July 30, 2013
Guest: Michelle Goldberg, Margie Omero, John Brabender, David Rohde,
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Weiner circle getting smaller.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
"Let Me Start" tonight with this. It`s time to get to the heart of this
matter and why, above the weird pieces of the story, why we care -- in
fact, why I care. You can say all you want about all politics being local,
but the role of mayor of New York is to work for the people of New York but
to represent more than the people of New York. He or she stands at this
country`s front door, and right there in the media capital itself.
And ever since I can remember, the mayor has been a major representative of
this country, welcoming visitors, celebrated and not, from around the
world. We know their names well. We know them well. Fiorella La Guardia,
John Lindsay, Ed Koch, Rudolph Giuliani, Mike Bloomberg. They are
household names not just in this country but in the world at large.
So the question of who stands out there representing not just New Yorkers,
not just Democrats in many cases, but us is a question worthy of debate.
And tonight, we have the front-runner for the office of mayor of New York
City, city council speaker Christine Quinn.
Thank you, Speaker Quinn, for joining us. It`s great to have you on the
CHRISTINE QUINN (D), NEW YORK CITY MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: And I want you now -- I don`t think you`re ready for this.
Maybe you`ve been thinking about this -- the public role --
MATTHEWS: -- of mayor of Metropolis --
MATTHEWS: -- Gotham, the Big Apple, the greatest city in the world, the
center of the consciousness of the universe, as John Lennon called it. How
big a public role is that in the context of this sleazy thing we`ve been
QUINN: You know, it is an enormously significant thing. I mean, people
look to New York every day for ideas, for inspiration, for motivation.
There are children all over America and the world who go to bed at night
dreaming that some day, they`ll get to live in New York City.
So who leads this city -- it matters first for the 8.4 million people here,
but it matters for the world. And time and again, I`ve seen what we`ve
done in New York replicated not just by other cities but by other
countries. About a month after we passed our smoking ban, the entire
country of Ireland implemented a smoking ban.
We are one of the world leaders, and that`s why I want to be mayor, to make
sure this city moves forward for the people here, but also as an
inspiration for urban centers across the world.
And that`s more important now than ever, Chris, because more and more
Americans are moving into cities.
MATTHEWS: I know.
QUINN: That`s where the population growth is. And we need the mayor of
this city to be the best mayor they can be. But also, I`m going to be a
mayor who brings an urban agenda to Washington and gets Washington to pay
attention to American cities.
MATTHEWS: OK. Well, let`s talk about that public and the private because
when I went up there in New York, the high school newspaper editors
convention at Columbia, it was the biggest thrill of my life until then.
MATTHEWS: To go to New York City --
MATTHEWS: -- even from Philadelphia, was the biggest deal in the world.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, I want to ask you about this private thing. One of your
opponents in this race -- you know who he is -- has been claiming that all
his behavior that`s all over the world -- it`s probably in Hong Kong,
they`re talking about it -- he keeps claiming -- whether he`s right or
wrong, you got to tell me -- that it`s somehow a private matter. Then why
are we talking about it? Because we all know about it.
MATTHEWS: My question to you, where is the line where your huge role that
I know you want to play -- and you`re the ont-runner now in the latest
polling -- where does that public role end and you can say, Oh, this is
just my public life?
QUINN: You know --
MATTHEWS: Where is that line? Is it on line? Is it on the phone? Is it
in the bedroom? Where`s the private life? Because I don`t believe your
opponent is right. I think if it were private, we wouldn`t know about it.
QUINN: Well, look, that --
MATTHEWS: Your thoughts.
QUINN: That by definition is the answer. If it was really private, we
wouldn`t all know about it and be discussing it and have it be known over
The other issue here is a pattern. We see with former congressman Weiner a
pattern of reckless behavior and a pattern of an inability to tell the
Now, I think everybody agrees that people should have private lives.
Elected officials should have private lives. But private lives are things
that are, in fact, our own and private to ourselves, not things that get
broadcasted out kind of in a broader sense than that.
QUINN: And I think that`s the distinction here, and I think it`s pretty
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s go to the civil issue here, and it is a civil issue.
Last night on HARDBALL, Eliot Spitzer, who`s running for comptroller -- and
I won`t ask you whether you endorse him or not --
QUINN: I have not.
MATTHEWS: I`m not pushing you.
QUINN: I`m offering!
MATTHEWS: Eliot Spitzer made some news talking about Anthony Weiner today.
MATTHEWS: Because I think he gets to a question I want you to answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: If a public official used their office equipment to engage in
the kind of the pastime that Anthony Weiner has been involved in in the
last couple years, would you fire them?
ELIOT SPITZER (D), FMR. NY GOV., NYC COMPTROLLER CANDIDATE: I think the
answer is yes. I mean, I -- we have had a number of instances over the
years where, inevitably, of course, municipal employees, state employees
have used computers and the like for improper purposes, and there`s an
appropriate sanction for that.
MATTHEWS: You`re not going to vote for Anthony Weiner. Can you just say
that now? You don`t think he should be mayor of New York?
SPITZER: Fair point. That is correct.
MATTHEWS: He should not be mayor of New York.
SPITZER: That is correct.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: OK, I`ll get back to you, Madam Speaker. And the question to
you is the first part of that question. If you walked in the room and saw
an employee doing what Mr. Weiner has been doing relentlessly perhaps right
up until now -- we don`t know --
MATTHEWS: -- would you fire them?
