updated 9/27/2013 4:50:19 PM ET 2013-09-27T20:50:19

HARDBALL
September 26, 2013

Guest: Rep. Peter King, Rep. Scott Perry, Mitch Landrieu, Michael Nutter>

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Carnival Cruz.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

"Let Me Start" tonight with this, the eve of destruction. For reasons
of anger, politics and personality, the United States government stands
this week on the eve if not of destruction, outrageous dysfunction. Within
days, the government itself faces shutdown. Then if this keeps escalating,
default.

For the first time in America`s history, the world will watch as we
ourselves implode on ourselves, telling every creditor from an American
paperboy to a Chinese billionaire, that investing in the United States
government, lending Uncle Sam money, was a dangerous, even foolhardy
decision.

How`s that for bad government? How`s that for a health report on the
American republic, a Congress and a president who cannot meet the minimal
requirement of guarding the country from an international bank run?

One man looms over this coming catastrophe, not just abetting it but
bodily and passionately urging it on like some Dallas Cowboy cheerleader,
like that team he dreamily sees himself and sees himself as America`s team
doing battle with the Republican Party he mocks now as defeatists. He`s
America`s team, the Republican Party is defeatists.

Well, tonight, the country finds itself veering toward two Grand
Canyon abysses, a government shutdown and a default on the national debt,
and a Texas senator ecstatic at the trouble he`s causing.

U.S. Congressman from New York Peter King is now with us.

Listen to what -- Congressman, listen to what Ted Cruz told Rush
Limbaugh about his fellow Republicans just yesterday after his 21-hour rant
on the Senate floor. Let`s listen.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Single biggest surprise on arriving to the
Senate is the defeatist attitude here. I mean, we don`t even talk about
how to win a fight. There`s no discussion about that. We talk about, Hey,
let`s get a showboat so we can go tell our constituents we`re doing
something. But it -- I promise you, Rush, if you had to sit through one
Senate lunch, you`d be in therapy for a month.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, that was a chuckle worthy for old Rushbo.

But what do you make of this weird behavior? I`m reminded of that
movie, "Advise and Consent," where the bad guy was a lefty in that case,
Ackerman, remember?

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Right.

MATTHEWS: This guy`s behaving like the bad guy in the movie about the
U.S. Senate, and he doesn`t seem to know he`s the bad guy.

KING: No, he really, to me, comes across to me as a holier-than-thou
fraud. I mean, he`s the only honest man, he`s the only guy who`s fighting
for the country. And yet everything he`s telling us is basically a lie.

I mean, he has convinced, unfortunately, too many Republicans, too
many Republicans in our base, that all we have to do is defund "Obama
care," vote to defund it in the House of Representatives, and that`s going
to be the end of the president`s health care bill.

This is nonsense. He knows it, but he keeps propagating it. And the
more he tells these falsehoods, the more self-righteous he gets.

I just -- you know, I don`t know which bothers me more, Ted Cruz
himself or that so many people have allowed him to set the agenda. I mean,
to have one person like this who all -- you get in the room of 100 people,
99 will agree that Ted Cruz is basically being like a carnival barker here.
But the fact is, he is the one who`s been setting policy and he`s been
setting the terms of the debate. And he`s right now bringing us to the
edge of the cliff.

We`ve got to stand up and say we`ve had enough of this guy and we`re
going to go forward. We have to make government work.

Chris, you and I may disagree on any number of issues, but both of us
have a certain reverence for the art of politics, for the skill of
politics.

MATTHEWS: Yes. I do.

KING: And you get people -- you know, you get people from different
views, different parts of the country, totally different beliefs. And you
get in a room and you work it out. And nobody walks out happy, but you get
the deal done. And that`s what democracy`s about, taking all these
conflicting ideas and making them work...

MATTHEWS: Yes.

KING: ... and no one person saying they`re holier than the other one.

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s talk about the destructive pattern I think the
government is on right now, I think thanks to him, largely. Does he --
what happens the next couple of days and weeks? I mean, I`m looking at
this sort of a pincer movement now. We`ve got the government shutdown
possibility. We have the possibility now of a real loaded-up issue coming
forward with the debt -- with the debt, with a possible default.

We`ve got all this coming at us, and there doesn`t seem to be people
in the middle that`s saying, you know, We`ve made our point. We`ve made
the political argument on the right, perhaps in this case -- it could have
been on the left -- the job`s done. Everybody knows where we stand. We`ll
go to the election next year in 2016 or 2014, and win on the issues we`ve
raised.

They don`t seem to know it`s time enough. Like, everybody else knows
when to stop. They don`t know when to stop. That`s my worry here, that
this won`t stop.

KING: Yes, Chris, I can only speak for the House. One of the
problems is not that there`s not more people in the middle, but there`s
very few districts in the middle. The way the lines are drawn, they`re
either very partisan Republican or Democrat. The old Boll Weevil Democrats
are going, and there`s virtually no northeastern Republicans left at all.
There`s only a handful of us, literally. And so it`s harder to find
compromise because of that.

Now, I`m convinced that John Boehner does not want the government to
shut down. How he prevents it, I don`t know. I know he`s going to try to
tie the debt ceiling into this and find ways to keep the government open,
but it`s going to be difficult. And I know Senator Reid`s in a tough spot.

So -- and I think sometime, the president should inject himself into
this. It seems like he wants to stay out of it.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

KING: Maybe he wants -- you know, got to let Republicans kill
themselves off. That may be a short-term political plus, but I think it`s
very damaging for the system here.

I agree with you. If we can`t keep the government open, if we can`t
meet our debt obligations, then we look bad as a country. We really do.
And as far as the president...

MATTHEWS: You know...

KING: Yes.

MATTHEWS: I want to talk about this because I`m serious about this.
It`s not just that this guy looks like Joe McCarthy, acts like him. I grew
up in a family, we were all anti-Communist. And my father was smart, a
moderate Republican. He`d said, Well, he`s right, he just went too far.

