October 1, 2014
Guest: Roger Simon, Peter Baker, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Nina Radcliff,
Michelle Bernard, Sam Stein, Gregory Angelo
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: She`s out.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews up in New York.
Well, the ax has fallen. A Washington ritual of blame, attack and
political execution has now run its honored course. Julia Pierson,
director of the Secret Service, has resigned. Her demise is a climax to
two embarrassing, excruciating, and it turns out, unendurable weeks heading
an agency that nobody believes stands up to its historic legacy.
The coup de grace came last night with the "Washington Post" report
that an armed man with a criminal record -- an armed man -- was allowed to
ride in an elevator with the president of the United States. That
incident, revealed for all, must have been a final, unchallengeable whisper
to Ms. Pierson that it`s time to go.
A bigger question now confronts a bigger fish. How President Obama
going to get the country to follow him as he and the country enter what
seems to be a dimly lit tunnel, days and nights of bleak and relentlessly
bad news about a spreading terrorist movement and a spreading disease? The
screw-ups with the Secret Service are now part of a trinity of security
horrors. Ebola, which we`ll go deeper into in the next segment, and ISIS,
which continues reaching for more territory in its quest to restore the
caliphate, a land ruled by the harshest of Islamist rule.
That`s what we`re facing now with the president, he being out on
point, of course. All these crises -- the Secret Service, ISIS and Ebola -
- are crises with no quick fixes, obviously. President Obama ran on hope
and the new. Right now, everything new is bad.
And this right now is the age of containment, obviously, and it will
require the president to come to terms with an image of the presidency he
never wanted but must now confront -- President Obama the hawk, President
Obama the interventionist and President Obama the custodial chief
executive, just trying to avoid seeing stupid stuff being done close to
Roger Simon is chief political columnist for Politico and Peter
Baker`s the White House reporter for "The New York Times."
Peter, was this person pushed or did they jump? How would we describe
the resignation as head of the Secret Service?
PETER BAKER, "NEW YORK TIMES": Well, there were a lot of people
pushing, I think, at this point, and she recognized that her maintaining
the job wasn`t tenable anymore. She said publicly that Congress had lost
faith in her. But clearly, the president had, as well. The press
secretary, Josh Earnest, at the White House said the president himself
decided that the agency needed new leadership and was willing therefore to
accept her resignation.
They told us that they didn`t know about this latest incident you
mentioned in Atlanta until just yesterday, right before the news accounts
first came out. That had to be a disturbing thing for the White House in
the middle of this -- this issue.
But they -- This came about very fast.
BAKER: Just this morning, they were defending her on TV and they were
saying she was still the best leader for the agency.
MATTHEWS: Well, Peter, you`re right. In fact, this morning -- let`s
watch this -- the White House said President Obama was sticking by Secret
Service director Julia Pierson. Here`s press secretary Josh Earnest
speaking for the president on "MORNING JOE" today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Are you telling me this morning that the
president of the United States and the first lady have confidence in Julia
Pierson to run an agency that`s supposed to protect their two daughters?
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Yes, Joe, they have
confidence in them for -- I think for the reasons that I`ve laid out.
These are men and women who wake up every day, professionals, prepared to
put their life on the line...
SCARBOROUGH: I`m not -- I`m not talking about the professionals.
EARNEST: ... to protect the president and the first family.
SCARBOROUGH: I think the professionals actually deserve to have
better leadership than they have.
EARNEST: This is obviously a responsibility that she takes very
seriously. I can tell that you that the White House staff and the
president himself take this very seriously. The president himself has
articulated that he`s concerned about the security around his family, as
any parent would be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Let me go to Roger on this because it looks like rolling
disclosure, if the president didn`t just decide today. It looks like he
must have decided before he told his press spokesman to stop saying he`s
sticking with her.
ROGER SIMON, POLITICO: Yes. I think the president decided that he
had been misled by the Secret Service director, or his chief of staff had
been misled, and that he was not getting the straight facts about, first,
how far this last intruder penetrated into the White House. They had been
misled about a shooting incident which endangered the children of the
president, and I think he couldn`t live with that.
Like most couples, the president probably cares more about the safety
of his spouse and his children than himself, and his children and his
spouse care more about his safety than themselves.
SIMON: And they don`t feel safe in the place where they should feel
the safest, which is the White House in Washington, D.C. You know, it`s on
18 acres. You can set up a safety perimeter around 18 acres. Anyone who
lives or works in the White House ought to be safe once they enter that
perimeter, and they`re just not.
MATTHEWS: Well, after yesterday`s performance on Capitol Hill, some
lawmakers, including Democratic congressman Elijah Cummings, began calling
for Pierson`s resignation. Here`s Congressman Cummings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: You all can spend all the time
you want talking about how she got there. I`ve come to the conclusion that
my confidence and my trust in this director, Ms. Pierson, has eroded, and I
do not feel comfortable with her in that position.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Let me go back to Peter Baker. You`re one of the stars at
knowing this president, covering him professionally. How is he putting
together this new role he`s playing? He`s not only playing defense on
these screw-ups around him, this incompetence by the Secret Service, but
he`s got Ebola coming at us. Two weeks ago, he said it was unlikely. I
mean, we played the tape a couple times last night. Fairly or not, he said
two weeks ago it`s unlikely that somebody will come here carrying Ebola.