QUINN: Absolutely. It`s a totally inappropriate and unacceptable use of,
in this case, government equipment. I think that would be true in any
office, but you`re at a higher standard in government and it would be
But that said, look, I don`t think Eliot Spitzer is in a position to be
pointing fingers at anybody as it rates to their private lives or their
behavior in these kind of areas.
MATTHEWS: So do you think you would vote for him?
QUINN: Eliot? No. I have enthusiastically endorsed Scott Stringer, who`s
running for comptroller.
MATTHEWS: OK, the borough president of Manhattan. Let me ask you about
this question as a woman. You`re really the front-runner in this race.
You`re also the front running woman in this race. Across the board, you`re
leading the polls.
I want to ask you about being a woman. Terry O`Neill, who`s a great person
MATTHEWS: -- was on last night. She`s head of a huge organization, the
National Organization for Women -- not just women but for women. She said
of Weiner`s conduct, quote, "Mr. Weiner does have a problem, and his
behavior is sexist. Let`s be clear. It`s not respectful of women."
Get to that point. I know you speak for a lot of women in this race. You
have a lot of following. Talk about this because is the -- people say
consenting adults. People say mutual. They say sexting back and forth.
And I`ve even learned stuff I didn`t know about. I asked one night, like
Mr. Naive, Do women sext? I don`t know. I don`t really want to know at
this point. I`ve been married forever.
But let me ask you the question. What is this for women? What does his
behavior say to you as a woman and the leading woman candidate?
QUINN: Well, you know, I think, for me, as a woman who loves this city, I
need a mayor who`s responsible. I need a mayor who puts the interests of
New Yorkers first, not their own self-aggrandizement first. And this is
irresponsible behavior, behavior that`s focused on himself, not the people
of the city.
And that matters to everybody. But for women, who are still more low-
income families headed by women than not, women still not making the same
amount of pay that men get, women still struggling to break through so many
glass ceilings, having a mayor who`s going to move the city forward and a
mayor who has a record of having done that, that`s the kind of mayor I`ll
And that`s what women need because they want their lives to get better and
they want the lives of their children, their daughters to be better than
theirs has been. And that means adult leadership.
MATTHEWS: Well, Christine Quinn, who mentioned the Irish already -- I
never forget you`re Irish, Christine Quinn -- just kidding here -- the
speaker of the New York city Council and front-runner in the latest polling
Congratulations on the polling. Best of luck in this race.
QUINN: Thank you. Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: It`s going to get hotter.
QUINN: That it will.
MATTHEWS: Thanks for coming on HARDBALL. We`d love to have you back.
MATTHEWS: Joan Walsh is editor of Salon, of course, one of our closest
allies here in the world of dealing through these issues. She looks like
she`s cheered up a bit there, Joan, watching her as a person and a new
friend of mine, I got to say, I am impressed by. She`s upbeat. She`s
This is a weird race to be in, I think uncomfortable for everybody. But
she seems to be doing pretty well right now in the polls. Your thoughts
about the women issue. I want to get to that because is there something
aggressive about this behavior by a -- nastily aggressive by Mr. Weiner?
JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, I think there
is. I think there`s a problem here. You know. when he said last week he
was sorry to the women he`d inconvenienced, you know, the young woman who`s
come forward now, Sydney Leathers, she may have some issues in her own
life, but she`s only 22.
And I think to reach out as a public figure, to start poking her on
Facebook like an idiot juvenile, and to lie to her, to lead her along, as
she says he has -- and she`s got the texts or the sexts to prove it -- I
think is degrading to women and disrespectful to women.
And I would also say, quite honestly, I think it`s fair to judge him in the
way that he`s treated his wife. Now, again, it`s her business and it`s
their business in their marriage, but there`s something -- at minimum,
there`s a lack of compassion and lack a of decency to do this again and
drag his wife through this, even though she`s standing by him.
I think there is a sense that this is -- that it`s OK to reach out to
random women. Some of the women in the first go-round were not exactly
enthusiastic recipients or participants. So there`s something off in his
view of women. I would agree with Christine about that.
MATTHEWS: I`m not so sure you`re right about this between him and his wife
business because as the speaker of the House -- speaker of the council up
there just said, and as Spitzer said the other night, if you do this with
your office equipment, it`s not like calling your mother back home in
Nebraska. There`s something essentially different in the communication
going on here. It`s not just misuse of office equipment for personal use.
It`s a prurient use of the office equipment.
So apparently, in the office, you`re allowed to distinguish between good
and bad behavior in this regard. So I wouldn`t think it`s automatically
limited to just the spouse.
MATTHEWS: Your thoughts again.
WALSH: I`m only -- you know, Chris, that answer applied to the question
about women and how he treats women.
WALSH: So you know, there are other public issues about it. But in terms
of that realm of how he`s treated her, she`s the ultimate judge whether
that`s decent treatment. But I would say even that that suggests at the
very least a lack of empathy and a lack of compassion.
MATTHEWS: OK. I want to give Anthony Weiner a chance here. We`ve got
tape of him. Before I do, I want to (INAUDIBLE) what I think is going on
here. I saw a movie years ago. We`ve none of us have forgotten it, "Dog
Day Afternoon," about a desperate guy, a desperate guy who`s robbed a bank,
and he`s desperately trying to appeal to the crowds. And there`s some
hopeless kind of a, Root for me, I`m the underdog. It`s a classic scene,
"Dog Day Afternoon" with the great Al Pacino.
WALSH: I remember.
