updated 6/26/2013 10:34:41 AM ET 2013-06-26T14:34:41

HARDBALL
June 25, 2013
Guests: Julian Bond, Ryan Haygood, Simon Marks

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Good-bye voting rights.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews up in New York.

"Let Me Start" with this. A happy day for Reince Priebus. That was today
was, any way you look at it. Today, the United States Supreme Court lopped
off the head of the Voting Rights Act that removed a key weapon used to
stop states from suppressing African-Americans and other voters they don`t
like showing up at the polls.

What a joy this must be to the Republican national headquarters where
Reince Priebus holds sway. It opens the door for far more voter
suppression by Republican-dominated state legislatures. Catch this. In
the year 2011, just one year, preparing for the 2012 presidential election,
41 states -- that`s all but 9 -- engaged in some form of restriction on
voting. Think of what Reince Priebus and his gang of voter suppressionists
will be able to do now that the Voting Rights Act isn`t in their way.

Joining me right now to talk about it, Ryan Haygood of the NAACP Legal
Defense and Education Fund and Civil Rights leader Julian Bond, former
chair of the NAACP.

Mr. Bond, I want to start with you. I don`t know what you make of it, but
this seems to be a 5-4 decision by a Republican-dominated Supreme Court
that didn`t like the Voting Rights Act, period, and got rid of its teeth
and its head and its eyes.

JULIAN BOND, FORMER NAACP CHAIRMAN: It`s exactly that. This is Justice
Roberts`s dream. He`s been trying to do this since he was in the Reagan
Justice Department as a younger lawyer, and it`s finally made his dream
come true. He`s been able to maneuver the Supreme Court so that they`ve
gutted the Voting Rights Act, just as you said, made it impossible to block
attempts to suppress black voting.

This is a good deal for the Republicans. It`s an awful deal for the United
States.

MATTHEWS: Well, let me bring in Richard -- Ryan Haywood (sic) of the
NAACP. You`re the expert on this. It seems to me if you can`t have a map
that tells you which states have to get agreement on changing their voting
rules, you don`t have a weapon here.

RYAN HAYGOOD, NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATION FUND: That`s right, Chris.
Thanks for having me on the show. Today`s decision really is a disgraceful
one. It`s a significant departure, Chris, from the Supreme Court`s own
precedent over four decades upholding the constitutionality of the Voting
Rights Act.

And what it does very concretely, Chris, is that it lays bare, it lays
vulnerable millions of voters of color in those places previously covered
by section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. They`re now open to a host of
attacks in those jurisdictions that over time have been most relentless,
most adaptive and most intense in their forms of voter discrimination.

So for example, the Supreme Court issued its opinion this morning around
10:30. Already today, there are news reports from the state of Texas which
are seeking to -- which are saying now that Texas will implement its photo
ID measure. You`ll remember that Texas`s photo ID measure was blocked
under section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and was regarded as one of the
most discriminatory voting proposals in the country at the time.

MATTHEWS: You know, I just want to get this in perspective. And I
couldn`t have a better person here than Julian Bond. If you think about
just the way America has changed -- back in 1964, the all-white delegation
to the United States Senate from these Southern states -- for example,
Texas, South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Virginia -- they`re
all white guys, basically.

They all voted against the Civil Rights bill, knowing that was good
politics for them to deny the chance of a black person, man or woman, to
walk into a restaurant, go to a men`s room or a women`s -- ladies room in a
gas station. To vote against all those rights was in their political
interests because no blacks were allowed to vote. This is what the Civil
Rights Act changed, what the Voting Rights Act particularly changed in `65.

Talk about the history of how everything was changed because when the
blacks were guaranteed the federal government was on their side in making
sure they had a right to vote, everything changed.

BOND: You know, we owe all this to Lyndon Johnson, who may have been
condemned for his activities in the Vietnam war, but in Civil Rights, he
was number one. He was the president who led this through the Congress.
He had the skills and the ability to do it. He helped pass the Civil
Rights Act and then the Voting Rights Act. He changed America. He made it
into a different country.

And in the years from then until now, we`ve lived under these laws that
have protected people if they wanted to vote. Now these protections just
washed away in an instant by the Roberts court. This is a horrible,
horrible day for America. It`s an awful, awful day. And it`s going to
take an enormous effort by a lot of people, black, white, of all races and
colors, of all political persuasions, everybody who believes in justice and
fair play to set this right again.

MATTHEWS: And by the way, there was Everett Dirksen. It`s hard to
remember, Mr. Haygood, that there were Republicans like him back in the
`60s who voted not only for the Civil Rights bill, for the Voting Rights
Act as leaders.

Anyway, let me ask you about this. The real world we live in, it takes 60
votes to get anything through the U.S. Senate. And some states are going
to get hurt, they`ll think it that way, under a new voting rights map. So
you just assume that the states that are targeted by a new map aren`t going
to vote for it. Just think about that.

And then you`ve got to figure out you`ve got to get 60 of the other
remaining senators to vote for some new map. I know people like to be
optimistic. Maybe Eric Holder, the AG, is optimistic. But how can any
reasonable person assume that the way Congress is set up today, they`re
going to actually come up with a new set of states, a map of states where
there`s a need to have prior review of any voter change?

HAYGOOD: And so Chris, I think here is where there`s a silver lining in
what is an otherwise disgraceful moment. And that is that Congress, I
think, has an opportunity to take what has happened to them and to this
country, to Mr. Bond`s point more broadly, personally.

