Still Tingling: The 10th Anniversary of Chris Matthews’s ‘Thrill’ Up the Leg

As tough as journalists are on Donald Trump, it’s hard to believe they ever loved a president as much as Barack Obama. Somehow, it’s now been a full decade since Chris Matthews announced his famous “thrill” up the leg. Provoked by Obama’s speeches during the 2008 Democratic primaries, the MSNBC host prompted ten years of mockery for the fawning comment. 

What isn’t known by many is the back story behind the sycophantic remark, the comment’s little-known prequel and just how irritated Matthews gets when called on the remark. At 10:13pm on February 12, 2008, after Obama won primaries in Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C., the Hardball host reacted this way: 



I have to tell you, you know, it’s part of reporting this case, this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama’s speech. My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don’t have that too often. 

It’s quite a feat when Keith Olbermann is the voice of reason. But the then-Countdown host occupied that role, calmly replying, “steady.” Undeterred, Matthews continued: 

No, seriously. It’s a dramatic event. He speaks about America in a way that has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with the feeling we have about our country. And that is an objective assessment.

It’s an “objective assessment?” Yet, this wasn’t the first time Obama provoked a physical sensation in Matthews’s lower appendages. On July 27, 2004, Matthews reacted to Obama’s keynote speech to the Democratic National Convention: 



I have to tell ya a little chill in my, in my legs now. That is an amazing moment in history right there. It is really an amazing moment. A keynoter like I’ve never heard.

So, a “thrill going up my leg” vs. “a little chill in my legs.” 

It wasn’t long before the 2008 version was roundly mocked. On November 2, 2010, as Republicans were swamping Democrats in the midterms, Michele Bachmann appeared on Hardball. Matthews insulted the then-Minnesota Congresswoman to her face, asking if she was “hypnotized” or in a “trance.” 

Bachmann fired back: 



I think the American people are the ones that are finally speaking tonight. We’re coming out of our trance; really we’re coming out of our nightmare. I think people are thrilled tonight. I imagine that thrill is probably maybe quite not so tingly on your leg any more.

Matthews became sensitive towards the all the fun being had at his expense. On May 22, 2012, Steve Scully of C-SPAN innocently asked him about it. The visibly irritated host complained:  



I’m an un-traditional person, but I have traditional values and I love the country and I said so. Perhaps I shouldn’t have said so because I’ve given a lot of jackasses a chance to talk about it. I hope you feel satisfied that you raised the most obvious question that is raised by every horse’s ass right-winger I ever bump into. 

In 2016, the Media Research Center’s MRCTV confronted Matthews about the remark. Asked “how is your leg,” the host errupted, “Go to hell!” 

Yet, sometimes Matthews is so entranced by Obama that he can’t help but mention the “thrill” he gets from the Democrat:  

“He is the new us! That’s right, President Obama is in London tonight as the new emblem of the American people….We’ve got Barack Obama as our President and Michelle Obama as our First Lady. We’re all immensely proud…. I’m saying it again, I’m getting a thrill….We agree, we girls agree. I don’t mind saying that. I’m excited. I’m thrilled.”
– MSNBC’s Chris Matthews talking to Michelle Bernard of the Independent Women’s Forum and Washington Post writer Lois Romano about the Obamas’ trip to Europe, April 1, 2009 Hardball.

Ten years later, Matthews’s body is still tingling for Democrats. Who will thrill him in 2020? 

See below to read some of Matthews’s other variations on the “thrill” quote. 

“I heard and saw a picture of a family studying at night, sweating over school work….I’m getting one of those thrills I get about America. I’m sorry, I’m shouldn’t say this. And I’m getting it again. When she [Judge Sotomayor] talked about sitting at that table and not being a genius like Barack Obama, not being one of these people that can walk into a college scholarship, who had to sweat for it.”
– MSNBC’s Chris Matthews during live coverage following Sotomayor’s opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee, July 13, 2009.


Clip of Barack Obama from 2008: “My family gave me love. They give me an education. And most of all, they gave me hope. Hope, hope that in America, no dream is beyond our grasp if we reach for it, and fight for it, and work for it.”
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews: “I get the same thrill up my leg, all over me, every time I hear those words. I’m sorry, ladies and gentlemen, that’s me. He’s talking about my country and nobody does it better. Can President Obama stir us again and help his party keep power this November?”
– Setting up a segment on MSNBC’s Hardball, September 7, 2010.