MATTHEWS: I think this is what this guy Weiner is up to right now. Let`s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL PACINO, "DOG DAY AFTERNOON": What hope (ph) have you got? Huh? Come
on, put them on your head. Tell them you`ve got an attempted robbery.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Armed robbery.
PACINO: All right, armed, then. Nobody`s been hurt.
Go back there, man! Get over there, will you? He wants to kill me so bad,
he can taste it!
PACINO: Attica! Attica! Attica! Attica! Attica! Attica! Attica!
Attica! You guys are Attica!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: This New York guy that doesn`t have a prayer in heaven of being
elected mayor of New York is out there doing this. He`s stirring up crazy.
He`s trying to make himself a victim of himself, but somehow a victim of
the media, of us, of the Clintons, even as of today. He`s trying to blame
them for feeling uncomfortable about the guy.
Is this going to work? You`re a political expert. Is it going to work?
WALSH: No, I don`t think it`s going to work. I think that`s compassion on
your part to compare him to that amazing achievement -- accomplishment by
Al Pacino, who does make him a compassionate figure. I don`t think Anthony
Weiner is succeeding at that.
But I think you`re right, there`s a kind of desperation and there`s a kind
of appeal to the crowd. And you and I talked about this week, when it
broke, at the beginning. You know, the first time around, there was a
sense in New Yorkers that he deserved a second chance, and that also some
people, some liberals didn`t like folks in Washington telling them who
their representative should have been.
WALSH: He was -- they thought he was a good standard bearer. Now that is
not -- that is not the sense I`m getting. He is sinking like a stone in
the polls, and I expect that to continue. The appeal to the crowd is
desperate, but I don`t think it`s going to work.
MATTHEWS: I think we`re a day or two away -- maybe at most a day or two
away from hearing from Clinton people. We`re already hearing from people
like Dee Dee Myers, who are very trusted by them. I think they`re
beginning to signal this guy is embarrassing them, and they don`t want him
around as they begin the slow, I think, takeoff for the presidency.
Anyway, thank you, my friend, Joan Walsh, for coming on again tonight.
WALSH: Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Coming up, one -- you`re in New York, actually. Coming up: One
reason to care about Anthony Weiner`s behavior is that it does involve
Hillary Clinton. And yesterday -- this is so interesting to watch how she
handles this. She`s such a pro now. She had lunch with the president
yesterday, sort of presidents, future presidents having a chat together.
Beautiful pictures of them in the Rose Garden. Breakfast today with Joe
Biden, perhaps telling him the bad news that she is going to run. What was
a coy campaign, a sort of an underground campaign is now becoming, it seems
to me -- this is what I do for a living -- a very transparent thing to get
us used to the idea. This isn`t a guessing game. She`s going for the
Also, President Obama makes the Republicans, I think, an offer they can`t
refuse. It`s a pretty good offer, certainly a good deal starter. If they
work on it a little bit, they can actually get somewhere. I don`t think
they they`re going to do it. I think the Republicans are going to rebuff
him again, but he`s trying.
And Bradley Manning -- talk about good news, bad news. He`s found not
guilty of aiding the enemy but is convicted of multiple charges that could
add up to 100 years in prison, which my calculations and by most people`s
is more than life.
Finally, "Let Me Finish" with the offer to Republicans -- well, it`s an
offer they can`t refuse, but they well may because even they -- they`re
getting a good offer about economic growth, they don`t seem to be
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, Republicans up in Alaska may still like Sarah Palin, but
the rest of us say not really. Let`s check the HARDBALL "Scoreboard."
According to a new PPP poll, Palin would be the Republicans` choice for
Senate, should she decide to run. But in a general election match-up
against incumbent Democrat Mark Begich, Palin trails badly. It`s Begich by
12, 52 to 40 over Palin, a 12-point spread there.
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FMR. SECRETARY OF STATE: No mother, no father should ever
have to fear for their child walking down a street in the United States of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was, of course, former secretary
of state and possibly the future president Hillary Clinton just two weeks
ago, speaking to the country`s largest African-American sorority here in
D.C. and addressing the death there of Trayvon Martin, sounding very much
like a candidate for higher office.
But it`s not what Secretary Clinton has been saying lately, I think, but
what she`s been slowing us that has signaled to me she`s all in for 2016
and wants us to know it. Yesterday, we saw a picture, a very flattering
picture of her and the president sitting as equals, as a president sitting
with another president, very presidential picture over in the Rose Garden.
Few get that treatment.
And today, in the morning, she had eggs and -- scrambled eggs and toast,
I`m told, with the vice president of the United States perhaps to pass to
him her thinking. I`m sure they talked about it.
There`s more. The former secretary of state has released a Web video
announcing her support for gay marriage -- a Web video. She stood side by
side with President Obama and three former U.S. presidents down in Dallas
at the Bush library dedication. She came as an equal to them.
She`s traveling around the country, giving speeches and writing a book
about her time as secretary of state, all of that experience she picked up
in four years. The super-PAC -- it`s called Ready for Hillary -- is now
being advised by Hillary veteran and confidant and top strategist Harold
Ickes -- you couldn`t be closer intellectually to the Clintons than he is.
Along with high-profile donors and bundlers, they`re all connected to form
one grass roots movement that could well give Hillary the advantage from
the get-go if and when she gives the go.
Today, the group announced -- that group -- it has raised over a million
bucks three years ago -- three years, actually, ahead of the next election.
These are what people in politics call optics, and the optics point to a
much less coy Hillary Clinton profile, as of this week, I believe, laying
the groundwork to become Barack Obama`s heir apparent and the next leader
of the Democratic Party and then on to the presidency.
