updated 5/14/2010 10:07:59 AM ET 2010-05-14T14:07:59

Guest: Marc Lamont Hill, Doug Nick, Steve McMahon, Todd Harris, Sherrod Brown, Amy Walter

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  So who‘s going to pay the oil bill?

Let‘s play HARDBALL.

Good evening.  I‘m Chris Matthews out in Chicago.  Leading off

tonight: Who‘s going to pay?  Are we looking at a giant taxpayer bill for

cleaning up that oil spill in the gulf?  Is BP doing all it can to keep

from paying the damage in the gulf?  Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown says they

shouldn‘t get away with it, and he‘s at the top of our show tonight.

Plus, Tuesday night fights.  We‘re just five shorts days from the

hottest/ political night this year until election day.  Three big names are

on the ballot and in trouble, and we‘ll give you the lowdown on who‘s

likely to make it and who could go down.

Also, should public schools be teaching kids something called “ethnic

studies”?  Shortly after passing its tough immigration law, Arizona is now

placing restrictions on so-called “ethnic studies.”  Is that a good idea?

Plus, some companies are spending again.  Small businesses are hiring

again.  And yet when President Obama traveled to Buffalo today, he was met

with this sign, “I need a freakin‘ job.”  How do Democrats win the battle

over the economy?

And “Let Me Finish” tonight with the silence of the lambs, the

Republicans who have yet to come forward—none of them—and say theirs

is the party of Lincoln not Limbaugh.

Let‘s start with the politics and financing of the oil spill.  Senator

Sherrod Brown is a Democrat.  Senator, I want you to watch and listen to

this statement by a BP executive, Lamar McKay, on Monday.  Let‘s all listen

together to this statement.


LAMAR MCKAY, BP AMERICA CHAIRMAN:  We have said exactly what we mean. 

We‘re going to pay the legitimate claims.

saying we will pay all legitimate claims...

going to pay all legitimate claims...

pay all legitimate claims...

all legitimate claims...

every legitimate claim...

legitimate claims...

legitimate claims...

legitimate claims...

We‘re going to pay all claims that are legitimate.


MATTHEWS:  “Legitimate” seems to be the key word.  What are they

hanging on that word for, Senator?

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO:  Well, who knows?  I‘m not a lawyer. 

And I know, though, that what he says isn‘t necessarily what he‘s going to

do.  I think the issue is the law has to compel this company, which made a

mistake and which has a history of violating OSHA rules—we can talk

about that in a second, what happened in Texas City, Texas, five years ago

and what hasn‘t happened since with OSHA rules and environmental rules.

And it was—you know, the last decade, Chris, as you know, has been

a question of the oil industry and Wall Street and others staying a step

ahead of the sheriff.  And the sheriff hasn‘t really been on the beat with

the Bush administration on environment or on worker safety rules.  That‘s

why this is a different day, and we‘ve got to make sure that they do what

they are supposed to do under the law.

MATTHEWS:  Well, it looks like they‘ve got another plan.  Look at this

video from Thinkprogress.org.  Republican congressmen—a number of them -

- and Frank Luntz, the guy who speaks the—teaches them what words to use

at a fundraiser this week on Capitol Hill.  Let‘s watch this spectacle.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Nice to meet you, Congressman Sessions.  I just

have a quick question.  Do you think on the morning that the House is going

to talk to a lot of these BP and other oil executives, it‘s good that your

caucus is meeting with the oil and gas industry for fundraiser?

REP. PETE SESSIONS ®, TEXAS:  You know, what I think is really good

is that Barack Obama wants oil prices to skyrocket.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Frank Luntz went to the fundraiser.  Did he give

you that talking point?

SESSIONS:  No, I—if you see, I put them on the floor of the House

every day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  OK.  Any messaging advice on this BP spill?



LUNTZ:  Yes, the first messaging advice is there are way too many

people in really nice suits in one place at one time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Shortly after the oil spill, you said that oil

rigs, quote, “have a very positive environmental record.”  Given the

tragedy of the spill, and you know, in light of how bad the damage is now,

do you still hold that view?

REP. TODD AKIN ®, MISSOURI:  You know, I do.


MATTHEWS:  So Senator, on the very week that the United States Senate

and Congress are supposedly looking at this travesty, this tragedy down in

the Gulf of Mexico, and we‘re watching that oil pour out of that well, the

very week they‘re supposed to be watchdogs, they‘re over raising money at

the Republican club, the Capitol Hill Club, getting advice from Frank Luntz

about how to word their way out of it.  In other words, the oil companies

and the Republican Party are in bed together here, planning the way to PR

their way out of this problem without having to pay for it.

BROWN:  Yes.  Chris, one of the things you‘ve done very well on

HARDBALL in the last many months, is show that depending on the issue, you

know who the Republican benefactor is.  During the health care bill, the

Republican benefactor is the insurance industry.  And they pretty much set

up—set the direction and gave the talking points to Republicans.  During

the Wall Street reform we‘re doing right now, it was the banking industry. 

During all of these—this oil spill and all that‘s happened with BP and

other companies, their benefactor has been the oil industry.

I mean, you can write the talking points.  You can see their behavior. 

And they will always cover for their friends, and that‘s what they did on

health care, that‘s what they‘re doing now on the financial reform, and

that‘s what they‘re going to continue to do on this issue with the

terrible, terrible environmental tragedy and the worker safety tragedy that


Don‘t forget, I mean, people aren‘t talking about this much, but 11

workers were killed on this oil platform and all we talk about is the

spill.  That‘s understandable.  But 11 families lost loved ones, just like

15 families and 100 people injured back in Texas City, Texas, when BP

didn‘t follow worker safety rules then.  They had the biggest fine ever

levied by the OSHA by OSHA.  That was in the Bush years.  And they got—

they got fined again with a real regulator in place, Secretary Solis, for

not doing what they were supposed to do in the ensuing five years.

