Guests: Nia-Malika Henderson, Jim Moran, Ron Reagan, Mark Shriver
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Those other Olympic games.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
"Let Me Start" with this matter of war and peace the president
addressed today. This is a stunning development. Listening to the
president earlier today, I got the clear impression that we, the United
States, are doing everything we can to avert another shooting war in the
If we get into such a war by bombing Iran or helping or working with
Israel on such an active war, we could well unleash consequences that are
impossible now to see, but imaginable as hell on earth, with Hezbollah
engaged in an all-out offensive against us, Egypt quitting its treaty with
Israel, the monarchy in Jordan tottering, the new government in Libya
tilting far to the Islamist militant side, and who knows what coming our
way here in America, thanks to the sleeper cells.
War and peace. That`s how the president laid it out today, and we
need to talk about it with NBC`s Andrea Mitchell and David Corn of "Mother
Jones" and author of the great new book "Showdown."
You know, Olympic games -- I used that term because that was the code
word for the Bush administration, George W. Bush administration`s plan to
destabilize, disrupt, cripple the Iranian nuclear program through high-tech
-- basically hacking into it.
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Cyber war.
MATTHEWS: Cyber war.
MITCHELL: And because the Iranian nuclear program is not on the
Internet, this actually required having an agent insert a thumb drive, and
as David Sanger describes in his book, "Confront and Conceal," it was
actually inserting mechanisms into the centrifuges in Iran, in Tehran, and
giving us a mirror image -- and the Israelis, as well, whom he brought into
this -- of what was happening in the Natanz nuclear plant. And it was
U.S.-initiated, not, as had been previously suspected or inferred...
MATTHEWS: Yes, I thought...
MATTHEWS: ... it was Israeli because that was all the cover
MITCHELL: Yes, so did all of us I until we read Sanger`s book, which
has not been denied by anyone. It was George Bush...
MITCHELL: ... expanded greatly by Obama.
MATTHEWS: You are a president -- you`re a president watcher. Don`t
you think -- I don`t know if you could go this far -- I thought he gave it
all away today, the way he treated this with such gravity, the way he
responded to the leaks, his anger about whoever did it.
It was almost, to me, a statement, Hey, this is what we`re doing, and
I don`t want it out there.
MITCHELL: Well, in fact, what Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House
Intelligence Committee, who has been completely non-partisan in all of this
and has been given high marks by the White House and Democrats...
MITCHELL: He is saying that he did not think the president was tough
enough in sending a tough enough signal to his aides, Cut it out, stop it,
this cannot take place, the leaks...
MITCHELL: ... because this is an ongoing covert operation.
MATTHEWS: Good point, Andrea. Let`s watch now -- Here`s President
Obama with those strong words for people he accused or have been accused of
leaking information about sensitive national security issues, this very
thing, these cyber-attacks targeting Iran`s nuclear program. Details of
U.S. involvement in that program came to light last week in "The New York
Here`s the president on it today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As commander-in-chief,
the issues that you`ve mentioned touch on our national security, touch on
critical issues of war and peace, and they`re classified for a reason,
because they`re sensitive and because the people involved may, in some
cases, be in danger if they`re carrying out some of these missions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, that was in response, David, to a question by David
Jackson (ph) of "USA Today." It`s rare that you hear a president really as
smart as this guy thinking out loud. He`s trying to deal with something
that`s so close to the bone that he can`t -- he doesn`t have a PR sheet to
hand out on this or talking points. He`s trying to figure right in real
time how to deal with this sensitivity.
DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: There`s a lot
going on here. You know, when people leak in Washington, it can be for all
sorts of reasons. Sometimes -- usually, it`s self-aggrandizement or to,
you know, do someone in. Maybe the Bush guys who started the program
wanted to make sure they had credit for it, so they told a lot. Sanger
also had sources in Israel and Europe that worked on this project. But he
does cite present administration officials.
MATTHEWS: Sure, he had somebody in the room with Vice President
CORN: But there`s -- but there`s a reason to leak this stuff. Now,
it may inconvenience the program. Maybe the program has run its course.
We don`t know. But if the administration wants Israel and the rest of the
world to know that we are doing something very real to slow down our...
MATTHEWS: But Israel knows it, if they`re involved.
CORN: Well, we`re not -- well, the Israeli public, as well.
CORN: It takes off pressure for a military strike. This makes it a
lot harder for the neocons to say, Nothing is happening. We can`t stop
them unless we bomb them.
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s very tricky. But let`s -- here`s President
Obama. He wouldn`t directly comment on the program, all through
implication, I believe. But he said the idea that his White House would
leak information purposely about such a serious matter was offensive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The notion that my White House would purposely release
classified national security information is offensive. It`s wrong. We`re
dealing with issues that can touch on the safety and security of the
American people, our families or our military personnel or our allies. And
so we don`t play with that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: "We don`t play with that." You know, it`s hard not to be
cynical in politics, but I got the feeling -- well, I think he meant it. I
think he was really hurt that anybody would say he`s out there hot-dogging
on an issue like this.
MITCHELL: He was responding to what John McCain said, and John McCain
is the one person who has said that they did this -- White House officials
leaked this and other covert operations...
MATTHEWS: Yes, he`s throwing it all into the same bag.
MITCHELL: He`s putting a lot of things...
MATTHEWS: Like going after bin Laden.
