On his syndicated program, Sunday, Chris Matthews slammed Rick Perry for being too "nasty" to Barack Obama. The liberal host also wondered if the fact that Perry is not a Mormon gives southerners a "permission slip" to like him.
Speculating on the Texas Governor's popularity, Matthews theorized, "Do you think part of this southern appeal of this guy, who is to most of us this guy, Rick Perry, is he's not a Mormon. He's a Southern Baptist."
The NBC anchor then suggested sinister motives behind his supporters: "And a lot of it is that permission slip people give themselves, 'Oh, I'm not bigoted on race or religion, but I just like this guy.'"
On his self-titled program, Matthews said of the presidential candidate: "Some people like- apparently on the right- the fact that [Perry's] so nasty against Obama."
Just in the last week, Matthews has used his other program, Hardball, to compare Perry to segregationist Bull Connor .
He also suggested that the governor would have opposed integration. On Sunday, Matthews wondered if the GOP was the "nasty party."
A transcript of the exchanges from the August 21, 2011 Chris Matthews Show can be found below:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Do you think part of this southern appeal of this guy, who is to most of us this guy, Rick Perry, is he's not a Mormon. He's a Southern Baptist. And a lot of it is that permission slip people give themselves, `Oh, I'm not bigoted on race or religion, but I just like this guy.'
RICHARD STENGEL: Well, he checks all the boxes on the right and he doesn't have to actually say all those conservative things all the time because people know he does that. So it'll be fine with that. But I think it's not so much about reaction to Mormonism, it's a reaction to Obama. It makes the contrast with Obama seem much greater than it-than Romney does. Romney and Obama, if you blur a little bit, they can seem pretty similar.
STENGEL: Perry and Obama, no.
MATTHEWS: Yeah. That's very true. Some people like-apparently on the right-the fact that he's so nasty against Obama.
JOHN HEILEMANN: Yeah.
MATTHEWS: They like that.
HEILEMANN: The Republican Party is a very conservative party now and a lot of people in the Republican Party don't believe that Mitt Romney is a genuine conservative. That is always going to be a huge problem for him going forward.
MATTHEWS: Is it a nasty party?
HEILEMANN: Well, there is a piece of it that obviously is very angry. And just to your point about the middle, the middle-there are a lot of different parts of the middle. There are a lot of suburban mothers who are-moms who are not going to like Rick Perry. But there's an angry downscale part of the middle and they are mad about the economic condition of the country.