June 10, 2013
Guests: Kim Gandy, Barton Gellman, Rep. Elijah Cummings
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Mystery man.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
"Let Me Start" tonight with this. Where is the young man who gave
newspapers all this information about the NSA? Better yet, who is he? We
know so little -- didn`t finish high school, no college at all, a Ron Paul
supporter. He said he worked for the CIA, did some undercover work in
Europe. Did he?
And now he`s somewhere in the world, having gotten a big story of
government surveillance into print. He told us things we didn`t know about
our government. It`s bad enough to possibly put him in prison. Is it good
enough to make him a hero?
We`re joined by the HuffingtonPost`s Howard Fineman and "The Washington
Post`s" Barton Gellman. He`s also with the Century (ph) Foundation.
Let`s take a look at this. In an interview with Glenn Greenwald and Laura
Poitras of "The Guardian" over the weekend, self-identified leaker Edward
Snowden offered his motivation, as he explained it, for giving those
documents to reporters. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDWARD SNOWDEN, WHISTLEBLOWER: I`m just another guy who sits there day to
day in the office, watches what`s happening, and goes, This is something
that`s not our place to decide. The public needs to decide whether these
programs and policies are right or wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Barton Gellman, you know this fellow, right?
BARTON GELLMAN, "WASHINGTON POST": I do.
MATTHEWS: Tell me about him. If you had to describe him, say for a job
application or something, about his character, about his intelligence. He
has an unusual background. He seems more like a grad student, maybe
somebody we would know around this world here at MSNBC, somebody pretty
intelligent, has sophisticated ideas about things, and yet it doesn`t seem
to show up in the resume. That doesn`t mean anything. Maybe he`s an
autodidact, which is probably a good thing to be said for someone, they
taught themselves a lot.
How do you figure how it all fits together, the data we have on him and who
GELLMAN: Well, I guess, you know, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs did pretty
well without degrees.
GELLMAN: This guy a remarkably intelligent guy. He is very, very well
spoken. He`s a heck of a writer. He has developed views about the world
and about politics and about what`s right and wrong. And anyone who takes
this kind of risk -- and whether you like his cause or not or believe his
risk was justified or not, it`s just -- objectively speaking, this was an
act of considerable self-sacrifice to a cause he believed in.
GELLMAN: And he has very considerable technical and operational skills
because for this particular operation, his adversary was his own agency,
and he managed to extract documents that he shouldn`t extract and get them
across an international border. And that is not -- that is not the act of
someone who is not a skillful person.
MATTHEWS: I want to get to Howard and back to you in a moment. But
there`s one thing that just screamed at me over the weekend, and just --
one of those few things that blew my mind.
Is it true, as you understand it, or is it credible, that when he says that
a guy like him, a young guy 29 years old, not a high big shot in the agency
world, not a big company man, if you will, at the CIA, is capable at will
to out every station chief, every agent in the world?
That`s what he said. He could have done that if he wanted to be an enemy
of the United States? Is that credible?
GELLMAN: If you`re asking me, I would say yes. I believe him. He -- I
have tested --
GELLMAN: I have tested his knowledge on many occasions. I have pressed
him. He is very careful and clear when he says, I`m glad you asked that
follow-up because I made an assumption, and here`s what I know and here`s
what I think.
He`s very precise and he offers evidence. And I have not found him to be
mistaken about anything he`s told me.
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s to me the most earth-shaking thing. I want to
bring in Howard here. I want to get to some of the background here. But
to me, the most earth-shattering (ph) news is that some young person, male,
female, not even a CIA agent but just somebody working for them out of Booz
Allen, a contract employee, has the power to bring down the entire
intelligence structure of the world that we`ve got in place right now by
outing every station chief, every location, every agent we have just at
will if he feels like being the bad guy!
HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST MEDIA GROUP, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:
Well, I think he said in the videotape with "The Guardian" that he could
have brought down the entire surveillance apparatus of the world in one
MATTHEWS: That means anybody can do it!
FINEMAN: -- not just -- not just outing the station chiefs but also all
the mechanics of it. He could have ruined the whole thing in one day. And
he`s not that high-level a guy --
FINEMAN: -- in my understanding. There are now -- and I`ve been spending
the day trying to get up to speed on something that the -- by the way, "The
Washington Post" did a fantastic job two or three years ago outlining for
us the size of the security state. I think people read it at the time.
FINEMAN: It was almost too much to comprehend. Now we put a face to it.
I`d recommend that everybody go back and read that thing, find it and read
it. Bart may have even written it, for all I know, but it was fantastic.
But there are -- I would guess -- Barton could tell me if I`m wrong --
there may be hundreds if not thousands of people who have this kind of
capability, who are not necessarily that high up in the structure, but
because the structure is so vast now and so interconnected, it`s
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s go to Barton --
FINEMAN: -- paradoxically both very powerful --
MATTHEWS: You know --
FINEMAN: -- and very vulnerable at the same time.
