September 25, 2014
Guest: Bill Richardson, Robert Jordan, John Feehery, Rep. Jim Moran,
Emanuel Cleaver, Clarence Page
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: The alliance grows.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Philadelphia.
Talk about a game change, here are photos of the Saudi Arabian pilots,
including the son of the crown prince of the Saudi royal family, who took
part this week in air strikes against ISIS in Syria. And here are the
pictures of those 15 Saudis who participated in the attacks on the World
Trade Center and the Pentagon back on 9/11.
Well, the numbers are more impressive still, in yesterday`s strikes on
those ISIS-controlled mobile oil refineries, there were 16 fighter jets
engaged in the attacks. Six were United States, ten were from the United
Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. One of the Emirates pilots, by the way,
the leader of her country`s mission, was Mariam al Mansouri, an F-16
Tonight, we look at the Obama effort that recruitment this Arab posse,
also at the continued noise emitting from the figure most consistently
wrong about the situation in Iraq, former vice president Dick Cheney, who
spent months telling our country untruths about Iraq`s weapons, then more
months and years driving up membership in ISIS by banishing Sunni Muslims
from the Iraqi government, pushing unknown numbers of former Iraqi military
leaders into the ranks of the terrorist group itself.
Our HARDBALL roundtable tonight will talk about all this, plus today`s
announcement by Speaker John Boehner that this Congress won`t even vote on
the war in Iraq even in the lame duck, not even then, and even after the
election this year. Plus, the news that most Americans are totally in the
dark on the outlandish sums corporate CEOs are taking home these days.
Bill Richardson, the former governor of New Mexico and former
ambassador to the United Nations, and Robert Jordan`s the former U.S.
ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
Governor Richardson, what do you make ever the fact that the Saudis
are making such an effort to let the world know that even the crown prince
is in the cockpit in this attack on ISIS?
BILL RICHARDSON, FMR. U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Well, this is very
encouraging. It`s a message to the Arab world, since the Saudis are almost
with the Egyptians the leaders of the Arab world -- they finance, they
provide resources to everybody -- that they`re in deeply with the United
States on this ISIS effort, that they`re willing to risk a member of the
royal family as a pilot.
You recall Prince Bandar, the same way -- he was former ambassador to
the United States. He was always deeply involved. And symbolically, when
you put the royal family in there, it sends a very strong message.
I think what`s also encouraging is that the United Arab Emirates are
involved. Qatar is involved, especially since the Arab emirates and Qatar
and the Saudis have had some tension with each other. That`s good that
we`ve got a unified Arab Gulf league effort.
MATTHEWS: Ambassador Jordan, it seems to me quite a contradistinction
to look at those pictures of the pilot there, the crown prince in the
cockpit as part of that bombing mission this week, and then compared to the
15 thugs who were on the airline back on 9/11.
ROBERT JORDAN, FMR. U.S. AMBASSADOR TO SAUDI ARABIA: It is a
contrast, and I think it`s important to make this contrast. Those 15
hijackers were not representative of Saudi Arabia. The son of the crown
prince in the cockpit is much more representative, I think, of what the
government and the royal family are trying to accomplish.
They have spent really a decade now trying to live down the fact that
there were 15 Saudi hijackers making those attacks, and I think they`re
making good now on the efforts that we`ve encouraged them to undertake and
they`ve undertaken on their own.
MATTHEWS: It`s so dramatic.
Anyway, this morning, the UAE`s ambassador to Washington explained why
it was important for the world to see Arab pilots involved in this mission
against ISIS. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As I watched the debate over the last few weeks
over, you know, what Arab states are going to step in, I think it`s
important for us moderate Arabs, moderate Muslims to step up and say, This
is a threat against us, this is more of a threat against us than it is
against you. This is not just a threat to our countries, this is a threat
to our way of life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: There`s now new evidence of how barbaric ISIS can be.
According to NBC News, quote, "A prominent female Iraqi human rights lawyer
and campaigner was killed by a masked firing squad in a public square in
the city of Mosul. She was tortured before her death on Monday of this
week, the U.N. said. She was detained September 17th after she posted
messages on Facebook describing ISIS`s bombing and destruction of mosques
and shrines in Mosul as barbaric. She was accused by the Islamist court of
apostasy. In one Iraqi town under ISIS control, an eyewitness reported
seeing an execution of a man and a woman convicted of adultery. They were
led out in front of a crowd of some 200 residents, who stood by as eight
fighters carried out the execution. The executioners chose stones smaller
than a baseball in order to prolong the couple`s death, the witness said.
The couple screamed in agony for much of the 15 minutes it took them to
Meanwhile, one resident of the group`s de facto capital in Syria told
NBC, quote, "Severed heads on fences and people who are crucified have
become normal sights as ISIS terrorizes the people and asserts control."
Mr. Ambassador, explain, if you can, in the tradition of Arabia and
Islam, what this is all about, this public display of barbarism.
