October 30, 2012
Guests: Michael Oppenheimer, Ed Markey, Susan Eisenhower
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Good government, good politics.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
"Let Me Start" tonight with this. I can`t think of a better job than
helping the American people defend themselves. Fortunately for President
Obama, that`s his job this week. He signed up for it, and now it needs
There`s no walking away from it, nothing that takes precedence over
putting his head and heart into ensuring the absolute best -- to the
absolute best of his ability that people in the northeast part of the
country recover and begin to reconstruct from this natural emergency, the
one that`s come down on them now.
And every second this president applies himself the most (ph), he must
hope that the electoral momentum will shift in his direction because this
now -- these several days will test if the president shares (ph) the hope
on which he`s built his public life.
Here`s the latest on Sandy`s devastating impact. This storm has been
blamed for at least 38 deaths so far. There`s new video this afternoon
showing the massive destruction along the New Jersey shore. Governor Chris
Christie of New Jersey called the impact on his state "unthinkable" and
said it would take months to recover. The storm swept houses from their
foundations and left parts of the coast under water, as you can see.
New York City is also dealing with devastating floods. The subway
remains closed after damage to the system was called the worst in its 108-
year history. Look at it there. Meanwhile, a massive fire in a beachfront
neighborhood in Queens, New York, destroyed nearly 100 homes overnight and
into the morning. Firefighters have been blocked from getting to the fire
due to high floodwaters.
As we told you yesterday, a construction crane that collapsed due to
high winds remained dangling there -- you see it there -- atop 74-floor
luxury high-rise. Thousands were ordered to leave nearby buildings. More
than 8 million homes are still without power today in the country across 20
states. The worst of it is in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Right now, I want to bring in Dylan Dreyer. Dylan, thank you so much
for joining us. Just run through sort of a brief outline of what`s going
on. Give us a sense of the depth and the duration of what we`re facing
here, the cleanup and (ph) face (ph) this catastrophe.
DYLAN DREYER, NBC METEOROLOGIST: Chris, unfortunately, the duration
is going to be the big story because the storm`s not over yet. Even though
conditions are getting better, I`d say just because the winds are calming a
little bit and the rain is letting up, the storm is still producing tons of
snow back through West Virginia. It`s producing tons of rain back across
portions of Pennsylvania into New York state. So now we`re going to start
getting into more of a river flooding situation.
So it`s transitioning from a coastal problem into an inland issue.
And even out through the Great Lakes, we`re seeing winds now gusting up
still near 30 to 40 miles per hour. We`re seeing record wave heights on
the Great Lakes region. And it`s producing delays at Chicago. It`s
producing delays in Cleveland airport.
So we are going to see this whole storm system linger over the
Northeast for a little while now. And the snow that we were seeing in
southern Ohio -- it is starting to basically be isolated to the mountains
of West Virginia, and that area has already picked up almost 30 inches of
This storm has so many facets to it. We`re still looking at another 3
to 6 inches possible in areas that already have nearly 30 inches of snow.
And the sheer size of this storm -- it`s nearly 900 miles in diameter.
This is huge, to extend from northern New England all the way back into
Indiana, into eastern Kentucky, eastern Tennessee. That`s the problem with
Now, we do still have to focus in the New York City area for tonight`s
high tide. It won`t be as bad this morning`s high tide and especially not
as bad as last night`s high tide, but those winds still coming in out of
the south and it is still going to produce a minimal storm surge that could
create some flooding.
Also, we`re seeing those wind gusts still in the city up to around 30
miles per hour. My biggest concern for tonight is with all those Eastern
cities without power, all the neighborhoods without power. Temperatures
tonight in the New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania area will get down into
the 30s tonight.
So it`s going to start getting a little bit exhausting for all the
people without power who have the cleanup to do and then deal with the cold
nights on top of it. So it is going to be a major concern, I think, for
several days moving into this week and the weekend, too.
MATTHEWS: Devastating report there. Thank you, Dylan Dreyer.
Now I`m joined by NBC News chief White House correspondent and
political director Chuck Todd and editorial director for the HuffingtonPost
Howard Fineman. He`s also an MSNBC political analyst.
Chuck, I want you to start here. Tell me about -- well, let`s look at
the president here. The president visited Red Cross headquarters this
afternoon and promised to help the hard-hit communities cut through the
bureaucratic red tape to get assistance.
Let`s watch him here today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My instructions to the
federal agency has been, Do not figure out why we can`t do something. I
want you to figure out how we do something. I want you to cut through red
tape. I want you to cut through bureaucracy.
There`s no excuse for inaction at this point. I want every agency to
lean forward and to make sure that we are getting the resources where they
need -- where they`re needed as quickly as possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, meanwhile, this afternoon, Vice President Biden was
asked about the president`s response to the disaster. Here`s what he had
to say. Let`s take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look, I`ve never
seen a guy so focused. I mean, he just wants to make sure -- look, the
last conversation we had, he said, to the governor, he said, Look, folks
I`m up late at night. You don`t get immediate response from my folks, call
me. Here`s my number. So this is a hands-on deal right now to get
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Chuck Todd, back to you. You`ve covered this president for
a long time now. You`ve really seen how he operates. Instead of doing the
piecemeal sort of little -- I can`t use the words Mickey Mouse aspect of
politics -- here`s a grand decision. Do the job, and hope things will turn
out politically OK, but do the job. It seems like that`s his commitment.
