MSNBC's Irish American news anchor Chris Matthews has lashed out this week at what he calls the sleazy tactics being used against the president.

In particular he's appalled by Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for his comment on Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press: 'The president says he's a Christian. I take him at his word,' said McConnell, in a carefully worded remark that raised eyebrows nationwide.

Matthews was incensed. 'Here`s the Republican leader in the U.S. Senate, the world`s greatest deliberative body, out there playing ball with the birther crowd,' he fumed. 'The people systematically trying to deny the president`s identity as a Christian born in this country.'

Matthews added: 'It`s really quite sleazy the way they`re doing it. They don`t have the nerve to go out and say he`s not American and he`s a secret member of another religion. They do it what Senator Mitch McConnell did Sunday, encourage that notion, underwrite the crazies - meanwhile, undermining any positive action by the government they`ve sworn to serve.'

Matthews noted that according to the latest Pew Research Poll 3/4 of the party increasingly believe President Obama is a Muslim. Just 23 percent of Republicans today say the president was definitely born in the U.S.

'In other words, the majority of Republicans doubt he`s a legitimately elected president or even that he`s even legitimately in the country - just 23 percent say that,' said Matthews.

By promoting this Obama is a Muslim strategy Matthews believes the intention is to make the President as foreign, as un-American as possible, undercutting anything he tries to do.

'What a great American way to meet your oath of office, Mr. McConnell,' he seethed.