updated 1/23/2013 10:51:22 AM ET 2013-01-23T15:51:22

HARDBALL
January 22, 2013

Guests: Stephanie Schriock, Sam Stein, Steve Clemons, Michael Crowley, Terry O`Neill, Marjorie Dannenfelser

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Obama-land.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

"Let Me Start" tonight with this. Yesterday, we discovered the Obama
doctrine. Put simply, it`s to continue the American revolution well in the
21st century, define economic equality for women, full equality, all-out
equality for gay people and full political and financial opportunity for
people of color.

Everything about yesterday screamed with this manifesto, from the makeup of
the crowd to the people on the inaugural platform to the entertainment to
the words of the address to the jaunty walks along Pennsylvania Avenue by
Barack and Michelle and the wild and woolly greetings of Vice President Joe
Biden.

We`re all part of this (INAUDIBLE) shouting, We`re in this together and
we`re going to act together and we`re going to really try to open dialogue
with those who would be our enemies abroad. We`re not looking for another
war this time, and under this president, we`re looking for a way to avoid
one because these wars, as we`ve all learned the hard way, are a lot easier
to start than to finish.

Let`s start with this astounding presidential embrace of the ongoing
American revolution from Lexington and Concord to Seneca Falls, Selma and
Stonewall.

Sam Stein covers politics for the HuffingtonPost and Stephanie Schriock is
president of Emily`s List.

Let`s start with the message of inclusion and community in the president`s
address yesterday. Many have noticed his preference for three iconic
places with historic significance in the fight for American rights.

Let them just run through -- let me run through them first. First, Seneca
Falls, New York, where in 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and others led an
historic convention dedicated to women`s rights, which later led to a
women`s right to vote, of course.

Selma, Alabama, the city where Civil Rights demonstrators fought for voting
rights for African-Americans in the march of 1965, only to be met violently
by armed state troopers in a day that has since been known as "Bloody
Sunday."

And the Stonewall Inn, often thought of as the birthplace of LGBT rights
after a gay bar was raided by police in 1969 and for days became the site
of protests and riots.

Here`s the president yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We, the people, declare
today that the most evident of truths, that all of us are created equal, is
the star that guides us still, just as it guided our forbears through
Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall, just as it guided all those men and
women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great mall to hear a
preacher say that we cannot walk alone, to hear a king proclaim that our
individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on
earth!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: The iconic nature of that speech -- we Americans love brands.
We love iconic moments, whether it`s the Golden Gate Bridge or Niagara
Falls or these things that sort of scream America to us. For him to take
these three cases -- Seneca Falls, of course, for women and Stonewall, and
of course, Selma -- what did it mean to you watching this?

STEPHANIE SCHRIOCK, EMILY`S LIST: Oh! It was an incredible moment. I
mean, as a young woman, as an American in this country, to hear him speak
about equality and the fight for equality that has started in the beginning
of our country and will continue on -- (INAUDIBLE) thinking about Seneca
Falls, and you just mentioned the date. It took 72 years after Seneca
Falls before women got the right to vote.

And now we just had a historic election where there are more women in
Congress than we have ever had before. It`s really an incredible movement.
And you know, I work at Emily`s List, and Emily`s List has been working on
it for 28 years, to get more women in the pipeline...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: ... success.

SCHRIOCK: And we -- and we are picking it up.

MATTHEWS: All right, let me ask...

SCHRIOCK: We`re picking it up.

MATTHEWS: Sam, it seems to me that the president was almost like an "Ich
bin ein Berliner" speech for people fighting for their rights. I mean, he
is a man of color, obviously, himself. But to embrace all this together --
I`ve never heard anything like it for an American -- none of this "they."
There was no "they" in it. It was all "we"...

SAM STEIN, HUFFINGTONPOST: Yes.

MATTHEWS: ... a lot of "we."

STEIN: But keep in mind, I mean, I thought the theme was that change can
spark from the individual in all these cases. You have change being a
grass roots entity. But it has to have a component of the state and the
government to help foster it.

And the line that really stuck out to me was that these truths can be self-
evident but they`re not self-executing. And what he made was a case for
why there is an important role for the government to play to basically
protect our rights, but also to advance us as a society, whether it`s on
climate change, immigration reform, bank regulations, and so on down the
list.

It was a progressive case, but again, it wasn`t exactly the big government
case. He was saying there`s a mix of individual...

MATTHEWS: Right. Let`s look at some examples because I think you know
them. You`ve gone through them. But say -- the right-wing ideas of rights
is, Leave me alone, I got my -- I got enough guns here in this house to
hold you off for a couple days, anyway, if the government comes after me
with helicopters.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: That`s my rights (ph). And progressives` idea of rights is a
couple of young people would like to go to the University of Mississippi.

SCHRIOCK: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: It took the federal troops to go in there to get them in the
door. A governor named George Wallace tried to stop people at the door at
the University of Alabama. They had to be pushed aside.

That`s an aggressive communitarian motion of rights, where you have to get
together to get it done.

SCHRIOCK: Right. Or...