In 2006, the U.S. Senate voted 98 to zero in support of reauthorizing the
Voting Rights Act. The U.S. House voted 390 to 33. Overwhelmingly, there
was bipartisan support for reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act.

What the court did today was said that there were 98 senators and 390
members of the House who did something irrational, so they struck what they
did as unconstitutional.

I think this is a moment for the United States Congress to test it -- for
the U.S. Congress to test its heart, to look inside and this -- and look at
its mettle and its spirit and determine whether it`s now willing to stand
in the gap to bridge the gulf that the Supreme Court`s decision has
created. And I think...

MATTHEWS: Do you believe in Santa Claus?

HAYGOOD: You know, I don`t believe in Santa Claus, but I do believe that
Congress has an opportunity...

MATTHEWS: OK...

HAYGOOD: ... to receive today`s ruling as a challenge and to respond to
it.

MATTHEWS: OK, let me -- let me go back to Julian, and then I`ll be back to
you in a minute for another thought on this. How do you get senators and
congressmen -- we have a Republican House, conservative House, in fact,
archly conservative in many ways. How do you get that House and a Senate
that requires 60 votes particularly to target maybe another 10 states to
now designate afresh states that are guilty of voting rights suppression,
and therefore have to have be -- have to have the responsibility to get
prior review for any change in their law?

How do you get that through this Congress? I just don`t think this squares
with this Congress, its willingness to go out and name these states.

BOND: It doesn`t seem that way, but I`ve always been an optimist. I`ve
always believed the best thing could happen. And I think if you appeal to
people`s better natures, they will respond.

Now, often they don`t. Often, they behave in the worst kind of way. But I
think you have to assume that they`ll do the right thing, and you have to
knock on their doors. You have to ask them about it. You have to tell
them you`re going to turn out a lot of voters. You`re going to make sure
that they don`t get reelected if they don`t do this.

You have to put the fear of God and the fear of the electorate in them.
And I think there are enough Americans who believe strongly about this,
people of all races and kinds, who will get this done.

MATTHEWS: What about the Republican Party today? I`m not talking about
historically. It`s not always been bad in any sense. But right now, led
by Reince Priebus, and the fact that we`ve got 41 states now that have
tried in the last cycle, the last electoral cycle of 2011, right before the
2012 election, all tried to change their laws to make it harder for blacks
to vote.

What makes you think that that same crowd of people, political crowd, that
party led by Reince Priebus, who supports all this stuff, a party intent on
voter suppression of minorities and young people, will change its mind and
vote to target new states for a voting rights procedure, Mr. Bond?

BOND: So you have to have them ask themselves, Do we want to see a
Republican president elected in the next decade or so? Do we want 20 years
from now there to be a Republican president of the United States? If we
do, we`ve got to change our behavior. We`ve got to be attractive to black
voters. We`ve got to be attractive to Hispanic voters.

And the way we`re behaving now, we`re not attractive to either one. In
fact, we`re repulsive to both of them. So if we want to see a Republican
president, we`ve got to do something different.

MATTHEWS: But Ryan, that has not been the pattern of state legislatures
across this country. Dozens and dozens of them, from states that aren`t
(INAUDIBLE) the voter rights inquiry or inspection, like Pennsylvania,
where they were trying to change the law and make it very hard, all kinds
of documentation to show up at a voting booth, or down in Florida, where
Bill Clinton, the former president, went after them when they said no more
Sunday voting, knowing that African-Americans like to go from church to
voting prior to the election day.

And also because you`ve got these very intensely crowded African-American
areas in big cities like Philadelphia, where the people -- the voting lines
are so long. We`ve got new numbers now, 20 minutes to vote if you`re an
African-American. It takes so much longer that people want to be able to
vote earlier. They want these options.

And now these state legislatures run by Republicans say, We don`t want you
to have these options because we don`t want you to vote.

HAYGOOD: I think -- I think here`s where...

MATTHEWS: Isn`t this all true, what I`m saying?

HAYGOOD: Well, I think this is where Mr. Bond`s point is really salient.
I mean, the voter suppression tactics that we saw proliferate in the last
several years were wildly unpopular among the American populace. Americans
don`t like when they see that voter restrictions are proliferating. They
don`t like when the -- democracy is being contracted. Americans are fans
of expanding their electorate, of expanding democracy.

And to Mr. Bond`s point, both parties, the Republican Party and the
Democratic Party, have a real challenge ahead of them in making themselves
relevant to the American populace. The 2010 Census told us that by 2042,
America will be a majority minority nation.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

HAYGOOD: And there`s a opportunity for both parties and for Congress to
recognize the way that America`s landscape is changing, the way the
burgeoning political power is happening, and for there to be a response.

Today`s response is that Congress has to step in the gap that was opened up
by the Supreme Court by...

MATTHEWS: OK, here`s the problem...

HAYGOOD: ... this most unfortunate opinion.

MATTHEWS: ... with your optimism here, the (INAUDIBLE) optimism. You
start here. You can`t have a better turnout than you had for President
Obama in the last election, 2012. Some people have been disillusioned
since, but certainly, the turnout was unbelievable.

And a lot of it was spurred by anger, as you say, and what they saw as the
effort by conservative white people, basically, to screw them out of
voting. So everybody showed up and said, Look, we`re going to show those
people playing games up in Harrisburg and Tallahassee. We`re going to --
we`re going to show them we can show up at the voting booth.

