September 9, 2014
Guest: Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. John Garamendi, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Kim
Gandy, Don McPherson, Steve McMahon
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Just bomb the place and tell us about it later.
This is HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
And that`s right, you heard it right. That`s the attitude of many
U.S. congressmen on Capitol Hill, according to one of them. The president
should just go to war with ISIS terrorists and tell us about it later.
What happened to advise and consent here? How about Article 1 of the
Constitution, that makes war-making authority -- puts that in the hands of
the U.S. Congress? Why elect people to Congress if they don`t take part in
deciding what wars we fight?
And what happened to the Republicans out there charging President
Obama with exceeding his authority? Did they want him to check with them
on the big questions or not? And isn`t the decision to go to war a big
question? Isn`t it worth having a vote on? Give me a single reason why
the U.S. Congress should not have to vote on going into yet another war.
And joining me right now are two U.S. congressmen, Congressman Adam
Schiff and Congressman John Garamendi, both of California.
Congressman, Schiff, should the U.S. Congress vote on whether we go to
war with ISIS?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Absolutely. The president is now
talking about a multi-year military campaign against ISIS. This is
quintessentially the kind of thing that Congress needs to vote on. We
ought to have an authorization to use force. It ought to delimit what the
president can do, what he can`t do, and it ought to have a sunset date.
So that`s what we should do. It`s our constitutional obligation. And
I hope that`s what we`ll do in the next two weeks.
MATTHEWS: Congressman Garamendi, same question. Should there be an
up or down vote on whether we go to war militarily with ISIS?
REP. JOHN GARAMENDI (D), CALIFORNIA: Five hundred and thirty-five of
us raised our right hand and we swore to uphold the Constitution. The
Constitution says Congress, the representatives of the people -- they`re
the ones that will decide whether we go to war or not.
Absolutely, we have to vote. It`s our responsibility. We represent
the people of the United States. It`s a decision for the people to make
through our vote. We must vote.
This is a big deal. It`s our responsibility. The president has
already started that process under the War Powers Act. He has notified
Congress that he is taking military action, those first steps. That sets
in place the 60-day clock. And that 60-day clock right now says we have to
vote by October the 7th.
MATTHEWS: Let me go back to Congressman Schiff. What about the
substance? Would you support a resolution which included the use of
special, special operations forces on the ground?
SCHIFF: Well, I don`t want to see major ground troops...
SCHIFF: ... in either Iraq or Syria...
MATTHEWS: ... special ops, people working with the Free Syrian
MATTHEWS: ... special operations forces like we used in Afghanistan
in the beginning.
SCHIFF: You know, I support what we`re doing on the ground in Iraq
now, and we have military advisers that are trying to give us good
intelligence. They`re trying to help train the Iraqi forces, helping us be
more precise in our strikes.
I don`t think we`re there yet in Syria, Chris. We don`t have the same
ground capability that we do, and the Peshmerga to work with. So I think
it`s premature to be talking about air strikes in Syria or boots on the
ground of any sort in Syria.
And this means that it`s going to be a very challenging issue in terms
of drafting an authorization. But without a force that can hold ground in
Syria, if we displace ISIS through air strikes, does it mean al Nusra moves
in? Does it mean Assad`s forces move in? Until we can answer those
questions, I don`t think we ought to be contemplating a major air campaign
MATTHEWS: So right now, you wouldn`t support a resolution which
allowed the president to go in militarily into Syria, just into Iraq?
SCHIFF: Well, it would have to be very narrowly drawn as it pertains
to Syria. I wouldn`t want to rule it out, Chris. If we discovered, for
example, that there was an active cell in Syria posing an imminent threat
to the United States, that`s something where it would be appropriate for us
to take action. But whether we can...
MATTHEWS: How do we stop them from beheading our people? They`re in
Syria, beheading our people, ISIS is. How do you stop that if you don`t go
into Syria itself where they`re beheading us?
SCHIFF: Well, you know, it`s very difficult, Chris, without having a
major military force there, to be able to rescue those hostages or prevent
other hostages from being taken. But at the same time, we have to ask
ourselves, are we willing to have another major occupation of a Muslim
country? And is that in the best long-term interests of the United States?
I don`t think it is. And we shouldn`t be provoked by these acts, as
horrific as they are, into doing things that are ultimately going to be
MATTHEWS: Congressman Garamendi, same question to you. Do we go into
Syria and stop these beheadings using special forces and whatever units we
GARAMENDI: Well, I think special forces, if they go in to do the
rescue operation that ultimately failed, I think that`s appropriate. To go
in and to work side by side with one of the Syrian groups, assuming we can
even figure out which one we want to work with, no.
But I think there is something we can do in Syria, and that is find
out where Mr. Baghdadi, the leader of this organization, is, and put in his
back pocket a Hellfire missile. That`s a possibility that we ought to keep
open and available to us.
I know we`re into another country. I know Mr. Assad is there and all
that goes with that. But I think we have, as we have in Pakistan, the
necessity of taking out these leaders, wherever they may be around the
world. If it`s in Somalia or Pakistan or wherever, take them out in a very
limited, limited way.
So this resolution that`s going to come up for a vote needs to be
very, very carefully crafted. I don`t want to see renewed heavy-duty
military operations, such as we saw in Iraq and Afghanistan. No way. But
limited -- the real secret here or the real answer lies in making sure that
we have a coalition. We have to make sure that the surrounding countries -
- Iraq, Turkey, the Gulf states, Jordan and others -- are working together.
