Chris Matthews/Hardball: Campaign Contributors ‘Unsavory’, Romney’s are ‘Rich People’ and ‘Loaded’

-By Warner Todd Huston

Chris Matthews attacked campaign fund donations to Mitt Romney last night on Hardball, calling the entire system of political fund raising “unsavory” along with claiming that Romney’s contributors in particular are all “rich people” and people who are “loaded”. In fact, he didn’t seem to understand at all why anyone would even donate to a Romney campaign because he thinks everyone sees him as a “stranger”.

In a report that was supposed to be about this first round of fund raising of all the candidates, Matthews found no time in a ten minute segment to even mention the many millions of dollars raised by Democrats, focusing almost entirely on his distrust of Romney, even though Romney raised far less than Clinton.

Matthews seemed to be claiming that Romney was doing something nefarious by raising the cash he raised. He also seemed to be saying that rich people were out of order to donate to what ever candidate they wanted to support solely on the basis that they were, indeed, rich. I guess in Matthews’ world, rich people should not be allowed to have a right to a political candidate?

At around 7 minutes into the segment Matthews and his small panel consisting of Lynn Sweet and Andrea Mitchell get to the analysis of the report.

Matthews started with this bit of populist blather:

CM: What does it all mean? Well here’s the bottom line, money matters no matter how much you or I find this unsavory it matters because you need it to stay in the race…

“Unsavory”? It has always cost an exceedingly high amount of money to run for a Federal office in this country. The Founding Fathers even complained about how much they had to spend to do so and some could barely afford it.

After another minute of meaningless patter, he went on with his panel.

CM: Andrea what dies it mean? Explain to me… maybe I do know, but I don’t like it, I find this so unsavory…

Andrea Mitchell: I know, it’s awful (laughs)

CM:… here we are we’re going around killing people around the world to spread democracy, and what are we spreading? A form of government based on how much money you can raise from rich people, mainly.

First of all, he has no knowledge of who has donated what as Lynn Sweet nails him on a bit later. But, secondly, how many “poor” people donate other than very small sums to campaigns anyway? And what does the “going around killing people” have to do with this discussion at all, other than to interject, as he so constantly must do, his opposition to the war in Iraq into a debate over campaign fund raising???

Mitchell then goes on to bemoan the seeming abandonment of the artificial campaign funding program that was created post Watergate.

AM: There are a couple of quick points to be made. This is the end of the public financing system, none of the major candidates are using it, they’re all raising money, raising huge amounts of money and then they’ll either self finance… they’re not gonna take the matching money… there are no more campaign limits…that’s gone.

CM: That’s the worst part…Watergate was supposed to end this pig trough of fundraising and now we won’t even honor the rules coming out of Watergate.

No doubt, the worst part for Matthews is that people have, at last, moved on from having the tall tales of Watergate and the Vietnam War rule their every political thought and policy decision. Well, everyone but the throwbacks in the MSM who are desperate to continue revisiting the days when they mattered most — a time long since passed into history.

Next Mitchell gets Matthews’ into his Romney rant…

AM: And we haven’t talked probably enough about Mitt Romney about what he has achieved. He really swamped John McCain it shows there really are no front runners.

CM: Well, let me go to Lynn on that… Lynn, it seems to me that Romney who running about 3% in the polls only has rich people behind him because if you look at the amount of money he’s raised compared to the kind of support he has in the polls per capita it looks like they’re all loaded.

Really? And, dear Chris, you can PROVE this wild-eyed statement of the seeming impropriety of those evil “rich people” donating to Romney as if they shouldn’t be allowed to, or something?

But, Lynn Sweet shoots down Matthews’ “unsavory” theorizing.

Lynn Sweet: No, first of all we don’t know that until we get the breakdown between all the zip codes and how much is Internet and how much is direct mail. The biggest story out of this though is Mitt Romney because everybody knew that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would do well and it’s not a surprise that because, you know, the second tier field are office holders, that they have enough to keep them in even if they don’t sustain it so Mitt Romney is a stealth fundraiser, no one expected him to do this well, it will give him the kind of spotlight he needs to get out there.. and he has a whole operation going on, I visited it in Boston it’s on the banks of the Charles just a few weeks ago, he’s got the infrastructure, he’s got a lot going on, this will give him a change to have people take that look that they haven’t been willing to do yet.

Not good enough for the hyperventilating host, however!

CM: Who’s giving him money, who’s giving him, I wanna know one thing, who are the people giving money to a guy that most people don’t know in this country? People even in Massachusetts who lived up there all through his term as Governor don’t know the guy, they find him a stranger. Who are the people that are warm toward Mitt Romney, does anybody know who these money people are?

Sweet tries again to inject some real facts into Matthews’ financing inquisition.

LS: We’re gonna know exactly, I mean just so the viewers know, come April 15th we’ll have the name and address of everyone who’s donated more than $200, we could slice and dice it in a hundred demographic ways through every zip code in the country and so there is an answer to that and that’s gonna be probably a surprise if we find out where the money comes from and if it’s in places that we could read the tea leaves and show that it will translate into votes a swell as financial support.

Nice try, Lynn. But your host doesn’t seem to be buying reality!

But there you have it. Another Chris “I’m a serious, unbiased journalist” Matthews extravaganza.

Video on-line at MSNBC

Warner Todd Huston’s thoughtful commentary, sometimes irreverent often historically based, is featured on many websites such as,, men’ and among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a guest on several radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture” which can be purchased on He is also the owner and operator of Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston

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