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Christopher John "Chris" Matthews (born December 17, 1945) is an American political commentator, talk show host, and author. Matthews is known for his nightly hour-long talk show, Hardball with Chris Matthews, which is televised on the American cable television channel MSNBC. From 2002 to 2013, Matthews hosted a syndicated NBC News–produced panel discussion program on weekends titled The Chris Matthews Show. Matthews appears on other NBC and MSNBC programs as well.

Chris Matthews
Chris Matthews 2011 Shankbone.JPG
Matthews at the 2011 Time 100 Gala.
Born Christopher John Matthews
(1945-12-17) December 17, 1945 (age 71)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Residence Chevy Chase, Maryland, U.S.
Nationality American
Education College of the Holy Cross
Occupation News anchor
political commentator
Employer NBCUniversal, Comcast
Notable credit(s) The Chris Matthews Show
Television Hardball with Chris Matthews
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Kathleen Matthews (m. 1980)
Children 3
Relatives Jim Matthews (brother)


Early life and educationEdit

Matthews was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Mary Teresa (née Shields) and Herb Matthews, a court reporter.[1][2] Matthews' father was a Protestant of English and Scots-Irish ancestry, and his mother was from an Irish Catholic family;[3] Matthews is a Roman Catholic.[4]

Matthews attended La Salle College High School. Matthews is a 1967 graduate of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, and did graduate work in Economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.[5][6] Matthews was also a visiting fellow at Harvard University's Institute of Politics.[7]

Matthews served in the United States Peace Corps in Swaziland from 1968 to 1970[8] as a trade development adviser.

Matthews holds 34 honorary degrees from numerous universities and colleges, including: The Ohio State University, Washington University,[9] Howard University,[10] College of Holy Cross,[11] Fordham University,[12] Villanova University,[13] La Salle University,[14] Temple University,[15] University of Rochester, Suffolk, New England School of Law, Roosevelt University, St. Joseph's University, Old Dominion University, Hunter College, Lynn University, Stetson, University of South Carolina, Washington College, Quinnipiac University, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, University of Scranton, Drexel University, Washington and Jefferson, St. Leo University, Niagara University, Loyola College, Fontbonne College, Beaver College, Chestnut Hill, and Anna Maria.


Matthews is the recipient of several awards, including The Pennsylvania Society's Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement in 2005,[16] the Abraham Lincoln Award from the Union League of Philadelphia,[17] the David Brinkley Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism, the John F. Kennedy Memorial Award,[18] and the 2016 Tip O'Neill Irish Diaspora Award.[19]


Political career and viewsEdit

When Matthews first arrived in Washington, D.C., he worked as an officer with the United States Capitol Police.[20] Subsequently, Matthews served on the staffs of four Democratic Members of Congress, including Senators Frank Moss and Edmund Muskie. In 1974, Matthews mounted an unsuccessful campaign for Pennsylvania's 4th congressional district seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in which he received about 24% of the vote in the primary.[21] Matthews was a presidential speechwriter during the Carter Administration, and later worked for six years as Chief of Staff to longtime Speaker of the House of Representatives Tip O'Neill, playing a direct role in many key political battles with the Reagan Administration.

Matthews has said, "I'm more conservative than people think I am.... I voted for George W. in 2000."[22] has called him the "most conservative voice" on MSNBC's primetime lineup.[23] Matthews has been accused by Media Matters for America[24] of having panels of guests that skew to the right and of supporting Republicans in his own questions and comments.[25][26]

On the April 14, 2008, edition of The Colbert Report, Matthews alluded to a possible run for the United States Senate from Pennsylvania.[27] When directly questioned by Stephen Colbert about his intentions, Matthews stated that there is a difference between celebrities and those who work for the people, and it's a greater thing to work for the people.[citation needed] Matthews also said that his boyhood dream was to be a senator. Four days later, on April 18, 2008, Matthews told Bill Maher that he has "made a commitment to covering politics in a liberal way, starting in 1987, and [he is] honoring that commitment, not getting involved in it."[28] The seat in question was the one held by Senator Arlen Specter, whose term in the Senate ended in January 2011. On November 28, 2008, and Politico reported that Matthews had been in contact with senior staffers of Barack Obama's campaign about a possible run.[29][30] On January 7, 2009, The New York Times reported that Matthews told his staffers that he would not run for the Senate.[31] On May 25, 2009 Chris Matthews appeared on Charlie Rose where he stated that he was intending to run for Specter's Senate seat in 2010, stating, "I could see myself winning the Democratic primary and I could see myself going on to face Arlen in the general [election]," but that he felt he had to decide between being a journalist and being a politician once Specter became a national figure by supporting the stimulus.