JORDAN: This has been a tradition, sadly, that we`ve seen in the Arab
world for probably several hundred years, if not thousands. It`s something
that the Saudis, at least when I was ambassador there, were slowly getting
away from. They still conduct beheadings in public, which I find pretty
hard to handle. But I do think, overall, we`re seeing some progress among
the Saudis. And certainly, the Emiratis have not embraced this kind of
activity in many years.
But it does show you the brutality of the ISIS wing, if you will, of
Islam. It is being condemned now by, certainly, the grand mufti in Saudi
Arabia, by all of the establishment religious leaders. And I think this
MATTHEWS: Is it aimed at us?
JORDAN: ... something that has really got to be dealt with.
MATTHEWS: Is it aimed at Americans, or is it aimed at fellow Muslims,
or is it aimed at us to get us incited (ph) into this war? I can`t tell.
What`s your expertise tell you? Who are they aiming these public
executions and stonings and simulated, I think in some cases, crucifixions
of people who are already dead? What`s this all about, this public display
of this thing?
JORDAN: Sure. We`ve seen this among the Taliban in the past, as
well. And I think it is intended to draw the West, especially America,
into a more involved process militarily in the region. But I also think it
is intended to show that they are they`re a powerful force that is to be
contended with, which overall, I think, is aimed at recruiting more and
more volunteers to come into this barbaric assembly.
MATTHEWS: Well, yesterday President Obama called on the world to join
the war against ISIS. There`s some evidence his call got heard. Today,
the French foreign minister was asked if his country might join air strikes
against ISIS in Syria. His answer, The question is on the table.
Yesterday, British prime minister David Cameron went further. He said
he supported his country joining in air strikes in Iraq. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We have a need to act in our
own national interest to protect our people and our society. So it is
right that Britain should now move to a new phase of action. I am
therefore recalling the British parliament on Friday to secure approval for
the United Kingdom to take part in international air strikes against ISIL
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Governor Richardson, you were at the U.N. You know how
difficult it is to get people together, to herd cats, as it`s said. How do
you think John Kerry, secretary of state, has been able to pull together
these Arab leaders and now European leaders to join us in the bombing
campaign against ISIS, in Syria especially?
RICHARDSON: Well, I think that Secretary Kerry has had a good
strategy. First, symbolically and militarily, you get the Arab countries
to show that this is a Muslim Arab effort. And the next step is we want
the Arabs to do ground troops.
Then you get the Europeans. We need the permanent five of the
Security Council, Britain, France, the United States. We`re not going to
get Russia and China, but you get the principal movers in the Security
Council. Plus, I think you need the French and the British. Their air
power is very strong. We can`t do it alone.
We`ll take the lead, but at the same time, I think both the British
and the French have been aided here by what`s backfired with ISIS -- in
other words, the beheading of their citizens. I think the beheading of
that Frenchman has prompted the French public to realize that it maybe
makes sense for some payback. And that`s encouraging.
I think the next step, Chris, is some of the Sunni countries that have
stayed on the sideline, that haven`t really helped. I mean, look, what we
want them to do is put troops on the ground militarily, not just food and
humanitarian assistance and blankets. That is important, but it has to be
a real, wholesome coordinated effort. But it`s really an Arab Muslim
issue. ISIS is mainly a threat to them. They`re a threat to us, too, but
it`s mainly a regional issue, and Arabs should lead.
MATTHEWS: Mr. Ambassador, let me ask you the final question. What do
you make of this Iraqi, the new prime minister of Iraq`s claim -- I think
it`s no more than a claim -- there there`s -- he`s uncovered a plot to blow
up metros, or subways, in New York and Paris?
JORDAN: Well, I think in the Arab world, you hear of conspiracies
every day. He`s probably hearing of this from some people who may have
limited access. They may have been imagining some of this. They may have
simply misunderstood what they heard either on a communication intercept or
through some other means.
I am suspicious of the claim. I think he`s trying to show that he is
on board with a mutual effort to defeat ISIS and to provide warning to
Western interests that may be threatened. But he`s also pretty new at his
job. He probably doesn`t have sufficient skepticism, as we all should
JORDAN: ... from uncorroborated intelligence reports.
MATTHEWS: And of course, it would encourage us to do more bombing of
his enemies, which would encourage him to say something like that.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, NBC has not yet confirmed anything like what he`s
MATTHEWS: Anyway, former governor Bill Richardson, former ambassador
to the U.N. Bill Richardson, thanks for joining us.
RICHARDSON: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: And former ambassador Robert Jordan, thanks for joining us.
JORDAN: Thank you.
Coming up: Dick Cheney can`t resist his chance to attack the president
personally at this time of international crisis. He was at it again last
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK CHENEY, FMR. VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it`s
deliberate. I think he has a world view, and what he`s found increasingly
is that it`s not consistent with reality.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Strong words from a man whose own reality, as he believes
it was, led to the disaster of the Iraq war.
