Guests: William Cohen, Jon Meacham, Pat Toomey, Andrew Greeley
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Al Jazeera TV plays video of a U.S. soldier held hostage in Iraq.
Plus, Bob Woodward‘s book “Plan of Attack” cites Secretary of State Colin Powell accusing the Bush hawks of establishing—get this—a Gestapo office in this administration.
And a Republican civil war in the heart of the battleground state of Pennsylvania. That, too, coming up.
Let‘s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I‘m Chris Matthews.
Al Jazeera TV aired a videotape today of a U.S. soldier being held hostage in Iraq. The soldier is identified as Private First Class Keith Maupin of Ohio. He had been listed as missing after his convoy was attacked on April 9 outside Baghdad.
One of the gunmen in the video said they were treating him according to Islam, and keeping him in exchange for some prisoners being held by what are called by these folks occupation forces.
William Cohen served as defense secretary during the Clinton administration.
Mr. Secretary, first thing is the human interest of this guy. Are soldiers prepared for this horror of being picked up and used as hostages?
WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: Well, that‘s part of the basic training. When they‘re sent off to a war environment, they have to anticipate that they might be taken captive, and usually have some basic training in what they can say and do and how to conduct themselves.
I‘ve looked at the pictures of this young man. He looks fairly calm under the circumstances, being surrounded in violation of every notion that we consider to be in accordance with the Geneva accords, a violation. He looks remarkably calm, although I‘m sure that those are butterflies are really fluttering inside.
MATTHEWS: Any normal person must feel for this guy and respect him.
COHEN: Your heart has to go out to him, being surrounded like this and with the kind of folks who are saying it‘s under Islamic law and not under established rules of engagement.
MATTHEWS: Well, they‘re real bastards to be doing this. This isn‘t exactly the way you fight a war.
Let me ask you about how we have to fight now.
Are our troops now more suspect and more careful about not going outside the Green Zone, staying in their units? I mean, these guys can get picked off in convoys. They must certainly get picked off on the street.
COHEN: Well, the thing they don‘t want to do is be so defensive that they‘re simply not able to carry out their mission.
And so they have to be cautious wherever they go. They know that there are explosive devices, improvised explosive devices that are lying virtually everywhere that they‘re traveling, and they‘re also subject to guerrilla-type tactics. So they have been careful.
But they can‘t simply hunker down behind the green line and the be expected to be carrying out their mission. And so it‘s a tough job, but it‘s one that they have to carry out.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about this whole political aspect of this war. We have something like 40 hostages taken from all the countries involved in the coalition now.
How does that work on the countries—the coalition itself? Is it going to come apart? Poland or Italy start to pull out? I mean, what happens to those? I mean, you‘ve been elected to office so many times, but how can a government stay in office if it‘s threatened so brilliantly, you must say nastily by the enemy?
COHEN: Because it‘s required upon the leaders to go to their respective constituencies and say we cannot be subject to blackmail. If we yield to this kind of threat, then we really will—the price will go up down the line.
And so if we‘re in this with the United States and the coalition forces, we‘re in for the tough times as well as the good times, and these are tough times. And so merely threatening us is not going to produce results. We can‘t afford to—to back down on the face of extortion, and that‘s what this is.
MATTHEWS: But we are negotiating this week—it kind of surprised me
· with the other side. Not necessarily with terrorists, so-called, but with resistance forces.
For example, in Fallujah in the Sunni area of the Sunni Triangle. We‘re talking to them about replacing what‘s going on now: this hard warfare that‘s cost them almost 1,000 lives on our side and some kind of a deal. So we do negotiate with the other side.
COHEN: We sure do carry on discussions, and that‘s what‘s important to remember here. This conflict is not going to be resolved militarily.
We have to have the support of the Iraqi people. That means that religious leaders like Ali al-Sistani coming in and saying he‘s not going to yield power to Sadr in terms of the more extreme groups. He‘s got to exert leadership here, as well.
Also, a good note coming through in terms of the United Nations recommending a new structure for a political governance on an interim basis. That will put more of an international face at least on the political side of things. It may make it easier for that international group to help negotiate a settlement here.
It‘s not going to be won militarily. It‘s going to be a combination of diplomacy with a heavy emphasis on diplomacy and then the military to back it up.
MATTHEWS: What do you make of Bob Woodward‘s book that‘s coming out this weekend. We got a leaked piece of it in the Associated Press, because he is amazing at marketing these books.
The last book was fairly pro-Bush, I thought. This one may not be because of the stuff that‘s coming out. It shows the president of the United States secretly planning a war with Iraq in the midst of the war with Afghanistan. In fact in November of 2002, pretty early on in that battle with Afghanistan.
Not telling his secretary of state, apparently, not telling his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, not telling George Tenet, the head of the CIA. Simply ordering, secretly, Rumsfeld to put together a battle plan.
What do you make of that? Does that show a little too much interest in going to war?
COHEN: Well, I think the book—we‘ll have to wait to see its full publication, but I think the book will be taken in the context of two other books that have preceded it. Not only his own, but then the book on Mr. O‘Neill, the secretary of the treasury, and then also Mr. Clarke‘s. So they‘ll be taken as a trilogy.
MATTHEWS: “The Price of Loyalty” and then also the other book...
MATTHEWS: “Against All Enemies.” And it will make—will it confirm the point made by those authors that the decision to go to war with Iraq was not sprung or resulting from 9/11. It is not resulting from information coming to the president. It came about as a result of a personal decision of the president coming into office.
COHEN: I think that there will be—that will certainly be the probability that one would conclude, as a result of these three books.
But ultimately for the president to say to the secretary of state update any war plan. The fact is, during the Clinton administration we didn‘t have a specific war plan about invading Iraq. So any plan that he wanted would have to have been updated.
