updated 5/7/2010 9:51:39 AM ET 2010-05-07T13:51:39

Guest: Todd Harris, Steve McMahon, Katty Kay, Michael Elliott


Let‘s play HARDBALL.

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

tonight: Grecian formula?  Trying to figure out today‘s scary drop in

the Dow.  At one point, it was down a thousand points.  What happened? 

Fears that the financial crisis in Greece, which led to riots today,

will spread throughout Europe and eventually across the Atlantic to the

U.S.  In the end, the Dow dropped about 348 points today.  CNBC‘s Jim

Cramer joins us at the top of the show.

Plus: What makes an educated, employed naturalized citizen of this

country and family man decide to blow up a car in Times Square?  We‘ve

learned that that attempted bombing was partly the product of Faisal

Shahzad‘s built-up rage over U.S. drone attacks over in Pakistan and

Afghanistan.  Tonight, we‘ll talk to two top intelligence experts about

how law-abiding American citizens can become radicalized.

Also, John Boehner says the Obama administration is big on rhetoric

but weak on preventing terrorism.  Someone needs to tell Mr. Boehner,

the House minority leader, who was in charge when 9/11 happened.  We‘ll

talk to the HARDBALL strategists about whether the GOP can get mileage

out of its blame game against Obama.

And very soon, we should get our first indication tonight of

whether conservative David Cameron will be Britain‘s next prime

minister.  The voting is over and the exit polls are about to come out

any minute.

And “Let Me Finish” tonight with why I love British elections.

We start with the tumultuous day today on Wall Street.  Jim Cramer

is host of “Mad Money” on CNBC.

It was very scary today, Jim, very scary, especially us who have

401(k)s and stuff in the market.  It went down a thousand points, and

something happened.  It came back, big comeback, almost back to sanity. 

What happened?

JIM CRAMER, HOST, CNBC‘S “MAD MONEY”:  All right, well first I want

to divide it into two parts.  There was the real market, which closed

down 350 today and was a horrible market.  And that‘s mostly because of

fears about what‘s going on in Europe.

And there‘s what happened between 2:30 and quarter of 3:00, where,

apparently, there was a major trading error by a firm.  Someone went to

go sell $15 million worth of the equivalent of stock and it turned out

that they hit, apparently, $15 billion—that‘s right, a B instead of

an M.  This is the best explanation that we have so far, Chris.  That

was the down 600 points that we saw in addition.  And that was phony.

MATTHEWS:  How long did that take?  How long did it take to fix the

fix the letter from a B to an M?

CRAMER:  Well, I‘ve got to—it—this was one where I was on TV

with our friend, Erin Burnett.  And at 2:44, it was down 300.  About

2:45, it was down 900.  And at about 2:48, it was down 300.

MATTHEWS:  So explain to me one little thing here, first of all,

about these countries.  I‘m a political guy.  You‘re a money guy.

CRAMER:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s cross-walk this thing.


MATTHEWS:  It seems to me that you and I grew up with the fact

there were dictatorships in Europe.  They were on the Iberian peninsula

and in Greece.  You had Franco, who overstayed the Second World War a

bit, by about two generations.  You had Salazar...

CRAMER:  Salazar!

MATTHEWS:  ... in Portugal.  And of course, you had the Greek

colonels.  The right-wing governments in Europe seem to be the ones that

are the most precarious right now, Greece, Portugal, Spain.  What‘s the

connection?  Is this a complete coincidence, or is it old-line right-

wing politics that never quite stabilized into serious social democratic

countries?  What happened?

CRAMER:  Well, I think all these countries far outspent, their

governments far outspent what they had and you can never get up in tax

receipts.  So you have a currency that‘s made up of profligate right-

wingers and non-profligate, actually prudent somewhat left-wingers.


CRAMER:  And that‘s—I‘m talking about Germany.  And I‘ve got to

tell you, Germany is the rock bed here.  And Germany and the people who

run the European Union are horrified at the profligacy of Spain, of

Portugal, also, by the way, of Italy, and of Greece.  And it looks like

that this currency‘s falling apart because the strong countries really

don‘t want to help the weak countries.  They don‘t want to wreck their

own economies.

MATTHEWS:  Well, don‘t they have rules within that community about

fiscal responsibility?  Can countries go crazy and still be in the


CRAMER:  Well, I have to tell you, I don‘t think they can.  This

reminds me not so much of the Russian situation in the ‘90s, which

people are comparing it to, but something (INAUDIBLE) if we‘re going to

go back in time, let‘s go back to 1982, ‘82, ‘84, with profligate Brazil

an Argentina.  It looks like that these countries virtually are going to

have to default for this to end, which is why, if we circle back to our

market, people are worried that until we see some default, until we see

a resolution of the crisis, good or bad, our market is going to be doing

wild things like it did today.  And people have to be careful.  I always

say home gamers...


CRAMER:  ... people who watch my show, this is not the market for


MATTHEWS:  I love it.  And one thing great about America, there‘s

always a group in this country that comes from the country we‘re talking

about.  So I‘m at the Parthenon on Connecticut Avenue last night, a

Greek restaurant.  I‘ve been eating there for what, 30 years now.  And

Pete‘s telling me—my friend, the owner, is telling me the problem is

exactly what you just said.  Every time a new Greek government comes in,

whether it‘s Papandreou or Papandreou‘s son or grandson or grandfather,

whoever—it‘s always the Papandreous—one of them comes in, they

keep hiring more and more people, and they never fire anybody.  So you

have levels and levels and layers and layer of bureaucracy, and you have

fiscal irresponsibility.  Everybody‘s on the payroll, huge overdrafts,

huge fiscal irresponsibility.  That‘s your thought?

CRAMER:  That is...

MATTHEWS:  You said it about five minutes ago.

CRAMER:  ... Greece.  That is Greece.  I will tell you, Spain is a

different problem.  They have 20 percent unemployment.  They would like

to hire everybody, but they‘re afraid that what happens in Greece

happens to them if they spend too much.


