July 1, 2013
Guests: Wayne Slater, Donna Edwards, Michael Tomasky, Zachary Carter, Wayne
Slater, Dawnna Dukes, A.B. Stoddard, Brian Sims, Ted Boutrous
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: George Zimmerman tells his story and
Republicans bash Hillary as too old.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews back in Washington.
And in a moment, Republicans attack Hillary for being just too darn
old to be president. Well, isn`t that special? And just so you know what
they think of women`s judgment generally, look what they`re up to down in
But first tonight here on HARDBALL, an update on the biggest trial in
the country can, who is winning the trial, and what does the prosecution
want the jury to believe that what happened in those critical moments when
Trayvon Martin came face-to-face with George Zimmerman. Is the prosecution
making its case? Is it convincing the jury that what it said happened that
night did? Are its witnesses delivering on their promise? Are they
meeting that standard of beyond a reasonable doubt?
Let`s get to it. Let`s get to it with former U.S. attorney Zachary
Mr. Carter, thank you for joining us.
I thought we were going to go to Kerry Sanders, but let`s go to you
What happened today that is significant to you watching this trial?
ZACHARY CARTER, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, listening to the witness
testify that is the investigator who recorded or took the initial statement
from Mr. Zimmerman, I think the thing that is significant at least to me is
that it raises questions about whether or not as some have speculated that
Mr. Zimmerman would ever need to take the stand, because he gives a fairly
complete statement, and he didn`t suffer the disadvantage of being cross-
CARTER: And so I think that one challenge for the prosecution is
going to be to put in for the remainder of this trial a sufficiently
compelling case that it raises serious questions about the credibility of
the statements that were reported to have been given by Mr. Zimmerman.
MATTHEWS: Can they do that effectively without getting a chance at
CARTER: That`s correct.
MATTHEWS: Do you believe they could ever duplicate the -- well, the
realism of having Zimmerman on the stand when they begin to question the
facts as he presented them?
CARTER: Well, they won`t get a shot at confronting him directly...
CARTER: ... with any inconsistencies in his testimony. But that`s
OK, because his -- no matter how well he delivers his statements, if they
don`t line up with documentary evidence, with other -- with forensic
evidence, with other witness accounts, with the time sequences in the 911
tapes and the cell phone communication records, then he will be as readily
impeached as if he were being cross-examined.
MATTHEWS: OK. Look at this. For the first time in the trial today,
the jury heard audio of George Zimmerman describing, as you say, sir, the
incident to police moments after it actually happened. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, DEFENDANT: I just remember I couldn`t breathe, and
then he still kept trying to hit my head against the pavement or -- I don`t
know if there was a sign or what it was.
So, I just -- when I slid, my jacket and my shirt came up. And when
he said, "You`re going to die tonight," I felt his hand go down on my side.
And I thought he was going for my firearm. So I grabbed it immediately.
And as he banged my head again, I just pulled out my firearm and shot him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you about the two things in credibility in
terms of what ends up perhaps being him testifying through that tape
recording, the defendant here.
One, how do you scream out in the way that he was prescribed as being
screaming out -- screaming out, if you believe it was his voice there on
the tape everybody was listening to, if he was held -- somebody had his
mouth -- a hand over his mouth and nose? I guess that`s a question.
CARTER: Well, that`s certainly one question. And another is going to
be how credible are the accounts of witnesses who observed Mr. Zimmerman
and his demeanor immediately following the incident right at the scene?
Because it`s one thing to recount what you claim happened to you hours
later. But it`s another thing to be observed immediately following the
account -- and following the encounter.
CARTER: So did he behave immediately after this incident in the way
you would expect someone who would have suffered the trauma of having a
near-death experience, or as some witnesses have apparently recounted, was
he calm and composed in a way that you might not expect for someone who
claims to have been the subject of a pretty vicious assault that he claims
justified his drawing a firearm and firing it?
MATTHEWS: Yes, well, the jury heard audio from Zimmerman, as we said,
that night talking to detective Doris Singleton about his injuries. Let`s
listen to that conversation. This is the night off.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DORIS SINGLETON, SANFORD, FLORIDA, POLICE DEPARTMENT: How is your
ZIMMERMAN: I can`t feel it.
SINGLETON: OK. And who told you -- you said, when I came in here,
they said -- who told you, you broke your nose? Who told you that?
SINGLETON: OK. Did you need to go to the hospital?
ZIMMERMAN: I don`t know. They said I didn`t. But I don`t know.
SINGLETON: Because this bump -- I can`t tell what is normal for you.
But can you see...
ZIMMERMAN: I can`t.
SINGLETON: It`s like right here. Does this right here, does that
look like a contusion there of some sort or is that the normal shape of
ZIMMERMAN: No, that`s not normal.
SINGLETON: OK, because it looks swollen there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: We got Kerry Sanders joining us, joining Zachary Carter,
the former U.S. attorney down there -- for Eastern New York, rather.
