May 7, 2014
GuestS: Nia-Malika Henderson, Brian Katulis, Amy Klobuchar, Susan Collins,
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Monica talks.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Philadelphia.
"Let Me Start" with Monica Lewinsky`s new tell-all about her time with Bill
Clinton. I`ve read the story. It`s really about her, not so much the
Clintons. It`s about what happened to her in the years since the world
learned of her sexual involvement with a married American president. Will
this encourage the Republicans seeking to undermine Hillary Clinton to once
more charge sexual impropriety, to go like Henry V`s band of brothers,
charging once more into the breach? If so, they may be offering what the
American people never like to see, a rerun.
But there`s also a tough part of this article that I read today by Monica
Lewinsky. She says the Clintons don`t care what happened to her, have no
regard for what`s become of her, what her future looks like. She hits them
hard on how they tried to destroy her in order to free themselves from the
And this is the tough part of the new Lewinsky narrative that Republicans
could use well between now and 2016. It`s this charge how she makes of how
the Clintons, before the DNA evidence was obtained -- recall the notorious
blue dress -- tried making her a scapegoat, someone Clinton had no personal
connection with, some stranger making false claims, "that woman," as Bill
Clinton referred to her in his infamous disclaimer, a "loony tune," as
Hillary Clinton dismissed her, as a stalker, as a Clinton aide was
Well, tonight, we discuss whether Republicans are the stupid party and go
after the story with the same old piety or they`re the shrewd party and hit
hard where they might make a charge that could sting, for the callous
treatment of a young woman who got in the Clintons` political way.
Howard Fineman is an MSNBC political analyst the Huffington Post Media
Group`s editorial director, and Nia-Malika Henderson is a national
political reporter at "The Washington Post."
Howard, how do you see this? Did you read the article? When you read it -
HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST MEDIA GROUP, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
MATTHEWS: -- all the way through --
MATTHEWS: -- you have to look, I think, as a political analyst, as you
do and I do, and see where there might be ammo. Where I see it, it`s not
again whether Bill Clinton did something wrong -- we all know that -- or
whether Hillary Clinton was hurt by it and embarrassed by it and all that -
- we all know that, and actually, how she`s prevailed against it herself --
but this whole question of whether the Clintons were just too damned
callous in the way they tried to make her into a stalker, as one aide,
Sidney Blumenthal called her, a stalker. And of course, Hillary Clinton
called her a loony tune. Bill Clinton said "that woman" and almost didn`t
mention her name.
That attempt to minimize the humanity of a person in order to get by a
problem politically. That might sting. Your thoughts.
FINEMAN: Well, Chris, I agree with you about the piece. I read the entire
piece, and the bombshells are buried in the bottom, at the end, where I
think Monica Lewinsky allows herself to unburden herself a bit of the
bitterness that she has about the campaign that was run against her.
Chris, I lived through all this. I was at "Newsweek" at the time writing
about it. Mike Isikoff was our lead reporter on the story. I saw it
moment by moment from the inside. And I also saw the campaign that was run
against Monica Lewinsky.
As she says in the piece, this was a consensual relationship, and then she
was destroyed to the extent possible by the Clinton administration. She
says in the piece, you know, I was the unstable stalker, a phrase
disseminated by the Clinton White House. She goes on to say, The Clinton
administration, among others, were able to brand me, and that brand stuck.
And as you say, she says they don`t care about her fate.
I think that`s -- I think that`s tough stuff. I think it goes to the
question of what kind of people the Clintons are as political leaders, if
they`re too ruthless by half, if they use people, too -- even by the
standards of politics, too -- too harshly. And really, ironically, the
danger to Hillary Clinton may be as much among feminists, maybe as much on
the left as it could be on the right, if you want to look at Monica
Lewinsky and the way she was treated by the Clintons in those times. And
as I say, I lived through them all and saw them.
MATTHEWS: You know, Nia, it seems to me the background, the famous word,
favorite word is leitmotif -- the background has shifted. Back in the
`90s, it was still sort of sex is bad, if you catch (INAUDIBLE) or someone
involved with it, you nail them, that`s your gotcha.
Today, I mean, especially with this horror that`s happening over in
Nigeria, it`s about regard and protection of women and non-exploitation of
women. And if that story shifts, if, as Norman Mailer used to write, the
cosmos shifts, and instead of talking about whether he was naughty or not -
- which is not going to hurt Bill Clinton at all or Monica Lewinsky, or
Hillary Clinton -- (INAUDIBLE) involved (INAUDIBLE) Hillary`s not even
involved in the naughtiness, if you will -- it`s about whether you treat
people, especially women, right.
And I think the way Monica wrote this story -- Monica Lewinsky -- I don`t
know her, but the way she wrote it was as a victim and as a victim of the
Clintons. Your thoughts.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, "WASHINGTON POST": Well, that`s right. And you
know, here`s a situation that was, obviously, a private and consensual
affair. It had to do with Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton`s marriage, and
obviously, became very public.
