updated 4/7/2010 10:18:43 AM ET 2010-04-07T14:18:43

Guest: David Corn, Steve Kornacki, Peter Galbraith, David Ignatius, Daniel

Kane, Richard Stengel


Let‘s play HARDBALL.

Good evening.  I‘m Chris Matthews in Washington.  Leading off tonight:

Teapot doom!  Here they come.  We‘ve got a death threat up in Seattle, a

noisy town meeting down in Ft. Lauderdale, another on up in New Hampshire,

and a nasty racial attack down in Georgia.  We‘ve got some mad haters out

there in the tea parties, and of course, the steam is not blowing over. 

Wait until you hear the latest racial—or racist voicemail some character

left to Civil Rights hero U.S. Congressman John Lewis on his phone.  And

wait until you hear how Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was greeted

at her town hall meeting last night in Ft. Lauderdale.  And now comes the

arrest of some fellow for threatening to kill Senator Patty Murray in the

state of Washington.

Plus: Wrong-way Karzai.  Did you catch Afghanistan‘s Hamid Karzai

saying if foreigners, as he called them, don‘t step meddling in

Afghanistan, he‘s going to join the Taliban?  Foreigners meddling?  Isn‘t

he being defended day and night by American soldiers?  Well, earlier today

on MSNBC, the former deputy U.N. envoy to Afghanistan, Peter Galbraith,

questions Karzai‘s mental stability.  What makes me think we‘re going—

well, we‘re going back to the Diem regime back in Vietnam.  That‘s not a

nice place to go.

Also, that mining tragedy in West Virginia is a tragic notice of the

failure of some mining companies to keep their workers safe.  Well, last

year, the operator of the mine was assessed $900,000 in penalties for

hundreds of safety violations.  Was this mine disaster, the one right now,


Plus, an impressive gesture of chivalry by Senator Tom Coburn toward

Nancy Pelosi at a Republican town meeting in Oklahoma.  We‘re going to have

that in the “Sideshow.”

But “Let Me Finish” tonight by playing you that voicemail, that racist

voicemail that was left for U.S. Congressman John Lewis, a bit of hard

documentation that U.S. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has been denying

even exists.

We start with the death threat against Senator Patty Murray of the

state of Washington.  Pete Williams is NBC News justice correspondent. 

This is a crime.  How serious is it, Pete?

PETE WILLIAMS, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Oh, it‘s very serious.  It‘s a

felony.  Threatening a member of Congress in retaliation for what they do

or to threaten them to prevent them from doing something is punishable by

10 years in prison, Chris.

What federal authorities say is this man, who‘s identified Charles

Allen Wilson (ph), did is repeatedly call and leave voice messages on the

Seattle voicemail system of Senator Patty Murray.  The staff notified the

FBI, saying this guy‘s called all the time, but around the time of the

health care bill, his threats began to get more serious, into death


The FBI quotes him extensively from the voicemail messages in a

federal indictment.  He says, “If I had the chance, I would do it”—

talking about killing Senator Murray.  “I want to kill you,” he says.  “Not

only do I say kill the bill, I say kill the senator.”  And he also says, “I

would actually pay to help that person.”

Now, he says he‘s not a Republican, he‘s not a Democrat, he‘s not in

the tea party, he‘s just furious at her for passing the—for voting for

the health care bill.  Now, he blocked his phone number so that if you

looked on caller ID, you wouldn‘t see a phone number.  But of course, that

didn‘t stop the FBI from getting his phone number.  Then agents, to be sure

it was him, actually called him, pretending to be from a phony group that

opposed the health care law, talked to him for about 14 minutes...

MATTHEWS:  OK, thank you.

WILLIAMS:  He said in that conversation...

MATTHEWS:  Thank you...

WILLIAMS:  ... he called her several times, Chris.

MATTHEWS:  Thank you so much, Pete Williams.

Right now, we have to go to West Virginia and a news conference on

that deadly mine disaster.




I‘m going to ask everybody to continue to be respectful—to continue to

be respectful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  How can you be respectful to us when you lie?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Congresswoman, who gave you the right or the

authority to determine whether or not I have to purchase health care?


MATTHEWS:  Wow, (INAUDIBLE) direct question.  Do I have to buy health

care?  Last Wednesday, at a senior center in Manchester, New Hampshire,

Democratic Congressman Paul Hodes, who‘s running for the Senate, was

rebuffed by a constituent when he tried to shake her hand.  The constituent

said, I don‘t want to shake your hand, you voted for health care, so just


And hours after health care reform passed the House, Democratic

congressman John Lewis received this voicemail.



get some (EXPLETIVE DELETED) health insurance.  I ain‘t paying no

(EXPLETIVE DELETED) fine.  Tell that (EXPLETIVE DELETED) he can come put my

(EXPLETIVE DELETED) in jail if he don‘t like it.


MATTHEWS:  Well, it gets much worse and much more racist.  We‘re going

to have the rest of the tape in the rest of the program.

I‘m joined right now by David Corn of “Mother Jones” magazine and

Politicsdaily.com, and also Steve Kornacki of Salon.com.  Gentlemen, thank

you for joining us.  We‘re looking at an array of incidents here. 

