Chris Matthews says the way Newt Gingrich pronounced moderator Juan Williams' name at last night's debate was a racially charged moment.
Matthews, who would later sum this up as a "dog whistle," made his case that this is racist because some people will "clearly hear" it while others "don't want to hear it."
Later in the segment, Matthews say the Republican primary can be summed up as a "receding white culture of the past trying to reclaim something."
Transcript of Matthews on the "Juan moment" below.
Chris Matthews: "Well, we know what is going on. And the people that don't hear it don't want to hear it. You cannot argue a person into it. You cannot tell a person that is code, because the people that don't want to hear that it's code will say it's not and the people that clearly hear that it's code will. It's not something that you can argue with a person."
"There were interesting aspects to that, wasn't there applause when he called him Juan. Newt is a smart guy. He knows how the play an audience. There was a interesting exchange where a question was answered and he said let me help you with that one, Pierre. and it was his name, and Juan is his name, but it was an interesting way to personalize it and it was guts to get in front of a white audience in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and ask a question that was a reasonable question."
I see. If one doesn't hear the implicit racism, one is a racist.
I observed that moment as well, where Newt drawled, "Well, Juan
... ", and then paused before continuing, and it didn't sound like racism to me; it sounded like "Okay, smart-guy, you are now on notice that I'm going to take your ass to school on national TV."
Lastly, Matthews can take his cheering of "receding white culture" and choke on it.