MITCHELL: And saying that the White House leaked this to make the
MITCHELL: ... more presidential, more macho for the campaign. That`s
not what Dianne Feinstein and Mike Rogers and others from the Intelligence
Committees are saying. But they are -- they`re the prime movers. They`re
demanding a special prosecutor. They`re demanding that the Justice
Department -- they called in the FBI director yesterday, the head of
They are really upset. They say it is unconscionable that detailed
information from national security meetings and the prior Bush years, as
well, were all, they believe, leaked.
Now, David Sanger would tell you, you know, that it was his reporting
that, clearly, the world knew as of 2010, when it became apparent to Iran
and the rest of the world, that a worm had infected these computers --
these centrifuges, rather. That was when we all first started, you know,
suggesting it must have been Israel, maybe with U.S. help.
But what Sanger had was the work of a really fine reporter.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let me to after you and David about something that
really worries me. I mean, I`m an American citizen, obviously. Besides
sitting here, I worry about war.
I worry about -- you know, they always say in court, David, never ask
a question unless you know the answer.
MATTHEWS: Don`t start a war if you don`t know the consequences.
MATTHEWS: It seems that we don`t know the consequences. Now, I ran
through a number of these areas of what might happen. Suppose Israel goes
in with our obviously -- obvious complicity and achieves some measure of
success in crippling the program, but at the cost of several hundred lives
or whatever happens when they go into these facilities.
They have to do it. We have to support them. It happens.
If that happens, Egypt, it would seem to me, under whatever government
they`re in, just automatically begins thinking about reneging on its treaty
with Israel. You got to wonder about King Abdullah and his -- and his
monarchy and whether he survives in...
MATTHEWS: ... no -- in Jordan. Then you look at the new government
in Libya. What are they going to go? Everybody tilts, it seems to me...
MATTHEWS: ... angry part against us.
CORN: What was interesting in Sanger`s piece was that he talks about
this, and the president was asked again and again and again to oversee and
give his -- you know, his OK as this program got more intense and sort of
probed deeper into Iran. Same way we herd the other week about the "kill
list" and the drones...
MITCHELL: The drones.
CORN: ... and everything. So one reason he is doing that is because
he wants to do everything possible to avoid what you`re talking about...
MATTHEWS: A shooting war.
MATTHEWS: Did you get it that way?
CORN: And he might be taking more risks in this angle to prevent...
CORN: ... the possibility...
MATTHEWS: This tells me it`s gotten to the point, unless he can come
up with another way to stop that nuclear program, even he, a man in the
center left on foreign policy in many ways, will have to act.
MITCHELL: But what they`ve done...
MATTHEWS: Am I right?
MITCHELL: Yes. But what they`ve done is -- and he said, I`m not
bluffing, in his last meeting, when he...
MITCHELL: ... when he was speaking here right before...
MATTHEWS: With Bebe.
MITCHELL: ... Netanyahu came. But what -- what is really important
and what Sanger is saying publicly is that we should be having a national
debate about this new kind of warfare, cyber warfare, because the United
States is more vulnerable than...
MATTHEWS: I know.
MITCHELL: ... any country on earth to retaliatory...
MATTHEWS: But don`t you think they...
MITCHELL: ... computer attacks.
MATTHEWS: ... decided it`s better to go to cyber war...
MATTHEWS: ... than real war?
CORN: Well, it`s a way of...
MITCHELL: But it is an ongoing program, and that`s the issue. Did we
compromise an ongoing program? Sanger says no, and he says that he
submitted it to the White House...
MATTHEWS: I know. Do you know who...
MATTHEWS: Do you know who leaked this?
MATTHEWS: Do you?
CORN: I can guess who some of the players were at different parts.
But you know how this works in reporting. You get a piece of it...
MATTHEWS: Well, Andrea...
MATTHEWS: She knows more. That`s why I always ask her.
MITCHELL: No, I...
MATTHEWS: Because you always know.
MITCHELL: No, I have -- we all have our suspicions, but Sanger is an
excellent reporter. There are serious questions, though, about whether
some of this should have been put in print.
MATTHEWS: I think the president showed it today. Boy, is he tough.
And I think he was feeling, to me, his office today.
CORN: Well, he has to.
MATTHEWS: The unique responsibility that he has as commander-in-chief
to make these decisions and -- and he has to make -- well, it`s not just
politics. This is bigger than that.
Anyway -- I hate to say something`s bigger than politics.
MATTHEWS: But this is definitely bigger than politics. Andrea
Mitchell, thank you. Have a nice weekend.
MITCHELL: You, too.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, David. The weather in D.C. -- that`s what it`s
MATTHEWS: We finally got last fall.
Anyway, coming up: The other big issue at today`s news conference,
jobs. What was the president saying today? I`m saying it`s time for the
president to propose something big. It`s like that commercial where the
director wants to blow up that ship. I want something big. If you have a
do-nothing Congress, make them do nothing about something important, at
Plus, the Obama administration`s had a lot of successes. Why don`t we
hear them saying that? Well, we did it, it worked, here`s why. Why don`t
they say that? Why don`t they start to sell about their accomplishments?
Let`s check out this loony "Obama care" ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Government-run health care? We don`t want it. We
don`t need it. This is what I`d do to that law. Pull!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: The picture of the far right, you just saw it. I guess
that`s what Sharon Angle would call a 2nd Amendment solution.
