November 4, 2013
Guest: Guy Cecil, Josh Marshall, John Heilemann, Michelle Goldberg, Aneesh
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Something borrowed.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews up in New York.
"Let Me Start" tonight with this. Call it a case of tea for two. Rand
Paul`s in big trouble, and is often is the case with politicians, he
refuses to admit it. It`s about plagiarism. Senator Paul has been exposed
for taking personal credit for words, indeed, large numbers of words, from
other sources. He wrote a book, but puts his name to words in the book,
more than 1,300 of them, that came from a Heritage Foundation report.
It took a search engine, perhaps, to discover this, but once discovered,
it`s the fact of the lift he has to defend, and he refuses to admit he even
did he did what he did, take credit for someone else`s words. I don`t know
why he won`t and doesn`t now simply admit that he or a staffer took other
people`s words and allowed the senator from Kentucky to take credit for
This is something you learn in high school. Why not remember the rules and
follow them? If you don`t (sic) quote something from another source, if
you don`t set off the words as borrowed, you`re taking credit for them
themselves, and that is unacceptable.
David Corn is Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones" magazine and an
MSNBC political analyst, and Josh Marshall is the founder of
Gentlemen,let`s get to the mounting evidence that Senator Paul has
plagiarized. Now Buzzfeed has discovered that this book, "Government
Bullies," it`s entitled, complete with Paul`s full-cover picture and his
name prominently on the top, contains a large section lifted verbatim from
a Heritage Foundation report.
Buzzfeed reports, quote, "The copied section, 1,318 words, is by far the
most significant instance reported so far of Paul borrowing language from
other published material."
Well, the Web site Buzzfeed went on to say that there is a link to the
Heritage report in the back of Paul`s book, but he obviously did not say
the words themselves were a direct lift, which would have been an open
admission of plagiarism.
From page 132 of Senator Paul`s book, quote -- "Government Bullies" --
quote, "This prosecution also reveals the risk of federalizing criminal
law. Observers have long warned against allowing the federal government to
encroach on the traditional state function of enacting and enforcing
general criminal laws. Here the federal government, through the Lacy (ph)
Act, claims to enforce foreign laws against foreign and U.S. citizens.
These regulations were not made by the U.S. Congress or by some executive
agency but by a foreign government with unfamiliar procedures."
Well, every one of those words, every word I just read to you from the
first to the last, appear in a 2003 case study from the Heritage Foundation
that you see on the screen right now. And just so you can visualize it,
these three highlighted pages from the book appear in Buzzfeed and show how
dense the copied passages are in Senator Paul`s book.
Well, let me go to David Corn on this. I guess it comes down to some
strange kind of -- not that there was a mistake made and has been made in a
number of other cases, where words have been taken down and used as his, by
a staffer, I assume. And he refuses to admit the obvious.
This isn`t about a battle between him and Maddow of our network or someone
-- Rachel Maddow or anyone else. It`s battle between him and objective
evidence built up now by, apparently, a search engine, which is, by the
way, used in -- they`re used in colleges, universities, good schools to
check for plagiarism.
And he has been caught. Why doesn`t he admit it?
DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, I think
that`s the question here. These things happen all the time. Obviously,
he`s one of many politicians who doesn`t write his own books and his own
speeches. People like you, me and Josh, we write our own books and our own
material, but politicians don`t. And so he had people cut and paste and
put things into books and speeches.
And all you have to do now is say, Oops, made a mistake, and we have new
protocols in my office, make sure this doesn`t happen again, and apologize
to the people whose work you lifted. It`s very easy to do this. The fact
that he is so, you know, stuck in his corner, back up, shows you, you know,
I think, a lot.
When I`ve met Rand Paul in the past, I`ve found him to be rather prickly,
and I think he`s really being super-prickly now. And he`s going to use
this to just burnish his Tea Party credentials by saying, Look, the media
is after me, Rachel Maddow is after me, I`m going to duel with Rachel or
whoever, and you know, score points with the Tea Party that way.
MATTHEWS: Let me go to Josh. We haven`t had you on in a while. Josh,
you`re sort of an intellectual, I`d say, putting it lightly. You know how
to source. You know how to write a doctorate, a monograph of any kind.
You know that what you do is you use footnotes. They`re called footnotes.
Or you can put a quote around it and say, I got this from a study by the
Heritage Foundation. It wouldn`t have hurt him a bit.
The book would have been just as good, or bad, as it was, if he just wrote,
Here`s something the Heritage Foundation came up with, and put it in direct
quotes, shine it up there, no problem.
But he in this case, put it right in his text under his name. He wrote it.
He didn`t. Your thoughts.
JOSH MARSHALL, TALKINGPOINTSMEMO: It`s exactly right. And I think, you
know, David`s point is really good, is that given the fact that we know
very few politicians write their own books, it would be very credible Rand
Paul, him to say, Listen, I apologize. I take the blame. I didn`t do this
myself. A staffer did it. He or she was sloppy, and move right on. And
that would be very credible because no one -- I don`t think anybody thinks
that Rand Paul actually did the research for this book.
But there`s this bigger issue with Rand Paul, and actually, the whole Paul
family, that they`ve got some real HR problems in the way they run their
MARSHALL: I mean, they keep coming up with people who plagiarize on their
behalf. You`ve got the thing with his dad about these -- you know, decade
of newsletters that apparently someone else wrote under his name and he
never knew anything about it. And --
MATTHEWS: You mean the racist stuff.
MARSHALL: Yes. Yes. And even with -- even with Rand Paul, there`s the
earlier book he wrote back in 2011, and it turns out the guy who ghost
wrote that one had this, like, white supremacist history.