CRAMER:  But we‘re looking at their country and deciding, You know

what?  We don‘t need any of those places.

MATTHEWS:  Well, look, here we are, average Americans investing in

the stock market, depending on our advisers, in most cases...

CRAMER:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  ... a lot of people watching tonight, some retirees,

close to retiree worried.  Now give us some practical advice.  Will

Friday be a bad day?

CRAMER:  I think that, yes, this period will be bad.  I mean, look,

can we balance tomorrow?  Absolutely.  But you know, what we saw today

was the fragility of the market.  And I think a lot of people—and

this is—I‘ve been saying ever since the great crash of 2007 to 2009,

stocks aren‘t cash.  Stop looking at them as if they‘re cash in your

401(k).  Have some cash.  Have some gold.  It‘s OK.  Don‘t be fully

invested because you‘ve got to send your kids to college and you‘ve got

to retire.  And stocks just are too fragile.  That was the real lesson

of today.

MATTHEWS:  And you think this fragility is going to continue.

CRAMER:  Yes.  We‘re not done until we see one of these countries

crack.  And it‘s a shame that our economy, which is much stronger than

theirs, should be hostage.  But remember, we‘ve gone from 6,500 to

11,000 in change, so it‘s reasonable to think we could go down another

thousand without really breaking what we‘ve created.

MATTHEWS:  OK, thank you very much, Jim Cramer...

CRAMER:  Thank you.

MATTHEWS:  ... at CNBC.  I hang on your every word, sir.  By the

way, you can watch “Mad Money” from this Philly guy weeknights at 6:00

and 11:00 on CNBC.  By the way, the Phils are doing great.

Coming up, the latest on the Times Square terror suspect and what

you may—what may have radicalized this guy.  This is scary.  This

guy‘s a naturalized American who did this the other day, and we got to

figure out why he turned.

But in one minute: Joe Sestak goes in for the knockout against

Arlen Specter.  That race in Pennsylvania is getting exciting.



MATTHEWS:  Well, U.S. Congressman Joe Sestak up in Pennsylvania is

taking his last and perhaps best shot at Senator Arlen Specter in that

big Democratic primary fight up there that‘s coming up May 18th.  Check

out Sestak‘s latest ad.  Here it is.



Democrat.  I authorized this message.

SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (D), PENNSYLVANIA:  My change in party will

enable me to be reelected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  For 45 years, Arlen Specter has been a

Republican politician.


the right man for the United States Senate.  I can count on this man. 

See, that‘s important.  He‘s a firm ally.


SPECTER:  My change in party will enable me to be reelected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Arlen Specter switched parties to save one job

his, not yours.


MATTHEWS:  That is a great television ad.  We‘re going to see if

that race gets any closer.  Specter may have some shots in his barrel to

go after Sestak with, but that‘s a tough one.  Arlen Specter has been a

Republican since 1965, and that‘s the charge, he‘s not really a

Democrat.  Pennsylvania voters—listen to this one.  This race is

going to be really hot in the next couple of weeks.  Again, that

primary‘s coming up May 18th.  I think we‘re going to be in Pennsylvania

and Philadelphia to cover that.  That‘s the big one that night.  We‘ll

be right back here on HARDBALL in just a minute.




acknowledge that we‘re in a war against radical terrorists, which a lot

of Democrats don‘t want—don‘t want to use those words and don‘t want

to say it.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  This was, of course, House

minority leader John Boehner today.  The Times Square terror plot and

the oil rig disaster have Republicans and Democrats angling to get a

political edge on these fights.  Which side‘s winning?

And for that, we go to the strategists.  Steve McMahon‘s a

Democratic strategist and Todd Harris is a Republican strategist.

Todd, do you really think it‘s fair of Boehner to be jumping on

this Times Square thing?  I mean, here‘s a guy who puts a car bomb

together—he‘s a naturalized citizen—he‘s caught within 50 hours. 

They put him away.  He looks like he‘s squealing.  They‘re going to get

him.  We‘re going to follow the lead back to Pakistan.  Pretty good

government work there.  What‘s the problem?

TODD HARRIS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  Well, there‘s no question

there‘s been some phenomenal police work after the fact.  The question

is—you know, the only thing that kept this bomb from going off was

the fact that, apparently, the guy wasn‘t a very good bomb-maker.  It‘s

not like the plot was foiled.  And I think that while the police work in

terms of apprehending him has been phenomenal, there are a lot of

questions that have been raised about how all of this was handled.

And I think one of the most troubling for me, and in terms of where

this might become politicized, is the incredible number of leaks that

came out of the Department of Justice throughout this investigation. 

The—apparently, the suspect has told authorities that he was watching

on the news as information came out that then propelled him to go to the

airport to get out of the country.  So he knew that the noose was


MATTHEWS:  Picky, picky.


MATTHEWS:  They caught the guy!


the—this is very good spin, Todd, but let‘s look at the facts.


MCMAHON:  This is somebody who is—who is kind of, you know, a

malcontent, but he wasn‘t somebody who—who was associated with al

Qaeda.  He wasn‘t somebody that...

MATTHEWS:  Clean record, family man.

MCMAHON:  Clean record, a family man from a wealthy...


MATTHEWS:  ... U.S. citizen.

MCMAHON:  ... U.S. citizen, from a wealthy family.  And he does

this crazy thing, an within 50 hours and I think 20 minutes, to be fair

50 hours and 20 minutes—they found him, they apprehended him, they

had him in custody and they were off to the next thing.  This president

gets very good marks on protecting this country.  And I know it

frustrates Republicans that he can keep America safe...

MATTHEWS:  Here‘s more Boehner jumping on—on your side.  Here‘s

Boehner with you.  Here he goes, John Boehner attacking the president

again.  Let‘s listen.


BOEHNER:  We‘re seeing the dangerous results of motivated

individuals being able to improve their capability to kill innocent

civilians.  Yet the Obama administration has spoon fed the American

people with bland reassurances that this was just one-off or that this

was just a lone wolf.  This is the rhetoric of an administration that

continues to operate without a real comprehensive plan to confront the

terrorist threat and to keep Americans safe.