It`s not about being conservative. It`s about how far you go. It`s
about zealotry and all -- to the point of terrorism, where you don`t care
if you bring the house down. That`s what this guy reminds me of. It`s not
that he`s wrong that we need smaller government. That`s his argument.
Fair enough.

It`s not that he`s wrong in saying different things he says about
issues like "Obama care." It`s this -- it`s his methods, like McCarthy.
And somebody`s got to stand up and say it`s not about philosophy, it`s
about methods, damn it. And we can`t run on a country that`s run on self-
destruction, or it won`t work.

And if it doesn`t work, that`s all we`ve got. If democracy and
republican form of government doesn`t work, what are we going to fall back
on, Cruz, his point of view?

KING: Chris, it`s not just the messaging per se or his point of view,
it`s the fact that he`s spreading a lie. When he -- he`s trying to tell
people -- he was telling them all summer, just vote to defund "Obama care"
and it`ll go. And that`s it.

And he knows that`s not true. So it`s his strategy. He`s leading us
into a cul-de-sac. He`s leading us off the cliff, and it`s wrong. And I
agree, we cannot have people like this. He`s a false leader.

MATTHEWS: How`d he get away with what he did yesterday? How`d he get
away with talking for 21 hours like he was Fidel Castro? I mean, that`s
the last time a guy gave a speech that long. I know he hates to hear this
because he didn`t like the guy, obviously. But 21 hours to say he`s going
to vote against cloture, against stopping debate.

And guess what? The next hour, he voted with the other 99 senators.
And none of his claque out there in the country noticed the utter hypocrisy
and dishonesty of what he just did. In one hour he did it! Nobody
noticed. Don`t the people who are e-mailing you notice that he`s full of
bull?

KING: No. In fact, they basically say that I`m -- that President
Obama has something on me, that the Republicans have sold out, that Ted
Cruz is the only honest man.

And I mentioned this this morning on another MSNBC show. You know,
you and I have heard a lot of cursing and yelling over the years. I tell
you, the vile language that`s coming in -- I have these young women
answering the phones, and the cursing and the screaming that goes on from
his people -- now, I`m not holding him responsible for all of that, but he
has tapped into a very troublesome vein of American society.

And they are really coming out of the woodwork and they are -- they
believe him. He`s their messiah. He`s their leader. And he`s --
basically, he`s leading them down a false path. That`s bad enough. How we
allowed ourselves as a House and Senate to get locked into this situation
is absolutely beyond me. The one guy with eight months in the Senate who
is not telling the truth is able to set the agenda. It really -- you know,
maybe 50 years from, now some political science class is going to study
this.

MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, U.S. Congressman Peter King of New York.

Sam Stein`s a politics editor at the HuffingtonPost -- he is the
editor -- and an MSNBC contributor. That`s kind of interesting because
Peter King`s a moderate Republican. I don`t think -- he`s a conservative,
but he`s moderate by the standards of behavior.

SAM STEIN, HUFFINGTONPOST, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Certainly, today he is.
Yes.

MATTHEWS: By the standards of behavior.

STEIN: Yes (INAUDIBLE) behavior, yes.

MATTHEWS: So what`s going on with behavior? I mean, if people out on
there on the right are happy with a guy who is thunderously out of order,
who`s willing to say one thing one hour and the next hour go 180, and
nobody calls him on it?

STEIN: Well...

MATTHEWS: He voted with other -- the whole other senators who voted
exactly the same the other day. This guy gave a 21-hour speech how he was
going to vote differently than them. But when he saw the numbers coming in
and knew he was going to be the short end of the deal, he jumped!

STEIN: Well, the good news for the Peter Kings of the world is that
people are now calling him on it. Senator Bob Corker took the floor today,
and in fact, pointed that out, said, You led a 21-hour faux filibuster, and
then voted against the exact thing you were filibustering.

And you know, I think there`s a general tiredness creeping into the
Republican Party over what`s happening.

MATTHEWS: Sam, here`s what you`re talking about. On the Senate floor
today, Bob Corker and Ted Cruz.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: This has been a rather confusing
week, I know. I don`t think, ever in the history of the Senate, have we
had a 21-hour filibuster, and then the persons carrying out the filibuster
voted for the issue they were filibustering.

And talking earlier with the senator from Texas, it`s my understanding
that the reason you don`t want to send a bill over to the House, who could
possibly put in place some very good policies for us here, is that you want
the American people and the outside groups that you`ve been in contact with
to be able to watch us tomorrow.

CRUZ: And I appreciate the senator from Tennessee`s comments
supporting the majority leader. And I know the senator from Tennessee...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) House of Representatives.

CRUZ: I know the senator from Tennessee is learned on Senate
procedures, so that I know that he must have made a misstatement when he
moments ago suggested that those of us who participated in the filibuster
the other day somehow changed our position in voting for the motion to
proceed. I explicitly stated I support the motion to proceed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: What`s the half-life of a demagogue?

STEIN: You tell me. You`ve studied politics longer than I have.

MATTHEWS: I think McCarthy, Joe McCarthy, who`s not exactly the same
case, but Joe McCarthy lasted about four-and-a-half years, where he was
able to scare every Republican, just like Peter King was talking, scare
them, get the crazy right calling them up, "sell-outs," "commies,"
"pinkos," whatever. That worked for a while.

STEIN: You would think...

MATTHEWS: And then it didn`t work.

STEIN: You would think that it would have already stopped, having
seen some of the results in the Senate elections in which these -- the
party Tea Party candidates by and large and lost seats that were very
winnable. You would think that that would create, you know, a movement to
say, OK, let`s be realistic about our methods. Let`s run better
candidates.

But it seems like from the 2012 election on, we`ve just reverted into
a worst pattern in which...