MARSHALL: So, like, you know, you sort of -- it`s not that I think that
Rand Paul actually is going around plagiarizing, but he runs a pretty loose
operation. And it`s like if you elected Rand Paul president, you would
want the key job -- the key other person in his administration wouldn`t be
chief of staff or secretary or state or vice president, it`d be the person
who prevents him from inadvertently hiring racists and plagiarizers --
MARSHALL: -- that constantly get him in trouble.
MATTHEWS: Well, exactly one week ago, my colleague I mentioned before,
Rachel Maddow, broke this story when she pointed out that parts of Senator
Paul`s speech at Liberty University that day had been lifted verbatim from
the Wikipedia entry for the movie "Gattaca."
Let`s listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST, "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW": From Wikipedia, "Ethan
Hawke`s character," quote, "Assumes the identity of Jerome Morrow (ph), a
former swimming star with genetic profile second to none, who had been
injured in a car accident, leaving him paralyzed."
Hit it, Senator!
PAUL: He assumes the identify of Jerome Morrow, a world-class swimming
star (INAUDIBLE) genetic profile said to be secondary to none, but he`s
been paralyzed in a car accident.
MADDOW: This is weird right? He`s just up there reading Wikipedia off the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Senator Paul took aim at the people who`ve discovered his
plagiarism -- remember, hit this messenger -- when his real enemy is the
search engine. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: But I think I`m being unfairly targeted by a bunch of hacks and
haters. And I`m just not going to put up with people casting aspersions on
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, David Corn, I got a problem. The problem with search
engines is they`re like drone missiles. I mean, they come looking for you.
They know you`re there. They`ve got the words. They`ve got the -- the --
what do you call it, the parameters. They`ve got -- they know where you
And it seems to me that his problem -- he`s, like, pushing off, swatting
away what`s going to keep coming back at him. His words, the phrases he
uses, the wording used appeared elsewhere earlier. And that`s always a
CORN: Oh, I just like his defense that he`s against people who cast
aspersions upon him. Plagiarism is bad, Senator Paul! It`s gotten a lot
of people in trouble, and some people close to you in the past. And it`s
not a good thing. If you`re caught plagiarizing under your name, you`re
fairly aspersed, if that`s a word.
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s a new word.
CORN: You know, so --
MATTHEWS: You didn`t plagiarize that from anybody. Anyway --
CORN: No, I made that up myself! But for him to sort of get on his high
dudgeons here just shows that he doesn`t care. He doesn`t care about
facts, honor, dignity, respect, legitimacy, integrity. This is all about
turning it to his political advantage, and to attack the people, you know,
whether it`s the media or whether it`s people --
MATTHEWS: OK --
CORN: -- who are deemed to be progressives. That`s what helps you --
MATTHEWS: Josh --
CORN: -- with this Tea Party crowd.
MATTHEWS: Josh, jump in here. Was I wrong to too prematurely -- I guess
that`s overused -- "too prematurely" is redundant -- suggest that he`s the
nominee of the Republican Party? Is this the kind of thing that can hector
him, the way it did, the same charge, against -- against Vice President
Biden years ago?
MARSHALL: Yes, no, I think it -- I think it does. I think it`s a real
problem for him. And I think -- again, there is this larger issue that he
doesn`t -- when this -- something like this happens once, you say you got a
bad egg on staff, and you know -- and you let them go and whatever. It
happens again and again.
And what I think that suggests to people who follow this stuff closely is
he doesn`t really care. And that`s the kind of thing that I think will
hurt him, even if people don`t actually think he was there, you know, on
Wikipedia cutting and pasting for his speech.
And the thing -- but the other point is, for people who aren`t watching
that closely, if in a -- you know, in the Republican primary campaign in
2016, if he`s saying -- if one of his opponents is saying, you know, caught
plagiarizing 39 times, he can`t really come back and say, Well, I didn`t
plagiarize. I didn`t even write the book. It was that guy I hired, you
know, down from Bowling Green who was -- you know, that`s not going to cut
MATTHEWS: Yes. Anyway, Senator Rand Paul`s appropriated phrases are now
being uncovered in all sorts of speeches. This is the lead sentence, by
the way, on an AP article. Quote, "The ranks of America`s poor swelled to
almost one in six" -- the numbers, by the way, one in six, appear there --
"people this year, reaching a new high as long-term unemployment left
millions of Americans struggling and out of work."
And here`s Paul giving the response to President Obama`s State of the Union
address back in February. Let`s listen to the words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Under President Obama, the ranks of America`s poor have swelled to
almost one in six people. We are now at an all-time high in long-term
unemployment. Millions of Americans are struggling and out of work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, when you read the text of that -- it was a hand-out,
apparently, too -- I mean, one in six, the numbers appear exactly the same
way. I mean, if you were any kind of criminologist, you should say this
guy is taking stuff from that guy. And this isn`t just an act -- the
coincidence factor here, it would be one in zillion for these words to add
up the way they have and to follow each other the way they have.
CORN: It`s clear there`s a lot of sloppiness here. I mean, my teenage
daughters know that when you`re writing a paper, you don`t just lift things
off Wikipedia that may not even be true. And so whoever is doing this cut-
and-pasting, first line, grabbing something off AP, which is pretty non-
stylistic -- it`s pretty straightforward -- but at least, you know, my kids
know that you make a change of a word or two here or there, so your
teachers don`t have a case against you!
So whoever he`s hiring to do speeches --
MATTHEWS: That`s why you have a Thesaurus, a Thesaurus sitting right next
to your desk.
CORN: Well, no, no. Chris, you`re old school. You have it on your
MATTHEWS: OK, I am old school.
CORN: OK? But you know -- but he`s hiring sloppy people, people who are
not writing good speeches, they`re just lifting passages off Wikipedia.