MATTHEWS: Barton, I`ve been reading you for years. I know you`re one of
the top-drawer guys writing about this. I just wonder -- you`re a station
chief, say in some hellhole like Lebanon right now and Beirut or you`re in
some place really scary right now, Damascus or one of the "stans" out
there, with these frightening dictatorships over there, the former Soviet
Union -- and you know there`s a young guy or anybody like him could say,
You know, this guy`s Joe McGinniss or something. He works over there. Let
me give you his street address. Let me tell you who he is. Let me give
you his cover. Let me give you the list of his agents he`s using, local
agents, and have him knocked out within an hour or two!
And he -- what do these guys do when they realize this kind of
GELLMAN: Well, I want to distinguish one thing. He didn`t say he can pick
out someone`s whole agent network.
GELLMAN: But it is -- it is the case that you need a lot of people,
relatively speaking, to have access to information if it`s going to be any
use to the government.
GELLMAN: I want to also make clear this guy, you know, Edward Snowden,
chose not --
MATTHEWS: I understand.
GELLMAN: -- to make public anything like this. He recognized that that
would be a harmful thing. But one of his crucial points here about the
surveillance apparatus is that it is so big and so powerful and is
restrained primarily by two things. One is internal policy decisions,
which no one can really oversee, and the other is code.
You know, there`s the famous book from a few years back by Larry Lessig
(ph), "Code Is Law." All you have to do is change a line or two of code,
and you have access to things that until then, the rules said you did not.
And someone who has his facility with computers and his clearances can
technically get into things that he`s not allowed to get into.
Now, my guess is if he`d stayed around, the auditing systems would have
said, Hey, what did you do that for?" and he`d have been in a lot of
GELLMAN: But he`s gone.
MATTHEWS: Boy, I`m having -- I don`t know if I have mixed feelings about
(INAUDIBLE) I`m still in wonder at his very existence, this fellow. Anyway
-- amazing story, this guy. This is one of the real big stories of recent
Anyway, there are two programs that Snowden, Edward Snowden, reportedly
revealed, the latest courtesy of "The Washington Post" on Friday. It
involves a national security agency program known as PRISM. PRISM. It
collected on-line data, including video chats, photographs and e-mails on
foreign targets, although those targets could be talking to Americans. The
NSA worked with companies like Microsoft, Yahoo!, Google, Facebook,
PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple.
Now, Americans were not directly targeted, as I said, according to "The
Washington Post," but while going after foreign targets, the program could
routinely -- and that`s the word -- collect a great deal of American
content, as well. So they could be reading our e-mails, as well, as part
of this traffic (ph).
Last week, of course, "The Guardian" newspaper broke the news that the NSA
was collecting telephone information on domestic and international calls
for millions of Americans. It did not include the content, wasn`t
wiretapping those calls, just information like when the calls took place
and who the person was calling, number-to-number kind of stuff, and length
Over the weekend, Snowden -- Edward Snowden talked about the scope of the
program, as he saw it. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SNOWDEN: Any analyst at any time can target anyone, any selector anywhere.
Where those communications will be picked up depends on the range of the
sensor networks and the authorities that that analyst is empowered with.
Not all analysts have the ability to target everything.
But I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone,
from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even the president if I
had a personal e-mail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: We`ll get to the that question. Director of National
Intelligence James Clapper told NBC`s Andrea Mitchell the idea that the
government is listening in on people`s private conversations was wrong.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES CLAPPER, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: The notion that we`re
trolling through everyone`s e-mails and voyeuristically reading them or
listening to everyone`s phone calls is on its face absurd. We couldn`t do
it even if we wanted to, and I assure you, we don`t want to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, again, Barton, some amazing information. I use that
phrase, "Tell me something I don`t know," on my weekend show. I`m going to
keep using it with this guy. I didn`t know -- did you find it credible
that this young fellow -- again, one of thousands or tens of thousands of
people like him -- could at will tap someone`s phone?
GELLMAN: Yes, I do. I mean, the systems exist. I mean, what he`s saying
is there are authorities that -- he`s talking about something technically
called, you know, FAA-702 authorities. If you have that authority and you
are cleared for the PRISM compartment, then you literally have the
technical power to do so.
Now, when General Clapper says the idea that we`re reading everybody`s e-
mail and trolling through it voyeuristically -- he`s not even addressing
what Edward Snowden is saying and he`s not addressing what our story is
saying, which is that they have the power to collect content. They collect
a lot of it, as they describe it, inadvertently.
And the crucial difference between now and what used to be the case before
9/11 and before the programs that have succeeded in recent years is that
they don`t throw it away if they collect it, as they describe it, by
accident. They keep it and they mine it, and they are entitled to use that
in their subsequent analysis, even if they were not allowed to target it
for collection in the first place.
MATTHEWS: You know, Howard, I was thinking about the Eric Holder issues
and all those questions involving James Rosen, Fox and all, and the AP
story. If that wall wasn`t there -- what was it, the Jamie Gorelick wall,
the wall between intelligence gathering and prosecution, this whole thing
would be available to the Justice Department.