Our plan was to contain him and then to have certain contingency plans available in the event we lost aircraft or he moved against his neighbors. But we didn‘t specifically have a policy for him.
MATTHEWS: How long does it take, or much manpower, person power, I should say, does it take to put together a war plan for a great power like ours to attack a country like Iraq?
How big a deal is it to whisper to the secretary of defense, “Rummy, DOD, I want you to come up with a plan so we can go to war when we have to”?
COHEN: If you want a real plan, you have many people involved. You‘ve to involve the joint staff, certainly the chairman of the joint chiefs, vice chair, usually your entire counsel over there that, as you put this plan together, you‘ve got a lot of moving parts, and so it‘s unlikely that you could keep this secret unless it‘s a very tight circle.
MATTHEWS: How many people would you estimate, Mr. Secretary, would have to know about a war plan for another country? A hundred, 200?
COHEN: I can‘t specify the number, but it‘s a large number of people.
MATTHEWS: But he told...
COHEN: If it‘s going to be a real plan. You can have—you can have an outline of what we would need to do, but in terms of putting a plan that you can execute, it takes a lot of people.
MATTHEWS: Could you keep that secret from the CIA director? It seems odd. Anyway, look, according to the “Washington Post” account of Bob Woodward‘s book, new book, it says Powell, Secretary Powell, “felt Cheney and his allies—his chief aide, Lewis ‘Scooter‘ Libby, deputy defense secretary”—this is the usual suspects—“Paul Wolfowitz and undersecretary of defense for policy Douglas Feith‘s” had what Powell called a “Gestapo” office. He talked about Doug Feith—I guess he‘s talking about the Office of Special Plans.
What do you make of that? It sounds fairly familiar to me. These are the real hawks that wanted to go to war, that wanted to find evidence of WMD in Iraq, wanted to find some connection to al Qaeda, wanted to go.
COHEN: Well, it shouldn‘t come as a shock. I think most people in
this town certainly have known that there was a great split between
Secretary Powell and the other members of the administration, the so-called
· the rise of the falcon.
MATTHEWS: But he says it‘s separate from the president, too. This war camp.
COHEN: I think what you have to do is ask Secretary Powell to come on the show and then verify that he actually said this to Mr. Woodward.
MATTHEWS: Bob is pretty good. You‘ve been interviewed by Bob. He takes copious notes.
COHEN: He‘s very good.
MATTHEWS: And gets a lot out of you.
COHEN: On something as important as this, perhaps you‘ve got to have both parties confirming it.
MATTHEWS: Here‘s a Bush-Tenet exchange. According to Woodward‘s book, President Bush was less than convinced with the intelligence, the intel on Iraq‘s WMD program after the CIA briefed him in December of 2002.
President Bush said, quote, “Nice try. I don‘t think this quite—it‘s not something that Joe Public”—I guess that‘s Joe Six-pack—
“would understand or would gain a lot of confidence from. I‘ve been told all this intelligence about having WMD and this is the best we‘ve got?”
CIA Director George Tenet then replied, “It‘s a slam dunk, Mr.
President Bush asked Tenet, “George, how confident are you?”
And Tenet reassured him. “Don‘t worry, it‘s a slam dunk case.”
So this is an odd conflict. President of the United States wants to go to war, but a year later he‘s questioning the intel that would justify going to war. How do you put those pieces together?
COHEN: Well, you don‘t put those pieces together unless you assume that a predetermination has been made that we‘re going to go and we‘ll find the rationale.
Now, Paul Wolfowitz, deputy secretary of defense, I thought was a rather candid interview with a past issue of “Vanity Fair” in which he said weapons of mass destruction was the only issue on which we could reach a consensus. Meaning that there were other views that were presented to the president that they couldn‘t agree those on as a body. This one was the only one.
MATTHEWS: The common denominator was bogus in the end. The one thing they could agree on didn‘t turn out to be true.
COHEN: Ultimately, they didn‘t have the evidence to back it up, ultimately.
MATTHEWS: Do you think that this president had been surrounded by—this is loaded. Had been surrounded by moderates like you, like Brent Scowcroft, like James A. Brady III, former cabinet members of the Bush Sr. administration, that we would have gone to war?
COHEN: I really can‘t speculate on this.
MATTHEWS: You don‘t think Cheney and Rummy took this in and sort of pushed the president and urged him in the direction that he was going?
COHEN: I can only tell you that while we were in office, we felt that we had Saddam Hussein reasonably well contained, that he was cheating, certainly, with smuggling oil, was charging and overcharging and getting a price—a kickback, but we felt from a military point of view that he was reasonably well-contained.
After September 11, obviously the president is in a different position in terms of what he—what judgment he makes. But up to that point we did not see him as an immediate threat.
MATTHEWS: Politics is not a choice between worst-case scenarios and rosy scenarios. It‘s a choice among two or three in the middle.
Are we better off today, Mr. Secretary, for being 100,000 troops in Iraq, trying to put together a government than we would be containing a bad government?
COHEN: Well, it‘s one of those questions we‘ll have to wait and see the outcome of it because we don‘t know...
MATTHEWS: You can‘t give me a preliminary judgment here?
COHEN: Well, let me give you a judgment. I think it‘s either Henry Kissinger or Richard Nixon met with Chou En-Lai, one of the first meetings, and I think it‘s the president asked him what do you think the consequences were of the French revolution, and he replied, “It‘s too soon to tell.”
And so basically we‘re going to have to wait to see whether or not we will come out of this in a way in which we actually achieve the goal of stabilizing Iraq.
Whatever the reason, the rationale for going in, we‘re there now, and we have to be successful. Now, whether we succeed in the goal of stabilizing it and hopefully trying to provide some mechanism whereby they can have self-governance without threatening their neighbors, we‘ll have to wait and see. We don‘t know now.