Finally, "Let Me Finish" with Sargent Shriver, the brother-in-law who
changed lives and made history.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: We`ve got new polls in some of those big Senate races
around the country. Let`s check the HARDBALL "Scoreboard."
First to Florida, and a new PPP poll where Senator Bill Nelson has a -
- look at that! -- 13-point lead over leading Republican challenger Connie
Mack, 49 to 36.
In Virginia, tight race there between Tim Kaine and George Allen.
Kaine`s got a 1-point lead in the Quinnipiac poll, 44 to 43. That`s no
Finally, a surprising number out of North Dakota, a state that many
considered was an easy Republican pickup. But a new Mason-Dixon poll shows
Democrat Heidi Heitkamp running strong. She has a 1-point lead over
Republican Rick Berg. Now, that`s an upset in the making.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, today President Obama
again argued for Congress to pass, finally, his American Jobs Act that`s
been on the table over there since September of last year. Let`s listen to
the president today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Last September, I sent Congress a detailed jobs plan full of
the kind of bipartisan ideas that would have put more Americans back to
work. It had broad support from the American people. It was fully paid
If Congress had passed it in full, we`d be on track to have a million
more Americans working this year. The unemployment rate would be lower.
Our economy would be stronger.
Of course, Congress refused to pass this jobs plan in full. They did
act on a few parts of the bill, most significantly the payroll tax cut
that`s putting more money in every working person`s paycheck right now, and
I appreciate them taking that action.
But they left most of the jobs plan just sitting there. And in light
of the headwinds that we`re facing right now, I urge them to reconsider.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, my take on this, it`s time for the president to go
big, force the Republicans to say no to a big jobs bill that would actually
put millions of people back to work.
Nia-Malika Henderson covers politics for "The Washington Post." She`s
been on the road with Governor Romney. And Salon`s Joan Walsh is an MSNBC
political analyst. Thank you both for joining us.
I have to start with Joan on this question. I`m looking at what`s
left -- that`s left in that so-called American jobs bill now. It has a
nice cover on it. We like the term "American." We like the word "jobs."
And the word "bill" is OK, if it`s passed. But since it`s not passed, you
can call it anything you want -- "the American jobs thought," "the American
jobs notion," but it`s not -- it`s not passed at all...
JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Prayer.
MATTHEWS: Prayer. Perfect! And it`s not been passed. Why doesn`t
the president -- if they`re going to say no, as I`ve been saying, to Spam,
because that`s what we used to eat when we were poor, the little thing that
came in a can -- why doesn`t he ask for steak?
If they`re going to say no to everything and Mitch McConnell says,
Screw you guys, you`re not getting anything passed because my goal, the
bill I want passed, is the one that gets rid of you -- so why doesn`t he
offer a jobs bill he truly believes in? Public sector, fine, CETA jobs,
jobs working on the -- on building highways, modern jobs...
MATTHEWS: ... putting in fast rail. Why doesn`t he go big, if he
believes that the public sector, as he said today, is getting starved?
WALSH: Well, I think he will, I hope. You know, I...
WALSH: ... thought that the Jobs Act, honestly -- soon. Tomorrow,
after he listens to Chris!
Seriously, though, in September, the Jobs Act was a really big step
forward because the president had been talking, unfortunately, way too much
about the deficit. He`d been bogged down in the debt ceiling debacle. And
he came out in September and he announced this plan, and his poll numbers
consistently started to rise.
A couple things about the Jobs Act. You know, I defended it to you a
couple weeks ago, and then I went and looked at it. I couldn`t even find a
number in -- I mean, there are lots of little numbers, but it should say on
the front page, 6 million, 10 million new jobs. That`s one thing, stupid
MATTHEWS: Well, you know why?
WALSH: But seriously...
MATTHEWS: ... the economy -- I`m sorry, the economy is $15 trillion
in this country. It suffered from a low growth rate this year of less than
MATTHEWS: He thinks he can goose that up with a jobs bill that`s $140
billion? That`s less than, like, a half a percent of our economy! If he
got every nickel of this...
MATTHEWS: ... he`d be moving the economy by a little less than half a
percent. Why does he go for something so small-bore that even if the
Republicans said, Go ahead and take it, it wouldn`t make any difference?
And they`re never going to say take it, ever.
Let me go over to Nia with...
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, "WASHINGTON POST": Well, I think -- I...
MATTHEWS: ... thinking, the small-bore thinking?
HENDERSON: I mean, I think the problem is if he goes big, he`s going
to be easily framed as a big-spending liberal.
MATTHEWS: Well, he is. What`s wrong with that? He is a liberal.
HENDERSON: And they`re going to look at -- they`re going to talk
about the stimulus bill...
MATTHEWS: You can`t hide who you are!
HENDERSON: ... the $800 billion stimulus bill...
HENDERSON: That didn`t quite work. And I think that`s...
MATTHEWS: But Nia...
HENDERSON: But I also think he has never been the big, you know, full
loaf guy, he`s always been the half loaf. You`re saying, you know, he --
MATTHEWS: Half loaf?
MATTHEWS: OK, here`s my problem. There is a stimulus bill that`s on
the record. There is a health care bill that`s on the record. There is an
auto rescue plan that`s on the record.
The question now is whether you sell it and believe in it and move on,
or you hide from it.