MATTHEWS: You don`t just hide out in a lime shack somewhere with a
couple...

SCHRIOCK: Oh, it`s...

MATTHEWS: ... you know, a couple guns and say, This is my idea of rights.

SCHRIOCK: No, it`s about community. I mean, women didn`t have the right
to vote until 1919, and then it took individual women and communities of
women and the American people, ultimately...

MATTHEWS: Yes.

SCHRIOCK: ... to come together and say, This is the right time, we need to
make this change.

MATTHEWS: Did you feel the positive embrace? It wasn`t like a bunch of
humorless suffragettes out there with placards...

SCHRIOCK: Oh!

MATTHEWS: ... like, those people, activists.

SCHRIOCK: No, we`re in it together.

MATTHEWS: Yes. I felt that.

SCHRIOCK: That`s what was so great about this speech. We`re in it
together. And we`re standing together, you know, whether it`s, you know,
women or LGBT members or African-Americans Hispanics, immigrants. This is
the melting pot...

MATTHEWS: Let`s listen to the president. Here`s the president`s message.
It was one of inclusion, as you just said, Stephanie. And yesterday was
the first inaugural to include, believe it or not -- well, not believe it
or not -- the word "gay," just one word. There it was flashed across our
screens.

Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are
treated like anyone else under the law...

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: ... for if we are truly created equal, than surely, the love we
commit to one another must be equal, as well.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for
hours to exercise the right to vote.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome
the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of
opportunity, until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our
workforce rather than expelled from our country.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: There`s grievance there, not just rights, grievance. That talk
about people -- people waiting in line. I said this before, I was lucky to
be there when South Africans first got to vote, all South Africans, and
they waited for four or five hours, and I thought that was unbelievable.

STEIN: Yes, I mean...

MATTHEWS: And then to watch people in America...

SCHRIOCK: Oh, yes.

MATTHEWS: ... in this advanced society of democracy, having to wait eight
hours. It looked like a punitive action by Republicans, to be blunt about
it, from state legislatures and big capital cities that decided, You know
what? Let`s make it hard for these people. Maybe we can cut down that
vote.

STEIN: I mean, it`s one -- that`s one of those great underreported stories
of the 2012 campaign is the extent to which people deliberately made it
harder for others to vote, which was, I thought, sort of reprehensible in
some respects. But...

MATTHEWS: And the federal government, by the way, since we`re talking
about practical stuff here -- can Obama, the president, get something done
under the -- under -- with Eric Holder and the voting rights people, maybe
not historic voting rights like in the 1960s -- but can they intervene in
states and say, We don`t like the way you`ve been doing this. I know it`s
a state issue, but we don`t like the way -- we think you`re prejudicing
against black people and another -- and young people.

STEIN: Oh, sure. I mean, I wonder if the Justice Department would want to
take on the case. It`s a little dicey. But you saw political backlash to
it already with Rick Scott saying, You know, maybe I overdid it a little
bit.

SCHRIOCK: Oh, yes.

STEIN: I`ll extend those voting rights now that we`re past the 2012
election.

SCHRIOCK: Well, now that he`s up for reelection, mind you.

STEIN: Let`s go back for a second. Like you said, the use of the word
"gay," the talk of immigration reform -- culturally, this president is so
much beyond where we were in the past. Can you imagine any of those topics
coming up 4, 8, 12 years ago?

MATTHEWS: How about coming up if Romney had won?

STEIN: No, they wouldn`t have come up. But this president represents sort
of the modern generation, the acceptance of different facets of society,
and the gay rights issue, which is so predominant among...

MATTHEWS: OK...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Let me tell you, I don`t -- I don`t believe -- and I think none
of us at the table in this -- watching television believe this -- that
rights are somehow zero sum. Certainly, some people can think of their
rights, which overrun other people -- talking in a movie theater, for
example. I would not consider it a valid right. Just a point for me.

But most of the time, when you get to be able to get into a school because
you`re black and you weren`t allowed to get in before, that`s an
opportunity generally.

Now, here he is -- here`s a point of view that disagrees with that. John
Harris and Jonathan Martin wrote in Politico today that Obama`s speech was
an argument for liberal causes. Quote, "It demonstrated that there are
more people on his side -- immigrants, minorities, liberal-minded young
people and women, beneficiaries of big government -- than there are on the
other side -- older whites, cultural traditionalists, wealthy and upper
middle class earners -- who recoil at what they see as the remorseless
expansion of government and resent being stuck with the bill."

I don`t believe every rights -- every bit of rights extended to people
carries a price tag. I think you can give opportunity to gay people, to
minorities, to young people, to all kinds of people. That doesn`t mean,
Oh, somebody else ain`t getting it. I don`t buy that. And also, somebody
else is going to have to pay for it. But I think that`s a kind of an
economic way of looking at it, perhaps an accounting way of looking at it
in a way that I don`t buy. Your thoughts.

SCHRIOCK: Well, I often think that they`re thinking about -- ultimately,
it`s power. Where`s the power situated in the country? And when we`re
talking about women and immigrants and Hispanics, does that mean some of
the power that`s been tied up so tightly...