MATTHEWS: So they don`t want the majority. This guy we`re looking at
right now, he doesn`t want 51 Republican senators because they could have
had Mike Castle, they could have a lot of people. They could have beaten -
- perhaps beaten Claire McCaskill, our friend.

STEIN: Sure.

MATTHEWS: You know, they could have beaten a lot of people.

STEIN: Well, I think...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: ... wouldn`t have got the guy (INAUDIBLE) elected if...

(CROSSTALK)

STEIN: I think Ted Cruz`s eyes are set a little bit above the Senate.
I think he`s looking more at the White House.

MATTHEWS: You really think president -- that personality, that
appeal?

STEIN: You don`t think...

MATTHEWS: The American people are going to vote for that?

STEIN: Well, I don`t think they`ll vote for him, but I think Ted Cruz
thinks that they`ll vote for him. And I think that`s what this is about.
It`s not promoting...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: ... if it`s not McCarthy, Joe McCarthy? Who`s his role
model?

STEIN: I think...

MATTHEWS: You`ve (ph) never had a guy like that. Huey Long?

STEIN: I wouldn`t -- I wouldn`t guess who his political role model
is, but I certainly think that he thinks...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: ... he`s thinking of something here.

STEIN: I think he looks at what`s happening and he says, I can be the
guy who dies on that hill and Republicans will -- and conservatives will
applaud for doing so. And I think that`s what he`s -- that`s what this was
about. It wasn`t about defunding "Obama care." He knew very well it
wouldn`t happen. It wasn`t about, you know, setting a standard in the
Senate. It was about setting a standard on Ted Cruz.

Tonight, they could vote on a bill to send the CR back, but Ted Cruz
is delaying the vote because he told his supporters to tune in tomorrow.
So he`s literally slowing down the Senate for his own political purposes.
I mean, that`s pretty remarkable.

MATTHEWS: When`s Mitch McConnell going to call him on this?

STEIN: Mitch McConnell`s in a tough spot. He has his own Tea Party
challenger in Kentucky. So he`s -- it`s not like Mitch McConnell`s in an
easy spot where he can come in and play grown-up. He has to watch his own
back, as well.

I think, eventually, when it comes down to it at the 11th hour, maybe
the 11th hour and 55th minute, Mitch McConnell will come in and say, OK,
listen, we have to cut a deal. That`s the history with Mitch McConnell.
He did it with the last debt ceiling standoff.

So I mean, that`s what the White House is hoping for, is that some
sanity will prevail down the road eventually. But we`re kind of running
out of time.

MATTHEWS: You know, this is not the way the American government has
succeeded all these years. If we had Ted Cruzes around every year, you
would not have American government at this point.

STEIN: No.

MATTHEWS: It would have been a complete dysfunction, if not
destruction.

STEIN: And it could very well...

MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) this running one person -- you know, I always
wonder how the Dallas Cowboys got to be "America`s team." How does this
guy become America`s senator? How do you do that?

STEIN: I don`t know, but...

(CROSSTALK)

STEIN: To answer your other question about the life of a demagogue,
it could very well be that you need something like the debt ceiling to be
hit and economic catastrophe...

(CROSSTALK)

STEIN: ... for that demagoguery to end.

MATTHEWS: Demagoguery is not a good career path.

STEIN: I don`t think so.

MATTHEWS: It`s a great way to get some lights for a while, get the
klieg lights on.

STEIN: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Thank you, Sam Stein. Great (ph) for the history.

Coming up: You`re going want to stay tuned now for this. I`m about to
play HARDBALL with a freshman Republican from my home state of
Pennsylvania. I`m going to ask him just how far the Republican Party is
willing to go to stop the Affordable Care Act, "Obama care," if you will,
which just happens to be the law of the land.

Also, the growing gender gap out in Virginia is big news, and not just
because of the governor`s race there. No state votes more like the entire
country than Virginia does these days. So what happens in Virginia may not
stay in Virginia. And that could be good news for Democrats, especially
for women.

Plus, Ted Cruz`s antics have been a gift to late night comedians.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY LENO, COMEDIAN: Twenty-one hours of listening to Ted Cruz. How
awful is that? Still not as bad as 21 hours of a Carnival cruise, but
still bad.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Finally, "Let Me Finish" tonight with how this time of
political theater for our country could end up in a tragedy.

And this a HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Before Ted Cruz and his 22-hour marathon this week, there
was Texas senator Wendy Davis. She took to the state senate floor down
there in Austin to protest a draconian bill to regulate abortion clinics
down there. Hers was a real filibuster, by the way. It delayed action on
the bill until time ran out after midnight, the midnight deadline.

Now Politico and the Associated Press are reporting that Davis is
telling top Democrats she`s running for governor of Texas -- this is going
to be wild -- against Attorney General Greg Abbott, the presumptive
Republican nominee. Look for an official announcement from Davis herself
some time next week. This is going to be great down there.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We have no interest
in seeing a government shutdown, but we`ve got to address the spending
problems that we have in this town. And so there will be options available
to us. They`re not going to be any speculation about what we`re going to
do or not do until the Senate passes their bill.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, the Republican Party`s a
train right now off its rails. That was House Speaker John Boehner today
telling reporters that he will not accept a clean continuing resolution to
keep the American government from shutting down.

It`s a stance which all but assures the Republican-controlled House
will reject legislation that`s expected to pass in the Senate. And with
time running out before the government shuts off the lights this coming
Tuesday, it`s hard to see a scenario where the government stays open.

And it gets worse. Today, House GOP leadership unveiled to their
caucus the draft of a new bill that threatens global economic calamity by
tying the nation`s borrowing authority to what you might call a "Dear
Santa" letter of Republican pipe dreams, including the dismantling of the
Affordable Care Act.