Certainly the most serious is the death threat out in the state of

Washington to Patty Murray.  But also, we get this kind of—wait until

you hear this thing later in the program, the really racist kind of

language directed at John Lewis from Georgia.  We‘ve got this incident up

in New Hampshire, this incident down in Ft. Lauderdale, what looks to be a

middle class crowd.  Is this anger endemic or these isolated areas or is

this just the right wing finding another opportunity to complain about a

liberal president?

DAVID CORN, “MOTHER JONES”:  There is a fringe that is very angry.  We

won‘t know how big the fringe is until election day in November, and that‘s

what Democrats are worried about.  But in the meantime, what I think is

really noticeable about this is if you read the criminal complaint about

Charles Allen Wilson, the man who threatened Patty Murray, he repeats

Republican talking points—this bill is socialism, it‘s a baby killer and

it‘s going to have end-of-life classes, his version of “death panels.‘  And

he repeats that over and over and over...

MATTHEWS:  This guy...


CORN:  ... yes, on those he phone calls when he‘s threatening to kill

her or to help someone else kill her.  And so we see from the Republican

leadership, what they‘re saying—and you know, they can make their

arguments on policy grounds—is really, you know, fuelling the fires out

there.  And when you have Republicans having—we talked about this the

other day...


CORN:  ... having protest rallies on the Hill that they sponsor when

tea party and other people come and they call the Democrats Nazis, Nazis,

Nazis, and Republican leaders like John Boehner are waving to the crowd,

they‘re encouraging people to think of Democrats, indeed, as either Nazis,

socialist—and what do you do with people like that?  Well, sometimes you

take up arms against them.  So this is being encouraged, at least

implicitly, by Republican leaders.

MATTHEWS:  Well, it‘s much—it‘s more—it even gets worse than

that in terms of state officials.  Let me go right now—let me go to

Steve Kornacki—the same point.  It seems to me there are degrees of

this.  There are people like Bill McCollum running for—he‘s attorney

general of Florida.  He talks about this as an invasion of the sovereignty

of Florida, this bill.  They use words like “invasion.”  We‘ve got, of

course, the governor of Texas using words like “succession.”  You‘ve got,

We‘re going to meet them at the border, at the state line.  That‘s a phrase

used, We‘re going to meet the federal government at the state line, and

almost like a posse comitatus kind of thing, We‘re going to meet them with


There‘s a lot of reference—obviously, I‘ve had this dispute little

with Rush Limbaugh about the use of the word “regime” again and again and

again, or “junta,” that there are foreign elements.  It does play to the

black helicopter notion that somebody‘s coming to take over your country

and take over you.

STEVE KORNACKI, SALON.COM:  Well, I hate to say it, but I—there

isn‘t a whole lot that‘s new about this.  What is new is we live in an era

where we have the technology to really document all the episodes and all

the instances like this and we‘re able to really publicize it and get it

out there.  But imagine if we had the technology we now do—you know,

videocameras, the Internet, all that, audio equipment—you know, back

during Reconstruction.  Imagine if we had it during the debate over Social

Security.  Imagine if we had it—you know, had more of the Internet when

Medicare was pushed through in the 1960s.  Every major sort of progressive

action, every major piece of progressive legislation, you know, really in

American history has been met with this kind of fierce emotional,

irrational, hysterical backlash from the right.

And I think, again, you know, back during Reconstruction, I mean,

that‘s where you had the birth of the Ku Klux Klan, you know, in opposition

to, you know—you know, progressivism sort of making its way into the

South.  What‘s different now is—you know, David alluded to it—you‘ve

got guys like Glenn Beck out there who have, you know, this platform every

day on television, through the Internet, over the radio, where they can

reach millions of people and they can rile them up over something that

really—you know, when you look at what this health care law actually is

going to be, this is a very modest, incremental, you know, very sort of

pro-private sector, you know, piece of legislation.

I‘ve always said, you know, that people on the left have a lot more

reason to be mad with this legislation than people on the right.  But if

you look at the emotional sort of reactions to this, you‘d never get that


MATTHEWS:  Wait a minute.  Why would the people—just to get your

point completed there—why would the people on the left be angry about

this bill?

KORNACKI:  Well, because...

MATTHEWS:  It is progressive.

KORNACKI:  It is, in a sense, but it‘s also—you know, the biggest

winner in this, one of the biggest winners in this is the private insurance

companies.  And you look at the left, you know, the dream on the left for

years, for decades has been single-payer national health insurance in this



KORNACKI:  ... where we get the private—you know, the private

insurers out of the way.  They‘re stronger than ever now.

MATTHEWS:  Do you get angry when your dreams don‘t come true?


MATTHEWS:  I mean, that seems to me a different (INAUDIBLE) just a

small point.  But it seems like the right is angry with what they see as a

near and present danger, not the failure to reach a dream, but they fear—

they fear, first of all, the individual mandate.  And what I do hear coming

through this is not so much an anger about the fiscal impact of this bill,

which we don‘t fully understand, none of us do, and the numbers may be off,

and maybe there isn‘t enough clarity to the whole thing and what it‘s going

to do to people—but what you do hear is that sort of cowboy sense that,

This is going to threaten my freedom.  And you hear it about the individual

mandate.  That‘s what comes through.  That‘s the anger, the libertarian—

I find that interesting.  And that may be the long-term anger quotient


CORN:  Well, I think your point earlier was dead on.  I think people

believe they‘ve lost their country.  And you can come up with a lot of

different reasons why different people feel that way with the election of

Barack Obama.  There‘s some obvious reasons and there are some more subtle

ones.  And the health care bill has become the stand-in, the proof.  You

know, They‘re taking away our freedom, they‘re turning us into a socialist

United States.

