updated 10/20/2014 9:56:57 AM ET 2014-10-20T13:56:57

Show: HARDBALL
Date: October 17, 2014

Guest: Michelle Bernard

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: A czar is born.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

And what a week it was. Ebola goes to the White House. President
Obama puts a czar in charge. He takes the story from Dallas, to
Washington, D.C., from the CDC to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Razzle-dazzle. Who gives a damn if Charlie likes his fan? You stop
the debate for this?

Plus, who did you vote for? Don`t ask, don`t tell.

And hooray for gays. Pope Francis opens the great (ph) church`s arms
to same-sex couples. And guess who`s going to emcee next year`s Oscars?
Neil Patrick Harris, that`s who.

Also this week, switching places. Libertarian Rand Paul talks of a
push for African-Americans to vote Republican.

Let`s see what the week looked like.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we have confirmation Ron Klain will be the
new Ebola czar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why are you reluctant to give an answer on whether
or not you voted for President Obama?

ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES (D-KY), SENATE CANDIDATE: Bill, there`s no
reluctance. This is a matter of principle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have an extremely peculiar situation right now.
Somehow, there is a fan there. And for that reason, ladies and gentlemen,
I am being told that Governor Scott will not join us for this debate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In a ground-breaking move, the Vatican appears
to be considering a greater acceptance of gays and lesbians.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has hosted the Emmys and the Tonys, but now
one of our favorite stars is soon going to have a date with Oscar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m in. Nice!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Our roundtable tonight for the end of the week program,
"The Washington Post`s" Jonathan Capehart, Michelle Bernard and David Corn
of "Mother Jones."

Anyway, the president took ownership of the Ebola crisis this week,
and he picked a point man for the effort. Ron Klain is a former chief of
staff to Vice Presidents Biden and Al Gore. He`s probably best known for
his role in the 2000 Florida recount crisis.

In fact, in the HBO movie about that event, he was played by Kevin
Spacey.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Florida House has already voted to award the
state`s electors to Bush.

KEVIN SPACEY, ACTOR: Well, yes, but then we just file two lawsuits,
one to set standards, the other to halt the legislature. We can do this,
sir!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ron, nobody can fault you for not trying.

SPACEY: No, no, no! Mr. Vice President, please. Please, sir, listen
to me. You cannot concede, not yet, sir. I beg of you, sir, just give me
one more shot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Pretty chilling stuff. Anyway, today the president`s press
secretary explained why Klain was chosen to be the top kick (ph) on Ebola.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: What we were looking for
is not an Ebola expert, but rather, an implementation expert, and that`s
exactly what Ron Klain is. He is somebody who has extensive experience in
the federal government. He`s somebody that has extensive management
experience when it comes to the private sector.

QUESTION: Is he a czar? Is that his title? What is his title?

EARNEST: His title is he is the Ebola response coordinator. I know
that there are some Republicans and even some pundits who are describing
him as a czar. They`re certainly welcome to do that. We describe him as
the Ebola response coordinator.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Yes, we are welcome to do that. He`s the czar, and that`s
what (INAUDIBLE) because last night, the president answered a question from
Kristen Welker, Do you think you might have to pick a czar? The day begins
today with him picking a czar. So he`s a czar. It`s not the title in the
books, but -- OK, now here`s a question. Within seconds of his being named
after the Republicans and everybody, especially Republicans, said, Pick a
czar, they said, Screw the czar!

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: ... like they`ll all a bunch of Bolsheviks! I mean,
historically, at least. Your thoughts. Why do they hate the czar already
when he just picked this guy?

DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Because he was
picked by a man named Barack Obama! I mean, these guys are for a travel
ban because Obama isn`t. There`s nobody who he could have picked other
than maybe John Boehner that they wouldn`t have protested.

MATTHEWS: How about General Petraeus?

CORN: Listen -- yes, listen, I know -- I know Ron Klain. He`s not a
pal, but I know him. And the way that Josh Earnest describes him is
exactly right. His job is not to be the chief doctor. We have people at
the CDC and HHS. He`s to be there when TSA and DOD and HHS and CDC, you
know -- you know, jam together on this stuff and to smooth it over from a
bureaucratic perspective. Now, is that truly necessary? Maybe, maybe not,
but...

MATTHEWS: OK...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: ... long time. We needed somebody that was going to -- was
going to have policy, somebody`s who`s got to set the policy of what we do,
whether we slam the door on West Africa, or we don`t, whether we stop
people from traveling in the country, or we don`t, or -- somebody`s got to
do something on preparation, training nurses. Somebody`s got to make sure
that gets done. Then someone has to explain the whole damn thing to the
country. So there`s a lot of hats this person has to wear.

MICHELLE BERNARD, BERNARD CENTER: Well, there are a lot of hats that
they have to wear, but the question is, does his appointment as the Ebola
czar make the general public feel any safer or any more confident?

(CROSSTALK)

BERNARD: I think the answer is no. I mean, when you say somebody has
to be in charge -- well, the person who should be in charge is the
president of the United States and the surgeon general that we still don`t
have.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, "WASHINGTON POST" MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.

BERNARD: That is the problem...

MATTHEWS: Well...

(CROSSTALK)

BERNARD: We need to have -- we need to -- look, we need to have a
surgeon general...

MATTHEWS: Whose fault is it we don`t have a surgeon general, both
sides?

BERNARD: Well, it`s -- no, it`s Congress`s fault that we don`t have a
surgeon general. I mean, the president knows who he wants, and Congress
doesn`t want the person because it is the president of the United States
who`s making the decision. But the bottom line is...