They`re the ones that are ultimately going to have to carry this fight and
occupy the ground, just as Mr. Schiff suggested a few moments ago. We`re
not going to occupy that ground. Again, it`s up to them to occupy
MATTHEWS: It`s interesting that both of you gentlemen, both
Democrats, both from California, believe that we should have a vote -- you
should have a vote, a role in deciding this issue. U.S. Congressman Jack
Kingston, who`s a lame duck, he`s a congressman -- a Republican from
Georgia, he told "The New York Times today that neither his Democratic nor
his Republican colleagues want a vote.
Quote, "A lot of people would like to stay on the sideline and say,
Just bomb the place and tell us about it later. It`s an election year. A
lot of Democrats don`t know how it would play in their party, and
Republicans don`t want to change anything, like the path we`re on now. We
can denounce it if it goes bad and praise it if it goes well. And what
took him so long?"
So there you have a -- I think a somewhat cynical view, Congressman
Schiff, by a Republican, saying -- and I don`t think there`s anything wrong
with Congressman Kingston. It may be a well-founded view politically. But
he`s basically saying, You guys make the decision in the White House, and
we`ll decide whether to shoot at it or not.
SCHIFF: Well, look, Chris, I think there are a lot of people on both
sides of the aisle that would be happy not to have to vote on this. But
the reality is, this is quintessentially a part of our constitutional
responsibility, and if we`re not willing to do it, we don`t really belong
So I think this is something that -- you know, as difficult as it is,
as painful as it is, and as risky politically as it may be, this is
something we need to do. And if we don`t, frankly, we in Congress have
only ourselves to blame if Congress in the institutional scheme of things
becomes even more diminished as an institution.
MATTHEWS: Well, Congressman Garamendi, take a look at this brand-new
poll -- I want you to respond to this poll, NBC News/"Wall Street Journal"
poll out tonight. It shows the country is overwhelmingly supportive of
military action against ISIS. One reason might be the impact of those
beheading videos. Nearly 6 in 10 Americans say they`ve seen a lot of news
coverage about the executions of James Foley and Steven Sotloff. That`s
more than any other news story of the last five years. In other words, the
biggest news story of five years, according to NBC News and "The Wall
Street Journal," is the beheadings.
As a result, 61 percent of the American people say taking military
action against ISIS in Iraq and Syria is in the national interest. What
exactly should that military action look like? Forty percent of Americans
said -- that`s 2 in 5 -- say they would support only air strikes against
the terror group. Another 34 percent say they would support air strikes,
as well as American combat troops on the ground. So in total, at least, 74
percent, about three quarters, say they would support at least air strikes.
Your thinking about that, Congressman Garamendi.
GARAMENDI: I think that they have not fully considered all of the
factors involved, the extraordinary cost of the Afghanistan war, the
terrible outcome of the Iraq war.
We need to be very measured, very deliberate, and very, very careful,
but we do need to vote. The law says we need to vote. The Constitution
says we need to vote. We didn`t come here to play chicken. We came here
to do our job, and that means we have to vote. So we got to be very
careful as we construct a resolution that will authorize the president to
carry on an appropriate level of military action.
I am not in any way going to vote to move back into Iraq with heavy-
duty troops, as we have in the past. Air strikes, OK. We`ve got the
advisers on the ground. That`s enough for me.
And realize that this solution here does not lie in American military
presence in that area. We`ve done that. We did it for a decade. It
didn`t work. We need to make sure that the countries surrounding this area
-- they`re the ones that have the real risk here. We do have risks, no
doubt about it, but the real risk lies in the countries around it. They
need to step up. They need to put the troops on the ground.
The Iraq government needs to get its act together. That`s in process
-- new prime minister, a new cabinet in place. And hopefully, they`ll
reach out and try to heal the wounds of the divisions that Maliki put in
over the last six or seven years.
So there`s work to be done. But we have our job to do. We cannot and
should not duck this responsibility. And when we do this full debate,
maybe the American public will have a better understanding of how this can
have a good outcome, rather than an outcome and go down the path that we
did with the first and the second Iraq war.
MATTHEWS: OK, thank you so much, U.S. Congressmen Adam Schiff and
John Garamendi, both of California.
Coming up, my interview with U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New
York. She`s a rising star, of course, in the Democratic Party. We`re
going to talk about the two big stories of the day, whether the Senate
should have a say, a vote on whether we go to war against ISIS, and
violence against women, like the kind we saw in that videotape that cost
football star Ray Rice -- and should have -- his job.
And about that videotape, the National Football League is facing big
questions tonight. What did they know and when did they know it? For one,
they knew about that earlier videotape showing Rice dragging his fiancee`s
limp body out of the elevator. And that should have been all they needed
to fire him. Plus, the police report.
Plus tonight, the battle for the control of the Senate. Despite the
doom sayers, some good Democratic candidates across the country are giving
their party a fighting chance to stay in power.
Finally, "Let Me Finish" with the constitutional responsibility of
every member of Congress to vote for or against this coming war. We want
them up or down.
And this is HARDBALL, a place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Tonight, the city council in Ferguson, Missouri, is meeting
for the first time since the death of Michael Brown. The council will
announce the creation of a new review board to help improve relations
between the police department and the community.