CHUCK TODD, NBC WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT/POLITICAL DIR.: Yes. Well,
look, and this is a case where good politics is not playing politics,
right? Don`t look at this. And remember who you`re dealing with. You`re
dealing with a Chris Christie, a Michael Bloomberg and an Andy Cuomo.
These are three guys that are not shy. And if they think the federal
government was not helping them, was not being aggressive, if they thought
the president wasn`t -- wasn`t on top of this or wasn`t doing everything
that they thought the federal government could do, don`t you think they`d
not run, not walk to a TV camera and let people know?
So you`re in a unique situation here with hard-hit areas with three
very savvy -- politically savvy, media-savvy governors in the most
important media market in the world. You don`t want to mess this up.
So I think this is a case where it`s good politics not to play
politics and just throw yourself into disaster relief because you`re
dealing with a high-population area that, frankly, you mess this up, the
whole world`s going to know about it.
MATTHEWS: Yes, Howard, what`s impressive to me is he`s going to New
Jersey today. He went to Jersey. We saw the picture there -- not to one
of those states that we got a little tired covering, basically, the so-
called swing states. He went to the states in need today, New Jersey.
HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST MEDIA GROUP, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:
Well, he canceled a trip to Ohio, which was a swing state, and went to New
Jersey. I mean, he`s going to New Jersey.
TODD: Going to...
FINEMAN: Going to New Jersey, excuse me. That`s the right -- that`s
the right call. There are a few things here. First of all, Chuck`s right.
The best politics is no politics.
And also, it underscores the role of the government. It underscores
the argument that the president makes about the role of government in times
of crisis and in times of need and the fact that the states and the private
sector, as great as they are and as important as they are, can`t do
everything, especially when we`re faced with the kind of natural disaster
we`ve seen. This makes his argument about the role of government, the
important role that we -- we play through government in helping each other
in times of crisis. So that`s very important for him.
And also, don`t forget that Chris Christie, if I can be political for
a second in the midst of this -- Chris Christie is the guy who gave the
keynote address at the Republican convention. And Chris Christie has
nothing but good -- has had nothing -- so far, nothing but good things to
say about the president.
That`s nothing the president needs to talk about. That`s nothing any
of his aides or advisers or campaign people need to talk about. But it
won`t go unnoticed, as Chuck says, in this media -- in this media
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s look at what Governor Christie of New Jersey
had to say today on the "TODAY" show and on "MORNING JOE." Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I was on the phone at midnight
again last night with the president personally. He has expedited the
designation of New Jersey as a major disaster area.
The president has been outstanding in this, and so the folks at FEMA -
- the president has been all over this and he deserves great credit. I`ve
been on the phone with him, like I said, yesterday personally three times.
He gave me his number at the White House, told me to call him if I needed
anything, and he absolutely means it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s great.
CHRISTIE: It`s been very good -- it`s been very good working with the
president and his administration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: He also responded with annoyance after a Fox News
personality asked him an overtly political question about Mitt Romney.
Let`s take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there any possibility that Governor Romney may
go to New Jersey to tour some of the damage with you?
CHRISTIE: I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
CHRISTIE: I`ve got a job to do here in New Jersey. I`ve got 2.4
million people out of power. I`ve got devastation on the shore. I`ve got
floods in the northern part of my state. If you think right now I give a
damn about presidential politics, then you don`t know me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about that, Chuck. And I do believe it. You
know, I have been having a big -- we had a big production meeting today
talking about the motives that move people. It`s always complicated. When
you`re at war, you worry about your buddies. You worry about getting
through the night and achieving your mission. There may be medals down the
road, but they`re not on your mind, certainly, I can imagine. And any
political medals will have to come as afterthoughts.
That`s my thinking. I am not a naive person. I do think these guys
are doing their jobs. Your thoughts.
TODD: I do, too. This is -- look, New Jersey -- this is -- this is a
hard-hit area. I think this is a guy who`s been up all night, hearing
about the devastation, hearing about stranded people in Atlantic City,
hearing about these things. And then, you know, we all know Chris Christie
a little bit, to be asked a political question, that`s just not in his
nature, it`s not who he is on this front.
Look, there would have been a price to pay for him -- again, this goes
back to what I said about the president -- what`s good politics for Chris
Christie is not to think about politics. The minute you start thinking
about politics in any of these situations, you get caught. You always get
caught at some point. Maybe you get caught in front of a TV camera. Maybe
you get caught by another lawmaker. Maybe you get caught somewhere else.
But there is -- you get caught and you get punished.
And by the way, it`s a big punishment. The down side for even hinting
and worrying the least bit about politics in a moment like this -- the
punishment is bad. It`s political -- it can be -- it can end your
political career. I give to you Kathleen Blanco.
MATTHEWS: Yes. And Ray Nagin.
