updated 5/31/2007 12:18:48 PM ET 2007-05-31T16:18:48

Guests: K.T. McFarland, Michael Brown, E.J. Dionne, Zach Wamp, Michael Crowley, Jill Zuckman, Mark Halperin, Michael Sheehan

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  Bugs on planes.  So we‘re worried about WMD, biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, but who let a TB carrier, now under government-ordered quarantine, on a plane to Paris?  Who‘s watching the lists?

And Mr. “Law and Order” issues his verdict.  He‘s decided to run for president.  He could easily race to the front of the pack.

Let‘s play HARDBALL.

Good evening.  I‘m Chris Matthews.  How did an airliner let someone aboard who carries a strain of tuberculosis that is so strong that the U.S.  government has put him under legal quarantine—a first, by the way, since 1963?  How could this guy fly to Rome, Prague, then back to Montreal without anyone topping him?  How could he be allowed to pose such a danger that the airlines are now checking the health of anyone who sat within two rows of the guy?  And what does this say about our security in the age of biological weapons, including human ones?

Then Fred Thompson make his move.  He‘s officially testing the waters for the Republican presidential nomination.  Is he the best thing out of Tennessee since Davey Crockett, or is his allure simply about the fact that the Republicans don‘t have anybody to rally the grand Reagan alliance against the Hillary Democrats?

And why is George Bush waging war with his own conservative base over his deal with illegal immigrants?  Shouldn‘t he be dancing with the ones that brought him?

But we begin with a major security breach.  A Georgia man infected with a rare and dangerous form of tuberculosis traveled to Europe and was told when he got there by the Centers for Disease Control that he was on a no-fly list, but he was still able to take a transatlantic flight back from Prague from Montreal, then drive across the Canadian border into the United States without anyone stopping him.  Today he‘s under quarantine, however, in an Atlanta hospital.

In this time of heightened homeland security, how was he able to breech the no-fly list and travel to and from the U.S. so easily?

K.T. McFarland served as the deputy assistant secretary of defense back in the Reagan administration.  K.T., this is the kind of story that bugs people, literally.  They don‘t know who they‘re sitting next to.  You‘ve got typhoid Mary on the plane with you, and nobody warns you, nobody stopped him from doing it.  And this guy knew what he was doing.

K.T. MCFARLAND, FORMER REAGAN DEPUTY ASST. DEFENSE SEC.:  Yes.  It‘s frightening because what it does do is point out the very—the big problem we have with homeland security.  You know, we don‘t—September the 11th happened, and the September 11 commission made a report on all the vulnerabilities we have.  So here we are five years later, and we still haven‘t solved that vulnerability.  We don‘t have—federal doesn‘t talk to state.  Law enforcement doesn‘t talk to border patrol.  And so somebody like this, who isn‘t even trying very hard, slips right through.

MATTHEWS:  Well, no one‘s going to stop you at the airport.  The people that are working at the airport in TSA, all they do is check something called your driver‘s license, which anybody can pick up, legal or illegal, in this country.  They‘re a joke.  And they look at their picture, and they check off something compared to your ticket.  That‘s basically to make sure you didn‘t give your ticket to somebody else.  It‘s something for the use of the airlines.  It‘s got nothing to do with checking you against any list.  So who‘s supposed to check you against a no-fly list, even if one exists, about people...


MCFARLAND:  That‘s the problem.  We‘re not doing it.  We‘re not doing it.  You know-...

MATTHEWS:  Well, why do they make you take off your shoes and all this other nonsense...


MCFARLAND:  ... equivalent of a strip search to get on the plane, but yet nobody‘s even checking databases.  We don‘t even—as you pointed out, we don‘t even have a secure driver‘s license in the United States.  It‘s a major problem.  Nobody pays any attention to it.  You look at the homeland security legislation, it‘s filled with pork barrel projects, and yet the really commonsense things, like, Let‘s compare notes and see who‘s on a no-fly list—people aren‘t doing it.  It‘s crazy.

MATTHEWS:  Well, now everybody knows in the world that you can get on a plane, even though you‘re on some list that says you‘re a Typhoid Mary, if you will...


MATTHEWS:  ... and a TB carrier with no symptoms, which means that you

can only transfer the disease, that you can‘t display it.  So no one looks

the guy gets on the plane.  He looks healthy, the TSA person checks off the driver‘s license, puts him on the plane.  Nobody checks until he gets to I believe Europe, Paris, where somebody from the CDC comes across his name on a list by then—which is so strange, they caught him at the other end of a six or seven-hour flight, but they couldn‘t catch him before the six or seven-hour flight.


MATTHEWS:  Is our system six or seven hours late?  Is that how it works?

MCFARLAND:  I‘m surprised they even got him at the end of the flight.  The system is broken.  It needs fixing.  It needs fixing immediately.  And it points out two problems, one, potentially biological warfare is a real thing—I mean, imagine of that guy had a really contagious case of tuberculosis.  He‘s now been on an airplane.  How many people has he infected?  How many of those people have gone back to their homes and infected other people?  It very quickly could get to be a major problem.  And then the second problem is, what if they guy wasn‘t actually—didn‘t have tuberculosis?  Maybe he was somebody planning to do something really bad...


MCFARLAND:  ... and was on a list in one place but not in another place.  I think it‘s a problem—in this day and age of high technology, when your child and my child can find out everything there is to find out about somebody in a nanosecond on Myspace and on Facebook, why we can‘t solve this is just beyond me.

MATTHEWS:  Well, the personal injury lawyers are out there probably thinking, Who do I know that sits within two seats of the guy?  Because according to the airlines, they have now notified everyone who sat within two rows of the guy, I guess forward and backward of him, because they want to check them out for possible contagion.  Did they pick up tuberculosis?  And it seems to me that any one of those people who is shrewd enough to grab a lawyer along the way will be able to sue the airlines for saying, You let—Air France, in this case, for letting this guy aboard the plane.  And now to the point where the government is checking out those people, at least there‘s a prima facie case that there‘s danger here that wasn‘t addressed by the airlines or the CDC when it would have mattered.

MCFARLAND:  Yes, I mean, we‘re not being protected.  Bottom line, we‘re not being protected.

