July 9, 2014
Guest: Jim Moore, Michael Tomasky, Sherrod Brown, Mudcat Saunders,
Stephanie Schriock, Nathan Diament
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Border dispute.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews out in Chicago.
Let me begin with this terrible human crisis on the Texas border. The
president is in the Lone Star State today, and we are awaiting his remarks
after his meeting with Texas governor Rick Perry and other local officials.
The question for me is, who`s the one to take true charge of this
situation, not just of this human crisis that affected (ph) us (ph) now,
but of the immigration system itself that nobody believes is working. It`s
hardly stopping the flow of illegal immigrants across our country`s
southern border. We can see that. It`s hardly providing respect and a
reasonable life to the people who`ve come here illegally, but...
Well, here`s the president of the United States right now.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Just had a good meeting with
Governor Perry, local officials, and faith leaders to talk about the steps
that we have taken and that we need to take to address the humanitarian
situation on the border. And I want to thank everybody who`s been involved
for taking the time to talk to me. It`s important to recognize two things.
First, the surge of unaccompanied children and adults with children are
arriving at one sector of the border, and that`s the Rio Grande valley.
Second, the issue is not that people are evading our enforcement officials.
The issue is that we`re apprehending them in large numbers. And we`re
working to make sure that we have sufficient facilities to detain, house,
and process them appropriately while attending to unaccompanied children
with the care and compassion that they deserve while they`re in our
While we intend to do the right thing by these children, their parents need
to know that this is an incredibly dangerous situation, and it is unlikely
that their children will be able to stay. And I`ve asked parents across
Central America not to put their children in harm`s way in this fashion.
Now, right now, there are more border patrol agents and surveillance
resources on the ground than at any time in our history. And we deport
almost 400,000 migrants each year. But as soon as it became clear that this
year`s migration to the border was different than in past years, I directed
FEMA to coordinate a response at the border, members of my cabinet and my
staff have made multiple trips to facilities there, and we`re also
addressing the root of the problem.
I sent Vice President Biden and Secretary Kerry and Secretary Johnson to
meet with Central American leaders as well as working with our
international partners to go after smugglers who are putting their kids`
lives at risk. And earlier this week, Mexico announced a series of steps
that they`re going to take on their southern border to help stem the tide
of these unaccompanied children.
Last week, I sent a letter to Congress, asking them to increase penalties
on smugglers and to give us flexibility to move migrants through the system
faster. Yesterday, I asked Congress to fund these efforts. About half of
the resources would go to border security enforcement, and expedited
removal of people who don`t qualify for a humanitarian claim. About half
would go to make sure we`re treating children humanely.
We`d also make investments to further tackle the root problems in Central
So, right now Congress has the capacity to work with us, work with state
officials, local officials, and faith based groups and not for profits who
are helping to care for these kids. Congress has the capacity to work with
all parties concerned to directly address the situation. They`ve said they
want to see a solution. The supplemental offers them the capacity to vote
immediately to get it done.
Of course, in the long run, the best way to truly address this problem is
for the House of Representatives to pass legislation fixing our broken
immigration system, which by the way, would include funding for additional
thousands of border patrol agents: something that everybody down here that
I`ve talked to indicates is a priority. Now, the Senate passed a common
sense bipartisan bill more than a year ago. It would`ve strengthened the
border, added an additional 20,000 border patrol agents. It would`ve
strengthened our backlogged immigration courts. It would`ve put us in a
stronger position to deal with this surge, and in fact prevent it.
So, let me just close by indicating the nature of the conversation that I
had with Governor Perry, which I thought was constructive. Governor Perry
suggested four specific areas of concern. He was concerned about how many
patrol agents were directly at the border. He was concerned that some of
the positioning of border patrol agents is too far from the border to be
effective in deterring folks from coming in, as opposed to simply
apprehending them. I indicated to him that what he said sounded like it
made sense. And that in fact, if we passed the supplemental, we would then
have the resources to carry out some of the very things that he`s
On a broader policy level, he indicated concern that right now, kids who
come to the border from Mexico are immediately deported, but because it`s
non-contiguous, folks who are coming from Central America have to go
through a much lengthier process. I indicated to him that part of what
we`re looking in the supplemental is some flexibility in terms of being
able to preserve the due process rights of individuals who come in, but
also to make sure that we`re sending a strong signal that they can`t simply
show up at the border and automatically assume that they`re going to be
He also expressed concerns about how the immigration judicial system works,
how the administrative processing works, how long it takes, and the fact
that oftentimes, people appear, are then essentially released with a court
date that might be six months out or nine months out, and a sizable number
not surprisingly don`t show up.
I indicated to him that if we had more administrative judges, more
administrative capacity, we can shrink those wait times. This
administrative practice predates my administration and in fact has been
going on for quite some time. And a lot of it has to do with the fact that
there`s not enough capacity, both in terms of detention facilities, but
also in terms of judges, attorneys, space, in order to process these things
more quickly and expeditiously.
