August 5, 2014
Guest: Erika Andiola, Steve McMahon, John Brabender, Patrick Gaspard
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Countersuit.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
"Let Me Start" with what caused a big, remarkable reaction last night. I`m
talking about the idea of the president turning the tables and suing what
he calls this "Don`t do nothing Congress." They sue him. A lot of people
think he should do what I talked about last night, sue them back. Many
think suing the Congress right back is precisely the way the president
should respond to what the Republicans in the House of Representatives did
to him last week.
Well, think about it. Time and again, the Congress has failed to act on
even the most routine matters of official business, like approving
ambassadors for posts overseas. It has failed to do what anyone out there
knows is the business of the country, like passing an immigration system
America would be proud to enforce, fixing this country`s broken-down
infrastructure, you name it.
Isn`t this a case of Congress denying the country honest and faithful
service, not doing anything, not even its most minimal official
requirements, like passing a federal budget? Is this why so many people
have shared or tweeted or commented on the "Sue Congress" proposal I made
last night? Is this why people are reacting with such excitement, because
they see the unfairness of the Republicans in Congress daring to approve a
legal suit against the president, all the while preventing the government
from doing its own job?
Well, there are a lot of good people out there who say the best way for the
president to deal, as I said, with the legal suit against him is to throw
one right back at them, sue the heck out of them. And isn`t this exactly
the reaction this Boehner-headed suit against the president deserved? What
else did he expect to be the reaction?
Anyway, John -- Joan Walsh is the editor-at-large at Salon.com and Jonathan
Capehart is an opinion writer at "The Washington Post." Both are MSNBC
Joan, you`re smiling. And I got to tell you, I didn`t believe the reaction
last night. I came up with this idea. A friend of mine brought it up to
me, and I said, You know what? That is a very good idea because if you
want to go tit for tat, perfect time to do it against a do-nothing
Congress, which could be held liable, I believe, for not doing anything.
It does have a job. They are paid to do it. They are public officials.
And they`re doing even the simplest things, like approving nonpartisan,
non-political appointments to the embassy in Moscow.
At what point does doing absolutely nothing not earn a suit? It seems to
JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think -- I think
MATTHEWS: Your thoughts.
WALSH: I think you touched a nerve, Chris, because I think people are
incredibly frustrated, you know, on both sides of the aisle, but
particularly right now Democrats. You know, I think we`ve seen John
Boehner is going to sue the president to enforce a provision of a law that
he -- that the Republicans have tried to repeal. That makes very little
And I think really think that they reached a low point last week when they
couldn`t even get a draconian, not very good border crisis bill through,
and then released a statement saying, We think the president could do this
through executive action, when they`re suing him over executive action and
calling him a tyrant over executive action. So it`s very clear that
they`ve abdicated their responsibilities.
It`s also clear that, you know -- maybe John Boehner should sue Senator Ted
Cruz for coming over and trying to act as the speaker, you know?
WALSH: There`s a lot -- there`s a lot of people meddling in one direction
but not doing their own jobs. And I think that you touched a nerve. And
Democrats are very frustrated and -- frustrated and looking for an answer.
MATTHEWS: Cruz coming over is like shooting the tires out of a car that`s
MATTHEWS: Dead already. I mean, they`re not doing anything! It`s not
JONATHAN CAPEHART, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
MATTHEWS: ... stopped it. But let`s go back to this idea. It seems to me
that it isn`t a question of the president having one plan on health care
and they`ve got another one and duking it out, or compromising in the end,
or one plan for infrastructure and another plan, or one plan for the border
versus another. There is no other plan. It`s just, We`re going to stop
everything from happening.
CAPEHART: Right. No...
MATTHEWS: And we`re not doing nothing.
CAPEHART: Right. Exactly. But here`s the -- here -- here`s the other
thing. Now, one -- I think that the Boehner lawsuit is a frivolous
lawsuit, and so the idea of the president suing Congress right back I would
have to say is probably...
MATTHEWS: Meaning on the level of frivolity.
CAPEHART: Yes. Yes. Would...
MATTHEWS: Fair enough.
CAPEHART: ... wouldn`t make a whole lot of sense...
MATTHEWS: ... the other thing what it is.
CAPEHART: But the reaction -- the reaction that you got last night is the
same reaction I`ve been getting when I`ve been writing about the Boehner
lawsuit because people are, like, These people do nothing. They do
MATTHEWS: And by the way, the lawsuit`s a nothing. It`s a nothingburger.
MATTHEWS: It`s not going to happen for two or three years.
CAPEHART: Right. The president...
MATTHEWS: It`s not going to get standing.
CAPEHART: ... will be long gone.
MATTHEWS: The courts will -- even the conservative court will laugh at it.
CAPEHART: Right. But here -- but here`s the thing and why there`s -- why
nothing is going to -- is going to continue to not happen on Capitol Hill.
The majority of the -- the people who are on Capitol Hill right now who are
causing all of the gridlock and the dysfunction and "No, no, no" come from
districts that voted them in to do nothing, and actually to do less than
nothing, to cut, to dismantle, to stop Washington from doing what they
think is doing wrong.
MATTHEWS: But I`m not even sure of that because I think if you asked the
people, Would you like to see the roads repaired, would you like to see the
bridges, would you like to have airports that look like the ones they have
in South Africa and China...
MATTHEWS: ... I don`t think they`d say, Do nothing.
CAPEHART: No, but you are being rational. We`re talking about...
MATTHEWS: Anyway, as I said last night, my "Let Me Finish" commentary
generated a rather amazing response. Here are some sample Facebook posts.
