Guests: Sue Herera, Steve Schmidt, Dana Milbank, John Smid, Michelle Goldberg, Tyler Combelic, Michael Premo, Bob Shrum, Ron Reagan
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Cain you believe it?
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews down in Washington.
Leading off tonight: Are you serious? That`s the question a lot of
people are asking about Herman Cain.
Can you be serious if you call for an electrified fence on our Mexican
border, then say you were just kidding, then say you meant it?
Can you be serious if you propose shifting the tax burden from the
wealthy down to the middle class and then down to the poor?
Can you be serious if you`re not running a normal campaign for
Also, here`s a story sure to anger some on the religious right -- in
fact, a lot of them. A leader of the movement to, quote, "cure
homosexuality" admits it doesn`t work. The former head of, quote -- or
Love in Action, the country`s largest ex-gay ministry, joins us to say, I
am what I am.
Plus, the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations have energy, momentum and
enthusiasm. They could build and play a big role in the presidential
election. But what do they want? And what does victory look like for
them? We`re going to talk to a couple of the leading protesters.
And why are Republicans like John McCain so upset that President Obama
is, quote, "campaigning" for his jobs plan? Could it be just because more
and more people support the president on this one?
And "Let Me Finish" tonight with the missiles of October, what almost
happened almost a half century ago.
Let`s begin with the big question facing Herman Cain. Is he serious?
Steve Schmidt`s a former senior strategist for Senator McCain`s 2008
campaign. In fact, he was the campaign manager. And Dana Milbank`s a
"Washington Post" columnist.
Steve, you know the business. Does this fellow look like he`s in the
business of running for president, Herman Cain? Is that his business, or
is it something else?
STEVE SCHMIDT, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I`ve said throughout the
campaign, Chris, that on any given day, it resembles more of a reality show
than a political campaign. You`ve had a lot of candidates that have gotten
to the top of the national polls. You know, Herman Cain is there today.
I think he has his work cut out for him in terms of staying there
because some of the statements that you ran through at the beginning.
Joking around, you know, Well, we ought to have an electrified fence on the
Mexican border, saying, I was only kidding. I mean, these are just not the
things that serious candidates for president of the United States say.
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s take a look at what was said in Politico today
on the question of whether he, Cain, is serious. Politico wrote, quote,
"Now that Cain, buoyed by bulging poll numbers, is demanding to be viewed
as a credible contender for the GOP nomination, Cain`s greatest peril is
that primary rivals, journalists and the political world broadly will grant
that wish. Very little in recent days suggests Cain is adequately prepared
for the coming test on his understanding of foreign policy, on his
advisers, and the origin of his most provocative ideas, and not to put too
fine a point on it, on whether he has a factual command of issues equal to
what would be expected of the typical congressional candidate."
Dana, I was stunned, and I will remain stunned, how somebody running
for president of the United States in the wake of this disastrous war in
Iraq would not know what the phrase "neocon" or "neoconservative" -- I
mean, it was a great tribute to David Gregory, our colleague, to put the
question to him. It is no tribute to him that this guy hasn`t been
listening to the American debate over the war and the philosophical
argument for that war. From day one to day Z, he hasn`t paid attention to
what this country`s been involved in, a war.
DANA MILBANK, "WASHINGTON POST": Right. Well, clearly, he wasn`t
watching HARDBALL for the last decade, but probably hasn`t picked up a
newspaper or watched anything on TV, either. The whole thing sort of
reminds me of the Peter Sellers movie, "The Mouse That Roared," you know,
and Herman Cain is the grand duchy of Fenwick who declares war on the
United States and somehow wins.
Here`s a guy who came in basically as a lark, to increase his
visibility, increase his speaking fees, and then turn around and find out,
Oh, my goodness, I`m in a dead heat with the front-runner here. And you`ve
got to think that Herman Cain himself is in a bit of panic now because of
the scrutiny that`s going to come this way.
And I think it says less about Herman Cain than it does about this
terribly distorted process that the primaries have become here, in which
anybody who has basically any sort of qualification, based on experience
working in government, is disqualified because of that very qualification.
MATTHEWS: And you`re up in New Hampshire now. Have you seen hide nor
hair of this fellow? Have you seen Herman Cain up there in New Hampshire
MILBANK: See a lot of Romney posters. I was actually hanging out
with poor Jon Huntsman today, you know, who`s just amazed that he--
MATTHEWS: That`s two of you.
MILBANK: Exactly. Well, there were 55 of us, but I think a lot of
them were paid to be there. But you know, poor Jon Huntsman, two times a
governor, ambassador to China, terrific resume and record, and he`s being
topped by the pizza man. He can`t believe it.
MATTHEWS: OK. Actually, when you mentioned Peter Sellers, I was
thinking of "Being There," the Jerzy Kosinski movie. I thought, My God,
this guy has just talked him way into something big.