Well, they`re here, the first of them, at least.
And we also have ISIS now that looks like it`s going to keep growing.
They`re attacking close to Turkey today. They`re on the offense still.
We`ve forced to a new deployment mode. They`re not going to be out there
in form -- in formation, perhaps, but they`re still on the offensive.
How`s he adapting to this new role, almost custodian of bad news,
rather than hope, the man from hope?
BAKER: You`re right. There`s not a lot of hope right now. It has
been a cascade of one thing after another, things that have become huge
furors and then go away only because of some other huge furor comes up.
Remember the prisoner swap with Bergdahl, the VA scandal that forced the
resignation of Secretary Shinseki, you know, the border crisis, which we
talked a lot about.
There are so many things that have been happening these last few weeks
that any White House, of course, is going to be challenged to keep
bandwidth on any one of these particular problems. And the last thing they
want is for the Secret Service to become an issue, to become a headache.
That`s something that should be automatic. That`s something that should be
assumed and relied upon, and that`s, I think, why you saw this, you know,
play out so quickly.
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s get tough here. Is this the problem of a
second term that presidents get lazy, intellectually lazy and cut off from
the country, and they start picking deputies for jobs instead of looking
for the best people? The lazy thing to do is, somebody leaves, you promote
MATTHEWS: This is, I think, a big part of the endemic problem of
second terms. They don`t get out and mix with people, find new people, new
hot shots to fill these jobs. They just keep promoting the person whose
sort of turn it is, and they`re not as good as the person they picked the
BAKER: Yes. I mean, look, that is the nature of a second term and a
danger of a second term. You don`t want to feel like you`re going with the
B team. On the other hand, people who`ve been there in those deputy slots
sometimes turn out to be really good because they`ve actually had the
experience in place for six years, in this case. They understand how a
place works. So I think it kind of depends. I would be careful about over
-- over-interpreting on that.
MATTHEWS: Well, why is this second term being so difficult for the --
let me go back to Roger, who`s very good at this -- this essay kind of
question because it really is one. This is all coming together, Roger.
You`ve written (INAUDIBLE) What`s going wrong? Is it just the earth is
turning and you can`t really keep doing new good things because the events,
which are often bad, keep coming at you?
SIMON: Sometimes, events are just bigger than the people who try to
control the events. You know, I think you may be right about promoting the
second person in charge to be in charge. But you can accuse President
Obama of a lot of things, but I don`t think laziness, intellectual or
otherwise, is one of them. I think he`s a man who attacks problems. I
think he`s had terrible bad luck in his second term. He`s faced terrible
crises and will continue to do so.
And he is facing exactly what he didn`t want to face. He was the
peace candidate when he first ran. He wanted to get the troops back home
from wherever they were. Now he`s the president, sort of, of endless
warfare, you know, warfare that`s going to outlast his term and the next
president`s term, is the way he put it. This is not what he wanted. I
think he`s doing the best he can.
MATTHEWS: Well, as I said, there`s reports now that ISIS, by the way,
is adapting to U.S. air strikes right now, and NBC News is now reporting
that the ISIS army has overrun an Iraqi army base just 50 miles from
Baghdad. Quote, "This is the dilemma facing President Obama right now. If
his generals recommend an American ground war over there, his biggest
supporters would be from the hard right."
And this is a revoltin` development. According to a recent NBC News
poll, only 32 percent of Democrats would support ground action, but 63
percent of Republicans -- and catch this -- two thirds of the Tea Party
would back a ground war.
There`s an old expression in politics, Peter Baker, I have saluted
over the years, "Dance with the one that brung you." The people that
brought the president were the anti-war hawks (sic). They liked what he
said back in the early part of the century, in 2002. He was singled out by
people looking for an anti-war candidate. After they found Howard Dean,
they found him. And now he`s confronting with us the probability that
we`re going into a long air war against ISIS, and we`re hearing from a lot
of people that the -- well, it seems like the military wants to go further.
What`s going to happen with his politics with that?
BAKER: Yes. It`s a very good question. He does say publicly, the
president, that he will not send in large amounts of ground troops a la the
Iraq invasion of 2003. He`s made that a red line, to use a phrase. And
it`s going to be -- I find it hard to imagine that he would -- he would do
that. I think that`s just such a -- such a barrier for him to cross, given
that he did come into office intending to get us out of Middle East wars.
But there are challenges that kind of come between there and here.
You know, do you send in special forces for more discreet operations? Do
you send them in to help Iraqi army units or Syrian opposition figures
figure out how to fight themselves? Do you send them in to spot targets
for air strikes?
All these are more complicated questions. They may not be in combat
directly shooting, but they`re in harm`s way. And the more you put them in
harm`s way, the more chances you have for American casualties. And so I
think that`s something he wants to avoid, but seems to be the next big
question he might have to face.
MATTHEWS: Yes, and I want to straighten out something I said to Roger
before you get me accusing him, accusing this president of being physically
SIMON: No, no, no.
MATTHEWS: I think there`s a social kind of laziness, the refusal to
reach out and meet a lot of new people and check a lot of possibilities.
Don`t just go with the next person in line. And I really think this second
term cabinet is not up to the first term cabinet because they never are.
