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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?


Alzheimer’s Association Wins $1.5 Million From American Express

Alzheimer's A. Gala '08

I am so incredibly excited about this great news: the Alzheimer’s Association won first place in the American Express Members Project contest. Cardmembers voted for their favorite cause, and the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease project won the majority. The research grant is valued at $1.5 million.

I first became aware of this worthy cause when I attended the Alzheimer’s Association gala with Chris Matthews (thats us in the photo to the left) and had the chance to interview Patty Smith, a young victim (diagnosed at age 51) of this disease.  She gave a moving speech about living with Alzheimer’s.

Here is an excerpt of my blog post about Patty:

What struck me most about Patty was her courage and determination. Although her symptoms were troublesome to her (she had some difficulty concentrating, remembering details of her past, and couldn’t offer robust answers to questions) she was prepared to be vulnerable in a very public way. I was moved by Patty’s bravery, and her willingness to sacrifice personal comfort for public education. Of all the important donors and benefactors at the event, Patty was (in my opinion) the one who sacrificed the most- because she was the one who was willing to expose her frailty to us all.

I know that the award will be put to good use and I certainly hope that we will soon discover a cure for this devastating neurological disease.


What’s the Chris Matthews connection?  His mom died of Alzheimer’s disease and he moderated the event.

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