April 12, 2013
Guests: Pia Carusone, Nia-Malika Henderson, Dr. Robin Armstrong, Gregory
Angelo, Elizabeth Nash, Dennis Quaid, Ramin Bahrani
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Human shields?
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
"Let Me Start" with this. Eighty percent of life, Woody Allen once said,
is showing up. And I`ve been watching this compelling Capitol Hill
invasion of family, relatives and friends of those killed in Newtown,
Connecticut. And we`ll know soon if this will be the difference between
action on gun safety and doing nothing.
And when we do, we`ll have a new estimate of what happens when regular
people get out there and lobby Congress, right there where it works.
What`s different, of course, is that these people are the ones most
personally and permanently affected by the ability of the wrong people
getting their hands on guns.
I remember the old argument, "Guns don`t kill people, people do," and
that`s where Senator Pat Toomey is right. A wider, stronger background
check covering all commercial purchases of guns is not really about what
kinds of guns are out there and what can be sold, it`s about the people out
there and who shouldn`t have their hands on any gun.
And this is where the battle for better background checks stands right now.
Can the supporters of gun safety get 50 votes in the Senate on the
background check itself? Can they get 60 votes to clear a filibuster? Can
they get the one vote of the Speaker of the House to schedule the vote in
the House? Can they get 218 votes in the House to actually pass it, and
then, of course, get the signature of the president to make it law?
So these are the numbers -- 50, 60, 1, 218 and 1, five gates to pass
through in order for us to have a stronger background check to become part
of the law.
PIA Carusone is the former chief of staff to Congresswoman Gabby Giffords,
and now she runs the group Americans for Responsible Solutions. And Nia-
Malika Henderson is a political reporter for "The Washington Post."
Thank you very much, Pia. And it just struck me this afternoon to hear
that Rush Limbaugh refers to the people who`ve come to Capitol Hill and are
wonderfully moving around the Hill right now, with their wonderful green
ribbons -- he calls them "human shields." In other words, they`re just
sort of props.
PIA CARUSONE, AMERICANS FOR RESPONSIBLE SOLUTIONS: Well, I don`t know that
we can take seriously anything Rush Limbaugh said recently.
MATTHEWS: You have to take it seriously because he`s got a bunch of nabobs
and what do you call them, dittoheads, out there who do.
CARUSONE: That`s fair enough. But I`ll say that the victims of Newtown,
it`s impossible to call them shields. They are the faces of this tragedy.
And they`re the ones out there telling lawmakers to do something about it
and to show the courage and do the right thing.
MATTHEWS: Do you think it`s working?
CARUSONE: Yes. Absolutely. I mean...
MATTHEWS: Tell me how.
CARUSONE: We`ve had a great week. You know, last week, the Washington
press was writing the obituary of the background check movement, like, just
fair and square, that -- I mean, they were saying it`s dead. And now this
week, we have one of the most conservative, you know, Republicans in the
Senate agreeing to a deal. I mean, we`re -- the momentum is with us, so
whether it`s the work of the victims of gun violence, the Tucson victims or
the Newtown victims...
MATTHEWS: You`ve got two Republicans. How many do you need?
CARUSONE: Well, we`d like a strong showing, right?
MATTHEWS: Can you get 50?
MATTHEWS: Can you get 60?
CARUSONE: Yes. I think -- I think so. I do. I think we have a shot. I
think -- you know, we`re appealing to their morals. But if that doesn`t
work, we`ll appeal to their political, you know...
MATTHEWS: So you got 53 Democrats. You lose two of the 55. So you got 53
Democrats. That means you need seven Republicans, to be blunt about, it to
clear a filibuster.
CARUSONE: Well, we`ve -- yes, and we cleared the filibuster, right?
MATTHEWS: Yes, to begin the debate.
CARUSONE: Exactly. But we`re not looking for 60. We`re looking for a lot
more than that. We are. I mean, and that`s part of the whole...
MATTHEWS: No, I`m just worried about getting to 60, not getting a lot more
CARUSONE: Yes. Yes.
MATTHEWS: But you`re so frisky about this. You`re already talking about
more than 60!
CARUSONE: We`re headed to the House. The House is the goal, you know?
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, "WASHINGTON POST": Yes, I think there are some
pickups you can look at. I mean, somebody like Mark Kirk, who...
MATTHEWS: He`s already on my list. I counted him.
HENDERSON: You counted him. Or Susan Collins. I think maybe even John
McCain you have.
CARUSONE: Definitely (ph).
HENDERSON: Harry Reid released a video that looked at five Republicans
who`d already been on record to being open to background checks. So I
think, you know, there is some optimism. And I think she`s right that the
pendulum swing began this week. I mean, we...
MATTHEWS: I agree that`s a movement.
MATTHEWS: ... the more excited, the better.
HENDERSON: Yes. Over the last 20 years, the NRA, you know, dominated this
debate. And now I think we`re at the beginning of...
MATTHEWS: You got to win the Senate. You got win the -- you got to beat
the next filibuster attempt. There`s going to be another filibuster. Then
you got to get Boehner to have the nerve or the guts, whatever you want to
call it, to bring it up in the House. And then you got to get 218 in the
House and allow him to break the Hastert rule.
MATTHEWS: Because you`re not going to get a majority of Republicans.
CARUSONE: No, I mean...
MATTHEWS: You`re going to have to get some Republicans to add up to the
Democrats` total. And some Democrats from Rocky Mountain -- certain states
are going to have a hard time with this.
Let`s take a look at what Rush Limbaugh said. I find this pretty
offensive. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: It was the president who asked for
this mother of a 6-year-old who died to do his speech. Senator Richard
Blumenthal, Democrat, Connecticut, is using Sandy Hook to raise money in
his e-mails. They`re trying to turn the Newtown parents into a dozen Cindy
Sheehans, in a way.
And it`s what the Democrats do, folks. They always try to hide their
agendas behind women and children, and most of all victims. And so the
Newtown parents are human shields, in a sense. The Newtown parents are out
there to protect the Democrats from any criticism and to shut it down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Do you like the way he does this, Pia? Didn`t you notice, as a
woman, that he`s assuming that men are putting you people up?