From Lauren (ph), "Spot on. Our country needs its leaders to start doing
their jobs. This Congress has yet to be held accountable for their
delinquency. And who else better to serve them a lawsuit and begin to hold
them accountable than the leader and the people who have been failed by
their irresponsible behavior?"
Anyway, from Cheryl (ph), "I so agree the president should countersue. The
only thing the House GOP has done by refusing to compromise and obstructing
everything is hurt the American people and this country. They should be
penalized for it."
And from Debbie (ph), "Finally, someone thinks what I`m thinking.
President Obama should sue Congress for crimes against the Constitution."
MATTHEWS: That`s a little strong, but it is an argument that I think
people appreciate because what else are you supposed to do out there?
What`s the middle-of-the-roader think who does want to have an enforced,
reasonable progressive American immigration system that works, who wants
something constructive done on every front?
And we`re not constructing anything on any front. They`re just -- the
Republicans are doing what they used to do in North Carolina, play out the
clock, slow it down, like a basketball team 10 points ahead, just do
WALSH: Well, and some...
MATTHEWS: ... until the country finally elects somebody else, and then do
nothing when they get elected.
WALSH: And some solutions, actually, Chris, could possibly pass the House
with a coalition of...
WALSH: ... Democrats and moderate Republicans.
MATTHEWS: You mean if they had a vote?
WALSH: Yes. I mean, just put the Senate bill up for a vote, or something
very close to it. I think that -- I think that certain infrastructure
legislation could get across, if Speaker Boehner had the courage to stand
up to that right-wing flank and Ted Cruz and say, OK, we haven`t done it
this way before, but we`re going to do some crucial things with the help of
our Democratic friends.
There are bills that I think they could do that with, but he`s not willing
to buck his -- the right wing of his caucus to go over -- to cross the
aisle and work with Nancy Pelosi except -- except under extreme duress,
like, you know, to reopen the government...
MATTHEWS: I guess -- I guess people have to lose...
MATTHEWS: ... lose a few more wheels off their cars before they fix the
highways. I don`t know. The holes are bigger than ever.
Anyway, since the day the president took office, he`s been blocked, of
course, and stymied at every turn -- at every turn by Republicans in
Congress. Just a sampling here of the frustration. This is objective
facts, by the way.
The president`s effort to fix this country`s crumbling infrastructure, no
vote. Raise the minimum wage, blocked. Student loan reform, blocked. Tax
reform, blocked. Immigration reform, no vote in the House. And the
Republicans in Congress have held 50-plus votes just to get rid of
something he did, the Affordable Care Act. So they want to go back past
On Friday, an exasperated President Obama listed even the simple government
functions that the Republicans in the Congress, and the House Republican
leadership, really, refused to carry out. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Even basic things like
approving career diplomats for critical ambassadorial posts aren`t getting
done. They`re still blocking our ambassador to Sierra Leone, where there`s
currently an Ebola outbreak. They`re blocking our ambassador to Guatemala,
even as they demand that we do more to stop the flow of unaccompanied
children from Guatemala.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, I`ve always been accused of this, and I`ll accept it,
I`m a little uneven, a little more crazy than the president in terms of
wanting to see something done quickly. Joan, you know what I mean. I just
can`t -- when he was fighting it out with Hillary back there in what, it
was in `07, or it was a thousand years ago, I guess, I kept saying, When
are you going to contest this battle? And then he eventually did contest
it and won...
MATTHEWS: But the calmness of the man, the coolness of him -- did you see
his reaction? He`s basically telling the United States -- the American
people through the press, I`ve tried to do everything that you want me to
do, and they won`t let me do anything!
CAPEHART: Right. He has...
CAPEHART: He has this bemused reaction, like, They won`t approve the
ambassador to Sierra Leone, where there`s an Ebola outbreak...
CAPEHART: ... Guatemala, where kids are coming our way because of the
violence. What the president is doing now...
MATTHEWS: Where`s the outrage?
WALSH: ... what I think he needs to more of, is he`s laying out the court
-- really, if you want to sue Congress, he was laying out the brief against
CAPEHART: It`s not that they`re not doing anything. Here are the concrete
things that they are not doing that have real-world impacts on what we`re
talking about in the news right now. And one of the things you didn`t put
on that list of things -- minimum wage, student loans. Remember the
American Jobs Act, which he...
CAPEHART: ... introduced to Congress, the first bill he ever introduced to
Congress, September 2011, went nowhere!
MATTHEWS: Why don`t they go back and say...
CAPEHART: ... bipartisan idea.
MATTHEWS: He says 10, they say 8, we agree on 9, or they say 6, he says
10, they agree on 8 -- at least get something moving!
MATTHEWS: They don`t want to do anything!
WALSH: And he`s made that point. He made that point with the -- with the
border bill. He didn`t like a lot of it, but you know, let`s take the
pieces that we agree on and let`s vote on them and let`s get them into law,
and we`ll work on the stuff we don`t agree on. And they won`t do that,
They`re always looking for a way to jam him. They`re always looking for a
way to humiliate him, and you know, blocking his agenda and making it very
hard for him -- I`m not saying he`s blameless, but in this situation,
making it very hard for him to address the crises that he`s been faced
with, or he addresses them with executive action, and then he`s a tyrant
and a dictator and he should be impeached.
MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) simplify (ph) (INAUDIBLE) Everybody`s been in a DMV
line. Everybody knows what it`s like. The lines are long. Sometimes, the
people behind the counter are slow. But I`ve never had one say to me when
I finally get up to the first place, No, I`m not giving you your license.
I don`t feel like it. That`s what Congress is doing to the president.
