][20]

The comments, widely seen as grossly sexist and unfair, were criticized by such disparate media figures as Bill O'Reilly,[19] Joy Behar,[21] and Gloria Steinem.[22] They also resulted in protests outside NBC's Washington, D.C. studios, as well as a joint letter of complaint to NBC from the National Organization for Women, Feminist Majority, and the National Women's Political Caucus. Matthews apologized for the comments on the January 17, 2008 edition of Hardball.[22]

During MSNBC's coverage of the Potomac primary, Matthews had this to say about then presidential candidate Barack Obama: "I have to tell you, you know, it's part of reporting this case, this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama's speech. My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often." [23] This lead many on the right to assert that both he and MSNBC were biased toward Senator Obama.[24]

After controversy following on-air comments that Matthews and Keith Olbermann made during the 2008 Republican National Convention, NBC News correspondent David Gregory replaced them, but Matthews and Olbermann continued as analysts.[25] On November 4–5, he teamed with Rachel Maddow, Eugene Robinson, David Gregory, and Keith Olbermann to cover the presidential election.

On November 6, 2008, he was a guest on the MSNBC television program Morning Joe, where he stated, "I want to do everything I can to make this thing work, this new Presidency work." Host Joe Scarborough asked if that was his job as a journalist. "Yeah, that’s my job. My job is to help this country," Matthews said.[26]

On December 1, 2009, preceding President Obama's speech announcing a troop increase in Afghanistan, Matthews critiqued the president for choosing the United States Military Academy as his venue, referring to it as "the enemy camp."[27] Soon after, Matthews apologized for his remarks saying, "[To] the cadets, their parents, former cadets and everyone who cares about this country and those who defend it: I used the wrong words and worse than that I said something that is just not right and for that I deeply apologize."[28]

In December 2009, Matthews referred to Rules for Radicals author Saul Alinsky as "one of our heroes from the past".[29]

In January 2010, in Matthews' comments after President Obama's first State of the Union Address, he says "You know, I forgot he was black tonight for an hour."[30]


  • Matthews, Christopher (2007). Life’s a Campaign: What Politics Has Taught Me About Friendship, Rivalry, Reputation, and Success (1st ed. ed.). New York: Random House. ISBN 9781400065288. 
  • Matthews, Christopher (2002). American: Beyond Our Grandest Notions. New York: Free Press. ISBN 0743240863. 
  • Matthews, Christopher (2001). Now, Let Me Tell You What I Really Think (1st ed. ed.). New York: Free Press. ISBN 0684862360. 
  • Matthews, Christopher (1999). Hardball: How Politics Is Played, Told By One Who Knows the Game (1st Touchstone ed. ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0684845598. 
  • Matthews, Christopher (1996). Kennedy & Nixon: The Rivalry that Shaped Postwar America. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0684810301. 


  1. ^ "Senate Notions gone, Matthews Extends Contract at MSNBC". MSNBC. Retrieved 20099-03-22. 
  2. ^ "Chris Matthews - Meet the faces of MSNBC-". MSNBC. Retrieved 2010-02-23. 
  3. ^ Hardball with Chris Matthews, MSNBC, August 19, 2008.
  4. ^ Matthews, Chris. "American attitude – Hardball with Chris Matthews". MSNBC. Retrieved 2008-04-23. 
  5. ^ "PA District 04 – D Primary". 1974-03-21. Retrieved 2008-04-23. 
  6. ^ October 3, 2003, and February 23, 2004, editions of Hardball
  7. ^ S, A (2005-05-31). "Matthews's statements defy conservatives' claims that he is a "liberal Democrat"". Media Matters for America. Retrieved 2008-04-23. 
  8. ^ Gitlen, Todd (2006-03-23). "The Harder He Blows". The American Prospect. Retrieved 2008-04-23. 
  9. ^ B, J (2006-01-06). "Matthews trumpeted comparatively small Abramoff client donations to Sen. Clinton, virtually ignoring larger donations given to Bush, Hastert". Media Matters for America. Retrieved 2008-04-23. 
  10. ^ "Newsbusters". 
  11. ^ [ Bill Maher ] » Realtime ~ 18/04/08
  12. ^ Quinn, Sean (2008-11-28). "Chris Matthews Staffing Up for Probable Senate Run in 2010". Retrieved 2008-12-19. 
  13. ^ Kraushaar, Josh; Michael Calderone (2008-12-04). "Chris Matthews Inches Toward Senate Run". The Politico (CBS News). Retrieved 2008-12-19. 
  14. ^ Carter, Bill (2009-01-07). "Host of ‘Hardball’ Decides Against Senate Race". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
  15. ^ No Kidding: Chris Matthews Admits, 'I'm a Liberal'
  16. ^ "'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for Thursday, December 17th, 2009". MSNBC. 2009-12-18. Retrieved 2009-12-19. 
  17. ^ Kurtz, Howard (2008-02-14). "HardBrawl". The Washington Post. 
  18. ^ "Chris Matthews: 2005's Misinformer of the Year". Media Matters for America. 2005-12-23. Retrieved 2010-01-26. 
  19. ^ a b By SteveK on Jan 10, 2008 12:30 PM (2008-01-10). "Matthews Credits Hillary's Success to Fact That Bill "Messed Around" - TVNewser". Retrieved 2010-02-23. 
  20. ^ "Chris Matthews sorry for 'sexist' comments - Michael Calderone". Politico.Com. Retrieved 2010-02-23. 
  21. ^ McCarthy, Justin. "Joy Behar Call Chris Matthews' Comments 'Inappropriate'". Retrieved 2010-02-23. 
  22. ^ a b "Chris Matthews Backs Off 'Nasty' Remark on Clinton". Retrieved 2010-02-23. 
  23. ^ "Chris Matthews: "I Felt This Thrill Going Up My Leg" As Obama Spoke". 2008-02-13. Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  24. ^ "Bernie Goldberg on 'Love Affair' Between Obama and Media - Hannity". 2009-01-27.,2933,483568,00.html. Retrieved 2010-02-23. 
  25. ^ "Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann". Chicago Tribune. September 8, 2008.,0,302527.story. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  26. ^ "I want to do everything I can to make this thing work, this new Presidency work."
  27. ^ Matthews: Obama Made Speech At 'Enemy Camp,' Cheney Is A 'Troll'
  28. ^ Matthews: Obama Made Speech At 'Enemy Camp,' Cheney Is A 'Troll' (VIDEO) UPDATED
  29. ^ "Hardball’s hard fall". Charleston Daily Mail. 2009-12-22. Retrieved 2009-12-23. 
  30. ^ Think Progress (2010-01-27). "Chris Matthews on Obama during SOTU: ‘You know, I forgot he was black tonight for an hour.’". Think Progress. Retrieved 2010-02-23. 

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