Today, the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank here, said

that America is no longer a free nation, it‘s a mostly free nation.  They

rank countries every year and they dropped America.  So now we‘re living in

a not so free United States, according to the Heritage Foundation.

So people are picking up on this, and their paranoia is really, you

know, kicking in.  There was a lot of anticipation about what the health

care bill would do, but no one‘s even waiting to see that.  They‘re

already, you know, acting as if it is the worst case scenario.  And it‘s—

you know, first we had Obama, the foreigner, the guy who wasn‘t born here,

coming in and basically taking over the government, creating a regime, as

Rush Limbaugh calls it.  And now he‘s imposing socialism.  Anybody who

lives in a socialist country, whether it‘s Europe or anyplace else, would

be laughing at this, at the notion of socialism.


CORN:  But yet—so there is a—I mean, this has become the battle

front for people who are worried about the very nature of this country. 

And I think a lot of the worry is irrational, but they‘re directing (ph) it

in this—in this direction.


KORNACKI:  One thing I think we‘ve got to keep in mind is, you know,

this didn‘t start with health care.  Remember the 2008 campaign.  Remember

the fall of 2008, when you had people showing up at Obama rallies, you

know, Republicans showing up there, or you had Republican crowds at McCain-

Palin rallies that were calling him a socialist, that were calling him a

Marxist, that were saying this is—you know, this is the beginning of

communism in the United States.

So that was before he ever even proposed health care, let alone pushed

it through Congress.  So you know, I think this—one thing when we try to

understand the motivation on the right, I think what ties together, you

know, health care now, Medicare in the 1960s, Social Security in the 1930s,

all of these great progressive advances and sort of the reaction from the

right—I think what ties them all together is there‘s always this

fundamental sort of inherent fear of redistribution, the sense that, you

know, when the government gets involved—in terms of the right...


KORNACKI:  You know when the government gets involved, they‘re going

to take from me and they‘re going to give to someone else.  And one of the

amazing ironies sort of of this whole debate over health care is you have

people out there, you know, older people out there who are, you know,

leading the protests on health care, you know, who are also at the same

time on Medicare.  And you can imagine these same people...


MATTHEWS:  Steve, that‘s part of the propaganda problem here.  The

problem is that we don‘t think in terms of what the country would be like

if we didn‘t have Medicare for our parents as they get very old, in their

80s, for example, and they‘re still alive, and they need health care, a lot

of it, and they don‘t have any source of income.  They‘re not working every

morning.  They‘re not making a paycheck.  We don‘t think—what would it

be like in this country, Calcutta, poor people all over the place, old

people lying in the streets?  I mean, we don‘t think about what it would be

if we didn‘t have health care, if we didn‘t have Social Security for people

at the age of 65, if we didn‘t have unemployment compensation, if we didn‘t

have a progressive income tax.

There‘s a lot of things we don‘t think about, and when you—and the

right wing just pounds and pounds away at this idealistic notion of a

cowboy country where everybody‘s self-reliant.  Well, part of self-



CORN:  Except when it comes to the big banks and lots of other things,

where, you know, they don‘t get—the Republicans don‘t get so upset.

MATTHEWS:  I think the progressives, for all their power on the

blogosphere, have not done a positive case for the advantages of some kind

of social state.

CORN:  Well, Obama hasn‘t, either.

MATTHEWS:  I know.

CORN:  He‘s—you know, he‘s made this...

MATTHEWS:  They make it...


CORN:  ... a big—you know, a better business issue.

MATTHEWS:  OK, thank you so much.  Thank you, David Corn.  Thank you,

Steve Kornacki.

Coming up: What‘s going on with Afghanistan‘s President Karzai?  And

we mean it, what‘s going on?  He‘s threatening to join the Taliban if we

don‘t stop meddling in his country.  Weren‘t we the ones that put him in

power?  And just whose side is this guy on and how big a problem has he

become for President Obama?  They don‘t seem to be clicking, these two

fellows, after that midnight meeting.

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  The president of Afghanistan,

Hamid Karzai, has escalated a war of words with the U.S. ahead of a major

military offensive against the Taliban coming this summer.  He accused us

of perpetrating voter fraud in the last elections, and on Saturday, Karzai

told members of the Afghan parliament, quote, “If you and the international

community pressure me more, I swear that I‘m going to join the Taliban.”

How can we work with a leader who threatens to join the very forces

we‘re trying to defeat?  Peter Galbraith‘s a former U.N. deputy envoy to

Afghanistan.  Karzai recently took aim at him—direct aim at Galbraith

and actually accused him of trying to orchestrate electoral fraud over

there.  Galbraith was dismissed from his post last year after clashing with

his superiors over how to eliminate Afghans‘ widespread voter fraud.  Also

joining me is David Ignatius.

Let me go to Peter, though, first of all.  What is going on with

Karzai?  Is he a drug user, as far as you understand?


clearly not—not—not entirely normal, and that was an observation that

was also made by Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, who‘s a physician and who was his

principal opponent.  And this is fairly well known among diplomats in


You know, these kinds of tirades that he‘s produced are not rational. 

