RACHEL MADDOW, Air America: Pat, I will tell you that on the influential -perhaps influential on the left — Web site, talking points memo today, do you want to know who they’re blaming for women voters breaking for Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama? Who they’re blaming for this late showing for Hillary Clinton? They’re blaming Chris Matthews. People are citing specifically Chris not only for his own views but also as a symbol for what the mainstream media…

MATTHEWS: What Web site?

MADDOW: Talkingpointsmemo.com. It’s cited anecdotally…

MATTHEWS: My influence over American politics looms over the people! I’m overwhelmed myself.

MADDOW: People feel that the media is piling on Hillary Clinton. They’re coming to her defense with their votes…

So was there, in fact, what amounts to an anti-Chris Matthews vote that emerged in New Hampshire? And if so, why might Hillary Clinton have been the beneficiary?

Here are a couple of thoughts on those questions. And Matthews himself provided some clues last night as to why an anti-Matthews voter might be motivated to pull the lever for Clinton.

After telling a story about how Nixon once planned to make his voice crack during a speech to look more sympathetic, Matthews continued: “I know Hillary Clinton was completely spontaneous the other day but let’s bring in the panel on that point. It could be that big girls don’t cry,.. but it could be that if they do they win.”

And later:

MATTHEWS: This is a basketball game tonight. Meaning it will be decided in the last couple of seconds before the buzzer… I wouldn’t put it past the Clintons if it looked like it was moving toward a victory for Barack to pull a quick press conference while it’s still vague and say it’s too early to tell. Then go to bed with some vague victory statement. I’ll know throughout this evening what their game plan will be because I’ll be there. There’s a good chance they will try to move pre-emptively claim some sort of tie — if this thing’s moving, as the Hanover vote comes in, towards Obama. It will be interesting to watch the gamesmanship tonight. They have pulled this before. Declaring comebacks when they’ve lost by eight - having been ahead by 20. They’re quite able to try to create a new confected reality. I’m watching this.

And Matthews seems awfully intent on motivating any sort of latent anti-Chris Matthews vote in future primary states as well. Get a load of what he said (hat tip, Greg Sargent) about Hillary Clinton this morning on MSNBC:

The Hillary appeal has always been about her mix of toughness and sympathy for her. Let’s not forget — and I’ll be brutal —the reason she’s a U.S. senator, the reason she’s a candidate for president, the reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around. That’s how she got to be senator from New York. We keep forgetting it. She didn’t win on her merits. She won because everybody felt, my god, this woman stood up under humiliation, right? That’s how it happened. In 1998 she went to New York and campaigned for Chuck Schumer as almost like the grieving widow of absurdity, and she did it so well and courageously, but it was about the humiliation of Bill Clinton.
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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.