October 4, 2013
Guest: Jonathan Martin, Cynthia Tucker, Cynthia Tucker, Steve Beshear, Tom
Davis, Steve McMahon
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Bouncing Boehner.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews up on Boston.
"Let Me Start" tonight with this. This week ends with John Boehner
being dribbled across the court like an Ohio State basketball. He bounces
up and says he`s for a deal with the Democrats. Then he hits the floor
again because some right-winger in the stands yells something nasty.
Why is this guy so unable to do what will make him a profile in
courage? Aren`t there better ways to end your career, Mr. Speaker, than
being bounced around by people you don`t respect? Aren`t there?
I have faith in this country. Darn it, I have faith in politics. I
believe that democracy works. I believe good people can come to agreement
and stop taking cheap, stupid shots at each other. OK, didn`t work once.
It took us to civil war. But that was about a real disagreement, slavery.
The issue was regional. It was economic. It was historical. It was,
after all, we came all to know, moral.
Well, this fight is whether to implement a law that the United States
Congress passed, that the president of the United States signed, that the
Supreme Court of the United States declared constitutional. Is it a sign
of weakness for Speaker Boehner to simply say when he gets up tomorrow
morning, We`re going back to the regular American system? Sorry, crazies,
we`re going to enforce the law and move on.
Jonathan Martin writes for "The New York Times." Jonathan Capehart is
on the editorial board of "The Washington Post." Jonathan Martin, you`re
chuckling, but it`s so sad. It`s so sad because all he has to do is say,
Regular order, ladies and gentlemen, we`re going to do what we`ve always
done, enforce a law that we wrote and the president signed.
JONATHAN MARTIN, "NEW YORK TIMES": And he would probably invite a
challenge to his speakership if he was to do that. I think the more likely
scenario, Chris, at this point, given that we`re a few days into the
shutdown and the debt ceiling is looming here in a matter of a couple of
weeks, is that Speaker Boehner will try to merge the debt ceiling vote with
the vote to keep the government -- or get the government to reopen, and
then try to extract some kind of a sweetener from the Democrats so he has
some cover to sell it to his members, and then bring up one vote.
It`s a lot easier for Boehner to make his members take one vote on
this than it is to do two separate votes on both the CR to get the
government back open and also to raise the debt ceiling.
MATTHEWS: Well, Jonathan, that`s good news. I mean, it sounds to me
like he understands the stakes, that he understands that the president
himself will not buckle to a short-term deal on the CR and then have to
face another compromise on the debt. I think it`s good news.
Jonathan Capehart -- I`m going to call you guys Mr. Capehart and Mr.
Martin so we keep this straight. But Mr. Martin, sir -- I mean, Mr. -- Mr.
Capehart, doesn`t that sound like that he might be willing to break with
the crazies? And I don`t mean Republicans are crazies, I mean that 30 or
40 bench out there that just wants to say no just because they hate Obama.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I
mean, I hope you`re right. I hope your sense of optimism turns out to be
right. But as we`ve seen time and time again, that sort of vocal minority
within Speaker Boehner`s majority never seems to be satisfied. And it
seems like every time he tries to do something that is the right thing to
do for the country, they slap him back. And what`s unfortunate is that he
buckles to them. So I`ll be -- I will be curious to see what Speaker
Boehner comes up with...
MATTHEWS: Have you figured out why?
CAPEHART: ... that will get...
MATTHEWS: Have you figured out why?
CAPEHART: Figured out why he buckles...
MATTHEWS: If he`s got 150 people on his side, why does he buckle to
CAPEHART: I don`t understand it. I really don`t. I mean, he`s -- I
mean, our colleague here, Dana Milbank, has taken to calling him
"spokesman" because he`s following all -- following his caucus instead of
And you know, I don`t want -- I don`t mean -- well, yes, actually, I
do mean to compare Speaker Boehner to Speaker Pelosi, but if the shoes were
flipped and this was Speaker Pelosi`s House, there`s no way she would have
a vocal -- her -- a vocal minority in her majority telling her what to do.
MARTIN: Let me just clarify, if I could...
MATTHEWS: Let me bring it back to Jonathan Martin. What...
MATTHEWS: Go ahead, Jonathan.
MARTIN: No, I was going to -- I don`t think I`m being -- I`m not
trying to suggest that the conservative hardliners in the House would be
pleased with one vote on both the CR to open the government back up and to
raise the debt ceiling. I just think it would make them less angry.
There`s no good options for Boehner...
MARTIN: ... given his own politics right now. I do think rolling two
tough votes into one and hoping to get some kind of a face-saving, you
know, measure, be that the medical device tax or something to throw in
there, and schedule one vote on the House floor...
MATTHEWS: That sounds right to me.
MARTIN: ... is probably the better of some bad scenarios for the
MATTHEWS: Sounds right to me, too, that one, although it does get to
the body of the health care bill.
Anyway, in an interview with NBC`s Kasie (ph) Hunt today, Ted Cruz
levied a wild accusation to President Obama and the Democrats. Let`s
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: The position of the Democrats -- it`s
really remarkable -- is they want 100 percent. That`s why we`re facing
this shutdown, because their position is extreme.