MATTHEWS:  What is your general sense, K.T., of the success of our surveillance for possible bio, chemical or obviously nuclear threats to our country, our homeland?

MCFARLAND:  You know, one of the biggest worries I have is, like you

said, you do the strip search to get on the airplane, but there are a

couple of very easily vulnerabilities that I can see.  I live on Long

Island.  How easy would it be for somebody to take a pleasure craft,

doesn‘t have to go through customs, doesn‘t have to go through immigration

a pleasure craft loaded with something bad and drive it into Manhattan harbor?  It would be really easy.

There are a number of points in our infrastructure that are very vulnerable.  The obvious things are containers and ports.  We‘ve already had that national debate.  But there are another of other places where we‘re just not paying attention.

MATTHEWS:  Is there accountability in this administration?  Will anyone fry?  I mean, Michael Brown, who was—hopefully, we‘re going to get on the show tonight, we‘re still trying, of course—he was sacked when things didn‘t work out so swimmingly after Katrina, to put it lightly. 

Does anyone get in trouble when they say that there‘s no a no-flay health

listing for people who have contagious diseases, especially people who are

carriers and have no symptoms which have obvious to anyone at the airport -

and they ignore that list to the point where the person flies across the Atlantic, as I said, and only after the trip is over and they‘ve possibly exposed other people to the contagious disease are they detected.  So is anybody going to hang for this?

MCFARLAND:  Look, I‘m a big believer in letting heads roll in something like this.  I look at Reagan, you know, when he had the air traffic controllers strike, he fired people.  I look at Bob Gates, who had the Walter Reed scandal, he fired people.  I wish this president would do the same.  If he‘s got people who are falling down on the job, fire them.  And if they‘re not doing right, get somebody in there who knows how to do it.  I mean, to me, it‘s immigration and customs enforcement.  Let‘s get one of the best, most capable, tough managers in the United States—let‘s get him to go run it.

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about—are we too tough here to say that if the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control, actually have no-fly lists, are we too tough in suggesting that they should use them?

MCFARLAND:  No.  Look, what if this man had come—what if he had a really serious plague-like disease?  You know, what it‘s at risk here?  This is the American people.  I don‘t believe in political correctness under these cases.  I don‘t care about hurting people‘s feelings, I care about protecting people‘s health.  And so no, I don‘t think we‘re being tough enough.

MATTHEWS:  OK, the Homeland Security Department is investigating right now how this man got across the Canadian border back into this country.  Michael Brown, of course, served as FEMA director until Katrina.  Michael, thank you for joining us.  You are the expert on how this bureaucracy works.  Have you ever heard of a health no-fly list?

MICHAEL BROWN, FORMER FEMA DIRECTOR:  I haven‘t, Chris.  But here‘s what amazes me.  I can tell you that shortly after September 11, sat in the Roosevelt Room in the White House, briefing the president and Vice President Cheney on what to do in case of a smallpox outbreak, or more importantly, someone getting on an airplane in Europe and flying here, trying to infect people on the way over.


BROWN:  And I can tell you, as I was coming into the studio, the thing that amazed me was there was a government spokesman saying there will be lessons to be learned from this.  Lessons to be learned?  We‘ve been talking about this for five years.  We clearly need to break the government down into smaller pieces so they can become more nimble and react quicker than what they‘re doing now.

MATTHEWS:  How does it work when you—let‘s take it—let‘s take the standard terrorist watch list.  If somebody‘s been involved in the kind of political activity that suggests involvement with terrorism, that‘s not too hard to match up, how does that person get flagged when they try to get on an American airliner at an airport?  How‘s that—or they try to buy a ticket.

BROWN:  Right.  Here‘s what we need to do.  There are companies out there, like Inforex (ph) Corporation, that can go in and do data mining, where you don‘t violate people‘s privacy rights.  And we‘ve got to get the government more adept at adopting this new kind of technology because right now, the airlines are hesitant and loathe to give over those passenger records.  And of course, we‘re all concerned about privacy.  Well, there is a way to do this while preserving privacy and finding those links that do exist, but more importantly, finding links that we don‘t even know exist.

MATTHEWS:  Well, I‘m just asking about basic law enforcement.  If a guy robs a bank and he‘s spotted and he‘s identified and he‘s the chief suspect on the wanted list in all the post offices, does that person still have the ability to go by an airline ticket and get on a plane to Paris, like this guy did?

BROWN:  Yes, right now, they do.  That‘s what—and not only does...

MATTHEWS:  Well, they don‘t even...


MATTHEWS:  It‘s not like even in the movies, where they say, Let‘s check all the airports.  It seems like we don‘t even check the airports anymore.  You just go get on a plane and get out of her.

BROWN:  Well, Chris, it even works the other way.  You and I could end up being on a no-fly list.  While I was in the Department of Homeland Security, I was actually stopped twice, once leaving the country, because I was on a no-fly list, and once coming back in through customs.  So you can see there‘s a lot of work to be done.  But the problem is the bureaucracy is too big.  So what we have to do is to break these units back down into smaller, manageable pieces so they can be more nimble and more—and a lot more quick responding to these things.

MATTHEWS:  Well, look, when you use a credit card, Michael, and you haven‘t paid your bill or somebody might have misused it or something or something‘s suspect, you can‘t—it doesn‘t work.  I mean, we have automatic systems in this country to stop payments.  We have automatic systems that notify the person you‘re dealing with you got a problem.  You can‘t get on Capitol Hill with an old ID card.  They pull it right out of your hand.  Why don‘t we have a system like that for airlines, where if you show up with the wrong Social Security card number, the wrong name, they flag you immediately and you don‘t get the ticket?

BROWN:  Well, and that‘s what I mean by these companies with new technology because I promise you‘re out there.  Again, you take a company like...

MATTHEWS:  Of course.  By the way, I can‘t get money out of an account unless I have the account.  I mean, every time you go to an ATM machine, we‘re seeing how the system works.  It has to be your account, your money, your ID card and your four-letter, four-number code, or else you don‘t get the money.  But yet we can get on airplanes and we got typhoid or whatever we have, tuberculosis, and the guy—well, I‘ll tell you, there are a lot of people out there that are a little more nervous than I am about life.  I‘m not—I‘m pretty fatalistic.  But I got to tell you, K.T., as well, as we‘ve been discussing, Michael, there are people out there now who are going to get on a plane tomorrow who are going to be worried about the people sitting in front of them.  That guy didn‘t have a shower.  He‘s got foot odor.  He must be TB.  I mean, people are going to making all kinds of...

