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Chris Matthews

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Chris Matthews

Chris Matthews
Matthews at the 2011 Time 100 Gala.
Born Christopher John Matthews
(1945-12-17) December 17, 1945
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Education College of the Holy Cross
Occupation News anchor
political commentator
Notable credit(s) Hardball with Chris Matthews
The Chris Matthews Show
Political party Democratic
Religion Roman Catholicism
Spouse(s) Kathleen Matthews
Children Michael Matthews
Thomas Matthews
Caroline Matthews
Relatives Jim Matthews (brother)
Herb Matthews (brother)
Bruce Matthews (brother)
Charlie Matthews (brother)

Christopher John "Chris" Matthews (born December 17, 1945) is an American political commentator, talk show host and author. He is known for his nightly hour-long talk show, Hardball with Chris Matthews, which is televised on the American cable television channel MSNBC. From 2002 to 2013, he hosted a syndicated NBC News–produced panel discussion program on weekends titled The Chris Matthews Show. Matthews appears on other NBC and MSNBC programs. Matthews is known for his Philadelphia accent.[1]


  • Early life and education 1
  • Career 2
    • Political career and views 2.1
    • Author and talk show host 2.2
  • Personal life 3
  • Criticisms and controversy 4
  • Bibliography 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life and education

Matthews was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Mary Teresa (née Shields) and Herb Matthews, a court reporter.[2][3] His father was a Protestant of English and Scotch-Irish ancestry, and his mother was from an Irish Catholic family;[4] Matthews is himself a Roman Catholic.[5] He attended La Salle College High School. He is a 1967 graduate of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, and did graduate work in economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.[6][7] He was also a visiting fellow at Harvard University's Institute of Politics.[8]

Matthews served in the United States Peace Corps in Swaziland from 1968 to 1970[9] as a trade development adviser.

He holds 31 honorary degrees from numerous universities and colleges, including from The Ohio State University, Washington University,[10] Howard University,[11] College of Holy Cross,[12] Fordham University,[13] Villanova University,[14] La Salle University,[15] and Temple University.[16]

Matthews is the recipient of several awards including The Pennsylvania Society's Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement in 2005,[17] the Abraham Lincoln Award from the Union League of Philadelphia,[18] the David Brinkley Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism, and the John F. Kennedy Memorial Award.[19]


Political career and views

When Matthews first arrived in Washington, D.C., he worked as a police officer with the United States Capitol Police.[20] Subsequently, he served on the staffs of four Democratic members of Congress, including Senators Frank Moss and Edmund Muskie. In 1974, he mounted an unsuccessful campaign for Pennsylvania's 4th congressional district seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in which he received about 24% of the vote in the primary.[21] Matthews was a presidential speechwriter during the Carter administration and later worked for six years as chief of staff to longtime Speaker of the House of Representatives Tip O'Neill, playing a direct role in many key political battles with the Reagan administration.

Matthews in October 2007

Matthews has said, "I'm more conservative than people think I am.... I voted for 2000."[22] has called him the "most conservative voice" on MSNBC's primetime lineup.[23] Matthews has been accused by Media Matters for America[24] of having panels of guests that skew to the right and of supporting Republicans in his own questions and comments.[25][26]

On the April 14, 2008, edition of The Colbert Report, Matthews alluded to a possible run for the United States Senate from Pennsylvania. When directly questioned by Stephen Colbert about his intentions, he stated that there is a difference between celebrities and those who work for the people, and it's a greater thing to work for the people. He also said that his boyhood dream was to be a senator. Four days later, on April 18, 2008, Matthews told Bill Maher that he has "made a commitment to covering politics in a liberal way, starting in 1987, and [he is] honoring that commitment, not getting involved in it."[27] The seat in question was the one held by Sen. Arlen Specter, whose term in the Senate ended in January 2011. On November 28, 2008, and The Politico reported that Matthews had been in contact with senior staffers of Barack Obama's campaign about a possible run.[28][29] On January 7, 2009, The New York Times reported that Matthews told his staffers that he would not run for the Senate.[30] On May 25, 2009 Chris Matthews appeared on Charlie Rose where he stated that he was intending to run for Specter's Senate seat in 2010, stating, "I could see myself winning the Democratic primary and I could see myself going on to face Arlen in the general [election]," but that he felt he had to decide between being a journalist and being a politician once Specter became a national figure by supporting the stimulus.