I think in some ways, that`s the way a lot of women, a lot of people look
at this. This was something that was between the Clintons and their
marriage. And in many ways, if you look at someone who might be on the
other end of an affair like that, they probably would go after sort of the
interloper in a marriage. So I think, you know, sort of there`s a sort of
grand political narrative that Republicans will try to stir up around this
MATTHEWS: No, no, no, no!
MATTHEWS: Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state, even back then,
never said there was something wrong with Monica, except that she wasn`t
telling the truth. She said she was a loony tune.
MATTHEWS: -- the argument she was stalker.
HENDERSON: Yes, but she said that privately and --
MATTHEWS: -- that she was somehow not really involved with her husband,
that she should be dismissed, her charges, "that woman." The whole
narrative was, Don`t believe her, until the blue dress and the DNA
evidence, and then they had to change the story.
HENDERSON: Right. They had to change the story and we heard about Hillary
Clinton -- you know, Bill Clinton sleeping on the couch, all that stuff.
So yes, I mean, and that`s very well documented. I mean, this isn`t really
I think what you`re raising is whether or not in this context, when people
talk about the idea of slut-shaming, whether or not people will sort of
retroactively prosecute and criticize Hillary Clinton for engaging in what
would have been called -- you know, what was really slut-shaming back then.
But I mean, so far it looks like, if you look at, you know, the damage that
that did to Hillary Clinton and the Clintons, it really was none (ph).
Hillary Clinton had her highest approval rating at that time, 65 percent --
MATTHEWS: Yes, I know that.
HENDERSON: -- so it`ll be interesting if they can sort of retroactively
MATTHEWS: Well, actually, that`s what --
HENDERSON: -- paint her as anti-woman.
MATTHEWS: -- I want to get to, how the Republicans -- let`s go to the
politics, which is our strength, which is not morality around here, but
Let`s take a look at the "Vanity Fair" article. Lewinsky in it talks
candidly about her experiences being abused -- abused -- in the aftermath
of the affair by the media and the Clintons.
She writes here, quote, "Their lives had moved on." That`s the Clintons.
"They occupy important and powerful places on the global stage. I wish
them no ill. And I fully understand that what has happened to me and the
issue of my future do not matter to either of them."
Howard, that`s buried, as you said, at the end of the piece. Why do you
think that was thrown in there, this sort of statement of callousness,
after this, I don`t hold any grudge, blah, blah, blah, but then, statement
of fact, They don`t care about me?
FINEMAN: Well, I think she does hold a grudge. And I think if she says, I
don`t bear them any ill will, it certainly doesn`t mean that she bears them
any good will.
FINEMAN: And from the passages that I read also just here, Chris, I mean,
it`s clear to me -- and I was -- I was surprised at her willingness to
express her bitterness here about the campaign that was run against her.
I mean, I agree with Nia that back in the day when all this was happening,
Hillary`s numbers could not have been higher because Hillary ended up being
the victim. Hillary was the victim and -- and -- and Hillary`s sort of
stoic acceptance of reality in that situation and her willingness to move
on and not sort of wreck the presidency was admired by many people. She
was one of the most admired people.
MATTHEWS: It was. Very much so.
FINEMAN: But this is a peak. Let`s also keep in mind here, Chris -- I
mean, I agree with your analysis here. I think it shows the Clintons in a
bad light for the way they tried to destroy this woman. But it also is, to
some degree, ancient history.
FINEMAN: I mean, most people, young people especially, who are going to be
critical in the primaries, who are going to be critical in the general
election -- I mean, this is -- this may as well be something out of a 19th
century potboiler to them. The cultural context --
MATTHEWS: Yes, but it`s all new to them, too. It can`t be both old news
and new news. Either they`re learning this for the first time or they`re
tired of it. Which is it?
FINEMAN: Well, the -- the interesting thing to me is, my -- I don`t think
this is the last we`ve heard from Monica on this topic. I think she`s
basically saying here, If people would like to talk to me some more about
how the Clintons tried to destroy me personally, I might be willing to
That`s what I took from this. And if I were in the Clinton world, I would
look at this as a shot across the bow from Monica Lewinsky. I really
HENDERSON: That`s right. And it also means --
MATTHEWS: Nia --
HENDERSON: -- that Hillary Clinton, when she goes out there now, she`s
going to get questions about this.
HENDERSON: This is in the news. She`s sitting down with an interviewer.
She`s on her book tour. This is going to be a question she gets. And who
knows what she`s going to say at this point. She hasn`t talked about this
in many, many years, but perhaps she`ll have some answer to this idea of
whether or not she acted more as a wife or more as a sort of a calculating
political operative back when this was going on.