He gets up there in line, he waits in line, he gets there, and they say,
No, we`re not giving you your license. So sorry. Get out of here. That`s
the way they treat the president of the United States in Congress. Sue
Anyway, Joan Walsh, thank you. Jonathan Capehart, we`re of like mind --
CAPEHART: Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Coming up, the video with Congressman Steve King -- wait`ll you
catch this -- has gone viral, and the woman who made it happen is coming
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIKA ANDIOLA, DREAM COALITION: I just don`t understand why you`ve been
wanting to do that (INAUDIBLE) for you to be fighting (INAUDIBLE) calling
us names, saying that (INAUDIBLE)
REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: I don`t call you names. I say -- no, no.
That`s drug smuggling.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Do I have calves like cantaloupes? Anyway, the woman
immigration activist, Erika Andiola, is coming here -- Andiola. She`s
going to join us in a minute to talk about dealing with this guy, King.
Plus, reversal of fortune. Remember when Republicans used social issues
like same-sex marriage against Democrats? Not anymore. Now those wedge
issues are cutting the other way.
And the Tea Party`s last chance. The big primary in Kansas tonight is
likely to be the right wing`s last hope of picking off an incumbent
Republican senator. Going to be a hot vote tonight.
Finally, "Let Me Finish" with the danger of leaving Africa to the Chinese,
which is what we`ve been doing.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: While many Democrats are running for office and running away
from President Obama, many Republicans want to be seen with the man Obama
beat in 2012, Mitt Romney. Romney`s already campaigned with Scott Brown up
in New Hampshire and Joni Ernest in Iowa. And this month, Romney`s set to
campaign for Shelley Moore Capito, who`s favored in that Senate race in
West Virginia. Plus, Romney`s heading to North Carolina and to Arkansas to
stump for Republicans there. And next month, he`s off to the battleground
states of Colorado and Virginia.
And all this is fueling talk of a third Romney presidential run come 2016.
Romney would fill a big void for the Republican establishment, though as of
now, he says he`s not running. It`s what he has to say, of course, until
this hole gets big enough for nobody else to be able to fill.
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back. When it comes to the Republican Party`s problems
with minorities, Congressman Steve King of Iowa has taken control of the
GOP clown car and is driving it into a ditch.
The latest crash test was caught on tape. It happened just yesterday at an
event with Kentucky senator Rand Paul in Iowa, and it`s gone viral, of
course. It begins with King, when King and Paul are confronted by two
Hispanic activists, Erika Andiola and Caesar Vargas (ph). They are
college-educated organizers able to move freely in this country now thanks
to President Obama`s Dream Act -- or his dream order.
And that act allows some undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S. if
they`ve been raised and educated here, and they`re safe now in their --
from the same group of people that Congressman King said most recently were
drug smugglers with calves the size of cantaloupes and that they`re hauling
loads of marijuana across the border by the hour.
Well, Senator Paul abruptly left this scene right as the confrontation
began, when Erika -- there she is -- gives Congressman King her
identification card and dares him to show his opposition to the president`s
initiative by ripping it up. Here`s what happens next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIKA ANDIOLA, DREAM COALITION: Go ahead and rip it up. I just don`t
understand why you`ve been wanting to do that. You know, for you to be
KING: This is not what I do.
ANDIOLA: ... dreamers, calling us names, saying that we have calves like
KING: I don`t call you names.
KING: Please (INAUDIBLE) You`re very good at English. You know what I`m
ANDIOLA: I was raised in the United States...
KING: Right. So you can understand the English language. So don`t act
like you don`t.
ANDIOLA: I`m not acting like I don`t understand.
KING: No, you are. You`re saying something that`s not true.
ANDIOLA: OK, what is it?
KING: As I said, I spoke of drug smugglers. You`re not going to tell me
you`re one of them, are you? It troubles me a great deal that you have
such disrespect for the laws of the United States of America.
CAESAR VARGAS, IMMIGRATION ACTIVIST: This is my country. I love this
KING: But you`re telling me that you don`t have to abide by the laws of
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go home!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go home!
KING: No, listen, you came from a lawless country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need to go home!
KING: Do not import lawlessness into America. I`m really sorry you come
from a lawless country. I hope that you can have a happy life. But
ANDIOLA: Well, thank you, sir.
ANDIOLA: And if you want to rip it, let me know. I will bring it back.
KING: That`d be a nice video (INAUDIBLE) not going to happen.
ANDIOLA: It`s going to be something that you`ve been advocating for, and I
was giving you the opportunity to (INAUDIBLE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow. Well, Erika Andiola, you just saw her there, joins us
right now. There she is! She`s the national director for the Dream
Coalition. I only have a few minutes for you, but give me a sense of what
you expected to happen when you confronted Congressman King, and what you
thought of him before you saw him and what happened.
ANDIOLA: Yes, well, see, we`ve been fighting really hard to be able to get
DACA, right, that card that I was showing him and asking him to rip it up.
And you know, he`s been fighting against it over and over again. He just
took a vote in the House, pretty symbolic vote. It`s not going to happen.
But they passed something to get rid of DACA. So for me, it was really --
if you want to fight against dreamers, show me that you really mean it and
rip up the card.
MATTHEWS: It`s good (INAUDIBLE)
ANDIOLA: He didn`t do it. Yes, he didn`t...
MATTHEWS: Did he know what you meant? I mean, Erika, let me just ask you
-- I`ve never met you before, but you made a very dramatic statement. You
brought him the card that came out of DACA, that gave relief to young
people in the country because their parents brought them here at a young
age and have played by the rules and every -- gotten educated, learned
English. You`ve done everything right. And you wanted him just to rip
that out of your face, rip that in front of you.
Did he know what you were doing? Did he even know what the card was?
ANDIOLA: I explained that to him. And apparently, he`s been fighting for
it -- I mean, against it for so long, I`m guessing he does know what it is.
