Chris Matthews on Obama’s task: ‘He has to be grounded in a new way’


Here’s what President Obama has to accomplish in his acceptance speech tonight at the Democratic National Convention, according to Hardball’s Chris Matthews: focus on the economy, and stay grounded.

“It’s the economy on which all else depends, no matter what words he speaks tonight,” Matthews told Rachel Maddow Thursday night before the speech.

The msnbc host said the president shouldn’t deliver a high-minded, high-flying speech heavily reliant on his rhetorical skills as he has in the past, but one “grounded in the economic reality that everyone … knows and feels today.”

“We know this: We have a gifted president who has all the ability in the world to deal with the problems we face,” said Matthews.

But that’s not enough. Matthews continued:

“He also has to be grounded in a new way. When he spoke in 2004 and 2008, he spoke from a high altitude, looking at a presidency he might someday hold. Today he speaks as a man who holds the presidency. He must speak as someone who understands the command he enjoys over the entire executive branch, over the Democratic party, as head of state of the American people. He must speak from that and say what he is doing from that power. He must speak  a man who is in charge. That’s the most important thing tonight.”

NBC News Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd noted that Obama’s speech will be framed by the release of the latest jobs numbers tomorrow morning at 8:30. The President will actually know tonight while he’s speaking what that report contains.

According to McClatchy, the numbers will be on Obama’s side: “Economists expect the August jobs report from the Labor Department to be rosier than in past months, after several positive readings this week from other gauges of employment.” The ADP report was published today says employers added 201,000 jobs last month.

Barack Obama

Chris Matthews on Obama's task: 'He has to be grounded in a new way'