MATTHEWS: You know, I don`t know what to make of that. Cruz has been
the architect of the Tea Party shutdown and the default strategy. But take
a listen to this bit of twisted logic when he then asked -- was
specifically asked about a default.
CRUZ: No rational person supports a default. We should never default
on the debt. The Democrats want government by crisis. They want
shutdowns. This is Harry Reid`s shutdown because he thinks it benefits
And they want to threaten a default to scare people. It`s how we`ve
gotten a $17 trillion national debt. They believe it furthers their
partisan interests to scare the American people. Under no circumstances
should we default on our debt, and it is irresponsible of President Obama
and Harry Reid to suggest otherwise!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Jonathan Martin, I`m pretty good at following people when
they talk. I mean, I can`t follow that. He`s saying, Under no
circumstances, he implies, would I support a default. And then he says the
other side`s trying to use scare tactics.
MATTHEWS: And yet he`s holding to this. He`s holding them to the
threat that he will default. What is -- is there any sense to that? I
mean, you got to define this stuff objectively. Where`s the objective
statement there that you can track?
MARTIN: Well, he`s trying to place the blame on what`s happening and
what may happen in the future on the Democrats. He`s fighting from a
defensive posture because he`s trying to push back on this notion that he
and he alone is responsible for the fact that the government is shut down.
So he and a lot of this colleagues are trying to sort of spin this to put
the shoe on Senator Reid and President Obama.
Where this really gets interesting, though, is less the government
shutdown and more the debt ceiling because it`s one thing...
MATTHEWS: I agree.
MARTIN: ... for Ted Cruz...
MATTHEWS: Well, you were -- let me just jump...
MARTIN: ... shutdown on his hands. Nobody to wants to have a debt
ceiling collapse on their hands.
MATTHEWS: Do you think -- can you report now or analyze the fact that
he seems to be responding in that interview there for the first time to the
heat that the Republican establishment is putting on the politicians here,
the Senate -- I mean, the House Republicans especially, but both of them --
that they cannot bring down our American economy and still call themselves
Americans. They can`t do it. And there he is for the first time really
pushing back, pushing back against default, whereas before, that was the
thing he wanted to put the "Obama care" stuff right on. He wanted to put
it right on the debt ceiling...
MATTHEWS: ... not the CR, the debt ceiling, targeted it.
MATTHEWS: And now he`s...
MARTIN: That`s a good point.
MATTHEWS: ... saying, Of course I`m not targeting it...
MATTHEWS: ... so I think he`s moved back a bit, according to your
piece on the front page, is what I`m talking about.
MARTIN: Yes, look, I think he is trying to suggest to Republicans
there, too, You might not like me or my tactics, but look, I don`t want to
see the country fault, either. And it`s -- I think you`re right, that`s
also a message to the more establishment folks in his own party.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Let`s take a look at this, Jonathan Capehart. Cruz
also seems incapable -- the senator -- of answering any question unless he
can use it to attack Obama and the Democrats. Here`s his exchange between
Cruz and NBC`s Kasie Hunt again when she asked him a simply question, yes
or not, about supporting a House bill out there now to provide back pay to
government employees -- in other words, so the people on furlough right now
who are not getting paid now will get that back pay at some point by the
end of the year, perhaps.
Here he is not answering the question.
CRUZ: Look, I think the House is working cooperatively to find a
compromise. It`s doing it over and over and over again. The people who
are missing, who are AWOL, are the Senate Democrats.
KASIE HUNT, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well...
CRUZ: They are...
HUNT: But should they retroactively be paid or not?
CRUZ: But the Democrats are refusing to compromise!
HUNT: But would you -- would you do it if...
CRUZ: Just today, we saw the Democrats say again that the only
position they`ll take is, Give us 100 percent of what we want. We want
everything or the government stays shut down (INAUDIBLE)
HUNT: But yes or no. Do you support retroactive back pay?
CRUZ: I support the House working to cooperatively to resolve this,
to fund the government, and at the same time to prevent the enormous harms
"Obama care" is inflicting on millions of Americans. Millions...
HUNT: Is this a yes, a no or a maybe?
CRUZ: I`m not answering your question because...
HUNT: It`s going to come up today. That`s why I`m asking.
CRUZ: What I am saying is I support efforts to resolve this matter
that fund the government and that prevent the enormous harms "Obama care"
has inflicted on millions of Americans.
MATTHEWS: You know, Jonathan Capehart, he takes the salary of a
senator, and there he is in the great halls of the Senate, and he refuses
to answer the most central question you have to answer. How are you going
MATTHEWS: How do you behave as a senator? He doesn`t seem to want to
be a senator or a legislator because that requires making decisions about
what you want done, in this case...
MATTHEWS: ... paying back pay or not.
MATTHEWS: He seems to only want to be an agent provocateur, someone
MATTHEWS: That only seems to be his legislative goal, is to be a pain
in the butt to anybody who wants the government to work, and then go out to
the crowd and get a lot of people applauding him for being a
CAPEHART: But Chris...
MATTHEWS: ... which is what he seems to want to be, a la Joe McCarthy
back in the old days, the same performance artist.