Let me ask you, Kerry, about the trial today. Last week was not a
great week apparently for the prosecution. This week, how is it shaping
KERRY SANDERS, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think what you`re seeing is
perhaps the only opportunity that the jury will hear from George Zimmerman.
He likely, according to his attorneys, will not take the stand. They`re
yet to fully decide.
But with this videotape of him reenacting, and with this interview
with Detective Serino, they`re hearing from him. They have also had the
opportunity to look at his written report. And in a written report that he
-- four pages, he sounds like a cop. He is using cop-type language. And
so all of this is helping shape a little bit of who George Zimmerman is for
I must note that in the sit-down with Chris Serino, the detective, the
jurors in the courtroom were straining to hear. In fact, I think we hear
it better on television than you can hear in the courtroom...
SANDERS: ... which maybe a little bit complicated.
But, remember, the jurors have the opportunity to have the evidence
brought later into their room for deliberations, so they can listen to it
MATTHEWS: Well, as I mentioned, the jury did see a key piece of
evidence in this case the day after the incident itself, the killing of
Martin, Trayvon Martin, as Zimmerman reenacted his version of events with
police on tape.
Let`s take a look at part of that reenactment by the defendant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZIMMERMAN: When I got to right about here, he yelled from behind me,
to the side of me. He said, "Yo, you got a problem?"
I turned around and I said, "No, I don`t have a problem, man."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where was he at?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was about there, but he was walking towards me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This direction here?
ZIMMERMAN: Yes, sir. I wouldn`t -- like I said, I was already past
that. So I didn`t see exactly where he came from. But he was about where
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
ZIMMERMAN: OK. And I said, "I don`t have a problem." And I went to
go grab my cell phone, but I left it in a different pocket.
I looked down in my pant pocket. And he said, "You got a problem
now." And then he was here, and he punched me in the face.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s go. What about the -- we just saw the back of
his head there. He had some kind of preparation on the back of his head,
some indication of something being treated back there.
Is this case going to ride -- let me go back to Mr. Carter. Is this
case going to ride on the degree of the severity of those wounds, and if
they don`t look egregious and life-threatening, the jury will say it wasn`t
justified, no matter what he says about his mental condition, he made the
wrong decision? Or does it depend on whether he thought he was being --
well, there, as you can see, what amounts to the evidence of the injury to
the back of his head. To what degree is it his judgment that is being
judged, whether he thought he was in danger of grievous injury or whether
he really was in danger of grievous injury?
CARTER: I think the jury is likely to make its decision based on what
is objectively reasonable.
CARTER: First of all, I think that is what the jury will be
instructed by the court, but, also, just as a matter of common sense and
the way that people evaluate facts and circumstances and make decisions
about -- in judging people`s conduct.
I think that they`re going to look at the totality of the
circumstances, including the level of his injuries, and make a judgment or
whether or not that he was reasonable in any belief that he was in fear of
imminent extraordinarily serious physical injury or death sufficient to
justify his using a firearm to defend himself.
Even though there are pictures of small bandages on those wounds, as I
understand it, there were no sutures that were required to close those
wounds, nor not withstanding his claim that he had his head pounded against
the sidewalk several times, were there any of the classic symptoms of a
concussion, a brief loss of consciousness, nausea, the kinds of things that
I think that in the common experience of jurors are generally symptoms of
severe head injury.
Well, again, it comes -- you said it comes back to a subjective
And, Kerry, I want to go to you on this. It seems to me how do you
judge how many times you want your head pounded into the sidewalk if it`s
actually the case, if it actually happened? If the younger fellow is
pushing his head into the sidewalk, it looks to me, I don`t know whether
you can take five pounds into the sidewalk or 15. I don`t know the
clinical potential. But at some stage, you say I don`t want this to go on
anymore. I mean, I`m just trying to use my common sense here.
SANDERS: And Chris, one of the questions here, did it actually happen
in the sidewalk? Because the sidewalk didn`t actually show bloodstains.
MATTHEWS: Yes, of course.
SANDERS: So one of the things I think you should point out here is
the defense has indicated in the jury selection about the potential here
for what is known as stand your ground.
And, in Florida, it`s a unique law. In most states, we have what is
known as the castle doctrine. Your home is your castle.
SANDERS: Somebody comes into your house, if you have a weapon, you
can pro take yourself.
The stand your ground takes it outside of your home, out into a
situation potentially like this where George Zimmerman, his story is that
he was acting in self-defense, he felt threatened. And there is only one
witness now to that. Yes, there is John Good, who is somewhat of an
eyewitness. There are other somewhat witnesses to what happened. But
nobody witnessed the actual instigation of the fight or the firing of the
MATTHEWS: Sure. That`s what we`re trying to find out.
MATTHEWS: Let me go back to Mr. Carter.
