Chris Matthews Calls Ted Cruz Racist

"Gee, it's great to be back in America."

There is a common joke made by politicians of all political persuasions. Making fun of the federal government's reputation of being out of touch with the people, upon returning to the home district the politician will declare, "Gee it's great to be back in America." Ted Cruz used the old joke in a hometown speech this weekend.

At the beginning of Hardcore Monday Chris Matthews used Cruz's joke about government as proof the Texas Republican was racist:

Let me start tonight with this. It’s a little weird, but is Chicago part of America? Is Philadelphia my hometown where I'm going to address the National Constitution Center tomorrow -is Philly part of America? Is L.A.? Is San Francisco? Is Austin, Texas?

The reason I'm asking this stupid question is because this partisan gunslinger, Ted Cruz, is out there today defining who is and who isn't an American. Remember Michele Bachmann asking the press on this show to conduct a person-to-person investigation of who in the U.S. Congress is anti-American? Well, Cruz is worse.

The same Senator who suggested the nominee for the defense secretary was taking money from the communists in North Korea now decrees what part of this country are in and which parts are out, which parts are American and which parts aren't. This is McCarthyism writ large. Disagree with this guy and be prepared for the accusations.

We are witnessing, I think, the greatest challenge to progressives to moderates and reasonable conservatives in modern memory. It's an indictment against the great majority of Americans. To compromise he says is bad. To support the law he says is wrong. To oppose his brand of right-wing politics is to stand accused by him of being un-American.

Cruz returned to his supporters this weekend where he got shouts of approval Saturday night from his most fervent backers. Here he is drawing the line between them and his fellow Senators, and, by the way, all the people represented in Washington.

(Clip of Cruz making joke)

Howard Fineman’s editorial director of the Huffington Post, and David Corn is Washington Bureau chief for Mother Jones. Both are of course MSNBC political analysts. Howard, this isn't a casual reference. This “We're Americans, we white people out here in Texas, as opposed to people who live in the big cities: the ethnics, the blacks, the browns. Those people in Washington, those liberals, they're not Americans.” This guy either has a total lack of understanding of American history and the hell we went through in the McCarthy period, or he knows it damn well and is playing that card. What do you think it is: knowledge or ignorance?

Ted Cruz is Hispanic, and Texas is an incredibly racially diverse state.