And that also shows you that -- you know, that standards don`t seem to be
that high --
MATTHEWS: OK, well, I`ll tell you one thing --
CORN: -- in the Rand Paul universe.
MATTHEWS: Every once in a while, something really chortle-worthy happens
on this show. And this is not an exact case of plagiarism, but there`s a
certain imitation going on here. Senator Paul came up with what seemed
like a creative way to respond to critics the other day who are pointing
out his plagiarism.
Let`s watch and listen to his words and proposal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: You know, if duelling were legal in Kentucky, if they keep it up,
you know, it would be a duel challenge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Not even that was original! The "duel challenge" sounds a
little familiar, certainly to me! Let`s think back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ZELL MILLER (D), GEORGIA: I wish we -- I wish we lived in the day
where you could challenge a person to a duel!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Josh Marshall, I saved that little sugar plum for you. It seems
to me --
MARSHALL: I remember that.
MATTHEWS: -- that even when he gets into high dudgeon at somebody to say
(ph) and wants to really show his, Boy, am I ticked off here -- he is going
back to something he heard before from Zell Miller -- a real patriot, by
the way -- coming after me back at that 2004 convention.
He meant it. This guy`s imitating it. What do you make of this?
MARSHALL: You know, I really think there`s something in the -- in the --
in the Paul genealogy or something like that. Again, copying, you know,
people -- people write stuff in your name you don`t know about. There`s a
-- there`s a -- there`s a sloppiness, but something beyond sloppiness that
I only half jokingly think he inherited from his dad. So I don`t know.
And I do think this is a problem for him. I mean, it`s sort of -- it`s so
flagrant. I mean, how many have we talked about on the show, like, you
know, nine different examples? It usually takes, like, one or two to sink
But I think this is a problem for him. And it -- there`s something deeper
about it. He`s sloppy. He doesn`t seem to care that much the kind of
people he has working for him or whether they have any ethics or whether
MARSHALL: -- hate black people or whatever it is.
MATTHEWS: Well, whatever. I don`t think cut and paste is going to replace
peace and prosperity.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you so much, David Corn and Josh Marshall.
Coming up -- gentlemen (ph) -- how the Romney campaign may have tried to
sabotage a Chris Christie presidential run for 2016. Someone dumped their
private vetting of Christie into the laps or onto the laps of authors --
the authors of "Double Down: Game Change 2012." And that`s coming up next
with John Heilemann.
Also, what fall`s (ph) election results could tell us about 2016.
Christie`s poised to win big running as a moderate in blue New Jersey,
while Tea Party favorite Ken Cuccinelli is expected to go down bad in
purple Virginia. Will the right learn its lesson, or simply decide that
Cuccinelli wasn`t right-wing enough?
And even with all the problems with the health care rollout, do you want
the guy who`s giving people health care or the one who isn`t even trying?
Remember, the Republican plan is no plan at all.
And Ann Coulter says it`s not the right that`s pushing the birther theory,
it`s someone else. Huh? We`ll got the videotape.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: New York senator Chuck Schumer has his candidate for president
next time around. Here he goes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: 2016 is Hillary`s time! Run, Hillary,
run! If you run, you`ll win and we`ll all win!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s Schumer out in Iowa urging Hillary Clinton to run
Well, Clinton`s office released a statement Sunday saying, "Senator Schumer
is an old colleague and even older friend, and what he said about her is
very flattering. Ultimately, though, this is a very personal decision that
she hasn`t made. "
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. The authors of "Game Change" are out
with a new book about the 2012 campaign. It`s called "Double Down." It`s
by Mark Halperin, of course, and John Heilemann.
It`s already produced some major headlines, including how senior aides to
President Obama considered replacing Vice President Joe Biden on the 2012
ticket with Hillary Clinton.
But perhaps some of the most consequential reporting was on New Jersey
governor Chris Christie, who was vetted as a potential VP candidate by the
Romney team. It did not go well.
Quote, "The list of questions Beth Myers, who was heading the search, and
her team had for Christie was extensive and troubling. More than once,
Myers reported back that Trenton`s response was, in effect, Why do we need
to give you that piece of information? Myers told her team, We have to
assume if they`re not answering, it`s because the answer is bad. Surveying
the sum and substance of what the team was finding, Ted Newton (ph),
another member of the search team, old his colleagues, If Christie had been
in the nomination fight against us" -- meaning against Romney -- "we would
have destroyed him. He wouldn`t be able to run for governor again. When
you look below the surface, Newton said, it`s not pretty."
John Heilemann joins me now, along with Howard Fineman, editorial director
for the HuffingtonPost.
Congratulations, John. A couple things that are grabbing me, but first, I
got to have a -- I got to deliver this funny quote you have in the book
from Senator John McCain on why he endorsed Mitt Romney and not Rick
Quote -- remember this forever -- "The choice in the Republican Party has
come down to the dog on roof guy or the man on dog guy. I`m with the dog
on roof guy."
MATTHEWS: You can`t beat that stuff. I just bumped into Senator McCain,
and I have to tell him -- I did tell him that`s one of the great lines I`ve
Now to the serious stuff. Mr. Heilemann, I`ve got to jump ahead of the
JOHN HEILEMANN, "NEW YORK" MAGAZINE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: OK.
MATTHEWS: Was getting rid of Joe Biden and putting Hillary Clinton on the
ticket -- I mean this literally -- a live option -- and you know what that
means, a considered real possibility -- or was it not?
HEILEMANN: Well, look, Chris, when we reported the book -- and it has been
confirmed now by a wide variety of people in the Obama inner circle -- was
that they studied the matter, which is to say the chief of staff, Bill
Daley, said, We need to look at all options. The president`s political
standing is sufficiently bad -- this is in the fall of 2011 -- that we need
to examine this. It would be a dereliction of duty not to do the research.