MATTHEWS: ... stand your ground seems to be irrelevant at this point
in terms of the law. If he -- it`s all a question whether these facts are
right. If he was on the ground and the other fellow was -- and Martin was
on top of him, and he couldn`t move, and he was having his head pounded, if
that is all true, he didn`t have a chance at flight.
So, in this argument he could have fled or didn`t, I`m asking you.
You`re the expert sir.
CARTER: Well, first of all, the Florida law is a double-edged sword.
Trayvon Martin had a right to stand his ground as well.
CARTER: And so the question becomes whether or not Zimmerman behaved
in a way, whether the evidence establishes that he behaved in a way that,
number one, he voluntarily put himself in a situation where a confrontation
was likely to ensue...
SANDERS: I can preview what they`re going to say in the defense.
CARTER: ... and whether or not Trayvon Martin perceived that he was
in a position where he might have to defend himself, because as he
apparently reported to his friend during the -- who was on the same cell
phone communication with him in real time, he was concerned that this
suspicious looking character was following him and gave him cause for
concern for his safety.
MATTHEWS: That`s a good point. Very good point.
Thank you so much, Zachary Carter, former prosecutor. And thank you,
Kerry Sanders with NBC News.
Coming up, the new assault on Hillary Clinton. You won`t believe
this. Republicans now are saying she is too old to be president. It`s not
that she is not qualified. It`s not that she hasn`t been successful. She
is too old to be president. They`re actually saying this, the big shots
now in the party. Is this going to be a boomerang for the party that has
already got a problem with young people anyway? Anyway, by the way, she is
eight months younger than Ronald Reagan was or would be at the time she
Also, abortion politics. This is related. Republican state
legislatures in Texas, Ohio and Kansas are now all moving to implement
sweeping anti-abortion legislation. Didn`t Republicans say they have
learned a lesson on this one? Basically, they`re getting rid of all the
clinics, in effect, so you can`t have an abortion no matter what the
Plus, David Boies, who argued California`s Proposition 8 case before
the Supreme Court, he was on the liberal side, says supporters of gay
marriage aren`t stopping there. He wants to take the fight to all 50
states. David Boies, what a hero.
Finally, "Let Me Finish" with the refusal to accept Barack Obama as
president and his health care system as the law of the land.
This is nullification like we have never seen since the 1860s.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: President Obama is still in Africa. So is his predecessor,
George W. Bush. The two American presidents plan to meet tomorrow in Dar
es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania. Together, they will lay a wreath to
commemorate that 1998 bombing of our embassy there.
President Obama announced a $7 billion initiative, by the way, to
bring electrical power to some of Africa`s poorest countries. The programs
also include more than $9 billion in private sector investments to help
modernize the African continent.
We will be right back.
MATTHEWS: Well, when you think about youth appeal in politics, the
first thing that pops into mind isn`t usually the Republican Party.
There is something about a party that officially supports even now a
constitutional ban on all gay marriage and still has national candidates
who deny there is such a thing as climate change that seems to turn off
young people especially, don`t you think?
But as "The New York Times"` Jonathan Martin reported just this
weekend, Republican Party leaders think they have found a strong message to
run on in 2016, if the Democrats nominate Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Quote: "Republican strategist and presidential hopefuls in ways subtle
and overt are eager to focus the spotlight on, catch this, Mrs. Clinton`s
age. Despite her enduring popularity, a formidable fund-raising network
and near unanimous support from the Democratic Party, Mrs. Clinton has --
Republican leaders believe is vulnerable to appearing to be a has-been."
Well, here is how Karl Rove himself puts it -- quote -- "Perhaps in
the Democratic primary and certainly in the general election there is going
to be an argument that the time for a change of leadership has come, the
idea that we`re in an end of her generation and it`s time for another to
step forward is certainly going to be compelling."
What is Karl Rove know about the Democratic primary season? Well,
anyway, is he right or are any of the Republicans right? Is attacking
Hillary`s age really the way to beat the most admired woman in the country?
Donna Edwards is a Democratic congresswoman from Maryland. And
Michael Tomasky is a special correspondent for "Newsweek."
I want to start with the congresswoman, because you face the voters
all the time.
Has the age issue come up among your constituents for Hillary? She is
actually -- we figured it out. We did our homework here, the producers.
Eight months younger than Ronald Reagan was and would be eight months
younger than him if she got the election, she won.
REP. DONNA EDWARDS (D), MARYLAND: Well, case in point, it doesn`t
come up. I mean, here is Republicans I think are making a really huge
mistake. They can`t win on policy. They tried it on Benghazi.
They tried sexism for two decades. And now they`re on to age. The
problem is that the American public are smarter than that. Especially
women voters across the age spectrum really like Hillary Clinton. So they
better get with it and come up with some policies that are not old, instead
of talking about Hillary Clinton`s age.
Michael, I`m thinking, before we get into my more details about Mitch
McConnell, who inevitably gets involved in these kinds of dirt ball
MICHAEL TOMASKY, "NEWSWEEK": Right.