FINEMAN: Well, I think that`s true. But I would just observe,
somebody outside of the emergency situation, that Mitt Romney`s closing
argument in a lot of swing states has been about how he will be a
bipartisan leader in a way that the president hasn`t been able to do in
That argument is silently indirectly undercut by the teamwork of the
president and Chris Christie right now. That`s my only point. Not that
they have a political motive in doing it, I`m just saying that`s the fact
of the situation right now.
MATTHEWS: Yes, talk about that a bit, Chuck, because I`ve seen some
interesting good relationships developing here between -- you talked about
the importance of the media market in New York to the whole country -- New
York is, of course, the broadcasting center of this country, as well as the
You have people like -- who are naturally competitive -- the mayor of
New York is always -- going back to Lindsay and Rockefeller, it`s always
nationally competitive because the fight over funds between the state and
the city. And you have Bloomberg, one of the best mayors ever, probably,
and you`ve got Andrew Cuomo, who only has been seen as a great governor so
far, basically getting -- working in tandem here. You have the president
and a guy who wrote the keynote speech for Romney working in tandem.
I mean, this is -- you got to be careful about saying anything`s God`s
will, but this is a week that was given to us. We`re told as people to
cover this story as journalists. These politicians were told to do their
jobs this week.
TODD: Well, and again, you go -- when you think about the area that
was hit and you think about these three personalities and these three
politicians, they all have a reputation for -- you know, if something is
not going right, they will call out. In fact, sometimes you wonder do they
enjoy making members of their own party upset at some point? Or they don`t
mind making enemies if they think it will help them parochially. All three
of them have been very effective at doing that sometimes. They`re all
three very media-savvy.
So you know, that`s why I think, you know, talk about -- this is more
of a high-wire act for the president than I think people realize because
he`s got three people he`s dealing with in the hardest hit areas of New
York and New Jersey in Bloomberg, Cuomo and Christie, that if there is the
slightest misstep by the federal government, the three of them will jump on
it in a second.
So this is a little -- it is -- the easy call here for the president
is to, quote, "do your job," get on top of this. It`s all about that. But
a misstep, and you know, he`s in a media market where he`s got three
aggressive people who would call him on it.
MATTHEWS: Let`s leave it at that. We`ve never had a better, more
uplifting session on HARDBALL than we just had.
Anyway, thank you, Chuck Todd. Thank you, Howard. And I mean it.
Nothing nasty. Not poison in the water here. Coming up -- Howard, thank
you, Chuck Todd.
Coming up: Pants on fire. The writer Mary McCarthy once said of her
rival, Lillian Hellman, Every word she writes is a lie, including "and" and
"the." Well, the same could almost be said of Mitt Romney and his new TV
ads in Ohio about who would do more for the auto industry, he or President
Obama. You see the price of desperation here, dishonesty. And the
campaign`s response to the universal criticism -- they just keep running
Also, did climate change have something to do with Hurricane Sandy.
Freak storms happen all the time, but this is precisely the kind of event
that scientists have been predicting to us for years.
And why would an Eisenhower endorse a Democrat for president? Well,
Susan Eisenhower comes here to talk about it. She`s endorsing President
And "Let Me Finish" tonight with this question. Does anyone really
have a grip on who Mitt Romney is?
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, with one week before the election -- remember that? -
- we`ve got lots of new poll numbers in the presidential race. Let`s go to
the HARDBALL "Scoreboard."
We start in Florida, of course, where a new CNN poll has Mitt Romney
leading by 1 point, 50-49, but a new PPP poll from Florida has President
Obama up by 1 point, 49-48.
In Ohio, a new PPP poll has the president leading by 4, 51 to 47.
Next, New Hampshire, a small state that may play a big role on election
night. The new PPP poll has the president up by 2 there. In North
Carolina, a new poll from Elon University shows the race tied. Wow! who
would have thought that a few weeks ago.
Finally, to Oregon, a state President Obama won by 17 points in `08.
The race is actually tightening there. It`s down to 47 Obama, 41 for
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, we now know this election
may very well come down to Ohio. And in the last few days, the Romney
campaign has done some things even independent observers consider
desperate. First came this from Mitt Romney last Thursday in Defiance,
Ohio, about an hour away from Toledo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R-MA), FMR. GOV., PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I saw a story
today that one of the great manufacturers in this state, Jeep, now owned by
the Italians, is thinking of moving all production to China! I will fight
for every good job in America! I`m going to fight to make sure trade is
fair! And if it`s fair, America will win!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Oh! Well, it sounds terrible, but it`s false. Did you
hear that? False, what he just said there. Chrysler, which was bought by
Fiat, said it`s not taking any jobs from Ohioans, it`s adding jobs. It
also plans on resuming Jeep production in China for Chinese drivers. In
other words, overseas production for overseas sales, not moving jobs from
the United States to China.
But then comes this whopper of a Romney ad. Customarily, when one of
the campaigns launches a commercial, they send us press releases and video.
Not the case with this one. This ad started running unannounced in Ohio
and suggests jobs there are, again, moving to China.
Let`s take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)
NARRATOR: Who will do more for the auto industry? Not Barack Obama.
Fact-checkers confirm his attacks on Mitt Romney are false.