So they did polling, they did focus groups to try to study, would Hillary
Clinton`s addition to the ticket make a material difference? As it turned
out, the answer to that question, one they looked at the polling and the
other research they did -- the answer no.
And so it was never considered in the sense that they had -- the initial
HEILEMANN: -- proved that it wouldn`t -- that it wouldn`t have moved the
needle, but --
MATTHEWS: But this --
HEILEMANN: -- there was a period of time --
MATTHEWS: But if you`re Joe Biden --
HEILEMANN: There was a period of time --
MATTHEWS: If you`re Joe Biden --
HEILEMANN: -- where they looked at it in a way that they`ve denied
always ever doing before.
MATTHEWS: Well, in other words, if you`re Joe Biden, they -- wait a
minute, they hung me out to see if I would pass muster with focus groups
and polling groups, who -- by the way, did they approve this, the campaign
people, to spend the money on a poll and spend the money on focus groups?
Did they actually do it or -- do you know that for a fact?
HEILEMANN: The money was spent by the -- by the Obama reelect. And so --
and it had -- it was approved at the highest levels, yes.
MATTHEWS: OK. And so, if you were Joe Biden, how would you react -- if
you were Joe Biden, how would you react to the fact they tested you whether
to keep you on?
HEILEMANN: Well --
MATTHEWS: Not just -- it wasn`t loyalty. It was, we tested you and you
did pretty good, so we`re going to keep you.
HEILEMANN: Joe Biden was, in fact, incredibly sensitive to the rumors that
had been around, that had been kind of idle speculation and gossip among
people for the first two-and-a-half years of the administration.
He didn`t like that talk even when it was just loose talk in the cable
world. I don`t believe that until just this last week that he knew that he
actually was tested. And I can`t imagine that he`s taking it particularly
MATTHEWS: I -- and, by the way, John -- or, Howard, you were out there
with him today.
HOWARD FINEMAN, NBC CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
MATTHEWS: Did you see any evidence that he`s in love with the president
today or he`s a little ticked or he`s pouting or anything like that?
FINEMAN: No. No, I didn`t. He was out campaigning for Terry McAuliffe
out in the outer suburbs of Virginia. And I went to Annandale to see -- to
see the vice president on the campaign trail.
And it struck me that he didn`t mention Barack Obama. He didn`t mention
the president of the United States. He didn`t mention any accomplishments
of the administration. It was as though he was a lone figure on his own.
And Joe Biden talked all about his middle-class upbringing, how he bonded
with Terry McAuliffe because he`d been at Syracuse and Terry grew up in
Syracuse. It was vintage Joe Biden. But I couldn`t help but thinking that
Joe Biden, I think reading between the lines of John and Mark`s excellent
book -- and I have read it all -- it`s fantastic -- that I think Joe Biden
was trying to show them how loyal he`d been and what a good relationship
he, Joe Biden, had with the president.
FINEMAN: There`s plenty of evidence of that in here. And yet the
president`s aides were behind his back trying to find out whether they
should dump him or not.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I think this is going to be a problem down the road.
FINEMAN: I think it`s a problem.
MATTHEWS: I will get to it later in F-block tonight. I got a comment
about what Biden is up to.
Anyway, John Heilemann, in "Double Down," this great new book, you write
that some of Vice President Biden`s actions in the run-up to 2012 were
annoying the people at the White House -- quote -- "Biden wanted to expand
his network, needed to really. While he was campaigning for Obama, he
thought he should meet with some people, new people, stroke some donors,
strike up some fresh relationships."
You seem to be seeing -- portraying in your reporting here that Biden`s
still on that trajectory of running for president.
MATTHEWS: Everybody figures Hillary Clinton is probably going to run. We
don`t -- Hillary Clinton is probably going to run. We don`t know for sure.
But it seems to me he`s going to start making more moves.
He`s not -- Gene McCarthy once said it`s easier to run for president than
it is to stop running. Do you think Joe Biden has stopped running for
HEILEMANN: I don`t think Joe Biden knows how to do anything but run for
political office. He`s all been doing since early -- since 1972.
MATTHEWS: Well, there`s only one left.
HEILEMANN: And I think, you know, look, he`s always kept it on the table,
partly as a matter of wanting to maintain his political standing in
Washington, because he felt like, if he wasn`t ever going to run again,
people would write him off as a lame duck.
But I think if this period of time that we report on in the book here at
the end of 2011, early 2012, he was looking around saying to himself, look,
I don`t really know -- I don`t have a donor network. I don`t have a
massive political machine behind me. I have never had that.
HEILEMANN: And if I`m going to run for president in four years` time, I`m
going to need to start developing that.
The Obama people`s attitude toward that was this reelection is only about
Barack Obama. You won`t have a political future, Joe Biden, if we don`t
HEILEMANN: And so you need to focus on -- there are no side deals here.
HEILEMANN: You need to focus just on --
HEILEMANN: -- what gets the president reelected.
MATTHEWS: I have a lot of theories about Biden. I think he`s still
running for president. I think he is going to decide long before Hillary
decides. That means they may go at it.
Anyway, Mitt Romney was asked on "Meet the Press" this weekend about what
you reported in "Double Down." Here he is responding to your great
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "MEET THE PRESS WITH DAVID GREGORY")
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know the -- the vetting
people who went through that analysis and put together their report laid
everything out, but, frankly, there was nothing they found that wasn`t
already part of the public record and that hadn`t already been dealt with
effectively by Chris Christie. So, there was nothing new there.
And Chris, by the way, Chris could easily become our nominee and save our
party and help get this nation on the right track again. They don`t come
better than Chris Christie.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: John, don`t you love lead time? From the time you guys got your
stuff in the book -- Howard knows how this works.