Over the weekend, Cain took heat for these comments about an electric
fence running along the Mexican border. He later said he was joking, but
you decide. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HERMAN CAIN (R-GA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`ll have a real fence,
20 feet high, with barbed wire, electrified--
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
CAIN: -- with a sign on the other side that says "It can kill you"!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, maybe that should be on the sign of a presidential
campaign. Anyway, yesterday he asked about those comments that -- first he
again said he was joking, but later in the news conference in Arizona, he
seemed to suggest he was actually serious about the points, like the
electric fence. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAIN: Let me first say it was a joke, and some people don`t think
that it was a good joke. And it`s probably not a joke that you`re supposed
to make if you`re a presidential candidate. I apologize if it offended
anyone. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said it was a joke. It didn`t sound like a
CAIN: Well, you know, I think we`re splitting hairs here. You`re
right, I don`t apologize for using a combination of a fence, and it might
be electrified. I`m not walking away from that. I just don`t want to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Steve, do you watch "Curb Your Enthusiasm"? I think we`re
watching a Larry David impression here, you know, that apology he`s forced
to make, and then he says, Well, I really don`t want to make an apology, so
I`ll give a lousy one, and then not really make an apology.
What was he doing there? Does he want an electric fence that says
it`ll kill you if you try to climb over this thing, to make his point as a
hardliner, which it seems like he wants to do, laugh at it afterwards, and
that`s supposed to take the heat off him. What`s he doing here in this
presidential campaign, this guy?
SCHMIDT: I think he`s making it up as he goes along every day, from
news conference to news conference. There doesn`t seem to be a particular
rhyme and reason to it. But I do think that`s going to start to change
because, Chris, he is going to get the scrutiny that the front-runner in
the race deserves to get from the journalists, but also from his
competitors because, if you`re Rick Perry, if you`re Newt Gingrich, if
you`re Rick Santorum, you`re not going to grow your poll share out of Mitt
Romney`s piece, which has been very stable. You have to take your numbers
to grow out of Herman Cain.
So I think you`re going to see the other candidates start to go at
SCHMIDT: -- start to go at him on the national security missteps,
start to go at him on the regressive tax plan that he`s put forward, and to
start to put him under some real scrutiny with a lot of these comments that
don`t make a lot of sense.
MATTHEWS: You`ve got to wonder about our democracy. It`s come down
to the president, who`s got real political challenges facing him, Dana,
real challenges in terms of unemployment -- normally, the kind of number
that would cause you to be defeated in an objective sense -- and then
you`ve got Mitt Romney, who`s already been rejected roundly by the
political party, has nothing to do with the political movement that`s
dominating the Republican Party. In fact, they detest him. And then this
guy that has absolutely no political experience and is proving it every
Yesterday, Cain was asked whether his campaign was serious. What a
question. Here was his answer. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAIN: One myth is that I`m not in this race to win it, that I`m just
trying to get my profile up so I can get a TV show or a radio show. If you
know Herman Cain, you know that that`s -- nothing is further from the
truth. And if you don`t believe me, I invite you to get a copy of my new
book, "This Is Herman Cain"--
CAIN: -- you know, if you can find one because they are selling like
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, there he goes again, is he serious? He makes a joke
about his own lack of seriousness. What is it, Dana?
MILBANK: Right, and--
MATTHEWS: How are we to take this, as a lounge act or what?
MILBANK: Exactly. And his campaign is, in fact, buying his book, so
it has him--
MATTHEWS: I see that. They`ve spent $36,000 to buy the book and then
hand it out, I guess.
MILBANK: It has some immediate benefit for him, too. But you know,
all along, the appeal of Herman Cain is that he`s the un-politician, he`s
the anti-politician. So it`s endearing that he can`t say Uzbekistan and
it`s endearing that he makes these gaffes.
But at some point, you stop sort of being the outsider and the
iconoclast and you just start to look like a nincompoop who can`t answer
the questions. And I think he has reached that point now and it`s no
longer enough to say, I`m not a politician. What do you want from me?
He`s going to actually have to answer questions.
MATTHEWS: Can we -- well, why don`t we get serious ourselves, here,
Dana. You first, then Steve. We`re talking about trying to find the man,
woman, Republican, Democrat, independent, whoever it is, between now and
next November who can perhaps offer a challenge to the president and come
off as, to the American people, a reasonable option. That`s what everybody
who`s an American wants to see, a reasonable option so that when they go in
the voting booth, even if they`re red-hot for Obama, they face a reasonable
option, so they have a choice. It seems to me that`s a reasonable American
And yet we`ve narrowed it down to one of these guys. I`ve got to go
to Steve on this. You`ve been in the business, Steve. Doesn`t it bother
you that the process has led to this pathetic set of options at this point
already? Two or three months before the first test, it`s narrowed down,
apparently, to Romney and this character.
SCHMIDT: It does bother me. But one thing that I`m hopeful about and
optimistic about is the role that New Hampshire plays in this process.
