Guests: Jonathan Martin, Clarence Page, Benjamin Jealous, Wayne Slater,
Melinda Henneberger, Chris Cillizza
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Paging Dr. Paul.
Let‘s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I‘m Chris Matthews in Washington. Leading off
tonight, tea and sympathy. As one observer put it, there‘s a difference
between campaigning as an outsider and really being one. Well, Rand
Paul really is an outsider, and no matter how much he tries to talk his
way out of his Civil Rights ditch he‘s in or blame Rachel Maddow for
asking the question, he, the Republicans and the tea party itself have a
very big problem.
Paul made things stickier for himself today in answering a question
about the minimum wage. Paul didn‘t help himself, either, when he said
President Obama‘s sharp criticism of BP sounds, quote, “really un-
American.” Is this an ideologue‘s obsession with defending big business
above all else, especially in the wake of what may become one of the
worst environmental disasters ever?
Plus, if you want conservatives in Texas to prescribe what your
children read, today‘s your day. The Texas state board of education
votes on changes to textbooks, and since what happens in Texas doesn‘t
stay in Texas, it‘s a national story.
And Republican congressman Mark Souder resigned today after
admitting to, or confessing to, an extramarital affair with a staffer.
Souder was part of the “Republican revolution,” the great class of 1994,
which got us to thinking about how many other ‘94 classmates have found
themselves in similar fixes. We‘re going to break that down for you.
Finally, I had a little fun with comedienne Chelsea Handler (ph)
last night on Leno, and we‘ll bring you that on the “Sideshow.”
We start with Rand Paul and the tea party. Joining me are the
“Chicago Tribune‘s” Clarence Page and “The Politico‘s” Jonathan Martin.
Gentlemen, let‘s take a look at “GMA” this morning. There he is. He‘s
all over the place, Dr. Paul, Rand Paul. Let‘s listen to what he said
today. He got into a bit more trouble, I think.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAND PAUL ®, KENTUCKY SENATE CANDIDATE: When does my honeymoon
period start? I had a big victory. I thought I got a honeymoon period
from you guys in the media. What I say is that I am against repealing
the Civil Rights Act. I‘m against repealing the Fair Housing Act. I‘ve
never campaigned on that. It‘s not part of our platform.
And so what these are, are red herrings that people are trying to
bring up because the Democrats are way behind in Kentucky and are going
to have a tough time beating us down here.
Where do your talking points come from? The Democrat National
Committee. They also come from Rachel Maddow and MSNBC. You know, I‘ve
just been trashed up and down, and they have been saying things that are
untrue. And when they say I‘m for repealing the Civil Rights Act, it‘s
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, I have to wonder about strategy. I want to
start with you, Jonathan. I think you know the history of this, the
prominence of this thing. It started on this program a couple nights
ago, where his opponent, his Democratic opponent, who just won the
nomination the same day he did, came out and said he had called for
repeal of the Civil Rights act. Not true. He had raised real questions
about it. All the intimations he was giving certainly led us to believe
he wouldn‘t have supported it at the time, had he been in there.
And then now he‘s blaming it on Rachel for asking some very good
questions. I was—not proud of her, I was envious of the great work
she did the other night in pinning him down and getting him to really
refuse to answer.
Why is he blaming MS? Why is he blaming Rachel? Why isn‘t he
blaming his opponent for making what, in his case, was a false charge
that he was for repeal?
JONATHAN MARTIN, POLITICO.COM: Well, look, he‘s in a tough spot
politically. He‘s a politician. This is what they do when they‘re
trying to sort of get their way out of a jam, they try and sort of
change the issue, reframe the issue.
Paul‘s problem, though, is this, is that he isn‘t necessarily
saying that he wants to overturn the Civil Rights act. The problem he
has, as Rich Lowry, a conservative, wrote today in his column, Paul is
finding out that he is not taking part in an Ayn Rand lecture series.
He‘s running for the U.S. Senate. There‘s a difference between a sort
of—a lecture, sort of seminar-type environment, and real politics.
It‘s hardball, Chris...
MATTHEWS: I agree with that...
MARTIN: ... as you would say.
MATTHEWS: I agree completely. And by the way, I think—we‘ll
get to it later, but Senator Kyl out in Arizona raised it very well, I
think, Clarence, the other day, when he said this is the kind of thing
you talk about 2:00 o‘clock in the dorms. By the way, you talk about it
in the early ‘60s, you don‘t talk about it not now.
Let me ask you, why do you think he turned his heat on Rachel and
us, I guess, generally speaking, rather than turning it on his opponent,
who‘s very slick, I think, and very smart as an opponent, maybe too
tough. Why doesn‘t he just blame Conway?
CLARENCE PAGE, “CHICAGO TRIBUNE”: Well, it‘s a political reflex
and especially for the tea party movement that when all else fails...
MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) media.
PAGE: Blame the media, right. And this—this works. But you
know, I was watching him and I was reminded of really a male Sarah
Palin, if you will, someone who built up tea party hopes initially,
comes with a good-looking resume...
MARTIN: On paper, yes.
PAGE: ... but then when they‘ve got to face the media and get out
in the arena, you see they aren‘t ready for primetime. He‘s making all
the wrong moves this week and...
MATTHEWS: I think he‘s a lot heavier in terms of ideology than
some of the other tea party people. I think he has real beliefs. They
just don‘t pass muster in an environment which we are very concerned
about Civil Rights not as a debating point but as a horror of recent
past, the denial of them.
Here‘s Rachel Maddow, by the way, on Wednesday. Let‘s listen. I
think she did an incredible job of exposing this fellow‘s ideology.
