updated 6/13/2007 1:40:47 PM ET 2007-06-13T17:40:47

Guests Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Todd Harris, Don Van Natta, Ed Schultz, Tony Snow, Terry Jeffrey, Jill Zuckman, Howard Fineman

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  The undocumented president.  See you at the signing ceremony, he says, but where‘s his bill?

Let‘s play HARDBALL.

Good evening.  I‘m Chris Matthews.  News from NASA tonight.  A hit has been recorded on the two panels on Atlantis‘s left wing.  The panels keep the heat of reentry, of course, from burning the spacecraft.  This is the same area, unfortunately, where the foam damaged Columbia‘s left wing and caused it to break up in February, 2003.  We‘ll be following the story on MSNBC.

Our front page political stories tonight: Bush—the president is down for the count, pleading with republican senators to buy his illegal immigration bill.  But how‘s he going to stop illegal immigration?  If he can‘t answer that question, isn‘t it just words, words, words?

Hillary—she‘s running away with it up in New Hampshire.  Across the country, she‘s got huge backing from women, except college women, who split between her and Obama and question her authenticity.

Freddy versus Rudy—the latest “LA Times” story has Rudy still out front nationally, but Fred Thompson, the big fellow from Nashville, now in second place nationally and way ahead of both McCain and Romney, and he‘s not even in the race yet.  Will Giuliani‘s new “12 commitments” win over the conservatives and let them let him do his thing?

Oh, yes, and Mike Bloomberg, the billionaire New York mayor, answers an NBC question about a third party run next year.

Finally, prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald says no bail for Scooter Libby.

First up, however: Is President Bush hopelessly off track on immigration?  Texas senator Kay Bailey Hutchison is chairman—chairwoman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee.  You‘re in the leadership.  Does the president answer the question, when you put it to him, and other senators, How are you going to stop illegal immigration?  Does he have an answer?

SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON ®, TEXAS:  Yes.  He believes that we must enforce our borders, and he believes that we need some kind of way to deal with the 12 million people.  He knows that that‘s the hardest issue.  It is the hardest issue.  And you have to do it in a way, in my opinion, that isn‘t amnesty but does get those people out of the woodwork, in the system, but without amnesty.

MATTHEWS:  Twenty years ago, the Senate passed Simpson-Mazzoli.  I worked on the Hill at the time.  They basically legalized everybody in the country illegally.  The word went out south below the border, If you get into America, North America, and you stay here long enough, eventually, they‘ll legalize you, so just get up there -- 12 million people did that.  If you legalize everyone here who‘s now illegally, those 12 million, won‘t you have 30 million coming up illegally because they‘ll have gotten the word, Just hide from the government long enough to stay available, and the United States will eventually legalize you.  Isn‘t that the message you‘re sending, if you do it Bush‘s way?

HUTCHISON:  If you do it without a touchback or going home and applying, you have set the precedent that 1986 is exactly what you can do in 2007.  We cannot do that.  We cannot send that signal.  We have to regularize the process now.  We have to have the—apply at home before you can come in and get into the system legally provision for...

MATTHEWS:  Why would anybody do that?  Would anybody do that?  What‘s so tough about that?

HUTCHISON:  No, it‘s not tough...

MATTHEWS:  Well, why is it so hard (INAUDIBLE) it‘s like tagging up in baseball games.

HUTCHISON:  (INAUDIBLE) you‘re right.

MATTHEWS:  Well, then why wouldn‘t people say, yes, it‘s great, I snuck in the country, I‘m legal now?

HUTCHISON:  No.  You should require people to go home and apply from outside the country to send the signal that we‘re going to...

MATTHEWS:  Oh, I see.

HUTCHISON:  ... apply the law today, and it‘s going to be that way...

MATTHEWS:  So you can‘t get back in again unless you apply legally.

HUTCHISON:  That‘s right.  Unless you apply legally.

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about the problem we have—you‘ve seen the TV cameras, and living in and representing Texas you know that.  Every night on NBC, we show these stock—we call it stock tapes.  And you could do it any night in San Diego or in Texas.

HUTCHISON:  I know.  I‘ve seen it.

MATTHEWS:  You see people running across the border at night.  Why would that ever stop?  I don‘t understand.  I‘ve read the Bush plan, I‘ve understood it, and I don‘t get it.  Why would people stop sneaking into the country under this plan?

HUTCHISON:  You have to enforce the borders.  You have to...

MATTHEWS:  But Bush isn‘t going to do that.

HUTCHISON:  Well, we have to do it.

MATTHEWS:  But he isn‘t going to do that!  He wants to build a big-tent Republican Party by being nice to Latino illegal immigrants, and it seems like this will be—if this bill passes and you guys pass it, everybody‘s going to celebrate it down in Mexico, but is it going to stop illegal immigration?  I guess I‘m asking you the obvious question here.

HUTCHISON:  Well, we have to—number one, we have to enforce our border.  We are a sovereign nation that has to enforce our borders.  Now, what you have said, Chris, is exactly what is a problem, that the American people see they don‘t think that government is ever going to do what they say they‘re going to do.

MATTHEWS:  Do you?



MATTHEWS:  ... faith in this government to enforce the border?

HUTCHISON:  We have to do it.  I mean, we have to enforce border control.  Now, will they—Chris, I can...


MATTHEWS:  ... because I‘ve watched this for 20 years.  All the good government people in the world, the people of Kennedy and Alan Simpson, all these wonderful people, and in the end, all they want to do is legalize the people here illegally.  And you say, What about enforcement?  And all of a sudden, it doesn‘t happen.  Like, first of all, how can you—I‘m a small business guy. I‘m running a cafeteria somewhere, in a field somewhere, a vegetable field.  I want to hire some people to help me make food every day.  So a guy comes in the room, and he says, Can you hire me, or a woman.  What do I do to know whether that person‘s in the country legally or not?

HUTCHISON:  Chris, let me...

MATTHEWS:  How do I know I‘m hiring somebody legally?