The death of Michael Brown last month set off violent protests, and
city leaders vowed to hire more African-American officers, police officers,
and improve outreach between the city and its citizens, 70 percent of whom
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back, and joining us right now is the rising star in
Democratic politics today, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. She`s
the author of a hot new book, "Off the Sidelines."
And I want to start with the story that everyone`s talking about right
now, and it speaks directly, I think, to the kinds of abuses of women that
they face in this world that Senator Gillibrand has written about, talked
about and tried to legislate about.
I`m, of course, talking about those devastating images of Baltimore
Ravens running back Ray Rice and the possible lack of interest by the NFL
leadership, especially Commissioner Roger Goodell. As multiple reporters
and commentators have pointed out, Goodell already had the evidence months
ago that Rice knocked out his fiancee, Janay Palmer. There was the
Baltimore police report, which says that he struck her. There was an
original TMZ video which shows Rice dragging her onto the casino floor
unconscious from the elevator. That was all out there.
Now there`s more palpable anger about it, that he feared public
opinion and looked the other way until now. Anyway, the calls for his
resignation have begun.
Senator, on this issue, what does it tell us about the accountability
or lack thereof of American life, really, in protecting women?
SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D), NEW YORK: Well, it`s part of a very big
story and a long story. Certainly, the NFL got this wrong. It`s
outrageous. It`s disgraceful. He needs to be punished. And I think there
needs to be accountability.
But it is part of this larger issue of how are women treated in
society. We have sexual assault on college campuses with no accountability
or transparency. We have huge challenges within the military. And that`s
why these issues really need to be raised and we need to really hear
women`s voices when we begin to advocate for change.
MATTHEWS: Well, what about the guy -- it`s a male at the top, Roger
Goodell? He knew this person had been knocked out by the male in this
case. Should he have said something then, rather than waiting for the full
tape to be released that we`re looking at now? It seems like they`re only
reacting to the public disclosure, not to the reality.
GILLIBRAND: I think that`s right. And that`s what you see time and
time again in cases like this, in many areas. But what we know is he
admitted to beating his wife and they knew that he dragged her out of an
elevator well in advance. And he should have been suspended then and
I mean, it`s really an issue of a conduct and a behavior that`s
criminal, that there should be no tolerance for in any setting. And we
need better accountability. This is -- our football players are role
models for our kids. We need to make sure that they are not -- that
they`re held to a higher standard, and at least a standard of
accountability that should have been done here.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about women here. Here`s Janay Palmer, by the
way, then fiancee at the time. She wrote today in an Instagram, quote, "No
one knows the pain that the media and unwanted options from the public has
caused my family. To take something away from the man I love, that he has
worked for his whole life just to gain ratings is horrific. This is our
life. Just know we will continue to grow and show the world what real love
"What real love is" -- how do you explain that? You can`t get
particular with her, but why would someone -- a woman who has been knocked
out cold, dragged across the floor and actually kicked around to get in the
position he wanted her in to get her out of the elevator, to say later,
Well, this is what real love`s about, or something -- how do you explain
GILLIBRAND: Chris, one of the challenges we face in the military
context and the college campus context is you have to define this behavior
as the crime that it is. And on college campuses, when you say, Oh, rape,
it`s just a college prank, it`s not something serious, it`s, Oh, you know,
they had a little too much to drink -- no, these are brutal crimes.
These are crimes of violence, crimes of domination, and if you don`t
call them for the crimes that they are, you don`t have the justice and
accountability that you desperately need. And so you see it in all these
instances where we are -- we are not looking at these incidents and these
actions as the crimes that they are. And it`s a problem, and it`s a larger
societal problem. And it`s about how we value women and how we value women
in society. And we don`t see enough justice.
MATTHEWS: Do you sense that there`s something changing about women in
leadership? Let`s go to the very top now. Your name is mentioned a lot,
of course, Elizabeth Warren`s name, and of course, Secretary Clinton is
mentioned as the -- well, I think most people think she`s the probable
nominee if she runs, of the Democratic Party, for president next time.
What is it that`s come? Is it an idea whose time has come? Is it
like suffrage came in the early part of the last century? What`s
happening? Because I think the glass ceiling may be notching up several
floors right now.
GILLIBRAND: Well, I know we`re going to talk about it later, but one
of the things I talk about in the book is, yes, we need to break the
highest glass ceiling. And I am supporting Hillary in 2016, and I think
she`ll win and she will be great.
But we also have to concern ourselves as what is women`s role in the
workplace overall and how do you help women get off the sticky floor?
Meaning, how do you continue -- how do you begin to stop this continuation
of women being pulled down into the lowest-wage jobs over and over again?
And so it`s really part of this broader -- this broader conversation of how
do we support women? How do we support women in the workplace?
And part of it is, you know, getting women on those corporate boards,
CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, on the school board, and Hillary Clinton
running and winning the presidency.
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s go to ISIS for a minute. Here`s a decision I
think a lot of members of the Congress on both sides of the aisle are
trying to duck. Do you believe that you, as a senator, a United States
senator, should have a role here, an up or down role on whether we go after
GILLIBRAND: I do.
I think there are certain things the president can do on his own.
There are certain actions he can take to protect U.S. personnel, embassies,
et cetera. But if this is going to be a long and protracted -- protracted
assault on ISIS that`s going to be multifaceted, multipronged over many
years, there`s a role for Congress to play.
