updated 7/24/2013 9:47:42 AM ET 2013-07-24T13:47:42

HARDBALL
July 23, 2013

Guests: Jim Warren, Eliza Shapiro, Rachel Smolkin, Zeke Miller, Simon Marks, Autumn Brewington


CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Weiner strikes again.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

(MUSIC)

MATTHEWS: Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews down in Washington.

Let me start tonight with the latest on the New York mayoral candidate
Anthony Weiner. The latest is that there is a latest.

A bit more than an hour ago, Weiner admitted that his sexting, his e-
mailing out of indecent pictures of himself often to unsuspecting women
didn`t stop with his forced resignation from Congress. He kept it going
right until he began running for mayor, planning to run, I should say.

Let`s get straight what we`re talking about here. This guy who wants to
represent the greatest city in the country was sending frontal nude
pictures of himself apparently to strangers whom he is, as of tonight,
asking their forgiveness for any, quote, "inconvenience," close quote,
those pictures have caused them.

What can you say? This man breathes chutzpah.

It hasn`t stopped, it may never stop. Only the form of his exhibitionism
has changed, from sexting to running out there live for public office.

Tonight, the incredible story of someone with a problem that apparently
hasn`t gone away - a problem that not even the city that never sleeps could
really be willing to put in Gracie Mansion.

NBC`s Kelly O`Donnell is covering this story for us tonight. We`re also
joined by Joan Walsh, the editor of "Salon". And Jim Warren of `The New
York Daily News."

Thank you, all. I want all f your views.

In his press conference late today, and it was just about an hour ago,
Weiner said he was not withdrawing for the mayor`s race, telling throngs of
reporters gathered in New York that his past was behind him. He spoke
about the timeline in which he engaged in that second round of
inappropriate behavior.

Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTHONY WEINER (D), NYC MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Now some have asked the
question where does this fit in, some timeline, some timeline of the
continuum of the resignation, the resignation was not a point in time that
was nearly as important to my wife and me as the challenges in our
marriages and working through them.

Some of these things happened before my resignation. Some of them happened
after. But the fact is that that was also the time that my wife and I were
working through some things in our marriage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Jim Warren, in the somesthestic universe of this fellow here,
Anthony Weiner, you can -- see what he did with the hand? I can shake away
a timeline. The key question we all knew was the question from reporters
tonight, and he jumped it. He answered it.

He continued this after he resigned, after the humiliation, after his
problems with his marriage, which were obvious now. He continued all the
way through until he began planning the run for mayor.

In other words, he sacrificed his nude texting of himself so he could be
mayor of New York, another form of exhibitionism. How could anybody say
they want m to be the mayor of New York City? Your thoughts. Who are
those voters?

JIM WARREN, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: A lot of folks. A majority of voters are
now saying that. You know, Chris -

MATTHEWS: Well, as of this morning.

WARREN: Right. It`s still absolutely fascinating.

As I was watching this, I realized perhaps I`m part of the problem. I`m
part of the cultural change. I found this less shocking than entertaining.
A lot of this has now become very much entertainment, for all the reasons
that you well know.

MATTHEWS: Entertaining, the fact that the mayor of New York maybe has a
problem of sending out nude pictures of himself to strangers?

WARREN: I`m just saying. One of the factors that is playing out in this
culture is that a lot of Americans for a whole bunch of reasons, they`re
less judgmental, since the Clinton area --

MATTHEWS: I think you`re projecting from New York. I don`t think New York
--

(CROSSTALK)

WARREN: -- between the professional and the personal.

MATTHEWS: This isn`t personal. He is sexting. He is not keeping them to
himself.

WARREN: I`m not defending this.

MATTHEWS: Why are you saying it`s personal?

WARREN: I`m not defending.

MATTHEWS: I`m attacking what you`re saying. Why are you saying it`s
personal?

WARREN: People are viewing what they deem personal indiscretions and
differentiating that --

MATTHEWS: OK, good. Nice try.

Let me go to Kelly on the news. The news here tonight is he continued to
do this afterwards. In fact, if you listen to the end of his press
conference, he said he was doing it right up through last summer, at about
the time he began to plan his latest political career.

That`s not stopping somebody because you don`t like doing it, it`s
sacrificing at least until we know more.

Your thoughts. This is news tonight. And he admitted it.

KELLY O`DONNELL, NBC NEWS: Well, it seems like we`ve got the TMZ culture
colliding with honorable public service. And here you have an important
race being decided by the voters of New York. And people are forgiving to
an extent.

What is so bizarre about this is not only the nature of the underlying
issue that we`re in a sexting world now, where these things are accessible
by the rest of us looking at this, but also the time frame, so compressed
here. If you remember two years ago, there were these vehement denials.
There was this fearless resilience from Anthony Weiner saying he could
continue in Congress. There was no reason for him to have to step down,
until really pushed by his own friends who were embarrass bed him.

Then there is this period of what we thought was a family healing, the
birth of a child, sort of going in to hiding. That is usually what follows
a public fall from grace. And then the big campaign to come back,
acknowledging mistakes, which gives everyone the idea that he recognized
the gravity of it, and that he was really getting past it.

