August 4, 2014
Guest: Shimon Peres, Campbell Brown, David Boies, Michelle Bernard,
CHRIS MATTHEWS, CNN HOST: War against whites?
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
"Let Me Start" this Monday night with the latest, craziest charge against
the president. It`s that he`s leading a war on whites. I leave it to you
whether such a charge, if somehow proven, would be grounds for conviction
and removal from office, but clearly, it is part of this impeachment
clatter out there from the grass roots, 57 percent of which want Obama
thrown from office.
From the loudest of right-wing radio to members of Congress like Iowa`s
Steve King and Minnesota`s Michele Bachmann to leaders in the Republican
House like Steve Scalise, impeachment varies from "Do it now" to clearly on
the table. And the danger to the Republicans is that the clown car will
outrun the leaders at the very top, like the speaker of the House and the
new deputy, Kevin McCarthy.
Could the crazy wing of the Republican Party, speaking for the strong
majority of voting Republicans and buoyed by what they`ve gotten on right-
wing radio, so stir the country that not even the top elected leaders can
keep it quiet, can stanch the blood-curdling rage of the arch-conservative
And let`s not kid ourselves. Nobody likes this clamor more than the
Democrats, who relish the rise of the right within the opposition, if for
no other reason than it animates the Democrats on their base.
Amid all this lies the prospect that the fuming of the hard right will gel
with the politics of the progressives and create such a depressing cocktail
that politics in general will take another drop downward and people this
November, Democrat and Republican alike, will not even bother to vote.
Michelle Bernard is president of the Bernard Center for Women, Politics and
Public Policy, and Michael Tomasky is a special correspondent for the
Anyway, Tea Party congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama, who was on the program
last week, is revving up the red-hots in spectacular fashion. During an
interview with conservative radio host Laura Ingraham today, Congressman
Brooks rejected the idea that the GOP`s hard-line stance on immigration is
hurting the party. Here`s his counterattack.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
REP. MO BROOKS (R), ALABAMA: This is a part of the war on whites that`s
being launched by the Democratic Party, and the way in which they`re
launching this war is by claiming that whites hate everybody else. It`s a
part of the strategy that Barack Obama implemented in 2008, continued it in
2012, where he divides us all on race, on sex, greed, envy, class warfare,
all those kinds of things. Well, that`s -- that`s not true.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: So who do I start with, Michelle or Michael?
MATTHEWS: I mean, I don`t even like talking like this. In fact, I don`t
even say "racial." I say "ethnic." But this thing about war on whites --
what`s this guy kind of -- he seemed like a dignified bloke last week --
MATTHEWS: -- and now he`s out there raging with the storm.
MICHELLE BERNARD, BERNARD CENTER FOR WOMEN: Well, there are probably --
there are probably people who are listening to what he says and feel that
way and feel that he is saying exactly what they --
MATTHEWS: The president --
BERNARD: -- exactly what they believe.
MATTHEWS: And so the president -- what do you mean? Interpret this.
Channel this. Who says the president`s leading a war on whites?
BERNARD: Well, I think it`s loudest voices of the far right in the
Republican Party believe, as well as their constituents believe, that
somehow, the president and probably the people that they view as loving the
president, Democrats, African-Americans in particular, and Latinos as well,
are waging a war on whites.
It`s this old sentiment that the pie belongs to all of us -- and by "us,"
I mean by whites. The pie belongs to all of us. We`ve got this African-
American president in here. We`ve got Latinos who have a stronger voice.
We`ve got all these women who are siding with Democrats. They`re taking
something away from us. Don`t they understand --
MATTHEWS: Are women included among whites?
MATTHEWS: I think it`s an assumption of white men of a certain age.
BERNARD: It`s white men of a certain age. It is the men --
BERNARD: It is the people, I believe, that Barack Obama referred to years
ago when he said people get scared and they cling to their religion --
BERNARD: No, the --
MATTHEWS: I`m trying to narrow this down, Michelle.
BERNARD: It is -- it is working class whites and probably also very
wealthy whites, over $100,000 a year, that vote Republican and feel that
the Republican Party understands their plight and understands the plight of
those for whom they see the country as a disaster because people of color
are taking away what they believe rightfully belongs to them.
MATTHEWS: Throw this in, if you can, into the general woodpile of attacks
on this president, which is he`s deserving of ignominy, removal,
delegitimization. He`s somehow something else because if he`s against
whites, he`s got a problem. There`s an awful lot of them.
MICHAEL TOMASKY, DAILYBEAST: Yes. True.
MATTHEWS: And it`s a strange thing to be against politically if you want
to get a majority vote.
TOMASKY: Yes. It goes back to --
BERNARD: Well, and particularly because so many whites voted for him,
right? I mean, blacks didn`t put him in office. Whites did.