It can‘t possibly be rational for him to say that he‘s going to join the

enemy of the United States so—or to accuse the U.N. of fraud that he

himself committed.  Now, there are reports in the palace that—from the

place that he uses drugs, hashish.  I don‘t know the accuracy of that, but

I have some confidence in the sources.

MATTHEWS:  Well, let me ask you about our situation over there.  We

Americans, we have fighting forces in the field over there who are, you

know, in harm‘s way right as we speak, on post, defending our interests

over there. 

As you understand them, is it in our interest to continue to support

the Karzai government? 

GALBRAITH:  That‘s not really the issue. 

What he said is offensive, but we‘re not in Afghanistan to defend

Hamid Karzai.  But the—the larger problem is that—is that, in order

for our strategy to work, which is a counterinsurgency strategy, we need to

have a credible Afghan partner.

And Hamid Karzai, who has been in office for eight years, eight years

of corrupt and inefficient government, now in office by fraud, now not—

illegitimate in the eyes of many Afghans and many around the world, is also

behaving very strangely, clearly is not a credible partner.

And, without that partner, the strategy simply is not going to work. 

The reason is very simple.  U.S. troops can come into an area, they can

clear out the Taliban, but, by and large, we don‘t kill them.  They

disappear.  They—they go back to their home villages or to another


And, so, unless we‘re going to stay there for ever, which we obviously

won‘t, we need to have Afghan security forces who can fill in, and, most

importantly, we need an Afghan government that can provide honest

administration, win the support of the population.  And that clearly is not

the government led by Hamid Karzai. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes, I get your point.  In other words, we don‘t want the

Taliban to take over.  We need someone else to run the country.  And, right

now, that‘s Karzai.

Well, Karzai actually accused you, Mr. Galbraith, of perpetrating

voter fraud in the Afghan elections—quote—“”There was fraud in the

presidential election and the provincial election.  No doubt there was

massive fraud.  That was not done by the Afghans.  The foreigners did that. 

That fraud was done by Galbraith.  And that fraud was done by the embassies


What do you make of that kind of charge? 

GALBRAITH:  It is—it is bizarre beyond measure. 

In another context, you might say that this was simply the big lie,

something pioneered by totalitarian regimes, the Nazis and the Soviets. 

Tell such a big lie, that people might believe it, because it‘s—they

can‘t imagine...


GALBRAITH:  ... that it—it wouldn‘t be true.

But—but I don‘t think that‘s it.  I mean, it is—it is—the

person who‘s hurt by that kind of lie is—is Karzai.  And so, again, I

have to say that it‘s irrational. 

Now, as to the substance, I think it‘s fairly well-known that Ban Ki-

Moon fired me because I felt that the U.N. should take an active role first

in preventing the fraud, and then in doing something about it after it took

place.  And it was the U.N.‘s view that we should basically—should

simply support the Afghans and support the Karzai election commission in

whatever it did.

So, it‘s a really—a very bizarre...



GALBRAITH:  ... that really raises questions about Karzai‘s mental


MATTHEWS:  Ambassador Galbraith, thank you so much for joining us—

Peter Galbraith, who is over in Norway.

David Ignatius is right here with me.  He‘s with “The Washington


I have a huge faith about—in you, David...


MATTHEWS:  ... to try to explain this whole mess over there. 


MATTHEWS:  We have a government we‘re defending because we have to

have somebody besides the Taliban.  Let‘s be honest about it.  We only care

about one thing.  We don‘t want enemies in that part of the world coming at

us here. 


MATTHEWS:  That‘s our interest.

IGNATIUS:  We don‘t want another—we don‘t want another 9/11. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

IGNATIUS:  Let me try to untangle a few of the threads here. 

We have been pushing Karzai hard on corruption, on other issues.  He‘s

been pushing back.  He‘s been doing so in a very erratic way.  Just over a

week ago, President Obama went to see him and had what he thought was quite

a good meeting. 


IGNATIUS:  They all flew home, thinking, gosh, that went well. 


MATTHEWS:  They did like it from the White House... 


IGNATIUS:  They thought that this problem was back in the box.

And then, a few days later, he‘s making these bizarre statements...


IGNATIUS:  ... saying he‘s going to join the—well, he‘s not going

to join the Taliban.  That‘s absurd. 

What I—I see happening here in part is a reaction to the fact that

we have announced we‘re leaving Afghanistan in July of next year.  And, so,

Karzai is looking at this.  And he says:  The one thing I can‘t appear to

be is an American stooge.  I have got to have some independence.  I have

got somehow find a political base. 


IGNATIUS:  He doesn‘t have much of one, because he‘s not a strong


So, I think a lot of it is that.  And we—we need to just admit that

anti-Americanism plays well, whether it‘s Iraq, whether it‘s Afghanistan,

whether it‘s Pakistan. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  Could he tell us to leave? 

IGNATIUS:  He could tell us to leave.  There would be a lot...


MATTHEWS:  Just tomorrow morning, get up and say, I have had it with

you guys?

IGNATIUS:  He—he could. 

There are many other people in his government who are—who we work

with on a daily basis, the minister of interior, the minister of defense,

with whom we have very good relationships. 