MATTHEWS: Well, some conservatives are certainly going to try to make use
of Lewinsky`s article that just came out today to attack the Clintons.
Last night, Fox News guest host Laura Ingraham used the Lewinsky article to
attack the Clintons for their ruthlessness. I think Laura Ingraham is
pretty smart here, but she doesn`t stay consistently smart later when she
was talking to Lynne Cheney, who is not smart. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: When she became problematic for the
Clintons` political ambitions, she was demeaned and discredited by the
press and Clinton protectors, including Hillary herself. War on women?
You bet! In the 1990s, the Clintons pioneered it!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, on Fox later that night, Lynne Cheney told Laura Ingraham
that Hillary Clinton orchestrated the Lewinsky article, the one that just
appeared. Here`s Cheney making her paranoid claim.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LYNNE CHENEY, WIFE OF DICK CHENEY: I really wonder if this isn`t an effort
on the Clintons` part to get that story out of the way.
CHENEY: Would "Vanity Fair" publish anything about Monica Lewinsky that
Hillary Clinton didn`t want in "Vanity Fair"?
INGRAHAM: That`s very interesting. I love this theory! It actually makes
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Actually, Laura, your earlier theory was much smarter. The
opportunity, if the Republicans had any brains, was not going after the
sexual impropriety and pretending to be pious themselves, which a whole
string of scandals -- David Vitter -- you want to go through the whole
list? -- hardly makes the case they`re the clean party on the sexual front.
But going after people on callousness towards women -- now, that`s a smart
move they`re probably not smart enough to stick with.
Anyway, some Republicans are hesitant to relive the Lewinsky affair
overall. Karl Rove has questioned Rand Paul for beating up on Hillary
Clinton, and conservative activist Grover Norquist, who only wants to talk
about taxes, fired this warning shot today, saying, quote, "This is the
same trick the Clintons pulled on us back in `98." Trick? "We were
distracted by this bright, shiny object they handed out, which was Monica
Lewinsky. It may be the same thing this time. It`s like in baseball, if
they throw out a bad pitch and you swing at it, then you`re an idiot."
Howard, is this guy, Grover Norquist, crazy? He says the Clintons had the
scandal with Monica Lewinsky to distract from what, the tax issue? Is he -
MATTHEWS: Are the Republicans completely loony? I mean, to think that
"Vanity Fair" coordinated with Hillary Clinton to put out a piece attacking
the marriage they had, building up Monica Lewinsky and Bill, and then we
had this whole thing, that somehow the `98 embarrassment to the country,
not just the Clintons, was orchestrated to distract from what issue?
I mean, are these people completely incapable of exploiting a pretty fat
opportunity? My answer is, I think yes. Your answer?
FINEMAN: I`m not sure, but I do know this. If you read the whole article,
there`s no way this is something that the Clintons would have wanted out
there because, as I say, Monica is basically advertising her bitterness and
her resentment at the way she was destroyed by them. And that`s a
tantalizing thing, as Nia said, for other reporters to follow up on and to
ask Hillary about -- Hillary, who`s in the middle of polishing up the final
details of her book, which I think is called "Hard Choices." She`s
probably going to want to reread the portion that she wrote about the
Monica -- about the Monica Lewinsky years in light of this.
And as far as Grover Norquist is concerned, even Grover can be right for
the wrong reason, OK? Yes, all he cares about is the tax code, but I think
he`s got a point as far as the Republicans are concerned. If they`re going
to try to run -- if they end up running against Hillary Clinton and they
try to run against her by doing a rerun -- as you said, a rerun of the
`90s, they`re going to lose.
MATTHEWS: I agree with you --
HENDERSON: I think that`s right --
MATTHEWS: -- she did well -- got to go. I think Hillary Clinton did
something really wonderful in the late `90s. She was embarrassed, of
course, personally embarrassed, personally and reasonably angered at her
husband`s conduct. But what she did was she sort of transcended that. She
said, OK, I know a lot more about this guy, Bill, than you do. I put it
all into a context -- I`m not happy, but I`m putting into a total marital
context of many years of marriage. And here`s what. I`m going to carry
She went up and campaigned for Chuck Schumer. She was magnificent. She
ended up accepting, really, which was an invitation to run for the Senate
in New York and had the guts to run for that office. And she could have
embarrassed herself then and lost. She didn`t. She had the guts to run.
So many things -- I`m beginning to realize more myself personally how much
guts that woman has. And nobody --
HENDERSON: And they stayed married. They stayed married.
MATTHEWS: -- in politics -- (INAUDIBLE) and nobody in politics is
perfect. And that`s the other thing I`ve learned, and I`ve stopped looking
for it, perfection. I`ll still look for it, but it ain`t there yet. Thank
you, Howard Fineman.
FINEMAN: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Nia-Malika Henderson.