I mean, to me, it was more about really, like, we`re fighting now to be
able to expand this to our parents, right, (INAUDIBLE) action for the
president to expand his executive authority on immigration.
But he -- you know, Steve King has been one of the people that has been
fighting against it. So for us, it`s really -- we`re going to show Steve
King who we are as dreamers. We`re going to show our courage. And with
this, we`re hoping that the president also shows his courage against these
people, against Steve King...
ANDIOLA: ... and other Republicans and uses his executive authority to
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about this personal confrontation again because
people can disagree about immigration policy. It`s a free country. We`re
going to debate this thing and we`re going to find something that`s
workable down the road somewhat.
This guy wouldn`t say to you what he`s said to the public. He said
Hispanic people, Mexican-Americans who`ve come here from across the border,
are all people who are running drugs and they`ve all got the legs the size
of cantaloupes because they`ve been carrying so much marijuana on their
How did he get -- squirm away from making that accusation against you
personally when you said he was making it against you personally?
ANDIOLA: Well, see, I think that`s one of the most powerful things about
having dreamers speak out for ourselves.
We have been speaking out a couple of years now. And it`s just amazing for
us to able to share our stories. And it`s really hard for people now with
having us in front of them to be able to make the same anti-immigration,
sometimes even racist statements against us.
One of the things that he did keep saying is if I spoke English. And I was
obviously speaking English this entire time.
MATTHEWS: He was impressed.
ANDIOLA: So there was a couple a things. Yes.
MATTHEWS: No, he was not -- anyway, he`s -- he deals in cartoons. He is a
Thank you very much. Good luck with the work. You know what you`re doing.
ANDIOLA: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: I don`t have to tell you how to do your job. You are doing it.
Thank you very much, Erika Andiola.
ANDIOLA: Thank you so much, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much.
We have got some mature fellows here that can talk about this now.
Michael Steele was chair of the Republican National Committee. Eugene
Robinson is a columnist for "The Washington Post," and both are MSNBC
Again, immigration policy is a fair debate. Every country has one. Every
country finds a way of enforcing its laws and say how much immigrants you
can take, how do you take them, and how do they can in and who gets in.
But this thing by him seems to be on a different level.
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: How do you mean?
MATTHEWS: Well, cantaloupe-sized calves.
MATTHEWS: What`s that about, if not a weird kind of, almost bizarre ethnic
slur. I mean really bizarre.
STEELE: It`s an exaggeration of, you know, an idea, a fact or whatever.
It`s pejoratively casting people in a way to make a point, a political
MATTHEWS: What was the point he was trying to make?
STEELE: Well, I think it`s stereotyping. I think it`s just sort of
playing to the concerns and fears and the stereotype that people have, the
MATTHEWS: That`s not a stereotype people have. People have an image --
look, I`m tough on abortion...
MATTHEWS: I mean immigration -- because I want to find a solution.
STEELE: But there are people who do believe that every person coming
across the border is a mule for drug runners.
MATTHEWS: They do?
STEELE: Yes. There are a lot of people...
EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: There are people...
STEELE: Who believe that.
ROBINSON: They write to me.
STEELE: They believe in the stereotype. They believe in the stereotype.
ROBINSON: Well, yes, but what difference does it make? Some people
actually believe that.
MATTHEWS: How come the guys that work in hotels and golf courses, working
in the fields of agriculture within an hour of getting here?
They are not dealing in drugs. They`re taking the lowest jobs there are.
ROBINSON: Exactly. These are people who are woven into the fabric of our
society right now, who are taking care of our children, who are doing all
these jobs that need to be done.
MATTHEWS: I`m just trying to get at the attitude. But you don`t think
this is extraordinary behavior by that guy and these comments?
STEELE: No. I think -- I think -- I think some of the comments were
extraordinary. I think that they were a stereotype.
MATTHEWS: They are going to drive Hispanic people out of your party.
STEELE: Absolutely. There was nothing inviting about that conversation.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s go on here.
I will turn the pillow over now to the cool side. This will just be anti-
black racism, OK? It`s not just Steve king feeding off racial issues.
After yesterday`s circus stunt, the Tea Party congressman Mo Brooks blamed
the president for declaring war on whites. Brooks went even further.
In an interview with the local "Huntsville Times," he said -- quote --
"What the Democrats are doing with their dividing America by race is they
are waging a war on whites. And I find that repugnant. They`re attacking
by the Democrats openly soliciting votes of people based on skin color.
They in turn are attacking whites based on skin color. And that`s wrong.
Nobody should be attacked based on skin color."
We got that.
"I don`t know of a single Republican who made an appeal for votes based on
OK, Gene, you grew up with this. I don`t know.
MATTHEWS: I don`t know.
ROBINSON: What I grew up with was kind of more sophisticated and subtle
MATTHEWS: White power was a phrase I heard.
But, anyway, this guy is a U.S. congressman today.
MATTHEWS: He`s in office now from Alabama.
ROBINSON: ... about a war on whites.
It`s just -- it`s breathtaking really. And he got a second bite at that
apple, too, because he said the stuff in a radio interview and then the
Alabama newspaper -- Birmingham newspaper went to him and said...
MATTHEWS: Is that what you really mean?
ROBINSON: And he said, oh, yes, absolutely.
MATTHEWS: Michael, you have got to defend this political party.
STEELE: Let me be very clear. I do not have to defend crazy.
MATTHEWS: He was dignified on the show last -- the other day -- last week.
STEELE: But, again, this is speaking to a stereotyped fear that more and
more whites are having in various parts of the country as the demographics
in this country change.
MATTHEWS: I agree.