CARUSONE: Oh, I know.
MATTHEWS: You don`t look put up to me.
HENDERSON: And I mean, certainly, with these families, I mean, this is
what they want to do. I mean, they talk about wanting to be in this
conversation to carry on the legacies of their dead 6 and 7-year-olds, who
they`ll never see again. I think the...
MATTHEWS: By the way, nobody put Cindy Sheehan up to anything.
HENDERSON: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: She lost her son to the war.
HENDERSON: Yes. That`s a good -- and people came around to feeling the
exact same thing as Cindy Sheehan, about that war. And it looks like that
these families have a similar effect. And they are a clarifying, I think,
presence and voice, and they remind us why we are here.
MATTHEWS: OK. Well said. Politico reported today on those Sandy Hook
families. In a story headlined "Victims turned Lobbyists," they wrote,
quote, "When a lobbyist for families of Newtown shooting victims called the
office of Senator Susan Collins to set up a meeting, the first response
from the office was a standard D.C. offer, they would get a meeting with
her staff and perhaps a quick, simple hello from the senator herself. They
were told the families` answer, not good enough. According to the
lobbyists, the families have a rule now against staff-only meetings. They
won`t do them. They insist on sitting down with the senators themselves."
Tell me about that. I know a lot of very highly paid lobbyists who would
like this deal. We want to see the senator himself and not his -- usually,
you see them sitting in some -- next to some young kid in a carrel (ph)
trying to make their point that they`ll take it to the boss in a memo.
CARUSONE: Yes, well, I mean, look, it`s important -- as a former House
chief of staff, I would say if a family member of a deceased came in
looking for a meeting, we would take that. I mean, I think it`s
disrespectful to put it at the staff level. Personally, I just -- you
know, that`s -- out of respect, at least, even if you disagree on the
policy, you would show the respect to the family and meet face to face.
HENDERSON: Yes, I mean, I think this has changed in some ways. I think
initially, for reasons that you can imagine, the families weren`t really
out there as much. But this flood of activity that you see -- they`re on
the air, as well, with ads, I think sponsored by Mayors Against -- Mayors
Against Guns. (SIC) So I think they have been more effective than
Bloomberg`s money because they -- they...
MATTHEWS: Yes, I think it`s a little too much professionalism with Mike.
I mean, Mike is -- obviously, has many interests.
CARUSONE: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: And they`re good interests. But this is a...
HENDERSON: Yes, and he`s been fighting...
MATTHEWS: ... personal matter with them.
HENDERSON: ... this battle for a long time.
MATTHEWS: Earlier today, West Virginia senator Mike -- Joe Manchin,
rather, fought back against the right-wing fears that more background
checks would mean a national database of gun owners. Here was his
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: It`s absolutely, totally false. And
anybody that`s saying that is just basically scaring or lying to people.
The law today, Rick (ph), is, is you cannot do a registry. If you go to a
gun dealer today, he has to keep a record or she has to keep a record. If
it`s used for a registration, it`s against the law.
In our bill, we make it a felony and 15 years of imprisonment. We -- if
you just -- if people would just go to Manchin.Senate.gov and read for
themselves -- Pat Toomey and I would not be involved with this bill if it
infringed on anybody`s rights.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: OK, so the argument made by the 2nd Amendment people, not just
hunters, but real, true 2nd Amendment people is, We don`t want a national
registry because then, they say, if you register, then they`re going to
Now, I`m not sure whatever has been collected in history once it`s been
registered, but their argument is the United States has a history of
(INAUDIBLE) Apparently, it`s a faulty reality portrayed in Texas school
MATTHEWS: That`s where Ted Cruz got it, somebody told me the other day.
MATTHEWS: Where are they getting this idea that if you buy -- you try to
buy a gun and you buy a gun, that somebody`s going to write down a list and
file that with the federal government?
CARUSONE: Well, I don`t know how someone would believe that the federal
government would go around -- you know, first of all, being able to go
around to all the FFLs in this country and collect that data.
MATTHEWS: What`s an FFL?
CARUSONE: It`s a licensed firearm dealer -- and collect the data and then
eventually collect the guns. That`s -- I don`t know. But you know, the
point is there -- no one is talking about a registry, not Republicans, not
Democrats, no serious...
MATTHEWS: Are they against -- let me ask you this as a -- thinking like a
law enforcement official. If there was a killing in town with a particular
kind of weapon, right, wouldn`t you go to the local gun store, like, the
first thing you do and see if anybody bought one of these recently?
And that`s not -- that`s not -- is that a problem with the NRA, you`re not
supposed to be able to use it, as a policeman? A guy trying -- a police
guy trying to find out who killed somebody, wouldn`t you naturally go to
the store near that sold this kind of gun and see who bought it?
CARUSONE: Well, currently...
MATTHEWS: ... people against that?
CARUSONE: The way it works currently is if there is a gun used in a crime,
there`s a serial number on the gun. That serial number is traced back to
the manufacturer and then eventually to the store that sold it.
MATTHEWS: OK. You don`t have the serial number. You just know there`s a
MATTHEWS: Can`t you go to the store that sells the kind of guns where they
-- the ballistic test for it...
CARUSONE: Sure you could. You could...
MATTHEWS: Does the NRA people have a problem with it?
HENDERSON: No. I mean, I...
MATTHEWS: Do they have a problem with that, with the policemen doing their
CARUSONE: You know, you`ll have to ask them that question. I don`t...
MATTHEWS: I thought you might know. I`m sorry.
HENDERSON: And I think you`re conflating the NRA with people who have
these paranoid fantasies. I don`t think everyone in the NRA is thinking
MATTHEWS: I mean, do they want them to throw out the slip, the purchase
slip, the minute the person walks out the door? (INAUDIBLE) you bought the
gun for 78 bucks, that -- we`re going to keep that record for an hour and
then throw it out the window.