That was the impression that he was giving to voters and those who are
inclined to want to give people second chances, which we`ve certainly seen
a lot of in American politics, that`s where we started. So the notion that
could have gone beyond the date of his resignation is really hard for the
rest of us to believe.

He may not think that`s an important date. But when you are talking about
seeking public office again, the date you were forced out is really
important. You can separate whatever is going on in their life and their
marriage and people feel great compassion about that.

What we`re talking about now is his judgment, his political conduct, his
really incredible self-aware -- well, how am I trying to say this.
Arrogance is the word I want to use, but I was going to try to soften it a
bit -- to say that he could go forward again. And that`s what is so
striking about this.

And today, he brought in his well-regarded wife.

MATTHEWS: Of course. They always do. Let`s take a look at the Q&A
session where he brought his wife along, Huma, with reporters. Here is
Anthony Weiner. He was asked point-blank when was the last time you did
this? And here was his answer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: When was the last explicit text?

WEINER: I can`t say exactly. Some time last summer, I think.

REPORTER: Was it after you told "People" magazine quote or you wife told
"People" magazine, there`s a lot of work to get where we are today
(INAUDIBLE) can be?

WEINER: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: An interesting question there. When is the last time you sent
naked pictures of yourself to strangers? He said um, I can`t remember
exactly.

Anyway, the reporter is referring to this interview that Weiner and his
wife conducted with "People" magazine last July. In that interview, his
wife Huma Abedin told the magazine, quote, "I want people to know we`re a
normal family. Anthony has spent every day since the scandal trying to be
the best dad and husband he can be. I`m proud to be married to him."

Well, we don`t know what she knew, what she is willing to accept now. She
is out there helping her husband. I give all kinds of forgiveness to
spouses who are loyal.

Let me go to Joan now.

Joan, it seems to me that this is -- I disagree with James Warren here. I
think this is an embarrassment for the Democratic Party if he becomes the
mayor, not if he loses. If he loses, fine. If he were ever to get
elected, he would become the poster boy, with everything that is wrong with
the Democratic Party nationwide.

All the old figures they used to attack, it would be nothing compared to
this guy named Weiner who has exposed himself across the country and then
was chosen by the Democratic Party of New York to be mayor of our finest
city.

JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: Well --

MATTHEWS: After Rudy cleaned up the city and Bloomberg has done a famous
job and making it proud for the whole country, everybody likes New York
now. Bring in Weiner to mess it all up again. Your thoughts.

WALSH: Well, it hasn`t happened yet. I mean, to go back to timeline that
he doesn`t think is important, but Kelly makes a great point. I mean, if
you go back -- he has told the story of redemption. He and his wife have
told the story of healing, of repentance, of getting help, of getting
therapy, of being the best dad he could be.

And now, when you go back and look at that timeline, and you look at the
comments that they both made, whether to "People" magazine or that loving
"New York Times" magazine profile, he was essentially lying. And I think
that the people of New York are going to be very hard put to give him a
second chance for that.

Redemption is one thing. But a pattern of evasion, he has deliberately, if
not lied, evaded and misled reporters and the voters about his timeline of
recovery.

People get a chance to recover. People get a chance to get help. But he
deliberately I think misled and threw us off the trail.

And look, Mayor Bloomberg today vetoed the Community Safety Act, which was
an effort by the city council to get a handle on racial profiling and stop
and frisk. That`s a big deal in the city today, Chris.

We`re not talking about that. Nobody care -- people care, but, you know,
the media is all obsessed with this man`s exhibitionism and this man`s
mental problems.

WARREN: Chris?

MATTHEWS: Jim Warren?

WARREN: It`s not to disagree what you or any of the other guys have just
said in trying to explain what the reaction has been. For example, one of
the most stunning --

MATTHEWS: But we haven`t gotten the reaction yet.

WARREN: Up until now, come on, there a body of evidence about total lack
of self-discipline, a huge amount of dishonesty by this guy. Explain to me
even as of last week, there was absolutely no gender gap in the polling.
In fact, Anthony Weiner, with all the stuff on the table, and I say this,
stunned, was leading when it came to New York women against Christine Quinn
who had been -- thought to be the front-runner who was the head of the city
council there. How in the world do you explain that?

MATTHEWS: Well, Pat Moynihan did a wonderful job of it. Academically, he
called it the Defining Deviancy Down, where you get used to the lowest
politician.

WARREN: Correct. I think one of the problems with this whole country is
that guys like Weiner and Spitzer benefit from the fact that our esteem for
that class of people have plummeted. We have set the bar so frigging low
in this country.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Go ahead, Joan. I think Mike Bloomberg has been decent all the
way. I think he has been a clean model, who he keeps his private life
private, just the way Ed Koch did. He`s never embarrassed the city of New
York, ever. In fact, he`s been a hell of a mayor.

WARREN: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: And Rudy before him. We can argue about a lot of Rudy stuff,
but he cleaned up that city. It`s a great place to go. And people move
there now.

Go ahead, your thoughts.

WALSH: I would not have voted for Anthony Weiner before today. I will not
vote for him after today.