BERNARD: It goes back to the very beginning of the administration, the
very beginning of his campaign and the birther talk and all the rest of it,
which you`ve discussed many times. It goes back to Glenn Beck saying in
2009 -- what was the exact comment, he has an antipathy to white culture
or something like that? So that was Glenn Beck. That was a TV guys. Now
it`s an elected official. Now it`s getting a little bit more serious. He
MATTHEWS: He`s nobody`s fool, Glenn Beck.
TOMASKY: No, he`s not.
MATTHEWS: You may not like his arguments, but he`s thought it through.
TOMASKY: Right. Right. But Brooks is trying to do what Michelle said
he`s trying --
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s take a look --
TOMASKY: He`s trying to get that 57 percent --
MATTHEWS: Anybody who thinks this is all being concocted out of the White
House should listen to these voices out there, besides the 57 percent of
Republicans rank and file who tell pollsters they want this guy impeached.
Anyway, red-hot ringleader Steve King of Iowa -- he`s the U.S.
Congressman, by the way -- he gladly used "Fox News Sunday" with Chris
Wallace yesterday as his megaphone for his "impeach Obama" bugle cry, and
the White House probably couldn`t have been happier, as I said.
Our own Chuck Todd lampooned the notion that the White House was in cahoots
with Fox News chairman Roger Ailes and "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace
to book King in the first place. As Chuck said, I think the White House
would love if somebody -- if everybody booked Steve King 24 hours a day.
Anyway, this is Congressman King reacting to reports that President Obama
is planning to act on immigration reform without Congress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: I think Congress has to sit down and have a
serious look at the rest of this Constitution, and that includes that "I"
word that we don`t want to say.
Where would we draw the line otherwise? If that`s not enough to bring that
about, I don`t know what would be. We`ve never seen anything in this
country like a president that says, I`m going to make up all immigration
law that I choose and I`m going to drive this thing regardless of the
resistance of Congress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: So is there a game of chicken going on here? I mean, I don`t
want to -- let`s look at it down the middle. Could the president`s
people be looking at this, like, If they want to be crazy, we`ll let them
MATTHEWS: We`re making sure everybody seems this behavior. (INAUDIBLE)
nut out there making nutty comment, we`re going to blast it louder. He`s
not going to get away with just playing it to the peanut gallery out there
and to the red-hots. We`re going to make sure everybody hears the red-hot
MATTHEWS: -- that`s being used on radio and used at these town meetings.
Everybody`s going to hear it.
BERNARD: Absolutely. The president is stoking the fires that they are
giving him. This is -- right now, the Republican Party is the gift that
keeps on giving. You look at that clip that we just took a look at. What
they are telling us, between immigration and suing the president over the
Affordable Care Act, is our highest legislative priority is, one, deporting
young minors, Latino children who are in the country as unaccompanied
minors, and forcing the employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act to take
place now because they don`t like the fact that the president delayed it.
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s nonsense because this would be considered relief if
it was a Republican president.
BERNARD: Well, exactly.
MATTHEWS: I`m just trying to give these businessmen time to get used to
the new law.
MATTHEWS: -- give the Republican businessmen a chance. Anyway, White
House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer continues to say that the White House is
taking these impeachment threats seriously. Yesterday, Pfeiffer did not
back down when confronted by ABC`s George Stephanopoulos.
This was a good-back-and-forth. I think Pfeiffer won.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN PFEIFFER, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: It`s going (ph) to be foolish to
discount the possibility that this Republican Congress at some point in
time would consider impeachment.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: But the speaker said it`s not going to
happen. The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee told me it`s not
going to happen.
PFEIFFER: Right. And five days before the government shutdown, the
speaker said there`s no way we`d shut the government down over health care,
and lo and behold, we did. And in the House of Representatives, John
Boehner may have the gavel, but Ted Cruz has the power. And so --
STEPHANOPOULOS: You don`t really think impeachment is possible.
PFEIFFER: I -- what I -- when the House takes an unprecedented step to
sue the president of United States for -- and to -- for -- even
though he is issuing executive orders at the lowest rate in 100 years, I
think it`d be foolish to discount the possibility.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Michael, I always say that the key to Sunday television, or any
other television, what we do every night --
MATTHEWS: -- be ready to ask the question three times because they`ll
dodge it three times.
MATTHEWS: What Pfeiffer did --
MATTHEWS: When Pfeiffer did that, has three different answers. So George
did keep pushing and pushing. Are you serious about impeachment?
(INAUDIBLE) impeachment, and every time, he had a new answer!
TOMASKY: And he was right, and they better be serious about impeachment.
I mean, I don`t know what the chances are, but of course. They impeached
TOMASKY: They`ve been talking about impeachment for years. They`d be
idiots at the White House not to take this seriously. And you also have to
remember John Boehner doesn`t run that caucus, that caucus runs John
Boehner. I mean, you know, this is the second showdown he`s lost with Ted
MATTHEWS: OK --
TOMASKY: -- and he -- you know, they`re having this Benghazi hearing,
which the red-hots want. The caucus runs --
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s hit all the points in the erogenous zone, if you
don`t mind my saying so, because we`re going to go around the robin here
and show it`s not just the people who are crazy but people with brains.