I just would note, Chris, if you‘re in Kabul, you see this

overwhelming American presence.  I mean, this is such a poor country.  And

we have landed there with our billions of dollars of hardware and our tens

of thousands of troops.  And there is a feeling on the part of Afghans—

and Karzai is expressing a little bit of this—about, so, where‘s my

sovereignty?  Where am I in this?

And I think that, for that reason—these are bizarre remarks, but

the underlying thing that he‘s expressing, which is...


IGNATIUS:  ... I want some independence, it‘s my country, back off a

little bit, I think that general line, independent of what he‘s—the

general line, we should take seriously. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you think we‘re going to get out of Afghanistan and Iraq

within a year, year-and-a-half? 

IGNATIUS:  I think—I think that we‘re going to begin the process of

withdrawal from Afghanistan in July of next year, as the president has

said.  You know, I think the president is now committed to trying to do his

best with this. 

You can see what fragile raw material we‘re working with...


IGNATIUS:  ... in these comments from Karzai. 

MATTHEWS:  It reminds me so much of the Diem regime in Vietnam, South

Vietnam, back in ‘63, where we had a guy who was a bit mystical, who seemed

a little bit out of it, and we ended up knocking him off. 

IGNATIUS:  We have—we have bizarre clients.  And when we‘re dealing

when they‘re trying to fight a real movement of the people, that‘s part

of the problem. 


Thank you, David Ignatius of “The Washington Post.”

Up next:  What caused Republican Senator Tom Coburn to do the

unthinkable?  This is a pretty conservative guy.  He‘s one of the most

conservative guys in the Senate.  He‘s out there defending Nancy Pelosi,

very chivalrous, very classy.  He also took a nice little shot at FOX News

in the—in the doing.  Interesting to watch this.  You never know what to

expect in politics—coming up in the “Sideshow.”

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC. 


MATTHEWS:  Back to HARDBALL.  Time for the “Sideshow.” 

First: a nice bit of class for those who think that this political

debate in this country has gotten a bit sordid. 

Here‘s some audio from a town meeting conducted by Republican Senator

Tom Coburn of Oklahoma last night.  You will here this very conservative

senator defending the very liberal Democratic speaker of the House, Nancy

Pelosi, and also doing a little nudge at FOX News. 

Let‘s watch.


SEN. TOM COBURN ®, OKLAHOMA:  I‘m 180 degrees in opposition to the

speaker.  She‘s a nice lady.  I don‘t think we can wait...


COBURN:  Wait.  Come on now. 

She is a nice—how many of you all have met her?  She‘s a nice


What we have to have is make sure we have a debate in this country so

that you can see what‘s going on and make the determination yourself.  So,

don‘t catch yourself being biased by Fox News that somebody is no good.


MATTHEWS:  Well, that was a fresh bit of air. 

Anyway, I‘m sure he will get some catcalls for his what we used to

call chivalry in this country, but you know what?  He will feel a lot

better about what he said about the speaker than those people who were

making the catcalls feel about being who they are. 

Next, Jon Stewart did his job last night on Afghan President Hamid

Karzai, while also delivering a late hit on a certain former U.S.




politician willing to accept responsibility for misdeeds and fraud

committed on his watch. 


fraud is not by the Afghans.  This fraud has been done by the foreigners. 

STEWART:  What the—what?


STEWART:  You‘re blaming us for conspiring to get you, Hamid Karzai,

reelected as president?  I believe the term you were looking for was,

“Thank you”?


STEWART:  Hamid, say it ain‘t so. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Well, it seems that President Karzai is

backtracking on his words.  What he told Hillary Clinton by phone was that

he, in fact, didn‘t mean it like that. 

STEWART:  You know, I don‘t think there‘s any woman in the world who

has had more late-night “Baby, you know I didn‘t mean it like that” phone




STEWART:  ... than Hillary Clinton. 


STEWART: “Come on, baby.  You know I love U.S.”




MATTHEWS:  He‘s unbelievable.  Say this for Secretary Clinton and her

husband:  They won their elections fair and square. 

Up next:  In light of yesterday‘s mining disaster in West Virginia, is

enough being done to protect miners in this country?  A big question today

in a tragic time.  I‘m going to ask a top official with the United Mine

Workers of America coming up next. 

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC. 



“Market Wrap.”

Stocks pulling back from a midday surge as enthusiasm for the latest

Fed minutes petered out—the Dow slipping 3. 5 points, the S&P 500 adding

two, and the Nasdaq climbing more than seven points. 

Minutes released today from the meeting of the Federal Open Market

Commission showing signs of division over when to raise interest rates. 

Members appeared to be leaning towards waiting a long time before raising


In stocks, banks were among a handful of winners based on a couple of

analyst upgrades for the financial sector, but homebuilders skidded after a

ratings downgrade for two big names.  Credit Suisse predicts a dip in

demand with the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit at the end of the


Netflix surging again today as one of the most popular apps on Apple‘s

new iPad.

And Massey Energy shares tumbling more than 11 percent after that

deadly coal mining accident in West Virginia.

That‘s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide—now back to




Manchin of West Virginia last night and told him that the federal

government stands ready to offer whatever assistance is needed in this

rescue effort. 

So I would ask that the faithful who‘ve gathered here this morning

pray for the safe return of the missing, the men and women who‘ve put their

lives on the line to save them, and the souls of those who have been lost

in this tragic accident.  May they rest in peace and may their families

find comfort in—in the hard days ahead. 