If you want proof of the mess, by the way, that party`s truly looking
at, just look at what Boehner has now -- has to throw into a bill to get
the support of his conservative caucus. In addition to a one-year delay of
the health care law, the bill also includes a package of Republican-favored
tax cuts, approval for the Keystone oil pipeline, an overhaul of the
regulatory system, more oil drilling offshore and in protected federal
lands, cuts to the EPA climate regulations, an overhaul of Dodd-Frank Wall
Street reforms, and more power over the Consumer Financial Protection
Bureau.

It`s all pro-business, all pro-oil. As "The Washington Post" noted,
about the only major piece of the Republican agenda missing from the bill
is a ban on late-term abortions, and some lawmakers who oppose abortion
were arguing to add just that. Anyway, the GOP has devolved right now into
a conservative bidding war, as we see. Instead of compromise, they`re
radicalizing.

U.S. Congressman Scott Perry is a Republican from Pennsylvania.

Congressman, this is really difficult to figure out, but what do you
think Mr. Boehner, the speaker of the House, is doing here? He said he
doesn`t want the government to shut down next Tuesday, yet he`s also
playing to the people on the right, the hard right of your party, who are
saying, You can`t go along with just keeping the government open. You have
to make a demand like killing a law of the land, which is the Affordable
Care Act.

I`ve never heard of the Congress holding up the government, saying
they will not continue to exist unless we kill a law of the land. It`s
never been done that I`ve ever heard of. What do you think?

REP. SCOTT PERRY (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Come on, Chris. You`re a student
of history. This has been done on many occasions...

MATTHEWS: When has it ever happened before? Name the first time or
last time. When has it ever happened, they`ve done this to kill a law?

PERRY: The debt -- the debt ceiling has come up since 1962, or 1963,
to be exact.

MATTHEWS: Yes, sure, I know. I know all about that.

PERRY: This has been a continuing negotiation.

MATTHEWS: Well, answer my question. When has it ever been used to
kill a law that`s been enacted by the Congress and signed by the president,
and the president got reelected after doing it? It`s called health care.
The American people supported it.

PERRY: And so did a Republican Congress got elected at the same time.
And the American people said, we don`t like that law, and they want you to
change it.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: OK. I can only -- Congressman, I can only ask the
question. If you don`t want to answer it, just say, I don`t want to answer
the question.

PERRY: I`m happy to answer the question.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: OK. When has the Congress ever said the government will
not continue of the United States if we don`t kill a law that we passed and
that was signed the president?

PERRY: First of all, the Congress is not saying the government will
cannot continue. It`s a fallacious argument, Chris, and you know it.

Things are going to be paid for, and the president is the one who`s
revising history. He continues to.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Those are words -- you`re speaking words, but not an
answer. Those are words. Those are good. Those are words. But will you
answer the question with words? Here`s the question.

(CROSSTALK)

PERRY: Those are words that the president said when it was his turn.

MATTHEWS: Congressman, you have been elected. I respect that. I
thank you for coming on the show. I put to you a simple question.

Give me the precedent when the United States government has been held
hostage so that we kill a law that`s been passed by the Congress, signed by
the president. Give me one example.

(CROSSTALK)

PERRY: Those are your words that the government is being held
hostage. This is a negotiation by an intractable president...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: OK. Four time, this is the last time I will ask it.

(CROSSTALK)

PERRY: Hold on -- hold on -- who will negotiate with Syria, who will
negotiate with Putin, who will negotiate with Iran, but won`t negotiate
with 50 percent of his countrymen.

MATTHEWS: That`s good words. That`s rhetoric. That`s good rhetoric.

Now, let me ask you the fourth time, and I won`t ask it again.

PERRY: It`s the same thing you use, Chris.

MATTHEWS: No. Let me ask you a question, not rhetoric, rhetorically.
This isn`t a rhetorical question.

PERRY: Yes. OK.

MATTHEWS: This is an...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: ... question. You said it happens all the time, you said,
in previous debates and fights over the debt ceiling. Fair enough. Has
there been a time the Congress held up the president of the United States
and said kill a law of the land as the deal to continue holding the
government open? Has it ever happened? Just say it`s never happened
before and we`re done.

PERRY: I don`t know if it`s ever happened before.

MATTHEWS: OK.

PERRY: But I can tell you this, Chris.

Hold on. I can tell you this. The 18th Amendment to the Constitution
was prohibition, which was repealed by the 21st Amendment.

MATTHEWS: I know.

PERRY: It was the law of the land and it was repealed. Slavery was
legal at some point, Chris. Do you think that should still be legal today?
Is that what you`re saying, at all odds?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Well, you know the history, of course, of prohibition was
passed after World War I and then of course was repealed under the
Democratic administration of Franklin Roosevelt a decade-and-a-half later.
So, yes, it was repealed after it was tried and it failed, certainly.

PERRY: Right. And that`s what`s happening now. This is being tried
and it`s failing. It`s failing.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: When does it goes into effect? October 1. It goes into
effect next Tuesday.

(CROSSTALK)

PERRY: Well, let me ask you this. When it goes into effect...

MATTHEWS: How`s it failed?

(CROSSTALK)

PERRY: Hold on a second, Chris.

MATTHEWS: I`m holding on.

PERRY: What parts of prohibition were repealed or held up or delayed
by the administration before they ever happened? Isn`t there about 20
places that Obamacare has been held up by the administration because
they`re not ready to go?

How many is that? Where`s the precedent for that? Yet, we`re going
to roll on anyhow.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: The Volstead Act actually put it into effect.

PERRY: We`re going to force this on the American people knowing,
knowing that it`s not right because of partisan pride.

MATTHEWS: Force it on it? Let me explain it how it works. The
Congress of the United States voted by a majority in the House of
Representatives, and the Senate by a 60-vote supermajority.

(CROSSTALK)

PERRY: All one party. Not bipartisan. It was all one party. Let`s
remind everybody of that.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Wait a minute. Everything you`re doing is by one party.

PERRY: This is the left wing.

MATTHEWS: Wait a minute.