MATTHEWS:  What‘s he reading from down there?


MATTHEWS:  I mean, he‘s reading this indictment of the president,

but he has to keep looking at the notes to realize how bad the president

is.  In other words, if somebody yanked that away from him, he wouldn‘t

know how bad Obama was, right?

HARRIS:  Well...



MATTHEWS:  I mean, he doesn‘t know.  He doesn‘t look angry.  He has

no emotions.  And here he is, like a mechanical man, reading something,

and it‘s down here, about how bad the president is.  It‘s just funny.

HARRIS:  But he looked very good doing it.

MATTHEWS:  And he reminds me of Dan Aykroyd so much.


HARRIS:  Well, this—look, this family man...

MCMAHON:  Fifty hours and twenty minutes.

HARRIS:  This family man that you‘re talking about who went to

Waziristan to receive training in how to do all of this stuff—the

fact remains that our country is at war.  There are people who want



HARRIS:  You know what?  There are people around the world that

want to do really bad things to us.

MATTHEWS:  Right.  And you think Obama doesn‘t know that.

HARRIS:  I think—I think...

MCMAHON:  Did you get the memo?

HARRIS:  ... if you want to treat this...

MCMAHON:  (INAUDIBLE) national security...

HARRIS:  ... as a law enforcement action—I think if you want to

treat (INAUDIBLE) law enforcement action, you want to Mirandize these

people so they shut up and don‘t tell you everything that you need to


MCMAHON:  Todd, he‘s a U.S. citizen.  He‘s a U.S. citizen.

HARRIS:  Not for long he‘s not!

MCMAHON:  Well, no he—you know what?  He may be convicted and he

may be, you know, put to death, for all I know.  He‘s a United States

citizen.  And the Constitution—and it‘s funny that Republicans are

all about strict construction of the Constitution, unless it involves

something like this, in which let‘s just throw it out the window.

There are certain procedures that have to be followed when a U.S.

citizen is arrested.  They were followed.  It took 50 hours and 20

minutes for him to be apprehended and arrested.  And you know, maybe

Jack Bauer, or perhaps George Bush, could have done did in less time,

but I‘m pretty happy with...

MATTHEWS:  OK, you guys...


MATTHEWS:  ... with going after the police work which put this guy


Here is Mike Pence, a man who may well be the next Speaker of the

House, criticizing the Obama administration response to the oil spill

down in the Mexican—the Gulf of Mexico.  The White House press

secretary, Robert Gibbs, pushes back afterwards.  Let‘s listen to the

dialogue here.


REP. MIKE PENCE ®, INDIANA:  Despite this mantra of the

administration, officials who were on the Hill yesterday, about day one,

day one, day one—the American people know better.  And the American

people want answers.  They want to know what happened.  They want to

know why the federal response was slow.


rig sank, the national response team was activated.  And later that day,

the president convened a meeting in the Oval Office with all of those

involved.  There‘s an 18-page document on our Web site about all that

was done.  I‘d be—what exactly in that response did Mr. Pence find



MATTHEWS:  Your witness.

HARRIS:  Well, look, I don‘t think that this should be politicized. 

And I think every Republican, every Democrat, every independent in any

Gulf state hopes that the president and this administration do a really,

really good job containing this.

MATTHEWS:  Yes, I know.

HARRIS:  And God forbid...

MCMAHON:  In the meantime, they‘ll criticize it.

HARRIS:  ... cleaning it up...


MATTHEWS:  ... your buddy, Michael Brown, on the show the other day

saying that the president somehow gamed this.  He came out for offshore

oil thinking there was going to be a spill, and then when there was a

spill, he said, See?  Where do you get this thinking?  What do you guys

drink over there on the right-hand side?


MATTHEWS:  What is this craziness?

HARRIS:  I hope the president and this administration do a great

job with this.  This would have a devastating effect on the economies of

several Gulf states.  And there are a lot of people whose livelihoods

are at risk...

MCMAHON:  Don‘t you wish the House Republican leadership were as

responsible as Todd?  Because if Mike Pence had stood up and said what

Todd just said, then people might actually think the Republicans have

something to offer.

HARRIS:  Well...

MCMAHON:  But instead—but instead, you know, in contrast to the

Bush administration, where the president sat in Waco for a week and then

did a little fly-by of Katrina and tipped the wing and took a look and

said, Oh, I think everything‘s fine, this administration jumped right

into action and has documented everything they did from the 22nd, when

it sank, until today, 18 pages.  Mr. Pence, perhaps you should go on

line and take a look, and then have a news conference.

HARRIS:  I want to—I want to be clear about something.  It‘s not

just Republicans, though, who are playing politics with this.  You have

in Florida now a call to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to

ban offshore drilling within God knows how many miles.

MCMAHON:  And if you lived in Florida, Todd, you might sign that.

HARRIS:  You know what?  The—a majority of Floridians are still

opposed to it.  But there‘s politics that are being played on both



HARRIS:  You got Democrats trying to capitalize on this for quick

political gain, which—and I think that they will not be successful in


MCMAHON:  You actually have Democrats who think there shouldn‘t be

oil drilling off—I happen to be somebody who thinks that if you‘re

going to address the energy crisis, you got to do everything you can,

but you got to do it in a safe way.  There are people who think it

shouldn‘t be done at all, and you know, they‘re entitled to their view.

MATTHEWS:  You know what I—you know what I don‘t get?  Let me go

back to something I have a better understanding—because we‘ve been so

much thinking about terrorism since 9/11.  Everybody has.  The president

has a regular meeting in the Sit Room, we found out, the Situation Room,

where he sits there and he studies and studies.  He wants to be an

expert on every aspect of what threatens us in the world, all the

aspects of al Qaeda, everything going on with (INAUDIBLE) and everybody

else in the world, trying to figure it out, studying it constantly.  And

your crowd is making it out that he doesn‘t seem to get it.