HENDERSON: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Coming up, the Republican frenzy over Benghazi heats up, with
the party now out there shaking a tin cup, raising money, believe it or
not, over the death of Chris Stevens. They`re making money off this thing!
Remember when the time Americans got blown up, by the way, in Beirut back
in the `80s? Can you picture what today`s Republicans would have done with
Plus, those dreadful abductions and God knows what else of those school
girls in Nigeria. All 20 female United States senators have signed a
letter to impose tough new sanctions on the Islamist group that carried
them out. We got to go further than that, by the way. Minnesota`s Amy
Klobuchar`s going to join us. She`s one of the leaders.
Also, remember the 3:00 AM phone call ad from the 2008 campaign? Well,
tonight we have the inside story on an actual phone call, that angry one
that Bill Clinton made at 2:00 AM after he was called out on race by Jim
Clyburn down in South Carolina.
Finally, "Let Me Finish" tonight with how the Clintons should deal with
Monica. Don`t hide from it. As Bobby Kennedy would say, hang a lantern on
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Bridget Kelly`s attorney is denying the accusation made
yesterday by former Christie aide Christina Renna that she, Kelly, ordered
Renna to destroy evidence. Attorney Michael Chritchley says, quote, "We`re
saying we did not tell her to delete it, and the circumstances support our
Well, yesterday, before the state legislative committee investigating the
lane closures at the George Washington Bridge, Renna narrated a
conversation she said she had with Bridget Kelly back in December, when she
says Kelly told her to delete an e-mail referring to the lane closures.
The legislative committee also subpoenaed -- or has subpoenaed Mike
Duhaime, Christie`s chief campaign strategist and the one-time campaign
manager of Rudy Giuliani`s 2008 presidential run.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Any doubt that Benghazi is a fund-
raising, base-mobilizing boondoggle for Republicans was erased today. The
National Republican Congressional Committee, which fights for Republicans
to get elected to the House, sent out this fund-raising e-mail. "Stand
with Congressman Trey Gowdy and the Benghazi select committee and House
Republicans as we fight for the truth about what happened with the Benghazi
terrorist attack. Help fight liberals by donating today." Sounds like
And earlier today, House Speaker John Boehner, who called for the
establishment of a select committee to investigate Benghazi, reinforced
that it would be Republicans` main vehicle -- it would be their main
vehicle of attack this November.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: When is the administration
going to tell the American people the truth? They have not told them the
truth about Benghazi. They have not told the truth about the IRS. They
have not told the truth about Fast and Furious.
Now, only one would have to guess, if they are not willing to tell the
American people the truth, it must not be very pretty. Thanks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I think it was Jack Nicholson who said, you can`t handle the
Anyway, in "The New Yorker," Jane Mayer, the great writer, recalls the
string of against American installations in Beirut, Lebanon, during Ronald
Reagan`s presidency back in the `80s. Mayer compares how lawmakers then
investigated the attack, vs. what Republicans are doing now.
Here`s the timeline for what happened in Beirut in those years. April 18,
1983, militants bomb the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, killing 63 people,
including 17 Americans. October 23, 1983, a suicide bomber drove an
explosive-laden truck into a U.S. Marine compound in Beirut, killing 241
servicemen. March 1984, three months after Congress issued a bipartisan
report on the Marine barracks bombing, militants again struck, this time
American officials in Beirut, kidnapping, torturing, and murdering a CIA
And in September 1984, for the third time in 13 months, jihadists bombed a
U.S. outpost in Beirut. Again, 23 people were killed, including two
Following the horrific bombing of the Marine barracks, a bipartisan House
committee investigated. Jane Mayer writes: "Tip O`Neill, the Democratic
speaker of the House, was no pushover. He, like today`s opposition leaders
in the House, demanded an investigation, but a real one, and only one.
Instead of playing it for political points, a House committee undertook a
serious investigation into what went wrong at the barracks in Beirut.
"Two months later, it issued a report finding serious errors in judgment by
officers on the ground, as well as responsibility up through the military
chain of command, and called for better security measures against terrorism
in U.S. government installations throughout the world. In other words,
Congress actually undertook a useful investigation and made helpful
Well, David Corn`s an MSNBC political analyst and Brian Katulis is senior
fellow at the Center for American Progress.
Thank you, gentlemen, for joining us.
And, David, and I know, Brian, you`re both up to date on this. I remember
-- and I`m just going to start with this -- how after the horrific bombing
of our Marine barracks in October of `83, Speaker O`Neill, Tip O`Neill, my
boss, stuck with the president. He said, we`re not bugging out. We`re
sticking with them.
And they stayed together on this without any real finger-pointing all the
way through until the following year. And it wasn`t until Reagan basically
said, we`re pulling out, but didn`t tell anybody, and went after Tip for
saying we should pull out, that it got bitter and negative.