Right now it‘s a difficult situation we find ourselves in, and we have to be successful. That means turning to the international community. It means persuading the Iraqis their future is at stake.
It means we also have to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That is directly tied in terms of how we resolve that. Also into the Iraqi situation. I don‘t think...
MATTHEWS: Well, President Bush wasn‘t exactly going in the right direction on that one this week, was he?
Anyway, thank you, former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, long-time United States senator for the state of Maine as well as United States congressman for the state of Maine, a man with an amazing resume.
Coming up, President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair meet at the White House today and promise to stand firm on Iraq, despite the increase in violence over there.
And, later, is the Senate race for the core of the GOP, moderate senator Arlen Specter, some call him a liberal, battling conservative congressman Pat Toomey. He‘s a Pennsylvania congressman going against the big guy, Toomey versus Specter. It‘s coming.
You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Coming up, President Bush meets Tony Blair, who‘s vowing to stay the course in Iraq. “Newsweek‘s” Jon Meacham on the bond between Britain and America, when HARDBALL returns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: And you just imagine an Iraq stable and prosperous and democratic, and think of the signal that would send out. Think of the instant rebuttal of all that poisonous propaganda about America, about it all being an attack on Muslims or it being part of a war of civilization.
Iraq run by the Iraqis, the wealth of that country owned by the Iraqis, and the symbol of hope and democracy in the Middle East.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, that was British Prime Minister Tony Blair with President Bush at the Rose Garden today.
Jon Meacham is the managing editor of “Newsweek” and author of the book “Franklin and Winston.”
Well, there we saw it again, the special relationship, Jon, between an American president and the British prime minister like the good old days in World War II. But isn‘t it amazing how much the Brits are better than us at talking?
JON MEACHAM, MANAGING EDITOR, “NEWSWEEK”: It is sort of scary. I was going to say that Bush and Blair speak the same language. But they really don‘t. You know, George Bernard Shaw once said that Americans and Englishmen are separated by a common tongue, and I think that‘s true.
MATTHEWS: What‘s—we know what our president‘s moved by, probably a sense of unfinished business from his father, partially the emotions of 9/11. Partially ideology, a sense there is an evil part of the world fighting a good part. Part of it political probably.
What‘s moving Tony Blair?
MEACHAM: I think there are two things. One is, don‘t forget, Blair is an evangelical Christian in roughly the same way that Bush is. And so he sees this as a mission for democracy, not necessarily for Christianity, but for democratic values.
And the other thing that‘s very important to remember, and this does go straight back to Churchill is that Britain, as Dean Acheson said, they lost an empire, but they hadn‘t found a role. Well, they have found a role in translating American wishes and sort of the more sophisticated—to the more sophisticated Europe.
That is, we are seen as strong and unsophisticated. Europe is not particularly strong and very sophisticated.
And so as Churchill said to his last cabinet in 1955, his last words to his last cabinet was “Never be separated from the Americans.” And Blair is betting Britain‘s influence on being able to translate what we want into European terms.
And so I think you‘re going to see him as the sidecar to Bush all the way through this.
MATTHEWS: Would he have gone to war without us in Iraq? Would he have tried what the Brits did with the Suez War in 1956 going to war? Would he have done that?
MEACHAM: No. No. No. Of course not.
MATTHEWS: Why? Why of course not? Why are we the only power in the world that sees itself as having a unique world role in going after someone who we claim is an international bad guy, enemy of everyone, not just us?
MEACHAM: Well, A, they wouldn‘t be really strong enough to do it.
Remember, we have a...
MATTHEWS: They couldn‘t beat Iraq in a war. France couldn‘t beat Iraq. Israel couldn‘t beat Iraq. Spain couldn‘t beat Iraq. I‘ll bet you Brazil could beat Iraq. Why is it so hard to see other countries defeating a country like Iraq and only we can do it?
MEACHAM: Well, let‘s look at this. Bush has 130,000 troops. A hundred and thirty thousand of our folks are over there risking their lives. There are 12,000 Brits, and then it falls way off from there. So the British...
MATTHEWS: But that‘s a choice.
MEACHAM: It is a choice. It is a choice, but this was a war of choice, and...
MATTHEWS: Why didn‘t Tony Blair give us a bigger complement of troops if he was really our coalition partner at the top?
MEACHAM: Well, he‘s got a hell of a lot of problems on his side. He‘s—he is a very articulate, forceful advocate, but this is not a popular war in Britain or in Europe. It‘s not a wildly popular war here.
So what you have—I think you have to turn the question around. Why did Bush go to war? Why did Bush take us to war?
He did it because he pretty clearly had decided very early on that this would be good for the safety of the world, and somehow or another for the security of the American people. And he worked from that premise, from that decision. He went back and built a coalition.
Usually you have the opposite. Usually you build a coalition, you have a causus belli and you go forward. We are in a complete Alice in Wonderland world diplomatically here.
MATTHEWS: Is there a pull on the British to the Mideast, a la Lawrence of Arabia or the old raj (ph), the sense that even though they had to give up eastern Suez back in the 1960‘s and they couldn‘t afford those bases anymore, do the British still naturally see the Middle East in a way we don‘t? The Persian Gulf is British influenced. Territory of British influence.
MEACHAM: There are definitely ties of blood and history there. Remember, Winston Churchill basically was in the tent when they drew Iraq, and the Balfour Declaration, which is hugely important in the founding of Israel.
So yes, the British do. They—Remember, we do share values that we have projected to the ultimate good of the world, I believe, in the Anglo Americans.
MATTHEWS: I agree. What about the darker side of this hegemony? Do you think there are people in this administration and around it who seriously consider that the solution to the Iraqi stability question is to reinforce, or reapply, the Heshamite monarchy?