HUTCHISON:  I don‘t disagree with you at all...

MATTHEWS:  I don‘t think anything‘s going to change!

HUTCHISON:  People have a right to be skeptical, but what if we do nothing, and for the next two years, we have 10 million more people and then 10 million more people?

MATTHEWS:  (INAUDIBLE) Have an ID card you can‘t cheat on.  Have an ID card, like when you or I get on an airplane, when you have to be Kay Bailey Hutchison to get on an airplane...


MATTHEWS:  When you go into a hotel, you have to be Kay Bailey—or it‘s fraud.  Why don‘t we have the same rule for getting a job in America?  You can‘t get a job unless you‘re here legally.  But nobody wants to have an ID card.

HUTCHISON:  Yes, we do.



HUTCHISON:  It is in the bill.

MATTHEWS:  Oh, come on!

HUTCHISON:  It is in the bill.

MATTHEWS:  Who wants to have an ID card?

HUTCHISON:  Everybody in America is going to have to have an ID card.

MATTHEWS:  Well, these clowns that I interview who are running for president—and I won‘t—and I won‘t name them...


MATTHEWS:  It‘s fine with me.  They won‘t admit that.  You can‘t get these guys who stand up here on national television and debate to day they‘re for a national ID card.  I‘m sorry...


MATTHEWS:  ... take back the word “clown.”  Romney won‘t admit it.  Giuliani won‘t admit it.  They want to have cards for what they call aliens.  What kind of a country would want to live in where only aliens have to have cards?

HUTCHISON:  Every one...

MATTHEWS:  They don‘t get it, then, do they.

HUTCHISON:  You‘re going to have to have a basically verification system in which everyone...

MATTHEWS:  I‘m all for it.  But I don‘t trust these guys to do it.  You know, according to “The Washington Post” today, the bill specifically refuses to have a national ID card.  It‘s in the article.  There will be no national ID card, according to this...

HUTCHISON:  Chris, if you apply to work in the United States Senate, you have to prove that you‘re in this country legally.  You do.  You have to show a birth certificate or a passport.  You do.  Everyone does.

MATTHEWS:  We have 12 million people working in this country...

HUTCHISON:  Everyone...

MATTHEWS:  ... illegally right now without any legal reason to be here.  How are they working?  Who‘s giving them the paycheck every day?

HUTCHISON:  They are working illegally, and it‘s an issue that we cannot allow to stand.  Now, I don‘t like this bill, and I‘ve been voting...

MATTHEWS:  Do you trust the United States government, as a citizen of Texas and the United States—do you trust the United States government to enforce the law?

HUTCHISON:  I‘m as skeptical as you are, but I don‘t have the luxury of saying, Well, it‘s not going to happen, and therefore we‘re going to do nothing...

MATTHEWS:  OK.  When I get a straight answer...


MATTHEWS:  ... about whether we have a national ID card, because I got to tell you, Giuliani says we shouldn‘t have one, Romney says—they say we just have them for aliens.  That‘s totally un-American!  Everybody has to have it or nobody has to have it.  When you go get on an airplane, they don‘t ask if you‘re an alien or not.  They say, Show me your driver‘s license.  Of course, now, 11 states give illegal driver licenses out because they‘re pandering, too.

HUTCHISON:  Chris...

MATTHEWS:  So much pandering going on!

HUTCHISON:  You‘re right in the sense that everyone is going to have to have the same treatment.

MATTHEWS:  If that‘s your law, I‘m for it.  If that‘s in the law...

HUTCHISON:  It is...


MATTHEWS:  But “The Washington Post” reported today there‘s no national ID card in the bill, so somebody‘s getting it wrong.

HUTCHISON:  It will be verification system that will require you or anyone else...

MATTHEWS:  I‘m signing up right now.

HUTCHISON:  ... to show that you are legal...


HUTCHISON:  ... before you‘re able to...

MATTHEWS:  Great.  Because I can‘t get on an airplane without on.

HUTCHISON:  ... to work legally.

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Senator Hutchison.  I‘m going to check this out.  By the way, we got—we‘ll come back in a few minutes and (INAUDIBLE) and show what the paper said today about no national ID card.  But thank you.  You‘re great.  I love—I think you‘re a great politician.

HUTCHISON:  Thank you.

MATTHEWS:  And I wouldn‘t vote for the bill, if I were you.

HUTCHISON:  Thank you.

MATTHEWS:  Anyway...


MATTHEWS:  Now for more on today‘s top political stories, we turn to former John McCain campaign spokesman Todd Harris and MSNBC political analyst Ron Reagan.

Todd Harris, do you really believe the United States government is going to enforce the law on immigration after this bill is signed in one of those wonderful Rose Garden ceremonies?  By the way, we have them every 20 years now.  we have them.  We hand out the pens, and then we take pictures of people crossing the border illegally.

TODD HARRIS, FORMER MCCAIN CAMPAIGN SPOKESMAN:  No.  Of course not.  And that‘s why this is a bill with zero political constituency, which is why it is dying the slow death that it started dying last week.  And sadly, in my view, as a Republican, because I think we do need to do something to broaden the base of our party.  But I think, ultimately, this bill is going to go nowhere.  Until we are able from a political perspective to untether the whole issue of border security with the issue of what to do with all of the people who are already here illegally—until we can separate those things, we‘re never going to get anything done on this issue because people are in—particularly in my party, are in no mood to compromise, to make any compromises on the 12 million who are already here, so long as they think that our border is not secure and another 12 million are going to come in once we‘ve dealt with these.

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask Ron Reagan.  I have no idea what your view is, Ron.  What do you make of this bill that the president‘s pushing on—he calls it a reform bill because everybody calls any bill they‘ve got a reform bill,, but I don‘t see how it stops illegal immigration.  I don‘t see how it legalizes a regular—a liberal policy of immigration.  I don‘t see how it does anything because people are still going to come in this country illegally.

