Date: October 9, 2014
Guest: David Nakamura, Donna Edwards, Michelle Bernard, Liz Mair
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: The Secret Service spills a sex story.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
Remember that trip to Cartagena President Obama took two years ago?
Remember the trouble the Secret Service got itself into that weekend, the
boozing and the prostitutes, with the president blaming it all on a couple
Well, fasten your seatbelts. Today`s "Washington Post" banners at the
top of the front page -- there it is -- the news that the White House was
given information suggesting that a prostitute was an overnight guest of a
member of the president`s own advance team that time. And not only that,
but the government investigators kept that information from its report on
the handling of the Secret Service episode.
So the advance team member was believed to be doing just what the
Secret Service was targeted for doing. The difference being that he never
got exposed, never suffered the punishment doled out to a dozen members --
agents of the Secret Service who got caught up in this whole matter.
Well, joining me right now, two White House correspondents. Kristen
Welker is with NBC News, of course, and David Nakamura, who broke the
story, with "The Washington Post."
I think -- here`s the evidence, by the way, that a member of the White
House team, advance man Jonathan Dach, had a sex worker in his hotel room
on that trip to Colombia. According to "The Washington Post," quote, "The
hotel logs for Dach`s stay showed that a woman was registered to Dach`s
room at 12:02 AM April 4th and included an attached photocopy of the
woman`s ID card. The name of the woman in the Hilton records registered to
Dach`s room matched that of a woman advertising herself on the Internet as
a prostitute." In addition, quote, "An agent said he saw Dach with a woman
he believed was a prostitute." That`s from a Secret Service agent. Dach
has denied hiring a prostitute or bringing anyone to his room.
David, this Secret Service agent who`s added to the witness list here,
along with the hotel logs, is he going to come forward?
DAVID NAKAMURA, "WASHINGTON POST": Well, he came forward to talk to
the investigators from the inspector general`s office, and his sort of
eyewitness account stands as far as the inspector general`s lead
investigator is concerned. The question is whether he`ll come -- continue
to talk about this publicly, I don`t know. But as far as the inspector
general`s office is concerned, this is an ongoing open question as to what
And I think what the White House is saying is that they interviewed
Johnny (ph) Dach more than once, and they -- and he said that he did not
have a woman in his room. Other people on the trip from the White House
staff were also interviewed. They said they did not see anything
suspicious. And so the White House, at that point, dropped the
But I think what we`re saying is that there`s plenty more evidence
from both -- in the inspector general`s report...
MATTHEWS: Well, were those other people from the White House advance
team in the room or the hotel lobby when he came in at midnight?
NAKAMURA: Well, they were with him at parts of the evening. He got
there the day before. He went out to dinner with them. They (sic) came
back to the hotel, purportedly, with his colleagues. At that point, there
are some open-ended questions about what happened overnight.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you this. The Secret Service agent who`s
testified here and the logs -- is there any reason to disbelieve either of
them? Is there any reason to believe they have a reason to be incompetent
or dishonest in making these claims?
NAKAMURA: Well, I think the logs were purported by the hotel to show
that this guest was registered to the room. Many other of the other Secret
Service agents who were implicated had the same evidence presented to the
Secret Service by that hotel and another hotel, and they ultimately were
The White House has pointed to one case in which a Secret Service
agent was purported to have a woman and proved that he did not. But I
think, overwhelmingly, this was the initial amount of evidence that
implicated many of the others.
MATTHEWS: OK. This, it seems to me, is problematic here because it
makes it look like the White House didn`t have its own hands clean here and
yet it was putting all the heat on the Secret Service agents, right?
NAKAMURA: Right. That`s a concern among the agents who suffered
consequences. Also, in the inspector general`s office, those who
investigated thought that this should be fully aired in their report.
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s look at how the White House has reacted to this
incident. As "The Washington Post" reports, on April 20th, 2012, Secret
Service first provided evidence to the White House counsel, Kathryn
Ruemmler, indicating that Dach -- in this case, Jonathan Dach -- registered
a prostitute into his room at the Hilton Hotel. This is what press
secretary Jay Carney told reporters three days later.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There have been no specific,
credible allegations of misconduct by anyone on the White House advance
team, the White House staff.
There`s no indication that any member of the White House advance team
engaged in any improper or -- conduct or behavior.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Kristen Welker and I have been talking on this matter
during the day, trying to get it in perspective. We`ve heard the --
basically, we`ve run through "The Washington Post" report at the top of the
front page. They treat it as a major story. They believe the evidence is
there that the White House did not act on this the same way they acted on
dealing with the Secret Service agents. What`s your reading on the thing,
as a reporter up there at the White House?
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, it does raise questions
about transparency. Why didn`t we learn, when this investigation was going
on, that the White House did have evidence to suggest that this woman was
signed into the room of Johnny Dach.
Having said that, I`ve been speaking to White House officials
throughout the day. They are pushing back hard against this report. They
say, Look, we did reveal the fact that there was an investigation at that
time. They`re defending the review that took place.
I spoke with one former official who was engaged in that review,
Chris, who says that they interviewed Johnny Dach three separate times, as
well as several officials who were on that trip with him, and no one saw
this woman coming into his room at the time, or into the hotel with him...
MATTHEWS: Again, were they in a position to...
WELKER: Well, that`s the big question...
MATTHEWS: Were they in a position at midnight to see whether he did
bring somebody in his room? I`m just talking about the fact (INAUDIBLE)
right or wrong or even the gravity of the situation.