While discussing proposed healthcare reform on the December 17, 2009, edition of Hardball, Matthews stated, "The Republicans will know they have lost.... Let them keep score and it's easy. It's complicated when liberals get to keep score. We're always arguing. Well, I'm a liberal, too."[32][33]

In 2004, at the Democratic National Convention, Matthews rightly predicted that he had "just seen the first black president.[34]"

Chris Matthews has described himself as a centrist politically.[35]

Author and talk show hostEdit

Matthews worked in print media for 15 years, spending 13 years as Washington, D.C. bureau chief for the San Francisco Examiner (1987–2000) and two years as a nationally syndicated columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. Matthews covered the fall of the Berlin Wall, the first all-races election in South Africa, and the Good Friday Peace Talks in Northern Ireland. In 1997 and 1998, his research in the National Archives produced a series of exclusives on the Nixon presidential tapes. Matthews has covered American presidential election campaigns since 1988.

In 1997, Matthews began his own weeknight talk show, Hardball with Chris Matthews, which originally aired on America's Talking but is currently on MSNBC. Hardball features pundits and elected officials as guests.

The Chris Matthews Show aired in syndication from 2002 until 2013. The show was formatted as a political roundtable consisting of four journalists and Matthews, who served as the moderator. He is estimated to earn more than $5 million a year. He is the author of eight best-selling books:

  • Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit (2017)
  • Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked (2013)
  • Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero (2011)
  • Life’s a Campaign: What Politics Has Taught Me About Friendship, Rivalry, Reputation, and Success (2007)
  • American: Beyond our Grandest Notions (2002)
  • Now, Let Me Tell You What I Really Think (2001)
  • Kennedy & Nixon: The Rivalry that Shaped Postwar America (1996)
  • Hardball: How Politics is Played, Told by One Who Knows the Game (1988)

Elusive Hero spent 12 weeks on The New York Times' bestseller list.[36] The book was lauded by critics. "Matthews excels in capturing the tribalism of the Irish Catholic culture and experience Kennedy both absorbed and overcame as he made his way...[and] is at his best in describing political dynamics," The Washington Post said.[37] "Matthews proves a compelling storyteller," said The Boston Globe.[38] "Matthews has produced a valuable addition to the literature about the life and career of our 35th president," said The Christian Science Monitor.[39] "Matthews's stirring biography reveals Kennedy as a 'fighting prince never free from pain, never far from trouble, and never accepting the world he found,'" said Publishers Weekly.[40]

In 2013, Matthews announced that he had signed a long-term contract extension with MSNBC but that he would no longer host The Chris Matthews Show in order to focus his efforts on Hardball, writing books, and producing documentaries. The final episode of The Chris Matthews Show aired on July 21.[41]

Personal lifeEdit

Matthews at Quinnipiac University Commencement 2006

Matthews has been married since 1980 to Kathleen Matthews, who anchored News 7 on WJLA-TV, the ABC affiliate in Washington, D.C., before accepting a position as an executive vice president with Marriott International. The couple have three children: Michael, Thomas, and Caroline. His brother Jim Matthews, a Republican, is a former county commissioner in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

In 2002, Matthews was hospitalized with malaria, which he evidently contracted on one of his visits that year to Africa.[42] He has also had other health problems, including diabetes (which he acknowledged having on the Hardball broadcast of December 7, 2009) and pneumonia.[43]

Matthews is a lifelong Philadelphia Phillies fan, whom he claims as "part of his soul".[44]

Matthews was the commencement speaker at The Ohio State University on May 4, 2014,[45] and at the University of Rochester on May 18, 2014, where he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters.[46]


  • Matthews, Christopher (2017). Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 416. ISBN 978-1-5011-1186-0. 
  • Matthews, Christopher (2013). Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 448. ISBN 978-1-4516-9599-1. 
  • Matthews, Christopher (2011). Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4516-3508-9. 
  • Matthews, Christopher (2007). Life’s a Campaign: What Politics Has Taught Me About Friendship, Rivalry, Reputation, and Success (1st ed.). New York: Random House. ISBN 978-1-4000-6528-8. 
  • Matthews, Christopher (2002). American: Beyond Our Grandest Notions. New York: Free Press. ISBN 0-7432-4086-3. 
  • Matthews, Christopher (2001). Now, Let Me Tell You What I Really Think (1st ed.). New York: Free Press. ISBN 0-684-86236-0. 
  • Matthews, Christopher (1999). Hardball: How Politics Is Played, Told By One Who Knows the Game (1st Touchstone ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-684-84559-8. 
  • Matthews, Christopher (1996). Kennedy & Nixon: The Rivalry that Shaped Postwar America. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-684-81030-1. 