People in the state of New Hampshire take this process deadly seriously.
And they demand to see these candidates multiple times, to see them in the
town hall meetings--
SCHMIDT: -- to shake their hands, to check them out, to look under the
hood. And I think that, you know, he`s going to have to go up there and
undergo that scrutiny. And I think that -- a lounge act is a great way to
describe this, to this point, and I don`t think--
MATTHEWS: No, he`s--
MATTHEWS: I don`t think he is, but he`s acting like it.
SCHMIDT: That`s exactly right.
MATTHEWS: The jokes he keeps telling, Dana, suggest he`s not serious.
I`m not saying he`s not a serious person. He obviously is.
MATTHEWS: It bugs me that he doesn`t seem to be taking it seriously.
MILBANK: Right. I mean, he has exploited this process. It`s less of
a primary process right now than some sort of a primal scream, when you
have, you know, one protest after another, whether it`s going to be
Bachmann or Cain or Perry.
MILBANK: And I think Steve is right about New Hampshire being sort of
the saucer that`s going to cool this down. Now, that certainly what the
aforementioned Jon Huntsman is hoping by putting all his eggs here. But it
also could have -- look, Romney is a far more reasonable choice than a lot
of these other characters, and he`s 30-something points ahead here in New
MATTHEWS: Yes. Huntsman looks like Disraeli compared to this crowd.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Steve Schmidt. Thank you, Dana Milbank.
And that means good, anyway.
Up next, one of the leaders in the movement to cure homosexuality, if
that phrase means something to you, through prayer admits it doesn`t work.
You can`t deal with it through that manner, through religion. It`s
something that has to be dealt with in a different way, perhaps through
acceptance. That`s what he`s talking about, I think.
We`re going to have him tell his story here tonight on HARDBALL only
MATTHEWS: Mark your calendars. The Iowa caucuses will be taking
place on Tuesday, January 3rd. The state`s Republican Party made it
official last night, and they picked the earliest day in January they
could, considering the fact that January 2nd is the official New Year`s
holiday this year because New Year`s is on Sunday.
Now all eyes are on New Hampshire, which is waiting to see whether
Nevada moves back from its January 14th date. New Hampshire`s secretary of
state has threatened to hold that primary in early December, but even he
says he won`t make a decision until he knows what Nevada does.
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It can help gay people live (INAUDIBLE) lives, but
that is not sitting well with some gay rights activists.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Several dozen protesters (INAUDIBLE) today
against what they say is an anti-gay organization.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He says this program teaches children, among other
things, they don`t have to live a homosexual lifestyle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re here to show them that this isn`t the only
choice. Shame and fear is not the only choice.
REV. JOHN SMID, DIR., LOVE IN ACTION: When we are trying to help
someone reorient their behaviors and the way that they think about
themselves, there are therapeutic techniques and there are ways in which we
can assist that awareness process. Some people refer to that as
brainwashing. I think it`s a semantics question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, we`re back.
And that was a clip from the documentary "This Is What Love in Action
Looks Like," which focuses on converting gays to become straight. John
Smid was the man you saw at the end of that quip and a leader in the
conversation therapy movement. But in a blog posting just over a week ago,
Smid said that the therapy does not work, even going so far as to say that
he has never met a man who experienced change from homosexual to
So will this admission change the course of debate in this country
over same-sex marriage and other issues?
John Smid joins us now, along with Daily Beast contributor Michelle
John, thank you for joining us on HARDBALL. It`s always an honor to
have somebody come on the show that could go anywhere they wanted to tell
their story. And Michelle, thank you for joining us and helping us with
this story to understand it as a journalist.
John, I guess the question that a lot of people, gay and straight,
will ask is, what brought you to go public with this pretty important
observation, since you`ve been experienced in this world, that no one`s
ever gone through a successful, if you will, or a conversion of any kind
from gay to straight?
SMID: I think really one of the most significant things, Chris, is
that within the gay community, there is definitely a chasm between the gay
community and the traditional American church. And it`s my greatest
objective to make sure that the gay community, people within the gay
community, understand that there`s room at the table for them in a
relationship with Christ.
And I recognized that many things that I`ve said in the past have
communicated that maybe there isn`t room, and I want to make sure that
MATTHEWS: Do you have a sense that this country -- well, it`s a dumb
question because I think we know the answer -- this country is changing its
attitudes about orientation, about people who are gay, in your lifetime?
SMID: Yes, that`s true. And I think it was important for me to be
honest about the fact that someone is most often -- there`s an intrinsic
homosexuality that, from my experience, has not really -- I haven`t really
seen many people who have seen an orientation change. And in that, I think
then we have to make decisions about what we`re going to do. How are we
going to choose to live? What are our relationship choices?