But I think there is also level of defiance among Democrats. You know, we
mention Spitzer and Weiner and we don`t mention Vitter and Sanford and
these other people who have strayed and done ridiculous things and get
forgiven, get to continue on with their careers.

So, this is true in both parties. Both parties have had this problem. But
somehow people feel like there is a different standard for Democrats. So
that`s part of the embrace of --

MATTHEWS: Well, that maybe the case. Well, he didn`t exactly keep it
private.

WALSH: Well, no, he didn`t. And I think people were willing -- I was not
among them, I`ll be honest. But I think people were willing, as I said
before to play along with this redemption narrative, give him a second
chance, let him go and be a fighter again for New York.

And now, this comes out that he has been basically misleading the voters
and the media all along. I don`t see this ending as well for Anthony
Weiner.

MATTHEWS: The only reason we`re talking about this is he was outed again
in terms of his behavior. Weiner, by the way, was asked is about those
reports of inappropriate conversations and, of course, sexting as it`s
called. Here is his response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WEINER: One of the things I`m not going to do, and I said it earlier, I`m
not going to get into a back and forth whether these thing are true or not.
People have a right to say whatever they want, and I`ve brought that upon
myself.

I am prepared not to dispute anything that is out there. But suffice it to
say that people are out there saying things that are -- that are -- are not
true.

REPORTER: What else is out there?

WEINER: I accept the responsibility for having these conversations with
people who I never met, with exchanging inappropriate things in context of
our marriage, and that was a mistake and I bear responsibility for that.
That is behind me. And we`re trying to move forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Kelly, just a hunch. I`ve been covering this guy from a
distance. You covered him up on the Hill when he was up there.

I have a sense this isn`t the end of the story, that there could be more
coming out here. He doesn`t give us the facts up front. We have to fight
for them.

O`DONNELL: Well, I think there has been a real pattern here of Anthony
Weiner not wanting to be forthcoming. And at first people understand that.
This stuff was really embarrassing, and it cost him his career in Congress.

But now, we`ve seen a pattern, and that is where I think it gets so much
more difficult for Anthony Weiner, because we have these other points in
this story which was supposed to be a story of a comeback and redemption
and rebuilding.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

O`DONNELL: And when we now see him acknowledge that the glossy "People"
magazine story of his family was flawed as well, that there were lies
inherent in that, it`s difficult. That leaves open the possibility that
there will be more. We can`t say for sure.

He has acknowledged that some of what has come out on the Internet is true,
and that does lead you to wonder what else is out there. Would it be
anything of a different nature or would it be just more of the same? These
relationships with women, he says he never met, but had these ongoing
exchanges with.

It`s the kind of thing where I think the only way he can redeem himself now
is have a public burning of his computer and his BlackBerry or iPhone to
show people he is off the Internet, because I think there is just a sense
that this was kind of a shadow life for Anthony Weiner, and it is something
he is having to answer for now.

MATTHEWS: I think he had better pr than "New York Times" magazine than the
Assad family got when they got covered by "Vogue".

Anyway, thank you, Kelly O`Donnell. Thank you, Joan Walsh. And thank you,
Jim Warren.

Up next, what is behind Huma Abedin`s performance? The wife showed up.
The spouse was there, as she often is in these cases of huge embarrassment.
Why did he save here? Never asked to go to a press conference before
tonight. I wonder why.

She did something we rarely in events like this. She went out and spoke to
the media on behalf of her spouse. We`ll get to what she might be
speaking, and what`s motivating her besides love or ambition or a
combination.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Liz Cheney is off to an abysmal start to unseat fellow
Republican Mike Enzi out in Wyoming in that Senate race.

Let`s check our HARDBALL scoreboard.

A new PPP poll shows Wyoming Republicans overwhelmingly reject the daughter
of the former VP. In a head to head matchup, it`s Senator Enzi, the
incumbent at 54 percent, twice that of Cheney, who is at 26. What`s more?
Only 31 percent of Wyoming voters consider Liz Cheney to actually be from
Wyoming.

And from another famous daughter out there running for the senate, Michelle
Nunn, is the daughter of former Senator Sam Nunn. And she gives Democrats
a top tier candidate to try to move that seat from red to blue.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Anthony Weiner`s wife Huma Abedin has been a constant presence
in his campaign for mayor. So far today, she was beside him today at a
press conference, the first time ever she spoke at a press conference where
Weiner admitted right out front tonight where he was sending sexually
explicit nude frontal photos of himself right up through last summer, well
past his resignation and humiliation of two years ago.

His wife read from a prepared statement as he did very carefully, not much.
But here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUMA ABEDIN, ANTHONY WEINER`S WIFE: Our marriage, like many others, has
had its up and its downs. It took a lot of work and a whole lot of therapy
to get to a place where I could forgive Anthony. It was not an easy choice
in any way. But I made the decision that it was worth staying in this
marriage.

That was a decision I made for me, for our son, and for our family. I
didn`t know how it would work out. But I did know that I wanted to give it
a try.

Anthony`s made some horrible mistakes both before he resigned from Congress
and after. But I do very strongly that that is between us and our
marriage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, Elisa Shapiro is with "The Daily Beast", and Rachel
Smolkin is a reporter with "Politico".

Is it Elisa or Eliza?