But for a long period there, including the period in which they had this
committee investigating it, it was bipartisan.
Your thoughts, David?
DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you know, Chris, that was a
great example of government working as it should. And it`s not the only
After 9/11, Democrats and some Republicans in Congress pushed for an
independent, bipartisan, fully bipartisan commission, the 9/11 Commission.
And we`re all familiar with the great job it did. And, also, during the
Iran-Contra investigation, Arthur Liman, who is the director, the staff
director of the Senate committee, which was controlled by Democrats, said
very early on, we`re not going to get into impeachment on this, even though
some members of Reagan`s own circle feared that it might be impeachable.
So he right away took politics out of this. So, again and again and again,
we have really good examples in history of a tragedy happening, an
investigation being put under way to see what happened, and to prevent it
from happening again, not investigations into talking points, not having a
House speaker come out and saying, they are lying.
Where? You know, John Boehner should not be allowed to say that without
coming forward and saying, what is the lie, what did they get wrong, and
Brian, not only are they raising money on this. The way they sell the
story is that Chris Stevens and the other Americans are dead because of the
Democrats` P.R. campaign, an absurd sort of taking from what happened
afterwards, which they can argue about, to what happened at the time.
They keep trying to turn, conflate it, the old right-wing trick that they
got us into war with, conflate it, and somehow make this absurd charge that
how it was described afterwards on "Meet the Press" somehow led several
days earlier to the death of Chris Stevens and the other Americans.
And this is what O`Neill, Tip O`Neill, my old boss, never did back then.
During those debates, there was never any -- and then 9/11, as David points
out, nobody`s running around saying that somebody had to be blamed. They
tried to understand how this thing could happen. Terrorism was coming at
us, and we tried to figure it out before we decided whose fault it was.
Your thoughts, Brian?
BRIAN KATULIS, SENIOR FELLOW, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: I just got
back from Beirut a couple of days ago. And I saw our ambassador and I saw
our diplomatic personnel.
Our exclusive focus should be protecting these individuals. These
individuals are serving and sacrificing for our country, and this
investigation that`s just been announced has nothing at all to do about
enhancing the security and the effectiveness of our diplomatic
It is simply the Republican Party trying to raise money off the deaths of
four Americans who were serving their country in Benghazi, and we have had
multiple investigations, 25,000 pages of reports coming from
investigations. And the State Department, the DOD, the Pentagon, others,
have enhanced their procedures. They have learned from the mistakes that
were made, and there were mistakes made in Benghazi.
But there`s no cover-up. But my main point is this. Those people who are
sitting in our embassies overseas, that should be our exclusive focus, and
that`s not what the Republican Party`s talking about right now.
MATTHEWS: You know, in graphic, in big-time terms, we`re talking about
Beirut and the particulars back then in `83 and `84, but, David, it seems
to me that the Democrats never crassly blamed W. for 9/11.
They joined in a bipartisan, but a really, truly bipartisan campaign, to go
to Afghanistan and try to get the people who were behind it. They really
did try to get together and try to catch bin Laden. It was all united.
This thing -- after this tragedy, the reaction has been, how can we blame
the other side?
And it`s really different, not just from Beirut, but from all the -- the
Cole, all these tragedies. Sure, every time you get hit by terrorists, by
definition, it`s going to be by surprise; by definition, it`s going to be
where you don`t expect it. And you`re going to get hit and you`re going to
have to deal with it and pay for it and people are going to get killed and
And you don`t go on every single time and try to raise money on it, I don`t
think. That`s not good politics.
CORN: You remember back with the Beirut attack, particularly the one on
the Marine -- on the Marines, that at that point in time, Reagan and others
had been warned that keeping the Marines deployed in that fashion could
lead to a major disaster.
Yet he still did it, and we lost 241 lives, on top of the other dozens that
came before and after. And even after that, even after that, Democrats
were not out there calling for his impeachment, or calling for his scalp.
They were looking at what happened and what went wrong on the ground, in
the chain of command.
And they didn`t -- they didn`t make it a campaign issue. You could even
argue that they should have, but they chose not to, and it seems to me that
this notion we band together after something goes wrong, try to figure out
what happened and what to make -- and how to make things improve is totally
out the window, and it`s all about getting out the base, appealing to the
most extreme elements of the Republican Party, oh, yes, and making a buck.
And does that surprise anyone at this stage of the game? I hope it
MATTHEWS: Yes. It`s like being on a ship somewhere, a warship, and you
have just been attacked, and instead of responding with gunfire, you sit
around the deck of the ship complaining about who didn`t see them coming.
That`s what we`re doing now.
Anyway, thank you, David Corn and Brian Katulis.