HENDERSON: Right. I mean -- I mean, that`s -- I mean, that`s their fear,
right, if they have -- if they have universal background checks, that, you
know, that that`s essentially what would happen. There would be a national
MATTHEWS: I`m not talking about universal background checks. I`m talking
about a guy who sells guns at a simple store and keeps a record of who --
what the latest machine gun or...
MATTHEWS: And can a policeman come in and ask for that information?
HENDERSON: Yes. Yes.
MATTHEWS: OK. Fine. Fine.
HENDERSON: And that`s how -- I mean, that`s how crimes are solved.
CARUSONE: But the 40 percent of guns sold on gun shows and on the Internet
today, the answer is no.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let me ask you, why do you think the NRA has changed its
goal line? I can imagine if this whole thing happened, say, 24 hours after
the horror up at Newtown, the NRA said, You know, we have no problem with
the background check. In fact, it ought to be fixed. It ought to be done
Why do they push for this gun hole (SIC) loophole? Why do they -- I mean,
it`s got really nothing to do with anything. If a guy or a woman wants to
buy a gun, they`ll go find a store to buy it at (INAUDIBLE) somewhere (ph).
They wouldn`t get (INAUDIBLE) necessarily go to -- why do they want to
protect these gun show things, which is the big issue here?
CARUSONE: Well, I -- I mean, you`re right. In 1999, Wayne LaPierre
MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) answer (INAUDIBLE)
CARUSONE: ... he supported...
MATTHEWS: Why do they draw the line here?
HENDERSON: I mean, I think they`re...
MATTHEWS: Why don`t they -- why don`t they draw the line at actual gun
control, which is you can`t -- you shouldn`t be stopped from buying a
certain kind of gun?
HENDERSON: I think they`re absolutists. I mean, this is -- I mean, this
is they way they`ve grown their organization. This is how they`ve remained
relevant, being extremists.
MATTHEWS: But they don`t look like good guys in the suburbs now.
HENDERSON: And that`s right, and that`s where...
MATTHEWS: They don`t look good.
HENDERSON: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: They may win, but they`re not going to look good.
HENDERSON: And that`s where this battle is ultimately going to be won. If
you look at Toomey, that`s the signal that he sends. He`s the suburban
MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) idea.
HENDERSON: ... of Pennsylvania...
MATTHEWS: Well, why would they want to look bad as an organization? Don`t
they -- AARP, any lobbying group wants to eventually be popular with most
people because there`s a lot less (ph) money...
MATTHEWS: ... in being successful, people like you. Why aren`t they
CARUSONE: They`re -- they`re competing for membership with the Gun Owners
MATTHEWS: OK. I see.
CARUSONE: ... with Gun Owners of America, that are on the right, right?
So they`re, like, looking...
MATTHEWS: I got you.
CARUSONE: ... to move themselves to the right.
MATTHEWS: So they`re trying to -- everybody`s got to be the most
HENDERSON: Yes, and it`s worked so far for them...
MATTHEWS: OK, I think they...
MATTHEWS: I think there`s a good shot at this, and if they lose this, big
move, big move for the country. Thank you very much, Pia Carusone and Nia-
Coming up: The empire strikes back. The right wing sends out this warning
to the GOP. Give in on gay marriage, and we give up on you. Well, maybe
top Republicans agree. The RNC approved a resolution today -- today --
opposing gay marriage. They`re worth (ph) it, aren`t they?
Plus, consider this number, 694. That`s the number of provisions
legislators around the country have introduced adding to the burden of
someone deciding to have an abortion. Conservatives have given up on
getting the courts to stop abortion, but they`re coming up with all kinds
of ways to make it harder.
And Jon Stewart points out that Rand Paul has a fine -- actually, has a
point when he says Republicans have been champions of voting rights for
African-Americans, as long as you forget about the last 50 years.
Finally, "Let Me Finish" tonight with the civil war, the civil war in the
Republican Party between the traditional conservatives out there on issues
like abortion and same-sex marriage and the libertarians who go the other
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: That noise you hear is the sound of Anthony Weiner`s trial
balloon going pop. Weiner let everyone know in a "New York Times" Sunday
magazine piece that he`s thinking about running for mayor, but "the New
York Daily News" interviewed nearly a dozen people who worked for Weiner`s
2005 mayoral campaign and that their reaction ranged from ambivalence to
outright opposition. The bottom line, even if people can forgive, they`re
not ready to forget.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, the Republican Party a few
weeks ago released what we`re calling an autopsy report, citing the need to
be more tolerant -- that was a word -- and inclusive, another word. But
that`s not what the cultural right in the party wants to hear, and they
began fighting back hard. Rick Santorum said the GOP supporting gay
marriage would be suicidal. The Family Research Council`s Tony Perkins
told supporters to stop donating until the party got its act together on
And then today, it seems like the RNC listened. Conservatives passed a
resolution today declaring "The Republican National Committee affirms its
support for marriage as a union of one man and one woman as the optimal
environment in which to raise healthy children for the future of America.
And be it further resolved the Republican National Committee implores the
U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the sanctity of marriage in its rulings on
California`s Prop 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act."
Well, this civil war within the GOP obviously is raging right now. But can
a party vehemently against gay marriage win in a country where a majority
of people across the board support gay marriage?
Robin Armstrong is Republican national committeeman from Texas, and Gregory
Angelo is the executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans.
Gentlemen, this is sort of an amazing thing to watch right now because
you`ve got these couple of strains in the Republican Party which are real,
traditional and valid. You`ve got the libertarian strain, which goes back
to Barry Goldwater, which is live and let live. At the end of his life, he
was pro-gay rights, pro-abortion rights, basically live and let live.
And then you have the strong church part of the party, the religious
cultural right, which has given the party all its votes in the last 20 or
30 years, starting with the prayer issue back in `61.
Let me ask you -- Dr. Robin Armstrong, thank you for joining -- let me ask
you, which is the strongest strain in your history? Is it libertarianism
or is it sort of orthodox cultural values?
DR. ROBIN ARMSTRONG, TEXAS REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEEMAN: I think it`s
a combination of both. I mean, I think that...
MATTHEWS: Well, that combination ain`t working right now.