ELIZA SHAPIRO, THE DAILY BEAST: Eliza.

MATTHEWS: Eliza, I`m sorry. Let me go to Eliza.

I think there are two or maybe a combination. Was she doing that because
she shares the same ambition that the guy who got in trouble here once
again admitted he is in trouble, or is it that she just supports whatever
bad news comes with the marriage, for better or for worse?

SHAPIRO: Well, Chris, thanks for having me. I mean, I think it`s a
combination of the two.

I think -- you know, she said I love him, I forgave him, I believe in him.
I think there must be some truth to that before the whole scandal broke,
they seemed like this perfectly happy sort of political wonder duo.

I think she wants him to be mayor because she believes in him. But I also
think she wants him to be mayor because, you know, her family has a lot of
work to do, from, you know, catching up from the scandal. And, you know,
being the first lady of New York City might be better for her than being
the disgraced wife of -- I mean, the wife of this disgraced politician who
has embarrassed her now time and time again.

So I think it`s really a combination of the two there.

MATTHEWS: Rachel, I thought from the beginning that his run for mayor, and
I was underestimating its potential success up until today, because I
thought he wanted to bathe in public attention so that when he came out of
the race maybe in second, a good strong second or even a strong third, he
would be back in the political game. People would put behind him all the
mess of his exposure because of the sexting, and he`d be back in business
again, even if he came in second or third, just that public exposure.

Now I begin to think it`s all part of his exhibitionism -- the running for
office, the constant PR about himself, the naked pictures and sending them
out to total strangers. It`s (INAUDIBLE). But I`m not a psychiatrist.
But I think we need one here to understand this character.

Your thoughts.

RACHEL SMOLKIN, POLITICO: You made a great point earlier, Chris. You said
we have to fight for every nugget. And it does have a little bit of a feel
of being almost a game here. He made a point of saying -- well, I thought
some of this would come out earlier. I was kind of surprised it didn`t.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

SMOLKIN: I don`t want to say he was enjoying the moment, but, yes, there
was that aspect of the gamesmanship. It`s not the way you would expect or
that a political strategist would advise a candidate to go about this. If
you have other behavior or behavior that continued after your resignation
for Congress, you would think you would want to come clean with all that at
the beginning, so that anything that is out there you put out there, you
get in front of the story yourself.

That`s pretty much the opposite of the way he has been attempting to go
about it.

MATTHEWS: Yes. I think the old rule. I wrote about it years ago, 27
years ago, is hang a lantern on your problem. But his problem was so big.
I wouldn`t hang a lantern on that baby.

Anyway, let`s take a look, both of you --

SMOLKIN: You would need a big lantern.

MATTHEWS: I know.

Let`s take a look at the Weiner of timeline of rolling disclosures. May
27th of 2011 is when he accidentally posted inappropriate -- that`s nicely
put -- photo of himself on his Twitter account. It`s a message that is
intended for a 21-year-old female college student in Seattle. He deletes
it and claims his Twitter account was hacked.

On June 1st, he said he couldn`t tell for sure if the pictures leaked
online were of him. And this is Weiner speaking to our own reporter, Luke
Russert, that very day. Let`s listen to this give and take.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WEINER: Let`s make it very clear. The implication here is that somehow I
did something wrong to someone else. I was the victim of a prank, OK. I
was the victim of a prank here. And the fact of the matter is that that`s
the bottom line here.

The idea that we`ve entered this Alice and Wonderland world that after I
get -- I become the victim of a prank, people who follow me and support me
should be harassed and we should have four days of reporting about the
prank. I`m not sure that there is anything -- anything more here than just
a little bit of silliness. And I`m going to try to brush it off my
shoulder.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: So the reporters are the problem, according to him, by talking
about something he was hiding. Well, back to the timeline, June 10th of
2011. He acknowledged he did engage in some -- as he put it again some
inappropriate changes. But it wasn`t until June 16th, more than two week
after the first incident, he finally announces his resignation from the
U.S. Congress.

And that brings us up to today where he came clean, albeit forcefully, to a
new round of inappropriate conversation and sexting he had conducted after
his resignation.

Let me go back to Eliza.

His statement today, that first sort of finger-waving away, like this
timeline business, as if it wasn`t important to reporters. Every one of
our producers, the EP on down, everybody said the key question the
reporters had to ask in New York tonight was, did he do this after all the
public embarrassment? And if he did, that would suggest a far graver
problem than a guy caught doing something wrong if a guy goes back and does
it all over again.

And now, we find that doing it all over again all the way up until this
summer at least of 2012. But I`m guessing we`re going to hear it`s more
recent than that.

SHAPIRO: Right, exactly, Chris. It`s just remarkable. The prevailing
question all day was when did this happen. You know, he certainly didn`t
deny that it happened after his resignation from Congress. And then he
basically, you know, confirmed during the press conference that it was 14
months after he resigned from Congress in disgrace.

So, I mean, the prevailing question now that we know it was 14 months later
is, you know, can this guy stop lying? Is he -- he has a compulsion issue.
What will make him stop doing these horrifically embarrassing, lewd, gross
things?