Then we`ve got the HARDBALL roundtable tonight. Joy Reid, Clarence
Page and U.S. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver will discuss John Boehner`s
declaration that the current Congress will not even vote on the war against
ISIS. He suggested instead, Boehner did, that sometime early next year,
perhaps. Anyway, shouldn`t Congress vote in 2014 on a 2014 war?
Plus, do you know how much more the average CEO in America makes than
an typical worker in his company or her company? Is it 30 times more, 100
times more? No, try 350 times more. No other country in the world has a
larger pay gap. And a new study shows most Americans have no earthly idea
Let me finish with why Dick Cheney, who got us into this mess in Iraq,
should stop criticizing and start -- how about confessing, for once?
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: MSNBC is proud to be taking part in at Global Citizen
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the year 2030. On Saturday -- that`s this Saturday -- MSNBC will be
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We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. If anyone should be disqualified
as a foreign policy expert, especially on Iraq, it should be former vice
president Dick Cheney, from his bogus claims that Saddam Hussein had
weapons of mass destruction, to his claims about aluminum tubes being used
to make nukes, to his prediction that the Iraq war would be over in weeks,
rather than months. Here`s a rapid-fire reminder of Cheney`s record of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He has been seeking
to acquire and we have been able to intercept and prevent him from
acquiring the through this particular channel the kinds of tubes that are
necessary to build a centrifuge.
Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons
of mass destruction. There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use
against our friends, against our allies, and against us.
Regime change in Iraq would bring about a number of benefits to the
region. When the gravest of threats are eliminated, the freedom-loving
peoples of the region will have a chance to promote the values that can
bring lasting peace.
TIM RUSSERT, MODERATOR, "MEET THE PRESS": Do you think the American
people are prepared for a long, costly and bloody battle, with significant
CHENEY: well, I don`t think it`s likely to unfold that way, Tim,
because I really do believe we will be greeted as liberators.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we do have to take action, do you think it will
be a long war or a short war?
CHENEY: My own judgment, based on my time as secretary of defense and
having operated in this area in the past, I`m confident that our troops
will be successful, and I think it`ll go relatively quickly. But you can`t
count on that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Weeks? Months?
CHENEY: Weeks, rather than months.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: So why is Cheney treated like Yoda these days? Why does
anyone listen to someone who`s been wrong for so long, so consistently?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: He clearly lacks the experience, and I think also the respect
for our senior commanders. These are tremendously capable people. I
worked with a lot of them when I was vice president and with them in my
younger days, when I was secretary of defense. President doesn`t have to
do everything. He gets to make the decisions, but he clearly ought to
listen to the senior military commanders who are responsible on the ground
for executing on policy and take their advice occasionally.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: And what explains Cheney`s severe criticism of the
Joining me is U.S. Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia and Republican
strategist John Feehery. Congressman Moran, what do you make of this guy?
He pops up like a Jack-in-the-box the very night the president spoke to the
world through the U.N., trying to reach the world, the Arab world, the
young people of the world, and right in the middle of that, he goes in
there and tries to screw up the message and create a partisan fight. And
of all people, he`s a man who`s been wrong consistently on Iraq. Your
REP. JIM MORAN (D), VIRGINIA: Well, it`s shameless, and it sends
exactly the wrong message to the world. He`s deliberately trying to
undermine the credibility of our president outside our borders. It`s one
thing to get involved in domestic politics, but to try to discredit our
president, particularly at a time like this, is just so wrong.
You know, Chris, there`s another thing, too, we ought to bear in mind.
I`ll never forget being in Baghdad, trying to get into the Green Zone with
a number of members of Congress who had to fund that Iraq war and have the
-- waiting to be searched, and so on. We waited for a long time. But a
number of scraggly Americans would walk right up to the front of the line
and walk in unhindered.
So I asked the soldier, who are those guys? And he says, Oh, that`s
Halliburton. Halliburton owns this place. Well, Cheney was one of the
owners of Halliburton, thousands of shares of stock. He was the CEO before
he became vice president.
I can`t imagine the millions of dollars he made, frankly, off that
war. And then to have the chutzpah to continue to denigrate our president,
particularly at the worst possible times, in the eyes of the world, it
really is shameless.
MATTHEWS: John, why does -- why does your party -- I`m not knocking
other media, but why does your party listen to Cheney as an expert, when we
can show you again and again and again where his ideology got in the way of
his truth-telling, where he wanted something to be true, that Saddam
Hussein had nuclear weapons and we had to go in there, and then to hear
that the reason they talked about nuclear weapons was to get the Europeans
into the war. They didn`t even believe it.
Why does he keep being treated like an eminence, like a man who knows?
JOHN FEEHERY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, listen, I think that -- I
think the former vice president, Vice President Cheney, has long experience
and people respect that experience. I mean, he was wrong on Iraq, but so
was Tony Blair. So was George Tenet. There were a lot of people that were
wrong on whether they had weapons of mass destruction...
MATTHEWS: No, nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons.
MATTHEWS: Let`s call it what it is.
FEEHERY: There were...