MATTHEWS: OK, let`s take...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: ... which came on like a machine gun here. Before today,
many Republicans were pushing the president to appoint a czar. And today,
many are attacking the new czar already.

U.S. Congressman John Fleming of Louisiana tweeted -- tweeted --
"Obama appoints Ebola czar, a political activist and not even a doctor.
Shows where the priorities of POTUS reside." That`s president of the
United States.

And here was Congressman Andy Harris of Maryland, "Worst Ebola
epidemic in world history, and President Obama puts a government bureaucrat
with no health care experience in charge. Is he serious?"

And here comes Steven King of Iowa, always with the wacko thoughts.
He tweeted, "President Obama will name political operative Ron Klain as
Ebola czar. Too much Obama administration competition to name him Ebola
spin czar."

Anyway, Senator Ted Cruz -- here he comes -- also expressed strong
reservations. In a statement, Cruz said, "We don`t need another so-called
czar. We need presidential leadership. This is a public health crisis,
and the answer isn`t another White House political operative. The answer
is a commander-in-chief who stands up and leads, banning flights from
Ebola-afflicted nations and acting decisively" -- here it comes -- "to
secure our southern border."

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: He added, "The Ebola outbreak shouldn`t be treated as yet
another partisan battle by the White House."

Anyway, the southern border, the African traffic -- this guy`s
covering all the ethnic bases...

(CROSSTALK)

BERNARD: Yes. Yes.

MATTHEWS: ... Hispanics, blacks. He`s probably got something for
Arabs, too, here.

CAPEHART: Right.

BERNARD: Yes.

MATTHEWS: I mean, it`s -- it`s so blatantly tribal and not useful to
the medical...

(CROSSTALK)

CAPEHART: Look, here`s what`s interesting...

MATTHEWS: What`s the southern border got (INAUDIBLE) the northern
border?

CAPEHART: It has nothing to do with anything that we`re talking
about. What`s interesting here is that Senator Ted Cruz, from Texas,
this...

MATTHEWS: This is where the disease...

(CROSSTALK)

CAPEHART: This Twitter follower of mine @rainofapril (ph), sent me
this tweet today that was fantastic. And it was, "I`m not sure how you can
ban flights from Africa but not out of Texas."

(LAUGHTER)

CAPEHART: All the cases that we have of Ebola are from people who
worked with Thomas Eric Duncan, who unfortunately, died, the first person
who had Ebola in the United States and died. Now we have Amber Vinson,
Nina Pham, the person who`s on the cruise ship off Belize...

BERNARD: Yes.

CAPEHART: ... all from Texas. Why aren`t these people calling for
bans on flights from Texas?

MATTHEWS: Do we know, by the way -- do the people aboard the Carnival
Cruise line know who`s Carnival Cruising with them?

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, they do now!

MATTHEWS: This is going to be like Jonah and the whale!

(CROSSTALK)

CORN: What still is amazing is that the Republican Party is once
again doing their whole little war on science dance. You ask any public
health expert on this, and they`ll say a travel ban is a bad idea.

MATTHEWS: OK...

(CROSSTALK)

CORN: I know, emotionally...

MATTHEWS: Tell me why we`re -- tell me why it`s a bad idea.

CORN: Because -- because the way to deal with Ebola is to stop the
fire where it`s burning brightest, which is in Africa. If you have a
travel ban, people can`t get in, people can`t get out.

BERNARD: I got...

(CROSSTALK)

BERNARD: I so, so totally disagree on this!

MATTHEWS: I don`t think that`s true.

BERNARD: I got -- British Airways has enacted a travel ban. We have
to be really serious about this. Why import it into the country...

CORN: We`re not importing it.

BERNARD: Well, but there can be exceptions made, doctors, health care
providers that need to go to Africa and deal with the Ebola crisis can fly
on military...

MATTHEWS: Why isn`t that true?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: David, why isn`t that true?

CORN: I`ll tell you...

BERNARD: I mean, I -- imagine if you are the person who -- for
example, all the women who were in this bridal boutique in Texas over the
weekend, shopping with someone who has the Ebola virus, doesn`t know it.
They`ve all got to be scratching their head! My 8-year-old daughter has
asked me, Why are we not treating people in Africa? Somebody answer that
question!

CORN: Politico has a great story on its home page right now, which
they talked to transportation experts who say that if you ban all
commercial flights, there`s no way you can get people in and out to deal
with this the way you need to.

BERNARD: Military aircraft!

(CROSSTALK)

BERNARD: Military aircraft can...

CORN: We don`t have that happening and that`s not happening...

BERNARD: But we can -- we can have it happen!

CORN: And Secretary Leavitt who was HHS, you know, secretary under
Bush, was on this network earlier today saying that every study that`s been
done of travel bans and epidemics show, as with the SARS case, that they
don`t work.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Didn`t we go through this? There`s precedents here.

CORN: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Mad cow disease -- didn`t they just shut down all traffic
in -- in beef?

BERNARD: And what did we do with H1N1 influenza...

MATTHEWS: Didn`t they do it that way?

BERNARD: ... with H1N1 influence with the pandemic, there were all
kinds of things that were enacted that we`re still not doing. And we don`t
have all the answers.

(CROSSTALK)

CORN: ... not the right thing to do.

BERNARD: But David -- but look, the public health...

(CROSSTALK)

BERNARD: ... because we don`t want people to panic, either, but the
public health experts have also told us...

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s not panic here.

BERNARD: ... that you can`t easily transmit it...

MATTHEWS: One a time. One at a time. You think it`s a good idea...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: ... you think it`s a bad idea. Where are you, Jonathan?

