Guests: Major Garrett, Steve McMahon, Bill Pascrell, Ion Sancho, Deirdre MacNab
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Anti-democratic shenanigans.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
"Let Me Start" with this purge of the voter rolls down in Florida. I
have deep suspicions. Why is the secretary of state down there going
through the voter lists and removing people this summer before the
presidential election? Is he looking for suspected aliens, or suspected
It does smell like what that same government did back in 2000, when
Florida was declared for Bush by the U.S. Supreme Court. In that year, in
which Florida decided the election for W., some 1,200 suspected felons were
kept from voting. Well, they turned out to be legitimate voters who were
kept from voting.
Here again, were they suspected felons or suspected Democrats?
Something`s afoot in this country when a political party pulls every kind
of shenanigan to keep the young and minority from the ballot box.
Ion Sancho is the supervisor of elections in Leon County, Florida, and
Deirdre MacNab is the president of the Florida League of Women voters.
Ion, thank you so much for joining us. This -- here`s where that
thing stands down there. Here the -- right now -- last week, the
Department of Justice sent a letter to the Florida secretary of state
saying the effort to purge ineligible voters might be a violation of the
1965 Voting Rights Act. Any changes affecting voting had to be submitted
Well, yesterday, the secretary of state down there in Florida, in
Tallahassee, basically said "Drop dead" to the attorney general in
Washington. In a response letter, he wrote, quote, "The Department of
State respectfully disagrees with the Department of Justice`s position.
The actions taken by Florida to identify and remove non-citizens from its
voter rolls ensure that the right to vote of citizens is protected and is
not diluted by the votes of ineligible voters."
So where are you on that, sir, as the county supervisor of elections
ION SANCHO, LEON CTY. SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS: Well, let me tell you
that last Friday, the general counsel for our association sent us a memo
and basically said we should not be participating, and we`re not
participating, Chris. Leon County will not participate in an illegal,
systematic purge, which is barred by section 8 of the National Voter
And the Voting Rights Act issue that you mentioned is applicable, but
that`s a whole `nother legal issue here in Florida because since October,
the state of Florida has filed a lawsuit against the federal government,
striking down -- seeking to strike down the constitutionality of the Voting
So this state is really doubling down on the partisan efforts, and
this is all really since 2010 and what I call the Tea Party elections.
MATTHEWS: But why are they getting so rough down there?
SANCHO: That`s what we`re seeing her.
MATTHEWS: Ion, why are they so rough? They`ve been winning statewide
elections down there. Rick Scott`s the governor. They`re in pretty good
shape to win a lot of these. Why do they have to go in there and push this
muscle around and squeeze out Democratic voters who are eligible voters?
Why are they playing so rough? What`s going on in Florida?
SANCHO: Well, Chris...
MATTHEWS: Is it the ideology? Are they right-wingers, or what`s
SANCHO: This state is very, very ideologically driven. The Florida
house and the Florida senate has been completely controlled by the Florida
Republican Party since 1998. And we, as the supervisor of elections, saw
the entire landscape, this total relationship between our office and the
secretary of state office, dramatically changed.
The ideologues in power now don`t even bother to allow the minority
party to hold any hearings on their bills. And the partisan nature here is
so awful that the division of elections won`t even share with the
supervisor of elections how it came to this data base. Is it accurate?
It`s basically a top-down kind of autocratic process that we`ve been
ordered to follow.
And you`re right. We that have remembered he problems that were in
this state in 2000 are simply not going to go down that road again. And
quite frankly, this played a role in the Republican secretary of state,
Kurt Browning`s, recent resignation. He was not going to officiate over
this kind of a partisan activity, and he resigned rather than do that.
MATTHEWS: Yes, we went through all this, Deirdre MacNab -- thank you
for joining us -- from the League of Women Voters. I have great respect
for you, of course. Everybody does who`s reasonable about politics.
It seems to me that we went through this with "Saturday Night Live`s"
version of Katherine Harris. I mean, the whole thing down there was as
kind of a joke in Florida, the way that they handled their recount, and the
U.S. Supreme Court came in and put their thumb on the scale and gave it to
W. Down there.
Here it is, the League of Women Voters had a victory -- you had a
victory last week when a federal judge struck down part of a new law that
would force voter registration groups to pay fines for signatures not
submitted within 48 hours. The judge said, "If the goal is to discourage
voter registration drives, and thus also to make it harder for new voters
to register, this may work. Otherwise, there is little reason for such a
You know, on this show -- I don`t know if you watch it, Deirdre -- we
have made a lot of fun of this ridiculous requirement. You`re out at a
supermarket somewhere or you`re in front of a -- you`re in a shopping mall
on a Friday afternoon. You`ve got a bunch of signatures. You`ve got to
turn them in within 48 hours. Well, that means Sunday. The offices are
closed. You can`t turn them in. You`re in violation. You`re already
So we thought 48 hours was absurd. Apparently, the courts did, too.
Is there a pattern in Florida of trying to restrict or suppress voting
by suspected Democrats?
DEIRDRE MACNAB, PRES., FL LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS: Well, Chris, I
thought you had it just right in your introduction when you talked about
shades of the year 2000. It`s a little bit right now in Florida like
"Alice in Wonderland." The only thing that is missing is the Cheshire cat
and the rabbit.