MATTHEWS: OK, you`re right on that.

SCHRIOCK: ... in this country, it starts moving out. That`s...

MATTHEWS: So it`s been a monopoly, then it`s not a monopoly. I agree.

SCHRIOCK: I think that`s right.

MATTHEWS: Let`s go to some -- we don`t have much time and I`m fast (ph).
You talked about the word -- I talked about the word "gay" being used,
which grabbed some people. Climate change...

STEIN: Uh-oh!

MATTHEWS: ... reference to climate change and the denouncement of science
deniers was lauded by the left. And of course, it had to be.

Let`s listen to the president actually say something that I don`t think has
been said before.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are
not just to the ourselves but to all posterity. We will respond to the
threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray
our children and future generations.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none
can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and
more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be
long and sometimes difficult, but America cannot resist this transition.
We must lead it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, Rush Limbaugh challenged him today from -- because people
who are listening to Rush are driving cars and using up fossil fuel, and
they`re not driving smart cars or Priuses.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: No, they`re driving big gas burners. But the fact is, there is
still that sort of no-nothingism, if you will, that -- what is it -- I`m
trying to think of the great word. You don`t believe in anything --
Luddites.

SCHRIOCK: Right.

STEIN: You put your head in the sand.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Is this going to change things?

STEIN: Maybe not, but this was sort of symbolic of the whole address,
which is that it`s time to stop having sort of side debates over issues we
no longer can deny.

MATTHEWS: How about balanced argument?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: There`s really a case against -- in other words, some things
have been decided by science.

STEIN: Correct. And you know, we spent a good two years now talking about
the huge threat that our debt has when, arguably, the warming of the
planet, which could be irreversible, is a much larger threat than our
national debt. And I think what Obama was trying to say with the inclusion
of that line and others was that we need to have a reasoned discussion once
again, and I`m tired of saying, This side and this side, let`s meet in the
middle. Let`s acknowledge certain realities and fix it. The problems
facing us are...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: The trouble is, the Republican Party, Stephanie, had up until
recently acknowledged a common science, and then...

SCHRIOCK: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: ... as part of this crazy admission requirement for the
Republican candidacy for president, you have to disown all that, all that
knowledge.

SCHRIOCK: That`s exactly right. And I think he felt so comfortable saying
what he said yesterday because the American people were with him on
election day. You know, they stood up and they said, No, this is time for
reasonable discussion on issues. Like, this wasn`t just one set of issues.
The American people in our research at Emily`s List has shown that
particularly women voters -- they just want some common sense discussion on
these issues to look for some policies that are going to lead us forward.

STEIN: Let me make one quick point, is because the speech is being
interpreted as a massive defense of liberalism. I didn`t view it like
that. I saw it as him saying, These are severe issues that we have to
confront. He wasn`t outlining specific means of confronting them. He
wasn`t saying government has to solve all the problems. But he was saying
we can no longer deny that this is a problem, that this is a problem, and
that this is a problem, and we need to actually come together and do
something about it.

It was a progressive vision, but it wasn`t a big government speech.

MATTHEWS: I think it was a personal statement of what he believed and what
he valued. And I think it`s important for us to know that. This wasn`t
written by a bunch of speech writers.

SCHRIOCK: Right.

MATTHEWS: At least the final edition was pure him. Stephanie, it`s great
to have you on. I see why you`re a leader, and now I pronounce your
name...

SCHRIOCK: Well, thank you.

MATTHEWS: ... Stephanie...

SCHRIOCK: Thank you so much.

MATTHEWS: ... Schriock, thank you very much, from Butte, Montana, if
you`re wondering where that non-accent came from.

SCHRIOCK: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: You come from that part of the country that has no accent, which
I`m always amazed by.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Thank you, Sam Stein. I come from where we have one.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Coming up: The neocon game. One of the President Obama`s
loudest messages yesterday was no more perpetual wars. Well, that`s a
rebuke, of course, to the neocon hawkish crowd that`s always itching for
the next one. And these days, the war they`re itching for, of course, is
Iran. Guess what? They may have to wait on that one.

Also, Republicans have figured out they can`t win presidential elections by
getting enough people to vote for them and they can`t win by keeping
Democrats from voting. So now they`re trying to rig the electoral system
so that their candidates essentially split the electoral votes in big blue
states that Democrats have been winning for years. It`s not
constitutional, just desperate.

And one more sign that the culture wars are moving the progressives` way.
The new NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll finds that for the first time,
the majority of Americans want abortion to be legal in almost all cases,
all or almost (ph) cases.

Finally, it turns out that one of the most memorable things that happened
yesterday didn`t actually happen. It wasn`t exactly Milli Vanilli, but
Beyonce wasn`t singing yesterday. She was lip-synching to her own recorded
voice. And she wasn`t the first to do that on a cold inaugural day.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Initial estimates say the crowd at yesterday`s inaugural was at
least one million people. That`s down from the 1.8 million who came out to
see President Obama sworn in the first time. But even so, a turnout of a
million people puts Obama`s second inaugural among the biggest ever. Look
at that crowd!