PERRY: This is the ultra left wing of the Democrat Party having
absolutely every bit of their way. This is not bipartisan. This is saying
for 50 percent of the country, we`re not interested in what you have to
offer.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Sixty votes in the Senate was comprised of, first of all,
several Republicans, but it wasn`t all Democrats. And, secondly...

PERRY: How many in the House? How many in the House, Chris? How
many in the House, Chris?

MATTHEWS: Well, wait a minute. What`s the point? What you`re doing
right now is an entire partisan effort, so why are you knocking
partisanship here?

PERRY: You seem to be fine. Why are you knocking partisanship here,
but yet it`s OK on your end? I mean, I could turn that around on you.

MATTHEWS: No. I`m just saying the United States government will stop
working, it will cease functioning next Tuesday if you have your way.

(CROSSTALK)

PERRY: That`s your terminology. And you know it`s not true.

MATTHEWS: OK. What`s the other terminology?

PERRY: People on Social Security are getting checks. Medicare
patients are going to get their checks. People in the Army are going to
receive their paychecks.

MATTHEWS: Oh, but the government`s just not going to function.

PERRY: No, the government is going to function.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: So why are we arguing about this? So, you deny the
government`s shutting down next Tuesday. Fine. That`s your point of view.

PERRY: Yes.

MATTHEWS: How about the default on the federal government`s debts?
Will that be -- matter? Or are you also one of those who deny that`s going
to happen?

PERRY: Will it matter? Let me tell you what matters to the American
people, $17 trillion of debt and trillion-dollar deficits unbridled with no
plan to change it.

MATTHEWS: No.

(CROSSTALK)

PERRY: And again the president is just saying just raise the limit on
the credit card. It doesn`t mean anything. It`s not your long-term debt.

MATTHEWS: No. No. No.

PERRY: People in America understand what it is. They know what it
is.

MATTHEWS: No, here`s what they do understand.

The U.S. -- Congressman, the reason why your body of Congress has got
about an 8 percent approval rating right now, 8 percent, is because people
know that every dollar spent by the U.S. government has been approved by
the U.S. House of Representatives. And the spending has initiated there.

Not -- it didn`t come from the Senate, it didn`t come from the White
House. The spending bills in the United States Congress all come from the
House of Representatives, which you`re a member of. That`s what the public
understands.

This attempt not to pay the debts once the money has been spent, they
get the joke there too. And that`s showing up in the polls. The people
are smarter than you think they are. They know that you guys spent the
money, but won`t pay the bills. They know that.

PERRY: Come on.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: And that`s your problem.

PERRY: Do they think that the president had nothing to do with this?
Do you know that the exchanges are going to cost an additional $353 million
that was never part of this?

MATTHEWS: OK. OK.

PERRY: Everybody`s health care cost is going up. That`s a promise
the president made that did not happen.

(CROSSTALK)

PERRY: This is driving the debt, and they want something done about
it. And they don`t want the president to walk away from it.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: You`re raising your voice. Let me suggest something to
you.

You have got now a minute.

PERRY: Sure.

MATTHEWS: I want you in a minute -- how you`re going to prevent the
government from shutting down next Tuesday and then how are you going to
prevent government from defaulting on its debt.

PERRY: What we`re going to do is we`re going to bring a plan that`s
reasonable that the American people are asking for, that they stand behind
to control the deficit and control the debt and take it to the Senate and
take it to the president, who has said it was a precondition I will not
negotiate.

Who says that that really, truly wants to move America forward as
opposed to being captured by their partisan pride? Who says that? We`re
going to take a reasonable plan and we`re going to negotiate in good faith.

MATTHEWS: OK.

PERRY: If he doesn`t want to do something and Harry Reid doesn`t want
to do something, it`s on them, not the Congress.

MATTHEWS: OK. And now a reasonable -- a reasonable set of demands
include getting rid of Obamacare for a year, it means getting -- putting in
the Keystone pipeline.

(CROSSTALK)

PERRY: It`s not ready to go, Chris. It`s not ready to go, by the
president`s own admission.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Can I read your list? Can I read your list? Did you want
to read it?

PERRY: We`re trying to help him. We`re trying to help him do
something...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: By the way, why is a congressman from Gettysburg so
interested in offshore oil development in the Gulf?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Why do you want it?

PERRY: Because I`m tired of being tied to foreign and Middle East
oil.

MATTHEWS: OK. So you`re into all the oil business -- you`re into the
oil business situation here. You like that.

PERRY: I`m into what`s good for America. That`s what I`m into.

MATTHEWS: OK.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: What has that got to do with paying our debts? These are
demands by the oil state congresspeople. They insist they want the money
before they go along with paying America`s debts.

PERRY: I`m in an oil state, Chris?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: And you`re going along with that from Gettysburg? Why are
you doing this? It`s not in your interests.

PERRY: Because it`s the right thing for America.

MATTHEWS: OK.

PERRY: It`s because the American citizens are demanding it. That`s
why.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Well, I have looked at that list of 10 things. It looks
like it`s written by the oil industry. And I`m surprised that you`re
involved with such a paper.

PERRY: I`m surprised that you read any of it, first of all.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. What`s that mean?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Wait a minute. What did you just say? You`re surprised I
read it. You`re surprised I read it.

PERRY: I`m surprised you read it, yes, absolutely.

(CROSSTALK)

PERRY: You know that most Democrats -- as a matter of fact, I`m
surprised any Democrats read the bill. Nancy Pelosi said you got to pass
it before you can find out what is in it.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: You know what you can do with that? You can be excused,
because you just accused me of not doing my job. And that`s a big mistake
here.

Congressman, thank you for coming on. I mean it. I wish you hadn`t
made that last remark. I think it was a cheap shot.

Scott Perry, it was cheap. Don`t laugh.

PERRY: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: It wasn`t cheap -- it was really cheap.

PERRY: Well, you have made some cheap shots at me, too.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: No, no, I didn`t. I didn`t. I was fair. You were --
you`re in bed with the oil industry.