We have seen -- you talked earlier about the vote purges. That is
only one part of a vast package of voter suppression laws. We`ve seen the
legislature and the governor cut early voting days in half, and that`s in
spite of the fact that people were waiting for four hours and longer last
presidential election during early voting.
We`ve seen elimination of the most popular early voting day of all
before election day, particularly for minorities. We`ve seen imposition of
-- many more people are going to need to cast provisional ballots this
year, and of course, the restrictions against groups like ours, who are
only trying to bring new eligible voters in the election process.
So we are celebrating, I will say that, right now. But we are still
MACNAB: We had a big win last week.
MATTHEWS: It`s amazing -- but this is such an interesting thing, the
target almost, you know, maliciously realized that African-Americans tend
to go to church on Sunday, which is wonderful, and they tend to vote -- or
to go register afterwards. And they noticed this had become a wonderful
ritual, registering vote on Sunday.
And all of a sudden, the Republicans in Tallahassee say, Great. We
can -- we can zap this right here in the bud because these are the people
that vote -- that register on Sunday. Let`s make sure we can`t do this
anymore. It`s so maliciously ad hoc!
MACNAB: Well, I think the laws that we`ve seen are going to impact
all Florida voters. Basically, bottom line, it`s going to make it harder
for everybody to vote, with a special emphasis on minorities, with a
special emphasis making it harder for our students and for our elderly.
We are continuing to fight these laws. We have another lawsuit in
court regarding some of the changes that the judge hasn`t spoken on yet,
but we were really pleased last week with that decision. The supervisors
of election -- and Ion Sancho is my hero -- they have held firm against
these voter purges, and the Department of Justice has been fighting back
and upholding the voting rights law that was passed by a huge bipartisan
majority just a few years ago, when it was re-upped.
MATTHEWS: Well, I -- I want Ion to responded to this. Here`s
Governor Rick Scott defending his effort to comb the vote rolls, scrub
them, if you will, for what he says are non-citizens. Let`s listen to the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: We need to have fair elections. When
you go out to vote, you want to make sure the other individuals that are
voting have a right to vote. That`s what I care about. If you`re a
candidate, you want to make sure the people that have the right to vote in
your election are the people that have a right to vote because I don`t want
to disenfranchise anybody in their voting rights. We just want fair
elections. And that`s what all of us want. This is not -- this is not a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: He says it`s not a partisan issue, Ion. Does that pass the
SANCHO: Not to me, it doesn`t, Chris. We have almost no evidence in
this state of illegal voters on our database. In fact, we spent $23
million to build what I think may be the state-of-the-art voter
registration database, as required by the Help America Vote Act. And that
database requires front end matching and picture ID matching at the other
end. And I would say that database is well over 95 percent accurate.
The governor has thrown out numbers like 180,000 non-citizens. That
is completely false. That number, I think, is simply designed to be, like,
a bloody shirt that he`s waving in front of his Tea Party supporters.
SANCHO: And that`s what this has to do with, not well-prepared
elections and elections that`ll be accessible on August the 14th, which is
what the election supervisors have to do.
MATTHEWS: You know, we`re all going to be watching your state, Ion.
We`re all watching Florida probably. You know, it looks like this election
is going to come down the wire, and it looks like the president and the
Republican candidate, Romney, are going to be very close and that Florida`s
going to be one of those states we watch.
And here we see this preparation being made by scrubbing the rolls,
making it very difficult for people to vote, cutting down the opportunities
to register, punishing -- threatening to punish people who were doing
registration, all with an idea to narrow the vote to the same upper crust
or upper class white people.
What kind of an electorate are they trying to groom down there? Do
they want a certain kind of electorate? I want to go back to Deirdre on
this. Are they grooming the electorate down there, creating the kind of
voter electorate they`d like to have decide these elections, and limit it
MACNAB: Well, if the data purges are any indication, one might
certainly come to that conclusion. The numbers, when an analysis has been
done of the numbers that -- of the list that was sent to the supervisors,
an extraordinarily and way disproportionately high number of minority
voters compared to the electorate in Florida.
The -- as I said, the laws that they passed are going to make it
harder for every Florida vote, but in particular, the laws they passed are
disproportionately going to impact minority voters, our young voters and
our elderly voters.
MATTHEWS: Yes, well, it looks like the Tea Party`s gotten so powerful
down there, Ion and Deirdre, that they`re trying to decide who gets to
Anyway, thank you very much, Ion Sancho. I`ve heard you`re great.
You are. Deirdre, I love your organization...
MACNAB: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: ... Deirdre MacNab of the League of Women Voters.
Coming up, "Dirty Angry Money." We saw that big money and what it did
out in Wisconsin this week. Do the sharks smell blood? Apparently so.
Will Republicans be able to spend their way to victory this November?
That`s the big question.
Also, Mitt Romney says it`s OK to blame President Obama for the
millions of Bush job losses in Mr. Obama`s first year, but when it comes to
Romney`s record up in Mass., well, his first year just doesn`t count!
Who`s this guy trying to kid?
And they may be allies, but Bill Clinton and President Obama are still
battling for opposing candidates in this year`s Democratic primaries, and
it`s happening all over the Northeast.
Finally, "Let Me Finish" with this "Dirty Angry Money" I mentioned
that`s begun polluting American politics.