The truth? Mitt Romney has a plan to help the auto industry. He`s
supported by Lee Iacocca and "The Detroit News." Obama took GM and
Chrysler into bankruptcy and sold Chrysler to Italians, who are going to
build Jeeps in China. Mitt Romney will fight for every American job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, they`re not backing down, of course. They`re also
running misleading radio ads on the same topic in cities like Dayton and
Michael Steele is the former chairman, an honest chairman, of the RNC
and Ron Reagan is a radio talk show hosts. Both my guests are MSNBC
I want to start with Ron.
This stuff, you know, weeks ago, the Obama -- the Romney campaign
said, we`re not going to let this campaign be run by fact-checkers. I
mean, I have never heard it said, you just say, we don`t care if you find
out we`re lying. Lying is a bad word. We don`t care if you catch us.
We`re going to keep doing it, because we`re desperate.
RON REAGAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: ... influenced by fact-checkers.
Yes, well, they may be desperate. Look, Ohio is going to be the
clincher for this election. Everybody has been saying it and it`s probably
true. So, Mitt Romney probably hopes that the truth isn`t going to find
him in Ohio at some point here.
He`s been a shapeshifter his entire political career. This shouldn`t
surprise us, and yet somehow he`s taken it to a new level. The Romney
campaign attaches itself to untruth like a sexually aroused little dog on a
I mean, it just starts humping away at these lies here. As you said,
he makes the speech where he says that he read something somewhere about
Jeep going overseas to China. It`s pointed out to him that`s not true.
Chrysler points out to him that that`s not true. So what does he do?
Doubles down with a TV ad.
That`s point -- it`s pointed out that that ad is not true. What does
he do? Triples down with a radio ad, too. It is just extraordinary. And
the question is, do Ohioans, do Americans, does the media tolerate this
level of dishonesty from a presidential candidate? I hope not.
MATTHEWS: Lee Iacocca, by the way, is not going to come on television
and endorse that claim. I will predict that right now. He`s got -- he`s
been retired for 20 years. He`s not going to back it up. They`re
misusing, I think exploiting the poor guy. He`s been retired for years.
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
MATTHEWS: To bring -- haul his name back because he obviously has a
fondest of the Romney family name is really exploitive.
But let`s go back to facts of this case.
MATTHEWS: Are the Jeeps being produced now in Ohio going those jobs
for American buyers? I have two Jeeps. All right, I have two of them.
They`re very cheap, OK?
MATTHEWS: I have two of them. You can buy these cars. They`re not
big ones. All right?
STEELE: Yes, good, good American cars.
MATTHEWS: OK? These cars are great. One of my kids has one. I have
Now, here`s the question. Are they going to continue to be made in
Ohio? Answer, yes.
MATTHEWS: So, why are these people running ads saying they are going
to move them to China?
STEELE: I talked to a couple folks related to the campaign about
this. And they clearly in one sense were kind of walking it back a little
bit in terms of how this has been perceived or read by a lot of folks.
MATTHEWS: OK. How do we misread it?
STEELE: Let me make my point.
The emphasis is not that these jobs are going to be taken away from
Ohio or Ohioans, but, in fact, they`re creating jobs in China when we
should be creating jobs here.
MATTHEWS: But these are for Chinese buyers. These are for Chinese
people to buy.
STEELE: But, Chris, this is the argument. That`s great, for Chinese
buyers. Then make the car here, so American workers make the car here and
send it to China just if the Chinese market wants to buy. Why are you
doing that? That`s...
REAGAN: That`s not what Romney said.
STEELE: ... generally the argument. And that`s what a lot of
companies are doing. You know, we make the cars here and we ship them
elsewhere and they buy them.
MATTHEWS: Maybe the deal with China is that they don`t want our cars
to from here to there.
STEELE: But wait a minute. But, Chris, at a time you`re creating --
you need to create jobs...
MATTHEWS: They`re doing it.
MATTHEWS: OK. Ron, pick this up. I don`t want it to be two to one
MATTHEWS: I think you can handle this. I think you can handle this.
This is one that you can handle easily one on one here.
STEELE: I think I`m right, so you guys talk amongst yourselves.
MATTHEWS: No, no, don`t try that. I gave it to you.
Go ahead, Ron.
REAGAN: No, no, no, no, no, no, no.
Listen, if Romney had meant, gee, we`re going to be making a bunch of
Jeeps for the Chinese, maybe we should make them here, that was a point he
could have made. He didn`t say that. The ads don`t imply that. He didn`t
imply that. What he said was the jobs that are here now are going to
China, because he read that somewhere. That was a lie.
MATTHEWS: OK. Never bring an honest man into defend a dishonest ad.
Anyway, the Obama campaign is up with this response ad. Let them pick
it up here. Let`s take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)
NARRATOR: When the auto industry faced collapse, Mitt Romney turned
his back. Even the conservative "Detroit News" criticized Romney for his
wrongheadedness on the bailout.
And now, after Romney`s false claim of Jeep outsourcing to China,
Chrysler itself has refuted Romney`s lie. The truth? Jeep is adding jobs
Mitt Romney on Ohio jobs, wrong then.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let Detroit go bankrupt.
NARRATOR: Dishonest now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: We`re all men here, but I have got to get to this other
issue of this distortion and dishonesty about abortion rights, and now
another issue in contention, women`s rights and abortion.
