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Chris Matthews on Bowling with Barack

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 9:53 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

I occasionally watch MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews but I didn’t see the March 31, 2008, edition in which Matthews discussed Barack Obama bowling in Pennsylvania. Now that I’ve read the Hardball transcript, I wish I had seen the episode.

Below the break are selected excerpts from Hardball (emphasis supplied), and fortunately we can all watch video of Barack bowling thanks to YouTube:

UPDATE 4/1/2008: Hillary suggests a bowl-off.

The bowling discussion started in a segment Matthews introduced as Bowling for Barack:

“MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

So, what else is new out in politics?

Well, bowling for Barack? Over the weekend, Obama joined Pennsylvania Senator, his supporter, Bob Casey at a bowling alley in Altoona. It wasn‘t the most impressive showing for Obama. His first time up, he sent the ball right into the gutter, telling reporters, we‘re just warming up. Well, six frames later, he bowled a spare. But, overall, far from a stellar bowling outing.

Obama did assure everyone that his economic plan is better than his bowling. It better be. Look at this. This isn‘t exactly the right form. Thirty-seven is what we [sic] bowled, not good out of 300.”

Later, Matthews was joined by guest Chaka Fattah and they discussed the Pennsylvania primary, basketball, Jeremiah Wright, and Billy Graham:

“Pennsylvania Congressman Chaka Fattah is an Obama supporter. Congressman, thank you for joining us.

What do you have to do in Pennsylvania? What does Barack Obama have to do, in terms of numbers, to do well here?

REP. CHAKA FATTAH (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Well, you know, one thing is for certain. We can all speculate about what might happen in the future.

But, in every single contest, he‘s been competitive. He‘s won 30 states. And we think doing what he‘s been doing, what he did in Iowa, what he did in Wisconsin and Washington State, what he‘s done across this country in states that he‘s won—and he‘s won twice as many—but even where he‘s come up short, he‘s been extraordinarily competitive. He lost Texas by 1 percentage, but he won more delegates.

He lost Nevada by two percentage points, but he won more delegates. Fifty percent of all the delegates in Pennsylvania will be gone in the Philadelphia area, because you get rewarded for past Democratic support. So, the areas that supported John Kerry will have more delegates than areas that supported George Bush four years ago.

So, by concentrating his support in certain places, he can benefit. By the six days he‘s been on this bus trip, for half of it now, he‘s been to Altoona. He was up at Penn State. I served on the board of Penn State for a number of years. The last presidential candidate we had there was George Bush‘s dad. And we had 10,000 people show up. We had twice as many for Senator Obama.

He needs to keep working hard. He—work on the bowling a little bit. But the truth…


FATTAH: … of the matter is, is—no, seriously, he‘s a great basketball player.


FATTAH: And, when we get him down in Philadelphia, we will get him to play some B-ball. He will do just fine.


FATTAH: But the Philadelphia suburbs are going to be, I think, the—the be-all and end-all of the state. That‘s where—Montgomery County, Bucks County, those are going to be critical areas. Your brother knows a little bit about that neck of the woods.


Let me ask you about this Jeremiah Wright story.
You go to a church. I assume it‘s a black church. That‘s my jump to assumption there. Is this preacher problem—a real problem? I have looked at it. It doesn‘t seem to bother black voters. It seems to bother some white voters. What is that story about? How do you see that story as a political problem for Barack Obama?

FATTAH: Well, you know, Billy Graham probably was the spiritual adviser for five presidents, I think, and he said some of the most offensive things that I think have been on the record on—at that time.

Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Jeremiah Wright, we have ministers who are preaching from their theological vantage point. And, so, when Pat Robertson says, well, 9/11 was brought on by gays or all these kind of things, people listen, who—but I think they listen only in the sense of understanding that people who are speaking from a spiritual standpoint sometimes see things the way they see them.

But, in the real world, Barack Obama is someone who, for his entire life, has brought people together. He is someone who was born of a mixed racial couple. There‘s no way you can make him out to be anti-white. His mother was white. His grandmother was white. His—I mean, he talks about his family in a way I think none of this Jeremiah Wright stuff is going to attach to Senator Obama.

And the other thing I would say is that Jeremiah Wright, who was a United States Marine, who served at the bedside of President Johnson, he fought for people to have the right to say what they want to. And even when we disagree with it, he actually put on the uniform and made sure that people could speak their mind.”

Ultimately, the discussion ended up “very ethnic:”

“MATTHEWS: We‘re back with the round table for more of the politics fix. Howard, I want to ask you about bowling today. I want to ask you about bowling.

