February 1, 2013
Guests: Robert Costa, Dror Moreh, Cynthia Tucker
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: The pain of McCain.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
"Let Me Start" tonight with this. Why is John McCain so angry? Forty
years after the Vietnam POWs came home, the most famous of them is angrier
than ever. Why is America, why are we fighting the Vietnam war all over
again in the United States Senate? The ticked off vitriol against Chuck
Hagel -- what`s it about? Is it for show? Is it about something Hagel
said in the cloakroom? Is it about the basic unfairness of Vietnam itself,
that some went and some didn`t? Is it about Lyndon Johnson`s inability to
win that war or end it?
What is it that burns so deeply in John McCain these days, seems to excite
those who knew nothing about Vietnam but for hard reasons want to replay it
again and again in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Libya and Syria, and yes,
eventually in Iran.
Well, tonight we dig into the deep well of resentment burning in John
McCain`s patriotic heart, a resentment not against the North Vietnamese who
imprisoned and tortured him all those years, not against George W. Bush and
his political henchmen who tried to stain McCain`s reputation back in 2000,
but against a guy who fought against fear and rallied against wounds, just
like he did, in the same army of America`s long nightmare in Vietnam, Chuck
Hagel, a nightmare, by the way, whose flashbacks must haunt still the mind
and heart of John Sidney McCain.
I`m joined by David Corn with "Mother Jones" and Joy Reid with TheGrio.
Both are MSNBC analysts. Both of you, sir and lady, are younger than me,
but I must tell you I`m absolutely convinced we`re watching a flashback.
Watch this. Here is Senator John McCain. He did a long, angry windup
before he launched into his first so-called question. It was really an
indictment for a former Senate colleague and former friend and fellow
Vietnam veteran Chuck Hagel. It included putdowns, as well as references
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: In January of 2007, in a rather bizarre
exchange with Secretary Rice in the Foreign Relations Committee, after some
nonsense about Syria and crossing the border into Iran and Syria because of
the surge, then -- and a reference to Cambodia in 1970, you said, quote,
"When you set in motion the kind of policy the president is talking about
here, it`s very, very dangerous." Quote, "Matter of fact, I have to say,
Madam Secretary, I think the speech given last night by this president
represents the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since
Vietnam. If it`s carried out, I will resist it."
In March 2008, you said, quote, "Here the term quagmire could apply."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: What are these, the Fulbright hearings all over again? I mean,
I lived through these -- I lived through them, and this guy`s going back
into some "Last Year at Marienbad" kind of weird 1970s movie, where you go
back into the past that never even happened. Why is he fighting Hagel over
DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it`s
interesting because he`s ostensibly fighting with him over Iraq...
CORN: ... but it immediately becomes about Vietnam. It`s as (ph) how (ph)
they`re talking about -- he seems to be mad that Hagel took issue with him
about Iraq and compared it to Vietnam being the big blunder, which, of
course, Mccann and Hagel both served in.
You know, when McCain talks about Iraq, all he wants to talk about it, from
the surge on. It`s as if everything before that didn`t happen and didn`t
count. And we can still debate whether the surge worked or not, but the
bigger issue is whether Iraq was...
CORN: ... as bad as Vietnam, and he doesn`t want to have that argument.
MATTHEWS: Well, here is -- Joy, I want you to respond to this -- here`s
McCain sinking his teeth -- and that`s what he was doing -- into Hagel`s
ankle here, and he wouldn`t let go on the question of the Iraq surge --
again, what David said. Let`s listen again, back again to the old war.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Were you correct or incorrect when you said that the surge would be the
most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam? Were
you correct or incorrect?
CHUCK HAGEL (R), FMR. NE SEN., DEFENSE SECRETARY NOMINEE: My...
MCCAIN: Yes or no.
HAGEL: My reference to the surge...
MCCAIN: Are you going to...
HAGEL: ... being the most dangerous...
MCCAIN: ... answer the question, Senator Hagel? The question is, were you
right or wrong? That`s a pretty straightforward question.
MCCAIN: I would like you to answer whether you were right or wrong, and
then you are free to elaborate.
HAGEL: Well, I`m not going to give you a yes or no. I think it`s far more
complicated than that. As I`ve already said, my answer is I`ll defer that
judgment to history. As to -- the comment I made about the most dangerous
foreign policy decision since Vietnam was about not just the surge but the
overall war of choice going into Iraq.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, there you have it. Joy, your thoughts. You`re younger.
You`ve been through it. You`ve studied it in school. I lived through it.
It`s the weirdest thing, but it looks like a flashback. McCain is so
angry. Is it really about the surge? What is it? Did they yell at each
other in the cloakroom? I mean, I`m still trying to figure out the anger
JOY REID, THEGRIO.COM, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, and these guys both served,
as you said, Chris. You know, they were actually good friends. You know,
they were brothers in arms in the Senate.
You know, John McCain seems to be a man who is tormented. He`s tormented
by these demons that have to do with the things that he was denied. He was
denied the presidency, so he couldn`t stand George W. Bush. He was denied
it again, so he couldn`t stand Barack Obama and can`t stand anyone that
Barack Obama nominates.
And the surge was something that was his. I think that almost, in a way,
John McCain made the surge into the war as John McCain would have fought it
as commander-in-chief, and anyone who questions it gets the wrath of
And I watched that hearing or that part of the hearing with Colonel Jack
Jacobs and Patrick Murphy, the former congressman from Pennsylvania...