Here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST, “RACHEL MADDOW”: And should Woolworth lunch
counter should have been allowed to stay segregated? Sir, just yes or
PAUL: What I think would happen—what I‘m saying is, is that I
don‘t believe in any discrimination. I don‘t believe that any private
property should discriminate either, and I wouldn‘t attend, wouldn‘t
support, wouldn‘t go to. But what you have to answer when you answer
this point of view, which is an abstract, obscure conversation from 1964
that you want to bring up, but if you want to answer it, you have to say
then that you decide the rules for all restaurants. And then do you
decide that you want to allow them to carry weapons into restaurants?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, Jonathan, Rachel‘s doing what I love to do.
She does it better than I do, I have to tell you. That instant, that
was brilliant. She kept asking him a good question.
MATTHEWS: What about the bad recent past, when restaurants and
lunch counters said no blacks allowed, when bathrooms along the highways
wouldn‘t let blacks use the restroom? What about real cases?
MATTHEWS: Fundamentalism, when it comes up against facts, doesn‘t
do so well sometimes. Your thoughts.
MARTIN: Well, look, Chris, I think you touched on it in your
phrase “real cases,” and that‘s problem that Paul has here, is that it‘s
one thing—look, nobody‘s saying he‘s a racist necessarily because he
has problems philosophically with the Civil Rights Act...
MATTHEWS: Nobody‘s saying it, first of all.
MARTIN: The problem—the probably, Chris, is in application...
MATTHEWS: By the way, not necessarily. No one‘s saying it that
I‘ve heard. Go ahead.
MARTIN: Let me just finish, though, real fast. And it‘s not just
the Civil Rights act. It‘s the fact that the Civil Rights Act, the
minimum wage, overtime, regulations of, say, coal mines, regulation of
the workplace in general is pretty much settled in this country. It‘s
pretty much accepted across the political spectrum.
He has political views that would question those things, and that
is inherently his challenge here. He‘s got views that are pure
MARTIN: ... that are going to be tough for him to reconcile during
the course of a general election campaign.
MATTHEWS: Well, let‘s talk about—this is a great one. Here‘s
George Stephanopoulos, another great interview, asking him about where
he stands on the whole idea of having minimum wage laws. He chooses not
to talk about what they should be, whether it‘s $7 an hour, $8 an hour,
$10, but whether they should be. He gets to that, which is the heart of
the ideology. Let‘s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, “GOOD MORNING AMERICA”: Should the federal
government be able to set a minimum wage?
PAUL: Well, it‘s not a question of whether they can or cannot. I
think that‘s decided. I think the question you have to ask is whether
or not, when you set the minimum wage, it may cause unemployment. And
I‘m not sure the government‘s always really the smartest in the world as
far as economic decisions.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you wouldn‘t repeal it?
PAUL: Repeal the minimum wage? No, I think the vote comes up a
lot of times on whether to raise it or not, and I think that what you
have to ask yourself is, Do you create unemployment by raising the
minimum wage too high?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN: He‘s a Paul! He‘s a Paul.
MATTHEWS: The people—yes, he‘s a Paul. He‘s trying to become a
Paul. He‘s trying to learn now what you have to do in politics, which
PAGE: It‘s not comfortable (INAUDIBLE)
MATTHEWS: ... don‘t answer the philosophical question.
PAGE: It‘s painful to watch. You know, he‘s (INAUDIBLE)
MATTHEWS: You know why? Because we‘ve got so many compromise
politicians who every day of their lives make compromises, and here‘s a
guy who‘s a philosopher...
MATTHEWS: ... who‘s stuck. He‘s on the horns of his own dilemma.
MARTIN: Exactly. Right.
MATTHEWS: He has strong absolutist beliefs...
PAGE: That‘s what I mean...
MATTHEWS: ... against federal power.
PAGE: That‘s what I mean about not being ready for primetime. You
know, this is where the rubber meets the road for the tea party
movement. They have been born and grown on two words, “big government.”
PAGE: They‘ve turned “big government” into this really nasty, ugly
term. And now Ron Paul is reminding—excuse me...
MARTIN: Rand Paul.
PAGE: ... Rand Paul is reminding people of some of the things big
government does that people like.
MATTHEWS: OK, as we end this segment, I think it‘s vital that you
both make the point I think you‘re making now. Let‘s clear it up here.
The difference between a person holding a placard against federal power,
Jonathan, and the wonders of the 10th Amendment, which is all powers
reside in the states...
MATTHEWS: ... not given to the federal government, which is a
great idea, it‘s the principle of subsidiarity, which a lot of us were
taught was a good thing. If you can do it locally, do it locally. If
MATTHEWS: ... should do it, let the individual do it. That
principle is very American.
MARTIN: Jeffersonian, yes.
MATTHEWS: But the practicality of giving the federal government
responsibility in areas where the localities blew it, like in Jim Crow
South, is the past and accepted, and this guy is weaving his way back
MARTIN: Well, sure, and it‘s not just—it‘s not just Jim Crow.
It‘s housing issues. It‘s questions of the workplace, of labor laws.
So I mean, obviously, it‘s settled that there is a place for the federal
government in those things.
What‘s fascinating to me, Chris—and you touched on this—Rand
Paul is plainly torn between his sort of dad‘s purist Libertarian views,
which I think he probably shares, and also the sort of pragmatic urge to
win statewide here, to win a U.S. Senate seat. And those are two
conflicting things, and they‘re right now very much in tension, and
we‘re seeing it play out in realtime. It‘s just fascinating.
PAGE: Very true, and I think this is where, as I mentioned, rubber
meets the road with the tea party movement, and that‘s going to make a
difference in November. Is Rand Paul going to be another Barry
Goldwater, who can only get...
PAGE: ... what was it, six states...