MATTHEWS: All this rigmarole.
FINEMAN: Yes. Why get a subpoena? Just --
MATTHEWS: Just call the NSA.
FINEMAN: Yes, just call the NSA. They`ve got it all. And that`s a -- and
that`s a -- that`s a very serious concern.
MATTHEWS: Call this guy Edward Snowden over there.
FINEMAN: Well, I think what --
MATTHEWS: This guy can do anything.
FINEMAN: Now, Snowden is a hero or a villain, depending on your point of
view. But the things he is saying are worth listening to because another
thing he said in that video was they have the power because they keep all
this stuff --
FINEMAN: -- and will keep it all to rewrite the -- or to selectively
write the story of your life retroactively, if they decide you`re somebody
they want to go after. That`s the sort of Orwellian or even Stalinist --
MATTHEWS: How do they rewrite the story line, quickly?
FINEMAN: Well, they can selectively -- they can pick out the details of
your life to selectively tell the story they want to tell --
MATTHEWS: I see.
FINEMAN: -- if they decide they want to go after you.
MATTHEWS: I`m learning a lot.
FINEMAN: That`s -- that`s -- that`s the kind of chilling notion that he
was putting out there. If they can collect every piece of data about your
MATTHEWS: One problem here, and it`s a big problem for people like me --
and I think a lot of people, Howard, too, we want to believe government can
do good things for people. But here we have a case where the government
doesn`t tell us what it`s doing. This guy does. Then you begin -- well,
who do you trust more, this guy or the government? It`s not good for those
who want to believe in government.
Anyway, thank you, Howard Fineman.
FINEMAN: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: And thank you, Barton Gellman.
Coming up: What really happened at the IRS office out there in Cincinnati?
That old story`s getting new again. To hear some Republicans tell it,
President Obama used the office to target his political enemies. But the
man in charge of dealing with those non-profit groups for the IRS says now
that the White House had nothing to do with it. And by the way, the guy`s
a conservative Republican. He`s the guy that was calling the shots. So it
could be this whole thing was a big nothingburger.
Also, why immigration reform could split the GOP in two. On one side,
Republicans who say it`s the key to winning back Latino voters. On the
other side, conservatives who say it will make citizens out of illegal
immigrants, just minting new Democrats. Well, could all be right.
And our series, by the way, "The Unkindest Cut," about the real effects of
those budget cuts known as the sequester, tonight, this will scare women
especially, the closing of shelters for victims of domestic violence. And
anyone who cares about women who are beaten up by their husbands -- they
used to be able to go to these places for protection. They`re closing
their doors to women who are trying to get away from scary, frightening
"Let Me Finish" tonight with what Nelson Mandela has done for this country,
too, and for the world.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: New Jersey congressman Frank Pallone made it official today he`s
running for the Senate in New Jersey. But if the latest poll`s any
indication, he`s got an uphill climb ahead of him. Let`s check the
New Jersey mayor -- of course, that`s Newark mayor Cory Booker has an
enormous lead in the race with 53 percent. Boy, what a number, huh, 53 in
the Quinnipiac poll. Representative Rush Holt`s at second at 10 points, if
he runs. Pallone brings up the rear with just 9.
That same poll shows that all three Democrats would beat the only
Republican who`s announced in that race.
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DARREL ISSA (R-CA), OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: -- their paid
liar, their spokesperson, picture (ph) behind, he`s still making up things
about what happens and calling (ph) this (ph) local rogue. There`s no
indication -- the reason that Lois Lerner tried to take the 5th is not
because there`s a rogue in Cincinnati. It`s because this is a problem that
was coordinated, in all likelihood, right out of Washington headquarters.
And we`re getting to proving it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: A whole new English language there from Issa. "In all
likelihood," "we`re getting to proving it" -- in other words, he has
nothing. And that was House Oversight Committee chair Darrell Issa at his
best and worst -- he has nothing to offer here -- asserting that the IRS
scandal began in Washington.
Well, apparently, it didn`t. This was supposed to be his big smoking gun
implicating Washington, and by inference, of course, the White House and
(INAUDIBLE) the IRS mess. It was all Obama`s fault.
What he was getting to prove, as he put it, was based on excerpts of
interviews his staff conducted with IRS officials based in Cincinnati.
Those included one unnamed employee saying, I took all my direction from
Washington. Well, conspiracy proved? Wrong.
Issa was criticized at the time for selectively disclosing extremely
limited portions of those interviews. Why not release them all? Why not
release more? Well, here`s why. It turns out that others in the division,
including the manager of the group and the person responsible for screening
tax-exempt applications, directly contradict those cherry-picked statements
disclosed by Issa.
Ranking member Elijah Cummings released a new batch of transcripts over the
weekend which tell a very different story from Issa`s. In them, the IRS
manager, which Cummings revealed is a Republican, a conservative one at
that -- quote, "Was the decision to screen and centralize the review of Tea
Party cases the targeting of the president`s political enemies?" Answer,
"I do not believe that the screening of these cases had anything to do
other than consistency and identifying issues that needed to have further
He also added, quote -- and this is the guy in charge of that program --
"Do you have any reason to believe that anyone in the White House was
involved in the decision to screen Tea Party cases?" Answer, "I have no
reason believe that."