MATTHEWS: Which you can argue about. But I`m asking, was there
anybody in the position to deny the facts of the story that were presented
-- the fact there was a log, the fact there was an agent who did see it?
Was there anyone there who did not see this happening at noon -- at
midnight and said it didn`t happen that way? Has anybody claimed to have
been present when he came into the room?
MATTHEWS: Into the hotel that night.
WELKER: Well, the White House says that, based on the people who they
interviewed, they didn`t see him go into the room with someone. Now what
we`re seeing is this witness come forward, speaking out anonymously, saying
that, in fact, they did see him walk in with this woman. And the question
i, where was this witness at the time of this initial investigation?
Having said all of this, though, Chris, it does raise questions about
transparency, and you`re seeing Congressman Jason Chaffetz, for example,
wrote a letter to White House chief of staff Denis McDonough demanding to
see all of the documents from that review. And I think you`re going to see
the calls growing louder for those documents to be released. I`m being
told right now that there are no plans to release those documents, but I
think that that`s where this conversation heads in the coming days.
MATTHEWS: Well, here`s more of the story (INAUDIBLE) Stay with us,
Kristen. "The lead investigator later told Senate staffers that he felt
pressure from his superiors to withhold evidence and that in the head of an
election year, decisions were being made with political considerations in
mind." That`s close (ph) quoting there. And the White House points out
that a Senate subcommittee report looked into those allegations and this
was their conclusion. The subcommittee did not substantiate those
What do you think of this?
NAKAMURA: Well, that`s true, but they also did not disprove them.
What the subcommittee found was that the investigator told congressional
investigators that he felt this pressure, but that his superiors then said
that they did not do anything improper and there was no political
considerations here. So it was a "He said, he said," and there`s no way
for the Senate to determine one way or the other, but it does not disprove
MATTHEWS: Well, you had a witness that said that they were putting
pressure on them not to go forward with this and put it in the report.
NAKAMURA: Absolutely. And he also suffered consequence. He was put
on administrative leave. This lead investigator who said he found -- he
went to Cartagena...
MATTHEWS: David Nieland.
NAKAMURA: David Nieland. He went to Cartagena, interviewed hotel
staff. He interviewed Secret Service agents. These are things the White
House did not do. The White House said, Hey, this was a volunteer travel
(ph) associate. Yes, he was -- his expenses were paid, but for us to send
an investigator down would be inappropriate. It would look ridiculous.
But that`s what this IG`s report determined with face-to-face
interviews in Cartagena. He was later put on administrative leave for what
his bosses said was an unrelated matter, but he believes was part of
MATTHEWS: ... what`s going on here? What`s the whole theme of your
NAKAMURA: Well, I think the question is, White House was very quick
to say that none of their staff was involved, none of the travel advance
team that was sent down ahead of time, of which this person was a member,
Jonathan Dach, was involved in this and that there was no substantial
evidence, as Jay Carney said, three days after questions, you know, some
questions were initially raised about whether a White House person was
involved, quickly said no, repeatedly, that anybody had been involved.
Now we`re finding out that, in fact, the investigation and evidence
was presented to the White House by the Secret Service and the separate
IG`s investigation continued well after that and that had not been made
public that that was going on.
MATTHEWS: Do you believe that your report on the front page of "The
Post" today nails down the fact that -- nails down the truth, the evidence
that Jonathan Dach had a sex worker in his room that night?
NAKAMURA: No. I think that what it says is that there was
information that was presented by the Secret Service to the White House,
that this information exists, that the woman was registered to this room.
There was additional evidence in a separate investigation by the inspector
general. The question is, what did the White House do with this
information? That`s the question we tried to answer. That`s the
MATTHEWS: But do you -- do you share the same -- do you share the
skepticism at all about the evidence presented by the Secret Service agent,
your witness here?
NAKAMURA: I think that it`s worth reviewing, and I think that the
question to the White House at the time was, Did you review this
thoroughly, and they determinatively (ph), definitively said that none of
their staff members, none of the travel associates on the trip were
involved. The president himself on the trip when the Secret Service agents
were being disciplined said all the team that`s with him has to be held to
the highest standard. The question is whether the White House looked
thoroughly into that and answered that question to -- and -- even though
they were saying in public that they had done so.
MATTHEWS: Do you have evidence that he was given favorable treatment
because his father was a big Democratic figure, Leslie Dach?
NAKAMURA: Well, I think that his -- his father had close ties to the
White House, both in his previous position, in which he supported some of
the president`s and the first lady`s initiatives at the White House, and he
also had connection to the White House that he was a frequent visitor, as
MATTHEWS: What`s your evidence that he got favorable treatment for
NAKAMURA: Well, there`s no evidence that -- necessarily that the
father had favorable treatment for the son. The question was that the
inspector general`s lead investigator into this report said that he had
been pressured by his superiors to remove information...
MATTHEWS: That`s David Nieland.
NAKAMURA: Yes, absolutely, David Nieland...
MATTHEWS: So we`re going to hear more from him...
NAKAMURA: ... from the report and to the latest...
MATTHEWS: Let me go back to Kristen on that. What do you think`s
going to come out of this? Are we going to have a couple days of back and
forth on this between these people that have talked to "The Post" and the
White House denying that they have any credibility or what? Where`s this
going, this story?