CAPEHART: Well, you know, Chris, in the clip you just showed and in
the other one in his response about default, he`s pushing back against the
notion both within his party, both out in the land, but within the halls of
Congress, that he is the one to blame for all of this...
CAPEHART: ... for bringing Republicans into this very narrow
CAPEHART: ... that they`re -- that they desperately want to get out
of and they can`t.
MATTHEWS: But isn`t it...
CAPEHART: And so he`s blaming Democrats. He`s blaming...
MATTHEWS: Excuse me, Jonathan!
MATTHEWS: Isn`t he -- let me ask you an objective question as a
MATTHEWS: ... and as an opinion analyst. Is he or is he not
responsible for this hell that`s going on...
CAPEHART: Oh, absolutely.
MATTHEWS: ... from CR, unability (ph) to sign it -- OK, thank you.
CAPEHART: No, no, no. Absolutely. Absolutely. He is responsible.
And all of these comments are about trying to shift the blame from himself
onto other people. But we all know what he`s doing.
CAPEHART: -We all know what he`s -- what he`s about.
MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask...
CAPEHART: And it would be great...
MATTHEWS: Let me ask...
CAPEHART: It would be great, Chris, if he spent more time trying to
find a solution than standing in front of cameras hurling blame at other
MATTHEWS: Mr. Martin, the same question to you. I`ll phrase it
differently for the A section.
MATTHEWS: Is he perceived to be in the Republican caucus the cause of
this shutdown and potentially the cause of a real threat to our credibility
as a -- as a credit -- as a debtor state?
MARTIN: Oh, there`s no question about it. I have a story in today`s
paper about the fact that there is widespread dismay among a lot of, Chris,
what used to be called regular Republicans, the sort of mainline folks in
the party who are no fans of "Obama care," but who recognize the fact that
with a Democratic president, Democratic-controlled Senate, defunding the
law entirely was a non-starter and would have preferred something more
And we`re now at a point where the government has shut down. And
instead of talking about the flaws in this new law, the focus entirely is
on the fact that the government is shut down.
So yes, at the luncheon on Wednesday that the Republican senators
have, he was castigated left and right by his fellow colleagues -- and by
the way, not just by some of the better known senators who are often on TV,
by a lot of mild-mannered back-bench type senators who don`t often point
They`ve had it with him. They think he led them into what Bob Corker
called the "box canyon," and -- what they`re really angry about is that
when they ask him what his solution is, what`s the end game, you know, he
doesn`t have an answer.
CAPEHART: And the same, Chris, goes...
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much...
MATTHEWS: I`m sorry, we`ve got to shut it off. We`re finished now.
But I got to tell you something. I`m so impressed with Kasie hunt. She
asked him four times. And sometimes, you have to do that. It`s a little
bit difficult as a journalist to push in so that everybody listening to the
tape and watching the performance of the interviewee...
MARTIN: It was a good interview.
MATTHEWS: ... that they don`t want to answer the question. And that
was very clear there. Congratulations to Kasie for objective questions
with no answers.
Anyway, Jonathan Martin, sir, great pieces in "The Times" these days,
and Jonathan Capehart with "The Washington Post."
MARTIN: Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Coming up: What is this shutdown fight really about? Is
about an attempt by Republicans to make an end run around democracy? They
refuse to accept that Congress passed the Affordable Care Act and that
President Obama was elected before he -- when he promised to do it and
reelected after he did it.
Also, remember that "caught on tape" moment of Kentucky`s two
Republican senators calculating the best way to spin shutting down the
government over the Affordable Care Act? Well, Kentucky`s Democratic
governor says opponents should get over it. "Obama care" is going to help
poor people. Governor Steve Beshear joins us next.
And why would anyone opposed to the government shutdown ask Ted Cruz
to campaign for him? Well, it just happened near Washington, D.C.
Finally, sleeping on the job. Here`s Congressman George Holding on
the House floor yesterday. Maybe he was worn out by the shutdown debate
and maybe he heard enough of the speech of Texas birther Louie Gohmert. I
don`t blame him a bit. That poor guy had to sit and listen to that stuff.
This is HARDBALL, place for politics.
MATTHEWS: We`re learning more about the woman at the center of
yesterday`s shooting incident on Capitol Hill. Police say 34-year-old
Miriam Carey had a history of mental illness, and NBC News has learned she
may have thought she was being stalked by President Obama.
Carey, from Stamford, Connecticut, worked as a dental hygienist until
2012. Yesterday, police say, she tried to breach the White House gate at
15th and E before leading the Secret Service on a high-speed chase up
Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol. She was stopped at the foot of the
Capitol, but she jammed the car into reverse and took off again as police
opened fire. Another chase around the perimeter of the Capitol ended in a
car crash. Police shot at her, and she died a short time later. What a
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. If there`s one quote that
explains the mess we`re in right now, it would be this one from an
anonymous aide to Tea Party senator Mike lee. Quote, "The minority of the
minority of the Senate GOP is going to run things until our leadership gets
some backbone." Wow.