FINEMAN: Just because I‘m from Pittsburgh.

MATTHEWS: No, no, no. It‘s so interesting. Here‘s a guy trying to break into the white ethnic voting crowd, so he goes and plays the sport most associated I think with regular folks in the big cities and small towns. You and I grew up doing a little bowling. We know what a pathetic score is. Neither of us have ever done a 37, I think it‘s fair to say.

FINEMAN: To fair to Barack, it was over seven frames. OK. But that still isn‘t much. I mean, he definitely needs some bowling less sense. He should do what we used to do in Pittsburgh, all night bowling for a dollar, really work on your game. I think he did get Frank O‘Harris and he did get Jerome Bettis, the Bus, to endorse him. He‘s traveling around on the bus with the bus.

If you can‘t do something like that, you shouldn‘t do it. He should have stuck to shooting hoops, which he‘s very, very good at, by the way, which translates racially too, especially during the NCAA basketball tournament. Don‘t do something you‘ve never tried before in front of a national television audience.

MATTHEWS: Michelle, this gets very ethnic, but the fact that he‘s good at basketball doesn‘t surprise everybody. The fact that he‘s terrible at bowling makes you wonder.

BERNARD: It doesn‘t surprise anybody black, I can tell you that.

MATTHEWS: Is black—I guess everybody bowls.

FINEMAN: This is killing him, Chris. Don‘t show it over and over again.

MATTHEWS: This is a killer. Look at this killer. It isn‘t the most macho form there.

FINEMAN: He can‘t challenge Hillary. I think he doesn‘t dare challenge Hillary, because Hillary‘s from Chicago. She might actually be able to get over triple digits.

MATTHEWS: I‘m waiting to see if Hillary challenges him to a bowling match. It might be a thrilling—you know what, what would get a higher poll, a higher rating do you think, Jonathan, a higher television rating, a bowling match between Hillary and Barack or another debate?

ALLEN: The bowling match absolutely would, because everybody would be watching to see when they went in the gutter.

FINEMAN: You got to do HARDBALL bowling, Chris. You got to do it.

BERNARD: He gave a good response today when he was talking about his failures as a bowler. I think he probably picked up some points from people who felt sorry for him who didn‘t know what he was doing.


24 Responses to “Chris Matthews on Bowling with Barack”

  1. I’m not familiar with the Billy Graham scandals. What did he say that was extremely offensive? I’m not denying it, but sincerely curious.

    It is just pro-life sentiments or is he a racist? While I doubt anything out there compares to the ‘CIA invented AIDS’ idiocy, I’m curious what’s out there.

    Jem (4cdfb7)

  2. Huh ! ! !

    I guess they don’t have bowling alleys in Indonesia!

    Demetri (c3f397)

  3. Ugh. The media clearly needs some shiny objects to keep its attention. Chris Matthews is the most awkward guy on television. Isn’t there a kidnapped white woman somewhere?

    Russell (5ecf4a)

  4. My 12 year old cousin bowled a 289 Monday night, (10 strikes in a row, he missed the 11 th).

    Hazy (d671ab)

  5. Jem – I suspect the reference is to Billy Graham’s comments on the Nixon tapes, where he seems to be agreeing with Nixon’s antisemitism and so on.

    I think Graham has made the case that he was just humoring the president, which is certainly conceivable. It sounds bad when quoted, though.

    LYT (b67340)

  6. DRJ, We all know that Obamessiah could easily have used his powers to steer those bowling balls to consecutive strikes, but he didn’t…why?
    Because “only the true messiah denies his divinity.”

    driver (faae10)

  7. I bet George Bush is great at bowling. That’s one terrific reason to vote for Obama. We need a change in a big way.

    Now we’re going to pick our president on their bowling prowess? What’s next? We’ll elect a wrestler like in the movie Idiocracy? Wait, that’s not too far fetched with Jesse Ventura around!

    Psyberian (d18acc)

  8. “Now we’re going to pick our president on their bowling prowess?”

    No, no, no…you’re missing the point. Obama thinks that by going bowling with the po’ white folk, in his tailored shirt and tie—and did you notice the black/white shoes–nice touch, no??—that the silly working class dupes will think that he is “one of them” and vote for him.
    We are simply mocking him here because he was being so transparently foolish. Now do you understand?

    driver (faae10)

  9. Can you imagine the self-Lefteous outrage had McCain noted that Baracky was a good basketball player, as one might expect, like Chrissy and Finemann did? Why is it that only certain political types get passes on making gross generalizations?