This is HARDBALL, the place for it, politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, the battleground state to watch this year, if not
Florida, is Virginia. Obama carried it in 2008, and Romney needs to win it
to have a shot at the White House, people argue. We`ve got a new Virginia
poll, and for that we check the HARDBALL "Scoreboard."
Here it is. A new Quinnipiac poll has President Obama holding --
holding -- a 5 point lead over Mitt Romney in the Old Dominion, 47 to 42.
The race is getting tighter, however. It was 8 back in March. Now it`s
down to 5.
Now to Michigan, a state thought to be leaning to Obama, but look at
this. Romney now has a 1-point lead over the president in a new Epic-MRA
poll, Romney 46-45, troubling matter there.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Well, there it is, "Dirty Angry Money." Welcome back to
One thing we learned from Governor Scott Walker`s big win this week
was money talks, loudly. All those super-PAC sharks are now smelling blood
in the water, though, as they gear up for the November elections up and
down the ballot. Was Tuesday`s defeat for Democrats enough of a wake-up
call to rally their troops and match what will surely be a conservative
Chuck Todd`s NBC`s chief White House correspondent and political
director and Major Garrett is "National Journal`s" equally brilliant White
MATTHEWS: Thank you, gentlemen. You are the two best, and I`m glad
to have you here. Don`t get mad at me, Chuck, just because you`re my
partner and he`s just an outsider...
MATTHEWS: Michael Barrone used to be one of the -- he still is one of
the guys you can -- actually, if you can ask him any congressional
district, he will tell you the ethnic breakdown...
MAJOR GARRETT, "NATIONAL JOURNAL": I can`t do that.
MATTHEWS: He can do the history of the British kings and queens.
Anyway, let me ask you about this takeaway. I`m watching this
Tuesday, and it was a heartbreaker for people like my colleague, Ed
Schultz, and a lot of labor guys. I think there was a lot of trumpery here
about the potential of a lot of things happening and falling into place
that didn`t happen, thinking that all labor people would vote together. We
saw 37 percent of labor people -- labor families voted with the governor.
CHUCK TODD, NBC WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT/POLITICAL DIR.: By the
TODD: ... Republicans, that`s usually about the labor share...
MATTHEWS: ... Republicans. Everybody thinks all -- all labor people
TODD: They`re not.
GARRETT: And they haven`t (INAUDIBLE)
MATTHEWS: The other thing is a lot of people thought that the recall
should only be used when somebody`s a crook, basically.
MATTHEWS: Misuses their authority, and that was, like, 70 percent of
the people took (ph) that. So a lot of things got in the way of this being
a real political test, I think.
But let me ask you about this. A lot of money was thrown in there by
big people, the usual suspects, Sheldon Adelson and -- and Bob Perry (ph)
(INAUDIBLE) Texas and this other -- this other woman, Hendricks, with tons
of money. People spending roughly a half million bucks apiece.
And they win. Is the message now to the big people on the right, It
works? Start spending big money, you can knock off Obama.
TODD: Well, it`s a message in 2008, right? I mean, Obama...
GARRETT: On the other side of the equation.
TODD: On the other side. I mean, look at -- you know, you had a --
you had the biggest money campaign in the history of presidential politics
was Barack Obama. What did it mean? He carried states that Democrats
hadn`t carried in a generation -- Indiana, North Carolina. So I think...
MATTHEWS: But aren`t you surprised right now...
MATTHEWS: ... Romney this month...
MATTHEWS: ... and these numbers are...
GARRETT: It`s not the least bit surprising!
MATTHEWS: Seventy-seven million to his sixty.
Let`s take a look -- the -- and this is out of the new TV ad. Let`s
take a look at the new Obama TV ad. Here it is, trying to get back on the
jobs messaging. They`re using the money for this and they feel they have
to do this to make up for the loss in Wisconsin. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m Barack Obama and I
approved this message.
We`re still fighting our way back from the worst economic crisis since
the Great Depression. Our businesses have created almost 4.3 million new
jobs over the last 27 months, but we`re still not creating them as fast as
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president`s jobs plan would put teachers,
firefighters, police officers and construction workers get back to work
right now, and it`s paid for by asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a
little more. But Congress refuses to act. Tell Congress we can`t wait.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: So what`s the point of that ad?
TODD: ... answer the criticism that they don`t have a plan, that they
don`t have -- and I can tell you, there`s been some -- the hand wringing
that really has gone on inside the Democratic Party, it`s not about Bain
and it`s not about Bill Clinton, it`s been about answering this charge of
what`s the president running on.
MATTHEWS: Right. What`s -- what`s the next four years look like?
TODD: And so -- and this is at least a piece of it right now, which
also puts a little bit of the onus...
MATTHEWS: They expect that to work?
TODD: Well, they expect to at least get their target back, talking
MATTHEWS: It`s you guys` turn to talk, but I`ll say it in one second.
They ought to have a big construction workers job program that people can
imagine, see it out there like Lincoln did, like -- with the interstate,
the continental railroad, the transcontinental railroad, or like Eisenhower
did with the interstate highway -- something big and grand.
This, We`re going to help pay off the debts of states and localities
who can`t afford to keep their workers aboard, does not grab the
imagination of the American people.
