July 17, 2013
Guests: Simon Marks, Radhika Jones, Judith Browne Dianis, A.B. Stoddard
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Is Stand Your Ground a call to arms?
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews out in San Francisco.
"Let Me Start" tonight with this. Stand Your Ground -- what`s this law all
about? Is it a statement that you don`t have to avoid trouble? Is it a
call to arms?
And what part did it play in George Zimmerman`s behavior that tragic night?
Did it encourage him to pursue Trayvon Martin? Was it because he had a gun
and he thought he had the law on his side? Isn`t it a fair question that
none of this would have happened if this person had been unarmed? Was
there something in his thinking, Zimmerman`s, about the law, something in
the way he behaved when he went in pursuit of Martin that resulted from
this law and it says Stand Your Ground?
Let`s get to the next round in this debate, this public verdict on the
Trayvon Martin tragedy, the battle over "Stand Your Ground."
Perry Bacon`s an MSNBC contributor and political editor with TheGrio.com,
and Radhika Jones -- or Radhika, rather, Jones -- is the assistant managing
editor for "Time" magazine.
Radhika, thanks -- I`m sorry for that mispronunciation. Radhika, tell me
about what you think is the reason why the attorney general, Eric Holder,
who is in a somewhat political position but also primarily in a public
service position -- why he would be speaking as he has come out of (ph)
talking about the trial of George Zimmerman, begin to talk about "Stand
Your Ground," the law in Florida?
RADHIKA JONES, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Well, I think Eric Holder, of course, is
in a unique position to talk about this. He comes -- from a personal
perspective, he comes to it as the first African-American attorney general,
and he also obviously brings a legal perspective to it.
When we started reporting on the Stand Your Ground laws that are in the
background of this case last year, when the case came to national
prominence, we discovered that even some state attorneys in Florida have --
you know, who are employed to uphold this law have issues with it.
And it seems to me that from that point forward, you know, from the point
when it became clear that there would be a trial, people have been paying
attention to Stand Your Ground laws. They`ve been becoming more informed
about them. And it makes a lot of sense that Eric Holder would direct his
MATTHEWS: Well, I guess the question is, did the Stand Your Ground law
play a role in the jury room? Even though it was not mentioned much in the
trial, one of the Zimmerman jurors, known as B-37, says it played a role in
the jury deliberations.
In a statement to CNN, the juror says, quote, "My prayers are with all
those who have the influence and power to modify the laws that left me with
no verdict option other than not guilty in order to remain within the
This juror also said the group had been split on a verdict in some of their
discussions, with three jurors for acquittal, two for manslaughter, and one
leaning toward second degree murder. Other jurors have distanced
themselves since then from juror B-37.
Four of them put out a statement in response saying, "We ask you to
remember that we are not public officials and we did not invite this type
of attention into our lives. We also wish to point out that the opinions
of juror B-37 expressed on the Anderson Cooper show were not -- were her
own and not in any way representative of the jurors listed below." And
then the list of the four of them.
So let me go to Perry Bacon on this, to you (ph), and we`ll go back and
forth on this, the influence of that law, because it seems to me you`ve got
to separate two things here. Focus on whether you believe the testimony of
George Zimmerman, which was introduced through the police questioning of
him, and that was taped of that, or you don`t.
If you do, was there an option here to leave the situation that he was
involved in, that he was pinned down -- did he have the option to walk
away? In other words, I`m not sure you can get clarity here from this jury
yet. Were they thinking he was telling the truth, but he still had the
option, even if he was telling the truth, to get away and avoid this
situation? Or were they not believing him? And if they weren`t believing
him, why did they acquit him?
This is what`s inconsistent in the jury decision. If, what do you call it,
Stand Your Ground legislation really was influential here? I don`t think
it was because if it was, we`d have some clarity here. My thought. What`s
PERRY BACON, THEGRIO.COM, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I think you`re right, Chris.
My understanding is that the defense itself was not -- did not invoke
"Stand Your Ground." And I know that Jeb Bush and some other Republicans,
even at the time of the killing, initially said that Stand Your Ground
really didn`t apply here.
I think when you talk about the politics of it, though, one reason Eric
Holder is talking about Stand Your Ground laws is the administration would
love to push some kind of broader proposals on getting rid of guns at a
federal level because we know having -- you know, Zimmerman having a gun
was important here, and maybe he shouldn`t have had a gun.
But they have had no success passing any kind of gun control laws
federally, as we know. So that part of the administration`s view is that
there are 22 states that have Stand Your Ground laws, including Florida,
New Hampshire, and two other states where Obama won in 2012. So there`s
probably some room, potentially, to get those laws repealed in those
states. And I think that`s why you`re hearing Eric Holder talk about them.
MATTHEWS: Let me go back -- let me go back to Radhika on this question.
Again, I want to get clarity here. What do you think was the relevance, in
your understanding of what happened in that jury room, to the issue of
Stand Your Ground?