MATTHEWS: I keep hearing it on this show. People keep talking—people like Jim Woolsey talk about the Heshamite monarchy, taking a crowned prince from Jordan, Hassan and installing him as a king, a Heshamite king of Iraq, as the British did and Churchill did back in the ‘20s.
MEACHAM: Yes. Well, they‘re going to—I doubt they‘re going to be able to do that, because we‘ve now—remember, this has gone from a war about weapons of mass destruction now to a war about democracy.
But it goes back to what we were just talking about, that everything is reversed. Ordinarily, you would be—you‘d have a plan and be able to move forward. Right now it‘s so chaotic that virtually anything makes sense.
And remember, that‘s why Blair was here, was to try to endorse this U.N. plan for a caretaker government, which, you know, we go to the U.N. when we want to. Talk about wars of choice.
MATTHEWS: If everybody wants to—if you‘re watching this show, HARDBALL, wants to feel better about world and the public service and leadership, buy Jon‘s book. It‘s called “Franklin and Winston.” It‘s the best book there is on public affairs.
Anyway, thank you Jon Meacham of “Newsweek.”
Up next, a primary race for the United States Senate in Pennsylvania holds high stakes for the Bush administration, and the future Republican Party. That‘s coming up.
You‘re watching HARDBALL, and it‘s going to get hot on HARDBALL tonight on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: In Pennsylvania, my home state, the Republican Party is going through something of an identity crisis right now. A Republican Senate primary race has turned into a hard-hitting feud, pitting a moderate Senate veteran against a young conservative. And the national political implications could be huge.
HARDBALL election correspondent David Shuster reports.
DAVID SHUSTER, MSNBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the battleground state of Pennsylvania they are calling the Republican Senate primary a civil war.
Four-term senator Arlen Specter, a moderate, is facing a barrage of attacks from conservative firebrand, Congressman Pat Toomey.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the 1980s, Arlen Specter votes against Ronald Reagan‘s position 65 percent of the time. Nineteen-nineties, Specter votes for the largest tax increase in history, opposes the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Today Specter is rated the worst Republican senator. He even opposes the death penalty for Saddam Hussein.
Arlen Specter, three decades of liberalism is enough.
REP. PAT TOOMEY (R-PA), SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I‘m congressman Pat Toomey, and I approve this message because Pennsylvania Republicans deserve a senator who will stand up for our principles.
SHUSTER: Toomey is pinning his hopes on a heavy conservative turnout, and he‘s getting support from the National Right to Life Federation, the anti-tax Club for Growth, former presidential candidate Steve Forbes, and Judge Robert, who Specter helped to block from the Supreme Court.
But in a general election, the White House sees Toomey as a sure-fire loser who would cost the Republicans a Senate seat and might drag down the president‘s Pennsylvania chances, as well.
So Specter, who has often clashed with Republican administrations, is getting White House help. The president will be campaigning with Specter next week, and conservative Senator Rick Santorum is featured in some television ads.
SEN. RICK SANTORUM ®, PENNSYLVANIA: Arlen is with us on the votes that matter to move our agenda forward for this president and for the country. I‘m proud to endorse Arlen Specter.
SHUSTER: Specter has been playing up the projects he‘s brought to Pennsylvania and his funding for cancer research.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A leader in providing the health and the hope we all need. How do I know? My name is Jenny Snyder, and I‘m a cancer survivor.
SHUSTER: But the primary campaign has also been a slugfest. Specter says Toomey is not the conservative he claims to be.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That‘s why every other Pennsylvania Republican voted for it, including Rick Santorum and Arlen Specter. Pat Toomey, he voted with the Democrats. Pat Toomey, he‘s not far right. He‘s far out.
SHUSTER: Specter has been portrayed as the face of big government.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He voted for eight huge tax hikes, higher income taxes, higher gas taxes, higher Social Security taxes. Arlen Specter, surprisingly liberal.
SHUSTER (on camera): And surprisingly the race is close. Polls show Specter ahead by 10 points, but that‘s down from a 25-point spread a few months ago. Furthermore, a larger number of Republicans are undecided. And so with a week and a half to go, the GOP‘s identity in Pennsylvania is still up for grabs.
I‘m David Shuster for HARDBALL in Washington.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, David Shuster.
Up next, one of the Pennsylvania primary candidates, Representative Pat Toomey, is going to be here on HARDBALL.
And later, father Andrew Greeley on whether the Democratic Party can run two Catholics on its presidential ticket. You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: This half-hour on HARDBALL, it‘s the battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party between the conservatives and moderates. Coming up, conservative Congressman Pat Toomey, who is looking to unseat Senator Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania.
But, first, the latest headlines right now.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
I don‘t care what state you live in. The most exciting race in the Republican Party this spring is on April 27 in Pennsylvania, because there‘s a senatorial primary which pits Congressman Pat Toomey, who has had three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, against four-term and U.S. Senator incumbent Arlen Specter.
We asked Congressman Toomey and Specter both to join us. Only one of them joined us. That‘s Pat Toomey.
Sir, thanks for being the one to join us tonight.
REP. PAT TOOMEY (R-PA), SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Thanks for having me.
MATTHEWS: I do a great Arlen Specter impression, but I‘ll spare you from that on the air at least.
Let me ask you this. What‘s the different between you, Pat Toomey, and a veteran, Arlen Specter, serving in the next six years representing Pennsylvania?
TOOMEY: Well, in a nutshell, Chris, the difference is I represent the Republican wing of the Republican Party, and Arlen Specter represents the Ted Kennedy wing of the Republican Party.
You know, whether we‘re talking about economic or business, social, cultural or legal issues, Arlen Specter comes down on the side of the liberals and the Democrats. And I‘m a mainstream Republican so, we just disagree on the issues. I just think it really matters now because Republicans are in control.
