updated 7/17/2014 9:05:24 AM ET 2014-07-17T13:05:24

July 16, 2014

Guest: Rep. James Clyburn, Nia-Malika Henderson, Juan Vargas, Loretta
Sanchez, Donna Zaccaro

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Just what America needs, more lawyers.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

"Let Me Start" tonight with this move by the House Republicans, which
today gathered speed, to sue the president of the United States. Hey,
isn`t this just what you`d expect? They`ve tried everything else. They
tried keeping him out of the White House. Of course, they lost that one.
Then they plotted a four-year scheme to kill every single thing he ever
tried to do as president. Remember old Mitch McConnell putting his cranky
old mind to that one?

Then a lot of them got together, began screaming that he, Barack
Obama, was in the country illegally, that he`d snuck in from Africa
someplace and needed to not just be dumped from office but damn well
deported. Well, that didn`t work so well. Facts, you know, are tricky
matters, especially for the fools that tried that thing.

Then they all got together and tried to deny him a second term. Sorry
again. Barack Obama became the first president since World War II hero
Dwight Eisenhower to win 51 percent of the popular vote, and he did it

So now it`s come to this. The R`s are going to court to try and
hogtie the president, try to plant a brand on him as the only president
ever to be successfully sued while in office, anything to taint this guy,
to put the little asterisk on his record so that they can go to beddy-bye
content that no -- no one who (ph) like (ph) Barack Obama was ever one of
the republic`s legitimately elected presidents of the United States.

Congressman James Clyburn is from South Carolina. He`s the assistant
Democratic leader in the House. And David Corn is an MSNBC political
analyst and Washington bureau chief for good old "Mother Jones."

Congressman Clyburn, this thing smells. It smacks of the same thing,
of birtherism, of all the attempts to delegitimize this president. They`re
not going to win with this suit, they just want to smear him. That`s my
thinking. What`s yours?

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: I agree with you. Thank you
so much for having me, Chris. I agree with you entirely. All of this is
about throwing up as much mud as they possibly can, hoping something will
stick to this president.

They have failed in every attempt to delegitimize him. This is
another way of trying to determine that this president will have no
success, and hopefully, will go down in history as being a president of the
United States that got sued by the House of Representatives. And who knows
what forum they will pull on this and what judge they will get...


CLYBURN: ... and maybe they will get some kind of a ruling to their

MATTHEWS: Yes, that`s what I`m thinking about. You know, the irony
is that -- and Congressman Clyburn certainly knows this -- every time you
ask a Republican, most of them, What are you going to do about health care,
they`ll say, Let`s have tort reform. No more frivolous lawsuits. No more
frivolous lawsuits!

This is the ultimate frivolous lawsuit because as the congressman just
said -- and he knows the business -- they might get the first judge to at
least hear the case, and then they`ll say, We won.

I watched the hearing today in the House Rules Committee because I knew I
was coming on.

MATTHEWS: Well, thank you.

CORN: I wanted to do my homework. And you had lawyers out there --
Walter Dellinger, who used to be a top guy on the Justice Department, and
Jonathan Turley...

MATTHEWS: Lots of lawyers.

CORN: ... yes -- who are different sides of this, but it seemed
really pretty obvious that most mainstream experts believe this is too high
a legal hurdle to jump, that you don`t -- the House doesn`t have standing.

MATTHEWS: Doesn`t the court usually stay out of fights between the
Congress and the president?

CORN: They try to stay -- and Scalia is the biggest fan out of
staying out of these political fights. So the thing is, this is really --
at best, it`s a close call whether you bring this case or not. So you have
to ask yourself, if most lawyers, most legal experts are not behind this,
why is Boehner taking the time and energy to do this instead of working on
immigration reform, gun violence...


MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask the congressman. Why do you think,
looking across the aisle, sir -- and you`re a leader -- why do you think
the Republican leader, Mr. Boehner, who is not an evil man -- why is he
doing this when it`s a waste of time?

CLYBURN: Because he has a certain element within his conference, the
Republican conference, 40 to 50 people who are driving the agenda. These
are people who do not believe that this president ought to be in office.
They do not believe he`s legitimate, and they`re going to try everything
they possibly can to delegitimize him.

And so if you have this lawsuit -- and no telling what will be said in
their filings -- and it may give them something to hang their hats on, even
if they`ve got some kind of a partial victory.

I`ve been telling all my friends today I do not believe that this is a
frivolous lawsuit. I believe that this is a serious lawsuit, and I really
believe that we`ve got to be serious in our response to it. Our lawyers
have got to treat this as a serious attempt to delegitimize this president
and not take it too lightly.

MATTHEWS: So you think they`re going to pursue it all the way and
really get the best lawyers and really try to hurt the president
historically with this.