“[Mitt Romney] can’t turn people on. He can’t turn them on after he wins or after he loses…. I think he lacks this guy’s [Rick Santorum’s] passion, and I think that’s a real loss. Barack Obama can do both. He has a brain, and he has a heart, and he can cause a thrill in the American people because he has both.”
— Chris Matthews following Santorum’s concession speech during MSNBC’s live coverage of the Arizona and Michigan primaries, February 28, 2012.

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Sandy Hook mom rips Trump for hosting NRA exec at White House party on 5th anniversary of massacre

The mother of one of the children killed in the 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., is furious about President Trump’s decision to host National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre at a White House Christmas party on Dec. 14 — the fifth anniversary of the massacre.

“December 14th marked five years since my six-year-old son, Dylan, was murdered in his first grade classroom alongside 19 of his classmates and 6 educators,” Nicole Hockley wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday. “Not only did [Trump] ignore the 5-year remembrance completely — not even a single tweet — he slapped us all in the face by having none other than NRA President Wayne LaPierre at his White House Christmas party that night. The appalling lack of humanity and decency has not gone unnoticed.”

“While they ignorantly partied and remained uninformed on an issue that kills thousands of Americans every year, I was crying myself to sleep,” Hockley continued. “While they got the chance to kiss their children goodnight, I kissed the urn holding my beautiful boy’s ashes.”

She added: “I would request an apology. But I’m not sure there are any hearts in the White House that would understand why an apology is the least they could do.”

A week after the shootings in Newtown, LaPierre dismissed renewed calls from President Barack Obama and some lawmakers for increased gun control. Instead, he called on schools to arm themselves.

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” LaPierre said on Dec. 21, 2012.

“If it’s crazy to call for putting police and armed security in our school to protect our children, then call me crazy,” he said on NBC’s “Meet The Press” two days later.

At the White House party Thursday, LaPierre posed for a photo with Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who posted it to Facebook. In a statement to the New York Daily News, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed that Trump attended the soiree, but said she was not aware whether the two spoke. LaPierre and the NRA endorsed Trump in 2016, and Trump spoke at the gun lobby’s annual meeting earlier this year.

At a press briefing Thursday, Sanders was asked how the Trump administration is trying to prevent massacres like the ones in Sandy Hook and Las Vegas, where 58 people were killed in a mass shooting in October.

“I don’t think there’s any one thing that you could do that could have prevented either one of those,” Sanders said. “If you could name a single thing that would have prevented both of these, I’d love to hear it, because I don’t know what that would look like.”

Hockley, the co-founder of the gun violence prevention group Sandy Hook Promise, said Sanders’s response showed “a remarkable amount of ignorance.”

“I will happily go the White House and train the administration on regulations like Extreme Risk Protections Orders (ERPOs) and Threat Assessement, both of which could have prevented the Sandy Hook tragedy,” Hockley wrote. “I’d also love to train the White House on recognizing the signs of someone who is at risk of hurting themselves or others, or even about how to store a gun safely and responsibly. Both of these contributed to the Sandy Hook tragedy.”

In an interview with Yahoo News this month, Hockley expressed similar frustration with those who refuse to consider any sort of gun safety legislation.

“It is frustrating that it constantly becomes a fight, with people retreating to their corners and not willing to listen to each other,” Hockley said. “I think we can all agree we just want to be safe, and we want to keep our kids safe, and be able to have them go to school during the day and then come home at night. Isn’t that something that every parent wants? That’s not about politics. That’s about protection. That’s about prevention. That’s where we need to be having this conversation.”

She added: “Whenever anyone says it’s too soon to talk about gun violence, they’re wrong. It’s too late. It’s too late for us.”

Read more from Yahoo News:

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France faces ‘very high’ terrorism risk – interior minister ahead of anniversary of Paris attacks

France has been on high alert since January 2015, when it was paralyzed by a series of Islamic State-linked terrorist attacks. The most horrific of these took place on November 13, 2015, when 130 people were killed and hundreds of others injured in coordinated attacks in and around Paris.