STEELE: And they are now having to figure out how to grasp at the new
reality that in five, 10, 15 years the white majority will be the minority.
ROBINSON: There are these right-wing media outlet personalities who are
stoking the thing of white victimization...
MATTHEWS: But, Gene, you came from South Carolina. There`s always been a
large population percentage-wise of African-Americans in the Deep South,
the cotton South. It`s always been the case.
MATTHEWS: We checked his district, 17 percent African-Americans. That`s
not a huge number in the Deep South. That`s sort of like you get in
Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi. That`s where people grew up.
STEELE: Yes. So, what`s your point?
MATTHEWS: My point is, why is he so scared right now?
MATTHEWS: He`s a mature man. Why is he a scaredy-cat?
ROBINSON: Well, because a black guy is president, Chris. Do you think
that has anything to do with it? Do you?
STEELE: Number one, and number two...
MATTHEWS: You bit into that peach really well. I saw you delightfully
eating into that peach with that argument.
STEELE: The demographics of the South are changing too, the growth in
Hispanics in the South, the growth of Asians.
MATTHEWS: How many black senators do we have from the south?
MATTHEWS: Yes. He`s Republican.
STEELE: Yes, it`s a Republican, yes, Tim Scott.
MATTHEWS: So, it`s not like they`re -- it`s not like they`re taking over.
STEELE: No, but, again, it`s about the demographic shifts, and the
landscape is getting smaller and smaller and smaller for folks who fear
that their country is changing.
MATTHEWS: The only Hispanics we have in the U.S. Senate from the South are
Rubio and Cruz. You count them.
MATTHEWS: So, it`s strange attacking going on here.
STEELE: All Republicans.
ROBINSON: Yes, right, exactly. Exactly.
MATTHEWS: It`s a very strange attack.
Anyway, when it comes to comes to racial politics, Mo Brooks is anything
but a saint, especially when it comes to his view of Hispanics entering
this country illegally. This is how Brooks pitched himself to voters
during his first term in office.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MO BROOKS (R), ALABAMA: As your congressman on the House floor, I
will do anything short of shooting them. Anything that`s lawful, it needs
to be done, because illegal aliens need to quit taking jobs from American
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: OK, he`s going to shoot them.
MATTHEWS: Anything short of shooting. I don`t know what short -- what is
short of shooting?
ROBINSON: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: What is it? The jobs -- and, first of all, I don`t know if
these jobs were posted. Some of them are pretty tough jobs. But he wants
to shoot them if nothing else works.
STEELE: I just have to say...
MATTHEWS: This is your crowd, by the way. You chose to be a Republican.
STEELE: This is an outlier for our party, OK?
STEELE: I would not use this as representative of where Republicans are.
MATTHEWS: Well, as they say on the highway, there is no news until there
is an accident.
STEELE: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: And that`s news.
STEELE: That`s news.
MATTHEWS: Maybe these are accidents, maybe. But I`m afraid they are
becoming more typical.
MATTHEWS: And Gene has heard this before, too.
MATTHEWS: You get the letters. You don`t get the right kind of mail he
ROBINSON: No, this whole white victimization thing, it`s out there and it
becomes more intense as they become more -- feel more beleaguered.
STEELE: It`s the new P.C.
MATTHEWS: How about making them work for free for 350 years?
ROBINSON: Hey, what an idea.
MATTHEWS: Would that be...
MATTHEWS: And 350 years of working without a single payday. Isn`t that an
idea the whites came up with, right? Remember that deal?
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Michael Steele.
MATTHEWS: OK -- with inflation.
Thank you, Gene Robinson. Thank you, Michael Steele.
Coming up, Steve Colbert fires up the way here -- the way-back machine next
in the "Sideshow."
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE COLBERT REPORT")
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE COLBERT REPORT": This good man was forced from
office by his bloodthirsty enemies who, according to a partial list
prepared by Nixon, were everyone.
COLBERT: The scandal was called Watergate, a scandal so explosive, some
call it Watergate-gate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Time now for the "Sideshow."
That was Steve Colbert, who devoted his show last night to the legacy of
former President Richard Nixon for the 40th anniversary of his resignation
this week. But Colbert also went to great lengths to retrofit his set to
resemble the period of the 1970s, essentially creating a show within a show
that mimicked the look and feel of network newscasts, broadcasts of the mid
No detail was overlooked, everything from the color scheme of the backdrop
to the sideburns and incessant cigarette smoking. It was all there, even
had a new "Colbert Report" logo to match and a graphics package worthy of
your old high-fidelity wood cabinet console television.
And later on, he was joined by Nixon speechwriter Pat Buchanan, but even a
die-hard loyalist like Pat couldn`t match Colbert`s enthusiasm for the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE COLBERT REPORT")
COLBERT: What I love about Nixon is not only did he rehabilitate himself
after he left after Watergate...
PAT BUCHANAN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS: Right.
COLBERT: ... but he rehabilitated himself before he became president.
This man resurrected his career twice. Even Jesus only did it once.
BUCHANAN: Three times. You mentioned yourself the Checkers speech.
BUCHANAN: That`s one thing that I admired him.
COLBERT: Three times.
BUCHANAN: All right, three times.
COLBERT: So he`s the father, the son, and the holy ghost.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I`m not sure about that. But Nixon did make two big political
comebacks, back in `52 and `68.
Finally, Jimmy Fallon introduced a new segment on "The Tonight Show" last
night comparing the Instagram accounts of celebrities and politicians who
happen to use the same captions for entirely different photos. It`s called
"Picture This." Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JIMMY FALLON")
JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JIMMY FALLON": We must find a
solution to this crisis. Let`s see the pictures they posted. John Kerry
posted a picture of the Middle East. Joe Biden posted a picture of
Signs like this upset me more than you could ever understand. Wow.