How they can do more than they already did? And look what`s happened to
them now.

HAYGOOD: But Chris, you seize on one aspect of America`s burgeoning
electorate. Latinos, Asian-Americans -- those are -- those are new --
those are new sources of political power that are just now coming into
their own. Look at Texas, the expansive growth of the Latino...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I think that`s a state that`s going to go purple soon. I agree
with you there.

HAYGOOD: So there are meaningful opportunities. And this is not just
blind optimism. The reality is, is that we`re thinking about the 50th
anniversary of the march on Washington and what that meant, how that was a
watershed moment and how that came on the heels a history of exclusion in
this country and then followed by an opportunity to expand our democracy.

We`re looking at that again now, Chris, and there`s an opportunity for
Congress to step in the gap and for us to express outrage, as well.

MATTHEWS: Ryan, let`s have lunch some day because you make me more
optimistic than I normally am.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: But thank you so much for your optimism. You don`t believe in
Santa Claus, but you`re optimistic. Mr. Julian Bond, it`s an honor to have
you on the show.

BOND: My pleasure.

MATTHEWS: Please come back. It`s great to have your historic perspective
and your great mind. Thanks for coming on.

Coming up, the so-called IRS scandal? Dare we use that word anymore? It
may not have been one at all, it turns out. Now we learn just today that
the IRS flagged terms like "progressive" and "Israel" as well as "Tea
Party" and "patriot." There was no scandal, no effort to target
conservatives, no political influence from the White House, and no nothing.
What do I want to know right now is the big question, why are we only
finding out this now? Why are the wheels of knowledge going so slow?

Plus, Russia`s president Vladimir Putin -- he`s a happy guy -- he admitted
today that we all suspected, that Edward Snowden is still in a transit area
of the Moscow airport. That must be a nice place to sleep.

Well, here`s the important lesson for that episode. When you`re in
trouble, your enemies pop up. And who`s popping up right now against us?
Russia, China -- they`re seizing their opportunity to make us look bad.

And why did President Obama try to move the ball on global warming and
climate change today? Well, because cities like Miami are about to turn
into Atlantis if we don`t do something about this. They`re only five feet
in the air, Atlantis -- I mean Miami. They only got about three feet
coming at them, so there`ll be about two feet left of them in a couple of
decades.

Anyway, finally, "Let Me Finish" tonight with this point. How do you
punish people, the anti-environmentalist people in the Congress and in the
business world? Because it`s going to hurt us later, what they`re doing
now.

And this is HARDBALL, the pace for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Well, it is election day up in Massachusetts. Voters are going
to the polls to pick their next U.S. senator. U.S. Congressman Ed Markey`s
the favorite against Republican Gabriel Gomez in the special election to
replace Senator John Kerry. And polls show Markey with a lead in the high
single or low double digits. Polls close 8:00 o`clock Eastern tonight. So
if you`re in Massachusetts, you still have time to vote. Please go out and
vote.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Evidence -- in order to prove guilt,
you need it. Evidence. And when it comes to the White House and the IRS`s
controversial scrutiny of conservative groups, Republicans have instead
relied on a tactic of accuse, then prove. Well, this is the perception
they`ve created.

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R-CA), OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Their paid liar,
their spokesperson, picture behind, he`s still making up things about what
happens and calling this local rogue. This is a problem that was
coordinated in all likelihood right out of Washington headquarters. And
we`re getting to proving it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course, the enemies list out of the White House that
IRS was engaged in shutting down or trying to shut down the conservative
political viewpoint across the country, an enemies list that rivals that of
another president some time ago.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: A coordinated campaign to
use the levers of government to target conservatives and stifle speech has
been in full swing and in open view for all of us to see for years!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: We`re in the process of proving, blah, blah, blah Nixon enemies
list, all that nonsense. And now the truth. Representative Elijah
Cummings released transcripts that directly contradict all of those
accusations. An inspector general report provided no evidence of a
conspiracy, either.

And now comes new information today from the new IRS chief, Daniel Werfel,
which only adds to the evidence against the GOP conspiracy argument. His
report finds that the inappropriate tax scrutiny was due to management and
judgment failures, not political bias. He finds no evidence of any outside
involvement, and certainly none from the White House. He also found no
evidence of intentional wrongdoing here.

And most critically -- catch this -- new documents made public by the
Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee show that IRS officials
were also targeting liberal groups. In other words, they were going after
patriot and Tea Party groups, but also with groups with names like
"progressive" or "blue," like in blue state, or anti-Republican.

Sam Stein`s a reporter for the HuffingtonPost and Michael Steele is a
former RNC chair. Both are MSNBC contributors.

Sam, let me start with you. And I`ve always thought of you as pretty
objective about this stuff -- in fact, very objective. And I think -- we
don`t know everything, but what we know now, it seems to me, suggests that
this wasn`t just a tempest in a teapot, but there was no tempest at all and
no teapot. There was nothing.

SAM STEIN, HUFFINGTONPOST, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, yes. And like you,
I`m a little cautious because we`ve dealt with selective release of
information, so I`m taking things as they`re coming. But the revelations
yesterday were pretty ground-breaking, I thought, because for the first
time, we saw documents, internal IRS documents, which listed progressive
groups, groups that advocated for medical marijuana, other groups on the
left, the political left, who were also targeted on these be on the lookout
lists that the IRS put together.