JONES: My understanding from listening to that juror testimony is that
they really tried to isolate the moment of the struggle and the killing.
And if Stand Your Ground played a role at all, again, my understanding is
that it may have been sort of the emboldening backdrop to this struggle.
But they seemed to want to isolate that moment of violence away from what
motivated George Zimmerman to get out of his car, and that is where you
have a real gray area with this law.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you about -- but the self-defense part would
have come in when he was -- believed, according to the jury`s decision, he
was in danger of losing his life or serious bodily image (ph). That wasn`t
when he left the car. His decision about using the gun came when -- if you
believe his testimony, when he was pinned down and being slammed into the
sidewalk, if you believe his testimony.
That`s why I don`t understand why this jury keeps saying there`s an issue
of law here, when by that definition, standard, common -- rather, regular
self-defense would have worked.
Again, let me go back to Perry on that. I mean, I think we`ve got a real
problem with consistency here in this verdict.
BACON: The jurors have not been -- you know, they can decide on what they
-- you know, they have not been very clear about their rationale. And I
think that we -- I think we`ll probably never get a full picture of what
all six of them thought. We`re getting sort of one at a time speaking.
And I guess we`ll later on, in a few weeks, really know where this -- how
much of a role Stand Your Ground played versus just -- versus their
interpretation of what happened there versus what other people have talked
to us about. I don`t think we have a clear sense of, like, where -- what
they exactly think happened yet.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, let`s go to Attorney General Eric Holder. He has
gone public now with a forceful denunciation of Stand Your Ground laws.
This is Holder, the attorney general, speaking about the law at the NAACP`s
annual convention just yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s time to quell
laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow (ph)
dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods.
HOLDER: These laws try to fix something that was never broken. There has
always been a legal defense for using deadly force if -- and the if is
important -- if no safe retreat is available.
It is our collective obligation. We must stand our ground.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Let me go to Perry and then Radhika both to answer the same
question. I know it`s a tough one. Is this a smart political focus for
the attorney general? Because it does allow him to give deliberation to
the question of bringing a Civil Rights case against Zimmerman, but in the
meantime, be active on this front while leaving the other question aside
for a bit and maybe relinquishing the need for him to act on the other
front, if he acts aggressively enough on this Stand Your Ground issue.
Your thoughts, Perry.
BACON: I think this is (INAUDIBLE) Chris. I think it`s -- my
understanding from legal experts (INAUDIBLE) it`ll be pretty hard to prove
the Civil Rights violation in this case. It`s unlikely the DoJ will move
forward on that issue. So in that sense, Holder is taking the issue where
You know, Holder -- Holder doesn`t have any power on state laws. Let`s be
clear. He can`t get a Florida Stand Your Ground law repealed. But it is a
good way for him -- and also, I heard the White House today at the press
briefing -- they talked about this Stand Your Ground idea, as well, and to
make a broader push and get rid of these laws.
That`s something they really can do, while my suspicion is, eventually,
we`ll see that the main legal recourse is through the Martin family filing
a civil suit, not DoJ.
MATTHEWS: I`m with you on that. Radhika, your thoughts on these three
issues, I guess, including the civil case, the Civil Rights potential, and
of course, the Stand Your Ground politicking, if you will.
BACON: I think Perry makes a good point. And there`s a bigger picture
here, which is that the Stand Your Ground policies, like "stop and frisk"
policies in New York, for example, and various other laws and policies, end
up having a disproportionate effect on the African-American community.
Eric Holder is in a good position to talk about that, and whether he can
directly influence those laws -- and he can`t, as Perry says -- he can make
people more attuned to them and to their consequences. And I think that`s
a valuable move.
MATTHEWS: But just to be careful here -- I know we have to be nuanced
here. I grew up in Philadelphia, and I keep track of how they do things up
there. Michael Nutter won the Democratic primary for mayor by advocating
"stop and frisk" and gaining his greatest support in the beginning in the
African-American community on that issue.
So the idea that the African-American community as a group is against "stop
and frisk" wasn`t held up -- it didn`t seem to be the case in Philly,
JONES: I think that`s true, but I think it`s a community issue. And
something that we`re seeing as we report on this story this week is that
churches and black communities and other, you know, nonpolitical leaders
are starting to think about the broader implications of this verdict and
(INAUDIBLE) attention to the Stand Your Ground law and think, How -- you
know, How can we will move forward from here to make our communities safer
and lose fewer young black men to violence? It`s a much broader...
MATTHEWS: I know. And by the way...
MATTHEWS: ... there are other reasons to stop and frisk besides ethnicity,
God help us. I hope there is. And it has to do with the behavior,
situations after a gang killing, all kinds of things that a good police
officer can handle effectively.
Anyway, thank you Perry Bacon. Thank you, Radhika Jones. This is hot
And a reminder. Watch reverend Al Sharpton`s interview coming up here
tonight with Rachel Jeantel, of course. That`s on "POLITICS NATION" at
6:00 PM Eastern.
