THE waiters at Martin's Tavern in Georgetown see a lot of Chris Matthews, host of the opinionated "Hardball" and the lower temperature, eponymously named Sunday-morning discussion hour on MSNBC.
"It's very Christmas-y here. Very pubby. I'll have clam chowder and prime rib," he said, in his trademark rapid-fire delivery. He's been a regular here since 1971. "It was a big State Department hangout. C.I.A. It's got that reputation. Old Washington."
It was exactly one week to Election Day and Mr. Matthews was in the "Truman booth" offering his opinion on everything.
On Web versus print: "If you don't get newsprint, you don't get the peripheral vision -- you don't pick up the odd story."
On empty-nesting: "I feel like Ebenezer Scrooge: the house is empty and I'm like 'Where's my gruel?' "