CAPEHART: I think it`s a bad idea, also because if you -- one, you
can`t do it because there are no direct flights, as Jeremy Peters (ph)
said-

MATTHEWS: It`s all through Brussels and Paris...

CAPEHART: Right. But you lose the ability to monitor and track
because you`re going to have people who will slip out of Guinea, Sierra
Leone, the other country whose name I cannot remember...

BERNARD: Liberia.

CAPEHART: Thank you -- Liberia, and come through Europe, come through
other places where the person looking at passports are not going to see
that they`ve come from these places. I think it`s important from a public
health standpoint that we know who has the disease...

MATTHEWS: Well, won`t you still see the passport of origin? You`ll
see where they came from?

(CROSSTALK)

CAPEHART: So let`s say they`re coming through Australia. Do the
Australians let them on the plane? Do -- let`s say they`re coming through
Singapore.

CORN: And what about people...

(CROSSTALK)

CORN: ... in these countries who don`t have passports from these
countries.

MATTHEWS: OK...

CORN: I mean, again...

MATTHEWS: OK...

CORN: ... the experts (INAUDIBLE) says it`s not practical and it
won`t have a real benefit. I know people are freaked out, but still, we`ve
had only three cases so far...

CAPEHART: Three!

CORN: ... and no American has yet to die from this.

CAPEHART: Fortunately.

BERNARD: And it`s three -- it`s three too many. I just want -- I
mean, the question I would ask is, if we can`t control -- if the hospital
in Texas -- I think it`s Texas Presbyterian -- didn`t even keep a list of
all of the people who were in contact with the gentleman who died, how on
earth do we think that we are safe by continuing to allow people to come in
the country and we don`t even know if they`re sick?

CORN: Well, a travel ban won`t lead to better hospital practices.

CAPEHART: And thousands of people die -- more people die from the flu
in this country...

MATTHEWS: OK...

CAPEHART: ... than Ebola.

MATTHEWS: Let me -- a tough question...

CAPEHART: Let`s keep it in perspective.

MATTHEWS: For liberals, progressives and moderates on this panel, a
tough question, tough ask (ph) question.

BERNARD: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Is the president trusted on this, or do people think he`s
being politically correct? Do they really trust him to make a medial and a
national security decision on this, or are they thinking, Oh, he doesn`t
want to offend the African countries?

BERNARD: I...

MATTHEWS: That`s what I keep hearing.

BERNARD: I think...

MATTHEWS: PC, politically correct.

BERNARD: I -- I -- I think -- I trust the president to do the right
thing, but the appointment of Klain as a czar that doesn`t direct -- does
not report directly to the president, but reports directly to Susan Rice
and to the Homeland Security people -- that smells of politics. He should
be reporting directly to the president.

MATTHEWS: He should be a czar?

BERNARD: Yes. Absolutely.

CAPEHART: On that, I agree with Michelle. But we also have to keep
in mind that there are really capable people in the places where they need
to be. Dr. Frieden is a very respected person in the field of infectious
diseases.

BERNARD: I agree.

CAPEHART: He`s been an incredible leader of the CDC.

MATTHEWS: So why didn`t they make him the czar?

(CROSSTALK)

CORN: We don`t want to take him away from what he`s doing!

MATTHEWS: I`m sorry, there is a different philosophy I think we
represent even in a moderate forum (INAUDIBLE) the Republican philosophy.
There has to be a clear chain of command, like in the Army, five-star
general, four-star general, three-star general, you work your way down to
colonel, and everybody knows who to salute.

When you have somebody at the HHS and somebody over at Homeland
Security and somebody at national security and then you say they`re all --
there`s one person`s going to report to all of them -- well, are they the
boss...

BERNARD: Exactly!

MATTHEWS: ... and he`s the spokesperson? And then they`ll say, Wait
a minute, whose idea was this? Is this Susan Rice`s idea? Is it Monica
what`s her name idea -- Lisa Monaco? Is it her idea? And this is really
the problem here. It`s structural. And I`m telling you, this has been the
president`s problem from the beginning. He doesn`t have a strong chief of
staff. He doesn`t have a clear line of authority. And the people don`t
really believe in his effectiveness because of that.

Anyway, we`ll be back. The roundtable is coming back. And how close
are those midterm elections right out there? So close, the smallest, most
trivial things, like a guy using a fan or keeping secret -- a woman keeping
it secret who she voted for could end up deciding the whole shebang. And
that`s a fact, whether you like it or not. These are so close.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: We have two new Senate polls to tell you about. Let`s
check the HARDBALL "Scoreboard."

First to Colorado, where a Quinnipiac poll has Republican Cory Gardner
up by 6 now over Senator Mark Udall. Gardner`s been leading in recent
polls by 6 (INAUDIBLE) 6 points matches his biggest lead so far. It could
be breaking Gardner`s way. Next to Georgia, where Democrat Michelle Nunn
is up 1 point over Republican David Perdue in a poll from WRVL. It`s Nunn
46, Perdue 45. That race is close, but it looks like it might be moving to
Nunn.

And we`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Call it razzle-dazzle or how
about Trivial Pursuit? We`ve got a scad of tight races out there in the
country. Crist and Scott are down (ph) tied in the Florida governor`s
race, 44 all. Roberts and Orman are virtually tied in Kansas in that
Senate race. And Baker and Coakley up in Massachusetts are dead tied
there.

Nearly all these big Senate contests, as Rachel Maddow pointed out
last night, are all within the margin of error, and anything can move the
needle on this stuff, even the weird stuff. And yes, there`s been some
weird stuff, especially this week.