So, the bottom is actually that there`s nothing that the governor indicated
he`d like to see that I have a philosophical objection to. I`ve asked Jeh
Johnson to contact his head of Health and Human Services when he comes down
for the sixth time at the end of this week to coordinate and make sure that
some of the suggestions that the governor has are technically feasible, and
what kind of resources might be needed.
But what I emphasized to the governor was the problem here is not a major
disagreement around the actions that could be helpful in dealing with the
problem, the challenge is -- is Congress prepared to act to put the
resources in place to get this done.
Another way of putting it, and I said this directly to the governor is, are
folks more interested in politics or are they more interested in solving
problems? If they`re interested in solving the problem, then this can be
solved. If the preference is for politics, then it won`t be solved.
And I urged the governor to talk to the Texas delegation, which is
obviously at the heart of the Republican caucus both in the House and has
great influence in the caucus in the Senate: if the Texas delegation is in
favor of this supplemental, which by the way, does not include some things
that I know many of them object to around dealing with undocumented workers
who have been in this country for quite some time, this is just a very
narrow issue, this supplemental, in terms of dealing with the particular
problem we have right now. If the Texas delegation is prepared to move,
this thing can get done next week.
We can have more border patrol agents on the border, as the governor has
requested. We can shorten the timetables for processing these children or
adults with children, as the governor thinks is important. We can make sure
that some of the public health issues that were raised in the meeting I
just had are addressed so that we`ve got enough folks vaccinating and
checking in on the health status of these children to make sure that not
only are they safe, but also our communities are safe.
The things that the governor thinks are important to do would be a lot
easier to do if we had this supplemental. It gives us the resources to do
them. And so the only question at this point is, why -- why wouldn`t the
Texas delegation or any of the other Republicans who are concerned about
this not want to put this on a fast track and get this on my desk so I can
sign it and we can start getting to work.
I suggested to the governor -- he has, I suspect, some influence over the
Texas delegation, and that might be helpful, to call on them to pass this
supplemental right away.
Final point I`ll make is I just want to thank some of the faith- based
groups that I just met with, as well as mayors, commissioners, local
officials. And you know, I indicated in hearing the stories of churches
that are prepared to not just make donations, but send volunteers to help
to construct some of these facilities or fix them up, and their willingness
to volunteer in providing care and assistance to these children, I told
them "thank you," because it confirmed what I think we all know, which is
the American people are incredibly compassionate people, and when we see a
child in need, we want to care for him.
But, what I think we all agreed on is that the best thing that we can do is
to make sure that the children are able to live in their own countries
safely. And that`s why it`s going to be important, even as we solve the
short-term problem here, for us to be able to direct attention and
resources and assistance, as we`re doing but not at a sustained and high
enough level, back in Honduras and Guatemala and El Salvador and other
places so that parents don`t think that somehow it`s safer for their
children to send them thousands of miles, just so they don`t get harmed.
With that, I`ll take a couple of questions. Yeah, go ahead.
QUESTION: Are increasing calls not just from Republicans but also from some
Democrats for you to visit the border during this trip, can you explain why
you didn`t do that, and do you see any legitimate reason for you to
actually do that at some point, or do you think those calls are more about
politics than anything else?
OBAMA: You know, Jeh Johnson has now visited at my direction the border
five times. He`s going for a sixth this week. He then comes back and
reports to me extensively on everything that`s taking place. So there`s
nothing that is taking place down there that I am not intimately aware of
and briefed on.
This isn`t theater. This is a problem. I`m not interested in photo ops. I`m
interested in solving a problem. And those who say I should visit the
border, when you ask them "what should we be doing," they`re giving us
suggestions that are embodied in legislation that I`ve already sent to
So, it`s not as if they`re making suggestions that we`re not listening to.
In fact, the suggestions of those who work at the border, who`ve visited
the border, are incorporated in legislation that we`re already prepared to
sign the minute it hits my desk. There`s a very simple question here, and
that is Congress just needs to pass the supplemental.
There is a larger issue that I recognize involves a lot of politics, which
is why aren`t we passing comprehensive immigration reform, which would put
an additional 20,000 border patrol agents and give us a lot of additional
authorities to deal with some of these problems? That should`ve been done a
year ago, should`ve been done two years ago. It`s gotten caught up in
politics. And I understand that.
One of the suggestions I had for Governor Perry was that it would be useful
for my Republican friends to rediscover the concept of negotiation and
compromise. The governor`s one concern that he`d mentioned to me was is
that setting aside the supplemental, I should go ahead and authorize having
National Guard troops surge at the border right away.
And I went -- what I told him is we`re happy to consider how we could
deploy National Guard down there, but that`s a temporary solution, that`s
not a permanent solution, and so why wouldn`t we go ahead and pass the
permanent solution, or at least a longer term solution?
And if the Texas delegation said for us to pass the supplemental, and we
want to include a commitment that you`re going to send some National Guard
early, be happy to consider it.