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was President Obama this morning at an Easter prayer breakfast at

the White House. 

At least 25 miners are dead in the worst mining industry accident in

America since 1984.  And rescue efforts continue tonight to search for four

workers who are still trapped inside that mine.

Daniel Kane is secretary-treasurer of United Mine Workers of America. 

Mr. Kane, I have the greatest respect for the guts of men and women,

men who go down into our mines, the guts it takes just to go down there

every day.  What do you hear?  What‘s your hopes?  What do you think is

going on with the four guys that are down there right now? 


Well, we‘re—we‘re always—we try to maintain hope.  In the—in

light, though, of the horrific nature of the explosion, it looks very bad. 

We will hold out hope to the end, but, in the meantime, we have to

make sure that we, number one, don‘t endanger the lives of the rescuers and

we do everything possible to find out what happened to everyone who was in

the mine at that day—on that day. 

MATTHEWS:  What do you make of the rescue effort so far, the putting

of that drill down there, 1,100, 1,200 feet, to try to get the methane gas

out of there?  Is that the smart first step? 

KANE:  Yes, I imagine it is.  You do have to de-gas the mine. 

What a lot of people don‘t realize is, when there‘s a mine explosion,

it disrupts the ventilation in the mine in a terrible way, and gas begins

to build up.  You have to take that into account when beginning any rescue


MATTHEWS:  Well, let‘s take a look at the governor now, Joe Manchin,

the governor of West Virginia.  Here he is.

And then I want to get back to you, sir.  You know what you‘re talking

about.  Let‘s go to the governor first.


GOV. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA:  I can‘t sit here and make any

excuse, or nor do I intend to.  I can only tell you, when the investigation

is completed, and these people do their job, and they will give us the

findings.  And there‘s anything at all that could have been preventable or

things we can do that will give us an indication that something‘s out of

kilter or out of whack, if you will, we will pass—if legislation is

needed, we will pass it immediately. 


MATTHEWS:  Accidents happen in every part of our life.  Airplanes

crash.  Trains crash.  Cars crash.  People do all kinds of things that just

don‘t work.  Is—is—is mine safety perfectible, sir, Mr. Kane, or not? 

KANE:  I—I don‘t know if anything in life is perfectible. 

Certainly, we can do a lot better than this.  The thing we have to

realize, though, is that having strong legislation is important.  Having

good enforcement is important.  But the main thing that we have to do is

empower those miners. 

The men and women who work in the mines every day have to feel assured

that they can do those things that make their job safe, that they can

perform their job in a safe manner, without any kind of intimidation. 

There is so much money that can be saved, so much more that can be

made by cutting costs. 


KANE:  And we have to do everything possible to prevent mining

companies from doing that. 

Mining companies are very powerful in this country.  And there‘s a lot

of incentives to try and get the coal out, no matter what.  And I have...


MATTHEWS:  You think the Massey Company—do you think Massey—this

company, I‘ve heard their name before in this regard.  Is this a bad

company?  They have a bad record, would you say?  

KANE:  Look at their record.  

MATTHEWS:  I see 1,300 violations.  It‘s 2005.  They‘re contesting

about a third of them.  That means about two thirds of them they‘re not

testing, which tells me, just prima faci, they don‘t have a great record.  

KANE:  Well, it‘s not a company that we represent.  So we don‘t deal

with them directly a lot.  However, in the mining industry, when you have

one company that tries to increase productivity by pushing a little harder

and trying to intimidate people to cut corners, it affects all of us.  We

all have to compete in that industry.

The thing that needs to be pointed out is that in the coal fields,

these jobs are the good jobs in the area.  If they don‘t exist, it‘s a

severe economic hardship to the people in that area.  And they absolutely

have to be able to perform their job in a safe way, free of any kind of

intimidation.  They have to be empowered so they can do what they know

best.   And it‘s time—

MATTHEWS:  What‘s a high-skilled mine worker make right now, a high

scaled veteran?  What‘s he get coming out of the mine every week?  What‘s

he get in gross income?  I‘m curious.  

KANE:  It‘s very easy to make 70,000 dollars a year in some of these


MATTHEWS:  That‘s a 40-hour week?  

KANE:  Nobody works a 40-hour week anymore.  There‘s a lot of overtime


MATTHEWS:  I see, to get the 70.  

KANE:  Yes.  There‘s overtime involved.  But that‘s very common for

people to make a very good living.  And in those areas, that‘s the best job


MATTHEWS:  Nobody likes regulation in this country, except when it

involves them.  They like airlines to be safe.  They like their food to be

safe.  If you worked in a mine, you‘d want the mine to be safe.  Thank you

very much.  And let‘s pray for those guys, the four of them still down

there.  Thanks for coming on, sir.  Good luck.  I like the labor movement

all together. 