MCFARLAND:  And you know, the...


MATTHEWS:  This guy might be a problem.  So what are they going to do about it?  They‘d like to think the airlines just checked the guy out or the personnel who they think is perhaps diseased in this case.

MCFARLAND:  Yes, but Chris...

MATTHEWS:  And now we don‘t know.

MCFARLAND:  Chris, look at what happened in New Jersey...


MATTHEWS:  K.T. first.  I‘m sorry.  K.T.

MCFARLAND (on-camera):  Yes.  Look what happened in New Jersey just two weeks ago, where we had the jihadists who wanted to go to Fort Dix and kill soldiers.  They were uncovered by an alert video guy doing his job.  Now, doing his job, and he was converting a VHS to a DVD, and he noticed something really funny.  He reported it, and that‘s how we got those guys.

MATTHEWS:  And remember we caught the other guys in ‘93 -- we caught the first bombers of the World Trade Center because somebody tried to get...

MCFARLAND:  By an accident.

MATTHEWS:  ... their refund back.

MCFARLAND:  Right, a refund on their credit card, yes...


MATTHEWS:  ... get that money back after they used the truck.

MCFARLAND:  Ultimately, you know, what we really need to do is turn 300 million Americans into very vigilant people.  That‘s the only way ultimately you‘re going to solve this.

MATTHEWS:  Michael, I was going to say we should turn everybody (INAUDIBLE) an airplane, at least an able-bodied man, into part of the defense system on an airplane, so if anybody tries anything, we put out our belts and start whacking him with it, with their little...


MATTHEWS:  ... box cutters aren‘t doing them any good.


MATTHEWS:  But in this case, you can‘t attack...


MATTHEWS:  I‘m for that, too.  You‘re for that.

BROWN:  You know, here‘s the thing.  DHS is being smart about one thing.  People may be shocked about me saying that.  But they are smart in the sense of creating these levels of defense and layers of defense.  That‘s true.  Nobody‘s going to charge a cockpit right now because guys like you and I are going to pick up our belts and choke them to death.

But what we have to do is we have to release the bureaucracy from all these rules and restrictions that say you can‘t do this, you can‘t do that, you got be careful.  It‘s just too big.  There‘s no reason why—and the airlines, too.  There‘s no reason why, when somebody gets on a plane that‘s that sick, somebody doesn‘t have the guts to stand up and say, Wait a minute.  Let‘s just stop for a second and find out more about you, detain him shortly and find out what‘s going on.

MATTHEWS:  Yes, and I‘ll be a lot more confident when they tell us we can‘t—we don‘t have to take our shoes off.  Of all the stupid pastimes to make—what a pacifier that is for the people.

Anyway, thank you, Michael Brown.  It‘s great to have you back.  And K.T. McFarland...

MCFARLAND:  Thanks very much.

MATTHEWS:  ... you are smart.

Up next, could Catholics, at least these organized Catholic groups, scuttle Rudy Giuliani‘s presidential campaign because of his position on social issues?  You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL, on a beautiful evening in Washington.

Anyway, after Rudy Giuliani struggled to answer a question on Roe v.  Wade in MSNBC‘s Republican presidential candidates‘ debate, a number of self-described Catholic organizations are now seeking to target his record on social issues.  Among them is a soon to be launched Web site called Catholics Against Rudy, which is a rerun of Catholics Against Kerry back in 2004.  Could Catholic groups like this sink Rudy‘s campaign because of his position on abortion rights or gay marriage or whatever?  Let‘s find out about that and whether he‘s going to get a pass on issues like those because of his strong leadership about 9/11.

Georgia lawyer Stephen Dillard is behind the Catholics Against Rudy effort, and E.J. Dionne is “Washington Post” syndicated columnist.  Mr.  Dillard, how large a group do you have?  How many people in it?

STEPHEN DILLARD, CATHOLICS AGAINST RUDY:  Well, the group is primarily going to consist of people I know throughout the blogosphere through my time doing a blog that I‘ve since shut down called Southern Appeal (ph).  So I‘ve gotten together a lot of my friends who...

MATTHEWS:  How many people do you think are in your group?  How many people have you talked to personally or contacted personally about this issue of Catholics Against Rudy?

DILLARD:  Well, I‘ve talked to about a dozen different Catholic bloggers and different activists across the United States who have a lot of readers, so you know, we‘re hoping that‘s the vehicle we‘re going to go through.

MATTHEWS:  OK, let‘s take a look now...

DILLARD:  So it‘s going to be...

MATTHEWS:  ... at what Mr. Giuliani—I‘m sorry.  Let‘s take a look at what Mr. Giuliani said when I, as the moderator, got to ask him about his position on Roe v. Wade.


MATTHEWS:  Would the day that Roe V. Wade is repealed be a good day for America?



MATTHEWS:  OK to repeal?

GIULIANI:  It‘d be OK to repeal.  It‘d be OK also if a strict constructionist judge viewed it as precedent, and I think a judge has to make that...

MATTHEWS:  Would it be OK if they didn‘t repeal it?

GIULIANI:  I think that—I think the court has to make that decision, and then the country can deal with it.  We‘re a federalist system of government, and states could make their own decisions.


MATTHEWS:  And what‘s your reaction, Mr. Dillard, to that response, set of responses?

DILLARD:  Well, my reaction would be that Rudy Giuliani‘s statements

since he‘s been campaigning for the GOP nomination are different than

statements he made when he was mayor of New York.  I mean, he‘s trying to

tone down his record.  But you know, the truth is, this is a man who

supports public financing of abortion.  This is a man who didn‘t even

oppose partial-birth abortion, which is infanticide.  I mean, he has a very

he‘s given money to Planned Parenthood.  This is a man who has a very extremist record on abortion.

MATTHEWS:  Extremist?  OK, Mr. E.J. Dionne, thank you, sir, for joining us.  What do you think will be the impact, if any, of a group like this on the blogosphere or elsewhere that opposes Rudy Giuliani because he isn‘t conforming to his religion, you might argue?