So, this should not be hard to at least get the supplemental done. The
question is, are we more interested in politics, or are we more interested
in solving the problem? If we`re interested in solving the problem, then
there`s actually some broad consensus around a number of the issues. There
may be some controversies and differences between Democrats and Republicans
on some of the policy issues, but on a whole bunch of this stuff, there`s
some pretty broad consensus. Let`s just get that done.
Let`s do the work.
QUESTION: Mr. President, does the governor give any indication that he
would ask the Texas delegation to get behind the supplemental? And it
sounds like you are concerned that the supplemental will fall victim to
OBAMA: Well, the -- I think it`s fair to say that these days in Washington,
everybody`s always concerned about everything falling victim to partisan
politics. You know, if -- if I sponsored a bill declaring apple pie
American, it might -- it might fall victim to partisan politics. I get
On the other hand, this is an issue in which my Republican friends have
said "it`s urgent and we need to fix it." And if that`s the case, then
let`s go ahead and fix it.
As I indicated to Governor Perry, he suggested, "well, maybe you just need
to go ahead and act, and that might convince Republicans that they should
go ahead and pass the supplemental," and I had to remind him, "I`m getting
sued right now, by Mr. Boehner apparently, for going ahead and acting
instead of going through Congress."
Well here`s a good test case. This is something you say is important, as I
do. This is an area that you have prioritized, as I have. Don`t wait for me
to take executive actions if -- when you have the capacity right now to go
ahead and get something done.
I will sign that bill tomorrow. We`re going to go ahead and do what we can
administratively, but this gives us the tools to do many of the very things
that Republicans are seeking. At the same time, I will just repeat that if
we got a comprehensive bill done, it doesn`t just solve this problem for a
year, it solves it potentially for 20 years.
And I would urge those who -- who so far at least have failed to act on the
comprehensive bill to take another look at it.
QUESTION: So, it didn`t sound like he made any promises then?
OBAMA: I didn`t get any promises, but it was a constructive conversation.
And I just want to emphasize that, you know, I think that it was a good
exchange of ideas, and he did have some specific suggestions in terms of
how we align border agents that I`ve asked Jeh Johnson to take a look at,
because I think there may be ways in which we can use the resources that we
already have more effectively than we`re currently doing, and I think it is
important that we make sure we`ve got a strong federal-state collaboration
on the issue.
I`m going to take just two more question, and then I`ve gotta (inaudible)
QUESTION: Mr. President, Governor Perry put out a statement shortly before
you spoke, saying that he (inaudible) for you to secure the border.
QUESTION: Does that statement in any way indicate that he`s interested in
OBAMA: I`m interested in securing the border. So, as I explained, as far as
I could tell, the only disagreement I had with Governor Perry was is that
he wanted me to go ahead and do it without Congress having to do anything.
We`ll do what we can administratively. I think the useful question, not
simply for the governor, but for John Boehner and Mitch McConnell and the
other members of the Texas delegation is, "why wouldn`t you go ahead and
pass a bill to give us additional resources to solve the very problem that
you say is urgent?"
QUESTION: Mr. President, there`s been a number of Republicans who have said
that the deferred action executive order from 2012 that you signed is to
blame, that it was an invitation that the other children are now taking up
on. What do you say to that?
OBAMA: You know, if you look at the pattern of immigration into our
country, we are at actually a significantly lower level in terms of overall
immigration flow, illegal immigration flow than we were when I took office.
OBAMA: I think that the challenge we have that has really caused a spike
is the significant security challenges in these Central American countries
themselves, and the fact that you have got smugglers who are increasingly
recognizing that they can make money by transporting these folks, often in
very dangerous circumstances, to the border, and taking advantage of the
compassion of the American people, recognizing that we`re not going to
simply leave abandoned children who are left at our doorstep, but that we
have got to care for them and provide them some basic safety and security
while we determine where we can send them.
But, you know, I think one of the most important things that we`re going to
have to recognize, this is not going to be a short-term problem. This is a
We have countries that are pretty close to us in which the life chances of
children are just far, far worse than they are here. And parents who are
frightened or are misinformed about what`s possible are willing to take
extraordinary risks of behalf of their kids. The more that we can do to
help these countries get their acts together, then the less likely we are
to have a problem at the -- at the borders.
And the fact of the matter is that DACA and comprehensive immigration
reform generally would allow us to reallocate resources, precisely because
all the budget of DHS, instead of chasing us after families that may have
been living here for five or 10 years and have kids who are U.S. citizens
and are law-abiding, save for the fact that they didn`t come here legally,
if they have to earn citizenship, paying taxes, learning English, you know,
paying a fine, going to the back of the line, but they are no longer an
enforcement priority, that suddenly frees up a huge amount of resources to
do exactly the kinds of things that many Republicans have been calling us -
- for us to do and that we have tried to do within the resource limitations
that we have.
All right? Thank you, everybody. Appreciate it.
MATTHEWS: Michael Tomasky is a special correspondent for The Daily Beast.
And Jim Moore has been reporting and consulting on Texas politics since the
1970s. He`s co-author of "Bush`s Brain," and he joins us from the border
town of Mission, Texas.
