On Thursday morning, Jill Abramson of The New York Times appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe to talk about the life of the late Ted Kennedy. She was joined by Chris Matthews and Savannah Guthrie. Towards the end of the segment, Mr. Matthews couldn’t help but take the opportunity to pick at an old wound.
“By the way, congratulations on Mark Leibovich’s piece,” Mr. Matthews said to Ms. Abramson, referring to a feature in yesterday’s Times about the last days of Mr. Kennedy’s life.
Some sixteen months earlier, the author of said feature, Mark Leibovich, had profiled Mr. Matthews for the Times magazine. It wasn’t pretty.
A year-and-a-half later, Mr. Matthews appeared almost ready to forgive the Times author. Almost.
“[Leibovich] saved his generosity over a lifetime, he saved that generosity for this piece,” said Mr. Matthews on Thursday morning. “Don’t you think he rationed it well?”
Joe Scarborough, the host, burst into laughter: “Oh, Matthews! Are you suggesting he didn’t ration it for your piece?”
Ms. Abramson, perhaps not fully clued into the joke, kept praising Mr. Leibovich.
“I’m sure Leibovich is very pleased,” said Mr. Scarborough.
Last year, Mr. Leibovich began his profile of Mr. Matthews thusly: “Whenever Chris Matthews says something he likes, which happens a lot, he repeats it often and at volumes suggesting a speaker who feels insufficiently listened to at times.”
And sure enough, before Morning Joe cut to a commercial break, Mr. Matthews tried out his punch line about Mr. Leibowich one more time.
”He did save all that generosity and…gave it to Teddy,” said Mr. Matthews, grinning.