I`m joined right now by Jonathan, David and -- rejoined by all three
of them -- and Michelle.

Let`s begin with that odd story in Kentucky this week. This week,
Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes battled Minority Leader
Mitch McConnell in their only debate of the campaign, and they were
peppered with tough questions. But it was the one that Grimes didn`t
answer which has exploded into the headlines.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why are you reluctant to give an answer on whether
or not you voted for President Obama?

ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES (D-KY), SENATE CANDIDATE: Bill, there`s no
reluctance. This is a matter of principle. Our constitution grants, here
in Kentucky, the constitutional right for privacy at the ballot box, for a
secret ballot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you won`t answer that question tonight.

GRIMES: Again, you have that right. Senator McConnell has that
right. Every Kentuckian has the right for privacy at the ballot box. And
if I, as chief election official, Bill, don`t stand up for that right, who
in Kentucky will?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Principle? In an upcoming documentary, Grimes isn`t afraid
to tell you how she voted in a different 2008 contest. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell me about the first time you voted. Who did
you vote for, and what issues were most important to you?

GRIMES: Well, I turned 18 in 1996. Unfortunately, it was after
President Clinton`s election. I had hoped to be able to vote for him. I
got a chance, though, to vote for Secretary Clinton in 2008.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: There`s the big smile, when I voted for Clinton.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: ... everybody has a -- my mom never told my dad ever...

BERNARD: Yes. Yes.

MATTHEWS: ... that she voted for Kennedy.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Of course, it`s a right. Of course it`s a right!

BERNARD: Yes.

MATTHEWS: There`s a principle to that right. It`s a secret ballot.
By my question is, it`s OK to say you voted for Hillary, but you have some
principle not -- I think it may be more political than that. Your
thoughts.

BERNARD: Well, you know...

MATTHEWS: I don`t know who she voted for.

BERNARD: I -- I -- neither do I. I honestly don`t have a clue who
she voted for. I suspect that there really is a possibility that she voted
-- that she might have just voted for Romney, or maybe she didn`t vote for
president at all. There`s that...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Why would she do that? Why wouldn`t she vote for Obama?

BERNARD: Well -- well, I don`t know. Maybe she just didn`t like him.
Maybe she -- maybe she was out of loyalty to Hillary Clinton in 2008. I
don`t -- you know, maybe she didn`t like the direction of the country.

Here`s the problem for her, at least from my perspective as a female,
and particularly in a year where we have so many women running for office.
There is still a double standard. There is still a stereotype. And this
was an opportunity for her, as a female candidate who is really sticking it
to her opposition, to speak up and speak her mind and explain how she voted
and why she voted, because, in 2012, the difference between who we saw
speaking at the Republican National Convention and who we -- spoke at the
Democratic -- saw speaking at the Democratic National Convention showed two
fundamentally different visions of what the -- vision of what the future of
the country should look like.

And Kentuckians would know that based on what she voted for.

MATTHEWS: Jonathan.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, look, she being -- she
being hammered for not answering the question. I get why she didn`t answer
the question. Politically, she can`t.

She`s running in a state that absolutely hates the president. And so
for her to say, "I voted for Barack Obama" is basically try to snuff out
her chances against McConnell.

MATTHEWS: Would that be a headline?

CAPEHART: In Kentucky, I think it would be.

DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Democrat votes for Obama?

(CROSSTALK)

BERNARD: For a Democrat?

(CROSSTALK)

CAPEHART: Well, she`s in a close race against the Senate minority
leader who could become majority leader. In a close race, that could...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Jonathan, you have a theory here. It was strategic. She
had it ready. She was going to say it was a matter of principle. Did she
know that this documentary was coming out next week where she did say who
she voted for?

CAPEHART: Maybe she forgot about it.

(CROSSTALK)

CAPEHART: Then, on the flip side, let`s say she indeed vote for
Romney in 2012 or McCain in 2008. That kills her with Democrats. So I`m
of the thinking that she can`t answer the question, because...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: That`s a fair statement, assuming rationality.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I like assuming rationality. There is thoughtful reason
there behind it.

(CROSSTALK)

CORN: But the last thing anyone can...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Not that it doesn`t hurt her.

CAPEHART: Right.

CORN: The last thing a politician can do is look shifty.

BERNARD: Right or frightened.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: It`s called rolling disclosure. I`ll tell you when I want
to.

CORN: Listen, for her to come -- let`s assume she voted for Barack
Obama, or even assume she didn`t. She`s running as a Democrat. She needs
the Democratic base to turn out, as small it might be in Kentucky. She
still can`t win without them.

And for her to -- why she didn`t say initially, listen, I did not vote
for the guy who wanted to lower taxes on the rich and who wanted not to
give health care to half-a-million Kentuckians, so I didn`t do that. OK?
I voted for the guy who I disagreed with on other matters, but who wanted
to give the middle-class people a tax cut and give you health care.

And if she can`t pull that off up against Mitch McConnell, who is sort
of the Rocky of politics in terms of throwing hard hits, then she`s really
not punching at her weight level.

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s take a look. Let`s move on. We don`t know if
this has an impact. I assume it hurt her a little bit, but I don`t know
yet. We haven`t seen the new polls.

Anyway, the Florida tan and the Florida fan.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: He always has a tan and he always has a fan. And I have
known about this since I moderated his first debate about eight years ago.

BERNARD: Yes.

MATTHEWS: We have all laughed about it, but we have kept it to
ourselves because that`s his deal. OK?