I want to go, first of all, to Jim and that question. It may be simple,
but it seems to be the fight here. Should the president have gone to the
border today and did he answer that question sufficiently by saying he sent
his HHS secretary there to the border a half-dozen times? Is this over?
Is this going to continue to be a local issue?
JIM MOORE, CO-AUTHOR, "BUSH`S BRAIN": Well, I don`t think he adequately
answered the question.
The optics clearly are not good for him down here, Chris, as anybody well
knows. This issue could stick to him in a way that it isn`t right now if
he came down here. But it would have been very helpful for him as a leader
to come down and give a pep talk to the Border Patrol and all the folks
down here who are working their tails off.
But he would he seen in the Rio Grande Valley a community that has just
reached out and has done wondrous things for helping all of these orphaned
children and has kept the politics out of it.
But the problem with the Valley, for the president, is that people down
here want something done. And if the president can`t get it done, the
political damage accrues to him right now and not the Republicans. That`s
his problem with the Valley.
MATTHEWS: Michael, it`s an odd situation for the president to be briefed
by a political adversary on what he should be doing at the border. There
he is relying apparently at least formally on the governor of Texas who
wants to run for president about what he should do as president to deal
with this crisis, instead of going for firsthand information himself.
It seems to me a weird situation politically for the president.
MICHAEL TOMASKY, THE DAILY BEAST: It was a little weird.
I think he`s eventually going to have to go down there and do something.
He is going to have to be pretty careful and strategic about what he does
do down there.
But I was struck, Chris, by his words about Perry. That was quite an olive
branch to Perry.
TOMASKY: Perry had four concerns. And he ticked off Perry`s concerns.
And he said, I agree with them and I want to work with Governor Perry.
He`s -- boy, Chris, did he look tired and worn down, too. You can see that
he is really worried about this situation, I think, and worried that
Congress isn`t going to do anything and he`s going to get stuck with the
MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s get to the moral issue. Let`s get to the moral issue
here. And I want both of you, gentlemen, especially Michael, to start with
There`s a moral quandary here. We have a law. You can`t just walk into
the country. You can`t have your parents dump you with some coyote and
send you here, whatever amount of money they pay. And yet the president
said if they didn`t leave these countries and in fact if we send them,
which apparently he is going to do in large case, they are going to face
horrendous situations back in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
He said over time, years and years, we will fix those governments up,
supposedly. But he is admitting his quandary morally. Morally, we`re
going to send them back -- or legally. But morally he is saying they are
facing hell back there. How is he dealing with it ? You said he looks
tired. I think he looks worse than that. He looks conflicted.
TOMASKY: Yes. Yes. And I think he is conflicted. And he is between a
moral and political rock and a hard place, I guess.
The only political thing he can really do, given the nature of his
opposition, given what I suspect will be public opinion on this, is that he
is going to have to send those kids back. People want I guess the law to
On the other hand, Chris, people do want to see the United States treat
kids like this humanely.
TOMASKY: That is something I wish he would have said a little bit more
about. He said part of the money is to make sure these kids get better
treatment than 20 sharing one toilet, which I read about today in one news
I think he could have talked a little bit more about that. And I think
there is more room in Americans` hearts, maybe not the far right`s, but in
Americans` heart to make sure that we do treat these kids really well as
long as they are here.
MATTHEWS: Jim, it seems so much of this is a guy driving a car, putting
his foot on the brake at the same time he`s putting it on the gas. on the
one hand, we`re saying we`re going to offer a break through executive
orders to the young people who have come into the country.
At the same hand, we are going to send these people to Central America back
home where they came from brought here by coyotes. On the one hand, we say
we are going to legalize people who are undocumented right now. At the
same time, we`re saying we`re going to enforce the border.
The push me, pull me aspect of this is mind-boggling. The Democrats want
the Hispanic vote. At the same time, they are promising to secure the
voters -- secure the border against any more people coming in here
illegally, which obviously doesn`t make people happy on the Hispanic side
of the debate. You don`t hear them pushing for tougher border control, the
Hispanic community. How do you -- it just seems to me a real conflict,
Jim, right down in your part of the country especially.
MOORE: Down here, Chris, the answer to this is nuanced.
A certain amount of this discussion about securing the borders is specious
nonsense. The border can be secured. But it involves putting people on
the river with guns and firing warning shots at children`s feet. You could
put up a fence. And you could put concertina wire up and down it and you
could turn the Rio Grande Valley into Checkpoint Charlie, just like the
But we are looking for leadership that does something that is different,
something that allows the two countries to work together. I think the
president`s problem about Central America, and I`m not going to suggest he
inherited it. But U.S. foreign and economic policy has played a big role
in what is happening in Central America right now over the years.
So, we are in some ways inheriting the problems that we created through
foreign policy over the years. The president is going to have to be more
intimately involved. He cannot remain at a distance if he is going to make
the people of the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas happy and Texas in
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about, Michael, what he tried to do tonight in his
short speech tonight to the press.