GARRETT: For my magazine piece in "National Journal" this week, I
asked this very question of several White House officials. Why not go big,
why not go bolder, why not go something that transforms this conversation?
Even if you lose, you`ve changed the debate...
GARRETT: ... and made the president the central actor...
MATTHEWS: And the answer was?
GARRETT: And they said, look -- here`s the answer I got back: We
know more about the way American people view this economy than anyone else
running for the reelection or anyone else covering this campaign.
OK? That`s the answer I got from the White House. And they`re going
to stand pat where they are. There is a debate going on. Should we go
bolder? The consensus is, stay where we are, blame Congress, because most
Americans according to their focus groups believe Republicans run all of
MATTHEWS: Well, what about this larger question Chuck raised, which
is people don`t vote about four years ago or five years ago, whose fault it
MATTHEWS: ... future of their families.
GARRETT: It`s a risk. I think it`s a risk.
MATTHEWS: What`s their big picture for the future, though?
TODD: Well, that they don`t have.
GARRETT: Well, right.
TODD: And I`m told, acceptance speech, that they have time for that.
MATTHEWS: They`re going to do it down in Charlotte.
TODD: That that`s when he lays out the next four years.
GARRETT: Right, because their assumption is in the slumbering summer
months, even amid depressing -- or discouraging perhaps is a better word
jobs data, the American people are really going to focus in September.
Don`t blow those...
MATTHEWS: Oh, so it`s the old roll it out in September.
GARRETT: Roll it out at the convention.
MATTHEWS: I have heard that before.
GARRETT: ... strong message as a place to rally...
MATTHEWS: What I`m hearing is two things. They don`t want a big,
grand jobs bill. They want something small that they think will meet the
current message needs.
But that ad didn`t do it.
TODD: But, Chris, think about it.
GARRETT: That`s for people to decide who watch the ad.
TODD: But, Chris, look, there`s two sets of swing voters out here.
OK? One is their base that they`re trying to get, people between swing
between voting and not voting. That part, they`re working on.
But they still have this persuasion part. And right now there are
folks in the middle who think government has done too many big things. So
the idea that it would be good politics for the president right now to go
out there and let me propose a big spending program like you`re describing
at this point? I don`t think that`s good politics.
GARRETT: If we start to hector or badger Congress, we`re just getting
the president closer to Congress. This president needs to stay away from
Congress, because when he gets closer to the Congress, he gets less
popular, not more popular.
MATTHEWS: Why is that?
GARRETT: That`s their -- well, because that`s what they saw happening
in August in the debt ceiling crisis.
Let me talk about money, because it used to be you would think that
the incumbent, the president of the United States, would be able to raise
more money. What are you seeing happening now?
TODD: Wait a minute. Can we remember something? John Kerry out-
raised and spent George W. Bush in 2004. People forget. This happened --
we just had this happen eight years ago.
And, by the way, he didn`t outspend him enough.
GARRETT: There`s two pots of money. Let`s get the structural thing
down on this pot of the money to the RNC and to the Romney campaign. It`s
a joint victory fund, OK?
For the first time, for the last two months, they have been able to
raise this money jointly, which is $74,000 max -- if you max out, OK?
Remember, there`s $134 million of money donated to people not named Mitt
Romney in the Republican primaries. Those people are all eligible now to
jump into this huge pot of $70,000 or more, and they`re jumping in.
MATTHEWS: Where`s the $70,000 limit come from?
GARRETT: Well, that`s the combined what you can give for Romney, what
you can give to the national party and the state parties. It`s a whole big
pot of money.
MATTHEWS: But you can give unlimited money to the super PACs.
GARRETT: That`s a separate part of...
GARRETT: I`m just to explain what is structurally happening within
the RNC and Romney. And the DNC and the Obama campaign anticipated this.
They knew it would happen. But, remember, what`s Romney got cash on
hand? Nine million. What does the president have cash on hand? -- $115
GARRETT: The president is still advantage...
TODD: And, by the way, we would know if Romney had more money. He
would be advertising. There`s a reason he`s only up...
MATTHEWS: You guys are pros. When advertising -- when is it going to
matter? Labor Day? When does it start to matter to affecting people`s
TODD: Oh, I -- see, I think some of it is now. I actually think this
the -- I think this is an sweet spot between now and July 4. And frankly
it started May 1.
And I think that that was -- this is an important advertisement
period. And then I think there is a lull, and then I think it will matter
again in September. Then once, October comes, I think ad money...
GARRETT: I think in the swing states, there will be never be a lull.
MATTHEWS: Here`s my gut sense. It used to be if you were rich, like
you`re one of these really self-financing candidates like Rockefeller or
one of the other -- Heinz -- if it got close, right, they would just spend
all the money they had in hand.
And they would have a lot in hand. Suppose the Sheldon Adelsons and
the Koch brothers and the Bob Perrys in Texas see a close election in the
last week. Don`t they meet somewhere in Houston -- no, seriously, I`m dead
serious -- and just dump this huge amount of money...
TODD: There`s nothing to buy in the last week.
GARRETT: Chris, it`s all bought. It`s all bought.
MATTHEWS: There`s no way they buy it...
GARRETT: No. All the slots are bought.
TODD: And, by the way, another part of this whole super PAC money,
you`re going to see most of it spent before September.