Romney`s surrogate and former Senator Norm Coleman was at an event
near Cleveland yesterday, again, Ohio, and reassured voters there, women
voters, of course, that Roe v. Wade would never be overturned in a Romney
administration, just as the Romney campaign is on the airwaves trying to
tell women Romney doesn`t oppose contraception.
Take a look at both. These are totally dishonest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NORM COLEMAN (R), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: President Bush was president
for eight years. Roe v. Wade wasn`t reversed. He had two Supreme Court
choice picks. Roe v. Wade wasn`t reversed. It`s not going to be reversed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, those ads saying Mitt Romney would ban
all abortions and contraception seemed a big extreme. So I looked into it.
Turns out Romney doesn`t oppose contraception at all. In fact, he thinks
abortion should be an option in cases of rape, incest, or to save a
This issue is important to me, but I`m more concerned about the debt
our children will be left with. I voted for President Obama last time, but
we just can`t afford four more years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I don`t know who that actor is, that woman. I wish I could
have just talked to her and say, no one ever said, no one on this planet
ever said that Romney was going to outlaw contraception. Stop fighting a
You`re being dishonest to women out there. The issue is whether your
insurance policy should cover it and who gets to decide whether it does or
not, a legitimate discussion.
But to say that there`s been an accusation that somebody is going to
outlaw contraception and birth control, which hasn`t been outlawed since
the `50s somewhere, how can you run an ad like that?
STEELE: At the beginning of the whole left war -- argument about the
war on women, that was the centerpiece, that the Republicans -- Republicans
want to outlaw contraception.
MATTHEWS: Did a Democrat ever accuse Romney of outlawing...
STEELE: Yes, quite a few.
STEELE: Quite a few, Chris. Did you miss that debate when they were
talking about -- when the contraception with the church first came up, that
the Republicans and Romney...
MATTHEWS: Having it provided in your insurance coverage.
STEELE: Well, you asked the question, and I answered it.
MATTHEWS: You can fight food stamps without fighting food, OK? It`s
the difference between...
STEELE: Those are the facts.
MATTHEWS: Ron, let me try it with you. It`s the difference between
saying you don`t believe in food stamps and saying you don`t believe in
food. That`s the difference we`re talking about here.
Your thoughts, Ron? This other one about Norm Coleman having been
beaten in Minnesota is running around in Ohio saying that this president,
if he gets elected, Romney, isn`t going to try to get rid of Roe v. Wade.
He has sworn he will do it. He says it all the time.
REAGAN: Well, indeed. He`s announced that it`s a personal goal of
his to get rid of Roe v. Wade.
Now, I suppose he could rely on the dodge that, well, he won`t do
that, it will be the Supreme Court justices he appoints who ultimately do
that, but clearly that`s the goal. Does anybody in their right mind think
that Mitt Romney isn`t going to appoint two, maybe three, Supreme Court
justices if he`s elected and that those Supreme Court justices will have as
a litmus test for their being nominated, first of all, that they are going
to overturn Roe v. Wade?
MATTHEWS: OK. We got to go.
You`re right on three points tonight. Michael is wrong on all three.
Thank you, Michael Steele.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Ron Reagan.
REAGAN: Sorry, Michael.
MATTHEWS: We gave him a bad hand to play.
We gave you a couple deuces.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, we will have much more on the presidential race.
STEELE: Why do I come here?
MATTHEWS: It`s just a bad night for you. You got a bad hand. It
wasn`t your hand.
When we return: some of the incredible pictures and reporting from
Look at -- I grew up in on the Jersey Shore.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Well, the recovery from Hurricane Sandy will be under way for quite a
while, of course, but the worst of the storm itself seems to have passed
this part of the country. Some of the real stars of the past day or so
have been our reporters who were in the thick of it bringing us on-the-
ground accounts of what was happening.
Let`s take a look back at what they encountered.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RON ALLEN, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Good evening from Point Pleasant Beach
in New Jersey. This sand dune, about 30 yards wide, about 12 feet tall, is
what separates the ocean from the town , and it`s been deteriorating
throughout the day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are beginning to take the worst of Hurricane
Sandy here on the Jersey Shore. Look at this wave.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re getting one heck of a back-kick out of this
thing. It`s like a mule rearing up on its front legs and just letting go
because that`s the way I feel right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The water continues to come up here at Battery
Park. Look at this water. It just continues to roll in. We still have a
ways to go before we get to high tide, so the water could even come up more
than it is right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This house hours ago was in fine shape, but the
waves have just been relentless, just pounding through.
REHEMA ELLIS, NBC CORRESPONDENT: They have set off a collapse zone.