BERNARD: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, in the strangest debate moment of our time,
perhaps, and it could decide the Florida governor`s race, this is really
important. It`s 44 down there to 44.

Anyway, there he is. The Democrat Charlie Crist is tied with Governor
Rick Scott in the Florida governor`s race. This is a big, real state, by
the way. It isn`t some backwater. This is a big state with a lot of
different kinds of people in it, 44 all.

At the start of this week`s debate, Crist took the stage. But Scott
didn`t, didn`t show for seven minutes. Here`s what happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Crist has asked to have a fan, a small
fan placed underneath his podium. The rules of the debate that I was shown
by the Scott campaign say that there should be no fan. Somehow, there is a
fan there, and for that reason, ladies and gentlemen, I am being told that
Governor Scott will not join us for this debate.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Frank, have you ever seen anything like this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I haven`t. This is remarkable over sort of a
trivial issue, no matter which side you believe you`re on.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That has to be the most unique beginning to any
debate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t think we will forget it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not only in Florida, but I think anywhere in the
country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did you insist on bringing a fan here, when
your campaign knew this would be a contentious issue?

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CHARLIE CRIST (D), FLORIDA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Why not? You
know, is there anything wrong with being comfortable? I don`t think there
is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, the moment has energized I think Crist`s side oft
campaign. They`re fund-raising off it. The Florida Democratic Party is
out with this ad attacking Scott.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(FAN BLOWING)

CRIST: Are we really going to debate about a fan? Or are we going to
talk about education, and the environment and the future of our state?

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CRIST: I mean, really.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, in its response, the Republican Party of Florida
sponsored a post on BuzzFeed called "Crist hits the fan," which includes 25
pictures of Crist with his fan.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: I think Charlie is winning this, maybe because I Charlie
him personally, but I don`t know the issues.

But it looked like he was prepared for this. He was very debonair out
there when they were having this big fight. And the other guy -- we didn`t
show it, but the other guy, Scott, had no idea what to say. He was totally
inarticulate why he did it.

BERNARD: Yes.

CAPEHART: No, he didn`t have anything to say.

But, of course, Crist looked cool, calm -- well, cool, calm, and
collected, because...

MATTHEWS: And tan -- tan with a man and a plan.

(LAUGHTER)

CAPEHART: You knew he always used a fan.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

CAPEHART: Other reporters who have been covering Crist know that he
uses a fan.

MATTHEWS: He`s got a sweat problem, obviously.

CAPEHART: So he`s standing there, thinking, I can`t believe this. I
came here to debate this guy. He won`t come out because of this fan.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Give me some psychobabble. Why did Scott make an issue of
this?

CAPEHART: I haven`t a clue.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Anybody got a theory?

BERNARD: Well, you know what? I think he was thinking about the ads
that he could use. One of his lines...

(CROSSTALK)

BERNARD: ... I think during the debate was, he`s sweating, he`s
sweating because of the 800 and X, Y, Z thousand Florida...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: It`s Florida.

(CROSSTALK)

CORN: No one has focused on that. That`s the key thing.

MATTHEWS: It`s Florida.

CORN: Anybody watching at home says, I like my fan.

(LAUGHTER)

CORN: There`s nothing wrong with fans. In fact, a little A.C. would
be nice too.

(CROSSTALK)

BERNARD: Did you see, gentlemen, did you see the cover of "TIME"
magazine about the male menopause? And that`s what I thought about.

(CROSSTALK)

BERNARD: I thought, Mr. Crist is having a hot flash.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

CORN: But you didn`t show the clip when Scott comes -- finally comes
out after seven minutes.

CAPEHART: So bad.

CORN: And he then insists he didn`t come out because Crist wasn`t
there.

MATTHEWS: But he was.

CORN: And people said, but he was there. He`s been standing here for
seven minutes. And Scott really became goofy and odd, and that was I think
the worst part of the night.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: You remember Groucho Marx? Remember Groucho Marx?

CORN: He had no joke.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Are you going to believe me -- you going to believe me or
your lying eyes? We all saw this thing. I think it helps Crist. But we
will see. At 44-44, something`s going to happen.

Anyway, the roundtable is sticking with us for more.

And when we come back, here`s something you don`t see every day. A
celebrity cuts an attack ad, and this is "West Wing"`s Martin Sheen going
after the other guy. This is rare. They`re usually nice to their guy, but
they don`t dump on the other guy. He does.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART")

CRIST: Is there anything wrong with being comfortable?

(LAUGHTER)

JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": Now, that is
how you win votes in Florida.

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART: Right now, a million altacockers in Florida are turning to
their friends, going, I mean, he`s got a point.

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART: You should be -- you know, you stand all night in the
lights. I mean, he should be comfortable.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Time now for the "Sideshow."

Florida Governor Rick Scott`s seven-minute boycott over Charlie
Crist`s fan on Wednesday night`s debate has continued to dominate political
news. And the fanfare, if you will, shows no sign of dying down.

Here was Stephen Colbert`s reaction to that story last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE COLBERT REPORT")

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE COLBERT REPORT": All anyone is talking
about today is Fangate.

(LAUGHTER)

COLBERT: Folks, clearly, for Scott`s campaign, last night blew.

(LAUGHTER)

COLBERT: And if you turn the switch the other way, it sucked.

(LAUGHTER)

COLBERT: Meanwhile, both sides -- both sides in this debate are still
oscillating over whether a fan was a violation.

(LAUGHTER)

COLBERT: Scott`s campaign signed a rules document stating that
candidates may not bring electronic devices, including fans.