E.J. DIONNE, “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  Well, I think this is a very important test of the right-to-life movement, because, for some time, some of us have suspected that the abortion issue is hauled out during an election campaign to be used against Democrats. 

And, at some level, I respect right-to-lifers who are saying, no, we‘re not using this issue just as a club to beat Democrats with.  We really believe this.  And we‘re willing to do it in a Republican primary. 

And I think Giuliani‘s problem is, to the extent that this focuses on Catholics, Catholics who vote in Republican primaries are, almost by definition, far more pro-life, anti-abortion, than Catholics who vote elsewhere, so they could have an impact.

Ramesh Ponnuru in “The National Review” had what I thought was a very good analysis of this.  He‘s a very strong pro-lifer.  And he argues that, in Republican primaries, you have got about a third pro-choice, a third pro-life who will never vote for a pro-choice candidate, and a third who are basically against abortion, but might not vote on that issue. 

And I think the battle is going to be in that middle group, sort of pro—pro-life, but open to Giuliani.  And that‘s where he‘s got to get votes. 

MATTHEWS:  Why, Mr. Dillard, are you making abortion rights an issue of—we call it in politics a voting issue, where people should decide who they pick for president on that issue?  Why are you saying that...

DILLARD:  Well, I mean, our...

MATTHEWS:  ... one issue? 

DILLARD:  Well, because keep in mind that our Web site is going to be targeted to faithful Catholics, to inform them about Rudy Giuliani‘s record...


MATTHEWS:  No, but you‘re telling them—you‘re telling them not to vote for Rudy Giuliani because of his abortion position, aren‘t you? 

DILLARD:  That—that‘s correct, because this is a man who holds himself out...

MATTHEWS:  Well, that—then, in other words, you‘re saying...


MATTHEWS:  Look, let me ask you this.


MATTHEWS:  Where are you on the war in Iraq? 

DILLARD:  In what way? 

MATTHEWS:  Where are you?  Do you think the war should have been fought? 

DILLARD:  I mean, I think it‘s been mis—I think it‘s been...

MATTHEWS:  No, no, no.

DILLARD:  I think it‘s been mismanaged.

MATTHEWS:  Do you think the war should have been—no, you think the war should have been waged, we should have invaded Iraq? 

DILLARD:  I do.  I think that...


MATTHEWS:  Well, the Catholic Church doesn‘t agree with that.  the Catholic Church doesn‘t take that position.

DILLARD:  Well, I don‘t—I—with—with respect, I don‘t think that‘s a fair characterization.

The pope, Pope John Paul at the time, said that he was not in favor of it.  I don‘t think the church took an official stance.  That depends on—on whether or not you believe it meets the just-war criteria.  And there‘s a—a debate one can make about that.

MATTHEWS:  Are you for capital punishment?

DILLARD:  But I‘m—I...

MATTHEWS:  Are you for capital punishment, sir? 

DILLARD:  No, I am absolutely—I am opposed to capital punishment in all instances. 

MATTHEWS:  I‘m just trying to find out why you single out an issue and say that‘s how a Catholic should vote, when Catholics are like any other voter.  They have to measure their position on a number of issues.  And they have to say...

DILLARD:  No, I‘m—I‘m against...

MATTHEWS:  ... what‘s the most important concern for them. 

DILLARD:  ... torture.  I‘m against torture in all instances.  I oppose the death penalty.

I—I—you know, I—I mean, I oppose abortion.  I—I feel like I‘m—much like Senator Brownback, I‘m whole life...

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  Well, that‘s...

DILLARD:  ... across the board.  I‘m for intervening in Darfur and doing whatever we can to stop the genocide. 

MATTHEWS:  So, but, bottom line, no matter...

DILLARD:  I mean, I believe that...


But, bottom line, no matter what Giuliani says on any issue, whether it‘s poverty, it‘s the war, it‘s concern for anyone in any other way, as long as he believes that, ultimately, a woman has to decide about an abortion, and it‘s not up to the state to say she can‘t, as long as he takes that position, you will not—you say Catholics shouldn‘t vote for him? 

DILLARD:  It‘s a disqualifier.


DILLARD:  Abortion is the civil rights issue of our time. 


We will be right back with Stephen Dillard of Catholics Against Rudy, and E.J. Dionne of “The Washington Post.”

You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC. 


MATTHEWS:  We‘re back with Stephen Dillard of Catholics Against Rudy, and E.J. Dionne, syndicated columnist for “The Washington Post.” 

I have to ask you, E.J., it seems to me that your question is still the best one.  Is the Catholic Church an equal-opportunity opposer on the abortion-rights issue? 

Do you have any evidence now where the hierarchy, which is populated, as you and I know, by a lot of Republicans, the—the archbishops and above, are they really going to be as tough on Rudy on this issue as they are against people like John Kerry? 

DIONNE:  Well, I think that‘s the test of this election.

Archbishop Chaput out in Denver, who really went at Kerry, got on the front page of “The New York Times” in September, I think it was, of 2004, in that interview actually said that, if Rudy Giuliani were running in the Republican primaries, it would be a real problem for right-to-life Catholics.

And, so, the interesting test is, will they intervene?  Will those right-to-life bishops, archbishops, intervene in the Republican primary, in the same way that they intervened against John Kerry?  Chaput is on the record saying yes.  And we will find out what is going to happen.

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you. 

Let me go back to Mr. Dillard.

Do you think you can stop Rudy Giuliani‘s chances to be the nominee of the Republican Party for president?  Do you think you can do it? 

DILLARD:  Obviously, not just me alone or my Web site, but I think, collectively, with organizations like Fidelis and—and other...


DILLARD:  ... Catholic activists, I—yes, absolutely, National Right to Life.

I‘m sure there‘s going to be a lot of right-to-life and Catholic lay organizations.  Listen, if you think John Kerry got it bad, you just wait.  Rudy Giuliani is—is going to be in—he‘s going to be in for a tough time. 

MATTHEWS:  Are you targeting Catholic officeholders, especially, on this issue? 

DILLARD:  We‘re—we‘re targeting any Catholics who are going to vote.  And we want to inform them about Rudy Giuliani‘s...