And right now, a tiny faction, or fraction of the minority party --
that`s the Republicans -- is tearing apart the U.S. government and
threatening the economic security of the country in a delusional quest, I
think, to upend a law they don`t like.
Well, "The New York Times`s" Thomas Friedman captured it well this
week when he urged President Obama for the sake of American democracy not
to give in to them.
Quote, "What is at stake in this government shutdown, forced by a
radical Tea Party minority, is nothing less than the principle upon which
our democracy is based, majority rule. When extremists feel insulated from
playing by the traditional rules of the system -- that they`re insulated --
if we do not defend those rules, namely majority rule, and the fact that if
you don`t like a policy passed by Congress, signed by the president and
affirmed by the Supreme Court, then you have to go out and win an election
to overturn it. You can`t just put a fiscal gun to the country`s head.
Then our democracy is imperiled" -- well said by Thomas Friedman.
David Corn is Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones" magazine and
an MSNBC political analyst and Cynthia Tucker is a visiting professor at
the University of Georgia.
By the way, Tea Party Republicans say this all comes down to a need to
compromise. They don`t like the law, the president does, so let`s get
together and find a middle ground.
Let`s watch their logic here. In other words, we`re going to kill the
thing you did legally, constitutionally, whatever, and we want you to
happily agree to kill half of it. I think King Solomon pointed out about
that. But here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: We started out with a position that we
don`t want any "Obama care." That is what we truly believe. We think it`s
bad for the country. The president wants all of it, 100 percent. I would
think a compromise would be both sides come off of their position some.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The House Republicans have acted reasonably and
responsibly to act on two simple principles -- the government should be
funded and the American people should get relief from "Obama care." We
have repeatedly made reasonable and responsible compromises.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: I think it is indefensible that President
Obama and Harry Reid have forced a government shutdown. The reason we have
a government shutdown is because they`re refusing compromise. They`re
refusing to negotiate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Let me -- let me go to David Corn. Is there a new acting
school in Washington?
MATTHEWS: I mean, seriously. This is the method acting. I mean, how
do you convince yourself, even, that a law that`s been passed, reviewed
(ph) by the Supreme Court, three years old, and it`s about to be
implemented, but you have a right to slice it in half, or destroy it,
because of some -- what -- what is the...
DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: You know...
MATTHEWS: You remember the dictators -- I`m not naming any particular
MATTHEWS: ... but it`s always been, What is mine is mine and what is
yours is negotiable. That`s what dictators do.
CORN: It is...
MATTHEWS: And these guys are acting like dictators -- as a minority,
they`re acting like this, David.
CORN: It strikes me like a little of "Invasion of the Body
They`re all reading from the same script. They think if they sound
reasonable, the public will be fooled into thinking that they are not the
unreasonable ones who are trying to destroy government and maybe put us
into default because they`re having a tantrum over a law that indeed was
passed and affirmed by a conservative-led Supreme Court.
I mean, that`s what it all boils down too.
CORN: And we`re going to see at the end of the day whether Barack
Obama is going to, you know, keep to the position he`s had. You know, two
years ago, in the 2011 debt ceiling fight, he did negotiate, he did yield
to get what he thought was the best deal possible to prevent the economy
from going over a cliff, being pushed over a cliff by the Republicans.
MATTHEWS: And what did he teach -- what did he teach us by doing
CORN: But at that point in time, he resolved to -- he resolved to
himself he wouldn`t let this happen again. And so we`re going to see who`s
right at the end of the day.
MATTHEWS: I`m looking at the face of Ted Cruz, Cynthia. I`m looking
at that face.
He`s either an actor or he`s somehow -- he always has that sad-eyed
look, like, I have been let down by my mommy and daddy or let down my
country, or it`s this sad look of moral indignation, another sign and
indication of the dictatorial mind. They`re always good at moral
This guy act like it`s been somehow -- it been -- he`s been screwed,
if you will, in the modern parlance, because a bill that was passed, agreed
to by the Congress, and then having a president reelected after doing it
somehow hurt his sensibilities. What do you think of this guy?
What -- who is he?
CYNTHIA TUCKER, UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA: I think Ted Cruz was promoted
and elected to office by a faction of the Republican Party, that small
minority, that Tea Party faction.
And he is beholden to them and to himself. You remember, Ted Cruz is
out for Ted Cruz more than anybody else. And he believes the best way --
he`s ambitious. He wants to be president. The best way he can to make a
name for himself is to continue to promote the crazy ideas of the Tea Party
faction that put him in office in the first place.
Never mind if it brings down the country. Never mind, for that
matter, if it threatens the whole global economy. Ted Cruz is all about
MATTHEWS: Let me go here now. Somehow, many Republicans say they
think they`re winning here, like him, despite all the polls that show
Americans blame them, the Republicans, for the shutdown, and all the
intraparty fighting going on right now.
U.S. Phil Gingrey said -- quote -- "There`s some pain and suffering,
but I don`t think that pain and suffering compares one bit to the pain and
suffering of being stuck with a lifetime of Obamacare. That`s why I`m
holding pretty firm on this."
