July 14, 2014
Guest: Bob Woodruff, Sam Hall, Michael Tomasky, Joe Conason
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: "Oops" is not a foreign policy.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
"Let Me Start" tonight with this big civil war that`s broken out in the
Republican Party. I`m talking about the Iraq war fight, the one brought to
us by the Republican Party. I`m talking about the battle of words being
waged this weekend by Senator Rand Paul and Governor Rick Perry of Texas.
I believe this sharp debate over Iraq and the Iraq war promises an
explosion and fallout heading into 2016 right up there with the Democratic
fratricidal war of the election year of 1968, when it came apart as a party
at the Chicago convention over Vietnam. And just as then, the party that
prosecuted the war is the one suffering from the division. Back then, it
was Lyndon Johnson defending himself against Bobby Kennedy and Eugene
McCarthy. Today it`s another Texas hawk defending himself against Rand
Paul. It`s the hawks versus the doves, this time on Republican turf.
Can Governor Rick Perry stop Rand Paul? Can he lead a Stop Paul movement
heading toward the coming convention in Cleveland? Well, it`s been tried
before, this effort to kill the chances of a rising candidate. I love this
line from Richard Nixon in Pat Buchanan`s new book on the 1968 electoral
comeback of Nixon. Quote, "Buchanan, if you ever hear of a group forming
up to stop X, put your money on X."
Well, if Rick Perry`s out to stop Rand Paul, history shows then the senator
from Kentucky might just be the candidate who ends up winning this thing,
the one going up against Hillary Clinton. If they`re already ganging up on
Rand Paul and Perry thinks the smart thing to do is pile on, I say put a
few bucks on Rand Paul. I would.
I say this because whether you like his libertarian philosophy, Rand Paul
has street smarts. He doesn`t let Rick Perry get away with calling him an
isolationist. He`s gone on offense and nailed Perry this morning for
saying he wants to send U.S. troops back into Iraq.
Well, let Perry carry that around on his back for a while. The American
people followed W. and Dick Cheney and the rest of those world changers
into Iraq. Secretary Hillary Clinton has said it was her mistake to follow
them. Perry acts like it was such a great idea, attacking and invading and
occupying Iraq, he wants us to do it again.
And the only problem I have problem with Rand Paul counter-attacking Rick
Perry is it that breaks another Nixon rule, Always attack up. I have no
doubt that Rand Paul is very much in the Republican fight for 2016. I
still do not have that about Rick Perry, who had that embarrassing "oops"
the last time he ran for president. I`m not sure the American people are
going to give the guy a remake.
Anyway, Bob Woodward`s the associate editor of "The Washington Post" --
it`s "the Bob Woodward" -- and Howard Fineman, the Howard Fineman, is the
editorial director of the Huffington Post Media Group and an MSNBC
Anyway, in an op-ed, as I said, in "The Washington Post" this weekend,
Texas governor Rick Perry said Senator Rand Paul was, quote, "curiously
blind to threats coming from Iraq." He wrote, quote, "Obama`s policies
have certainly led us to this dangerous point in Iraq and Syria, but Paul`s
brand of isolationism, or whatever he terms it -- prefers it -- would
compound the threat of terrorism even further." That`s the governor of
Rand Paul responded quickly. In an op-ed today for Politico, the Kentucky
senator said Governor Perry`s ideas were rooted in bluster. That was his
word, "bluster." Well, the -- quote -- here`s what he has to say. "The
`Let`s intervene and consider the consequences later crowd` left us with
more than 4,000 Americans dead, over two million refugees and over
trillions of dollars in debt. Tough talk like Governor Perry`s might
inspire some for the moment, but when bombast becomes policy, it can have
long and disastrous consequences. It is vitally important that we remember
past mistakes so that we have learn from them. Perry seems entirely
comfortable repeating the history, the rhetoric and presumably the
mistakes." Pretty well written there.
Anyway, Bob, this guy, Paul -- I wouldn`t under estimate him. He has a
sharp retort. He also did it within 48 hours. I believe in quick
reaction. He didn`t let Perry get the weekend with your newspaper. He`s
back with Politico this morning.
BOB WOODRUFF, "WASHINGTON POST": And what he`s trying to do is fashion a
new doctrine, and I think he would call the doctrine of restraint, not
isolationism. And if you think about it and step back a little bit, what
he`s doing is he`s pulling a Bill Clinton, which is a third way,
triangulating between, in this case, Obama and Cheney, to a certain extent,
saying -- and I think the key line in what he wrote here is, Strength
doesn`t mean you always have war.
WOODRUFF: He`s saying, Let`s be strong. He`s embracing Reagan in a very,
very direct, potent way and--
MATTHEWS: You`ve written all these books about the wars we`ve had under
both Bushes and all the recent wars, in fact. You`ve got a book for each
war. Do you think that the Republican Party--
WOODRUFF: I have four books for--
MATTHEWS: Do you think the Republican voters out there coming up in Iowa
and New Hampshire, and et cetera -- it`s a little way out. But right now,
do you think they`re less war-like than they were 10 years ago?
WOODRUFF: Well, sure. Look, it`s not been a great time for a war. And
what Rand Paul is doing is stepping in here with a very original -- and
he`s very careful to embrace Reagan. And if you think about Reagan,
remember during the campaign, when he was running for president, there was
-- Oh, this is the mad bomber.