Coming up, more evidence that not only did Republicans push voter ID laws
to keep down Democratic turnout, including minority turnout, but it may
have worked a bit. In Washington today, by the way, a hearing on why we
still need enforceable voting rights law.
Also, leave it to Liz Cheney to say the problem with Senate Republicans
these days -- wow! -- is that they`re too willing to go along with
Democrats. Did you notice? Her decision to run for the Senate could put
Wyoming on the political warpath.
And Lindsey Graham wants tonight consider a boycott of the Russian Olympics
next year if Vladimir Putin grants Edward Snowden asylum. Didn`t we go
through this all under President Carter?
Finally, why so many people are angry with this cover on the "Rolling
Stone." I think I`m angry.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Hillary Clinton`s talking about the Zimmerman trial. Here she
is. She spoke yesterday at a stump-like speech to the Delta Sigma Theta
sorority. And here`s what she said about the death of Trayvon Martin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FMR. SECRETARY OF STATE: My prayers are with the Martin
family and with every family who loves someone who is lost to violence.
CLINTON: No mother, no father should ever have to fear for their child
walking down a street in the United States of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Looking strong, Hillary Clinton there.
We`ll be right back after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE TURZAI (R), PENNSYLVANIA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Voter ID, which is
going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. If you`re a regular HARDBALL viewer,
you`ve seen that clip before. It`s Pennsylvania house Republican leader
Mike Turzai back in June of 2012 admitting -- admitting -- that Republicans
saw voter photo ID requirements as a way of repressing Obama voters and
winning the state for Romney.
Earlier this week, again, a refresher course, the Pennsylvania Republican
Party chairman in this case bragged that voter ID helped Republicans shave
some points off President Obama`s win last year. Here it is, flagrantly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think all the attention drawn to voter ID
affected last year`s elections?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I think a little bit. I think we probably had a
better election. Think about this. We cut Obama by 5 percent, which was
big. You know, a lot of people lost sight of that. He won -- he beat
McCain by 10 percent and he eat Romney by 5 percent. I think that probably
voter ID had a -- helped a bit in that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Reminds me of the basketball point-shaving scandal. Here they
are, these Republican guys, the party chair in Pennsylvania, admitting --
this guy Gleason (ph) -- admitting that even the fear of voter photo ID
requirements -- even the fear was enough to scare 5 percent of the Obama
vote away, cutting his lead in half. Amazing, amazing shamelessness here.
On the second day, by the way -- this much (ph) related -- - of a trial
over the constitutionality of Pennsylvania`s voting ID law, a statistical
expert testified that photo ID requirements disproportionately hurt
Democrats and minorities. Here`s his quote. This is the expert for the
courts, not the Democrats` expert.
"Democrats are three times as likely as Republicans and minorities about
twice as likely as whites to lack a valid ID" -- in other words, people who
don`t drive cars, live in the city, perhaps in row houses, don`t have cars,
don`t have driver`s license. Bingo, if you`re a Republican.
This is hardly confined to Pennsylvania, as I`ve said many times. In the
2012 election cycle, there were at least 180 voter suppression bills
introduced in -- catch this -- 41 states, practically the whole map, all of
which were introduced -- all of which were introduced by Republicans under
Reince Priebus`s sterling leadership.
According to The Advancement Project, which I trust, that`s what`s going
on. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court effectively nullified the best bulwark
against voter suppression in modern history, the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
In a hearing today on the Hill -- on Capitol Hill -- lawmakers argued the
law is not necessary.
Well, Judith Browne Dianis disagrees. She`s director of The Advancement
Project. And A.B. Stoddard`s a great reporter. She`s associate editor and
columnist for "The Hill" newspaper.
Judith, let`s just go to the blatant stuff here. Aren`t you -- I know
you`re nonpartisan. Aren`t you stunned that a politician, a chairman of a
party in a major state like Pennsylvania, openly giggles (ph) the fact that
he`s got a law that looked like it was on the books until the courts set it
aside, that discouraged Democrats generally, obviously minorities in big
cities, from voting, and he was thrilled that it shaved half of Obama`s
plurality off -- off the ledger?
JUDITH BROWNE DIANIS, THE ADVANCEMENT PROJECT: Well, the problem, Chris,
with that question is you asked if I was stunned. No, I`m not stunned.
They are playing our song again, Chris. We`ve been talking about this for
the past two years, the GOP efforts to make sure that certain groups cannot
vote, making it harder for them to vote.
So you know, we saw this admission right before the election, and now we
have it again that someone has admitted that that`s what this scheme was
about, to target particular voters so they can`t vote.
And Advancement Project is in court right now taking care of this case.
And you know, here we have our expert saying that over 680,000 already
registered voters wouldn`t meet the ID requirements. They knew what they
were doing when they passed that bill.