Joan, do you really believe he can hide from the stimulus plan because
it had a stupid title, "stimulus"? Do you think he can hide from an auto
bail-out because they were stupid enough to call it a bail-out when they
should have called it a rescue?
MATTHEWS: And they should have called the stimulus plan a jobs bill.
Nobody goes against a jobs bill. But stimulus is easy to laugh at.
WALSH: Well, they eventually...
MATTHEWS: The shopping of this...
MATTHEWS: ... the PR of this, the marketing, has been a zero! These
programs are good.
MATTHEWS: They did the right thing on health care. They did the
right thing on spending money when they got in there to rescue this
economy. They did the right thing on the auto industry.
They ought to say, We did the right thing, we`re going to do more of
it in the next term. This idea that you can squeamishly say, Oh, we really
didn`t do that. If we don`t bring it up, maybe you won`t talk about it.
The minute they see you`re not talking about it, the Romney crowd are going
to start talking about it. Anyway, that`s my speech.
WALSH: Well, they lie (ph). They`re going to call you a big spender
-- I mean, you`re -- you know, Nia`s right. He -- they -- he has really
been trying to split the difference. He was -- he did run as a bipartisan,
post-partisan guy. He doesn`t want to be out there as a big-spending
liberal. He`s tried his best not to be that, but they call him that
I mean, this is my big thing about the Democrats, even including our
old friend Bill Clinton. They want to act as though they`re not the party
of FDR, they`re not the party of JFK and LBJ...
WALSH: ... they`re not the party that put people back to work and
brought down the unemployment rate.
But they`re still accused of it. They may as well turn around and
WALSH: He`s got to do something big for young people. Young people -
- youth unemployment is a crime.
MATTHEWS: But everybody watching this show knows why there`s no
bipartisanship, because you have got Darth Vader on the Senate side, Mitch
WALSH: Oh, absolutely.
MATTHEWS: ... whose only goal is to destroy the guy.
On the other side, you got Don Knotts, Mr. nervous Nellie over there,
who is either crying or shaking in his boots, who never does anything
because he has got a party of wild men and wild women behind him, the Tea
Party types he wouldn`t want to have supper with tonight.
He doesn`t want to hang around these people, but they`re around his
MATTHEWS: But how can you accuse him of not dealing with that crowd?
HENDERSON: But you have also got some squeamish Democrats...
HENDERSON: ... who don`t want to go back to their -- you have got Joe
Manchin. You have got Claire McCaskill. Does she really want to go back
to Missouri and say, I just wanted for a $400 billion stimulus?
MATTHEWS: Don`t call it a stimulus bill. Call it a highway bill.
HENDERSON: People have soured on spending. He tried to brand this as
investment. Republicans say this is spending. He doesn`t want to be
branded as a Carter or...
MATTHEWS: Let me just tell you this. Republicans talk about huge
spending on defense, on aerospace and stuff like that. That`s bigger
spending than anything else. They`re always for it.
MATTHEWS: What`s the difference between building highways? They`re
national defense highways, as Eisenhower called them, national defense
MATTHEWS: What`s the difference between building up a structure in
this country that we could actually get across fast? Eisenhower would say
it was a defensive move, it was part of country`s defense system.
WALSH: And it is.
HENDERSON: There is some support for this. The numbers show that
people generally want this stuff to happen. But he just doesn`t have the
horses in the Senate, in the Congress to make it happen.
MATTHEWS: I think you have got to believe in what you do, and if you
believe in what you do, the public might buy it. If you don`t believe in
what you do, they will never buy it.
Anyway, here, the president tried to champion some of the good news in
the economy during his political -- well, I`m sorry. No, just -- somebody
put up the wrong prompter. Somebody tell me to reintroduce you, Joan
Walsh, and Nia-Malika Henderson.
WALSH: I think people forget who we were.
MATTHEWS: Anyway the president tried to champion some of the good
news of the economy during his press conference this morning, but he`s
faced heat from Republicans for saying the private sector is -- quote --
"doing fine." Here`s where the president I think stumbled. Let`s watch
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`ve created 4.3
million jobs over the last two -- 27 months; over 800,000 just this year
alone. The private sector is doing fine. Where we`re seeing weaknesses in
our economy have to do with state and local government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: "The private sector is doing fine," miscue, a tad askew, as
Seinfeld would say.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, here`s Mitt Romney quickly jumping on the remarks
on the campaign trail today. Even Mitt can catch this baby. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He said the private sector
is doing fine.
ROMNEY: He said the private sector is doing fine. Is he really that
out of touch? For the president of the United States to stand up and say
the private sector is doing fine is going to go down in history. It`s an
extraordinary miscalculation and misunderstanding by a president who is out
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, by mid-afternoon, the president realized he had
handed the Republicans a gift and he tried to clarify his "doing fine"
remark. Let`s watch the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The folks who are hurting, where we have problems and where we
can do even better, is small businesses that are having a tough time
getting financing; we`ve seen teachers and police officers and firefighters
who`ve been laid off, all of which, by the way, when they get laid off
spend less money buying goods and going to restaurants and...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, fighting fire with fire here, the Democrats seized on
this line from Mitt Romney today, where he attacks the president`s jobs
plan. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: His answer for economic vitality, by the way, was of course
pushing aside the private sector, which he said is doing fine.