What doesn‘t he get?  This is one of the smartest presidents we‘ve

ever had, whatever you think of his politics.  He is trying to master

this subject.  They nabbed that guy in a few hours.  They‘re doing the

job.  We‘re figuring out how to do the job in Afghanistan and Iraq,

modulating it very carefully, no radical left-wing swings or anything. 

What‘s your problem with the guy?  Why do you keep bitching?

HARRIS:  Chris, he could have a Ph.D. in this if...

MATTHEWS:  Well, what‘s the problem?

HARRIS:  ... if there‘s a—it‘s not how many facts are in his


MATTHEWS:  No, you got these...


MATTHEWS:  ... Boehner keeps saying...

HARRIS:  ... disagreement on his philosophy.

MATTHEWS:  ... he isn‘t rabid enough, he isn‘t sweating enough, he

isn‘t sweating and—and snarling about terrorism all day...

MCMAHON:  (INAUDIBLE) enough people...

MATTHEWS:  ... and talking like Rudy Giuliani all day long.  What‘s

the problem?

HARRIS:  He has a—there‘s a fundamental disagreement on the

philosophy here.  Are we at war or are we not?

MATTHEWS:  Who denies that?

MCMAHON:  Come on, now.

MATTHEWS:  Who denies that? 

MCMAHON:  The president has said many, many times we‘re at war. 

And—and he understands fully what‘s at stake here.  What‘s going

on here, really, is the Republicans have always had—always had an

advantage on national security and keeping America safe.  And they look

at the polls now, and they don‘t have an advantage anymore.  They see

President Obama capturing the people‘s attention and getting their

confidence on this subject.

And John Boehner and Mike Pence and the Republicans don‘t like it,

because they‘re used to having an advantage there.

Now, Todd, you know this is true. 


HARRIS:  Well, we will see in November—we will see in November

how much of an advantage the president and the Democrats are able to... 


HARRIS:  ... on national security.

MCMAHON:  And the other thing is, fewer people in the world hate us

right now.  So, he‘s making progress in that area, too.  And Americans

understand that. 

The contrast between this administration and the previous

administration is pretty clear to most people...

MATTHEWS:  I think...

MCMAHON:  ... even if it‘s not clear to the Republicans on Capitol


MATTHEWS:  Let‘s take a look at this ad in Pennsylvania.  I find it

fascinating, this race up there.

Sestak, I thought he was out of the race.  He‘s back in the race. 

He‘s within single digits, and he may be really close.  Let‘s watch what

he‘s throwing back at Arlen, because Arlen was pretty tough on him with

this relief of command thing.  Let‘s watch.  This is tough.


NARRATOR:  For 45 years, Arlen Specter has been a Republican



Specter is the right man for the United States Senate.  I can count on

this man.  See, that‘s important.  He‘s a firm ally. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, that was some of the ad.  What do you make of it? 

The better part comes later.  But, anyway, we cut it short there.

HARRIS:  That‘s tough.  You know, it—it makes plain the fact

that Arlen Specter made this switch to the Democratic Party...

MATTHEWS:  For one reason

HARRIS:  ... for one reason and one reason...

MATTHEWS:  To save one job.

HARRIS:  ... and one reason only.  And I think it‘s going to sting


MATTHEWS:  So, you‘re still hoping you can run against him, aren‘t



MATTHEWS:  Look at you. 


MATTHEWS:  See what he‘s doing here.

He‘s figuring that Arlen is going to win the primary on May 18, and

then you can nail him for this ad. 

HARRIS:  No, I want it to fail in Pennsylvania, because then it

will fail in Florida as well. 




MATTHEWS:  What do you think of this guy?  Is he gaming everybody


MCMAHON:  Todd‘s always gaming, but he‘s good at it. 


MATTHEWS:  Yes, I know.  So, he‘s giggling.  Look at that.  I can

always read the face.  He‘s laughing. 


MATTHEWS:  He‘s thinking, Arlen is going to beat—no, he‘s going

to beat Sestak, and then they will have all this crap they throw at him

in November, right? 


MATTHEWS:  But Toomey is a little far up the beam, though.  Isn‘t

Toomey a little far right for Pennsylvania? 

HARRIS:  Toomey is winning in just about every survey I have seen.

MATTHEWS:  I have seen the polls.

MCMAHON:  He‘s the Marco Rubio of the Northeast. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, Marco Rubio is probably the odds-on favorite to be

the next senator from...


MCMAHON:  The nominee.  The nominee.  The question is whether or

not somebody like Pat Toomey or Marco Rubio, with all respect, Todd, is

too extreme for electorate...


MATTHEWS:  OK.  The reason we raise this as a general question, is

George W. Bush still such a clown as far as a lot of Democratic voters

think he is...


MATTHEWS:  .. .that you can still use him? 


HARRIS:  In a Democratic primary...


MCMAHON:  In a Democratic primary, he absolutely is. 


HARRIS:  Absolutely.


MCMAHON:  He‘s got a 50 unfavorable.


MATTHEWS:  Summary judgment.

HARRIS:  It‘s just like, in Florida, you know, we have been using,

very effectively, the picture of Charlie Crist with Barack Obama.  In

the confines of a Republican primary, that‘s just...

MATTHEWS:  So, the best way to run for office is still, remind the

Republicans of Hoover.  Remind the Republicans—the Republicans of

President George W. Bush.  Remind the people in Florida of a Democratic

president.  That‘s the whole thing.


HARRIS:  Well, you can extrapolate a lot from association. 

MCMAHON:  The best way to run in a primary is to run to the edge. 

So, if you‘re in a Republican primary, you run to the right, because

that‘s where the activists are.


MCMAHON:  If you‘re in a Democratic primary, you run to the left. 

That‘s what Sestak‘s strategy has been from the beginning.  It‘s

what we‘re seeing right now.  And it‘s why the race is nine points. 

HARRIS:  Maybe Arlen Specter will now leave the Democratic Party

and run for third-party. 


MATTHEWS:  You‘re having too much fun.  Obviously, your Rubio is

doing well.