MATTHEWS: He seemed to be trying to put the moral responsibility back on
to those countries down there, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, that
have caused the people to want to get out of their country.
I mean, people want to get out of a country for not just economic reasons
now, apparently, but political and basically safety reasons. And he says
it is their job to take these people back. At the same time he`s saying
it`s dangerous for those kids to go back. What is he really proposing?
He`s only got two more years of his presidency. What is he proposing to
happen in those two years to these kids? Stay here, send them home, or
TOMASKY: I think send them home.
That`s what this supplemental that he is asking for from Congress, that`s
what most of this money I think will be devoted to. That`s to me what he
is looking for. I kept watching this, Chris, just -- he did fine, I think,
But I just kept shaking my head in sadness and thinking, once this gets to
Capitol Hill, what is going to happen to this? Are they going -- I think
the Republicans might understand that there`s a lot of pressure on them to
do something here, because if they block this, that would be really extreme
But what exactly are they do going to pass and how much will they put this
through the ringer and change it?
MATTHEWS: Jim, most of this country -- I have studied these economic --
these ethnographic maps of these congressional districts. So many
Republican members of Congress, and that is a majority of the Congress
right now, represent non-Hispanic people.
MATTHEWS: They represent districts that are 90-some percent non-Hispanic,
in fact, in some cases, hardly any Hispanic voters. So they have got
really nothing to lose politically by being hard-liners on any kind of a
legalization, any kind of program that allows a person to become something
like a citizen or even a citizen.
They are playing very hard on this. I wonder if even this crisis will
change their minds about the issue of immigration, period.
MOORE: Well, there`s a certain bit of, I wouldn`t call it an underground
economy in Texas, but even the conservatives and some of the hard right in
Texas, Chris, historically, hasn`t been tough on immigration, because,
let`s face it, a lot of what happens in the economy in the state of Texas
and the rest of the country, but more so this state, is connected to people
who cross this river, and who work here.
They build the homes, they pick the crops, they cook the food, they take
care of kids. And they have made many home builders a lot of money by
working in an affordable way. There are counterintuitive politics that get
in the way and make this much more complicated.
And the harder they are on the right about this, the more problems they
cause themselves economically with their supporters. And -- but they get
the hard-right vote. It is a conflicting thing that is not just hard for
the president to resolve, it`s hard for everybody down here to resolve.
But somebody, somehow, some way has to do something that isn`t an over --
gross oversimplification of screaming, and hollering and saying let`s
secure the border. You have to understand that this river out here is not
something that has divided this region. It has united this region.
There`s two cultures. There`s two economies. And these people cross this
river and live together everyday. There`s 2,000 people from McAllen who
cross that river everyday to work in factories down there as executives and
So, it is much more complicated than it appears in Washington and New York
City and even Dallas.
Michael, if the Republicans were smart on this, why wouldn`t they just go
to the president right now this week and say, we`re facing a crisis? We
both agree. You were talking to the governor of Texas the other day. This
is tonight. You actually agree on the need to beef up the border
protection, whether we bring in the National Guard or not. That`s a short-
Why don`t they just call it off? Let`s not talk about legalization right
now. Let`s just talk about the border right now. Let`s not talk about E-
Verify and making sure people are working here legally. That`s a big
question. Let`s just talk about the border, Mr. President.
I see they -- I think they might have them on this. We will give you the
$4 billion, but use it to protect the border right now, some of it. Seems
to me they could win this argument right now if they wanted to, the
TOMASKY: Well, yes, they could if they wanted to.
But the problem, Chris, is that tomorrow -- forget tomorrow morning. Right
now, the right-wing noise machine is cranking up, and they are saying,
oppose Obama. Oppose Obama. Oppose Obama.
TOMASKY: And anyone who votes with -- votes for this supplemental is going
to be threatened with a primary, the whole shtick. You know it as well as
MATTHEWS: Well said, Michael. You`re right, it`s the no party right now.
And I have seen it so much. And you have, too.
Thank you, Jim Moore, for reporting from the border. Thank you, as always,
MATTHEWS: Up next, winning over the white working-class in this country.
Are the Democrats even in this game anymore, winning the white voter,
especially the non-college voter?
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
PAGE HOPKINS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Page Hopkins. And here`s what`s
It`s another victory for marriage equality. Just a short time ago, a state
judge struck down Colorado`s ban on same-sex marriage, calling it
unconstitutional, but the judge put the ruling on hold pending an appeal.
A former New Orleans Mayor has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for
corruption, including money-laundering and bribery.
And Justin Bieber has been put on two years` probation for egging his
neighbor`s house. The singer pleaded no contest today to vandalism charges
-- and now we`re going to take you back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Well, one Democratic strategist out there claims to know the answers to the
problems facing Democrats, who may well be on the verge of a disastrous
midterm election in which they could well lose the United States Senate.