And for me, I am married. I`ve been married for 22 years. I love my
wife dearly. We have an amazing relationship. But at the same time, I do
experience homosexuality. It`s a part of my history. It`s a part of the
life that I live. And I just think it`s important to be really honest
about that for myself, and hopefully, to open the door of honesty for
MATTHEWS: Well, how would you explain your sexual orientation -- your
sexual attraction? Are you attracted to male or female?
SMID: I would say predominantly, I`m attracted to men.
MATTHEWS: I see.
SMID: At the same time, I`ve chose to be married.
MATTHEWS: I get you.
SMID: And a lot of people make that choice.
MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at the public`s view of this. This is a
political show, as you know. We don`t get into psychology. I want
Michelle to get in on this. Look at this, a new Gallup poll focused on gay
and lesbian rights from the -- from May of this year shows that more than
half the country now supports -- listen to the way it`s phrased --
acceptability of gay relations -- morally acceptable -- morally acceptable
-- 56 percent, morally wrong 39.
Now, I understand that that`s a flip, a dramatic -- more than a flip
of where it was just 10 years ago, Michelle.
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, THE DAILYBEAST: Yes, I mean--
MATTHEWS: So this country`s views are definitely dramatically
GOLDBERG: And they`re going to evolve even further because I think
the numbers are even starker among the younger generation. Even among
younger evangelicals, you see a lot more support and kind of understanding
of gay relationships.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask -- I will go back to our prime guest here,
You know, just a few years ago, we had an election in 2004. And I
don`t know if you have studied the politics of the gay issues, but my
understanding is that Ohio went for President Bush, W. Bush, because there
was a whole movement out there to try to fight the issue of same-sex
marriage on the ballot.
And it was basically skewed with Don King and some other people
involved in it and Karl Rove to use that issue as a wedge issue to
basically screw John Kerry in Ohio. And it worked and it flipped the
entire national election to W. Do you think that it`s going to be a wedge
issue this time around by the Republicans, to be blunt about it?
SMID: I think that really with the gay marriage issue, what`s
happened is the government and the church are split on the issue. And I
think that really as a government, that we shouldn`t have gotten involved
in the issue of marriage.
And so, therefore, I think we have kind of put ourselves in a very
difficult spot, because, frankly, I think coming from a pure government
issue, I think two gay people should have the same rights as two
heterosexual people, because that should not be a Christian decision by the
And we are going to have to kind of find a way to unravel all of that.
MATTHEWS: What do you make of the fact that one of the candidates for
the Republican side, Michele Bachmann and her husband, run an organization
which basically does what you say can`t be done, change people?
Here it is. Here`s Marcus Bachmann, the husband of the presidential
candidate, speaking for himself, using an offensive term, many believe,
when he talked about how to address gay teens. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you say when your teenager says she`s
MARCUS BACHMANN, HUSBAND OF MICHELE BACHMANN: There`s that curiosity.
It is as if we have to understand barbarians need to be educated. They
need to be disciplined. And just because someone feels it or thinks it
doesn`t mean that we`re supposed to go down that road. We have a
responsibility as parents and as authority figures not to encourage such
thoughts and feelings.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, I guess, first of all, John, and then I want to go to
Michelle, to use the word barbarians to describe gay people.
SMID: Oh, I think that`s horrific.
I think that whole concept that he`s talked about there is an amazing
denial of human experience. And I think the first thing we need to do is
to listen and validate to what people experience. And I remember in my own
life, that was very important, to be validated.
I think to invalidate a person`s feelings and say, oh, really, you
don`t feel that, is an amazing shutdown in relationship. And, personally,
I also had a hard time following what he was even saying. It didn`t make
sense to me.
MATTHEWS: I wonder, too, because if you think and feel you`re
straight, are you supposed to go by that or not? I don`t know what the --
Michelle, these Bachmanns engaged in this unusual mission in life. What do
you make of this whole thing, and now being politically involved?
GOLDBERG: Well, I also think it`s important to not just limit it to
the Bachmanns. The Bachmanns are clearly one step beyond in that Marcus
Bachmann actually engaged in reparative therapy.
But as far as I know, Herman Cain believes sexual orientation can be
changed. Rick Perry championed a constitutional amendment that banned not
only gay marriage, but civil unions. I think that this -- although this is
a majority -- minority position in the country at large, it`s a majority
position among the Republican base. And so, this kind of -- you know,
MATTHEWS: Well, how far does this go? Trent Lott a few years ago, I
don`t know if you were reporting then, but do you remember, oh, seven years
ago, Trent Lott, who I actually like, came out and said, we make a choice
at a certain age. And somebody said, actually, you like Pepsi or Coke,
Crest or Pepsodent, you know, toothpaste.
MATTHEWS: I think -- I have thought about it this week, I think I
will be gay, I think I will be straight, as if anybody watching now can
remember making a decision or a choice like that. And yet it seems like a
mental trick they do. They can`t handle the fact of nature/nurture,
whatever, so they just say something stupid like, oh, we make our choices.
Why is that politics? Why do they have to make a political statement like
GOLDBERG: Well, they have to make a political statement in part
because it goes beyond homosexuality.