Well, U.S. Congressman Elijah Cummings joins us now. Sir, this is so
amazing because this wild goose chase, is what it looks like now, that
supposedly led all the way to the White House, although in Issa fashion, he
never gets you all the way there. He says, I`m working on that one I just
And now he`s calling you -- what`s your phrase for your latest one, is
you`re extreme and reckless in your assertions, and all you`re doing is
quoting the witness he refused to even acknowledge, which is the guy in
charge who said, I did it because -- we did it because it was a way to do
things for consistency`s sake, and we got no leadership. And by the way,
I`m a conservative Republican.
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D-MD), OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: That`s right. And you
know, Chris, this is a witness that was called for an inquiry by the
Republicans. Republicans and Democrats sat in on the inquiry. And this
gentleman said, You know, I was the one who actually sent cases -- a case
up to Washington.
Apparently, what happened is he was -- he had screeners under him, that
worked for him. One of the screeners came to him in February of 2010 and
says, Look, boss, this is a Tea -- we`ve got a Tea Party case here, and
what they are asking for is they want tax-exempt status.
His boss -- that is, the self-described Republican -- conservative
Republican -- said, You`re right. We need to send this to Washington.
This is a high-profile case. We want to make sure that we are consistent.
We want to make sure that other cases that may come in, we treat them the
And let me tell you something, Chris. This -- this conservative Republican
manager is a guy who was just simply trying to do his job and do it right,
no doubt about it. He sat for almost six hours with Republican and
Democratic staff and told us his story.
And he made it clear that he was the one who sent the file, the initial Tea
Party file up to the technical office of IRS in Washington. And then he --
MATTHEWS: Go ahead.
CUMMINGS: And then he went to his screeners and he said, look, I also want
you to look for other cases that might be similar, because we want to treat
them all the same.
Keep in mind now, conservative Republican did this, and, again, trying too
his job right. And so one of the screeners pulled together cases. And as
they pulled together the cases, they said, you know, well, maybe we need to
change some of the -- get some other terms. So, then that`s where the 912
came in and the patriot came in as types of words that would be target
words, and that person has said that it was not about any political
motivation. They were simply trying to do their job.
MATTHEWS: Why don`t you release all the transcripts?
CUMMINGS: I am -- Chairman Issa had said on another network last week that
he would release the transcripts.
As you know, Chris -- you worked on the Hill. I try to give deference to
the chairman. He is the chairman. But I have said on another network --
and I will say it tonight again -- I am anxious to have every syllable of
the transcripts submitted and to the public.
I trust the public to read them and see what I saw. I don`t want a little
tidbit here, a little tidbit there. I think we should have the total
picture. And so I have said that, by Friday, if the chairman doesn`t want
to release them, like he promised, like he promised, what we will do is we
will do the redactions, because there are a lot of names in those
transcripts that -- that we have got protect the innocent -- and then
submit them to the public and to the media, so that you all can make your
There`s nothing in those transcripts that I`m afraid of. And you know why?
Because I have said from the beginning we must follow the situation, the
evidence wherever it may lead. And all I want is the truth, period.
MATTHEWS: OK, let`s take a look at this. The transcripts also shed more
light on who gave -- who gave the order to screen for groups using terms
like Tea Party and patriot.
According to the transcripts, it was the Cincinnati-based employee who
devised that method on his own. He says -- quote -- "Tea Party was just a
term, but Tea Parties by another name may have been something else. So,
there`s other terms I used. One was patriots and the 912 projects. At one
point, I used the word tea, but T-E-A doesn`t get you very far, so I had to
watch my queries and zero in on what I wanted."
So, how high up the chain does it all go? It turns out not very far. His
manager was asked -- quote -- "I`m guessing that you did not instruct
screening agent to use those terms in the March 2010 time period."
Response: "I did not."
The interviewer continues: "And I`m guessing you also did not instruct
anyone other than screening agent to search for Tea Party cases in spring
2010 using those type -- those type -- those criteria." His answer: "I did
Let me ask you, if you had to write a time capsule statement of what you
know, Congressman, as ranking member on that committee, the top Democrat,
it seems to me if you put together the raw information in the I.G. report
which started all this rigmarole, and you put together the evidence you got
from this -- the transcript portion at least that says this was all self-
energized, self-created the situation, nothing is here, no party politics,
no clever stuff, no hanky-panky, if you will, politically.
MATTHEWS: It`s just a couple of people or one guy even trying to find a
way to get his job done quicker, to get it done more effectively. And
that`s the entire story.
CUMMINGS: That is the entire story, Chris.