WOODRUFF: And if you look at Ken Adelman`s excellent book about Reagan at
Reykjavik with Gorbachev, you see that it`s Ronald Reagan who`s saying,
Let`s do away with ballistic missiles, let`s do away with all nuclear
weapons. And this--
MATTHEWS: It`s chilling--
MATTHEWS: -- how important that was.
WOODRUFF: -- yes -- the Joint Chiefs to have aneurysms across the board.
MATTHEWS: I know they did.
WOODRUFF: Wait a minute. They`re taking our missiles and our nukes away?
But that`s exactly what Reagan wanted to do. And so you`ve got a mixture
of the hard line and the soft of, you know, Paul saying, Let`s not run in.
Now, I don`t know him. I`ve only met him once. But if you read his words,
there`s a strain of serious argument here.
MATTHEWS: That`s what it`s going to take for the Republican Party, which
is been normally crudely positioned as the hawkish party, let`s face it,
for them to turn into a centrist party on these issues and look at
themselves and say, Think first, shoot later, shoot second.
MATTHEWS: That`s a hell of a development. I`m not sure Perry wants him to
get away with that.
HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST MEDIA GROUP, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:
Well, first of all, if I were Rick Perry, I`d be careful about getting in a
fight, as we can see over the last few days, with Rand Paul because Rand
Paul`s been thinking this through for decades, partly because he`s the son
of another libertarian, Ron Paul. Rand Paul`s pretty serious about this
stuff, and I would say, having covered him a lot in Kentucky and
nationally, he`s pretty committed and he`s pretty smart. And the other
thing is, he`s where the American people are right now. I don`t know where
MATTHEWS: Well, why aren`t the Republican leaders like that?
FINEMAN: The Republican leaders are locked into the past. I think that`s
basically it. It worked for them for a generation-and-a-half.
MATTHEWS: It was a smart move.
FINEMAN: It goes all the way back to the late `60s and the early `70s and
running against George McGovern and running against successive Democrats as
weak on defense. They played that over and over and over again, even
though Reagan was different. But don`t forget, the polls show that most of
the American people think the Iraq war was a mistake, that we wasted money
MATTHEWS: Do the Republican money men think that?
FINEMAN: I think, increasingly, they may. And don`t forget that Hillary
Clinton herself, who in many ways is more conservative and more of a hawk
than Rand Paul, has also now said, finally, that she thinks she made a
mistake when she voted for the Iraq war. That shows that Rand Paul is
headed in the right direction.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Let`s take a look at this. Senator John McCain and Liz
Cheney took shots at Rand Paul today, actually, while both made a point of
saying they weren`t taking sides between the two gentlemen, Perry and Paul.
The two hawkish people there had these strong words for Rand Paul. Let`s
listen to them take sides, effectively.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Senator Paul is part of a wing of the party
that`s been there ever since prior to World War I in our Republican Party.
And that is a withdrawal to Fortress America.
LIZ CHENEY, DAUGHTER OF DICK CHENEY: I think that, you know, I`ve got some
-- some big concerns about the extent to which Senator Paul seems to think
we can be safe if we just come home, and you know, try to build a fortress
America. That`s clearly not going to work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, there you have it. They`re going for the old guaranteed
move, which was support the hawkish position, which is always the popular
position, Bob, before a war.
WOODRUFF: Yes, but--
MATTHEWS: It`s always the popular--
WOODRUFF: -- remember one of the doctrines of politics here is, Define
yourself, don`t let others define you. And Paul is smart enough, at least
in terms of the rhetoric, to say, Hey, wait a minute. I`m not an
isolationist. I`m not saying -- and again, to just go back to this line.
He`s saying if we`re strong, that doesn`t mean we`re going to have war.
And he holds Reagan up as the model of this.
So by putting the label on him of, Oh, he`s an isolationist, I mean, at
least in terms of the words I`ve read--
WOODRUFF: -- that doesn`t fit.
MATTHEWS: Well, how do you see this battling (ph) up (ph)? You know, the
old thing in Massachusetts was the shape of the field determines the
winner. If you have Rand Paul out there taking this new position, this
hybrid position, as you describe it, of not really being, you know,
instinctively hawkish, the other side`s line-up -- Rick Perry`s no thinker.
He`s going to go with what he thinks works and has worked in the past.
Certainly, if Chris Christie can get back into this thing, he`s going to be
hawkish. He`s very much a Rudy Giuliani type, an East Coast hawk.
Who else is there, Howard? Either guy -- I mean, is anybody going to agree
with Rand Paul in this debate?
WOODRUFF: Well, maybe the voters are because it makes sense. I mean, just
-- I mean--
WOODRUFF: -- Howard`s exactly right that this the--
MATTHEWS: I love the fight--
MATTHEWS: -- Republican Party was the hawkish party. But remember, in
`68, it was the Democrats that had the brutal fight over the war.
FINEMAN: OK, but now, the reason why is that the Democrats were in charge
of the war. They were in charge of war policy. They were the Henry
Jackson Democrats, if you will, the hawkish Democrats. That`s what LBJ
ended up being.
FINEMAN: So it was natural to have the fight within the Democratic Party.
Now it`s natural to have the fight within the war party.
MATTHEWS: Because they started it.
FINEMAN: Because they started it. And they`re admitting, many of them,
including Rand Paul, that it was a mistake. And they`re going to have to
deal with the consequences. The question`s going to be -- and Rand Paul`s
going to have this position to himself, in pure terms.