And so much of their politics and their kind of cultural ideal is
about a God-given hierarchy is a between men and women, God-given roles for
men and women within the family. If you admit that there are variations on
kind of the proper way to live a flourishing life, you open yourself to all
kinds of challenges, to, you know, what kind of `70s feminists used to call
MATTHEWS: Yes, because if you admit that people are born gay or
become gay very early in life, then you`re admitting that God makes people
And, John, you`re one of God`s children. I think we all ought to know
that and everybody ought to say that every day when they get up in the
morning. We`re all God`s children. Let`s start with that one.
It`s great to have you on. Thank you. Thank you so much for coming
on this program, sir.
And, John Smid, thank you.
And, thank you, Michelle Goldberg.
SMID: You`re welcome.
MATTHEWS: Up next: Need proof some Republicans want to try to keep
you from voting? Well, maybe Mike Huckabee was joking. You decide. These
guys love to say I was just joking after they make their right-wing points.
You`re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Now for the "Sideshow."
First up, looks like Michele Bachmann is now trying to separate
herself from her former campaign manager, Ed Rollins. Since his departure,
Rollins has been less than generous in his praise for Bachmann, to say the
Remember this reaction, his reaction to Bachmann saying that the HPV
vaccine could call mental retardation? Let`s listen to his comments on
HARDBALL last month.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: The bottom line is, she can`t
prove the case, and I think it`s just better for her to get back on the
It`s very important that you never basically say anything that you
can`t back up with empirical data. The bottom line here is, she has made
what was a very positive debate and made the issue about Perry to where
it`s now an issue about her, and she needs to move on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, hardly a ringing endorsement there. Where does
Bachmann now stand when it comes to her former honcho?
A piece in "The New York Times" hits on the candidate`s reaction,
saying -- quote -- "Bachmann said critical comments Mr. Rollins made to
reporters after stepping aside were dismaying. When it was pointed out
that Mr. Rollins has a history of speaking sharply about candidates who
once employed him, Mrs. Bachmann offered a tight smile -- quote -- `I guess
I should have done that Google search,` she said."
Well, perhaps she should make that her all-occasion response.
Next up, rock the vote -- more like stop the vote. That`s former
Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee`s plan to help push through an anti-union
measure when the polls open in Ohio this November. Speaking at a rally
late last night, Huckabee told supporters how they can help make sure that
the measure passes on Election Day.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MIKE HUCKABEE (R), FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: Make a list of 10 family
members, 10 friends, 10 neighbors, 10 folks you work with or have worked
with in the past, and call them and ask them, are you going to vote on
issue two? And are you going to vote for it? If they say no, well, you
just make sure that they don`t go vote.
HUCKABEE: Let the air out of their tires on Election Day.
HUCKABEE: Tell them the election has been moved to a different date.
That`s up to you, how you creatively get the job done.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, it sounds like he was going for the laughs there, but
you do get the point.
And, finally, "Saturday Night Live" had some fun this past weekend
with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg`s reaction to the Occupy Wall
Street protests. Let`s take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE")
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: While these protests began here in New York, they
have spread to dozens of other cities throughout the globe, proving once
again that New York sets the trends and the rest of the world follows.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Think Bloomberg had a problem with that spoof? Not at all.
Fact is, he wants the job -- quote -- "He does not need to go and get
somebody to impersonate me. I have my Actors Guild -- my Screen Actors
Guild card and done this a number of times. I think he`d find my agent
could negotiate a rate with him he could afford to do."
Well, billionaire seeking employment. Mike Bloomberg wants to be Mike
Bloomberg on "Saturday Night Live."
Coming up: No question those Occupy Wall Street protest have been
growing in number and intensity, but what constitutes victory to those who
have taken to the streets? Great question. What do they want to see
happen? We are going to talk to two of the protesters and get a sense of,
what`s the message?
You`re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
SUE HERERA, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Sue Herera with your CNBC "Market
Stocks following the headlines once again today, ending with a late
surge. The Dow gained 180 points. The S&P 500 added 24 and the Nasdaq
jumped 42. But stocks started out with a slump on reports showing the
producer price index rising more than expected, but started turning it
around on another report showing home builder sentiment climbing to its
highest level in a year-and-a-half.
And things really took off in the final hour of trading on a report
that France and Germany may have agreed to boost the Eurozone bailout fund,
but by how much is still a little unclear.
And we are in the thick of earnings season. Bank of America posted a
profit in a very tough quarter. But Goldman Sachs gained, despite
delivering a larger-than-expected quarterly loss. And three big tech names
reporting after the closing bell. Yahoo! and Intel`s results came in
better than expected, but Apple missed top- and bottom-line estimates and
they did it in a big way. Shares are tumbling in after-hour trading.