CLYBURN: Absolutely. And we`d better get the best lawyers we can on
our side of this issue to argue it as forcefully as we possibly can. They
know that even if they were to win -- they know that it`s what, two years
and three or four months left in this presidency?


CLYBURN: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: Well, Republicans have officially have begun laying the
groundwork to sue the president. Here it is today. They were led by
Congressman Pete Sessions, who used to run the national Republican
Congressional Committee. Of course, that`s the group that does everything
it can to get more Republicans elected to Congress.

Sessions is chairman of the House Rules committee, which held a
hearing, as we said, today to advance legislation to the House floor which
will green-light Boehner`s lawsuit, and that floor vote is expected soon,
perhaps next week.

Meanwhile, the suit has reignited the "impeach Obama" red-hots in the
Republican Party, those who many Republicans are trying to sweep under the
rug. They`re trying to hide these people like crazy uncles.

Anyway, the last time impeachment talk dominated the party, under
President Clinton, Republicans suffered a meltdown in those 1998 midterm
elections. Yesterday, Dick Cheney, the brain behind a war which killed --
let`s remind the former vice president -- 186,000 people, he became the
latest conservative to attack the impeachment-crazy wing of the party, the
wing that Sarah Palin has recently whipped into a frenzy. Here`s Cheney.


prepared at this point to call for the impeachment of the president. I
think he is the worst president in my lifetime. I fundamentally disagree
with him. I think he`s doing a lot of things wrong. I`m glad to see that
the House Republicans are challenging him, at least legally at this point.
But I think that gets to be a bit of a distraction, just like the
impeachment of Bill Clinton did. Everybody could get geared up to have a
big fight over it, but it wasn`t going anyplace.


MATTHEWS: So David, even Dr. Strangelove there isn`t one to go with
this one.

CORN: Well, it`s a joke because he was...

MATTHEWS: The doomsday machine isn`t ready yet!

CORN: He was the biggest fan of expanding executive power that we`ve
probably seen in the White House...

MATTHEWS: Exactly.

CORN: ... for 100 years, and now he`s upset because Obama, working
with business -- this is what they don`t get. He`s working with businesses
to implement the law so that businesses have less burden. A lot of
corporate America now is worried because if this suit goes forward, it
means all the time they come in and say, Hey, can we put off that EPA
regulation for another six months while we get ready? They won`t be able
to do this. So...

MATTHEWS: Let me go to Congressman...


MATTHEWS: ... a lawmaker. Isn`t it ironic, sir, that the Republican
Party, which has always opposed too much regulation and supports business
leaders -- which is fair enough, that`s their deal, that`s their
constituency -- now is saying the president wasn`t tough enough on the
employer mandate, he didn`t push it hard enough. It`s certainly ironic
that they care about that.

CLYBURN: Yes, it is. And that`s what`s so strange about all of this.
They are the brand issues they have fought against for years. I`ve been in
this body now almost 22 years, and what the Republicans are raising now are
things that they have fought against ever since I`ve been here.

And it`s so strange to me that, all of a sudden, they have decided
these are legitimate methods to stymie going forward with economic
development in this country. And there`s nothing more serious to a working
family than health care, and here they are trying to use the health care
law that would put in place in cooperation with businesses, with the
private sector, and with many of them because this -- if you remember, this
is the approach that they have been crying out for as long as I can
remember. Then all of a sudden, the Heritage Foundation, that gave rise to
all of this, are now denying they ever knew it exists.

MATTHEWS: They`ll do more 180s than you can believe just to hurt this
guy. Anyway, there`s been a lot of talk of impeachment, and that coupled
with Boehner`s lawsuit is lighting a fire under President Obama. I think
he`s liking this in a weird way. He`s used these attacks against him to go
after Republicans because it makes them look crazy. Take a look.


apologize for trying to do something while they`re doing nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even if you get sued?

OBAMA: You know, the suit is a stunt.

Middle class families can`t wait for Republicans in Congress to do
stuff. So sue me!

Sue him! Impeach him! Really?


OBAMA: Really? For what? You`re going to sue me for doing my job?

I mean, think about that. You`re going to use taxpayer money to sue
me for doing my job, while you don`t do your job.


OBAMA: Their big idea has been to sue me. That`s what they`re
spending time on, a political stunt that wastes America`s time and taxpayer
dollars. Keep in mind, it`s your money that they`re going to be spending
on these ridiculous pursuits instead of just getting some work done.


MATTHEWS: So Congressman, do you think mockery like that`s going to
work against these crazies on the right? I like the sound of it. Do you
think it`ll work?

CLYBURN: I love the sound of it, yes, but no, it will not work. The
fact of the matter is, their minds are made up. All of this is about
besmirching the character of this president. This is about trying to
delegitimize his place in history. And they are never going to give up on
that. I have been saying that for the last five or six years. They are
dug in on this issue. They will not stop until his term comes to an end.

MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, U.S. Congressman James Clyburn of South
Carolina. It`s great to have you on, sir. And David Corn, as always.

Coming up: Hillary finally gets it right. The face-plants on her book
tour have received a lot of attention, but last night, she nailed the
biggest and potentially toughest interview of them all on "The Daily Show"
with Jon Stewart.

Plus, late this afternoon, President Obama met with members of the
Hispanic Congressional Caucus about that crisis on the border. We`re going
to talk to two members of that caucus and what they heard from the

Also, the must-see interview with a Republican congressional candidate
who describes the fear on the faces of immigration children on a school bus
until he was told that those kids were headed for summer camp at the Y.
They weren`t the migrant kids, and he`s still looking nuts!

Finally, "Let Me Finish" tonight with the candidate I think I think
Hillary Clinton needs to become the prove that she has the lift (ph) of a
driving dream. Boy, we need that.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: We have some new numbers from our NBC News Marist polls on
the Senate races in two more states where Democrats are defending seats.
Let`s check the HARDBALL "Scoreboard."

In New Hampshire, incumbent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen holds an 8-point
edge, 50 to 42, over Scott Brown, who moved there from Massachusetts. But
in Iowa, it`s a different story. It`s all tied up there between Democrat
Bruce Braley and Republican Joni Ernst, 43 all.

As in other states, the gender gap plays a role in the numbers. In
New Hampshire, Shaheen leads by 25 points among women, which more than
makes up for her deficit among men. In Iowa, Braley leads among women by
just 8, exactly the same lead Ernst has among men. In that case, the male
Democrat leads among women and the female Republican leads among men.

And we`ll be right back.



JON STEWART, "THE DAILY SHOW": Here is the book that you have
written. This is called "Hard Choices." It`s an incredibly, I think,
complex and well reasoned and eyewitness view to the history of those four
years. And I think I speak for everybody when I say no one cares. They
just want to know if you`re running for president.



MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was, of course, Hillary
Clinton with Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" last night. It was her first
appearance since March 2008, back when she was fighting Barack Obama for
the Democratic nomination. And while a lot has changed over the last six
years, the subject remains the same. Everyone`s watching and waiting to
see how Hillary Clinton will handle the next challenge.


STEWART: I have a -- it`s like, a career aptitude test. And it can
help you...

good. I`m ready.

STEWART: Let me ask you a question. Do you like commuting to work,
or do you like a home office? What`s your...


CLINTON: You know, I have spent so many years commuting, I kind of
prefer a home office.

STEWART: Do you have a favorite shape for that home office?


STEWART: Do you like it -- do you like that office, let`s say --
would you like that office -- would you like it to have corners or would
you like it not to have corners? I don`t know.

CLINTON: You know, I think that the world is so complicated, the
fewer corners that you can have...


STEWART: Do you prefer to sit in traffic or cause it?



MATTHEWS: Well, the country isn`t picking a president yet, but it is
choosing who to root for in the upcoming campaign. And Hillary Clinton may
be more than likable enough, to use that unfortunate Obama phrase, but for
the country to unite behind a leader in 2014, someone we`re ready to trust
and willing to follow, the winning candidate will also need a strong
mandate. And strong mandates have been a rare thing in our politics for
quite a while, especially for Democrats.

Anyway, the challenge for Hillary Clinton at this early stage is that
she has to anticipate what the country will want in a president two-and-a-
half years from now. Everything Hillary Clinton does now at this point
should aimed toward beginning to be that person now.

Well, joining me right now is Nia-Malika Henderson of "The Washington
Post" and MSNBC political analyst Howard Fineman, who`s also with the

Let me -- let me get to this. Nia, it seams to me, am I right, the
issue for Hillary Rodham Clinton right now as she prepares to make the
final decision to run for president, which many people believe she has
already made deep down -- is to not necessarily win the election but to win
the rooting section, to get people hoping that she does make the right
moves the next couple months, that she does say the right things, that she
does fix the problems that may come along.

where the country is, right? I mean, as you said, she`s got to anticipate
all the mood and the moment where this country will be in 2016. And what
does that mean for where Obama will be in 2016 and the voters at Obama
coalition? She`s got to figure out how to tap into those.

And you see all around her folks like Elizabeth Warren trying to
figure out where the mood of the country is now, where it might be in 2016.
Rand Paul, the same thing. He`s going all across the country, meeting with

And so with her, this kind of test drive of a campaign, she`s also
trying to anticipate that and really dust off some of the cobwebs that
she`s grown over these last many years of being out of the public and
political arena.

MATTHEWS: Well, as Ed McMahon once said, the best question comes out
of the last answer. Those cobwebs that Nia-Malika Henderson -- it seems to
me that she has plenty of time for a tryout, a New Haven-style tryout.
Make a mistake, going, you know, dead broke, fix the darn thing, move on.
This isn`t -- you know, this isn`t sudden death.