Here`s Rand Paul, certainly a smart guy. He rallied his base in Iowa
today, attacking President Obama as a king after the White House said the
president will act alone on immigration since the Republicans in Congress
don`t do anything. Here`s Senator Paul at the highest level of the crazy
car. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Who`s he think he is? I mean (INAUDIBLE)
he`s going to act without the authority of you or your congressman? He`s
just going to act. It doesn`t matter what your opinion is on immigration.
I frankly think we could do some kind of reform, but you can`t do it by
royal edict. We can`t have a king doing it. You can`t have lawlessness.
You can`t have a president just say, If they won`t act, I will. I have a
pen, I have a phone, I will act. That`s not what our country`s about!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Now, there`s the sophisticated challenge, which I think is a
good challenge. We`ll talk about who has power and who doesn`t.
Here`s liberal commentator and Fox News analyst Juan Williams, a good guy.
He went off on the CEO of Heritage Action, Michael Needham, after Needham
said that the Democratic fund-raisers were the only people talking about
impeachment. Here`s the great Juan Williams.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX POLITICAL ANALYST: There are lots of Republicans who
think, This man`s a demon. This guy`s awful. We got to get this guy out
of here any way we can. He`s breaking the law.
All the Democrats are doing is taking advantage of the fact that you guys
have demonized President Obama to this extent because it`s -- not only
does it help them with fund-raising, lots of people, especially in the
minority community, see it as an attack on the first black president, think
it`s unfair, and so it`s going to spur their turnout in the midterms, which
is going to be critical in several races.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: How are you hearing this impeachment talk?
BERNARD: Well, I hear it the same way Juan does. I mean, I think he hits
the nail on the head. And particularly -- as a human being, you should
see it this way, but particularly as an African-American, you think about
Joe Wilson yelling "You lie" when this president spoke, addressing a joint
sessions of Congress, you think about Jan Brewer shaking her finger in the
president`s nose when she greeted him in Arizona, and then you look at this
and you can`t help but think, What`s wrong with this picture? Would they
do this to a white president? They would have never done this to Bill
Clinton, and they hated him. It would have never happened.
MATTHEWS: How about the way Mitt Romney talked down to him in that first
BERNARD: Well --
MATTHEWS: A lot of that stuff`s subtle --
BERNARD: It`s subtle, but you feel it and it`s --
MATTHEWS: Those are the more blatant examples. Thank you so much. By the
way, I don`t think Rand Paul belongs actually in the clown car, but he was
singing -- he was singing backup today. Anyway, thank you, Michelle
Bernard, and thank you, Michael Tomasky.
Coming up, the best Senate race of the year coming up. Alison Lundergan
Grimes from Kentucky against Mitch McConnell. They actually went head to
head this weekend. And as Howard Fineman points out -- and he was there
-- Grimes proves she can be as nasty as the Senate Republican leader
himself. I like this fight.
Also, a proposal by an Israeli-based organization for a long-term peace for
Gaza. We`ll talk to former Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres about
whether Israel can plausibly disarm Hamas.
And former NBC News correspondent Campbell Brown has teamed up with lawyer
David Boies, famous for supporting liberal causes, in a cause more often
associated with conservatives, overhauling teacher tenure laws.
Finally, "Let Me Finish" tonight with an idea. How about the president
suing the Congress for failure to meet its official duties?
This is HARDBALL, a place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Former White House press secretary James Brady has died. Brady,
who served under Ronald Reagan, was 73. He was seriously injured, as we
all know, in the 1981 assassination attempt on the president, suffering a
gunshot wound to the head which left him partially paralyzed.
Brady and his wife, Sarah, became supporters, of course, of stricter gun
laws, and in 1989, they started the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
The Bradys lobbied hard for legislation requiring background checks for
most gun purchases, commonly known as the Brady Bill. President Clinton
signed the Brady Bill into law in 1993.
In a statement today, former first lady Nancy Reagan said she was deeply
saddened to learn of Jim Brady`s passing today. "Thinking of him brings
back so many memories, happy and sad, of a time in all of our lives when we
learned what it means to play the hand we`re dealt."
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. A political prizefight is the best
description for Kentucky`s Fancy Farm political forum, where candidates
come as close to mano-a-mano combat as anywhere in politics. Well, this
weekend, Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes did battle with Senate
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell while a tent full of supporters cheered,
jeered, whooped and hollered.
Here are some of Grimes`s best lines.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES (D), KENTUCKY SENATE CANDIDATE: What a huge crowd
for Senator McConnell`s retirement party! If Mitch McConnell were a TV
show, he`d be "Mad Men," treating women unfairly, stuck in 1968, and ending
Seriously, I don`t know what`s more dysfunctional, Senator, the way you run
your campaign or your Washington, D.C. After three decades in Washington,
you`ve just given up. You don`t care about us anymore. Thanks to you,
D.C. stands for "Doesn`t care."