And, again, that`s why I`m hoping that the chairman will release these
transcripts. That is the story. By the way, we have not gotten any
evidence whatsoever out of all the inquiries that we have made of anybody
who said that there was a White House connection to any of this.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Does anybody over there -- I know you do. Does anybody
over on that committee, including Issa, ever think about the national
interest, that it`s not in the national interest to have people believe
that the IRS is crooked --
MATTHEWS: -- that it`s a joke, that it`s out there looking around for
people`s political enemies and checking in with the White House to see who
he wants screwed that week, it`s not in the interest of a country that
requires revenues collected honestly, with integrity?
MATTHEWS: It costs people money to give the taxes. They don`t like to do
it, but when they do it, they want to feel at least it`s a good government
that they`re helping get its job done.
And to have this word spread so maliciously and recklessly -- there`s a
use, a firm -- your chairman likes. It`s awful.
MATTHEWS: Can`t you sit down with a guy and say Darrell, the country is
not going to be a better country because it suspects every IRS agent?
CUMMINGS: My friend the late Jack Kemp, Republican congressman used to say
the best way to serve your party is to serve your country first. And
that`s what you`re saying, Chris. I agree with that. Again, we just -- I
just want to follow the truth, whatever it is, whatever it may be.
CUMMINGS: And then we can -- don`t forget, our -- our committee is
Government and, you know, Oversight and Reform. But in order to properly
reform, Chris, you have got to have complete information.
MATTHEWS: Yes. I`m glad you`re there.
CUMMINGS: Thank you. Thank you very much.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Congressman Elijah Cummings of Maryland. And thanks
for coming, ranking Democrat on that committee.
Up next, Hillary Clinton joins the Twitterverse. I have never heard of
that before, a new word for me, Twitterverse. There she is.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Now to the "Sideshow."
It`s official. Hillary Clinton`s a Twitterer and found a way to tease
votes or vote -- folks about her future plans without so much as a tweet.
In her Twitter bio, Clinton describes herself as wife, mom, lawyer, women
and kids advocate, first lady of Arkansas, first lady of the United States,
U.S. senator, secretary of state, author, dog owner, hair icon, pantsuit
aficionado, glass ceiling cracker, and TBD.
In her inaugural tweet, Clinton credited the individuals responsible for
the popular texts from Hillary account for getting her on board.
You know, the now famous picture of the former secretary of state with her,
there it is, BlackBerry along with captions like, "Hey, Hill, what doing?`
from President Obama and her response, "Running the world."
Next, over the weekend, Newark Mayor Cory Booker officially announced his
plans to run for the Senate in 2013. Here`s a line from his speech that
just might have a double meaning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CORY BOOKER (D), MAYOR OF NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: But there`s one thing that
everyone has to admit about my life as a professional, from my days working
in housing high rises in Newark as a tenants rights attorney, to my time as
mayor, is that I do not run from challenges. I run towards them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Hmm. He`s talking about his professional life there, of course,
but throughout his stint as Newark`s mayor, Booker has seemed to run
towards other kinds of challenges, like when a dog was left on a doorstep
in freezing cold temperatures, and Booker rushed to the scene.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOOKER: This is brutal weather out here. This dog is shaking really bad.
And you just can`t leave your dogs out on a day like this and go away.
If you could crank up the heat, I would appreciate it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Or when he returned home from work one day last year to find his
neighbor`s home on fire, Booker and members of his security detail ran
inside and rescued a woman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOOKER: It was very scary moment, because I couldn`t find her. It looked
like I couldn`t get back through where I came from.
And I couldn`t breathe. And it was a moment that I felt very religious.
Let`s put it that way. I finally heard her and found an opening where I
could grab her and so just grabbed her as quickly as I could and decided
that we would try to go through the kitchen. I really appreciate people
saying over the top I did not feel too heroic. It all happened very, very
quickly. And I just feel very blessed that she and I got out of that
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, then there was Tropical Storm Sandy. Booker`s answer to
individuals stuck at home without electricity from his Twitter feed, "I
have got space you can relax in, charge devices and even a working DVD
player. Come by."
Well, that helps explain why Booker is entering this race for the Senate
with a double-digit lead over his opponents.
Finally, what`s wrong with a cut-down on political extremism? How about
asking people to actually asking explain their point of view. A new study
published in "The Psychological Science Journal" went like this.
Step one, people were asked to rank their position on polarizing issues,
like instituting a national flat tax or raising the retirement age for
Social Security. The scale went roughly from strongly against to strongly
Step two, after the initial ranking, participants were asked to go into
detail why they thought the policies did or did not work. Step three,
after providing their knowledge on the issue, participants were asked to
then re-rank their position. Well, according to the researchers, asking
people to simply explain how policies worked decreased their reported
understanding of those policies and led them to report more moderate
attitudes towards those policies.
Isn`t it fascinating? So, the next time`s someone`s going off about some
political position they have, try asking them to explain what they`re
talking about. Things might simmer down a bit.