PAGE: ... because he was a purist in his ideas, and those were
ideas that Rand Paul is really regurgitating. And I remember those days
MATTHEWS: I remember. You and I are the same age. You know what?
Jon, I have to ask you the final question. What do voters detest more,
a man of principle who has to compromise them, like Rand Paul, or
someone like Arlen Specter, who was basically available for compromise
from day one?
MARTIN: Well, here‘s the good news for Rand Paul, is that this
year, and especially in the conservative state of Kentucky, I think a
principled candidate may do better. Let‘s not forget, we talk a lot
about Rand Paul and his problems right now, this is still a pretty
conservative state. His Democratic opponent‘s got a lot of
MARTIN: It‘s a long ways off until November. Let‘s not count out
Rand Paul by any means here.
MATTHEWS: Who‘s winning out there right now in the polling?
MARTIN: Oh, Paul certainly is winning right now. Absolutely.
MATTHEWS: That‘s your view?
PAGE: I predict Rand Paul is going to win, but I think it‘s going
to have a negative impact on the rest of the country, though, as far as
the other tea party movements around the country.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I just hope he watches the media and the way
they‘re covering this because I think a lot of us are trying to do it
straight and recognize him where he comes from and recognize the
predicament he‘s in. It‘s not gotcha. And by the way, I don‘t think
Rachel was engaging in gotcha journalism.
PAGE: No, she wasn‘t.
MATTHEWS: I think she was first rate, and I‘m so glad to be
associated with her. Thank you. And congratulations again. I think
that interview‘s going to be quoted again and again throughout the year,
Rachel. Congratulations. By the way, you guys, a great conversation
MARTIN: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: I think we‘re on target here. Clarence, thank you so
much, and Jonathan, so much. Be sure to catch “THE CHRIS MATTHEWS SHOW”
this weekend. We‘re going to talk about some of this, by the way. This
Rand Paul story is a big weekend story. And of course, “MEET THE PRESS”
this weekend . Rand Paul is David Gregory‘s guest—he‘s got the big
get this weekend—along with Joe Sestak. Can‘t do better than that.
Coming up: Rand Paul also said President Obama‘s tough criticism of
BP following the horrific oil spill down there, which is still spilling
here‘s where I can‘t go along with the guy—is un-American. Why
are so many people on the right ignoring our responsibility as people,
forget business, to protect our environment—it‘s not the company‘s
environment, it‘s not BP‘s Gulf of Mexico—and defend big business to
the hilt like they‘re doing? We‘re going to get to that next. Back to
ideology in a minute.
You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Chuck Todd and the NBC News political unit have updated
their list of the top 10 Senate takeovers. At number 10, Kentucky.
Will general election voters go for Rand Paul‘s Libertarian view of
things like the Civil Rights Act? Number nine, Connecticut. This seat
was once safely Democratic, but not anymore after Richard Blumenthal
lied about serving in Vietnam. He didn‘t.
Number eight is Ohio, George Voinovich‘s seat, and another possible
Democratic pickup. Number seven, Pennsylvania, Sestak versus Toomey for
the seat of Arlen Specter. That may be a pick, that one. November—
number six is Illinois, where the Democratic candidate could be in real
We‘re going to have the top five Senate takeovers later in the hour
possible takeovers. We‘ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: What I don‘t like from the president‘s administration is
this sort of, you know, I‘ll put my bootheel on the throat of BP. I
think that sounds really un-American, and his criticism of business.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow. Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was Rand Paul
today calling President Obama‘s criticism of BP “un-American.” Reverend
Jim Wallis disagrees with that characterization. He‘s become a
lightning rod for the right because of his vocal support of the church‘s
involvement in social justice issues. Reverend Jim Wallis founded
Sojourners and served on the White House Advisory Council on Faith-Based
and Neighborhood Partnerships.
What administration were you with?
REV. JIM WALLIS, SOJOURNERS: This...
MATTHEWS: Which presidency? This one.
WALLIS: This council, yes.
MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask you...
WALLIS: President Obama.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about this thing. If you destroy the
habitat in which man was born, is that a moral issue?
WALLIS: We call it stewardship of God‘s creation. This is a
mainstream issue for evangelicals, Catholics (INAUDIBLE) all of us.
Protecting God‘s creation is part of our responsibility to be good
stewards of what God has made.
MATTHEWS: And what‘s going on? Look at these pictures. I mean,
Ed Markey was on, the chairman of the energy committee -- 40,000 to
50,000 barrels a day coming out of that hole in the ground, which was
created by man, not by nature. That‘s a pipe that brings that from way
down below the surface to there, and we‘re watching it right now. I
think we‘ve been watching live streamings of this. But go ahead.
WALLIS: These things feel almost apocalyptic. I think it‘s a sign
of our oil addiction. And Chris, as you know, we know addictions make
your life not work. So this oil spill is showing how our oil addiction
is making our lives not work, so we have to deal with this. And so for
people of faith, this is a moral issue, it‘s a religious issue. It‘s
not just a political issue here.
MATTHEWS: Do you think the president has been morally correct in
letting BP take the lead in stopping that hell we‘re looking at right
MATTHEWS: He says—he stands by and hectors them, but they‘re
the ones responsible for fixing—I don‘t know why all the submarines
in our fleet aren‘t down there. It would seem to me that Captain Nemo
back in the 19th century in fiction would have been able to get down
there and fix it with soldering irons and blow torches and filling up
that pipe, or with cement or gravel or whatever it takes to put on top
of that, just start dumping it there with our big tankers. I don‘t know
why we‘re not doing it. We‘re counting on one company, a British
company, to solve a problem that‘s been created in our back yard, and I
don‘t quite get it.