ARMSTRONG: ... our party is -- we`re talking about -- well, I`ll tell you,
what we`re talking about in our party is having a big tent. We allow
everyone in. We are very -- we`re -- actually, we`re the tolerant party.
We allow, you know, people who are pro-choice in our party. We allow
people to come in who are in favor of homosexual marriage. We -- I know
that Mr. Angelo is a Log Cabin Republican. And so he is a Republican, a
And all we`re saying is that, Listen, we affirm marriage is between one man
and one woman. We believe that. We`re not going to compromise that value.
That is what we believe. But...
ARMSTRONG: ... we agree with you on...
MATTHEWS: You`re never going to compromise. No, let me get this straight.
Doctor, let me get this straight.
MATTHEWS: You said you`re -- I want to get your phrasing here. Are you
ever, ever going to be open to the door of changing that position, or is it
permanent with your party?
ARMSTRONG: I am saying right now that we...
MATTHEWS: Right now.
ARMSTRONG: ... are not going to compromise...
MATTHEWS: Right now.
ARMSTRONG: ... that value. We`re not going to compromise that value, and
we do not plan on...
ARMSTRONG: ... compromising that value in the future. Ever. We do not...
MATTHEWS: So you think it`s a permanent value of your party.
ARMSTRONG: But -- but what I am saying is -- what I`m saying is, if we
agreed with someone on 80 percent of issues and we disagree on 20 percent
of issues, they`re still welcome in our party. We will still accept them
in our party. We`re not going to throw away the 20 percent. We don`t have
to have 100 percent purity. Our party and our platform...
MATTHEWS: OK. OK.
ARMSTRONG: ... uphold the fact that marriage is between one man and one
woman, and that`s where we stand.
MATTHEWS: Would you be for a party that was 80 percent for your economic
views but was civil rights for African-Americans? That 20 percent, would
that be enough to stop you from joining the party?
ARMSTRONG: Well, absolutely not. But I do not equate those two...
MATTHEWS: It wouldn`t stop you...
ARMSTRONG: ... issues. I don`t...
MATTHEWS: ... from joining the Republican Party? You would join a party
that didn`t believe in civil rights for African-Americans.
ARMSTRONG: Well, what you`re trying to do is you`re trying to equate the
MATTHEWS: I`m only asking a question...
ARMSTRONG: ... of homosexual marriage...
MATTHEWS: ... because I`m going to ask the same question...
MATTHEWS: I`m going to ask the same question to Gregory.
ARMSTRONG: Well, I am telling you that Republicans led the civil rights
movement. Abraham Lincoln was a Republican. So -- so, I don`t accept the
premise of your question.
I believe wholeheartedly that most Americans today agree that marriage is
between one man and one woman. And the Republican Party will stand on that
MATTHEWS: Well, let me just go through the latest polling; 53 percent,
sir, do believe -- they support same-sex marriage; 42 percent oppose.
In your party, perhaps in your world, politically, 66 percent of
Republicans do oppose. But you just threw out a line there that`s not
true. Most Americans support same-sex marriage now, sir.
ARMSTRONG: Well, you know, I will tell you I believe that it depends on
how the wording is phrased, how the poll is phrased.
MATTHEWS: How is this question? Do you favor or oppose allowing same-sex
marriages? And the people said, yes, they favor it.
Let me go over to Gregory here.
GREGORY ANGELO, LOG CABIN REPUBLICANS: Yes.
MATTHEWS: How do you like being in a political party that figures you`re
just that 20 percent problem, that your issues that matter a lot to you, I
MATTHEWS: ... don`t really count in the big 80 percent? as if that`s
always the same 80 percent? But if you`re gay and you care about equality
of marriage, then it would seem to me that`s a lot bigger than 20 percent.
This was pointed out perhaps no clearer than in the letter that came out
yesterday that was addressed to the RNC. A lot of social conservatives
signed it and said -- pointed specifically to Log Cabin Republicans saying
that -- proof that the Republican Party is open and a big tent party is
acknowledging the fact that Log Cabin Republicans exist here.
ANGELO: But we`re not a part of the party because of its stance on so-
called traditional marriage.
In fact, we`re part of the party in spite of that.
MATTHEWS: I know.
ANGELO: We agree with...
MATTHEWS: Does it bother you when you hear a gentleman like Mr. Armstrong,
a party chair or committeeman, say that this is essential to the party`s
belief, that this is something that isn`t going to change in the
foreseeable future, isn`t going to change, is essential? How can it be --
how can opposition to same-sex marriage be essential to being a Republican?
ANGELO: You`re asking the wrong guy.
I think that you can be a Republican and you can be supportive of marriage
equality for gay and lesbian individuals. The fact that the Republican
Party`s platform in 2012 stated that marriage is between one man and one
woman did not stop Senator Portman from evolving on this issue, did not
ANGELO: ... from evolving on this issue.
MATTHEWS: Well, is it going to stop -- is it going to let the party
evolve, though? Will the party ever evolve?
ANGELO: The party is evolving regardless of what the platform says.
ANGELO: You have -- right now, you have Congressman Richard Hanna,
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, you have Republicans around the country
who are coming out in support of the freedom to marry.
It doesn`t matter what a piece of paper, what a platform says. More and
more Republicans are understanding the importance of becoming more welcome
and accepting of gay individuals.
MATTHEWS: So, you believe that everything -- let me go back to Mr. -- Dr.
Are -- do you believe that the party is going in the same direction? It
seems to me there`s a lot of people in the party upset about even the
possibility that your party might go toward support for same-sex and that
basically put out the resolution today saying the party as a whole has said
it`s not going to happen.
But is there not a libertarian strain out there in your party led by Rand
Paul and people like that who definitely are going in another direction?
They`re going in a different direction. They`re not differing with you.
They`re heading somewhere.
ARMSTRONG: Well, they are there. They are there. And we welcome -- and
we welcome them in our party. And they are welcome in our party. they are
a part of the Republican Party.