MATTHEWS: Yes, I know.
REID: ... who served in Iraq. And both of those guys have been at the
bottom of the pile, as Jack Jacobs calls it, just like Chuck Hagel, just
like John McCain, you just view war differently.
But the lesson that these two men took from Vietnam seems to have been so
different. Hagel took the questioning, the same thing Patrick Murphy
feels, being lied to and feeling that anger at knowing your friends died
for what you now believe to be a lie. McCain seems to have taken something
very different from it, maybe that we should have gone harder in...
MATTHEWS: Yes, I think it`s brain (ph) soup (ph). And we`re all
different, but here`s Chuck Hagel on Vietnam -- or in Vietnam back in `68,
when he went in. He was an enlisted soldier and rose to sergeant. There
he is, a noncommissioned officer with the infantry, a grunt, as they used
to say in Vietnam.
And this is Navy pilot John McCain with his squadron in 1965 before he was
captured and held as a POW for five-and-a-half years.
Hagel made reference, by the way, to the vantage point an enlisted man has
in war in his testimony yesterday. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAGEL: I saw it from the bottom. I see what -- I saw what happens. I saw
the consequences and the suffering and the horror of war. So I did
question a surge. I always ask the question, Is this going to be worth the
sacrifice, because there will be sacrifice.
In the surge case in Iraq, we lost almost 1,200 dead Americans during that
surge and thousands of wounded. Now, was it required? Was it necessary?
Senator McCain has his own opinion on that, shared by others. I`m not
sure. I`m not that certain that it was required.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, the horror of Vietnam, where I wasn`t -- I always
point that out -- the guys who were, into the jungle, fighting an enemy you
couldn`t see. There were no POWs in the jingle wars. They didn`t take
prisoners. You know, I don`t know what we did with ours. We turned over
to ARVN for God knows what kind of treatment.
That was a horrible war, a horrible -- I mean, there was -- the POWs were
the pilots that were shot down and used as bargaining chips, but the war
itself was even worse on the ground, I think. It`s fair to say the guys
who had to fight the ground war, the grunt war, like Hagel, saw it in all
CORN: And complexity and all the knotty dilemmas that you can see great
movies like Oliver Stone`s "Platoon." But...
MATTHEWS: I thought "Platoon" was good at that.
CORN: But there`s a dichotomy here. You have people like John Kerry and
Chuck Hagel, who talk about their experiences in Vietnam and saying,
Listen, we think a land war is the last resort.
And then you have someone like John McCain -- and this is a point you`ve
made on the show a couple times since the Republican convention -- he
called for about six wars in his speech in Tampa, John McCain did. And so
MATTHEWS: New ones.
CORN: New ones. And major wars. And so he seems to sort of come back
from Vietnam as if he wants to do it right in another way. And he has this
whole thing, people forget, about Teddy Roosevelt. And Teddy Roosevelt,
who did a lot of progressive things on the foreign policy front, believed
that national greatness and his own personal greatness would come from war.
MATTHEWS: The great white fleet.
CORN: Yes. And so -- and McCain seems to have some of that in him, which
is not present in John Kerry or Chuck Hagel.
MATTHEWS: OK, let`s take it up to the new generation. Joy, this -- let`s
talk about what relevance it could have. Somebody said to me the other day
that when you watch the whole hearings the other day, with this nitpicking
and attack and baiting really about Israel and stuff like that -- we all
could see the baiting, especially by Lindsey Graham here, I`ll show it in a
second -- it really didn`t have much to do with the kind of military force
we need in the 21st century, the kind of decisions that have to be made,
the technocratic decisions, you know, the kind that McNamara tried to make.
What kind of an army do -- how big of a footprint? How many troops do we
leave in a country? Which wars can we really fight? How many can we
fight? How do we win them? How do we use drones? How do we use
personnel? None of that!
REID: Exactly. No, I totally agree with you. I was watching it and
going, Why are we having a discussion about something that`s over? The
Iraq war is the past. They were fighting about the past.
What about the new military, the modernization, the downsizing of the
military, as you said, the drones, the things that people are talking about
today? The secretary of state -- the next secretary of defense -- sorry --
is not going to have to deal with Iraq. Iraq is a fait accompli. But John
McCain is obsessed with the past and he`s obsessed with this sort of glory
of war idea that is from the 20th century. He needs to move on.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, here`s Lindsey Graham, the amigo, he calls him,
badgering defense nominee Hagel -- and badgering`s the word for it -- about
his vote on whether the Iranian Revolutionary Guard should be designated a
I think this is reelection lingo on the part of my friend, Lindsey Graham.
I think this is aimed directly at South Carolina`s right wing. Let`s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If there was a vote on the floor
of the Senate this afternoon to label the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, the
people who`ve killed our soldiers in Iraq, some of the most vicious people
to the people of Iran themselves -- if there were a vote tomorrow or this
afternoon or after lunch, would you still vote no?
HAGEL: Well, I would want to know from the president what they were doing,
GRAHAM: I mean -- I mean, you read the paper, you watch TV. You got any
doubt what they`re doing? If you had a chance tomorrow, today, after lunch
to vote to say that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard was a terrorist
organization, would you still vote no?
HAGEL: Well, the reason I voted no to start with...
GRAHAM: Well, I know why. You told me that. My question is, would you
reconsider and would you vote yes this time, or would you still vote no?