WELKER: Look, I certainly wouldn`t be surprised. And I would make a
couple of points, Chris. I think that this underscores the tensions
between the White House and the Secret Service when they`re going through
this incredibly difficult time, a pivotal time for the Secret Service. The
Secret Service feels as though there was special treatment. So I think
that that could potentially be a challenge moving forward.
As you know, President Obama just appointed a new interim director of
the Secret Service, Joe Clancy. He`s charged with trying to get the agency
back on track. I`ve been told, based on my conversations, that the House
Oversight Committee is launching its own investigation into these four
recent breaches -- Cartagena, the 2011 shooting, in which it took the
Secret Service four days to determine that bullets had actually it the
White House, the Atlanta incident, when President Obama was in an elevator
with an armed man, and then, of course, the most recent one, that White
House fence-jumping incident, in which an intruder made it deep inside the
So I think we`re going to be learning a lot more about all of these
breaches, Chris, in the coming days. And I can tell you that...
WELKER: ... according to a senior administration official, DHS, the
Department of Homeland Security, plans to appoint a four-member panel by
the end of this week to start reviewing all of...
WELKER: ... these scandals that have rocked the agency.
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, Kristen Welker for NBC at the White
House. Thank you, David Nakamura -- big front-page for you guys. We`ll
see how it develops.
Coming up: Republicans may have finally found an issue to run on this
November, fear, fear itself. Republican candidates across the country are
using things like the threat of ISIS and Ebola to scare the voters and get
them to vote against Democrats. Let`s see if it`s working in the next
couple minutes and what the Democrats can do, if anything, to fight it.
It`s hard to fight the notion of fear when it`s so imminent.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: We`ve got a slew of new Senate polls tonight, and for that,
we check the HARDBALL "Scoreboard."
First to New Hampshire, where a new WMUR poll has Democrat senator
Jeanne Shaheen up 6 over Scott Brown. It`s Shaheen 7 -- 47, Brown 41. And
that`s in line with the polling we`ve seen from up there all along. He
could win, by the way, Scott Brown, if there`s a Republican sweep this
Next to Alaska, where a CNN Opinion Research poll shows Republican Dan
Sullivan leading incumbent Republican (sic) Mark Begich by 6. It`s
Sullivan 50, Begich 44. And that`s consistent with other recent polling
showing Begich trailing in Alaska. And this one may be gelling.
In Kansas, a CNN Opinion Research poll has Republican senator Pat
Roberts now leading independent Greg Orman by just 1, 49 for Roberts, 48
for Orman. Orman could be just too much of a personal question mark for
the voters. They don`t know this guy.
In North Carolina, a new "USA Today"/Suffolk poll has incumbent
Democratic senator Kay Hagan up 2 over Republican challenger Thom Tillis.
It`s Hagan 47, Tillis 45. Hagan`s holding that slim lead, and we`ll be
there tomorrow down there in North Carolina.
In Arkansas, a Fox News poll has Republican Tom Cotton over incumbent
senator Mark Pryor by 7. It`s Cotton 46, Pryor down at 39, and Cotton
looks like he`s building that lead.
Finally, to Kentucky, where the Fox poll has Mitch McConnell leading
Alison Lundergan (sic) by just 4, 45 to 41. She can still do it.
And we`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Be afraid! That`s the message
from many Republicans running in 2014, people like Scott Brown and Thom
Tillis, who have used Ebola and ISIS to knock their opponents.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the reasons why I have been so adamant
about closing our border, because if people are coming in from normal
channels, can you imagine what they can do through a porous border?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact of the matter, Senator Hagan has failed
the people of North Carolina and the nation by not securing our border.
Ladies and gentlemen, we`ve got an Ebola outbreak. We have bad actors that
can come cross the border. We need to seal the border and secure it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: As "The New York Times" reports, the question of how safe
we are has become central in many attacks against Democrats right now.
You`re seeing it in political ads like these against Congresswoman Anne
Kirkpatrick (ph) in Arizona and also Senator Mark Udall in Colorado.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Evil forces around the world want to harm
Americans every day! They`re entering into our country through Arizona`s
back yard. Yet Anne Kirkpatrick consistently votes with her party against
protecting Arizona. She voted against sending the National Guard to the
border, against technology to detect illegal border crossings. She even
voted with Nancy Pelosi against providing funds to secure the border. In a
dangerous world, Kirkpatrick votes with Pelosi and leaves Arizona
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With America`s national security threatened,
warnings of Islamic extremists, ISIL plotting imminent attacks. But what
does Mark Udall say?
SEN. MARK UDALL (D), COLORADO: I said last week that ISIL does not
present an imminent threat to this nation, and it doesn`t.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really? Can we take that chance?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, for the record, the director of the National
Counterterrorism Center himself has said there is no evidence ISIS is
plotting to attack the United States here. And Senator Udall went on to
say in that clip that we do, in fact, need to respond to the threat posed
by ISIS itself.
And yet you have Republicans like Tom Cotton even alleging ISIS is
collaborating with Mexican drug cartels to cross over the border. Here he
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
REP. TOM COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: It`s not just an immigration problem.
We now know that it`s a security problem. Groups like the Islamic State
collaborate with drug cartels in Mexico that have clearly shown they`re
willing to expand outside the drug trade into human trafficking and
potentially even terrorism. They can infiltrate our defenseless southern
border and attack us right here in places like Arkansas.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, his evidence that ISIS and the cartels are
collaborating? Well, several right-wing blogs. They seem to be his
evidence base, including one that quotes someone with no direct knowledge
of current intelligence, suggesting that it`s something that may happen.