(LAUGHTER)

COLBERT: But Crist`s campaign added, with understanding that the
debate hosts will address any temperature issues with a fan, if necessary,
all of which is just splitting hairs, which is also unfair to Rick Scott.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Next up: Martin Sheen is known to be an activist for
Democratic causes. Now he`s gone a step further and actually narrated in
an attack ad to help Democratic Governor Pat Quinn win reelection in the
state of Illinois.

Released on the Web today, the ad resembles a classic film noir. It
accuses Quinn`s opponent, Republican candidate Bruce Rauner, of practicing
the same kind of vulture capitalism that Mitt Romney got accused of in
2012.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)

MARTIN SHEEN, ACTOR: Bruce Rauner, he made a fortune on the
misfortune of the hardworking people. He got his start with Mitt Romney
and those Bain boys. After that, he headed west to the Windy City.

The pattern started to emerge, patterns with zeros and dollar signs,
patterns where other people suffered, where other people took the hit. And
Rauner? He took the money and ran. He`s a man who runs over people to get
what he wants. Now he wants something new.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: What`s next? They`re all going to be doing it now.

Finally, President Obama signed an executive order today to protect
credit card holders from the increasing threat of identity theft. And when
he was signing the order, he shared a personal story, the president did,
about a recent experience when his own credit card was canceled due to
suspected fraud.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I went to a restaurant
up in New York when I was -- during the U.N. General Assembly. And my
credit card was rejected.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: It turned out I guess I don`t use it enough to...

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: So, they thought there was some fraud going on.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: Fortunately, Michelle had hers.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: I was trying to explain to the waitress, no, I really think
that I have been paying my bills.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: Even I`m affected by this.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: Thank you very much, everybody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: They will probably use that against him too.

Anyway, up next, what a week for gay rights in this country and around
the world. Pope Francis opens the Roman Catholic Church`s arms to same-sex
couples. Marriage equality continues its steady march across this country.
And who is hosting the Oscars this year? Neil Patrick Harris.

Anyway, back with the roundtable after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger.
Here`s what`s happening.

Hurricane Gonzalo is slamming the island of Bermuda, where thousands
of people are already without power. NBC`s Dylan Dreyer has seen things
getting worse.

DYLAN DREYER, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Conditions have been deteriorating
here since early this afternoon as this Category 3 Hurricane Gonzalo passes
just to our west. It should start to race away as we go after midnight
tonight and conditions should dramatically improve.

REHBERGER: The storm`s winds are now topping 100 miles per hour.
Forecasters are warning of flooding and life-threatening storm surge --
back to HARDBALL.

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Well, what a week for the gay community it`s been. Early today,
Arizona became the 31st state where same-sex marriage has become legal, the
law of the land. And when a federal judge ruled the state`s ban on same-
sex marriages was unconstitutional, it affected its national status as well
federally.

And late today, as I said, a federal judge in Wyoming struck down that
state`s ban, putting a hold on his own ruling until next Thursday, which
means that by next week, the number of gay marriage states will be 32. On
Wednesday, we learned that Neil Patrick Harris, along these lines, will
host the 2015 Oscars. And this is Harris at a movie premiere with his
partner and their children.

The Oscars had 45 million people last year, is broadcast worldwide.
And an openly gay man with a truly modern family will host it.

Plus, a game-changer over in Rome of course this week. A preliminary
report from the bishops convened by Pope Francis himself shows the Roman
Catholic Church changing its tone on gay relationships, and also toward
unmarried straight couples. A Vatican panel says it`s time to salute the
moral value of both.

Here`s an excerpt: "Without denying the moral problems connected to
homosexual unions, it has to be noted that there are cases in which mutual
aid, to the point of sacrifice, constitutes a precious support in the life
of the partners."

We`re back right now with Jonathan, Michelle, and David.

Jonathan, you talked earlier in this week about the emotions that this
is going to unleash in the country, this sense of common children of God.

CAPEHART: Mm-hmm.

Well, we have gone -- we have gone from a papacy that has made it
clear that gays and lesbians are not welcome, they`re evil, they are not
children of God, and from the moment...

(CROSSTALK)

CAPEHART: From the moment Francis was elevated to the papacy...

MATTHEWS: Look at my smile when I hear that stuff.

CAPEHART: The moment Pope Francis became pope, he made it clear...

MATTHEWS: Yes.

CAPEHART: ... that gays and lesbians who are Catholic need to be
welcomed into the church.

And for millions of gay and lesbian Catholics around the country and
around the world, it was music to their ears, because just because they`re
gay doesn`t mean they don`t have a religious life, that they don`t have a
spiritual life and don`t want to be a part of the Catholic Church.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I want to ask this. It`s a great question. Do you think
it`s important that a Latin male, that`s very self-confident, I can tell,
Francis, that`s who he is, is able to make a leap like this, somebody from
Latin America with an Italian background -- I just think there`s something
fascinating. When they picked him, I`m told by our cardinal here in
Washington, they were looking for a pastoral leader. They weren`t looking
for another theologian. They wanted somebody to work with people and
sympathize with people.

CAPEHART: And we`re getting it with Pope Francis. Again, from the
very beginning whether you were gay, whether you were divorced, whether
your parents weren`t married, you`re a child of divorced parents, he`s
telling you that your church still loves you, wants you back. That`s the
key thing. He wants all of these people who were in the church and left,
he wants them back.

(CROSSTALK)

CORN: The story`s not over --

MATTHEWS: It`s like Jesus from the Bible.

CORN: -- because there`s an interesting push for that, because this
came out at the beginning of the week. On Thursday, they changed --

MICHELLE BERNARD, BERNARD CENTER FOR WOMEN: Changed the language.