Anyway, thank you.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

PERRY: I`m in bed with the oil industry?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I`m looking at your votes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO")

JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": Twenty-one hours of
listening to Ted Cruz, how awful is that?

(LAUGHTER)

LENO: It`s still not as bad as 21 hours of a Carnival cruise, but
still bad.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Welcome to the "Sideshow."

Anyway, it`s no surprise that Ted Cruz`s 21-hour faux filibuster has
been a popular topic for late-night comedians. And as Jimmy Kimmel
reminded everyone last night, if you missed the speech, you might be able
to catch a rerun on C-SPAN. Take a look at his new promo.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE")

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": They`re planning to run it
again as a special over the weekend this weekend.

NARRATOR: Tomorrow on C-SPAN, 21 hours of uninterrupted Ted, Cruz-
Apalooza, all the nonsensical highlights.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Some time ago, I tweeted a speech that
Ashton Kutcher gave.

(LAUGHTER)

NARRATOR: All the bad impressions.

CRUZ: Mike Lee, I am your father.

(LAUGHTER)

NARRATOR: And inside info you won`t get anywhere else.

CRUZ: I`m a big fan of eating White Castle burgers.

NARRATOR: Cruz-Apalooza tomorrow, followed by the Senate`s 50
greatest gavel bangs, only on the C.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: And then there was NBC`s own Jimmy Fallon, who may have
answered the question that`s been on everyone`s mind.

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

JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON": I have been up
here now for, what, 21 hours? I really have to go to the bathroom.

(LAUGHTER)

FALLON: Should I say had, had to go to the bathroom.

(LAUGHTER)

FALLON: All right. That`s my time.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: In other news, U2`s front man, Bono, caught a lot of
attention yesterday with -- got a lot of attention with his spot-on
impression of former President Bill Clinton. Well, Clinton returned the
favor, so-called, last night with this impression of the Irish rock star on
CNN. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m Irish, you
know. We Irish, we can imitate anybody.

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: I have been singing so loud and screaming loud at these
concerts that I`m hoarse.

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: So I have got to be careful with my voice.

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: That`s why all my charities only have three-letter names.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, we will decide on that.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: We will be right back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CRAIG MELVIN, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Craig Melvin. Here`s what`s
happening right now.

The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council have agreed on
a resolution to eliminate Syria`s chemical weapons. It will be presented
to the full Council tonight.

Secretary of State John Kerry met with Iran`s foreign minister to talk
about their nuclear program. Kerry said those talks were constructive.

And the jury is now deliberating in the trial against concert promoter
AEG. Those jurors are deciding whether AEG was partly responsible for
Jackson`s death -- back to HARDBALL.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Sometimes, I fear
there`s a creeping resignation that these tragedies are just somehow the
way it is, that this is somehow the new normal. We can`t accept this.

No other advanced nation endures this kind of violence. None. Here
in America, the murder rate is three times what it is in other developed
nations. The murder rate with guns is 10 times what it is in other
developed nations. And there`s nothing inevitable about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That`s President Obama speaking Sunday at the memorial for those
killed in the Navy Yard shooting rampage.

And mere days after that tragedy, there was more gun violence out in
Chicago, where 13 people, including a 3-year-old boy, were shot and injured
in a public park apparently caught in the crossfire of gang retaliation.
And this video of the 3-year-old shows him just released from the hospital
with bandages and swelling from where a bullet entered near his ear and
exited through his cheek. He`s expected to face years of further
surgeries.

Well, today, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Philadelphia Mayor
Michael Nutter came to Washington to raise attention to the issue of gun
violence in cities, and particularly the overwhelming number of victims who
are African-American men.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITCH LANDRIEU (D), MAYOR OF NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA: Young African-
American men are being killed and are killing at alarming numbers in
America. Across America, it is a constant drumbeat of death, of shootings,
of murder day after day after day.

MICHAEL NUTTER (D), MAYOR OF PHILADELPHIA: In 2012, three out of
every four Philadelphia homicide victims were African-American men. That`s
236 people. If the Ku Klux Klan came to Philadelphia and killed 236 black
men, the city would be on lockdown. If 236 well-off white kids from the
Philadelphia suburbs were killed, there would be hell to pay. And yet 236
African-American men murdered in one city, not one word.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Mayor Michael Nutter here, and of course Mitch Landrieu.
They`re both mayors. They joined together to create Cities United to bring
attention to the issue of gun violence and end what they call the violence
crisis in the U.S.

Mayor Nutter, my friend Michael Nutter, I know where you stand. You
went -- you have been on this from the day you ran for mayor.

NUTTER: Yes.

MATTHEWS: This gun violence issue and how to deal with it.

What have you learned?

NUTTER: We know that it`s devastating to the cities, but what both of
us have learned and many others is that it`s actually something you can
take action on. You can reduce it. You can prevent it, if we`re focused,
if we coordinate our resources, and if we make it the national issue that
it is with a national response.

The United States of America must respond to domestic terrorism, which
is what I call it, similar in force and fashion to what we`ve done with
international terrorism.

MATTHEWS: Mayor, what do you do? What works? What have you learned
that you try this, it works, it reduces the rate, or you have a weekend
than the weekend before? Or what?

LANDRIEU: Well, you`ve got -- first of all, it`s all in. It`s
everybody and it`s everything.

It`s not just about guns. It`s about unemployment. It`s about
poverty. It really is about something we`ve created that has produced a
culture of violence that allows a young man who knows somebody else to walk
up to him with a handgun and shoot him in the head over something that
would seem inconsequential. That has developed in this country --

MATTHEWS: Of the murders, what cut of them are fighting over turf or
drug competition?

LANDRIEU: Of the 13,000 --

MATTHEWS: How much of it just dissing somebody?