I mean, the question is when you`re thinking about who is going to run your
city, is this guy, can we trust him? And, you know, he sort of keeps
proving that, you know, he lied after he was caught. He lied for weeks
after he was caught. He lied again today.

So, it`s sort of the prevailing question now is, when is he going to stop
lying, and why can`t he seem to stop lying in the first place?

MATTHEWS: Well, here is my suspicion, everybody, Eliza and Rachel, I think
nobody is enjoying this more than Anthony Weiner. I think he loves this
focus on him tonight. He is going through a joyous experience tonight.

It may be hell to pay for his spouse, Huma Abedin, but I think he is loving
this thing in the weirdest way. As weird as Richard Nixon loved his
resignation speech, because for one moment in American history and in the
media tonight, it`s all about Anthony, the guy who loves to be an
exhibitionist. You can`t get a bigger stage than we`re giving him. He is
weird.

Anyway, thank you, Rachel Smolkin.

(CROSSTALK)

SHAPIRO: It was remarkable how calm he seemed at the press conference
today.

MATTHEWS: Calm, it was Zen-like. He was loving it.

Anyway, thank you, Eliza. Thank you, Rachel Smolkin.

SHAPIRO: Exactly. And Huma looked like she was on the verge of tears, but
Anthony was just, you know, there talking.

MATTHEWS: Nirvana.

SHAPIRO: It was pretty jarring.

MATTHEWS: All those cameras focused on him.

How will Republicans use this against Democrats? My fear all along, this
is going to be a perfect poster boy if this guy even comes close to being
mayor of our greatest city, and it is our greatest city. And Rudy did a
great job cleaning up, and certainly Mike Bloomberg has done a fabulous
job. Why do you want to mess it up now, New York?

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FORMER SEN. LARRY CRAIG (R), IDAHO: The Senate certainly can bring about a
censure resolution, and it`s a slap on the wrist. It`s a bad boy, Bill
Clinton. You`re a naughty boy. The American people already know that Bill
Clinton is a bad boy, a naughty boy. I`m going speak out for the citizens
of my state who in the majority probably think Bill Clinton is probably
even a nasty, bad, naughty boy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Boy, how many syllables in the word boy? Boy.

Anyway, that was former Senator Larry Craig chastising Bill Clinton on
NBC`s "Meet the Press" way back before he got in trouble in 1999, years
before, as I said, he himself was disgraced in a bathroom sex scandal.

And you can bet Republicans will have plenty to say about Anthony Weiner
should he win. We have seen the movie before. If Weiner wins the mayor`s
race in New York City, Republicans will seize on that opportunity to make
him the poster boy for everything they don`t like about the Democratic
Party. They will tag every Democratic candidate across the country with
his behavior and values.

Joining me right now is Zeke Miller of "TIME" and Jim Warren of course with
The Daily Beast.

Zeke, I want to tell you, I lived through all these examples. They didn`t
like Bill, obviously. They didn`t like Tip O`Neill. They didn`t like Ted
Kennedy, don`t like Nancy Pelosi. They find somebody usually from the
coast, somebody ethnic in some sense, and they seize upon some kind of
left-wing or whatever imagery or something they don`t like. Maybe it`s
just big city behavior.

But they`re going to have a weenie roast with this guy. This guy
represents everything they want to run against, indecency, overexposure,
the whole routine, and dishonesty.

ZEKE MILLER, "TIME": Well, certainly.

This has been -- both parties do this. Democrats were doing it to Mark
Sanford in South Carolina when he was running in the special there just a
few months ago, and he is in Congress right now. So, if Anthony Weiner can
somehow make it through the likely runoff and then in the primary and then
win the general in November, I mean, this is something Republicans are
going to hold over Democrats for months, maybe even years while he is in
office. And sort of anyone whoever goes to New York City, there will be a
research document, maybe if there is ever a photo with maybe the president
and Anthony Weiner, there will be a press release from the RNC or insert
lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

MATTHEWS: Do you think there`s going to be a welcome to New York City as
you walk up the steps of Penn Station, as you arrive at La Guardia or JFK,
La Guardia especially, will there be a big sign, welcome to New York City,
Anthony Weiner?

(LAUGHTER)

MILLER: I think Republicans might pay for that.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: What a card.

Jim Warren, where are you on this now? You spoke to us a while back. Have
you reconsidered? The question is how is it going to be used politically?
I think the Republicans are drooling over this possibility that he wins the
mayor`s race.

JIM WARREN, THE DAILY BEAST: Yes, but there is no Republican who is going
to beat whoever comes out of a Democratic primary.

I think an interesting question is --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Well, then he is going to be mayor, which is better for the
Republicans.

WARREN: No. Let`s see if he can get past particularly Quinn in a primary.

Now, how does she play that, a female, who has not been beneficiary up to
this point of any gender gap, which is -- as I said before, is stunning to
me. Weiner up to this point has led when it comes to women. I assume you
might suggest if you`re Quinn, just shut up about this, perhaps maybe make
some sympathetic pro forma remarks about your thoughts are with the wife
and leave it at that and see what happens, and hope that this absolutely --
this stunning lack of discipline, this stunning dishonesty actually
accelerates to a far greater extent than it has so far.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

WARREN: A negative image of the guy.

