Chris Matthews apologizes to the Mitt Romney campaign for likening one of his oft-repeated phrases, "Keep America American," to one used by the KKK in the past.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews has issued an apology Wednesday to the Mitt Romney campaign for likening his often repeated election slogan "keep America American" to the message of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s.
The "Hardball" host rescinded a statement made by morning anchor Thomas Roberts at 11 a.m. on Friday.
"So you may not hear Mitt Romney say 'keep America American' anymore, because it was a rallying cry for the KKK group, and intimidation against blacks, gays and Jews," Roberts had said. "The Progressive American blog was the first to catch on to that," he added.
In Matthews' retraction he called the earlier anchor's commentary "irresponsible and incendiary."
"It showed an appalling lack of judgment. We apologize. We really do, to the Romney campaign," Matthews said on 'Hardball,' captured in a video posted on the blog TVNEWSER.
The cable news network's Friday morning report on an AMERICAblog item making the KKK comparison prompted a call from the Romney campaign to "alert them of the misreporting," another spokesperson told The New York Times via email.
"We are pleased they have issued a correction and apology. That was the right thing to do," that Romney campaign spokesperson added.
At a campaign appearance last Friday, the Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney used the phrase in a speech in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
"We have on one side a president who wants to transform America into a European-style nation, and you have on other hand someone like myself that wants to turn around America and keep America American with the principles that made us the greatest nation on Earth," Romney said.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the "keep America American" line was used even before the 1920s, by members of the anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic nativist group called 'Know Nothing Party" in the 1850s.
But not all were appeased by the MSNBC retraction.
Matthews' apology on "Hardball," the AMERICAblog was not taken kindly by the blog's main writer, John Aravosis, who has appeared on MSNBC in the past.
"Clearly, Mitt Romney went ballistic at MSNBC behind the scenes over this story, which is telling. But again, what part of the story is wrong? Is the Romney campaign seriously going to keep using an old KKK slogan? I somehow doubt it," Aravosis wrote on the website.