And I know that we`re very war-weary as a country, but this is a
serious threat and it`s one that must be addressed. And what we have seen
is, ISIS is fast-moving, it has metastasized. It is -- it has a lot of
resources. And it`s a threat to our interests.
So, we do need to engage. And I think there`s a role for Congress to
play, especially as this -- as our strategies and as our approach begin to
shift and change. We will have a necessary role.
MATTHEWS: Well, our NBC poll tonight reports that the number one news
story in the last five years was the beheadings of those two Americans over
there in the last couple weeks. They`re horrific. They have grabbed our
My question to you is, when it comes to down to how we fight this,
everybody seems to be for air attacks, airstrikes. Everybody is for zone -
- for drone attacks. And then you get the boots on the ground and
everybody`s against that. But what about the central question? Should we
send in special forces to support the moderate opposition groups there,
like the Free Syrian Army?
GILLIBRAND: In Syria? Well, that`s a far more complex issue.
You know, I have met with the opposition leaders at many stages as
they have shifted. And the biggest national security interest for the
United States in Syria has always been the presence of severe and serious
chemical weapons that could be sold to terrorist groups, that could be used
against Americans, used against American allies.
And so the issue has always been, how do we lock down and destroy
those chemical weapons? And when I was talking to our opposition leaders,
they wouldn`t even allow -- they wouldn`t even make a deal with the U.S. to
say, the minute Assad falls, we go in and we get to destroy those weapons,
because they were so against any U.S. troops, even coalition forces or U.N.
forces, doing that.
So I have to say it`s a really complex issue, Chris, as to what
missions we would ever do within Syria, but we do know that we have a
national interest in making sure those chemical weapons are destroyed.
And, you know, from reports that I have heard, we don`t know that we have
gotten them all.
And it`s still a serious issue.
GILLIBRAND: And Assad is a horrible man. Make no mistake. He is a
horrible person who`s used chemical weapons against his own people.
But what missions and tactics we use is a very serious issue. And I`m
very eager to hear what President Obama says on Wednesday, because he will
lay out his strategy on how he wants to address ISIL and specifically what
he wants to do in Iraq and if and what he could or want to do with regard
MATTHEWS: A political question. We will get to it later in the show,
but I want your view. How do the Democrats -- you got about six weeks now
to save the Senate. How do you do it?
GILLIBRAND: I think we will win. I think our candidates are great.
I think -- I have been really focused on helping a lot of the women
candidates, Jeanne Shaheen, Kay Hagan, Mary Landrieu, outstanding
A bunch of challengers, we have Alison Grimes. We have Michelle Nunn.
We have Natalie Tennant. It`s exciting. So, I think these are tough races
to win, but our candidates are strong, and I`m optimistic.
MATTHEWS: What`s the worst thing that will happen if the Democrats
lose the Senate? Explain that to the people right now. What`s the worst-
case scenario, if you lose it by a couple votes?
GILLIBRAND: The biggest problem if we lose the Senate, in my opinion,
is the Supreme Court, because the Senate is unique in its role of being
able to approve nominees and vote for nominees.
And it`s a Republican Senate, President Obama, if there are any
openings in the rest of his administration, that would be at risk. And I
think if you look at the issues the Supreme Court decides on, it`s health
care. It`s whether we have money in politics.
It`s LGBT rights and equality. Every issue, women`s rights, it tends
to rise to the Supreme Court, so our nation, our core values, I believe,
are at risk if that courts shifts to conservative.
MATTHEWS: Well, if you`re a woman who wants to get ahead and rise to
the top, and you want to learn from a person who knows what they`re talking
a , get this book, "Off the Sidelines," by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of
Thank you so much, Senator, for coming on the show. We would love you
And tomorrow night on HARDBALL, the one and only Bill Maher will be
with us right here in Washington, Bill Maher. Please join us for that.
That will be a change of pace.
And this is HARDBALL, a place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE COLBERT REPORT")
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president now holding off on any action to fix
the immigration crisis until after the November elections.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to spend some
time, even as we`re getting all our ducks in a row for the executive
action, I want to make sure that the T`s are crossed and the I`s are
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE COLBERT REPORT": Yes, he just wants to
cross the T`s, dot the I`s and tilde the N`s.
COLBERT: Naturally, the president`s decision has left Hispanic
supporters asking, Senor Obama, donde estan los cojones?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Time now for the "Sideshow."
MATTHEWS: That was Stephen Colbert, of course, last night on the
president`s decision to delay action on immigration until after the midterm
Next up, Scott Brown, who is running for the U.S. Senate now in New
Hampshire, got a rather unhelpful introduction from state Executive
Councillor Chris Sununu a rally yesterday in Portsmouth. Sununu, the son
of former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu, was describing an encounter
with a Brown skeptic, when his story took a turn to the weird.
Here`s what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS SUNUNU, NEW HAMPSHIRE EXECUTIVE COUNCILLOR: Somebody came up
and said, hey, I would love to meet Scott. I kind of always thought -- and
this is what I think -- I always thought Scott was kind of a phony from
And I said, I said, you got to sit down, you got to sit down with him,
because -- he sat down. They had their little conversation. He walked
away. You know what he said? He goes, that guy was -- he`s not a -- he`s
a phony from New Hampshire that just happened to live in Massachusetts for
a little while. He`s more New Hampshire than most people we have in New
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, it`s not clear why he thought that was going to help.