HAGEL: Well, times change. I recognize that. And yes, I would
reconsider, but the whole...
GRAHAM: Well, thank you. That`s encouraging. My time is up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You want to know what the McCarthy period was like a little bit
-- a little bit? You want to know what the Inquisition was like, a little
bit, the star chamber? That.
CORN: Well, you know, he didn`t give him a chance to answer the question.
It wasn`t about the issue itself. It was about Lindsey Graham
grandstanding for the five minutes he gets.
You know, there`s a whole `nother story we can talk about some other time,
about how congressional hearings have really gone downhill over the last 10
or 20 years...
CORN: ... five-minute questions, you don`t get to develop a train of
thought, you don`t take in the answer and have a real discussion. But you
saw yesterday far more talk about what Hagel might have said about Israel a
couple years ago than about Afghanistan.
MATTHEWS: They wanted recantation. They wanted him to recant like --
MATTHEWS: ... ecclesiastical proceeding. Recantation, turn the candles
upside-down. I mean...
REID: They -- they feel he turned on them, he turned on their war, he
turned on the neocons, and they want him to cry uncle. And I think also,
the neoconservatives, the neocons, who are led in the Senate by John McCain
and Lindsey Graham -- they see Chuck Hagel as the human roadblock and the
symbol that Barack Obama -- that President Obama is not going to let them
have their war in Iran, and that is their problem with Chuck Hagel.
MATTHEWS: I think our brains are connected. I say that again, Joy.
You`re so smart.
MATTHEWS: Because I agree with your words...
REID: I appreciate it.
MATTHEWS: ... as you speak them. They`re brilliant. I`m serious. I`m
not patronizing. I think you`re unbelievable.
REID: I appreciate it. Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Joy, because everything you say, I keep
hearing my brain talk.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Joy Reid. I think we`re redundant.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, David Corn.
Coming up: it`s Hillary Clinton`s last day at the State Department. What a
ceremony we saw today. What a show! It was like a political convention.
Put another way, it`s the first day of the rest of her life, actually, and
they (ph) may well include a 2016 campaign for president. She hasn`t said
whether she wants to run, but there are plenty of Democrats out there just
waiting for her to say, I do.
Also, men behaving badly. We`ve touched on that already. We showed you
John McCain and Lindsey Graham`s rude behavior, and they`re hardly alone.
The lesson many of the GOPs seem to have learned from 2012 is if you want
to stop losing elections, just keep doing exactly what you`ve been doing.
Anyway, the documentary "The Gatekeepers" is a fascinating look at the
members of Israel`s security agency, the people in charge of with dealing
with Palestinians in the occupied territories. Turns out they`re a lot
more like Barack Obama than like Benjamin Netanyahu.
Finally, "Let Me Finish" tonight with the chance of a fabulous
Massachusetts delegation to the United States Senate now, Elizabeth Warren
and Edward Markey.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: The Republican Party suffered a huge blow today to its chances
of picking up John Kerry`s Senate seat, as I just suggested. Former
senator Scott Brown has decided not to run for the Senate seat again.
Brown, of course, won an interim election back in 2010 to fill out Ted
Kennedy`s term in the Senate, then lost the seat last year to Elizabeth
Brown was seen as the one Republican with a real chance to turn the seat
red, had he won -- had he ran (ph) and won the seat. However, Brown would
have to have run again next year to win the full term, and that would have
made four statewide runs for Brown in just over four years.
Brown`s decision makes Democratic congressman Edward Markey the clear
We`ll be right back. By the way, Brown will run for governor.
HILLARY CLINTON, FMR. SECRETARY OF STATE: I knew there was something
really special about this place and that having the honor to lead the State
Department and USAID would be unique and singular, exciting and
challenging. It has been all of those things and so much more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was, of course, Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton saying good-bye today to the men and women of the
State Department. Now let the campaign begin.
She may not want -- may want some R&R for the short run, but already the
world of Democratic operatives and donors is itching for the big drive in
Take a look at the cover of the tablet version, of course, of "Newsweek"
this week. There it is, "The most powerful women in history." Well, I
think that`s an overstatement. Nobody wants to be late to this party
anyway. Wasn`t Cleopatra pretty powerful?
Anyway, with me now is former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell and Pulitzer
Prize-winning Cynthia Tucker. Thank you.
Where you would -- Cynthia, where would you put Hillary versus Cleopatra.
Just try that. Try that one out for history`s sake.
CYNTHIA TUCKER, UNIV. OF GEORGIA: You know, it`s...
MATTHEWS: I mean, history.
TUCKER: ... funny, Chris, because Cleopatra immediately came to mind for
me, too. And I think Hillary Clinton probably still has some history in
front of her to make before she can be declared the most powerful woman in
MATTHEWS: OK. Good...
TUCKER: I think Cleopatra is a little bit ahead of her, so far.
MATTHEWS: We`ve settled that. We`ve settled that.
MATTHEWS: Ed Markey -- Ed Markey! I`m thinking of Ed Markey because I`m
just endorsing him tonight for the Senate because Scott Brown`s not running
up there in Massachusetts.
Let me ask you, Rendell -- Governor Rendell -- let me just try to bother
you a little bit. Back in 1979, you were convinced that Ted Kennedy could
not be beat for president of the United States. You were out there with
Billy Green (ph), everybody (INAUDIBLE) I`m trying to hold onto my
speechwriting job at the White House. You`re trying to take it away from
So times change. Is it conceivable, in your Hillary heart, that times
could change over the next three years and she would not be hot to trot to
run, that there may not be this groundswell of support for her?