His solution, old-fashioned retail politics by courting red state rural
voters and employing what he calls the Bubba strategy to appeal to the
Veteran Democratic campaign warrior Dave "Mudcat" Saunders tells "Politico"
magazine -- quote -- "Finding a way to identify with the Bubbas, Southern
slang for people of limited means and less education, is not only useful
but essential to the Democratic Party`s future throughout the South and
rural areas of the country. If the party wants to hold the U.S. Senate
this year, let alone retake the House of Representatives any time soon, it
must travel again down many a country road, at least philosophically."
That`s Mudcat talking. A former Virginia state legislature -- whom Mudcat
worked for agrees, saying, "He taught me, Mudcat did, something that has
been very, very valuable to me in politics. You can get a hell of a lot
more votes with a good story than you can with the issues."
So, are Democrats better off courting the middle class by selling their
personal storylines, instead of their positions on the issues?
David "Mudcat" Saunders is a Democratic strategist, and Sherrod Brown is a
U.S. senator from Ohio who knows how to win blue-collar worker, obviously.
The home of the 2016 Republican Convention, by the way, is going to be in
Let`s go to Mudcat.
Tell us your feeling about first of all why aren`t working-class regular,
non-college, if you will, white guys not voting Democrat these days?
DAVID "MUDCAT" SAUNDERS, DEMOCRATIC CONSULTANT: Well, because we don`t go
after them, Chris.
It`s that simple. As Sherrod will tell you -- and God bless Sherrod Brown
for watching out after my people down here, as well as his people, blue-
collar people in Ohio -- it is a cultural thing. The Democrats, you know,
my great party doesn`t respect the culture like they should. They don`t
understand the power of the culture.
MATTHEWS: What is the culture? What is it? When you think of Democrat in
a bad way, what do you hear? What do you smell?
SAUNDERS: Well, I smell -- we`re the party of the intellectuals.
But at the same token, we can`t count. In my native South, for instance,
in the 2010 census, we`re 37 percent of the people in the United States in
the census and we`re going to turn our back on those people? Not only do I
think it is electoral insanity. I think it`s immoral.
MATTHEWS: Let me go to Sherrod Brown, who wins in Ohio all the time.
Senator, thank you joining us. You went to Yale, but you don`t let it
show, which I think is a very good thing. But you may not agree. But how
do you reach -- how do you succeed at doing it?
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Well, I -- first thing I want to say is,
Mudcat, I grew up watching Jim "Mudcat" Grant pitch for the Cleveland
Indians. And then he went -- and he later was an announcer.
And he was my favorite player. And I know that has got a lot to do with
your name. So, congratulations. That`s a good start.
MATTHEWS: That`s called retail products, by the way, Mudcat. That was
BROWN: Yes, I grew up in a town not too different. It was in the north,
but a lot of people from Appalachia lived right on the edge of my town or
in my town. I went to high school with a lot of them.
It really is about -- it`s about understanding and not necessarily being of
them, but, as I think Mudcat taught Mark Warner and others -- and Mark
Warner is a good student of this -- you don`t look down on people. You
don`t have to -- you don`t have to hunt and you don`t have to be a hunter.
You don`t have to necessarily be a fisherman and all that. But you`ve got
to understand it and like it. But all the more, you`ve got to have their
back. And that`s minimum wage. That`s trade policy.
Mudcat in that article talked about how -- what we did with globalization
blew the top of the fire hydrant. I mean, it clearly did. The people hurt
the most, probably by globalization, in my state, replaces people in places
like Mansfield. It`s not just Cleveland and Cincinnati. It`s Mansfield,
it`s Springfield, it`s Zanesville, it`s Weymouth (ph), these small towns
and middle class cities that don`t have much middle class any more because
of what`s happening.
We`ve got to have their backs. They`ve got to know we`re on their side.
And we don`t talk assertively like that enough.
MATTHEWS: Mudcat, kill yourself now and tell me how you would be a corner
man for Hillary Clinton next time. A corner man, a loyal corner man, and
help get her elected president. What would you advise her?
DAVE "MUDCAT" SAUNDERS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I don`t know how to advise
Hillary Clinton, to be honest, Chris. I mean, you if you look through
where I live and good to small town Virginia, you go to small town Ohio,
it`s the same thing. Looks like Sherman went through and didn`t burn
And you look like the globalization, it`s like Senator Brown made reference
to knocking the top off the fire hydrant, and that`s what they did, you
know, with NAFTA, CAFTA, and we go further with favored nation status for
China. I mean, why can`t we have favored status for the American workers?
I think Hillary Clinton is a tough sell for me.
MATTHEWS: You mean, you think NAFTA and all the free trade arguments,
globalization, has hurt the Democrats with people in Ohio, as well as West
Virginia, Southwestern Pennsylvania, places that have really been hit hard
by foreign competition? Senator --
SAUNDERS: There`s no question about. Of course it has.
BROWN: Yes, no doubt. No doubt.