MATTHEWS:  Anyway, thank you, Steve McMahon.  Thank you, Todd


Up next:  A prominent—these stories are too ironic—a

prominent anti-gay activist and social conservative is caught traveling

with a male prostitute. 

Well, what do you—that—you don‘t need commentary on this

baby.  Stick around for that “Sideshow.” 

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.  

It‘s just strange.  It‘s just strange. 


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

Is this too ironic for anybody?  Referred George Rekers, who is a

prominent anti-gay activist, was recently caught returning from a 10-day

European vacation with a male prostitute.  Rekers is known for co-

founding the ultraconservative Family Research Council with James

Dobson.  He‘s also a leading proponent of programs that try to cure, if

that‘s the word used, homosexuality. 

When confronted, Rekers says he hired the male escort from the Web

site Rentboy.com to help him lift luggage.  Today, the hired escort told

“The Miami New Times” that he and Rekers did have, in fact, a sexual

relationship, and that, in light of that scandal, Rekers would do well

to dissociate himself from the anti-gay groups. 

Next: Michele Bachmann in her own words.  Tarryl Clark, looking to

unseat the conservative Minnesota congresswoman this November has set up

a Web site—quote—“Michele Bachmann Said What?” devoted to

Michelle‘s more colorful comments, everything from her recent charges of

Barack Obama having a gangster government to her appearance on HARDBALL

a while back calling for an investigation into her fellow lawmakers‘

anti-American views. 

Well, the candidate must be figuring that craziness doesn‘t sell. 

We will have to see. 

Finally, refund, please.  Twenty big-time Republican donors have

just sent a letter to Florida Governor Charlie Crist, asking him to

return their donations.  The strongly-worded letter to the just-

announced independent reads—quote—“We helped to support and, yes,

to bankroll your political career.  For years, we have put our names and

credibility on the line by asking our friends to donate to you.  Those

days are over.”

Point of interest:  Crist is not required to give back the money. 

His campaign has not yet responded to that letter, which brings us to

tonight‘s “Big Number.” 

According to the oddsmakers at Intrade.com over in Dublin, what are

the chances that independent candidate Charlie Crist will win Florida‘s

Senate seat?  I love this number: 35 percent.  And I think it‘s about

right, one in three.  Sounds about exactly where his poll numbers are

right now, a 33 -- or 35 percent chance Charlie Crist running as an

independent will win that race for U.S. Senate down in Florida.  I love

Intrade.com.  They‘re often right. 

Up next: more on the Times Square terror suspect and what led him

to become radicalized and become a terrorist.

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.  


TYLER MATHISEN, CNBC CORRESPONDENT:  A day of almost unprecedented

price moves on the New York Stock Exchange, as, at one point, the Dow

industrials were off 998 points.  Yes, you heard me right, 998 points. 

They bounced back, though, to finish the day off about 348 points.  The

S&P 500, similarly violent price moves, ending the day off 37, and

Nasdaq down 82. 

The reason behind these moves, growing concerns that the Greek debt

situation may lead to a financial contagion across Europe and maybe even

around the globe.  The concern is that many European banks are heavily,

heavily exposed to Greek government debt. 

Tomorrow, we will get word from the U.S. government as to how good

the job market is.  Most people expect unemployment to remain at the 9.7

level that it posted last month.  Any variation from that number could

cause the markets to wobble even more—now back to HARDBALL. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, the suspected Times Square bomber, Faisal—

Faisal Shavad—Shahzad, rather—has waived his right to an attorney

and is continuing to talk to the federal agents. 

But how did this man go from being an educated, employed,

naturalized U.S. citizen to a terrorist associated with the Pakistan


Evan Kohlmann is an international terrorist consultant and an NBC

News terrorism analyst.  And Michael Sheehan served as the deputy

terrorism analyst for the New York Police Department.  He‘s now an NBC

News terrorism analyst as well.

Let me start with Evan, and then Mike.

I guess the same question—I‘m going to leave it wide open—Mr.

Shahzad, why is he on the other side of this world fight right now from


Evan, first. 



I mean, he was an MBA grad.  He was working at Elizabeth Arden

doing financial analysis, not someone that you think would join a jihadi

organization.  And I don‘t think, when he first came here and became a

U.S. citizen, he was an extremist.

It looks like what happened was is that a combination of personal

events, namely his bankruptcy, or his apparent bankruptcy, the loss of

his house, combined with the political impact of what‘s going on in

Pakistan right now, him returning to that environment, apparently

dejected, feeling like he had failed, the combination of those factors

was a cocktail that pushed this guy down a road that it‘s—it‘s

somewhat unusual. 

I mean, you don‘t see too many 30-, 31-year-old guys with two kids

and a wife joining a jihadi organization and going out on a possible

even suicide mission.  This person is unusual.  But I think he fits a

new kind of model for recruitment that al Qaeda and other groups are

going after. 

He‘s not the best trained operative.  But, given his background, he

doesn‘t fit a terrorist profile.  And, obviously, here, he was able to

get to the point of executing an attack without anyone ever stopping


MATTHEWS:  Well, Mike Sheehan, I want you to look at this fact.  A

former Connecticut neighbor said Shahzad was at a party last year and

was fixated on a TV news report about our drone attacks over in

Afghanistan.  The neighbor quoted Shahzad as saying—quote—“They

shouldn‘t be shooting people from the sky.  You know, they should come

down there and fight,” man-to-man, I suppose.

Mike, I have this question.  How do you go from being an angry

person with a bad domestic situation and a bad employment situation,

angry as hell at the world, to believing the nonsense that the Taliban

believes about how people blew up the World Trade Center to fake the

war, fake the horror, say the people who were anti-Taliban did it to get

us mad at the Taliban. 

How do you believe something 180 different from what you know to be

true just because you‘re mad, Mike?


this as not too unusual a case.

He‘s a little bit old.  The fact that he‘s married, a couple of the

9/11 bombers were also married.  Mohamed Atta, of course, was very

highly educated as well.  Most international terrorists have a world

view.  And to have a world view, you‘re normally highly educated.