Remember, this is a state where 50 darn years ago, remember 50 years ago,
Nelson Rockefeller was ultimately knocked out of the box for the
presidential nomination of the Republican Party. Why? Because he married
a divorced woman.

MATTHEWS: And she left her four kids to the husband. She walked away from
her family, Mary Fitler Murphy. That`s what hurt.

WARREN: And three days before the all-important California presidential
primary against Goldwater, remember, he was leading. In some cases, he was
leading by double digits. She bears him a child three days before.
Goldwater goes very negative, moralistic, and he goes down the tubes.

Fifty years later, the notion that we have a guy still in the running for a
major job after all this is quite remarkable. He has obviously made the
decision -- maybe it was this morning with the wife -- that we`re going to
-- quote -- "tough this out," because I think that`s sort of the new sense
of political rail politicking, is we`re going to tough this out and people
will somehow be drawn to us by their notions of.

MATTHEWS: OK.

Let me tell you what is weird about this, because I think we`re very broad-
minded. We`re getting more broad-minded about orientation, so saying
you`re gay, it could be a negative or a plus, depending on where you`re
running. Well, I don`t think it`s particularly a plus, but I don`t think
it`s a negative anymore in lots of parts of the country, when we have
marriage quality growing as an institution, which institutionalizes in many
ways the orientation itself.

But when you get into a situation where somebody is doing something so
bizarre as this, which is sending out frontal nudity pictures of yourself,
at his age, married guy, why would he do it? That`s the question you have
to ask, not naughty boy, like this guy Larry Craig is talking about Bill
Clinton, but we don`t know what it is. Is it naughty? I don`t even know
what to call it. I don`t want to judge him morally because I don`t get it.

What is he doing here exhibiting himself this way? I have always wondered
about streakers. What is their thing? They`re kind of comic figures now.
But this is not comic. This is interrupting other people`s private lives
with pictures they didn`t ask for and then saying, I`m sorry for the
inconvenience.

Zeke.

MILLER: That`s what so stunning about this entire scandal going back two-
plus years.

This is a congressman, now a disgraced former congressman, who did
something and continued doing something that most average Americans
couldn`t even imagine doing.

There`s a certain demographic in New York City and around the country that
doesn`t even know how to take a picture of themselves with their own cell
phones. That`s the problem here. People don`t understand, don`t relate to
it. They can maybe understand having an affair, with Spitzer hiring a
prostitute, world`s oldest profession.

There really was no historical analogue to tweeting out your semi-nude or
nude pictures of yourself to people on the Internet that you don`t know.
That I think is the hardest thing for Anthony Weiner now is really just
sort of the --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I agree.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: That`s where I`m at. I think it`s hard to explain who you are.
If you`re going to be mayor of New York, you got to sort of explain your
purpose in life, because you want to make the city the famous city that it
should be, not exhibit yourself in this strange way.

Last -- quick last thought.

WARREN: I would just say, besides being -- finding notable a lack of a
gender gap, I would be real interested to see this polling when it comes to
generations.

I suspect folks much younger than old fogies you and me look the other way
and go, so what? This is a new age.

MATTHEWS: Don`t count on it. Don`t count on it.

Well, you may be right and I will be wrong and I will be miserable.

WARREN: Sadly, sadly.

MATTHEWS: Thank you, Zeke Miller.

Thank you, Jim Warren. You are such a pessimist.

We will be right back after this.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger. Here is
what is happening.

Security officials in Brazil say despite a wrong turn that took the pope
directly into a frenzied crowd of fans yesterday, security did respond
appropriately. The pope and all of his faithful are safe.

And al Qaeda is claiming responsibility for raids on two Iraqi prisons that
set hundreds of inmates free, including terror suspects, at the infamous
Abu Ghraib jail. And at least nine people in Egypt have died amid violent
clashes over ousted President Mohammed Morsi -- back to HARDBALL.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON")

JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON": Did you hear it
finally happened? Kate Middleton gave birth to a baby boy. That`s right.
Kate Middleton went into labor this morning in London. When the rest of
the royal family heard that, they were like, oh, my God, what`s labor? You
have to work?

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, that was Jimmy Fallon last night.

Of course, we saw the baby for the first time today. But, of course, the
birth of the new royal heir was major fodder for late-night comedians.
Take a look at how "The Daily Show"`s John Oliver, a British transplant
himself, reacted to the news.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART")

JOHN OLIVER, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": Oh, my God! Oh, my
God! Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Oh, my God!

Yes, yes, yes. A son, a son. You mean a king. All kneel to the one true
king. Kneel! Knell, for God`s sakes!

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OLIVER: Let me just give you a little taste of what is currently out
there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is how brilliant a royal Kate is. There are
women throughout British royal family history that have panicked over not
being able to deliver a boy. And here we are. Kate did it first time.

(LAUGHTER)

OLIVER: What? What? You are aware that she is married to Prince William
and not Khal Drogo?

(LAUGHTER)

OLIVER: By the way, what would your response have been if it had been a
girl? Damnation upon your cursed womb, Catherine? Burn the princess --

(LAUGHTER)

OLIVER: -- for she has produced a baby of the weaker sex. Burn them
both! Burn them!