Next up, the official White House photographers capture a lot of
private moments with the president. But a recently posted snapshot got a
lot of attention today. Take a look at this. That`s the president saying
farewell to a departing member of the Secret Service.
But to the left there, you can see that the agent`s son appears to be
taking a head-first dive into the Oval Office couch. Well, here`s how
Obama aide Valerie Jarrett described it. "Backflip from the Resolute Desk.
Didn`t quite stick the landing."
Well, that might be the most action a White House couch has seen since
Jimmy Carter famously slept on one 34 years ago.
Finally, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger stopped by
the state capitol in Sacramento to unveil his official portrait yesterday.
But apparently the painting of the Governator wasn`t good enough for the
late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel, who showcased a different version last
night, one more appropriate for the former action movie star.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE")
JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": And they unveiled his
official portrait. They do this for all the governors, even the ones who
were in "The Expendables."
KIMMEL: And I have to say, the artist did a really good job. Those
are his sons, Schwarzenegger`s sons.
KIMMEL: Well, you know what? He always said he`d be back, and, sure
enough, there he was.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Up next: big questions facing the National Football League,
of course. Didn`t they have all the information they needed on Ray Rice,
even before yesterday`s horrific video from inside the elevator, since that
Anyway, you`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger.
Here`s what`s happening.
In an interview with CBS news, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he
saw the new Ray Rice elevator video for the first time yesterday. He also
dismissed calls to step down over his handling of this matter.
A fourth American doctor with Ebola arrived in Atlanta for treatment
and was able to walk into Emory University Hospital. He was evacuated from
Sierra Leone after becoming ill.
And Apple unveiled its long awaited new iPhones, the 6 and 6 Plus. It
also introduced its first wearable, the Apple Watch, that is due out early
next year -- back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Well, today, the NFL is facing big questions following Baltimore
Ravens star Ray Rice`s suspension from the league, and his contract
termination after brutal photo -- video, actually, of him punching his then
fiancee came out yesterday.
The biggest question I have is this. Why wasn`t the original video --
you saw it here -- that came out in February -- enough to elicit that kind
of response from the league immediately? Well, the police summons said
Janay Palmer had been struck by his hand, rendering her unconscious at the
time. Why did it take the video of the actual punch itself to prompt the
kind of response the NFL went through with yesterday?
Joining me now, U.S. Congresswoman Donna Edwards of Maryland, Kim
Gandy, who is with me now. She`s of the National Network to End Domestic
Violence. And former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Don McPherson. It`s
Iggles, by the way, not Eagles, we pronounce it.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, sir, for joining us.
Congresswoman Edwards, you have been on the show so many times. And I
just want to know. This is a judicial decision obviously by -- or
judicious decision. Why wasn`t the knowledge that this woman -- we saw her
lifelessly being dragged out of an elevator. We saw a police summons which
said she had been punched and the fact that she was knocked cold by this
guy. Why wasn`t that enough to take him out of the league?
REP. DONNA EDWARDS (D), MARYLAND: It should have been.
And I think that it`s not enough for the NFL to say, we got it wrong.
They got it horribly wrong. And what is happening right now is that the
combination of that video just underscores how wrong they got it.
MATTHEWS: You know, I just wonder, if it was a guy he had knocked out
in the elevator -- I mean, this is aggravated assault. This is not like,
gee whiz, he was having a bad night or we get along.
Or, Kim, respond to this, as a woman as an expert on this idea of,
generally speaking, what does -- how does this fit into the category of
violence against women, as you see it, in the whole range of things?
KIM GANDY, PRESIDENT AND CEO, NATIONAL NETWORK TO END DOMESTIC
VIOLENCE: Well, there`s no question.
This is a perfect demonstration of the kind of domestic violence that
we see all the time. And I will tell you, if this had been a guy he
punched out in that elevator, this prosecutor would not have given him
pretrial diversion. And...
MATTHEWS: You mean, in other words...
MATTHEWS: ... counseling?
GANDY: Yes, exactly.
MATTHEWS: Let me go to the football player.
Don, what do you think of this? I know football players are supposed
to be tough. You hit the line hard. It`s a lot of -- it`s all a contact
sport. It`s about being a strong, macho kind of guy. What other players,
if another player sees this, what`s the reaction?
DON MCPHERSON, FORMER NFL PLAYER: I think the reaction is, as the
general public has had the reaction, when they saw the actual punch itself,
became -- kind of recoiled back at how horrific this was.
I think the problem here is, what`s so disturbing is that the initial
video wasn`t enough for the Ravens to take action with one of their
employees. If that had been anyone on the set, we all would be out of a
And so what the problem is, something -- we know something happened in
that elevator. Did we have to see the video evidence? The problem is that
-- not that the Ravens or the NFL saw the video of the punch. It`s that
the public saw the video of the punch, and that`s why the Ravens took
MATTHEWS: Well, what about the -- I`m looking at the picture we saw
before, Congresswoman, when we saw him being -- him pulling her out of the
elevator and then kicking her to move her into position so she wouldn`t be
caught on the moving elevator. It`s not exactly what you saw to your bride
to be. Let me kick you out of the way here.