And you know that, Roger. They just never are.
Kennedy went out and met people like McNamara and Rusk and people went
(ph) looking for them, and he put them in the best slots he could. He
talked them into it. He recruited people he didn`t even know, he recruited
Presidents should go out and look for people. They should be
practicing affirmative action all the time in leading (ph), or else they
get atrophied into that little world of people around him like Valerie and
Mrs. Obama and people -- you`re just listening to the same voices all the
time. You`ve got to be Protean in the White House. And I know it`s a
rigorous demand, but it`s a real one, or else you`re going to get smaller
as your presidency goes on, and therefore more vulnerable to surprises.
Anyway, thank you, Roger Simon. Thank you, Peter Baker.
Coming up: We`re learning more about the man fighting for his life in
that Dallas hospital after coming in with Ebola. The CDC said it`s
monitoring every one that man`s come in contact with, and that apparently
includes a number of school-age children. My question -- who`s responsible
for keeping with (ph) Ebola out of this country, and how did this guy get
Also, a newspaper advice columnist received a letter from an anonymous
gay Republican complaining that his friends don`t seem to understand how he
can be part of a political party seen as hostile to gay people. We`ll get
into that with our roundtable, including the head of the Log Cabin
Republicans, Gregory Angelo (ph). Also joining us will be Michelle Bernard
and Sam Stein.
Then one in four Americans support their state seceding from the
United States. Well, they`re interesting people. Ron Paul now -- that`s
Rand Paul`s father -- says that`s something we should cheer, secession.
Didn`t we go through that in the 1860s? And couldn`t that be a problem for
his presidential son, or hopeful son?
Finally, "Let Me Finish" with this trio of security challenges we face
as a country.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, the man accused of jumping the White House fence
appeared in court today. Omar Gonzalez pled not guilty to climbing the
fence at the White House on September 19th and running into the building
armed with a folding knife. Well, the judge in this case has ordered
Gonzalez to undergo an examination to determine if he`s competent to stand
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Health experts, including a team from the CDC, the Center
for Disease Control, is monitoring up to 18 people who had contact with a
man fighting for his life now in a Dallas hospital. He`s the first
individual to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States. And NBC News
has learned the patient`s name is Thomas Eric Duncan. He flew from Liberia
to Dallas earlier this month. At the time, he apparently wasn`t showing
any symptoms of the disease. According to "The New York Times," before
leaving for the U.S., Duncan carried -- helped carry a pregnant woman to a
local hospital. She later died of Ebola.
Texas governor Rick Perry said today that some of the people who came
into contact with Duncan in Dallas are young people. Let`s watch the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: Today, we learned that some school-age
children have been identified as having had contact with the patient and
are now being monitored at home for any signs of the disease.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, the questions tonight, how stringent are the medical
screenings in place to prevent someone infected with Ebola from traveling
to this country, to the United States? And who is responsible for checking
those travelers, our country or the country of origination? Plus, now --
now that the United States has seen its first case of the disease, how much
risk is there that it will spread?
Dr. Anthony Fauci is director of the National Institute of Allergy and
Infectious Diseases and Dr. Nina Radcliff is a practicing physician.
Tony Fauci, my friend, I just want to know your thinking about how did
this person get through? What will stop future people from coming through,
especially from West Africa, with the disease?
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NAT`L INSTITUTE OF ALLERGIES & INFECTIOUS DISEASES
DIR.: Well, when the person got on the plane, Chris, he was infected,
obviously, but he was completely without symptoms. And he flew on the 20th
of September, arrived here, and went for another four days with no
symptoms. And it was only on the 24th of September that he developed
So it`s virtually impossible to prevent someone from coming here when
there are not symptoms. If you go to the airport in Monrovia, in Liberia,
now and have a fever or are symptomatic, they won`t let you on the plane.
But this person was completely asymptomatic.
The bad news is he got here. But the good news, the encouraging news
is that being without symptoms, the people on the plane were not at risk.
So only when he became symptomatic after a few days here in the States were
people who came into contact with him at risk of getting infected.
MATTHEWS: Well, we`re not dealing with a veterinary situation. He`s
a person, a human being, who knows that he was on contact with somebody who
died of Ebola, and recently. He knew that! Does anybody at the airport
ask that question? They ask you questions -- have you been near wild --
what -- animals lately? Have you been near vegetables lately? They ask
those kinds of questions. Were the questions put to that man leaving
Monrovia of whether he was involved with anybody who had Ebola or not? And
is there any way to -- to have that kind of rigor to ask that obvious
FAUCI: Well, you know, the answer is yes, you could obviously do
that. But I`m not so sure that he actually knew that the person had Ebola.
MATTHEWS: But they died.
FAUCI: But anyway -- excuse me?
MATTHEWS: They died.
FAUCI: No, I know, but he did not know the person had Ebola.
MATTHEWS: Oh. Well...
FAUCI: That was the point. I mean, he...
MATTHEWS: This is Monrovia, Liberia, in the middle of an epidemic of
-- I`m just using common sense. I`m not a doctor. You`re the expect. But
it seems to me in terms of infection, possibilities, they`re pretty high...