And what that means it that when they`re applying for tax-exempt status,
much like these Tea Party organizations, IRS officials wanted to categorize
them. They wanted to give them extra scrutiny, so to speak, and so they
flagged them by their names.

Now, the whole conspiracy, the whole scandal that we`ve been led to believe
was that people in the administration, people behind me, had used the IRS
to go after their political enemies.

Well, it would have been a stupid idea to go after your political enemies
if you`re also going after your political allies alongside of them. So it
seems like this really punctured a hole, I guess, in the scandal that was
brewing around the IRS.

MATTHEWS: Let me go to Michael on this. What evidence is extant now, that
still exists now, that there was a political scandal here?

MICHAEL STEELE, FMR. RNC CHAIR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Chris, I
don`t think there really has been any evidence that confirms or affirms
that idea that this was, in fact, a political scandal orchestrated out of
the White House.

It`s one of the shortcomings of the Issa hearings and the way the chairman
has heretofore approached this. He`s gotten ahead of his evidence. He`s
gotten ahead of his facts in some of the comments that you played as a clip
there.

I, like Sam, take a more cautious approach here. This evidence is coming
out in dribs and drabs. We don`t know yet what is to be released. We
still don`t know exactly how deep or how far all of this goes. So, I tend
to be much more cautious about it.

MATTHEWS: Wait a minute. How deep? Relative to what? I mean, how deep?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: What has gone on so far that would go deeper?

STEELE: Well, by deep, I mean, is it -- is it something that is -- is
entrenched inside the IRS community itself, or does it really go a little
bit...

MATTHEWS: What is the "it" at this point?

STEELE: Pardon me?

MATTHEWS: What is the "it"? What is the nature of this controversy?

STEELE: Whether or not there were -- whether or not the hands on this were
isolated to just the IRS and these employees.

MATTHEWS: Well, OK, but we don`t have any evidence of that type as of this
moment, no, no.

(CROSSTALK)

STEELE: We don`t, Chris, because the investigation isn`t over. We don`t
know yet.

MATTHEWS: Do we have any evidence to suggest that there was political
hanky-panky?

STEELE: As of yet, no. As of yet, no.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Do we have any evidence to suggest that the IRS itself is guilty
of bias, political bias?

STEELE: I would say you have more evidence of that than anything else.

MATTHEWS: What is that evidence?

STEELE: Well, I mean, the fact that you have reams of papers with names of
conservative organizations targeted.

MATTHEWS: And other reams of papers with liberal groups with names like
progressive.

STEELE: No, there were not reams. No, no, that`s not true. Looking at
those documents, you go back and look at the redacted documents, and the
ones -- just a handful of liberal terms were used, number one.

Number two, where are the liberal groups that actually were targeted? And
are they outraged by it? I mean, that`s the other part of this. We
haven`t heard anything from the left. If these groups were on this list
and so targeted, where are they?

MATTHEWS: OK.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Is the word -- is the word -- is the word -- Michael, is the
word scandal appropriate?

STEELE: Yes, I think it is a scandal. I think it becomes a scandal by
virtue of the way the administration`s handled it.

MATTHEWS: Well, I agree with you there. Scandalously bad politics is what
I would say.

STEELE: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Sam, I want to get to your own point. You make your point and
then I got a question for you.

(CROSSTALK)

STEIN: I got to answer -- I got to address Michael`s points. He says that
these reams of paper don`t mention progressive groups that often.

I went through all 15 BOLO documents that were released by House Democrats
yesterday. Progressives were mentioned on every single one of them, in
addition to Tea Party groups. So, I don`t think that that`s a valid point.
Michael also mentioned that progressive groups haven`t been outraged.

In fact, a group called Progress Texas, a liberal group down in Texas, was
outraged by it. They actually did receive extra scrutiny and complained
about it. So I don`t agree with Michael`s point there.

STEELE: OK, that`s one.

STEIN: Now, were more conservatives targeted? Were more conservative
groups targeted perhaps in this dragnet?

Yes, but that could be a function of the fact that more conservative groups
were applying for tax-exempt status in 2010 and 2011 in the wake of the
Citizens United decision. Now, from what I understand and from my
reporting and from documents I have looked at, it seems now that the IRS is
putting together a categorizing system in which they would be able to
create buckets of groups that could get screened by the same agents, not
something politically nefarious, but something done so that every category
would have the same screening process.

And that`s not necessarily a scandal.

MATTHEWS: Yes. We have to find out -- by the way, in all fairness to the
bureaucrats, and I`m not the anti-bureaucrat, trying to figure out whether
a company, I mean, some sort of 501(c)(4) group that is playing too much
politics beyond what it is allowed to, somewhere below 50 percent, trying
to figure that out in terms of behavior is going to be very tough.

But one thing I want to agree on Michael about, and I think -- Michael,
what do you think of the way the White House has handled this?

STEELE: I think it`s been absolutely abysmal. I think that they have
created more noise around this issue than anything else that Issa has done.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

STEELE: I think the way they have basically...

MATTHEWS: Is it free-floating guilt, as we Catholics would say, where they
just assume they`re guilty of something?

STEELE: Right.

MATTHEWS: Why would they act like they`re guilty if there`s no evidence
they are? That`s what I don`t get.