And then he sort of tries to shake her awake, to call it whatever it
is. But then why do you think that Janay Palmer here stood up for him
again today? Is this some syndrome?
EDWARDS: You know what?
MATTHEWS: What would you call it?
Chris, I want to tell you, I have worked on domestic violence for a
long time. In fact, I used to have Kim Gandy`s job at the National Network
to End Domestic Violence. And what I know is that we`re going to have to
offer an awful lot of support to Janay and to other women who experience
She may not even identify herself as a victim or even a survivor of
domestic violence. But there`s going to come a point at which she`s going
to really understand that and know that, and have to look out for her own
And so I don`t want to place the blame and the focus on her and her
response. The question is what our system does to respond, whether those
are employers like the NFL, whether it`s the judicial system, and a
prosecutor who, you know, negotiates a pretrial diversion program for a
clearly brutal assault that ought to be prosecuted.
EDWARDS: These are system responses that are needed, and we don`t
need to place the blame on victims like Janay Rice. We need to make sure
that the system works...
EDWARDS: ... so that it prevents him from doing it to any other
MATTHEWS: It`s not about placing the blame. It`s about the needed
testimony in court. How does a judge or a prosecutor move ahead without
testimony of the person who was hit?
EDWARDS: They do it all the time, and they can do it. You do not
need -- that videotape, the statement is enough to move forward on, whether
it`s a restraining order, a prosecution or a conviction.
And so we can`t just depend on victims to be the one, because there
are a lot of issues that they`re going through as well...
MATTHEWS: I understand.
EDWARDS: ... to pursue a prosecution. This is about the public
interest in pursuing a prosecution for a violent offense, and it shouldn`t
be allowed to happen. It shouldn`t be allowed to stand.
And the NFL really needs to stand in the court of public opinion to
explain why it is that they didn`t act before now. I mean, it really is
outrageous to even look at those first pictures and wonder, what did they
think happened in that elevator? Did she hit herself?
And then clearly from the statement, that is true. And so I don`t
even understand now especially the NFL`s inaction. And we`re talking about
a history here. I actually remember working in 1993, before the passage of
the Violence Against Women Act, on a Super Bowl ad with the NFL recognizing
the need to educate the public and to be leaders in leading on this issue
of domestic violence. Well, they need to get it right in their own house.
MATTHEWS: Kim, were you surprised by the actual picture, the second
picture, the one inside the elevator?
GANDY: I wasn`t really surprised. I had a pretty good idea from the
first video what had happened inside the elevator. But I want to play off
MATTHEWS: Do you think -- Roger Goodell, who generally gets good
marks, should he be kicked out now for not doing anything about this for
all these months since February? You said you had enough information in
February. Why didn`t he act on that information that he had, because you
GANDY: You know, I think that one of the things that they do is to
wait for the legal system to go through its process, and I think that`s
what they`re doing with Ray McDonald. Whether or not that`s a good idea,
they wait for the process to end. So, he took action after the prosecutors
gave him pre-trial diversion. And then I think they saw, well, the
prosecutors didn`t give him any kind of signage. They must know something
that we don`t know. And that`s clearly --
GANDY: That was clearly wrong and they know that they got that wrong.
MATTHEWS: Don, last thought about -- what`s that picture going to
mean to pro-football and to the image of the players and their self-
awareness of this kind of situation? You know, my experience with guys,
they don`t talk about this. I don`t know whether this guy ever talks about
it with his buddies. Why would he ever talk about deck my wife -- I can`t
imagine anybody talking like that. So, it`s kind of a secret world between
men and women, that other guys don`t always -- so, what do you think the
reaction of his peers will be in this thing when they see it?
DON MCPHERSON, FORMER PHILADELPHIA EAGLE: I think it`s going to be
split, and I think there are a number of players in the NFL who were
appalled by this behavior and more by the silent of the league in the
Ravens organization. So, I think that`s going to be a good thing, that
there`s going to be some good conversation that comes from guys in the
league who says, this does not represent our league. And that`s what the
NFL should be doing as a whole, saying Ray Rice and the Michael Vicks and
these guys who were involved in criminal activity don`t define the league.
And the NFL needs to go on a public PR campaign to show that there are
positive men in the league doing good things, and these guys don`t
represent it, because that`s the message they need to send to younger men
who aspire to be in the NFL.
MATTHEWS: And, Sunday, we`ll have a training program for -- just
kidding. It`s not this bad. But it can be pretty rough at those games.
Thank you so much for joining us, Don McPherson. And, of course, U.S.
Congressman Donna Edwards, thank you so much for joining us. And Kim
Gandy, who is your successor in office.
Up next, two -- this office anyway. Up next, two months before the
midterms, and President Obama has a chance to unite his party, possibly
save the Senate for the Democrats. That`s coming up ahead here.
This is HARDBALL, a place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Tomorrow night on HARDBALL, we`re going to be joined by the
inimitable Bill Maher. He`ll be right here in the studio as we talk
politics and look ahead to President Obama`s primetime speech tomorrow
night. That`s Bill Maher tomorrow on HARDBALL. Please join us for that.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Well, the political experts aren`t sugar coating it anymore. For the
Democrats, it looks to be big trouble coming this fall. Steve Rothenberg,
for example, of the Rothenberg was straight. He writes, I`m now expecting
a substantial Republican Senate wave -- there`s a word in November -- with
a net gain of at least seven seats. But I wouldn`t be shocked by a larger
gain. That means big tsunami time, but much like Kennedy turned things
around for the Democrats in `62, during the Cuban missile crisis, President
Obama will have a chance at least to unite the country around his own
foreign policy challenges coming up tomorrow night.