Up next, why immigration reform just might split the Republican Party in
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
BERTHA COOMBS, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Bertha Coombs with your CNBC
A mixed day for stocks, the Dow dropping nine points, the S&P 500 down just
under a point, while the Nasdaq was actually up four. Apple CEO Tim Cook
took to the stage to unveil a new line of MacBook Air computers, along with
updates to Apple`s mobile operating systems and a new music streaming
service. Facebook jumped nearly 5 percent after an analyst upgrade from a
hold to a buy. There`s also speculation the social network giant may be
added to the S&P 500 within the next year.
That`s it from CNBC. We`re first in business worldwide -- now back to
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
A trio of White House controversies and a massive NSA security leak have
kept Republicans occupied, to their enjoyment in many cases. But while
most of the rhetoric around those issues, particularly surrounding the
IRS/DOJ/ and Benghazi issues, have taken aim at destroying the White House,
there are signs they have woken up to a bigger and much more important
political reality for their own party, immigration reform.
In the 2012 election, we all know Democrats took the Latino vote by a
margin of more than 40 points. If Republicans know what`s good for them,
they may be getting aboard quickly on this issue. We will see. But while
the bipartisan gang of eight in the Senate, their immigration bill is
moving forward, divisions and defections within the Republican Party are
threatening reform, particularly in the House, which is controlled so
strongly by GOP conservatives.
But there`s a bigger question to be answered right now. Even if the
miraculous happens and Congress cobbles together a bill, is it one that
we`re going to be proud of to fully enforce? That`s my question. I will
stand alone on that position. I want a bill that works.
Joining me now is MSNBC political analyst Edward Rendell, the former
governor of Pennsylvania, and MSNBC contributor Victoria DeFrancesco Soto,
a professor at the University of Texas.
I want to start with the governor.
You`re an executive. You know what it means to put something into law and
make it work. Are you confident that, after all the Democrats and
Republicans, left or right, agree on something, they will agree on
something better than the joke they passed in `86, Simpson-Mazzoli, that
they never intended to enforce?
ED RENDELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I am, Chris, although the
aspects of this bill, even if you take the gang of eight Senate bill, some
of the aspects of this bill are going to be tough to enforce, not because
of a lack of will, but just because they`re going to require a level of
skill and competence that I don`t know if we`re there yet, for example, e-
RENDELL: As you know, e-verification is not anywhere close to 100 percent,
but it ramps up each year as the technology gets better.
Border security, are those goals realistic? I think everyone hopes they
are, but the question is, can they be? So -- but I think, overall, it`s
important for the country first, for the Republican Party second, that we
get a bill that`s workable and it`s a good bill and that can be enforced.
It`s not going to be easy. Implementation is going to be a hurdle too, but
I think we can do it.
MATTHEWS: Well, the Simpson-Mazzoli bill was passed in `86. It was signed
into law by President Reagan in `86. While it was touted as a solution to
America`s immigration problem, had all the elements we`re talking about
now, something on enforcement, something on legalization, it failed badly.
Here are a few reasons why it failed. And we ought to know this when we
pass this bill. It failed to curtail the flow of illegal immigrants into
the country, of course. The original employee verification system got
watered down so much that under the final law, as it was passed, all
employers had to do was make sure an immigrant`s paperwork -- quote --
"reasonably appears on its face to be genuine," in other words, a pretty
good piece of counterfeit.
So, if the documents were decent fakes, the boss wasn`t responsible.
There`s also poor funding for border security itself. Add it all up and
the number of illegal immigrants soared from five million in `86 to 11
Victoria, I want to ask you about that question. My belief is if we pass a
joke again, we are going to have just as much anger in this country about
illegal immigration, this issue is never going to go away, the social
turmoil is not going to go away, assimilation is not going to be any
better. We`re just going to have hell on wheels again for 20 more years.
Have you confidence or do you believe in a bill that`s going to be tough,
as well as lenient, in terms of a path to citizenship?
VICTORIA DEFRANCESCO SOTO, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Chris, I do. And when we`re
talking about the 1986 IRCA law and we compare it to the present
legislation, we`re comparing apples to oranges, because even though there
were provisions for border enforcement, they were really minimal. In 1993,
there was only about $353 million allocated to border security. Now, we
have close to $7 billion allocated to border security.
Again, you pointed out E-verify really was nonexistent. Now, even though
it`s going to be phased in by a certain point, it will be mandatory for
So, we`re really talking about a whole different piece of legislation. At
the end of the day, immigration happens because there`s a demand. And if
you curtail the demand, we don`t have to build fences. But if employers
are not hiring undocumented immigrants, we`re going to solve the problem.
MATTHEWS: Do you think -- I`m going to ask you because you`re involved in
this more than the governor or I, you`ve been involved on the issue a lot -
- do you think we can get the situation where we have an enforced, on the
book, on the level immigration policy like other countries do?
We may be the only country where people pour into the place. I mean, where
we are progressive. We let people who are liberal. We`re welcoming and
all that good stuff.
We allow people to come in either permanently or temporarily, depending on
the situation and the jobs. People assimilate over time. Certainly their
We`re a happy country. We`re not going to be arguing about this 20 years
Do you think it`s possible?
