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Is Chris Matthews Mean?

val-chris-matthewsLast year I attended a benefit to support Alzheimer’s research. Many important political figures were in attendance, and I was able to interview Senator Mark Warner, and hobnob with Newt Gingrich and Nancy Pelosi. I was most moved by my interview with Patty Smith – a young victim of early onset Alzheimer’s who vowed to speak out about her disease for as long as she was able to do so.

I had hoped to also get an interview with Hardball host, Chris Matthews – since his mom passed away from Alzheimer’s and he was keynoting the gala. Unfortunately, he didn’t have time for me – instead giving me his business card for follow up, noting that the email on the card had been changed and the phone number was to MSNBC’s general line (no he didn’t offer me any alternative means to contact him).

Today I decided to attend his book signing event at the National Press Club. My husband looked sideways at me, saying “Why are you going to cover Chris Matthews again? Wasn’t he mean to you before?”

“Oh, honey. I don’t think he was mean exactly. He’s a very busy celebrity and didn’t have time for an interview, that’s all.”

“Well, I thought he blew you off pretty quickly. It wasn’t polite. Mark Warner was very kind.”

I shrugged and picked up my laptop to live blog the event on Twitter (you can see it by searching #npcmatthews).

Chris said some humorous things during his talk, which I jubilantly Tweeted. Of course, I didn’t agree with some of what he said – but Tweeted it accurately. At the end of the presentation he invited all those who had purchased his book to come forward for a signing.

I waited about 20 minutes in line and finally got to the table. I introduced myself as Dr. Val – a full time blogger and volunteer at Walter Reed.

Chris said, “Oh, so you might be one of the ‘good ones.’”

I chuckled nervously.

“Make sure you say nice things about me on your blog! Tell everyone I’m nice, not mean.” He shouted loudly in front of the crowd.

As he handed me the book back I opened it to the page where he had signed, just to see what he’d written.

Amusingly it said simply:

“To Dr. Bell. Best Regards, Chris Matthews.”

So what’s your verdict? Is Chris Matthews mean?

Anyone want a book?

:)


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9 Responses to “Is Chris Matthews Mean?”

  1. Courtney says:

    I was at that same book signing :) I think Chris is a great guy. He made a genuine effort to answer all the questions, and he was patient with those who were longwinded or a little…intense. I think the thing about Chris is that he is on a political level that few people (if any – and certainly not me) in the room could match. Hes been around DC for 40 years. He's worked on the hill and written speeches for a president. Some of the things that people try to talk to him about are probably either no longer interesting or not as important / relevant to someone with his perspective. So yeah, he can seem a little crotchety, but I think that just comes from age and experience. He strikes me as genuine, clever, funny, and even sentimental. Besides, he quoted the West Wing, so he can't be all bad…..

  2. Courtney says:

    I was at that same book signing :) I think Chris is a great guy. He made a genuine effort to answer all the questions, and he was patient with those who were longwinded or a little…intense. I think the thing about Chris is that he is on a political level that few people (if any – and certainly not me) in the room could match. Hes been around DC for 40 years. He's worked on the hill and written speeches for a president. Some of the things that people try to talk to him about are probably either no longer interesting or not as important / relevant to someone with his perspective. So yeah, he can seem a little crotchety, but I think that just comes from age and experience. He strikes me as genuine, clever, funny, and even sentimental. Besides, he quoted the West Wing, so he can't be all bad…..

  3. #1 Dinosaur says:

    Not mean, just clueless. He may be *oh* so experienced and all that, but getting the name wrong is just tacky, however big and important a celebrity you may be. Not very classy.

  4. valjonesmd says:

    Thanks for your input and insights folks. :) I think Chris is brusque and he knows it. The fact that people interpret this as “mean” really bothers him – which is why he's probably not truly mean. What I like about him is that he adores his wife. Any time she enters a room he introduces her to the crowd as if she's the most wonderful woman in the world. He even calls her “his queen” in public – which is endearing.

    Chris likes to test his interviewees by playing hardball – it's like pushing a person around to check their balance. I personally prefer softball, so he does make me wince. It would also be nice if he could be a better listener, and more gracious to the “little guy.” However you've gotta give him credit – he's tenacious and successful in what he does.

  5. #1 Dinosaur says:

    Not mean, just clueless. He may be *oh* so experienced and all that, but getting the name wrong is just tacky, however big and important a celebrity you may be. Not very classy.

  6. valjonesmd says:

    Thanks for your input and insights folks. :) I think Chris is brusque and he knows it. The fact that people interpret this as “mean” really bothers him – which is why he's probably not truly mean. What I like about him is that he adores his wife. Any time she enters a room he introduces her to the crowd as if she's the most wonderful woman in the world. He even calls her “his queen” in public – which is endearing.

    Chris likes to test his interviewees by playing hardball – it's like pushing a person around to check their balance. I personally prefer softball, so he does make me wince. It would also be nice if he could be a better listener, and more gracious to the “little guy.” However you've gotta give him credit – he's tenacious and successful in what he does.

  7. SeaSpray says:

    One thing about his show and some other talking heads.. both conservative and liberal. But..especially Chris… they do need to stop talking over their guests.

    He will have someone on, ask them a good question and then talks over them so much with HIS opinion..that we don't get to hear much of what the guest would have said… and it seemed like it would've been interesting.

    My husband is a quiet man… and yet he will say, “C'mon..let him talk!”, along with a few other things.

    I have seen him with his wife and I think that is wonderful.

  8. SeaSpray says:

    One thing about his show and some other talking heads.. both conservative and liberal. But..especially Chris… they do need to stop talking over their guests.

    He will have someone on, ask them a good question and then talks over them so much with HIS opinion..that we don't get to hear much of what the guest would have said… and it seemed like it would've been interesting.

    My husband is a quiet man… and yet he will say, “C'mon..let him talk!”, along with a few other things.

    I have seen him with his wife and I think that is wonderful.

  9. Noel Baldwyn says:

    You needed something from him, he didn’t need something from you. In both cases it seems you feel he was not quite generous enough in giving it. And yet, he gave you his business card for follow up, he signed your book. The perceived meanness, it seems, lies in the fact that in neither case was he able to satisfy your need to be more important to him, and more worthy of his time and attention, than hundreds of other bloggers and book buyers. The least charitable reading of his response became your headline. Who is being mean here?

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