- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 2, 2011

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF. (AP) - When three MSNBC hosts forecast the winner of next year’s presidential race, their choice isn’t surprising, considering the network’s liberal tilt.

But their respective certainty wasn’t uniform when asked that question at an appearance before reporters on Tuesday at a meeting of the Television Critics Association.

Lawrence O’Donnell, host of “The Last Word,” flatly predicted the re-election of President Barack Obama.

Rachel Maddow also named Obama, attributing her pick to a thus-far weak Republican field.

But “Hardball” host Chris Matthews waffled, saying Obama’s fate will rest largely on the economy as well as his GOP rival.

One easy opponent? Mitt Romney, whom Matthews dismissed as “a mood ring.” And should Obama be running against Michele Bachmann, Matthews said, “He’ll just have a hoot.”