the kicker

Matthews: "Not A Political Marriage"

January 21, 2009

The MSNBC crew offered this commentary on President and First Lady Obama dancing at The Youth Inaugural Ball (4th of 10) last night:

KEITH OLBERMANN: We don’t want to interrupt this because it has already been commented on that he’s an exceptional dancer. I’m going to suggest that one of reasons he is is that he is a precise dancer. Precision does not mean slow, it means precise. He is a precise dancer, is he not, Chris?

CHRIS MATTHEWS: I wouldn’t know. [ed. note: No, he wouldn’t.] I think it’s different what he’s doing. It’s kind of an interesting style. I don’t think …

OLBERMANN: It’s precise…

MATTHEWS: It’s what my wife calls…She has a term for it. I can’t think of what it is now. It’s different than that. But I must say something, James Carville said politics is Hollywood for ugly people. These people, the actors they hired to play them couldn’t be better looking. I can say that of both families today. This is an incredibly glamourous bunch of people we watched in the reviewing stand today. Extraordinarily so. This picture would be hard to beat if Hollywood replicated it…

RACHEL MADDOW: They are modeling a married romance, that is moving…

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MATTHEWS: Looks like two people on top of a wedding cake. Look at this stuff…

MADDOW: They are teasing each other. They are tender — beautiful.

MATTHEWS: This is not a political marriage, per se. No comment further…

Was Matthews suggesting that some other recent occupants of the White House had “a political marriage?”

Unlike one MSNBC talking head, I can’t claim to identify a non-political marriage (by its dance moves). But, scanning Fox News’s transcripts of everything President Obama said at all of last night’s balls, I did notice that the very first and last things out of the president’s mouth pertained to his wife.

Ball 1: Neighborhood Inaugural Ball, 8:30pm

OBAMA: Hello America. First of all, how good-looking is my wife? (crowd cheers)

Ball 10: Eastern Inaugural Ball, 1:30am

OBAMA: This is our last event of Inauguration Day. And so since the First Lady of the United States has been doing the same thing that I’ve been doing except backwards and in heels, let me ask her for one last dance.


Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.