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Americans don't much like their president. Why is Chris Matthews so surprised?


Tim Grieve
March 17, 2006 11:55PM (UTC)

For all the talk about Bush's bubble, one has to wonder about the translucent sphere in which Chris Matthews has been hanging out. The president's job approval ratings have been in the negative range for almost a year now, but Matthews -- who spends five nights a week talking about politics on "Hardball" -- seems to be shocked by the news.

As Media Matters notes, Matthews was proclaiming as late as November that "everybody sort of likes the president, except for the real whack-jobs, maybe on the left." News to the contrary seemed to sink in for Matthews earlier this week, when he had to come to terms with a Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll that found that 50 percent of the public has a "somewhat negative" or "very negative" view of the president. Matthews read the poll results on the air and declared himself "amazed."

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Now, it seems, he's just bewildered. As we noted Thursday, respondents in a new Pew Research Center poll used words liked "incompetent" to describe Bush, and Matthews says he just can't believe it. "I checked this twice," he said on last night's show. "I couldnt believe it, but it's true -- forty-eight percent of the people responding to this poll used such words as 'incompetent,' 'idiot,' and 'liar' to describe our president. Kate O'Beirne, what happened to respect?"

We've got a different question to ask: What ever happened to having a clue?


Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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