MATTHEWS: But don‘t you also disagree with George W. Bush and Rick Santorum, the very conservative other senator from Pennsylvania? They‘re both backing Specter. What is this, the buddy system?
MATTHEWS: How would you explain why they‘re backing Specter if he is a liberal?
Well, Chris, I know you have been in this business long enough to understand people in political office have political obligations. This White House, like every White House I have ever heard of, has a standard operating procedure of supporting all incumbent Republicans. And you can imagine, if they came out against one of the 51 Republican senators, the kind of trouble they would have getting legislation through the Senate. Rick Santorum...
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you—let me ask you some HARDBALL questions.
MATTHEWS: No. Let me go first.
MATTHEWS: Is Arlen Specter an honest man?
TOOMEY: He hasn‘t been terribly honest in this campaign, Chris. He has been pretty dishonest, in fact.
MATTHEWS: How so?
TOOMEY: Well, for instance, he has accused me of voting against pay raises for men and women in the military, which is flat-out false. I voted for a pay raise each and every year I have been in Congress. There are no exceptions. In fact, twice, he voted against a pay raise. I think he figures he has got more money, so he can define what the truth is, but that‘s not being very honest.
MATTHEWS: Why is he such a good fund-raiser? Why is he better than you?
TOOMEY: At fund-raising? When you have been in the Senate for 24 years, you‘ve got some advantages over a guy who has only been in the House for five.
We‘ve done remarkably well. We‘ve raised almost $4 million. We have got plenty of money to have a very strong message on the air all across Pennsylvania. And the fact is, we are closing this gap. We are going to win this race.
MATTHEWS: Has Arlen Specter done anything wrong in terms of his fund-raising, or is he an honest fund-raiser? Does he cut dirty deals or anything like that?
TOOMEY: I don‘t know that, Chris. I don‘t know what tactics he uses to raise the money that he raises.
He raises a lot of money from liberal organizations. Organized labor and the trial lawyers are the two biggest contributors to him. He has got money from George Soros and Harold Ickes and Jack Valenti, and Alan Dershowitz. So I think it‘s pretty clear where he raises his money from. He can raise a lot of it, but it‘s OK. It‘s not enough to overcome 24 years of voting against Republicans and voting with liberals, so we‘re doing fine.
MATTHEWS: Would you call Tom Ridge a conservative Republican, the former governor who is now head of Homeland Security? Is he a conservative like you?
TOOMEY: I suspect Tom Ridge is probably not as conservative as I am.
I think of Tom as a moderate Republican.
MATTHEWS: Like Arlen Specter?
TOOMEY: I think of Arlen—no, I think of Arlen Specter as a liberal Republican. I think Arlen Specter is way to the left of Tom Ridge. He is way to the left of most Republicans. Again, you can pretty much pick your issue area. Arlen Specter is outside the mainstream of our party. Take the first Bush tax cuts.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the Republican Party. The Republican obviously got big under Lincoln, back in 1861, when he came into office. It‘s a party that has had moderates. It‘s had conservatives. It‘s often been a balance between the Northeastern people like Bill Scranton, who was governor of Pennsylvania, a very popular guy, Schweiker in his first incarnation, Hugh Scott, moderate Republicans, people like Pataki of New York, people like Christie Todd-Whitman, people like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
What‘s wrong with having those kind of people in the Republican Party? Why does it all have to be red meat, red hot rightists? I‘m just asking a question because you make it sound like there‘s something wrong with Specter for not being a fellow conservative.
TOOMEY: No, here is what it is, Chris.
There‘s something wrong when he is never with us. There‘s something wrong when he is so far outside the mainstream on virtually every single issue. The people that you have mentioned are generally good Republicans. And occasionally they differ with conservatives, and that‘s fine. This should be a party of a big tent.
But when you want to represent a big state like Pennsylvania in the United States Senate and you want to run as a Republican, you ought to represent at least most of the Republican values, and Arlen Specter just doesn‘t, whether it‘s taxes or spending, tort reform, cloning. Across the board, this guy is way to the left, and just outside the mainstream.
MATTHEWS: Well, why is he a Republican? Why is he a Republican?
TOOMEY: Well, he used to be a Democrat. He switched his registration when he ran for DA in Philadelphia, but he never switched his ideology or his philosophy and his voting reported reflects that.
The American Conservative Union gives him a conservative rating that‘s closer to Hillary Clinton‘s than to the average Republican senator, so I think it‘s pretty clear. He is just outside the mainstream.
MATTHEWS: Well, let‘s talk about the mainstream. Would you like to repeal or have a court overrule Roe v. Wade?
TOOMEY: Yes, I would. I think that that was clearly not a legitimate decision. It was a case where five Supreme Court justices decided that...
MATTHEWS: Yes, so you would like to get rid of—yes, so you basically would like to see..
TOOMEY: They decided they were going to pass a law.
MATTHEWS: Well, do you think the Supreme Court was wrong in saying a woman has a right to an abortion in the first six months of pregnancy?
TOOMEY: Yes, I think they were wrong to say that. I think that‘s not
a legitimate decision. The Constitution is clearly silent on the issue of
abortion. States had addressed this issue, and the Supreme Court decided
it wanted to overrule the legislative bodies of all 50 states and so it
did. It issued an edict
MATTHEWS: If you go back to state‘s rights on abortion, would you support banning abortion in Pennsylvania?
TOOMEY: Yes, I would, yes.
MATTHEWS: In other words, if a woman had an abortion in Pennsylvania, what would you do to her?
TOOMEY: Well, you know, Chris
MATTHEWS: I‘m serious. What would you do to her? You said you want to ban it. You want to use the law to outlaw abortion.
TOOMEY: That‘s right.