MATTHEWS: He -- he -- he was pushing the word that we were going to
have a mushroom cloud if we didn`t get the smoking gun. Let`s remember
what got people into the war, the threat of a nuclear attack, in fact, a
deliverable nuclear weapon to this country. They were selling that in order
to sell this war. And then he gets in there, takes apart the Sunni regime,
replaces it with a Shia regime, de-Baathicized the country, so all those
generals and all those soldiers go looking for a new home. And guess what?
They found one. ISIS.
All that came apart because of him. If he bought it, he broke it.
Rather, he broke it, he bought it. And now he won`t even take
responsibility. He won`t even buy that`s going on in Iraq now, when he
created today`s Iraq, and you know it. It`s his Iraq.
FEEHERY: Well, you asked me a question about why Republicans listen
to him. I think he has...
MATTHEWS: Given all that.
FEEHERY: .. long experience in the region...
MATTHEWS: In that.
FEEHERY: ... as secretary of defense in the first Persian Gulf.
And, listen, I did say that there were some mistakes made at the
beginning of that war, there`s no doubt about it, and continuing in the
war. And I acknowledge that. But I do think that the vice president has a
lot of fans out there in the Republican Party. They listen to him.
FEEHERY: Because he has that experience. And he`s also someone who
believes strongly -- and I think this is where we disagree, Chris. I think
that, unlike some people who think he`s evil, I think the vice president
actually passionately cares about America and is worried about its security
and feels that President Obama is not making the right decisions.
Now, you can disagree with that, but I also -- I think the fact that
he speaks out shows the diversity and strength of America that we can have
MATTHEWS: Well, it`s a free country. It`s a free country.
FEEHERY: It`s a free country. That`s exactly right.
MATTHEWS: I`m not knocking our freedom. But I`m knocking a guy who
is being listened to.
Anyway, earlier this month, Cheney was on Capitol Hill meeting with
Republican lawmakers. Senate Majority leader Harry Reid warned his
colleagues at that point about listening to the former vice president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: There are people here in
Congress who are taking advice from Dick Cheney.
And I think they better be very careful with the advice that they take
from Dick Cheney. Dick Cheney is more responsible than anyone else for the
worst foreign policy decision in the history of the country, the invasion
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Congressman Moran, Ted Kennedy before he died said the most
important decision of his life in the Congress of the United States as a
senator for all those decades was to vote against the Iraq war. I think
it`s on Cheney`s side that he has to do the confessing.
MORAN: Well, yes.
And we wouldn`t be dealing with ISIS right now if we had not gone into
Iraq. You know, we broke it. And I`m not sure how we`re going to be able
to put it back together again. But Cheney and his ilk clearly were
responsible for one of the worst decisions that has been made in our
lifetime, probably the worst.
And, of course, it`s never been paid for. And I can`t imagine what he
says to those 4,500 Americans who lost their lives in such an ill-
conceived, ill-advised war, and not to mention the trillions of dollars we
paid, and the other, the additional trillion we will pay trying to heal
them in body and mind, those brave veterans who have returned from a war
that they never should have had to fight in the first place.
MATTHEWS: The scary thing is, he got away with this. He got us in.
He said it would short, cheap, and necessary. None of that was true.
Thank you, U.S. Congressman Jim Moran and John Feehery.
Up next, as frightening as it is, this isn`t the first time the fence
surrounding the White House has been breached. We are going to tell you
about the karate man who took on the Secret Service back in `78.
And keeping up with the races to watch across the country today, we
head to Kansas for the Senate contest out there. Sarah Palin was there
today to campaign for Republican Senator Pat Roberts, but of course she
couldn`t resist taking a poke at the president. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: It`s really, really good to
be in Kansas, or, as Barack Obama would say, flyover country.
The primary`s over. Time to get it together, and, Kansas, we`re
counting on you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL and time for the "Sideshow."
Late-night comedians are still getting a lot of mileage out of
Friday`s security breach at the White House.
He was Jimmy Fallon`s commentary on the new security measures they`re
taking at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JIMMY FALLON")
JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JIMMY FALLON": So the
Secret Service has set up a three-foot fence at the White House, and this
of course comes a day after the White House announced that they`re going to
start locking the door.
FALLON: Here`s some other safety measures that the White House is
taking. One, they`re approaching people as they enter the White House and
say, you cool?
FALLON: That`s a policy -- that`s a policy now.
They`re also installing a six-inch moat filled with timid goldfish.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who wants to get their shoes wet?
FALLON: No, not me.
And, finally, they`re having Macaulay Culkin create a party scene in
the window with a Michael Jordan cardboard cutout, so it looks like
someone`s always at home.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That`s pretty good.
Anyway, that fence jumper incident last week did open up a debate over
security at the White House, but the prospect of turning the people`s house
into Fort Knox strikes many as overkill.
In fact, the White House has had many unwelcome intruders over the
years, especially back in the 1970s. We dug through the archives to find
three of the most outrageous security breaches.