You seem to think that the president is on the ballot this year. He`s not.
This race is between me and you and the people of Kentucky, while we intend
to hold you accountable for your 30 years of failed leadership!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow. And he was in the room! And then 30-year incumbent
senator Mitch McConnell took the stage himself and did his best to make
Grimes a stand-in for President Obama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: By any standard, Barack
Obama has been a disaster for our country. That`s what you get for
electing someone with no experience. He was only -- he was only two
years into his first job when he started campaigning for the next one.
Sound familiar? And every time he got in trouble -- and every time he
got in trouble and his inexperience became obvious, he called in Bill
Clinton. Sound familiar?
With so much turmoil around the world, we can`t afford a leader who thinks
the West Bank is a Hollywood fund-raiser. There`s only one way to begin to
go in a different direction, that`s to change the Senate and make me the
leader of the new majority to take America in a different direction!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: This is something. Anyway, the Kentucky Senate race will be the
marquee contest this fall, as you just saw, a big factor, by the way, in
who is going to get control of the United States Senate next year. If this
weekend was any indication, this battle will be epic.
Huffington Post`s Howard Fineman had a ringside seat. Also joining us is
the former DNC chair and Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell. I love this
stuff! Governor, I know you do, too. This is real politics. It reminds
me of the movie "The Candidate." You have the young Robert Redford
candidate against Crocker Jarmon. This is the pro against the amateur, and
you really don`t know who`s going to win, Howard.
HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST MEDIA GROUP, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:
Well, Chris, I did have a front row seat. And I started in journalism in
Kentucky, spent almost five years in the state, so I know how they play
politics there. This is as elemental and as confrontational and personal -
MATTHEWS: In the room!
FINEMAN: -- as American politics gets.
MATTHEWS: Did you see the face on McConnell when she`s laying -- laying
FINEMAN: Yes, and she had a frozen smile on her face when he was laying
into her. They speak back to back. That`s the way it goes.
This whole campaign is very national, but also very personal. It`s
national because it`s the Republican establishment against what`s left of
the Democratic Party in the South, but it`s also personal and negative.
Everything -- this race is basically, whom do you like less, Barack Obama
or Mitch McConnell? And it`s a race to the bottom between the two, and
it`s going to be, for better or worse, almost entirely negative, especially
from here on to November 4.
MATTHEWS: Governor, this is what people usually put in their ads when they
don`t actually have to show up. They just say, this crap paid for by. But
these people deliver the crap right out of their mouths. This is personal
He`s an old art, basically what she is saying. He`s an altacocker. He`s
over there. He shouldn`t be -- this is his retirement party.
ED RENDELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
MATTHEWS: You couldn`t get more personal about a guy who is 73 than that.
And he`s treating her like she doesn`t know nothing.
Anyway, it`s great stuff, I guess. Why not?
RENDELL: It is good stuff.
I was struck by two things, though. First of all, this is a terrible year
to be an incumbent and a worse year to be a leader, because people are
absolutely furious with what`s gone on in the Congress and what happened
with the five-week vacation, not doing anything about the border. That
made it even worse.
I think Mitch McConnell has that against him. He`s a leader. Ask Eric
Cantor what it is to be a leader running for reelection. Second issue is
the optics. The optics were shocking this morning when I watched on TV.
Alison Lundergan Grimes looks fresh, young, energetic, and Mitch McConnell
looks tired and old and past his prime.
Those optics will play in her favor. And I think it`s going to be very
tough. You put Barack Obama on the ballot and that will appeal to the
base, but I don`t know if the independent voter is going to go for that.
So I think Alison Lundergan Grimes has an awfully good chance.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I do, too.
Let me notice something. I noticed something about the way the governor
was talking there. Do you notice how -- Well, you do because you have
been reporting this -- that Mitch McConnell doesn`t run for reelection as
leader of the Republican Party in the Senate? He runs hoping to become
leader of the Senate generally, to be majority leader, while never
admitting that he`s already an incumbent, he`s already the leader of the
Republicans. He never says that.
FINEMAN: Chris, I`m not -- I`m not just trying to praise you because
you`re the host of the show, but that`s the story that I haven`t written
FINEMAN: It`s McConnell`s attempt to run as the change agent. You heard
what he said at the end.
MATTHEWS: He`s running against the way things are.
FINEMAN: He said, let`s change things and elect me.
But I agree with the governor. I think people in Kentucky have known him
for 30 years, Mitch McConnell. They don`t think of him as a change agent.
I don`t think that`s going to work. And --
MATTHEWS: What about coal? He talks about he`s the coal man.
FINEMAN: Well, that`s true. And I think that`s Alison Grimes` weak spot,
because they`re desperately trying to tie her not only to Barack Obama, but
to Harry Reid, who once infamously in Kentucky said that coal makes you
sick. And that phrase has been plastered all over the state.