MATTHEWS: You know, I know that the African-American community is
justified historically in the anger over the verdict down there in Sanford
over the weekend. And I`m just learning from it. I`m just in a learning
position on the African-American experience, especially from friends of
mine who`ve never told me before how they`ve been stopped unjustifiably,
have been humiliated in some cases for no reason at all except skin color
But I have to say, since this is my job, that politics matters too, not
just the courts. And if you want to affect laws like in Tallahassee or in
Harrisburg, not just laws about voter ID, but about Stand Your Ground and
things like that, you got to get control of these state legislatures. You
got to vote in mid-term elections. You got to get involved politically, or
the other side`s going to do what it feels like doing.
A.B. Stoddard, you`re an expert at legislative history. Are you amazed
watching these pols so flagrantly admit that what they`re doing to protect
us supposedly against voter corruption or cheating -- openly admit they`re
doing it with the effect of helping their party screw the Democrats and
Obama and minorities to boot?
A.B. STODDARD, "THE HILL": I really think if you look at their comments
and if you look at the demographic changes in many states throughout the
nation, but particularly in the South, which remains the last sort of
Republican stronghold where state legislatures, because of the Supreme
Court, are now free, mostly Republican-controlled, to do what they want to
further restrict voting, I really think this is long-term a very difficult
issue for Republicans and a good issue for the Democrats.
Democrats are already making this an issue as a voter turnout mechanism.
They will in 2014 and 2016. They`re telling people they want to suppress
your vote. Get an I.D., get in line. Make sure you get there.
I think that Republicans if they do act with this new sort of liberation
from the court decision last month to further restrict voting, and
particularly in states in the South, with the demographics changing because
of African-Americans and Hispanic populations there, are going to pay in
the long-term by not being able to bring those voters into the tent.
It is in my opinion, though, Chris, much harder to get the day off on
Election Day, to get there if you`re sick, pregnant, old, the weather`s
bad, to transport yourself there and wait in line than it is to get an I.D.
This is not something that -- you have to show I.D. to get into a lot of
buildings. You have to show I.D. sometimes to use your credit club at
Sam`s Club, at Costco.
STODDARD: It`s much harder to actually get there on Election Day and get
your vote cast than it is to get a voter I.D.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me go back to Judith on that.
Do you buy that or not?
BROWNE-DIANIS: I don`t buy that.
I mean, look, we have plaintiffs in our case in Pennsylvania and in
Wisconsin and in Texas all of whom have had a difficult time trying to get
I.D. Yes, if you live in a big city, maybe you do have to use I.D. when
you go into office buildings. Not everyone`s going into big office
buildings and getting on airplanes.
A lot of elderly people have a hard time getting their birth certificate in
order to get the I.D. And so this is a plan. And I agree that this is
about race. This is about demographic shifts. This is about trying to
have their last stand to control and have power. And so at the end of the
day, yes, politics does matter. But it`s who you try to target and that`s
what`s making it illegal.
You know, at the end of the day, Election Day is supposed to be equal.
We`re all supposed to have the same amount of power when we go into the
You know what? You know what, A.B.? Let me try another argument. I think
you have a point there because I think eventually we will have to have I.D.
cards down the road, because I see that is the direction this is all going
But look at how Republicans in places like Pennsylvania have tried to
change the Electoral College to go congressional district by congressional
district, rather than state by state. That`s clearly intended to nullify
the effect of the big city vote, the urban minority vote, because if you go
by C.D., in Pennsylvania, you have got 23 C.D.s to -- I mean 13 to five.
So clearly they did that even though Obama carried the state as a whole,
because -- you could argue because of minorities having a role to play.
But they know what they`re doing. The same people that are pushing the
I.D. laws are pushing the change in the Electoral College so that only the
suburbans and the rural voters seem to have the clout.
STODDARD: Well, Chris, it comes as no surprise to you that political
parties in 2013 are trying to hold and consolidate their power with
whatever tools they have.
STODDARD: Look at the House of Representatives, where Mitt Romney won more
congressional districts than President Obama. But congressional Democrats
won more votes than those districts. Those districts are very finely drawn
to advantage the Republican Party.
They have a virtual electoral lock on the House of Representatives right
now. There are not enough swing seats for Democrats to compete and take
back control of the House because of the way that they were written.
MATTHEWS: I agree.
STODDARD: They`re not representative of the entire country and the way the
election turned out last November, but they`re a very different Republican
Party than what we see countrywide.
It`s not going to be a surprise that each party is going to use whatever
tool they have available. I think long-term it is going to become more
difficult for Republicans particularly in the South to ignore changing
demographics. And I think it is also hard to argue that you go to the
ballot box and you`re forced to show an I.D., when you`re not forced to run
a check for buying an assault weapon at a background -- at a gun show.
At the same time, there are drivers -- I mean, at motor vehicle
departments, they offer nondriver`s I.D.s. They are required for a lot
MATTHEWS: I know. You still have to go to -- you have to get on the
subway, you have got to go the Department of Transportation.