He`s Michele Bachmann on FOX this week. Let`s watch her in action.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: I think we will continue to
hold on. Ultimately, the Republicans are the conservatives that are going
to work together to make sure that we can push back Obamacare. We`re
really very energized today. We`re very strong. This is about the
happiest I have seen members in a long time, because we see that we`re
starting to win this dialogue on a national level.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: What do you make -- you`re laughing, David.
MATTHEWS: What is this, bodybuilding moral rearmament?
It`s like a subjective therapy they`re going through. If we fight
this law, we`re going to somehow become stronger people, and that`s made it
all worth it to the country?
CORN: Well, remember, Michele Bachmann thought she was going to end
up as president. And so what she thinks about reality doesn`t really have
much bearing upon reality.
You know, I recently read a book about this guy named Tip O`Neill and
MATTHEWS: Yes, I know it well.
CORN: And what struck me about -- well, you know it well.
One of the things that struck me was that they had some major league
fights, some battles back in those days, as you know Chris. And when Tip
lost, as he did in that first year, a couple of times, you know, he put it
aside and -- say, on the tax cuts, and he waited. A year or so later, it
turned out that the tax cuts Reagan passed were creating tremendous
And then he came back and he said, we have got to do something about
this, and he forced Reagan into compromises that led to raising taxes.
Now, in this instance...
MATTHEWS: Rather than cutting Social Security.
CORN: Yes. Yes.
MATTHEWS: Rather than cutting Social Security, is what Reagan wanted
to do. Right.
CORN: And so, in this instance, what you have...
MATTHEWS: Thank you.
CORN: ... these guys saying, Obamacare, we got to get rid of it
first. Well, wait a second. It did pass. You have millions of people
going to the exchanges this pass week.
And so if there`s something -- if there is going to be a problem, if
it is going to crash the economy, Well, then you can come back and say,
see, we were right, they were wrong. Let`s do something about it. And if
reality has given us that point, then the American people will vote more
for Republicans and will come rallying to be behind Michele Bachmann and
the other yahoos.
MATTHEWS: Yes, it`s called repeal.
CORN: But they`re not doing it now.
MATTHEWS: I know. We tried for prohibition for about a decade. And
it didn`t work, so we got rid of it. They don`t want to try it because
they`re afraid people are going to like it.
That`s what they`re afraid of.
TUCKER: They are afraid people...
MATTHEWS: Anyway, David, Cynthia, I wish we had more time.
Cynthia, last quick word.
TUCKER: They are afraid people are going to like it, Chris. And
that`s the reason they`re fighting so hard to shut it down.
MATTHEWS: I`m with you. Thank you so much. Have a nice weekend, if
you can, if you`re not working for the government...
MATTHEWS: ... although this thing about you have to show up, but
we`re not going to pay you, that`s not going to last long with the morale
of like the TSA guys and women checking our language. I want them to be
happy. I don`t want them to be angry.
CORN: Oh, yes.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, David Cameron and thank you, Cynthia
Up next: sleeping on the job. What`s got this congressman snoozing
away? I think he`s got a good case. Louie Gohmert was talking, the
birther, better not heard.
Anyway, this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Time for the "Sideshow."
It`s been a long, tense week for Washington, with Congress working
overtime, lawmakers playing political games over the shutdown, that and, of
course, yesterday`s tragic car chase.
Republican Representative George Holding of North Carolina was feeling
a bit worn out while he was presiding over the House floor night. As you
may have seen, cameras caught him snoozing there on the rostrum during
Louie Gohmert`s lengthy speech. Actually, I sympathy with the guy asleep,
not the guy talking.
Well, he may have to carry that small embarrassment for awhile, but
the North Carolina congressman joins the ranks of many other politicians
who is have been caught nodding off.
To commemorate his now-famous slumber, we have put together a montage
of those other great political naps. Let`s take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: It`s about trying to do what`s right
for the whole country. And if your heart doesn`t -- and if your heart
doesn`t break when you read these stories...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Don`t you love it, the way the guy wakes up and realizes
he`s on camera?
Anyway, finally, Republican -- the Republican governor of
Pennsylvania, Tom Corbett, has ignited a controversy after trying to
backtrack a comment his legal team made which likened gay marriage to
But, in doing so, the governor then made it worse by comparing same-
sex marriage to incest. There`s an old one. Listen to how that played out
at the local CBS station up at Harrisburg.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was a controversial remark made by a
member of your legal team comparing gay marriage to the union of 12-year-
olds, saying, both are illegal, which you called inappropriate.
GOV. TOM CORBETT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: It was an inappropriate analogy.
You know, I think a much better analogy would have been brother and sister,
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know. Yes, I`m going to leave the
comments to you and your team.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, that was a safe response by the interviewer from CBS.
"I don`t know. I don`t know. I`m going to leave that to you."
Up next: The governor of Kentucky says opponents of the new health
care law should get over it and get out of the way. It`s going to help
thousands of people, the bill will, and he knows it. Governor Steve
Beshear joins us next.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger. .
Police in Washington, D.C., say a man doused himself in gasoline, then
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His condition is not known.