WALLIS: BP has to be held accountable to the common good. Any
good Catholic would say that. And so what‘s happening here—that‘s
why the Glenn Beck comments were so foolish...
MATTHEWS: Quote them.
WALLIS: Well, he‘s saying that Christians talking about climate
change as a moral issue is implementing some kind of government
socialist agenda. It‘s stewardship, not socialism. This is holding BP
accountable to the...
MATTHEWS: He‘s always been wrong about climate change anyway.
MATTHEWS: He‘s been wrong about...
MATTHEWS: I heard him in my car one day when he was on the radio.
He‘s been wrong. He‘s been saying there‘s no issue of climate change.
MATTHEWS: He completely denies it.
MATTHEWS: He‘s a flack for the industry.
WALLIS: The government shouldn‘t regulate BP?
MATTHEWS: That‘s what they want to hear!
WALLIS: Government inspectors should inspect (INAUDIBLE)
MATTHEWS: That‘s what these companies want to hear.
WALLIS: ... that they shouldn‘t let miners not get beer from
liquor stores. I‘m not sure what they‘re saying here. The common good
is a good religious principle, and governments should hold companies
accountable to the common good. And you get faith groups saying that
across the political spectrum here.
This is a—this oil spill is really apocalyptic.
WALLIS: It mirrors our oil addiction. We have to do something
about it right now, and that‘s what the church is saying. And that‘s
just our responsibility to say this is for us protecting God‘s creation.
MATTHEWS: Well, one thing I agree—in fact, I might even trump
you on, is I believe that mankind‘s interests are superior to those of
the marketplace. I believe the marketplace is not the deity, that the
belief in unbridled capitalism, whether it‘s Wall Street and assuming
that they will do the right thing up there or assuming that oil
companies will do the right thing when they‘re following the market is -
the people on the right treat that as godly...
WALLIS: The market‘s become God.
MATTHEWS: That‘s right. I don‘t...
WALLIS: All knowing...
MATTHEWS: ... accept that.
WALLIS: ... all powerful, omnipresent...
MATTHEWS: Man must be responsible for his society.
WALLIS: The market‘s the means, and not the end. It‘s become the
WALLIS: We have lost our—our way. That‘s why...
MATTHEWS: And that‘s where we‘re at in this argument.
WALLIS: Yes. We have got a...
MATTHEWS: And some Americans believe, even though they go to
church and believe in God and believe in righteousness, have accepted
the power and the trumping authority of the oil companies, of the
investment houses in New York, of anybody who‘s out to make money is
somehow superior morally to anybody who might put a constraint on it,
who might come along and say clean up after have been at your camping
site, clean up when you have gone to a wilderness area, clean up after
your pipe mess.
That‘s in the interests of society.
MATTHEWS: Is that—where does that come from, this idea that if
you try to regulate bad behavior and punishment sometimes is somehow un-
Christian? Where did that philosophy come from? Who taught them that
Ayn Rand was God?
WALLIS: Well, we have got now the gospel of Glenn and Rush and
Sean and Bill, and I want to get back to the Gospel of Matthew, Mark,
Luke and John.
So, how do you bring the market back into its boundaries? It has
exceeded those boundaries. So, we have to rediscover values on Wall
Street, Main Street and our street. That‘s what I have been writing
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about this—this debate as it goes on
forward. What scares me is that we are going to have—I keep watching
these pictures. I find them ghastly, and you can‘t look away.
What‘s going on right now is—at 40,000, 50,000 barrels a day
into the Gulf of Mexico, which is just now going around, apparently,
around the tip of Florida. It‘s heading up to Cape Hatteras. We are
going to find ourselves with so much bad environment, it‘s not going to
And, now, by the way, I wonder when the president or BP is ever
going to stop this. I have no evidence to believe that they‘re going to
stop it in the near future. Do you?
WALLIS: Well, they say BP‘s lying. I think it‘s deeper. I think
what BP stands for is a lie, the idea that we can keep doing what we‘re
doing without these consequences.
We have to be converted to a different energy future. That means
rewiring the grid, but it also means rewiring ourselves, our demands,
our assumptions, our requirements. We have to go a change—undergo a
change in our habits of the heart here. That‘s why this is a moral
issue and not just a political one.
MATTHEWS: Well, you know, you may be getting further and deeper
than I usually get here, but when I get up Saturday morning, I look out
the window over to Connecticut Avenue, and I see people driving. They
get up Saturday morning, and they drive. It‘s not just going to work.
People are always driving.
And every time you turn on the commercial, you watch a car
advertisement or a gasoline advertisement. It‘s about hitting the road.
We are constantly driving cars and using up gas, OK? That‘s what we do
in America. And that‘s why we go offshore and that‘s why we have to dig
deeper and deeper and further from shore, because we need more oil.
You‘re saying that‘s a moral issue.
WALLIS: Could something like this energy spill, could the picture
of it happening every day, as you‘re—you‘re right. How much water
will this destroy? How much of the ocean will it kill?
MATTHEWS: I think...
WALLIS: Every day we watch that, could it make us look in the
mirror and say, do we want to keep living this way? Our addiction isn‘t
MATTHEWS: We need a teacher. And it can‘t be you. It needs to be
WALLIS: We need to convert our...
MATTHEWS: We need secular leaders to teach us a little morality on
this, I think.
WALLIS: That‘s why the churches are saying to the government, hold
us responsible here.
MATTHEWS: And I don‘t think Glenn Beck has the Godly truth.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Reverend Jim Wallis.
WALLIS: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: By the way, your book is called “Rediscovering Values.”