So we know their game.  It‘s important that the administration come

down, that Congress does the right thing and says, No more on this.  No

liability limits.  You‘re going to pay.  You‘re going to pay for cleaning

up the spill, and you‘re going to pay those businesses that lost—lost

their businesses or lost the big parts of their revenue because of this oil


MATTHEWS:  Well, the public seems to agree with you, Senator.  Here‘s

the new NBC/”Wall Street Journal” poll just out.  It finds that the gulf

oil spill is the top news story that concerns people, 7 points more than

the Times Square bomber, more than that terrorist incident, and more than

the immigration fight out in Arizona.

Big oil is the big target right now.  It‘s the top corporate mess that

bothers people, bigger than the mortgage mess or even Goldman Sachs. 

People give the federal government a little more credit than BP in handling


So there‘s the question.  Can you legally require the oil company

here, BP, which made zillions of dollars in profits, to pay for the Coast

Guard activities, to pay for the clean-up along the shore, to compensate

the fishermen and the shrimp people and all the other people?  Can you make

them do it?

BROWN:  Yes, of course, we can.  I mean, the problem is, Senator

Menendez from New Jersey, tried to—Democrat from New Jersey—tried to

do it today.  The Republican senator from Alaska objected.  They‘re going

to continue to block things, continue to obstruct.

We can legally do it.  We pass this bill, get it—eventually, get it

to the president then.  Then the—BP has to reimburse the Coast Guard. 

Out of their—this last quarter, as you know, Chris, as you said -- $5.6

billion in profits just the last quarter alone, BP.  Exxon had bigger

profits.  Shell had profits almost as big.  That‘s just one quarter. 

They‘re going to have to pay out of those profits, pay the Coast Guard

back.  They‘re going to have to pay other private companies that have done

the clean-up, everybody else, you bet.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  Is there any way to get to the executives who have

made these decisions, these sloppy decisions about the way they drill, what

looks to be shortcuts?  They didn‘t put the drill mud down in there.  They

operated in a way that was fast and loose.  Is there any way to make the

people who made those decisions pay, not the ultimate consumer, who might

finally be hit at the gas pump?

BROWN:  Yes.  I don‘t know the answer to that.  As I said, I‘m not a

lawyer.  I don‘t know—I don‘t know what you do with the executives.  If

they have civil or criminal liability, I think you absolutely pursue it.  I

mean, they‘re making decisions—these executives made decisions by their

cutting corners that killed 11 men, and I assume women, but 11 human

beings, workers on that platform.  They made decisions that have continued

to ignore worker safety violations in Texas City, Texas, near Galveston.

They‘ve continued to make those decisions and simply cut corners,

ignore them, hoping—forgetting that George Bush isn‘t president anymore

and going to give them a pass on worker safety, that there‘s a new sheriff

in town, a new administration that‘s going to lean on them and enforce

these worker safety laws.

MATTHEWS:  Have you got the president behind you on this bill?  I see

your co-sponsors.  They‘re an impressive list, a lot of Northeastern guys. 

But do you have the president of the United States behind you on this

measure to force big oil, BP in this case, to pay for the mess they made?

BROWN:  Yes, obviously, I can‘t speak for the president, but the White

House seems engaged on this.  They don‘t—of course, they don‘t believe

taxpayers should pay for this.  The clean-up and the liability, somebody‘s

going to have to pay, and it sure as hell shouldn‘t be taxpayers.  We‘ve

gone through that.  It needs to be the people who made the mistakes, and

that‘s a company right now that reported just a couple of weeks ago over $5

billion in profits just in their first quarter.

MATTHEWS:  Well, you know how your parents told you when you were

growing up and you get in a car accident, Don‘t say anything to the police,

don‘t say you‘re sorry, don‘t say anything, just don‘t talk?  That‘s the

way that BP are operating.  They‘re not saying nothing!  They won‘t tell us

anything responsible for this, and they‘re the ones that did it.

Anyway, thank you, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio.

BROWN:  Thanks, Chris.

MATTHEWS:  Coming up: Just days away until primary night in some of

the hottest races in the country—Arkansas, Kentucky, and of course, down

to the wire in Pennsylvania, with Arlen Specter fighting for his 45-year

career against Joe Sestak, the admiral.  We‘ll get to the lay of the land

in those races coming up right next.

By the way, in a minute, the state of Hawaii takes on the birthers.

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:  Hawaii takes on the birthers.  Hawaii‘s Republican governor

signed into law a bill allowing state agencies to ignore repeated requests

for more documents on President Obama‘s birth.  State officials in Hawaii

have regularly released President Obama‘s birth certificate and say his

original birth records are indeed on file with the state‘s health


We‘ll be right back.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  We‘re in the breakdown (ph), the

most important time of any election, the final 72 hours, and that‘s exactly

what‘s about to happen in Pennsylvania, Arkansas and Kentucky, where voters

are about to decide what happens in three big U.S. senate races.

Here‘s Joe Sestak‘s latest ad in Pennsylvania to give you just a taste

of the action in PA.  Let‘s listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The race between Sestak and Specter is a dead

heat, so compare the records.  On supporting Pennsylvania seniors, Sestak

scores better.  On standing up for civil rights, Sestak.  Protecting the

environment, Sestak‘s record is twice as good as Specter‘s.  Issues

important to women?  Sestak‘s record is better.  The best Democrat for

Pennsylvania‘s future, Joe Sestak.


authorized this message because it‘s time for a new generation of



MATTHEWS:  And wow (ph), I got great news for everybody from that area

up there in Philadelphia and anywhere in the area.  We‘re going to be live

from Lowe‘s (ph) Hotel in Center City.  That‘s right on East Market near

city hall.  All night long on Tuesday, MSNBC is going to be up there.  We

HARDBALLers are going to be present to watch this amazing (INAUDIBLE)

Tuesday night.  That‘s in Philly.  Please come down and watch us on East

Market right near the Convention Center.