Coming up: a side of Hillary Clinton we don`t usually see. That`s next in
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE COLBERT REPORT")
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul and media magnate
Rupert Murdoch spent the day together at the Kentucky Derby. Murdoch was
Paul`s special guest. There`s speculation that (INAUDIBLE) could sign a
Murdoch endorsement if Paul runs for president.
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE COLBERT REPORT": Nation, I love this hot new
celebrity power couple. I have even given Rupert and Rand Paul their own
fun nickname, RuPaul.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Time now for the "Sideshow."
That was, of course, Stephen Colbert on Senator Rand Paul`s courtship, if
you will, of conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch at the Kentucky Derby
Saturday. But when it comes to the presidential horse race, Murdoch isn`t
placing any bets just yet.
Anyway, next up, speculation about Hillary Clinton`s 2016 plans has
intensified, as the media refocuses its intention on the politics of the
late `90s. We were just talking about that.
But on his show last night, Jimmy Kimmel noted that former Secretary
Clinton has been at ease lately, even when sharing some of the more
intimate details of her life. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE")
JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": Hillary Clinton gave the keynote
address at the National Council for Behavioral Health Conference in
Maryland. She also held a Q&A session afterwards, and things got
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is your guilty pleasure?
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Let`s see.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are there that many?
CLINTON: Well, I`m just trying to think of, you know, the G-rated ones.
KIMMEL: Well, hello, Madam Secretary.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Next up: Toronto`s Rob Ford is enjoying rehab so much, he`s
already calling it the best decision he has ever made. In fact, the
embattled mayor of Toronto told "The Toronto Sun" that rehab -- quote --
"reminds me of football camp, kind of like the Washington Redskins camp I
went to as a kid."
Well, while Ford didn`t tell "The Sun" exactly when he will leave rehab, he
said he will be out in time for the October election. Now, that`s good
Coming up: the American crackdown on that Islamic group responsible for
those horrific kidnappings and worse over in Nigeria.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
CRAIG MELVIN, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Craig Melvin with your headlines.
The House voted to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of
Congress. She refused to testify twice about the targeting of conservative
groups by the IRS.
President Obama flew to Arkansas to view the devastation caused by those
deadly tornadoes just over a week ago. He also pledged federal help to
And former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calls the kidnapping of
schoolgirls in Nigeria -- quote -- "an act of terrorism that merits the
fullest response possible."
And a short time ago, first lady Michelle Obama tweeted, "Our prayers are
with the missing Nigerian girls and their families. It`s time to bring
back our girls" -- now back to HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), TEXAS: When you take over 200 girls at one
time, having killed almost 4,000 people in two years, it draws the nation
and the world`s attention for the immediacy of getting this thug.
Let`s kill the cancer. Let`s drag out this vile person, who, again, as I
indicated -- I just can`t hold up this money often enough. This is it.
This is slavery.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That`s U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas with some
very strong words about that horror over in Nigeria, where those hundreds
of schoolgirls were taken prisoner and apparently are being sold into
I have two U.S. senators joining me right now who are at the top of the
concern about this, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Susan Collins of
Let me go to Senator Klobuchar, who has been leading the charge here among
the women in the U.S. Senate.
Tell us what you think we can do about this, what we know about it, and
what the limits are of what we can do, and perhaps what the real potential
is to get these girls saved, Senator Klobuchar.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: Well, Chris, what we know, the 276
girls taken by gunpoint, kidnapped by Boko Haram, which name -- the
terrorist group -- name literally means "Western education is sinful."
What we know is that some of the girls have escaped, so we have some
information, but most of them are still in captivity. The leader of Boko
Haram has said that, in fact, he is selling these girls into sex slavery,
some for $12 a person. We do not know if that`s true.
And so what we have asked for, Senator Collins, the women of the Senate,
have come together and said, first of all, the U.N. has to declare Boko
Haram as a terrorist organization. Our government already has. Then we
need to bring together international resources, which we are sending over -
- now, today, we have learned France, Great Britain is -- counterterrorism.
We have to send over counterintelligence. We have to get people involved
that can do hostage negotiating. Right now, we do not know where these
girls are, but we do know that the world is watching. For three weeks,
this was off the radar screen.
And we know people were very understandably focused on the Malaysia
Airlines and all the passengers and that horrible tragedy. But you look at
this as 276 girls, and the world just cannot let this happen.
MATTHEWS: Well, I don`t think it will. I have seen the front pages now.
You`re right, Senator Klobuchar. Partially because of your outrage, it`s
got to the front page and to the top of the fold, as we say.
Senator Collins, it seems to come down to what we do. It seems to me, it
comes to what we do. We want to do something. The president says he wants
to do something. Is it a SEAL team operation, is it a drone operation?
How -- is it an Entebbe operation where you go in there with a few men and
you kill some people? Is that what it`s about?
When I listen to Sheila Jackson Lee from Texas, it sounds like she`s got it
figured out. It isn`t a big army operation, it`s a very exquisite
operation, like the way the Israelis did it, kill the people in your face
and free the people.