That`s it from CNBC. We are first in business worldwide -- and now
back to Chris and HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
The Occupy Wall Street movement is nearly a month old now, believe it
or not, and continues to grow. This past weekend saw protests spread
across the country and even overseas in Europe and Asia, including India.
Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets around the world, but
people are still asking questions about what does the movement want to
achieve? What demands will they make eventually? And is there a unifying
cause or theme that unites them all?
"The New York Times" this morning suggested the only thing uniting the
protesters is a mood of anger. They report -- quote -- "While the
protesters seem united in feeling that the system is stacked against them,
with the rules written to benefit the rich and the connected, they`re also
just as often angry about issues closer to home like education and the
local environment. There may be no common manifesto or list of goals,
something that has drawn criticism from both inside and outside the
movement. But there`s one common thread, "as I said, "anger. And some
have looked for jobs for months. Others have lost their homes to
foreclosure. Angry, they all are."
So is the movement just about anger and where is it headed?
For that, we`re joined by two participants out there and spokespeople
for the movement itself.
Tyler Combelic is a freelance Web designer, and Michael Premo is a
Gentlemen -- they have both been involved, by the way, with the
movement from the earlier days.
So, you`re veterans out there. How long have you been out there,
MICHAEL PREMO, OCCUPY WALL STREET PROTESTER: Thank you for having us
We -- I have been out here since the first week, about three-and-a-
half weeks now.
MATTHEWS: And what have you felt that you have accomplished so far,
PREMO: I feel like what we have accomplished so far is exercising our
democratic rights to peaceably assemble. It is an amazing, exhilarating
experience to be involved with a movement of people who are gathered
together to redress our grievances.
You know, for generations, literally, people have marched, people have
used electoral politics to try to address these systemic challenges that
disaffect a majority of people in America with no outcome. And now is a
moment for people to sort of unlock their radical imagination about how we
can find creative solutions to the same old problems.
MATTHEWS: Same question to you, Tyler, your experience out there, and
what have you accomplished?
TYLER COMBELIC, OCCUPY WALL STREET PROTESTER: I have been out here
since the fifth day of the protests, so it`s been about a full month for me
Honestly, this has been the most inspiring thing I have ever been a
part of, of my life. I have found a voice I had thought I lost to apathy
and cynicism, which has become prevalent in this country due to the fact
that people feel like moneyed interests or the economic structure just does
not favor them. They don`t have a place in government. They don`t have a
place on Wall Street.
And so this is giving a voice to people that felt like their voice was
taken from them. And I think that is empowering unto itself. And that`s
what I have taken most from this thus far.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s talk about the power that you might have.
I`m going to go back to Michael.
And I`m not being unserious. I`m being deadly serious. If you had
real power in your hands, sir, right now to change the economic structure
of this country, to balance it toward fairness, what would you do
personally, if you could do it? If you were, say, president, almost a
dictator in this country now, what would you do?
PREMO: What would I do personally?
At the moment, we`re not quite at the place where we had -- can
consensus upon articulating clear demands. For me personally, it`s about
shifting the balance of power to allow the democratic process to be back in
the hands of the people, so that all voices can be properly represented in
all facets of our system, both economic and political.
MATTHEWS: You, Tyler? Same question.
MATTHEWS: If you had power right now -- you don`t have power. You
have a voice. If you had power, if -- I mean, you have just got to get --
we`re looking for some sense of the dream.
What`s the dream at the end of the tunnel here for you folks?
You`re putting a lot of your life into this thing. Where do you want
it to sort of go generally without being specific? Generally, where do you
want it to go?
COMBELIC: Generally, where I want this to go is to create a new
paradigm shift in this country, where it`s just an assumption again that
the American people have a voice in all aspects of government, that one
vote for one person is the way the electoral system works and moneyed
interests are involved -- a system in which everyone has equal opportunity
to achieve the American Dream, regardless of where they`re born, regardless
of race, regardless of gender.
And these are just simply not truths in our country right now. Maybe
we aspire to these values, but I think this movement wants to see these
become a reality. And that`s become just the normal narrative day to day
in this country, and that`s why I think it`s more of a movement than a
political party or anything like that.
MATTHEWS: Yes. But you`re all individuals in that movement. Staying
with you, Tyler, what if -- what was it that first stirred you to make you
want to join this movement? What experience, what observation about our
economy, our politics?
COMBELIC: I think for me, it was -- when the recession occurred, I
just felt frustrated. I felt like there was no recourse. You had two
political parties that would argue it`s the other party`s fault that the
system was broken but neither were offering any solutions. Neither were
talking about what`s the future for America? What`s the future to make
this country great?
And when I came down to the protest, I decided to stop by and check it
out for myself. I found a voice, I found people expressing the same
frustrations and having a hope that if we all raise our voices together,
we`d be heard. We`d get coverage.
And, suddenly, politicians would have to listen to us again. They`d
have to listen to the American people -- the people that are supposed to be
representing to begin with.
MATTHEWS: Mike, same question to you. What was it that stirred you
to go out there and give a part of your life to this?