Doug MacArthur, I`m told by the people who lived back there in `51 and
remembered it, that he was unbeatable in `51 for president when he was
fired by Truman. The Republicans would have ran him and won with him. A
year later, he was nothing. Ike took it away.
So is it true that Hillary has the staying power, so that four years from
now, she could be president?
ED RENDELL (D-PA), FMR. GOVERNOR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I think
she does. Ted Kennedy, remember, was a fairly young senator and hadn`t
really proven himself. Douglas MacArthur was a general and no one knew how
he`d react to public service.
Hillary Clinton has been on the scene for 20 years, two decades, and has
been a fairly dominant player already in American politics for those 20
And, Chris, it is unbelievable. I can`t walk a block in Philadelphia
without being stopped by someone thrusting a card in my hand saying, when
Hillary runs, I want to give money. I have never seen anything like it in
my political experience of 34 years ever, not anywhere close. Not even the
Obama phenomenon matches the enthusiasm level that`s here.
Could something change in three years? Of course. Three years is a long
time. But, remember, it`s not really three years. If she wants to make a
decision, she has to make a decision by next spring, spring of `14. And I
think, if she makes that is decision, she by and large preempts the
MATTHEWS: What is -- what would you do if you were talking -- you probably
will be talking to him off and on -- what do you tell Joe Biden that he
should do between now and then to prepare to run if she doesn`t run, but be
prepared to hit the parachute if she does run? How does he prepare both?
RENDELL: Well, he does everything he`s been doing. He goes at it like
he`s going to be a candidate, because I think there`s still a decent chance
that Hillary will decide not to run.
I wouldn`t bet on it, but I think there`s a decent chance, and then Joe
becomes the front-runner. So, Joe should continue to make contact, talk to
givers. The problem for Joe is -- and people do love and respect Joe, and
I`m in that category -- but the givers, the people who are going to decide
who really is the most powerful candidate, they`re all -- they all like
Joe, but they`re all for Hillary right now. That`s his biggest problem.
MATTHEWS: And that`s men and women both, right?
RENDELL: Men and women both.
MATTHEWS: Let me go to Cynthia.
Let`s look at this poll, most admired woman of 2012. Let`s take a look at
this number here. Hillary Clinton -- I mean, it`s not even close anymore
in this most admired woman category here -- 21 percent for her, the first
lady at 5 percent, which is OK, I guess, but not great here. And Oprah
Winfrey, who is like the most powerful woman in the history of the media,
you might say, televised media, and look at her down there at 4 percent.
It`s really stunning, the domination, if you will, of this one public
TUCKER: And I think that`s well-deserved, Chris. I really do.
I think that she has not only done a phenomenal job as secretary of state,
but she also -- she ran an excellent campaign in the primaries, and when
she lost, she threw her support behind Barack Obama and worked very hard
for him. And, of course, she worked -- she was his loyal secretary of
And I think that goes a long way with many people. Their campaign was
pretty bitter. Their rivalry was pretty bitter, and I remember all of the
questions in 2008. Will Hillary really join forces with Barack Obama? Not
only did she join forces. She worked hard for him, and she was his very
loyal secretary of state.
And I think, for people all over the world, that goes a long way in
building up their admiration for her.
TUCKER: This was a woman who lost the campaign, but when she was called
on, she gave it her all.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you, Governor. You`re as good a pol as I know,
and my question is, what did she learn? Somebody said just recently -- the
secretary herself just said that the lessons she learned looking back --
and it`s easy to learn looking back -- in 2008 was she had to be a better
Well, that covers a lot of territory. I think what hurt her most was her
support -- her vote at least for the Iraq war. In the Democratic confines
within the caucus voters, the real zealous people in the party, that war
was the issue, the opposition to it, and the fact that she had voted for it
I think really gave an issue to Barack Obama, who as a state senator was
out there in Chicago in probably a liberal district and he voted against
the war without worry being it.
She I think hedged her bets and voted for the war. And I think that was
her biggest impediment to winning the nomination. Your thoughts. It
doesn`t seem like she has that kind of impediment this time around if she
RENDELL: No, and she learned how to communicate with working-class folks.
If you remember, Chris, four or five years ago, Hillary Clinton`s biggest
problem was working-class women, blue-collar women.
RENDELL: And yet, by the end of that campaign, she was racking up huge
majorities in West Virginia and Kentucky and Pennsylvania and places like
that, and she attracted those working-class women.
She was like a rock star in the parades that we went to in Scranton and
Pittsburgh and places like that. So she learned to communicate as a
populist, as a real populist. That will hold her in good stead. And I
think she learned to save some money for contingencies.
RENDELL: Remember, if they had any money after Super Tuesday, I think they
would have been the nominee. But they spent all their money, and it was
down the chute, and she got bad advice. Good advice this time and...
MATTHEWS: She got bad advice. Mark Penn wasn`t so great.
If you run it next time, it will be better.
MATTHEWS: By the way, I got some of those looks...
MATTHEWS: ... from those working-class women. I know what that look looks
You`re against Hillary. If you were against Hillary, you were in big
trouble. No matter what your motive, you were in big trouble.
MATTHEWS: Cynthia, you can`t wait, can you?