MATTHEWS: ... it seems to me that we have had young people who really
liked Ronald Reagan.
MATTHEWS: He was sort of a cowboy hero. I meant it in the best way,
a pioneer of sort of young new conservatism and all that, tough on the
Russians, got a man of action and all that sort of thing.
MATTHEWS: They liked him the way that young people like Tony Bennett.
They don`t like all the young stars. They like some older stars.
I wonder if Hillary Clinton isn`t a hero to a lot of women at every
age and girls, if you will,.
TOMASKY: Sure, I think she absolutely is.
And I wrote this. If you think about it, Chris, there are women, like
a 23-, 25-year-old woman today, she grew up, the first first lady she ever
knew in her life was Hillary Clinton. Right? That was like the model in
her head of who the first lady was. The first working first lady, the
first feminist first lady. Those women now are in this young age, young
voting cohort. They`re just going to vote for the first, second time.
They have been attached to Hillary Clinton for a long, long time. So I
think she has a lot of young admirers that Karl Rove doesn`t quite
MATTHEWS: Donna, I was just thinking, if the Democrats are smart,
they will wait for this attack to come. Let them come charging with this
old -- old person charge, and then just bring out Hillary Clinton speaking
to her college graduation class at Wellesley, where she gave this most
amazingly let`s say fresh, militant, but yet stark, kind of bold speech for
a young woman to make back then when she graduated and say, you know what?
This is who you`re voting for here, someone who is at -- like your
generation here at her best. And look what she has done since.
EDWARDS: Well, that`s right.
And the fact is that it isn`t just those 23- and 25-year-olds who are
coming of age, but it`s women who are of my generation, just under Hillary
Clinton who grew up admiring her because she is professional and she is
smart and she is talented and she stands on her own.
And so I think across the age spectrum, they can bring this attack if
they want. It`s going nowhere fast.
MATTHEWS: Well, here is Mitch McConnell. He is used to this line of
attack. He has used it during his speech at the CPAC convention this year,
apparently referring to Hillary Clinton. He told the crowd this.
Well, let`s let him do it. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: Don`t tell me Democrats
are the party of the future when their presidential ticket for 2016 is
shaping up to look like a rerun of "The Golden Girls."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: What a satisfied smile he gives you with that, "The Golden
EDWARDS: Well, except that Betty White is the most popular
entertainer across the country, across the ages. And so, again, come with
MATTHEWS: Yes, I know. I just think "The Golden Girls" is pretty
risky behavior here, because, first of all, as we all know, you know what
old people do? They vote.
TOMASKY: Yes, they do vote; they do vote.
MATTHEWS: And guess who lives longer than men? Women. And they sit
around, and they have plenty of time if they`re retired, and they talk
about this stuff. You think anybody is not going to know what they said
about Hillary being too old?
TOMASKY: Of course. McConnell`s crack is exactly what the
Republicans do all the time with her and in these kinds of situations.
They overplay it. His joke I`m sure is really funny to everybody on the
right-wing base, but to everybody outside the right-wing base, which is 70
percent of the country, it`s not so funny.
And she`s going to be the candidate. Whoever the Republican candidate
is, if she runs and if she gets the nomination, she is going to be the
candidate up there, as you were saying at the intro, she is going to be the
one defending climate change, defending immigration, defending same-sex
marriage, defending all the positions that young people support. And the
Republican candidate is going to be the one opposing all or most of them.
MATTHEWS: My experience is she has a wicked counterpunch too.
Donna, Congresswoman, thank you so much for coming on.
EDWARDS: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: And I`m as old as Hillary, a bit older. And I have to
agree with everyone you say, obviously.
Thank you so much, Donna Edwards of Maryland. And, Michael Tomasky,
thanks for joining us.
Up next, by the way, abortion politics related to women, of course.
Republicans are pushing strict new laws against abortion across the
country, basically knocking any chance to get an abortion out in Texas. If
you live in Texas, pay attention to what is coming next.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WENDY DAVIS (D), TEXAS STATE SENATOR: These are matters of personal
liberty. In Texas, we hold very dear to intrusions against our personal
liberty. We fight very hard against that. And we will fight as we begin
the session again on Monday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was state -- well, Texas
State Senator Wendy Davis, the single mother Democrat from Fort Worth who
became a national icon last week thanks to a 10-hour filibuster, all by
herself, by the way, blocking an anti-abortion bill in the Texas State
Senate. If passed, that bill would have closed nearly every abortion
clinic in the state.
We figure it would have gone from 40 clinics down to five. That`s a
big state, by the way, for just five clinics. As you heard, by the way,
her say in that clip, round two of the battle begins today.
Well, Governor Rick Perry has called a special session of the Texas
legislature to start today. Perry`s message is clear: This bill will
Well, while Texas has taken center stage in the battle for women`s
reproductive rights, it`s not the only state where women are fighting their
local legislatures. In Ohio, Republican Governor John Kasich signed into
law last night, last night, a series of sweeping anti-abortion measures as
part of the state`s budget act. The act contains provisions that force
women to undergo ultrasounds. It cuts funding for Planned Parenthood. It
limits women`s access to public hospitals and rape crisis clinics from
counseling clinics even about abortion.