No, Chris, and I think what she`s got to do is figure out how best to marry
her strengths, which are a certain sure-handedness and confidence in
herself and confidence in the country. I think she`s very good at
expressing an almost Eisenhower-era sense of confident satisfaction about
the country, which is something we may well need two-and-half years from
now, the way things look now.

But she`s also got to adapt to the mission of saving the middle class,
which her husband was all about, but which has deteriorated in the
intervening years. And it`s going to require...


MATTHEWS: Yes. The middle class has deteriorated.

FINEMAN: Yes, in terms of their prospects, that what she talks about,
but she can`t just talk about it.

She`s got to have the right tone about it. And this -- and it`s a mix
of self-satisfaction -- it`s a mix of self-confidence, but not self-

MATTHEWS: In other words, people who work hard and play by the rules
are not being rewarded today.

FINEMAN: They`re not being rewarded.


FINEMAN: That was Bill Clinton`s phrase. She`s got to figure out how
to be angry about it without giving up what is best about her, which is her

MATTHEWS: That`s pretty smart.

Anyway, let`s look at her evolution, Hillary`s evolution over the
years. Early in her book tour, former Secretary Clinton sparked a minor
controversy when she said this about her financial situation after she and
her husband had left the White House.


of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt, and we struggled to,
you know, piece together the resources for mortgages for houses, for
Chelsea`s education. You know, it was not easy.


MATTHEWS: Well, she was asked again about that remark just last
night. See how she turned her answer on her personal wealth to where she
wanted to go.


CLINTON: That was an inartful use of words, obviously.


CLINTON: Bill and I have worked really hard and we have been
successful. I`m really grateful for that.


CLINTON: But what I worry about -- and I talk about this in the book
-- is, I`m worried that other people...


CLINTON: ... and particularly younger people are not going to have
the same opportunities we did.


CLINTON: Because even though we came from, you know, great
circumstances in terms of our family loving us, and, you know, Bill had a
much more difficult upbringing than I did, but, still, we believed that we
could pretty much make our way up the ladder.


CLINTON: And now I think a lot of particularly young people don`t
believe that anymore. And that bothers me a lot.


CLINTON: So I think we have to pay attention to what we`re going to

STEWART: You know what is kind of awesome that says to me that you`re
running for president?


STEWART: How easily you pivoted from that into income inequality in


CLINTON: Well...

STEWART: That say -- that says to me you`re running for president.





MATTHEWS: So smart.

Nia, I don`t know if that`s true or not. I think she`s still being
coy, but let me ask -- say to you, as a regular journalist talking to
people all the time, don`t you like it when a politician answers your
question first, and then makes their point, instead of skipping your damn


MATTHEWS: ... which so many of these juvenile politicians do, the
slippery ones. They ignore you and give their speech. Hillary answers
your question. It was inartful, blah, blah, blah, and then she makes her

HENDERSON: And she pivots. And this is her best response yet, right?

You had Bill Clinton try to take a whack at it and get in the weeds
about whether they were broke or what debt is and all that kind of stuff.
And she had a couple of whacks at it as well. And I thought this go-round,
she really nailed it and pivoting to, it`s not about Bill and I, it`s
really about those average folks out there, those average young people, all
the people that Rand Paul was talking about, that Elizabeth Warren is
talking about when they talk about student loan debt, and also talking
about their personal narrative as well, particularly Bill Clinton`s
personal narrative, sort of up from his bootstraps narrative that he`s had.


HENDERSON: So I thought she nailed it in that answer.

MATTHEWS: So smart, because older people are worried about those
young people, too.

Anyway -- Howard and I do anyway.

FINEMAN: That`s true.

MATTHEWS: Thank you.

She`s out there laying out an agenda, not quite yet, but after this,
it`s not just a book tour, but she did speak rather eloquently about
America`s self-esteem, you could say, and America`s role in the world.
Here she is.


CLINTON: So many people in the world, especially young people, they
had no memory of the United States liberating Europe and Asia, beating the
Nazis, fighting the Cold War and winning.

That was just ancient history. They didn`t know the sacrifices that
we had made and the values that motivated us to do it.


CLINTON: We have not been telling our story very well. We do have a
great story. We are not perfect by any means, but we have a great story
about human freedom, human rights, human opportunity.

And let`s get back to telling it to ourselves, first and foremost, and
believing it about ourselves and then taking that around the world. That`s
what we should be standing for.


MATTHEWS: Howard, that`s Ronald Reagan.

FINEMAN: Yes, and I think she`s going into that zone -- she`s going
to try to go into that zone.

MATTHEWS: The Statue of Liberty.

FINEMAN: As the older person who connects to the young people, if she
can get there.

