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MSNBC's Fineman Gushes Over Clinton News Conference, Most Americans Accept Obama 'As a Member of the Family'

On Sunday's syndicated Chris Matthews Show, panel member and MSNBC analyst Howard Fineman - also of the Huffington Post - made the over the top assertion that "10 to 20 percent" of Americans will "continue to hate and fear" President and Mrs. Obama, but that the rest have "accepted" President Obama "as a member of the family."

And when host Matthews asked who was the biggest winner of the year, Fineman gushed over former President Bill Clinton's recent return to the podium in the White House press room, with Matthews referring to Clinton's visit as the "second coming":

HOWARD FINEMAN: Unfortunately, I wasn't there when he came in.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: For the moment, the second coming.

FINEMAN: He, Bill Clinton walks in, and easy as pie for the next half hour explains what real life in Washington, in politics is all about.

After agreeing with Time's Joe Klein that health care reform was the "worst move of [President Obama's] first two years," and that the unpopular reforms keep dragging down his popularity, Fineman contended that Obama had, by contrast, been successful in getting Americans to like him personally, describing the President as being like "a member of the family," and surprisingly characterized Obama's "background" as "strange." Fineman:

I think one other thing that he did that overall is good is that he made himself more familiar to the American people as a person and as a family. The polls show that the, what people like best about Barack Obama is his personality, his equitable personality, and the fact that he's a family guy. There are gonna be 10 or 20 percent of the American people who are going to continue to hate and fear him and his wife. But everybody else has kind of accepted him for better or worse as a member of the family. And that's a key, key thing for a guy who came out of nowhere with this strange background, etc.

The BBC's Katty Kay agreed: "You can never go wrong with Bill Clinton, so I'm joining Howard."

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Sunday, December 26, syndicated Chris Matthews Show:

JOE KLEIN, TIME MAGAZINE: Health care. It was at variance with what the American people really cared about, which was jobs. You know, it was the worst move of his first two years.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Put it all together, Howard. You start here, putting together the bad and the good.

HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST: I agree with Joe on health care. That's the gift that keeps on taking. I mean, it keeps, it keeps reducing his (President Obama's) standing, it keeps him becoming less and less popular. But beyond all that, I think one other thing that he did that overall is good is that he made himself more familiar to the American people as a person and as a family. The polls show that the, what people like best about Barack Obama is his personality, his equitable personality, and the fact that he's a family guy. There are gonna be 10 or 20 percent of the American people who are going to continue to hate and fear him and his wife. But everybody else has kind of accepted him for better or worse as a member of the family. And that's a key, key thing for a guy who came out of nowhere with this strange background, etc.

KLEIN: They just want him a little bit more in their lives and talking about the things that they really care about.

...

FINEMAN: We're missing the most obvious one, and he is obviousness personified, Bill Clinton, okay, when he came into the, I spend a lot of time over at the press room these days. Unfortunately, I wasn't there when he came in.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: For the moment, the second coming.

FINEMAN: He, Bill Clinton walks in, and easy as pie for the next half hour explains what real life in Washington, in politics is all about.

MATTHEWS: Which is?

FINEMAN: Which is take the deal, okay? Take the deal, otherwise you go down the drain. Just take the deal. And he's got all the gestures, the whole thing. It was just, it was just a reprise. And Clinton was so happy to be, so happy to be there.

KATTY KAY, BBC: You can never go wrong with Bill Clinton, so I'm joining Howard. Why not?

FINEMAN: Why not?

KAY: I'm jumping off on your menu.

- Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center