TODD: ... legally has to be spent...
MATTHEWS: Real quick, am I right about the sharks smell blood in the
water, however won in Wisconsin?
GARRETT: ... ground game.
GARRETT: ... energy in the streets, and they had it in Wisconsin.
That`s what that money financed.
TODD: I do think Democrats will find a couple of super donors that
pop up in response to this.
GARRETT: But they will need energy in the streets, more than they
found in Wisconsin.
MATTHEWS: This is great. You guys are the best. I mean it. We
could do this for an hour. In fact, I could do it all night for free.
MATTHEWS: Chuck Todd, Major Garrett, you guys are the best.
MATTHEWS: Up next -- you will. You will.
Did Jeb Bush miss his chance to be president? He is a pretty smart, I
think honest, guy, and I think he`s talking turkey about this might have
been his year. Or is he afraid that Romney is going to win two terms and
there won`t be any more chances at his middle-age opportunity time?
Anyway, this is HARDBALL. We are going to talk about it in a minute,
the place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "CONAN")
CONAN O`BRIEN, HOST, "CONAN": This is crazy. Someone hacked into
Mitt Romney`s e-mail account? Did you hear this? They hacked into his e-
mail account after correctly guessing the answer to his security question.
Mitt Romney`s e-mail address is MittRomney@Hotmail.com.
O`BRIEN: Yes, the guy who is trying to so hard to prove he is in
touch is still using Hotmail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow. You think Hotmail, you think old, right? You think
dial-up Internet, am I right?
Anyway, the late-night comedians were all over that hacker who got
into Mitt Romney`s Hotmail account.
Let`s go to Dave Letterman now for some of Romney`s top 10 subject
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN")
DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": Number
eight, reminder, it`s been over a month since you have purchased a
LETTERMAN: Number six, 20 percent at beachhousecarelevators.com.
LETTERMAN: Number three, it`s Newt. Are you getting my messages?
LETTERMAN: Number two, if I vote for you, can I ride on your dancing
LETTERMAN: There`s the -- there it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow. The U.S. Secret Service has confirmed that they`re
actually investigating that hacker situation there.
Next, here`s the question. What`s the best way to kill the momentum
when in the middle of a speech on the U.S. Senate floor? Well, just ask
Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley. Yesterday, he learned the hard way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: When I apply the standard that I
mentioned and the standards which then Senator Obama laid out or the
GRASSLEY: Doggone it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, we know what his ring tone is, don`t we? Anyway,
catch the "Doggone it" there? What a Midwesterner.
Note to Senator Grassley. Next time, put your phone on silent.
Finally, Jeb Bush makes it pretty clear the GOP has moved too far to
the right for him. Here he is on "Cbs This Morning."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Have you made the decision that you do not want to be
JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I have not made that decision,
although I think this -- there is a window of opportunity in life for all
sorts of reasons, and this was probably my time. Although I don`t know,
given -- given kind of what I believe and how I believe it, I`m not sure I
would have been successful as a candidate, either.
I -- these are different times than just six years ago, when I last
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow. It`s moved too right for him.
That Republican debate when all the candidates raised their hands
saying they would refuse $10 in spending cuts for just $1 in new revenue.
Well, at a House Budget Committee hearing last week, Bush said he would
have been the odd man out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: Yes. This will prove I`m not running for anything. If you
could bring to me a majority of people to say that we`re going to have $10
of spending cuts for $1 of revenue enhancement, put me in, coach.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow. Such an honest -- actually, a smart guy. He wouldn`t
have fit in with the clown show we saw through these months. Imagine
somebody with the nerve, with the guts to stand up and just say, look,
that`s a good deal for a conservative. I should take it.
Up next: hypocrisy alert. Mitt Romney blames President Obama for the
jobs lost in his first year as president. Then the Romney campaign says,
don`t count the job losses during Romney`s first year as governor of
Massachusetts. How is that for consistency? Not very good.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
TYLER MATHISEN, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Tyler Mathisen with your CNBC
The Dow ends the session lower than it started it, but up 46
nonetheless. The S&P 500 down a fraction, and the Nasdaq lost 14. During
the final hour of trading, the Federal Reserve said it wants U.S. banks to
hold onto more cash to cover unexpected losses. Meanwhile, in remarks
before lawmakers, Fed Chairman Bernanke said the Central Bank is prepared
to take action if financial stresses escalate.
And on the economic front, weekly jobless claims fell for the first
time since April. That`s some good news.
And that`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide -- now back to
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL.
Mitt Romney`s campaign advisers have been making the rounds defending
their candidate against attacks from the White House on his record as
governor. During Romney`s term, the state ranked 47th in terms of job
creation, 47th out of 50. When you`re running from office as the jobs guy,
that`s not a great record.
But Romney`s advisers have a defense. They say it`s unfair to
consider the entire period of Romney`s term since the governor inherited a
bleak economic picture. Here`s Ed Gillespie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY": Over the four years, it was
47th. There`s no question about that.
ED GILLESPIE, FORMER REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: When --
if -- this is what they`re doing, Chris. You take the first year, which is
a low base year, when the governor came in and took office, because it was
50th in job creation, out of all states, dead last, moved to 30th by the
fourth year, had a net creation of around 40,000 jobs.