MATTHEWS: That`s what I think--
FINEMAN: -- have it to himself in pure terms, and he`s going to go to Iowa
and New Hampshire and he`s going to make his case. And after ten years and
after trillions of dollars, and after--
FINEMAN: -- after all of that, he may have a case to make with those
people. He really--
MATTHEWS: Just remember -- just remember, in the game of Hearts, he`s the
one shooting the moon.
MATTHEWS: Just remember, he`s the one all alone.
Well, anyway, today Rand Paul called out Rick Perry, who has in the past
talked about sending troops back into Iraq. Senator Paul wrote, quote,
"Unlike Perry, I oppose sending American troops back into Iraq. After a
decade of the United States training the Iraq`s military, when confronted
by the enemy, the Iraqs (sic) dropped their weapons, they shed their
uniforms and they hid. Our soldiers` hard work and sacrifice should be
worth more than that. Our military is too good for that."
Well here`s Rick Perry`s reaction to that. Here it comes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: The idea that I`m for opening up the gates and
sending, you know, multiple numbers of American troops back into harm`s way
is a bit of a stretch. As a veteran, as an individual who has deployed
hundreds and thousands of U.S. National Guard, Texas National Guard troops
to Iraq and Afghanistan over the course of the last decade, I understand as
well as anyone the concept of putting our young people in harm`s way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, of course, as Rand Paul pointed out, Governor Perry has
advocated returning troops to Iraq, as he did at a Republican presidential
debate in January of 2012. Let`s watch it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PERRY: Well, I think that you have to -- I would send troops back into
Iraq because -- I will tell you--
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now?
PERRY: I think we start talking with the Iraqi individuals there. The
idea that we allow the Iranians to come back into Iraq and take over that
country, with all of the treasure both in blood and money that we have
spent in Iraq because this president wants to kowtow to his liberal leftist
base and move out those men and women -- he could have renegotiated that
timeframe! I think it is a huge error for us--
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: What do you think of that--
MATTHEWS: -- first rate or third rate?
WOODRUFF: Well, first of all, I mean, I think the person gasping in the
back was you.
MATTHEWS: No, I think it was George Stephanopoulos, actually. Off camera,
it was me.
WOODRUFF: It was now. I mean, that`s a position I`m sure he will not
stick to. But you know, your comparison with 1968, in the middle of the
Vietnam war, doesn`t quite work because it was a hot war. We had hundreds
of thousands of troops over there. We were bombing actively. Now the
question is not so much the Iraq war, but the next war. Is there going to
be a next war, and what is the basis for it? And he`s laid at least--
MATTHEWS: Yes. As they said in "Charlie Wilson`s War," we`ll see, OK?
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Bob Woodward, and thank you, Howard Fineman. I feel
like I`ve just failed the test of greatness with Bob, but I`ll keep trying.
Coming up: Had enough of Sarah Palin? Now with her talk of impeachment,
even a lot of Republicans are saying time for that part-time governor and
failed VP candidate to leave the stage to the people, dare I say, who know
what they`re talking about.
Also, the Cheneys are back at it. That`s how you pronounce it, Cheney.
Just today, Dick Cheney joined his wife and daughter in defending his
indefensible selling of the Iraq war -- that`s coming up in the show -- and
then blaming President Obama for the mess that he, Cheney, left behind.
And could the Tea Party get even angrier? Chris McDaniel`s loss down in
Mississippi has so infuriated Tea Partiers that Republicans fear the
movement`s anger could spread to close races in the fall around the
country. Some Democrats certainly hope so.
And HBO`s John Oliver had some fun over a president`s surplus of libido.
Plus, a lot of women and men voted for that guy.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has returned to active duty. Bergdahl,
who was returned home six weeks ago after being held in Afghanistan nearly
five years by the Taliban, started regular duty today. His assignment is
an unspecified desk job at Fort Sam Houston near San Antonio. Bergdahl was
released by the Taliban as part of a prisoner exchange that freed five
Taliban commanders who had been held at Guantanamo Bay.
The Army continues to investigate why he, Bergdahl, left his post in
Afghanistan five years ago.
And we`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN (R-AK), FMR. GOV., FOX CONTRIBUTOR: A great awakening is due
in this country, and this is the message that will be to our president,
that he is not an imperial president. Impeachment is a message that has to
be sent to our president that we`re not going to put up with this
You don`t bring a lawsuit to a gunfight!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: "You don`t bring a lawsuit to a gunfight."
Anyway, welcome back to HARDBALL. The Republican Party has a Sarah Palin
problem. You just heard it. John Boehner`s lawsuit against President
Obama was meant to put out the hard right`s impeachment craze that you just
heard there. Instead, it`s let Palin and the Tea Party red-hots pour
gasoline on the fire.
Boehner and his allies know the danger they`re facing if they don`t stifle
or at least contain the Palin wing right now. In fact, the last time
Republicans let an impeachment craze get out of hand, take over their
party, under President Clinton, they imploded in that 1998 midterm
election, and they kicked out their own speaker of the House. It was a
disastrous move to go try and impeach Clinton.
Anyway, Boehner launched the first counterattack within hours of Palin`s
comments last week, and others are quickly joining the fight. Yesterday,
neocon field marshal Bill Kristol, who helped catapult Palin to the VP
nomination in 2008, slammed her as peddling a, quote, "phony issue."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL KRISTOL, "WEEKLY STANDARD": No responsible Republican elected
official has called for impeachment. And the one problem with it is, of
course, you just get Joe Biden as president.