We—we should tell you that Rand Paul, who was supposed to be
David Gregory‘s guest on “Meet the Press” this weekend, has canceled—
well, that‘s just brand—news—citing exhaustion. It‘s usually—
it‘s highly unusual for a major guest to cancel “Meet the Press,” but he
has, and it‘s his right.
Up next, on the “Sideshow,” a very funny thing happened to me the
other night on—I just came back on an airplane, by the way—I
didn‘t get to sleep last night—on the “Leno” show night, me with
Chelsea—with Chelsea Handler. She‘s funny. We had some fun there
Let‘s stick around and watch it—well, if you want to.
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Now for the “Sideshow.”
In case you went to bed early last night, I was on Jay Leno‘s
“Tonight Show” with comedian Chelsea Handler, who I discover—or
discovered last night is quite rambunctious.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO”)
MATTHEWS: I did an investigative piece on the oil industry for
“The Washington Post” back 37 years ago, and I found out there were
220,000 miles of oil pipeline in this country. They got one federal guy
looking out for this. It‘s a joke. They do not regulate the oil
CHELSEA HANDLER, HOST, “CHELSEA LATELY”: Could you talk faster?
MATTHEWS: The oil industry is completely...
MATTHEWS: You know, my dear, you‘re beautiful, but if you
concentrate, you can keep up.
JAY LENO, HOST, “THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO”: Oh!
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
LENO: Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
LENO: Thank you.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
LENO: I should have done that five years ago.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
LENO: Yes! Thank you, Chris.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
LENO: Thank you. I‘m not taking it anymore from her.
LENO: Thank you, Chris.
HANDLER: I gave him that—I gave him that line backstage, by the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, that was fun.
Anyway, next up: the know-nothings.
Over in Idaho‘s 1st District, Republican House candidates Vaughn
Ward and Raul Labrador held a primary debate on Wednesday night that
ended up in an argument about, of all things, the status of Puerto Rico.
The question, whether the candidates support statehood for the
Labrador, the candidate you will see on the left, was born in
Puerto Rico, and said he does not support statehood. Ward agreed, but
took an entirely different tone. Watch his answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VAUGHN WARD ®, IDAHO CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: I don‘t care what
state it is or what country that wants to become part of America. It‘s
not time. It‘s not going to be time. Let‘s focus on us first.
RAUL LABRADOR ®, IDAHO CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: I just need to
correct. Puerto Rico is not a country. Puerto Rico‘s a territory of
the United States. It‘s about time that we took some civics lesson, and
we learned what Puerto Rico is.
WARD: I really don‘t care what it is. I mean, it doesn‘t matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: “I don‘t care what it is”? Vaughn Ward doesn‘t know and
he doesn‘t care to know what it is. By the way, he‘s running for the
United States House of Representatives.
Sarah Palin, by the way, is campaigning for Ward in Idaho—you
might have guessed that—the candidate who thinks Puerto Rico is its
own country. Too bad none of them studied geography.
Time now for tonight‘s “Big Number.”
Tomorrow, Hawaii holds a special election to replace Democratic
Congressman Neil Abercrombie out there. He‘s running for governor. It
is a race that Republican Charles Djou is expected to win handily, given
a much-needed boost to the GOP. After all, how many straight House
congressional elections, special elections, have Republicans lost in a
Seven straight special election losses for the Republicans the last
couple years, a streak they expect to break tomorrow—tonight‘s “Big
Up next: Conservatives in Texas are voting today to edit their new
school textbooks, and those books will be the templates of textbooks
used across the country. So, what gets written in Texas for those
schoolkids doesn‘t stay in Texas.
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
JULIA BOORSTIN, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I‘m Julia Boorstin with your
CNBC “Market Wrap.”
Another volatile day on Wall Street, with stocks yo-yoing
throughout the day, the Dow Jones industrials finishing 125 points
higher, after being in negative territory just 20 minutes before the
close, the S&P 500 adding 16 points, the Nasdaq climbing 25 points.
Investors looking to reclaim some of the babies thrown out with the
bathwater in Thursday‘s massive sell-off. Financials bounced back
nicely, with Bank of America and J.P. Morgan leading the Dow.
Commodity prices continued to slide, with oil settling around $70 a
barrel, off nearly 20 percent from the beginning of the month.
And gold prices falling $12 today to finish at $1,175 an ounce.
Some encouraging news from the Labor Department: Jobless rates
fell in 34 states and the District of Columbia in April. And Chrysler
announced plans to add about 1,100 workers to help build a new Jeep
Grand Cherokee in Detroit.
That‘s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide—now back to
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL.
There‘s a fight in Texas right now about how history will be
taught, and, as you can see from these protesters, people are angry
Here‘s what happened at last night‘s hearing down there. It‘s
about an amendment to the eighth grade social studies curriculum. Let‘s
listen to the debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DON MCLEROY ®, TEXAS STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION: The sovereignty
of the U.S. is a very important issue. There‘s efforts to try to put us
under world court, other U.N. bodies. We had testimony yesterday by
several people supporting this amendment. To me, this is a standard for
the children to be able to evaluate the efforts by these organizations
to undermine U.S. sovereignty. To me, it‘s—it‘s an accurate term.
MAVIS KNIGHT (D), TEXAS STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION: I‘m wondering
where the teachers would really find information that would support
this, since our sovereignty hasn‘t been undermined.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, those are good debating points.
That amendment passed, and now Texas students‘ social studies
curriculum will include evaluating—quote—“efforts by global
organizations to undermine U.S. sovereignty through use of treaties.”
Is this right? Wayne Slater is a senior political writer at “The
Dallas Morning News,” and Benjamin Jealous is, of course, president of
I want to start with Wayne on the ground out there.