And they averaging out over the four years. So, they are bringing
down the gains of his fourth year in office which shows the real impact of
his policies and diluting it with the first year in office.
He inherited a $3 billion projected deficit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, did you catch that? Romney inherited a bad
situation, and made moderate progress, of course.
When it comes to the president, however, Romney doesn`t cut Obama any
slack at all. Here`s Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREA SAUL, MITT ROMNEY CAMPAIGN PRESS SECRETARY: President Obama
hasn`t created a net single new job. Since he started his presidency, he`s
not created any jobs, not when you look at the full picture of the economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: And Mitt Romney earlier this year? Let`s watch him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a president who lost
more jobs during his tenure than any president since Hoover. This is two
million jobs that he lost as president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, the only way to look at president`s record and
consider him a net job loser is to count the first months of his term, when
the country was hemorrhaging jobs from the Bush recession.
So let`s get it straight. Romney`s first year in office shouldn`t be
counted, but the president`s should.
Michael Steele is the former Republican National Committee chair and
as MSNBC analyst. And Steve McMahon is a Democratic strategist.
Let me start with this.
Perhaps I will start with you, Michael. You can be adversarial here.
MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: OK.
MATTHEWS: It seems to be what`s good for the goose is good for the
gander. If Romney`s people -- Ed Gillespie is a smart guy -- comes out and
says, oh, you can`t say he was 47th in job creation out of 50, because his
first year was terrible, his last three were great.
Well, Obama -- If you do the same math on Obama and you take out the
first part, he did produce about four new million jobs. If you even just
take out the first month, he created 172,000 more. So, it is a game --
it`s a legitimate criticism, and I think a legitimate defense, but why
don`t we get consistent here on the Romney side?
STEELE: Well, I think -- yes, I think it is a legitimate criticism,
and I think you`re going to -- the reality is you`re not going to discount
any year of a governor`s term or a presidential term.
MATTHEWS: Even though the first day he arrives, he`s facing an
economy created by the guy before him?
STEELE: Well, I think this is the difference and I think this is what
Ed was really pushing to.
And that is, is what policies and what steps did the president -- I
mean, then Governor Romney take coming into office with, by the way, a
hostile legislature controlled by Democrats?
STEELE: He was able to muster together to turn it around from 50th in
job creation to 47th.
STEVE MCMAHON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: From 50th to 47th.
STEELE: But that`s -- he inherited -- it was at 50.
STEELE: I`m just saying, if you`re taking that number, Ed`s point is
right. The last couple of years, the number in jobs were much greater.
But the second and final point -- and then I will turn it to you --
the second point is, when you look at what Obama has done coming in with
his first two years with a supermajority in the House and the Senate...
MATTHEWS: With the worst economic crash since the Great Depression.
MATTHEWS: Not a bad year.
STEELE: ... created an anemic economy at best, and 23 million
Americans are still unemployed.
STEELE: I know you don`t like...
STEELE: ... but those are the facts.
MATTHEWS: You can be dramatic.
STEELE: I`m not being dramatic.
MATTHEWS: ... still as big as it was when you`re weren`t dramatic.
Look, if you buy a house and the lawn has not been cut, is that your
fault when you walk in the door? The lawn`s not been cut.
STEELE: What does cutting the lawn have to do with what to do
MCMAHON: It`s a metaphor.
MATTHEWS: It`s a metaphor.
MATTHEWS: It`s a simple way of saying don`t blame a guy for what he
STEELE: Yes. But if you go out and you buy a lawn mower with dull
blades, then you`re not cutting the grass, are you?
MCMAHON: OK. So here`s...
STEELE: You`re not cutting the grass, are you?
MCMAHON: Here are a couple of steps.
MATTHEWS: I have started something, and I don`t want to finish.
MCMAHON: Here are a couple of facts that I think are a little bit
more difficult to argue about. So when Mitt Romney became governor, the
unemployment rate in Massachusetts was actually lower than the national
average. And when he left office, after creating 40,000 jobs, he says, the
unemployment rate was actually higher than the national average.
So Mitt Romney actually had four years to actually try to do what was
happening in the country, and he couldn`t do it. He created 40,000 jobs.
Manufacturing jobs in Massachusetts disappeared at a rate at twice the
national average since he was governor.
MATTHEWS: Let`s go to the educational part of the show.
MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at the president`s record on jobs
because this is important. Not Romney`s perhaps.
You see in the blue there at the beginning of his term, there it is -
- job losses were at their worst. See that in the beginning there? Under
Ed Gillespie`s logic, take a look at what the jobs look like. If you don`t
count that first year, look at it, as "New York Times" (INAUDIBLE),
overall, since his first day in office, the country lost just about half a
million jobs. But if you discount his first month, February under Obama,
the country has actually netted nearly 200,000 jobs.
And if you don`t count his first year, as Romney would like to do in
his cases, it`s gained 3.7 million jobs. So, Obama has done very good
except for the first year.
You said that`s when his lawnmower blades weren`t sharp enough. But
the fact is, he inherited one hell of a mess.
STEELE: He did. I mean, no one discounts that fact that he did.
But the question is, what do you do with it?
MATTHEWS: It`s pretty good chart, wasn`t it? You like that chart?
STEELE: It`s a nice chart. But let`s talk about those jobs. Those
jobs were largely in the first two and a half years, government-related,
weren`t private sector jobs.