KRISTOL: The Republican task is to elect a Republican Senate and elect a
Republican president in 2016, not to create a phony issue which allows
Democrats to make Republicans look extreme.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Bob Goodlatte, the head of the House Judiciary Committee,
where impeachment proceedings would have to begin, also blasted Palin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BOB GOODLATTE (R), VIRGINIA: We are not working on or drawing up
articles of impeachment. The Constitution is very clear as to what
constitutes grounds for impeachment of the president of the United States.
He has not committed the kind of criminal acts that call for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Ah, sanity from the Republicans! But perhaps the strongest
condemnation came from a Democrat, Attorney General Eric Holder, who used a
rare appearance on a Sunday talk show to say this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: She wasn`t a
particular good vice presidential candidate. She`s an even worse judge of
who ought to be impeached and why.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, David Corn is an MSNBC political analyst who is champing
at the bit here. And also champing at the bit -- he`s obviously bureau
chief for here in Washington for "Mother Jones." And of course my friend
Joy Reid is host of "THE REID REPORT," well-named, weekdays on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Joy, you first. I haven`t seen you in a while.
Just talk -- let`s talk turkey here. The Republican leadership seems to
think -- well, you know what they are doing this year. They`re freezing
the ball on basketball. They think they have got a win coming in November,
so they don`t want to do immigration, they don`t want to do the kids down
there. They don`t want to do anything, even talk impeachment, because
anything that will rattle the cage of the voter out there scares the heck
out of them, because they think they have got this thing won.
So, shut up, Palin, shut up, everybody. But that seems to be their
strategy. Not that they love our president. Go ahead.
JOY REID, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: yes. No, Chris, and I have missed you. It`s
good to be back.
Look, and then along comes Palin. And the thing is, is that if you look at
the Palinites, the people who follow her, the Tea Party wing, whatever we
want to call them, they really haven`t changed much since they were
screaming off with his head and all that sort of madness in 2008.
But the problem is, is that they are outdoing the elected wing of the
party, the Goodlatte wing, the Boehner wing, in terms of constituent
service, because the part of the Republican base that wants to feel
victimized, that wants to be angry, that wants nothing less than the total
humiliation of Barack Obama for the apostasy of daring to be president and
acting like president and using presidential power, that wing will never be
You couldn`t appease them by shutting down the government. You`re not
going to appease them with a lawsuit. And Palin from her Facebook page
speaks for them.
DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Joy is right.
MATTHEWS: I think -- I can`t -- I say that because I do think they want to
-- they deny his existence as president. They want to delegitimize him and
they would love to impeach him.
CORN: They have been doing that from the very beginning. Secret
socialist. Born in Kenya, all that stuff. They want to deny--
MATTHEWS: He`s not really president.
CORN: They want to basically erase him.
CORN: That old Soviet way of taking him out of the picture if they can.
MATTHEWS: Or an asterisk. If they could get an asterisk next to his name,
CORN: But the problem -- this is the energy in the party that brought
Boehner and others to power. They harnessed the Tea Party tiger. Now they
find it`s very hard to keep feeding it red meat. You give them a lawsuit.
MATTHEWS: OK. Why are they afraid of the word impeachment?
CORN: What? Why? Oh--
MATTHEWS: They`re clearly afraid of it.
CORN: Well, they`re afraid because they see, they know that it turns off
moderate voters. They saw what happened with the Clinton years. They see
MATTHEWS: Why does it turn off moderate voters? What about the word
bothers regular, middle-of-the-road people?
CORN: Well, I think people generally and rightfully come to the idea of
impeachment as something that only occurs in very extreme circumstances.
MATTHEWS: Nixon stuff.
CORN: It also will drive up -- drive out the Democratic base. We saw that
when they started talking about the lawsuit, let alone impeachment, money
contributions to the Democratic Campaign Committee went up tremendously.
I mean, you talk -- I have talked to people at the White House who would be
delighted to see members of Congress start talking about impeachment
MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s come back to the question of standing. Do you think,
Joy, from the progressive wing in your thinking, or the journalistic way of
thinking, either way, do you think that Sarah Palin is really one of the
leaders of the Republican Party? I think she is. But what do you think?
In other words, when she talks, half the party listens, I think.
REID: I agree.
I mean, for the establishment wing, she`s sort of like the plant in "Little
Shop of Horrors," right, that she keeps on getting bigger and bigger and
bigger the more you feed her red meat. And the reason for that is that the
base of the Republican Party has been fed by right-wing media for so long.
And that`s now what they have come to the expect from politics. And the
Boehner wing just can`t serve them. And no matter what they try, they are
being super-served by that Palinite wing. And she -- even she no longer
has a job in elected office, has absolutely no standing -- she`s not a
lawyer. She went to like five colleges, none of which was a law school.
MATTHEWS: OK, Harvard.
MATTHEWS: OK, Harvard.
REID: Well, I`m just saying, she`s not a lawyer. She has no standing to
explain what should be impeachable. But she does super-serve her base.
MATTHEWS: Let`s get into the anatomy of the person here. Why do you think
she is such a great show politically? The left loves to bash her because
she is a great show. The right embraces her. I know they do.
REID: They do.