MATTHEWS: What would you do to a woman who had an abortion? What would you do to her?
TOOMEY: Oh, I think we would first look at the doctor who is
performing the abortion and have some penalties
MATTHEWS: Why? Why don‘t you go after the woman? Why don‘t you go after the woman? In any other situation of law and justice, you go after the person who perpetrates the act. If it‘s wrong to commit...
MATTHEWS: No, really. This is what the whole issue of abortion is and where all the B.S. comes into this argument. Are you willing to say that you would put a woman in prison for having an abortion?
TOOMEY: Chris, I‘m not sure what the penalty would be. I‘m saying...
MATTHEWS: Well, say what you want it to be.
MATTHEWS: You said it should be banned. Would you please stand up for what you believe?
TOOMEY: That‘s right.
MATTHEWS: If abortion is wrong and it‘s a crime and it‘s murder, tell me what the punishment should be.
TOOMEY: And I‘m telling you that there should be legal action taken against the doctor who performs it.
TOOMEY: And we‘ve got to think through what we would do with regard to the woman.
MATTHEWS: What would you like to do?
TOOMEY: But, Chris, that doesn‘t change the fact
MATTHEWS: You are running for the United States Senate.
MATTHEWS: And you‘ve said we ought to get rid of Roe v. Wade and you said that abortion should be banned in Pennsylvania, but you won‘t tell me what the penalty should be.
TOOMEY: That‘s right, Chris.
Look, we can take things one step at a time. I think that the constitutional decision was invalid. It‘s perfectly OK to believe that these justices made up a right that doesn‘t exist in the Constitution without deciding exactly what the penalty should be under all circumstances.
MATTHEWS: You want to make up a law without a penalty. It‘s a crime without a penalty. I‘ve never heard of such a thing.
MATTHEWS: Why declare something to be...
MATTHEWS: I‘m serious. This is the problem and the confusion over abortion rights in this country.
MATTHEWS: People on the far right side won‘t say what they‘ll do.
They simply say they don‘t like the way things are now. What would you do?
TOOMEY: Well, if we overturn Roe vs. wade, one of the things we could do is leave it to states to make some decisions about this.
MATTHEWS: And what would you support Pennsylvania doing? You are running for senator from Pennsylvania. What should Pennsylvania do to women who decide to have an abortion? What would you do to them?
TOOMEY: Chris, I‘ve told you, I haven‘t figured out what I think we
should be doing with
MATTHEWS: Well, shouldn‘t you figure out a few of these things before you run for office?
MATTHEWS: Shouldn‘t you make those basic decisions?
TOOMEY: I think my voting record is pretty clear. I have got a very long voting record. I have made a lot of decisions.
And I think it‘s perfectly legitimate to say that one doesn‘t necessarily support this decision.
MATTHEWS: And what‘s Specter‘s position on abortion rights?
TOOMEY: Oh, is he a big advocate of abortion rights and taxpayer-funded abortion and all the rest, which is way outside the mainstream of the party.
MATTHEWS: OK, thank you very much, Congressman Pat Toomey. Thanks for playing HARDBALL. You may well win this one.
TOOMEY: All right.
MATTHEWS: And you are doing extremely well in the numbers. You are within eight—within six in one of the polls I showed.
Anyway, up next, I‘ll talk matters of church and state, more of this with Father Andrew Greeley.
You are watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.
ANNOUNCER: Follow all the action in the battle for the White House. Sign up for our free daily e-mail. Just log on to our Web site, HARDBALL.MSNBC.com.
MATTHEWS: Coming up, Father Andrew Greeley on religion and the battle for the presidency.
HARDBALL back in a minute.
MATTHEWS: Senator John Kerry met this week with Washington Archbishop Cardinal Theodore McCarrick to discuss church-state matters.
Father Andrew Greeley is the author of “The Priestly Sins,” a novel about another controversy in the Catholic Church.
Father Greeley, it‘s an honor to meet you.
FATHER ANDREW GREELEY, AUTHOR, “THE PRIESTLY SINS”: It‘s always nice to meet with a Holy Cross graduate.
MATTHEWS: A great thinker.
GREELEY: I feel somewhat inferior to somebody from an elite college.
MATTHEWS: OK. And a great thinker as well.
Let me ask you about this tricky question. John Kerry, the Democratic nominee, presumed nominee, is a Roman Catholic. Some priests, some bishops have been questioning whether he should receive communion because he supports the right a woman to choose an abortion. Where do you stand on that?
GREELEY: Well, I wonder when they‘re going to refuse the Eucharist to those who support the Iraqi war, which the bishops themselves have said was an unjust war.
I mean, it seems that the only people that get punished for their political stands are Democrats, never Republicans.
MATTHEWS: And speaking of which, I do believe that the Roman Catholic Church had said that capital punishment is wrong, too.
GREELEY: The pope has said that, except in extraordinary circumstances. So, by those standards, we shouldn‘t let George Bush in the Catholic Church because Texas killed so many people in their gas chamber.
MATTHEWS: Does this go back to the Jansenist heresy, that anything to do with sex is real sin and everything is irrelevant? In other words, the church only really comes down heavy on the abortion issue rather than anything else to do with death, whether it‘s capital punishment or war?
GREELEY: Well, I think so. It‘s especially the Irish heresy, which we inherited from the French, and so you and I are probably affected by it.
MATTHEWS: I am affected by it.
GREELEY: Yes, we‘re kind of crypto-Jansenists.
MATTHEWS: I understand that, but do you think the general—the clergy as a group, assuming there is some measure of democracy in the church, meaning nobody is going to try anything unless it squares with what they think everybody else thinks—do you think this will become an issue in the campaign, that he is under some kind of excommunication, John Kerry?
