Chris Matthews Says He Forgot Obama Was Black
Political commentator Chris Matthews attends Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World Gala at the Frederick P. Rose Hall at Jazz at Lincoln Center on May 5, 2009 in New York City. (Getty Images)more pics »MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews had a major on-air gaffe after the State of the Union address Wednesday night. The long-time news man commented that President Barack Obama had done so much to heal old racial wounds that for about an hour, he "forgot he was black."
Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address Wednesday night. (Getty)
"I was trying to think about who he was tonight," Matthews said. "And uh, it's interesting. He is post-racial, by all appearances. You know, I forgot he was black tonight for an hour. ... I was watching, I said, 'wait a minute!' He's an African-American guy in front of a bunch of other white people and there he is president of the United States and we've completely forgotten that tonight -- completely forgotten it!"
The comments were the subject of instant ridicule on Twitter and blogging sites. Matthews addressed the comments about 90 minutes later to make sure people understood what he meant.
Matthews clarified that he grew up in racially divided times and was marvelling at how far things have come. He said the old tensions he knows so well were gone during the president's speech. "I went in the room tonight, you could feel it wasn't there tonight and that takes leadership on his part, to get us beyond those divisions."