This debate looked like a familiar one. Do the teachers out there
believe that they‘re educating kids or recruiting them for a political
cause to become, well, I could say this, conservatives, to put it
lightly, to be fighting any effort by the United States to join the
U.N., to join the IMF, to join the World Bank, to join the international
courts, the Law of the Seas? It sounds like it‘s arming them to be in a
struggle, rather than educate them—my thoughts.
WAYNE SLATER, COLUMNIST, “THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS”: Yes. This is
less about education, these kind of amendments, than it is about
politics and really the culture wars.
There is no effort to undermine, no serious effort, I think most
people would recognize, to undermine the sovereignty of the United
States. I think McLeroy, Mr. McLeroy, a board member who submitted
this, is worried, among other things, about a United Nations
international gun ban.
Well, let me tell you, there‘s nobody in Texas who‘s going to fall
under a United Nations gun ban or anything else that would restrict our
sovereignty. But it is part of that larger concern of many social
conservatives—and that‘s that there‘s a one-world government under
way, and this reflects that.
MATTHEWS: Ben, what is your worries about this? Do you have
concerns that kids are being schooled this way into this kind of,
perhaps overzealous fear that the United States is losing its country to
BENJAMIN JEALOUS, PRESIDENT AND CEO, NAACP: Yes. I mean, this—
they want the Tea Party to teach our kids. This is about five million
kids in Texas and kids in 20 more states.
And it‘s going to be a bunch of half-truths if this vote goes
through. You know, we will fight them. We‘re fighting them in
California right now. And we have had some success. We‘re—we will
fight them across the street at the state capitol, where they want to
spend $1 billion buying books for the half-truths that teach our kids to
MATTHEWS: Wayne, let me ask you this. Is it only about this black
helicopter stuff, that black helicopter stuff meaning, of course,
referring to the fear that these people are going to be coming from the
U.N., they‘re coming in to take over your town from overseas, speaking
foreign languages from Europe, probably, ready to take over your
country, almost like the way European countries were taken over by
Hitler, that fear being inculcated in textbooks?
Fine. What other fears do people have who are in the center or on
the left down there?
SLATER: Well, there is a fear of—a concern by some folks that
American exceptionalism, that we‘re different, is not being properly
And more fundamental than that is really the debate over the
separation of church and state. These people, many members, social
conservatives, believe that there effectively is no separation between
church and state; the founding fathers didn‘t mean that.
And, so, there are efforts throughout the curriculum changes to
introduce religion, religious faith and religious Christian influences
specifically, all around, because the fear is that secular government,
that secularism, that atheism has taken over our schools.
In an odd way, this debate is the kind of thing that we saw in the
‘50s, where, when—in the early ‘60s, when the prayer issue, taking
school prayer out of schools, became a rallying cry, except that this is
JEALOUS: And it‘s much more insidious. I mean, they want Phyllis
Schlafly to be on the same short list of great heroes as Thurgood
Marshall. I mean, it‘s just—again, they just want to lift up people
who hate and they want to, you know, not even teach kids that the civil
rights struggle was a struggle.
They—they want to teach them that, one day, people just woke up
and gave the—my—my—you know, and just gave us our rights. I
mean, it‘s—it‘s—you know, they don‘t even want to teach that
slavery was a reason for Texas to join the South, you know, and fight
the Civil War. So, kids will learn that there was a Civil War, and they
won‘t learn what it was about.
MATTHEWS: What was that true—I heard that they—they got rid
of the word slave trade, that phrase, which we all grew up with and
learned about it, and replaced it by that sort of commercial term, the
triangle trade, which, of course, had to do with molasses, and, you
know, the slave trade.
MATTHEWS: You know, we were taught how it was done, that sort of
three-way trade that went on between—among Europe, Africa, West
Africa, and the States.
Why would they get the word slave out of there? I mean, that‘s a
big part of our history, to understand that.
JEALOUS: Oh, again, you know, when you see it—when you kind of
add it all up, you know, they want to change the name to the Triangle
Trade. So, all of a sudden, like rum and cash and sugar cane are part
of the same plain as people, you know. When they don‘t want to teach
you that slavery was a cause for the Civil War, then what you end up
with is just sort of a much prettier bucolic view of history, that‘s
also dead wrong.
I mean, they also want to defend Joe McCarthy. These people really
can‘t tell the difference between fact and just opinion. They think
every fact has a counter fact, like every opinion has a counter-opinion.
No, it‘s just a fact. It was the slave trade. It‘s just a fact that
Joe McCarthy was wrong. There‘s no counter opinion to that. No counter
MATTHEWS: Let‘s talk about that issue, because a lot of us grew up
in the aftermath of that, in the late ‘50s. Wayne, are they saying Joe
McCarthy, who—I mean, he was drunk most of the time—were they
saying that he was right about something? I thought he never actually
caught a real-live Communist. I‘m not saying there weren‘t some buried
in the bowels of some bureaucracy. Certainly Alger Hiss was one,
Elizabeth Bentley, a few others.
But certainly he got the proportions out of whack, and he was going
after dentists and military people in the Army, and the secretary of the
Army, and he had guys working for him and their crazy relationships and
their draft deferments and everything, special assignments. It got
completely crazy. Are they saying in these textbooks that Joe McCarthy
had it right, that he was a straight shooter?
SLATER: In effect, that is what they‘re saying. The specific
provision regarding McCarthyism talks about students understanding and
learning about the infiltration of Communists in the government during
the Cold War. So, it really is an effort to redeem McCarthy, who has
been much maligned in the eyes of many social conservatives.