Then there`s this claim from U.S. Congressman Duncan Hunter from
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DUNCAN HUNTER (R), CALIFORNIA: If you`re talking about
protecting Americans, ISIS is coming across the southern border...
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS: Let me ask you...
HUNTER: ... aren`t flying B1 bombers bombing American cities...
VAN SUSTEREN: Stop for one second.
HUNTER: ... but they are going to be bombing American cities coming
across from Mexico.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Do you have any information or any evidence
that they are coming in the southern border now?
HUNTER: Yes. Yes. I have information that...
VAN SUSTEREN: Tell me what you know.
HUNTER: I know that at least 10 ISIS fighters have been caught coming
across the Mexican border in Texas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, the Department of Homeland Security has said that
that claim is categorically false. Today the Homeland Security secretary
said several Middle Eastern men had indeed been arrested trying to cross
the border. The only problem, they were members of a Kurdish political
group, a group which, by the way, is fighting against ISIS.
So, where is all this fear-mongering coming from?
Michael Steele is a former chairman of the Republican National
Committee. And Joan Walsh is editor at large at Salon. Both are MSNBC
Joan, I want you to start here. This is so wild, these accusations.
JOAN WALSH, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: They are.
MATTHEWS: And they`re so apocryphal, I mean, apocalyptic, I should
say. The world`s ending, there`s going to be bombings in the United States
out in California. You don`t really need evidence. You just say it. Just
come with it.
MATTHEWS: And, by the way, a lot of this is like anti-Mexican
immigration. Let`s face it. Like, they`re all coming in disguised as
I mean, this is one excuse to be a prejudiced person without having to
MATTHEWS: I got no problem with regular illegal immigrants. I don`t
want the drug dealers with cantaloupe legs or the people carrying bombs.
MATTHEWS: But I don`t have any problem with the other illegal
WALSH: Now they`re carrying bombs. Right? That`s why they have the
cantaloupe legs now. They`re carrying the bombs over the border.
WALSH: No, it`s ludicrous, Chris.
And it goes back to -- remember when we had the child migrant crisis
on the border in June and July? That`s been largely solved. So, now those
child migrants, who were also carrying disease and drugs, they have been
replaced by ISIS and Ebola.
And it`s straight out of the Republican xenophobic playbook. And it
really does -- look, the three of us, we can have a really rational debate
about whether we all love the response to ISIS and Ebola.
On the other hand, this just goes right into the heart of Obama
derangement syndrome, because some of these people, especially the right-
wing talkers, really like to say the president is sympathetic to ISIS
because of his Muslim roots, or that he`s too soft on Ebola because of his
I mean, right now, David Vitter is holding up the funding bill for
Ebola because he thinks it devotes too much attention to Africa. So we can
have a rational debate. There are ways to disagree about this. But this
is straight out of the Obama derangement syndrome midterm election
MATTHEWS: Yes, Michael?
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, I just -- I -- I`m
amused that everyone`s getting all worked up about this.
MATTHEWS: Well, you`re watching these ads.
STEELE: Well, yes, but this is politics. This is the 11th hour
MATTHEWS: So, anything goes? Anything goes?
STEELE: You know what it reminds me of? It reminds me of the signs
with no authority line that popped up in my neighborhood when I was running
for the U.S. Senate that was obviously put there by Democrats, warning the
community that, if I`m elected a U.S. senator, that church bombings will
The whole civil rights agenda from the left is no different than what
you`re seeing played out here in a campaign scenario.
WALSH: Michael, that`s really an exaggeration. It`s not the same.
STEELE: How many churches got burned when George Bush got elected
president of the United States? Can we run those -- can we go back and
revisit those ads; can we go back and revisit the same hyperbole and
MATTHEWS: Where were these ads? Where were these ads? I never saw
STEELE: They were ads that were run at the local level. They were
ads that popped ad. You may not have seen them, but they showed up on air
when I was a candidate and a whole lot of noise about...
MATTHEWS: Let`s retreat to truth.
STEELE: ... when George Bush was elected president.
MATTHEWS: OK. OK. You have exhausted my memory track. I can`t get
back to these ads I never saw.
WALSH: I can`t either.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, do you think there might be something to
the charge that when they talk about the border, the implication is the
Mexican border? They never talk about the Canadian border, that there
might be something of a dangerous nature there, but it`s ethnic.
You know it`s always the Mexican border.
MATTHEWS: They`re not talking about -- you never see that -- talk
about a porous border. There`s no border checks along the Canadian north
border. The millennial bomber came down through Canada.
STEELE: Why are you -- why are you -- Chris, you`re acting like this
is something new.
MATTHEWS: No. I just think -- I think it`s a cover for another
STEELE: Oh, I don`t know. I don`t know that. I don`t know the
evidence that you have for that.
WALSH: Yes, you do. Michael, come on.
STEELE: What evidence do you have -- what evidence do you have that
this is a racist attempt to...
MATTHEWS: But why do they focus so on the border, when that`s not --
the problem is over in the Middle East, is the problem.
WALSH: When the child migrant crisis...
STEELE: That`s where we have gotten 20 million illegal people from.
MATTHEWS: And what`s that got to do with ISIS or Ebola?
STEELE: Well, there apparently is -- some believe that there`s
evidence. There`s dispute as to whether or not there is evidence.
