Chris Matthews skewers Mitt Romney

The "Hardball" host was unimpressed by Romney's claim that while his five sons avoided the military, they're serving the country by getting him elected instead.

Published August 10, 2007 11:00AM (EDT)

"Hardball's" Chris Matthews regularly gets flak from the liberal blogosphere for being hard on Democrats, and I've criticized him myself, but boy was he tough on Mitt Romney today for the way Romney shrugged off the fact that none of his five able-bodied adult sons has ever served in the military. Romney dug his hole deeper by adding: "One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping to get me elected." He even went on to talk about his son Josh driving around Iowa in a Winnebago, dubbed the "Mitt Machine." If I was an Iowa mom whose son was driving around Iraq in a convoy with lousy armor; well, I know who I wouldn't be voting for.

On "Hardball" tonight I acknowledged that most elites' kids don't serve in the military, but Matthews cut me off and insisted people who support the war deserve more criticism if they or their children don't serve than "an antiwar liberal" does. There's no transcript yet (and I wasn't taking notes!) but Matthews went on at length about how too many people who support Bush's unilateral, disastrous war of choice, including five-deferments Dick Cheney, are "chickenhawks" who should be blasted for putting other people's children in harm's way. I was impressed.

I think Romney's gaffe will haunt him. He already suffers from looking like he's headed for the country club, he's got that Ron Burgundy smarm/charm, and in the "Five Brothers" sound bite he sounded like an entitled rich guy utterly clueless about the way his words would be received (what's the opposite of noblesse oblige?). Wonkette says it best, with a hilarious post on "The Flying Romneys."

Oh, and we didn't talk about McCain's "Hard Calls" after all. You never know on "Hardball."

By Joan Walsh

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2008 Elections