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Chris Matthews: Bachmann is 'Zombie-Like' for Defending Free Enterprise

MSNBC host Chris Matthews cannot understand how conservatives could think that free enterprise is somehow American, and that being anti-free enterprise seems anti-American. On Tuesday night's Hardball, Matthews boosted a new effort by Democrats like David Brock and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend to organize their own independent-expenditure campaign to beat Republicans.

Matthews brought on Townsend, who couldn't even win a race for governor of a blue state (Maryland) to explain how she would make the Democrats victorious. Matthews aired BBC video of Rep. Michele Bachmann (clearly borrowed from the Think Progress blog, since you can see the "Pro" of their logo), and attacked her as like a zombie, a Moonie, and a Manchurian Candidate:

MATTHEWS: Look at her eye contact. I asked her when we had her on election night if she's under hypnosis. She doesn't answer the question. She looks straight ahead in that kind of zombie-like manner, like she's waiting for somebody to flash a card, like in "Manchurian Candidate." I mean, I don't know what her state is. She apparently just got blown away running for leadership, so the members of the House on the Republican side-

TOWNSEND: Well, they know.

MATTHEWS: Know who she is.

TOWNSEND: They know that she`s a problem.

MATTHEWS: But this kind of bizarro behavior, where you come on, Moonie-like, if you will, and just stare into the camera and recite this- the question was, Do you think the president's anti-American?

TOWNSEND: No, no, no.

MATTHEWS: Yes or no? No, she talked about, what, equity shares and-

TOWNSEND: It's totally strange. And the fact is, she's wrong about what's going- what we need to America. We need a strong health care system, which every other industrialized country has. And if you do polls, as you know, Chris, of the American people, they want health care. In fact, they wished it were stronger.

There was no laugh track as this losing second-generation Kennedy tried to assert in the face of the election returns that the voters want ObamaCare...and even more than that. How is that assertion less "under hypnosis" than Bachmann?

So what did Bachmann say to the BBC that was "bizarro"? She calmly, clearly defended the conservative view, opposing government intervention in the best health care system in the world:

EMILY MAITLIS (outraged): You've suggested that President Obama's anti-American. Do you really believe that?

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Well, you know, I've been really concerned about the policies that come out of the White House, and I think I share that agreement with people who voted at the ballot box on the first Tuesday of November. They're rejecting the federal government foray into buying and owning an equity share-

MAITLIS: But that's a different thing.

BACHMANN: In private businesses.

MAITLIS (stressing out): Do you think he's anti-American? Do you think that the president of America is anti-American?

BACHMANN: Well, the policies that are anti-free enterprise are ones that are not familiar to the people of the United States. And that's why we saw such a strong reaction to the ballot box. In fact, the government takeover of health care is a great example. That's not what we've done here historically in the United States, and the people don't want to see the federal government control and dictate our health care.

Conservatives nod along to this in agreement, but Chris Matthews viewed this clip and said "She doesn't answer the question." She answered it quite well, but obviously not to the satisfaction of liberals like Matthews and Emily Maitlis. It's a little funny that a British anchor would take such umbrage at someone being called anti-American - as if that isn't a staple of the British left.

- Tim Graham is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center.