Now a Pittsburgher!  Howard Fineman joins us now.  He‘s an MSNBC

political analyst.  And “Hotline‘s” Amy Walter, who‘s been so good on these

topics lately.  I‘ve been watching you all over the place, Amy.  You first

this time.  This Sestak ad has been criticized by the people working for

Arlen Specter, by Chris Nicholas (ph), as shameful because it shows Arlen

back when he was getting chemo, where he looked particularly bad.  I mean,

he‘s 80 years old.  I mean, he looks 80, of course.  But he looked

particularly bad a while back, when he was getting chemo.

Is that unfair, to show an ad with his picture in that condition? 

Your thoughts, Amy.


MATTHEWS:  Or is all fair in love and war?

WALTER:  Listen, these are the last few days here of this campaign. 

Now, I‘m actually surprised, though.  When you look at that ad that you

just put up there, that‘s a pretty soft comparative ad.  And this wasn‘t

exactly—this is not slash and burn.  Compare this to what‘s going on in

Arkansas, which is much more contentious.  And you‘re going to actually get

whoever comes out of this primary—they‘ve been banged up a little bit—

but this has not been the sort of dirty tricks kind of thing that...

MATTHEWS:  So you don‘t have any problem...

WALTER:  ... you‘ve seen in others.

MATTHEWS:  Howard, what do you think about that “death warmed over”

picture of Arlen there on the left?  What do you make of that?


combined with the phrase, “It‘s time for a new generation,” and so forth.


FINEMAN:  You know, that‘s what they‘re doing at the end.  But on the

other hand, I think Sestak‘s people, who I talked to just a little while

ago, know that for the most part, they have to try to finish positive here. 

At least, that‘s what they told me, Chris, because they feel that they‘ve

put Specter sufficiently on the defensive here, that the issue is no longer

whether people want Specter, because they don‘t.  It‘s whether they want



FINEMAN:  So I think what you‘re going to see over the next 72 hours

is Sestak trying to finish positive and really, as Amy was saying, not

really do the dirty stuff because it‘s the tough tactics that I think, to

some extent, Specter is known for, and that reputation has hurt him in this


WALTER:  Yes.  You‘re exactly right.  And nobody knew who Sestak was

and so...

FINEMAN:  People still don‘t.

WALTER:  In fact, they still don‘t, right.

FINEMAN:  That‘s right.

WALTER:  Most of the people in Pennsylvania still have absolutely no

idea who this guy is.  And so he—he does need to sell himself as a

credible alternative, somebody who‘s a true Democrat.  He also hasn‘t had

to go too far to the left in this primary.  He sort of makes these vague

references here to, I‘m better on women‘s issues, et cetera.  But he‘s not

standing out there saying, Look at how far left I am, please vote for me.

FINEMAN:  Although that‘s the import—aside from the shot in the

little picture you mentioned, Chris, that‘s the real purpose of this ad, is

to reach out to traditional Democrats because Specter has not made the sale

with traditional Democrats.

I was talking to my friends in Pittsburgh again today.  There‘s very

little enthusiasm for Specter out there.  There was a Specter event out

there.  A lot of the big politicians in Pittsburgh were not there.  I

checked with the White House again today just to be sure, and Barack Obama

is not going back to Pennsylvania for Specter...


FINEMAN:  ... you know, before the election.  I just checked with

Robert Gibbs about an hour about that.  There‘s no chance that the

president will be there for Specter at the end.

MATTHEWS:  OK, enough of that until tomorrow night.  Let‘s go back to

Arkansas, the home of the Clintons.  The pollsters (INAUDIBLE) average up

there has got Blanche Lincoln up by 10.  Is that enough, Amy, fighting it

out against the hard-charging Mr. Halter?

WALTER:  We just have to remember that it is a runoff state, so she

needs -- - it is not a plurality.  She needs to get 50 percent.  Everyone

that I talked to, both sides of this thing, think this is going to a

runoff.  So the real question is, when all is said and done, we‘re going to

have the end of this not over until June.  And who‘s going to be the more -

or in this case, the less banged-up candidate between now and the end of



WALTER:  This has been a very tough campaign.

MATTHEWS:  Who‘s taking the votes away—who‘s the third candidate or

who‘s pulling the votes away from somebody getting a majority here?

WALTER:  This is—you know what?  It‘s so funny that you say that

because I can‘t even remember his name right now.  I don‘t think anybody

remembers what...


MATTHEWS:  ... it‘s a he and he‘s going to get enough votes to...

WALTER:  It‘s a he, and he‘s...

MATTHEWS:  ... to prevent her from getting 50?

WALTER:  Right.  All he needs to get are, you know, 5, 6, 7 percent of

the vote.  And when you think about the polls in this race—and they‘ve

been all over the place, but these two have basically been stuck.  She‘s

been stuck somewhere about, you know, in the mid-40s.  He‘s kind of stuck a

little bit underneath that, if we sort of average those all together.  And

you know, you can sort of see at the end, yes, the undecided should break

toward Halter, but Blanche Lincoln has done a very good job going after

him, making people question those folks who don‘t want to vote for



WALTER:  ... whether they want to vote for him.

FINEMAN:  Chris, the other thing in Arkansas is, yes, it‘s Bill

Clinton‘s state and it sometimes votes Democrat, and so forth.  It‘s not a

big union state.  You know, the unions are backing Bill Halter big-time.

MATTHEWS:  It‘s a right to work state.