    JD (75f5c3)

  10. Did you see Iowahawk on Barack’s foosball past, JD? You really need to read it. Obama really is just one of us. “Just a slob, like one of us.”

    driver (faae10)

  11. Barak rolled a 37 in seven frames!
    Not exactly generating a sense of awe among the little people in fly over country.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  12. I got a thrill up my leg, just a little, watching that. Or maybe it was just sciatica…

    You know the libs are out of ideas and in trouble when they have to exhume Tricky Dick to scare the children and old folks:


    furious (56af6d)

  13. Typical white persons, assuming Obama is good at basketball because, well, you know…

    furious (56af6d)

  14. You know, I just thought of something that would help Obama with his bowling in time for the Pennsylvania primary. When we were little, and that ball was too heavy for us, what did we do?

    We held it with two hands, and swung it from between our legs, remember? It’s a slower roll, but more accurate for us little twinkies who couldn’t swing that big, heavy ball with one arm. And then all the other kids would jump up and down and cheer for the ball as it slowly made its way to the pins. Sounds like the typical Obama campaign rally, to me.

    driver (faae10)

  15. Is this Obama’s “Dukakis in a tank” moment?
    IS there a running for prez moment that tops that in absurdity?

    EdWood (c2268a)

  16. Ed Wood – see algore and John Kerry. Add in John Edwards, and the entire Baracky campaign, to date, make Dukakis look like a Presidential moment.

    JD (75f5c3)

  17. What is it with African American supporters of Obama and the Lefties that they ALWAYS use a lessor wrong to try and compensate for a worse wrong committed by Obama, his wife or his preacher. And, I have to tell you all that I could never understand the hatred emanating from the African American people I have felt over numerous years, until Mrs. Obama and their preacher spoke. If you are bombarded with hateful rhetoric and lies in church imagine what goes on in the homes and businesses and stoops all over the country. No wonder they don’t believe a word of truth, they fall back on their politicians and preachers.

    Sue (aa9614)

  18. “Obama thinks that by going bowling with the po’ white folk, in his tailored shirt and tie—and did you notice the black/white shoes–nice touch, no??—that the silly working class dupes will think that he is “one of them” and vote for him.”

    I really doubt he thinks that.

    stef (6b2b41)

  19. “Is there a running for prez moment that tops that in absurdity?”

    As embarrassing as that bowling vid was to watch, I’d have to say, yes, there is. Hillary, standing behind the podium and likening herself to Rocky, in a tough voice declaring,

    “Let me tell you something, when it comes to finishing a fight, Rocky and I have a lot in common. I never quit. I never give up. And neither do the American people.”

    Ack! Sounding like some tough rumble doll you don’t want to mess with yet adorned in pink, the display ends up coming off as just the desperate bid of a middle aged woman trying to make us believe she really can be the man.

    This is quickly sinking into a contenst of cliche one upsmanship….

    Dana (fba430)

  20. JD#16,
    JD you gave no specifics! Is there a photo or a phrase? There is a really funny one of John (Kerrys butt)with his hand sticking out after he hiked a football in a 3 piece suit that I thought was pretty close.. but man…. That pic of Dukakis in a tank with his tank helmet and this little bemused smile…. and you could just tell he was thinking….”wooowww…Im in a TANK…cool….hey… the army’s cool….” was just too much.

    EdWood (c2268a)

  21. Since bowling is the quintisential indoor sport of fly-over country, it does not behoove those on the coasts (two stereotypes in one sentence, I’m on a roll) to denigrate that great Middle-America VOTING class when an election is at stake.

    Another Drew (f9dd2c)

  22. Sorry, Ed Wood. To this observer, the mere fact that they were candidates was more than enough. For specifics, I would look towards John Kerry saying “don’t question my patriotism” every time someone disagreed with him, Silky Edwards preaching about 2 Americas from his 24,000 square foot mansion, and literally the entire hopetchangey Baracky campaign. Truth is so much more entertaining than fiction. and you simply could not makes these clowns up, if they did not exist.

    And Kyoto. Racist.

    JD (5f0e11)

  23. Yeah JD but all those things you list are sort of maddening hypocrisies. I was thinking more along the lines of absurdly funny. Obama’s hope thing is sort of funny in an eye rolling way but Hillary calling herself “Rocky” is pretty funny. I was thinking she was more along the lines of Nurse Ratchet… ruthless, tenacious, unkillable, but still funny.

    EdWood (417421)

  24. OK the Kyoto Racist thing is pretty funny.

    EdWood (417421)

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