And I think Hillary has an opportunity here because -- you know, this
president right now has done better at more aggressive on enforcing trade
rules than his predecessor. I don`t see quite eye to eye with him on
trade. I think he`s got to be a little bit better on it. I think he`s I
think Hillary needs to make that it clear that these trade agreements don`t
serve American workers. They don`t serve American small business. They
devastate community in places like southwest Virginia and Southeast Ohio,
but really all over the Midwest and the South. And she needs to stake out
a position that you invest in United States, in American workers.
You don`t pass these trade policies. You enforce the rules.
You look at trade in a way that`s going to lift workers up, not pull them
down. And even when you don`t need jobs, it`s pull down wages so that
workers in small town and rural Ohio, you`ve seen stagnant wages. There is
still plenty of fact -- not plenty, there`s still a number of factories in
places like Chillicothe and Gallipolis and Jackson.
But there are not -- the wages have been flat and these workers are falling
out of the middle class and not getting -- part of that is unionization.
We have got to be way more aggressive in helping workers join unions if
they choose to. Most want to. Hillary I think recognizes that. She needs
to be assertive about it.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I think you`re right. Let me go back to Mike here.
Mike, I think you add great argument here. I hope everybody listens to it,
because I think there is an attitude among the sort of wine and cheese
liberals of this country, the people that live in the West Coast, the left
coast, Hollywood people, they don`t really care a lot the below the line
people they call them, the crew people that put the movies together.
But my question to you is, the Democrats seem to think they can win all
election with David Plouffe, this genius guy that works for president.
Just get minorities to vote, get the young liberals to vote, get liberals
to vote, get labor to turn people out, and you don`t need the white people.
I mean, that seems to be the strategy, just pulling operations -- a really
good polling operation. And the demographics which are going the
Democratic way, you don`t need white people. They`re going to be a
minority some day.
That attitude I think does tick off white people. Your thoughts? And
also, it costs you votes.
SAUNDERS: Well, the deal is, is that if you come to my part off the world,
and you get a white bubba to vote for you, that`s a twofer.
SAUNDERS: And, you know, it`s like I`ve said, you know, for 10 years,
Democrats, my party, needs to learn how to count. I mean, if I get a vote
if Southwest Virginia for Democrat, I don`t get one vote, I get two because
I just took one away from Republicans.
MATTHEWS: OK, how about your vote? Who did you vote for in the last
governor`s race down there? Do you vote for McAuliffe or Cuccinelli?
SAUNDERS: I wrote in somebody.
MATTHEWS: You didn`t vote for McAuliffe?
MATTHEWS: You didn`t vote for the Democrat?
MATTHEWS: Don`t you like this show?
Anyway, thank you, Mudcat, coming on the show. I had to get some
information out of you. Thank you, Mudcat Saunders. We like you back.
Senator Sherrod Brown, we are big fans. We hope you balance out that
Republican move to put their convention up there in Cleveland. We figure
you`re going to be part of that counter punch when they put you on the
Anyway, up next, Democrats are out there reacting right now to Supreme
Court`s Hobby Lobby decision, which obviously affects women. We`re going
to talk about that, and they`re going to try -- the Democrats -- to
overtake that decision by courts.
HARDBALL coming back with that hot one.
MATTHEWS: Governor Chris Christie trying to ignore potential legal
problems and keep his eyes on the presidency in 2016. The New Jersey
governor is hitting two early primary states this month. Next Thursday,
he`ll be in Iowa for three fund-raisers out there for the caucuses. And
then in July 31st, Christie heads to New Hampshire for the first of the
Well, last week, Christie beat gun safety legislation that would have
limited capacity of magazines. No doubt he hopes will help him win votes
in concerned Republican primaries. So, he is still running for president.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
Last week, U.S. Supreme Court as we all know ruled in the Hobby Lobby case
that business owners could decide not to cover certain forms of birth
control for their employees if they, the owners of the company, object on
religious grounds. The court said forcing owners of closely held private
companies to cover them would violate their Religious Freedom Restoration
Act which Congress passed and Bill Clinton signed in 1993.
To be clear, however, the owners of Hobby Lobby didn`t object to forms of
birth control like pills and condoms, but believe four specific forms to be
tantamount to abortion. They say certain morning-after fills, as well as
IUDs could prevent a fertilized human egg from implanting on the uterine
wall. And they say they shouldn`t be forced to cover such.
But according to Jen Gunter, OB/GYN, writing on "The New Republic", only
one form of IUD may affect implantation. She argues the others do not.
Well, today, congressional Democrats unveiled legislation they say will
override the court`s decision of last week. It says that no federal law,
including the 1993 legislation, could be used for for-profit lawyers to
deny birth control under the Affordable Care Act. The bill`s co-authored
by Senator Patty Murray of Washington state.
Here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D), WASHINGTON: I think women across the country and
men are outraged by the decision by five Supreme Court justices that all of
a sudden says your boss has an opportunity to decide for you what your
health care choices are. That outrage is being -- it transmitted to
everyone. And I think we have a very good chance of rewriting the law so
that the justices can`t take away women`s ability to make their own health
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, the bill would come up for a vote perhaps by next week.