MATTHEWS: We have that chart, too, that shows that the jobs that
were created were private sector jobs.
MCMAHON: There`s chart for everything, my friend.
STEELE: All of those are private sector jobs. So how do you explain
23 million people still looking for work?
MCMAHON: Well, it`s an economy that was inherited --
STEELE: OK, that discounts those 22 million.
MCMAHON: So, Mitt Romney wants to cherry-pick dates. So, let`s
cherry-pick some dates. In past 27 months, there`s been job creation every
single month, 4.3 million new jobs have been created in the past 27 months.
STEELE: How many last month?
MCMAHON: When Mitt Romney --
STEELE: How many last month?
MATTHEWS: We`ve got some good numbers coming next month.
MCMAHON: There are some months --
MATTHEWS: Sixty-nine thousand.
STEELE: Sixty-nine thousand, maybe 250,000.
MCMAHON: Michael, can I say one thing? One and half times, what
Mitt Romney did in four years was last month.
STEELE: You`re talking about a country versus a state for goodness`
sake. You talk about apple and organs. I know you know math.
MCMAHON: That`s twice the national average.
MATTHEWS: I love how you come on this show, Michael, my pal. You
come on and defend your Republican Congress for saying no to everything
this guy wants them to do.
Then when they get nothing done because they say no to every little
thing, this little spam, like little can of spam he asked for, and they say
no to that, they won`t get this little jobs bill to help states not to fire
more firemen and teachers, you say not to that every single day, and then
you come on and say how come no new jobs? Because your party in the
Congress gets its rocks off week after week saying no to this guy.
STEELE: Well, that`s an image I don`t really want to have to deal
with right now.
MATTHEWS: So, (INAUDIBLE) you go on here.
STEELE: No, but the reality is, you want to throw the spam out
there, but you`re not worried about how much the spam costs. You`re not
worried about how folks are going to digest that.
MATTHEWS: Well, you just can`t complain about no jobs if the guy
says, I got get a jobs bill week after week and you say no. Talk about
MCMAHON: Jobs economists have estimated --
MATTHEWS: We got out of the Great Depression, World War II --
STEELE: What did health care have to do with jobs in the first year
when all those jobs you were talking about that were hemorrhaging under
George Bush weren`t being created by the administration?
MATTHEWS: Because the belief the president had which I think is
sound, is until we got health care under control --
STEELE: Oh, please.
MATTHEWS: -- we would hemorrhage the federal budget until kingdom
MATTHEWS: Anyway, Steve McMahon and Michael Steele who complains
when he has no problems.
Up next, Bill Clinton`s candidate beat Barack Obama`s candidate in
that member versus member fight up in New Jersey this week.
This is interesting stuff. I know it`s the sidebar. But Bill
Clinton is picking candidates, and Obama gets the other one. Inevitably,
it seems, Bill Clinton wins the fight in these intramurals.
It`s interesting to watch. It may tell us something about 2012 and
certainly something about 2016.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, here`s the head scratcher. The new Gallup poll
found that less than half of all Americans saw last Friday`s jobs report as
negative. Only 42 said it was negative, about the same number 40 percent
said it was mixed. And another 9 actually said it was positive, as we
Friday`s report shows that the economy only created 69,000 new jobs
last month and the unemployment rate actually ticked up from 8.l to 8.2.
Well, some people thought that was pretty good.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
He may be an A-list surrogate for the president, but Bill Clinton and
President Obama are refighting, in many ways, the 2008 campaign. Twice
this year, Bill Clinton has supported candidates who come out for Hillary
in 2008 against challengers who support Obama. In both times, Clinton`s
guy won, most recently with Congressman Bill Pascrell of New Jersey, who
clings his party`s nomination on Tuesday.
Congressman Pascrell joins us right now.
You know, I`m watching this, Congressman -- by the way,
REP. BILL PASCRELL (D), NEW JERSEY: Thank you. Thank you.
MATTHEWS: These intramural fights, I used to root for Jack Murtha is
these fights against Bailey, they`re the toughest fights you have.
It`s so fascinating to watch that Caroline Cain (ph) and, let`s see,
Critz in Pennsylvania, and all across Pennsylvania --
MATTHEWS: -- wherever Bill Clinton came from, his guy or woman won.
And here is again in New Jersey.
Is his power across the country or just in the Northeast?
PASCRELL: I think it`s all over. He`s an energizing gorilla.
PASCRELL: He was excellent last Friday in Paterson, New Jersey,
Chris. He was on his game, and we both want the president to be reelected.
He certainly helped me in my campaign. We were the underdog. We
were 14 points down two or three months ago, and we finish strong, we had
And for a district that was 60 the other way, and 40 my way, I think
we did a pretty good job.
MATTHEWS: Do you have a sense that Bill Clinton that Senator
Clinton, now Secretary of State Clinton, is going to run for president in
2016? Do you have a sense he wants that to happen?