TUCKER: You know, I think that, by 2014, the prospect of becoming the very
first female president of the United States will be too powerful for
Hillary Clinton to say no.
She`s also a person who could hold together what has become known as the
Obama coalition. I think her biggest trouble, quite frankly, would be
taking all of that for granted, the sense of entitlement, which I also
think hurt her some in 2008. She has to run as if her life depends on it
and not act as if she`s taking it for granted.
MATTHEWS: Well, after a brief rest, I`m sure she could.
Anyway, thank you, Cynthia Tucker and my good friend, Governor Ed Rendell.
Thank you both for coming. Happy Friday.
Up next, the "Sideshow," and this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Now to the "Sideshow."
State of shock -- Aaron Schock. Let`s say you`re a U.S. congressman in a
state that`s expected to take up the issue of gay marriage in the coming
weeks, and let`s say you have a history of supporting a federal amendment
that would ban it entirely. In those circumstances, you might expect it to
be a hot topic with reporters, right?
Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock apparently never saw it coming.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Why don`t you support that issue, by the way?
REP. AARON SCHOCK (R), ILLINOIS: Well, I just haven`t.
QUESTION: I mean, is there a reason? It seems to be a few states have
passed it. Obviously, that`s -- the needle is moving in a lot of polls.
And I`m just wondering what the reason is.
SCHOCK: I think everybody has a set of beliefs on issues, social issues in
particular that they -- that are a reflection of how they were raised and
their set of beliefs. I think why you`re seeing some of these changes in
laws is because people`s views in society have changed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, that was illuminating. Schock has said publicly that he`s
considering running for governor of Illinois.
Next: a rough week for some members of the San Francisco 49ers that has
nothing to do with the Super Bowl. It started when defensive back Chris
Culliver made anti-gay reports on a radio show. And his apology left some
people more baffled than forgiving -- quote -- "The derogatory comments I
made yesterday were a reflection of thoughts in my head, but they are not
how I feel." End of story? Maybe for Culliver, but not for some of his
To defend the team`s overall position on gay rights, some pointed to the
fact that four members took part in a video for the It Gets Better Project,
a group that reaches out to teen victims of bullying, specifically LGBT
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s nothing easy about being young.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About being yourself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every day brings different changes challenges...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... that help define who you are, but something you
should never experience is being bullied, intimidated or being pressured
into being someone or something that you are not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The San Francisco 49ers are proud to join
itgetsbetter.org to let all LGBT teens know that it gets better.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Believe in yourself. Set goals for yourself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look to the future, and it will get better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, that was last August, but in an interview with "USA
Today," two of the players we just saw in the video initially denied
participation in the gay rights video.
One of them, Ahmad Brooks, said -- quote -- "I think if I made a video, I
would remember it. This is America, and if someone wants to be gay, they
can be gay, but I didn`t make any video."
Well, then he was shown the video. His response? "Oh. , that. It was an
anti-bullying video, not a gay rights video."
Well, Brooks and his teammate eventually agreed that gay teens are in fact
very often the victims of bullying. Well, the It Gets Better Project has
removed video from the Web site. Wow, that`s confusing.
Up next: Republican men behaving badly.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
AMANDA DRURY, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Mandy Drury with your CNBC "Market
Well, the Dow jumped by 149 points, closing above 14000 for the first time
since 2007. The S&P added 15 points and the Nasdaq gained by 37. Well,
157,000 new jobs were created last month with the unemployment rate ticking
up to 7.9 percent. The numbers were slightly weaker than estimates, but
investors were comforted by upward revisions to November and December`s
More positive data on consumer sentiment, manufacturing, and also
construction spending also helped to push stocks higher.
And that is it from CNBC, first in business worldwide. Have a great
weekend, everybody -- now it`s back over to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
We`re seeing a trend, I would say, Republican men behaving badly. In fact,
they`re talking exactly the way they did in the four years leading up to
their 2012 election disaster. Apparently, losing a presidential election,
Senate and House seats hasn`t dissuaded some Republicans from putting their
worst feet forward.
Take Chuck Hagel`s confirmation hearing, some of which we have been --
talked about already tonight, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton`s
hearing over the killings in Benghazi.
Let`s listen to another exchange between Hagel and in this case South
Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Name one person in your opinion
who is intimidated by the Israeli lobby in the United States Senate.
CHUCK HAGEL, DEFENSE SECRETARY NOMINEE: Well, first...
GRAHAM: Name one.
HAGEL: I don`t know.
GRAHAM: Well, why would you say it?
HAGEL: I didn`t have in mind a specific person.
GRAHAM: Do you agree it`s a provocative statement, that I can`t think of a
more provocative thing to say about the relationship between the United
States and Israel and the Senate or the Congress than what you said?
Name one dumb thing we have been goaded into doing because of the pressure
from the Israeli or Jewish lobby.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, the freshman Republican Ted Cruz of Texas, the new kid on
the block, wanted to get his camera time. Let`s watch Cruz in action.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: In a speech on the floor of the Senate, you
referred to Israel`s military campaign against the terrorist group
Hezbollah as a -- quote -- "sickening slaughter."
Now, I would suggest the characterizations -- do you think it`s right that
Israel was committing a -- quote -- "sickening slaughter," as you said on
the floor of the Senate?