FINEMAN:  OK.  Yes.  And they‘re trying—the unions are trying to

make an example of Blanche Lincoln by saying, You don‘t be for us, we‘re

going to come after you.  They may have picked the wrong place, in the end,

to do it, because of the union thing.  And also, Blanche Lincoln has turned

into a populist overnight.  She‘s the one saying that the banks shouldn‘t

be allowed to trade in derivatives anymore.  She‘s taking a hard line

against the banks.  That may be enough, in the end, to save her.

MATTHEWS:  OK, let‘s take a look at them fighting it out.  Here‘s

Halter and Lincoln on MSNBC yesterday and today.  Let‘s listen.



is that I‘m going to stand with working men and women, and I‘m proud to

have the support of over 40,000 working men and women in Arkansas.  Senator

Lincoln wanted that support.  She wanted that support badly.  She‘s in the

past received a lot of financial contributions from labor.  But when labor

decided to support me in this race because she‘s turned her back on them,

the fact is that, in her eyes, they became extremists and outsiders

SEN. BLANCHE LINCOLN (D), ARKANSAS:  I have been very supportive of

labor and a lot of the things that—that—issues that they have. 

I have got well over an 80 percent voting record with the labor

unions, and I fully support workers‘ rights to organize.  We‘re a right-to-

work state, and I support that.  And I think you can do both. 


MATTHEWS:  Howard, is it possible that the actions of the progressive

wing of the Democratic Party here will end up being counterproductive, that

knocking her down, bringing her down below 50, making her fight for that—

that runoff just weakens her for the general; she loses the general; they

never come back in that state for years to come? 

FINEMAN:  I think it‘s quite possible, Chris. 

And I think they—they want to make a lesson.  They want to teach

somebody a lesson.  I‘m not sure this is the right person or the right

place to do it, because she was probably their best chance, the Democrats‘

best chance, of holding on to that seat there. 

MATTHEWS:  If they want 60 seats, they got to take a lot of moderates

and conservatives, it seems to me. 

FINEMAN:  Right. 

WALSH:  That‘s right. 

MATTHEWS:  That‘s my view, anyway.


FINEMAN:  Well, they have seem to have lost that theory. 


MATTHEWS:  I know.  I know.  That‘s the old theory, you need 60.  If

you don‘t need 60, we have got a new ball game. 

Let‘s take a look at the Rand Paul fight here on front page of today‘s

“Washington Post.”  Headline, “The Old Kentucky Reign.” 

What is that about, Amy, that odd picture there? 

WALSH:  The fact that he‘s sitting in shorts and a suit top?

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  That‘s pretty odd.

WALSH:  Which I—you know, listen, if I could get away with it, I

would do—I would do it, too.  So...

FINEMAN:  You‘re not wearing shorts right now? 

WALSH:  No.  Don‘t tell anybody. 


MATTHEWS:  OK.  Go ahead.

WALSH:  So, keep the camera up. 

Listen, he—the reign, really, it‘s as much about Mitch McConnell‘s

future as it is about who the eventual nominee is.  Obviously, McConnell

putting his prestige on the line endorsing Trey Grayson, going up with the

TV ads supporting him.  This comes in the wake, of course, of Bob Bennett,

his good friend, losing, and lieutenant, losing in the convention process

in Utah last weekend. 

So, you know, the real talk around Washington now is, boy, is this guy

sort of losing his juice, if he loses two of his top people to these sort

of outside primary surges?


WALSH:  It looks right now, Rand Paul, like he does have all the

momentum going into this weekend.  I would be surprised if he didn‘t win. 

MATTHEWS:  Howard, I see the excitement around Rand Paul and Ron Paul

the way I saw it about the early Goldwater, before he got into trouble with

the trigger finger stuff around ‘64...


FINEMAN:  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  ... and extremist-looking.  And I think there‘s a lot of

excitement about libertarian politics.  People—young people seem to like

freedom, really basic freedom from the government. 

FINEMAN:  Well, it‘s the next turn of the wheel.  While Barack Obama,

who is not all that popular in country right now, and has had to support a

lot of government programs that are controversial to some people and that

haven‘t necessarily resulted in nirvana arriving yet, other people are

saying, especially young people saying, let‘s take another look. 

You know, Mitch McConnell, I was—I learned this yesterday—is not

going to be in Kentucky on election night, which means to me that he knows

that his guy, Trey Grayson, is going to lose. 

However, McConnell is supposed to attend a unity breakfast of

Republicans on Saturday.  And he‘s made friendly noises toward Rand Paul,

lately.  The body language of this now, Chris is that Mitch McConnell is

going to need Rand Paul more than Rand Paul needs Mitch McConnell...

MATTHEWS:  Yes, I know.  You know what I‘m getting out of this?

FINEMAN:  ... because Mitch McConnell is going to have to try to get

right with the Tea Party people.  And that‘s Rand Paul. 


MATTHEWS:  What I‘m getting out of this discussion with you two

experts is, finally, this:  Sestak thinks he‘s going to win there, for—

he‘s going to go positive.  If he thought he was going to lose, he would be

going negative at this point, right?

FINEMAN:  Yes.   

WALSH:  That‘s right. 

MATTHEWS:  It looks like the other race won‘t be decisive this time. 

It‘s going to a runoff.  Amy has got it pretty clear.  It looks like nobody

is going to get 50.  Halter is going to make the point that she is not

strong enough.  So, that‘s going to be interesting.

But it looks like Rand Paul is going to win, right?  Am I right? 

FINEMAN:  Yes.  Yes. 

WALSH:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  Is that the summation?  Thank you. 


WALSH:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  I think I...


MATTHEWS:  Great reporting there.

Thank you, Howard Fineman. 

Thank you, Amy Walter. 

And a reminder:  We will be at the Loews Hotels, as I said, in Center

City, Philly.  It‘s right near—well, it‘s right near the Convention

Center, right near the old Reading Terminal, where my dad used to get on

the train there.  Anyway, a very familiar sight, Loews Hotels, the old

(INAUDIBLE) building. 