SOTO: I do. I absolutely do, Chris. And again, it goes back to the
demand, the pull. Why do people come here? Because there are people who
will hire them.
So, if we tell these people who like to undercut American citizens and hire
cheap undocumented immigrants and also exploit these immigrants and say,
you can`t do this and if you do, you`re going to go to jail, you`re going
to pay a lot of money if you do this, people are not going to come over.
They`re going to stay with their family and stay home.
MATTHEWS: I don`t want some joker that runs a hot dog factor deciding who
is an American. That should be up to the people of the United States.
Anyway, Governor, you have confidence about this. Who do you trust on this
issue? I sort of think Rubio is trying to do it the right way because he
knows he`s in a conservative political party and he better deliver not just
on helping the people get here legalized, finally, but also have a decent
system of enforcement. I think his party won`t settle for less than that.
ED RENDELL (D), FORMER PA GOVERNOR: I agree, Chris. But I also think
President Obama has to make sure if this law passes at the end of this year
or early `14 that there are steps taken, very strong steps, to make sure
enforcement is key.
I think the key to resolving the problem you`re talking about, Chris, is a
good guest worker statute, part of the statute. If we get a good guest
worker path, I think that solves a lot of problems. A lot of people come
over here and not because they want to be citizens, but because they want a
job that pays better than where they are.
MATTHEWS: They have immediate cash needs and they want to go back in a few
months after this -- maybe the harvest season and I have a ton of money to
Anyway, border security remains the biggest hurdle, of course. I guess in
the Senate, Republican John Cornyn of Texas crafting an amendment that
calls for stricter border control, triggers he calls it, before immigrants
could apply for citizenship. He wants 100 percent monitoring capability at
every segment of the southern border, at least 90 percent of all illegal
immigrants apprehended and a biometric exit system. His proposal has won
praise from Republicans like Senator Rubio, who`s working on his own border
According to "The Hill", that`s the newspaper up on the Hill, which reports
that, quote, "Senate sources say Rubio, a member of the gang of eight, is
working on amendments to bolster border security apart from a border
security package drafted by John Cornyn."
But these measures could risk topping the bill. And that`s my question.
Cornyn`s amendments have been called a poison pill by Senate Majority
Leader Harry Reid.
And I guess back to you. Let me ask you, Victoria, when do you reach the
tipping point where the Latino community and liberals and people who
generally want to see better treatment of people here a number of years
especially, when do they say, "I`m off the bus"?
SOTO: You know, I think in terms of border security, Latinos are on board
with it. They understand that the United States is a sovereign country.
They need to protect their borders. But what they don`t like is the poison
pill aspect of it, that John Cornyn is being disingenuous. He`s not really
concerned that the border is unsafe.
For those of us who leave on the border, who had spent time on the border,
you see the border, you see the troops. You see the border patrol there.
It`s secure. All right. We`ll throw more money at it.
But if you`re doing something just to derail this, then Latinos are going
to turn their back even more so on the Republican Party.
MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you. I think you`ve nailed the politics of this
pretty well. Thank you, Victoria DeFrancesco Soto.
And, Governor Rendell, thank you, sir.
Coming up, was it necessary to close shelters for victims of domestic
violence? These are women who are looking for safe haven, if you will, to
get away from dangerous spouses. Is it smart for the government to cut
spending for that kind of refuge?
"The Unkindest Cut", our latest example, coming up next.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, Congressman Ed Markey is holding on to a small but
consistent lead right now, persistent lead. He`s up, actually, he`s up in
Look at the poll. We`re going to the HARDBALL scoreboard for this right
now. The Suffolk poll out just this afternoon gives Markey a seven-point
lead over Republican Gabriel Gomez, 48-41. That`s pretty consistent with
other polls in the race, 48-41.
Anywhere, here`s "The Huffington Post" pollster trend line. As you can
see, the race has tightened a bit over time, but Markey maintaining a
The election is June 25th. What a time of the year to be voting in June,
like getting married in late June.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL, and our continuing series, "The
Unkindest Cut", where we put a spotlight on the people and the
organizations taking the brunt of this arbitrary across the board spending
cuts known as sequester. It`s still going on, by the way. And as you
might imagine, it`s the most vulnerable among us taking the hardest hits.
We`ve told you about homebound seniors getting fewer hot meals because of
the cuts in meals and wheels and about cuts to the Head Start programs for
to disadvantaged preschoolers. They could wind up with 70,000 children
shut out of the program. Even cuts to NIH funding that could curtail
critical medial research like in cancer that only affects all of us, of
Well, today, we focus on something pretty scary. It`s cuts to funding for
victims of domestic violence. Access to a shelter, a place to go, can
sometimes mean the difference between life and death for someone in an
abusive, scary relationship.
And these shelters and domestic violence programs are taking a serious blow
-- $20 million in cuts due to the sequester, on top of years of cuts that
left many programs operating on a shoestring budget. An estimated 70,000
fewer victims could have access to shelters right now.
Well, Kim Gandy is the CEO of the National Network to End Domestic
Violence, and Gene Robinson is Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for "The
Washington Post" and MSNBC contributor.
