FLASHBACK: Chris Matthews, Who Does This ‘For A Living,’ Predicted Rand Paul Would Be 2016 GOP Nominee

• February 3, 2016 9:20 am


MSNBC host Chris Matthews predicted in 2013 that Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) would be the Republican Party's 2016 presidential nominee, but Paul didn't even make it to the New Hampshire primary.

"You watch," Matthews said at the time. "This is what I do for a living."

As it turned out, Paul didn't come close to his father Ron Paul's third-place performance in Iowa in 2012, taking 4.5 percent of the vote in the caucus and suspending his campaign Wednesday.

"It's been an incredible honor to run a principled campaign for the White House," Paul said in a statement. "Today, I will end where I began, ready and willing to fight for the cause of liberty."

In the Aug. 7, 2013, edition of his show Hardball, Matthews confidently felt the libertarian Paul, who he cast as a "hard-right" figure, would be the GOP's standard-bearer.

"I believe the Republican Party is going to go hard-right in 2016. It's going to run someone from the growing hard-right wing of the party, something it hasn't done since 1980," Matthews said.

Matthews ran through a brief history of both parties nominating more extreme figures from their party, like Barry Goldwater in 1964 for the GOP and George McGovern for the Democrats in 1972, both of whom were trounced in general elections.

"I believe the Republican base will do the same in 2016," he said. "They put up with George Bush the First, put up with Bob Dole, were deeply disappointed with the big spending George W., and last year again by Mitt Romney, and now are going to come loaded for bear for the race for 2016. So I predict the hard right is going to take over the Republican Party in 2016, and the nomination is going to Rand Paul. You watch. This is what I do for a living."

Matthews now might have to change his prediction to one of the "two Cuban guys" in the race, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, as he's referred to them, or perhaps Donald Trump.

Paul, a first-term senator, will shift focus to defending his seat in 2016. He is being challenged by Lexington, Kentucky mayor Jim Gray.

Published under: Chris Matthews, Hardball, MSNBC, Rand Paul