CORN: -- the English version of this.

MATTHEWS: It doesn`t matter.

CORN: They cut back a lot of --

CAPEHART: Genie is out of the battle.

MATTHEWS: Can I explain this to you, my brother from another --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: It doesn`t matter what the English version. It`s the
Italian version that matters.

(CROSSTALK)

CORN: It`s the American Catholics --

MATTHEWS: Who are more conservative.

CORN: -- who are more conservative, who wanted this change. I think
what we have here is the beginning of a very public fight over these --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: You may want to be Fabiani`s mat time here, and get us
involved in some fight, but the bishop preliminary report was met with some
resistance, as you said, David, from more conservative parts of the church.
Some wording in the English translation was revised. "The New York Times"
reports now, quote, "A section titled welcoming homosexual persons was
changed in the English translation to providing for homosexual persons." A
little different there. "In reference to people in same-sex union, as
partners, was changed to `these people`."

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: But the Italian version has not been changed and that`s the
official text that the Reverend Lombard, Federico Lombardi, a Vatican
spokesman.

I like this guy, Federico Lombardi.

(CROSSTALK)

CORN: He`s representing the pope, no doubt, but while the people who
pushed for the translation changed, or as you say, the conservative
American members --

MATTHEWS: OK, Captain Quibble.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I`m with Jonathan, I`m straight, and I still think it`s a
wonderful thing.

BERNARD: I did, too.

CORN: It`s great.

MATTHEWS: Championing the HRC cause for 20 years, because we ought to
treat each other as human beings. Stop blowing little police whistles when
somebody is different from us.

BERNARD: It is a civil rights issue. It is a human issue. I think
this pope is fantastic. I will be very happy when all of the language in
whatever version we`re looking at, treats everyone equally. And they are
touching it with the rest of the world in terms of gay marriage. And the
only thing they need to do is touch it with the rest of the world, or at
lest where we are in the United States, I should say, in terms of the role
of women in the church.

MATTHEWS: Let me say something, 2,000 years of division, 2,000 years
of Christianity, all European wars. When you look at the Arab world and
say how awful, that was most of our history in this, and then the anti-
Semitism, which is endemic for years, for centuries, endemic, I think of
Jewish people. I guess that`s one reason why people I work with, I know
personally, who are Jewish, like to see this because it`s a very broad
statement. Not about orientation and identity, but about us and them.
It`s us.

BERNARD: We are -- yes, we are one.

MATTHEWS: That`s a hell of a bigger statement than who`s in and who`s
out, and whether the Albigensian heresy, and this heresy and that heresy,
and which prince stand for, and what your prince stand for, that`s what
most of European history is, by the way, religious war.

CORN: It`s about the self-perception of the church? Do they see
themselves as being exclusive and trying to draw people in, or some more
conservative quarters as more exclusive and holier and strict and highly
theological, and that`s OK because we`re going to heaven and nobody else
is.

So I think the pope is expressing this really great, humanistic in a
way, view of religion. And you don`t have to agree with Catholicism to
say, this is good, because he`s talking about how to bring people and how
to make connections and not tell people you`re not part of this --

MATTHEWS: Here`s something you don`t know. Priest jobs are jobs.

BERNARD: Yes.

MATTHEWS: They don`t just do sermons, which is part of their life.
When somebody is having a marital problem with their husband beating the
hell out of them, or their kids are going completely manic and they don`t
know how to deal with them, working and middle class women go to see the
priest and they sit down with the priest and have a cup of coffee and say,
I can`t live with this guy George anymore, because you don`t know what it`s
like. He hit me the other day. Priests deal with that.

Or my son doesn`t know what he is. He`s confused. I don`t know what
he is. We`ll accept whatever he is, but we have to figure out how to deal
with this. That`s the guy.

BERNARD: Yes, that`s who you go to.

MATTHEWS: So this pope is that guy.

BERNARD: Well, and you know, not to pivot too much, but one of the
reasons I brought up the issue in dealing with women, one of the things
that we see here as the new frontier is, there have been studies that show,
for example, most women will go to their religious leader in a situation of
domestic violence and ask what to do. And the question --

MATTHEWS: You know why? It`s secret.

BERNARD: It`s secret. And then the question is, does your leader say
leave and make sure you`re safe. Or do they stay? And the role of the
church, in how they view women, particularly for Catholics and how they
view homosexuality in the church and how they -- whether or not they`ll
view all of this as being equal in God`s eyes is important, and we are well
on that path.

CORN: They start talking about punishment and you can`t take
communion if you live and all that, they create all these disincentives for
women and families to do what they need to do to protect themselves.

MATTHEWS: You know what? I don`t think that`s enforced, in fact.
There`s nobody at the altar saying, no, you don`t get -- I know
excommunication means something, but in effect, you can go to communion, in
effect. There`s nobody stopping you.

CAPEHART: No one is stopping you, but the tone is stopping you.

MATTHEWS: I think the excommunication goes back to the Middle Ages.

BERNARD: Or the question, did you submit? Why didn`t you submit?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I think you`re on to something. Because imagine if a
priest said stick with joker man who is beating the hell out of you, that`s
frightening, because the woman would accept that religious leadership to a
point.

BERNARD: Exactly.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, the round table is coming back with the week`s most
interesting Republican, and he is Rand Paul.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Trading places, Rand Paul makes a play for the African
American vote for Republicans. Is it real? Back with the roundtable after
this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: We`re back with the roundtable, Jonathan, Michelle, and
David.