But even if it gets through the House of Representatives and the Senate,
would it honor the Supreme Court`s existing rule? We`ll have to see.
But Stephanie Schriock is the president of Emily`s List, and Nathan Diament
is the executive director of the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center.
I want you both to talk -- Stephanie, give us a case now why you think this
legislation will work to countermand what happened by the Supreme Court
last week regarding these particular forms of birth control?
STEPHANIE SCHRIOCK, EMILY`S LIST: Well, it was clear that the Democrats of
the United States Senate needed to act. The court isn`t going to protect
women in this country, so the Democratic women of the United States Senate
are going to.
So, I`m not a legal expert. But I`ll say we need to alter this law, so we
can assure that women across the country no matter where they work -- and
we were talking about working folks earlier -- no matter where they work,
they have the same access to all pieces of birth control that they possibly
need. They need access to health care, and that`s what this law is going
to attempt to do.
And I certainly hope that the Republicans see the wisdom ensuring that
every American woman and their families have the same access to health
MATTHEWS: Nathan Diament, why do you support this Supreme Court ruling of
NATHAN DIAMENT, ORTHODOX UNION ADVOCACY CENTER: Well, thank you, Chris.
We supported the Supreme Court ruling not because we in the Orthodox Jewish
community have any opposition to contraception or access to health care,
but we do have a very strong stake in -- a very strong protection of
religious freedom, and especially when the government can serve an
important interest in ways that have nothing to do with overriding
somebody`s religious freedom. We ought to try to have a situation where
the government interest is served and religious freedom is also respected.
And what`s unfortunate it seems about the legislation, that it was
introduced today, was that rather than find another mechanism to deliver to
women the contraceptives and the other health care services that the
government wants to deliver to them, and that the Supreme Court in Hobby
Lobby said they could deliver to them through another channel, the
legislation specifically decides to go after religious freedom again, and
say that`s the way that we have to deliver women their health care services
by infringing on religious freedom. We can`t have a win-win scenario. We
have to play a zero sum game.
MATTHEWS: Stephanie, if the complainants or the plaintiffs in this case,
the Hobby Lobby group, I know nothing about, except they`re recognized to
have a religious foundation to their company, I`m not used to that, but
that`s apparently the case, according to the fact-finding. They believe
that abortion is caused by these forms of birth control, the IUD and the
morning-after pills, that`s their argument, that`s their belief.
What do you say -- can you force people who have a real conviction like
that, that this is murder, if you will, by their standards, by their
definition -- how do you force people to eat that basically and say, live
with it? Is that what you want to say to these people? Live with it? You
got to do it for the employees?
SCHRIOCK: No, this -- we have to remember, this is about women`s health
MATTHEWS: No, what about the employers of the company?
SCHRIOCK: It is about birth control, and there`s research and --
MATTHEWS: They say it`s abortion.
SCHRIOCK: -- evidence stands up and says, this is -- that is an opinion,
but we have to go with science here, and that`s not what this is about.
And I -- let`s not forget.
MATTHEWS: Well, the science on IUDs, by the way --
MATTHEWS: Are you sure of the science -- are you sure of the science that
the IUD doesn`t prevent the implantation of the fertilized egg?
SCHRIOCK: Yes, so much so that when you explain it, just like we did in
Mississippi a few years ago when the people of Mississippi voted down the
personhood amendment, which would ban these types of birth control, the
reason they did so was because it was going to ban these types of birth
control. Women need access to health care, this is a big piece of that
And on top of it, the court on Thursday issued an emergency order that
expanded it beyond those four. So, we are on a slippery slope here that is
MATTHEWS: OK. Well, we know the fight, everyone watching, the Supreme
Court shouldn`t be forced to pay for something in insurance coverage which
they personally believe is abortive, even though the employees may want it.
Anyway, thank you, Stephanie Schriock for coming on.
Nathan Diament, thank you, sir, for coming on.
This is a very hot issue. It`s probably not going away. We`ll have a vote
next week perhaps in the Senate.
And we`ll right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with that question about white voters,
especially men and their vital role in their 2016 presidential election.
Let me put it this way: if white men vote the way they`ve done in recent
national elections, it will stand in the way of the Democratic Party
getting a mandate to actually govern, not just hold office.
Hillary Clinton can win without a majority, even a near majority of male
voters. But she cannot win the strong plurality, up there above 54
percent, that will give her a chance to actually carry the Congress into
office with her. And if she doesn`t do that, she could be lame duck from
This is the problem, not just for Hillary Clinton, but all for the
Democrats. They can`t just keep going to their base of minorities, labor
and liberals. They need to reach deep into the American middle. They need
to grab back the people who didn`t vote for Obama the second time
basically. Without pushing the point too hard, they need to get all those
votes back and more.
So, the question of anyone, man or woman, Democrat or Republican in 2016
is, can you win the American people? Can you build a national movement,
that will not only put you in office, but give you the mandate to really do
something once you`re there. And that`s a huge hurdle, but so is being a
great president in the 21st century.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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