The most memorable moment in Mark Leibovich’s New York Times magazine cover piece on Chris Matthews — in which we learn that Matthews “craves [Tim] Russert’s approval like that of an older brother” and that the Meet the Press host is “a particular obsession of Matthews’” — may actually be (sorry, Chris!) the bit when Russert makes a passing appearance. To wit:

“Russert walked through, straight from a workout, wearing a sweat-drenched Buffalo Bills sweatshirt, long shorts and black rubber-soled shoes with tube socks” and an MSNBC spokesman “tried, after the fact, to declare Russert’s outfit ‘off the record.’”

Leibovich wonders “whether Matthews is a man trapped in a tired caricature” which, Leibovich writes, “touches on the future of his archetype in general—in other words, whither the cable blowhard?” Also, further along in the piece: Matthews’ “overriding professional insecurity…is being confined to the pigeon hole of cable blowhard.”


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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.