Instead, he wants to add more to government. He wants another
stimulus. He wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more
firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of
Wisconsin? The American people did. It`s time for us to cut back on
government and help the American people.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, it`s amazing, ladies, to watch politicians play
to their constituents. The president was obviously playing to the teachers
union, over and over again, teachers, teachers.
MATTHEWS: And in this case, they couldn`t resist. Even on a good
day, he steps on his own headline. Romney had the president today.
Instead, he had to go out and park this anti-public service...
HENDERSON: That`s true, and kind of seen as running against teachers
and firefighters, who are...
MATTHEWS: Yes, he couldn`t resist.
HENDERSON: Yes. But all in all, this was a bad day for the
Any time he`s got to go in and walk back a statement and you see Mitt
Romney up there seizing on it...
MATTHEWS: I agree.
HENDERSON: I think it`s good for the Democrats that it`s June, it`s
not October, when John McCain said the fundamentals of the economy are
MATTHEWS: Joan, don`t you think we will hear that again, the private
second is doing fine?
MATTHEWS: By the way, Mitt is so limited, he had to repeat it three
times. But maybe that`s the message.
Like Reagan did -- we`re going to talk about it later in the show --
if you repeat something over and over and over again, you make a point.
WALSH: I have also got to say, I watched this unfold on Twitter
And I saw a lot of people I respect, a lot of journalists I respect
say, oh, wow, I know what he meant. But, boy, he`s going to pay for that.
I don`t know. He`s only going to pay for it if we pretend to be
stupid and that we don`t understand the context and we let Mitt Romney get
away with it. We know what he meant, and he`s right. The economy -- we
would have a seven-point -- a 7 percent unemployment rate, which is not
good, but it`s a lot lower, if it weren`t for the public sector layoffs,
most of which are in red states, governors like Rick Perry and Scott
MATTHEWS: I`m with you.
WALSH: I know you`re with me, but we just have to keep saying this.
MATTHEWS: The people that talked to the president before the press
conference, they did him a disservice.
They talked him into being an insider wonk, instead of an American
leader. It reminded me of Bob Dole, the ultimate wonk, years ago on the
right where, where he would say things like, well, that bill is in mark-up.
You got have to stop talking in Washington talk. It`s just -- it didn`t
work today. The private sector is not doing great. We have a less than 2
percent growth rate this year, lower than anybody could have imagined.
This economy is slowly slinking along at the lowest, slowest level.
It is not doing fine, doing fine.
HENRY: All the talk about Europe was the...
MATTHEWS: I`m not part of the cheering section. I`m here to analyze.
And this time, he made a mistake.
Anyway, Nia-Malika, thank you, and, Joan Walsh, thank you so much for
coming on. Have a nice weekend, both of you.
Up next, Rick Perry, remember him? Well, he gets booed by Texas
Republicans today and he didn`t even recognize the booing sound. He
thought it was something else.
MATTHEWS: That`s next in the "Sideshow."
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON")
JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON": Mitt Romney`s
nonstop Secret Service protection is apparently bothering the people who
live near his beach house.
FALLON: Romney had a lot of questions about the complaints, such as,
which beach house?
FALLON: Oh, that one? They`re always complaining that one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: We`re back with HARDBALL and the "Sideshow."
First, Rick -- Rick Perry may have walked into the Texas GOP
convention yesterday thinking he had the home state advantage with the
crowd of delegates. But watch what happened when he starting talking up
his lieutenant governor, David Dewhurst, the Tea Party-opposed candidate
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: We need more strong conservatives in
Texas, and we need more conservative Texans in Washington, D.C., including
my friend David Dewhurst.
PERRY: Texas works.
PERRY: Our job growth proved...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, you heard that booing at Dewhurst all through that.
Then Perry actually thought the crowd was with him, until a local
reporter asked him about the booing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Governor, what about the booing?
PERRY: I thought they were -- they were saying "Dew."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: He thought -- well, he said he thought they were talking
about Dew, as in Dewhurst, not boo, another case of, I think, of, well,
ignorance is bless.
Next, Ron Paul`s campaign released a memo this week conceding that the
candidate would not win the Republican nomination. Did we really need a
memo to say that? Well, still, it seems to have cleared the path for a big
announcement coming up from the candidate`s son, Kentucky Senator Rand
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: My first choice had always been my
father. I campaigned for him when I was 11 years old. He is still my
But now that the nominating process is over, tonight, I`m happy to
announce that I`m going to be supporting Governor Romney. Governor Romney
and I have actually quite a few similarities. Governor Romney`s dad ran
for president and was unsuccessful. Governor Romney then went on to
support the nominee, the same way his dad did. I think we have a lot of
same family values.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, there is a difference. George Romney, Mitt`s father,
dropped out when he saw he had to. Ron Paul says he`s still in. Being a
libertarian means saying -- never having to say, I quit.
Finally, a wild ad for the Wild West. Plenty of Republican candidates
say they`re going to swoop into Washington and rip laws apart like
Obamacare to shreds. But get a load of this new ad from Ron Gould. He`s a
congressional candidate out in Arizona. He`s a Republican, of course.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RON GOULD (R), ARIZONA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Washington doesn`t
get us. We want our borders protected. If they won`t do it, we will.
We want government out of our lives and out of our pocketbook.
Government-run health care, we don`t want it, we don`t need it, we can`t
This is what I would do to that law.
GOULD: I`m Ron Gould, and I approve this message, because Washington
needs a straight-shooter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Nevada`s Sharron Angle, of course, would call that a
Second Amendment remedy.