The Gulf Coast is preparing for Tropical Storm Karen to hit this
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And a brazen heist at a luxury watch store in Paris -- 15 thieves
broke in using axes and hammers to smash the cases. They made off with at
least watches worth hundreds of thousands of euros -- back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Well, days before the state health care law exchanges that are the
centerpiece of President Obama`s health care reform went live, Kentucky
Governor Steve Beshear made one of the most compelling cases ever for
supporting what we have heard here.
In an op-ed piece in "The New York Times," Governor Beshear first laid
out the benefits to people of his state. One in six are currently
uninsured. So, some 640,000 people will actually get health insurance
Then he concluded with a shot at squabbling politicians trying to
block the law from taking effect -- quote -- "To those more worried about
political power than Kentucky`s families, I say, get over it. The
Affordable Care Act was approved by Congress and sanctioned by the Supreme
Court. It is the law of the land. Get over it and get out of the way so I
can help my people. Here in Kentucky, we cannot afford to waste another
day or another life."
It couldn`t have been a more apt rebuke for the tactics of two
Republican senators who are also from Kentucky were caught this week on a
hot microphone discussing the political gamesmanship of their effort to
block the health care law by shutting down the government.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Do you have a second?
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: I`m all wired up here.
PAUL: I just did CNN and I just go over and over again, we`re willing
to compromise. We`re willing to negotiate.
I think, I don`t think they poll-tested, we won`t negotiate. I think
it`s awful for them to say that over and over again.
MCCONNELL: Yes, I do too, and I just came back from that two-hour
meeting with them and that was -- that was basically the same view
privately as it was publicly.
PAUL: I think if we keep saying, we wanted to defund it, we fought
for that, and now we`re willing to compromise on this, I think they can`t -
- we`re going to, I think -- well, I know we don`t want to be here, but
we`re going to win this, I think.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Kentucky`s Governor Steve Beshear joins us now from
Thank you, Governor.
That was a strange conversation. Anybody would be embarrassed, but
somebody has got to teach Rand Paul that whispering makes it worse. It
makes it sound even more like intrigue.
MATTHEWS: You can hear everything, but, when you whisper, it sounds,
oh, my God, what`s he hiding there?
Anyway, let`s talk about the serious stuff. And we haven`t focused
enough on it on HARDBALL, because it`s about implementation. And governors
have to do that. Talk about the impact of this new law on people who go to
work in the morning, catch the bus early, put in eight hours a day five
days a week, maybe 50, but don`t have health insurance, the people who we
might call better off than poor, but not well-off.
GOV. STEVE BESHEAR (D), KENTUCKY: Well, Chris, we have got 640,000
uninsured Kentuckians in our state.
And these aren`t a group of aliens from some distant planet. They`re
our friends and neighbors. They`re the folks we sit with in the bleachers
on Friday night watching football and baseball games. We go to church with
them. Some of them are even our family members.
And this Affordable Care Act is giving me for the first time in our
history the chance to insure every single Kentuckian in this commonwealth
with health insurance. It`s going to be a transformational change for us.
Over the next generation, we will change the course of Kentucky`s history
with this Affordable Care Act.
MATTHEWS: You know, I think people get confused because they think
it`s for the very poor. The very poor are covered by Medicaid. This is
going to increase those who can get coverage from it up to a third or 33
percent beyond the welfare level.
So, in terms of making a tough income of maybe 15K, you`re an
individual, would be eligible. Right?
BESHEAR: Well, and that`s 640,000 Kentuckians -- 308,000 of them,
we`re going to cover by the expanded Medicaid program.
But the other 322,000 are going to be able to get health insurance for
the very first time in their lives through the health benefits exchange.
And 92 percent of our folks of all of those 640,000 will qualify for some
kind of premium subsidy. So, man, this is a win-win situation for every
MATTHEWS: In a human basis, what do you think it means to a person to
have health insurance who hasn`t been able to afford it before and has had
to go to the emergency room and just basically sit there and hope for help?
BESHEAR: Chris, we have got people all over this country and
obviously in Kentucky who just hope and pray every day they don`t get sick.
You know, they keep their kids from going to the doctor hoping that it`s
They know that they are one bad diagnosis away from bankruptcy. This
is -- this is what people have been living under for years and years. We
have got horrible health statistics in this state. They`re horrible all
over the country. And they haven`t gotten any better over the last few
years. So this is a historic opportunity to make a major sea change in
And, by golly, and just like I said in that editorial, get out of my
way because we`re going to do this for our people.
MATTHEWS: Well, this is a political question, but I think it`s
important. We`re not here with dueling proposals for health care. We`re
not looking at one party that has one idea, the Affordable Care Act which
is now law, and the other party that had another contender here.
There was another version of how to get it done. How do the people
who are on the other side of the aisle from you in terms of party politics,
what do they say they would do if Obamacare wasn`t there? What would they
be doing now?
BESHEAR: That`s the -- that`s the thing, Chris, is they have spent
all this time and effort and money trying to defund or repeal a law that`s
been approved by the U.S. Supreme Court. If they`d spent all of that time
and energy making some kinds of other proposals, that might make some
But they haven`t made any kind of proposals. They`re just against
whatever the president puts out there.
