Chris Matthews tore into RNC Chairman Reince Priebus during an appearance on Morning Joe on Monday, accusing the Romney campaign of “playing that little ethnic card” in its false attacks against welfare reform and jokes about birtherism. “You can play your games and giggle about it….[but] Obama being a foreigner is the thing your party has been pushing. [Campaign co-chair John] Sununu pushed it, everyone is pushing it in your party,” Matthews declared.
The MSNBC host criticized Mitt Romney’s birther joke, his consistant claims that Obama imported his domestic policies, and argued that the campaign has sought to foreignize the president. Priebus defended the party by claiming that Obama’s health and economic policies are European, but Matthews quickly dismissed the claim:
PRIEBUS: But I think Obama’s policies have created a sense that for whatever reason, he’s looking to guidance [from Europe] as far as health care is concerned, as far as our spending is concerned …
MATTHEWS: What? Where do you get this from? This is insane! You mean the Keynesian fiscal policy — you mean the fact that every president we’ve had has tried to offset the economic cycle with stimulus going the other direction is somehow European? … What’s this got to do with Europe and this foreignization of the guy? You’re doing it now! Saying he’s influenced by foreign influences? You’re playing that card again. What’s this European thing of yours? What are you up to with this constant that he’s not really domestic?
PRIEBUS: You don’t think the take-over of our health care system called Obamacare is a problem for most Americans?
MATTHEWS: Let me tell you some history, sir. Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt pushed for that, Truman pushed for that, were they all under the influence of Europe? Where do you get this from?
PRIEBUS: I’m not going to get into a shouting match with Chris, so you guys can just move on.
MATTHEWS: Because you’re losing, that’s why.
PRIEBUS: No, I’m not losing.
The Romney campaign promoted the “foreigner” angle in July, when Sununu claimed that Obama “has no idea how the American system functions…because he spent his early years in Hawaii smoking something, spent the next set of years in Indonesia.” He later claimed, “I wish this president would learn how to be an American,” before apologizing for the remarks.
During a rally in Pennsylvania, however, Romney doubled down, calling Obama’s policies “extraordinarily foreign.”