Up next: Why don`t we hear more from the Obama administration about
their legitimate successes? Why don`t they brag once in a while? Why
isn`t the president out there selling what he`s done, what has worked, and
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
BRIAN SHACTMAN, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Brian Shactman with your CNBC
The Dow rises 93 points, helping it cap its best weekly gain of the
year. The S&P gains 10, the Nasdaq rising 27. Facebook catching a break,
rallying 3 percent to finish at $27 a share. Of course, it priced at $38.
However, McDonald`s shares slumping today. The fast-food giant`s May same-
store sales disappointed due to slowing sales abroad. And Kraft Foods says
it will switch his listing from the Big Board of the NYSE to the Nasdaq in
a bid to save money.
That`s it from CNBC, first in worldwide -- now back to the pride of
Holy Cross and Worcester, Massachusetts, Chris Matthews and HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
In politics, it`s not enough to do great things. You have got to be a
salesman. You have got to sell it. President Obama has had big successes.
The stimulus created jobs. Health care reform will help get the debt under
control ultimately and the auto bailout bill certainly saved an industry.
Why isn`t Obama, why isn`t his team shouting this from the rooftops? Why
have they let Republicans attack them without fighting back?
I would say now is the time to start selling and fighting back. Obama
has got to sell it.
Joining me now is U.S. Congressman Jim Moran, Democrat of Virginia.
Ron Reagan is an MSNBC political analyst and author of a great book, "My
Father at 100."
I want to start with Congressman Moran, because we just had an
interesting example of that. I asked, why isn`t the president pushing for
a larger jobs bill right now? And Nia-Malika Henderson, a straight
reporter and a smart one for "The Washington Post," says because if he
does, then he will be attacked for the stimulus bill.
If he`s not proud of the stimulus bill, he`s got a problem. He ought
to be proud of the stimulus bill. He ought to be proud of the auto rescue.
He ought to be proud of health care. Those are history-making events which
have made this country better, and if he doesn`t think so, who would? I
don`t get it.
How can you hide from what you have done that is the best stuff you
have done? Your thoughts.
REP. JIM MORAN (D), VIRGINIA: Well, I couldn`t agree more with you.
And it was nice to see that introduction, the pride of Holy Cross in
Worcester, Massachusetts, Chris.
MORAN: But you`re so absolutely right. He rescued this economy.
This economy was going off the cliff, and it was only because of the
stimulus bill -- which, if he had his druthers, it would have been
stronger. The fact that a third of the stimulus went into tax cuts that
people can`t even remember was unfortunate. It was a compromise that he
MORAN: But he rescued this economy. He needs to take credit for it,
not shy away from it, because, as you know, in politics, perception can
have its own reality. And if the Republicans are successful in common
perception that the stimulus bill failed, that it was a waste of money, he
will suffer, and the facts don`t show that.
The facts show just the opposite. He saved this economy. The Dow
Jones is at twice what it was. In the last in the last month of the Bush
administration, we were losing 776,000 jobs in one month alone. We see now
the GDP was dropping by 9 percent.
The fact is that, had we not had that stimulus, we would be in a ditch
that we could not possibly have recovered from. He ought to be proud of
that. And, in fact, he`s got so many accomplishments that he ought to be
But, Chris, I think, to some extent, he suffers a little bit from what
George Bush the 41st president, George H.W. Bush. He was a decent,
moderate man. He didn`t like bragging about himself, and he suffered as a
result of it.
The -- his son...
MORAN: ... you know, disavowed all of his policies, which he should
not have and we`re paying a price for that.
But -- while President Obama is a great orator, at heart, he`s an
academic. He doesn`t like bragging about himself, but we have to do that
because the facts are on our side.
MATTHEWS: I know. Well, let`s take a look at the stimulus. First
of all, there`s proof now the nine partisan Congressional Budget Office
says the stimulus created jobs, increased the GDP and lowered unemployment.
All the records are out there.
Ron Reagan, let`s talk about you, sir. You were a skilled
representative of the Reagan family. In this regard, in this regard, not
ideology, in the regard that your dad was a great communicator for a
reason, not necessarily pro or con his ideology, everybody knew where he
I always love to be able to say to people, every cab driver in the
country or every person knew your dad was against the communists, he wanted
to bring down the Soviet Union, he wanted lower taxes, he wanted less
government at home, he wanted a stronger military. Everybody knew that
because he said it over and over and over again, before, during and after
he passed the bills.
This guy --
RON REAGAN, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, people --
MATTHEWS: -- is too intellectual maybe. I don`t know if President
Obama, if he thinks we got it when we didn`t get it.
REAGAN: Yes, my father realized before a piece of legislation was
going to move on to Congress, you had to pre-sell it, if you will, and you
repeated the same simple message over and over again, even though people in
the press would be saying, oh, you know, there he goes again, he keeps
saying this, you know? But yes, you do --
MATTHEWS: He keeps saying, there you go again, too.
REAGAN: And then you propose it and you keep selling it. And then
once it passes or it`s making its way through, you continue to sell to
them. Even after legislation has passed, you continue to sell the
legislation, you continue to sell what you`re trying to do. And you do it
in simple straightforward term.
But you do it -- and this is where my father was really good, you do
it in terms of a narrative. You`re telling a story. If you take the
stimulus, for instance, with President Obama, everything the congressman
said is correct. Yes, it saved the economy, it was an important thing to
do, we had to do it.