RON REAGAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, it‘s being—this fight in Congress is being waged as a political battle—you know, whether the president will finally get a domestic win, something he can put on his resume here.  But you‘re absolutely right, it doesn‘t actually address the problem, the practical problem.

There are two things here, and they involve financial incentives.  On the one hand, you just showed pictures of people streaming across the border, women holding babies.  These are families coming across.  They‘re desperately poor.  we‘ve got a third world country, essentially, on our southern border, and there are people who are desperate to find work and support their families.  You can‘t argue with that.

On the other hand, on our side of the border, we have business, industries—agriculture, construction, et cetera—who want these people here because they‘re exploitable, cheap labor.  As long as those dynamics hold, you‘re not going to solve the immigration problem.  This bill certainly isn‘t going to do it, although it‘s at least a shot at a compromise.

MATTHEWS:  But let me ask you guys—I don‘t want to be the conservative here.  I‘m not comfortable playing that role, Ron.


MATTHEWS:  I‘m not comfortable playing it.

REAGAN:  Oh, go ahead!

MATTHEWS:  But I would like to see a liberal policy of immigration, a liberal policy of letting people come into work, but damn it, enforce the law and stop the BS.  Stop the undocumented workers and the clever language used all the time, anything but enforcing the law!


REAGAN:  Don‘t talk to liberals, talk to agriculture industry.  Talk to the construction industry.


MATTHEWS:  Why—you know you‘re in trouble in this country when the language starts changing, and then you know somebody‘s playing a game.  You know, “revenue enhancement”—I‘m sorry, here we go again, Undocumented workers—illegal immigrants!  Let‘s make them legal, but deal with it, and let‘s say you only come in the country if you come in here legally.  People have been coming into this country from Europe for hundreds of years legally.  I don‘t know...


MATTHEWS:  Todd, give a thought here before we break.

HARRIS:  Well, sure.  That‘s exactly...

MATTHEWS:  This bill‘s going nowhere, by the way, because the—because nobody believes it‘s going to enforce the law.  And I wouldn‘t vote for it, either.

HARRIS:  Well, I...

MATTHEWS:  Enforce the law or else stop talking because it is, in fact

they are called lawmakers on Capitol Hill.  The president is the chief law enforcement agent of the country, chief law enforcement officer of the country.  And unless he swears to God he‘s going to stop illegal immigration with this bill tomorrow night, why are we passing a bill that‘s supposedly going to fix the system when he knows it‘s not going to fix the system?

HARRIS:  I would go to the raw politics of this, which is—the fact is, there‘s only one person who can bring this bill back, and that‘s Harry Reid, and there‘s only one person who this bill helps politically, and that‘s George W. Bush, which is why I don‘t think it‘s going to happen.

MATTHEWS:  The last thing we need is a fancy-dancy signing ceremony and pass out a bunch of pens again to people so they can shine.

Anyway, Todd Harris, stay with us.  Ron Reagan, stay with us.  And thank you, Senator, who‘s been staying with us, sitting and listening to all this.

We‘re going to have Tony Snow to make his case for this when he comes on later in the program.

You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  We‘re continuing with Todd Harris and Ron Reagan.

Let me go to you, Todd Harris.  This is an argument that‘s going to go on and on and on.  If you can‘t verify that a person is in this country legally, then you cannot enforce the border.  Unless we have an ID card which allows a person going looking for a job to prove to an employer they‘re in this country legally, whether they have a green card or they‘re native-born or they‘re a naturalized, whatever, you can‘t have an enforceable immigration law.  And I keep having candidates who refuse to support such a measure.

HARRIS:  Well, Chris, I think a lot of the candidates, with the sole exception of my old straight-talking boss, John McCain, they‘re all running as fast as they possibly can from this issue, whether it‘s the national ID card, whether it‘s the issue of what to do with the 12 million who are already here, or whether it‘s specific plans abut how we‘re going to secure permanently our border, so we don‘t have another situation like we did in 1986, where as you said, we legalized everyone, and what that did is that sent a message south of our border, Come one, come all, and if you wait it out long enough, you‘ll be here for the rest of your lives.

MATTHEWS:  Let me go on to this situation in the campaign, Ron—Ron Reagan.  Let me ask you about Hillary Clinton.  This is dramatic.  She is really sweeping ahead up in New Hampshire.  It‘s still the first big primary state, and she‘s doing incredibly well up there.  Apparently, according to the national polling we just got today, her advantage in the polls over Barack Obama and the other Democratic wannabes is women.  And this shouldn‘t surprise us.  Women are so proud to have a first woman candidate who has a real shot at winning that they‘re overwhelming supporting Hillary over the other candidates, especially women who have needs.  It‘s called “women with needs,” is the category, women who haven‘t gotten a college degree, are working hard there to provide for families or living alone, and they really like Hillary.  Could this be the decisive factor in this campaign, women with needs voting for Hillary?

REAGAN:  Well, it could be in the primaries.  As you get to more educated women, they tend to favor Barack Obama more than uneducated women do.  I‘m not sure that it‘s going to hold or do her so much good in the general election, should she win the primaries.  There are other polls out that show that Republican women, 40-some-odd percent of Republican women, would refuse to vote for Hillary Clinton under any circumstances.  So she still remains a terribly divisive candidate, when you talk about the general population, and still remains the candidate that most Republicans say they would like to run against.

MATTHEWS:  Todd, what happens when a mother goes to vote next November in the general election, and Hillary‘s the Democratic nominee, and this is a mother of daughters.  Isn‘t there going to be an incentive—I think the phrase, the first time situation—where maybe a woman running 20 years from now or 30 years from now, if you‘ve had a woman president or two, it wouldn‘t be such an issue.  But isn‘t the so eventful for women to have to vote for a woman, just so they can say to their daughters, Hey, look, you got a chance to be president, as well as your brother?

HARRIS:  Well, Chris, I fist have to say you talked about changing the terminology with immigration—I love this “woman of needs” term.  We used to call them, you know, lower-income, lower-educated, uneducated, but now it‘s “women of needs.”  But let me tell you...