MATTHEWS: David, you start on this. They do embrace her. They don`t
treat her as some yahoo. They see her as a person, maybe like Howard Beale
in the movie who speaks somehow primordially the truth, or Jesse Ventura
for a while.
CORN: Unlike that plant in "Little Shop of Horrors," I think she`s hit her
MATTHEWS: Do you guys go to the same drive-in? I don`t think I saw that
CORN: I think she`s sort of waning.
CORN: She`s no longer like on FOX every other day. They kind of distanced
And people who thought they had to pay her tribute, the John Boehners, are
now saying, well, we really don`t. But I do think this is going to cause a
problem for the party going into 2016.
MATTHEWS: Let`s look at a list.
CORN: But wait a second, Chris. She`s creating a litmus test. Are you --
were you for impeachment or not? And that is going to be a hard question
when you get to the Tea Party-driven Republican primaries.
MATTHEWS: OK. Look at the people who are willing to say no. Already,
Palin`s impeachment craze is being felt at the local level.
As "The Washington Post" reports, about a half dozen Republican Senate
candidates, U.S. Senate candidates are all saying no. They are all in
tight races and they have publicly opposed Palin`s call for impeachment.
Look at these names, Joni Ernst, of course the hog castrator out in Iowa,
who tried to walk back comments favoring impeachment that she made in
January, but were made public last week.
Anyway, Thom Tillis, who is a real candidate up there in North Carolina, he
says said he opposes impeachment of Obama, impeaching Obama. He wants to
win. Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, who is running for the Senate in
West Virginia and is ahead in that race, has come out against impeachment.
Again, they are sitting on their leads.
So is Georgia businessman David Perdue, who is in a primary fight to
determine who will run against Democrat Michelle Nunn down there in
Georgia. And last, there`s Congressman Cory Gardner out of Colorado, whose
spokesman says he does not support impeaching the president.
All the other Republican candidates, including Majority Leader Mitch
McConnell, didn`t confirm where they stood on the issue.
So, everybody is again freezing the ball. So, why go for this crazy shot
of impeachment when you think you are going to win if you just shut up?
CORN: Well, there, you want to play it safe. But also I think they know
this will give every Democrat an issue. You elect this guy and he`s going
to Congress, Washington. First thing he is going to do is start impeaching
the president. And that`s not going to play well with a very small band of
MATTHEWS: Well, why don`t the Democrats organize a -- Joy, why don`t the
Democrats organize some push-polling out there and make sure every member
of -- every candidate for the Republican ticket in any C.D. in the country
has to say for or against impeachment? That would be fun.
REID: No. And that`s the reason that you see those -- you look those
states, states like Colorado, states like North Carolina, where there is
just enough vote there that if Democrats really did get out -- and remember
in some of those states like North Carolina, you already have a push
because of things like voter I.D. to get more African-American voters out,
to get more women because of the Supreme Court decisions.
MATTHEWS: Yes. I hope so.
REID: So, I think, for Republicans, absolutely. They are worried that
Sarah Palin will be made the running mate of every single senator, even
though there is no Senate running mate, but they will -- she will be
stitched to their campaign.
And the problem is, is that the people who are really excited about voting,
it`s that far-right portion of the Republican base. They are coming out
and Sarah Palin still excites them. And to your point, I think what
establishment Republicans fear is that independents will be turned off by
her wing of the party, but more so that Democrat will figure it out because
my reporting is the same as David`s.
REID: In the White House world, they like this. They want to hear it,
because it does rev up Democrats.
But to your point, think of all those five colleges that can all claim her
as an alumna.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, David Corn.
CORN: If they want to.
MATTHEWS: You Harvard person.
Anyway, thank you very much, Joy Reid.
And we will be right back.
REID: Thank you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER")
BILL MAHER, HOST, "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER": That`s a real crisis.
There are 52,000 kids on the border now, and Angelina Jolie said she cannot
take them all.
MAHER: And, of course, it`s become a big political football now. The
conservatives say, we can`t keep all these Latin American kids here. I
say, not only can we keep them, but it will greatly improve our chances of
winning the World Cup in about 10 years.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That`s so smart.
Time now for the "Sideshow."
The Library of Congress is set to release over a hundred letters written by
former U.S. President Warren G. Harding later this month. Advanced copies
obtained by "The New York Times" portray a president who was a lot racier
than you might have expected. Certainly, I didn`t.
Here is how John Oliver -- Oliver reacted to the letters just last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER")
JOHN OLIVER, HOST, "LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER": A 40-year-old
mother of two should be reading them on her Kindle, because this is an
actual passage from his actual letters.
"I feel that there will never be any relief until I take a long, deep, wild
draft on your lips and then bury my face on your pillowing breasts."
OLIVER: I have got to say, damn, Warren, you nasty!
OLIVER: No one -- no one is going to be able to look at you in the same
I will say this for Warren Harding. As a president, he was terrible. But
as an R&B lyricist, he was way ahead of his time.
OLIVER: He really puts the Warren G. into Warren G. Harding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Anyway, but is it worth noting that the presidential election of
1920 was the first in which men and women both voted thanks to the passage
of the 19th Amendment? Hmm, lots to think about there.
Up next: Can the Tea Party get even angrier? You would have to think so
after watching what`s happening down in Mississippi.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger. Here`s
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with his security
cabinet Tuesday to discuss a cease-fire proposal put forward by Egypt`s
government that would end the most recent violence. Local media reports
say the fighting could stop by tomorrow morning.