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Only he can get away with this, by the way.

And, by the way, again, with all due respect to King Henry VIII and other
British royals throughout history, the sex of the baby comes from the
father, not the mother.

Meanwhile, you will never guess who showed up this weekend at the annual
comic book and pop culture confab out in San Diego. It`s known as Comic-
con. The convention is popular with sci-fi and superhero aficionados. And
it often attracts Hollywood actors and comic book authors to try to build
buzz for their new projects.

Well, among the crowd, U.S. Congressman John Lewis. He certainly stood
out. The civil rights pioneer was there to sell his graphic novel "March"
that chronicles his experiences battling racism in the South during the
civil rights era. So why did Congressman Lewis choose Comic-Con?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: I wanted to share this story with another
generation, young people, with children, with teachers, to show that
through peaceful, nonviolent action, we can change America and, in changing
America, we can change the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Nevertheless, Lewis admitted the convention was different for
him. He told "The Washington Post" -- quote -- "I have never witnessed
anything like it, hundreds of thousands of people dressed in so many
different ways. They looked like people from another planet or from outer
space."

Lewis didn`t don a costume of his own, like a cape. But as one participant
told "Roll Call" and said it well, this is a real -- a real life superhero.

Finally, remember Christine O`Donnell?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTINE O`DONNELL (R), FORMER DELAWARE SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I`m not a
witch.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, she may not be that, but she seems to be a continuing
curse for the Republican Party itself. After crashing and burning back in
2010, O`Donnell is now considering, yes, another run for the U.S. Senate,
according to "The News Journal" up in Wilmington.

Any way, O`Donnell today confirmed via Twitter she was at least
contemplating a 2014 matchup against U.S. Senator Chris Coons.

She wrote -- quote -- "There are many factors in my decision to run in
2014. Number one is my parents` health."

O`Donnell`s potential run isn`t exactly being greeted with enthusiasm by
all Republicans in Delaware. Again, according to "The News Journal," Dan
Short, the House Republican leader in the state, said -- quote -- "She has
contributed to the demise of the Republican Party."

Well, maybe the Republicans need to remember what kept them from gaining
control of the Senate in 2010, people like Christine O`Donnell.

Anyway, we will be right back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Well, Texas Senator Ted Cruz says his mother is a U.S. citizen,
and that makes him a U.S. citizen, regardless of the fact that he was born
up in Canada.

Well, Cruz is a potential Republican candidate, but there is a legal
question whether he is a natural-born and therefore eligible to be running
for president. I think he is natural-born and I think he is eligible.
Cruz`s father is Cuban and his mother is American. It`s reminiscent of
Barack Obama`s case, except the birthers, of course, said he was born
outside the United States and therefore ineligible for president.

Anyway, but that didn`t quiet the birther crowd, of course.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: We`re back.

In London today, we got a first look at the most famous newborn baby on
Earth, as William and Kate introduce their still unnamed prince to the
world. Let`s take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: Well, the parents, of course, also spoke to reporters outside
the hospital.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HRH PRINCE WILLIAM OF WALES, UNITED KINGDOM, DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE: Well, he
has got a good pair of lungs on him. That`s for sure. He`s a big boy. He
is quite heavy.

But we`re still working on a name, so we will have that as soon as we can.
But it`s the first time we have seen him, really, so we`re having a proper
chance to catch up.

KATE MIDDLETON, DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE: Yes, it`s very emotional. It`s a
special time. I think any parent I think probably could have known what
this feeling feels like.

PRINCE WILLIAM: It`s very special.

(CROSSTALK)

PRINCE WILLIAM: It was. And I will remind him of his tardiness when he is
a bit older, because I know how long you have all have sat out here, so
hopefully the hospital and you guys can all go back to normal now and we
can look after him. So --

He has got her looks thankfully.

MIDDLETON: No, no, no.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(LAUGHTER)

QUESTION: How much hair?

PRINCE WILLIAM: He`s got way more than me, thank God.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: That young woman there gave birth, natural birth to a child just
yesterday. I think she looks already breezy from the experience.

Anyway, that`s something that happened after this. Look at it. There they
are. At least by the standards of royalty, Prince William carried his own
son, the new one, and the future king of England, to the car, strapped his
car seat in the back, and then they got in the driver`s seat and drove his
family home.

The only difference is they were heading to a castle. All in all, it was a
busy day for Britain`s newest royal. Before leaving the hospital, his
royal highness, the prince of Cambridge, received a visit from his maternal
grandparents, the Middletons. There they are, regular folk.

And that was followed a short time later with a visit from Prince Charles -
- I`m sure this is protocol -- and his wife, Camilla. The first-time
grandfather said the boy was marvelous.

We`re also joined now by "The Washington Post"`s Autumn Brewington and
Simon Marks, chief correspondent for Feature Story News.

Thank you both. And thank you, Autumn, for joining us again.

The choreography of this thing, the Brits do this so well, even the new
kids.

AUTUMN BREWINGTON,"THE WASHINGTON POST": They do.

MATTHEWS: Every time you see will, you see Diana.