STEELE: I have no idea. I have no idea. And it`s a real puzzle. For a
shop that`s supposed to be so politically keen and astute, they have a
certain tone-deafness when it comes to these kind of...

(CROSSTALK)

STEIN: I agree with that.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Sam, why is that? Why is that?

STEIN: What`s remarkable to me -- I agree with all that. And what`s
remarkable to me is that someone clearly knew that progressive groups were
on these BOLO lists since the beginning of this thing, since when this
thing emerged.

STEELE: Exactly.

STEIN: And they still never said anything. We could have had a different
political conversation over the past month...

MATTHEWS: I agree completely.

STEIN: ... if someone had just spoken up and said this. Instead, we have
focused incessantly on the scandal and only now are we learning this
information.

MATTHEWS: I sound like such a pol and such a political hack sometimes, I
got to tell you. But I think they need a political operation at the White
House that has somebody, man or woman, whatever age, in charge of making
political judgments.

And the political judgment that had to be made here was either there`s
nothing there or if there is something there, get on top of it. But don`t
sit back and let this grow and blossom until it becomes a mushroom cloud.
Move.

STEELE: Well, I say let them keep on doing what they`re doing.

MATTHEWS: Just move.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, I know you love it because it`s ham-handed.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Sam Stein, and thank you, Michael Steele.

STEELE: All right.

MATTHEWS: Up next: Which Republican presidential hopeful is now head of a
movie studio? You will be surprised. And this is HARDBALL, the place for
politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Now to the "Sideshow."

Here`s a story for you. The producers of that offbeat IFC show
"Portlandia" get a call out of the blue from the FBI. Sounds bad, right?
Well, not quite. Turns out Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, the co-
creators and stars of "Portlandia," were not the subject of an
investigation.

According to "The Hollywood Reporter," in April, an instructor at the FBI
Academy in Quantico, Virginia, approached the producers of "Portlandia,"
requesting to use a clip from the show`s sanitation twins sketch in its
advanced intelligence classes which focus on terrorism, espionage and other
crime.

Wow. Well, here`s a taste of the sketch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRED ARMISEN, ACTOR: Now there`s a bin for everything.

For cardboard and newspaper.

CARRIE BROWNSTEIN, ACTRESS: For cardboard and newspaper.

ARMISEN: The blue bin.

Plastic and aluminum.

BROWNSTEIN: Black. Yard waste.

ARMISEN: Yellow.

BROWNSTEIN: Is that how you say it?

ARMISEN: Yeller.

BROWNSTEIN: Oh.

ARMISEN: What do you say?

BROWNSTEIN: Yellow.

(LAUGHTER)

ARMISEN: Fingernails.

BROWNSTEIN: And eggshells. Cobalt.

ARMISEN: I feel bad using these fingernails.

BROWNSTEIN: I don`t. They`re gross.

ARMISEN: I know, but we don`t know.

BROWNSTEIN: We know.

ARMISEN: Could be worth something.

BROWNSTEIN: Like what?

ARMISEN: Well, if we had Einstein`s fingernails, I`m sure they would sell
for a lot.

BROWNSTEIN: Is that whose fingernails that is?

ARMISEN: No.

BROWNSTEIN: It`s yours, right?

ARMISEN: Yes.

BROWNSTEIN: Are you Einstein?

ARMISEN: Am not.

BROWNSTEIN: Then they`re worthless.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, at her request, Carrie Brownstein said -- quote -- "This
falls under the surreal category. We granted permission, although he
didn`t tell us why he was interested."

By the way, don`t you think Fred was the best Obama?

Also, if you had to guess which of the failed presidential candidates just
became CEO of a movie company, who would you go with? Well, Newt Gingrich
maybe. It`s actually Rick Santorum, who just accepted a gig as the head of
the Echolight Studios, a company with the goal of producing -- quote --
"high-quality movies for families of faith."

Well, he`s not making the big move to Hollywood, though. Echolight is
based in Dallas. And according to Santorum -- quote -- "Dallas can become
the Hollywood of the faith and family movie market."

Well, the new movie -- the new move means that Santorum will no longer
contribute to the far-right World Net Daily Web site, which is known for
providing a platform for bizarre theories about President Obama, not just
the typical birther stuff, but also things like that he`s gay -- that`s the
president, of course -- or that he tried to stabilize -- destabilize the
Kenyan government during a fact-finding trip in 2006.

Keeping the company you shouldn`t keep.

Anyway, next, another blow for the Westboro Baptist Church. That`s the
group united in the belief that God hates gays that goes around to events
like military funerals attempting to spread their message. Well, back in
March, a group with the totally opposite message set up headquarters across
the street from Westboro Baptist Church down in Topeka, Kansas, and made
the house into a visual statement of gay pride. There it is.

Well, the latest, even though gay marriage is not legal in Kansas, the
Equality House, as it`s known, went ahead with a same-sex marriage ceremony
over this past weekend. As expected, Westboro protesters were on hand with
signs to protest, but the brides were unfazed -- quote -- "I knew the signs
would be there and I wasn`t even angry about it. We were just so ecstatic
to be getting married," said one of the brides.

Well, local businesses pitched in to help cover the cost of the ceremony
and of course the reception. Hmm. Nice people.

Up next, the chase for NSA leaker Edward Snowden is teaching us a lot about
who our friends and allies are. And so far, Russia and China don`t seem to
be our buddies.