  1. ^ "Chris Matthews". Retrieved October 28, 2012. 
  2. ^ Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero – Chris Matthews – Google Books. Retrieved October 28, 2012. 
  3. ^ Now, Let Me Tell You What I Really Think, by Chris Matthews, P. 77-80, 2001
  4. ^ White, Deborah. "Profile of Chris Matthews, Host of MSNBC's Hardball". Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  5. ^ "Chris Matthews - Meet the faces of MSNBC-". MSNBC. Retrieved 2010-02-23. 
  6. ^ "Chris Matthews (American)". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2012-04-11. 
  7. ^ "Former Fellows by Year". Harvard University. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  8. ^ "9 Famous Peace Corp Volunteers". Parade. Retrieved 11 August 2011. 
  9. ^ "Washington University to award six honorary degrees at 147th Commencement". Washington University in St. Louis. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  10. ^ "Matthews to Class of 2012: 'Never, ever say 'no' to yourself'". MSNBC. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  11. ^ "Holy Cross graduates 697 during the College's 157th Commencement". Holy Cross Magazine. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  12. ^ ""Get In The Game," Chris Matthews Tells Graduates". Fordham University. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  13. ^ "Villanove Magazine" (PDF). Villanova. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  14. ^ "La Salle University Honors Chris Matthews". Retrieved 28 September 2014. 
  15. ^ "Chris Matthews Five Points of Advice for Temple U graduates". Temple University. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  16. ^ "Gold Medal Award". The Pennsylvania Society. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  17. ^ "MSNBC Anchor Chris Matthews to Speak at Daemen College April 19". Daemen College. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  18. ^ "Local Woman to Head National Hibernian Board". Catholic Herald. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  19. ^ "Hardball's Chris Matthews to receive Tip O'Neill award | Boston Irish Reporter". Retrieved 2016-09-07. 
  20. ^ Matthews, Chris. "American attitude – Hardball with Chris Matthews". MSNBC. Retrieved 2008-04-23. 
  21. ^ "PA District 04 – D Primary". 1974-03-21. Retrieved 2008-04-23. 
  22. ^ October 3, 2003, and February 23, 2004, editions of Hardball
  23. ^ Kornacki, Steve (2011-01-21) Is Olbermann the victim of his own success?,
  24. ^ S, A (2005-05-31). "Matthews's statements defy conservatives' claims that he is a "liberal Democrat"". Media Matters for America. Retrieved 2008-04-23. 
  25. ^ Gitlen, Todd (2006-03-23). "The Harder He Blows". The American Prospect. Retrieved 2008-04-23. 
  26. ^ B, J (2006-01-06). "Matthews trumpeted comparatively small Abramoff client donations to Sen. Clinton, virtually ignoring larger donations given to Bush, Hastert". Media Matters for America. Retrieved 2008-04-23. 
  27. ^ "Chris Matthews Tells Colbert: "I Want To Be A Senator"". Huffington Post. 2008-04-23. Retrieved 2016-01-08. 
  28. ^ [ Bill Maher ] » Realtime ~ 18/04/08
  29. ^ Quinn, Sean (2008-11-28). "Chris Matthews Staffing Up for Probable Senate Run in 2010". Retrieved 2008-12-19. 
  30. ^ Kraushaar, Josh; Michael Calderone (2008-12-04). "Chris Matthews Inches Toward Senate Run". The Politico. CBS News. Retrieved 2008-12-19. 
  31. ^ Carter, Bill (2009-01-07). "Host of 'Hardball' Decides Against Senate Race". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
  32. ^ No Kidding: Chris Matthews Admits, 'I'm a Liberal' "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-12-21. Retrieved 2009-12-19. 
  33. ^ "'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for Thursday, December 17th, 2009". MSNBC. 2009-12-18. Retrieved 2009-12-19. 
  34. ^ "Democratic National Convention Coverage – Tell the Truth! 2004 – Media Research Center". 2004-07-27. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  35. ^ "MSNBC's Chris Matthews Says He's A Centrist. No, Seriously". 
  36. ^ Cowles, Gregory. "Best Sellers – The New York Times". Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  37. ^ "Book reviews: ‘Killing Lincoln’ and ‘Jack Kennedy’ – The Washington Post". Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  38. ^ Matthews, C. (2012). Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9781451635096. 
  39. ^ "Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero -". Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  40. ^ "Nonfiction Book Review: Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero by Chris Matthews". Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  41. ^ Weprin, Alex (2013-04-30). "Chris Matthews Inks Long-Term Deal With MSNBC, But Ends 'The Chris Matthews Show'". TVNewser. Retrieved 2013-08-19. 
  42. ^ Petrozzello, Donna (24 July 2002). "Matthews Hospitalized With Malaria". Daily News. New York. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  43. ^ Hardball with Chris Matthews, MSNBC, August 19, 2008.
  44. ^ Cridlin, Jay (October 21, 2008). Tampa Bay Times. Tampa Bay Times Retrieved February 26, 2017. I think I'm just a Phillies fan in my soul," he told the Washington Post. "It's rough. It's like the Cubs.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  45. ^ Theodore, Michele (2014-03-21). "Chris Matthews of MSNBC's 'Hardball' to be Ohio State Spring Commencement speaker". The Lantern. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  46. ^ "Chris Matthews to give Commencement address". University of Rochester Newscenter, February 27, 2014, Retrieved March 24, 2014.

External linksEdit