TV Guide, of all places, has a brief interview with Chris Matthews, where he elaborates a bit more on his comments at last week's Hardball 10th anniversary party:
TVGUIDE.COM: You caused a stir with some remarks you made at the 10th-anniversary party for Hardball, at which you said [referring to the perjury conviction of Vice President Dick Cheney's aide Scooter Libby] that the Bush administration had "finally been caught in its criminality."
MATTHEWS: I thought on the 10th anniversary it would be good to celebrate the First Amendment, which gives us all our living. We reviewed in brief the remarkable experience of covering the Clinton [scandal] and the defense of the war with Iraq. And the difference in these two cases was that although I was extremely tough on Clinton, there was never any attempt to silence me — whereas there was a concerted effort by [Vice President Cheney's office] to silence me. It came in the form of three different people calling trying to quiet me.
TVGUIDE.COM: Why are you coming out about this now?
MATTHEWS: I think people ought to know this. There's a lot going on among our producers, our young bookers, now that I never noticed before. There is an almost menacing call that you get whenever someone hears something they don't like — their people call up and threaten, or challenge, and get very nasty. That's now become the norm. I told people, just tell me this from now on. Every time someone calls and tries one of those things, whether it's the Mitt Romney campaign or the John McCain campaign or whatever, I will put it on the air. I'm tired of this kind of pressure that's now become normal among the young staffers on these campaigns. When it's coming from the vice president's office — there was a concerted effort to stop me from reporting on what the vice president's office was doing in terms of making the case that there was a nuclear threat from Iraq. I wanted to remind people that having a talk show that is outspoken is not without its troubles.
The other difference between the Clinton-Lewinski scandal and the lies that led to the invasion and occupation of Iraq is this: in the first case, a president lied under oath about an affair and hurt his family. In the other case, a president and his administration lied to the American people to justify an invasion, which has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people - including almost 3,900 American soldiers - and the destabilization of an entire region.
So they're not really comparable. But kudos to Matthews for speaking out on pressure from the Bush administration, as well as apparent pressure from some of the Republican presidential candidates, too (!).