First off, back in 1974, a Maryland man stole an Army helicopter and
decided to go for a joyride to Washington. When he tried to land on the
White House lawn around 2:00 a.m., the Secret Service opened fire. Riddled
with bullet holes, the chopper was grounded and the pilot was arrested for
unlawful entry. Well, I think that would be appropriate.
On Christmas Day of that same year, a former taxi driver claiming to
be the messiah crashed his Chevy Impala through the White House gates,
stopping just 20 feet from the north entrance. It appeared he was carrying
explosives, but after four hours of negotiations, the man surrendered, and
it turned out he was only carrying emergency flares.
Well, what may be the most outrageous security breach led to a bizarre
standoff back in `78, when a barefoot man wearing a karate uniform climbed
over the fence -- you`re watching it -- and confronted -- was confronted by
guards on the White House lawn. Armed with a knife he had hidden inside a
Bible, the intruder kept the guards at bay for 15 minutes while onlookers
gathered to watch the showdown.
Finally, the guards moved in with their billy clubs to subdue the man,
eventually tackling him to the ground and then arresting him.
So people have tried things like this, and they may try again. Most
hope the White House can stay secure while also staying open enough to
truly be the people`s house.
Up next, the roundtable of HARDBALL. We`re going to dig into -- all
of us are going to dig into the incredible new Arab alliance that Obama has
created, how Obama and Kerry put it together, also Cheney`s potshots, which
are relentless and stupid, and how Congress has happily slunk out of town
to avoid a war vote, and how John Boehner, the speaker, just said now
recently today he doesn`t even want to vote on it this year. How about
stepping up to the plate when it counts, Mr. Speaker?
And you`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger.
Here`s what`s happening.
The man suspected of kidnapping missing college student Hannah Graham
will head back to Virginia to face charges. Jesse Matthew appeared in
court today following his arrest in Texas.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and officials in other U.S. cities
say there`s no credible evidence of planned attacks against American subway
systems. Federal authorities also say that claim is unfounded. Iraq`s
prime minister said his country uncovered a plot by ISIS fighters targeting
subways in the U.S. and Paris -- back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Speaker of the House John Boehner says the Congress should vote on
military action in Syria, but not until some time next year. That`s when a
new Congress comes to Washington. Boehner told "The New York Times" that
voting on war in November, when Congress comes back for the lame-duck, is
the wrong time, he said, to do it.
Well, that`s cute. He said: "Doing this with a whole new group of
members who are on their way out of the door, I don`t think that`s the
right way to handle this. Well, I would suggest to you that early next
year, assuming that we continue in this effort, there will be that
discussion and there will be that request from the president."
Well, that`s what he`s saying. Some want Congress to take more
responsibility and vote on authorizing President Obama`s use of force, even
though the president says he already has the authority. But Boehner says
it`s the president`s job to send a proposal to Congress before it can vote.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I do believe it would
be in the nation`s interest.
I believe it`s in the institution of the Congress` interest to speak
on this question. Now, normally, in such a case -- I have been through
this a few times over the 24 years that I have been here -- the president
of the United States would request that support and would supply the
wording of a resolution to authorize this force. And, at this point in
time, we have not gotten that request and we have not seen that language.
QUESTION: But if the Congress is such an equal partner, as it is, why
not write a language -- write a resolution on your own?
BOEHNER: Typically, in my time here in Congress, that`s now how this
has happened, that the president would make that request and the president
would supply the language for the resolution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: It`s ridiculous talking about procedure.
This is the HARDBALL roundtable.
Joining us right now, U.S. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver. He`s a
Democrat from Missouri. Joy Reid is my colleague and host of MSNBC`s "THE
REID REPORT." And Clarence Page is the opinion writer for "The Chicago
Tribune" and author of the new book "Culture Worrier."
Let me go to the congressman on this.
It seems to me that he`s passing the buck back and it seems to me that
Congress ought to be asserting its constitutional right to declare war
here, or at least approve a war. Your thoughts?
REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER (D), MISSOURI: I think the speaker of the House
has the responsibility to protect the institutionality of the United States
And that means that we cannot continue to give authority to the
president that Section -- that Article 1, Section 8 clearly gave to the
House of Representatives. We have the power to make war. And for the last
six decades, we have completely given away authority after authority to the
president of the United States.
And I think it`s very dangerous, if not for us, for our progeny. And
I think that the speaker of the House needs to take the responsibility and
call us back into session. He`s the only one who can do that.
MATTHEWS: What are they hiding from, Clarence?
CLARENCE PAGE, COLUMNIST, "THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE": Well, that`s a good
Now, I think it`s interesting to me how many of the war hawks in
Congress can suddenly start -- their wings begin to chill when the time
comes to actually cast a vote on an enormous project like this. Maybe
Congressman Cleaver can give me some insight into this, frankly, because
Speaker Boehner wants to push it off now until next year -- or after the
1st of the year, with the next Congress, which makes you wonder, what`s it
Certainly, there should be some gesture of legitimacy by Congress
behind the president on this action, when you have got Americans so deeply
committed, even if we haven`t got boots on the ground.
