WASHINGTON – “Hardball” host Chris Matthews doesn’t hide his opinion on his MSNBC political talk show. In fact, he rarely lets guests get a word in edgewise.

But apparently he’s been holding back.

Chris Matthews

Appearing as a guest on the same network’s “Imus in the Morning” show today, Matthews said that the Democratic primary race “sucks” now that Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts has taken the lead over former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.

He said Dean was the only candidate with the “balls” to stand up to President Bush and say the Iraq war was “wrong.”

Meanwhile, Kerry and Sen. John Edwards of North
Carolina “hid in the closet on the issue,” Matthews
steamed on the Imus show in front of a live audience
of New Hampshire voters on the eve of their primary

But Matthews wasn’t finished venting.

He argued the “frogs were right” to oppose the war, referring to the French government’s refusal to join the U.S.-led coalition. He cited resigning U.S. weapons inspector David Kay’s latest conclusion that Iraqi stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction – the administration’s key reason for going to war – don’t exist.

Matthews previously had expressed at least tepid
support for the war, and had been somewhat critical of
the French position.

He also said Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was right when he warned that the invasion and occupation of predominantly Muslim Iraq would “create a hundred (Osama) bin Ladens.”

“We declared war on Islam, and it was a big mistake,” Matthews said of the administration’s pre-emptive strike on Iraq.

He revealed he’s been rooting for Dean and that his son is a big Dean booster.

Matthews, who also hosts NBC’s “The Chris Matthews Show” on Sunday mornings, worked for Democratic giants Rep. Tip O’Neill and Sen. Edmund Muskie, as well as former President Carter.

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