No cars, no pedestrians in this area.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m actually on someone`s front steps, but as we
widen out, if you can see, it`s actually just sitting in a pile of water
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know how much longer we can actually stay
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t think we`re going to be able to stay in
this position much longer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not expecting much improvement over the next
several hours. My goodness, the wind has just been insane.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m cold, I`m miserable, and it doesn`t look very
good at all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the sand dune all day for like the last -- all
day, and suddenly the waves are washing over it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Again, it`s sheets. The streets are flooded on
the other side of the peninsula.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole uncertainty about what`s going on around
here, this is not fun at all, I got to tell you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most people have gone, but there are still a few
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re actually across the street from the beach
and the ocean.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can see the water is up to my knees, up to the
park benches here, more importantly, a record storm surge.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is a metal sign, and appropriately it says
body piercing. If that were to fly off and hit us, it would be doing some
ELLIS: If the wind sways this crane, it could snap off and go
crashing into one of the buildings.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My photographer, who is shooting this right now,
his name is Jimmy Muller (ph), was hit by a flying piece of sign. It cut
him on the inside of his wrist. It cut his ring finger. I believe it was
his ring finger or the one next to the ring finger. He`s OK. He`s
shooting this live shot for us right now. We taped him up. We had a first
aid kit that the company provides.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rain is coming sideways, and I can feel all this
sand hitting my back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Another wave. Wow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, a big tip of the hat to all of them. And thank you
for all that great reporting. And, boy, it`s titanic out there.
Up next: Is climate change to blame for Hurricane Sandy? And we`re
going to ask this question seriously. And if so, isn`t it time we got
serious about it?
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MILISSA REHBERGER, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everybody. I`m Milissa
Wall Street will be back in business tomorrow. The Nasdaq and the New
York Stock Exchange will reopen their doors Wednesday after Hurricane Sandy
shut down trading for two days. And the organizers of the New York City
Marathon say they are going ahead with Sunday`s race, despite the damage
caused by Sandy.
Meanwhile, UBS announced it will cut up to 10,000 jobs by 2015. The
Swiss bank says it`s trying to restructure its investment banking unit --
now back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Campaigning for President Obama today, former President Bill Clinton
made the political link between Hurricane Sandy and manmade climate change
when he referred to Mitt Romney`s stance on climate change in the recent
debate. This is gripping. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He ridiculed the
president, ridiculed the president for his efforts to fight global warming
in economically beneficial ways. He said, oh, you`re going to turn back
In my part of America, we would like it if someone could have done
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
CLINTON: All up and down the East Coast, there are mayors, many of
them Republicans, who are being told you got to move these houses back away
from the ocean. You got to lift them up.
Climate change is going to raise the water levels on a permanent
basis. If you want your town insured, you have to do this. In the real
world, Barack Obama`s policies work better.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: He`s unbelievable.
Anyway, does our extreme weather we`re facing right now in the
Northeast from droughts and wildfires -- actually across the country -- now
Hurricane Sandy, make the case that manmade global warming is not only
real; it`s having an effect right now?
U.S. Congressman Ed Markey is the top Democrat on the Natural
Resources Committee in the Congress and senior member of the Energy and
Commerce Committee. And Michael Oppenheimer is a professor at geosciences
and international affairs at Princeton University.
I want to start with Professor Oppenheimer.
Simply put, when you look at Hurricane Sandy, which is a funny name
for something hitting our beaches and causing such havoc, do you see
climate change, manmade climate change, in action, in the face?
MICHAEL OPPENHEIMER, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: This is definitely the
kind of thing we expect to see more of in the future.
But, in addition while global warming didn`t cause Hurricane Sandy, it
almost surely made the impact worse. And that`s because sea level has been
rising for the last century due to global warming. And when this huge
storm came along at high tide, with a full moon, with this huge fetch of
water gathered up over the Atlantic Ocean, it was pushing on a sea level
which was higher than it would otherwise have been and it was able to push
the water further and further inland.
I live in downtown Manhattan. I saw the damage, and I can tell you
that this situation is only going to get worse over this century and over
the coming years and decades because global warming will continue to cause
sea level to rise and probably cause such storms to become more intense
until we reduce the emissions of the greenhouse gases that are causing the
MATTHEWS: In the real world, not the parallel universe of the people
on the far right, the Luddites, whatever you call them -- Mayor Bloomberg
is one of the most practical politicians in the world. He`s out there
trying to retrofit the subways thinking about the future and this water
level thing, Congressman.
REP. ED MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Absolutely. This has real-world
impacts on ordinary people. As the professor just said, the ocean is now
much hotter. As a result, it`s much higher, and the arctic is melting, and
that`s changing the jet stream which would have ordinarily put this storm
off to sea.
So as a result, there is an extreme weather tax now. It`s going to
be billions and billions of dollars. And while Mitt Romney is concerned
about the Koch brothers, the average American right now is worried about
global warming, worried about climate change, worried about the impact on
MATTHEWS: Who are these people, professor, who fight you? Who are
these people that write op-ed pieces in "The Wall Street Journal" with such
assurance that this is all bogus science? Who -- are they phonies? Are
they quacks? What`s their argument?
OPPENHEIMER: There are different motivations. Some people don`t
want to hear about global warming because it`s bad news and there`s enough
bad news in the world and everybody has plenty to worry about anyway. Some
people don`t want to hear about it because it gets in the way of their
OPPENHEIMER: Those would be the fossil fuel companies, for instance.
And some people are just generally skeptical and don`t like experts, and,
frankly, I don`t like experts all the time myself either.