I think this is an illustration of how intolerant Democrats are, how
intolerant liberals and how tolerant the Republican Party is of other
viewpoints. You don`t have to agree with me on 100 percent of viewpoints
to be part of this party.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you, let me ask you about the ruling percentage
of this party. This idea of percentages I think is helpful. But it misses
the same point.
I think there are a lot of Republicans in the country that if Rick Santorum
were the nominee of the party -- and he won the Iowa caucuses last year, he
could win them again this year -- next time -- if he were the nominee, they
would say, sorry, this is where I get off the bus.
I don`t think your party is able to be cum se cum sa or whatever, you know,
what will be will be, que sera, sera, if you got a nominee like this guy
who says, let`s go back and look at contraception, the whole weird thing he
did equating bestiality and homosexuality, the whole way he talks about
people who are gay.
I don`t see how you could actually cheer him as a nominee for president.
Would you, Gregory? Would you support Rick Santorum?
MATTHEWS: Would you support him as the nominee of the party?
ANGELO: It would be extremely difficult for me to support Rick Santorum as
a presidential nominee.
MATTHEWS: Can you imagine saying that on national television? Are you
saying that you could support him?
ANGELO: Hey, everybody can evolve. And I would encourage Rick Santorum to
evolve on this issue. What I`m saying is...
MATTHEWS: Boy, you really believe in evolution.
ANGELO: Yes, of course I believe in evolution.
MATTHEWS: OK. Go ahead.
ANGELO: We leave no stone unturned at Lob Cabin Republicans. I`m up on
Capitol Hill. We meet with everybody.
And some of the most rock-ribbed social conservatives are the people who
are most interested in finding out more about the work that we`re doing in
ANGELO: And one thing I would point out to Dr. Armstrong that I think is
MATTHEWS: Do you ever get into -- do you ever get to meet the people who
write your party platform?
ANGELO: Last year, before I was executive director, Log Cabin Republicans
was involved in the platform drafting -- drafting process.
MATTHEWS: What was your role? What was your role in drafting the one man-
one woman thing?
ANGELO: We obviously were there talking against it.
MATTHEWS: But it didn`t work?
ANGELO: This was something that we were opposed to.
No, but we were definitely a voice there.
ANGELO: And those voices are growing. And that`s important.
That`s what is important for Dr. Armstrong to realize.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask him -- ask him if he thinks it`s growing.
Is the movement in your party towards a belief in the appropriateness of
same-sex marriage? Is there a movement in that direction in your polling?
ARMSTRONG: I don`t see that there`s a movement in that direction amongst
folks who are solid conservatives.
I don`t see that there`s a movement in that direction. What I see is that
we`re saying, listen, our tone on this needs to be we are accepting of all
people who agree with us on 80 percent of the issues, but there are some
issues that we don`t compromise.
ANGELO: But, Dr. Armstrong, Dr. Armstrong, you did not...
ARMSTRONG: But I do believe...
ANGELO: Having this resolution at the RNC does not do that.
ARMSTRONG: We`re in no way against people at all.
ANGELO: Having this resolution at the RNC, a completely unnecessary
resolution, simply stating that you`re -- you`re restating the party`s
position and then having another resolution going into the fact marriage is
between one man and one woman are the best to raise children.
That`s completely unnecessary, and that is a fantastic way to give
Democrats fodder to attack Republicans. It`s a great way to make the 2014
election all about this. It`s a great way to make the 2016 election all
ARMSTRONG: I believe that it is -- I believe that it is the height of
arrogance for us to think that we can change 6,000 years of history.
I believe that marriage, the definition of marriage is between one man and
one woman. We`re not against people, but we are for a one man-one woman
ANGELO: I want to win.
ARMSTRONG: And that`s how this party wins.
MATTHEWS: Let me state my view.
There`s something extraordinarily awkward about the language here that is
used, between one man and one woman. Just say a man and a woman. Go with
the indefinite article. Why do they have such a weird way of saying one
man and one woman? All you have to say is a man and a woman. Why do they
say it that weird way?
MATTHEWS: Because of the weird defensiveness and oddness of talking like
this. This isn`t normal English. A man and woman get married.
You don`t have to say, well, one man and one woman or one guy and one guy.
Nobody talks like that. It`s a strange, defensive way of talking. And I
think it gives away their -- the weakness of their position.
Anyway, thank you.
ARMSTRONG: I don`t think it`s strange. I don`t think it`s strange at all.
MATTHEWS: Why do you say one man and one woman? Why do you say one?
ARMSTRONG: As opposed to two men and one woman. I think it`s important.
It`s important to distinguish between one.
MATTHEWS: Doctor, you know English as well as I do. What`s wrong with
saying a man and a woman?
ARMSTRONG: There is a concern -- there is a concern that if you legalize
this marriage, then the definition will be open to all sorts of other...
MATTHEWS: OK. You`re not listening, sir.
MATTHEWS: No, what`s wrong with just saying a man and a woman? What`s
wrong with saying a man and a woman? What`s wrong with saying a man and a
ARMSTRONG: What`s wrong with saying one man and one woman?
MATTHEWS: Well, it`s weird. That`s why.
ANGELO: The slippery slope just doesn`t happen.
MATTHEWS: It`s the polygamy argument. You`re right. It`s throwing in the
ANGELO: Absolutely ridiculous.
MATTHEWS: That`s what it is. It`s throwing in the polygamy.
That`s what it is. It`s an elbow against you guys in another direction. I
know what it is.
Thank you, Doctor, Dr. Armstrong. And thank you, Gregory Angelo, for
ARMSTRONG: Thank you.
ANGELO: Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: A programming note, by the way: Senator Marco Rubio will be a
guest this Sunday on "Meet the Press" pushing next week`s immigration
reform. He`s got a good bill, by the way. And he will also be joined by
Senators Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Mike Lee of Utah. Well,
there`s an interesting combo.
MATTHEWS: Up next, Rand Paul couldn`t convince Howard University students
that Republicans are really defenders of black Americans` aspirations and
he couldn`t convince Jon Stewart either. The "Sideshow" with Jon Stewart
is coming up next.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Now to the "Sideshow."