HAGEL: I think, again, I would want to read all of it, what I said.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, perhaps with an eye towards 2016, the right-wingers
certainly didn`t spare Hillary Clinton either. Senator Rand Paul said she
should have been fired for Benghazi. Let`s listen to Rand.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I`m glad that you`re accepting
responsibility. I think that ultimately with your leaving you accept the
culpability for the worst tragedy since 2007, and I really mean that. Had
I been president at the time and I found that you did not read the cables
from Benghazi, you did not read the cables from Ambassador Stevens, I would
have relieved you of your post. I think it`s inexcusable.
Not to know of the requests for securities really I think cost these people
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: It was particularly sweet there if you notice how he suggested
she was resigning under pressure, that she was quitting the job because of
Benghazi, even though for months, if not years, she said she intended to
serve one presidential term as secretary of state. So, that was a totally
You know, talk about Republicans rebranding themselves after their big
defeat in 2012, but it doesn`t seem as if these guys got the memo.
With me right now to discuss it, Robert Costa, Washington editor for "The
National Review," and Sam Stein, who is a political editor for The
Robert, how would you rate those performances?
ROBERT COSTA, "NATIONAL REVIEW": I think these are Republicans asking
tough questions at a congressional hearing.
This is not a big story. These are congressional hearings, not a cocktail
party. They should be tough questions. I don`t understand the outrage
about questions for someone who is going to be running the Pentagon.
SAM STEIN, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Well, I slightly disagree with Robert.
MATTHEWS: I thought you might.
STEIN: You know, actually, it`s funny, because some of these questions did
produce interesting, illustrative answers.
For instance, when Ron Johnson got Hillary Clinton to say what difference
does it make about the attack in Benghazi, well, it does make a difference.
The problem I found with these questions was that they ended up stepping on
the news. They became so demonstrative, they became so theatrical with how
they were asking these questions to the people at the hearings, that they
ended up stealing the spotlight from the answers themselves.
And I thought that did sort of a disservice in some respects to the
COSTA: But is the real story the theater of the questions or is it Hagel`s
fumbling performance? I think it`s the latter.
I think Hagel had a -- just a dismal performance at that hearing. Did he
seem competent to run the Pentagon? There were a lot of questions even
among Democrats after that hearing whether he`s ready.
STEIN: Well, I don`t disagree with that. I think Hagel had a really poor
And I think -- what I`m saying is that for these senators -- if you looked
at what Ted Cruz was asking about, an association with an Israeli diplomat
that, basically, 99.9 percent of the country has never heard of, what was
the point of that? He ended up actually stepping on Hagel`s bad day by
taking some of the spotlight away from him.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Let`s go after some of the questioning because I
disagree with you and I agree with you. I`m stronger than you on this one.
ROBERT COSTA, NATIONAL REVIEW: Not surprised about that.
COSTA: I said I`m not surprised you agree.
MATTHEWS: Oh, is that sarcasm?
OK. Let`s talk about Lindsey Graham -- when you ask a guy who had already
recanted his argument about the power of the Israeli lobby, obviously, it`s
an enormously influential lobby, like the NRA, or any lobby, heavily
funded, heavily activated, a lot of strong people with strong minds,
everyone knows they`re influential, that`s why they`re there. That`s why
the PAC is there to be influential.
To say, which senator do you know that was bought by them, controlled by
them, intimidated by them -- obviously there`s no answer to that question.
So what was the purpose of that exchange?
What I would submit is it wasn`t an interview. It wasn`t even an
interrogation. It was almost a Star Chamber attempt to incriminate the
guy. In other words, there is no right answer to question. Had he named a
name of somebody who had come up and said I was going to vote for that but
somebody got to me and said I better not -- if somebody had said that to
him, he had have given the name, he`d been dead in these hearings.
I`m just saying what the questions were along the lines of, have you
stopped beating your wife? There was no informative answer.
COSTA: You`re calling this a McCarthy hearing, a Star Chamber.
MATTHEWS: Yes, it is.
COSTA: Let me ask you a question. You think when Democratic senators met
with Hagel behind the scenes, they weren`t asking about his comments --
MATTHEWS: Sure, they`re asking. By the way, they got the answers. They
got the answers.
MATTHEWS: But I believe what happened is this guy was walked on the plank.
He was told by McCain and Lindsey we`re satisfied with your answers, and
that`s all the words that came out of the preliminary discussion. They got
him in and they jumped him, for theatrical purposes.
STEIN: Ironically, if he had been given truth serum, Chuck Hagel could
have pointed to himself as somebody who had been influenced by the Israeli
lobby, because a lot of his previous statements, he had to walk back.
STEIN: He could have said this wasn`t, I didn`t mean what I said. And
that was in, in effect, a direct influence of the Israeli lobby. He could
have said, you`re looking at him.
COSTA: But you`re saying this is theater to ask about the Jewish lobby
comment. I think it was the right course of action in if a senator in a
congressional hearing, for someone who`s gong to run the Defense
Department, if they made that kind of comment in a public --
MATTHEWS: We`re a month into this discussion though. The trouble is,
Robert, we`re a month into the discussion with back-and-forths and
recantations and taking backs and explaining has gone on now for weeks now,
and then they to go in there and act like none of this ever happened --
COSTA: But all that stuff that you`re talking about happened in the press
and it happened before the official hearing. This is the official hearing
to confirm --
MATTHEWS: OK. I will stick to what I`m saying. They were interested in
his defense policy would have asked about it.