Joining me is an expert, former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, and
Michelle Goldberg of the DailyBeast.
Governor, I do think -- and you are an expert and much closer to the
Clintons than I am, both to Bill and to Hillary -- I think that they`re no
longer playing the cat-and-mouse game. They`re -- she now is looking
fabulous. I don`t know -- I know I shouldn`t talk about looks with a
woman, but I`ll say it. The way she`s presented herself -- it always gets
me in trouble, and I`ll say it again.
MATTHEWS: She looks presidential as hell. I`ll just put it that way. The
dark suit, the haircut, everything says this person looks ready for
primetime, ready to go to the game. She`s got game right now.
I`m looking at her and I`m saying no more pretending, I might or might not.
The coyness is gone. Your view, your knowledge, I guess.
ED RENDELL (D-PA), FMR. GOV., MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Chris, she`s
doing the things she should be doing if she wants to become a candidate,
but I`m not 100 percent certain that she`s crossed the Rubicon. I think
everybody else around her has.
And the reason I say that is because Hillary Clinton has an opportunity
that almost nobody else in politics have. When we`re leaving the office,
the biggest concern we have, people who`ve served for a long time, is, Will
I still be relevant when I`m no longer in office?
RENDELL: And the answer most times is no, not nearly as relevant. But
Hillary Clinton can go around the world for the rest of her life driving
women`s issues and being one of the most important people in the world
without undergoing the stress of a campaign.
Now, you`re right about the optics. They`re certainly doing things that
are much more conducive to getting ready to run.
But I don`t know if she`s crossed the Rubicon or if she`s just placeholding
right now in case she does decide to run. Now, I`m in the minority. I
agree with him. But I sat with both Bill and Hillary at Bill Gray`s
funeral in Philadelphia a few weeks ago, and she was doing the things you
have to do as a candidate. But I`m not sure she`s 100 percent there
because she`s got that rare opportunity to still have her voice heard loud
and clear the rest of her life.
MATTHEWS: Yes, that`s true.
I think, though -- well, let me go -- let me go to Michelle on this because
it`s a reporter`s question, too. When I look at the picture of them in the
Rose Garden, I don`t see the past. I see the future. That`s not a
meeting, that`s not lunch between a former yesterday altacocker.
This is a between a future -- I guess I have got the right audience.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, this is the future. This looks like a future youth
meter here to me in looking at it. Your thoughts.
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, CONTRIBUTOR, THE DAILY BEAST: She`s done such a kind of
good job at repackaging herself from 2008.
She has already the massive base that she had the last time she was
declared the inevitable nominee, but since then, she`s really shown I think
her humorous side, which was a side of her that people didn`t know about.
She`s kind of been very savory digitally, which she wasn`t in 2008. She`s
been really smart about -- or not her, but her super PAC has been hiring
some of the smartest people in the Obama camp, and so, you know, all of
that acrimony that was -- that`s all gone now.
Speaking of which, Governor, it looked to me like last time, Obama could be
sarcastic to a fault with, "She`s likable enough." And that all hurt him
more than it hurt her.
MATTHEWS: But you`re up -- if she runs for president, she`s running
against some real characters,, even vicious characters potentially.
I`m not saying they`re always vicious. But I look at a guy like Ted Cruz,
I look at Rand Paul, they`re not going to be afraid to take the heat to
her. They are going to go after her and call her a lefty. They are going
to go after Benghazi every night of the week. It`s going to be a vicious
attack on her.
And you know they`re not going to feel a little bit, oh, I hope we can
appeal to the media with this. They are going to right at her and play to
their own crowd. So, this isn`t going up against John McCain or going up
against a regular Republican like even Romney. This is going to go up
potentially against the hardest right there is.
RENDELL: No question about it.
And then again, that`s a decision she wants to make. Does she want to
undergo a year-and-a-half or two years of that type of stress? But let me
tell you, if you go back to her first testimony at the first Benghazi
hearing, she handled those tough old boys pretty well.
I don`t think Hillary Clinton is going to back down to anybody. She
believes what she believes. She`s strong. She`s lucid. She`s clear. And
nobody`s going to scare Hillary Clinton. If I would tell you an American
politician who is fearless right now, it`s her.
MATTHEWS: Did they know they had the wrong team last time when they ran?
Did they know they didn`t have the right advisers?
RENDELL: I think we made -- we all made it clear to them. I think they
MATTHEWS: Let me go to Michelle on that.
Do you see a new team emerging around the secretary of state who might --
would suggest she`s going to make this a better effort, a more state-of-
the-art effort, a little less, what`s the right word, a little less of a
cotillion of her friends and more like the best you can get to help you
GOLDBERG: Yes. I mean, I think it`s already really clear that that`s
what`s happened -- that that`s what`s happening.
I think it was really significant that they hired the Obama campaign`s
Jeremy Bird, who was really important for their kind of legendary turnout
GOLDBERG: All the things that she was beaten last time, she`s going to
have an advantage on this time.
MATTHEWS: So, she`s running. So, she`s running?
MATTHEWS: What are we talking about?
GOLDBERG: I would assume that she`s running.
MATTHEWS: She`s hiring a get-out-the-vote expert and she`s not running?
Why would you hire a get-out-the-vote expert if you weren`t going to run?
GOLDBERG: He`s working for the super PAC.
RENDELL: Michelle is making a very important point, Chris.
Go ahead, Michelle.
MATTHEWS: What is that?