Well, in Kansas, a bill that passed in April which declares that life
begins at fertilization is meeting resistance obviously in the courts
because it disagrees with Roe v. Wade. On Friday, two minor provisions of
that law were struck down, including one which required abortion providers
to post statements on their Web sites declaring that the state`s
declarations about abortions were scientifically accurate.
Hmm. The meat of the bill remains in the books.
Anyway, what does the fight in Texas mean for those states and all the
states? What does it say about women right now, their rights, their
growing power in politics?
Wayne Slater is the senior political writer for "The Dallas Morning
News," and Dawnna Dukes is a Democratic representative in the Texas state
Thank you both for joining us.
I want to start with our old friend Wayne Slater.
What is this, the vision of political power, where the men it seems
are willing to basically kiss off, if you will, women voters generally,
certainly progressive women voters, probably independent women voters, and
leaving themselves only with conservative men, perhaps middle-of-the-road
men, but probably not middle-of-the-road women? It seems like they`re
cutting off a very definite minority of the vote in most states.
WAYNE SLATER, COLUMNIST, "THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS": Well, there is no
question about that. You know, Texas is a Republican state, and we can
talk about that. But...
MATTHEWS: For a while.
SLATER: For a while.
But you basically look at what is happening here. And what
Republicans, largely Republicans and conservative men are doing is laying
the groundwork, reinforcing the narrative that Democrats want to push, and
that is there is a war on women. And Republicans are leading that war on
women, not just on abortion, but on pay equity and on health care and other
And so you see in Texas, you see the message in Ohio, in Kansas, and
elsewhere, something that clearly Republicans will want to do. You were
just talking about Hillary Clinton. You get Hillary Clinton as the nominee
in 2016, and you not only have invigorated Democrats. You invigorate these
suburban Republican women who typically have voted for moderate Republicans
who would like to do that.
Suddenly, they see the war on women, they and young Latina women
especially, a growing constituency. Latinas are more liberal than their
parents. And so you see the makings of a new potential constituency in
many places in the country, and that`s good news for Democrats.
MATTHEWS: Let me go to Representative Dukes.
Representative, I have to ask you about this, and give me an open
answer. I don`t know what the answer. Are there many women in this
country who would like to criminalize rape? I mean, criminalized -- that
certainly should be criminalized, criminalize abortion rights. Say
basically, there ought to be a law against women having an abortion. You
ought to be penalized for having one, not just the doctor but you.
In other words, carry to fruition, which is the way this anti-abortion
thing is going. I don`t see how they win if they get what they really
want, which is to basically outlaw it and criminalize it. I don`t see how
they win if they get what they want. It will be like the Chinese curse.
STATE REP. DAWNNA DUKES (D), TEXAS: That`s true. They`re not many
women, especially not independent thinking women who believe that a woman`s
right to choose should be denied to them. And Republicans in the state of
Texas, and especially Governor Perry is losing this war on women. And the
nation is seeing what they would receive if he ever made a presidential
MATTHEWS: Let`s look at some other states. And I guess you`re going
to have to project what is going on down the. First of all, I better get
our facts straight here. It`s not just that they`re moving up the date
from 24 months to 20 months in terms of banning late-term. I`m going start
with you, Wayne, but it seems like they`re basically also saying unless a
clinic replicates the facilities and standards, whatever, of options,
surgical options or whatever hospital, it can`t exist.
So they`re basically reducing from 40, I`m told, clinics in the state,
down to about five for a huge state of Texas, which means for most people
in Texas, they`re going to be pretty awful far from the chance to have an
abortion should they choose one.
SLATER: Yes. This bill in Texas, however many clinics it would
ultimately close and Democrats say closing all by five in the state. But
this bill is really aimed at shutting down abortion clinics and denying
abortion rights to those people who want to have an abortion. There is a
lot of talk among the Republicans about women`s health.
And certainly, some women, some conservative Republican pro anti-
abortion women believe that. That is a part of it. But this bill goes far
beyond the 20 weeks, includes regulations on doctors, on clinics, and on
taking the abortion pill that would effectively restrict substantially the
right of women to have abortions. And that`s why the fight really is so
MATTHEWS: When I think about the cases of Casey and Webster, I don`t
see how this possibly could pass must were the Supreme Court ruling on Roe
v. Wade. It`s certainly creating an undue burned by basically getting rid
If you can`t get an abortion, your right to an abortion to me is
unrealistic, and it`s being denied.
Anyway, thank you, "Dallas Morning News" reporter, Wayne Slater, and
Texas State Representative Dawnna Dukes.