MATTHEWS: ... if they had the symptoms of Ebola and they die of
something that looks like Ebola and you`re coming from Monrovia, Liberia,
and we don`t have any way of doing some kind of at least honesty test. I
FAUCI: Yes. Well, honesty tests are almost an impossible thing to
do, Chris. The issue of screening people for symptoms and fever works
well. And as I`ve said before, I was not surprised when I heard that this
person got through because we`ve been saying that. When someone is
exposed, infected but not yet sick, it`s virtually impossible...
FAUCI: ... to determine whether that person has Ebola. And that`s
exactly what happened with this person.
MATTHEWS: OK, well, how can the president of the United States...
FAUCI: He got on the plane...
MATTHEWS: But how can the president of the United States say two
weeks ago it is unlikely that something like this would happen? He said it
would be unlikely. It isn`t unlikely. It just happened.
FAUCI: Well, you know, you can be unlikely, Chris, and still happen.
It is unlikely, but, in fact, it isn`t impossible. And that`s what
MATTHEWS: Well, do you tell the American people, don`t worry, it`s
unlikely, and it just happened. You can`t keep saying it is unlikely if
it`s happened. Can you?
FAUCI: Well, again, it depends on you mean. It is still an unlikely
situation that someone would get through. It still is unlikely.
Well, let me go to you Dr. Nina Radcliff.
Your view about this thing? Because the American people would like to
know that there is a wall between us and Ebola. Can we have a wall? Can
we protect it?
DR. NINA RADCLIFF, PRACTICING PHYSICIAN: Well, I think, with these
types of news and headlines, there is fear that is being struck.
But the key is that we should not be panicking at this time. The
American health care system has been studying this for years. They have
had systems in place for years. They have done researches, they have done
drills, they have done training. And, in fact, even when the doctor came
back to Emory, there were nurses on vacation who wanted to come back early
so they could be part of the support system to stop this.
We may not be able to prevent every single person from coming back
here, but we have to rest assured that the American health care system is
the best. They have protocols in place, they have emergency plans in
place. Even when the students came back from international travel at the
beginning of the college year, the colleges had set up emergency plans to
make sure that they can monitor these people.
And I think this is a testament that we diagnosed this. We are
isolating this person and we are finding all of their contacts. So, while
people are getting concerned, we need to look at the bright side. And
Ebola is not the same disease in this country as it is in Africa.
For example, the three people who have come to Emory to receive
treatment, they have all lived, they have all survived. And that`s a
testament to our health care system, which is very different from what is
going on in Africa.
MATTHEWS: This guy is a Liberian national. Why did you say come back
here? They have been saying that all day about this guy. He came back
I can understand an American getting back into the country relatively
easily. But aren`t there rules when you`re trying to get a visa or come to
this country from a Third World country? Can you just get -- just get on
the plane? Isn`t there anybody stopping you from getting on the plane?
RADCLIFF: Well, they do have protocols in place for airline workers
to look for symptoms, just like the previous physician was talking about.
But if they do not have symptoms, you cannot isolate the entire world.
We cannot say everybody who travels there has to be isolated. He did not
have symptoms. He did not have a fever. He did not have anything to make
us wonder or worry.
The key here is that, when he did receive care, he is being treated
and he is being isolated. And they are contacting the contacts.
MATTHEWS: Let me go back to Dr. Fauci.
What do you think you should do if you were president of the United
States in terms of letting people in from that part of the world, West
Africa, where you have a high, even an epidemic situation developing? And
we`re sending 3,000 soldiers over there, so it is serious business. And
can we send that many soldiers over there and not recognize that the time -
- that it may be time for some serious containment policies that we haven`t
put into effect yet?
FAUCI: I would not restrict entry into the country from those places,
I think that the negative issues that arise when you do that far
outweigh the advantage. And, as was just said, as I just said, screening
people for symptoms and not allowing someone with a fever or symptoms to
get on the plane works well. This person did get through, Chris.
But, as it was just said, there will not be an outbreak in this
country, because we have the capability of doing just what we`re doing with
this patient, isolating him, giving him good care, protecting our health
workers, and doing contact tracing that would prevent an outbreak.
We can handle this. And it will stop in its tracks. And, in fact,
there might be someone of the contacts who gets infected. I hope not. But
if they do, there still will not be an outbreak.
FAUCI: So I think just cordoning off the country and not letting
anybody from that country to come to the United States is not a good idea.
So I agree with the president that that restriction should not occur.
MATTHEWS: Doctor, let me ask you one last question. According to
everything we have heard, the incubation period, the period in which --
from which you get the -- contact the disease and it shows up in serious
symptoms is from two to 21 days.
That`s an awful long time in which could you get through security, get
through the airline entry, get on a plane and get here. Between two and 21
days, a lot of time -- a lot of time there to get here when you`re carrying
the disease, isn`t it? Doesn`t that create a problem right there?
FAUCI: Well, not necessarily.
Again, if you don`t want anyone ever to get in, then you have got a
problem with the time of the asymptomatic period. But even if someone does
get through, we can isolate and contact trace and prevent an outbreak.
So, if your argument you is don`t want ever, ever to somebody who has
Ebola to get into the country, that is going to be a very draconian way to
stop that. But if you have the capability of containing it and not having
an outbreak, then things like this can be put under control, just like
we`re seeing now in Texas.