“This was the first case of mass killing” in France, Collomb told Le Journal du Dimanche (JDD) on Saturday. “We did not think back at the time that it was even possible in France… Now we are prepared.”

“Our services are better equipped to detect threats, they do it every week, quietly,” he added.

Collomb told RTL last month that as many as 32 attack plots have been thwarted in the past two years in France.

The terrorist threat level remains “very high,” Collomb told JDD, citing the presence of “small groups, here and there on our territory, [which] have plans for violent attacks each on their own, without any link between the groups.”

“During the November 13 attacks, we had seen terrorists moving from one country to another.” Those attacks were “organized by groups of militants,” but these days the [terrorist cell system] has changed and is even more difficult to track down,” Collomb said.

The minister highlighted the fact that the number of French jihadists who travel to Syria to fight alongside Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) is currently “close to zero,” and the returns are not “massive.”

Last month, Le Figaro reported that French fighters who joined IS in Syria and Iraq received welfare benefits even after joining. France’s Criminal Brigade, which specializes in tracking down IS funding, uncovered fraudulent welfare payments to jihadists totaling over €2 million ($2.3 million) from Europe between 2012 and 2017. Around €500,000 came from France, the newspaper said.

Last week, France officially ended its state of emergency, replacing it with the introduction of a controversial counter-terrorism law.

The law gives police extended powers to search properties, conduct electronic eavesdropping, and shut down mosques or other locations suspected of preaching hatred. “Some dread that now that we are out the state of emergency there could be a drop in vigilance, it is the opposite,” French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said. 

The new counter-terrorism law has repeatedly come under fire over human rights issues. Critics say that even if granting sweeping powers to French law enforcement officials helps foil some attacks, it may estrange minorities, particularly Arab Muslims, making them more susceptible to terrorist propaganda.

“If you are going to give police this power, they are going to discriminate against communities that are already alienated, potentially putting more recruits into the hands of these death squads,” political analyst Dan Glazebrook told RT.

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Sarah Silverman Marks Trump Election Anniversary With Fear And Hatred On Hulu Show

After the fifth episode of Hulu’s I Love You, America with Sarah Silverman, I now have to accept that the humor must either be liberally biased or vulgar. Often both. She reached new heights of vulgarity last week (outside of gratuitous nudity, of course) and this week she doubles down on the anti-Trump rhetoric in “honor” of the one-year anniversary of the election.

The November 9 episode begins like all the episodes do with a monologue by Sarah Silverman to her audience. When an episode begins with this line, you know we’re in for a painful half-hour.

The monologue only goes downhill from there as Sarah once again rambles about the “overwhelming survival-based fear” she felt from the November 9, 2016 election. She jokes that it was the first time she felt a kinship to the “far-right militia person” who “thought Obama might end the world” and the rapid desire to buy a gun. Furthermore, she remarks on Trump’s campaign being run by fear which leads to divisiveness and bemoans how “facts really don’t change people” set in their beliefs, like those who believe climate change is a hoax or that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. The only thing funny about these stale jokes is how far we’ve gone from the show’s original “bridge the divide” premise within only 5 episodes.

Clearly, the one-year anniversary of the election weighs heavily in Sarah’s mind, because the entire episode seems to revolve around it in some way. Following the monologue, we’re treated to a matchup between comedian Gil Ozeri and a doomsday prepper. It’s innocent enough, but we all know it’s headed for a nuclear war doomsday bunker punchline at the end of the episode. Get it? Because even though Donald Trump has been elected president for over a year now, we’re still at DefCon 1 in the United States.

In the final stretch, Sarah speaks to Father Gregory Boyle about his initiative known as Homeboy Industries, a program to help rehabilitate gang members and reintegrate them into society through kindness and patience. It’s an inspiring idea that brings hope to the streets of Los Angeles, but Sarah had to go and ruin it by joking about Donald Trump and even bemoaning the level of gun violence in the country. Sadly, the Reverend goes along with her game, calling Trump “hard-headed” and asking elected officials to listen to “what people really long for” in more background checks and gun restrictions. Of all people, a man who works with former gang members should know that they didn’t get their guns by passing background checks and following regulations.