That`s ahead. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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$119 million.

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

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

The strange saga of Edward Snowden doesn`t seem to be ending any time soon.
Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed today that the NSA leaker was
indeed still inside the airport in Moscow. And Putin said the Russians
wouldn`t send him back to the U.S., as the White House has been demanding.
Well, the Russian leader said Snowden is free to go wherever he wants.

Well, yesterday, news that Snowden was heading for Cuba set off a frenzy
among reporters buying tickets on the flight to Havana, only to discover
Snowden wasn`t on board. Well, the next scheduled flight to Cuba is on
Thursday.

Well, one thing we know, when you`re in trouble, your enemies pop up all
over the place. And right now the countries that are popping are Russia
and China.

Simon Marks is chief correspondent for "Feature Story News" and a veteran
correspondent over in Moscow. And Jonathan Capehart is an opinion writer
for "The Washington Post." He`s a great columnist and an MSNBC
contributor.

Simon, let me ask you about the general atmosphere. Why is Putin being an
SOB about this?

SIMON MARKS, FEATURE STORY NEWS: Well, I think, Chris, essentially Because
for Vladimir Putin this is all part of the 21st century equivalent of the
great game. This is an opportunity to check American power, to demonstrate
that America`s power globally is on the wane, and that the power of
countries like China and Russia especially when they find common cause on
an issue like the destiny of Edward Snowden has the ability to trip
American presidents up, regardless of party or philosophical outlook.

MATTHEWS: Jonathan, I don`t think Vladimir Putin, having looked at the cut
of his jib over the last century or so, decades or so, he doesn`t look like
he appreciates irony too much.

But the irony of a KGB guy out there looking out for the civil rights and
the human rights of a guy who is flaunting authority is pretty
unbelievable.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: It`s pretty spectacular to watch.

But, also, here you have Edward Snowden, who is sort of like the Tom Hanks
character from that movie. What was it?

MATTHEWS: Yes, lost in the airport.

CAPEHART: "The Terminal."

MATTHEWS: Yes.

CAPEHART: "The Terminal."

Viktor was the character`s first name. He`s in a transit space there in
the Russian airport? You mean to tell me, as you said, an ex-KGB agent who
is president of the country wouldn`t want to find out what Edward Snowden
know -- what Edward Snowden knows, what he has, and what information that
might be useful to Russia?

MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s get to that.

What do you think about that, Simon? Do you think -- I don`t know. I
don`t think people lie directly, but maybe they do in some parts of the
world. Would Vladimir Putin directly say, as he did over the last news
cycle, he not interrogate, the KGB, and nobody`s going after this guy
Snowden for info, no requirements on giving up stuff? Is that credible?

MARKS: Well, I think he absolutely would lie about it.

(LAUGHTER)

MARKS: I mean, the Russians have lied for the last 48 hours.

It was just 24 hours ago that they insisted they had no knowledge of Edward
Snowden`s whereabouts, couldn`t even confirm that he was in Russia. Now,
they, of course, argue he`s not in Russia because he`s in that transit
lounge and hasn`t actually crossed the Russian border. By the way, I have
been in that transit lounge. You wouldn`t want to spend an hour there...

MATTHEWS: I wouldn`t think. I wouldn`t think.

MARKS: ... much less the best part of a week.

But, look, it`s far too delicious a prospect for the FSB, the successor
organization of the KGB, not to sit down and talk to Edward Snowden, not to
have some curiosity about what`s in those four laptops he`s apparently
carrying. It seems really to beggar belief that he hasn`t in some fashion
been debriefed.

MATTHEWS: You know, I was thinking about this and what it says about --
you know, I grew up in the Cold War, Jonathan. I`m older than you. And I
remember there were defectors on both side. We cheer their defectors to
us. If they were in show business or whatever, they departed from some
acrobatic team, we were glad to have them.

CAPEHART: Right.

MATTHEWS: Is this a fair representation of the other side of that, where
we -- people don`t flee this country. We don`t put up Berlin Walls. We
put up our walls to keep immigrants from coming in. But we don`t put up
walls to keep people in.

Are they just enjoying the irony of one guy probably in history that`s
really fled our country?

CAPEHART: Right. I don`t recall a time when an American...

MATTHEWS: Since Oswald, and he came back.

CAPEHART: ... has fled...

(CROSSTALK)

CAPEHART: Yes, he came back.

But here`s the thing about Edward Snowden that drives me crazy. He does
this thing, which we now know he joined Booz Allen for the sole purpose of
stealing these documents.

MATTHEWS: And took the oath as doing it.

CAPEHART: Right.

MATTHEWS: He took the oath of secrecy.

CAPEHART: Exactly.

So then -- but he wants to do this because he`s standing on some moral high
ground and he wants to inform the American people about what he`s doing and
the breadth and scope what the NSA is doing for national security and on
our behalf for national intelligence.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

CAPEHART: But what does he do? He flees the United States. He goes to
Hong Kong, China. He then goes to Moscow on en route to Havana en route to
Ecuador, instead of coming to the United States.

A lot of people try to connect -- to compare him...

MATTHEWS: What was his goal? I always ask this about people back to Lee
Harvey Oswald. When you do something that you know is going to cause you
trouble legally, and is going to make you a felon in some country, how do
you not have a plan to deal with that?

CAPEHART: I -- you know, I don`t know. But Daniel Ellsberg, famous for
the Pentagon papers, pretty much did the same thing.