But these are the facts. Every academy of science of every major
country in the world has said this is happening. It`s happening now. It`s
only going to get worse until we start taking actions to stem the emissions
that are causing the problem. But in the meantime, this stuff is going to
be happening even if we get emissions under control for some time, for
decades, so we have to learn how to adapt better, how to prepare for such a
potential disaster, how to mitigate their damages.
MATTHEWS: OK. We don`t have any high ground to go to in this where
we have 6 billion people living on this planet. There`s no other planet to
go to if the atmosphere begins to be destructive of our living here. But
politics is about every two years, every four years.
How do you run a political argument that has to be paid off within
the next couple years? You have to win the argument. Who is willing to
vote for somebody who is willing to do something about climate change?
MARKEY: Well, this frames the election for next Tuesday very well.
It`s Mother Nature versus the Koch brothers.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Who are the Koch brothers? Explain.
MARKEY: The Koch brothers are the single largest funders of this --
of Republican --
MATTHEWS: Oil and gas.
MARKEY: The oil and gas industry, the coal industry. They are
funding Mitt Romney and the Republicans across this country.
They want Romney in because here`s what Romney is promising: one,
he`s going to do away with the tax breaks for wind energy but keep it for
oil. He is going to do away with the fuel economy standards that increase
the efficiency of the vehicles we drive up to 55 miles --
MARKEY: -- per gallon backing out 6 billion metric tons of CO2.
That`s what Obama wants to do, back out 3 million barrels of oil per day
from the Persian Gulf, all the oil we import.
MARKEY: The Koch brothers want Romney, and Romney has promised, to
roll back those fuel economy incentives. It endangers the planet. And
it`s going to endanger young men and women who have to go to the Middle
East to import the oil from there rather than backing it (ph).
MATTHEWS: Well, Professor Oppenheimer, back in the `60s, we called
such people pigs. Pigs. No, really, they don`t care about the planet,
they don`t care about the destruction of war. All they want is what they
got, their stuff. And they want more of it.
Is that what we`re facing here, just greed? I`m not talking about
the guy working in the coalmine. That`s hard work. I`m talking about
people who won`t listen to you, won`t listen of science because they want
OPPENHEIMER: Listen, Chris, I`m not into name-calling here.
MATTHEWS: Well, I am.
OPPENHEIMER: Fine, that`s your job, not mine.
We have a serious job to do. The administration has actually started
to put in regulations to reduce emissions. U.S. emissions are actually
down modestly. We have a long way to go. We`re going to have to do this
by all getting together and acting cooperatively.
We have to do in our own lives what we can, get those energy
efficient appliances and cars. We have to encourage the government to
start passing more -- tighter regulations to reduce emissions, and we have
to also be prepared to deal with some of the climate change that`s
inevitable by better planning and organization around the towns and
communities we live in. Everybody has it get involved.
MATTHEWS: Congressman Markey, I have known you forever. You`re a
friend of mine. I watch you fight this fight. I watch the goodwill and
the good effort to fight these people.
But on the other side of the fid, it`s not just always the other side
of the aisle, it`s not always Republicans, huge amounts of money being paid
to congressmen and women running for re-election that says, hands off.
Don`t push this thing, right?
MARKEY: Well, Mitt Romney was a climate science believer when he was
the governor of Massachusetts. No Republican can be nominated to run for
president of the United States if they say they believe in climate science.
Having a conversation with that Mitt Romney would be like having a
conversation with an empty chair.
MARKEY: That governor that we had. He cannot run.
It`s a party controlled by these interests that want to kill fuel
economy standards, wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, all the things that
young people in our country know we have to invest in if we are going to
avoid the most catastrophic consequences. There is no emergency room for a
planet. We have to put in place the preventative measures as the professor
just said to protect against that danger.
MATTHEWS: Some day they`ll remember the people that didn`t do
Anyway, thank you, U.S. Congressman Ed Markey. Thank you, professor
Michael Oppenheimer of Princeton.
OPPENHEIMER: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Up next, speaking of bipartisanship, I guess we were -- a
prominent Republican with a very famous last name once again endorses
President Obama. That`s ahead.
This is HARDBALL -- think Eisenhower Republican, remember them? This
is the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: We`ve got some new Senate polling.
Let`s check the HARDBALL scoreboard -- starting in Massachusetts
where a new Suffolk poll shows Elizabeth Warren with a -- look at that --
seven-point lead over Scott Brown. It`s Warren, 53 percent. A powerful
number. Brown, 46 percent.
But a new "Boston Globe" poll has the race still tied 47 all.
In Ohio, a new "Cincinnati Enquirer" poll has Democratic Senator
Sherrod Brown up over Josh Mandel by just four, though, 51-47. Boy, that`s
Finally to Florida, where a "Sunshine State News" poll has Democratic
Senator Bill Nelson leading Republican Connie Mack by five. Too close for
that one, 49-44.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
Four years ago, Susan Eisenhower, the granddaughter of Ike, of
course, Republican President Dwight Eisenhower, endorsed President Obama,
and even spoke at Denver`s Invesco Field during the Democratic National
Now, Ms. Eisenhower, a registered independent, is making the case for
President Obama`s reelection, saying that this president deserves four more
years and has work to get done.