There`s the problem of being a baby boomer. That has its pluses and
minuses. She`s sort of addressing that right there. But what I see her
trying to do and what I see as her best chance is to be an experienced
figure, almost a kind of a totemic kind of figure, if I can use that word,
who has been around, who knows what to do, who was there when her husband
did it, has experience, and knows how to use the power of government.

MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, Nia-Malika Henderson. We miss you.
And, Howard Fineman, I will miss you someday, but not here, because you`re
always going to be here.



MATTHEWS: Up next, the Republican congressional candidate who aches
for all those poor, lonely, desperate children, except, it turns out, they
were headed to summer camp. He got the wrong bus, this joker.

Anyway, this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Time now for the "Sideshow."

Governor Chris Christie`s office has a dramatic way of dealing with
New Jersey`s impending fiscal crisis. The Republican released a movie
trailer-like video promoting his tour around the state this coming summer -
- I`m sorry -- this summer, when he plans to address residents on the
crisis. Catch this.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: We need to fix the system, or it
will eat us alive.

Choosing to do what is hard, choosing to do what is right by all of
the people of this state.

NARRATOR: How far would you go?

CHRISTIE: There is no other way to fix a severe problem like this but
with pain.

NARRATOR: Hang on to your seats.


MATTHEWS: What is going on in Trenton?

Anyway, "No Pain, No Gain" sounds like a blockbuster, or maybe just a
bust. And that might be what his office thinks actually themselves. Last
night, they removed this trailer, this strange trailer from their Web site.

Next, a Republican candidate out in Arizona was attempting to make a
bust of his own when it all went terribly wrong. Congressional candidate
Adam Kwasman said a bus was coming in of immigrant -- or actually migrant
children, and he planned to protest its arrival. He tweeted out -- quote -
- "Bus coming in. This is not compassion. This is an abrogation of the
rule of law."

Well, the tweet included a photo of the bus, and there was one big
with Kwasman`s his story. Watch what happens when a local reporter
confronts him.


actually see some of the children in the buses, and the fear on their
faces. This is not compassion. It`s a very sad, sad state of affairs that
we have right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which children on the buses were those?

KWASMAN: I saw a school bus with plenty of children on it. So, I`m
assuming that that was a bus that was moving through.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know that was a bus with YMCA kids?

KWASMAN: They were sad too.

OK. I apologize. I didn`t know. I was leaving the -- I was leaving
when I saw them. So, if that was a school bus -- people are not happy down
the line. It was -- that was a -- that`s -- that`s an error by me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should you be making those kinds of assumptions on
such a charged issue to talk about seeing the kids, when those weren`t the

KWASMAN: I said I saw children. I saw children.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. But those weren`t migrant children.

KWASMAN: Those were not migrant children. That`s fine.


MATTHEWS: Sorry. If you`re going to invite the media out to protest
a bus carrying migrant children, better make sure it`s actually carrying
migrant children.

Up next: Where does President Obama`s stand on making it easier to
send children back to Central America? We will talk to two members of the
Congressional Hispanic Caucus who just met with the president.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


what`s happening.

President Obama says Russia has failed to take steps to de-escalate
the crisis in Ukraine, so new sanctions will target the country`s energy
and finance industries.

Funeral services were held earlier for the Texas couple and their four
children who were gunned down at the their home last week. One of the
children survived the rampage by playing dead.

And Israel has agreed to a temporary cease-fire proposed by the U.N.
It will halt airstrikes on Hamas targets in Gaza for five hours so food,
water, and other supplies can be delivered to residents -- now we take you
back to HARDBALL.

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Can Washington come up with a plan to resolve that crisis of
unaccompanied minors, children at the border? NBC News reports that House
Republicans could move on a bill as early as this week. It would give the
president some of what he`s been asking for to deal with the situation,
including somewhere between $1 billion and $2 billion, according to

Both the White House and congressional Republicans have also expressed
some openness to amending that 2008 anti-trafficking law that gives
children from countries other than Mexico and Canada added legal
protections from swift -- swift deportations.

Anyway, this afternoon, the president met with members of the
Congressional Hispanic Caucus to discuss the crisis. And two of the
participants of that meeting are with me now, Representative Loretta
Sanchez and Representative Juan Vargas. Both are from conflict.

Let me go with Loretta Sanchez first.

Were you satisfied with what the president said today, and what did he
say about whether we`re going to change that law, we`re going to let these
kids in to stay, or what?

REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, actually, I was pretty
impressed by the meeting this time around.

And the president on the issue of the minors seemed to indicate a
pretty straightforward position. At least, my take on that was, Chris,
that, one, if these children were coming from countries simply because it
was an economic hardship, there weren`t opportunities for them, but they
had family back there and were in a pretty safe place, then these children
would go through the process and be sent back.