However, that`s not the end of the narrative. The problem for
President Obama with the stimulus in particular is it wasn`t enough. The
economy isn`t recovering the way we want it to.
Now, the reason for that is he couldn`t politically get a bigger
stimulus through. He wanted to --
REAGAN: -- but the Republicans wouldn`t allow it and that`s the part
of the story he has to -- he has to also stress. Not just the success, but
what they`re doing.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about the second pillar of what he`s done.
Health care reform. Obama has got to sell that, too. Look, we had five
presidents who tried to pass it. I mean, I go back to FDR, at least as far
as him. I think Teddy Roosevelt talked about it.
It`s covered 32 million people that are uninsured. It`s going to do
all kinds of good things for people with young adult children. It`s going
to have them covered under your policy. It`s going to allow people to get
coverage even with that preexisting conditions.
And he also, let`s throw this in, he saved the American auto
I don`t know why he`s not proud of the kind of approach he`s taking
which is aggressive, positive, liberal government.
Congressman Moran, again, if he`s going to have a second term, he`s
got to sell that he`s going to do more of what he`s done before. It
doesn`t seem like you`d want to be squeamish about saying what he`s done
MORAN: General Motors is number one, 9 million jobs created. And
the idea of Mitt Romney would say that he wouldn`t have bailed out General
Motors, he would have let the auto industry collapsed. Mitt Romney`s
father must have been rolling over in his grave.
But the president has to take credit for that. He`d get it. He
saved our auto industry.
And likewise with health care. It`s unsustainable. You can`t go
along the way you`re going. You`ve got to reimburse for the quality of the
care provided, not the quantity of the services.
And so, he`s changed it. In fact, we`re going to save about $800
billion over the next decade if we do this right. But it`s not implemented
until 2014. He has to stay the course. He should be proud of what he did,
you`re absolutely right.
MORAN: But if he backs off, the Republicans are going to seize that
void and they`re going to try to convince the American people things that
simply aren`t true and then he`s going to be on the defensive.
MATTHEWS: U.S. Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia, I`ve known him for
50 years, a great guy. We went to Holy Cross together, as was mentioned in
earlier segment. Thank you for that encomium.
Up next, reunions tomorrow, 45th reunion tomorrow. I can`t believe
Up next, Mark Shriver, the son of Sargent Shriver, and nephew of
President Kennedy, will be with us. He`s got a big book out about his dad,
a great man. It turns out we`re getting it firsthand -- a good man.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Well, the U.S. Supreme Court is falling out of favor with
the American public. A new "New York Times"/CBS poll finds that just 44
percent of Americans say they approve of the job the high court is doing.
The court`s falling approval rating reflects a growing distrust of
governmental institutions, of course.
But it also says people think the court has become more political,
don`t you think? In fact, 3/4 of those polled said the Supreme Court
justices sometimes base their decisions on their personal or political
views. Hot flash.
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I have never met a man in my
life who was happier in the moment than Sargent Shriver was, and who made
more of it, and who thought less about how he could rewrite the past or
rejiggle the future to inflate himself above others. He really was as good
as his family just told you, and maybe even a little better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That was former President Bill Clinton at the funeral of
Sargent Shriver. I happened to be there. That was quite a day there on
January of 2011 last year.
Well, Sarge Shriver is best known as the first director of Peace
Corps, one of the finest American missions ever, one that I was proud to be
His son Mark sits in front of me right now. He`s the author of the
new book, "A Good Man: Rediscovering my Father, Sargent Shriver." Mark is
the senior vice president of the U.S. programs for Save the Children.
You know what`s great about your book, and I was not surprised that
it was true, you know, you hear a lot about great men and great women, but
at home they aren`t.
MARK SHRIVER, AUTHOR, "A GOOD MAN": That`s absolutely. And he was.
He was consistent. He was the same guy on the stump, or testifying in
front of Congress as he was dealing with the waitress at his favorite
restaurant or the guy at the gas station. He was good. He was a good man.
He was good, happily married for 56 years. He raised five kids, all
of whom love him. He had a daily intense relationship with God, and he had
MATTHEWS: You know, we have a lot of people in the world today --
and you are Catholic. You know what I`m talking about. They use the
religion as a means of sort of energizing their warfare.
MATTHEWS: You know, here are a lot of people out there killing each
other in the world, the Islamic and terrorists, of course. But you also
have the far religious right in this country whose hatred is so venomous.
MATTHEWS: You wonder why it has anything to do with Christianity.
So, in your dad`s case, he took his religion and put it on the road
with the Peace Corps, in the war on poverty, good things. That weren`t
SHRIVER: You know, I learned from this book, Chris, so many people,
after he died, after President Clinton eulogized him that he was a good
man, and I really struggled with figuring out what that meant as compared
to a great man.
MATTHEWS: Who`s this guy? Let me show you this. No, I think
somebody has to hold this up in the air. And I`m holding up. Who`s this
little kid here?
SHRIVER: It`s supposedly a cute baby, and it`s supposedly me
although my brothers all claim it`s them.
MATTHEWS: But it`s your book.
SHRIVER: It is my book.
MATTHEWS: So you`ve known him a long time. Go ahead. I`m sorry.