GREELEY: No. There‘s only been one maybe two bishops that raised this as an issue. And most of the other bishops have been resoundingly silent about it. And Cardinal McCarrick, a old friend and fellow sociologist...
MATTHEWS: He‘s a great guy.
GREELEY: Made clear that he didn‘t want to use the Eucharist punitively.
It‘s just a new archbishop in Saint Louis. He got to Saint Louis by doing that sort of thing in across Wisconsin. And now is he running for cardinal.
MATTHEWS: Is he like one of those right-wing judges in the South that put the Ten Commandments in the courthouse just to make some noise?
GREELEY: Well, it does make noise, doesn‘t it?
MATTHEWS: Let me does you about this—let me ask you about your philosophy about this. We have a lot of pro-choice—I hate that word, pro-choice, because it suggests a lighthearted decision by any woman to have an abortion.
But the term pro-choice is pretty much in our lexicon. A lot of pro-choice Catholics have been elected over and over again in big states. Tom Ridge, who was governor of Pennsylvania for many years, a Republican, pro-choice. Certainly, in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, you have a lot of Democrats heavily Catholic states, the most Catholics states, and everybody is pro-choice, it seems. How does that work?
GREELEY: Well, I think it‘s a matter of they have to work it out in their own conscience. And I have never talked to do anybody.
They just—it seems it me that they instinctively say, hey, this is a free country. We have our convictions. We can‘t impose them on other people. The Constitution, as interpreted by the court, says this is a right. We may not like that, but it would be a terrible mistake for us to try to take that away.
I heard one major church leader saying that he didn‘t want a Supreme Court change because that would create civic chaos, so it‘s...
MATTHEWS: In other words, if the Supreme Court lifted Roe v. Wade and left it up to every state, it would become an issue of—everywhere?
GREELEY: Yes, and there would be a huge national fight over it, and it‘s...
MATTHEWS: Would that be so bad?
GREELEY: I think so. It would tear the country apart that‘s already torn apart pretty badly.
MATTHEWS: But didn‘t we have a long period after prohibition was lifted in the ‘30s, where some states like Kansas, Utah stayed dry, and other states went wet? What would be wrong with having a situation where some states say abortion is a crime and others that that say it isn‘t?
GREELEY: I don‘t think that‘s what this churchman meant when he said there would be civic chaos. He just said that it meant that there would be lots of conflict around the country over it.
You know, it could happen. If Bush is reelected, he may finally get a chance to change a couple seats in the court, and there will be judges appointed that would reverse it.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the—about the issue of this war. I mean, in terms of formal statements, the Catholic Church does come out against the war, but yet it seems to have absolutely no sway. Nobody really lectures from the pulpit on Sunday—I have never heard it—this war is bad, we should end it. Yet, on abortion, they do make those kinds of cases.
GREELEY: It does seem strange, doesn‘t it? MATTHEWS: Why does it go on this way?
GREELEY: Well, again, because, as you suggested earlier, abortion is about reproduction and war is just about war.
You know, I get e-mails from people frequently saying, why haven‘t the bishops denounced the war? And I reply that they have, but no one listens to them anymore.
MATTHEWS: Is this just an ethnic thing where a lot of Catholics are Irish or Italian or whatever, French-Canadian, and they tend to be pretty culturally conservative and pretty hawkish when it comes to war, and that the church just doesn‘t want to mess with their point of view?
GREELEY: No, I don‘t think so.
I think the bishops have made pretty clear through the last couple of decades that they‘re opposed to war and they‘re opposed to the Iraqi war.
MATTHEWS: And to capital punishment.
GREELEY: And to capital punishment.
MATTHEWS: If you poll a lot of the really tough conservatives who show up at church and don‘t abortion, they got no problem with capital punishment.
GREELEY: I‘m sure they don‘t.
MATTHEWS: It‘s an interesting development.
GREELEY: Well, the late Joseph Bernardin, my archbishop in Chicago, he talked about the network of life.
GREELEY: That you had to be against abortion and against war. And I did some crosstabs for him once, and only 6 percent of American Catholics bought that...
MATTHEWS: That combo.
GREELEY: Yes. Yes.
MATTHEWS: There‘s very few to find that sociometric overlay of people that are anti-war and anti-abortion.
GREELEY: Very few.
MATTHEWS: Isn‘t that interesting?
Let me ask you about ethnic politics. You grew up when Jack Kennedy was elected president, Roman Catholic. It was an issue. Certainly it was an issue in states like Ohio, Kentucky, the center part of the country. He probably lost a few Bible Belt votes over it, but generally he won.
GREELEY: He lost a half million votes of Democratic—excuse me, five million votes because of his religion.
GREELEY: And he only won by 110,000.
MATTHEWS: Let me talk about this time. Do you think it would be a mistake for John Kerry to pick a Roman Catholic as a running mate for that reason? Two R.C.s would just be an overload? I think so.
GREELEY: It would certainly bother the evangelicals and the fundamentalists, people like Representative DeLay, even if he wasn‘t a Republican congressman.
MATTHEWS: Tom DeLay?
MATTHEWS: He‘s such an open-hearted guy.
GREELEY: Yes, he is. Yes, he is very open-hearted.
MATTHEWS: I wish he would come back on the show. He was a great guest.
GREELEY: But, you know, if he needs to mobilize the Hispanic votes to win—and he might—then Bill Richardson would be a good choice. It would anger the evangelicals no little bit, but it—if it became controversial, two Catholics on the ticket, then a lot of Catholics...
MATTHEWS: He might be kissing goodbye Ohio and Missouri. You got to look at the whole game here.
GREELEY: There‘s a lot of Catholics in Ohio and Missouri who would bitterly resent that kind of campaign, that there‘s—we can‘t have two Catholics. We can‘t have Catholics running the whole country.
MATTHEWS: Yes, especially two pro-choice Catholics.