Anyway, up next, what happens when the new prime minister of Britain

is reminded that he once called the new deputy prime minister a joke?  He‘s

got to take that back.

Stick around for the “Sideshow.”

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.  


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

First: the ties that bind.  Britain‘s got a true team of rivals now,

with conservative Prime Minister David Cameron joining us with Deputy Prime

Minister Nick Clegg, who is the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, to

form a coalition government. 

Yesterday, during their first press conference together, Cameron was

asked about a comment he made during the campaign about his then-opponent. 

Take a listen. 


QUESTION:  Do you now regret, when once asked what your favorite joke

was, you replied, “Nick Clegg”?

And, Deputy Prime Minister, what do you think of that?



afraid I did once.  I‘m...


CAMERON:  We‘re all...


CAMERON:  Come back.


CAMERON:  We‘re all going to have things that we said thrown back at

us.  And, you know, and there‘s a serious point in this, which is, if you

want to spend the next five years finding Lib Dem politician who slightly

disagree with Conservative politicians about this or a slightly nuanced

policy, you can look lots.  But we‘re looking at the bigger picture.


MATTHEWS:  Imagine a country run by Hugh Grant and Colin Firth.

Anyway, hey, Obama and Hillary get along pretty well.  Come to think

of it, so do Sarah Palin and John McCain.  As Henry Kissinger wants put it

so well, power is the greatest aphrodisiac. 

Moving down to Florida: no refunds available.  Independent Senate

candidate Charlie Crist has just backtracked and said he will not return

campaign donations from supporters who gave to his campaign when he was

still a Republican. 

Crist defended the decision, saying, people gave to a good cause and

we‘re going spend it on a good cause. 

Well, as Jesse “Big Daddy” Unruh of California once said, if you can‘t

take their money, eat their food, drink their booze, and something else I

forget right now, and vote against them in the morning, you don‘t belong in

this business. 

Finally: Ted Haggard back in action.  Remember him?  He was the

Christian right‘s rising star until his relationship with a male prostitute

was revealed in 2006.  Well, catch this.  Haggard still holds prayer

meetings at his house in Colorado Springs.  And he and his wife have just

filed official papals—papers—not papals—to have that house

declared a church called the Saint James—well, for tax purposes. 

Haggard said he hopes to see that same small-town church someday

become a full-fledged ministry. 

Well, I wonder what Saint James thinks of all this tax policy.

Anyway, up next:  First, Arizona passed that controversial illegal

immigration law.  And now the state has restricted classes in ethnic

studies in public schools, things like Chicano studies.  Is that a good

move for anybody?  That‘s our debate straight ahead.

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.  



“Market Wrap.”

A triple-digit decline for the Dow on word of a bank probe and

cautious comments from Cisco, the Dow Jones industrials falling 114 points,

the S&P 500 slipping 14 points, and the Nasdaq tumbling 30 points. 

Banks leading the decline on news that the New York attorney general

is probing eight banks to see if they duped the ratings agencies about the

quality of their securities. 

Cisco shares down 4.5 percent at the close.  The company‘s CEO says

he‘s watching events in Europe very closely, as it accounts for 20 percent

of the firm‘s revenue. 

Department stores Kohl‘s and Macy‘s shares seeing significant

declines, despite beating earnings expectations.  Kohl‘s delivered a weak

outlook, but Macy‘s posted strong profits and growing margins. 

And Alcoa was the lone gainer on the Dow on word it will shut down an

Italian facility in an attempt to keep it open long-term. 

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


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

After passing the toughest crackdown on illegal immigration, Arizona

just passed a new law that places restrictions on what are called ethnic

studies classes in the public school system.  The new law prohibits courses

that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, that promote resentment

toward a race or class of people, or are designed primarily for pupils of a

particular ethnic group, or advocate solidarity, instead of the treatment

of pupils as individual citizens. 

Should ethnic studies classes be taught?  An Arizona lawmaker is

aiming to eliminate the course work altogether.  Well, we will see.

Doug Nick is the federal liaison for the Arizona Department of

Education.  He works for the Arizona government.  And Marc Lamont Hill is a

professor of education in African-American studies at Columbia. 

Let me go to Doug first.

Doug, you‘re first here.  Explain the classes that are—have been

given in Arizona that you now wish to stop. 


the situation came to light about four years ago. 

My boss, superintendent Tom Horne, and our deputy, Margaret Dugan,

were made aware by some teachers down at the Tucson Unified District that

there were schools—or classes, rather, that were directed specifically

towards segregating people in—students into racial and ethnic


So, you have African-American studies and Asian studies and Native

American studies, and then you have Chicano studies or raza studies, raza

meaning race. 

And we were concerned because what we were hearing from some teachers

down there was that the—and specifically, in the case of the raza

studies, some of the students were essentially becoming radicalized through

a rather radical notion of the idea that the Southwestern United States,

places like Arizona, New Mexico, California, all the way up, in some cases,

to Wyoming, all these states that are part of this country, and have been

for obviously many years, are really part of what is called Aztlan, and

that students should be encouraged, if only by sheer numbers of population

and growing and through illegal immigration, if need be, should come in and

reconquer, or reconquista would be the...


NICK:  ... word.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Who—to make the point, who—who came up with

these textbooks?  Are they in the textbooks, this theology or philosophy

you‘re describing of sort of separation again?  Is there something in the

textbooks that makes this case that you can point to? 

NICK:  Absolutely.  There are several textbooks. 

There‘s one that uses the term the pedagogy of oppression.  So, what

we‘re doing is, we‘re taking 15- and 16-year-old students and we‘re telling

them, you may not realize you‘re oppressed.  We actually had a student come

up to the legislature and testify to this effect, that, when she was a

freshman, said started this class, and, after the end of the class, she

realized, oh, I am in fact impressed—oppressed, when, before, she didn‘t

feel that way.