Earlier this week, I told you about Rand Paul`s effort to reach out to
minority voters by giving a speech at the historically black Howard
University here in Washington.
Well, not everyone would call his speech a smashing success. Here`s Jon
Stewart with a recap.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART")
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: We see horrible Jim Crow and horrible racism
that happened in the `30s, `40s, `50s. It was all Democrats. It wasn`t
JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": Right.
But for the most part, those bigoted Democrats in the `30s, `40s and `50s
became Republicans post- the modern civil rights era, because of it.
STEWART: See, you can`t just yadda, yadda, yadda the last 60 Republican
STEWART: And the problem with this theory that all that stands between the
Republicans and a plurality of the black vote is a history lesson is --
PAUL: If I would have said who do you think the founders of the NAACP are,
do you think they were Republicans or Democrats, would everybody in here
know they were all Republicans?
PAUL: All right. All right. You know more than I know.
And I don`t mean that to be insulting. I don`t know what you know. And
you don`t -- I mean, I`m trying to find out what the connection is.
STEWART: Calm down, everybody. Just calm down. Red team, start the car.
Remove the vanilla bean from the hot chocolate, red team.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Anyway, the senator also got stuck at one point trying to
convince the audience that he did, in fact, support the Civil Rights Act of
Up next, opponents have gone from trying to make abortion illegal to trying
to make it impossible.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
HAMPTON PEARSON, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Hampton Pearson with your CNBC
Stocks end a four-day rally, the Dow down just under one, the S&P shedding
four points, the Nasdaq falling by 5.
Retail sales tumbled unexpectedly in March, the biggest drop in nine
months, down 0.4 percent.
And the price of gold took a hit, plunging more than 4 percent to the
lowest level since July 2011, settling just below $1,500 an ounce.
That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide -- now back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL.
In recent weeks, we have reported on states that have adopted some of the
strictest abortion laws in the country, Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, North
Dakota. Well, today, Virginia joined the list. This morning, the state
board of health voted to approve new regulations that would require
abortion clinics to comply with hospital-style building codes.
Now, this would require costly construction for many clinics. The elective
-- actually, the executive director of Planned Parenthood in Virginia said:
"These are onerous and unnecessary architectural requirements. They could
cause some of the state`s 20 abortion providers to close."
There`s more restrictive legislation in the pipeline. Today, the
Guttmacher Institute, which is well-respected, a pro-choice research group,
came out with a report showing that during the past -- well, actually, the
first three months of 2013, state legislators have introduced 326
provisions that would restrict abortion access, 326. There it is.
Well, these Republican-dominated state legislatures have realized they
can`t make abortion illegal before the courts, so they try to make it
Joining me now is the managing editor of TheGrio and MSNBC political
analyst Joy Reid and Elizabeth Nash of the Guttmacher Institute itself,
which put out today`s report on the state and restriction on abortion
Let me ask you -- I just met you, Elizabeth. But tell me about this
pattern of bold red states with bold red legislatures which are both houses
if they have two houses, all Republicans, mostly all hard-line
conservatives and maybe a hard-line or a very conservative governor. They
basically have the power to do what they want.
And so what are the different patterns of what they`re doing to make
abortion illegal or impossible?
ELIZABETH NASH, GUTTMACHER INSTITUTE: Well, it`s almost to say what
pattern is out there because there are so many different bills That we`re
They`re Really trying to limit access to health care coverage for abortion.
They`re establishing more of these clinic regulations that only apply to
abortion clinics. They`re taking on issues like requiring ultrasounds
before an abortion. And now we`re even seeing them move towards banning
abortion. So not only...
MATTHEWS: How do they do that under the law?
NASH: Well, we have seen two legislatures this year ban abortion at 12
weeks in Arkansas and six weeks in North Dakota. And that totally flies in
the face of what Roe and Casey stand for, all of the Supreme Court
decisions around abortion. But they`re enacting these laws. And we`re
going to have to fight them in court.
MATTHEWS: So, basically, they`re closing the window?
NASH: Well, yes, they`re saying you can`t have an abortion before a
certain time frame.
And when you`re talking about six weeks, that`s essentially a complete
MATTHEWS: Because most women don`t know they`re even pregnant at that
Look, Republican-run states, as you said, have become the laboratories for
legislation restricting abortions. Just this year, as you were pointing
out, North Dakota recently passed the heartbeat bill, which bans abortions
after just six weeks, as you said. Arkansas passed a law banning abortions
after 12 weeks, as you said. Arizona bans abortions after 18 weeks. And
all the rest of these states in yellow ban -- there they are in yellow --
ban abortion after 20 weeks.
So, we`re seeing what is going on here. And of these 16 states with the
most restrictive abortion laws, 14 of the 16 have Republican governors.
And all this is happening while the public increasingly supports broader
So, here, it`s almost like this issue of the background checks on guns,
where you have a very strong pro-choice country, and yet, when you go to
the red states, where they control the whole game, they`re pushing this
Why do you think this is going on after all these years of Roe v. Wade?
We`re 40 years of Roe v. Wade.
ELIZABETH NASH, GUTTMACHER INSTITUTE: Yes. We just celebrated the 40th
anniversary of Roe. But what we saw in 2010 were these elections at the
state level where very conservative candidates became lawmakers, this Tea
Party movement. And right when they became lawmakers, right in 2011, we
started to see these abortion restrictions really take off. They have just
gone after the social issue like nobody`s business.
MATTHEWS: Joy, get in here. I think this is a classic geographic
situation we have in our country. Their attitude is, yes, you can have
your abortions in New York, and Massachusetts, and California, go ahead.
Have your free choice existence. But back here, back here, we`re going to
have our own law and we`re going to effectively get around the Supreme
Court. I just think this is -- my hunch maybe because I`m an optimist,
within a year or two, we`re going to get to the Supreme Court and they`re
going to wipe all this stuff away, they`re going to clean the brush away.
But what do you think?
JOY REID, THE GRIO: Well, Chris, that`s not what they`re betting on. I
mean, you know, when I was growing up, what used to be called the Right to
Life movement, used to try to the persuasion model of rolling back
abortion, public protests, hoping to persuade people to their point of
view. They`ve given up on persuasion.