GREELEY: That‘s right.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about “The Passion.” You still don‘t like that movie.
GREELEY: I still don‘t like the movie.
MATTHEWS: Neither do I. I didn‘t want to make a big deal about it, because I want everybody to have a chance to see it on their own and make their own judgments. I thought it was worse than the worst Scorsese movie in terms of violence. It had very little to do with love. It had a lot to do with anger and horror and incredible torture.
GREELEY: Well, they left off the resurrection, except for the brief
MATTHEWS: I think they left off the Temple and the Mount, too.
GREELEY: Yes, and they left off the whole public life of Jesus.
MATTHEWS: What he came to teach us.
MATTHEWS: I wish we would have a pre-passion movie about what he came to teach us about.
GREELEY: It‘s pretty hard to make a movie about Jesus, because he is a tricky kind of guy, paradoxical, mysterious. He had to be to represent the father in heaven, but it‘s hard to nail him down. I was tempted once...
MATTHEWS: Do you think you know—as a churchman, after all these years of studying the Bible and reading the New Testament a million times, do you have a sense of his personality, Jesus‘ personality?
GREELEY: He was extraordinarily charming, personable.
You couldn‘t help but like him. But he was also mysterious. He spoke in contradictions and paradoxes. He took rabbinic stories and twisted the end. I was once tempted to write a novel about a bunch of kids in from Jesuit high school who go back to Jesus‘ time and save him.
GREELEY: But I gave up.
MATTHEWS: You know what I liked about him, besides the obvious? He‘s God. But the nice part. I liked the fact that the at Sermon on the Mount, Galilee, he was a man of peace and love. But when it came time to hit the big city in Jerusalem, he took care of himself.
GREELEY: Well, that‘s what I mean. He was a paradoxical character, awfully hard.
MATTHEWS: He would have been a great guest. I‘m just kidding. I‘m just kidding.
MATTHEWS: We‘re going to right back, Father.
I don‘t want to say anything too treasonous here or any—Father Andrew Greeley, we‘re going to come back and talk about the priesthood. What a hot topic in our church, the priesthood and what‘s the problem there.
More with HARDBALL—coming back with Father Andrew Greeley, novelist, “The Priestly Sins,” the author.
MATTHEWS: We‘re back with Father Andrew Greeley, one of the great novelists and certainly a man who understands the Catholic Church.
Let me ask you about “The Priestly Sins.” What is the story about?
GREELEY: It‘s about a whistle-blower in the church, a priest that witnesses abuse down the corridor in the rectory.
He goes to the pastor. The pastor is a junkie. He doesn‘t care. He go to the father of the kid. He doesn‘t believe it. He goes to the cops and they say, it‘s a church problem. He goes down to the chancery to see the archbishop. He doesn‘t see the archbishop. They put him in the loo and take him off to a metal institution. And that‘s a true story.
MATTHEWS: And they took the priest to a mental institution.
MATTHEWS: And then what happened? Did he get back in the parish?
GREELEY: Well, six months later, his lawyer—you see, he‘s a Volga Deutsch. His name is Hoffman and his lawyer is a certain Hurst Teller (ph).
He gets him out and the archbishop sends I‘m off to study history and hope he never comes back. Well, he go to the University of Chicago, one of the world‘s great universities.
GREELEY: And he comes back and gets a parish. And then he‘s doing real well in the parish. He‘s built up a parish that was nothing. The last three priests have quit.
And he‘s asked to testify in one of the trials against the diocese. They‘re going to subpoena him. They don‘t want to force a priests. But he knows that if he testifies, he‘s going to risk everything, risk his parish, risk the diocese, risk his priesthood. So the next day he calls up Hurst (ph) and says, tell that woman I‘ll testify.
MATTHEWS: Do you accept the theory that there‘s a psychological reason why people who have committed themselves to a sexual abstinence basically at a young age, that they‘re at a certain level of sexual maturity which is pretty low? They‘re sort of a boy when they join the priesthood and make that commitment. And then when they get sexually more horny, whatever, they get older, that‘s who identify with.
They don‘t identify with women. They‘re drawn back into this homosexual youthful thing that they left at the age of 13 or 14 when they went toward the priesthood. Why are there so many of these people attracted to boys, molesting young boys in the priesthood? What‘s going on?
GREELEY: I‘m not sure there‘s any more in the priesthood than in any other occupation where people deal with children?
GREELEY: I very much doubt it.
Four percent is terrible, but it‘s not -- 17 percent of Americans have
been abused by children. So 4 percent of priest abuse is not statistically
terribly high; 96 percent of the priests in the country have not abused
children. And they‘re celibate, or most of them
MATTHEWS: Well, why did you write a novel about something that is so rare, as you say?
GREELEY: I‘m not writing a novel about
MATTHEWS: Well, why did you write a novel about if it‘s so rare?
There‘s a contradiction. You‘re marketing this book as something that could happen fairly commonly. And then you‘re denying its commonality.
GREELEY: I‘m writing a novel about the hierarchy reassigning priests like that. The problem isn‘t the abuse. The problem is the stonewalling, covering up, hiding, sweeping it under.
MATTHEWS: It is not the crime, it‘s the cover-up.
MATTHEWS: The greatest Washington cliche of our times, but true in this case.
MATTHEWS: You‘re a great man, Andrew Greeley, Father Greeley, the Reverend Father Greeley. Thank you.
We had some amazing conversations. Wait until you see the tape. And you‘re going to see on it national television. Anyway, thank you, Father Greeley. The name of his book, his latest of many novels, “The Priestly Sins.”
Join us again Monday night at 7:00 Eastern for more HARDBALL. Our guest will include Cokie Roberts.
Right now, it‘s time for the “COUNTDOWN” with Keith.
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