BROWNE-DIANIS: Right. And if you live in Texas, you have -- you drive for
STODDARD: I think it`s a lot harder to get on the voting booth on election
night than getting the I.D.
BROWNE-DIANIS: Ask people in Texas who have to travel for miles and miles
to go to a DMV office to get an I.D. Not true.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, I do think the Republicans are trying to diminish the
vote of the African-American as a citizen and take away their effective
citizenship. And I hold Reince Priebus, the chairman of the national
Republican Party, personally responsible for this.
He has not lifted a finger to stop this effort in 41 states.
Thank you, Judith Browne-Dianis, for all the information and A.B. Stoddard,
BROWNE-DIANIS: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Up next, from impeachment to immortality? Bill Clinton gets the
ultimate Washington honor. He gets to become a building.
And be sure to catch our special final edition of "The Chris Matthews Show"
this weekend. I hate to see it go, but join me with 17 of our favorite
panelists as we address the big question, couldn`t be more timely, race and
America`s future, and also celebrate 11 great years on the air with a
champagne toast, if you will.
Plus, watch as my guests turn the tables and ask me all the questions this
I will have some last thoughts as we close out what I think has been a
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL and now to the "Sideshow."
You can file under this the heading, what were they thinking? "Rolling
Stone" magazine is under fire for its decision to put accused Boston bomber
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on its cover this month. The magazine, which has
featured of course music legends like Michael Jackson, John Lennon and
Madonna over its long history, could have and probably should have
anticipated the kind of visceral rage this choice would make and it will
Just take a look at the side-by-side of Tsarnaev with the other -- two
other "Rolling Stone" covers. The big question is, why is the magazine
elevating Tsarnaev to rock star status? A good question.
And the great mayor of Boston, Tommy Menino, called the cover a disgrace
and several newsstands and pharmacies have decided not to sell it, with CVS
explaining that music and terrorism don`t mix. Got to hand it to CVS on
On a more positive note -- and there`s got to be one more than that --
Nelson Mandela turns 95 tomorrow, the great man. The milestone will be
celebrated tomorrow night in Times Square with an encore presentation of
"The Power of Words," a video installation that will simultaneously appear
on the many big screen billboards that make the busy thoroughfare so
The attention-grabbing exhibit, by the way, which was first displayed back
in April, features animations of Mandela`s own words. Here`s Nelson
Mandela`s grandson, Kweku Mandela, explaining the intention of the project.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KWEKU MANDELA, GRANDSON OF NELSON MANDELA: The piece represents my
granddad`s words throughout his life and we have kind of correlated and
created a really unique speech which will play out over a number of screens
and will hopefully transform some of the values that I think my granddad
tried to carry throughout his life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: What a great opportunity, to call Nelson Mandela your granddad.
Anyway, the ad space, which is amongst the highest valued advertising real
estate in this country, was donated by The Times Square Advertising
Coalition. The video was produced in part by Robert De Niro`s Tribeca Film
Institute. The film runs at 7:00 p.m. in New York.
Up next, should kids be required to go to school? Well, one Utah lawmaker
doesn`t think -- well, he doesn`t seem to think so. Republican State
Senator Aaron Osmond has come out against compulsory education in the
state, claiming that mandatory education causes some to shirk parental
responsibility. He explained his thinking in an op-ed -- quote -- "Some
parents completely disengage themselves from their obligation to oversee
and ensure the successful education of their children. Some parents act as
if the responsibility to educate and even care for their children is
primarily the responsibility of the public school system."
While Osmond may want education to be viewed as an opportunity and not a
requirement, the superintendent of his school district, Dr. Bryan Bowles,
disagreed -- quote -- "I don`t think that parents wake up in the morning
and send their kids to school because they are worried about getting a
citation. They feel like that is the best for their kids."
Utah`s public school system also happens to be the lowest funded in the
Finally, from the impeachment to immortality. The EPA`s Washington
headquarters right down there on Pennsylvania Avenue has been renamed for
former President Bill Clinton in a ceremony just today. The name change
means that the environmental-friendly 42nd president will join the ranks of
Ronald Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower and Teddy Roosevelt, to name a few, who
also have federal buildings named after them.
The dream of every politician, to wake up some morning as a building. That
means you have made it.
Up next, Liz Cheney is starting a civil war in Wyoming by challenging a
fellow Republican incumbent. What happened to the 11th commandment of
Ronald Reagan, say no evil of a fellow Republican? Well, we now know how
starting wars is something that runs, let`s face it, in the Cheney family.
They like wars.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
HAMPTON PEARSON, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Hampton Pearson with your CNBC
The Dow up 18 points, the S&P adding four, the Nasdaq gaining 11 points.