Alison Grimes is going to do well in Louisville, she is going to do well in
Lexington. She can`t afford to be wiped out in the coal regions of the
state, which is why Bill Clinton, as Mitch McConnell said, Bill Clinton is
coming in on Wednesday. He`s going to campaign in the coal regions of
Eastern Kentucky. And that`s the sort of micro-politics.
MATTHEWS: Governor, where do you think the glass ceiling lies? I
sometimes think there are states on the coasts, for example -- I have
noticed this -- women senators all over the place, up and down the
conflict coast, Washington State, California, there are four of them, you
got East Coast, you got a lot, a couple from Maine, from New York for a
while there alternating.
And it seems like is -- is Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, are they ready
for getting rid of that glass ceiling for U.S. Senate?
RENDELL: I think so. Look at the primary results in 2008 in Kentucky.
Hillary Clinton won by 37 points.
There are a lot of working-class women in Kentucky who might surprise you
on Election Day, Chris. Remember, Hillary won by 37 points.
FINEMAN: Well, also, there was -- in Kentucky, quite frankly, it`s still
a state where who`s governor is more important than who`s senator.
FINEMAN: And there has been a woman governor of Kentucky, Martha Layne
Collins, and who was sitting next to Alison.
The other thing about Alison --
MATTHEWS: Ed Rendell always thought that was the case, by the way.
FINEMAN: Yes, right.
FINEMAN: The other thing about Kentucky, about Alison Grimes is, she`s
Kentucky through and through.
FINEMAN: I know this sounds silly, but she rides horses and she can
outshoot Mitch McConnell and she`s Kentucky-ing it up.
MATTHEWS: Wow. She looks the part.
MATTHEWS: She looks like --
FINEMAN: She`s what they call in Kentucky a handsome filly, and she`s
tough. She`s very tough.
MATTHEWS: You call her that. I will call her Cat Ballou.
MATTHEWS: Remember that?
Anyway, thank you, Howard Fineman.
My favorite Jane Fonda movie.
Ed Rendell, of course, governor of Pennsylvania.
Up next, it`s President Obama`s birthday today. He`s not celebrating the
way JFK did, not in any means. He`s playing golf. JFK played other
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL and time for the "Sideshow."
Well, today marks President Obama`s 53rd birthday, an occasion he
celebrated over the weekend with a round of golf at Camp David. And if you
look back through history, presidential birthdays tend to be understated
affairs. They are often celebrated by the first family with little fanfare
and, except for a token photo-op or two, closed to the press.
There was one iconic exception. In 1962, Jack Kennedy celebrated his 45th
before an audience of 15,000 at New York`s old Madison Square Garden. It
was all to raise money for the Democrats, still paying down the debt of the
While the evening featured several Hollywood celebrities, it was most
famously remembered for Marilyn Monroe`s sexy serenade aimed directly at
the president. Well, legend has it that her dress was so tight, as you can
see there , that she had to be sewn into it.
Needless to say, her performance was an immediate sensation. Here`s how
the president himself reacted after Monroe had left the stage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN F. KENNEDY, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can now retire from
politics after having had "Happy Birthday" sung to me in such a sweet,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: "Sweet and wholesome" is what he said there.
Anyway, but President Kennedy also used that occasion to take a shot, a
friendly one, at his 1960 rival for president, former vice President
Richard Nixon. Richard Nixon had famously used his new family dog,
Checkers, to defend himself from charges of corruption during the 1952
campaign with Dwight Eisenhower, in fact, making a campaign televised
speech in which he said these lines about the cuddly cocker spaniel which
had come as a gift from a campaign supporter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD NIXON, VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: rMD-BO_It was a little cocker
spaniel dog in a crate that he had sent all the way from Texas, black and
And our little girl, Tricia, the 6-year-old, named it Checkers. You know,
the kids, like all kids, love the dog. And I just want to say this right
now, that, regardless of what they say about it, we`re going to keep him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: What they say about it.
Anyway, 10 years later, Nixon`s Checkers speech was still as well known as
it was in 1952. And President Kennedy couldn`t resist mocking his old
rival. He replaced Nixon`s line about his dog Checkers with a line about
Kennedy`s daughter -- her own pet, actually. In this case, it was
Caroline Kennedy talking about riding her pony on the White House lawn.
So, here`s Kennedy and his version of Richard Nixon`s Checkers speech.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KENNEDY: There`s another speech given by a former vice president of the
United States in 1952, which is even more pertinent.
It was just a little pony. And you know the kids, like all kids, loved it.
KENNEDY: And I just want to say that, right now, that regardless of what
they say about it, we`re going to keep it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Up next, I will talk to former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon
Peres about Gaza.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger. Here`s
Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York is testing for a patient -- a
patient for Ebola. However, health officials say it`s not likely the
person has the virus. The patient recently traveled to West Africa, where
an outbreak has killed 900 people. The man is in isolation at this point.