LANDRIEU: Of the 13,000murders, half of them are between African-
American men in the country and almost 80 percent of them are over what we
could consider to be disrespect and small things. A cultural behavior
that`s developed since 1980 that is just unbelievable when you look at the
numbers -- 626,000 people have been killed on the streets of America since
1980. That`s more people were killed than all the wars.

MATTHEWS: If there were no guns, would people still be violent?

NUTTER: There is a cultural violence, I believe, in the United States
of America. It is worthy of study and review and analysis to figure it
out. I mean, as the president said in a clip you showed, there are things
going on in the United States of America that are unheard of in many other
countries around the world.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

NUTTER: And so, it is at least deserving of understanding. And then
as Mayor Landrieu said, we know there are many components to it. It is
about education, it is about jobs, it`s about literacy, it`s about hunger,
it`s about poverty.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

NUTTER: We have a poverty problem in the United States. Not an
excuse, but part of an explanation for some of the things that go on.

MATTHEWS: Well, I do -- the trouble is it`s in the cycle then. You
don`t have the power to put these kids to work. You can`t take everybody
18 to 25 in North Philly and get them a job. It would be wonderful if you
could.

NUTTER: That would be great. But, you know, again, when this country
is focused on a particular issue, and again, we`re talking about safety, we
changed how people fly and the security measures around that because we
wanted to be safe. We protect countries around the world and give them aid
and give food, et cetera, et cetera. Those are all proper roles for the
United States.

But also taking care of the homeland, making sure no child goes to bed
hungry at night, that you can actually get a great education anywhere
regardless of what zip code your parents decided to live in.

These are realistic things that should be considered part of the
national defense of the United States of America. We`d be a stronger
country when we take care of our folks.

MATTHEWS: Attention. When we had the flood down there, Katrina, you
know, your predecessor said we get 90 percent of the people out of here,
well, that left 50,000 behind.

LANDRIEU: That`s correct.

MATTHEWS: And so much of the culture is about leaving behind people.

LANDRIEU: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: And they don`t even notice until they drown or they shoot
you.

LANDRIEU: That`s exactly right. So, what`s happened is 40 people
will be killed on the street of America today, like little rain drops that
will evaporate before anybody knows about it. That`s a big number.

MATTHEWS: These are poor kids shooting poor kids.

LANDRIEU: That`s exactly what you have.

And so, specific things that we can do -- we have to protect our
streets. So, we`re taking the ATF, DEA, FBI, put them together, with the
police department, identifying the most dangerous criminals and going to
get them. But that`s just suppressing what is here today.

What we`re telling you now is after all of our research, we`re
producing young men who have learned how to resolve differences through
shooting somebody that they know in the head. There`s something
catastrophic about that. And the number of deaths are just mind-boggling,
when you look at the numbers.

And then you find the innocents who get caught in between. London
Samuels in New Orleans is 1-year-old, got shot. She was in the arms of a
babysitter the other day.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: How do you reverse the specter when we grow up? And I --
you know, we used to have round robin (ph) sports in Philadelphia, we had
boxing matches on Saturday morning where kids from tough neighborhoods
would settle their differences with gloves. How do you go back to what now
seems like a peaceful time?

NUTTER: I think apart of it, Chris, is about community partnerships.
And public and private partnerships have never been more important than
today. So, supporting boys clubs and girls clubs, making sure that young
people are getting the attention and the care they need. You had a
previous segment about, you know, the Affordable Care Act.

I mean, there are conditions that folks do need health care and living
in poverty, again, not having the kind of care that they need. And that`s
physical, that`s mental health and all of those kinds of services. So,
there are a lot of problems out here.

But we`re the United States of America. We are the greatest and most
powerful nation. But we also need to make sure that we`re bolstering and
supporting the homeland right here and investing in our own folks here in
the U.S.

MATTHEWS: By the way, congratulations on graduating from one of the
minor Ivy Leagues. He`s a Penn grad. Ted Cruz would not study with you.

(LAUGHTER)

NUTTER: That`s OK.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, Congressman Michael Nutter, a great man, thank you.
And Mitch Landrieu, great Landrieu, of course, thank you for joining us,
from New Orleans.

LANDRIEU: Thanks.

MATTHEWS: Up next, why is it time for Republicans to really start
worrying about women? They`re going to lose some elections.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Well, as marriage equality gains acceptance across the
country, some unlikely figures are embracing it. That`s former President
George H.W. Bush. And he as an official witness -- he was -- at a same-sex
wedding over the weekend of two long time friends. Do you believe it?
Yes.

The former president, along with former first lady, Barbara Bush,
attended the wedding Saturday in Kennebunk, Maine, near where they have a
compound.

Gay marriage, by the way, became legal in Maine this December.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: We are back.

The biggest political contest this year is the race for governor in
Virginia. And the reason it`s getting so much national attention is
because election results in Virginia these days are often an indicator --
in fact, a brilliant one -- of where the country is headed. Virginia is
like everywhere now.

The race is close but according to the latest NBC News/Marist poll,
Democrat Terry McAuliffe leads Republican Ken Cuccinelli by five points.
McAuliffe`s lead could be chocked up to a significant gender gap in the
race. Half of women likely to vote, 50 percent supported McAuliffe, while
only 39 percent of women are behind Cuccinelli. That`s an 18-point gap.

Why is this important?

Because more than any other state, Virginia votes like America right
now. Catch this -- in 2012, in the presidential election, President Obama
defeated Mitt Romney in Virginia by a little under 4 percentage points
nationally.

Now, look at the vote in Virginia. The results are almost identical,
in each case, within a tenth of one point. So a growing gender gap in
Virginia could suggest a growing gender gap nationally. We`ll se this
election turns out.

NBC political reporter, actually director Chuck Todd, moderated last
night`s debate down in Virginia and he joins us now.

Let`s skip the personality --

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes.

MATTHEWS: -- sort of in all cases, not the issue. And in many ways,
it`s about issues here and women voters. What is this about the issue? Is
this where Cuccinelli, a hard-line, true-believing conservative, is just
incapable of getting off his position?