STEIN: I want to make one point. The number of times that Israel came up
I think in words was about 160-plus. The number ever times they talked
about Afghanistan was well into the dozens. There was so much more. If
you look at the weight of each issue facing the next defense secretary, you
would admit that Afghanistan --
COSTA: But Hagel brought a lot of this on himself by talking about the
STEIN: No, no, no, the point is this --
STEIN: The point is, if you go through this hearing and they ask a
question about an old statement once, fine; twice, OK; three times. But it
became so repetitive that it looked like a lot of these Republican senators
were there to score a political point. Maybe that`s what they wanted to
do. And maybe they want to get a clip on TV but it didn`t really --
COSTA: This isn`t a classroom discussion. They had to drill --
MATTHEWS: What was the point of Senator Rand Paul saying in the tape we
just showed that Hillary was basically being run out of the State
Department because of what happened in Benghazi?
COSTA: What`s wrong with asking tough questions about Benghazi?
MATTHEWS: It was an assertion. It wasn`t a question. He said she`s been
run out. She`s quitting because of this.
COSTA: Well, doesn`t he have a right as a U.S. senator to make an
assertion about Benghazi, about her handling?
MATTHEWS: A dishonest statement that she`s leaving the office of secretary
of state --
COSTA: Well, that could be your opinion, but he`s allowed to have an
opinion as well.
MATTHEWS: That`s an opinion? No, it`s not. It`s a dishonest statement.
COSTA: That`s your opinion.
MATTHEWS: Is there any possibility that Hillary Clinton is leaving the
State Department because of what happened in Benghazi? Any possibility of
COSTA: I don`t think so.
MATTHEWS: Then why are you saying that`s within his right to say so. It`s
a dishonest statement.
COSTA: He thinks though --
MATTHEWS: How do you know he thinks so. How do you know he`s not trying
to destroy her reputation?
COSTA: He looks at the disaster that was how the State Department handled
MATTHEWS: And a he`s saying Hillary Clinton has a statement --
COSTA: No one knows Hillary`s total motivation --
MATTHEWS: Sam, let me say this --
STEIN: I don`t want to get in the way of this.
MATTHEWS: Anybody wants to watch the tape. We`ll show it again and again.
He basically said Hillary Clinton is leaving the State Department because
of what happened in Benghazi -- a totally dishonest, scurrilous statement
about somebody who served the country for many years. It was an awful
thing to do, a cheap shot by a not much of a person. And that`s a problem
and that is vindictive politics. It`s not the role of the Senate to play
COSTA: It is the role of the Senate to ask Hillary Clinton tough questions
about what happened in Libya.
MATTHEWS: Why do you keep going back robotically on this tough question?
COSTA: I`m not going back robotically. You`re pinpointing Rand Paul`s
MATTHEWS: The mad dog attack on Hillary Clinton, the mad dog attack on
Chuck Hagel is extraordinary in Senate history. I have never seen people
come on Senate hearings and say, yes or no, yes or no, yes or no. You
don`t talk --
COSTA: McCain used to do the same thing to Rumsfeld when Rumsfeld --
MATTHEWS: Your point being?
COSTA: I`m saying McCain is always combative. To say it`s just a partisan
thing happening right now --
MATTHEWS: No, it wasn`t partisan it was personal and it was strange. I`ll
go into it later in the show.
Anyway, thank you, Robert Costa, for defending the indefensible.
COSTA: That`s --
MATTHEWS: It`s true.
Sam Stein, thank you.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: The former mayor of New York, Ed Koch, died this morning and
here is part of the lead paragraph of Robert McFadden`s brilliant obituary
in today`s "New York Times".
McFadden called Koch the master showman of city hall who parlayed shrewd
political instincts and plenty of chutzpah in three tumultuous terms of
mayor of New York, with all the tenacity, zest, and combativeness that
personified his city of golden dreams. Koch used to walk the streets of
New York asking people, "How am I doing?" First as a congressman and later
Ed Koch was 88.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): You say, "OK, I made a decision, and x
number of people were killed. They were definitely about to launch a big
attack." No one near them was hurt. It was as sterile as possible. Yet you
still say, "There`s something unnatural about it." What`s unnatural is the
power you have to take three people, terrorists, and take their lives in an
(END VIDEO CLP)
MATTHEWS: Well, this is going to be a familiar topic around here.
That was a clip from the Academy Award-nominated documentary, "The
Gatekeepers", which opens in select cities today.
Well, the film takes a look at Israel`s legendary Shin Bet, its
intelligence agency, and interviews six of its former heads. The surprise
here is that they sent a lot more like Chuck Hagel than Bibi Netanyahu.
The six men argued that Israeli occupation to West Bank has led to human
suffering on the part of the Palestinians and has been banned for Israel
itself. I`ve known that myself.
And like President Obama, they argue for the need to engage your enemies,
even Hamas and Iran. And they say you can`t make peace through military
In other words, these men wouldn`t fit in very well in the Republican Party
here in the U.S. right now. They might even get badgered by Lindsey Graham
and Ted Cruz we just saw in the congressional hearing.
Well, the film is directed by Israeli documentarian, or documentary
filmmaker, Dror Moreh, who joins us now.
Dror, thanks so much for this.
You know, I guess we always know in the States here, as you know, that
military are very hesitant about getting involved in military operations.