Dozens of homes are damaged and some roads are blocked after weekend
mudslides and severe flooding in Southern California. One person is dead.
Meanwhile, in Naples, Florida, heavy rains and flooding are making travel
very dangerous. Hundreds are without power and more rain is expected
throughout the evening.
And a tap water ban has been lifted for residents of Toledo, Ohio. An
algae bloom in Lake Erie left the water contaminated over the weekend.
More than 400,000 people in the area were not to use the tap water for
drinking, cooking, or bathing -- back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Israel and Hamas agreed today to a three-day cease-fire worked out by
Egypt. And, yesterday, Israel announced it was withdrawing most of its
ground troops, but would keep up airstrikes in the territory.
One of those strikes this weekend caused a particularly strong
international reaction, including one from the United States. On Sunday,
Israel fired a missile at three suspected militants on a motorcycle. It
struck them as they were passing a United Nations school that was
sheltering thousands of displaced Palestinians; 10 people were killed,
including one child.
Well, since the start of the conflict, more than 1,800 Palestinians and 67
Israelis have been killed.
Earlier today, I spoke with Israel`s former President Shimon Peres about
what hope there is for ending the fighting.
But, first, here`s a suggestion from the organization Vocativ for the
future of Gaza. MSNBC has established a partnership with the Israeli-based
group Vocativ, an organization that mines stories from the Web it says are
not getting picked up by the traditional media.
And one deals with Gaza and what Vocativ describes as a proposal out there
for a peaceful economic development of the territory. As you will see in
my interview with Shimon Peres in a moment, I`m skeptical about the very
notion that Hamas, the militantly anti-Israeli faction now controlling
Gaza, could be displaced as the main power in the territory, that or agree
But here`s the case they make. The narrator is Judith Dubin of Vocativ.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDITH DUBIN, VOCATIV: For an increasing number of leaders around the
world, the only way to create a genuine shift in the paradigm for Gaza is
to disarm Hamas and make a long-term investment in economic development.
JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Any process to resolve the crisis in
Gaza in a lasting and meaningful way must lead to the disarmament of Hamas
and all terrorist groups.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The best solution really is to have a long-term cease-
fire, with removal of the siege and with economic and social development.
DUBIN: Since Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005, a disastrous pattern has
emerged. Hamas launches missiles at Israel. Eventually, the Israeli
Defense Forces retaliate with devastating campaigns in Gaza, which they say
are designed to root out the danger posed by the military wing of Hamas.
Then Israel clamps down, restricting movements in and out of Gaza. The
local economy withers. Hamas uses the aid money it receives to buy more
weapons. The Palestinian people suffer.
AMI AYALON, FORMER HEAD, ISRAELI SECURITY SERVICES: This is the tragedy of
what we see today. Hamas do not believe in the reality of two states.
Hamas do not believe in diplomacy, so the money went to create military
DUBIN: It is possible to create a better future in this part of the world.
Just look at the West Bank town of Ramallah, where the Palestinian
Authority, not Hamas, is in charge. Many people here still complain
bitterly about Israel`s security restrictions, but business flourishes,
construction is booming.
AYALON: What we see in the West Bank today, this is demilitarization.
DUBIN: This sort of structure, disarmament for development, seems logical,
but, in Gaza, there are two very different visions for the future.
FAWZI BARHOUM, rMD-BO_HAMAS SPOKESMAN (through translator): Anyone who
owns a knife, a baton, a weapon and a car, and doesn`t use it to run down a
Jew or a settler, kill dozens of Zionists, that person doesn`t belong to
AHMED HELOU, PEACE ACTIVIST: I was Hamas. I was (INAUDIBLE) Israeli
(INAUDIBLE) I have a bullet in my neck. And I`m asking and calling for a
peace and calling to stop this war. Enough. Not more blood.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That was Judith Dubin of the Israeli-based group Vocativ.
And here`s my interview with former Israeli Prime Minister and President
Shimon Peres. Again, you will hear my skepticism on this peace proposal.
MATTHEWS: Mr. Peres, these headlines coming from Gaza are horrific. What
is your hope for an end to this?
SHIMON PERES, FORMER ISRAELI PRESIDENT: In my judgment, there are today
two camps among the Palestinian people. A camp that sincerely wants to end
terror and start peace, which is made by the Palestinian authority and
headed by Mohammad Abbas, as we call him Abu Mazen, and I believe is a
serious leader and a responsible partner to talk with.
On the other hand, there is a group of terrorists in Gaza, the most
important among them is Hamas. They want (ph) a policy to have a protest.
They don`t want to compromise. They want to kill.
We don`t have a choice but to fight against them determinedly. In two
ways, by the way. One, if they shoot, we shoot back. On the other hand,
we`re also thinking how to restore the situation in Gaza itself, which is
today one of the poorest places in the world.
