'Hardball' Host Chris Matthews Backtracks From 'Ill-Chosen' Words

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Taking Aim

MSNBC host Chris Matthews analyzing President Obama's address on Afghanistan at West Point Tuesday night referred to what Matthews interpreted as a lack of excitement from the cadets in the audience. He then questioned the selection of the U.S. military academy as the venue:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: I didn't see a lot of warmth on that crowd out there that the president chose to address tonight. And I thought that was interesting. He went to maybe the enemy camp tonight to make his case.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Later Matthews appeared to backtrack a bit:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Perhaps there were ill-chosen words, but my point was clear to anyone who was honest and listening to it: An unusual decision by a president who is nuanced in his foreign policy to chose the military academy as his basis for making the case.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

The analogy has sparked outrage on the Internet, with conservative bloggers and West Point alums lashing out at Matthews for linking America's future military leaders to its enemies. Matthews began his show Wednesday evening with an apology to cadets and their families.

Friendly Forum

The president will hear from small business owners, CEOs and labor leaders Thursday during a White House forum on job creation. But, two groups that will not be represented: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business. That's because they were not invited.

Those groups have also not been supportive of President Obama's health care reform efforts. White House officials say chambers of commerce throughout the country will be represented.

In an open letter to the president, the Chamber says it looks forward to working with him in the future.

Tee Time Turmoil?

Talk about bad timing: President Obama appears in next month's Golf Digest magazine in a photoshopped cover with golf legend Tiger Woods, who -- of course-- is the subject of a media frenzy over last week's car crash and alleged extramarital affairs.

The title of the article: "10 Tips Obama Can Take From Tiger."

Irony aside, Woods is apparently getting plenty of tips from his handlers. He acknowledged in a statement Wednesday that he let his family down saying, "I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves."

Fox News Channel's Megan Dumpe Kenworthy contributed to this report.

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