Chris Matthews, host of “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” on MSNBC, spoke to a packed house at Daemen College in April, kicking off the 2011 Daemen College Academic Festival. Matthews’ talk, “A Political Insider’s View From Washington,” was delivered in his irreverent talk show style.
Throughout a freewheeling hour, Matthews’ insider commentary ranged from Donald Trump to other Republicans, Democrats, and how he first became a self-described “political junkie.” Matthews told the audience that he has been interested in politics since the age of 7, growing up in Philadelphia, and he began observing the differences between Republicans and Democrats very early.
“Between 1952, when I first started paying attention to politics, and 1972, Richard Nixon was on the Republican national ticket every election but one. Nixon was loyal, really loyal to the GOP. Republicans stick together once they’ve got you. The Democrats, of course, they’re different. They shoot their wounded. It’s an important difference in the way the two parties operate.”
Matthews’ rapid-fire comments brought laughter from the Daemen audience throughout much of his talk. After taking questions from audience members, Matthews spent a few minutes signing autographs and posing for photos before making his way out.
Matthews worked for 15 years as a print journalist, 13 of them as Washington Bureau Chief for The San Francisco Examiner (1987 – 2000). Prior to that, he spent 15 years in politics and government, working in the White House for four years under President Jimmy Carter as a Presidential speechwriter and on The President’s Reorganization Project; in the U.S. Senate for five years on the staffs of Senator Frank Moss (Utah) and Senator Edmund Muskie (Maine); and as the top aide to Speaker of the House Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, Jr. for six years.
The author of four best-selling books, it was Matthews’ 2001 title, Now, Let me Tell You What I Really Think that served as a fitting summary of the evening.