JEALOUS: Simply because he was wrong. He was just wrong. We need
to teach our kids that he was wrong, you know. That‘s a fact and that‘s
the part that drives you crazy, you know? There was the guy who‘s
leading the fight on the school board is a dentist. There was a big
sign down there that said “Pull Teeth, Not Facts,” and you know, that‘s,
MATTHEWS: Gentlemen, thanks for being on. I hope we keep this
straight. The left has been guilty of some of this in the past, too, of
using history to turn it into a preaching operation, a recruitment of a
point of view. I think history ought to be pretty square. IT ought to
have the bad and the good.
JEALOUS: That‘s right.
MATTHEWS: One thing great about American history is we, at our
best, will teach the facts, and that we are getting to be a better
country than we were; and to deny that is to deny the better part of
this country. We do try to get better. Slavery was back there and it
was an original sin.
Anyway, thank you, Wayne Slater. Thank you, Ben Jealous.
McCarthy, by the way, when he had that list of names, he didn‘t know
anything. He was drunk. He didn‘t know any of those names. Nixon got
one guy right, Alger Hiss. The rest of the McCarthy stuff was nonsense
and drunken foolery.
Up next, Republican Congressman Mark Souder resigned this week
after confessing to an affair with a staffer. Boy, is this the same old
story of hypocrisy or human weakness, whatever you want to call it.
He‘s the latest member of the Republican class of ‘94 -- this is
interesting—sort of like the Carter exhibition that went to King
Tut‘s tomb, that class has had a few problems. At the top, Newt.
That‘s ahead. This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Wow. Time now for First Read‘s top five Senate possible
takeovers this fall, and all five are Democratic seats the Republicans
have a good chance to pick up. Number five, Indiana, where right now
republican Dan Coats is ahead for Evan Bayh‘s seat.
Number four, Nevada. Harry Reid‘s in trouble, but there‘s a fight
among three Republicans to see who takes him on. Number three‘s
Arkansas. Democrat Blanche Lincoln‘s in a runoff and the Republican
candidate looks strong.
Number two, Delaware. Republican Mike Castle‘s the big favorite
for Joe Biden‘s old seat.
And number one—this is an easy one for them—North Dakota.
This one‘s pretty much in the books for the GOP. HARDBALL will be
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK SOUDER, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: To serve has been a blessing and
a responsibility given from God. I wish I could have been a better
example. I sinned against God, my wife and my family by having a mutual
relationship with a part-time member of my staff.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: We‘re back. That‘s former Congressman Mark Souder of
Indiana on Tuesday talking about a full-time relationship with a part-
time staffer or something like that. He was a member, by the way, of
the much-talked about Republican class of ‘94. Remember them? They
stormed into Washington to battle Bill Clinton and take over Congress
for the first time in decades. Republicans hope 2010 will give them the
same big result, come in with a big majority.
Whatever happened to that class of ‘94? We thought it would be
interesting to look back on them, or to them. Melinda Henneberger is
the editor in chief of PoliticsDaily.com, and the “Washington Post‘s”
Chris Cillizza—boy are you hot these days—is the managing editor
of PostPolitics.com. You are. I read you relentlessly.
Here‘s the class. Just for fun—that‘s right, you don‘t get much
from me. Here‘s the ‘94 class. It‘s interesting, 75 new Republicans
came to the House that year. Let‘s start with the base, 75 guys and
women came in loaded for bear. Seven of them made it to the United
States Senate and are still there. That‘s interesting. Just 16 of them
are still in the House. That‘s a total of 23 still out there kicking.
But after the upcoming election, a maximum of 11 will be in the
House. That‘s the fascinating part in terms of numbers, 75 down to 11
in the House. But here‘s the interesting look. Look at the big guys of
that class. Newt Gingrich, of course, was leader then. He had to
resign. He had a girlfriend situation at the same time he was leading
the impeachment against Bill Clinton and his girlfriend.
Dick Armey, he retired. He is now a big shot in the Tea Party,
Freedom Works. There he is with the cowboy hat on. He‘s going—well,
going rogue, I guess, as we say these days.
And Tom Delay, Mr. Delay has become—well, there you see. He‘s
interesting. These spin offs, how they‘re going their different ways.
Melinda, I don‘t know—ha! I just love it, the tango. This guy‘s in
a bit of a tangle with ethics, but—we‘ve got Newt Gingrich, who is
now back again being Mr. Moral leader, Dick Armey, who‘s grown up to be
a real cowboy, which is fine with me. I sort of like that part. Tom
Delay, you know, rangy guy from down there in Texas, ticked off, leaves
the House under pressure.
MELINDA HENNEBERGER, POLITICSDAILY.COM: Well, I came to Washington
the same time these guys did, to cover them was my job. And so, I
remember doing one of my first stories was on the frugal Mark Sanford.
What a guy who slept on a futon in his office. Remember that story?
MATTHEWS: A futon is one of those blown up mattress, right? No,
it‘s not. It‘s actually a cushy—it‘s made of foam, right?
HENNEBERGER: They would meet to keep each other Christian in their
marriages. The real thing was, as the lead-in said, the hypocrisy of
the thing, that these guys were going to clean up Washington. They were
going to be the moral fiber the Capitol was lacking.
MATTHEWS: You have to wonder, Chris. Nobody asked about your
marriage. Why are you talking about it all the time? Here he is Mark
Souder. Let get through the list for your personal enjoyment, Chris.
Mark Souder resigned after this affair. Mark Foley resigned after
trying to get a date at the page dorm with boys there. Anyway, we know
Mark Sanford‘s story, which is actually the most romantic of them all.
We know John Ensign‘s story. He‘s still hanging in there after his
affair with wife of one of his campaign staffer. Of course, there‘s all
questions of money involved in that. Of course, Ohio Congressman Bob
Ney, he got 17 months in prison after being involved with the Jack
Is that an unpretty picture or is that typical for politics in
America, would you say, Chris Cillizza?