Well, why is that?  That‘s indoctrination.  We have a text called

“Occupied America,” which talks about how we—the Chicano population, the

Hispanic population needs to rise up and smash the gringo. 

It‘s very inflammatory language and it‘s inappropriate in an

educational context.


MATTHEWS:  I‘m stunned.  I thought I knew a lot about American


Professor, I didn‘t know this kind of stuff was being taught.  What do

you make of it, professor? 


TEMPLE UNIVERSITY:  Well, first of all, that‘s not what is happening.

It‘s possible that there are a few rogue teachers somewhere who are

going above and beyond what the curriculum suggests.  But “Pedagogy of the

Oppressed,” as was just referenced, is not a book about overthrowing a

government.  And it‘s not about convincing students that they‘re oppressed.

It‘s a book about, actually, multiculturalism.  It‘s a book about

progressive education.  In fact, the book is used in education schools all

around the country to encourage dialoguing with students and doing group

work and all the things that No Child Left Behind now calls for.

You know, this—ethnic studies is not about divisiveness.  It‘s not

about separating people from America.  It‘s letting people know that they

are more involved in America. 


HILL:  We have always had ethnic studies.  It‘s just that the

ethnicities that we were focused on were European.  They were Irish.  They

were Polish.  They were Russian.

And now we‘re saying there are other people who also have ethnicities

who count as well.  And it‘s also factually untrue to say that the purpose

of ethnic studies is to put black people on one track and Chicanos on

another track.  No.

White people will take African-American studies.  Black people will

take Asian studies.  The point is to expose everyone to the range of

cultures and ethnicities that makes America good. 


Back to you, Doug.  Your thoughts.


MATTHEWS:  Explain “The Pedagogy of the Oppressed” and how you believe

it clearly makes an ideological statement. 

NICK:  Well, that is just one of the other text.  The other text is

called “Occupied America,” in which it talks about smashing the gringo. 

And there are many, many other examples that we have found, not only

through our investigation—we have read the curriculum.  We have spoken

to teachers down there.

The idea—the very idea that, in 2010, we would go back decades and

decades to a very dark time in this country in which segregation was

accepted, and then go back to segregation and saying, if you are an

Hispanic American or you are an African-American, you must take a certain

track of ethnic studies is completely against the notion, as my boss talks

about, with Dr. King‘s speech in 1963, where people should be judged for

the content of their character, not based on the color of their skin or

their ethnicity.  This is exactly what is not happening in these studies.

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you.  A lot of these kids come from families

that came from Mexico or Colombia or Guatemala—mostly from Mexico.

Is there something inherently wrong in them taking a class or two in

high school that explains their heritage, where they came from? 

NICK:  Of course not.  We would absolutely support a comprehensive

curriculum that does in fact cherish other cultures, not excluding and

certainly not segregating by race. 

That is the exactly the opposite of the message that American public

education should be doing. 


HILL:  But it‘s factually untrue to suggest that the curriculum

advises teachers to separate people by race.  And even if that were the

case, that‘s not an argument for getting rid of ethnic studies.  That‘s an

argument for amplifying ethnic studies and diversifying ethnic studies, so

that everyone has access to it.

But that‘s not what initial intention of it was.

NICK:  I have to say, in practice, though, that‘s a non sequitur,

because it does in fact—it absolutely, positively separates students by

their ethnicity. 

HILL:  It does not.  That‘s absolutely...

NICK:  Why else would you call it African-American studies, or Raza

studies.  By it‘s very nature, it should be.  You can certainly teach this

in world history, American history. 

HILL:  That‘s not true at all. 

NICK:  In fact, the standards of Arizona, which the chairman—the

president of the History Channel Television network came here a few years

ago.  She said she had read the history standards for all 50 states, and

Arizona‘s were head and shoulders above the other 49.  That‘s how much we

value -- 

HILL:  Here‘s the reality: it‘s called African-American studies

because they‘re the focus of the curriculum.  It‘s not a non sequitur. 

Students in America take European history.  It doesn‘t mean you have to be

European to take it.  It just means that that‘s the subject that you‘re

studying.  We want all students to take ethnic studies.  We want all

students to take Asian students, all students to take African-American

studies, because they all make up America.  And that‘s what we want them to

have access to. 

And if people are dividing people by race tracks, then that‘s a

problem.  But that‘s not an argument against ethnic studies.  That‘s an

argument on a school level for how people are administering the program. 

Lastly, all data suggests—all data suggests that students who have

access to ethnic studies programs do better on the high stakes tests.  They

do better on the AIMS (ph) test than people who don‘t take it.  So even in

the terms of the educational aims of the state, it makes educational sense

take these courses for everybody. 

MATTHEWS:  What about that point, Doug.  Isn‘t it a way—I‘m not

going to make a side here.  But isn‘t—make a case, if you‘re like first-

generation American, your parents are from Mexico or somewhere else,

doesn‘t it encourage that kid to take more of an interest in study in

English, studying in school, which is going to help them become more

assimilated, if part of that education includes something about where he

came from? 

NICK:  There‘s absolutely no reason why we would oppose the idea of

learning about other cultures.  It is the separating—

MATTHEWS:  No, your own—the one your parents came from.  No, with a

particular emphasis on the one your parents came from.  You see something

wrong with that?  I‘m just trying to be honest here.  You do see something

wrong with that? 

NICK:  I see something wrong when you take kids and say, because you

have a particular racial construct, which is a human construct—it is not

something that is anything but what humans have placed upon themselves, to

say you‘re going to be divided by race.  I thought we were beyond that.  We

should be beyond that. 

HILL:  In Arizona, you thought we were beyond that? 

NICK:  Yes, we are in fact. 

HILL:  You don‘t see any irony in being from Arizona and saying you

think we‘re beyond distinguishing people on the basis of race?  You see no

irony in that? 