It`s more than double the 400,000 who turned out to see George W.`s second
inaugural and it tops the 800,000 who watched Bill Clinton sworn in. It
felt full, yesterday. Anyway, before Obama, the previous crowd estimate
record was 1.2 million who came out for LBJ -- that`s Lyndon Johnson`s
inaugural back in `65.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. President Obama yesterday signaled
the era of never-ending wars is over. Well, that was a direct rebuke to
the neoconservative war party. I also thought I heard some key lines that
might be a sign of what`s to come in his second term foreign policy.

Let`s listen to a bit of what the president said yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting
peace do not require perpetual war. Our citizens, seared by the memory of
those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The
knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those
who would do us harm.

But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war, who
turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends, and we must carry those
lessons into this time, as well. We will show the courage to try and
resolve our differences with other nations peacefully, not because we are
naive about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably
lift suspicion and fear.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: That`s why I like President Obama, and one of the many reasons I
like him because of that. Could that be an olive branch that the president
might extend to nations such as, well, let`s say it, Iran? And if so, will
they respond over in Tehran?

Richard Engel is NBC`s chief foreign correspondent and Steve Clemons is
Washington editor-at-large for "The Atlantic."

Richard, thank you so much, and it`s great to have you with us tonight safe
and sound.

RICHARD ENGEL, NBC CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about that.

I had a sense as a political observer that the president was talking
directly to Iran, to Iran, to the mullahs, to the people over there who
really have the power, saying, look, maybe we can avoid a war, maybe we can
avoid a bombing campaign by us or Israel if we can talk around -- talk away
from this weaponization of nuclear arms over there.

How did you read it? What happened over there?

ENGEL: I think he was talking to a lot of different audiences, and he was
saying that I`m different than the previous administration. I`m not
President Bush.

A lot of people around the world still remember the United States even
though there`s been four years of a Barack Obama presidency for the wars in
Iraq and the wars in Afghanistan and military interventions and the drone
policy. And he was trying to say, we can work peacefully.

We have to build on the peacemakers. And I think that is a message that
will be received by people in Iran, will be received by certain communities
in Iran, but there is a big divide in Iran. There`s the Quds Force which
is also feeling very empowered and feeling very aggressive.

So, if he`s extending an olive branch, I think there will be some parties
in Iran that will be taking it and other parties that will just be seeing
this as some sort of trick, because this administration has also been very
tough on Iran, particularly as far as sanctions are concerned.

MATTHEWS: Steve, first of all, do you think it`s going to reach the
message -- will the message get to the person it`s intended for?

STEVEN CLEMONS, EDITOR AT LARGE, "THE ATLANTIC": I think it is.

I think there`s an audience of one that this was really meant for, with due
respect to Richard, whom I adore. But I think Ayatollah Khamenei is the
person that Barack Obama was trying to reach with this. We have seen in
President Ahmadinejad`s speeches recently a relaxation of some of the
commentary and the demonization of Obama.

And you have to remember Obama and these actions that they have imposed are
squeezing Iran, collapsed the oil export part of the economy of Iran, and
the Iranian currency is in freefall. They`re feeling a lot of pressure.
But we don`t know a lot about Khamenei and how he sees the world.

This was a line that was meant to reach him specifically. And I think that
is -- this is part of moving to what "The New York Times" talked about
before, which is the probability of bilateral negotiations between Iran and
the United States.

MATTHEWS: Well, you know, Richard, here in the politics of America --
you`re overseas in the risky areas -- and I will talk about that with you
later, about your experience over there -- but it seems to me that the
people heard the same message on both sides of the American argument.

I noticed today, for example, that a paper I read all the time, "The Weekly
Standard," the magazine editor, Bill Kristol, and I found the same line of
the president`s speech as the most memorable, about turning enemies in
friends.

Here`s what Bill wrote: "Two points. First, our forbearers were only able
to win the peace because they first crushed their enemies in war. But
under President Obama, we`re not committed to winning our wars. We`re
committed to ending them. Does Obama really think we`re going to win the
peace after not winning the war? Second, think about the formulation --
and not just. Surely, President Obama should have said this: We are also
heirs to those who won the peace as well as the war. But he didn`t say
that. The formulation Obama chose -- and not just the war -- suggests that
Obama believes that it`s no big deal to win a war, and the greater
achievement is winning the peace. With respect to World War II, this view
is ludicrous. With respect to today`s world, this view is dangerous."

Now, back to the question, and this is really a philosophical argument, not
your home turf. You cover the reality out there. But the philosophical
argument, the neocons do seem to believe that you must win. You can`t end
wars. You must win them. And the question is, knowing the terrain you
cover, the Mideast, how do you win any final war? Isn`t it always about
trying to find an alleviation from war?

ENGEL: Well, the -- just to clarify a little bit on Iran and then to talk
about the winning of the war...

MATTHEWS: Sure.

ENGEL: ... I think that there`s -- Ahmadinejad is almost irrelevant at
this point.