MATTHEWS: He put his hands out.

CAPEHART: Exactly.

MATTHEWS: He was very good.

CAPEHART: He went to senators to try to get their help. He went to the
press. He went into hiding but he went to Cambridge but then he gave
himself up in the Boston courthouse.

MATTHEWS: Let me go back to someone. I love your attitude about this.
What is the word on this guy? He`s become as I said last night, a where`s
Waldo? We do. I don`t think there`s a person in America who watches the
new and reads paper the paper doesn`t want to know where he ends up and if
he escapes justice or not.

SIMON MARKS, FEATURE STORY NEWS: Well, I mean, we`re all assuming he`s
going to try to get to Ecuador. Ecuador would certainly make sense. One,
he`s applied for asylum there. Two, they have a track record. They`ve got
Julian Assange holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

MATTHEWS: What`s it like in Ecuador? Do they have Starbucks down there?
I mean, who wants to live the rest of life in -- in Quito? I`m just
asking. It may be great.

MARKS: Although, one would have to argue that life in Quito is probably me
pleasant than one room in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

The other option he still has open potentially is Iceland. Let`s not rule
that out as an outlier in all of this. He said consistently he wants to
end up in a, quote-unquote, "democratic country." Iceland would clearly
far more fit that bill than some of these options.

MATTHEWS: It`s so interesting. Back home here, you`ve got people like
Rand Paul that will decide whether they like the guy home question here,
like the guy based on where he ends up. If he ends up in Iceland, Rand
Paul and the libertarian wing in the world say, OK, we can live with that.
If he ends up in a commie country or dictatorship or left wing country like
Ecuador, no good.

CAPEHART: Well, this goes to the distraction that Edward Snowden has now
become. We started off talking about NSA and what it`s doing and what it`s
not doing and how it`s stretching the bounds of the Patriot Act. And now,
we`re discussing whether he`s in Havana or Moscow and reporters jumping on
flights that he`s not on.

MATTHEWS: Let me say something good about him, because I do enjoy this
pursuit. But I do think he told us stuff we are glad we know. That`s one
of the great ironies.

You know, in my religion, you can do something wrong, and still be a good -
- you cannot be a perfect vessel. He is not a perfect vessel. But we now
know a lot more about our intelligence gathering than we knew before this
started talking.

Anyway, thank you, Simon Marks. It`s great to have you one. You have my
attitude towards everybody. Anyway, thank you.

And Jonathan Capehart as always.

Up next, President Obama is trying to tackle climate change. Today, he`s
not expecting any help from the Congress. At least he knows the future of
the planet is at stake. He`s got the right values. Can he move on this?

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Well, former South African President Nelson Mandela remains
hospitalized in critical condition right now. But we`ve got this update
today from his granddaughter, Zenani (ph) Mandela, tells NBC News now when
she went to see her grandfather this morning she told him about President
Obama`s upcoming visit to South Africa. And Zenani said she told him,
quote, "Obama`s coming" and he opened his eyes and gave a big smile. Wow.

Well, President Obama is due in South Africa this coming Friday. What a
trip that`s got to be.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My presidency will mark a
new chapter in America`s leadership on climate change that will strengthen
our security and create millions of new jobs in the process. That will
start with a federal cap and trade system.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: We`re back.

And that was President Obama in 2008 promising bold action on climate
change. Of course, cap and trade failed to overcome Republican opposition
in the Congress, of course.

And earlier this year, in his inaugural address for his second term, the
president again promised action on climate change.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the
failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.

Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science. But none can
avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more
powerful storms.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Today in a major policy speech, the president tried to deliver
on that promise.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The question now is whether we will have the courage to act before
it`s too late. And how we answer will have a profound impact on the world
that we leave behind not just to you but to your children and to your
grandchildren. As a president, as a father, and as an American, I`m here
to say, we need to act.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Wow.

Well, the president promised a series of executive actions that won`t
require congressional approval. The centerpiece is a directive to the
Environmental Protection Agency, the EPA, to establish carbon emission at
new as well as at existing power plants.

Well, experts say that has the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse
gas emissions since power plants account for over a third of all emissions
in this country. Republicans, of course, already criticized the president
for focusing on the environment.

But for people who live in the fact-based world, which we all live in,
doing something about the environment is not simply a political issue. The
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that the sea level
could rise more than six feet by the end of this century sinking sea level
cities like Miami below water. That should be considered a crisis. Don`t
you think? That`s why the president is acting.

Howard Fineman is editorial director for the "Huffington Post", and Joan
Walsh is editor at large for Salon. Both are MSNBC political analysts.

Howard, a couple points, and this is free-flowing, this conversation. This
is so important. I don`t want to nail down to certain questions and
answers. But if this is true that carbon emissions are causing the sea
level to rise and we`re going to have Miami turning into Atlantis by the
end, by our children`s lifetimes, it`s not a joke, it`s frightening.

HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST: No, it`s not.

MATTHEWS: It`s real. It`s not B.S., we used to call these guys and women
-- well, mostly guys pigs back in the `60s, people who didn`t care about
anything except their own wealth. That`s all they cared about. Pigs.

How can you stand up in stand up in Congress or as a business person like
Romney and make fun of what is scientifically happening to our planet, and
it`s the only one we got?