MATTHEWS:  No, no.  I mean to say—I mean, would you be as focused on a Protestant or a Jewish—or someone else who—a candidate who was for abortion rights, or are you primarily concerned...

DILLARD:  No.  This...

MATTHEWS:  ... that a Catholic is running as a pro-choicer? 

DILLARD:  No.  I‘m—I‘m concerned that a Catholic is running as a—a pro-choice or pro-abortion candidate, absolutely. 

MATTHEWS:  So, you say anybody—so, you‘re saying...

DILLARD:  That‘s the problem.

MATTHEWS:  ... that people who believe that you shouldn‘t put a woman in jail for abortion are pro-abortion?  That‘s how you define it? 

DILLARD:  Well, I wouldn‘t characterize it that way.  I mean, what we would say...

MATTHEWS:  Well, how—well, you just said you‘re for abortion if you

what do you mean by somebody is for abortion?  I have never heard Rudy Giuliani say he‘s for abortion.

DILLARD:  Well, I mean, somebody who says that they would pay for their daughter‘s abortion is pro-abortion. 


DILLARD:  Somebody who says they‘re for public financing of abortions...


DILLARD:  ... is pro-abortion. 

MATTHEWS:  I agree with you. 

DILLARD:  I mean, I don‘t know any other way to say it.

MATTHEWS:  But that‘s tricky with Rudy.  I can‘t defend Rudy, because he has said now he‘s for Hyde amendment, which says no federal funding for abortion payments. 

So, we will have to keep fighting about—congratulations on coming on this show.  I appreciate anybody with a message on this show.  Mr.  Dillard, thank you for coming on the program. 

DILLARD:  Thank you. 

MATTHEWS:  E.J., as always, thank you, sir, for your...

DIONNE:  Thank you. 

MATTHEWS:  ... deep thinking on all these important subjects. 

Up next:  Fred Thompson is testing the waters now.  Al Gore, by the way, is still not in the water.  He‘s still on the beach, looking at the ocean, as we speak, the ocean of opportunity, if Hillary stumbles. 

You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC. 


MARGARET BRENNAN, CNBC CORRESPONDENT:  I am Margaret Brennan with your CNBC “Market Wrap.”

Another record-breaking day, as stocks rallied after minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting were released this afternoon—they reinsured investors about the economy‘s overall health.  The Dow Jones industrial average gained 111 points, and closed at another record high, 13633.  The broad market S&P 500 also closed at a record for the first time in more than seven years, closing at 1530.  It ended the day with the Nasdaq also up 20.5 points, a six-and-a-quarter-year high. 

June gasoline futures fell another 2.5 cents, after drooping 9.5 cents yesterday.  The drop was the biggest in months.  Meantime, oil prices rose slightly in New York, gaining 34 cents, closing at $63.49 a barrel. 

And a federal judge approved a class-action settlement that will require Martha Stewart and her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, to pay shareholders $30 million for losses suffered during the ImClone scandal.  Stewart will reportedly pay around $5 million of that total. 

That‘s it from CNBC, America‘s business channel—now back to


MATTHEWS:  Well, this is exciting.

Welcome to HARDBALL.

Fred Thompson is making his move.  Sources tell NBC News that the       “Law & Order” actor will file his FEC papers on June 4.  The betting money shows Thompson with a real shot right now, by the way, with only Rudy Giuliani really ahead of him.  As McCain begins to fade, are we seeing a three-way race among Rudy, Romney, and Thompson?  And does Thompson have the right appeal for the Republican base? 

It looks like he does: Baptist.  He‘s from the Bible Belt.  He‘s pro-life.  Is he what Mitt Romney is grooming himself to be?

Well, the Tennessee U.S. congressman is joining us right now.  And he knows what we don‘t know, what‘s going on inside the head of that big guy, Fred Thompson.  He‘s with the draft-Thompson movement and the committee. 

And he joins us right now.

Congressman, it‘s so great to have somebody who knows what he‘s talking about on this show. 


MATTHEWS:  You‘re in Knoxville.  You know—I‘m setting you up here.  I‘m shining you up.  Is—yes or no.  It will make it a lot easier on this program.  Is it your bet, sir, as a close associate and a person involved in making this push, that, within a matter of weeks, we will know that Fred Thompson is a candidate for sure? 

REP. ZACH WAMP (R-TN), CO-CHAIR, DRAFT THOMPSON COMMITTEE:  Yes.  I think this is a very important first step.  And, I mean, I‘m greatly encouraged, because, having run the draft organization for two months, we signed up over 30,000 people on our Web site to volunteer for him. 

Many, many members of Congress have been waiting for him to file something, so they could step out there with him.  And I think we can do that starting next week. 

This testing-the-waters committee is Fred‘s way of letting people know that he‘s very, very interested in this; he‘s serious about it.  And I think he‘s a man preparing to become a presidential candidate.  And I think he, frankly, is what our base is looking for. 

MATTHEWS:  Are you imitating a Southern accent, or is that the real deal?


WAMP:  It‘s the real deal, man, I‘m sorry.

MATTHEWS:  Because I keep hearing it from Hillary Clinton.  He‘s—she‘s not as good as you are.  You got...


MATTHEWS:  You sound like you know what you‘re talking about.

WAMP:  I‘m in Knoxville, and I‘m the real guy, yes.


MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about Fred Thompson. 

He—I—I don‘t like to get ethnic on this show, more than I have to.  But he is a Baptist.  He is Southern.  He‘s got that drawl.  He comes out of Tennessee, the buckle of the Bible Belt.  He seems like what the doctor ordered, if you want to carry that Republican base. 

WAMP:  Well, if you grow up in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, you‘re going to be innately conservative.  He does have an eight-year record, but he wasn‘t a career politician. 

He‘s had several really brilliant careers.  He‘s a pretty good actor.  He‘s not a movie star.  But the celebrity is going to help him.  And, frankly, he‘s a professional communicator.  That‘s something we really need badly, because, if there‘s one big flaw with our Republican philosophy right now, is we‘re not communicating very well why a conservative approach is better than a liberal approach.

MATTHEWS:  Now, your belief is, knowing his record, that he is a lifelong pro-lifer, or has he changed, like the others have, in the—in past years?