Khamenei, the grand ayatollah, the supreme leader, is going to replace him
with someone of his own. That`s the next leader of Iran. The next
practical leader is going to come from Khamenei`s real camp. And it`s not
clear that that camp is going to reach out to the Obama administration,
that that camp is interested in a peace offering, even if the economy is in
freefall.

It might be convinced that its own survival is intrinsically linked with a
conflict with the United States. So, even if he`s reaching out and he has
an intended message of one, it`s unclear if that message is going to be
received.

In the Middle East, the idea of winning and losing is a little different.
There`s a much longer historical perspective. The Muslim Brotherhood, for
example, doesn`t see this election by Morsi or other Muslim Brotherhood
gains as a victory. It`s a step on the road to establishing a world as it
existed before the collapse of the caliphate, before the disaster as it
sees it of all the World War I agreements.

So it`s about winning battles, as opposed to winning a decisive war that`s
going to have a decisive peace.

MATTHEWS: Richard, you`re optimistic this might get through?

CLEMONS: I think -- I am optimistic...

MATTHEWS: I mean Steve.

CLEMONS: ... it`s going to get through. I think Richard is absolutely
right that we don`t know ultimately how they will respond, and there`s an
awful lot about Khamenei that we don`t know.

But I think the White House realizes that before it could ever go down the
road of much tougher either sanctions or even the very last resort of
military course, that this is the kind of outreach that has to happen.

And with Ahmadinejad`s speeches, I agree with Richard that he`s not
significant, but the fact that he`s relaxing his speeches means that
Khamenei had him do that. He is a puppet. So I am optimistic.

MATTHEWS: Well, I`m hopeful. I think you have got to talk a little if you
can before you start bombing.

Anyway, thank you, Richard Engel. Good -- we will get back to you at some
time and talk about your captivity over there in Syria. I have got to
listen to the horror story. You`re a great man. And we had our worry
beads out.

(CROSSTALK)

ENGEL: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, up -- as we should have.

Up next, yesterday was the president`s big day, but didn`t you get the idea
that the vice president -- there he is -- you can`t not laugh sometimes at
Joe Biden -- was thinking about inauguration four years from now? This guy
worked that inaugural crowd like it was a -- well, it was a ward in Iowa
somewhere and this is a caucus meeting.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL and now to the "Sideshow."

Tracking Joe Biden. It was a jampacked day yesterday for everyone involved
in the inauguration, from the ceremony to the parade to the evening events.
The president`s right-hand man, by the way, was on his game the whole time
and loving it. The day started with a church service just before 9:00 a.m.
and was nonstop from there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I, Joseph R. Biden Jr.
, do solemnly swear...

SONIA SOTOMAYOR, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE, U.S. SUPREME COURT: ... that I will
support and defend the Constitution of the United States...

BIDEN: ... that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United
States, that I will well and faithfully discharge...

SOTOMAYOR: ... the duties of the office on which I am about to enter...

BIDEN: ... the duties of the office upon which I`m about to enter...

SOTOMAYOR: ... so help me, God.

BIDEN: ... so help me, God.

SOTOMAYOR: Congratulations.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(MUSIC)

BIDEN: The president will forgive me as we were walking out that he was,
as he said, savoring the moment, looking out at the crowd and all those
Americans assembled.

I found myself -- surprised me even -- turned to him and saying thank you.
Folks, I raise my glass to a man who never, never, never operates out of
fear, only operates out of confidence.

And I`m toasting you, Chuck.

(LAUGHTER)

BIDEN: You can`t get rid of me, man. Remember, I`m still part of the
Senate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, how you doing? Come on. Come on.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

BIDEN: Good evening.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

I am Jill Biden`s husband.

(LAUGHTER)

BIDEN: And I came along with my whole family, which is standing over there
in the wings. It`s a real honor to be here tonight with, I`m told, 25
Medal of Honor recipients. As a matter of fact, it`s not an honor. It`s
literally humbling. You are such incredible soldiers, sailors, airmen,
Marines.

They tell me you`re going to witness something that I would rather actually
be in a helicopter with one of you heading somewhere into action, because
I`m going to dance in front of all of you and make a fool of myself. So be
patient.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, for anyone questioning whether the vice president has the
energy for a presidential campaign a few years down the line, I think we
have an answer.

And this one might be the Inauguration Day disappointment for a lot of
viewers. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SINGING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, that was, of course, Beyonce singing the national anthem -
- or, as we found out today, Beyonce lip-synching the national anthem.

While she appeared to be belting out her way to the final notes, it turns
out we were hearing a prerecorded track, lyrics included. But this isn`t a
new occurrence, of course. Yo-Yo Ma, the great Yo-Yo Ma, used an audio
track during the event four years ago, though he had something of an
excuse. Apparently, you just can`t play the cello in 25-degree weather.

Finally, a glimpse at a possible Inauguration Day low for the first lady,
Michelle Obama. This was during yesterday`s luncheon at the Capitol.
Everyone was eating and listening to a speech by Senator Chuck Schumer when
this happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: I think we really deserve a round of
applause to our chef.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Did you see that dismissive head shake in there? Anyway, catch
that eye roll there. Anyway, it looks like she didn`t like the
conversation much going on or coming at her from Boehner.