While discussing proposed healthcare reform on the December 17, 2009, edition of Hardball, Matthews stated, "The Republicans will know they have lost.... Let them keep score and it's easy. It's complicated when liberals get to keep score. We're always arguing. Well, I'm a liberal, too."[31][32]

In 2004, at the Democratic National Convention, Matthews rightly predicted that he'd "just seen the first black president.[33]"

Author and talk show host

Matthews during a special edition of Hardball

Matthews worked in print media for 15 years, spending 13 years as Washington, D.C. bureau chief for the San Francisco Examiner (1987–2000) and two years as a nationally syndicated columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. Matthews covered the fall of the Berlin Wall, the first all-races election in South Africa, and the Good Friday Peace Talks in Northern Ireland. In 1997 and 1998, his research in the National Archives produced a series of exclusives on the Nixon presidential tapes. Matthews has covered American presidential election campaigns since 1988.

In 1997, Matthews began his own weeknight talk show, Hardball with Chris Matthews, which originally aired on CNBC but is currently on MSNBC. Hardball features pundits and elected officials as guests.

In 2002, The Chris Matthews Show began airing in syndication. The show is formatted as a political roundtable consisting of four journalists and Matthews, who serves as the moderator. He is estimated to earn more than $5 million a year. He is the author of six best-selling books:

Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked (2013)

Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero (2011)

Life’s a Campaign: What Politics Has Taught Me About Friendship, Rivalry, Reputation, and Success (2007)

American: Beyond our Grandest Notions (2002)

Now, Let Me Tell You What I Really Think (2001)

Hardball: How Politics is Played, Told by One Who Knows the Game (1999)

Kennedy & Nixon: The Rivalry that Shaped Postwar America (1996)

Elusive Hero spent 12 weeks on the New York Times' bestseller list.[34] The book was lauded by critics. "Matthews excels in capturing the tribalism of the Irish Catholic culture and experience Kennedy both absorbed and overcame as he made his way...[and] is at his best in describing political dynamics," The Washington Post said.[35] "Matthews proves a compelling storyteller," said The Boston Globe.[36] "Matthews has produced a valuable addition to the literature about the life and career of our 35th president," said the Christian Science Monitor.[37] "Matthews's stirring biography reveals Kennedy as a 'fighting prince never free from pain, never far from trouble, and never accepting the world he found,'" said Publishers Weekly.[38]

In 2013, Matthews announced that he had signed a long-term contract extension with MSNBC but that he would no longer host The Chris Matthews Show in order to focus his efforts on Hardball, writing books, and producing documentaries. The final episode of The Chris Matthews Show aired on July 21.[39]

Personal life

Matthews has been married since 1980 to Kathleen Matthews, who anchored News 7 on WJLA-TV, the ABC affiliate in Washington, D.C., before accepting a position as an executive vice president with J.W. Marriott. The couple has three children: Michael, Thomas, and Caroline. His brother Jim Matthews, a Republican, is a former county commissioner in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

In 2002, Matthews was hospitalized with malaria, which he evidently contracted on one of his visits that year to Africa.[40] He has also had other health problems, including diabetes (which he acknowledged having on the Hardball broadcast of December 7, 2009) and pneumonia.[41]

Matthews was the commencement speaker at The Ohio State University on May 4, 2014,[42] and at University of Rochester on May 18, 2014 where he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters.[43]

Criticisms and controversy

On January 9, 2008, the morning after Hillary Clinton's surprise victory in the New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary, Matthews appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe program and said of Clinton,

I'll be brutal, the reason she's a U.S. senator, the reason she's a candidate for president, the reason she may be a front-runner is [45][44]

The comments were criticized by such media figures as Feminist Majority, and the National Women's Political Caucus. Matthews apologized for the comments on the January 17, 2008, edition of Hardball.[47]

After Matthews and Keith Olbermann made controversial on-air comments during the 2008 Republican National Convention, NBC News correspondent David Gregory replaced them, but Matthews and Olbermann continued working as analysts.[48][49] On November 4–5, he teamed with Rachel Maddow, Eugene Robinson, David Gregory, and Keith Olbermann to cover the presidential election.

