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Chris Matthews comes clean about Barack Obama

May 6, 2008 | 11:13 am

Chris Matthews will be forever linked with the word "Hardball" (the name for his talk show on MSNBC, incidentally, was derived from a book he wrote).

But Matthews played a little softball for Barack Obama Monday night during an appearance at a Harvard University forum during which he was pressed about perceptions of bias in the cable network's campaign coverage.

When asked by an audience member about how he responds to claims that MSNBC officially supports Obama, the Harvard Crimson notes today, "Matthews responded with typical 'Hardball' wit: 'Well, it's not official.'''

The Crimson correspondent also reports that Matthews sang Obama's praises throughout his speech, calling the Illinois Democrat a symbol of the change that the country needs. "We need to elect a president who has been a student of the world and is a student of the world," Matthews said.

Matthews himself, in case you were otherwise occupied a few weekends back, was the subject of a cover-story profile in the New York Times Sunday magazine.

-- Mark Silva and Don Frederick

Mark Silva writes for the Swamp of the Chicago Tribune's Washington bureau.