Hardball with Chris Matthews, 1/27/14, 7:54 PM ET

Matthews: Resilience, unity define Clintons

Chris Matthews responds to Sen. Rand Paul’s allegations that Bill Clinton is clear evidence of the Democrats’ “war on women.”

Resilience, unity are the Clinton tickets

Updated

Let me finish tonight with some thoughts about the Clintons and what Rand Paul said about them yesterday.

Here goes: Bill and Hillary Clinton did not get where they got by being “sure things,” nor did they where they got and where they’re headed right now by being perfect politicians or human beings.

Their appeal–and it’s the strongest appeal in the country right now–is their wondrous resilience.

Bill lost his race for student council president at Georgetown. He lost his race for Congress. He lost his race for re-election as governor. He lost the 1992 New Hampshire primary, lost a half-century Democratic control of Congress in 1994. He was impeached in 1998.

Is that the Clinton story? Does it even look like the Clinton story?

No way, and the reason is that he came back from every setback, winning the attorney general’s race in 1976, the governor’s seat in 1978, and again in 1982 and ‘84 and ‘86 and ‘88 and ‘90.

He won the Democratic nomination for president in 1992 and the election that fall and, after losing the House and Senate in 1994, won re-election in 1996. After being impeached in 1998, he left office with a huge job approval rating.

Hillary Clinton has shown the same strong character under pressure. After the difficult situation in 1998, she won a senate seat from New York in 2000. After losing the Iowa caucuses in 2008, she went into the arenas of New Hampshire and fought her way back to a string of big-state victories against Barack Obama. Faced with defeat, she accepted and triumphed in the position of United States Secretary of State.

Resilience and, yes, unity are the Clinton tickets. Through it all, they have stuck together. They are better than winners; they possess the deep strength of character to face defeat, failure and humiliation, and come back fighting strong.

That may be the very ticket this country needs right now to regain its own fighting spirit.

Bill Clinton, Hardball Let Me Finish, Hillary Clinton and Rand Paul

Resilience, unity are the Clinton tickets

Updated