They know the limitations of war in the unexpected horrors and costs of
war. Tell us about -- because I don`t think most of us who follow Israeli
politics here, are fully aware of the views you got from your people in the
military, in Shin Bet, the top intelligence people there, about Israeli
DROR MOREH, DIRECTOR, "THE GATEKEEPERS": Look, the basic thing is, where
do you want to lead this conflict? Where do you want it to go
strategically, not tactically? Tactically, those guys can do anything that
can -- they can do. I mean, they are targeted assassinating, they are the
ones that are dealing with interrogation and physical pressure. They are
the ones that are issuing the curfews.
But at the end of the day, where do you want this conflict to lead at the
end? And these guys are coming and saying very, very strongly that Israel
should strive very strongly towards a two-state solution to try to
reconciliate with our Palestinians.
So, well, basically, you are right completely. They do not understand the
policy of Netanyahu and they are more understanding with Barack Obama`s
MATTHEWS: Well, you know, a couple weeks ago, Netanyahu`s government
decided to build those settlements --- basically cutting off the loop,
cutting off the access West Bank and East Jerusalem. To me, I`ve been over
there many times, it looked like he was shutting off the chance of any real
second state over there for the Palestinians.
MOREH: Well, Netanyahu has spoken a lot about doing that. No prime
minister has done that building in the E-1 territory, disconnecting,
basically, the prospect of Jerusalem connecting to the Palestinian
territories. I think that this is mouth lip syncing before the election to
the extreme right wing in Israel.
MATTHEWS: I see.
MOREH: But I think that the election in Israel has proven for I don`t know
how many times that the Israeli public is much smarter than the politicians
in there. And they showed Netanyahu to say to him, basically, we wanted to
go center and not go to the extreme right which he wanted to do.
MATTHEWS: What do you think? You`re a pretty young guy. You look down
the road for Israel.
MATTHEWS: Well, I think so. You look down the road for Israel. And
always like to be optimistic about that country.
And do you see a chance for some reasonable situation, say 20, 30 years
from now where there`s enough of a middle class in the West Bank, where
they have some stakes in peace, and there`d be some terrorism, but not
much, the country itself is not willing to punish terrorists -- Arabs who
kill Jews, to be blunt about this. I`ve always thought that was the
standard. Unless Arabs are willing to kill Arabs for Jews, you`ll never
Can you see that ever arriving in 20 years or so? Can you?
MOREH: I think it defends, especially and this is what is "The
Gatekeepers" is saying to us, the head of the Shin Bet. They are saying
that this depends on two great leaders that has to be, at the same time, on
both sides of the equation. And this has never happened up until now.
And if you asked me honestly, I don`t think that this can happen. We don`t
have those leaders. And unless there will be an immense pressure, coming
from the U.S., especially from the White House, on those parties on the
ground, nothing will happen between them.
MATTHEWS: Well, I wish we could give you back Yitzhak Rabin. I wish we
could give you back Anwar Sabat. Mahmoud Abbas maybe OK, but I think it`s
up to the level of these guys.
MOREH: I have to agree with you. Those amazingly, tremendously great
leaders were always assassinated by the extreme religious partners on both
sides. These are the Islam in Egypt who assassinated Anwar Sadat as you
mentioned, either the extreme right wing in Israel who assassinated Yitzhak
Rabin. This is the tragedy in the area.
MATTHEWS: I wish you well. "The Gatekeepers" is going to inform this
country that your politics is a turbulent and sometimes as divisive as
Thank you so much, Dror Moreh, for bringing us this film.
MOREH: Thank you very much.
MATTHEWS: When we return, let me finish with what could be a dynamic
Massachusetts delegation to the U.S. Senate.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this: Scott Brown has declared
tonight that he`s not running for the Senate again up in Massachusetts. I
assume this means he will run for governor. I think it`s a smart move for
him, being a legislator is not for everyone.
To do it right, you have to have the patience and the personal instinct to
move the bill forward. As again, I`ll say it`s not for everyone -- perhaps
not for Scott Brown. He might be smart to wait his chance as he seems to
be doing a run for an executive job, one that he can grab, hold onto and
really do something with. We`ll see.
As for the Senate seat in Massachusetts, I have a firm grip on who I`d like
to see take it. Congressman Edward Markey is the most principled person I
know in politics. He has spent his career standing up to the special
interest, the polluters, the people who make bad products, the people who
take advantage, the greedy out there. He has sat on legislative committees
and seen the power of special interest and he again and again has taken
Markey is a committed believer in aborting the dangers of nuclear war, a
committed believer in having a safer, healthy environment. He has always,
from his first days in the House back in the 1970s, refused to buckle to
the forces of selfishness and power.
Ed Markey is running for the Senate seat once held by Edward M. Kennedy.
He enjoys the support of Mrs. Kennedy, the backing of those who still hold
dear what the Kennedy have stood for in Massachusetts. He supports women`s
rights to a T and will take -- make a great colleague to the courageous
Senatlor Elizabeth Warren.
I`m enormously proud to call Ed Markey a friend, who I`ve gotten to know
since my years with the great speaker, Thomas P. O`Neill, Jr. I am
thrilled that he now leads the Democratic race for the Senate nomination.
I`m glad for the country that we have such a fine American ready to take up
the task of leadership. He is clean, he is strong and he has the vision to
make a powerful difference for the progressives, and not just of
Massachusetts, but with the country.
With Warren and Markey, the state will have among the sharpest delegations
in the entire Senate.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.
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