He is in good care. He is isolated. And the contacts are being
MATTHEWS: OK. We will know in a couple weeks whether this policy
Anyway, thank you, Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Nina Radcliff.
Up next, U.S. Congressman Jim McDermott dons a yellow jumpsuit to pay
tribute to Bruce Lee. You want to miss this one -- you don`t want to miss
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS")
SETH MEYERS, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS": It was reported
today that the security breaches at the White House could cost the director
of the Secret Service her job. Luckily, after she is escorted out of
building, it should be pretty easy for her to get back in.
MEYERS: Just walk right in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL and time for the "Sideshow."
That was, of course, Seth Meyers last night on Julia Pierson, who did
resign from the Secret Service today.
Well, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue might be the most famous address in the
country, but Sarah Palin couldn`t get it straight in her speech at the
Value Voters Summit last week. She called it 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Here`s how Steve Colbert reacted to that fumble.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE COLBERT REPORT")
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Don`t retreat. You reload
with truth, which I know is an endangered species at 1400 Pennsylvania
Avenue anyway, truth.
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE COLBERT REPORT": Yes. The truth is in
short supply at 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue.
COLBERT: Because everyone there, because everyone at 1400
Pennsylvania Avenue keeps insisting it is a plaza in front of the Willard
COLBERT: But you won`t hear that from the liberal NBC News over at 20
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Twenty rock.
Anyway, next up, it is not Halloween just yet. But that didn`t stop
one U.S. congressman from dressing up like martial arts icon the late Bruce
Lee. That`s 77-year-old Jim McDermott from the state of Washington that
you see there.
He recorded this video yesterday to promote a new museum exhibit in
Seattle on Bruce Lee which opens this weekend. The bright yellow jumpsuit
he`s wearing matches the one the actor wore in his last film, "Game of
Death." That was filmed back in `73.
If his goal was to get attention, the congressman certainly got some.
Finally, there was one final plot twist today in the bizarre saga of
former Republican Senator Larry Craig of Idaho. Back in 2007, you all
remember, the Idaho lawmaker pled guilty for lewd conduct after being
caught in a sex sting at a Minnesota airport bathroom.
Once the arrest was made public, however, he withdrew his plea and
fought the charges in court. Well, now a federal judge has ruled that the
senator improperly used campaign money to cover those legal bills of his,
ordering Craig to repay the amount, in addition to a fine for his
Up next: the roundtable on the Secret Service director`s resignation,
coping with Ebola, plus the challenge for a gay Republican whose gay
friends can`t believe he`s a Republican, and California Governor Jerry
Brown at the vanguard again, actually doing something about gun violence.
it`s great to see him in action.
And you`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger.
Here`s what`s happening.
President Obama and Israeli President -- President -- Prime Minister,
rather, Netanyahu met at the White House earlier. The two discussed the
U.S.-led campaign to destroy ISIS and efforts by world powers to reach a
deal on Iran`s nuclear program.
Authorities in Oklahoma reportedly plan to seek the death penalty for
the man accused of beheading a woman at a food processing plant.
And Michael Dunn is found guilty of first-degree murder in the death
of 17-year-old Jordan Davis. Davis was shot during an argument over loud
music -- back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Secret Service Director Julia Pierson has resigned, as I said, after a
brutal hearing on Capitol Hill, this as Americans absorb the unsettling
news that the first ever case of Ebola has been diagnosed here. And gay
Republicans in the election season, we get into this story from the
perspective of a gay Republican who says he risked losing friends who can`t
understand how he can be gay and a Republican. Plus, California governor
Jerry Brown in the vanguard again, as always, this time with a new gun law
that empowers family members to keep firearms from a relative who may pose
I`m joined right now by the roundtable, Michelle Bernard, the
president of Bernard Center for Women, Politics and Public Policy, Sam
Stein of The Huffington Post, and Gregory Angelo, who is executive director
of the Log Cabin Republicans and has to explain for himself.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, let`s go to Michelle.
Michelle, quickly, the Ebola thing. I may be Chicken Little. I don`t
care, because I have been hearing a lot of comforting words from the
president on down, don`t worry, it is unlikely anybody ever will get here.
Well, they`re here. And I still don`t hear how the people in Monrovia at
the airport have a plan for finding out if somebody has been in contact
with an Ebola victim, as this fellow was.
And I now know -- we now know the system doesn`t work. Is it OK to
keep it the way it is or live with the numbers, the percentage, or do we
have to change it? Your thoughts.
MICHELLE BERNARD, FOUNDER, BERNARD CENTER FOR WOMEN, POLITICS AND
POLICY: Well, I`m probably going to be the troglodyte on the panel today,
Chris, but I have got to tell you, I am terrified of this.
I love hearing Dr. Fauci speak. It is his job to make us feel
comfortable and make us believe that this is not going to become an
epidemic in the United States. And I hope he is correct. If I were one of
the parents of those children in Texas who had been exposed to this person
that we now know has the Ebola virus, I would be asking my senator or my
members of Congress, basically, should we not be doing something more and
is it possible that we should look at making travel between certain
countries in West Africa and the United States a little bit more difficult,
so that we can protect our shores and make sure that this epidemic doesn`t
reach us here at home?