By the time you got all that stuff you got about his vetting failures in
the book, this guy has seen Christie rise in the polls. He is being very
careful. He seems to really be pushing him for president, where his staff
was dumping on him. How do you explain the dichotomy, except the passage
of months between those interviews and the one by -- by David Gregory on
HEILEMANN: Well, I think Mitt Romney and Chris Christie were personally on
But I think it is the -- the fact, as we report in the book with extensive
language directly taken from the final vetting report, that there were many
problems in Chris Christie -- in the so-called public record, things that
like were in the public record, but then most people don`t know, like the
fact that Chris Christie was a lobbyist at one point for the Securities
Industry Association when it was headed by Bernie Madoff.
That was a public fact, but not known by almost anybody in national
politics. But then there were a series of questions they asked Chris
Christie, things about his brother`s lawsuit with the SEC, things about his
household help, things about his help -- his health, and things about Chris
Christie`s other lobbying clients that Christie never answered to the
They put that down in the vetting report. They gave it to Romney and said
here are the unanswered questions. We need more information if this
selection is to go forward.
HEILEMANN: And the day after he got that report, Romney pulled the plug on
Chris Christie. Those are the facts.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, I`m not sure yet. I think there`s nothing explosive
in there, but it may be right.
MATTHEWS: Howard, does it shock you that he may have overused his expense
account and spent too much on food and drink at hotels and stuff like that?
It didn`t shock me.
FINEMAN: No. It doesn`t --
FINEMAN: I will tell you what`s amazing, though. And it`s a tribute to
the reporting by my friends here.
The -- they also say that the report raised questions for the vetters about
Christie`s relationship with a top female deputy who accompanied him on
many of the trips. That`s a quote from page 352 of the book, a page that
I`m sure Chris Christie has memorized at this point.
MATTHEWS: John Heilemann, do you want to --
FINEMAN: That`s pretty remarkable. That`s pretty remarkable. That`s
MATTHEWS: John, any further comment or information along those lines,
since you`re looking very glum that Howard has reported this?
HEILEMANN: No. I`m not looking glum at all.
It`s -- it`s -- we reported it in the book. And we stand right by it. The
vetters were concerned about it. It has actually been something that has
been raised in -- in the public sphere before, again, low below the radar.
HEILEMANN: But Christie has actually been forced to respond to that
publicly in the past. And they were -- but they were, in fact, concerned
MATTHEWS: And what page is that, Howard?
MATTHEWS: You can save your money. Just kidding.
MATTHEWS: You got to read the whole book.
FINEMAN: It`s great. It`s fantastic
MATTHEWS: I`m sure you got to put it in context. Anyway --
FINEMAN: The book is fantastic.
MATTHEWS: Of course it is.
Heilemann, you never miss. Two for two.
HEILEMANN: Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: John Heilemann and Mark Halperin.
And Howard Fineman, an excellent commentator on the book.
Up next, Ann Coulter says it`s not the right wing that is pushing the
birther lie. Well, we are going to show you who it is.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL and now for the "Sideshow."
Did you catch "Real Time" on Friday? Well, one of Bill Maher`s guests, Ann
Coulter, questioned who was really pushing accusations that President Obama
wasn`t born in this country and was somehow illegitimately elected? Well,
the phrase for such people is of course birthers. They include members of
Congress, of course, people like Steve Stockman of Texas, who recently said
-- quote -- "One of the things I always questioned was the documentation of
the president, whether that was fraudulent."
The birther king, of course, is Donald Trump, but there are others.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: If the state of Hawaii says, this is official,
he was born in Hawaii on this date, here it is, why do you deny that?
DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & CEO, TRUMP HOTELS & CASINO RESORTS: A lot of
people do not think it was an authentic certificate.
JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: You don`t still
question that he was born in the United States, do you?
TRUMP: I had no idea.
KARL: Even at this point?
TRUMP: There are -- well, I don`t know. Was there a birth certificate?
You tell me. You know, some people say that wasn`t his birth certificate.
I`m saying, I don`t know. Nobody knows. And you don`t know either,
Jonathan. You`re a smart guy. You don`t know either.
REP. TED POE (R), TEXAS: The president has not produced a birth
certificate. He`s produced what is a birth announcement from the state of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
REP. JEFF DUNCAN (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Let`s go back and revisit some of
these things, because Americans have questions about not only the IRS
scandal, but also about the president`s validity.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Was he a legitimately elected president of the United States?
REP. BLAKE FARENTHOLD (R), TEXAS: I wasn`t in Congress to determine that.
That was determined before I got here.
REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: It would have been awfully hard to fraudulently
file the birth notice of Barack Obama being born in Hawaii. And that
doesn`t mean that there aren`t some other explanations on how they might
have announced that by telegram from Kenya. The list goes on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: From Kenya?
Anyway, their issue for the president -- or with the president is not his
policies, obviously. It`s not what he believes or what he has done. Their
objection, the birthers, is about the very legitimacy of our country`s
first African-American president. And they should be called out for it.
One poll from earlier this year found that 64 percent, two-thirds of
Republicans believe the president is hiding information about his birth.
And that is scary.
Up next: what tomorrow`s election results in Virginia and New Jersey will
tell us about the 2016 presidential race.
And later: Republicans aren`t even pretending anymore that they want to
provide people with health insurance. At least Democrats are trying.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger.
The Senate narrowly advances bill banning discrimination against gays in
the workplace. The vote of 61-30 prevents a filibuster and allows the
Senate to consider this measure later on in the week.
Former Republican Governor Charlie Crist made it official today. He
launched a campaign to run for governor again, this time as a Democrat.