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: Well, first of all, we`ve lost three weeks
in trying to locate these schoolgirls, and that just breaks my heart and is
inexcusable. It seems to me that the Nigerian government should have asked
us for help sooner, but also that the administration should have offered
In my judgment from the conversations that I`ve had with military experts,
it would be possible to put in some special forces into Nigeria. Once we
locate these girls and rescue them. We ought to at least try.
In Uganda, we have special forces that are going after criminals that is
making soldiers out of young boys. Why shouldn`t we have the same kind of
effort to rescue these innocent schoolgirls before they are either sold
into slavery, forced into marriages at very young ages, and also required
This is just a horrible situation, and the whole world ought to be
outraged. But the fact is, the United States is the country that has the
most assets that can be put to use, and we`re very good at these kinds of
MATTHEWS: Senator, let`s listen to what former senator and former
secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, had to say today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: The seizure of these young
women by this radical extremist group, Boko Haram, is abominable, it`s
criminal, it`s an act of terrorism, and it really merits the fullest
response possible, first and foremost, from the government of Nigeria. The
government of Nigeria has been, in my view, somewhat derelict in its
responsibility toward protecting boys and girls, men and women, in northern
Nigeria over the last years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Senator Klobuchar, bring us up to date, into what extent has the
Nigerian government in Lagos accepted our help -- our offer of help?
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: Well, they have just accepted our offer
of help. We understand from Secretary Kerry that we have been working with
them from the beginning, but clearly, they were sending signals out.
President Jonathan of Nigeria were sending signals out that they had it
under control, that they were getting the girls. That just wasn`t the
The World Economic Forum, as you know, Chris, is going to be there in
Nigeria, and I just hope this is a major topic because this isn`t just in
Nigeria this is happening. Millions of girls are sold into brothels, sold
as sex slaves, the average age is 13. I just had a trip down to Mexico
with Cindy McCain, wife of Senator John McCain, who`s been such a strong
advocate on this, as well as Senator Heitkamp, to talk to the Mexican
attorney general, head of the federal police are starting to get a handle
on it there.
If we want to elevate girls and women and make this part of our foreign
policy, this is something that`s just waiting to happen. It is something
we could do with the rest of the world. We have our own problem in the
United States, 83 percent of the victims are from our own country, and we
literally should make this a major part of our foreign policy, because when
we lift girls, we lift women and they participate in democracy and the
economy, we have a much better, stronger, stable country an a much better,
stronger, stable world.
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and
Senator Susan Collins of Maine.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: What`s it like to get an angry phone call from Bill Clinton at
2:00 in the morning? Well, that`s ahead.
HARDBALL back after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, Senator Obama is complaining because of his
stature, any attack from Bill Clinton carries with it extra weight. He
says if you`re talking about things that aren`t factually correct,
according to him, then you`re just really -- you`re building that up beyond
all sense of proportion. Is Bill Clinton out of bounds here on this?
REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: Well, I think as they would say in
Gullah-Geechee country, he needs to chill a little bit. And I hope he
understands what that means.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: We`re back. Remember that fight between the Congressional Black
Caucus and Bill Clinton back in 2008? Well, now we`re learning more about
it. It all started when Bill Clinton said this during the New Hampshire
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: Well, how could you say that when you said
in 2004, you didn`t know how you would have voted on the resolution, you
said in 2004, there was no difference between you and George Bush on the
war, and you took that speech you`re now running on off your Web site in
2004, and there`s no difference in your voting record and Hillary`s ever
since. Give me a break. This whole thing is the biggest fairytale I`ve
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Fairytale. That fairytale comment almost led to the highest
ranking African-American Democrat in the U.S. Congress at the time, U.S.
Congressman Jim Clyburn, to end his neutrality before the South Carolina
primary between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
Then, the day before the South Carolina primary, Bill Clinton said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: Jesse Jackson won in South Carolina twice in `84 and `88, and he
ran a good campaign, and Senator Obama`s ran a good campaign here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Clinton`s mention of Jackson was seen by a racially tinged
criticism of President Obama`s candidacy. Jim Clyburn writes about the
2:00 a.m. tongue-lashing phone call he received from the former president
following Hillary Clinton`s subsequent South Carolina thumping. It`s in
his memoir, "Blessed Experience."
Clyburn says, quote, "His powerful voice came on the phone. `If you
bastards want a fight, you damn well will get one.` I needed no help
identifying that voice. It was Bill Clinton, the former President of the
United States, my longtime political friend. His wife Hillary had just
suffered a major defeat in South Carolina`s Democratic primary. He
exploded using the word `bastard` again and accused me of causing her
defeat and injecting race into the contest."
Well, Clyburn and Clinton have since made their peace.