MATTHEWS: Here`s the latest from the White House here earlier today.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest, who had a little bad day here on the
other front, the Secret Service thing, where he was out of date, about
whether procedures will change to better detect possible Ebola cases coming
into the country. Let`s watch Josh.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There are protocols in
place where those individuals who are leaving West Africa and traveling to
the West are screened.
There also are screening procedures in place at our border. So as
individuals enter the country, they are observed by Customs and Border
Patrol and others to protect the broader American public. So there`s
nothing about this case that we know so far that would indicate any
weakness or any flaws in that system right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Gregory, are you happy with the way it`s working right now
as an American? You think we can go with not zero tolerance and live with
the fact there will probably be some people that come in, but better than
sealing off those countries in a more like a containment strategy?
GREGORY ANGELO, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, LOG CABIN REPUBLICANS: I would
say it is not time to panic yet.
I know that there are Democrats and Republicans from Texas. I know
Senator Ted Cruz has been monitoring the situation himself. And I`m
confident right now that elected officials...
MATTHEWS: That`s comforting.
ANGELO: .... are doing -- are doing the things that they need to do
to make sure that this situation is being monitored.
ANGELO: Air travel is terrible enough as it is right now in this
country. I don`t know that adding more complication to that is necessarily
what we need to be doing right now.
MATTHEWS: Well, OK.
SAM STEIN, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Can I just point out...
MATTHEWS: Let me go -- let me go to Sam on the .
MATTHEWS: Sam, it seems that there is a long distance between doing
hardly anything and panicking. I`m not talking panicking.
MATTHEWS: How about effective control?
But I want to go with you the larger question.
MATTHEWS: Take 30 seconds on this. OK?
Containment. All of a sudden, the president was for hope and new
things, new frontiers kind of stuff, is now playing containment on ISIS, on
Ebola, and on not doing stupid stuff at home, like the Secret Service.
So, he is basically in a custodial role politically. It is not very
much fun. People aren`t going to be thrilled by it. Your thoughts. How
is he going to handle this transition to Mr. Keep It Working?
STEIN: Well, that`s a -- that`s a broad question -- that`s a broad
question for 30 seconds.
MATTHEWS: It`s a big question. Thirty seconds.
STEIN: I got to get going.
Listen, unless I`m mistaken, none of us on this panel are doctors.
So, I`m going to put my trust at this point in time in the medical
professionals who have said that this disease, while it is clearly deadly,
while it poses some significant problems to our health system, can be
contained within the American health care system. And I trust them.
And I have no reason to doubt them at this point. I understand the
raw emotions of this whole thing. It makes perfect sense to me. And if I
were in Dallas, Texas, I probably would be a little bit concerned.
But I think the solutions that we`re envisioning or talking about here
are pretty drastic. And I`m not sure they can work. If we just shut down
flights from Liberia to America, what is to stop someone from flying to
Liberia to France and then to America? Do we have to shut down all air
travel out of Liberia?
There are consequences to every decision and reactions to every
MATTHEWS: Well, what about -- what about -- what about a new
When you get on an El-Al flight to Israel -- they have got reasons to
STEIN: Yes, of course.
MATTHEWS: You have probably been through it, like I have been through
it, 45-minute interviews.
MATTHEWS: They go through it.
MATTHEWS: They witness if you sweat. They look to see if any kind of
STEIN: But the problem...
MATTHEWS: Why not something that is a jack -- jack it up a bit
MATTHEWS: ... what we`re doing now.
STEIN: Yes, but the problem...
MATTHEWS: Nobody asked this guy if he was near an Ebola victim. He
was carrying one to a hospital.
STEIN: That`s true.
MATTHEWS: The person died. That would be useful information to have.
STEIN: That`s true.
And I would say, yes, obviously ask those questions. The problem you
run into is that, a lot of times, people carrying the virus don`t show
symptoms of the virus, and aren`t really sure that they`ve been in contact
with somebody who has the virus.
MATTHEWS: This guy was.
STEIN: I`m saying, ask those questions. It won`t be a failsafe.
BERNARD: I mean, isn`t it a fact alone that you can carry the virus
and not show it more reason than not to actually do something a little more
than what we`re doing now? I`m not saying cut off all air travel. I don`t
want to -- I`m under no circumstances saying that, but we`ve got to do
something more than what we`re doing now. This guy, he got into the
country. It`s --
STEIN: The clear thing to do is to get it under control in the root
causes of it, which is Western Africa, and from there, you can sort of
work. I think that makes the most sense.
MATTHEWS: Let`s switch to something else.
Thanks for joining us. I want to get to the gate thing next segment,
but I want to get this thing about Jerry Brown, who I`ve always been a fan
Look what the guy did. He`s basically saying we have to find a way to
get to dangerous people. You may have a crazy person in your family who
has too many guns. Do you think they might be talking about using them?
It could be Posse Comitatus. It could be any group. It could be hard
right, it could be hard left. It could be anything.
Under this law he just signed, you can go to a judge and say I want a
restraining order. This person shouldn`t have a gun anymore. You got to
take it and then they can fight it. At least there`s a procedure for
keeping guns out of the people who their relatives know are unstable and
BERNARD: I`m going to tell you, I say bravo to Jerry Brown. There
are times where I know the conventional wisdom is that he is a little
different. But I`ll tell you. I am with him there. And already the
people, you know, there are people saying this is horrible. It is going to
take away the rights of law abiding citizens.