But he did say that one of the reasons he wanted more funds was in
fact to be able to do the investigations that are required to see what
types of situations are going on where these children might live, and which
ones would actually be in harm`s way, might have somebody going after their
family or those particular kids, and that those might have an -- an ability
to have a refugee status here in the United States.

MATTHEWS: Congressman Vargas, where did he stand on changing the law
that was passed in 2008 that gives these kids a better chance to stay here?

REP. JUAN VARGAS (D), CALIFORNIA: Oh, I`m absolutely against changing
the law. This law is important.

MATTHEWS: Where is he? Where is the president?

VARGAS: Well, I think that -- you know, I will be honest with you.

When we came here, I thought he was in favor of changing it, modifying
it. When I left, he didn`t say this, but he all but said, no, you know
what? I think we can do it under existing law. There`s some leeway there,
so I don`t think he`s going to be pushing for a change. He better not.

I think he is going to get great resistance from the Hispanic Caucus
and a lot of Democrats. I mean, this law is important. We shouldn`t
change it.

MATTHEWS: Why? Make your case.

VARGAS: Because these are kids. These are different than adults.

If you have adults, OK, maybe you can send them back, and maybe they
can survive. These are little kids. Just think of the desperation that
these kids are under and their parents when they send them on this very,
very treacherous trip to get here. And then just to take and send them
back, where they will be killed, a lot of these guys, or these kids --
girls be raped? Why would we do that? That`s not...


MATTHEWS: But what would you do? What would you do if you were
president? What would you do?

VARGAS: What I would do if I was president is, I would say, we`re a
very generous nation. We`re a very charitable nation, and I`m going to be
as magnanimous as the American people. I`m going to give these kids a
chance. And I`m not going to send them back to any death.

Now, if they`re here under false pretenses, and they really have a
pretty comfortable life or a life that they can survive, then, I`m sorry,
you have got to get back. But I`m not going to send them back to death or
torture or rape. I wouldn`t do that.


MATTHEWS: Well, -- what do you -- what do you -- what do you deal
with -- let me ask you the question. Nobody is heartless, I don`t think.
What do you do about the pattern that has been established that the first
50,000 get in, the next 50,000 -- when does it stop?

If these people down there are putting them on buses or bringing them
up here, the coyotes and the cartels, who knows who is involved, when will
it stop? What do you think about that, or don`t -- are you just willing to
live with that, Mr. Vargas?


VARGAS: Well, you know, the reality is, it`s going to taper off.

I mean, we`re already seeing that. I live on the border. I live in
San Diego. We don`t get as many people crossing there as they do in Texas,
but it`s starting to taper off. Everyone tells you that.

But I -- come on. You know, we are the most generous nation in the
world. We treat kids right. We shouldn`t just send them back. I think
that`s not -- that`s not our tradition. Those are not our morals. I
really appreciated when the president said, God sees these children the
same way he sees my girls. They`re the same in God`s eyes.

And I think they`re the same in the eyes of most Americans.

MATTHEWS: OK, your thoughts, Loretta Sanchez, on that very question.
Should we change the `08 law and -- or keep it the way it is, so they have
a real opportunity to stay here a couple years maybe to make their case?

SANCHEZ: Well, Chris, I would keep the law as it is.

I was one of the people who was a co-sponsor of the law when we passed
it. We passed it three times, several times on voice votes, as you know,
the last one with a vote, a unanimous vote, in the Congress.

This really was to be applied to young children because of the
trafficking situation that we saw many of those fall into. And so I would
hate to take away that. As you know, I have been a big proponent of
stopping the sex trafficking, especially of minors.

So, I think that there`s a way that we can use the law.


SANCHEZ: By the way, it`s not 50,000 kids all at once coming under
this law because they think they`re going to be treated in a different way.

In fact, we`re seeing that most of the people coming across the border
are adults and they don`t -- this law does not apply to them. They are
being swiftly taken aside and deported.

So, this whole idea that somehow there`s 50,000 kids just coming
across, that`s not true. In fact, right now, it has slowed down on the
Texas border to about 100 children a day.

MATTHEWS: OK, well, some have used the crisis we`re talking about at
the border as an opportunity for fear-mongering.

I want you to react to this. Yesterday on the House floor, U.S.
Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas said the crisis of illegal immigration
was putting, quote, "our continued existence as a country at risk." He
cited arrest figures in sexual assault in Texas to make the case that the
administration was not defending the women of America.

Let`s watch.


REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: They have committed at least 7,695
sexual assaults. You want to talk about a war on women? This
administration will not defend the women of America from criminal aliens by
the thousands and hundreds of thousands? Well, we know thousands, and we
know people are coming in by the hundreds of thousands illegally. And this
administration wants to talk about other people having a war on women when
they will not defend the women that are being sexually assaulted by illegal
aliens in this country.