WALSH: Some believe. Come on, Michael.
STEELE: I understand the political points you`re trying to score
STEELE: But the fact of the matter is, we`re in the middle of the
last four weeks of a political campaign.
MATTHEWS: Can we look at this analytically?
Where -- we have had one tragedy of Ebola in this country, someone who
came here through Belgium, OK?
MATTHEWS: They came through Belgium and Dulles Airport here at
Washington. They didn`t sneak across dressed in Arab clothing and leaving
behind the Koran, all this weird thing that we`re hearing about.
STEELE: I understand that.
MATTHEWS: They came in broad daylight from Belgium.
STEELE: Look, I want to get back to Joan`s earlier point...
STEELE: ... which was a good point, which is you can have the
rational discussion about whether or not we have failed to deal with Ebola,
we have failed to deal with ISIS correctly.
But we are at the last minute of a political season, and this is the
drama that is put up there.
MATTHEWS: Speaking of political, let`s go to Reince Priebus, your
successor, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, who defeated
Anyway, the strategy is a fair one, according to him. He told "The
New York Times" -- he`s talking like you -- "It`s the accumulation of
ineptitude that`s hovering over Obama and, in turn, his lieutenants, his
lieutenants" -- catch this -- "that are running for United States Senate."
MATTHEWS: "I think it`s a powerful message because, number one, it`s
true, and, number two, it`s" -- I love this -- "it`s simple."
Now, here`s what I`m thinking, Joan. We all watch Kimmel`s thing with
Biden. We all enjoyed it because it made us all feel superior and
sophisticated because we know who Joe Biden is.
WALSH: We do.
But the person out there who has a little bit of interest in politics,
enough to go vote, will hear this scare talk.
MATTHEWS: And then they will hear it, they will act on it. And you
think that`s fair politics?
STEELE: I don`t know about you and Joan, but I give the American
voter a little bit more credit than that.
STEELE: I don`t think any voter is going to go to the polls quaking
in their boots and voting Republican because, guess what, oh, ISIS may come
over the border because I saw a campaign commercial told me so.
MATTHEWS: You know who disagrees with you? The guys writing those
STEELE: Well, no, the guys who are writing those commercials are
getting paid a lot of money to write those commercials.
MATTHEWS: OK. Joan, last word.
WALSH: Let me grant Michael -- let me grant Michael a point.
These are not -- they are not designed for the average American.
They`re designed to turn out the Republican base, because they hate
STEELE: They`re average Americans.
WALSH: They want to believe -- they want to believe he`s incompetent
and they have some issues around people coming over the border.
STEELE: Joan, clearly, it`s not just the Republican base that people
are concerned about, because clearly the Democrats have a problem with the
president as a base as well.
MATTHEWS: All I know is -- can I just make a point? No matter what
you say that people don`t like it, fear it, tie it to the Mexicans crossing
the border, because it just ties it to them. Just bring it to the
Mexicans, them -- point it to them.
WALSH: Anyway, thank you. This has a role in history, a place in
history, this scapegoating.
Anyway, thank you, Michael Steele. And it`s not you. You`re just
Thank you, Joan Walsh.
WALSH: Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Thanks, Joan. I missed you.
Up next, Hillary Clinton talks about falling for both Bill and Barack.
This is a little bit, well, high school maybe, anyway.
A reminder, by the way, I will be down in North Carolina this weekend
starting tomorrow to cover the tight Senate race tomorrow. And we`re going
to have our report to you on Monday, but we`re going to spend the whole
weekend making movies of what`s going on down there, videotape.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Time now for the "Sideshow."
There`s no question that the past few weeks have been tough for the
president. Now, with ISIS on the move again, the president`s critics are
raising new questions about our military campaign in the Middle East, not
only about the strategy, but also about choosing an appropriate name for
the operation itself.
And that was Stephen Colbert`s concern last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE COLBERT REPORT")
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE COLBERT REPORT": This is the first
military intervention in 25 years without a code name.
Now, it might be because our chin stroker in chief wants to avoid an
embarrassing acronym here, like past rejected code names.
COLBERT: Operation Afghan Freedom, which spelled OAF by accident.
COLBERT: Or Operation Iraqi Liberation, which spelled OIL.
COLBERT: But so far, the only name military planners have suggested
to the Pentagon was Operation Inherent Resolve...
COLBERT: ... which was rejected because, as one military officer put
it, it was just kind of blah.
COLBERT: I agree. I agree, although, given the mood of the country
right now, I might go with Operation Kind of Blah.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Next up: Hillary Clinton spoke at the Economic Club of
Chicago yesterday, where she told the audience that she had initially
declined the job of secretary of state when Barack Obama first offered it
to her in 2008.
In fact, she compared her eventual decision to take that job to her
decision to eventually accept Bill Clinton`s marriage proposal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: In my
discussions after he offered me the job here in Chicago, and I said no, and
then I said no again, and I said no again. And finally I just gave in.
And as I said to somebody the other day, you know, I told my husband
no, and I wouldn`t get married, and, no, and just gave in.
CLINTON: And so I have a history with charismatic, attractive men who
just wear me out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Charismatic, attractive men that just wear me out. Well,
that`s laying it on thick.
Anyway, finally, an item that falls under the heading of, don`t call
me, I will call you. Well, most people would be excited to get a call of
course from the White House, but apparently not everyone.
Jimmy Carter spoke to "People" magazine this week for their upcoming
40th anniversary issue, and here`s how the former president responded if he
was asked if he ever hears from President Obama -- quote -- "Not really.