WAMP:  Well, he has eight years of a voting record and a 100 percent pro-life voting record. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

WAMP:  So, I think all of those groups are going to say, yes, he—he meets the test. 

MATTHEWS:  Does—does Romney past these tests that you have laid out here, or not? 

WAMP:  You know, I don‘t know. 

I want—I don‘t want to say anything bad about anybody, but I was thinking a minute ago that Fred Thompson against Mitt Romney is like John Wayne vs. Bat Masterson.  You take your pick.


MATTHEWS:  God, Bat Masterson, that goes back to the old television.

WAMP:  You remember that?

MATTHEWS:  Of course I do, the guy with the—what, did he have the stick or the gun or longbow?  What did he have?

WAMP:  Well, he—he was pretty slick. 


MATTHEWS:  I think he had a cane, actually. 


MATTHEWS:  Anyway...

WAMP:  He had a cane and a black suit. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  I remember.

WAMP:  And he was pretty cool.  I liked him.  But I—I think John Wayne might prevail. 

MATTHEWS:  At least he didn‘t have a whip, like Lash LaRue, anyway. 


MATTHEWS:  I remember these guys.


MATTHEWS:  Let me go—let me bring in—Congressman, stick with us.  I want to bring in a couple nonpartisan folks here, “The New Republic”‘s Michael Crowley, Jill Zuckman of “The Chicago Tribune,” and “TIME” magazine‘s Mark Halperin.

Let me go to Mark first.

Mark, I have been looking at the betting on Intrade.com.  And I love to watch the betting out there, which the Irish bet on.  It‘s legal to bet.  And this fellow we have just been talking about, Fred Thompson, has moved up even with Romney, who‘s been running hard.  And he‘s right near within striking distance of Rudy, in terms of betting odds.

Is Fred Thompson a real front-runner if he gets in this thing? 

MARK HALPERIN, EDITOR AT LARGE, “TIME”:  Well, look, charm and charisma and celebrity are a great foundation to start a late-starting presidential campaign. 

But they don‘t get you to the White House.  He‘s going to have to prove he will work hard, he has a message, and he can raise money.  All of those are within his reach.  And, if he shows that, he‘s going to be, if not the front-runner, he‘s going to be as strong as anybody already in this race. 

MATTHEWS:  I have never heard anybody else ask about any of the other candidates if they have got the juice to run.  Does he have the—but it is a question with this fellow.


TRIBUNE”:  It is the question.

MATTHEWS:  He doesn‘t seem to have the bug.  Therefore, the question is, if you don‘t have the bug to run—not like the bug of the guy we talked about a few minutes ago...


MATTHEWS:  ... on the airplane, but the bug that says, I got to win this.  I got to win this.  My whole life depends on it. 

He doesn‘t have that. 

ZUCKMAN:  This is the ultimate question.  Does he have what it takes, which an entire book was written about a bunch of presidential candidates, and did they have what they needed, the drive, to push them across the finish line? 

And many of Fred Thompson‘s own friends in Tennessee say, hey, this guy, you know, what is he doing this for?  And he‘s never been such a hard worker before. 

Well, you know, he may be a sprinter.  What do you think? 


MATTHEWS:  ... Michael?

CROWLEY:  ... how many...


MATTHEWS:  Does he—does he have enough juice to make a sprint for the next year-and-a-half? 

CROWLEY:  Well, how many campaigns has he run?  He had two Senate campaigns, and that‘s it.  I mean, he‘s not...


MATTHEWS:  One, wasn‘t it?

CROWLEY:  Was it just the one? 


MATTHEWS:  I think—I think it was one. 


CROWLEY:  Sorry.  Just the one, OK.  So, he‘s not really particularly battle-tested. 

MATTHEWS:  But he did pull an upset back then.  I didn‘t he would win when I interviewed him back there in that race. 

Zach, Congressman, that was a pretty good race he ran, when he got that seat, wasn‘t it?  

WAMP:  Yes. 

Jim—Jim Cooper was way ahead.  And Fred...


WAMP:  ... entered the race.  And it was just like over, almost, because of his natural charisma. 

Let me say, they said the same thing about Ronald Reagan, about being too laid back.  But let me tell you, he kind of rises above it all.  And he does things his own way. 

And I really think that, if you had been on the call yesterday when all of this broke—because I was on the call—he is one focused person.  And, really, he didn‘t set out to run for president, but he‘s answering the call.  He really has been drafted and now he says—

MATTHEWS:  So you were on the call yesterday?  You‘ve now stepped into it sir.  I‘m going to ask you, based upon your experience of being on the call with Fred Thompson himself, is guy running for president? 

WAMP:  There‘s no question in my mind that he will become a candidate for president.  He‘s got to do that on his own schedule, on his own time.  This testing of the waters is an important first step, but yesterday he was so focused that there were such major challenges.  We have got to have leadership.  We‘ve got to communicate better.  We have got to step up. 

He was a man focused yesterday and everybody on the call I know picked up on what I picked up on.  I think he‘s got it.  I think the fire is down there.  And we‘re going to help him. 

MATTHEWS:  I love that.  Let‘s go to Mark Halperin.  It seems to me.  Mark, that the way the primaries have been set up, however, they really accentuate the coastal states, Florida, California and New York.  It seems like the more moderate parts of the party, the more secular parts of both parties are going to have an advantage here.  Does it still help to be somebody from the heartland, like Tennessee? 

HALPERIN:  Chris, can I disagree respectfully with the premise of the host?  I still think winning the nomination is going to be a lot about Ohio, New Hampshire and South Carolina.  I think the things that worked in the past are going to work now.  You have got to have a message and believe in something.  You‘ve got to work really hard to court the voters in the early voting states. 

Now Thompson and his people talk about running a different kind of campaign, based more on the Internet than time on the ground.  I‘m not sure that will work and I think they‘re going to have to feel their way to that balance. 

MATTHEWS:  We‘re going to come right back.  Congressman Wamp, thank you very much, Zack Wamp.  You are a gung ho guy.  God, you can be a HARDBALL host the way you‘re going.  You‘ve got the juice, my friend.  Anyway, thank you for coming on.  Good luck with the race.  Keep us informed about those conference calls like you did tonight.  We like you ratting out the candidates as much as you can. 

