2007.05.29: May 29, 2007: Headlines: COS - Mexico: Figures: COS - Swaziland: Journalism: Television: Hardball: Chris Matthews Mad at Mexicans Who Mocked Miss USA

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Chris Matthews Mad at Mexicans Who Mocked Miss USA

Chris Matthews Mad at Mexicans Who Mocked Miss USA

"Well, she smiled right through it, Howard. But I‘ll tell you, that‘s about the worst PR I can think of for this Mexican immigration bill, which is mainly helping Mexicans become legal Americans, who they came here illegally and now to have them boo us like this—in fact, this woman like this, to get—she smiled right through it, but that‘s class, but they weren‘t very classy." Television Journalist Chris Matthews served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Swaziland in the 1960's.

Chris Matthews Mad at Mexicans Who Mocked Miss USA

Chris Matthews Mad at Mexicans Who Mocked Miss USA

Caption: Miss USA Rachel Smith parades in the evening gown competition of the Miss Universe 2007 pageant at the National Auditorium in Mexico City May 28, 2007. REUTERS/Andrew Winning (MEXICO)

Well, let‘s start with this one. We didn‘t expect to hear news from Mexico City, but here is it. Miss USA got booed in Mexico City last night at the Miss Universe pageant. Telemundo says it was led by anti-American Venezuelans. Reuters said the booing came from Mexicans. Let‘s listen and see if we can tell.






MATTHEWS: Well, she smiled right through it, Howard. But I‘ll tell you, that‘s about the worst PR I can think of for this Mexican immigration bill, which is mainly helping Mexicans become legal Americans, who they came here illegally and now to have them boo us like this—in fact, this woman like this, to get—she smiled right through it, but that‘s class, but they weren‘t very classy.

HOWARD FINEMAN, “NEWSWEEK,” MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it‘s one thing for the American soccer team to get booed in Mexico, which they do all the time when they play down there—that‘s one country against the other and then—mano a mano, literally.


FINEMAN: Yes, this was cheap looking. And it‘s true that there are 12 million to 15 million illegal immigrants here, many of them, most of them, perhaps, from Mexico, so...

MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) they be booing?

FINEMAN: I don‘t think so. They probably were—some of them were probably watching the show and maybe even rooting for the American contestant.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Sad stuff. Chuck?

CHUCK TODD, NBC POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I don‘t—it‘s not all about immigration. I don‘t—don‘t underestimate the anti-Americanism that is prevalent all around Latin America. It‘s really bad. I‘ve got some relatives that live in Mexico City. They‘ve noticed that—they‘re Americans, or ex-pats. They‘ve noticed this anti-Americanism. They feel it. It‘s about Iraq. It‘s about immigration. It‘s about American imperialism. Whether you—you know, whether you want to talk about that issue or not, that‘s how Latin America sees us. So this is more than immigration, Chris.

MATTHEWS: What is it about immigration, though, that bothers Mexicans? I mean, if 12 million are here illegally, that‘s a fairly benign, even if it is passive, policy. It‘s hardly predatory to let—what other country in the world lets 12 million people from some other country come in there and live there illegally?

TODD: Well, not only that, in Mexico...

MATTHEWS: How can you be mad at that?

TODD: No, and that‘s what I mean. The booing I don‘t think is about immigration, Chris. I really think the booing is more about Iraq, it‘s more about America and the role in the world and America being, you know, the bully that you beat up on.


TODD: So I wouldn‘t...


TODD: I wouldn‘t over-read into the immigration aspect of it.

MATTHEWS: Well, I‘m going to read into it because I‘ll tell you one thing, if an American audience in New York or Washington or LA had booed a Mexican woman after she made a mistake like that by tripping, and mocked her the whole week, we‘d be talking to—PC dispensers of the major newspapers and the media‘d be going all over it, saying how terrible a country we are. Lynn Sweet...

TODD: Well, look—oh.

MATTHEWS: I‘m serious. I don‘t know why they do it. They want to have good relations with us. This is not a Vicente Fox. This is not the pan (ph) politics that gets people elected down there. It must be a minority of elite or angry people. But this is the kind of thing people do remember. Lynn?

LYNN SWEET, “CHICAGO SUN-TIMES”: Well, I think it was a massive focus group, and I do think it speaks more to anti-American sentiment rather than some mass movement and this audience knowing—even knowing even if they were aware that Congress had an immigration bill...


SWEET: ... up again. And you know, the Mexican government does have issues thinking that, you know, there should be a way for their people to come and go and come back again. And there is resentment that the U.S. is so resistant to it, even before we had gotten into the more complex parts of the immigration bill.

But the public diplomacy of the United States has not been able to succeed in turning around the image of the country, and that‘s what you saw here.

MATTHEWS: You mean if it was—well, I think you might be wrong there because the old bracero method, whereby people would come up to the California fields and pick crops, then go back after the season was over with some money in their pocket, that was considered to be exploitative, Lynn. That was considered a bad policy. Now we‘re saying that‘s a good policy, braceros?

SWEET: No, I‘m just saying from the Mexican government point of view...

MATTHEWS: I know. From their point of view.

SWEET: Circularity. I think that‘s the word that they use, to be able to come and go and come. But going back to this—this horrible—well, I just feel for this woman who plopped on her behind...

MATTHEWS: Yes, I know. Well, they didn‘t feel much for her, did they.

SWEET: ... you know, in a beauty pageant.

MATTHEWS: They saw it as a chance to dump on us.

SWEET: No, and that‘s—yes, even though you would think most contestants...

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Headlines: May, 2007; RPCV Chris Matthews (Swaziland); Peace Corps Mexico; Directory of Mexico RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Mexico RPCVs; Figures; Peace Corps Swaziland; Directory of Swaziland RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Swaziland RPCVs; Journalism; Television; Peace Corps Library; Peace Corps Countries of Service; Peace Corps History; Bulletin Board; Recent Peace Corps News

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