MATTHEWS:  (INAUDIBLE) are you talking down to women?  Let me tell you...


MATTHEWS:  I wouldn‘t do that.  First of all, it‘s not fair.  Secondly, you‘re going to get in trouble by nightfall.  But let me tell you something.  Women with child care challenges—if you‘re making $20,000 or $30,000 a year and you‘re providing for a family, it‘s very hard to afford day care.  It‘s very hard, very hard.

HARRIS:  The whole premise behind this survey I think is actually very bad news for Hillary Clinton because if her entire victory margin is predicated on this notion that she is going to sweep the female vote, like she‘s doing currently, I think once women go through and examine all of these candidates, you know, I think that that actually presents a fairly large problem for her.  This early in the cycle...


HARRIS:  ... voters—voters tend to look for commonalities.  Is the candidate Republican, Democrat, white, black?  Very superficial indicators...


HARRIS:  ... and superficial levers—levels. 


HARRIS:  So, it is not surprising to me that she is doing well...


HARRIS:  ... among women.

MATTHEWS:  Well...

HARRIS:  But as the campaign develops, that could really change.

MATTHEWS:  Todd, you won‘t know.  You will never know, Todd, because women don‘t have to tell us who they are going to vote for.  It‘s a secret ballot.


MATTHEWS:  Anyway, thank you, Todd Harris.  It‘s great to have you on the show.

HARRIS:  Thank you. 

MATTHEWS:  Ron, as always, sir.

REAGAN:  Thank you. 

MATTHEWS:  Up next:  White House spokesman Tony Snow is coming to join us on HARDBALL from the White House—Tony Snow coming up on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back. 

President Bush made a rare visit to the Capitol today, as he once more tried to sell his illegal immigration bill. 

He took with him White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, who joins us now.

Tony, were you in the room when the president made his hard sell for immigration reform? 

TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  I was in the room, but he did not do a hard sell. 

As a matter of fact, the first thing he said, Chris, is, look, guys, I know that there are agreements and disagreements here.  You have got to keep in mind, first thing off, we are friends.

And he reached out to Senator Jeff Sessions, and he said, Senator, I know you disagree with me, but there‘s nothing you can do to prevent me from coming down to Mobile next week to raise money for you.  And I think that kind of broke the ice, and people realized that the president there was really talking about how to improve a bill that addresses a problem everybody acknowledges exists, and that we have got to deal with and we have got to fix.

And I think, from then on, what you had were a series of conversations not merely about immigration reform.  We talked about a whole series of things.  But, basically, the tone was very constructive.  It was pleasant.  It was collegial.  And the attitude now seems to be, on the part of a lot of folks, let‘s roll up our sleeves and fix this thing.  And let‘s do it together.

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you this.  How does an employer who wants to hire somebody know that a person is in the country legally?  How do you avoid breaking the law?  If you are running a hotel, or you are running a golf course, or you are running a business of any kind...

SNOW:  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  ... and you want to make sure you don‘t hire anybody in the country illegally, how do you know that?


SNOW:  Right now, it‘s almost impossible.

As you know, there‘s a brisk business in document fraud and forgery. 

And one of the key elements—you were talking about this not so long ago

in the president‘s proposal is to come up with a tamper-proof idea, something that has biometric markers, fingerprint or something, that you can‘t fake, that provides proof certain of who the individual is.

And, at that point, then you are in the position to figure out whether somebody is here illegally.  And, furthermore, the government has the ability to keep track of those individuals.  And, at the same time, it also is in a position then to say to employers, you now have no excuses. 


SNOW:  If you do not have that proof certainly, then guess what?  You cannot hire the person, or you‘re going to pay the piper. 

MATTHEWS:  So, if I go looking for a job, somebody is going to ask me for an I.D. card, a biometrically demonstrated—a tamper-proof I.D. card; is that right? 

SNOW:  Could be.  You know, there are a lot of states where...

MATTHEWS:  No, what do you mean could?  Wait a minute.  This is very much important.  You can‘t say could be, Tony. 

If I have to get a job, anybody has to get a job, we have to have the same law for everyone, or this is all B.S.  Is there going to be a national I.D. card you have to show? 

SNOW:  Well, wait a minute.

Chris, you—I know you are a big star, but your passport will also work.  I mean, there are some things where you have got the kinds of I.D.  that it‘s going to pass muster. 

But the fact is...


MATTHEWS:  But that‘s the stuff that has always been bogus.


SNOW:  Wait.  Wait.  Let me finish.


SNOW:  Let me finish.  I‘m still trying to answer your question. 

MATTHEWS:  Right.  But...

SNOW:  Virtually every state has also signed on to something called Real I.D., which, in fact, does include those markers.  So, there‘s a real chance that, in fact, you are going to get your—exactly what you want, and which makes sense, which is to have a system where you‘re going to have to make sure that everybody is legit. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, this is—I‘m reading from “The New York Times” today, front-page story.  But the Senate bill—that‘s the bill that the president is pushing, and you‘re helping him push—like the 1986 law, -- quote—“forbids the use of national identification cards.”

SNOW:  On the other hand, keep in mind, this does not—forbidding a national identification card does not, in fact, preclude having a tamper-proof identification card that itself contains markers. 

As I have just told you, every state has an obligation now to come up with Real I.D.  That is also federal law.  And it would have the same kind of markers.  It does not mean that it would be a federal card, but it does mean that, in each and every state, individuals would have to have it. 

MATTHEWS:  But everything now is bogus, because everything is forged now.  That is the problem.  You addressed it yourself. 

If we can‘t prevent people from hiring people illegally, they‘re going to keep climbing across the border.

SNOW:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  We know that.  And, yet, you can‘t—explain to me.

You said, I could go show a passport.  Well, then I could forge a passport, because they‘re forgeable. 

SNOW:  Well, but what you can‘t forge is your fingerprint. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, how do we—are we going to...

SNOW:  Again, that gets back to the—let‘s—let me step back. 