PASCRELL: We never discussed that. We talk frequently. That`s
never come up. We couldn`t have a better candidate in 2016 if she wants to
MATTHEWS: Is he out there -- OK, let`s talk politics because you`re
a politician, I`m just an observer. But there`s a phrase called clearing
I have a sense, and this is not negative, I tell you, I admire the
president, former president, tremendously, that he`s clearing the field for
Hillary Clinton for next time. He doesn`t want to see any opponents like
Joe Biden, or Andrew Cuomo, or Martin O`Malley, or Rahm Emanuel, he doesn`t
want anybody coming out there testing the water by running against her. He
wants to be able to say to his spouse, you run, he may have to talk her
into it, because there`s not going to be any Democrat get in your way.
PASCRELL: Well, Chris, the fact of the matter is he hasn`t come out
for too many candidates in this primary regardless of how folks try to make
this the president versus the former president. The only three candidates,
my brother, Mark Critz, he didn`t go to Pennsylvania, he endorsed him. He
came to our district.
So, I don`t think so, in answering your question, I don`t believe
that`s his motivation.
MATTHEWS: But he got in the attorney general fight against Pat
PASCRELL: That he did.
MATTHEWS: So he is doing this. He`s picking his fight.
PASCRELL: Very effective, very effective.
MATTHEWS: I`ll tell you it`s very effective, it`s awesome.
PASCRELL: I think he energizes the troops. This is what he does,
the outpouring of support and adulation for president -- former President
Clinton was just great last Friday. He helped me a lot. He endorsed me a
month ago and then came in, has done robocalls for me. I`m very grateful
to the president. But this is, you know, once a primary is over, Chris,
for the most part we come together, and then the major --
MATTHEWS: I`m with you. Let`s have some fun. By the way,
congratulations again, Congressman. Let`s have some fun, Congressman.
You came on HARDBALL two years ago and you talked about reaching a
bipartisan compromise on health care, which was perfectly reasonable at the
time. I think it made a lot of sense. Let`s watch because your opponent
this primary went after you on this.
PASCRELL: That`s correct.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Is there going to be some kind of a reform this year
that`s agreeable on both sides? Will they do this piecemeal and do
something on affordability on preexisting conditions to start with, that
first chunk? Is it going to happen?
PASCRELL: Yes, I believe it can happen and I believe that the
president should try again to reach out to the other side. I know what he
tried to do in the beginning. Mr. Boehner, who`s the leader of the
Republicans in the House, he chose the path of saying, no, our party is not
going to support any of this, and that really puts the pressure on anybody
on the other side who wants to think there`s some good idea -- Republicans
had great ideas.
PASCRELL: We had bipartisan meetings, and I liked some of their
ideas and they liked some of our ideas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, now, let`s watch how your opponent, your defeated
opponent now tried to use it against you. Here`s Congressman Steve Rothman
using that interview in one of his attack ads.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. STEVE ROTHMAN (D), NEW JERSEY: I`m Steve Rothman, and I approve
NARRATOR: Who wants more tax cuts for the rich? Mitt Romney, Chris
Christie, Newt Gingrich and Bill Pascrell.
PASCRELL: The Republicans had great ideas, I liked some of their
NARRATOR: Especially if you`re wealthy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Boy, what a cheap shot, what a distortion. They had you
hanging around with rich people and all you were saying is, let`s try to
find a compromise on health care to get something done.
PASCRELL: Well, certainly, that`s not my record, my record is what
other people decided to be, of course. But third parties have said, this
was not only on disingenuous, it was deceitful. Because we were talking
about health care.
PASCRELL: If we couldn`t get the whole bill passed, let`s put it up.
Let them both again doing away with preconditions. Let them vote against
people getting a break on prescription drugs. I wanted to put them to the
The same way, Chris, I asked for, if you remember in 2010 --
MATTHEWS: Got to go.
PASCRELL: -- a vote on the Ryan budget. I said put it up, let`s see
who votes for cutting Medicare.
MATTHEW: You won. You won. And HARDBALL won.
Thank you, Bill Pascrell of New Jersey, U.S. congressman.
PASCRELL: Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: When we return, let me finish with a bad precedent set
this weekend, out in Wisconsin, with all that money out there -- dirty,
angry money that can make a difference, unfortunately.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this dirty, angry money that`s
begun polluting American politics. Does it matter, does it bother you that
a farm full of the very rich can pour into money an election and get what
they want? Does it tick you off in your little vote is like a sand flick
compared to these millions these customers can spring when or where they
That`s what happened this week in Wisconsin and has become a gleaming
model for what these people are now planning for November, unfortunately.
Seven to one -- that`s how much Scott Walker, the Republican governor,
outspent his Democratic critics, seven to one, $30 million to less than $4
And look at the donors, Bob Perry of Texas, the home builder,
$490,000 he dropped. Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate, Diane Hendricks,
another wealthy donor, each more than half a million, just regular people
trying to do their bit, right? Regular people who hate the president and
can`t wait of any chance to throw some money behind any attack ad they
Well, thanks to the right-leaning Supreme Court and its Citizen
United ruling, they can spend all they want. And now they know they can
get results. This election in Wisconsin, this week, whatever you think,
could have a huge impact in November. It`s going to teach all that dirty,
angry money, all those people who love influencing America and American
politics, all the while keeping themselves shy of the search light that
they can get away with it.
Wisconsin was a bad precedent, a bad example. It will encourage the
wrong people to get involved in this election so they can spend any amount
of money to defend their interest. Not a good message there.
And that`s for HARDBALL. Thanks for being with us.
"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.
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