On Wednesday, President Obama will sit down with members of the
Congressional Hispanic Caucus to address the crisis on the border.
Meanwhile, two Texas lawmakers have introduced a bill that would speed the
processing of U.N. -- unaccompanied children from crossing into the U.S.
border -- back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
It`s been three weeks now since Chris McDaniel lost to Senator Thad Cochran
in Mississippi. But McDaniel and his supporters vow to continue fighting,
believe it or not. In other words, it looks like an angry Tea Party in
Mississippi is getting angrier.
What began as a typical challenge to a six-term incumbent soon made
national headlines after four McDaniel supporters were arrested for
breaking into the nursing home of Senator Cochran`s ailing wife and
photographing her for an anti-Cochran video.
Well, one of those four was Mississippi and Tea Party activist Mark
Mayfield, whose bail was posted at the extraordinary level of $250,000.
While Mayfield was allegedly involved in the planning of the break-in, the
arrest clearly took a big toll on him and his well-being. He didn`t go
into the hospital. He just planned it, apparently.
A profile in "The New York Times" today details how Mayfield reacted to
being implicated in what police called a criminal conspiracy -- quote --
"He stayed away from Facebook, and stopped writing letters to the editor.
He went to his law office, but often had little to do since his major
clients had all but cut him off."
Then came another shock. McDaniel narrowly lost the June 24 runoff after
some of Mississippi`s African-American community turned out en masse to
support Senator Cochran over McDaniel in the open primary. Then, just
three days later, attorney Mayfield, the McDonald -- or the McDaniel
activist, committed suicide.
And many McDaniel supporters believe that it was the divisive primary
battle that drove him to it, making their political fight so tragically
personal as well. Even McDaniel`s policy director tweeted the following.
"A good man is gone today because of a campaign to destroy lives. To all
so-called Republican leaders who joined lockstep, I will not rest."
This is Gothic stuff, southern Gothic. McDaniel has refused to concede
defeat in this fight and alleges voter fraud. And now he`s channeling Tea
Party anger to raise money for a legal challenge, even calling for a new
election. A fund-raising appeal on his campaign`s Web site calls the June
election a sham and says -- quote -- "Democrats steal the Mississippi
Talk about Southern Gothic.
Joining me right now is MSNBC political analyst Eugene Robinson of "The
Washington Post" and Sam Hall, assisting managing editor for "The Clarion-
Ledger" of Jackson, Mississippi.
I want to go to Sam first for the local.
This is really a saga now of horror. The fact that they broke in and tied
to exploit the condition of Senator Thad Cochran`s wife, whatever you think
of that,it was breaking the law -- $250,000 in bail money, it seems
extraordinary, over the top. Then the guy, the poor fellow is so depressed
he commits suicide after the runoff. This doesn`t seem to end.
SAM HALL, "THE CLARION-LEDGER": No, it doesn`t.
And we have seen a lot of other developments in this. But that`s been one
of the key sticking points here, is whether or not that was -- the high
bail, the conspiracy charges, the felony charges that went along with it,
the McDaniel camp, a lot of their supporters and activists had said that,
you know, that`s part of Haley Barbour and the local mayor there, who also
was a big Cochran supporter, that was part of them just trying to turn the
screws on the McDaniel campaign and get some negative press for it.
And we hear all the rumors and the talks they are going to reduce the
charges, they are going to drop the charges and all like that. But so far,
the district attorney says they still plan to present it to the grand jury
at the end of the month.
And I know in the "New York Times" article, you mentioned they were talking
about possibly one more suspect that they are looking at. We do know that
they talked to at least one, maybe two other people in depth. But they
didn`t find anything to it. And so far as we know, the investigators close
to it have given no other word that they are going to have any other
arrests coming in the case.
MATTHEWS: This is so full of questions.
EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
MATTHEWS: And it has that Southern small-town, even though it`s Jackson,
Madison -- I don`t know. How big a town is that?
ROBINSON: There are no big cities in Mississippi.
MATTHEWS: Well, it just -- it`s this small-town suspicions that the the --
the establishment, the big -- the Main Street people have gotten together
with Haley Barbour. I just heard it there.
MATTHEWS: Posting $250,000 seems like a lot of money for someone who
oversaw going into a hospice. I mean --
EUGENE ROBINSON, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes, it seems like a lot of money.
The whole scenario kind of plays into the Tea Party suspicion, the whole
Tea Party thing about big powerful interests that are working against the
regular ordinary folks who just want their American freedoms back.
MATTHEWS: That explains why Ted Cruz jumped in. He`s stirring the waters
ROBINSON: Yes. You know, this is going to have are resonance, I think,
among Tea Party activists not just on Mississippi but possibly elsewhere.
Not that it`s going to happen exactly like that in other states.
MATTHEWS: Well, as I said, Ted Cruz fanned the flames a bit even further,
calling for an investigation into allegations of, quote, "voter fraud" in
Mississippi. Here is what he said to conservative radio host Mark Levin.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: But even more troubling, Mark, in the past week
or so, we have seen serious allegations of voter fraud. And I very much
hope that no Republican was involved in voter fraud. But these allegations
need to be vigorously investigated and anyone involved in criminal conduct
should be prosecuted. The voters of Mississippi deserve to know the truth.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Sam, can you tell where the voter wills end up? The people on
the hard right, are they going to possibly vote for Childers in the
general, the Democrat?