GOLDBERG: I said he`s working for the super PAC. Right? He`s not working
-- but he`s working on her behalf. He`s not working for her.
MATTHEWS: Yes. What about Harold Ickes, Governor? Why would he be
helping her if they weren`t going for it?
RENDELL: Because Harold Ickes wants more than anything in his life for her
to run again. And so do I.
RENDELL: But I don`t think she`s crossed the Rubicon. And I do think
there`s a difference.
Have you? Have you?
RENDELL: Have I? Oh, I have crossed it. I`m for her.
MATTHEWS: You`re going to be -- if you`re not here with us, which we love
having you, I think you`re chief of staff, at least, at least.
RENDELL: We will see. We will see.
MATTHEWS: Maybe bigger.
MATTHEWS: You don`t want to take DOT or one of those jobs.
RENDELL: No, no, no.
MATTHEWS: Come on. They`re boring to death.
Anyway, thank you, Governor Rendell, who knows more than he says at all
And thank you, Michelle Goldberg, for giving an objective look at this.
I do think Hillary is running. I do think this week was a great week for
her. Up next -- poor Joe Biden. That breakfast must have been brutal.
Up next, ever wonder what life looks like through the eyes of, if you would
ever want to, Newt Gingrich? This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
He`s at a zoo, of course.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Now quickly to the "Sideshow."
The Weiner escapade has proven just how explosive a sex scandal can be in
the Internet age. But, last night, David Letterman suggested the concept
of sexting is nothing new in New York politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN")
DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": It`s not the
first time a mayor of New York City has had troubles like this.
It goes way back. In fact, we got into the archives and we have pulled a
clip. Here now, another very well-known mayor of New York City who engaged
in this kind of thing himself. It`s stunningly surprising. Watch.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I, Fiorello La Guardia, do hereby affix my signature
and present to you an autographed photo of my (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Call me if you want to get wild.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You too.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Oh, disgraceful. I love La Guardia. Anyway, who knew?
A former Democratic presidential candidate has weighed in on the New York
mayoral race. No, not Hillary Clinton. It was Howard Dean, the 2004
Democratic candidate who was famous for his scream, of course, after the
Iowa caucuses. Well, he`s been quietly campaigning for Bill de Blasio, the
city advocate, at several grassroots events across New York. And he`s been
reenacting, believe it or not, that infamous 2004 moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD DEAN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But I realized as I was
getting up here tonight and taking off my coat that this shirt, which is
kind of wrinkled and all that and looks kind of like a hot day and all
that, the reason it`s wrinkles is, it`s 10 years old. This is the shirt I
was wearing when I gave the scream speech in Iowa.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
DEAN: So we`re going to Brooklyn, and then we`re going to the Bronx, and
then we`re going to go Staten Island, and then we`re going go to Manhattan,
and all the way to Gracie Mansion, yes! Yes!
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow. I guess that`s maturity. He`s growing up.
Here`s something different, by the way, really different if you`re
interested. Newt Gingrich was the latest to try out Google Glass, the
wearable computer -- there it is -- that responds to voice commands. And
he recently posted a video he filmed with the device from the Peoria Zoo
out in Illinois. So, if you ever wanted to know what it`s like to see
through the eyes of Newt Gingrich, there`s your chance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: OK, Glass. What`s her
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bebe, the Moluccan cockatoo.
Hello, Bebe. There you go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Newt Gingrich is the strangest there is.
Anyway, finally, you would never guess what Guantanamo Bay detainees are
reading these days, if you`re thinking about it. After returning from a
tour of the facility, Virginia U.S. Congressman Jim Moran told The
Huffington Post -- quote -- "Rather than the Koran, the book that is
requested most by the detainees is "Fifty Shades of Grey." "I guess that
says not much is going on down there," he said, "so what the hell?"
That was Jim Moran`s comment. What do you make of that?
Up next, President Obama makes the Republicans an offer they can`t refuse.
Or can they?
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
JULIA BOORSTIN, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Julia Boorstin with your CNBC
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That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide -- now back to HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There are a growing number
of Republican senators who are trying to work with Democrats to get some
stuff done. That`s good news.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
OBAMA: The bad news is that, rather than keep our focus on what should be
our priority, which is growing our economy and creating good middle-class
jobs, we have seen a certain faction of Republicans in Congress hurt a
fragile recovery by saying that they wouldn`t pay the very bills that
Congress racked up in the first place, threatening to shut down the
people`s government if they can`t get rid of Obamacare.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That`s the president out there today. Recovery, that was his message today
in Tennessee, his fourth stop in just five days as he ramps up a campaign
to fix America`s struggling economy. Well, today was all about the plan, a
grand bargain, he said, designed to entice Republicans with the promise of
cutting, catch this, corporate tax rates. In exchange, he wants to raise
the minimum wage and add new investments and infrastructure paid for by
changes to the tax code, including new taxes on foreign earnings, at least
one time only.
No surprise, I guess, in this environment the Republican leaders are saying
totally opposed to this thing. They don`t want any bargain. They would
think it`s self-serving what he`s proposing and they call it a nonstarter
for Republicans. But today`s event wasn`t just about the economy, I think.
It was also about the Republicans.
In fact, in every stop on his economic tour the last five days, Obama has
aggressively attacked the Republicans for its obstructionist agenda, he
says, its lack of leadership and its lack of focus. He calls -- he says
their focus has been on phony scandals. I guess he`s talking Benghazi and
For a White House that has found itself playing defense with things like
the IRS controversy and the national security leaks and Obamacare glitches,
it`s taken the offensive on this issue, and for a good reason. We`re
talking about more than just an economic recovery for the White House.