President Obama honored the Chicago Blackhawks at the White House for their
Stanley Cup win. He also called the Boston Red Sox to congratulate them on
winning the World Series -- back to HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You have seen an extreme
faction of the Republican Party that has shown again and again and again
that they`re willing to hijack the entire party and the country and the
economy and grind progress to an absolute halt if they don`t get 100
percent of what they want.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was, of course, President Obama campaigning, this time with Democrat
Terry McAuliffe out in Virginia just yesterday.
There is no greater example, of course, of the civil war within the
Republican Party than the two national political contests this year, in
fact, this week in 2013, the race for governor of New Jersey and Virginia.
Voters in those states cast their ballots, as I said, tomorrow.
Well, the frustrations in the Republican Party can be seen through the
prism of the campaign in Virginia, where Democrat Terry McAuliffe has had a
consistent lead in the polls over Ken Cuccinelli, his extreme right-wing
Republican opponent. Cuccinelli`s an uncompromising ideologue whose
aggressive rhetoric and social views are out of step with most Virginians,
according to the polling.
But in the deep blue state of New Jersey, different story. All signs are
pointing to an historic landslide for a different kind of Republican than
Cuccinelli, the moderate and universally respected Chris Christie.
How can two starkly different kinds of Republicans coexist in today`s GOP?
Well, Guy Cecil is the executive director of the Democratic Senatorial
Campaign Committee, the group responsible for expanding the Democrats`
majority in the U.S. Senate. And Michelle Goldberg is a contributor to
I want to start with Cecil.
Guy, looking across the aisle right now, tell me what it`s like to face the
possibility that Christie could win really big tomorrow and possibly begin
to -- a resurgence of establishment Republicanism, in other words, non-
GUY CECIL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DEMOCRATIC SENATORIAL CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE:
Well, I can tell you that, in Senate races around the country, that just
hasn`t been the case. In fact --
MATTHEWS: Well, talk about New Jersey. Don`t change the subject. Talk
about New Jersey.
MATTHEWS: What will be the impact if you get a 65 percent or something win
by Christie and he begins to look like the image of the Republican Party?
Is that important -- ought to be important or not?
CECIL: I think the impact is zero, because when you look at where a lot of
races are happening beyond that, this does not --
MATTHEWS: What are you -- wait a minute. Stop right here.
MATTHEWS: If you`re just going to flack, Guy, you`re of no value to this
You`re telling me that a victory in a big headline-winning, headline
dominating a race in New Jersey doesn`t matter? It just doesn`t matter?
CECIL: That`s exactly what I`m telling you, because, look, there`s --
MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s move on to the other guest.
CECIL: Wait, Chris.
MATTHEWS: You are no value to this show if you`re going to talk like that.
That is insane talk.
CECIL: Chris, look at the candidates that are running around -- hold on
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about the victory of McAuliffe. No, let`s talk about
the victory of McAuliffe in Virginia. What is the significance of that
race for the Democrats winning in Virginia next time?
CECIL: Here`s why I think that these races --
MATTHEWS: No, talk about the Virginia race.
CECIL: Sure. I will talk about either one.
MATTHEWS: No, you haven`t talked about either yet. Let`s get going here.
You`re wasting my time with flackery.
MATTHEWS: I don`t want a Democratic flack who can`t think beyond his job
CECIL: If Chris Christie were the candidate that was running in any of
these races, then they would have an impact on races around the country.
But he`s not.
The people that are running on the Republican ticket are not Chris
Christie. They are Tea Party conservatives --
CECIL: -- in Senate primary, gubernatorial primary.
The reason why it has no impact is because Mitch McConnell is not Chris
Christie. Tom Cotton in Arkansas is not Chris Christie.
MATTHEWS: These are primary challengers. Yes.
MATTHEWS: But what about the incumbents?
MATTHEWS: Suppose they beat off these guys? Supposed they defeat the
challengers? What`s that tell you?
CECIL: Well, but, look, the fact of the matter is that in cases where
supposed moderates or establishment Republicans won primaries, they went on
to lose the general election because the Tea Party pushed them to the
Senator Tommy Thompson is not being interviewed today. He was supposedly a
moderate in Wisconsin. Why did he lose? He lost because he was against
two Tea Party Republicans. And in his first Tea Party speech, you know
what he said?
MATTHEWS: Well, let me just tell you -- let me just tell you, the facts
are -- that -- that -- I`m sorry, Guy. The facts don`t add -- John McCain
defeated J.D. Hayworth from the right, and he won comfortably in the
general. Orrin Hatch did the same thing in Utah.
There are countless examples of people who have been center-right or even
conservative who have knocked off right-wing challengers and gone on to win
handily in those red states. Why do you keep saying stuff that isn`t true?
CECIL: That`s because they ran against inferior Democrats.
MATTHEWS: Well, OK.
CECIL: And they`re not running against inferior Democrats time.
MATTHEWS: OK. So, all your candidates are strong Democratic candidates
CECIL: I think, if you look at the top 10 Senate races around the country,
there is no question that the Senate Democratic candidates are better.
MATTHEWS: So you`re going to carry Mississippi if Thad Cochran withstands
a primary challenge?
CECIL: No, but I wouldn`t count Mississippi as a competitive race this
CECIL: I think we do have a chance to win in Kentucky. I think we do have
a chance to win in Georgia, both places where there are competitive
MATTHEWS: Let me go back to an earlier question of mine.
What is the significance of a big victory, front page victory Wednesday
morning of Chris Christie?
CECIL: I think the only -- if you`re going to force me to give you one
example, the only thing where it helps is that it might come down to New
York donors who are worried that the Republican Party is moving too far to
the right. And that`s why you see Mitch McConnell and others trying to
MATTHEWS: OK. Why is Christie doing so well in the South Carolina polling
CECIL: I`m sorry?
