The Campaign Spot

Priebus on Chris Matthews: ‘He Made the Case for Us.’

Shortly before our chat, Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus held a brief press “gaggle” in the media center, and briefly talked about his exchange with Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” this morning.

(Video can be found at Hot Air here; among Matthews’s accusations was: “This stuff about getting rid of the work requirement for welfare is dishonest, everyone’s pointed out it’s dishonest, and you are playing that little ethnic card there. You can play your games and giggle about it, but the fact is your side is playing that card. When you start talking about work requirements, we know what game you’re playing, and everybody knows what game you’re playing, it’s a race card.”)

“When someone wants to grab the flag and try to be the biggest jerk in the room, sometimes you just let them go,” the chairman said with a laugh.

“We shook hands, but I will tell ya that someone from MSNBC, I don’t know if it’s a producer or somebody, has been trying to call us all day — I’m sure it’s to make amends, but there’s nothing to make amends [about]. When somebody wants to take the prize of being the biggest jerk in the room . . . I mean, he made the case for us. This is the Barack Obama surrogate of 2012. This is what they’re all about. They’re going to be about division, they’re going to be about distraction. And I’ve got to tell you, the brand of Barack Obama, hope and change and bringing us all together, it’s completely broken. When people come to realize that you’re not real anymore, you’re not who you said you were, that’s a big problem for Barack Obama.”

Asked if he would go on MSNBC again, he said, “I’m happy to go on MSNBC. Joe and Mika, they weren’t too happy about it. The feeling in the room was clearly there was a lot of unhappiness directed at Chris. I don’t really care. If more than 10 people actually watched his show, I would actually care, but they don’t, so, whatever.”

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