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s a great question. Why is the left and the
right united here? You got Harry Reid and -- and McConnell, Mitch
McConnell, whose name I`m trying to forget, Mitch McConnell, they both
agree not to vote, Congressman.
MATTHEWS: What`s that deal, in bed together, so they`re protecting
each other as incumbents? What are they up to? Why don`t they vote?
CLEAVER: Look, look, to be sure, a vote on war is something that
creates some discomfort.
But the only way you find out whether a person is courageous is what
they do after they feel scared. And so I think we have to do this and quit
thinking about protecting people for a vote. Look what we`re doing. We`re
saying we`re going to send some soldiers into harm`s way, pilots, and maybe
even people on the ground in harm`s way, but the people in Congress, who
are allowing it to happen, are too afraid to vote?
I think there`s something wrong with that.
JOY REID, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: And, Chris...
MATTHEWS: Is voting scarier than getting shot at?
Your thoughts, anyway, Joy?
REID: No, Chris, I think that you just pointed your finger at
something that is really important here.
I think there are different considerations in the House vs. the
Senate. I think if you talk to House members, every Democrat I have talked
to wants to vote, wants to go on the floor and be on record. Whether
they`re for this or against it, they want to vote.
Republicans, it seems, going -- starting from John Boehner on down
don`t want to put members in the position of having to either, A, affirm
something positively that President Obama is doing. He`s the boogeyman.
They can`t go back into their districts and say they agree with anything he
did, even if they fundamentally do agree with it.
Or if it goes wrong, they don`t want anything to do with it. They
want Obama holding the bag by himself. On the Senate side, you then have
Harry Reid attempting to protect vulnerable red state Democrats who are in
exactly the same position. They are in these tight races where they don`t
want to have to affirm something that President Obama did, when they`re
nervous that anything tied to the president will hurt their reelection.
This is all about the reelect. I do agree that it`s an abdication of
the responsibilities of Congress. Emanuel Cleaver is here today that wants
to vote. I think there are a few members. I have talked to Democrats who
want to vote. They`re all in the House of Representatives.
No Democrats in the Senate have said that they want to vote.
REID: Well, actually, maybe a couple, but not any that are up for
MATTHEWS: Well, here`s a guy I would like to see abdicate.
MATTHEWS: I want to talk about a guy -- I`m sorry, Joy.
I would like to see this guy Dick Cheney abdicate.
MATTHEWS: He`s been out of office, Congressman, for what, how many
years now, six or seven years now. He`s still talking like he`s still been
right, when he`s been wrong on everything.
He broke apart -- to use the potter house -- pottery house rule, he
broke it, he bought it. It`s his Iraq. It`s the Iraq he wanted. They got
rid of the Shia -- the Sunni in the government. They de-Baathicized it,
everything he wanted to do. And we have chaos and ISIS.
And now he`s out there giving this Yoda-like information to the little
Republicans. I don`t know why they`re listening to him. He ain`t Henry
Kissinger. I don`t know what they`re thinking.
CLEAVER: Well, he thinks that if he keeps telling the story about
Iraq, that eventually, it will be true. That there are weapons of mass
destruction. And the other thing, I think he just doesn`t want to go away.
And I think that, you know, he would do a great deal of service to the
United States and to the planet if he would just go away.
PAGE: Well, there are a lot of Republicans who like Dick Cheney.
MATTHEWS: I only have two minutes, Congressman, and it`s great having
you on, by the way. Eric Holder, I sort of like him. I think a lot of
people think he`s an honest, good guy, an aggressive guy, a progressive,
and he`s leaving.
What do you make of that -- this decision to leave and his legacy?
CLEAVER: He told me before the last election that he didn`t know
whether or not he would be able to go into the second term with the
president. I don`t think he ever intended to stay for the entire term.
He will go down as one of the great attorney generals. He is
courageous. The man has stood up to all kinds of things, including
becoming the victim of some of the worst kinds of actions of Congress in
history. To censure a member of the cabinet over foolishness, something
that didn`t even -- was not even true. And so, I think he is a major
figure for this era in the history of the United States.
MATTHEWS: What were they censuring him for? I forgot it.
CLEAVER: Well, it had to do with Fast and Furious.
MATTHEWS: Oh, Fast and Furious, that started under the previous
JOY REID, "THE REID REPORT": Exactly.
CLEAVER: That`s the point.
MATTHEWS: Clarence, it started before him. How do they blame him for
it? Your thoughts?
PAGE: They blame him for everything. Even, well, his first big
controversy was a black history month speech in which he said Americans are
cowards about race. He wasn`t saying white Americans. He said Americans,
he was including black folks in that too. But the right pounced on that as
one more reason to bash Eric Holder. And, you know, one thing about Eric
Holder, he gets bashed by the right and the left. There were a lot of
people on the left who wish he was more aggressive in going after Wall
Street bankers, after the financial crash in 2008.