This is about power politics. This is Obama declaring war on his enemies
with specific terms.
John Brabender is a Republican strategist and Margie Omero -- is it Margie
MARGIE OMERO, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Margie.
MATTHEWS: Margie is a Democratic pollster and strategist.
Well, look, here`s what I think he`s doing. He`s laying down what looks to
be the beginning of a discussion. Republicans would love corporate tax
cuts , a drop he`s offering from 38 down to 28 down to 25 for
manufacturing. He is saying, I`m also going to spend more money on
highways, something Republicans have always supported in the Appropriations
Committee. Republicans love spending moneys on highways.
They come from rural areas. They love to spend that money. It means
economic development in rural areas. Number three, he`s saying, I want a
All the Republicans have to do, John -- play Mr. Republican here -- is say,
you know what? We like that corporate tax cut. Yes to that. On the
infrastructure, we will do it as long as you don`t waste money. I want it
spent, OK, on real construction. I want to smell the construction. And,
three, the tax -- minimum wage, I`m not going that high. We will give you
a little bit, not all the way. We will give you a cost of living
adjustment for that.
Why don`t you guys come back positively on the Republican side?
JOHN BRABENDER, FORMER SENIOR SANTORUM CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Well, first of
MATTHEWS: Why don`t you come back positively?
BRABENDER: -- I do -- I do think there`s a mistake among Republicans
that we have this Pavlovian response that every time Obama opens his mouth
we are going to criticize and say no.
And I had actually some hope for this speech that maybe he would say
something that we could agree with. The problem is, Obama took a speech
that he could have unified people, talked about middle-class and
hardworking family jobs, and instead he turned it into a political speech
where he rapped the Republicans, he complimented himself, and what he put
forward was raise taxes over here, so we can create temporary projects.
MATTHEWS: Where is he raising taxes?
BRABENDER: Well, he`s calling get rid of loopholes. That`s code for him
that he`s going to find a way --
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s always been the case of lowering rates. The only
way you lower rates is to get rid of loopholes.
BRABENDER: But why didn`t they get rid of them before then?
All he`s doing is he`s finding revenues over here so he can create
temporary projects, not careers for hardworking families.
MATTHEWS: I`m sorry. I have studied Reagan for years. And Reagan said
lower rates is the key issue. Get the rates down and people want to
Your thought, Margie?
OMERO: Well --
MATTHEWS: It just seems, Margie, he`s talking Republican talk here. He`s
talking spending money on real construction, not B.S. waste. He`s talking
about real construction jobs that`s helping business and he`s talking about
business getting a huge break on the tax side.
OMERO: Right. I mean, absolutely. Why don`t Republicans come to the
table and try to negotiate? Try and --
MATTHEWS: What a counteroffer.
OMERO: Right. That`s what the American people want.
BRABENDER: Let`s take manufacturing, OK?
MATTHEWS: Well, why don`t you guys come back with a counteroffer?
BRABENDER: I do. I will have one for you right now.
Manufacturing, what he said is, we`re going to give go discounts to people
who come back here. Well, that`s not fair to existing manufacturers who
never left. Why don`t we get rid of tax completely for manufacturers and
just get the payroll tax? Make America make products again.
MATTHEWS: Get rid of the taxes on all corporations that manufacture.
BRABENDER: That manufacture. Why have that?
MATTHEWS: Why don`t we get rid of the government that goes with it?
BRABENDER: Well, that`s a different argument for a different day.
MATTHEWS: Oh, but that`s what you want to get rid of.
BRABENDER: But I`m just saying, why not let American workers compete --
MATTHEWS: What government -- what government are you for getting rid of
when you get rid of all this revenue?
BRABENDER: No, no, no, you`re not getting rid of it.
MATTHEWS: This is what always happens.
BRABENDER: You get all the manufacturing back here --
MATTHEWS: OK, dynamic scorekeeping. I know.
This is what the Republican Party is doing. And I`m not -- I`m afraid, I
think, for the country`s interests, it`s not working. I`m afraid it is
working. I`m afraid this no-go thing is working, what he`s -- what he`s
some way defending.
OMERO: It`s not -- maybe Republicans think this is a good political
strategy, but that`s not borne out by the data.
"Washington Post" found last week a majority of Republicans feel that the
leadership of the party is taking them in the wrong direction.
MATTHEWS: Is that on immigration or on economics?
MATTHEWS: Yes, I wonder.
OMERO: Total. And then --
MATTHEWS: Let`s show those numbers. Basically, it says among Republicans,
they think their leadership is not going in the right direction as you just
said, Margie, 37 percent say it`s going in the right direction. Among
Democrats, they like the way the president and the leaders in the House are
doing it. Look at that in the Senate, they have 72 percent say right
How do you respond to that? Your party`s not being represented well.
BRABENDER: First of all -- and they`re not. I mean, let me first of all,
the problem --
MATTHEWS: You`re here for the Republicans.
BRABENDER: I understand. But I`m not going to play the role where I have
to agree with everything they say. I think they`re making a big messaging
mistake. And that is, they no longer are fighting for hard working middle
class families. They don`t act like they relate.
Obama catch us in the rope-a-dope all the time and let`s us fight for tax
breaks for the wealthy. And what that really does have hardworking
Americans think we don`t understand their life and we`re not --
MATTHEWS: -- Rick Santorum`s father`s (ph) big hands.