On February 12, 2008, during MSNBC's coverage of the Potomac primary, Matthews had this to say about then presidential candidate Barack Obama:

I have to tell you, you know, it's part of reporting this case, this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama's speech. My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often.[50]

On November 6, 2008, he was a guest on the MSNBC television program Morning Joe, wherein he stated, "I want to do everything I can to make this thing work, this new presidency work." Host Joe Scarborough asked if that was his job as a journalist. "Yeah, that’s my job. My job is to help this country," Matthews replied.[51]

In January 2010, in Matthews's comments after President Obama's [52][53][54][55][56] The next day, on The Rachel Maddow Show, Matthews clarified his remarks, saying, "I think he’s taken us beyond black and white in our politics, wonderfully so, in just a year."[57]

In 2012, Chris Matthews claimed that Republican Party leaders were using a secret "dog whistle" language to show disapproval about having an African-American president by using insensitive words such as "food stamp president",[58] "shuck and jive",[59] "apartment",[60] "urban",[61] and "Chicago".[62] On October 23, 2012, Matthews chastised critics about this matter as "dead wrong" and "dangerous."[63]

On November 7, 2012, in the early AM hours following the re-election of President Obama, Matthews stated on air during the MSNBC extended coverage of the election that he was "so glad we had that storm" in reference to Hurricane Sandy and the attention President Obama received for his quick response and oversight of the storm. Fox News criticized him for the comment. Matthews released an on-air clarification the same day during his normal 5PM block of coverage on MSNBC.[64]


  • Matthews, Christopher (2013). Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 448.  
  • Matthews, Christopher (2011). Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero. New York: Simon & Schuster.  
  • Matthews, Christopher (2007). Life’s a Campaign: What Politics Has Taught Me About Friendship, Rivalry, Reputation, and Success (1st ed.). New York: Random House.  
  • Matthews, Christopher (2002). American: Beyond Our Grandest Notions. New York: Free Press.  
  • Matthews, Christopher (2001). Now, Let Me Tell You What I Really Think (1st ed.). New York: Free Press.  
  • Matthews, Christopher (1999). Hardball: How Politics Is Played, Told By One Who Knows the Game (1st Touchstone ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster.  
  • Matthews, Christopher (1996). Kennedy & Nixon: The Rivalry that Shaped Postwar America. New York: Simon & Schuster.  