Construction on new homes fell to the lowest level in 10 months. New
construction dropped nearly 10 percent in June. DuPont shares surging 5
percent on word that investor Nelson Peltz amassed a large stake in the
company. Peltz has neither confirmed nor denied; eBay shares down after
reporting second-quarter revenue in line with expectations, but warning of
challenges in the second half of the year.
That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide -- now back to HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIZ CHENEY (R), WYOMING SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I am running for the United
States Senate because I believe deeply in the values that have made our
state and our nation great.
I am running because I believe it is necessary for a new generation of
leaders to step up to the plate. I`m running because I know as a mother
and a patriot we can no longer afford simply to go along to get along. We
can`t continue business as usual in Washington.
I`m running because I know we are taxed more than enough already. I am
running because I know Wyoming needs a strong voice in Washington, someone
who knows how to get things done and isn`t afraid to fight for what`s
right. I will never compromise when our freedom is at stake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Brilliant opportunism.
Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, Liz Cheney,
violating Reagan`s 11th commandment, thou shall not speak ill of any fellow
Republican, hitting her new rival, Senator Mike Enzi, for being part of the
old guard and compromising too much in the Senate.
That refers to the deal Enzi helped broker on health care in 2009. Well,
Enzi, who has a 92 percent lifetime rating from the American Conservative
Union, said he thought he and Liz were friends and had this to say to NBC`s
Kelly O`Donnell yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MICHAEL B. ENZI (R), WYOMING: She said that if I ran, she wasn`t
going to run, but obviously that wasn`t correct.
KELLY O`DONNELL, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Did she call you, sir?
ENZI: No. She didn`t. Well, she called me a long time ago and said she
was considering it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s your relationship with her?
ENZI: I thought we were friends.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Cheney`s trying to turn Enzi into the newest version of
Robert Bennett, remember him, of Utah, and Richard Lugar of Indiana,
conservative Republican senators who were primaried and beaten from the
Alan Simpson, the affable and outspoken former Wyoming senator, who is a
personal friend of both the Cheney family and Senator Enzi, had this to say
in "The New York Times."
"It`s a disaster, a divisive, ugly situation. All it does is open the door
for the Democrats for 20 years." Yesterday, Simpson released a statement
to our producers saying that he cares deeply for both Liz and Mike Enzi and
has nothing more to say about this.
And the state`s lone member of the House of Representatives, Cynthia
Lummis, who has Senate ambitions of her own, called Cheney the shiny new
pony in Wyoming politics and slammed her for what Lummis called poor form.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. CYNTHIA LUMMIS (R), WYOMING: I don`t think she`s going about it the
right way. In the instance where you have a three-term sitting U.S.
senator who has done nothing to merit a primary challenge, and you
challenge that person without the courtesy of calling them just before you
make an announcement, it`s just not the best way to start a campaign.
There`s a great history of intraparty decorum in Wyoming, especially when
it comes to these higher-profile offices. And certainly that decorum has
been broken here. Yes, I think it`s problematic. I think it`s bad form.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, joining me now to discuss all this is Howard Fineman and
Let me ask you a simple question, Howard? What is Liz Cheney`s connection
to Wyoming? She went to high school in Virginia. She went to college in
Colorado. She spent all of her life back here in Washington. She didn`t
even have -- usually, you know a person by where they went to high school.
I know it`s simple. That`s where you`re from, where you went to high
No connection to the state, except her father`s last name. So, what`s Dick
Cheney up to here? Is this some effort by him to sort of create a
satellite of his own political career or what? What`s he up to?
HOWARD FINEMAN, NBC CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are a
couple things there, Chris.
First of all, the connection is a family connection that goes back to the
mid-19th century. That`s true. But Liz Cheney chose to live in Jackson
Hole, Wyoming, which is a little bit like saying, you know, I`m going to go
live in the Hamptons and understand the heartbeat of New York state.
FINEMAN: I mean, Jackson Hole is not exactly Casper. It`s not even
Laramie. So there`s that.
And I think the Cheney family is busy trying to resurrect itself to reclaim
its reputation. As indeed on a parallel track, George W. Bush has been.
These are people who are determined. These are -- these are fish that are
constantly swimming upstream. It`s in their nature. And the Cheneys are
trying to establish a new generation.
And I think these days, people mix the prominence of politics with the
prominence of the media. I think Liz Cheney`s desire is to get back here
to Washington as a United States senator and she`s willing to violate all
the rules of life in Wyoming to do it.
MATTHEWS: You know, you`ve got Spitzer and Weiner running after their
personal embarrassments, and they`re largely personal, but they didn`t have
a war, with all the casualties of that war on their conscience. Cheney
never apologized for Iraq and the dishonesty and nonsense that led to the
argument the brilliant propaganda campaign he marshaled to get us in that
war and to stay in that war.
I mean, they don`t apologize for that. They don`t say they made a mistake.
They don`t say anything. They just want more it seems to me.
Your thoughts, David. Give me more.
DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: Well, this is the opposite of an apology. And
as you know, because you read it in the book that I did with Mike Isikoff,
"Hubris", there`s a scene in which Dick Cheney sits around with all these
sort of neo-con academics and friends and they say, don`t worry, Dick.
History will absolve you, will prove that you were right about Iraq and
And I think this is sort of a short cut to get to that point. To get the
Cheney name associated with victory, not with tragedy in Iraq and Liz
Cheney, I mean, she is more Cheney than Cheney. I mean, in terms of what
she`s said during the Iraq years and what she`s been doing ever since. I
think while a lot of neo-cons and a lot of conservatives have actually
adopted somewhat more moderate or even more measured positions, she`s out
there still playing the birther card against the president. She he had
this tweet a few months ago saying the president`s more interested in
disarming Americans than disarming al Qaeda.
This is the guy who bumped Osama bin Laden. She`s still like back in 2003?
But completely unrepentant.
MATTHEWS: You know,what the Cheneys remind me of, Lynn and Dick Cheney
like, they remind me of "Superman" in a movie as played by Marlon Brando
and Eva Marie Saint. Packing their little kid to a little missile to send
him off to America or somewhere. It`s like -- they`re like they packed her
into this little missile and they`re sending her off to Wyoming to continue
the life form.
FINEMAN: I think, Chris, I think while I do think this has to do with the
family and don`t forget, that Liz Cheney was always and has always been
since the Iraq war became such a deep and wound and controversy in American
life. She`s always been her dad`s strongest public defender. She helped
him on his book. She is loyal, fiercely loyal and that`s part of the
But I think she wants to be a figure in her own right. She probably will
MATTHEWS: Can she be a Tea Partier?
FINEMAN: No, she`s not, Chris. She`s not.
MATTHEWS: She`s offering herself up as a Tea Partier.
FINEMAN: She`s not. That`s the thing here. It`s not quite like Dick
Lugar who was an establishment figure. He really was.
It`s not like Bob Bennett who had an easy-going manner to him and liked the
idea of making deals. Mike Enzi is pretty much with a couple of exceptions
pretty much a down the line, tough Wyoming conservative and he`s well liked
there. And I know Cynthia Loomis well and I can tell that -- by the way,
she would like to run for that Senate seat eventually but had the good
grace not to run over Mike Enzi to do it.
There are less than 600,000 people in Wyoming. I`ve spent a fair amount of
time there. I don`t think they`re going to like it. I don`t think the Tea
Party is going to like it.
As a matter of fact, Rand Paul one of the leaders of the movement
immediately backed Enzi, immediately denounced Liz Cheney, because don`t
forget, it was Cheney and the whole neo-con establishment who tried to
prevent Rand Paul from getting that seat in Kentucky and backed the
establishment figure there.
MATTHEWS: Howard, you`re so smart as you always are. In small states like
South Dakota or Wyoming, personal civility, the way you behave, your
treatment of other people nice to you is the key to politics. I use as an
example John Thune, who didn`t complain about losing a questionable can be
election to Tim Johnson. And because he handled I like a gentleman, or
could have been a gentle lady, he was elected heavily against Daschle.
I think you`re right. It`s about form. It`s about being a good person,
close-up where people are watching you. She hasn`t passed that test.
FINEMAN: But, Chris, if I thought the Tea Party was going to back her, it
would be a different equation. I don`t think -- I mean, she doesn`t fit
the Tea Party mold and Enzi doesn`t fit the victim of the Tea Party.
MATTHEWS: More time for you next time, David Corn. Thank you, sir.
FINEMAN: I`m sorry, David.
MATTHEWS: Thanks, Howard. Both of you guys.
Up next, Lindsey Graham says the United States should consider boycotting
the Winter Olympics in Russia last year if Putin grants asylum to NSA
leaker Edward Snowden. What an absurd idea. Anyway, it`s yet another
example how much the Republicans -- I don`t know what they miss.
Anyway, this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Hillary Clinton is keeping herself in the news. As we can see,
as she talks about the Trayvon Martin case and the Voting Rights Act again
yesterday. Well, her poll numbers are looking good too in states that will
matter come 2016.
Let`s look at this HARDBALL scoreboard.
Here`s some things look right now in the key swing state of Virginia where
Hillary Clinton has a five-point lead over New Jersey Governor Christie,
according to a new Quinnipiac Poll. That`s five points for Hillary. It`s
Clinton 45, Christie 40.
Against Rand Paul, the Republican with the hot hand right now on the right
certainly, it`s not even a contest. Clinton kills the guy, 41 -- actually,
14-51. I`m sorry, 51-37.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
NSA leaker Edward Snowden applied for a temporary asylum in Russia this
week, adding a new wrinkle to a troubled relationship between the USA and
Russia. Well, today, Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to strike a
For weeks, he said he would never turn Snowden other to us. But today, he
said, "Bilateral relations in my opinion are more important than squabbles
over the activities of the secret services. We warned Mr. Snowden that any
action by him that could cause damage to Russian/American relations is
unacceptable for us.