MATTHEWS: Why is Christie doing so well in the South Carolina primary
polling right now?
CECIL: Well, in part because we`re a year and a half out from election.
MATTHEWS: Right. Keep going.
CECIL: I`m pretty sure that I would guarantee today, Chris Christie will
not win the South Carolina primary.
MATTHEWS: Yes. But why is he doing well now? That`s what we`re talking
CECIL: Because no one is paying attention to the presidential election in
MATTHEWS: OK. Let me go to Michelle Goldberg for some objective analysis
here. I`m serious. This is really unfortunate that you come on the show
to do this. This is what I want -- I want thinking people on the show who
give honest answers.
By the way, target the question with the answer. Don`t ignore the
Let`s go to Michelle here.
Michelle, I want to talk to you about Chris Christie and this other one.
Let`s take them both together. It`s a split screen. Probably McAuliffe
will win. I think he`d win big, but he could win by four or five and
that`s a big victory in Virginia. And I think Christie will win with 60 or
What`s it mean when you put those pictures together?
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, THE NATION: Well, I think we`ve always known that kind
of a charismatic, reasonable seeming center right Republican governor is a
very popular figure the this country, you know? And kind of that`s how you
win big races. That`s how you potentially could win the presidency.
GOLDBERG: Yes, and I think he`ll be a very formidable candidate for 2016.
But whether he will kind of represent the zeitgeist of Republican Party I
think is a very different sort of thing. And there you see still see every
couple of years we all get on TV and we all say this defeat will this
finally break the spell of right wing radicalism in the Republican Party?
And the answer is always no. And the answer is still no after the Virginia
MATTHEWS: Who is the last right wing Republican to win the nomination for
GOLDBERG: Well, Ronald Reagan.
MATTHEWS: Yes. So, that hasn`t been so successful. You said it can`t
break the strike.
I think Romney was probably the most moderate of all Republicans running
last time. He wasn`t my cup of tea for other reasons, but he wasn`t the
most radical. And certainly, George W. did not run as a right winger at
all, and certainly not dole, or McCain. So, I don`t think there`s been a
run of right wingers winning the nomination.
GOLDBERG: No, but there`s been a run of right wingers winning Senate
MATTHEWS: Yes, sure.
GOLDBERG: I think you`re going to kind of continue to see that. What
happens is that usually, the money and the establishment triumphs in the
Republican presidential campaigns, and then every couple of decades --
MATTHEWS: Quickly, what`s the biggest headline Virginia or New Jersey
tomorrow? What`s the biggest headline nationwide?
GOLDBERG: I think Virginia just because New Jersey was predictable.
GOLDBERG: The Republicans losing a state like Virginia is much more of a
"man bites dog" kind of story.
MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you, Guy Cecil.
And thank you, Michelle Goldberg.
GOLDBERG: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Don`t forget Election Day is tomorrow in those states. Polls
close in Virginia very early 7:00 Eastern Time. You got to get there
And HARDBALL will be quick with the results. We`ll probably have the
results here. We`ll certainly have the exit polling analysis at our 7:00
show tomorrow night, 7:00 Eastern, with the first results coming in. And
we`ll have them. Probably have a final prediction -- in fact, final
results by 8:00.
Up next, the rollout of President Obama`s health care plan has its
problems, but at least the Democrats are trying. They`ve got a plan. The
Republicans don`t. Never forget that difference.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: One other race we`ll be watching tomorrow is the special
Republican primary down in Alabama`s first congressional district. It pits
an establishment candidate backed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce against a
Tea Party birther. Attorney Bradley Byrne is a former officeholder who is
pro-business and is seen as pro-business, says President Obama was actually
born here in the United States. Wow.
And while the more conservative Dean Young sings the praises of Ted Cruz,
says homosexuality is always wrong and says the president is from Kenya.
This race is emblematic, of course, of the ideological struggle within the
Republican Party even down there.
HARDBALL back after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BILL PASCRELL (D), NEW JERSEY: What are you going to do about the
approximately 17 million children with pre-existing conditions who can no
longer be denied health insurance coverage? You want to go back. You want
to say you are no longer covered any longer.
You`re going to tell the parents of those kids? Which one of you is going
to stand up and tell the parents of those children the game is over, sorry,
that was just a phase?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will the gentleman yield?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
That was Democratic Congressman Bill Pascrell of New Jersey last week
criticizing his Republican colleagues for their fixation with killing the
Affordable Care Act.
As he pointed out in that clip you just saw, the GOP has been blinded by an
obsession to destroy the president`s health care law. When it comes to an
alternative, they have none.
Despite its rollout problems, it`s my view that the president and the
Democrats at least want to help Americans get health care. Republicans
aren`t even trying, aren`t even saying they`re trying.
As Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Nicholas Kristof notes in yesterday`s
"New York Times", the GOP`s "kill Obamacare" mantra is politics at its
He writes, quote, "So to those Republicans protesting Obamacare, you`re
right there are appalling problems with the Web site. But they will be
fixed. Likely, you`re right that President Obama misled voters when he
said that everyone could keep their insurance plan because that`s now
manifestly not true, although they will be able to get new and better
plans, sometimes for less money. But how about showing empathy also for a
far larger and more desperate group, the nearly 50 million Americans
without insurance who will play health care roulette, Russian roulette, as
a result? FamiliesUSA, a health care advocacy group that supports
Obamacare, estimated last year that an American dies every 20 minutes for
lack of insurance."
Joy Reid is an MSNBC contributor and managing editor at "The Grio". And
Aneesh Chopra was a health care policy adviser for President Obama when he
served as the White House chief technology officer.