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Chris Matthews". Retrieved October 28, 2012. 
  3. ^ Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero - Chris Matthews - Google Books. Retrieved October 28, 2012. 
  4. ^ Now, Let Me Tell You What I Really Think, by Chris Matthews, P. 77-80, 2001
  5. ^ White, Deborah. "Profile of Chris Matthews, Host of MSNBC's Hardball".  
  6. ^ "Chris Matthews - Meet the faces of MSNBC-". MSNBC. Retrieved 2010-02-23. 
  7. ^ "Chris Matthews (American)". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2012-04-11. 
  8. ^ "Former Fellows by Year". Harvard University. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  9. ^ "9 Famous Peace Corp Volunteers". Parade. Retrieved 11 August 2011. 
  10. ^ "Washington University to award six honorary degrees at 147th Commencement". Washington University in St. Louis. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  11. ^ "Matthews to Class of 2012: ‘Never, ever say ‘no’ to yourself’". MSNBC. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  12. ^ "Holy Cross graduates 697 during the College’s 157th Commencement". Holy Cross Magazine. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  13. ^ Get In The Game," Chris Matthews Tells Graduates""". Fordham University. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  14. ^ "Villanove Magazine" (PDF). Villanova. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  15. ^ "La Salle University Honors Chris Matthews". Retrieved 28 September 2014. 
  16. ^ "Chris Matthews Five Points of Advice for Temple U graduates". Temple University. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  17. ^ "Gold Medal Award". The Pennsylvania Society. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  18. ^ "MSNBC Anchor Chris Matthews to Speak at Daemen College April 19". Daemen College. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  19. ^ "Local Woman to Head National Hibernian Board". Catholic Herald. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  20. ^ Matthews, Chris. "American attitude – Hardball with Chris Matthews".  
  21. ^ "PA District 04 – D Primary". 1974-03-21. Retrieved 2008-04-23. 
  22. ^ October 3, 2003, and February 23, 2004, editions of Hardball
  23. ^ Kornacki, Steve (2011-01-21) Is Olbermann the victim of his own success?,
  24. ^ S, A (2005-05-31). """Matthews's statements defy conservatives' claims that he is a "liberal Democrat.  
  25. ^ Gitlen, Todd (2006-03-23). "The Harder He Blows".  
  26. ^ B, J (2006-01-06). "Matthews trumpeted comparatively small Abramoff client donations to Sen. Clinton, virtually ignoring larger donations given to Bush, Hastert".  
  27. ^ [ Bill Maher ] » Realtime ~ 18/04/08
  28. ^ Quinn, Sean (2008-11-28). "Chris Matthews Staffing Up for Probable Senate Run in 2010".  
  29. ^ Kraushaar, Josh; Michael Calderone (2008-12-04). "Chris Matthews Inches Toward Senate Run".  
  30. ^ Carter, Bill (2009-01-07). "Host of ‘Hardball’ Decides Against Senate Race". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
  31. ^ No Kidding: Chris Matthews Admits, 'I'm a Liberal'
  32. ^ Hardball with Chris Matthews' for Thursday, December 17th, 2009"'". MSNBC. 2009-12-18. Retrieved 2009-12-19. 
  33. ^ "Democratic National Convention Coverage -- Tell the Truth! 2004 -- Media Research Center". 2004-07-27. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  34. ^ Cowles, Gregory. "Best Sellers - The New York Times". Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  35. ^ "Book reviews: ‘Killing Lincoln’ and ‘Jack Kennedy’ - The Washington Post". Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  36. ^ Matthews, C. (2012). Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero. Simon & Schuster.  
  37. ^ "Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero -". Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  38. ^ "Nonfiction Book Review: Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero by Chris Matthews. Simon & Schuster, $27.50 (448p) ISBN 978-1-4516-3508-9". Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  39. ^ Weprin, Alex (2013-04-30). "Chris Matthews Inks Long-Term Deal With MSNBC, But Ends ‘The Chris Matthews Show’". TVNewser ( Retrieved 2013-08-19. 
  40. ^ Petrozzello, Donna (24 July 2002). "Matthews Hospitalized With Malaria". Daily News (New York). Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  41. ^ Hardball with Chris Matthews, MSNBC, August 19, 2008.
  42. ^ Theodore, Michele (2014-03-21). "Chris Matthews of MSNBC's 'Hardball' to be Ohio State Spring Commencement speaker".  
  43. ^ "Chris Matthews to give Commencement address". University of Rochester Newscenter, February 27, 2014, Retrieved March 24, 2014.
  44. ^ a b SteveK on Jan 10, 2008 12:30 PM (2008-01-10). "'"Matthews Credits Hillary's Success to Fact That Bill 'Messed Around. Retrieved 2010-02-23. 
  45. ^ Calderone, Michael. "Chris Matthews sorry for 'sexist' comments". Politico. Retrieved 2010-02-23. 
  46. ^ ABC: The View, January 10, 2008.
  47. ^ a b Kurtz, Howard (2008-01-18). "Chris Matthews Backs Off 'Nasty' Remark on Clinton". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-02-23. 
  48. ^ "Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann". Chicago Tribune. September 8, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  49. ^ "MSNBC Drops Keith Olbermann And Chris Matthews From Anchor Chair During Election Coverage". Huffington Post. September 8, 2009. Retrieved 2012-09-10. 
  50. ^ Shea, Danny (2008-02-13). "Chris Matthews: 'I Felt This Thrill Going Up My Leg' As Obama Spoke". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  51. ^ "I want to do everything I can to make this thing work, this new presidency work."
  52. ^ Think Progress (2010-01-27). "Chris Matthews on Obama during SOTU: ‘You know, I forgot he was black tonight for an hour.’". Think Progress. Retrieved 2010-02-23. 
  53. ^ State of the Union coverage.  
  54. ^ Calderone, Michael (January 27, 2010). "'"Matthews: 'I forgot he was black tonight for an hour. Retrieved May 10, 2010. 
  55. ^ Washington, Jesse (January 28, 2010). "Analysis: Do Blacks Truly Want to Transcend Race?". Associated Press. Retrieved May 10, 2010. 
  56. ^ Netter, Sarah (January 28, 2010). "State of the Union Not Immune From Racial Innuendo".  
  57. ^ Calderone, Michael (January 28, 2010). "'"Matthews clarifies: Obama's 'taken us beyond black and white. Retrieved May 10, 2010. 
  58. ^ "'"Newt Gingrich: Chris Matthews 'being a racist.  
  59. ^ "'"Sarah Palin takes on Chris Matthews over 'shuck and jive.  
  60. ^ Hardball with Chris Matthews" for Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012""".  
  61. ^ "Chris Matthews: Paul Ryan Saying "Urban Vote" Is Racist".  
  62. ^ "Now Even The Word 'Chicago' Is Racist!".  
  63. ^ "'"Matthews Slams Anyone Denying GOP Attacks On Obama Are Racist: 'You're Dead Wrong' And 'Dangerous.  
  64. ^ "Chris Matthews is happy Hurricane Sandy Struck". November 7, 2012. Retrieved November 7, 2012. 

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