What they`re doing now, and I`ve heard it described as building a Berlin
Wall around red states, where they essentially squeeze abortion out of
existence. They make it so that the regulations, these people are against
regulations by the government, but they use regulations and all sorts of
other legislative tricks to make it almost impossible to obtain an abortion
even though they technically don`t ban it.
And I think one of the strategies that these guys are pursuing is that
they`re going right up to the limits. The legal limits and testing how far
they can eat into Roe before the other side, the pro-choice side, takes
them to court. They`re almost daring the pro-choice side to take them to
court because I think a lot of people in the antiabortion world believe if
they can get a court -- case to the Supreme Court, this court would
actually overturn Roe. If they can get Roe overturned, then it goes back
to the states. And state-by-state, they can ban it.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me go back to this piecemeal approach. If all you`re
doing is saying to a young woman or older woman who wants an abortion,
wants the option, who`s living in a place like North Dakota, know they`re
going to have a make a long car ride to go somewhere where you can, to a
clinic in another state, they`re not really stopping people from having
abortions. They`re simply putting more miles on their car.
I mean, to be blunt about it, they`re really making it a little more
difficult. But I don`t think in many cases they`re really stopping a
person from having an abortion. They`re simply punishing them. Like they
do this vaginal stuff, and all these screenings, and all these questions
and all this so-called counseling.
It`s not to change anybody`s mind. It`s to bother them.
REID: It`s to make it almost impossible, to make it too much trouble to do
it so they can force people that easier --
MATTHEWS: You don`t think it`s going to stop people from having an
abortion by this stuff?
Let me go back to you, the expert. How do they stop you? When you get
money together, I`m not saying everybody is rich, but you do whatever it
took if you didn`t want to have a baby.
NASH: Well, there`s that. But, you know, wealthier women have those
resources and when we`re talking poorer women --
MATTHEWS: Wealthier, OK. Who is unable to get some money together to get
in a car, a bus ride, to get out of the state to have an abortion if they
NASH: Well, let`s say it costs $450 for your average first trimester
abortion. You have to arrange for childcare.
MATTHEWS: That`s Planned Parenthood or something like that.
NASH: Yes. Your average -- you have to arrange for childcare because 60
percent of women having abortions already have kids. You have to take time
off of work, and if you`re working a low-end, you know, minimum-wage job,
can you take --
MATTHEWS: I don`t want to be too tough here because you got a good
argument here. But you would still choose to have a baby rather than do
that? You`d say that`s easier?
NASH: Well, when you can`t come up with the money and time off of work at
that moment when you`re pregnant, your other option is to have a baby.
REID: And, Chris --
MATTHEWS: You think that`s what happens, you think?
NASH: I think that is what happens.
MATTHEWS: That`s their right, yes.
REID: I don`t think they necessarily have to go -- I mean, at this point,
they`re not trying to persuade the women anymore. They make it difficult,
but they`re stopping the doctors. The goal is to shut down the clinics to
make it actually physically impossible because the regulations don`t target
the women except for the vaginal probes and all that craziness.
But they`re also targeting the clinics, themselves, and the doctors.
They`re making it hard to operate a business of a clinic. They`re shut
There are some states that have one abortion clinics. I think Kansas is
one of these other states, or Mississippi.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I know. I do know that.
REID: They`re making it so it`s physically impossible. So you have to
literally leave the state. So, they`re going to make it as hard as
possible and, again, build these Berlin Walls where they can say, you know
what, in Kansas we stopped abortion. That`s what they`re trying to do.
MATTHEWS: But my hunch is what they want to do is humiliate people. What
they really want to do is make people feel bad. They want to win what they
think is the moral argument by making it.
Anyway, you`re the expert, though. Thank you. I`m learning all the time,
and I have to learn all the time.
Thank you, Elizabeth, for coming. And Guttmacher is the number one place
to find the facts out about this whole question of abortion.
Anyway, thanks, Joy Reid. Have a nice weekend.
REID: Thank you. You, too.
MATTHEWS: Up next HARDBALL goes Hollywood. The great Dennis Quaid joins
us. This guy has been in so many great movies.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Catch this. We here at HARDBALL love polls. But here`s one
reason why you might want to be careful when you hear some surprising
number. The "Huffington Post" and YouGov asked people what they thought
after the public affairs act of 1975.
When told that President Obama opposed it, 39 percent of Republicans
disagreed, compared to just 3 percent of Democrats. But when told the
Republicans in Congress opposed it, that`s Republicans, the numbers were
reversed. This time only 4 percent of Republicans disagreed, while 28
percent of Democrats disagreed.
As you may have figured out by now, there`s no such thing as the 1975
public affairs act.
Bottom line: people will answer questions on subjects they know nothing
about. But keep in mind the next time, that in mind the next time you hear
a poll result, especially if it`s got anything to do about Obama, the other
guys hate it.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
HARDBALL goes Hollywood tonight with the great Dennis Quaid. There he is,
right here on my set.
You might know him from classic films like "Breaking Away". Everybody`s
all-American. I love that movie about the NFL. "The Parent Trap", the
best remake in history. "Far from Heaven," where he plays a gay guy
pretending to be a straight guy and a miserable marriage, obviously, with
And look at Quaid`s upcoming film, "At Any Price," a movie about a money
hungry farmer. I thought all farmers were good, trying to dominate the
agriculture industry by cutting rival farmers out of the market.
Take a look at this clip, it`s pretty rough, from the film, where a
successful farmer, Henry Whipple, not a successful guy`s name actually,
played by Dennis Quaid, tries to buy a dead farmer`s land at the guy`s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DENNIS QUAID, AS HENRY WHIPPLE: I know your dad owned 200 acres that he
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you getting at?
QUAID: Well, seeing as how you look down on the big city of St. Louis, I
know it`s going to be a terrible hassle for you to oversee that property
and I just wanted to let you know that I`m prepared to take it off your
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of here.