You have got Real I.D. requirements, which are going to affect you and me.  And they will have biometric markers.  Everybody is supposed to have them.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Well, then it‘s, in effect, a national I.D. card.

SNOW:  In addition, for those who are here illegally, they will have those as well.

MATTHEWS:  So, in effect, we‘re going to have a national I.D. card system?  Maybe it‘s a card or not.  It‘s a national system of identification and verification, you‘re saying?

SNOW:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, why is everybody screaming about this?  Rudy Giuliani says it is only for aliens.  Romney says it is just for aliens.  Every time I moderate one of these debates or talk to these candidates, they give me the B.S.  They say, only foreigners have to have an I.D. card.  Americans don‘t.


MATTHEWS:  Well, that can‘t be the case.  It has got to be the same rule for everybody.  That is what—that is why this bill is not going anywhere, Tony, because people are not talking straight about it. 

If we‘re going to be able to verify a job-seeker, then you and I have to be verified just as well as anybody who came here from Mexico.  And that is what nobody seems to want to—why do we read this sentence, the Senate bill forbids the use of national I.D. cards?  What‘s the point of saying that, if that‘s—if it‘s really going to have a national identification system? 

SNOW:  As I was saying, Chris, you are going to have the ability—what you want is a one-size-fit-all, everybody has the same I.D.

What I‘m telling is that there are going to be requirements for biometric markers.  And, so, I think we‘re talking past each other.  This is not a deal-killer.  As a matter of fact, you have got provisions now that are going to have...


SNOW:  ... requirements for you and me.  And there are going to be a separate set of requirements with the same kind of markers for those who come here illegally. 


Well, like most Americans, I don‘t trust the United States government to enforce the law, because it never has in the past...

SNOW:  Well...

MATTHEWS:  ... especially with regard to immigration.  It panders to business and to the groups that want to come in the country.  It does not enforce the law. 

You‘re telling me, starting after this bill is signed in the Rose Garden, all of a sudden, the United States government is going to get serious about preventing people from hiring people illegally? 

SNOW:  Yes.  Let me...


MATTHEWS:  And you believe that?

SNOW:  Let me draw a couple of distinctions between present law and what we‘re proposing here.

Number one, you have already pointed out the tamper-proof I.D.  Under the 1986 reforms, there was no punishment for crossing the border illegally.  There—it wasn‘t even—it was a civil infraction, not even a misdemeanor, if you stayed here illegally.  And, finally, if you were an employer who hired illegally, you got a wrist slap, at the worst.

MATTHEWS:  Yes, I know.

SNOW:  So, the fact is, there was no enforcement.

Now the employers have to have proof of citizenship.  And, if they don‘t, they get fines of up to $75,000...


SNOW:  ... per illegal employee. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Great.  Tony...

SNOW:  There is a much bigger hammer. 

And guess what?  We‘re about to have a thunderstorm here, Chris.   

MATTHEWS:  Thank you.  Get inside, Tony. 

Thank you very much for joining us on HARDBALL, Tony Snow, spokesman for the president.

Up next:  As Hillary Clinton‘s vote—was her vote for the Iraq war about policy or politics?

You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC. 


J.J. RAMBERG, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  I‘m J.J. Ramberg with breaking news for you: a potentially serious problem with the space shuttle Atlantis, although, right now, NASA is downplaying the situation. 

NASA says it recorded a hit on the shuttle‘s left wing that may have damaged two carbon heat panels.  The panels protect the shuttle from the heat of reentry.  Atlantis has been docked since Sunday with the International Space Station.  Now, the area hit is the same area where foam damaged the shuttle Columbia‘s left wing, causing it to break up during reentry in 2003.

A group of experts is studying the strike, which may have been caused by a meteorite or space junk.  NASA has a highly sensitive laser camera on board that can be used by the astronauts to take a look.  And, if needed, astronauts can do a personal inspection during a space walk scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. 

Again, NASA says it recorded a hit on the left wing of the space shuttle Atlantis, which is docked with the International Space Station.  But, right now, they‘re downplaying the situation—back now to HARDBALL. 

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

Was Hillary Clinton‘s vote for the Iraq war back in 2002 based on policy or just politics? 

Ed Schultz is a radio talk show host.  And Don Van Natta is an investigative reporter for “The New York Times” and co-author of the new book “Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

Let me start with Don.

Do you have a case to make that Hillary Clinton voted for the war because of the usual political reasons, or is it a deeper, more thoughtful, more national reason why she supported the war? 


RODHAM CLINTON”:  Well, it is a much more nuanced reason than just simply politics. 

But politics was part of the calculation.  She was trying to establish her national security credentials with this vote.  And she also had to deal with her husband‘s, President Clinton‘s, Iraq legacy. 

Remember that President Clinton, while he was president, said that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction.  In December of 1998, he bombed some of those sites in Iraq.  So, she was sort of hemmed in a bit by her husband‘s legacy and what she was trying to establish as, potentially, a future commander in chief. 

MATTHEWS:  But her husband never invaded Iraq. 

VAN NATTA:  No, he did not.

But she really was sort of hemmed in by these—by these things with her husband and also with—look, she had a big problem.  Her problem was, she knew, down the road, she was going to run and try to be the first woman president.  She had to show her toughness. 

She‘s from a state of New York that was attacked on 9/11.  And that was part of the calculations.  We don‘t assert in the book that that is the only reason. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

VAN NATTA:  We have a much more nuanced description of it.

MATTHEWS:  Well...

VAN NATTA:  But those were certainly part of the calculation. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask Ed Schultz.

Do you believe that Hillary Clinton, one of the reasons she had for voting for the war resolution was to look like Margaret Thatcher, to look tough? 

ED SCHULTZ, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Chris, I think she has got a pattern of credibility with the armed services.  She is on the Armed Services Committee.  She has been very supportive of the Mountain Division that came out of New York.  It is true, obviously, 9/11.