Up next, the latest attempt to undo the Obama presidency.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
It appears Senator Mitch McConnell`s obsession with destroying
President Obama and Obamacare knows no bounds. Now, he`ll even take on the
Here is how it happened. One week ago, HHS Secretary Kathleen
Sebelius said pro athletes could help publicize the enrollment period for
the Affordable Care Act. In fact, the NFL was actively and
enthusiastically engaged because they see health promotion as one of the
things that is good for them and good for the country. Makes sense, right?
Well, that was all Mitch McConnell needed to hear. Last Thursday, he
co-wrote a letter to the NFL commissioner registering his extreme
displeasure. It reads in part, quote, "Given the divisiveness and
persistent unpopularity of this bill" -- actually it`s a law, Senator, --
"it is difficult to understand why an organization like yours would risk
damaging its apolitical brand by lending its name to this promotion."
Well, notice the wording. McConnell`s wording of the unpopularity of
this bill, it`s actually the law of the land now. And by Friday, the NFL
caved, listening this headline, "NFL Balks." It`s a baseball term, anyway
-- at supporting health law after GOP senator sends warning with the quote
from the NFL spokesman who said of their involvement, "We never made any
commitment or discussed any details." Isn`t that nice?
And today, news that Senator McConnell has a Democratic challenger,
Kentucky`s 34-year-old secretary of state, Alison Lundergan-Grimes. She is
apparently a strong candidate.
Joining me right now is the Washington bureau chief of "Mother Jones"
magazine, who`s an MSNBC contributor. That`s the great David Corn. And,
of course, associate editor and columnist from "The Hill" newspaper, the
great A.B. Stoddard.
I throw my greats around.
Look, I think McConnell has really been a loused about some of this
stuff. I mean, we have a Constitution. We have a democracy. It`s not
fragile, but it could be improved in terms of public support.
We had election from president. He immediately starts to carve this
guy. Let`s make sure this guy doesn`t last, make sure he doesn`t become
Jackie Robinson, the first black president, but also the great president.
Let`s screw him a little. Let`s undercut him. He said.
And now, he says we got a law of the land which took years. Teddy
Kennedy tried, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Truman, finally gets
passed. It`s as if it didn`t happen.
It`s getting to be like Middle East politics. You lose an election
and claim the other side stole it. The other side is always corrupt, and
when you get power, you hang them. It`s getting like that in this country.
DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: It never stops. And we`re going have a big
fight over the health care law over the next few months as the enrollment
period begins, and you see states opting out more, causing the feds to come
MATTHEWS: Why do they do that? They want to screw up? They want
CORN: This is the big picture. I mean chaos is a good word to use.
It`s like the Joker in the Batman movie.
The Republicans message is that government doesn`t work you. You
can`t use government to improve the economy.
MATTHEWS: It`s quite a message, it`s meta message?
MATTHEWS: I`m learning these things. I`m like Hillary, I`m a little
CORN: It`s a big message, OK? So, anytime --
MATTHEWS: Do we need those words? Do we need to say those words just
to show off to your younger reader? I`m sorry.
CORN: The older one.
But their crusade is to show that government doesn`t work. And that
means they can say we muck things up and they don`t mind being blamed. And
the health care -
MATTHEWS: Because every time the government fatalities, Republicans
CORN: Yes. And so they`re going to keep trying to do this with the
health care law again and again and again in the coming months.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you this. Theory, it may not be the right
theory. People watching can make up their minds.
I think over time, not all social democracy is good. I`m not saying
the government should do everything. There are certain things it
definitely shouldn`t be doing, like creating businesses. It`s not very
good at that, or maybe some other things.
But whenever it`s tried something along the safety net lines like
Social Security, Medicare, they have become very popular over time. I
think the Republican Party is petrified the people will say, you know, it`s
about time they did this health care thing, and I`m glad we have it,
because I don`t want 40 million people sitting in the emergency room.
A.B. STODDARD, THE HILL: Well, right now there is a lot of people in
this country either unaware of what the law is going to do for them,
unaware of the exchanges that are going to be set up to interest self-
insured, and -- or just terrified of this. The insured are terrified.
Premiums are going up double and triple, "The Wall Street Journal"
today. Lots of business --
MATTHEWS: Why are they going up?
STODDARD: Because they`re covering the sick. If President Obama and
his team do not succeed in bringing the young and healthy into the groups,
in to these exchanges, we`re all going to pay more because we`re accepting
the sick now into these pools.
MATTHEWS: Oh, the sick. Not necessarily the poor.
STODDARD: No, no. And the Medicaid expansion is entirely another
issue. A lot of states are refusing to expand Medicaid. This is right now
a largely undefined anxiety that Mitch McConnell is going to be able to
prey upon in his race for the Senate.
MATTHEWS: So he is going to openly discourage the young and the
healthy from joining?
STODDARD: No. He is going to say this is going to be a scary
program. It`s undefined. It`s a sixth of the economy. Government is
going to screw it up, and it`s going to be really expensive.