QUAID: You don`t have to decide now. When the time is right, you can have
time to talk it over.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said go away. You`re sick.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re stingy kind of people. Elizabeth can`t deal
with this and I don`t ever want to come back to Iowa after today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going price is $8,000 an acre. Where do we sign?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: There`s the devil for you.
Wow. Rural America can be just as cutthroat as corporate America, as much
as Wall Street.
And with me now is the star of the film, Dennis Quaid, the director Ramin
RAMIN BAHRANI, DIRECTOR: Yes.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Ramin. Thank you, Dennis.
It`s great to be there`s the face I`ve been watching all my life. You
didn`t know I was out there watching.
QUAID: You, too. Long time --
MATTHEWS: Well, thank you.
Let me ask you about this -- it`s almost like roller derby in business.
The job of the farmer now is to screw other farmer to get more land.
QUAID: This is not your typical farm film, that`s for sure. Wall Street
has come to the heartland of America. The only thing missing are the
skyscrapers. And the family farm is disappearing in this country and it`s
become -- it`s pitting neighbor against neighbor because the motto is
expand or die, get it or get out.
And Henry Whipple is involved in this system and he`s really been kind of
corrupted by it in a sense. And it`s -- he -- the character is based
solely on chasing the American dream and becoming corrupt by that and it`s
a weight that he gives this exterior of a very sure confident person. But
there`s a lot of self-loathing that goes on inside him.
MATTHEWS: What`s going over to Ramin, what is this about the American --
the farmer, it`s like the small single screen movie theater has a hard
MATTHEWS: Everything has got to be a multiplex (ph) in American life. Is
that going on out there in Iowa in places like where you`re shooting?
BAHRANI: Yes, definitely. I mean, the farm is not 100 acres anymore.
It`s 5,000, 10,000 acres. It`s a big business.
MATTHEWS: What`s the economy at scale? Why does it work?
BAHRANI: Oh, well, it`s like any economy at scale. It`s like Walmart.
It`s like --
MATTHEWS: What Walmart is doing to Main Street across America, you mean?
BAHRANI: Exactly. It`s the same thing, because the bigger you are, the
more efficient you are, the better deals you can negotiate, the more people
you can put into the FDA from Monsanto or Tyson (ph) to get what you want
and that keeps adding pressures and pressures and pressures to people.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about how the farmer is going to like this. This
shows the Midwest. Are they going to see themselves and say, you know,
there are guys -- there are sharks out there?
QUAID: Well, the majority of the people in the Midwest are really great
people and people that we met. This particular character, Henry Whipple,
the Herman family whose property we shot on have seen the film and they
were glad that they were not portrayed as rude.
MATTHEWS: They like this.
QUAID: This is a big -- farming is a big multinational global business
MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at -- there`s a little violence in this movie
so we`ve got to go to the topic of du jour. How many movies have you been
in where there`s a lot of killing and violence, much? I don`t think of you
QUAID: Excuse me?
MATTHEWS: I don`t think of you that way as being in many violent films.
QUAID: I`ve been in a few, action where I`ve carried a gun or whatever.
MATTHEWS: Yes, but I just the last of the "Die Hard" movie, I`m sure it is
the last --
BAHRANI: I hope so.
MATTHEWS: The violence level, you know, it`s something. I just saw the
one about the White House -- "The Fall of Olympus". I don`t mind comic
violence, as long as this funny, comic book stuff. But when it`s like
sadistic and guys get blown away and you see the whole thing.
What do you think, Mr. Director?
BAHRANI: You know, I would agree with you. It`s not my style or my taste.
But, you know --
MATTHEWS: Do you think it teaches kids how to behave? I mean, Campbell
Brown used to be in our business, the anchor. She thinks it is.
BAHRANI: I`ll tell you what I think is really strange is you can graduate
high school without taking a class in media. Not just how movies impact
you, but the show, or how the telephone, or how Internet could impact you.
I don`t know how you can graduate high school without a class in media.
MATTHEWS: What, how it spills (ph) out the truth?
BAHRANI: Yes, exactly. How to know how it impacts your life and it makes
think about things you weren`t thinking about before, impacts you or
MATTHEWS: That`s a sophisticated answer.
BAHRANI: We tried.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, let me get to your movies, by the way, I`ve got to do a
little praising here of this guy. I think "Far from Heaven" with Julian
Moore was amazing.
QUAID: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: It`s like agreeing marrying somebody so you can make it in
politics, pretend he was straight. This guy had a marriage wasn`t real and
it`s horrendous, that situation.
QUAID: Yes, what a situation to be in.
MATTHEWS: You`re married to Julian Moore and you`re not interested.
MATTHEWS: "Breaking Away," I don`t think there`s a person watching this
show that doesn`t consider breaking away it one of their personal
experiences in life. Why do you think that grabbed everyone, the working
class kids against the swells in college?
QUAID: Yes, you know, that was another Midwestern story, really, and it
was directed by an Englishman and written by a Czech immigrant.
QUAID: In fact, and I think that kind of point of view come with a
freshness to it. And it was a very special time.
MATTHEWS: The name of the new movie?
BAHRANI: "At Any Price." Roger Ebert said it was his best performance.
MATTHEWS: And Roger, what a great man he was.
BAHRANI: God bless. He was the best.
MATTHEWS: The best performance by Dennis Quaid. Well, we`re going to see
QUAID: Thank you.
BAHRANI: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: I wish you`d see it, too. This weekend, right here. Great time
to see it.
Dennis Quaid and Ramin Bahrani.
When we return, let me finish with the GOP heading in opposite directions.
It`s a civil war going on out there and we like to watch it.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this:
It`s stunning what`s happening to the Republican Party right now. They
seem to be coming apart. Look at how the religious conservatives are
demanding that the party double down on their fight against gay marriage.
Look at how the libertarian wing is going its own way on gun control,
standing hard against any widening of background checks. So, you`ve got
Republicans going in both directions, really some pushing harder to make it
more difficult for women to have abortions, and some insisting on making it
easy as pie to buy any gun that you want.
And the big question: Are we watching a major political party on the road
to a civil war?
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.
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