What about the rights of victims? You know, they have that gentleman
out in California last year. His parents tried to get help. They were
unable to get help. They could have saved lives. This might put a dent in
some instances of domestic violence and whole sort of other issues in
Quite frankly, I wish the United States Congress would sort of emulate
the one that Jerry Brown --
GREGORY ANGELO, LOG CABIN REPUBLICANS: I`d ask, Michelle, I mean,
would you propose a law to take cars away from alcoholics? I`m looking for
more freedom. Not less.
MATTHEWS: You wouldn`t take car keys away from a drunk?
BERNARD: I would take car keys away. Put a device on there are
steering wheel. A breathalyzer and quite frankly, a lot of other things.
I would probably take all sex abusers and put them somewhere where they
can`t get to people either. I think this is important legislation. I want
my rights protected.
MATTHEWS: Gregory has opened up a can of worms. We`ll be back with
him about how libertarian this guy really is. He`s out there serving
drinks to the guy in the way out of the car. Yes. Anyway, just kidding.
But I`m telling you -- drunks shouldn`t drive.
And you know what? If you have a drunk in the family you know drives
drunk. You`d better find a way to keep him out of that car. You don`t
throw the keys at them.
Anyway, Ron Paul says Americans who embrace secession, by the way, are
acting in the grand tradition. Yes, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, that`s
a great American tradition. It`s called secession. It costs the lives of
600,000 Americans, the civil war. And this guy is saying we have to try
this secession thing.
Anyway, is he helping his son run for president? I don`t think so.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: The Democratic candidate for governor down in South
Carolina wants the Confederate flag removed from the state capital grounds.
Vincent Sheheen is calling for the removal of the flag which was moved
actually from the top of the statehouse dome back in 2000 to a pole on the
grounds themselves. But, now, Sheheen wants it gone entirely, replaced
with the American flag. He says he doesn`t want South Carolina to be
celebrated as a state that left America but as a state that loves America.
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I don`t know how to compare chances
from one election to another. But I do think that people are hungry for
something more. And I think that we`ve run good candidates in the past
that have been our nominee but it hasn`t been enough. So, I don`t think
the party is big enough to win again until we become a bigger party, and
that means more diverse, that means black, brown, white, young, old, rich,
poor. We need more diversity in our party.
So, that`s what I`ve spent a lot of time trying to reach out to new
constituencies and saying, hey, you know what, Democrats haven`t done a
very good job protecting your right to privacy. I think Republicans will
do a better job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
That was, of course, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul yesterday in a key
presidential primary state of South Carolina. But while Senator Paul has
his sights set on 2016, one member of his family might present a challenge
to his presidential ambitions.
In a column entitled, "Scottish referendum gives reasons to be
hopeful", Senator Paul`s father, former U.S. Congressman Ron Paul, he was
also a presidential candidate, encouraged more secessionist movements here
in the U.S. He wrote, "Americans who embrace secession are acting in a
grand American tradition. The Declaration of Independents was written to
justify secession from Britain. Supporters of liberty should cheer the
growth in support for secession as it is the ultimate rejection of
centralized government and ideologies of Keynesianism, welfarism and
militarism. The growth of support for secession should cheer all
supporters of freedom as devolving power to smaller units of government is
one of the best ways to guarantee peace, prosperity, liberty."
Anyway, back with our roundtable. We`ve got Michelle Bernard, Sam
Stein and Gregory Angelo.
Gregory Angelo, you`re the executive director of the Log Cabin
Republicans, a group of gay Republicans. I`ve spoken to your group. It`s
a great group. But still, as the Democratic Party tends to be much more
pro-gay marriage or same sex marriage, your party, at least formally, in
the voices of its major leaders, is against it. How do you stand?
ANGELO: Well, you know, you started the segment by talking about Rand
Paul. I mean, it`s important to point out that even Rand Paul, while he
might have a position in support of what he would call traditional
marriage, is someone who supported the Supreme Court`s ruling on section 3
of the Defense of Marriage Act, and someone who is reaching out to those
nontraditional voters that -- while others are merely giving lip service to
that, he`s actually putting those words into action.
I`d also point out that we can talk about this later on how you can be
gay and Republican. There`s shades of gray in the Republican Party,
there`s shades of gray in the Republican Party. And people are seeing
that. You know, Republicans do not walk in lock step on the marriage
equality issue. There are good conservatives who are supporters of
And largely in the GOP right now, there`s a detente, where even
opponents of marriage equality see that this is not a winning issue and
they`re either not talking about it, or those who are supportive are
speaking up because they realize this is a time, this is a historic moment
to take a stand.
MATTHEWS: Sam, I agree with that. I think you`re right, absolutely.
There`s definitely shades of gray. You see funders in the Republican Party
are now trending towards moving LGBT causing within the party. The problem
and the question for Greg on this, the party`s going to have a platform in
2016 and it`s going to see it`s vehemently against same-sex marriage.
Unless you have an insight into how you change that, I mean, that
seems to be the big problem for you guys.