But for all of the talk of a wave, Democratic candidates aren`t
keeping it surprisingly close, with less than two months to go until
Election Day, this thing isn`t quite over.
For more on the 2014 midterms, let`s turn to two-party gurus -- Steve
McMahon is a Democratic strategist, and Michael Steele is the former chair
of the Republican National Committee and now an MSNBC prized political
Michael, here`s a question to you, because you were laughing about
before we came on. I want to know why members of the United States
Congress who are paid about $170,000 a year to vote. That`s what they do,
they vote. They don`t do anything else, they vote. Don`t want to vote on
whether we go to war against ISIS.
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Because the risk is too
great for the Dems. They don`t want to have that foreign policy debate,
given the president`s position and numbers right now on foreign policy.
Republicans I think would probably be more inclined to it because they feel
the American people probably will stand more with them to do something to
lay you`ve heard the last few days --
MATTHEWS: They don`t mind being hawkish?
STEELE: They don`t mind being hawkish, because they`re being hawkish
for an agenda. Tell us exactly the strategy is going to be, Mr. President.
So, I think that there`s a lot of room --
MATTHEWS: So, tomorrow night, you`re going to see a lot of heads,
well, it`s going to be on national television. The question I have is, why
do the Democrats not want to vote? We know that because we got some harsh
responses when we called the offices today, especially the leadership about
where they want to vote.
STEVE MCMAHON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think some of the
Democrats aren`t quite sure what they`re voting on.
MATTHEWS: No, they`ll be told at the time.
MATTHEWS: You`re hedging.
MCMAHON: No, I`m not.
MATTHEWS: Why don`t the Democrats want to say, yes, we`re going to
war with ISIS or not.
MCMAHON: Well, I think any Democrats who`s running in a competitive
election and those tend to be purple states should support the president
and say we`re going to do whatever we need to do to eradicate ISIS because
of the threat to the country. I don`t understand completely why so many
Democrats are reluctant to vote. I think liberal Democrats are reluctant
because they don`t want to seem hawkish. You know, Howard Dean changed the
party when he opposed the war in Iraq and everybody`s a little skittish now
because of that.
But anybody in one of these competitive races, if you`re a Democrat
would do well to support the president, to go in there and try to eradicate
ISIS, and I think that would benefit politically from it.
MATTHEWS: Would you rather be a Democrat who supports the president,
or a Democrat who supports the beheadings by saying I`m not for doing
MCMAHON: I would rather --
MATTHEWS: I mean, accused to be for beheadings.
MCMAHON: I would much rather be the Democrat who is tough on ISIS,
even if it means supporting the president, who may not be quite as popular
in your state as you like. This is actually -- I mean, President Bush knew
this well. At times of war and peace, when the country is threatened, the
American people stand with the president. He won the 2004 election by
returning it to these issues and probably shouldn`t have. I think the
president will benefit --
MATTHEWS: We`ve got a Republican out there, Kingston saying the
people he talks to out there, would rather not vote on this, just go ahead
and bomb and talk to us later about it. That`s what we`re getting from
him. Is that an attitude for Republican side?
STEELE: I think that goes back to the Bush times where, you know,
that`s exactly what the mantra was. So, let`s just go. We`ll shoot first
and we`ll ask questions later.
MATTHEWS: Where are you on that one?
STEELE: I think we ask questions first. I think we want to have a
strategy. I think it`s going to be smart both politically and --
MATTHEWS: Do you think both parties are wary of war?
STEELE: I think both parties are wary of war with the American people
and I think a strategy is what everybody is looking for right now and only
the president can give that.
MATTHEWS: I agree with that. We have gotten very, very conflicted.
We don`t like people being beheaded.
STEELE: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: Obviously, it gets to our national gut; my gut.
MATTHEWS: And yet we know how entangling and horrific getting on the
war over there.
Anyway, Republicans have been trying to make this selection. Coming
up, a referendum on President Obama, of course, of finding every way they
can to tie their Democratic rival to the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT BROWN (R-NH), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: Right now, we`re being
represented by someone who votes with the president`s failed policies 99
percent of the time.
STATE REP. THOM TILLIS (R-NC), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: Then Kay Hag
got elected and she`s voted with President Obama 95 percent of the time.
By Kay`s own standard, she`s failed the people of North Carolina.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator, I`ve heard you say the word Harry Reid,
Obama, fight, a whole lot. What I haven`t heard from you --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s your buddy, man. He`s your buddy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: He`s your buddy. Is that the strategy of the Republicans?
MCMAHON: It`s the strategy --
MATTHEWS: Just put the Obama bowling shirt on every single Democratic
MCMAHON: That`s exactly what the strategy is. And here`s what
happens in these midterms --
MATTHEWS: I shouldn`t say bowling shirt, because it`s a one sport
he`s not good at.
STEELE: The president did in 2006, I know first hand. I mean, every
place I went, you know, it was me and a picture of George Bush standing
side-by-side when I was running for the U.S. Senate. So that`s a strategy
when you have an unpopular White House and an unpopular administration and
president for the party, the opposite party to sort of tag you to it. It`s
part of the national --
MATTHEWS: And I voted for you notwithstanding that.
