Fresh off his Thursday interview with President Barack Obama, Chris Matthews appeared on "Now" with Alex Wagner to discuss his interview and reflect on the death of Nelson Mandela. Near the end of the segment, fellow panelist Al Sharpton opined that while Mandela had an opposition that put country before politics, Obama's opposition puts politics first.
Matthews became inspired, saying that Sharpton's statement is the best he's heard in five years. He declared that those who facilitated the transition to Mandela’s presidency were more patriotic and had greater regard for their country than Mitch McConnell and his people on the "far right." The Hardball host who once famously declared that President Obama gave him a "thrill" up his leg, finished with "that's the most damming assessment I’ve heard -- and I think the truest."
Just for a second, I want to point out something. I haven't heard anything as smart as what I heard Reverend Sharpton say a couple of minutes ago in five years. That is the most perceptive thing I’ve seen, it just rocks me. The difference between the way F.W. De Klerk handled the need for change and inevitable election, democratic election of Nelson Mandela, legitimate election, truly legitimate for the first time. He was never legitimately elected. For him to recognize his role in history as a patriot at that point is so different than the way Mitch McConnell handled the election of Obama. So different. And to set it up that way, the juxtaposition, they were willing, the McConnell people on the far right, were willing to destroy the country in order to destroy Obama. Whereas to succeed in a country he loved, F.W. De Klerk was willing to see it transformed to black rule so it could be done successfully so he could have his country have a better future. Reverend, I owe it to you. I think that is the key statement about what happened yesterday, the loss of Mandela and what his history is about and the key statement of why this has been so poisonous the last five years. We have real people in this country with real power and status who have used that status of power to hurt the country so they could hurt the president. That's the most damming assessment I’ve heard, and I think the truest.