It`s a good issue, running as any Democrat. He is also going to talk
about the war on coal.
MATTHEWS: You`re someone I didn`t about. Suppose you have parents
that are good parents, they look out for you and they`re in their 20s like
our kids. And you say you got to get some health insurance. I don`t care,
you`re riding a motorcycle, whatever you`re doing, you`re driving a car, I
want you to have real health insurance.
What is the kid`s option given the coming of Obama care? They`re
young and healthy.
STODDARD: You can stay on your parents until 26.
STODDARD: After that, there is no incentive. The penalty annually is
$95, or 1 percent of your income. It`s very low.
MATTHEWS: So the conservatives would like you to pay the 95 bucks?
That`s why you`re not trying the system?
STODDARD: It`s certainly the system. The fear of this White House is
that they won`t be able to sign up enough young people and get the young
MATTHEWS: Point out that that`s not even enforced, that $95 there.
No criminal penalty.
STODDARD: It`s low enough.
CORN: But this is the point here. Mitch McConnell also wants and the
Republicans at large want to scare people from joining the program.
MATTHEWS: The healthy people.
CORN: Yes. It`s not going to work. You don`t bother with this.
It`s -- we`re going to repeal it anyway eventually one of these days. And,
you know, McConnell oddly enough is still under fire in Kentucky for not
being conservative enough.
And the conservatives down there who claim that he voted to implement
Obamacare by voting for a budget. So there he is now coming out against it
to make sure he doesn`t get a Tea Party challenge.
MATTHEWS: So all he is worried about is the hard right beating him in
CORN: More so I think than the new candidate.
MATTHEWS: I learned a lot about what the real choice are --
STODDARD: I think he is worried about the general election too.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, a qualified candidate. A good one.
Anyway, thank you. The one he was a frayed of. David Corn, thank
you. A.B. Stoddard, thank you.
Up next, supporters of marriage equality aren`t stopping now. That
same-sex marriage is legal in California, they`re going for the whole bit,
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her
husband Mark Kelly, the astronaut, have kicked off their Rights and
Responsibility Tour. Their goal is to promote ways to reduce gun violence,
obviously, including passing universal background checks. No coincidence
that the tour started today in Las Vegas, the state where Republican
Senator Dean Heller voted against background checks.
The tour will also take them to Alaska, North Dakota, Ohio, New
Hampshire, Maine, and North Carolina, all states where senators from either
party or both voted against universal background checks.
And we`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And so on behalf of the state of California, let
me pronounce you married.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
And that was one of a flood of weddings this weekend between same-sex
couples following the big Supreme Court decision of last week. And as gay
rights supporters crowded the streets of New York and San Francisco for the
annual gay pride parades, the U.S. Supreme Court gave them another reason
to celebrate when Justice Anthony Kennedy, the decisive vote on the court,
rejected a last-ditch effort by opponents of marriage equality to halt the
granting of marriage licenses out in California.
And the celebrations last week, amid them the Pennsylvania first --
the openly gay member of the legislature there, Brian Sims, he is a state
rep, was silenced by some of his conservative colleagues when he tried to
speak on the historic nature of the court`s landmark rulings. Can you
believe that? He couldn`t even talk.
State Representative Daryl Metcalf, a Republican, was one of the
lawmakers who shut down Sims, and here was his reason.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
STATE REP. DARYL METCALF (R), PENNSYLVANIA: I did not believe that as
a member of that body that I should allow someone to make comments such as
he was preparing to make that ultimately were just open rebellion against
what -- what the word of God has said, what God has said, and just open
rebellion against God`s law.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Pretty clearly stated there.
Anyway, State Representative Brian Sims joins me now from Harrisburg.
He represents Center City, Philadelphia.
Ted Boutrous, by the way, he`s also joining us. He`s the attorney for
the American Foundation for Equal Rights. He also represented the
plaintiffs in that Prop 8 case.
Both gentlemen, thank you so much.
Representative Sims, tell me what happened. You tried to talk about
the historic nature of these court rulings and were doing in what we call
in Washington an executive session. Not with a big audience or gallery.
And even that, among just your colleagues, bothered people.
STATE REP. BRIAN SIMS (D), PENNYSYLVANIA: Yes, you said it best,
Chris. Thanks for having me back on. You know, I had an opportunity at
the end of the session on Tuesday after the decisions had come out to rise
and address my colleagues and to talk about the historic nature of the
Supreme Court cases and I let the speaker of the House know ahead of time
that I was just going to talk about the cases. I wasn`t going to talk
about the fact that Pennsylvania lacks all LGBT rights. I wasn`t` going to
point any fingers, just as a civil rights attorney, and now as an openly
gay legislator, I wanted to reference the historic case is.
As you know, I got two, three words in before I was objected to.
Now, the procedural rule is called unanimous consent. As it implies,
when it`s not unanimous, I don`t have the consent to speak. And as soon as
I started talking, Representative Metcalf and another member of the House
raised their hand to silence me.
MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at Ralph Reed, before I bring in Ted. I
wonder Ralph Reed -- this idea that inevitably we`re going to have 50
states going with marriage equality is a little premature right now. Ralph
Reed knows the business on the evangelical conservative side.
Here he is on "Meet the Press" with David Gregory, playing down the
impact of that court decision. Let`s watch him in action.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RALPH REED, CONSERVATIVE ACTIVIST: I also don`t buy into this sort of
Whig notion of history this is sort of an inevitable train and this is
where we`re going to go. Even after this decision, David, 70 percent of
the American people live in states that define marriage as between a man
and a woman. Thirty-two of those states passed referendums with an average
margin of 57 percent, and in a CBS/"New York Times" poll on June 9th, 60
percent of the American people and a majority of Democrats said they want
this resolved at the state level.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, let me go to Ted Boutrous on that.
By the way, Ralph looked especially tired in that presentation. I
don`t know what was going on "Meet the Press" yesterday. Guy looked like
he`s been up for a month.
Anyway, what`s going on here? Does the right wing have a chance to
stop this movement that seems to be his historically unstoppable for
TED BOUTROUS, AMERICAN FOUNDATION FOR EQUAL RIGHTS: I don`t think so,
Chris. I think the court`s decision last week, Justice Kennedy`s opinion
for the court and Defense of Marriage act case laid out the broad
principles that discriminating against couples because of their sexual
orientation when it comes to marriage, it demeans them, it humiliates them
and their children, those principles that the court established directly in
line with the things the court had said in prior decisions. They`re going
to lead, I think, to marriage equality in this country.
And I think Mr. Reed is wrong. There`s been a wave of public support,
as you and your audience knows, in support of marriage equality and the
wave just got a whole lot bigger last week with the Supreme Court`s
decision. And to be here in California and see people getting married and
the joy that is running through this state is remarkable.
MATTHEWS: Brian, do the members oppose you, won`t let you speak up in
Harrisburg, even in executive session, do they know their time is running
out, that young people joining the election rolls, certainly 18 to 25, up
to 25 or 40 now, are clearly pro-equality?
SIMS: Not only do they know it, Chris, I think that`s what this was
about. Let`s be clear: Marriage equality is going to become the law of the
land no matter what. I think this is an issue of when losers are losing
they start to lash out. I think that they know that this is happening.
They`re doing their best to sort of stem this tide, resorting to, you know,
to behavior like this and lashing out.
But I think that`s what you do when you know you`re on the wrong side
of history and you`re still fighting.
MATTHEWS: So, all they can do is silence you for a couple months and
you`ll be back at it again. Here you are on national television sort of
overcoming their problem, aren`t you? Ha!
SIMS: Well --
SIMS: You know, I don`t get silenced all that easily. I come from a
generation of people that don`t tolerate bullies, who don`t put up with
bullies. Guys like the chairman have been doing this their whole lives.
This has been happening in the United States for 200 years.
But now, they`re running into people like me, they`re running into a
generation of people who aren`t going to put up for it, that they`re going
to stand up for ourselves, our rights.
MATTHEWS: As Maggie Thatcher would say, come back again and again.
Thank you, by the way, State Representative Brian Sims, and Ted
Boutrous -- congratulations, sir, for being part of that amazing odd couple
of Boies and Olsen.
Anyway, we`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this.
I think the Republicans are nastier than the Democrats these days. I
didn`t think that was always true. I think in the old days of big city
politics, an awful lot went on that wouldn`t pass the smell test.
But, today, I think the Democrats have become prudish about what they
say about other side. Meanwhile, Republicans are downright ruthless.
Mitch McConnell dumps on election results as if he were a politician,
some wild third world country where elections can be dismissed as if they
never happened, where the loser always claims it was stolen, always calls
the other side corrupts and hangs the other leader right after getting into
McConnell acted like Obama didn`t win the 2008 election fairly. Right
from the start, he cried Geronimo, let`s kill the presidency in its crib,
let`s make sure this guy doesn`t become a hero.
Well, now, he`s acting as if Obama isn`t the law of the land,
Obamacare isn`t the law of the land. He`s attacking the major sports
leagues for helping the country make the transition to health care law
options, trying to harbor confusion and ideally chaos, so he can say that
the country doesn`t want the coverage tens of millions of people will be
getting for the first time.
I suppose he`d prefer sending everybody back to the E.R. where they
can wait like beggars until the Republicans come up with their own health
care plan. Fat chance of that happening. Millions of people waiting in
the E.R. is their health care plan.
More and more, the Republican Party has begun to operate like parties
in those countries where you never say the other side won, congratulate
them and move on. No, he plays by the rules of perpetual insurrectionist
who deny the validity of election they didn`t win, historic legislative
battles they lost.
The American people decided otherwise. Barack Obama has the title
president of the United States. Mitch McConnell has the title, too, not
quite so great. Sore loser.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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