But keep in mind that Hillary Clinton went over to Afghanistan and went over to Iraq in ‘03, and came back, and said, we don‘t have enough troops.  So, she has been out in front of this all along.

She has given the president of the United States everything he has needed to execute this operation in Iraq...

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

SCHULTZ:  ... until the most recent vote, when she said, enough is enough. 

So, Hillary, hawkish, that is a story that is comfortable with a lot of Americans.  They believe that she would definitely defend the country, and go after terrorists, and probably do more to go get bin Laden than anybody else has so far.  She has not forgotten about bin Laden.  And she would support the troops. 

This was a policy vote the last time around.  But, on record, she has given Bush everything he has wanted to go after terrorists. 

MATTHEWS:  so, Hillary is a hawk?

SCHULTZ:  I think Hillary is a hawk.  In fact, I think she would probably do a better job on terrorism than Bush has done. 

VAN NATTA:  Well...

MATTHEWS:  What is your assessment, Don?  Is Hillary a hawk or a dove?  Is you had to put it one way or the other—and most of politics is yes or no, yea or nay—is she a hawk or a dove when it comes to the Middle East?

VAN NATTA:  Well, you know, Chris, she has been—she has been all over the place. 

She was the most hawkish Democrat in 2002, when she made this vote. 

She said there was a link between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, which...

MATTHEWS:  Where did she get that little sugarplum?

VAN NATTA:  Well, that‘s a good question.  She didn‘t read the national intelligence estimate, the 90-page classified document. 

SCHULTZ:  Neither did anybody else. 

VAN NATTA:  Well...


SCHULTZ:  Neither did anybody else. 

MATTHEWS:  What, did she get that from Toby Keith‘s—did that come from lyrics.


SCHULTZ:  John McCain didn‘t read it either.


MATTHEWS:  Did she get that from lyrics or what?  I never heard...

SCHULTZ:  John McCain didn‘t read it either.  And you know it.


MATTHEWS:  Well, that came from Cheney, actually. 

VAN NATTA:  But here‘s the—that‘s right. 

But here‘s the point.  This is the most important vote of Hillary Clinton‘s life.  She said that.  It‘s the hardest decision she had to make.  She did not do her homework before doing it.  And she went on the Senate floor—nobody else did—not even Joe Lieberman among the Democrats did this—went...


VAN NATTA:  ... on the Senate floor and she said there was a link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. 


Let‘s go to some real controversy here.  In your book, “Her Way,” you say that Bill and Hillary Clinton had a 20-year project for both of them to be president.

“More than three decades ago,” you quoted, “in the earliest days of their romance, Bill and Hillary struck a plan, one that would become both the foundation and the engine of their relationship.  They agreed to work together to revolutionize the Democratic Party and, ultimately, make the White House their home.  Once their 20-year project was realized, with Bill‘s victory in 1992, their plan became even more ambitious: eight years as president for him, then eight years for her.”

To what extent can you prove that they had such a plan, Don? 

VAN NATTA:  Well, Leon Panetta, who was White House chief of staff in 1996, heard Bill Clinton say it.  The words “20-year project” came out of Bill Clinton‘s mouth in a conversation with Leon Panetta on Air Force One.  We have Leon Panetta on the record saying it.

We have a second source who heard Bill Clinton say it during the ‘90s while he was president.

MATTHEWS:  Did that 20-year—did that 20 years refer to the period 1980 through 2000, when he went from being governor to president?  Or do you suggest or argue that that refers to his presidency, followed by Hillary‘s president? 

VAN NATTA:  No, no, I‘m only talking about the 20-year project, Chris. 

That is from the mid-70s.

MATTHEWS:  Right.  

VAN NATTA:  Before they even exchange their marriage vows...


VAN NATTA:  ... they exchange their political vows. 

That other issue about the eight years for him followed by eight years for her, Bill Clinton said that to Taylor Branch.  Taylor Branch said it to two people, who told us on the record about it. 

MATTHEWS:  And then denied it?

VAN NATTA:  Taylor Branch—we actually contacted Taylor Branch. 

Taylor Branch wouldn‘t comment about it for us.  And now he says he definitely did not say it.  But he couldn‘t remember it when we asked him about.  He is one of Bill Clinton‘s best friends. 

MATTHEWS:  I know that very well.  Look, here‘s Senator Clinton‘s office.  Here‘s what she had to say in her statement today, her way, “there may debate about whether Tony Soprano died, but one thing is clear, this book is dead on arrival.”

Well, that was—you know, that‘s Capital Hill trash talk. I don‘t know what to make of it.  Let me got to Ed Schultz.  What do you make of the charges that Clintons had this thing planned from day one, that they were going to share—sort of like William and Mary back in England, they were going to be dual monarchs, with one following the other in power?

SCHULTZ:  Chris, I think it is a sad day in America when this is the best critique we give of a couple that has got a record of public service and wanting to help people, that they would actually have a goal in life.  Look at the lack of participation of one young people in this country, and here you have the Clintons making an example.  There‘s nothing wrong with setting a goal to be president of the United States. 

There‘s nothing wrong with couples setting political goals.  The fact is the Clinton years were productive for this country and a lot of people, especially in the Midwest, are looking for maybe more of the same if Hillary can win the nomination.  I think it‘s great.  What a great example for young people that it is good to have a goal and move forward. 

They didn‘t break any laws doing this.  They had a goal.  They want to help people. 

VAN NATTA:  Chris, we don‘t make any judgment that it‘s a bad thing or a good thing.  We simply report this.  This is news.  This is interesting.  It‘s revealing.  In Hillary Clinton‘s own book, her autobiography, “Living History,” she doesn‘t signal impulse at all for ambition.  It is incredible.  She says that she ran for the Senate basically by popular demand. 

MATTHEWS:  You know what, I‘ve yet to read a biography where the person who is being profiled admits to any ambition.  It‘s the one thing missing from every political biography, the admission of their ambition to rule.  They all have it.  I think Jack Kennedy was the closest.  He said—

Ed knows this.  Jack Kennedy once said, I want to be president because that is where the action is.  That has a couple of meanings too. 