Staying with us, by the way, is everybody else.  We‘ll be right back. 


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  We‘re back with the “New Republic‘s” Michael Crowley. Jill Zuckerman of the “Chicago Tribune,” and “Time Magazine‘s” Mark Halperin.  Up next Al Gore, he shows up after disappointing sales of the books he wrote back with Tipper, back after he lost that race.  He was on COUNTDOWN last night to push his new book.  So why is he back?  Is it for 2008 or 2012 if Hillary gets beaten?  What‘s Gore‘s gambit?  Here he is talking to Keith last night.   


AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I‘m not thinking about running; I don‘t expect do run.  Yes, I haven‘t ruled out the possibility at some point in the future, but I‘m not keeping that exception alive to be coy.  I really don‘t expect to be a candidate again.  But here we are, 500 days or so before the next election.  I don‘t see why everybody has to close the doors and say, OK let‘s narrow the field and make your bets. 


MATTHEWS:  Do you think, Jill, he‘s had cosmetic surgery around the eyes, below the eyes, what do you think? 

ZUCKERMAN:  I‘m sot sorry, I‘m not an expert.  I can not touch that.

MATTHEWS:  Everybody‘s so afraid of that one, but I think there‘s some work been done.  It looks pretty good, actually.  Let me ask you about Gore, because he‘s not getting in the water, but he‘s teasing again last night.  He‘s not doing a Shermanesque statement, Michael.  It‘s very easy to say you‘re not running for president.  You just say. I‘m not running and I don‘t intend to run.  It‘s easy if you want to do it. 

CROWLEY:  What‘s the gain in it though?  Why?  You know, he keeps people interested in him.  It gives him a platform to talk about his issue.  We‘re talking about him now.  We might end up talking about global warming, which is what he wants. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, if you have any friends in the race, it‘s derogatory of them to keep suggesting you‘re running.  If you have no friends in the race, which maybe he does have no friends, you don‘t care how—

CROWLEY:  To the contrary, I‘m not sure that he‘s so crazy about Hillary.  I don‘t think they had such a historically warm relationship.

MATTHEWS:  Mark, do you think the reason he‘s teasing is because he‘s hoping Hillary will drop politically sometime around the end of the year and he might still get in.  Or is it my latest thinking, he‘s just thinking about 2012.  He‘s already won the Academy Award. If wins the Nobel Peace Prize late this year, he becomes a national iconic figure.  If there‘s a close race next time and Hillary loses, or whatever, he has another shot.  He‘s a young man. 

HALPERIN:  Chris, I think three things are true.  One, what you just suggested; he‘s keeping all of his options open.  Because, as he said, there‘s no reason not to.  Two, I think the only way he‘ll be a candidate in this race is if Senator Clinton collapses and even then, I‘m not sure about that.  And three, this comes up when people ask him about it.  He could be doing much more than he‘s doing to keep the option open.  I think he‘s basically telling the truth, surprising as that might be, given that he‘s a politician, when he gives the answer he gives.  Why close off the option, but he‘s not planning on doing it. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you, Jill, is he telling anybody he‘s thinking of running? 

ZUCKERMAN:  Not that I know of.  I‘ve talked to his closest advisor, people who were with him in 2000.  They say, no way, this is not happening. 

MATTHEWS:  You have been through Peter Knight, Jack Quinn, Ron Clain (ph), the usual guys, right? 

ZUCKERMAN:  He could say I‘m not running 50 different ways and you would still be saying why is he being so coy.

MATTHEWS:  Because he‘s so much in the spotlight.  He was out there in the cave with the beard for all those years.  Now he‘s taken off the beard.  He‘s out in public.  He‘s out doing the talk shows.  

ZUCKERMAN:  He‘s got a book.  He‘s giving lectures.  He‘s got important things to do. 

HALPERIN:  He‘s not doing that well in the polls.  There is not this national ground swell.  Yes, there are hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of Democrats who would like to see him run.  But he‘s not dominating the race. even as much as say Fred Thompson is.  And I think he knows enough about the process to know that getting in would not necessarily, and probably wouldn‘t, yield an easy win, maybe a win at all. 

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s talk about Romney for a section, because he does keep doing well in the betting odds.  He keeps coming up.  I don‘t think he has a big fan base in the media or in Washington, or in the political culture, if you will.  But he does do very well.  He gives a great speech.  Mark, is his LDS religion, Latter Day Saints religion, going to hurt him in the end, in the states where religion is a big deal politically, the south mainly? 

HALPERIN:  I don‘t think it will stop him from being the nominee.  I think if handled correctly, it could maybe be a small benefit, because it will keep him in the spotlight and allow him to show his soul and his true self, which is something I think he still needs to do, given all the doubts of these flip-flops he has done. 

MATTHEWS:  Can somebody still argue that religion doesn‘t matter in politics, where you have the evangelical votes, so strong Michael, with the Catholic Church, the bishops, the hierarchy keeps telling people what to do who are in public life.  You can‘t claim it‘s not relevant anymore. 

CROWLEY:  No, and my understanding of Mormonism is that it refutes the Bible in various ways and says it‘s filled with inaccuracies and that some of the verses are corrupted by dishonest people and the potential for under the radar attacks.  I mean, we know that John McCain‘s campaign was essentially destroyed under the radar in South Carolina in 2000.  The potential there for what may be unfair, cheap, sleazy attacks just seems massive. 

MATTHEWS:  But don‘t people resist attacks on religion, despite being American?  Don‘t they say, wait a minute, that‘s below the belt?

CROWLEY:  I think they want to think that they do.  But I‘m not particularly religious, so I don‘t want to project too much. 


MATTHEWS:  My first job in Washington was working for a Mormon senator, liberal senator.  Harry Reid is a Mormon, a liberal senator.  The idea that it controls your politics is hard to argue, since you have people from both sides of the aisle politically. 

ZUCKERMAN:  Chris, Romney‘s own campaign believes that his religion is the most important issue that he faces as a candidate, even more important than the flip-flops on issues.  And it‘s something that they‘re trying to address and they‘re hoping they can bring people around, but it‘s a challenge. 