Look, this thing may not be the best thing since apple pie, but you
know what? It`s there. And it`s available as a tool for people like me,
governors in our states. We`re down where the rubber meets the road. We
got to take care of our people.
And, man, what an opportunity this is giving me. I`m not going to let
it slip away. I`m seizing it.
MATTHEWS: Well, Governor, key components of the Affordable Care Act
success involves the federally funded expansion of Medicaid in individual
states, basically allow more working people to be eligible for Medicaid.
But so far, 26 states have chosen not to expand Medicaid as you did. Many
of those states, as you see here, are grouped in the Deep South.
Unfortunately, that`s also part of the country with the highest
concentration of poor people and uninsured people. Look at the numbers.
The area in red on this map shows it -- the highest percentage of poor and
uninsured adults live primarily in Deep South and large sections of Texas,
precisely the states that are not spending Medicaid eligibility.
And this leaves the poor and uninsured in those areas stuck in a no-
man`s land not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid by the old rules and not
eligible for the federal subsidies. Those with slightly with higher
incomes will be entitled. So -- and it is really sad, I guess, to see
people, you know, slipping through the cracks here, in so many parts of the
BESHEAR: Well, Chris -- that`s right. And we`re the only Southern
state who both expanding Medicaid and setting up our own exchange. And,
look, before I made that decision on Medicaid, I had two parts of that
decision to look at.
Number one is it the right thing to do? Well, that`s easy. If I can
get health coverage for 640,000 Kentuckians that have never had it before,
yes, it`s morally the right thing to do.
But I also had to decide if it`s fiscally responsible? Am I going to
bankrupt the state if I do this?
So I had PricewaterhouseCooper and the Urban Institute, they`ll do a
six month study. They came back to me and said -- look me in the eye and
said, governor, you cannot afford not to do this. It will create 17,000
new jobs. It will be a $15 billion positive impact on your economy over
the next eight years. It`s going to be a positive impact on your budget.
I`d get on with it as fast as I can, and that`s exactly what we`ve
MATTHEWS: Governor, you restore people`s faith in democracy. Thank
you so much, Governor Steve Beshear of Kentucky.
Up next, why would anyone opposed to the government shutdown ask Ted
Cruz to campaign for him? Somebody just did it in Virginia.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Yesterday, we showed you that amazing video of Texas
Republican Congressman Randy Neugebauer trying to score political points by
harassing a park ranger at the World War II Memorial.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RANDY NEUGEBAUER (R), TEXAS: How do you look at them and say how
do you deny them access? I don`t get that.
PARK RANGER: It`s difficult.
NEUGEBAUER: Well, it should be difficult.
PARK RANGER: It is difficult. I`m sorry, sir.
NEUGEBAUER: The Park Service should be ashamed of themselves.
PARK RANGER: I`m not ashamed.
NEUGEBAUER: You should be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I`m not ashamed.
What a great trooper she is. Well, today, we learned Vice President
Joe Biden called that park ranger and told her he was proud of her. We all
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEN CUCCINELLI (R), VIRGINIA GUBERNATORIAL. CANDIDATE: I`m glad Ted
Cruz was here. That was a great win. You know, you get more Ted Cruzes in
there to back up Jim DeMint and you have less to worry about. You want to
-- you want to elect people you don`t have to lobby, sort of launch and
leave missiles, politically speaking. Ted Cruz is a good one and he`s a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Launch and leave missiles.
In the race to be governor -- Virginia`s next governor, Republican Ken
Cuccinelli, that was him, is embracing the man behind the government
shutdown, Tea Party poster Ted Cruz.
Well, the Texas senator will be in Virginia this weekend, this weekend
for a pair of appearances, alongside Cuccinelli who`s trailing Democrat
Terry McAuliffe in the polls.
But just yesterday, Cuccinelli called on Congress to reopen the
federal government, as well he should, since Virginia is home to a third --
the third highest number of federal employees and retirees in the country.
Something like 200,000 employees who work in Washington, some of them, and
all live in Virginia. But is Cuccinelli merely pandering?
Take a look at what Cuccinelli said back in 2006 when he was state
senator about shutting down the Virginia government over a budget fight
back in 2004.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CUCCINELLI: In my view, well, of course, in my view, we shouldn`t
have chickened out, but I`d have taken him right to the brink. I`d have
gone right over the brink.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, sound familiar?
Joining me right now are former Republican congressman from Virginia
Tom Davis and Democratic strategist Steve McMahon.
Tom, thanks so much for joining us. You`re sort of a centrist
Republican, highly educated, as we know. I think you went to Williams.
Here`s my question: what`s going on with Cuccinelli? Why would he, in
a close race, where the middle is the fighting ground, the turf to fight
over, would he bring in somebody so polarizing this week as Ted Cruz?
TOM DAVIS (R-VA), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: This was set for better or
for worse several months ago. It looked like a good idea at the time to
try to bring the turnout out as you get closer to Election Day. I don`t
think anybody at that point anticipated a government shutdown or that Ted
Cruz would be leading the charge on this.