Anyway, thank you Ed Schultz.  Good luck with the book Don Van Natta.  The book is called “Her Way.”  Here it is.  It‘s up there on the best seller list. 

Up next, Hillary has a huge lead among women right now.  Will she hold it?  This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  Time now to dig in to all of the headlines we‘ve brought you today.  Our panel tonight, MSNBC political analyst and “Newsweek‘s” big guy, Howard Fineman, and the “Chicago Tribune‘s” Jill Zuckman, and “Human Events‘” Terry Jeffrey.  There you are Terry. 

First up, how honest is Hillary?  The “Washington Post” reports today that Hillary‘s 15 point lead over Obama is directly attributable to women.  But the poll also shows a big gap between Hillary and Obama among college educated women, where they‘re split.  And also, two and half to one in this poll they believe that Hillary is not as honest as Obama. 

Jill Zuckman, you are the women here.  You start this.  Why don‘t college educated women believe that Hillary is as honest—anywhere near as honest as Obama? 

JILL ZUCKMAN, “THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE”:  I do not know why she is not attracting them as much as other women.  But she is killing all the other candidates when it comes to women who do not have college degrees, who are working for a living. 


ZUCKMAN:  Because they are worried about everyday issues like health care and day care.  They believe that she is going to meet those needs. 

MATTHEWS:  Terry Jeffrey, I agree.  I know it might sound a bit socialist even, but there are things that women who work hard for a living desperately need from their government, like child care at a reasonable rate.  And with good child care, they need kindergarten, pre-kindergarten.  They need Social Security for their parents, Medicaid, all government programs, and women who are hard up need that help.  They vote Democrat. 

TERRY JEFFREY, “HUMAN EVENTS”:  Well, you know, I think there is truth in that, Chris.  I‘ll admit that.  If you read Hillary‘s book, “It Takes a Village,” she has a socialist, big government program for everything, including taking care of your pre-schooler from virtually the time of birth. 

But I think maybe one of the reasons more educated women aren‘t as happy with her, and don‘t see her as honest is at the same time Hillary basically is a hard-left, big-government politician, she understands it is very difficult for someone that liberal to get elected president.  So she often tries to present herself, at least cosmetically, as being more conservative, more at the center than she actually is.  And I suspect well educated people who really pay attention understand that. 

MATTHEWS:  Howard, how can she played both markets?  How can she play the people who are hard up and really need things like health care, and really need, and, at the same time, appeal to the college-educated elite, if you will, as a person who believes in less government? 

HOWARD FINEMAN, “NEWSWEEK”:  Well, I think she‘s going to try to guilt-trip the latter while she plays to the former.  I think the—

MATTHEWS:  Are you laughing, Terry Jeffrey?

FINEMAN:  The thing with educated women that I‘ve talked to about Hillary; it is not the political dimension that Terry was talking about.  It is personal one.  They don‘t like Hillary‘s sense of aggrievement about her life.  They don‘t like Hillary saying, I‘m this big career woman who was done it all on my own—

MATTHEWS:  -- and you owe me. 

FINEMAN:  -- and you owe me.  And because they know that the fact that she is married to the guy who was president of the United States has something to do with the fact that she is in the position she is in now. 


ZUCKMAN:  I think that the women who have college degrees and graduate degrees are the elite.  And the elite voters in this country, they tend to go for the Bill Bradley‘s and the Tsongas‘s—

MATTHEWS:  Gary Hart.

ZUCKMAN:  -- and the Gary Hart‘s, who do not make it to the finish line. 

MATTHEWS:  And the Obamas?

ZUCKMAN:  And that may be—

MATTHEWS:  You‘re so right.  The Ron Brownstein argument form the “L.A. Times;” the Democratic party is divided between the idealist and the interests.  Hillary is winning with the interest.  And, by the way, the interest crowd always wins. 

FINEMAN:  In that sense, Hillary is profoundly un-ideological. 

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s have some fun here.  Fred Thompson gunning to the front.  He is not even in the race yet officially and he‘s already beating most of the Republican field.  A new “L.A. Times” poll—Bloomberg Poll just came out and shows he is right at the front of the line, right behind Rudy.  Twenty seven percent Rudy.  Thompson is at 21.  McCain back at 12.  Romney way back at 10.

What is the story about Jill?  Again, how did this guy, who is only known for a TV for most—although I go to every movie there is and I see him in all these movies—how did this guy bump John McCain, war hero, been around forever, and also—who‘s the other guy he bumped—Romney already?  Romney already.

ZUCKMAN:  The grass is always greener on the other side, and I think the minute he gets in, he is going to get the full treatment from the media that everybody gets. 

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s go to “Human Events” on this one.  Terry, will the conservatives, cultural conservatives, like thyself, give this guy a break? 

JEFFREY:  I think it is an open question, Chris.  I think he has a tremendous opportunity here.  I think the reason he has vaulted so high in the polls so quickly is because conservatives are dissatisfied with Rudy Giuliani as the front runner, and they‘re dissatisfied with McCain and Romney as his principle challengers. 

However, when Fred Thompson was in the Unite States Senate, both times he ran for the Senate he ran as a pro-choice candidate.  He was against the Republican pro-life plank in 1996, when I was out in San Diego fighting to keep it in the platform.  And I think he has to explain much more persuasively than Mitt Romney did why it is that he is now a pro-life.  And I think if he does that persuasively and successfully, I think he has a very good chance at getting the Republican nomination. 

MATTHEWS:  What is this an inquisition now?  you don‘t expect candidates to agree with you deep down; you just want them to sign the dotted line? 

JEFFREY:  No, I think you do.  I think pro-lifers do believe that people will sincerely convert to their cause, because they understand it is a right and just cause.  And that is really what we are all about.  I think Mitt Romney has a problem because he flip-flopped on some issues, and so close to going from being governor to Massachusetts, where there‘s a mandate really for him to be a liberal on those issues politically, to trying to get the Republican nomination, where it pays to be conservative on those things politically. 

