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MSNBC Hyperventilates Over 'Cro-Magnon' Santorum and His 'Big Money' 'Spokesman'

MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Thursday hyperventilated about a joke made by a Rick Santorum donor, frothing that "big money" Foster Friess and his candidate must be from the "Cro-Magnon" era. The Hardball host was only one of several anchors on the liberal cable network to go after Mr. Friess.

Matthews incorrectly referred to the donor as "a major spokesman now for...former Senator Santorum." Regarding a Friess joke about using Bayer aspirin for contraception, the journalist excoriated Santorum: "I mean, you're talking about a guy from the Cro-Magnon era, in terms of politics." [MP3 audio here.]

He continued, "And there he has his guy out there making a joke about women. I mean, talk about an insulting comment...That was insulting, clearly."

Piling on, he queried guest Eleanor Holmes Norton, "What do you make in this that we're still in a world where this is still going on, that point of view?"

How serious did Matthews take a minor, probably ill-advised joke? He lectured, "By the way, if any woman votes for Rick Santorum after that comment today by his number one spokesman, I will be surprised."

Friess appeared on MSNBC's Last Word. Host Lawrence O'Donnell actually allowed the donor a platform to explain himself, offering open-ended questions such as "Well, tell us what you think [the controversy over the joke is] all about."

On Politics Nation, Al Sharpton offered typical outrage: "Now, This is not just a backer. This is a big money backer....Can you imagine the arrogance of saying that?" 

Ed Schultz ominously tagged him as Santorum's "money man" and then segued into a discussion of the "GOP war on women`s health."

A transcript of Matthews' February 16 comments can be found below:

5:11

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me go back to Congresswoman Speier. And, again, I respect your views so much on this because- the fact that you are who you are. And I want to ask you this: I didn't put that on lightly what Foster Friess said. He's is a major spokesman now for- for former Senator Santorum. He's out there a lot, all the time. And he is now representing a candidate, Santorum, who said it would be fine with him if states outlawed the sale of birth control. I mean, you're talking about a guy from the Cro-Magnon era, in terms of politics. And there he has his guy out there making a joke about women. I mean, talk about an insulting comment, Congresswoman Norton. That was insulting. Clearly. What do you make in this that we're still in a world where this is still going on, that point of view? 

...

MATTHEWS: I think it's one of those "Render unto Caesar, Render unto God things." I think the line is pretty clear and I think it was clarified, as Eleanor Norton pointed out a moment ago, Congresswoman Norton. It was clarified on Friday. The line has been drawn and I think it's done fairly. By the way, if any woman votes for Rick Santorum after that comment today by his number one spokesman, I will be surprised. I think, If he doesn't fix this thing within a few hours, I'm talking to you Rick Santorum, if you don't fix this in a couple hours, you can kiss off all the women voters in this country. And a lot of men.

-- Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.