Anyway, up next, from nuclear weapons to health care reform, President

Obama‘s trying to do big things.  And we‘re going to see how it‘s going

right now.  How‘s he doing?  This is a big question.  We‘ve got a real

expert, Richard Stengel, editor of “Time Magazine,” coming on talk about

the greatness of Nelson Mandela.  But more importantly, he‘s going to grade

our president and how he‘s doing in the greatness field right now.  This is



MATTHEWS:  There could be trouble for Senator John Ensign out in

Nevada.  According to the “Las Vegas Sun,” federal officials are looking

into the possibility of indicting the senator.  Ensign admitted having an

affair with the wife of one of his top aides.  And since that admission,

there has been a series of damaging revelations about the senator‘s

conduct, including a 96,000 dollar payment made to the woman and her

husband.  A criminal indictment against a sitting senator would be a major

headache, at least, against the national Republican party, and it may very

well help fellow Nevadan, Harry Reid, the Democratic leader, as he tries to

win re-election. 

HARDBALL returns after this. 



OBAMA:  So, today, I state clearly and with conviction America‘s

commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear



MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  A year after President Obama

called for a world without nuclear weapons, he put forth the framework for

that goal today.  The president has clearly been unafraid to tackle our

biggest problems.  And in both his temperament and the way he uses power,

“Time Magazine” editor Richard Stengel sees similarities between Obama and

Nelson Mandela.  He should know.  He collaborated, Richard did, with Nelson

Mandela on his big autobiography.

Now, Richard has a new book called “Mandela‘s Way, 15 Lessons on Life,

Love and Courage.”  Thank you, Richard.  I‘ve been reading the book.  It is

fabulous.  It reads with such texture.  I feel better already as a human

being, and I am dead serious.  I love Mandela.  I got to interview him

myself when he was released. This book is great stuff. 

I want to ask you about a kerfuffle that you‘ve already aroused here. 

Here‘s some language from your book that will arouse some anxiety on the

right, some interest on the left, and perhaps some—well, we‘ll see in

the middle.  Here you are comparing Nelson Mandela to President Obama.  You

write, “while it took 27 years in prison to mold the Nelson Mandela we

know, the 48-year-old American president seems to have achieved a Mandela-

like temperament without the long years of sacrifice.  While Mandela‘s

world view was forged in the cauldron of racial politics, Obama‘s creating

a post-racial political model.  Whatever Mandela may or may not think of

the new American president, Obama is, in many ways, his true successor on

the world stage.”

The right wing hates that because they hate it.  Your thoughts. 


RICHARD STENGEL, “TIME MAGAZINE”:  Well, Chris, the right wing has

problems with Nelson Mandela.  Nelson Mandela was a terrorist in America

until he was released from prison.  He was a revolutionary who fought

against an ally of the United States, even though that ally had an

Apartheid government that discriminated against people that were not white. 

But let me just clarify the comment, because it has aroused a little

bit of controversy.  I‘m not comparing Obama‘s achievement with Mandela‘s

achievement.  I‘m comparing their two temperaments.  And one of the things,

as you know, that I write about in “Mandela‘s Way” is that the man who went

into prison in 1964, Nelson Mandela, was 48 years old.  And his temperament

then, he was tempestuous.  He was passionate.  He was a revolutionary. 

Prison tempered him.  Prison was his great teacher.  Prison changed

his temperament to that man we know who got out, who is self-controlled,

who never loses his calm.  The thing about Obama is he seems to have that

temperament without having had to spend 27 years in prison.  

MATTHEWS:  How do you explain it?  

STENGEL:  I don‘t know how to explain it.  I think it‘s DNA.  It‘s

genetics.  I don‘t really know.  Of course, he went through his own

travails, his own search for identity as a young man.  He had to forge his

own identity in the kind—in a racial caldron in America, not as harsh as

what it was in South Africa.  But I think part of it was he realized he had

to be somebody with a very calm temper to achieve what he wanted, and he‘s

a very ambitious man, like Nelson Mandela was.

MATTHEWS:  Well, Barack Obama, our president, has been very good at

forging an alliance.  As you know, the alliance that won him the election,

between college-educated white people, if you will, liberals, progressives,

center left people, who just—maybe just good-hearted people who wanted

to see him win—and minorities.  That was a hell of the coalition the

Democratic party.  It beat Hillary Clinton, ultimately, in the numbers, and

it won the general election.

He has not been so successful at working hearts and minds of working

class whites.  We see it in the terrible part of the early show, when we

saw some racism afoot there, and anger more generally.  He has not been

able to build that coalition.  Mandela has at least tried, with Rugby.  We

saw with that great film “Invictus.”  We saw it in some of the stuff in

your book about racial, not forgiveness entirely, but let‘s get along and

move on attitude, which I think has been pretty powerful in South Africa. 

Barack Obama hasn‘t been able to do that with the white working class,

has he? 

STENGEL:  Well, no, but, I mean, look at the different situations.  In

South Africa, you had a country that was literally on the brink of a racial

civil war.  Nelson Mandela, as he said to me many times, he felt the

country very narrowly averted a civil war.  Part of it was his own persona. 

He stood for reconciliation between the whites and the blacks.  He got out

of prison after 27 years and said, let‘s forget the past.  I forgive you. 

We have to move on.  What unites us is much more important than what

divides us. 

Barack Obama didn‘t get working class whites in the election and he‘s

not—he‘s not getting them now.  And one of the things I find curious

about the political miasma that we see ourselves in now is so many of the

characteristics that we prized in Barack Obama the candidate people don‘t

seem to necessarily like in Barack Obama the president, mediation,

listening, being thoughtful.  We seem to want him to act more and act more

precipitously.  Those were not the valued that we elected him for. 