Well, the tone was much harsher from Senator Lindsey Graham who told NBC
News that America should consider boycotting the Olympic Games new year,
which will be held in Russia. That`s the Winter Games.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I love the Olympics, but I hate
what the Russian government is doing throughout the world. If they give
asylum to a person who I believe has committed treason against the United
States, that`s taking it to a new level.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, that suggestion was rebuked by many people including the
U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman who tweeted, quote, "boycotts didn`t work
in the 1980s. Boycotts only hurt athletes."
Well, Simon Marks is chief correspondent for "Feature Story News" and a
veteran correspondent over in Russia, let me hear from him.
Simon, I worked for Jimmy Carter as a speechwriter. I don`t think I liked
it. I didn`t say at that time I was loyal (ph), but I think once you start
skipping Olympics because you don`t like politics, you ruin the Olympic
Games principle, which is we don`t get involved in politics.
SIMON MARKS, FEATURE STORY NEWS: Well, there`s truth to that, Chris. I
mean, nobody thinks realistically the United States is going to boycott the
Winter Olympics over this. But the mere threat to do it, the mere
suggestion it might become a debating point in the United States does hit
Vladimir Putin in a place where it hurts. He has poured millions of
dollars into that city in southern Russia to get things ready for the
Olympic Games. It was a city that needed millions of dollars in
And many of those business contracts, you`ll be stunned to discover, have
gone to people close to Vladimir Putin. So, the idea that there might be
some scrutiny over U.S. participation in the games may give Vladimir Putin
-- may -- give him some pause for thought.
MATTHEWS: Well, one thing`s clear is that Snowden still has many
supporters in the United States. Former New Hampshire Senator Gordon
Humphries lobbying Sweden to give Snowden asylum. He told "Politico",
quote, "Respectfully, I say Sweden, `America has done wrong in this
instance. Stand up to her. Grant Edward Snowden asylum. You will do the
people of the United States a great favor to resist their government in
this matter and at this moment.`"
Meanwhile, a Quinnipiac poll last week showed that more than the country,
55 percent, thinks Snowden was more of a whistleblower, only 34 percent
think of him as more of a traitor. And those numbers -- and these are --
we carefully study these -- are pretty consistent across party lines.
Simon, it`s so fascinating to look at the numbers. This is one of those
rare moments just like whether you like a sports team or not. It has
nothing to do with ideology or else we`re so upset. Republicans and
Democrats are about the same proportionate in support of him as a
whistleblower as a traitor. Both parties looking at it pretty much the
same way. It`s fascinating.
MARKS: It is fascinating. It`s also fascinating to look at the way he`s
perceived internationally, because there`s no question those numbers would
just be reflected in international public opinion as well.
What an extraordinary thing to see the President of the United States
Barack Obama traveling to South Africa just a couple of weeks ago and
facing protests there in part because of this international perception that
he has enlarged the security apparatus in the country. That perception
boosted by the documents that Edward Snowden has revealed. So, there`s no
doubt those revelations have made life harder on the world stage for the
MATTHEWS: What do you make of more to come?
MARKS: Well --
MATTHEWS: That Snowden has a lot more in his quiver that he could shoot
MARKS: The Obama administration has said they`re very concerned about what
else he has in his quiver that he could as the president put it, dribble
out over the course of the next few weeks or maybe months. Even when he`s
granted -- should he be granted temporary asylum by the Russians.
One of the questions that I think is fascinating at the moment is how much
do the Russians know about what he`s got?
He`s spent the best part of three weeks at that airport in Moscow. It
beggars belief that the Russian FSB hasn`t at least been inquisitive what
is on those four laptops that he`s purportedly travelling with and
certainly where he granted temporary asylum in Russia, they would be eager
to get their hands on at material.
MATTHEWS: It reminds me of the guy flying that Piper Club landing right
there in Red Square, after all the big security in the Soviet Union, the
old Soviet Union, and the guy who flew his plane into the White House that
time. Everybody says how impregnable they are. And it turns out this
young guy is able to scare the world.
Anyway, thank you, Simon Marks, for that reporting.
We`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this.
I think the hearings this week up in Pennsylvania tell a huge story. They
show how Republicans view voter suppression as their ticket to success.
Here you have a party chairman saying that merely the attention given to a
voter photo ID requirement -- even one that the court set aside -- cut in
half President Obama`s margin of victory in the state.
Forty-one states had voter suppression bills introduced by Republicans last
year. Do you think people are going to forget which party wanted them to
be shut out from their democratic rights?
Do you think parents might be telling their teenage children right now --
perhaps on the verge of voting for the first time next year -- to remember
who wants them to vote and who doesn`t?
Well, this effort by the Republican party across the country --
countenanced by RNC chair Reince Priebus -- is an assault on black America
that`s historic, that`s deliberate, that`s unforgettable, and, you could
Keep your eye on this one.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.
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