BRABENDER: Well, what I`m saying, though, is as a party, we`re not going
to grow and get the White House back until those people believe we`re
fighting for them.
MATTHEWS: OK, what does the president have to do -- are here`s my concern.
I think we`re going into the fall, which is not my concern. I love the
fall. But we`re going into the fall and what looks like is not everybody
in your party but the Cruzs and the Rand Pauls and Mike Lee, the new guy
from Utah, are basically planning to put a stranglehold around the United
States government, and they`re going to bring it to a crawl.
And it`s going to affect the economy. It`s going to affect the stock
market. And not only will it bring a stranglehold to American politics, as
the economy starts to slow in its recovery, they`ll have a double whammy.
They`ll say -- Marge, you don`t see any of this coming?
And come Christmas when we should be making money for everybody and holiday
season, the economy will be slowing. The Republicans will say the economy
is slowing, it`s all because of Obama and it will be because of their
shutting down the government.
OMERO: I hope that`s not what happens. I hope Republicans are not looking
at sabotaging the economy is going to, one, be good for them politically,
two, good for the people in their district if they go home and they talk to
the people who are struggling and, they think, OK, well, I can live with
that because I`ve scored a point against Obama.
I mean, I don`t want to believe that folks come to Washington and that`s
their goal. But --
MATTHEWS: Do you believe it? Are you being rhetorical? You don`t believe
that`s what they`re doing?
I believe it`s what they`re doing. I think it`s exactly what that they`re
OMERO: I think there may be a few people who feel that way. But I really
MATTHEWS: They will they`re Sampson and the temple. They think they`re
just bringing it down. They don`t know what they say. They just bring it
BRABENDER: There`s plenty of blame on both sides.
MATTHEWS: OK, let`s take a look at this. I don`t think the president
wants to bring things down. He wants the economy to cook.
Anyway, today, he was out talking about the Republicans. Let`s listen to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The point is, if Washington
spent as much time and energy these past two years figuring out how to grow
our economy and grow our middle class as it spent manufacturing crises in
pursuit of a cut at all costs approach to deficits, we`d be much better
I don`t want to go through the same old arguments where I propose an idea
and the Republicans say no because it`s my idea. Wasting the country`s
time by taking something like 40 meaningless votes to repeal Obamacare is
not a jobs plan. That`s not a jobs plan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That`s become his applause line, by the way. Trying to repeal
Obamacare is not a jobs program.
BRABENDER: My advice to the president is, and I mean this honestly,
whoever wrote that speech, he should fire them, because that was a very
divisive speech at a time where he had a good topic to talk about.
Everybody cares about jobs and economic development. He could actually
brought America together and he gave a very divisive speech that did
MATTHEWS: Who would have responded to him if he had done what you said?
Who would have called and said the press -- I got to talk to the press, I`m
calling a press conference. The president was positive today. Let`s work
together? Who would have said that? Who?
BRABENDER: This is so much hunger in this country for people to see them
actually work together on both sides. There`s such a hunger from that.
MATTHEWS: Boehner, Boehner -- I think everybody`s -- Margie, you`re the
Democrat. I think they`ve given up on Boehner having the leadership skills
to do that.
OMERO: I mean, he`s not even saying where he stands on key issues. I
mean, it`s -- of course, the president`s going to highlights what the
obstacles are. It`s important for us to be reminded.
And that`s -- the American people know what`s happening and they blame
Republicans more than Democrats two to one. They know where the
obstruction is coming from.
MATTHEWS: We only have one economy and it`s coming along but it`s not
great. And housing is getting better and some signs are getting better.
But I`ll tell you, this is the recovery. It`s not great. And the two
parties could kick thing up to a much higher gear if they worked together.
I know that. We all know that. And they`re not doing it.
Anyway, John Brabender, has done a good job tonight -- not really defending
the Republicans, which was the right job to take.
And Margie Omero, thank you for coming on.
Up next, this is hot -- Bradley Manning found not guilty of aiding the
enemy. That`s good for him, I guess. But he`s also convicted today on 19
other charges. He could face more than 100 years in prison, which is an
awful lot of time for one person.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: We talk a lot about the civil war within the Republican Party,
between the establishment and the far right. And 50 careers ago, it was
much the same. That`s what William Scranton, the governor of Pennsylvania,
rose to national prominence as a Kennedy Republican. He supported civil
rights, invested in education, even raised taxes in Pennsylvania.
In the 1964, he took on the conservative Barry Goldwater for the Republican
presidential nomination. Scranton won his home state of Pennsylvania, and
Goldwater went on to lose the general election in a landslide. Scranton
never ran for elective office again but later served as U.N. ambassador
under President Ford.
Today, we learned that Governor Scranton died in California at the age of
96. A great, great Republican.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
It was the largest leak of classified information in American history.
U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning admitted to giving the anti-secrecy Web
site WikiLeaks more than 700,000 military reports and diplomatic cables.
His defense attorneys characterized him as naive, but well-intentioned
Anyway, is he a whistleblower?
Prosecutors said he was an anarchist and a traitor.
Well, today, Manning learned his fate. A military judge found him not
guilty of the most serious charge. He faced aiding the enemy but he was
convicted on 20 separate charges, lesser charges, related to espionage,
theft and computer fraud. He now faces potentially -- get this -- as many
as 136 years in prison. He`s a young guy. But that`s a frightening number
Michael Hirsh is chief correspondent for "The National Journal." And David
Rohde is a foreign affairs columnist for "Reuters".