We cannot do it by fighting and building. We have to bring an end to the
fighting and then we shall begin to build.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: How do you get Hamas to either capitulate or
get defeated? How do you put them out of the way if they`re committed to
terrorist and the destruction of Israel?
PERES: But for the military side (ph), which we shall continue, as we have
to. We don`t have a choice. And we shall continue to do it until they
I think those in politics, a major problem is their legitimacy. There`s no
politics or international politics without legitimacy. I think that either
the United Nations or the quartet has to decide who is the sovereign over
Originally, Gaza and the West Bank were handed over to Palestinian (ph)
Authority and Gaza is supposed to be under the sovereignty of the
Palestinian Authority. Hamas actually revolted against them, killed their
leaders, and hijacked Gaza, if you want. I believe from a legal point of
view, the United Nations and the quartet has to declare that the sovereign
of Gaza is the Palestinian Authority, and everything concerning Gaza must
go through him and not through the terrorists.
You cannot have both at the same time. You cannot put in the same glass
fire and water, either water or fire. Now, if the legitimacy will be
really declared in the hands of the Palestinian Authority, all the money,
all the means, all the traffic should go through them because even if they
will finance terror, then we`ll continue to shoot. And, by the way,
they`re a danger for all the Arab world, not only for us.
You know, the terrorists are destroying the Arab world country by country.
They destroyed the legitimacy and the integrity of Syria, of Iraq, of
Lebanon, of Yemen.
You know, in Libya itself, you have today 1,200 groups of terrorists.
Imagine. It`s a catastrophe. And a small group without any
responsibility, without any identity, can buy more arms and shoot. The
world must introduce for its own sake or other places.
So, I think what we have to answer fire by fire and we shall do it. And
every time they do something, we shall find an answer to it. It may take
some time. It`s costly.
We would like to be free like anybody else, but we sure we shall have the
upper hand in fighting the terror as well. We shall not give up. We did
it already for close to 70 years. We`re seven times attacks by armies,
many times by terrorists, not by killing people. We don`t want to kill
anybody. Not by seeing them suffering. It doesn`t bring us any joy to see
somebody suffering or to see a child dying.
But they do it and we have to stop it. That is the military side.
On the other hand, the political side, which is not only in the hands of
Israel, we have to declare there is a sovereign Gaza and it is not Hamas
because Hamas is a killer, not a partner.
MATTHEWS: Are you heartened by the news today that Saudi Arabia, the old
king of Saudi Arabia has declared Hamas the troublemaker in Gaza, not
Israel, but Hamas? That was a startling development.
PERES: Look, I think they`re right. You know, for many years, many Arabs
thought that they are in danger, the problem is Israel. They didn`t know
that the danger is not Israel but terror. If there is a menace to the Arab
land, to their independence, to their dignity, it comes from terror, not
And for that reason, many of them are ready to go either openly or secretly
with Israel to bring an end to Hamas for their own good reason and they`re
right. I mean, no country can remain safe if small groups of terrorists
will come and bring them down. It`s a real problem. And nobody has a
MATTHEWS: Mr. Peres, thank you so much for your time. I don`t want to
take more of your time. You`ve been great today. And thank you so much,
PERES: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: I love that guy. We`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Up next, Campbell Brown and a liberal legal superstar join an
unlikely crusade. The movement to reform tenure laws for teachers.
HARDBALL back after this.
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
There`s a new movement now to overhaul strong teacher tenure laws which
make it difficult if not impossible to fire bad teachers. The movement is
led by my former NBC colleague, CNN -- and CNN anchor Campbell Brown
who`s with me right now, whose new advocacy group, the Partnership for
Educational Justice, is organizing parents and students to bring lawsuits
against states with strict teacher job protections and tenure laws that
force principals to make personnel decisions on seniority rather than
And last month, the movement was handed a big victory in California when a
judge ruled in their favor that the teacher tenure laws violate students`
civil rights under that state`s constitution.
Now, the group is taking aim at the state of New York. Here`s Campbell
last week on the "Colbert Report."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAMPBELL BROWN, PARTNERSHIP FOR EDUCATIONAL JUSTICE: If you look at the
outcome, student outcomes in New York, OK, so 91 percent of teachers around
the state of New York are rated either effective or highly effective, yet
31 percent --
STEPHEN COLBERT, TV HOST: Sounds goods.
BROWN: -- 31 percent of our kids are reading, writing and doing math at
grade level. How does that compute? I mean, I don`t think you argue the
status quo is OK with numbers like that.
COLBERT: I went to public school in South Carolina and 31 percent sounds
like a majority to me. Why are we blaming the teachers? Maybe it`s the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Anyway, in a sign the movement is gaining strength, they`re
getting some help from a star trial lawyer, David Boies, who, of course,
he`s the man who fought to overturn California`s same-sex marriage ban and
defended Al Gore in that infamous 2000 Supreme Court case, Bush v. Gore,
which ultimately decided the presidency.