President Obama has a picture of a sign that says "Nobama." Kim Jong-un
posts a picture that says, "You must be this tall to ride."
Let`s keep going, this one from Jeb Bush and George W. Bush. They both
wrote America`s best source for natural gas. Jeb posted a picture of an
oil field in Alaska. Now you can drumroll. George posted a picture of
Chipotle. There you go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Oh, God.
Up next, how Democrats have turned the tables on Republicans in the culture
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger. Here`s
The two-star general killed today in Afghanistan has been identified as
Major General Harold Greene. He was shot by a gunman wearing an Afghan
military uniform. More than a dozen others were wounded, including some
A second American aid worker suffering from Ebola is now at Emory
University Hospital. Nancy Writebol is said to be weak, but showing signs
of improvement after being evacuated from Liberia.
And a 72-hour cease-fire between Israel and Hamas remains in place.
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are in Cairo for talks on a long-term
truce -- back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Democrats used to play defense on issues like gay rights and the hot-button
social issues were wedges used by the right to divide the Democrats. But
as John Harwood writes today in today`s "New York Times," the script has
been flipped upside-down.
Here`s his article. "Now the values wedge cuts for Democrats. Demographic
change keeps shrinking Nixon`s Silent Majority. President Bill Clinton and
a Republican Congress overhauled welfare. Fear of crime has receded enough
that members of both parties propose more lenient sentencing. College
students from the Summer of Love are pushing 70."
"The elders who disapproved of their behavior are largely gone and young
adults are wondering what the turmoil was ever about. Democrats profit
politically -- among young voters, college graduates, single women, blacks
and Latinos -- from the sense that they welcome these cultural shifts while
Republicans resist them."
While these issues might be hurting the party in the long run, these
cultural issues, but among Republican primary voters, there is no appetite
to change course. And that means Republican politicians are trapped right
Steve McMahon is a Democratic strategist. And John Brabender is a
I want to start with you, John.
Is it true that some of these states like Colorado, I have noticed, that if
you talk social, cultural issues like birth control, there are winners for
Democrats because it brings out the women voter.
JOHN BRABENDER, FORMER SENIOR SANTORUM CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Well, let`s be
honest about it.
Where Democrats are talking about it, they are hitting their Democratic --
Republican opponent. It`s not like they are all of a sudden switching
MATTHEWS: No, but it used to be Republicans would -- your party took Ohio
back in 2004 and blew Kerry out of the saddle by going after the Don King
and Karl Rove and they scared all the African-American ministers on the
issue of same-sex marriage. Look at the numbers, how they shifted.
MATTHEWS: Same-sex marriage was -- not, it`s not. It`s a very particular
charge that your party used fear of same-sex marriage to get out the vote.
BRABENDER: Let me go back to the original question, though, since we are
having this little dialogue.
BRABENDER: What really is happening is, symptomatically, what you are
seeing is Democrats are not running with your president. They are not
running with Obama.
BRABENDER: All right.
So, now they have to go to wedge issues and they are doing what Republicans
did a lot of times years ago. They are going to these wedge issues to try
to make the campaign about anything but this president, the economy and
many of the other factors.
And that`s you`re seeing them talking about social issues. In Colorado,
which you mentioned, the Democrat is up against Cory Gardner with an ad on
MATTHEWS: Yes, you mean like your party for 100 years has said they are
going to take my gun away from me, no matter what the economy.
BRABENDER: And those type issues. But let`s be clear. This is because of
MATTHEWS: The use of wedge issues is normal in politics.
STEVE MCMAHON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Right.
MATTHEWS: There are some good wedges and some bad wedges. But they have a
way of separating people from their constituencies.
But I`m asking you, Democrats don`t seem to be afraid of gay rights issues
anymore. They certainly are not afraid of birth control.
MCMAHON: Right. You look at the numbers.
MATTHEWS: They like it.
MCMAHON: You look at the numbers, and the numbers have shifted. And as you
go younger in the electorate, where the turnout actually is more of a
challenge, those issues become more and more popular. So, it`s a turn out
strategy but it`s also a strategy of who sounds more reasonable.
You know, these personhood amendments basically would make abortion, if you
actually passed it would make abortion illegal in the first 10 weeks of
pregnancy. And just as moderate and swing voters --
MATTHEWS: How would personhood work if four of five times the fertilized
egg doesn`t attach to the uterine wall, are those five times, are they
persons? If it doesn`t attach to the wall and begin development, is that a
person under these personhood laws?
MCMAHON: That`s a question for Ed Gillespie, who put it in the Republican
platform and Republicans across the country have campaigned on it and
defended it. That`s a medical question.
But the fact is, at whatever point the person is formed, and the attachment
occurs, they are protected under the Constitution under this amendment, and
that would make abortion illegal in the first 10 weeks. Just as most
Americans don`t think abortions should be legal in the last 10 weeks, most
Americans don`t think it should be illegal in the first 10 and that`s what
the personhood amendment would do. If you put it in your platform and then
you run away from it --
MATTHEWS: I think single women are petrified generally by these moves by
male officeholders and lawmakers to do things like personhood when they
know it`s aimed directly at restricting their freedom.
JOHN BRABENDER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: But let me ask you this. I mean --
MATTHEWS: And, by the way, I`m not even sure this is abortion in these
cases, because when you read the science, if you learn this stuff, that you
didn`t learn in school, I didn`t learn in Catholic school, that there`s so
many -- such a preponderance of cases, there is not a child born of every
sexual act, because you don`t have a child every time you have sex. In
cases where you have the egg fertilized by the male and the female, and you
have a fertilized, even 80 percent of those don`t go to become a child.
