Apparently not everyone loves bacon and guns.
Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz found a creative way to make waves in a crowded GOP field with an amusing “machine gun bacon” video , but MSNBC’s Chris Matthews was not impressed.
Describing the Texas Senator’s viral video as a “clown car” moment, Matthews asked on Tuesday’s “Hardball” what the video has to do with running for the President of the United States.
His panel, however, seemed to understand the value of using bacon, guns, and humor to reach out to a conservative base that is currently overwhelmed with news about real estate mogul Donald Trump.
Showing his ignorance of guns, viral marketing, and general conservative politics, Matthews tried to slam the video as irrelevant and useless. But his panel didn’t quite let him get away with it.
After all, if the video was aimed at getting people to talk about Cruz, it seems to have been a pretty big success.
Transcript of MSNBC Hardball:
August 4, 2015; 7:39 p.m. Eastern
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Welcome back to Hardball. It’s clown car Tuesday again, and when [sic] Donald Trump sucking all the oxygen out of the GOP field, his rivals will do and say anything it seems to get some attention, some attention. Last month Lindsey Graham set his cell phone on fire after Trump gave out his personal cell phone in a campaign event in Graham’s home state of South Carolina.
Rand Paul took a chain saw to the tax code as a rock ‘n’ roll rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” played in the background. And Mike Huckabee claimed that the president’s nuclear agreement with Iran is quote, marching the Israelis to the door of the oven. And then yesterday, Texas senator Ted Cruz became the latest Republican contender to distinguish himself from his opponents. In a new video, produced by the conservative media outlet IJReview, Cruz demonstrates how to cook bacon, as he put it, Texas-style, wrapped around the barrel of a machine gun. Here he is.
[IJReview video clip]
MATTHEWS: Wow. Kasie Hunt is an NBC political reporter, John McCormack is senior writer for the Weekly Standard, and Francesca Chambers is White House correspondent for the Daily Mail. Kasie, I don’t know how to make fun of people when they do that. Where do we go from there? What’s the satire on that?
That seems like it carries the satire with it. Bacon wrapped around a gun at a time we have police shootings, we have people getting killed, people shooting cops, we have murder rates in Chicago and Baltimore that are frightening. And this guy is out there enjoying his machine gun. By the way, machine guns have been outlawed since the ’30s. Your thoughts?
KASIE HUNT: Yes, I mean that’s, yes, we are undergoing difficult things. On the lighter side of this, this IJReview has done this with several candidates. This is the latest in a stretch.
MATTHEWS: What’s the message?
HUNT: Well, look, I think the message is he’s trying to reach out to people who, you know, respond to that.
MATTHEWS: Who like machine guns?
HUNT: Who like machine guns. Who like, I mean, look, I’ve been hunting with Ted Cruz, I will say, full disclosure. The guy is pretty comfortable with a gun. This is not something that is out of the ordinary. But I think he’d be the first person to tell you, as he told me, it’s not something that he necessarily grew up with right away. It’s not something that’s been incorporated into his life even though he does have a basic knowledge of how to do it. I think you’re seeing him trying to reach out to that crowd.
MATTHEWS: What does this got to do with running for president, John?
JOHN McCORMACK, Weekly Standard: This has to do with campaigning in the age of the Internet. You know, IJReview, they seek to be a conservative sort of BuzzFeed. The Internet loves bacon and conservatives love guns. He put the two together and you get instant clicks. Um, I think that’s all there really is to it. It’s meant to be a goofy thing. I don’t think it’s meant to be serious or a statement about anything.
MATTHEWS: Why would it get somebody like me to vote for him, or anybody in the middle politically? Why would it appeal to anyone?
McCORMACK: People who like guns, people who like somebody who’s laid back enough to make a goofy video like this. I think to younger voters, I mean this is what IJReview —
MATTHEWS: Younger voters who are into machine guns.
McCORMACK: I don’t, I think there’s– It’s not a machine gun, first of all, a machine gun is fully automatic.
MATTHEWS: I thought they said it was a machine gun.
McCORMACK: I think he, it’s an exaggeration.
FRANCESCA CHAMBER: It was an AR-15.
MATTHEWS: Explain. Was it bup, bup, bup, bup, bup, or do you just hold the trigger down.
CHAMBERS: It was actually not a machine gun.
MATTHEWS: So it’s semi-automatic.
CHAMBERS: Rachel Maddow actually spent quite a bit of time–
CHAMBERS: Yeah, it was an AR-15. You asked about the audiences for this, absolutely I think that you’re right that it’s young people. And not necessarily young people on the right. Young people of the Internet age who like viral videos and like to see bacon cooked on a gun. I think that’s the audience for this. And I think, as you said earlier, Chris, that Trump is sucking all the air out of the room and so some of the candidates are getting a little bit desperate to make headlines and to get earned media, and guess what we’re talking about right now? We’re talking about Ted Cruz and this video and we’re not talking about Donald Trump. So that’s successful.
MATTHEWS: Yeah, but not positively. But you’re positive about this.
CHAMBERS: Uh, I’m not necessarily saying that I’m positive about it, I’m just saying–
MATTHEWS: Well, Kasie is. You guys are all positive! You guys are, look at your hands, this is a Donald Trump thing. Eh! Isn’t this great [gestures with his hands]!
CHAMBERS: I’m saying it was effective at stealing back headlines from Donald Trump. It’s effective.