CHRIS CILLIZZA, “THE WASHINGTON POST”: Golly, on this I‘m really
cynical and say it‘s typical for politics in America. Here‘s what I
think happened, Chris, is you had a big—as you mentioned -- you
mentioned this at the top. You had a big class of people. Republicans
took over the House majority for the first time in 40 years. They
picked up 53 seats. As a result, some of the people who got into office
probably wouldn‘t have gotten there if it hadn‘t been the best
Republican election in 40 years, quite literally.
So I think you saw some people swept into office maybe not so much
on their merits as much as just not being the other guy, and the other
guy or gal in this case usually was a Democrat. I think it‘s probably a
little higher in terms of the quotient of people who have flamed out in
one way, shape or form since 1994, because that class was so big.
But, look, there are plenty of other examples. John Edwards got
elected to the Senate in 1998. There are plenty of other examples where
you could go through of people who finished in an ignominious political
end, regardless of when they got elected.
MATTHEWS: Well, is that it? Is it just another—you just dip
into the water of American population and come out with a—you know, a
cup of water and it‘s just like any other cup? The usual number of sex
scandals. You have about four or five here. You have about five or six
actually in this crowd, counting Newt Gingrich and the other guys at the
top. Is this normal? Did you find in studying this class that it had
the unique propensity for problems?
HENNEBERGER: One of the biggest scandals of this class was Mike
Forbes. He became a Democrat. He, to his classmates, was the worst of
them all. But I don‘t know if they‘re really so much worse. The one
thing they didn‘t do that they said they were going to do was they all
ran on term limits that year and they all stayed and stayed for terms.
MATTHEWS: We got 11 of them still around. How do you think Joe
Scarborough turned out, Chris?
CILLIZZA: I was going to say, I thought that—from my
perspective, the two success stories are Tom Delay, because he got on
“Dancing With the stars,” which is my wife‘s show—I would be a huge
success if I could get on there—and Scarborough, who, you know—
look it, I thought Scarborough wanted to be in the Senate. Little did I
know he wanted to be a successful morning show host. He got pretty well
MATTHEWS: I think he‘s a star, and I think he‘s great. I always
respect anybody who creates a world for themselves as Joe and Micah
have. They‘ve created a whole world in the morning for three hours that
really didn‘t exist in cable before. So I salute like heck to them. I
also, of course—I feel like I‘m acting like I‘m giving out the
Academy Awards tonight. I think Rachel‘s performance this week as a
real journalist was tough. She‘s a person of opinion, obviously, but
she really did the journalist job this week.
HENNEBERGER: One of my favorites in that class was Steve Largent.
MATTHEWS: Oklahoma football star.
HENNEBERGER: -- who was going to have the biggest political
career, it would have been Steve Largent. He‘s now one of the—
MATTHEWS: Dare I say because he looked like a movie star?
HENNEBERGER: No, he was a really talented guy.
CILLIZZA: The fascinating thing about Largent was he—I think
Melinda‘s 100 percent right about Largent. He was supposed to be
elected governor of Oklahoma in 2002. Everything was lined up
perfectly. He was hunting during the September 11th, 2001, terrorist
attack, came back, didn‘t know anything about it, looked totally out of
touch and the campaign imploded from there. It shows you how, you know,
a few actions here and there. That guy had star written all over him,
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver.
MATTHEWS: Another big star is Ray Lahood, a really good guy,
really bipartisan guy, who‘s now in the cabinet right now. Ray Lahood
is a good guy that came out of that class. We have a couple heroes, Joe
MATTHEWS: Fair enough. Melinda Henneberger looking for stars in
that class. She‘s still covering them. And Chris Cillizza, who is very
hot these days.
When we return, I‘m going to have some thoughts about how words can
come back and haunt you in the age of video. Nothing goes away anymore.
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with the power of video. The days
are over, gone, kaput, when you can say something and hope people will
forget about it. You say Macaca at a picnic somewhere and you‘re
finished politically. That tape of yours never dies. It lives on and
on and on, even until the end of time. Ask George Allen, the former
senator of Virginia.
You say, as Arlen Specter did, that you changed parties to save
your seat in the Senate, and those witnessed words endure even as your
Senate career begins to fizzle.
You‘re Richard Blumenthal and you say you went to Vietnam and you
never did, and that tape never dies.
Rand Paul, you can blame the interviewer, but it‘s your words I
witnessed on tape that haunt you. That tape of you talking to the
“Louisville Courier Journal” editorial board, that tape of you not
coming across with Rachel Maddow. Those tapes are going to survive.
You‘re buckling the political practicality. Your opponent is going to
throw them back at you without pity.
No, they‘re not all lethal. Rand Paul can prevail if he accepts
the historic merit of the Civil Rights bill. Arlen Specter might have
prevailed if he had presented the voters with some compelling reason
Pennsylvania had for giving him another term.
But sometimes you say something and the only way to get past it is
to admit something really bad about yourself, something that most voters
might never accept. That Macaca line is one. It‘s a term used to mock
black people, reduce them to something less than human. That bogus
claim of having fought in Vietnam, that is another one.
What‘s changed is this new man-made custody in which I can now
place myself. When I speak in public, because of video, we‘re now the
prisoners forever of the public moment we enter. It‘s not a place where
you should expose yourself unless you‘re truly ready to be a person of
your word, because your word, once spoken, may raise you up or it may
take you down. But now you can never escape it.
That‘s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. Right now,
it‘s time for “THE ED SHOW” with Ed Schultz.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND
MAY BE UPDATED.
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protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any
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