TAMPA, Fla. — A scuffle involving an MSNBC producer and two men who heckled host Chris Matthews was being investigated by security officials Thursday night a few blocks from the Republican National Convention.
Matthews was hosting a show at a makeshift outdoor stage near the Tampa Bay Times Forum after Mitt Romney accepted the GOP presidential nomination. During a break, two men shouted, “Hey Chris, how’s that tingle up your leg?” The comment was a reference to Matthews’ 2008 comment that a Barack Obama speech sent a “thrill up his leg.”
According to witnesses, a shoving match ensued.
“Then this short dude who works for MSNBC pushed them,” said Toby David, who came to the defense of the two hecklers. Another witness, Kim Churchman, added, “One of them was smiling and didn’t know it was coming, and the guy just shoved him.”
Said David: “He kept pushing them around, so I rolled over there. And the MSNBC guy says, ‘You wanna get in trouble too?’ I said: ‘Who are you? A cop? If not, maybe I should make a call and we’ll see who’s in trouble.’ The MSNBC guy was just talking tough.”
The MSNBC employee identified himself to The Hollywood Reporter as a producer but did not supply his name and referred THR to press relations. An MSNBC spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A convention security officer said that MSNBC security told him that the two men “charged” at the producer. The officer did not disclose the name of the MSNBC producer and said an investigation was ongoing.