In this guy‘s case, he got politically angry about what‘s going on

in Pakistan.  And then the third component comes in, and that‘s sort of

a religious—a return to religious grassroots put layers on top of

that and gives him a justification. 


SHEEHAN:  And that‘s really the three things that propelled him to

cross into this angry man to operational. 

MATTHEWS:  But how can he—back to Evan, he‘s making this claim

watching TV in Connecticut that we ought to fight man-to-man on the

ground.  I understand that sort of gutsy American attitude.  Take him on

level playing field.  I can get that, I suppose. 

But here he is taking the side of the crowd that blew up the World

Trade Center with airplanes, not exactly man-to-man, duking it out. 


MATTHEWS:  I mean, this is zany.  His value system doesn‘t add up

to even normal thinking. 


KOHLMANN:  The question is, is he taking the side of al Qaeda, or

is this an element of Pakistani nationalism?

Let‘s forget—let‘s not forget this guy is a Pakistani-American. 


KOHLMANN:  He may feel a certain sense of nationalism when he sees

American drones firing missiles at Pakistani targets. 

MATTHEWS:  Gotcha.

KOHLMANN:  And, certainly, there are plenty of people in Pakistan

right now, not all of whom are jihadis, who are very angry at the United

States, who will tell you that the United States is the enemy of

Pakistan, it‘s the prime enemy of Pakistan.

And those people don‘t necessarily love al Qaeda either.  It‘s

simply an element of nationalism.  And that‘s what I‘m—that‘s what

I‘m saying here.

MATTHEWS:  I get it.

SHEEHAN:  I think there was a cocktail here...

MATTHEWS:  I get that.

SHEEHAN:  ... a cocktail of different factors. 


Yes.  And, also, let me get back to Mike. 

I mean, it seems we have had people come here from Ireland, for

example, over the last 100 years.  Some of them have not had a good

experience in America.  Now, 99 percent have, but the ones who go back

home say, it just didn‘t work out for me in New York or wherever I was

living.  I‘m coming—I‘m going back home. 

But let me ask you about the lucky part of this from our point of

view.  We have had three of these terrorists in a row.  If you start

with the shoe bomber, then you go to the Christmas bomber, and now this

character, they‘re klutzes. 

SHEEHAN:  Actually—actually, Chris, there‘s actually been at

least 10 or 20 cases in which they‘re klutzes. 

But we shouldn‘t underestimate them.  The first chapter of my book

is called “Killers and Bunglers.”  Even when they‘re successful, often,

they make a lot of mistakes.  So, yes, these guys are not well—highly

trained.  They don‘t have disciplined tradecraft. 

But if you leave them alone, they can be successful.  And he‘s a

classic case of that.  If he had gotten a little bit more draining, had

been a little bit more disciplined, he could have turned that bomb into

something much more dangerous. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, what do you think his plot was about?  He didn‘t

turn on his propane tanks and things like that.  But was his plan to

have a big burst of fire that would have maybe killed some people who

were walking by on the sidewalk there?  What would have been his

potential damage if he had been successful technically? 

SHEEHAN:  Well, he only got part of it right.  He obviously wanted

to have propane gas and a fireball. 

But he also had fertilizer in there.  And, actually, if he had

packed a vehicle full of fertilizer with the right concoction, like

Timothy McVeigh did...

MATTHEWS:  Don‘t do it.  Don‘t tell them—don‘t tell them how to

do it.  Don‘t tell them how...

SHEEHAN:  Oh, they know how to do it.  They know how to do it. 

If Timothy McVeigh had a 5,000-pound bomb that blew up in Oklahoma

City, Ramzi Yousef blew up the World Trade Center, 1,200-pound bomb—

he had some of the pieces of it together.  He just didn‘t have the...


SHEEHAN:  ... just couldn‘t—was far away from making it really


MATTHEWS:  Well your turn, Evan.  Do you think they trained him

partially or what?  Because somebody must have told him what at least

the crude elements of the deal were, of what to put together for this


KOHLMANN:  Yes, I mean, he had the puzzle...

MATTHEWS:  ... somebody over in Pakistan.

KOHLMANN:  He had the puzzle pieces, but they weren‘t put together

in the right order. 

I think the answer is, is that this person may have gone through

training.  But the Pakistani Taliban is not an organization with a lot

of experience or know-how in terms of carrying out international

terrorist attacks.  If this was the Pakistani Taliban, it is possible

that someone could have gone through a training program, come out, and

still been a dud. 

I mean, a few years ago, we had a bunch of guys that—that built

a very, very similar device out of propane tanks and fuel canisters in

the U.K.  It failed to go off.  These guys were a complete failure. 

And, yet, eventually al Qaeda in Iraq ended up claiming that plot. 

The answer is that yeah, he certainly looks like an amateur.  But

we have past experience where similar people, who supposedly have

received training, have ended up really screwing up pretty badly. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me go back to my field, which is politics and

nationalism was my thing.  I think about it all the time.  I think maybe

one of the strongest forces in mankind‘s history has been nationalism, a

sense of tribe.  You were talking about it with Pakistan and his

loyalties to his old country.  When you look at the history of terrorism

in the last 20 years, going back well before 9/11, when you look at what

happened, we planted troops under the first Bush administration, during

Desert Storm and Desert Shield—we put troops into the holy land of

Mecca over there, 10,000 troops or so.  We kept them there all that


Bin Laden said that was the reason he attacked us on 9/11.  This

guy now says the reason he attacked us was the drone attack.  To what

extent is nationalism in the particular case of the person perpetrating

the crime the motivating force, Mike?

SHEEHAN:  There‘s no question about it, Chris, that—

MATTHEWS:  Not Islamism, but nationalism about their country of


SHEEHAN:  No question about it.  U.S. combat forces that are

deployed overseas are one of the most popular themes that terrorist

leadership use to motivate their people.  Don‘t kid yourself.  They have

other themes that will always be there, like the U.S. relationship with

Israel and the U.S. relationship with a lot of Arab regimes.  But this

is a favorite one. 

