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Christopher John Matthews (born December 17, 1945) is a television talk show host and pundit, well known for a nightly hour-long talk show, Hardball with Chris Matthews, which is televised on the American cable television channel MSNBC. On weekends he hosts the syndicated NBC News-produced panel discussion program, The Chris Matthews Show. Matthews makes frequent appearances as a political commentator on many NBC and MSNBC programs.
Matthews, a Philadelphia native, is a Roman Catholic of Irish descent who attended St. Christophers elementary school in Somerton and La Salle College High School. He is a 1967 graduate of the College of the Holy Cross, and did graduate work in economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Matthews served in the Peace Corps in Swaziland from 1968 to 1970 as a trade development advisor. In 2005 he was hospitalized with malaria, which he evidently contracted on one of his visits that year to Africa or the Middle East.
Matthews is married to Kathleen R. Matthews, who anchored News 7 on WJLA-TV, the ABC affiliate in Washington, D.C before accepting a position as an Executive Vice President with J.W. Marriott. The couple has three children: Michael, Thomas and Caroline. His brother Jim Matthews is a County Commissioner in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
Matthews's son is a student at NYU.
As a young man Matthews supported Barry Goldwater, but was inspired to become a Democrat by Eugene McCarthy's anti-Vietnam war platforms. When Matthews first arrived in Washington he was given a patronage job as an armed officer with the United States Capitol Police. In Washington Matthews worked for four Democratic politicians. He worked in the U.S. Senate for five years on the staffs of Senators Frank Moss and Edmund Muskie before himself campaigning for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, losing his party's nomination to Pennsylvania Congressman Joshua Eilberg in the Democratic primary in 1974 (in which Matthew's received 14% of the vote). He was a presidential speechwriter for four years during the Carter administration, where he drafted much of Carter's famous "Malaise" speech. Matthews later worked six years as a top aide to long-time Speaker of the House of Representatives Tip O'Neill.
Matthews worked as a print journalist for 15 years, spending 13 years as Washington, D.C. Bureau Chief for The San Francisco Examiner (1987 – 2000), and two years as a nationally syndicated columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle.
In 1997, Matthews was given his own talk show, Hardball with Chris Matthews, which originally aired on CNBC but is presently on MSNBC. Hardball features pundits and elected officials as guests whom Matthews will not hesitate to interrupt, often to disagree (i.e., playing "hardball" and forcing them to answer his questions). Matthews has been singled out for negative commentary on Hillary Clinton during the 2008 campaign. In contrast, conservative watchdog groups accuse Matthews of taking Democratic Party positions, pointing, for example, to his offering high praise for Bill Clinton. Discussing the media's coverage of the Iraq war, Matthews said, "During [the] course of the war, there was a lot of snap-to-it coverage. We're at war. We have to root for the country to some extent. You're not supposed to be too aggressively critical of a country at combat, especially when it's your own."
In 2002, The Chris Matthews Show began airing in syndication. The show is formatted as a political roundtable consisting of four journalists and Matthews, who serves as the moderator.
Matthews is the author of four books on politics and history. The first, Hardball: How Politics is Played, led to the creation of his signature TV show. The second, Kennedy and Nixon, detailed the friendship of the two future political adversaries from the 1940s through the 1960 election.
The third, Now Let Me Tell You What I Really Think, is the first where he discusses his real political views on various issues. His fourth book, American: Beyond Our Grandest Notions, is a history of famous and/or influential Americans and how they rose from humble and/or immigrant origins.
Speaking at the tenth anniversary party of his show, "Hardball", Matthews was critical of the Bush Administration, claiming that the Administration had been "caught in criminality." He did not specify what such "criminality" consisted of. During the same speech, he stated that the Administration had "pressured" his "bosses" in an attempt to silence him.
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