BRABENDER: I feel like I`m talking to Bill Nye the Science Guy.
MATTHEWS: It`s called learning something you didn`t know.
BRABENDER: Every time I come, I learn something I didn`t know.
MATTHEWS: That`s what I`m trying to learn.
BRABENDER: Here is what I don`t understand. I see Democrats running ads
saying they want to ban contraception. Give me one Republican presidential
candidate ever that wanted to ban contraception. I don`t know one.
MATTHEWS: Rick Santorum brought it up last campaign.
BRABENDER: Never wanted to ban contraception.
MATTHEWS: He brought up the issue.
BRABENDER: I was his media consultant. Believe me. I know more --
MATTHEWS: Why did he bring it up?
BRABENDER: He didn`t want taxpayer funding of contraception. That`s a
completely different thing.
MATTHEWS: The discussion he had is he said we can discuss birth control.
He said it in one of his interviews.
BRABENDER: He said it very clearly, as well as his wife did on CNN, that
he would never make that decision for somebody else. He would not ban
contraception. No one said it. Yet that shows up in ads.
MCMAHON: But what shows up in ads is that they would make contraception
unavailable for women through their health care plans. And that -- by the
way, that women --
MATTHEWS: Let`s go to where we were all schooled on, votes. The NBC/"Wall
Street Journal" poll out tonight, just tonight, shows the biggest ever
gender gap on what party Americans want to control the Congress. By a 17-
point margin, men say it should be Republicans. Meanwhile, by a 14-point
margin women say Democrats should be in charge.
And the way they count it is to add them up. So, it`s a 31-point gender
gap which is a dramatic statement.
John, how do you explain it? What`s going on in our country that men and
women see things so differently?
BRABENDER: Well, first of all, I`m surprised by the extreme of the number.
But certainly we have seen this gender gap for 20 --
MATTHEWS: Why it growing? We`ve always had men, we`ve always had women.
BRABENDER: One of the reasons I believe is the Democrats did -- and I will
argue effectively run on what they called the war on women. I think that
had some resonance.
MATTHEW: By the way, I just got my ear the information. I love the
producers here. Apparently, your guy Santorum back in the last election,
you`re starting to smile now, because you`re remembering this. He talked
about the dangers of contraception.
BRABENDER: Well, I think everybody agrees that if not controlled
improperly and health care involved in it, that there can be --
MATTHEWS: What were the dangers be?
BRABENDER: This is why you do need a prescription to get birth control
So, here`s my question to you, guys, though. You want to go down these.
MATTHEWS: So, politicians should vote on the dangers of birth control.
You say you don`t know where the gender gap came from.
BRABENDER: No, what I`m saying is, nobody, including him, ever said
anything about banning contraception yet that`s what Planned Parenthood put
MATTHEWS: I`m sorry. I was a voter and I heard a guy say it`s dangerous,
I would say he`s against it.
MCMAHON: It`s a dog whistle for Christian conservatives in the Iowa
caucuses. That`s exactly what he`s trying to --
MATTHEWS: He won the Iowa caucuses the last time.
MCMAHON: I know. Guess what? Republicans do this all the time. They use
language and want to run away from the clear language means, or what the
clear meaning of the language.
MATTHEWS: John has been straight for us. Thank you. It is growing, the
gender gap. You say it`s the Democrats` effective use of the issue. What
do you say?
BRABENDER: I don`t know why the men are so opposed to the Democrats.
MATTHEWS: It`s a lot of things. The men are more socially conservative
BRABENDER: Or jobs or economics.
MATTHEWS: Dislike Obama, it`s not complicated.
Steve McMahon, you like Obama. John Brabender, you don`t. I made my
Up next, President Obama`s big commitment to bring hope to a group of
people who don`t have much of it.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, it`s a big week for primaries and perhaps a dangerous week
to be an incumbent, especially a Republican incumbent. Today, Michigan,
Missouri, Kansas and Washington state hold their primaries. And the big
fight, of course, is in Kansas where incumbent Republican Senator Pat
Roberts is facing a tough primary challenge from Tea Party Republican
Milton Wolf. It could be the Tea Party`s last best chance for a big win
this year. But polls show Roberts ahead.
On Thursday, it`s Tennessee`s turn. Incumbent Republican Senator Lamar
Alexander has eight challenges. That`s a good deal. But, again, he`s
favored to win.
Then, on Saturday, Hawaii holds primaries for senator and governor. In the
Senate race incumbent, appointed Senator Brian Schatz, a Democrat, is in a
tough race against U.S. Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa. While the state`s
governor, Democrat Neil Abercrombie, is trailing his primary challenger.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
President Obama is playing host, of course, this week to nearly 50 African-
American heads of state and government this week in Washington. The
largest number of leaders of the world to come here since Kennedy`s
funeral. By the way, the African leaders` summit is the first time an
American president has convened the Africa`s leaders in one single
The primary goal of the historic gathering here in town is to boost
economic partnerships between the nearly 200 American and African
businesses also in attendance.
And today, President Obama announced $14 billion in commitments from U.S.
companies to get over there and invest in Africa. Chevron, Coca-Cola,
General Electric, IBM, MasterCard, M Marriott, and Walmart, are all making
huge investments in expanding their presence into the continent.
As a result of the summit, the United States hopes to leave a lasting
footprint on the African continent, that vastly improve the conditions for
its people over there.
Joining me right now is Patrick Gaspard, the United States ambassador to
the country of South Africa.
Thank you, Patrick, Mr. Ambassador. Thank for coming on tonight.