PREMO: For me, it was feeling like I didn`t have a place for my voice
to be heard. Feeling like that I wasn`t represented in government, feeling
like I wasn`t represented in the broader economic system -- you know,
coming out of college and having $50,000 in debt, being unemployed for two
years, working odd jobs that barely pay the rent, with no health insurance
and limited options. And no one to really listen to what I felt was
MATTHEWS: Well, I`m going to study what you guys have said. I`m
going to look at that, type it up and look at it. Your voices have been
Thank you for coming on HARDBALL, even in this small amount of time.
Michael Premo and Tyler Combelic -- thank you, gentlemen, for coming on and
representing "Occupy Wall Street."
Up next, President Obama`s back on the road, pushing his jobs plan
piece by piece now. Are voters buying what they`re selling, even
individually, retail now, were they buying?
That`s ahead. You`re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Well, you all know doubt hear a lot of criticism tonight
from the Republican presidential candidates in the debate about President
Obama`s track record on immigration.
Well, today, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement director
announced nearly 400,000 illegal immigrant have been deported during just
the past year, a record number. More than half were deported after being
convicted of a crime and two-thirds of them had either recently crossed the
border or had done so repeatedly. We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Majority of the
American people thinks it makes sense for us to put teachers back in the
classroom and construction workers back to work and tax breaks for small
businesses and tax breaks for folks who are hiring veterans. But we`ve got
100 percent no from Republicans in the Senate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back.
Of course, that`s President Obama today out selling his jobs plan to
America. He started out in Jamestown, North Carolina, then as you can see
on the map, he made his way into Virginia, where he`s speaking today at a
high school in Emporia. He addressed critics who say his jobs tour is a
Let`s listen to the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Some people asked me yesterday, why I was visiting Republican
areas of North Carolina. I said, well, first of all, it`s because I just
like North Carolina. Second of all, I`m not the Democratic president or
Republican president, I`m the president. And third of all, I don`t care if
you`re Republican or a Democrat, because we`re all Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Bob Shrum is a Democratic strategist and Ron Reagan
is a political commentator and author of "My Father at 100."
Gentlemen, I want you to start off by looking at something very
heated. This is a comment made yesterday by Mitt Romney who was in a
meeting with the "Las Vegas Review Journal" editorial board yesterday. He
was commenting on foreclosure and the crisis attending that.
Let`s listen here to something that could be very hot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As to what to do for the
housing industry specifically, and are the things that you can do to
encourage housing, one is, don`t try and stop the foreclosure process, let
it run its course and hit the bottom, allow investors to buy homes, put
renters in them, fix the homes up, and let it turn around and come back up.
The Obama administration has slow-walked the foreclosure processes that
have long existed, and as a result, we still have a foreclosure overhang.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, I think we just heard from Mr. Potter in "It`s a
Wonderful Life" there, Bob Shrum, the bank owner.
I mean, in other words, foreclose on the poor people, take away their
houses, and start renting the people who are desperate enough to just rent
a house. I mean, this Mr. Potter right out of it; Lionel Barrymore there
What do you make of it, Bob Shrum?
BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, look, this is guy who made
his money by firing people. Now, he thinks he can make his presidency, I
suppose, by foreclosing on people. There`s no political I.Q. here.
Who would go to the foreclosure capital of the nation, the foreclosure
capital of the world, and say, let`s foreclose more houses faster? And
Roosevelt did this right in the 1930s with the Homeowners` Loan
Corporation. They wrote down principle on houses when that principle was
excessive, for people who could then make the mortgage payments and that
stabilized the housing market.
I now think a little bit of the real Mitt Romney popped out there.
This is a cold, metallic guy who doesn`t really care a lot about what`s
happening to people in this economic crisis.
MATTHEWS: Well, again, Ron Reagan, it`s, again, his statement that
corporations are people, too, and here he is saying that investors should
be the vultures here. The poor little family can`t make its monthly now
should be kicked out and replaced by someone who is more desperate who`s
willing to pay rent, own nothing.
RON REAGAN, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That`s right. When some
corporation can come in and buy all these houses on the cheap and then make
a killing later on, but as we said, remember, those corporations are just
people, too, so, you know, it`s not
MATTHEWS: This is kind of a cold person there, doesn`t he, for a
REAGAN: Yes, he does. As Bob said, this is the Bain Capital, you
know, Mitt Romney here who comes into companies and turns them around by
I mean, did he mention anywhere in that discussion with the Las Vegas
paper the fact that banks had been cheating their customers and been
signing off on foreclosures without even checking the fact?
MATTHEWS: Well, you have.
REAGAN: And been doing that for years -- I don`t think so.
MATTHEWS: Let`s go to Senator McCain, another guy who seems a bit
bitter these days. He spent the last couple of days blasting the president
for driving the wrong bus. He`s now become a bus critic. He criticized
the president for the type of bus.