When I was president I called Ford and Nixon until they finally asked me to
leave them alone."
MATTHEWS: Is Carter that tiresome? Or were Ford and Nixon just too
easily bored with him?
Anyway, coming up: how the Republican Party`s attempt to bridge the
gender gap this year has not always gone as planned. That`s next with the
And take a look at what could be a preview of coming attractions.
That`s Hillary Clinton and Chris Christie. They`re both on the campaign
trail today in good old Pennsylvania. Clinton is campaigning with Tom
Wolf, the Democratic candidate for governor there, while Christie is with
the embattled Republican Governor Tom Corbett.
It could be the election.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
PAGE HOPKINS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Page Hopkins. And here`s
U.S. forces carried out nine airstrikes today on ISIS targets around
the Syrian city of Kobani. Kurdish forces are trying to defend the city
about six miles from the Turkish border.
One hundred U.S. Marines arrived in Liberia earlier. Thousands are
headed to West Africa to construct Ebola treatment centers and provide
logistical help aimed at containing that virus.
Meanwhile, leaders from the country struggling with the outbreak are
pleading for a scaled-up global response to the crisis, which has claimed
nearly 4,000 lives so far -- now we`re going to take you back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
And time now for the roundtable. They`re going to dig into the latest
twist in the Secret Service story and escapades and Republican fear-
mongering, if you will, and how that is going to move the voters or not
this November, plus the GOP gender gap. The Republican Party got stark
evidence lately of its women`s problem when the 2012 -- 2012 exit polls
showed President Obama trouncing Mitt Romney among women by 11 points 55-
On yesterday`s show -- yesterday`s, by the way, we showed you
highlight polls of crucial Senate races like in North Carolina and
Colorado, where the women support the Democrat by double-digits, pretty
We are going to get into all of that with the roundtable, Michelle
Bernard, who was featured, by the way, in the November issue of "Essence"
magazine as a rising star -- that`s the phrase -- in politics today.
Democratic U.S. Congressman -- Congresswoman Donna Edwards of Maryland is
already a star. And Liz Mair is somebody new I`m meeting today. She`s a
former spokesperson for the Republican National Committee.
Thank you all.
REP. DONNA EDWARDS (D), MARYLAND: Thank you.
MICHELLE BERNARD, FOUNDER, BERNARD CENTER FOR WOMEN, POLITICS AND
POLICY: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: And I want to ask you about this.
Is this a sex romp story? The president called those people a bunch
of knuckleheads, the Secret Service. And 12 of those guys, Congresswoman,
were zapped, they had their careers ruined. And now we find out that this
guy running as an advance guy for the president may have been guilty of the
exact same sin, if you will, of having sex workers in his room that night.
EDWARDS: Well, the difference is, he was a volunteer, not Secret
Service. But the problem goes deep in the Secret Service. I mean, it`s
MATTHEWS: What about the White House advance guy involved?
EDWARDS: Look, I think the White House needs to deal with that and
figure out what its protocols are for dealing with people who advance them
and making sure that they`re the right people. I mean, it`s kind of
embarrassing and silly.
MATTHEWS: Do you think it`s an open question whether they should be
able to have a hooker or not?
EDWARDS: No. That`s not the open question.
LIZ MAIR, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: There are things that stand out to
me that I think are really, really bad about this. And I`m saying this
purely with my woman hat here, not with anything partisan going on.
But, you know, come on. First of all, calling them knuckleheads, I
think really diminishes this. When we`re talking about people who work as
sex workers, those tend to be some of the most exploited and vulnerable and
abused people in all societies, even places where it`s legal.
MAIR: Knuckleheads is really kind of playing it low. And, frankly...
MATTHEWS: You think that`s a frat boy`s reference?
MAIR: Yes. I think -- I think it`s very dismissive, when, actually,
that`s a serious issue.
MATTHEWS: Why do you think he did it? I think there`s a motive to
why he didn`t want to be judgmental, because he doesn`t want to make the
guys who are protecting his life...
MAIR: I get that.
MATTHEWS: ... morally inferior to him.
MAIR: I understand. I understand that.
But, at the same time, obviously, he`s already done it, because now
there`s some retribution, with people coming out with this information
about this volunteer, which ultimately, we don`t know 100 percent what
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly.
MAIR: But it doesn`t look good. And I think the real problem isn`t
necessarily what he did or didn`t do. I can`t believe this guy was offered
a job as a contractor handling women`s issues. That`s extraordinary.
MATTHEWS: Does this look like a fight behind the scenes between the
Secret Service and the president?
MICHELLE BERNARD, BERNARD CENTER FOR WOMEN: But if you delve into it
more clearly and I am clearly, you know -- there`s no evidence that he did
anything wrong. He was a 25-year-old law student at Yale. Is he really
going to testify and lie about this and risk being disbarred over having a
prostitute in his room in a country where it`s legal?
MATTHEWS: I don`t think he was under oath.
REP. DONNA EDWARDS (D), MARYLAND: I think the White House needs to
examine what it asked because they don`t want people who work for them when
they call them on the carpet to lie. So, I think that`s a bigger question.
MAIR: I get why this guy didn`t want to say what happened if that`s
what`s going on --
MATTHEWS: But Bill Clinton didn`t want to say it either.