The compelling narrative is when they point to a guy like this and

say, look, American drones are killing innocent civilians, we have to

retaliate, send you back to the homeland, make Americans feel the same

pain.  We‘re going to kill American civilians in sort of a tit for tat. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me go back to Evan, then, do you think bin Laden,

for example, the worst guy we‘ve had to come up against, who is still

out there somewhere—was he motivated initially by what we did in the

holy land of Mecca, in putting troops in his holy land?  Desecrating it? 

By his standards, was that the nationalistic fervor or was it this

Islamic thing that we‘re just fighting or was it nationalism?  I‘m just

trying to detect what we‘re up against. 

KOHLMANN:  I don‘t think it‘s an either/or thing.  I think with

most of these folks there‘s really a cocktail.  There‘s a combination of

different factors.  There‘s personal reasons.  There are nationalistic

reasons.  Sometimes there are religious reasons.  There are other

reasons.  If you look at someone like Faisal Shahzad, if you look at

someone like Nadal Hasan, if you look at someone like Omar Abulmuttalab,

these three individuals, there is good reason to believe all three had

very serious personal issues that had nothing to do with al Qaeda, that

had nothing to do with nationalism, that had nothing to do with Islam. 

I think it‘s important to understand that the recruitment of a terrorist

or the selection of a terrorist, it‘s a cocktail. 

MATTHEWS:  And I agree completely.  It‘s why people become

communist, why people become racist.  It‘s usually a combination of—

If somebody screwed with my country, I‘m having troubles at home, and

what else, and God told me to do it. 

KOHLMANN:  It‘s a combination of all three. 

MATTHEWS:  The big three.  Thank you, guys.  It‘s good to have

experts on.  Evan Kohlmann, thank you.  Mike Sheehan, you guys both

speak clearly.  Thank you, sirs, for coming on.

Up next, voters go to the polls in the UK.  They speak English over

there.  We can figure this one out very quickly.  The latest on the big

election across the pond, and whether David Cameron, the Tory, is about

to take power. 

But in one minute, a new Gallup poll with some heartening news for

Democrats looking ahead to November in this country.  This is HARDBALL,

only on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:  Are Republicans peaking too soon this year?  A new

Gallup poll shows the enthusiasm gap between Republicans and Democrats

for the midterm elections is narrowing.  Right now, 43 percent of

registered Republicans say they‘re very enthusiastic about voting this

November, versus 33 percent of registered Democrats who say that.  That

ten point spread is the smallest since Gallup started polling earlier

this year.  In early April, shortly after health care passed, the

Republicans enjoyed a 19-point advantage in the enthusiasm rate.  If

this trend continues, November may not be as bad for the Democrats as

they once feared.

HARDBALL will be right back.


MATTHEWS:  If you thought picking a president in this country was a

tricky business, then the election our friends across the pond had today

will really wow you.  The United Kingdom is picking a prime minister

today.  While the results aren‘t certain yet, the mood of the voters

definitely sounds familiar to us. 

Michael Elliott is the editor of “Time International” and deputy

managing of “Time Magazine” overall.  And Katty Kay is the Washington

correspondent for the BBC. 

Katty, you first.  It seems to me, based on results that it looks

like the Tories have done pretty darn well, if not all the way they had

to go.  Pretty close to being able to form the next government. 

KATTY KAY, BBC:  Yes, Chris, we‘ve got these early exit polls

coming out.  I should stress these are early exit polls.  If there‘s

something we have learned from the a elections here in the U.S., in both

2000 and 2004, is to treat those exit polls with a certain amount of

skepticism this early on in the counting.  But those early exit polls

are taken from a sample of the population suggests that the Tories are

ahead, but without enough seats to form a majority government. 

They also suggest that that party of Liberal Democrats, which

seemed to come to the fore of everybody‘s attention over the last couple

of weeks, that they haven‘t done particularly well.  Of course, the Lib

Dems are saying don‘t trust the exit polls. 

MATTHEWS:  Elliott, your thoughts on what you‘ve seen this evening? 

MICHAEL ELLIOT, “TIME INTERNATINOAL”:  I would agree exactly with

Katty.  I think it‘s a little early to say.  The Tories seem to have a

solid lead in the popular vote.  They have not done nearly as well as

they thought they were going to do at the beginning of this campaign,

and certainly not as well as they thought they were going to do six

months ago.  I think it‘s pretty clear that they will be the largest

party in the House of Commons.  It seems unlikely to me, on the numbers

that we‘ve seen so far, that they will have an overall majority. 

So it‘s going to be a pretty interesting weekend to see if they say

that they have the right to form a government and dare everyone to vote

them out, or whether Gordon Brown tries to stay in office and do a deal

between Labor and the Liberal Democrats. 

MATTHEWS:  Katty, we just got an interesting poll in this country

on illegal immigration.  I know the issues aren‘t exactly the same in

the two countries, but immigration is a concern in Britain.  It helps on

the right with the national party.  I assume it helps with the Tory

party.  Is this going to be seen as, perhaps, the secret weapon of the

Tories and the nationalists in forming a government? 

KAY:  We saw immigration leap to the fore of this campaign, Chris,

when, of course, Gordon Brown made that gaffe when he was still on mike,

and called a woman who had asked about immigration a bigoted woman.  So

clearly immigration on everybody‘s minds, and on the Labor Party

leader‘s minds, I imagine, this evening after what happened to him. 

You‘re right.  It isn‘t quite the same, because it‘s been an intra-

European immigration.  It‘s people coming over from Eastern Europe.  At

times when Britons are suffering just like America, from unemployment,

from economic problems, then immigration becomes much more of an

electoral issue.  And how that‘s handled by the various parties is going

to dictate, to some extent, who makes it into power at the end of all of


I‘ve got to pick up on what Michael said.  We‘re going to have a

very, very interesting period, an uncertain period.  We haven‘t seen

this before, this period of horse trading that goes on, and who is going

to get the nod from the queen, because it has the queen who has to give

her nod to say, yes, you can form the government. 