TODD: Well, I think -- you say, forget personalities here. I think
that that`s -- we`ll see. If it`s not about personalities, then advantage
McAuliffe. That`s what Ken Cuccinelli.

He wants to make this about Terry McAuliffe`s character, his
inexperience, he wants to make it about character and Terry McAuliffe wants
to make it about ideology.

MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about ideology.

TODD: Because the ideology, he thinks, this gender gap is what drives
it.

MATTHEWS: The women watching this in New York right now are probably
fascinated by the fact that their issues, if you will, narrowly defined,
are driving this election.

TODD: Well, they`re driving -- it certainly is what Terry McAuliffe
is trying to do. He`s advertised heavily on this issue. And it was
interesting last night to watch Cuccinelli as he was asked about some of
these social issues, he really tried to -- he didn`t back off any --

MATTHEWS: Let`s watch that fight right now.

TODD: But he tried to soften how he sold it.

MATTHEWS: National issues last night, where was the focus of last
night`s debates, and the Kennedy`s views couldn`t be more different than
each other. Here`s where the two candidates stood last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TERRY MCAULIFFE (D), VIRGINIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I have come
out for marriage equality, Irish Catholic kid growing up. Dorothy and I
have spent a lot of time discussing this issue. And what really turned it
for us is probably the "don`t ask, don`t tell."

He has referred to gay Virginians as soulless and self-destructed
human beings.

KEN CUCCINELLI (R), VIRGINIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: But I`m one of
those who do believe that the institution of marriage should remain between
one man and one woman.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, there you go. Is this going to be the Republican
Party`s bugaboo going into 2016? That they`re still going to be trapped in
this, we`re against gay marriage, we`re against abortion, we`re against
rights and all that thing?

TODD: Well, and what Cuccinelli trying to say was, he also kept
saying, you know, it may be that things will change down the road, but, you
know, this is what -- this is tradition. He was trying -- it was
interesting how he was trying to soften it. I think they realized that it
was a northern Virginia audience.

Look, I think that that is -- that`s going to be one of the challenges
for the Republican Party nationally.

MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about guns, guns last night. That was an issue.

TODD: This was -- this surprises me, when you think about the
tradition of Virginia Democrats. Think Mark Warner just eight years ago,
ran as one type of -- ran as one type of Democrat.

MATTHEWS: Gun toter.

TODD: That`s right. Even Tim Kaine, while getting an "F" rating
never wanted to go directly in the eyes of the storm in the NRA. Terry
McAuliffe --

MATTHEWS: Let`s watch, this is ray nervy on his part. The two
candidates for governor also different, as I said, on gun control. Look at
how this is going to play out in Virginia next month.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCAULIFFE: I have called for universal background checks. My
opponent doesn`t support that.

I`m a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. I`m a hunter. I own
guns. I`ve gone through background checks. They take just a couple
minutes.

We have a gigantic loophole in Virginia. You can buy guns through
mail order. You can go to these gun show loopholes. There are certain
individuals who just should not own a gun.

CUCCINELLI: I will support the Second Amendment. It deserves
support, as does our whole Constitution. But I will continue to focus on
where I believe the main source of this problem is, and that is resolving
mental health issues.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, that`s not a very strong answer in light of what`s
been going on in Washington recently. We`ve had people who, who knows what
their mental condition was, but they were loaded. Guns.

TODD: To me, that was another case about where Cuccinelli was
thinking about the audience, and thinking about a suburb audience. This is
Fairfax County, remember where we were. This is northern Virginia, where
he was trying to explain it, and at the same time, not back down from his
positions.

MATTHEWS: Because the rural areas are with him on that.

TODD: The rural areas are with him. And the tradition in Virginia
has been that. But Barack Obama has been targeted by the NRA in Virginia.

MATTHEWS: Fast forward, Chuck. Does this mean when Republicans write
their platform for the next presidential election, no matter who it is,
Christie or Rand Paul, how are they going to deal with these issues?

TODD: Well, it will be -- I think it depends. Look, if it`s Rand
Paul and Chris Christie, remember, Rand Paul is not exactly somebody who
shares the evangelical fervor when it comes to marriage and abortion. He`s
more libertarian. There`s a libertarian streak in him.

Actually, I think Paul and Christie --

MATTHEWS: Intellectually, you`re right. But I think he plays to the
crowd, too.

TODD: Well, it maybe and that`s going to -- it depends on who writes
the platform.

MATTHEWS: The whole problem with politics, you`ve got to buy the
whole blue plate special. You`ve got the whole thing with these political
parties. Best reason to stay out of politics.

Anyway, thank you, Chuck Todd. Great moderating, I hear.

When we return, let me finish with how the type of political theater
we`re watching in Washington right now could end up not in the comedy it is
in right now, but in tragedy.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this:

This is a time of political theater for our country, but it could end
up in tragedy. It has a comic flair right now but don`t be fooled. The
people showing off -- Ted Cruz leading the troupe -- will be remembered, of
course, as the cause of the catastrophe.

But the horror itself -- especially if it comes to the first-ever
default on the U.S. debt -- will dominate everything and everyone else.

It`s really one of those unknowns -- like attacking Iran. We know how
it will start, but now with all the craziness and cock-suredness of Cruz
and the rest, not how it will end.

What if the default lasts a few hours? What if a few days or a few
weeks? How large, how exponential could this calamity climb?

Jack Lew, the treasury secretary, has called the date -- the day of
reckoning. October 17 is when the U.S. Treasury runs low enough that it
can`t be assured of its ability to meet demands.

It can`t be sure. Not even the Treasury knows what day it will be
when the numbers head into the red -- that moment when the United States
government is for the first time in its history not good for its chit.

Only a nutcase would take the risk.

And as the days pass between now and the 17th of October, we will know
who they are.

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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