Republican Joe Walsh Taunts 'Bully' Chris Matthews: Obama 'Sends a Tingle Up Your Leg'
Republican Congressman Joe Walsh didn't put up with Chris Matthews' "bullying" on Tuesday, mocking the liberal MSNBC anchor for his effusive praise of Barack Obama. Over the host's frequent interruptions, the Illinois Representative taunted, "Hey, Chris, your President, who sends a tingle up your leg-"
Walsh appeared to discuss the debt ceiling debate and what Republicans are willing to cut. The Congressman jokingly referred to Matthews' famous 2008 remark that an Obama speech created a "thrill going up my leg." A seemingly chagrined Matthews dismissed, "Okay. Here we go. This is where I thought we'd end up."
The anchor resorted to arguing semantics, reminding, "And first of all, tingles is your word." [MP3 audio here.]
Walsh continued to fight back, bombarding, "He doesn't send a thrill up my leg, Chris, all right? And he has not been serious about this debt crisis and why don't you jump on that?"
Later, Walsh slammed Matthews for his propensity to interrupt guests, declaring, "You know what you do? You bully guests. Answer me a question: Did the President ignore the debt situation in his State of the Union address?"
The Hardball host quickly talked over Walsh and went to break.
Matthews may argue about the difference between "tingle" and "thrill," but it's not the only such remark he's made. On July 27, 2004, during the Democratic National Convention, the journalist alerted viewers that then-Senator Obama had created a "chill" in "my legs."
A partial transcript of the July 19 Hardball exchanges follow:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Your bill doesn't specify cuts. It calls in ten years for reduction in government spending to 19.9 percent of the economy. Are you happy with that number that would reduce it to, basically, $3 trillion from $3.75? It really doesn't change that much. But, my point to you is do you really think you're going to get two-thirds vote in the House for a balanced budget amendment? Two-thirds vote?
JOE WALSH (R-Ill) : Hey, Chris, the fiscal situation now, this President-
MATTHEWS: Will you get- You said you're going to get a two thirds vote?
WALSH: Yes! Yes. It's so severe that we have a great chance this year to pass this out of the House. Look, 80 percent of the American people believe in a balanced budget amendment. Most states have to live according to one. All households do. This is something Americans understand. And I'm telling you, all of these Democrats, Chris that have not put forth a plan or a budget, they are going to have to sign on as well.
MATTHEWS: Okay. Just to repeat what's obvious to everybody watching. Your plan does not have any cuts in it. It-
WALSH: Hey, Chris, what's the President's plan? Hey, Chris, explain the President's plan.
MATTHEWS: That's the point. It's tit for tat. That's not the point. I pointed out that your party has said the President doesn't have a plan. Your plan doesn't have any cuts in it. Would you explain that to me?
WALSH: Hey, Chris, your President, who sends a tingle up your leg-
MATTHEWS: He's our president, first of all.
WALSH: Your President-
MATTHEWS: Okay. Here we go. This is where I thought we'd end up. Okay.
WALSH: Your President has not been serious in six months. Why do you ignore that, Chris? Why do you ignore that?
MATTHEWS: I think it's our President. I think it's our President.
WALSH: He is our President.
MATTHEWS: And first of all, tingles is your word. So, let's go on.
WALSH: He doesn't send a thrill up my leg, Chris, all right? And he has not been serious about this debt crisis and why don't you jump on that?
WALSH: Chris did he support his own debt commission?
MATTHEWS: Did you?
WALSH: No. Did he mention debt in the State of the Union? Come on!
MATTHEWS: Okay, let's stop absurdities. Every time you make a challenge to him I ask you, do you have specific cuts? No.
WALSH: Hey, Chris, this is what you do on your show.
MATTHEWS: What's that?
WALSH: This is what- You know what you do? You bully guests. Answer me a question: Did the President ignore the debt situation in his State of the Union address?
MATTHEWS: The President- We have seen this issue coming, sir. And you have planned for it and this kind of obstructionism from the beginning. You guys have been organizing yourselves. No. Organizing to bring this to a crisis and you've succeeded.
— Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.