Let me ask you, Joy -- what is missing in mainstream journalism that all it
can do is involve itself with the screw-ups of the rollout? Now, that`s
news. There`s no doubt it`s front-page news. But there needs to be, it
seems to me, some context. One party`s trying something, the other party`s
And yet, the other party gets quoted as if they`re somehow referees in a
game in which, well, they`re actually playing in the game. They`re not.
They are not competing to provide a better health care plan.
What are they? I don`t know what they are, but they`re standing on the
sidelines chuckling, enjoying every mishap without any requirement on their
part to say, you know, we would have done this. They haven`t done it.
JOY REID, THE GRIO: No, and Chris, I think you`re absolutely right. I
mean, as long as the story is going to be whether or not, you know,
journalists can logon to the Web site, who don`t need insurance, by the
way, who already have insurance -- as long as that`s the narrative, I think
Republicans can get away with precisely that, because what the Republican
Party has been relentlessly saying through 40-something votes in the House
now is we have to repeal --
MATTHEWS: And 50 years.
REID: And for 50 years, but what they`re saying currently is we have to
repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but necessary never go to the
next step, which is replace it with what? Republicans offered no
alternative during the whole year-long Sturm und Drang over whether we were
going to pass health care reform.
There was not a single, concrete proposal other than vague things about
buying across state lines, because Republicans don`t want to admit that the
answer to the question you asked, which is what are they going to do, what
would they do for the 40 million to 50 million Americans who can`t afford
health insurance -- the answer to that is nothing.
And you have to understand that people who don`t have health insurance
don`t have it because they either have a job that`s part-time or that pays
low wages and doesn`t pay them enough to give them health insurance, or
because they`re right in the bubble. They`re working class people who are
working hard every day but simply can`t afford it or don`t qualify for it,
or previously didn`t qualify for Medicaid.
Fixing that problem has been a 100-year-plus project, but only of one
party. And that`s the problem here.
MATTHEWS: Aneesh, you worked on this project. You worked generally in the
I want to ask you about something that has nothing to do with work, and
we`ll get to that in a minute. It seems there`s a lot of emotion with this
issue, and the strange emotion I want you to decipher right now is the
emotion of the Republicans. I don`t think they`re upset that the plan`s
not working. They were hoping it wouldn`t work.
It`s the anger that it`s being tried. There`s some free-floating anger out
there that one party has tried to do something that they don`t believe
should have ever been tried. They do see it, even though it`s all market
driven and it`s the most conservative of plans, the employer mandate, the
employee mandate, everything about it is Heritage Foundation from bottom up
and Romneycare from the top. And yet, it really bugs them that the other
party is doing something to help the 40 million uninsured and they are not
interested in doing that. That`s what terrorizes them.
ANEESH CHOPRA, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF TECH. OFFICER: Well, I would --
let me just say a little bit of history on this. It was Senator Olympia
Snowe that cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate Finance Committee.
CHOPRA: So, the framework that is -- Republican, right. So, many of the
ideas were negotiated during that time that did have a lot of input from
both sides, and if she hadn`t made that important and courageous vote, we
wouldn`t be where we are.
And so, there are plenty of folks on both sides of the aisle that want to
move forward. The most recent narrative, obviously, has been about the 40-
some-odd votes to repeal, but I will say this, in the investment community
and a bunch of the CEOs and entrepreneurs and innovators that I`ve been
dealing with, they`re in the same frame of mind that thanks to the high-
tech act and the Affordable Care Act, there`s never been a better time to
be an innovator in health care than right now.
The opening up of data, the shift in payment models towards paying for
outcomes. So, these are ideas that are full market that are going to solve
MATTHEWS: By the way, when do you think we`ll be on the other side of
this, the other side of the real problems? When will that be for you guys?
CHOPRA: I know Jeff Zients. I worked with Jeff Zients. I worked with
Jeff Zients before we both --
MATTHEWS: He`s in charge now.
CHOPRA: He is -- he`s put a date out on end of November. I`m very
confident we`re going to hit that date. Jeff has a relentless focus on
execution. He will get the job done and I`m hopeful this will be a
MATTHEWS: You heard it here.
Thank you, Joy, as always.
And thank you, Aneesh, for joining us.
We`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: "Let Me Finish" tonight with this:
I love the stuff that John Heilemann and Mark Halperin have dug up in their
new book, "Double Down". There it is.
One item that grabbed was how Joe Biden, the vice president, has pursued
and he`s pursuing his political ambition, that he`s still running for
president. I believe they`re on to something here.
While former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as we all know, is a good
bet to be a candidate in 2016, she`s not said she will be, and that leaves
open two realities for Mr. Biden. One, of course, she won`t run. I don`t
think that`s going to happen.
Two, she`ll announce rather late in the game, perhaps closer to 2015 than
you`d expect for other candidates in the race. That creates a situation
for Mr. Biden. That means Mr. Biden will need to go first. He will need
to decide on a run, actually get into a run before getting a definitive
statement of intention from Secretary Clinton.
Look, it`s this simple. He has to move if he ever wants to be president.
He can`t wait for her to announce she`s running and only then jump into the
race. It would look terrible.
On the other hand, he can`t refuse to run until she says she isn`t, because
as I said, that could be very late in the game, too late for him to make a
real run of it.
So, here`s the scenario -- Biden runs for president before Hillary Clinton
makes any announcement, and this could be very interesting and great for
HARDBALL. It could also be fun.
And for all those who say Biden can`t beat Hillary, I say it doesn`t
matter. We don`t pick our presidents, remember, they pick themselves. All
we have to do or get to do is to decide among those who have made that
decision to become candidates.
And to all those who say Joe Biden would be humiliated by running against
Hillary, let me suggest the equal humiliation of not even taking on the
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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