And, of course, "Time Magazine" right now is calling Rand Paul the
most interesting man in politics. There he is in the cover.

In an interview with "Politico", by the way, he said this, "If
Republicans have a clue and do this and go out and ask every African-
American for their vote, I think we can transform an election in one cycle.
That doesn`t mean that we get a majority of African-American voters in one
cycle, but I think there is fully a third of the African-American vote that
is open to much of the message, because much of what the Democrats has
offered hasn`t worked."

Michelle, is he being too optimistic about his switch-a-roo policies?

BERNARD: He might be, but he`s the only one who`s trying. I mean, I
have to tell you, I admired him. You know, back in 2008, there was, Tavis
Smiley who I think on the show recently, held a debate at Morgan State
University, it`s a historically black college here in the Washington
metropolitan area, with all the Republican candidates, I pulled up, I was
stunned. There were signs for his father all over the dormitories at
Morgan State.

MATTHEWS: For Ron Paul.

BERNARD: For Ron Paul. So, he`s onto something, there is something
in the libertarian message that is appealing to some African-Americans.

MATTHEWS: What do you think it is?

BERNARD: Well, number one, just the fact that he will actually -- he
showed up in Ferguson.

CAPEHART: That`s it.

BERNARD: After Michael brown, he is the only Republican candidate who
has gone out to Ferguson and spoken with black leaders to say, what is
going on and what can I do to help? Do you know, after Trayvon Martin was,
in my belief, murdered, it was at least two weeks before anyone had
anything to do, had anything to say about his death, and he is right there
and he`s doing it.

CAPEHART: The key thing about Rand Paul, and Michelle touched on
this, he showed up. He`s going to African-Americans and asking -- not so
much asking for their votes now, but talking to them about what matters to
them.

BERNARD: And listening. Listening.

CAPEHART: And listening.

African-Americans are impressed and appreciate someone who`s been
talking at them for so long, who actually comes down.

MATTHEWS: About them. And comes and sits down and says, so tell me
what your concern about. I mean, what you`re interested in.

CORN: You know, this is like he`s an Everest and he`s taking one or
two steps up the foothills. When he gets there and says to his own party,
stop suppressing African-American voters, he says we should ask for their
votes. First, he should get his party to stop taking away their votes.
Until he does that, it`s a lot of talk.

I know he believes the police stuff, he`s a Fourth Amendment
conservative and there`s some pats with the populist left and populist
right overlap, but he`s not seriously taking on his own party. So, he
needs his own Sister Soulja moment.

(CROSSTALK)

BERNARD: But it`s incremental, but we are always ignored. They
always --

MATTHEWS: Here`s why Rand Paul has an uphill battle within his party
here. In Nebraska, Republican Congressman Lee Terry has found himself in
an unexpectedly close race with this Democratic challenger, Brad Ashford.
The new ad they put out, the Republicans are running right now, is a near
carbon copy of the infamous Willie Horton ad the Republicans run against
Democrat Mike Dukakis back in `88. That ad stoked anger at the Democratic
presidential candidate Dukakis.

Now, here`s the Nebraska ad that the GOP is running right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four murders in 11 days. A judge decides Nikko
Jenkins is responsible for all of them.

AD NARRATOR: Nikko Jenkins was released from prison early, after
serving only half his sentence, the head of the Omaha police union.

Jenkins is the poster child for why the Good Time Law is a farce.
Brad Ashford supported the Good Time Law and still defends it, allowing
criminals like Nikko Jenkins to be released early.

The National Republican Congressional Committee is responsible for the
content of this advertising.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: By the way, the Good Time bill doesn`t refer to a weekend.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: It refers to, if you have 20-year sentence, it goes down to
10. That`s what it means.

CORN: So why is Rand Paul talking about this?

CAPEHART: Yes, but, OK, look --

MATTHEWS: That`s one candidate.

BERNARD: Yes.

CAPEHART: Right. Look, you`ve got Rand Paul who is saying things as
a Republican that no Republican is saying. So, let`s give him credit for
that.

(CROSSTALK)

CAPEHART: Wait, the second thing about the, quote, "you ran" from
Rand Paul, I think he`s right. If his party were to get behind him and
stop doing ads like that and start talking like Rand Paul, and changing the
way they`re going about things from voter suppression laws to a whole lot
of other things, the Republican Party could get a --

(CROSSTALK)

CAPEHART: But not in one election cycle.

MATTHEWS: Maybe if you all became Republicans, they`d let you vote.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Jonathan Capehart. Thank you, Michelle
Bernard and David Corn.

When we return, let me finish with my view about the historic
challenge of changing any electorate to the other side.

You`re watching HARDBALL, a place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let me finish with the fact with how hard it is to change
historic party allegiance. Back in the 1950s, a third of the African-
American voters remained with the party of Lincoln. They remained loyal to
the party that championed abolition of slavery, had held high the banner of
union against southern secession.

President Eisenhower actually won two out of every five every African-
American votes, in 1956. Richard Nixon won a third of that vote in 1960.

Then came the 1960s. The civil rights record of John F. Kennedy and
Lyndon Johnson reduced for Republicans to roughly 10 percent.

Now, a presidential hopeful, Rand Paul of Kentucky, is talking about
attracting African American voters back to his party. It`s a good thing to
do, but no one should confuse it will not happen easily or quickly.
There`s a lot of water, after all, under the bridge.

But history should be no obstacle to a better more competitive bid for
the minority voter. It`s just that even assuming Rand Paul`s good faith
and persuasive ability is going to take decades, just as it took decades
for the African American vote to shift to the Democrats. And that`s a
fact.

That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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