SAM HALL, THE CLARION-LEDGER: We have a lot of people who say they are
going to. Others are just say they will stay home and not vote for
anybody. Even several folks who said they`ve already cut small checks to
him. Others who say they`ll cut larger checks if McDaniel is not
successful in the challenge just because it`s anybody but Cochran type deal
right now. So, I don`t know if it`s going to be enough to make a
MATTHEWS: What`s the temperature down there in Jackson today?
HALL: A lot hotter than it is.
But I`ll tell you, you know, there is still just real anger that the
thought of -- that this was going to subside and that, you know, the longer
you get away from the run-off that the anger was going to subside, it
hasn`t. It`s gotten more intense as it`s gone on, as a matter of fact.
All the allegations of voter fraud have just played into that.
But, so far, there`s not been any solid proof of anything. Everything
that`s been brought up, there are at least, you know, plausible
explanations about it. And, you know, the biggest thing they are look at
now are the vote counts and, you know, how many irregular ballots and the
McDaniel campaign so far has refused to release a list of, you know, this
is how many votes, irregular votes we have found in such and such counties.
Talking to the people who are doing the observing, it`s single digits.
ROBINSON: Well, voter fraud means the wrong people voted? Is that --
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Gene Robinson. (AUDIO GAP) aspect to it.
Thank you so much, Sam Hall from Jackson, Mississippi. Love that town.
Up next, after Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney is the Republican people wish would
stop talking. But he ain`t stop talking.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: President Obama is hitting the road to push for funding for
America`s broken roads and bridges. The president wants Congress to pass a
large scale package to fund infrastructure repair. He`ll make the pitch in
Northern Virginia tomorrow and Delaware on Thursday.
But Congress has other ideas and is fighting over a smaller, temporary
measure to prevent the Highway Trust Fund from running out of money next
Anyway, we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
The Cheneys, of course, continue the publicity blitz today, sitting down
with "Politico`s" Mike Allen. One of the featured topics of their
discussion was the war in Iraq.
The Cheney family offensive comes at a time when Iraq has exploded with
chaos and 58 percent of the American people believe President Obama`s
decision to withdraw troops from Iraq was the right thing to do. That`s 58
Sixty-one percent of the American people believe going into Iraq back in
2003 was the wrong thing to do in the first place. Sixty-three percent
oppose sending troops back now to the war-torn country. Got it?
Nonetheless, Cheney, who was the number one force pushing war on the
American people, said he is sticking to his tragic position of 2003.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: I believed in it then. I look back at
it now. It was absolutely the right thing to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: What did anyone expect is what I have to say? Is it news that
Dick Cheney is Dick Cheney?
Anyway, there will be no regrets apparently for the man who was
consistently wrong about everything in the lead-up to war.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
CHENEY: Regime change in Iraq would bring about a number of benefits to
the region. When the gravest of threats are eliminated, the freedom-loving
peoples of the region will have a chance to promote the values that can
bring lasting peace.
TIM RUSSERT, NBC NEWS: Do you think the American people are prepared for a
long, costly and bloody battle with significant American casualties?
CHENEY: I don`t -- I don`t think it`s likely to unfold that way, Tim,
because I really do believe we`ll be greeted as liberators.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we have to take action, do you think it will be a
long or short war?
CHENEY: My own judgment based on my time as secretary of defense and
having operated in this area in the past, I`m confident that our troops
will be successful. I think it will go relatively quickly, but --
UNIDENTIFEID MALE: Weeks? Months?
CHENEY: Weeks rather than months.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Weeks rather than months, no casualties, hardly any casualties,
a quickie war.
Anyway, Michael Tomasky is a columnist with "The Daily Beast", and Joe
Conason is editor with "The National Memo".
I`m going to give you each a chance to say what you think of that.
JOE CONASON, THE NATIONAL MEMO: Well --
MICHAEL TOMASKY, THE DAILY BEAST: What can I say?
MATTHEWS: Michael first.
TOMASKY: It`s absolutely mindboggling. And, Chris, he`s going to do this
until the day he dies. And he chooses these public forums. You know, they
chose to go to Mike Allen and do this big hoo-ha, right? To do this thing.
And they`re going to keep choosing it forever. Certainly, as long as
Barack Obama is president, and then if Hillary Clinton is president, even
though she supported it, because she has recanted, they`re going to keep
pounding and pounding and pounding. He will never, ever stop. It`s the
opposite of statesmanship.
MATTHEWS: What do you get out if, Joe Conason? Because, you know, we
always have the access to the tape here when have that great strength, the
America people benefited from it I think, objectively. They can always
hear what this judgment, as he called it, was. He treasures his judgment,
he speaks about it as if it`s some -- you know, I don`t know, King Tut`s
tomb or something. I don`t know.
CONASON: Yes, well look, I mean, I would have asked him a different
I would have said, do you think it was worth $3 trillion and breaking the
U.S. armed forces to the extent we did and, you know, upwards of 4,000
American casualties and some untold number of Iraqi dead over 100,000 most
likely. And turning over Iraq to Iran, which is essentially what has
happened here. Do you think that was worth it, sir?
And I would have loved to have heard the answer to that, because that`s the
right question, not, you know, was it right or wrong. Are you sorry you
He`s never sorry about anything. But the question is, does he understand
what the real consequences were and can he respond to them?
MATTHEWS: I think timing is a lot to this thing. I think he sees the
foreign policy -- I mean, the whole world is coming apart right now.
