The Chris Matthews Senate saga -- will he or won't he quit MSNBC to challenge U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter in 2010 -- has PhillyClout wondering about a hypothetical interview:  What would Matthews ask and answer about all this if he was a guest on Hardball?

We have to go with the hypothetical here because Matthews is ducking press interviews on the subject, dodging behind a flurry of "no comments" from NBC spokespeople.  But even his guests on Hardball seem to be wondering.  On Friday, Daily News columnist Michael Smerconish and Phil Bronstein, editor-at-large for Hearst were talking about rumors that Caroline Kennedy would take Hillary Clinton's Senate seat after she becomes Secretary of State.  Smerconish took a swipe at Kennedy, asking what her "profession" is and wondering about "Sarah Palin issues" on qualifications.

Bronstein and Matthews were floored.  And then Bronstein seemed to turn the conversation to Matthews.  Let's go to the transcript, courtesy of MSNBC:

BRONSTEIN:  That's pretty rough. I mean, but she has got, at least publicly, a very private persona, one of quiet grace...

MATTHEWS: That's true.

BRONSTEIN: ... and elegance and intelligence. And once you run for Senate, that's over. So I would think that would be a disincentive for Caroline Kennedy. I mean, doesn't it get messy when you run for Senate, Chris?

MATTHEWS: Well, we all want to be protective of Caroline Kennedy. Thank you. We'll be right back with Michael Smerconish and Phil Bronstein with more of the "Politics Fix."

Bronstein had quite the twinkle in his eye, putting extra emphasis at the end of his question.  Matthews never looked so happy to be going to commercial.

Strangely, while MSNBC offers several video snippets of that day's show on its website, this little exchange doesn't seem to be one of them.