Kim, thank you for joining us. I just saw that film and I`m reading the
book called "Safe Haven", about a woman who has to escape from a
frightening husband who is, in fact, a police officer which makes it even
scarier with all of his ability to track her down. You know, when you
think about -- I mean, I learned a lot from the movies like "Sleeping with
the Enemy" with Julia Roberts, and the idea of a husband, I`ve also known
two friends of mine over the years who married husbands who beautifully
courted these women and the minute the marriage took place, became
monsters. And those marriages had to end quickly for the safety of the
And now, they go to places where they can no longer go for security and
refuge. Tell me about what it means.
KIM GANDY, NATIONAL NETWORK TO END DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Well, Chris, first
thank you for shining a light on this.
We cannot afford to wait until another woman is murdered, maybe her
children too because she was not able to find shelter. One thing we know
from experience is the most dangerous time for a woman is right after she
leaves. Once she makes that decision and leaves the situation, that`s when
she is in the most danger of being killed, when she is in the most need of
safety planning and shelter in a secure place for herself and her children.
And we already know that women are being turned away, victims are being
turned away from shelter because of dramatic cuts in funding. We`re even
seeing shelters that are closing and others particularly in rural areas
that are in danger of closing this year because they can`t keep their doors
open. If you`ve only got two staff left, there is no way you can operate a
24-hour shelter. And then where will the women of that community turn?
MATTHEWS: Gene, it`s not hard to figure this one out.
EUGENE ROBINSON, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes.
MATTHEWS: It`s scary.
ROBINSON: This is scary. And this should be completely noncontroversial,
right? You would think. The whole sequester was a dumb idea, a dumbly
conceived, dumbly executed.
But when you realize that something like this is going on, you think that
there should be a consensus. Let`s fix this. Like there was a consensus
about fixing the FAA problem, so there wouldn`t be long lines at the
MATTHEWS: That`s on the airplanes.
MATTHEWS: And people in good marriages are healthy and happy. They`re not
-- these cutters, the people like these women aren`t getting to vote very
much, are they?
ROBINSON: Well, and they`re not giving big campaign contributions. And
so, they`re really not politically apparently an important constituency,
which is just stunning.
MATTHEWS: OK, let`s talk turkey. Kim, how do you fight this? Who do you
have to talk to? Is there anybody that you`d been able to find -- we used
to call it in wrestling, I guess, pressure points? I imagine these things,
I didn`t wrestle. But you look for the way to pin the person.
How do you get the members of Congress and say, look, some women are going
to die this week because these shelters are closing their doors to them?
GANDY: Well, that`s exactly the message that we`re giving. We had the
state executive directors from nearly every state in the country, along
with their shelter advocates here in Washington just last week on Capitol
Hill, meeting one by one. Illinois, I know met with 18 different members
to say what`s happening to them, what`s really happening out there.
And one member of Congress referred to the amount of money at stake here as
budget dust. It`s such a small amount of money. The program Family
Violence Prevention Services Act program that funds the core services for
most of the shelters in the country is authorized at $175 million. It`s
being funded now at $121 million, and even that`s being cut.
The difference: 50 million lives, many lives -- lives of our neighbors, our
friends, and our family members. And $50 million in this budget is
MATTHEWS: You know, you see here that 88 percent of state coalitions
concerned about this reported the domestic violence programs have recently
experienced an increase in demand for services. Because the problem is
getting bigger, and the failure to meet it is getting bigger.
Thank you, Kim Gandy. Please come back again.
And, Gene Robinson, as always.
As we continue our "Unkindest Cut" series, we want to hear from you. Tell
us how you have been affected by Congress` across-the-board, automatic
spending cuts. You can tweet us at #unkindestcut. You can also join the
conversation on our Facebook page at Facebook.com/hardball, and go to our
Web site, of course, at tv.MSNBC.com and click on HARDBALL.
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this.
Nelson Mandela is in critical condition tonight. Perhaps the world`s
greatest hero, he built a historic legacy while still in prison. He
refused to leave Robben Island until white-ruled South Africa legalized the
African National Congress. And when it did, we knew the world was changing
down there, that getting majority rule was just a matter of time.
Well, I was there when the first election was held, when Mandela was
elected president of South Africa. It was glorious day of people waiting
in line for hours so they could be part of the great change coming over
that country, a change Nelson Mandela made possible.
We all thought it might take a horrible bloodshed to change South Africa.
The United States played a good part in making that not the case. We did
it with the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 which brought economic
sanctions against the white world society. It helped to change history for
I had the privilege of being with Archbishop Tutu when he voted that great
day in 1994, of interviewing Nelson Mandela, the president-elect,
afterwards. It was along with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the greatest
stories I`ve ever gotten to cover.
I expect to be going to South Africa to honor the great man once again when
the time comes.
It is impossible to measure the good this pain of this man, his faith, his
leadership has meant to our time. It was he who instilled in millions of
South Africans the power of the ballot, the joy of democracy.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.
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