Up next: Republicans have figured out they can`t win presidential
elections fair and square, so now they want to change the rules. They want
to cheat a little.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

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That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide -- now back to HARDBALL.

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Just when you thought the efforts by some Republicans to suppress the vote
couldn`t sink any lower, wait until you hear -- get a load, actually -- of
what they have in store for 2016. In several states, Republicans are
floating proposals that would change the rules of how electoral votes are
allocated, making it easier for them to win.

Here is how it would work. Right now in all but two states, the winner of
a state`s popular vote gets all of its electoral votes. Republicans want
to change that, but only in certain states, so the votes would be divided
up by congressional districts and awarded proportionally.

Efforts are being considered, for example, in Pennsylvania, Michigan,
Wisconsin, Virginia, and Ohio. What do these states have in common? Well,
they all voted twice for President Obama.

RNC Chair Reince Priebus backs the scheme and openly acknowledges the
rationale behind it. He told "The Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel" this week --
quote -- "It`s something a lot of states that have been consistently blue -
- they have been consistently blue -- that are fully controlled red and
they ought to be looking at."

In other words, if the state votes Democrat for president and is controlled
by a Republican governor and state legislature, maybe you can swing it back
the other way through a little jingling here -- anyway a little jiggling.

Also, just how desperate is the Republican Party? Well, if they can`t win
playing by the rules, it seems, as we see here, they decide they can change
the rule.

Ed Rendell is the former governor of Pennsylvania, and Michael Crowley is
deputy Washington bureau chief of "TIME" magazine.

Governor, it looks like they`re looking at states like Pennsylvania that
right now has a Republican operation and apparatus running it, but has
traditionally been a Democratic presidential state. Explain what the game
is that they might be playing, or up to at least.

ED RENDELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it`s very simple.

Barack Obama carried the state in the last election by 5.5 points. But the
way the vote came in for Obama, it was concentrated in Philadelphia and
Pittsburgh, two big areas that had significant Democratic representation.

If you did it district -- congressional district alone, out of the 19
congressional districts, Governor Romney would have carried 13, President
Obama only six, and if you gave the two bonus electoral votes to the
president, it would have been 13-8. If you decided to pass a law that said
the bonus two go to whoever wins the most congressional districts, it would
have been 15-8 in favor of -- excuse me -- 15-6 in favor of Governor
Romney, even though he lost the state by a very significant majority.

MATTHEWS: But wouldn`t you have -- maybe not riots but something close to
it if the word got out in Philadelphia, for example, that the state had
gone by popular vote by as you say five points, for example, and yet the
state`s electoral votes had gone by and large to the Republican. Wouldn`t
people just go crazy on hearing that all their efforts to vote were
eliminated by manipulation in Harrisburg?

RENDELL: Absolutely. And this is a case of "be careful what you wish
for", Chris, because I think if the Republicans push this in states like
Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and the others, in Michigan, what you`re going to
have is the national popular vote, which is under the radar screen, I don`t
even know if you have talked about it on your show. It`s a movement to get
states to pass laws saying they will cast 100 percent of their electoral
votes to whoever wins the national popular vote.

Already seven states and the district representing 132 electoral votes,
states like California and New Jersey, Illinois, for example, have passed
laws saying that as soon as 271 electoral -- states representing 271 pass
the same law, it becomes law in those states. So that would end the
Electoral College. Effectively end the Electoral College.

MATTHEWS: Do you think -- where are you on that? We`ve been debating that
since high school you and I. What do you think is better for the country,
Electoral College or popular vote for president?

RENDELL: Popular vote for president. Popular vote for president. Too
many states are ignored. We have a 10-state election right now. If you
had a popular vote carries, we`d have a 50-state election.

MATTHEWS: Let me go to Mike Crowley for the basic facts here.

This Republican movement in certain states, especially in Harrisburg, where
they know they just can`t win statewide because in Philadelphia, as the
governor knows, last time, it was like a 500,000 vote plurality coming out
of the city, an 85 percent coming out of the city of Philadelphia, the
county of Philadelphia, and same with Pittsburgh. Mike Doyle`s district.

So you have four CDs in Philadelphia, Chaka Fattah, Bob Brady, Allyson
Schwartz, Mike Doyle, together a huge plurality of Democratic votes
basically wasted when you go in terms of CD counts.

Are the Republicans up to something that looks naughty and they don`t care
if it looks naughty in they don`t care how cheap this looks?

MIKE CROWLEY, TIME MAGAZINE: They apparently don`t. I`m surprised they`re
as willing to talk about it as openly as they are.

MATTHEWS: Like Reince Priebus.

CROWLEY: Yes. I mean, it looks like a party that is failing in fair play.
They`re coalition is shrinking. The other side is expanding.

MATTHEWS: Is this their demographic challenge, that they`re going to be
outnumbered by African-Americans and Hispanic voters and young people,
generally, so let`s fix it?