NICK:  I see a lot of irony in somebody telling me that simply because

I‘m from Arizona, I somehow must take a certain point of view.  That, sir,

is stereotypical.

HILL:  Exactly, which is why I didn‘t say that.  What I said is you‘re

in the midst of a state that‘s engaged in a set of policy practices that

hinge upon race.  I don‘t know you.  I don‘t know what your beliefs are. 

But you‘re in the midst of a state that depends on these practices.  That‘s

exactly why we need this curriculum. 

MATTHEWS:  You know what, this isn‘t a bad argument.  And I thank you

both for coming on the show.  And it has been quite civil, believe it or

not.  It has been.  I know it‘s a hot argument.  Marc Lamont Hill,

professor, thanks for coming on.  This will be continued. 

Up next, President Obama pushes the economy up in Buffalo today.  But

it‘s an angry voter out there.  This guy is holding up a sign that says, “I

need a freaking job.”  He was polite, too.  Our strategists break down how

to win the fear and loathing issue of the economy, which is still

apparently, officially, a recession.

In one minute, an eye-opening number about the cost of war.  This is



MATTHEWS:  The war in Afghanistan is now costing this country more

than the war in Iraq.  Pentagon spending in February, the most recent month

available, was 6.7 billion dollars in Afghanistan, versus 5.5 billion

dollars in Iraq.  As recently as last year, the war in Iraq costs twice as

much as the war in Afghanistan.  And in 2008, the war in Iraq was three

times as expensive. 

By the way, the combined cost of both wars has now surpassed one

trillion dollars. 

HARDBALL will be right back.



OBAMA:  Frankly, I had one side of the aisle just sit on the sidelines

as the crisis unfolded.  And if we had taken that position, just thinking

about what was good for my politics, millions more Americans would have

lost their jobs. 


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  That‘s President Obama up in

Buffalo today talking up his efforts to get Americans back to work.  Next

week, he‘ll be doing the same thing near in Youngstown, Ohio.  But this

billboard in Buffalo shows what he‘s up against.  Take a look at that.  It

speaks for itself.  “Dear Mr. President, I need a freaking job, period. 

Sincerely,” then you have a number there, INAFJ.org. 

Let‘s look at the video that that organization made, just to get

started tonight.  They‘ve got organizations.  They‘ve got videos,

everything.  Let‘s listen. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hey, I need a freakin‘ job. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I need a freakin‘ job. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I need a freakin‘ job. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I need a freakin‘ job. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I need a freakin‘ job.  Can you hear what I am



MATTHEWS:  Well let‘s go right now.  That‘s about economic

frustration.  It‘s still out there.  Which party can gain the edge this

fall?  It‘s not a hard one.  Steve McMahon, you‘re playing defense.  Todd

Harris, you‘re happy.  Look, I can read American life by looking at the

face of Todd Harris.  He is happy as a pumpkin over there—Jack

O‘Lantern, I should say. 

Todd, let me ask you this question, is it fair to dump on the

president, to put all the heat on him a year in office, basically?  He‘s

been in a year and two months now.  What do you think?  Is it fair? 

TODD HARRIS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  Absolutely.  Look what he‘s done

in—in the course of that time.  You know, Stimulus spending, close to a

trillion dollars in wasted, bloated government, a health care plan that is

basically going to be, you know, first step toward a government takeover of

health care. 

People need jobs.  This—this movement, you know, I need a freakin‘

job, I think that they put—they hit the nail right on the head.  What

they see is a White House that is out of touch with the needs of the

average working American.  This focus on spending money on debts, a promise

from the president that this was—if we just spend all this money, it

will create jobs and it will bring down unemployment. 

The exact opposite has been the case.  The White House still doesn‘t

seem focused on it.  And they‘re going to pay a price for it. 

MATTHEWS:  I love the way Republicans talk populist all of a sudden. 

But the president‘s coming off not as a populist right now, but as sort of

Cool Hand Luke.  He‘s there with the short sleeves, but very cool.  There‘s

Todd Harris jumping up and down like Huey Long.  What‘s going on here? 

What‘s going on, Steve?  It seems like the sides have been shifted here. 


pleasure from the fact that so many Americans are suffering.  What we need

to do here, at this point, Chris, I think is remind Todd of what Barack

Obama and his administration inherited.  We all know that the economy was

in a shambles, Wall Street was about to fall apart.  We were on the verge

of an economic collapse worldwide. 

The president did invest in this economy.  And you can see the results

every single day.  Last month, there were more jobs created than there have

been for four years.  Just yesterday, the unemployment numbers suggested

fewer people filed for new unemployment than at any time in the recent


So things are getting better.  Wall Street is—I‘m sorry, the Dow

Industrials has recovered to the point where people can now look at their

401(k)s again.  Obviously, unemployment is the last thing to pick up.  But

it is starting to pick up.  This administration has a story to tell.  And

the first story is how they recovered from what George Bush and the

Republicans left them. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Let‘s go to immigration right now.  I have a thought

here, immigration.  Let‘s talk about there‘s better than two to one support

now for the Arizona law.  People are very conservative about this issue. 

Latinos, of course, disagree.  They feel that they‘re being oppressed on

this law.  They think it‘s more an attack on them; 70 percent of them

oppose the bill. 

But it seems to me, Todd Harris, that your side of the political fence

is benefiting here.  People are angry about illegal immigration.  But are

you going to do anything about it or just exploit it?  Just sit on it—

HARRIS:  Well, people are angry about illegal immigration.  I do think


MATTHEWS:  So what are you going to do about it? 

HARRIS:  There will probably be a short-term political bump for

Republicans.  But I think on the long term, both parties are at risk if

this issue is not resolved.  On the Republican side, you‘ve got this huge

pool of Hispanic voters that want to see some resolution to this issue. 