MATHTEWS: Meanwhile, U.S. Congressman Phil Gingrey of Georgia is
ringing his own alarm bells. Last week, the former physician wrote a
letter to the CDC with this dire warning. Quote, "Reports of illegal
immigrants carrying deadly diseases such as swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola
virus and tuberculosis are particularly concerning. I have serious
concerns the diseases carried by these children may begin to spread too
rapidly to control. In fact, as you undoubtedly know, some of these have
no known cure."

Well, he`s warning about the Ebola virus, a disease that doesn`t exist
anywhere in the Americas, according to Dr. Kent Sepkowitz, an infectious
disease specialist. In a "Daily Beast" article, the doctor called
Gingrich`s suggestion unusually dim witted.

Anyway, yesterday, NBC`s Luke Russert asked Gingrey about his Ebola
claim. Let`s watch this exchange.


LUKE RUSSERT, NBC NEWS: I want to ask you about the letter you sent
to the CDC about the children from Central America possibly carrying Ebola.
Where is your evidence on that?

REP. PHIL GINGREY (R), GEORGIA: The Border Patrol gave us a list of
the diseases they`re concerned about. And Ebola was one of those. I can`t
tell you specifically that there were any cases of Ebola.

RUSSERT: The Border Patrol told you that there was Ebola, a threat of
Ebola at the border?

GINGREY: They said they were concerned about that, yes.

RUSSERT: At the Mexico/U.S. border?

GINGREY: They did say that. They absolutely did.


MATTHEWS: Let me ask both of you, what do you think of Gohmert`s
comment, which is like most of his comments and Gingrey`s comments, which
are also like most of his comments.

Ms. Sanchez, first. What do you make of the charge of Ebola virus
awaiting us at the border?

SANCHEZ: Well, we know the Ebola virus is not in North America, so
that`s as ridiculous as it can get. But I would say to my colleague, I
mean, because we have seen them cut the funds to the CDC, to the Centers
for controlled Disease, so if all of a sudden, you know, they`re using this
body as like, oh, my God, here`s a problem -- well, there was a problem,
but you haven`t been funding them.

And secondly, this president is asking for moneys, so in fact when the
children come and we get them, we can in fact one of the things we need to
do is check them to see if they are well.


SANCHEZ: But we can`t do that if we can`t afford doctors at the

MATTHEWS: We`ll let the charge of sexual assault go for the moment.
Anyway, thank you, U.S. Congressman Vargas and U.S. Congresswoman Loretta

Up next, the story of the woman who put the first crack in the glass

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: If you were a Pennsylvania House speaker and have a
criminal history, get ready to have your deeds etched in bronze. Some
lawmakers wanted portraits of convicted Pennsylvania House speakers removed
all together from the capitol in Harrisburg. But as a compromise, new
bronze plaques beneath the portraits were unveiled yesterday to include the
criminal history -- criminal history -- of four former house speakers.
Their crimes included misusing public funds, corruption, mail fraud, and
obstruction of justice.

As the spokesman for the current House speaker put it, at least they
didn`t paint bars across the portraits. Funny guy.

And we`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: We`re back.

Thirty years ago this week, Democrats gathered in San Francisco and
made history by nominating the first woman of a major party to run for vice
president on the national ticket.

I had some personal history here with Geraldine Ferraro. As I wrote
my book "Hardball" back in 1980s, Geraldine Ferraro was a familiar figure
at those 8:00 a.m. Carter-Mondale reelection meetings back in `80. She was
the one member of Congress who was always present, always involved.

In May of 1984, my boss, Speaker of the House Tip O`Neill, made a
personal pitch for her selection as Walter Mondale`s vice presidential
nominee at his regular press conference. I remember following up that when
I got a call from Robert Hailey (ph) of the "Boston Globe" saying the
speaker thought she`d add dramatically to the Democratic ticket.


delighted that there is no longer that big sign outside that door that says
white male only need apply. Someone said to me, don`t you feel badly about
all this stuff, this attention you`re getting? And, you know, would you
get it if you were not female?

I don`t feel the least bit badly about it. Not at all.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why do I get the feeling that you really want to
be the vice presidential candidate?

FERRARO: I have no idea. Why? Do I have a look on my face?


FERRARO: I took advantage of the fact that people thought of me. But
I never for one minute really believe that it was going to happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tip O`Neill, old friend of mine, he said, she`s
the star here. If you`re looking for a vice president, I`d recommend her.

FERRARO: I proudly accept your nomination for vice president of the
United States.


MATTHEWS: I remember that day in San Francisco? She was an old
fashioned big city pol, much like the good old boys you could say. But
she`s certainly changed the perception of what was possible for women in
this country`s national politics.