BERNARD: I mean, just the difficulty -- I get it sort of, but -- and
there are things about the Republican platform that are good. The belief I
believe in personal responsibility is a good part of the platform. The
difficulty I believe personally for any member of the LGBT community and
African Americans and women as well is how do you remain a part of a party
that seemingly does not believe in justice, freedom and equality for all?
It`s wonderful that there`s somebody in the party that`s willing to
fight for the rights of the LGBT community --
BERNARD: -- you got to fight from within, but I just continue know.
My hats off to you that you`re able to do it.
ANGELO: Thanks for the compliment. I`m more interested to see who
the party`s nominee is as opposed to what the platform says. Focusing on
the platform is something that only political wonks and seemingly Democrats
seem to be focusing on right now.
BERNARD: But, but, but, but the candidate --
MATTHEWS: It doesn`t matter what you`re convention agrees to. It
BERNARD: But it does matter because whoever the candidate is, we know
at least during the primary season they`re going to swing as far right as
they possibly can so the people who love and admire Ted Cruz and other
members of the far right will vote for them. That`s the danger.
ANGELO: I am more concerned that you`re going to have a Democratic
Party platform that supports marriage equality. You have a nominee in
Hillary Clinton whose position is to the right of everyone in her party.
Hillary Clinton believes marriage is an issue that should be settled with
the states. That`s the same opinion on marriage equality, by the way, that
Senator Rand Paul has.
If I was a Democrat, I`d be more concerned with the nominee than the
BERNARD: Well, and to be fair -- I mean, Bill Clinton is the one who
signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act. He also instituted the "don`t
ask, don`t tell" policy. No one is perfect.
But, quite frankly, at least my vantage point over the last few years,
the Democratic Party seems to be the party that most people are putting
forth the rights for all.
MATTHEWS: I just want to interject one thought. All of us grown-ups
had differences with the party we may normally vote for and we all have
conflicts. The issue of abortion, I like Hillary Clinton`s stated opinion
to make it rare -- safe, legal and rare. But I don`t hear many real
policies aimed in that direction. I`d like to see a lot more into that.
OK, let me ask you about this. I want Greg to start since he`s such a
Let`s go with this question. How can Rand Paul call for secession
which is the worst thing that ever happened in this country, with
secession, 600,000 people dead shooting at each other in point blank range?
Why would he say secession, using that word as a good thing to cheer for in
ANGELO: There was an interview that Ron Paul did with the national
journal where he was able to clarify his position. He did say that
secession is something that`s not a reality because when the civil war
occurred we decided as a nation we`d be stronger as a union. I think also
what happens with Rand Paul --
MATTHEWS: Not as a nation. We have to point this out. Wait a
MATTHEWS: Six hundred thousand people were dead deciding that issue.
We didn`t decide. We had a civil war over slavery and whether it could be
expanded into the territories or not. That`s what the fight was about.
And why we went to war.
So, we didn`t decide. Secession is a bad thing. It`s
unconstitutional. You can`t just step out and take French leaf in the
United States if you`re an angry rural guy in Northern California, you
can`t do it. So, why talk about it if it`s unconstitutional?
STEIN: Details, Chris, details.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Sam.
BERNARD: I would suspect that the young Mr. Paul is probably going to
have to stay out of this or at least come out what his father has said. I
think most of the American public will be fine with saying everyone`s got
somebody who is a little bonkers in his family. In this case, it`s his
I mean, for the African-Americans that the young Mr. Paul is reaching
out to, secession -- even the thought of someone saying secession is
reasonable is very scary.
STEIN: I think, Michelle, I think you`re being very kind. I think we
shouldn`t necessarily have to answer to the positions of our relatives.
Rand Paul has made the point that Hillary Clinton should be
accountable for the discretions of her husband. So by his own standard I
think he`s going to have to answer these. I don`t think he should be
tarred with them.
But I would like to just make one point. The previous discussion we
had was about Ebola, Ebola appearing in the state of Texas, Texas, which is
led by Governor Rick Perry who has hinted at secession. What are they
doing as soon as Ebola shows up in Dallas? They`re calling the CDC, the
federal government agency to help them --
MATTHEWS: The irony is complete.
MATTHEWS: Every time something goes wrong we call for Washington.
Sam, you made a strong, cruel point to the subsidiary itself there.
Anyway, thank you so much. Great roundtable today, Michelle Bernard,
Sam Stein and Gregory Angelo, who lives in a world of conflict but so do we
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this scary new world we live in.
We Americans like most of the Western world like to think short term.
You have a problem, you face it, you figure it out, you fix it. Well, how
do we secure our country from terrorism today when we don`t really have a
plan for ridding the world of ISIS? How do we secure ourselves from Ebola
when we don`t even have a plan for keeping it out of our country?
Then, there`s this matter of incompetence by the government. In fact
right now in regard to the Secret Service. At top of all these security
concerns is the president himself.
Barack Obama was a visionary who thought the chief challenge was the
change the course of this country in foreign policy. That`s why and how he
was elected. He was against the war in Iraq.
Now, here he is required to face not just needs to set a new course
and follow it, but to find a way along the way to protect this country
against its enemies, foreign and domestic. It reminds us that politics is
not predictable. It`s phenomenal. Things happen.
And lately, those things are very troubling.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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