Certainly, ISIS there grabbing all that land from the Sunni territories in
Iraq and in Syria. Everything is coming apart going back to Churchill.
It`s probably a good time to fish in troubled waters.
Is that why he`s back?
TOMASKY: He`s back because he`s never gone away and he`s never --
MATTHEWS: I noticed.
TOMASKY: He`s never going to go away.
MATTHEWS: Why did he go into Vietnam -- why, Vietnam, there`s my Freudian
CONASON: He didn`t go to Vietnam.
TOMASKY: He didn`t go to Vietnam. Fought five different times.
MATTHEWS: OK. You guys are ahead of me.
Let me ask you this. I don`t think the weapons, WMD, that (INAUDIBLE)
thing, that was a good sales pitch for the people in the middle
politically. That got us in, I think people listening to that, Europe.
OK. You might have a case. So, that was just the sales pitch.
What was his personal, primordial reason for working behind the scenes, to
bill up the yellow cake story, build up the aluminum tube story, to build
up everything, well beyond the evidence? Why did he push the war based on
flimsy evidence to begin with?
TOMASKY: I believe it goes back to his time as secretary of state in 1992
and end of the Cold War and Soviet Union collapse, and the neocons, they
wrote about this at the time. This wasn`t any secret. This was all there
for us to read.
They wrote at the time and said at the time, now is the time for us to
establish American hegemony in the world. Our nemesis is gone. We`re the
only superpower and that`s how we have to run things.
Then, they were out of power for eight years because Bill Clinton was the
president. Then they got back into power and then 9/11 happened, and they
had a chance to show that we would be the hegemonic power and they took it.
MATTHEWS: Well, I always believed they speak in Cold War terms, Joe, and
they speak of everything as if it`s Eastern Europe. When Cheney was
talking there in that interview with Tim Russert about how they`re all
going to be liberated, it`s going to be like after something happened in --
CONASON: Like France.
MATTHEWS: Bulgaria or one of those countries, actually France, or even the
Eastern European countries after the -- in the fall of the Cold War, that
they were going to be like Poland or Hungary, countries that just wanted to
be free from the yolk of the Soviets. And I still think they think in Cold
But what do you think was pushing Cheney to push us into Iraq? Joe?
CONASON: Well, you know, there`s the old theory about Halliburton and
there are various theories about it. I -- it`s never made sense to me. I
think Mike is probably close to it. That they thought --
MATTHEWS: Is it oil patch stuff? Do you think it`s oil patch?
CONASON: Yes, maybe, but I think they thought they were going it reshape
the Middle East. You know, this is what President Bush talked about often
and Cheney and Condi Rice. They talked about how this was going to reshape
-- I think you have to never underestimate is their utter incompetence.
Their utter incompetence.
They actually don`t know what they`re talking about most of the time. This
has been proved again and begun and again. They had no idea what would
happen in terms of sectarian divisions in Iraq because they didn`t know
anything about them at the time.
MATTHEWS: You know what I think exposed their head, showed their hand,
political ideological hand here, that show they had nothing to do with --
first of all, when we found out there was no WMD, no nuclear weapons, they
didn`t change course for a minute. They didn`t say, oh, wait, we blew it.
They wanted to first thing they wanted to do was de-Baathisize. Their
number one goal was regime change and make sure the Baathist Party they
didn`t like was out of office.
TOMASKY: Yes. There was nothing --
MATTHEWS: They thought it was the Nazis. They thought it was like de-
Nazification all over again.
Thank you, gentlemen.
This ain`t going away. He ain`t going away.
Michael Tomasky, thank you. Joe, I think I like your attitudes. Both of
you. You don`t like this guy. Thank you.
We`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this:
There is something deep, dark, even spectral in Dick Cheney`s role in this
country`s public life. Why would someone who led us down a path to war, a
path of unfounded evidence, love so much the chance to take us down it
again and again and again? Would a normal person like to relive with such
weird relish the worst thing anyone did to his country in a generation?
Oh, yes, it`s not about loyalty with this fellow, it`s hostility. What
drives him is not so much his acute sense of direction as the hatred that
Dick Cheney exudes a brooding sense that demonizes anyone who fails to snap
to, genuflect before him. That could be a Democrat, it could be Saddam
Hussein. War, destruction, annihilation are his own means and only means
of action and his reasons that concern me, even today, that people around
him in the years 2000 through 2003, all met his demands. They let him lead
this country into a war that left thousands of Americans and tens of
thousands of others dead.
The reason Dick Cheney still supports the Iraq war of 2003 is crystal
clear. He continues to support it for the basic reason that the public
alibi for the war, that country`s possession of nuclear weapons, was for
him never more than that, a way to get people to support it.
Again, Dick Cheney continues to back the war because the nuclear weapons
reason was never his own reason, and therefore, the nonexistence of those
weapons did nothing to undercut his personal determination to invade and
Cheney didn`t need those public reasons for hitting Iraq. He had his own
personal reasons. Reasons that drove him and his chief of staff, Scooter
Libby, to push the case for war and to punish those who dared dispose of as
dishonest, and did so long after the nuclear weapons failed to materializes
Cheney can`t deny blame for the Iraq war, any more than he can deny how to
pronounce his family name. Again, it`s Cheney. Just ask any one of them.
Go ask them. Lynne, Liz, or Dick. Just ask them. It`s Cheney.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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