MAIR: But that`s not the point. He was a person who was doing the
hiring. Who was he volunteering before? If you`re dismissive about this
kind of thing, I don`t care if it`s legal or that. That still doesn`t make
it right. And I think when you`re the person who`s standing up and saying,
hey, we`re championing women`s rights. That just looks ridiculous
something like that --
BERNARD: It was a Secret Service agent who was misidentified at a
different hotel in Cartagena. They said he brought a prostitute in his
room. It was --
MAIR: He didn`t have records at the hotel.
MATTHEWS: What about the Secret Service --
MAIR: He didn`t have records from the hotel.
MATTHEWS: -- source for the story, who said he saw this guy take the
one woman to his room.
MAIR: Plus the hotel records.
EDWARDS: I`m so much more concerned about us getting to the problems
within the Secret Service.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about something. You`re all women. In this
gender gap thing -- I`ve always believed that choice, abortion rights is a
big signal to a lot of people about how you stand with women. But I`ve
always thought it was a lot more than that. I always thought it was, in my
family, traditional marriage, my wife Kathleen, you know her, knows all the
shots the kids have had when they`re growing up, knew all the teachers,
knew most of their classmates.
Men are a bit out to lunch generally unless you`re Mr. Modern about
any of that stuff. So when you go to vote, you do look at the health
issues. What`s covered in my husband`s health insurance? What`s going to
happen to him? What`s going to happen to me?
It`s just for some reason, women are the proprietors of most homes. I
don`t know if it`s fair or not, they keep the checkbooks.
MAIR: Yes, women make the budgetary decisions. They pay the bills.
They know what everything costs. They know what`s coming in. They are the
ones that handle that.
And in addition to that, I would also add, if you look at demographic
data about who is becoming a small business owner, women -- it`s women.
MATTHEWS: But how does your party get them back then?
MAIR: Well, not the way we`re doing it right now, clearly. Certainly
not in Colorado --
MAIR: I would just hasten to add that I think that the candidates
we`re fielding in Colorado, and North Carolina generally are poor
candidates. I don`t think that they are matching when they should be
capable of doing it in those states. I mean, going into this cycle, I
honestly thought if somebody said, who`s the most vulnerable Democrat, I
would have said Kay Hagan by a mile and that`s not happening. So, we have
problem with candidate recruitment anyway --
MATTHEWS: Better than last time. No rape candidates --
MAIR: But that`s such a low bar to clear.
BERNARD: And no binders filled with women and no statements that
money is arguably more important to men than women. But here`s the
problem. Within the Republican Party, the gender gap, there`s a very small
gender gap when you`re looking at married, wealthy white women. The
problem with the Republican Party is that --
MATTHEWS: How about women who work outside the home?
BERNARD: Well, white women who work outside of the home, by and
large, large numbers of them vote Republican. The problem for the
Republican Party is the browning of America, and African-American women,
women of color, Asian women, do not have any reason right now to vote for
the Republican Party.
EDWARDS: If you ask questions about why women care about things like
violence against women and why there`s a gender gap here, well, the reason
when you have more than half of the Republican party voting against
reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, it kind of tells me --
BERNARD: And then saying it should only apply to women who are legal
citizens of the United States.
MATTHEWS: OK, what about Thom Tillis, the speaker of the house down
in North Carolina, saying it was a gimmick, talking about equal pay?
EDWARDS: When women know they don`t get paid equally, when they know
black women are making 64 cents on the dollar, it`s not a surprise that,
MAIR: I don`t even know -- I don`t even know if it`s necessarily
that. I mean, I could have plenty of arguments about statistics that
people cite with regard to the pay equity gap are not necessarily properly
representative of the problem that exists or doesn`t exist out there. But
the point is, like as a candidate, you can`t be going out and arguing about
all these little details.
I mean, people don`t seem to understand at this point. There`s an old
saying, if you`re explaining, you`re losing. Well, they`re losing. This
is what they do.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about another issue, Mike Huckabee. He`s a
churchman, of course. He says he`s going to leave the Republican Party if
they don`t take a harder stance against same-sex marriage. We`re coming
back with a roundtable on that one.
And this is HARDBALL, and it`s in the party platform. They`re opposed
to same sex marriage.
Back in a minute.
MATTHEWS: Well, tomorrow, we`re going to be doing this show from the
southern part of Haven, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. And I`ll be inducted
that day, by the way, to the North Carolina Journalism Hall of Fame. I`d
be getting that tomorrow night. I`ll be joining the company of broadcast
legends, David Brinkley, Charles Kuralt, Roger Mudd, and my friend Charlie
Rose. I`m getting in that great company.
It`s a great honor to have my name on such an historic list of news
men. I can`t wait to get there where I attended grad school. Anyway, just
happens to be one of the great college towns in the world.
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with the roundtable. Michelle Bernard, my pal
here, U.S. Congresswoman Donna Edwards, who was not going to be stopped to
their career to greatness, anyway, and Liz Mair joining us tonight for the
Former Arkansas governor and 2008 GOP presidential candidate Mike
Huckabee says he`s not fighting hard enough to fight same-sex marriage. He
even says he`ll quite the party if it won`t stand up to fight marriage
equality. And this is Huckabee yesterday in an interview on American Family
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MIKE HUCKABEE, FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: I am utterly exasperated
with Republicans and the so-called leadership of the Republicans who have
abdicated on this issue when, if they continue this direction, they
guaranteed they`re going to lose every election in the future. Guarantee
it. The Republicans want to lose guys like me and a whole bunch of still
God-fearing, Bible-believing people. Go ahead and just abdicate on this
issue and while you`re at it, go ahead and say abortion doesn`t matter,
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
HUCKABEE: Because t that point, you lose me. I`m gone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
HUCKABEE: I`ll become an independent. I`ll start finding people that
have guts to stand. I`m tired of this.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Liz, what do you make of that? Is that the voice of your
MAIR: No, that is not. And I think there are a couple ways you can
tell. First of all, you can look at polling. If you look at Republicans
and Republican-leaning independents under the age of 50, a majority support
Second of all, you can look at how people actually responded to what
the Supreme Court did and there were only two prominent Republicans who
said anything negative about it. Him and Ted cruise. That speaks volumes.