BREWINGTON: Yes. And he looks so much like her, but this was -- you know,
he practiced putting that car seat in. He practiced so that he could do it
in front of the press.

MATTHEWS: It`s not a natural thing.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: No, my son has got a kid now, and my daughter-in-law, have a
young baby, who is actually a year-old now. But they still have the car
seat, very -- by the way, very politically correct. He used the car seat.

BREWINGTON: Yes. Yes.

MATTHEWS: No royal prerogatives there.

BREWINGTON: And driving off just holding --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Let me go to Simon on this.

Simon Marks, thanks for joining us again.

This whole thing about the way they do this in Britain, is there a protocol
person out there who says, now, go outside, stand in front of the crowd, we
will have the crowd waiting for you, wave to them naturally, then drive off
like they did after their wedding? They drove off in a car after that.

SIMON MARKS, FEATURE STORY NEWS: Well, I think, Chris, there is a
protocol, but, frankly, they`re rewriting it.

I mean, the real takeaway of those images today was that this was William
and Kate once again sort of modernizing the royal family, the way in which
they lingered and talked to reporters, the very, from a British
perspective, touching imagery of William putting that car seat, and it
wasn`t a particularly regal car seat -- it was an off-the-shelf car seat --
into back of the car, then driving the newborn away himself, I mean, all of
that very different than what we saw just a few years ago, when William,
himself, was born, and Prince Charles and Princess Diana emerged down the
steps to cameras then.

That was a much more stilted appearance compared to this. And I think it
underscores the fact that you have got a new, younger generation of British
royals preparing to take the family into the next generation.

MATTHEWS: Are they really as -- I know there`s a rule that you can`t touch
the queen, physically never touch her. You don`t shake her hand, you don`t
do anything, although I think Michelle Obama did shake her hand or did
something to her.

Are they as nice as they seem are or they secretly snotty?

MARKS: Well, I`m bound to say I haven`t spent a great deal of time with
them personally.

But I certainly used to cover the royal family back in the day when I was
working as a reporter in the U.K. And, you know, it depends on the member
of the royal family that you`re sent out to cover. The sense is that this
younger generation, Prince William, Prince Harry, who, of course, sometimes
makes headlines for the wrong reasons, but has been making them for more of
the right reasons of late, the duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, and
now, of course, this new little lad, I mean, the sense is that this is a
more approachable, modern version of the royal family, still very focused
on British tradition.

I mean, clearly, far more global interest in these royals than there was,
for example, in the coronation over the weekend of a new king of Belgium.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: I think that`s not a tough competition.

Anyway, across the pond here in the U.S., the birth of Britain`s newest
royal, heir, of course, in this case, earned a lot of attention. The first
lady, Michelle Obama, tweeted -- quote -- "Congratulations to the duke and
duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their son. Being a parent is the best
job of all."

And even former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton commented on the baby.
She wrote on Twitter -- quote -- "Congratulations from across the pond" --
she used the phrase, too -- "to the duke and duchess. Wishing you a bit of
luck" -- the best of British luck, she should have said. "And a bit of
advice, it takes a royal village" -- a little self-acclimation there.

Meanwhile, at today`s White House briefing, Jay Carney was asked about a
baby gift from the White House. And he joked about a potential name for
the boy. I think it`s his own. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I have no new information about
potential gifts. I do like to -- I would like to say that I think James
would be an excellent choice in name. Just a thought.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: But who am I to say?

This is -- are you surprised at the caliber of interest in this, in this
country?

BREWINGTON: No. No.

MATTHEWS: No?

BREWINGTON: This is -- we -- we love celebrity. And the monarchy, you
know, the British royal family, this is the purest form of celebrity.

MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you so much, Autumn Brewington. Thanks for coming
in.

And, Simon Marks, thank you, sir.

MARKS: You bet, Chris.

MATTHEWS: And when we return, let me finish with what we heard today from
Anthony Weiner, speaking of the -- from the sublime to the ridiculous.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this.

New York City, Gotham of Batman fame, Metropolis of the Superman saga, is
now being offered the protection of a comic book figure to outmatch them
all, an action figure who above all wants to be seen in the most graphic
way possible.

I don`t know what led some New Yorkers to state a preference for Mr. Weiner
in the past. I can`t or won`t discern why they wanted him to be their
city`s representative to the world, this fellow who wants most of all to
expose himself.

Well, today, we learned that the man who sexted his way to resignation from
Congress and political banishment continued with the practice through last
summer, sending out indecent pictures of himself to whomever in this weird
desire to reach out and touch someone.

Well, his behavior, I`m disturbed to say, represents what the late great
senator from New York Daniel Patrick Moynihan, he from Hell`s Kitchen,
called defining deviancy down, lowering the bar on what is decent to such a
base level, that not even Weiner himself can do a credible limbo beneath
it.

Who the hell knows what drives this guy? But this is not a private matter.
It is not the act of love between consenting adults. It`s something along
the lines of streaking, in this case, digital streaking.

I can`t condemn the behavior. The guy must be out of his own control, but
I dare to condemn the voter who thinks him a fit representative of this
country`s greatest city. New York, New York, the town so nice, they named
it twice, I believe is too nice for this.

And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.

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

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