U.S. Congressman Jim Clyburn is a Democrat from South Carolina, the
assistant Democratic House leader right now, and author of "Blessed
Well, you know, Mr. Clyburn, thanks for joining us.
"Blessed Experience", and that experience don`t seem to jibe. Tell me how
it all fit into your political memoir.
CLYBURN: Well, thank you so much for having me, Chris.
Well, the fact of the matter is, as I said in my preface to the book, all
of my experiences have not been pleasant. But when I look back on them,
all of them have been blessings. And that really was a blessing, but not -
- I didn`t feel that way at the time.
I believe that I learned a lot during that primary. I learned a lot
writing this book, about myself, about the people with whom I`ve interacted
over the years, and I do believe that Bill Clinton and I are on very good
terms these days and I think that we will be working together for the
Democrats going forward.
MATTHEWS: You know, I don`t think you`d call enemies up at 2:00 in the
morning, because I know enough about politics to know that you don`t want
to alert them to what you really think of them.
But it seems to me it was an act of a weird kind of friendship -- 2:00 in
the morning, he calls you up. You were asleep, I guess, were you? And you
go, wait a minute, this was my old pal, giving me a lot of stuff here.
What was your emotional reaction to that call? How did you react when Bill
Clinton, the former president, comes on with that distinctive voice of his?
CLYBURN: Well, I was not asleep. I usually stay up pretty late on
MATTHEWS: I see.
CLYBURN: And that was the night of the primary election and I was awake.
But I was caught being off guard. I listened for a long time, before I
replied. And when I did, I simply asked the president to tell me why he
thought I had violated the neutrality that I had promised the Democratic
National Committee I would maintain during that primary.
Of course, he felt that what I said injected race into the campaign. All I
was saying was that we have to be very careful how we deal with that civil
rights period and who should get credit for it. That`s what started all of
I don`t believe that Lyndon Johnson was anymore important than Martin
Luther King, Jr. They played different roles. We all have roles to play.
And King played his role, Johnson played his role, and as you know, Chris,
you`ve written about it, President Kennedy laid a foundation back in 1963.
I don`t know whether or not King would have felt the way he did had he not
started his interactions with John F. Kennedy.
So, everybody had a role to play, and I don`t know that any one of them was
anymore important than the other. And you will find those kinds of
experiences throughout this book. When I worked across the aisle to get
certain things done, simply because I needed somebody else in a different
role, sometimes even across the other side of the capitol to get things
done. So that`s what this book is all about.
I thought about those tenth graders I used to quiche, as I wrote this book,
and I wanted this book to be something that every young boy or girl,
especially those who have had experiences like I`ve had, to gain something
from it, learn from it, be motivated by it, and be able to really look upon
all of their experiences, however unpleasant they might be, as possible
MATTHEWS: Well, I`m going to go read it. The name of the book is "Blessed
Experience." And after I read it, Congressman, I`m going to have you on
the talk about my questions. By the way, you have just sized up the great
old reason why Thomas Jefferson said, "When you`re mad, count to ten. When
you`re really mad, count to a hundred before you talk."
Anyway, U.S. Congressman James Clyburn --
MATTHEWS: -- author of "Blessed Experience."
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with the great advice I attribute to the
late Robert Kennedy. Hang a lantern on your problem.
I headed my first book, "Hardball," back in `88. I think it carries a
tremendous value to old, young, and in between. I`m talking here about the
in-betweens, the Clintons. There is nothing more farfetched, I believe,
for the Clintons to act as if the Monica Lewinsky episode didn`t occur.
Everyone knows it did. Everyone.
Since everyone knows it occurred, speak and act accordingly. It was bad
for the country, bad for Al Gore, who ultimately paid the price for it, and
certainly, it appears, for Monica Lewinsky.
What was bad about it was, I could argue, was the readiness of the Clinton
and those around them to deny the very existence of Ms. Lewinsky. That was
the game plan: portray her as a nut job who made up the story. And that
game plan came to a crashing halt once the blue dress left its hanger in
the closet. DNA is one tough competitor when you go into the courtroom of
All that said, nobody`s perfect, and in politics, I`ve discovered, none are
even close. Politics as a profession is about getting to the goal. The
goal is the necessity.
That being the case, there`s always the problem of deciding if the ends
justify the means. If dumping on Monica Lewinsky was a way to protect the
presidency, haul away. I do not think this disqualifies or condemns
anyone. It just shows the reality of the moral callousness of which the
Clintons were capable. It`s something we ought to know and decide how to
And this is me talking, someone who`s been looking for perfection in
politicians all my life and continues to, but recognizing that all we have
to choose from are those out there with the guts to ask us to be our
leaders. I salute them for that and I daily force myself to come to grips
with how they choose and what they`re willing to do to get there.
That`s HARDBALL for now. It really is. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>