MATTHEWS:  He said today, I believe in that interview, if somebody challenged him, he may get around to giving one of those big speeches.  But I think it has to be a different generation than the speech Kennedy gave in Houston.  Because Kennedy said religion really didn‘t affect me.  It‘s very hard for anybody to say that today.  It does get into politics.  Anyway, our panel‘s going to stay with us a little longer.  You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC. 


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  We‘re back with our panel.  Up next, the Centers for Disease Control, as we said, is under fire tonight for putting the health of countless Americans in jeopardy.  As I said, a man with a drug resistant, contagious form of Tuberculosis was permitted to fly from Atlanta to Paris despite the CDC‘s awareness of his health condition.  And then he was able to fly back form Europe.   

Now the man‘s under government ordered quarantine, the first of its kind since 1963.  Passengers sitting within two rows of him have been notified they may have been exposed to Tuberculosis.  So why was he allowed to get on those planes?  Is this another case of bureaucratic government incompetence on life and death issues?

Mike Sheehan is an MSNBC terrorism analyst.  Michael what happened? 

MICHAEL SHEEHAN, NBC NEWS TERRORISM ANALYST:  Well Chris, this is a classic breakdown on many levels.  First of all, it‘s very dangerous.  This type of disease perhaps is more of a threat to public health than bioterrorism or the other types of viruses out there.  It‘s out.  It‘s a very deadly disease.  And it‘s very infectious. 

But secondly, it shows the enormous break downs, five and a half years later, between law enforcement and public health.  They remain basically on different planets.  They don‘t talk.  They don‘t coordinate.  And there were foul ups from the local level to the federal level and internationally. 

MATTHEWS:  Is there a no fly health list?  Is there such a thing as people who are typhoid Marys, if you will, that aren‘t allowed to get on airplanes. 

SHEEHAN:  They can certainly do that.  If they identify a person who shouldn‘t fly, they do have the capability to communicate to the federal government and the World Health Organization, and prevent people from flying.  Unfortunately, in this case, the local authorities that were dealing with it first didn‘t communicate it to the federal government.  When the federal government found out about it and the CDC, he was already in Italy. 

They communicated internationally to the guy.  WHO finds out.  They‘re too slow to react.  Meanwhile, this guy, who panics, wants to get back home, is able to circumvent the whole system, from Prague to Montreal, and drive back to the United States, making a mockery of the whole system from the local level all the way to international. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you think we should have a system that‘s so tight that a person would be picked up driving across the U.S.-Canadian border.  That‘s pretty much an open border.  I mean, it used to be all you would do is asked where you come from, where you were born.  If you had an American accent, you crossed the border to see Niagara Falls, and walk back across. 

What do you think we need?  Are you talking about an air-tight country?  We‘ve got illegal aliens popping into the country overnight.  I mean, we‘re going to be kidding ourselves if we think we‘re going to actually prevent people.

SHEEHAN:  We‘re not talking about making people pile out of the car and see if they can cough or have a fever.  We‘re really talking about basic communications of known facts, known threats at the local level to the federal level, the international level, so that we can take prudent steps to protect from known threats.  These are things that should be done, are way over due, without having to tie up international movements of commerce or people. 

MATTHEWS:  Just the bottom line it Michael, if someone were—had a contagious disease, which was a really dangerous disease, maybe like a cold or something—

SHEEHAN:  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  There is a way now you can put them on a watch list that would stop airlines from booking the person? 

SHEEHAN:  Absolutely and there always has been.  They just have to communicate and coordinate between the two and they still don‘t do it. 

MATTHEWS:  The weird thing is, of course—I want to bring in the other people here.  The CDC knew this guy was a problem and they only could act on it after he got to Europe.  In other words, they were only seven or eight hours late to act.  But then they disturbed all of us by the news, hey, yes, we‘re almost on the case, but we‘re not quite on the case. 

CROWLEY:  I know.  The whole thing is like some comedy.  You imagine Will Ferrell being pursued from continent to continent by the authorities.  But Chris, in a weird way, I‘m actually kind of happy this happened, so long as there‘s no harm done and this doesn‘t spread around.  Because we need these scares to wake up the bureaucracy and to say, how did we blow it here and how are we going to do it better next time. 

So, in a way, I think there‘s good that can come of this, which is to say that it will be a lesson, and people can see how the system failed.  Because next time we might be dealing with smallpox.  So at least now they can see where the holes in the system are. 

MATTHEWS:  So, do you think, Jill, when people are getting on a plane right now, as they watch this show, perhaps in an airport, they‘re going to get on the next plane, wondering who else has got this typhoid Mary situation? 

ZUCKERMAN:  I would not have wanted to be on that plane.  That is a little scary to me. 

MATTHEWS:  You find out later? 

ZUCKERMAN:  I‘ve got to wonder, who just married this guy.  I mean, she married him.  She‘s going to be around him all the time.   

MATTHEWS:  It was a mail order, I think.  Mark, your thoughts about this politically?  I think, the danger, it would seem to me, is, once again, we might pile up with more bureaucracy, because ever since that guy with the flaming shoes was coming from Paris, we‘ve been having to take our shoes off, it seems to me a mindless waste of time, because we might have firecrackers or whatever in our shoes.  And yet it seems to be one of the big wastes of time for everybody on this planet to keep doing it.  But what will come out of this do you think, Mark?

HALPERIN:  Most important non-political thought, Chris, get yourself laminated before you get on any plane.  Most important political thought is any 2008 presidential candidate who can prove to the country stylistically, attitudinally, and in terms of their record that they can protect the homeland, I think will probably be the next president of the United States.  It is such a fundamental issue.

People want competence.  They want toughness.  They also want to go after the bureaucracy.  And if Fred Thompson has one record in Washington, it‘s on the issues of, at least rhetorically, cutting through bureaucracy and having a strong role in Washington.  One of the few things he‘s for is a strong role for the kinds of things only the government can do in Washington. 

MATTHEWS:  You know what, I would like to laminate what you said.  It was brilliant.  It‘s just what I think, which it‘s about sharpness.  It‘s not about ideology.  Who‘s going to be the sharpest person to protect this country?  Anyway, thank you Michael Crowley—what a great group tonight - - Jill Zuckerman, Mark Halperin, of course.  Thank you, sir, for being our expert Michael Sheehan of NBC.  Right now it‘s time for “TUCKER.”



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