BERNARD: Well, Bobby Jindal was a little sort of wishy-washy.
MATTHEWS: Rick Santorum who is running again.
MATTHEWS: Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal I believe, and you said
Huckabee, and Ted Cruz certainly. So, you`ve got a strong, right wing
front there that doesn`t want to have anything to do with same-sex
MAIR: Hold on. Hold on.
As the Republican here, let me weigh in on it.
MATTHEWS: I`m not sure she`s not a Republican --
BERNARD: I would be saying to Mike Huckabee, if I were a Republican
and I wanted to win elections in the future, I would say, good riddance.
EDWARDS: I think he`s right. I think there`s no place in the
Republican Party for him. And there`s no place in the Republican Party for
And I think, you know, it would serve us all well, frankly, from a
governing standpoint, if these guys just go away.
MAIR: I also just want to make the point, though, that the people
he`s speaking to, who he says are going to exit with him, is a very small
proportion. And it`s all social conservatives. It`s very important to
note that for social conservatives -- I am not one, but knowing them very
well -- for social conservatives, there is a huge difference between
abortions and same-sex marriage.
And he is treating the two as equivalent, they`re not. On abortion,
for social conservatives, that is murder. Whatever you want to say about
same-sex marriage and about gay couples, it isn`t murder.
MATTHEWS: Congresswoman, your thoughts?
MATTHEWS: Have you noticed a lot of gay parents, parents of gay
people, I would think they are very turned off by the Republican Party`s
platform on this issue.
EDWARDS: Well, they are. And the reason that the country has moved
is because we have gay children and neighbors and other family members and
we know them. And so, that`s the reason that the country has moved. It
EDWARDS: And so that the Supreme Court followed that movement is not
a surprise. And anybody else who isn`t going that direction is just going
to be left behind.
BERNARD: It is just no different than the time when African-Americans
and whites, it was illegal to get married.
BERNARD: Anyone who is on the side that Mike Huckabee is on is going
to find themselves in national embarrassment and on the wrong side of
MAIR: Well, it`s just not going to be electorally viable. Bottom
line is, you have a majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning
independents under the age of 50, those people are going to be the voters.
MATTHEWS: OK. My last word is not everybody is out. And there`s a
lot of people who are and not advertising it, and they didn`t like the way
people talk about them. And they don`t like it from the time they were
five years old.
Anyway, thank you, Michelle Bernard, my pal, close up here.
And, U.S. Congresswoman Donna Edwards, one of my faves.
And, Liz Mair, good luck. You`re really kind of aggressive here,
which I think is interesting. We`ll work on it.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: I told you to be aggressive.
We`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with the splendid notion that the
Democrats hold their national convention next summer in Philadelphia.
It will give delegates, media, supporters and the TV audience watching
from home a look at this country`s democratic roots, it would give
Americans of both parties a refresher course in the values that gave birth
Can we imagine how inspiring it would be to go into the very room
where the Declaration was signed, right there in Independence Hall itself?
Delegates could see and experience the actual place for those original
delegates to the Continental Congress signed the documents, holding these
truths to be self-evident that were endowed by our Creator with certain
unalienable rights, among them, our life, liberty and the pursuit of
All created equal. What a great standard to hold high in the current
fights over equal pay and voter access.
The pursuit of happiness -- what other country is built on such an
idea, one that animates us even today as marriage equality spreads across
Philadelphia has all of these history on neighborhood display, an easy
walk from your hotel. A wonderful excursion back into the history that
made us as country and guides as still.
The other night on Jimmy Kimmel, we saw those people being interviewed
on the sidewalk who have no idea who Joe Biden is, the role he plays in our
government. We`ve got a survey showing that only about a third of us know
how the three branches of government operate.
But the great thing about America, something we overlook, is that you
don`t need to know someone to get safe or keep safe. You don`t have to
have an in with a party member to be on the side with the government. You
don`t need to worry about someone ratting you out because you said
something against those in office.
Why? Because we have a Constitution agreed to in Philadelphia that
protects you even if you don`t make the slightest effort to do it yourself.
It`s called the Bill of Rights. All created equal. The right to pursue
happiness, liberty, equal protection of the laws, all of these guarantees,
all these principles that are at the very foundation of our country, all on
powerful display in a city just up Route 95 from here.
Today, in Philadelphia, there was a groundbreaking for the Museum of
the American Revolution, another powerful tribute to our country`s
beginnings, and to the courage that made it happen.
If the Democrats commit to holding its national convention there, the
summer of `16 will give us the greatest opportunity to revisit those roots,
to stroll where Washington and Jefferson and Franklin once strode, and to
remember that this government of imperfect human beings was created by
imperfect human beings, just like us.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us tonight.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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