He`s -- this reminds me of George Bush Sr. and the flag factories.
Are we confusing the instrument with the message? Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I`ve never seen an uglier bus than the
Canadian one. He`s traveling around on a Canadian bus touting American
jobs. So, and one of the reasons why Americans and I and my colleagues are
a bit skeptical because we`ve seen this movie before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: The shell of the president`s bus, by the way, was built by
the same Quebec bus-maker Prevost, but its interior was built by a coach-
maker in Tennessee. McCain may be the wrong guy to throw stones. It turns
out his famous straight talking express was the same kind of buses made in
Canada as were Bush and Cheney`s campaign buses and Michele Bachmann`s
congressional campaign bus.
So don`t throw stones at the same bus you`re riding in, I guess, or
something, Shrummy. This is so low brow, so below John McCain. He must be
out of material to be arguing about buses.
SHRUM: Look --
MATTHEWS: Your thoughts?
SHRUM: Well, look, I think McCain has been angry and disappointed
ever since he lost the 2008 election. Thinks somehow or other Barack
Obama, he couldn`t believe that he lost to him. The whole thing is absurd.
As you say, first of all, the same guys built McCain`s bus that built
the Obama bus. Beyond that, if you want to argue about Canada -- my
recollection is that Senator McCain voted for NAFTA, for the North American
Free Trade Agreement, and that`s what enables Canadians to sell things here
very easily and Americans to sell things there very easily.
MATTHEWS: They are our biggest market.
SHRUM: The biggest common market.
MATTHEWS: They are our biggest market in the world.
MATTHEWS: What is the complaint here?
Ron Reagan, this has reached the level of pettiness.
But look at this. The president`s got a challenge. Here he is in
North Carolina. The Quinnipiac Poll has his numbers 62 percent disapprove
among independents. This is a real threatened re-election campaign. Your
REAGAN: Well, it is, and I think that`s one of the reasons he`s going
right into the belly of the beast and going into Republican areas, as he
should. He should speak to Republicans as well as Democrats.
I think that the Republicans -- McCain is complaining about the bus --
I think that`s a sign that they may be a little nervous about this tour,
not just seeing it as a target of opportunity for derision, but actually a
little nervous that the conversation has now been changed. When is the
last time you heard deficit reduction featured prominently in anybody`s
talking points here. It`s all about jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs and that`s
where the president wants them to be.
Let me say however, I think we can all agree it is one ugly bus.
REAGAN: Couldn`t they put a flag on it or something?
MATTHEWS: I know. McCain reminds you of Mr. Wilson complaining about
Dennis going on his lawn.
Anyway, thank you, Bob Shrum.
SHRUM: You`re welcome.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Ron Reagan. Wish we had more time. We will
REAGAN: You bet.
SHRUM: See you, guys.
MATTHEWS: When we return, "Let Me Finish" with Jack Kennedy. This
time of year, saved the world pack in 1962, the world.
You`re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: "Let Me Finish" with this. These crisp clear days of
October carry frightening memory for many of us. It was on these very days
in 1962, just short of a half century ago, that America and the world stood
on the precipice of nuclear war. All the conditions were set for the
United States and the Soviet Union to engage in an all-out assault of
nuclear weapons against each other.
On the eve of the congressional elections in that year, the Soviet
Union began installing offensive nuclear weapons in Cuba. On October 16th,
President Kennedy was shown the aerial photographs.
The first impulse was to bomb the missile sites. And the next, a more
sophisticated plan, the joint chiefs called for an all out invasion of the
President Kennedy saw the dangers. If the United States attacked
Cuba, it would kill many of the Soviet advisers and troops stationed there.
What would Chairman Nikita Khrushchev do in response?
If he moved to take West Berlin which he warned he would do, the
United States would have but one option, with the red army surrounding us
in Berlin, our relatively small force of ground troops there would be
soundly overrun. We would be forced with the need to use nuclear weapons
to prevent such an historic humiliating rout of our key outpost in Western
Kennedy knew all this and saw the chain reaction that an attack on
Cuba would begin. He ended the crisis by a combination of an open naval
blockade and a secret agreement to remove U.S. nuclear missiles from
Turkey. Had he taken the course recommended by the military and other Cold
War experts, the consequence would have been a planetary Holocaust.
We now knew that Khrushchev planned to hit New York with whatever
nuclear missiles that survived in Cuba after an American attack. Quote --
and this is from his memoir, "There wouldn`t be much of New York left," he
wrote. "I don`t mean to say everyone in New York would be killed, not
everyone, of course, but an awful lot of people would be wiped out."
We would have seen -- would have been forced, of course, to retaliate.
Fortunately, for the history of mankind, we had a president who saw
the movement of events towards global catastrophe, and through vision and
force of will found a way to deliver us from the worst evil in human
history, global nuclear war.
"Jack Kennedy, Elusive Hero," you can get it in stores November 1st,
or pre-order now on Amazon.com.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>