But, you know, he`s got that New York sensibility, I guess, where, you
know, he just keeps on his own path and just doesn`t let these other folks
get under his skin. But he`s not made it a secret for quite sometime that
he probably wasn`t going to finish out the term.
MATTHEWS: OK. We`ll be right back with the roundtable.
Up next, American workers have no idea how huge the gap is between
them and the rich and how it`s grown. The numbers, American CEOs make more
than 350 times, this is an average CEO, more than 350 times an average
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, we`re 40 days away from election day and there are
new numbers in key races across the country.
So, let`s check the HARDBALL scoreboard tonight.
"USA Today"/Suffolk University in the Arkansas Senate race has
Democrat Senator Mark Pryor with a slight edge over Republican Tom Cotton,
45-43. Not much there.
In Virginia, the Quinnipiac poll among likely voters shows Senator
Mark Warner, however, with a nine-point lead on Republican challenger Ed
Gillespie. That`s 50-41.
It`s not even close in Pennsylvania. According to the latest Franklin
& Marshall poll, Democrat Tom Wolf, a businessman, has a 20-point lead over
Republican Governor Tom Corbett, following their first debate this week.
It`s Wolf, 57, Corbett, 37.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
Just about everybody know this is country has a problem with income
and equality. But new data shows Americans have an exceptionally difficult
time understanding how vast that gap really is. A new Harvard Business
School study reveals the degree to which Americans underestimate how much
more a corporate CEO makes compared to the average worker. They found that
Americans believe that a CEO makes about 30 times more than the wager
earner, 30 times.
In actuality, however, CEOs make more than 350 times what an average
wage earner makes. That`s a hell of a difference.
The study also reveals the no other country in the world has a larger
pay gap, the United States, where the salary of an average worker is just
$35,000 a year, and CEO make an average of $12 million a year in this
We`re back now with our roundtable. U.S. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver
of Missouri, Clarence Page, columnist with the Chicago and Joy Reid is the
host, obviously, of "THE REID REPORT".
Joy, I want to start with you because I did the math. You know, Roger
Goodell with all his troubles, is making more in two weeks than the average
worker makes in a lifetime. Two weeks, he makes in a lifetime, a lifetime.
So, you got to work and you make your good salary at 25, you work until
your 65, you`re making an average of 35K a year, it takes you that lifetime
to make what he makes in two weeks.
REID: Yes, I mean --
MATTHEWS: He hasn`t been doing a particularly good job. And you have
to wonder if the average worker doing that kind of job that Roger Goodell
has been doing, he wouldn`t be a worker for a while, your thoughts?
REID: No, and, Chris, think about all the CEOs that run companies
into the ground. Thin k about Dell and some of these other CEO that then
get bought out and get golden parachutes, and get tens of millions of
dollars just to go away. And you look at the average American that`s
struggling to get to $10 an hour. And you had the president ask states and
ask companies to get people above $7.25 an hour and the average, that it
would take the average worker six months of work to earn what the average
CEO makes in an hour.
So, we have a situation that is really extreme. But I think what was
really interesting in the study is that Americans don`t even see that.
They think there`s disparity, but they have no idea the magnitude of it.
They assume that it`s left. I think if Americans understood the raw
number, 340 times the average worker that CEOs are making, some of them are
not quality CEOs, I think a lot more people would be outraged on a lot more
exercised on things like minimum wage.
CLEAVER: I hope you`re right, but my thing, Joy, I think a lot of the
American public participates in their own economic demise, because I think
many of them actually vicariously live through rich folk. I mean, how many
of you hear bragging about having somebody poor over for dinner, you know?
But if they have the CEO of some major corporation, they want everybody to
know. I think that`s one of the things that we`ve got to deal with, and
that is people work against themselves, quite often.
PAGE: I think you`re absolutely right. I first discovered back in
the `70s in prefecture England, and see the difference in attitudes of
working class folks there, compared to here in the U.S., where -- you know,
over there, the story was -- you know, if you saw a guy go by in a Rolls
Royce, you`d say, you got to do something about reducing this income gap.
But over here in the U.S., it was like, I`m going to get me one of those
one of these days. Well, most people don`t get that Rolls Royce, but that
is the American dream. It`s part of the psychology of this country, where
it comes even subversive and scary to talk about the income gap that just
gets bigger and bigger in recent years.
I mean, we`re talking post-New Deal. After watching Roosevelt`s
documentary last week, it became really apparent how American attitudes
MATTHEWS: Why do these compensation committees allow people to make
this exponential money? Because it seems to me, you can live pretty well
in $10 million or $20 million year. You can save a lot of money on $10
million or $20 million a year. Why do you need $45 million, $50 million?
These incredible salaries that you see around, Joy?
PAGE: People aren`t paid according to need, Chris. They`re paid
according to what somebody else thinks they`re worth.
MATTHEWS: Why do the stockholders give them the money? Why did they
PAGE: Exactly. Ask those stockholders, you know? That`s the issue,
because they keep doing it.