SHRIVER: No, I was just saying. You know, to really dig in and find
in -- I found a speech that he gave in 1966 in which he called upon Jews
and Protestants and Catholics to do our father`s work, and I was stunned.
I`m like, how does this guy call upon all religions to be inclusive. And
it was the process of figuring out what made my dad a good man, and the
book was really about.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s talk about HARDBALL. He was vice presidential
of the Democratic Party in 1962, a year probably was the sacrificial lamb,
because nobody --
SHRIVER: He was the seventh pick.
MATTHEWS: The seventh pick.
OK, what was that like when he ran with McGovern against Nixon after
Watergate had been exposed but it didn`t have any fire power yet?
SHRIVER: I just remember a ton of Secret Service agents descending
upon the house. It was a short-lived campaign. After the campaign, he
bought a small boat and called it the Lucky Seven, which a lot of people
thought was pretty ironic because he was McGovern`s seventh pick. And it
was a disaster.
But he always claimed we were the lucky seven, the five of us and my
mom and dad. And I think that`s what really defined the guy. He saw great
joy in the fact he got to run for vice president of the United States, but
also had a wonderful family that supported him.
MATTHEWS: You know, he wasn`t the most political guy in your family.
Obviously, Bobby Kennedy was the most political, Jack Kennedy, the old man.
SHRIVER: You wrote a book on Jack Kennedy.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I know. I`m proud of that book.
But what`s interesting is Sarge Shriver was probably the least
political guy in the sense of hardball, I can imagine. Yet, f it weren`t
for him and Louis Martin and Harris Wofford, the three of the, bringing
President Kennedy, the candidate, into the arms of working with Martin
Luther King and calling up Mrs. King, it changed history in terms of
African-Americans in this country. I get chills thinking about how that
one phone call --
MATTHEWS: -- brought the African-American community right in with
the Kennedy people.
SHRIVER: And dad knew Martin Luther King from his work in Chicago
and the racial council and his work as president of the --
MATTHEWS: He knew Louis Martin, too, ands all of them.
SHRIVER: Yes, absolutely. And he worked to desegregate the Catholic
schools and the Catholic hospitals in Chicago in the `40s and `50s. So
this call shortly after Martin Luther King was arrested in 1960 and a lot
of people feared for his life, dad and Louis Martin and Harris Wofford came
up with this idea to get Senator Kennedy to make the phone call to express
MATTHEWS: And Bobby got on the phone and worked with the governor
and got him released from jail.
SHRIVER: He did, shortly thereafter. Yes.
MATTHEWS: He finally agreed -- he was the tough guy, but he agreed
finally your dad was right.
SHRIVER: Some people say it was a great political move, I really
think it was dad`s effort to try to alleviate some of the racial tension in
this country. That`s what I learned in this book. It was -- this was a
consistent part of his life. He did it in the `40s, `50s, `60s, and 70s.
He was about helping people that are poor, people who didn`t have a
voice, whether it was Special Olympics or any of the other efforts he
worked on throughout his life. Trying to figure that out so I could be a
good husband, good friend, good father, that was the story.
MATTHEWS: He went to Holy Cross, too, which was good.
MATTHEWS: Look, I think the people should buy, especially for the
200,000 people in this country who are in the Peace Corps. I think they`re
all going to go out and buy it. In fact, I`m asking them to do it. Go out
and buy it if you`re in the Peace Corps because you ought to know more
about this guy we thought was a great man. Now, you`re going to find he`s a
The book is called, "A Good Man: Rediscovering My Father, Sargent
We all thought he was our father.
SHRIVER: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: We`ll be right back to about him.
Anyway, you`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with something good. It`s Friday.
It`s a beautiful spring day here in Washington, and we just had Sargent
Shriver`s son on to talk about his wonderful father.
Well, here`s the blurb I offered to have print on the back of his
book, "As founder of the Peace Corps, Sargent Shriver had the genius to
change lives, mine included, in a real way. He was father to everyone who
ever served in the Peace Corps."
Well, this is an odd thing for me to say that we see how religion can
lead to bad things around the world, terrorism, war, hatred. These things
ride together around the globe, spewing poison and horror. One kills
another in the name of his religion, and others treat the killer as a
martyr because on the account that he was in the act of killing others, all
in the name of religious faith.
Sargent Shriver was a religious man who dedicated his life to
actively promote religious values, but he thought people should help each
other. Do unto others was his call to arms, whether it was the economic
development of a poor African country or the poor American family in a
rural area here in our own country. Like many, I had a chance to get out
of my rut and go to a country in Africa where I could work with local
business people as a trade development adviser. I got the rare opportunity
to live a totally different life for two years in rural Africa. It was a
life-changing experience for me, affecting how I looked at so many things
in the world.
And like every other Peace Corps volunteer, I like to think I did
some good work for the good people who invited us into our country. It
took a real bit of imagination to come up with the notion of the Peace
Corps. It took a great deal of faith to make it happen, to give it the
esprit that it`s got today. The key is what Sarge Shriver did, made it
centered around the Peace Corps volunteers themselves, out in the bush, in
a shack or a hut out there, not on the staff in Washington.
He did something else, five years and out, by limiting the total time
you could spend in the Peace Corps, he kept it from being a stiff old
Washington agency. May it never be that and may the ideas of thinking and
faith of Sarge Shriver never be allowed to pass.
That`s for HARDBALL. Thanks for being with us.
"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.
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