MATTHEWS:  Actually, that‘s one criticism I don‘t go along with, but I

hear it out there.  Certainly, people want him to be more passionate.  I

hear it from people close to him.  Why doesn‘t he show more passion?  But

is there any way a leader who‘s African-American, in a country that‘s

largely white, can be a passionario?  Could he be, you know, a man of great

passion and great rhetoric that rouses people, brings them to their feet,

gets them to march?  Is that doable in this country? 

STENGEL:  Well, I mean -- 

MATTHEWS:  This is a pretty tricky question, I admit. 

STENGEL:  It‘s a tricky question.  Nelson Mandela, for example, always

said when you speak to people, you speak to their heads and their hearts at

the same time.  He‘s not nearly as good a speaker as Barack Obama.  And

tends to be a little too intellectual and even more professorial than Obama


Again, I mean, Chris, you could argue that President Obama is leading

people not through calls to passion, but through calls to rationality,

through calls to what‘s in their own benefit.  I mean, I think voters and

Americans always vote and care about what‘s most in their own benefit,

rather than someone necessarily being there and yelling charge and move


MATTHEWS:  I have to give you a real tribute in this book.  The

beginning of this book is useful to everybody in any line of work at

whatever age.  I don‘t care if you‘re 70 years old or 17.  It‘s about

courage.  The strongest message I‘ve gotten out of your book is the fact

that courage is not fearlessness.  Courage is facing down your fears and to

some extent faking it, not letting the other side see you sweat. 

I love that stuff.  I think it‘s what life is like.  You got make

phone calls certain days you don‘t want to make.  Decisions you have to

make, people you have to deal with.  Every day you have to face them down. 

You can‘t—you can‘t let the fear get over you. 

STENGEL:  Absolutely.  Absolutely.  The thing as you saw in the book,

Chris—when we were talking during the writing of “Long Walk to Freedom”

-- and I did many, many hours of interviews—he would often say to me, I

was terrified or I was afraid of this.  And I kept thinking to myself, my

God, I have Nelson Mandela, one of the greatest men and greatest heroes of

the 20th century telling me that he was frightened.  I would ask him about

that.  He would say, Richard, it would be irrational not to have been

frightened.  He would said, you have to put up a front.  You have to

pretend to be brave even when you‘re not brave. 

Here‘s Nelson Mandela, who stood for bravery and courage for millions

of people, not to mention the thousands of men that he served in prison

with, and every day he was doing exactly what you said.  He was—

MATTHEWS:  A lot of passion, Richard.  You got more passion than

Barack Obama, sir.  Thank you very much.  Richard Stengel, the editor of

“Time Magazine.”  His book is “Mandela‘s Way.”  This is a great book for

graduation, and a lot of other people should read this, people like me.

When we return, I‘m going to have some thoughts about that disgusting

level of vitriol we‘ve been hearing addressed to members of Congress.  Wait

until you hear this tape, this voicemail for Congressman Lewis.  You won‘t

believe it.  Maybe you will.  It‘s a bit of America we don‘t like.  You‘re

watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:  Let me finish tonight with a refutation to those like

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who continue to deny racial epithets have

been leveled at members of Congress in the recent health care debate.  Here

is a recorded message left for U.S. Congressman John Lewis of Georgia.  Our

network has bleeped some of the words.  But you can easily follow the drift

and the sense of venom.  You can hear with your own words the hostility

directed at one man, the president of the United States.  The hatred is

personal.  It is hostile.  It is racial. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, Bill, yes, calling from (INAUDIBLE).  I ain‘t

going to get no health insurance.  Tell that son of a (EXPLETIVE DELETED)

that I ain‘t getting the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) health insurance.  That God

(EXPLETIVE DELETED).  Don‘t tell me I got to get some god (EXPLETIVE

DELETED) health insurance.  I ain‘t paying no (EXPLETIVE DELETED) fine. 

Put my (EXPLETIVE DELETED) in jail if you don‘t like it.  (EXPLETIVE


all them white trash honkies that voted for that communist socialist dumb

mother (EXPLETIVE DELETED).  God (EXPLETIVE DELETED).  I ain‘t getting the

(EXPLETIVE DELETED) mandatory health insurance.  (EXPLETIVE DELETED).  A

bunch of (EXPLETIVE DELETED) white trash, honkies, communist (EXPLETIVE


I didn‘t go fight no god (EXPLETIVE DELETED) war so I can be forced to

do something I don‘t want to do.  (EXPLETIVE DELETED) all of you. 

(EXPLETIVE DELETED) you, John Lewis, you god damn (EXPLETIVE DELETED),

worthless communist. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, Congressman Lewis is hardly the only lawmaker to

receive this kind of abuse.  We saw the man who spat at U.S. Congressman

Emanuel Cleaver.  We have gotten eye witness reports of similar behavior as

Congress voted on the health bill itself. 

Congressman Jim Clyburn, leader of the House, got a fax with a picture

of a hangman‘s noose, plus calls that his wife has gotten at home, scary

calls.  It would be good if people in the media, not just the left or

center left, but also on the right, put out word that this kind of stuff

hurts the cause, whatever cause you believe in.  It‘s certainly not helping

the American cause.  I think, deep down, the great majority of people,

right, left and center, don‘t think this stuff is American.

Right now, it‘s time for “THE ED SHOW” with Ed Schultz.




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