REID: And one of the things that the American companies have done is
they`ve sort of made this crazy bargain between the stockholders, even at
the very small level, people at the 401(k) who don`t even know how many
shares of stock we have, probably a fraction of the shares of stock, and
this sort of corrupt bargaining with CEOs, who are by and large paid in
stocks, so that the prime directive of every corporation is to maximize the
value of the stock. And if that means laying off 10,000 workers, that
actually boost the stock, that`s what companies are going to do.
I think we`ve created a kind of corrupt bargain where Americans sink
in their minds that they`re participating in Wall Street, so that when Wall
Street is doing well, they`re doing well. But it doesn`t mean that at all.
If you have a 401(k), and your diluted piece of stock is up a tenth of a
share, you`re not getting anything. And I think that ethos, though, sort
of that we think the rich are better, they are the "job creators", quote-
unquote, they`re sort of the superiors of everyone else, it`s part of the
reasons so many working class vote for the party of the rich, the party of
tax cuts for the rich, do it proudly.
MATTHEWS: So, you`re knocking Mitt Romney now?
REID: He did say 47 percent were moochers. But it didn`t have many
election and that`s what hopeful, that people punish him for it, at least
in the last election.
MATTHEWS: I think you`re right. Congressman, are the people better
off not knowing how worse off they are compared to some people? Does this
keep social calm in the country? Just the fact nobody can imagine somebody
making 350 times what they make?
CLEAVER: I think that is the design, that I think with great
intentionality, that people have helped to structure society so that, you
know, people are not getting upset about that because I think Clarence is
right, I think they`re going to eventually be there.
But, here, two things quickly. One, people who have a great deal of
stock in companies, including CEOs, they can buy their own stock. And that
creates a larger and larger company with a smaller and smaller portion of
the money being shared.
The other thing is that many of the CEOs are circling in each other`s
boards. And they`re on the compensation committees. They are, of course,
trying to help each other and they`ve designed a parachute for all of them,
for each other rather, so that when they leave, even if they run the
company on the ground, they`re going to be wealthy, their children, their
grandchildren and their grandchildren`s grandchildren.
MATTHEWS: Yes, that`s special, as they would say.
MATTHEWS: It`s special. Your buddies get to set your pay.
Last question to you, Joy, how uncomfortable are you with this war?
REID: You know what? I got to tell you, I`m uncomfortable, utterly,
with congressman`s lack of a role in it. I sense the president`s
discomfort with it. I`m frankly uncomfortable with the role that our
professional, a little bit -- you see a little bit of cheerleading and
pushing the president. And I feel like he is being goaded toward something
he wasn`t comfortable doing.
I absolutely agree that ISIS is a wicked and evil organization, and
you need to deal with it. I like the fact that there are Arab countries
involved. So, I am not 100 hundred percent comfortable with it and I would
be more comfortable if there were a debate. It isn`t happening and it is
extremely embarrassing and frustrating that the Congress won`t do it.
PAGE: We have a tradition of avoiding serious debates before
elections, unfortunately. That`s Speaker Boehner wants to push a vote back
at least to try to get past the election.
MATTHEWS: He wants -- Clarence, he won`t have it after the election.
He wants it sometime next year.
PAGE: Yes, that`s right.
MATTHEWS: And he says, I`ll gladly pay you on Tuesday for a hamburger
today, you know? This is wimpy talk.
Anyway, thanks, U.S. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, we watch everything
you say and do. Thank you so much for coming on.
Clarence Page, as always, my friend. Your book is called "Culture
PAGE: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Worrier. That`s a key phrase there.
And, Joy, you`re never worried. Joy, thanks for coming on.
We`ll be right back.
REID: Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this. If a guy blow up a
building, would you ask him for blue prints on how to rebuild it. If a guy
told you he was strengthening a building, you followed his plans and the
building then blow up, would you ask him to help you rebuild that building?
Well, then, let`s agree. You`ve not been paying attention. Dick
Cheney pulled every stunt he could to get us to blow up the government of
Iraq. He said it was necessary because they had nuclear weapons. He said,
it would be easy, it would be quick, and involved few casualties. They
would have freedom ringing in that country.
What we got was the news that that everything he said was untrue.
Iraq didn`t have nuclear weapons. All of those weapons of mass destruction
talk was just talk. We learned that fixing Iraq would not be easy, quick
or even possible. That blowing it up merely created a whole new faction of
angry Sunnis, angry unemployed generals and soldiers who were looking for
an alternative path and many -- too many -- found it in ISIS.
So, now, the expert of untruth is out there, presenting himself as the
expert on Iraq. He accuses President Obama of confessing to America`s
imperfections. It`s another area, by the way, where Cheney clearly lacks
expertise. Has anyone ever -- I mean ever -- heard Dick Cheney ever
confess to anything? Ever speak the truth about Dick Cheney`s record of
getting it wrong? Especially a war that caused the lives of 195,000
people, and left us, you and me, facing the wreckage of an Iraq that every
true expert will tell you we should have left be.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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