But it`s not a happy circumstance right now in the governor`s race,
particularly for voters in northern Virginia. Even though he`s going into
Virginia and even though I think they`re speaking at a family foundation
dinner together, but it`s -- the optics are not good for federal workers
and not just workers but contractors.
MATTHEWS: Yes, and also people that actually make money selling meals
to federal employees and help them in every other way as suppliers of their
Let me go to Steve. One guy that didn`t know he was heading for this
I believe was Ted Cruz who in the summer began putting a hold on any
meeting between the House and Senate Budget Committees so they couldn`t get
their job done, we wouldn`t have appropriations, which would leave the
government wide open to a shutdown come October 1st. No appropriations
bill signed, no budget agreed to. All you have to do is kill one bill, the
And here he is coming along saying let`s kill the C.R. Didn`t anybody
see this mousetrap when he was setting it? I guess Cuccinelli didn`t see
him do it. But I think Ted Cruz is doing exactly what he`s been doing all
summer, running it up so he could be the troublemaker and the hero of the
STEVE MCMAHON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, he may be the hero of the
hard right, but going into Virginia this weekend might -- I think, look --
Cuccinelli was behind Terry McAuliffe, every poll has shown that for quite
a while now. He`s going to lose this race. But if he had any hope of
winning, he might have just lost it this weekend.
And Ted Cruz proved how narcissistic and selfish he is by going in.
He should have said, I can`t make it. Cuccinelli should have said, you
can`t come. If Cuccinelli wanted to send a message to the center of
Virginia where this election will ultimately be decided, he would have told
Ted Cruz he`s not coming, and he would have done so publicly.
MATTHEWS: What`s interesting, Tom, is that whereas North Carolina is
starting to notch a bit to the right again in terms of the state
university, I went to school there, and things like that, they seem to be
notching a bit to the right. Virginia seems to be moving slowly -- it`s
almost -- it`s not a blue state, but it`s definitely a purple state, and
moving toward a blue state.
What`s that all about? And what does that say about national
I was so taken with the fact that the state was too close to call in
2012 around 9:00 at night because that told me it was probably going to go
for Obama. But it certainly meant Ohio was going to go for Obama. It`s
right there at the center now, isn`t it, your state?
DAVIS: Well, and the demographic patterns are not pretty for
Republicans, because you have a lot of new people moving into the state, in
these urban areas, highly educated people, very multiethnic. At the end of
the day, this is not the group the party has been catering to. They have
got to recalibrate if they want to stay competitive in this state, or it`s
going to be going the way of California --
MATTHEWS: What is the face of Ted Cruz on national television leading
this kind of insurrection against the regular order? What`s that do to
your chance of positioning in the center?
DAVIS: Well, it probably doesn`t he, but I think, you know, Cruz
helps -- this is a low turnout race, this governors race. And Cruz does
help bring out that conservative turnout, particularly in rural areas,
people that are angry at the government. He helps to that extent, but you
have to understand that there is a countervailing feeling among federal
employees who are out of work, government contractors who can`t work under
these conditions in many cases that will bring an intensity to those areas
that Cuccinelli doesn`t need at this point.
MCMAHON: You know, Tom, the base of the party -- I`m sorry.
MATTHEWS: Steve, I`ve got to ask you a question. Imagine Ted Cruz
walking through a TSA security check at the airport. He still has to do
that. Imagine him walking past guys and women who are not getting paid but
forced to work as essential workers because it`s their duty to work. As
these days go on and weeks go on, perhaps, Ted Cruz has to go to the
airport from Texas, walk past people who know that this is the guy that`s
causing them not to get paid but forced to work.
MCMAHON: Yes, absolutely. He`s not going to be -- he`s not a popular
guy in his own caucus. And that`s the place probably where he`s most
popular. As you go farther and farther out with the exception of Tea Party
extremists, he`s not popular at all.
And for Ken Cuccinelli to think that the way to get to the middle and
the way to win a purple state, Virginia, and the way to get these centrist
voters to bring Ted Cruz in, he`s crazy. He`s just -- it`s just another
boneheaded move by a boneheaded candidate in a boneheaded campaign.
DAVIS: Chris, let me just say, Virginians probably blame both parties
on this, but Ted Cruz has become the face of this. And that`s the
difficulty, I think.
MCMAHON: That`s right. That`s exactly right.
MATTHEWS: OK. Well said. Thank you, Steve McMahon. Thank you, Tom
We`re going to be right back.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this:
When you`re out and about this weekend, I`d like you to pick up a copy
of "Tip and The Gipper: When Politics Worked." I`m asking you to do it,
get this brand-new book of mine and see from its many colorful tales of
these two political giants that the way it is now in Washington is not the
way it has to be.
I don`t think this current fight is the fault of both sides. I think
the hard right, the Tea Party and birther right is out to destroy the
presidency and the legacy of Barack Obama.
But I also think there`s something larger at stake here. The right of
the majority and the law we make to stand the test of time. There can be
only one winner in this fight, the side that believes in both self-
government by the majority and our democratic law.
The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land. You don`t compromise
on whether to enforce the law or not. You just do it and move on.
So, get a copy of my book. I`m asking because it`s exactly the lesson
of democratic government we need to study today and pass on especially
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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