In a interview with David Bauder of Associated Press, MSNBC president Phil Griffin gushes over Hardball host Chris Matthews’ contribution to the network.

“He is sort of the model figure for who we are,” Griffin said. “He doesn’t stick out loving politics and being passionate about politics. It comes across in everything we do … And that’s Chris.”

Bauder notes that in spite of Matthews’ controversial behavior during the Presidential election, viewership of his show has risen 24 percent in 2012 from 2011.

Matthews famously had an onscreen meltdown after President Obama’s disastrous first debate – suggesting that the President should watch their network more often – particularly before debates.

During the election, Matthews  repeatedly accused the Republican party of playing the “race card” and the “ethnic card” during the election – prompting RNC chairman Reince Preibus to call him the “biggest jerk in the room.”

After the election, Matthews signaled that he was “glad” that Hurricane Sandy struck a week before the election.