Sarah closes the conversation suggesting starting a Homeboy Bakery at “NRA corporate offices” to “make them feel loved and included” since it’s clearly their fault for gun violence. I’m sure the gang bangers responsible for the majority of shootings in LA are all card-carrying NRA members. Never mind that the recent church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, was ended by a former NRA instructor, her solution to confront hatred is apparently riling it up before it even exists.

There’s one last statement about having hope in spite of the “hate and division” present in Trump’s campaign, and we’re all left wondering, didn’t she visit Trump voters in the first two episodes? I wonder what the other 60 million voters must think of being told their vote was a part of hate and division.

I have to admit that I did have some sense of enjoyment from this episode, though. It wasn’t from anything Sarah Silverman said, exactly, but the fact that Donald Trump defeating Hillary Clinton in the biggest establishment upset in history one year ago still bothers leftists like Sarah Silverman gives me great joy even now. Happy election anniversary, everyone!

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In big anniversary year for Israel, Christian Zionists see signs of the Messiah

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Nets Give 10th Anniversary iPhone Nearly 5 Minutes, Ignore 500th Anniversary of Reformation

Millions of Christians around the globe including world leaders like Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, celebrated and remembered the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

Even secular news outlets acknowledged that Luther and the Reformation helped “lay the foundations for the modern world,” “contributed to the expansion of literacy” and more.

The reformation may be viewed primarily as a religious event, but it also had far-ranging impact on world history (and England’s independence from Europe), including politics, philosophy, education and more.

For all of those reasons it merited serious news coverage, and got it from local and national publications including The Washington Post, New York Times, USA Today, Time and more. But not from ABC, CBS and NBC. The Post gave the entire front page of the Oct. 29, Outlook section to essays about related to Luther and the Reformation.

The broadcast networks didn’t acknowledge the historic moment at all that day, on morning or evening news programs on Oct. 31. Two of those networks, considered the 10th anniversary iPhone important enough to devote a combined 4 minutes and 54 seconds to the updated Apple smartphone the day they should have marked the Reformation anniversary.

Today enthusiastically teased the iPhone segment twice and then its hosts clamored just to touch the iPhone X on Oct. 31. Both Today and CBS This Morning asked several questions of their technology correspondents showing off the phone.

“We have Apple’s tenth anniversary iPhone, everybody is excited about it,” Today’s Orange Room host Carson Daly said as he turned the segment over to tech expert Katie Linendoll to go over the gadget. Following Linendoll’s rundown, Daly said “Al, You’re salivating. I know you gotta get in on the pre-order.”

Al Roker responded, “I’m about to explode. Let’s see it.”

Linendoll crossed to the anchor desk where Roker, Savannah Guthrie, Matt Lauer and Hoda Kotb passed it around while gushing, “Wow” and “Look at that.” Roker stealthily slipped the phone into his pocket after Linendoll said she remembered “Lauer stole my iPhone one year.” Roker appeared to return it though.

While trendy and popular, the latest Apple phone is far-less significant than the Protestant Reformation.

Reformation Day is designated as Oct. 31, because on that day in 1517 German monk Martin Luther is said to have posted his 95 Theses — critical of certain Catholic doctrines of the time — on a church door in Wittenberg, Germany.

Before the Reformation, church services and Bibles were conducted in Latin although most people couldn’t understand or read it. Luther’s criticism eventually led to the translation of the Bible into common people’s languages like German and English, inspired many others after him and led to the creation of numerous protestant denomination and countless churches.

USA Today Network published a story on Oct. 31, explaining the significance of Martin Luther’s act on world history and why even non-religious people should care.

Citing religion professor Derek Nelson of Wabash College, USA Today wrote: “[B]eyond inspiring Protestantism and helping to spark the Reformation, Luther’s work led to the creation of public education because schooling prior to him was largely done at monasteries, which quickly lost favor, and Luther among others encouraged princes to support schools that led to the modern public education systems …”

The article also noted, that Luther “helped to popularize the idea that faith can help people connect to their neighbor, not just God,” and reminded readers that many people still embrace his teachings, especially about scripture and justification by faith alone.

Between Jan. 1, 2017, and Oct 30, 2017, ahead of the anniversary, a Nexis search for reformation or Protestant Reformation or Martin Luther yielded only a single broadcast mention that 2017 would be the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. That one mention was from May 25, 2017, CBS This Morning.

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