.CROWLEY: Yes. What it looks like -- I don`t know what their true
motivations are -- but what it looks like and what it will look like is a
party that`s panicking. They`re desperate.

They can`t win. The demographic trends are working against them. They
don`t want to reform their party in the ways that would be required to
expand their coalition, so they`re essentially going to try to change the
rules, Chris.

And to the question of a national system, I mean, let`s -- if you`re going
to make a change, if you don`t like the way it works, change it across the
country. Don`t do -- it`s just kind of sleazy to cherry-pick the states
where it`s advantageous for you and try to change the rules in those
places. I mean, it`s really --

MATTHEWS: Governor, your thoughts about this. You know, if we go to a
national election, which might be -- it is your preferred option, and get
away from all these games that are played with chads and dimpled chads and
all the crap we put up in Florida, don`t we have to go to the same election
machines, basically voting -- it just seems to me if you have a national
number, it ought to mean the same thing in Albuquerque as it means in
Albany. Then you put a machine in and you pulled it out and it said you
voted some there. You didn`t scratch through something or push through
something or do some other crazy way of voting.

RENDELL: No, and we passed the national bill to sort of regulate
presidential elections, but, yeah, we`d have one machine, Chris, and that`s
the way it would be done.

I think what Mike was referring to is if they`re going to do it in
Pennsylvania, wouldn`t it be fair to do it in Texas where right now
Democrats get zero electoral votes but if you adopted this system we`d
probably pick up 10 or 12 electoral votes in Texas.

MATTHEWS: What do you hear from your old colleagues in Pennsylvania? Have
Republicans given up in a lot of these states, like New York, Connecticut,
New Jersey, and they`re basically figuring all we can do now is jigger the
machine a little bit? Your thoughts, Governor?

RENDELL: I think absolutely. I think you hear this. The point that Mike
made about the demographics changing, most African-Americans and Latinos
and young people cluster in urban areas. So you`ll give up the urban areas
anyway, those congressional votes would go to the Democrats, but you`ll
pick off the other areas where there aren`t so much a congregation of
minority voters or young voters. It`s really a despicable movement.

CROWLEY: Particularly in the context of the voter suppression efforts we
saw before that --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: And it`s Reince Priebus again, by the way, the same leadership.
This isn`t Michael Steele, our new colleague here. This is the Reince
Priebus administration pushing all these tricks.

Anyway, thank you, Ed Rendell, governor of Pennsylvania for so many years.

And, Mike Crowley, of course, thank you for joining us.

Up next, 40 years after Roe v. Wade, a majority of Americans now want
abortion to be legal, pure and simple. It`s another way the progressives
seem to be winning the culture wars. It`s very clear right now, these
latest NBC numbers we just got today.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Well, Chuck Hagel is making the rounds on Capitol Hill, trying
to win over support for his nomination as defense secretary. Today, he met
with Senator John McCain who has been a vocal critic of the Obama
administration. And late this afternoon, McCain said he and Hagel had a
frank and candid conversation in which they discussed some of McCain`s
concerns. McCain also called Hagel an old friend.

It`s worth remembering that both men are veterans of the Vietnam War and
that`s certainly a band of brothers.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ALAN GUTTMACHER: January 22nd, 1973 will stand out as one of the great
days for freedom and free choice. This allows a woman free choice as to
whether or not to remain pregnant. This is extraordinary.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That clip is from an "NBC News Nightly" 40 years ago today when the Supreme
Court handed down that Roe v. Wade decision.

Well, today, our new -- brand new NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll shows
that for the first time in the history of the poll, our poll, a majority,
54 percent, say abortion should be legal always or most of the time, and
the percentage of people who say Roe v. Wade should not be overturned has
been steadily rising over more than 20 years, topping out at 70 percent in
today`s poll. You see the bar charts there.

Despite these poll numbers, state level Republican lawmakers have enacted a
record number of bills restricting abortion rights as this chart shows.
The number spiked in 2011 at 92 bills and continued in 2012 with 43 bills
enacted.

Well, Terry O`Neill is president of NOW, the National Organization for
Women.

Marjorie Dannenfelser is president of Susan B. Anthony List, one of the
leading organizations in the anti-abortion rights movement.

Ladies, thank you so much for joining us.

What is your reaction, Marjorie, to this poll we have out that says that
people -- a majority of people do support a woman`s right to choose an
abortion and opposed getting rid of Roe v. Wade as a principle.

MARJORIE DANNENFELSER, SUSAN B. ANTHONY LIST: You know, do you want to
know what I really think? I think that poll has been fundamentally flawed
over years. And that it gives the -- it gives the person answering the
question misinformation. It says that that Roe outlawed abortion for only
after -- would only allow abortion to be legal in the first trimester.

That`s not true. It misinforms the person answering the question.

But what I think is more important is the long succession of polls over
time that have shown that every demographic except for the self-defying
Democrat demographic has been more and more pro-life over time. Especially
--

MATTHEWS: You define what pro-life means in that poll.