On challenger Mitt Romney, she said, quote, "As a result of this
campaign, I`m more confused than ever about what Mitt Romney stands for. I
know little of his core beliefs, if he even has any. No one seems to agree
on what they are and that`s why I do not want to take a chance on finding
Well said. It caught my ear. I love the way he put that because
I`ve got more to say on this topic.
He is almost -- he`s not the cellophane man up. You can`t see him.
There`s nothing there you can actually -- what`s beneath the shoulder, the
ties and the shirt? And is there anything you believe there that you can
determine that will last past the current speech?
SUSAN EISENHOWER, EISENHOWER INSTITUTE: Well, that`s the problem.
He had to run to the extreme right to get the nomination to begin with.
Now classically, candidates move into the middle. But he didn`t do that
until late in the campaign which leads to you believe perhaps he was with
the ideas he was espousing during the primary.
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s my questions because he made such hard
commitments -- no revenues, what we call the neoconservatives, the real no
hawkish people, even though he`s had no experience on foreign affairs.
He`s made commitments to the religious right. He`s not part of the
religious right, but he`s made all these commitments to them on choice, on
-- on everything, contraception, even on same-sex marriage. He`s against
everything now it seems.
EISENHOWER: Well, they`re going to call in those chips, too. They
try just about every candidate until they finally ended up with Mitt
EISENHOWER: And I think the thing that concerns me most is he`s
going to wanted a second term, because he wants a second term he has to
keep that base relatively happy or else he`s going to get a contender.
MATTHEWS: So, he will stay bought?
EISENHOWER: I think that is the really compelling thing about a
second term for any president, is that all of the politicking you have to
do the first time around.
MATTHEWS: OK. I put you up -- you`re a smart lady, of course, and I
want to put you up against somebody equally as smart who I completely
disagree with, David Brooks. I read his columns in "The New York Times".
Let`s take a look at what Brook said today, I think this was a campaign
season column by him, by the way, and I`m knocking him for this.
Anyway, he made a prediction today that how Mitt Romney would govern
with his eye toward the 2016 re-election, as you said, but he says, quote,
"To get re-elected in a country with a rising minority population and a
shrinking Republican coalition, Mitt Romney`s shape-shifting nature would
induce him to govern as a center-right moderate. If Romney wins, we`re
more likely to get bipartisan reform. Romney is more of a flexible flip-
flop than Obama. He has more influence over the most intransigent element
in the Republican equation House Republicans. He`s more likely to get big
Well, that`s the strangest endorsement. The guy has no backbone.
He`s our guy.
What an amazing statement by David Brooks.
EISENHOWER: Well, I was going to say, what about this shape-changing
experience? What have we seen in that regard? So, I think --
MATTHEWS: He`s never back -- he`s never fought -- well, that`s the
point you`re making. At least John McCain stood up to the woman who said,
Obama`s an Arab.
MATTHEWS: And Bill Clinton, who`s pretty flexible, and a pretty good
politician said, you know, he stood up with Sister Soulja, when he thought
those lyrics went too far, with the hip-hop. This guy never stood up to
EISENHOWER: Brooks goes on to say that he thinks only Mitt Romney
can make Congress cooperate. And I think this is really a very, very
dangerous idea, that unless one side gets its way then they`re simply not
going to cooperate. I think the public is fed up with this. I think they
really want Congress to cooperate with the new president, no matter who it
MATTHEWS: And, by the way, the Republicans who are running for the
Senate now, this guy Mourdock --
MATTHEWS: -- and this guy Akin, they`re all further right than Mitch
McConnell. They`re going to join the DeMint crowd.
EISENHOWER: Right, they are. And I think that the commitments that
were made earlier in the campaign are going to come back to haunt Governor
MATTHEWS: So, how about -- can you speak for Joy and David? Any
chance your relatives are going to comment on this?
EISENHOWER: Well, I don`t -- I`m the Washington Eisenhower.
Everybody else --
MATTHEWS: OK. I hope Gettysburg can join this team perhaps.
Anyway, thank you. They`re great people as you are. Thank you. Great
family -- Susan Eisenhower.
We`ll be right back. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with what Susan Eisenhower just
asked. Do you -- does anyone have a grip on who Mitt Romney is? Really?
Is he the moderate pro-choice for governor in Massachusetts, the guy who
gave us the model for Obamacare? Or is he the right wing guy who hangs
with hawks, talks cozily of war, signs on with Grover Norquist, joins with
Is he Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde? Or is he both? Or neither?
Jack Kennedy once said he felt sorry for his rival Richard Nixon
because he, quote, "doesn`t know who he is and each stop has to decide
which Nixon he is at the moment."
Want to hear a worse case? Do you really think that this guy Romney,
who will service the right wing so sweetly, will suddenly have the force of
will to betray it? Have you seen a single case when Romney`s broken free
from the mob that`s brought him this far, a single Sister Soulja moment, if
you will, when he said to the Trumps, the Sununus, the birthers, the
Norquists, the neocons? No, this time you ask too much. No.
All the evidence is that Romney will remain Romney -- pliable,
bendable, usable to the same crowd that took "W" -- remember him? -- used
him and dumped him in history`s hamper.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.
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