Chris Matthews woke up on Super Tuesday at the Ritz Carlton on Central Park South. For breakfast, he tore into a bowl of Raisin Bran with skim milk, slurped down a cup of coffee (no cream, no sugar) and attacked a stack of newspapers. Moving from story to story, he scribbled notes directly onto the newsprint, circling important facts and figures and jotting down the occasional exclamation points. He particularly liked an article in the Daily News by Rich Cohen suggesting that Barack Obama should be president, and Hillary Clinton his chief of staff.
Mr. Matthews underlined the phrases "flag burning illegal," and "her vote was politically motivated." He tore out the article to review later that day.
Afterward, MSNBC's prizefighter--the political pundit who knows more and filters less than anyone else in the business and who with his manic emotional odes to a certain senator from Illinois has become a fascinating sideshow attraction in this crazy primary circus--had hoped to go for a morning constitutional. Surviving Super Tuesday would take stamina, he knew. Adrenaline would be the key. And a little exercise wouldn't hurt. Twenty-four hours earlier, he had gotten lost during a walk in Central Park, ending up on the West Side, thinking it was the East Side, thinking up was down. He was amazed at how disorienting it was. Not like the stomping grounds of his youth in Philadelphia. The streets reminded him of a campaign he had worked on in 1974 in Brooklyn.
"I've been following politics since I was about 5," said Mr. Matthews. "I've never seen anything like this. This is bigger than Kennedy. [Obama] comes along, and he seems to have the answers. This is the New Testament. This is surprising."