Both Campbell Brown, founder of the Partnership for Educational Justice,
and David Boies, chairman of the Partnership for Education Choice, join me
Let`s get to the heart of this. People watching, I`m big on charter
schools, a lot of things I like to see reformed. I love the movie by Davis
Guggenheim, "Waiting for Superman." I think there`s a lot of people out
there who want to send their kids to public schools or already do but are
afraid the kids aren`t getting good education.
How will getting rid of tenure laws make education for the average kid
BROWN: First of all, it`s not a silver bullet. Let`s be clear. It`s not
going to solve all our problems. We have a lot of challenges we need to
But this is one of them, which is the goal of getting an effective teacher
in front of every child. And what tenure laws have become in most places
is permanent lifetime employment, that tenure is granted without an
evaluation process. It`s real, it`s become perfunctory.
MATTHEWS: Like the Supreme Court.
BROWN: It`s become perfunctory and even teachers think it`s become
So, they don`t you know, once it`s in place and these dismissal laws that
are also on the books --
MATTHEWS: Campbell, this is hot stuff. Do they have places in New York
where the teachers go, who are lousy teachers, they put them a room, the
nodding room, whatever it`s called, they sit in that room. What`s it
BROWN: Rubber rooms. They tried to do away with the rubber rooms. Now
they have the absent teacher reserve, which is basically --
MATTHEWS: OK, David, you get in here. How bad is it when they take
teachers who are deadheads, mailing it in, who have lost interest in their
job, but instead of firing them because they have tenure, they put them in
a room, pay them full salary so they can go home to their wives, kids,
said, yes, I worked that day, when in fact they didn`t work that day. They
put in, they`re to do, spend time there wasting time.
DAVID BOIES, PARTNERSHIP FOR EDUCATIONAL JUSTICE: And if we had an
unlimited amount of money, we could tolerate that. For every one of the
people not teaching, we are losing the ability to have a replacement who
wants to teach, who`s able to teach and would improve the lives of our
children. You wouldn`t go to a hospital or law firm where the people were
not retained and promoted based on merit, and parents don`t want to send
their children to schools where the teachers aren`t promoted and retained
based on merit.
MATTHEWS: Somebody once said of a politician who you know, I won`t quote
on television, said to me, if you`re tired going to picnic, if you`re going
there 10 years, and you don`t want to go the 11th year, quit.
Do teachers quit when they`ve lost interest in teaching or they stay on and
keep collecting the paycheck is my question? Do you want to do this,
BOIES: I love teachers, all right? Both of my parents --
MATTHEWS: What about the ones who lost interest and are still collecting a
paycheck? How do you get rid of them?
BOIES: They ought to be replaced. They ought to be replaced, because
there are lots and lots of people who want teaching jobs. There are lots
of people who love teaching. Both of my parents were public school
teachers. I know the spirit that drives people who love to teach.
And what we have to do is we have to make room for the really qualified,
passionate people who want to teach our children. And we have to find a
way to replace the people who have given up, who don`t want to teach
anymore, for whom it`s just become a paycheck, who aren`t fulfilling their
responsibilities. We do that in every other profession. We need to do
that from a teaching profession, not because we are attacking teachers, but
because we care about teachers and we care about the teaching profession.
MATTHEWS: Why do you care? I only have a second. Why do you care?
BROWN: That`s how the other side portrays, this as an attack on teachers.
It`s about professionalizing teachers, and evaluating them, giving them
performance pay and treating them like individuals instead of
MATTHEWS: OK, it`s a hot issue.
Campbell Brown, it`s good to see you again.
David Boies, congratulations on everything you do.
We`ll be right back after this.
BOIES: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Let me end tonight with an idea shared with me over the weekend
that the president should be suing the Congress. Normally, that would
strike me or you as absurd, but now that we`re in the suing season, it
deserves a tad of consideration.
Think about what the president said in his press briefing on Friday. Think
of all the ways the Congress has simply failed to perform its regular
duties, basically left its inbox stuff with undone work, from getting a
budget passed, to approve executive appointments, even for nonpolitical
ambassadors to important posts, Moscow, for example.
Isn`t there a place in the law here that might be as attorneys like to call
it, actionable? Isn`t the U.S. Congress as the delinquent party here --
again, to use an attorney`s favorite word -- exposed? Failure to provide
services, that`s the phrase. Failure to provide services is when a
government official doesn`t do what their job requires they do.
Suppose you wait in line to get your driver`s license renewed. There you
are standing at the DMV for hours and when you finally reach the front of
the line, the person behind the counter says "I don`t feel like it. I know
you think you have a right to a renewed license, but I don`t think I`ll
give it to you." Well, that would be failure to provide services, wouldn`t
And every time this president sends a routine measure to the Congress or
routine appointment and has the Congress look at him and say, "I don`t feel
like doing this," isn`t that a failure to provide services, isn`t it?
So, there you go, Mr. President. Get yourself the right lawyer and right
up the papers. If little old John Boehner can slap a suit at you, you can
slap it back.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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