And on the Democratic side, you‘ve got a huge pool of blue-collar,

independent white voters who are going to be very uncomfortable supporting


MATTHEWS:  So your party‘s not going to do anything.  I hear no action


HARRIS:  Chris?  Chris?  Chris, that‘s absolutely absurd.  The

immigration problem is never going to be solved until both parties are

willing to first secure the border, and then everything else can follow

after that.  But until the American people know that the border is secure,

they‘re not going to listen to any—

MATTHEWS:  How do you secure the border?  How do you do that? 

HARRIS:  Well, you know, Senator McCain has a plan that he‘s been

talking about in Arizona. 

MATTHEWS:  The fence? 

HARRIS:  It‘s part—


MATTHEWS:  You guys are hilarious.  You‘re hilarious.  You are

hilarious.  If anybody thinks—

HARRIS:  hold on a minute.  I‘m glad you think it‘s funny—

MATTHEWS:  You would find a way of getting around that fence, Todd

Harris.  I would find a way to get around it.  Because you can get around

fences.  Go ahead. 

HARRIS:  People in Arizona are dealing with drug violence spilling

over across the border into Arizona.  So I don‘t think anyone thinks that

that‘s funny. 

MATTHEWS:  That‘s funny?  No, your solution is funny.  Go ahead.  Your

thoughts, Steve?  I don‘t think either party‘s straight on this.  I don‘t

think either party wants an identifiable, reliable I.D. card that says you

can‘t work in this country unless you‘re supposed to be here.  Nobody wants

to do that on either side.  Republicans want the cheap labor.  Democrats

want the votes.  I understand the deal. 

But neither one of you guys is going to tell me you‘re going to stop

illegal immigration.  I‘ll believe you if you tell me how you‘re going to

do it.  You want to talk now?  Who‘s going to do it? 

MCMAHON:  You‘re absolutely right.  But there was a bill last year

that John McCain—or two years ago, that John McCain and Ted Kennedy

sponsored together, which actually began to address both the border issue

and the reality that there are 12 to 15 million people in this country

working, many of whom have families, who aren‘t going to go anywhere.  And

it created a system so that they could become naturalized over time by

paying a fine, learning English, keeping their records clean, getting in

the back of the line.

MATTHEWS:  But how do you stop—but how does that bill stop future

illegal immigration? 

MCMAHON:  Well, it invests in border security to the—

MATTHEWS:  You guys are jokes.  You guys are absolute jokes.  All your

lives, you know the fences don‘t work.  And all your lives you—


MCMAHON:  I did not say a fence. 

MATTHEWS:  What did you say?  I‘m sorry. 

MCMAHON:  What I said was there has to be enhanced border security,

but you‘re not going to stop people, as you point out correctly, from

coming over the border to get a job to feed their family.  That‘s not going

to happen.  And it hasn‘t happened in 20 years, since Ronald Reagan went

through this.  It‘s not going to happen now. 

Obviously, we have to do something.  But we have to start with the

reality that there are people in this country who have families whose

children are American citizens, and they‘re not going anywhere. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you hear yourselves talk?  You say, Steven—I hear

your argument—we have to start with the reality people are here

illegally.  I‘m completely with that reality.  I don‘t think anybody should

be thrown out.  Then the other guy says—Todd says start with the reality

you‘ve got to seal the border.  Neither one of you want to start with a

compromise.  You both want to start where you want to start.  You want to

start with something like amnesty.  He wants to start with a wall.  And I‘m

telling you unless you agree on doing both, unless you agree on both

together at the same time, nothing‘s going to happen. 

And I don‘t trust either party to cut the deal.  I‘m sorry.  I don‘t

hear it tonight either.  Steve McMahon, Todd Harris, I don‘t hear a deal

between you guys.  When we return, we‘re still waiting to hear from any

Republican office holder who disagrees on anything with Rush Limbaugh. 

We‘re still waiting out there, Mr. and Mrs. America, Republican. 

You‘re watching HARDBALL right now, only on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:  Let me finish tonight with a thought on our challenge to

the Republican party.  His name is Limbaugh.  But let‘s call him Boss Tube. 

You know, like Boss Tweed, the old political ring leader. 

Here‘s the challenge we issued two days ago.  It goes to any

Republican member of congress or senator.  Stand up and disagree with Rush

Limbaugh on anything.  We began this campaign after witnessing this long

debacle of Republican after Republican allowing this radio jock to command

not just the airwaves, but the hearts and minds of a once self-directed

political party. 

Congressman Phil Gingrey almost made himself famous by challenging

Limbaugh a while back, but then supinely laid down before the forces of El

Rushbo and apologized.  I guess he got the word from central command,

nobody fights with Rush Limbaugh. 

I think our new NBC poll explains all this.  It shows that a majority

of Americans call themselves conservatives, but only about a third call

themselves Republican, which means that the right calls the tune.  The guys

in the suits up on Capitol Hill do the dance, at least enough to keep their


Now we‘re watching all this.  Bob Bennett got called out a line last

weekend.  Tray Grayson‘s turn comes next Tuesday.  Charlie Crist quite the

party yesterday, filing as a man without a party.  Arlen Specter hit the

lifeboat a year ago. 

Maybe Rushbo is the boss, like the old city boss who used to control

the wards, pick the pols, and run the show.  Was Dick Daley, the all-time

boss here in Chicago, ever as powerful in his party as Boss Tube is over

his?  Daley only had a city.  This guy‘s got a country. 

Mr. and Mrs. North America, all the ships at sea, now hear this,

nobody talks like the Rush and dares call himself a Republican.  But

there‘s still hope.  There‘s still tomorrow.  And HARDBALL will be

listening, ready and eager to let any Republican senator or congressperson

come here and show your guts, that you‘re still with the party of Lincoln,

not Limbaugh.

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

time for “THE ED SHOW.”




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