STEELE: I know you did.
MCMAHON: Here`s a fact, though. That strategy actually works pretty
well in House elections, because House candidates are usually not very
well-defined. In a Senate race, like take Mark Pryor, for instance, you
know, people vote for the individual. And in Arkansas --
STEELE: Do they?
MCMAHON: They know Mark Pryor. The president isn`t going to help
Mark Pryor, but he`s not going to defeat him, either. And standing with
the president against the beheadings and going after ISIS, it`s going to
MATTHEWS: Hey, I`m afraid, I have to make an admission. I think when
you go into the voting booth this time, the name at the top of the ballot
is going to be Obama.
MCMAHON: I agree.
MATTHEWS: Even though he`s not officially there.
MCMAHON: That`s what the Republicans want. That`s what the
MCMAHON: But the people who are in these races that are going to
decide the Senate, people like Mark Pryor and Kay Hagan and Mary Landrieu,
they know how to run in those states. They`ve been red states for a long
time and they`ve won there as Democrats and they can win there.
STEELE: I agree with that to a point, but it`s not just about what
the Republicans want, it`s about what the American people also think and
feel about this administration, and the administration, technically, is not
on the ballot. So, the only we can express --
STEELE: Let me finish.
But the only way you can express your frustration with the current
administration is to take it out on the party that`s representing that
MCMAHON: You become a symbol? Tell that to Eric Cantor who suit to
the president every single day and was defeated in the primary. Tell it to
Mitch McConnell who`s running behind this Democratic opponent, because he`s
two points behind right now in the latest poll that just came out.
STEELE: He`s two points behind right now in the latest poll that just
MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s take a look at our NBC/"Wall Street Journal"
poll just out tonight, brand new, it shows that women are keeping Democrats
in the game this year. Forty-five percent responded said Democrats would
do a better job looking out for the interest of women then 70 percent who
said the Republicans would do better -- still a problem for your party.
STEELE: It`s still a problem for our party.
MATTHEWS: More than half the people in this country are women.
STEELE: Absolutely. It is why you see in places like Kansas and
Kentucky and elsewhere, they want to make it much more of a local race and
not a national race, because when it`s localized, it`s about those issues
that women are more deeply concerned about because it`s homegrown, it`s
right there. It`s kitchen table.
When it`s nationalized, that`s when you see the flipped in the script.
That`s where the Democrats and the Republicans are right now battling to
see who can, that particular electorate, get them on their side.
Republicans are going to have hard time convincing women in a local
MATTHEWS: Why shouldn`t women vote for Democratic candidates.
MCMAHON: Well, I mean, for a million reasons, but Democratic
candidates stand with women every single day, and Republican candidates
stand in their way.
MATTHEWS: See how nice that was?
MCMAHON: Right now, in any campaign cycle, it`s a referendum on the
incumbent. But at some point, it becomes a choice between two people. And
what happens is do I dislike the incumbent right now? Do I dislike
Washington? Yes. And then, in the last few weeks, they focused on what`s
MATTHEWS: You know what I`d like to do, guys? I`d like to think
about the stories the day after the election, what they`re going to
probably be. And I think the story after this election will be the
unpopularity of the president. I hate to say this because I support him on
many issues -- most issues, in fact.
But the fact is, I think it`s going to be the story of the next day,
it`s the unpopularity of the president and I don`t think we can deny that.
Anyway, if it goes the other way from you.
Anyway, Michael Steele, thank you, and Steve McMahon.
MATTHEWS: We`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this.
People run for Congress, let`s imagine, because they want a role in
leading the country. They want to represent the people in making the big
decisions of American government. Well, that is reasonable enough to
assume, isn`t it? If you really want the job, not just the title, not just
Well, maybe we should stop making that assumption. Maybe we should
assume now that many of them desire what they desire most is the position,
the title. That they`re willing do give up power in fact in order to hold
on to what they desire most, that job title, that honor, that comes with
being a member of the United States Congress.
How else can we explain this refusal to accept responsibility, this
dereliction of accountability, it`s now coming loud and clear from Capitol
Hill. It seems hardly anybody in the U.S. Congress, House or Senate,
Democrat or Republican, is ready to step up and say whether or not the
United States should take the fight to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
ISIS, to the group that`s been beheading our fellow citizens.
If this stands, if the Congress refuses to hold a vote on action
against ISIS, we are not looking at a proud, representative body ready to
take on the responsibilities of office. We`ll be looking at a chicken coop
-- a grand-looking building filled with those afraid to stand and be
Do you hear what that congressman said, the Republican congressman?
He said, a lot of his fellow lawmakers take the view that President Obama
should, quote, "just bomb the place and tell us about it later." They
don`t want an up-and-down, yea or nay vote with the election coming up.
Well, there you have it for the zillion time in recent vote. A
classic example of why the United States Congress enjoys a job approval
right now of 7 percent. That`s one in 15 of us who thinks he`s doing a
My question to you, have you ever met that one person in 15 who thinks
that way about the U.S. Congress? Perhaps they`re living in a shack
somewhere, out in a hill, that never gets a newspapers, nobody ever comes
by with any news at all.
Well, that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
I`ll be back tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. with Bill Maher as we look
ahead to President Obama`s big speech on the war in Iraq and Syria at 9:00
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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