If Thompson can simply avoid the problem, I think pro-lifers will accept him, if he persuades them that he‘s really with them. 

MATTHEWS:  The job‘s open.

FINEMAN:  He has to be a convincing flip flopper. 


FINEMAN:  If he can be a convincing flip flopper, great.  But he walks the walk.  He talks the talk. 

MATTHEWS:  What kind of world is it?  As long as you flip with dignity

FINEMAN:  Yes, it‘s like the tax pledge.  It‘s like—

MATTHEWS:  We‘ll be right back with the panel.  I do think there was an opening when Frist didn‘t run, and when George Allen got into trouble with macaca.  That southern cultural base is wide open and this big guys is lumbering through it, as you saw in that new “L.A. Times poll,” already number two, right at the top of the list with Rudy. 

You‘re watching HARDBALL.  Stay with these guys.  They will be with us.  The panel sticks with us on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:  We‘re back with “Newsweek‘s” Howard Fineman, “The Chicago Tribune‘s” Jill Zuckman and “Human Events‘” Terry Jeffrey.  Next up, Rudy‘s rough day.  This morning, Rudy Giuliani gave a major sale pitch to the country, his 12 commitments to America.  He sold himself as a true Republican on economic concerns, social issues, the national security, of course.  But did it have enough oomph?  And how about this little stumble. 


RUDY GIULIANI ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Apparently I skipped over one of my 12 commitments.  And the one that I skipped over is—how could I skip that one?  Oh, my goodness. 

Yes, I will cut taxes and reform the tax code. 


MATTHEWS:  Well maybe it wasn‘t that strong a commitment, because it dropped from the wall there.  OK, do these theatrical miscues mean anything or what?

FINEMAN:  That was a bad one to make in New Hampshire.  Cutting taxes is a religion in New Hampshire. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes, you don‘t forget that one.

FINEMAN:  I was reading his 12 points.  I mean, it‘s theater.  I don‘t think it does him any good particularly. 

MATTHEWS:  How about decreasing the number of abortions? 

FINEMAN:  I think that‘s important for him, because he‘s arguing that even though he‘s pro-choice, that he really worked hard and had a good record in New York as mayor of reducing the number of abortions.

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s ask a man who cares deeply about this, Terry Jeffrey.  Will a man who—for a woman‘s right to decide on abortion—I hate choose.  It sounds too light hearted.  But believes in a woman‘s ultimate decision making right; can that person win some conservative support by saying he will actively move to encourage adoption, education, whatever that reduces the number of abortions in the country significantly? 

JEFFREY:  I don‘t think anybody who‘s serious about the pro-life cause will vote for Rudy Giuliani or support him in a Republican primary.  I think it‘s pretty much a litmus test of whether someone‘s serious about the issue. 

MATTHEWS:  You mean—but you‘re really saying that people who are pro-life are always one issue voters, is what you‘re saying.  You‘re saying that, aren‘t you? 

JEFFREY:  Certainly, I think especially in a Republican primary, where you have pro-life choices.  If you‘re a pro-life person, Chris, you believe what an abortion does it deliberately takes the life of an innocent child.  You also understand, if you follow American politics closely enough to be active in Republican primaries, that there‘s only one pro-life party in this country.  It‘s the Republicans. 

MATTHEWS:  I agree.  You mean to tell me, Terry Jeffrey, that if a person has to vote for Huckabee or any of the other candidates, Brownback, over Rudy Giuliani, that they will decide on that one issue and go against Rudy?  You‘re saying that?

JEFFREY:  Absolutely.  What I said is this is a litmus test for people who are serious about the pro-life cause.  If you are serious about pro-life, you will not vote for Rudy Giuliani in the primaries, period.  Absolutely you will not vote for this guy.  I‘d like to know, by the way, who made up Rudy‘s 12 points, because apparently he didn‘t write them. 

MATTHEWS:  You know what I think?  I disagree with you.  I think a lot of people who are pro-life, who are Catholic, have other religious beliefs about abortion rights, are going to vote for Rudy, because they like the fact he fights for the security of the country, and, quite honestly, because he comes from the same background they did.  What do you think, Jill?

ZUCKMAN:  I think it‘s fine for a Democrat to say abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. 

MATTHEWS:  If they mean it.

ZUCKMAN:  Let‘s have fewer abortions.  But I don‘t think it works so well among the base of the Republican party.  That‘s not what they‘re looking for.  They‘re looking for no abortions. 

FINEMAN:  He knows he‘s not going to get any votes on this, but he had to make it one of the 12 as a defensive measure. 

MATTHEWS:  How can the Republican party of Pennsylvania, which you and I are from, which is on paper, at least, very pro-life—The fact of the matter is Rudy‘s walking away with the polling up there.  Explain that.  How is Rudy walking away with the polls in Pennsylvania among Republicans, if it‘s a pro-life party?  Jill?  I think people look at a variety of issues.  I don‘t think people are just one issue voters like Terry is. 

JEFFREY:  Chris, you‘re talking about Pennsylvania.  Pennsylvania elected Bob Casey, a pro-life Democrat, and Arlen Specter, a pro-abortion Republican.  I would submit that Pennsylvania is an anomalous state, somewhat like Massachusetts, where the Republicans tend to be more pro-choice than the Democrats.  You have a Catholic Democrat base in Pennsylvania that is socially conservative.  They elected Bob Casey‘s governor father—

MATTHEWS:  Tom Ridge. 

JEFFREY:  They elected Tom Ridge, a pro-abortion Republican governor.

MATTHEWS:  You keep saying this pro-abortion.  He‘s for abortion rights. 

JEFFREY:  He‘s for legalized killing of unborn children. 

MATTHEWS:  OK, you‘re never going to win the argument like that.  Anyway, thank you Jill.  Thank you Terry for coming on.  Howard Fineman, as always.  Join us again tomorrow night at 5:00 and 7:00 Eastern for more HARDBALL.



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