Gerry`s daughter Donna Zaccaro directed a new Showtime documentary
called "Paving the Way", a great title about Ferraro`s tenacious political
journey that made it possible for the women who came after her to knock
down those barriers.

Donna Zaccaro is the documentary filmmaker and she joins us.

Donna, thank you and congratulations.

having me, Chris.

MATTHEWS: I want you to talk about this. Let me talk -- ask you
about your mom. What was it that allowed her to push through those doors
that other people were kind of afraid of? You know, taking a big role in
national politics and then getting right up to that on deck circle as you
say in baseball. Right ready to grab the bat and then jumping at it.

ZACCARO: You know, she was someone who, no matter what part of her
life, she did just sort of lean in, as you know, Sheryl Sandberg is talking
about these days. She was someone who always had a tremendous amount of
self-confidence and believed in the different principles and the things
that she was fighting for.

So, she -- that was one of the things in making the film that was so
amazing that I hadn`t quite realized at the time, because obviously I was a
lot younger. But just how incredible she was to just step up the way that
she did into a position that no one had held before?

MATTHEWS: Well, your mother certainly sparred with then Vice
President George Herbert Walker Bush, back in that 1984 campaign. But when
it was all over, Ferraro and Bush actually became a model for political

Let`s look at the fight during and then the friendship afterwards.


GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: Let me help you with the
difference Ms. Ferraro between Iran and the embassy in Lebanon.

FERRARO: Let me just say, first of all, that I almost resent Vice
President Bush, your patronizing attitude that you have to teach me about
foreign policy.

On election night, I called up George Bush to concede and
congratulate. He got on the phone and he said, well, we`re going to have
to have lunch.

BUSH: I just wanted her to know that you win some, you lose some, it
doesn`t hurt to be civil.


MATTHEWS: Their friendship grew after that campaign, until the day
she died.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was sitting at her bedside, there was an e-
mail from president bush. I opened it up and I read the letter to her.

BUSH: Dear Gerry, I hear you`ve been badly under the weather, I`m
sorry about that. I often think of our strange but wonderful relationship,
and I hope you know that I consider you a real friend. In fact, I hope
it`s OK if I say I love you.



Well, you know that condescension that your mom called out, to use the
current phrase, called out in that debate about, let me help you with that.
You know, that has a history. He did that same thing with Pierre DuPont,
he said, let me help you with that one, Pierre. I mean, he had been
working on that phrase, "let me help you with that".

But what was your mom`s reaction to that way that she was treated by
her rival at the time, Bush Sr.?

ZACCARO: You know, she knew it was all about politics. She was
someone who rose into a leadership role in the House really because she
worked in a bipartisan manner and respected people with different points of
view. So, she and President Bush were able to get beyond their differences
after the campaign was over, really because as you showed in the clip, he
reached out to her.

But their friendship was genuine. They actually liked each other.
They disagreed about issues, but they learned to -- they always respected
each other, and they learned to actually like each other, they became
really close friends.

I thought that was important to show, especially given what`s been
going on certainly in the House and the Senate these days.

MATTHEWS: You know, I think your mom taught something to everybody
not just women, but especially women and minorities. A big part of this
world of ours is to just be there, show up, make your push. Let them say
no to you, don`t say no to yourself. Anyway, say hello to your dad for me,
will you?

ZACCARO: I will. Thank you so much, Chris.

MATTHEWS: It`s great to have you on. Good luck with this on,
Showtime, Donna Zaccaro.

And we`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with a look at history, with
particular focus on the American presidency.

If you look back through the record, few presidents have come into
office with the power to achieve their great ambitions. Franklin Roosevelt
did because in 1933, he was, to put it starkly, the only game in town. If
he didn`t get us out of the Great Depression, the alternatives were too
scary to think about.

Twenty years later, General Dwight Eisenhower came to the White House
with a country that trusted him personally, because he was the guy who
received the Nazi surrender in Europe. They were ready for change, too, if
the two decades of Depression, World War, rationing, and just too many
years of the same party in power.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan came in with the wind at his back due to a
powerful trifecta of trouble in the country. Double-digit inflation,
double digit interest rates, both emblemized by the humiliating nightly
televised trooping of American hostages in Tehran.

Reagan`s talk of the old values and the old confidence were just right
for voters who didn`t feel right about the way the country was headed.

The question facing the country in a couple of years from now is
whether a Democrat can win the presidency in 2016 and come in with a real
mandate to govern, to do things.

This is the challenge Hillary faces in a two and a half years between
now and November 2016, to build a persona in the public consciousness that
says: I got it. I got what it takes to move this country in a strong
upward trajectory. I got the lift of a driving dream. I`m someone with
whom to invest the country`s future.

I`m not saying a candidate can`t win with less than this whole
package. I`m saying that without it, our presidency can`t promise the hope
this country will desperately want this next time we go looking for a

And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.


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