Angry liberal Chris Matthews on Wednesday foamed at Republican Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Rand Paul, deriding the conservatives at "terrorists." The Hardball anchor repeated the smear over and over, even going too far for former Obama political aide David Axelrod. Previewing the segment, Matthews threatened, "Finally, let me finish with the political terrorists of the right...Their names are Cruz, Paul and Lee." [MP3 audio here.]
The host fumed that the attempts to defund Obamacare are "more than just obstructionism, this is political terrorism." Matthews then dropped the adjective "political" and simply declared, "I believe it's terrorism." At that point, guest Axelrod admitted, "I also am uncomfortable with the word, only out of respect for the victims of violent terrorists and that's why I wouldn't use it."
An annoyed Matthews attempted to highlight the use of the word "political," as if that made it any better: "I've used the term political terrorists. I will continue to use it. For short hand, I'll say terrorist."
However, the anchor went right back to the violent imagery. Knowing the power of the word, he smeared, " And like all terrorists, including those who use bombs, their number one goal, their only goal, is to blow things up."
The trio of Republican senators are "terrorists with one purpose."
A partial transcript is below:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: But first, the GOP at war with itself. Ted Cruz is going after fellow Republicans for not supporting a government shutdown over Obamacare. Let's just say he's a political terrorist on this one.
MATTHEWS: Finally, let me finish with the political terrorists of the right. I'm going to talk about them. Their names are Cruz, Paul and Lee.
MATTHEWS: It's not just the issue of Obamacare and a government shutdown where Cruz and his allies are threatening destruction. In addition to their vow to blow up Obamacare and shut down the American government this September, they're also vowing to block and increase in the debt ceiling. That means the government wouldn't be able to pay its bills, wouldn't be able its debt, would go into default. The consequences? It would destroy the United States credit rating, of course, and send us spiraling into default. This is Cruz's operation here, by the way and his allies's operation. This is more than just obstructionism, this is political terrorism. It's a strategy of mass destruction and demolition with the hope that after the rubble is settled they'll be the only ones left around to pick up the pieces. David Axelrod is an MSNBC political analyst and Democratic strategist and Steve Schmidt is a Republican strategist. David, first. Your view? I believe it's terrorism.
[David Axelrod calls Matthews out.]
DAVID AXELROD: I also am uncomfortable with the word, only out of respect for the victims of violent terrorists and that's why I wouldn't use it.
MATTHEWS: Okay. Out of the same respect, I make the point political. I've used the term political terrorists. I will continue to use it. For short hand, I'll say terrorist.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this: They are political terrorists. And like all terrorists, including those who use bombs, their number one goal, their only goal, is to blow things up. Cruz, Paul and Mike Lee are on a mission to destroy, shut down the American government, destroy Obamacare, drive the country into default, destroy the U.S. credit rating. Terrorists with one purpose: To bring down, not just this administration, but let's face it, the American government. Just watch. And the fact is, the likelihood out there is that this group could be the one that crashes the Republican convention next time. And that, fortunately, could be the end of them. And that's Hardball for tonight.
-- Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.