PATRICK GASPARD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO SOUTH AFRICA: Thank you for having me,
MATHEWS: You`re very close to the president. Why did you embrace or
thrilled by the chance to represent this country in South Africa, probably
the biggest potential in Africa economically?
GASPARD: Well, Chris, as you know, I was very actively involved in the
anti-apartheid movement as a young person coming up. Not that long ago I
was helping to organize arrests in front of the south African embassy here
and always had a profound affinity for the country as you do as well. So,
in this moment of inflection for Africa, when we`re seeing more direct
investment instead of foreign aid, I thought it was a great opportunity to
come and make a marker for our country in South Africa.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about African-Americans, a lot of whom watch this
show. And I know because I meet them everywhere. And do they have -- is
there a growing -- I`ve always thought there wasn`t a great affinity for
Africa the way there is some people toward their backgrounds, just me and
the Irish, Jewish people in Israel, or whatever, in Europe. Is there -- is
that growing or not? Is there still a gap there?
GASPARD: I`ve seen a pronounced growth in that, Chris. There`s a lots of
increased interests throughout the Diaspora. Obviously, folks are not
entirely sure where they actually came from. We`ve seen through the
genetic projects over the last few years that people have real identity
with certain countries in West Africa in particular.
So, we`ve seen growth in cultural interests and increasingly in business
interests as well. There are African-American entrepreneurs who are making
their mark in Africa every single day. I talk to all of them who only in
through South Africa.
MATTHEWS: So, what do you do every day as ambassador of South Africa? I
think it`s a hell of a job. So, do you meet with American business guys,
African-Americans, white Americans if you will, who come over there and
say, look, I want to drop money over here, I want to do business over here?
GASPARD: It`s the coolest job in the world, as your mentor Tip O`Neill
always said, take your job seriously, but don`t take yourself seriously. I
think that I`ve got the best job. There are over 600 American companies in
South Africa and I work with them all the time, to grow their base, to
create real community beneficiation, not just for the Americans but for the
South Africans as well. And, obviously, we have lots of regional interests
as it relates to peace and security issues and South Africa plays a leading
role in that. And we work to partner with them and encourage that
MATTHEWS: What I don`t like is the way Chinese go into Africa. They go in
there and they say, we`ll build you an airport, all we want is mineral
rights for the next 100 years. So, they basically give them something in a
short run and African leaders are desperate, they`ll take the money,
they`ll take the airport, or highway.
Next thing you know, their entire zinc ore is gone for the next 100 years
or their gold or their oil or their gas or whatever, tin.
Isn`t that frightening? That`s going on.
GASPARD: You know, those relationships are extractive. I`ve heard Vice
President Joe Biden say it best. We offer partnership, true partnership,
and real training. We`ve got companies there that are doing actual skills
transference on the ground. You should look --
MATTHEWS: But the Chinese bring their own people in, and they take them
GASPARD: Who stay.
MATTHEWS: Oh, they do stay.
GASPARD: Who stay for years. There`s not a transference of those skills
and industries to Africans.
Look, obviously, we have to protect and look out for American interests
everywhere in the world. But there we`re growing jobs --
MATTHEWS: I`m with you on this. I`ve got to ask you about -- you know,
President George W. Bush did a great job on PEPFAR.
GASPARD: He did a great job.
MATTHEWS: It`s a major cause for everybody in this country which is
fighting AIDS over there.
How about Ebola?
GASPARD: We`ve saved billions of lives.
Look, with Ebola, it`s concentrated in about four countries right now. It
is contained. Our Centers with Disease Control, with the great leadership
of Tom Frieden, are working closely with Africans to make sure we bring
some much-needed relief and to make sure this does not explode.
MATTHEWS: What good is going to come out of this summit this week?
GASPARD: Well, we`ve already got that $14 million commitment that`s
growing every single day and most importantly, we`re going to change the
narrative and entire conversation on Africa.
I mean, look, everyone is clamoring now to invest on the ground, grow
businesses there. A few years ago, G.E. only got about $500 million worth
of revenue from all of Africa. Last year, alone, $6 billion was generated
by G.E. You can bet that has an impact in Peoria.
MATTHEWS: Well, congratulations.
GASPARD: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: It`s great. Never heard a better pitch for Africa.
Thank you, Ambassador Patrick Gaspard. He`s a very close friend of the
president, by the way, which is a good way to be an ambassador. You can
actually say, I know the guy.
We`ll be right back after this.
GASPARD: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with Africa. When I was there in the
1960s, working in small business development in Swaziland, I saw the strong
influence of China and crossroads of Tanzania back in the `60s. I remember
the battle of the posters, propaganda between China and the old USSR,
communists who were fighting for continent.
Well, today, China doesn`t use propaganda. It makes deals. It builds
airports and other infrastructure in exchange for future rights to oil,
gas, and minerals. It gets a permanent enduring draw on Africa`s resources
in exchange for short-term expenditure. It buys Africa one deal at a time.
African leaders desperate for help are there to make the deal, paying for
what they need now with what China will take in the future. Take from the
very heart of Africa. They even bring in their own workers to do the
What can the United States offer Africa as an alternative? Well, that`s
the challenge, isn`t it?
To me, there`s something really important we want in Africa. We want the
continent to make it. We want it to grow in economic strength and
education and health. We want it to be self-reliant and successful -- all
for the very clear reason that a failed Africa will be a frightening place.
It will fall victim to terrorists and killers of wildlife and plague. A
failed Africa, by the way, will not suffer alone.
Besides, all of us have been interest. Many of us in America have historic
roots in Africa. If you go far enough back, science informs us, all of
humanity does. The more we can do to promote trade with Africa, the more
we can develop positive reciprocal ties with that continent, the better.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN" with Ezra Klein, filling in for Chris Hayes starts right now.
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