Gentlemen, let me ask you about the reaction to the verdict. What is
yours, sir? Michael?
MICHAEL HIRSH, NATIONAL JOURNAL: It seemed to me to be, on the whole, fair
-- at least in the eyes of the law. I think many legal commentators
thought the aiding the enemy charge was too far over the line, which set a
dangerous precedent particularly for the free flow of information to the
press in the future. But, you know, the Espionage Act was perhaps
applicable, mishandling classified information certainly.
I think, though, it`s hoped that, you know, the judge will in the end not
sentence him to the maximum and that there will be compassion shown.
MATTHEWS: Yes, he won`t add up --
MATTHEWS: David, do you think he`ll give him think he`ll give him a
simultaneously serving of the sentences so it won`t add up to a thousand
years, the way it`s going now?
DAVID ROHDE, THOMSON REUTERS: I think he will. I mean, let`s not forget
that Bradley Manning, he spent nine months in solitary confinement before
he was tried. During that period he wasn`t even allowed to have clothes in
the solitary cell?
MATTHEWS: He had no clothes?
ROHDE: No clothes for nine months. I mean, what`s happening here is --
MATTHEWS: What is that about? Isn`t that cruel and unusual punishment? I
mean, I don`t -- it seems like what`s that got to do with anything, that
kind of treatment of a prisoner?
ROHDE: It`s overkill. And I don`t understand the administration`s
approach here. Everyone has talked about it before that Obama, you know,
the administration has carried out more prosecutions of leakers than all
previous administrations combined. You know, this charge of aiding the
enemy was unnecessary. The judge did do the right thing, I agree.
But it`s -- you`re going to create more leakers. You`re turning Julian
Assange and WikiLeaks and Snowden and Manning into I think heroes for
people. And it`s just overkill.
He violated the law. He should go to jail. You know, he violated the oath
he took, but not for 136 years.
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s look at this. Here`s Julian Assange, the key here,
the founder of WikiLeaks who told reporters after the verdict today that
Manning was a hero. That`s his word.
After the trial, he said, quote, "It is a dangerous precedent, an example
of national security extremism. This has never been a fair trial."
Let me go back to this -- how do you see, Michael? I just wonder whether
there is more information that we don`t get because it`s kept classified.
Was there real damage here done to our agents, to our officials around the
world, to our espionage people, our spies? They`re never going to tell us,
but inside, it`s going to be the ferment that leads to the desire to punish
HIRSH: I think that the desire to punish him on the part of the government
is simply to create a deterrent effect. I don`t think that there was any
real damage that we know about. No one lost their lives, as we saw in some
of the cases of spies of the past like Walter James (ph) during the Cold
War. And then in fact there is substantial circumstantial evidence that
the WikiLeaks thump in Tunisia had a enormous effect in starting off the
protest there`s that led to the Arab Spring.
So if you believe in democratic movements in the Arab world, it may have
had a beneficial effect.
MATTHEWS: Well, the highest profile leaker since Bradley Manning, of
course, that`s Edward Snowden, shows a different fate from his predecessor.
He fled the country, of course. He is currently in Russia at the airport.
And the country`s attitude to Snowden is decidedly mixed. Look at this.
This is really interesting for our country. It`s us we`re talking about
Fifty-five percent of our country view him as more of a whistle-blower,
which is a positive term. Only 34 percent view him as more of a traitor,
which is obviously the worst term.
But in the latest NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll, catch this, more people
had a negative view of Snowden than positive, 34 to 11, which seems to be
Let me go back to David.
How do you explain that, in public opinion, that people don`t like the guy
-- they disapprove of him -- but they think of him less as a traitor and no
worse than neutral whistle-blower?
ROHDE: I guess I would go to my overkill argument earlier. What he did
was wrong. Most people think it`s wrong, but they think the government is
overreacting in the way they`re going after him with this sort of worldwide
I think that, you know, he is a whistle-blower. He started a very valuable
debate about this metadata. This tremendous surveillance that`s going on.
I think that`s -- the public is worried about it. There was a very close
vote in the House to stop that collection.
So the politics is changing on this and views of Snowden will change as
people don`t like the surveillance.
MATTHEWS: Thanks so much, David Rohde. And thank you, Michael Hirsh, for
We`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this.
President Obama made an offer today, an offer the Republicans can refuse.
They can sit on their hands and mock him. They can play politics and
refuse to even make a counteroffer. Or they can grow up and start
negotiating. That`s if they really do care enough about the country`s slow
recovery to kick it into a higher gear.
The president has put something on the table. He put out proposals, a big
chop in corporate tax rates and even mightier (ph) one for manufacturing --
a total gimme to business. He`s also proposed a big road and bridge
mending program, the stuff Republicans back to Lincoln and on through
Eisenhower and the latest highway appropriation have liked. He`s also
proposed a minimum wage hike.
So, how about the Republicans come back and say -- look, we`ll the
corporate tax hike, we`ll take the road and bridge spending piece if you
keep it strictly to that, and keep the costs tight, and we`ll give you a
minimum wage hike that at least covers inflation?
If the Republicans want to kick the economy into a higher gear, that`s what
they do. As Hyman Roth would put it in "The Godfather", "I`m going to take
a nap now, Michael. And when I wake, if the money is on the table, I`ll
know I have a partner. If it`s not, I know I don`t."
The Democrat in the White House has made an offer. Time for the
Republicans to match it. Again, if they really want to partner in growing
this economy, they`ll act.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.
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