by Gloria Feldt

When it comes to Chris Matthews’s interpretation of Hillary Clinton’s words — any of her words –she’s damned if she yays and damned if she nays.

After gloating that a new poll found Clinton losing in a match-up with any one of five Republican presidential candidates, Matthews later in the same program spun her Nov. 26 interview with Katie Couric, in which — like any candidate with half a brain and a quarter of a spine — Clinton showed confidence in her ability to win the Democratic nomination.

Couric: If it’s not you, how disappointed will you be?"

Clinton: "Well, it will be me."

Later, Couric asked whether she has considered the possibility she won’t be the nominee. "No, I haven’t," Clinton said.

Matthews played clips of the interview on his Nov. 27 show and ranted: "Hillary thinks she’s got it sewed up."

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, as Seinfeld would say.

Does Matthews expect anyone running for public office to enter a race assuming he or she is going to lose? If Hillary were Henry, would Matthews judge him negatively for asserting confidence? Just the opposite, I suspect.

In a man, such confidence would be applauded. Or, more likely, the question would never even be asked.

Clinton told Couric she would stand behind any other Democratic nominee, if it came to that. "We’re going to have unified party, behind whoever we nominate."

That’s showing the humility and loyalty constituents expect from a candidate. Matthews failed to mention this.

And dollars to donuts, if she had answered, "Yes I can imagine a scenario where I don’t win," he would have pounced on her for not being strong enough for the gloves-off political game.

Eric Alterman wrote in The Nation about Matthews’s many "man crushes." Watching "Hardball" over time, you see Matthews become enamored of candidate after candidate, from John McCain (who, trust me, is not a nice man) to Barack Obama, depending on their level of ascendancy in the media mash-up of the day.

But from Day One, Matthews has found so many ways to trash Hillary Clinton that many of his own journalistic colleagues have accused him of picking on her.

You can leave Matthews a comment about this, or send your thoughts to MSNBC.

Gloria Feldt
is the author of "The War on Choice: the Right-wing Attack on Women’s
Rights and How to Fight Back," and co-author with Kathleen Turner of
the forthcoming "Send Yourself Roses." She is the former president of
Planned Parenthood Federation of America and frequently lectures on the
history and future vision for women’s rights, health and justice.

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  • Robin Gerber November 29, 2007 at 4:29 pm

    All true, and remember, Matthews was also the main talk show-meister pushing the idea a little over a year ago that Hillary shouldn’t be in such a rush to run for President, that she should bide her time, maybe be Senate Majority Leader first, not that Harry Reid was leaving! Until about 8 months ago, he managed to continually bring up the “lurking monster” of gender that he was sure would leap up and crush Hillary. While, as you point out, gender stereotypes do hurt her, she’ll only be crushed by them in his fantasies.