Matthews Ditches His ‘Perfect Candidate’ Rudy Giuliani After Drop-Out Announcement

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"Matthews Ditches His ‘Perfect Candidate’ Rudy Giuliani After Drop-Out Announcement"

Last year, MSNBC host Chris Matthews declared former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani to be the “perfect candidate” for president in 2008. However, last night on MSNBC — after reports that Giuliani decided to end his campaign for president following a debilitating defeat in the Florida primary — Matthews jumped ship and began criticizing Giuliani.

Matthews said that the “one thing missing” from Giuliani’s campaign “was a big idea as to why he should be president” because it was only “about the past” and “about 9/11.” Matthews added: “I think Rudy Giuliani never really offered a big idea as to why he would be a great president and I think he made that mistake.” Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2008/01/matthewsgiuper.320.240.flv]

In fact, Matthews has consistently been a Giuliani booster, praising him or his campaign on numerous occasions prior to last night. Some highlights:

Matthews claimed Giuliani “hasn’t been beaten yet” despite having been crushed in all the Republican primary contests help up to that point. [1/22/08]

— “You know, Mayor, for months now, I think I’ve been one of the troubadours for you out there in terms of your prospects. I have always seen the Giuliani advantage in a party that treasures leadership.” [1/19/08]

— “He’s got the kind of demeanor and the toughness that I think made him a success as mayor and I think will make him a success on this campaign trail.” [11/26/07]

— Matthews said Giuliani is “the person with the best shot to win the Republican nomination. … Rudy is this tough, kick-butt cop from New York. You know he’s not a nice guy. You know he can be an SOB, but maybe that’s what you want on the subway at 3 o’clock in the morning.” [11/6/07]

— “That’s what I began hearing several years ago, that Southerners look to Giuliani as a leader. And Republicans, as we all know, love leaders. Watch for Rudy to surprise the pundits and pull pretty good numbers down in Dixie.” [10/18/07]

— “He looks like [a] president to me.” [5/2/07]

— Southerners “can’t spell his name necessarily, but they know Rudy was a hero.” [3/1/07]

Media Matters has more.

Transcript:

OLBERMANN: Just to underscore that, so that we’re not going to hear that you won’t have Rudy Giuliani to kick around anymore — which we wouldn’t hear anyway, that’s not the man’s disposition. But from the Giuliani campaign comes the official word that there’s no chance of a one-on-one interview with Rudy Giuliani just to protect that —

MATTHEWS: I, perhaps, that might have been a concern. Look I think that — Giuliani — I began to watch his campaign soon after he entered it last year. And the one thing missing was a big idea as to why he should be president. It was all, it seemed to me no matter how much coloration that was tonight about the economy, about the past.

It was about 9/11. Jon Stewart’s joke in reference to him having 9/11 touretts, meaning he couldn’t get through a sentence without burping out the phrase, 9/11. Joe Biden’s reference to the fact that he constructed each sentence with a noun, a verb, and the word 9/11 was fairly telling after a while and I think it was about the past. And I think he really didn’t come.

You know, I think of great athletes that run for public office and they think it’s an autograph tour. It’s about the past. Well, it’s not – people like to get autographs from famous athletes but they want to see what they’re going to do next if they’re running for office and so I think Rudy Giuliani never really offered a big idea as to why he would be a great president and I think he made that mistake.

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