Chris Matthews on politics, Paul Ryan, and why Palin is ‘magic’



Chris Matthews stopped by The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Thursday night to discuss the upcoming Republican National Convention, the Romney-Ryan ticket, and the issues that need to be debated this fall between President Obama and Mitt Romney.

Matthews, who will be in Tampa next week covering the convention and in Charlotte, N.C., the following week for the Democratic National Convention, told Jay Leno that the conventions were important for potential voters. “People want to hear from the party, not from us,” Matthews said.

Matthews said he believes the GOP is far off-message right now.

“The Republican Party that you and I grew up with, where they had leaders and they could tell people what to do, is over,” he said.

Matthews also had strong words about Rep. Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments: ”I don’t think women, or many, want to hear that kind of talk,” he said. “It’s what it is—it’s horrible, and don’t be saying, ‘Well, it’s not really…’ you know what I mean?”

The interview wasn’t all serious for the Hardball host. When asked about Romney’s choice of Rep. Paul Ryan for his running mate, Matthews replied with a laugh: “I thought he was great for about an hour.”

Matthews also lamented the lack of former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin at this year’s RNC, calling her stage presence “magic.” He also added that he was a fan of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and was looking forward to hearing his convention speech.

Political figures and speeches and commentary aside, Matthews said that the upcoming debates between Obama and Romney will be crucial to the election in November. Obama, Matthews insisted, has not yet proven to be a great debater; Romney, he argued, has. 

“I think this election is about important things,” Matthews said, listing unemployment, home foreclosures, and rising student debt. ”People have serious challenges out there. We should debate those issues in the election. We should debate them in the debates.”

You can watch the whole interview at The Tonight Show’s website on

Chris Matthews on politics, Paul Ryan, and why Palin is 'magic'