MATTHEWS:  You know, it would strike me, Elliott, that nothing

bothers a person more than to have some snotty, elitist prime minister

looking down their nose at somebody‘s real concerns.  In this country,

you have a perfect right to be concerned about illegal immigration. 

It‘s illegal.  You have a perfect right to be concerned that government

has lost control of the situation.  It doesn‘t mean you‘re a bigot

automatically.  It might mean it.  It certainly doesn‘t mean it because

you‘re concerned about illegal immigration.

To have the prime minister of England say this woman is a bigot

because she expressed concern about an issue which is all over the

polls, did that hurt him, do you think? 

ELLIOTT:  I‘m sure it did hurt him.  But one of the things that we

learned in the British election this year, just as we‘ve learned in the

U.S. over the last few years, is that the new cycle changes very, very

fast.  Gordon Brown‘s quote about the bigoted woman was six days ago,

and we have had endless iterations of the new cycle between now and

then.  We found himself doing his best  campaigning, as it happened, in

the last two days before the election. 

So although it was an open mike moment for the ages, the like of it

I think none of us on either side of the pond have seen before, I very

much doubt that it was determinative.  A lot‘s happened in the last


KAY:  Chris, the thing I would say about that comment that he made

is that, to some extent, what hurt Gordon Brown there was not so much

was he was saying on the issue of immigration, it‘s what it revealed

about his character.  And it played to stories that Britons have heard

about a prime minister who says one thing in public, but has a meaner

character in private.  Gaffes are so effective when they reveal the

truth about somebody or are thought to reveal the truth about somebody. 

I think it was the character issue, perhaps, more than the immigration

issue that may have hurt Gordon Brown in that incident. 

MATTHEWS:  Katty, you and I talk politics all the time.  You know

that one of the real fighting words in this country is do you think

you‘re better than me?  He thought he was better than that woman.  That

was his problem.  When you think you‘re better than a voter, you‘re in

big trouble. 

Let‘s talk the economy.  We have had a very dangerous day here in

our stock market.  You know what happened in New York today.  It is very

scary for people who are about to retire, who are retired.  They‘re

watching their nest egg bounce up and down there today.  It went up,

what, a thousand points today.  That‘s a lot of money for people in the

banks going away for a few minutes. 

First with Elliott and then with Katty, the economy, is it the

determining factor in Britain as it is here, and is this a leading

indicator that people want change when the times are bad? 

ELLIOTT:  I think it‘s been an extremely important part of the

election.  One of the things about the British situation is that whoever

wins this election is going to have a torrid few years.  In fact, there

have been many people saying over the last couple of weeks that winning

the election this year is something of a poison challis.  Everyone is

going to have to do massive budget cuts, massive expenditure cuts.  It‘s

not going to be at all pleasant. 

The extraordinary thing to me, kind of standing back and looking at

the figures that we are seeing tonight, is that the conservatives have

not done better.  This is a tired 13-year-old government, led by a prime

minister who‘s not been popular for the last few years, with the

parliament that‘s been mired in scandal for significant periods of that

time.  And the conservatives are going to come in, I‘m guessing, with

36, 37 percent of the popular vote.  I don‘t know that.  That would be

my guess. 

That doesn‘t seem, to me, to be a huge endorsement of the

conservatives by any means. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, my hero, Churchill, came in with a narrow majority

back in ‘51, Michael and Katty.  Just because you come in after a period

of time, and you don‘t have a rock ‘em sock ‘em majority, doesn‘t mean

you can‘t do well.  You‘re thoughts on this, can this government make

it?  A new conservative—by the way, Merkel in Germany, they are all

conservatives over there.  I only have ten seconds. 

KAY:  Let‘s reiterate, those exit polls are very early.  Your old

boss, Chris, Tip O‘Neil said one thing, all politics are local.  I don‘t

think that‘s the case in the British election.  I think it‘s been

national.  And I think it‘s even been global. 

MATTHEWS:  Well said. 

KAY:  The fiscal situation is very much on the Brits‘ minds. 

MATTHEWS:  Well said, thank you very much, Katty Kay of the BBC,

and Michael Elliott of “Time International.” 

When we return, I‘m going to have some thoughts about the British

election, my own thoughts.  I happen to like the way they do it.  They

do it quick and it‘s clear, usually.  You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on



MATTHEWS:  Let me finish tonight with the excitement of this

election in the United Kingdom.  I love British elections for a handful

of reasons.  First, you get to see precisely how the people feel right

now.  They tell you which party the people want running the country, for

the simple reason people over in Britain only get to vote for party. 

There‘s none of the confusion you get in this country.  No voting for

one party for president, the other for Congress, the other for the

Senate.  In British elections, you vote for a candidate for parliament

from one party, and you‘re saying you want that party to pick the prime


Second, I like it how quick these elections come.  A couple months

ago, the prime minister said, let‘s start it and the prime minister

said, let‘s go.  He called the election.  Guess what, all of a sudden,

we‘re actually having the election.  It‘s moving.  We‘re having the


It‘s not like here, where the candidates run nearly full time for

four years, and all full time for two years.  Come this January, we‘ll

be having our candidates starting this two year sprint for an election

which is going to take another two years. 

The third advantage is the winner of the election in Britain

completely controls the government.  The prime minister party, his party

sets the agenda.  Parliament carries it into law.  And the government

itself acts on it.  One party does it all.  You know who to blame.  I

like it simple.  You can‘t be simpler than that. 

Fourth advantage of the British election, the government elected

today will take office immediately.  There will be no lame duck, no long

intermission between one government and the next.  Winners take office. 

The losers pick up their papers, shove them into their bags and head out

the door.  It‘s neat.  And most people like it neat.

The fifth advantage you get a leader.  The next prime minister

won‘t be a back bencher or a stranger or a flavor of the month.  He‘ll

be the leader of a political party, someone who has proven himself in

parliamentary battles, someone who knows his way around.  Let‘s watch

the Brits.  Maybe we can learn something. 

That‘s HARDBALL for now.  Thanks for being with us.  Right now,

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




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