FINEMAN: Well, I think it`s hard and wrong for those people to do that. I
think the political problem that the president confronted today, which he
didn`t do before the 2012 election, by the way, was what to do about
existing coal-fired power plants.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

FINEMAN: And that`s the heart of the heart of the country. We`re talking
about Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, the industrial
heartland of America, which still very much relies both for power and light
and industry on coal.

Now, the Supreme Court said in 2009 that carbon dioxide should be and could
be regulated as a pollutant. In other words, as early as the beginning of
his first administration, this president could have moved administratively,
aggressively to clamp down on existing power plants, many of which are
belching huge amounts of the carbon dioxide that results in the warming of
temperatures that you`re talking about.

He didn`t do it then. But he did do it today -- or at least he initiated
the process today, which he didn`t want to do, frankly, before Ohio voted
in 2012.

MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at Mitt Romney. I don`t want to call anybody
a pig. But generically, he fits the category.

Here is Mitt Romney mocking President Obama in his convention speech last
year. What a hoot it got from the Babbitts who were in the audience.
Let`s take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: President Obama promised
to begin to slow the rise of the oceans, and to heal the planet. My
promise is to help you and your family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: There is so much in that, Joan.

JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: Yes.

MATTHEWS: There is so much awfulness in that. Making money in business is
the size that God loves you, right? That anything you do to make money in
business is good. Anybody who questions that and thinks you may be hurting
God`s environment which he gave us is wrong, and you can laugh at them.

WALSH: And remember how ridiculous that sounded, Chris, after super storm
Sandy after the oceans did rise and people died and people lost their homes
and people wanted help for their families. So, you know, Obama got the
last laugh.

Howard is right. He did wait on some of this stuff to the second term.
But that`s appropriate.

MATTHEWS: Who are his enemies? Is it always Kentucky on coal? Is it West
Virginia?

WALSH: You know, Joe Manchin`s not happy today. But Joe Manchin is not
going to be happy. The president is not going to worry about West
Virginia. That`s for sure.

MATTHEWS: So the Democrats can kiss West Virginia goodbye.

FINEMAN: They already did.

MATTHEWS: Well, they`ve been kissing it goodbye and Kentucky for a while.
They won Ohio. A lot of these threats were made about his existing
policies in Ohio and Pennsylvania, and he won anyway.

This is necessary. He is putting together a new politics around climate
change. He is doing it without Congress. The House passed great climate
change cap and trade legislation in the first term and couldn`t get it
through the Senate.

So, people were moving on this. Now there is absolute obstruction. He is
doing the right thing.

MATTHEWS: Well, a lot of wealthy people live near the shore, as we know in
Florida especially. Let`s take a look at how climate change can be
important today, not years from now.

Look at Miami. "Rolling Stone" magazine reported this week that "the
unavoidable truth is that sea levels are rising, and Miami is on its way to
becoming an American Atlantis. It may be another century before the city
is completely underwater, although some more pessimistic scientists predict
it could be much sooner. But life in the vibrant metropolis of 5.5 million
people will begin to dissolve much quicker, most likely without a few
decades. Miami, as we know it, is doomed says Harold Wanless, the chairman
of the department of geological sciences at the University of Miami.
That`s down there at Miami they`re saying. It`s not a question of if, it`s
a question of when."

Howard, when you take a look at this, they tell me in this article that
something like two-thirds of the land of Miami, as we know, which is a
fabulously dynamic city in this hemisphere is within five feet of sea
level. So, it doesn`t make much for the sea to rise three or four feet and
remove most of Miami. It`s not something weird and way off.

FINEMAN: No, it`s not. It`s -- Miami in certain ways is the Venice of the
East Coast of the United States. And just as treasured or it should be
just as treasured.

I think the strongest part of the president`s speech was his statement
that, as a can-do American country, we have time and again said that we do
not have to sacrifice our way of life and our environment for economic
progress. American ingenuity has raised, is raising mileage standards on
cars. It is -- did institute reforms in industry in the 19th and early
20th century. The whole progressive movement was about that. The whole
optimism and can-do Yankee spirit of America needs to be engaged in this
problem.

And if we just get our minds around that, if we see enthusiastically what a
great, creative, and by the way job-producing challenge this is, it`s a
win-win for everybody. And there is always going to be people in old
industries and backward industries who are saying, it`s going to cost jobs.
In the short-term, yes. But the very capitalist theory that his Republican
opponents are using is one that actually supports the president`s point of
view.

MATTHEWS: It`s called the muffler. The muffler! It ain`t so complicated.

Howard, it works. I get the emissions check every year as you do on your
car.

Thank you, Howard Fineman, and thank you, Joan Walsh.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this.

The trouble with democracy is that it rewards and punishes only in the
short-run. Think of all those in the business world and in the Congress
who joyously vote against any effort to limit carbon emissions and never
pay at the ballot, for the simple reason that the results of their society
won`t be felt in the political stretch of their careers. Think of all the
good environmentalists who will get no credit in their political careers
from voting their concern for climate change.

Take the example of Miami. It`s a great city, perhaps hailed to be
greatest city of the western hemisphere. But for one problem, it is
largely flat, most of it less than five feet above sea level. When the
ocean rises just three feet, much of the city will fall below sea level.
Over time, it will become an underwater city, a lost city, an Atlantis.

When that day comes, most probably in this century, people will look back
at those on the piggy side politically today, those who laugh at climate
change and say they were the ones who did this.

That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.

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