DANNENFELSER: Especially --

MATTHEWS: Do you define what pro-life means in that poll?

DANNENFELSER: Yes, we do.

MATTHEWS: How so?

(CROSSTALK)

DANNENFELSER: Well, young people. Which, what are the specific
limitations that you would prescribe? And in fact I think the poll -- one
of the reasons that poll is flawed, the MSNBC poll, is that it says
outlawed or not.

MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s go back to another point of view.

Terry O`Neill, respond to what -- do you think our poll is accurate --
appropriate when it asked people whether abortion should be legal most of
the time? What do you think is accurate here? I think there`s a hell of a
statement being made by this new poll. Your thoughts?

TERRY O`NEILL, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN: Oh, the poll is incredibly
important and the question it asks is appropriate. Roe versus Wade stated
that the state government and the federal government can`t criminalize
abortion in the first three months. That it is a fundamental
constitutional right.

Now, after the first three months under the Roe case, the state could have
an increasing right to restrict access to abortion, but really based on
women`s health needs. And the Roe decision was very clear that women`s
health is paramount.

Later decisions of the Supreme Court I`m sorry to say have slipped on
protecting women`s health. But what`s really fascinating to me about the
poll is that people do care about women`s health.

Even when those -- even when they`re asked -- I`ve seen other polls as
well, is that if f abortion is recriminalized, should there be exception
for women to protect their health and the overwhelming answer is yes and
also exceptions for rape and incest.

So --

DANNENFELSER: Chris, I have to -- I have to take issue with the actual --
the characterization of what Roe did. If the first and second trimester
per prescribed, you could not -- you could not make any limitations on
abortion up until viability, after only for the health and life of the
mother.

So that meant that pretty much up until the time of birth. There are no
restrictions allowed.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Up until the time of viability.

DANNENFELSER: Then after that, because of the Doe decision --

MATTHEWS: What do you think? Let`s cut to the chase here.

DANNENFELSER: Yes.

MATTHEWS: What do you think ought to be done on American law right now
that`s not Roe v. Wade? What would you do?

DANNENFELSER: I would say, I`m going to say what the givens are. The
givens are --

MATTHEWS: What would you do under the law? Quickly.

DANNENFELSER: Because of the realization especially among young people,
there are two people involved, you could have all of that. It is relevant,
Chris. You used to share this --

MATTHEWS: What`s the law should be?

DANNENFELSER: That the law should, that it should actually protect both.
It should protect a wife, a --

MATTHEWS: Go with criminal sanction.

DANNENFELSER: No. It should protect mother and child.

MATTHEWS: How do you do that by law?

DANNENFELSER: And what the best thing to be done right now to stop the
marches that have been going on. Look at the march on Friday, it`s going
to be mostly young people. Biggest march ever --

MATTHEWS: What`s the best law we could have rather than Roe w. Wade?

DANNENFELSER: The best that we could do right now is close the gap between
public opinion and law, and go ahead and vote in common ground measures.
Don`t tax things that people think are the killing of human beings.

MATTHEWS: OK, great. I`m having a hard time. I don`t think you could put
a woman in prison for having an abortion.

DANNENFELSER: Have I said that?

MATTHEWS: Because you`re talking around it.

DANNENFELSER: I`m not at all. I`m talking about common ground.

MATTHEWS: Every time I hear somebody talk about outlawing abortion, or
banning it, or getting rid, I`d say, what`s the law? Please tell me the
law should be in simple English.

DANNENFELSER: Why did you ever have a sentiment in this regard at all?
Why did you feel that there was any pro-life --

MATTHEWS: Because I want to know what the position is of the pro-life
people on the law. Please tell. It`s not about morality. It`s about the
law.

DANNENFELSER: It`s humanity of the unborn child and the humanity of the
woman.

MATTHEWS: I can`t get into these. Thank you.

DANNENFELSER: Common ground law --

MATTHEWS: Six years in jail, 20 years in jail. Tell me the punishment.
Until you do, I have a hard time understanding the pro-life --

DANNENFELSER: That`s a great talking point but that`s not working out.

MATTHEWS: Well, actually a talking point with a fact.

Anyway, thank you, Terry O`Neill and Marjorie Dannenfelser. And please
come back if you have an answer to the question.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this. I end where I began with the
Obama doctrine at home and abroad.

Imagine another president speaking with pride and connection with Seneca
Falls and Selma and Stonewall. Imagine another president wrapping himself
into the very history of struggle for women, for blacks, for gay people --
all with a kind of storied celebration. Yes, we`ve come far. Now let`s go
the distance.

The word here, by the way, is "we." Not them, not those people. Didn`t
hear any of that on yesterday from there on the Capitol steps. Didn`t hear
fighters for women being portrayed as humorless suffragettes. Didn`t hear
fighters for civil rights being called outside agitators. Didn`t hear gay
people standing up for their right to be here on God`s earth as the odd
people out.

No. They all belong here. They are among us. They are of us -- a good
and worthy part of us. Again, it was an astounding speech, an "Ich bin ein
Berliner" for the home front.

And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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