October 20, 2014
Guest: Willie Brown, Rep. Donna Edwards, Wesley Lowery
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: We have nothing to fear but Ebola itself.
And this is HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
Is fear contagious? A teacher up in Maine gets sent home for three weeks
because she dared fly to an educational convention down in Dallas. In
Mississippi, scared parents yank their children from school after hearing
that the principal had traveled to Zambia in sub-Sahara Africa, thousands
of miles away from the infected area. This is the fear stalking the
elections two weeks from now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOM TILLIS (R-NC), SENATE CANDIDATE: 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. Until the CDC can convince me that
we are able to intervene with anyone who represents a threat to the safety
and security of this country, then we`ve got to prevent them from traveling
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we ought to have an immediate travel ban from
the affected areas going into effect now. Not tomorrow, but now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Ebola epidemic, along with ISIS, shows you how we
should really secure the border and not be granting amnesty.
SCOTT BROWN (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE SENATE CANDIDATE: I think it`s naive to
think that people are going to be walking through here who have those types
of diseases and/or other types of intent, criminal or terrorist, and yet we
do nothing to secure our border. It`s dangerous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: "People walking through here," "the southern border" -- these
are all misconnects, disconnects, but they all play on fear.
Also tonight, it now appears that only an historic African-American vote
can save the Democratic control of the U.S. Senate in two weeks, one at
least as strong as the one for President Obama`s second term. Well, can
they deliver on election day? Can the group long looked upon as the
Democrats` infantry now be counted on to be the cavalry?
First to this Ebola danger. It`s become the Republicans` number one weapon
of choice. Howard Fineman`s editorial director of the HuffingtonPost.
He`s up in New York. And Eugene Robinson is a columnist for "The
Washington Post." Both are MSNBC political analysts.
Howard, I want you to start here. This use of fear, it reminds me almost
of the cold war. In the cold war, there really were communists over there,
but the fact is -- I guess there were some here -- but the fact of the
matter was this use of fear here -- one victim in the United States. They
somehow tie it together with -- what was Scott Brown tying it together
with? "People walking around here," people crossing the border, ISIS,
tying it all together into one big, fat package of, My God, the world`s
coming to an end, we need a new party to run the thing.
HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST MEDIA GROUP, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes,
MATTHEWS: Something -- it`s just a strange thing.
FINEMAN: Well, it`s strange, but yet familiar in American political life
and American political history. And I think the analogy to the red scare
is right on point. There`s just enough of a grain of truth in it all to
allow the Republicans to run wild.
They`ve always, at least certainly since the `60s, run on the idea of the
other, of the outsider, of the stranger, of the person or force that`s
unnamed that you should fear. And the current vessel for that started with
the border and immigration from the south, legal and otherwise. That
didn`t really fly with the American people or the Republican Party because
the Republican Party`s divided on it. Then they moved after the beheadings
to ISIS, the great fear, even though that was in Syria and not in the
United States. And now, of course, Ebola.
And you put all three of them together, and fear, raw emotion, can, if
allowed to be unanswered and unchecked, overrule the rational mind in
American politics. And it`s the challenge of the president and the
Democrats in the last two weeks here, two-and-a-half weeks, to say, Look,
the Republicans have nothing to run on but fear. They have no program.
They have only irrational fear. We have the answers. We have the way
forward. And that`s really going to frame these last two-and-a-half weeks
until the Senate is decided, if it`s decided on November 4th.
MATTHEWS: Gene, what is the connection between the Rio Grande River and
the Atlantic Ocean?
MATTHEWS: Why do they fear that -- they know -- look, people are
reasonably concerned about a rush of immigrants. Any country would be, a
rush of unregulated immigration. (INAUDIBLE) a law, it`s a law. But how
do they connect that with a few people, or this one person that came into
the country that they know of from West Africa, who lied to get here. So
all these other things won`t keep him out anyway, probably -- but how do
they connect -- Scott Brown talking about people walking through New
EUGENE ROBINSON, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes!
MATTHEWS: Where are they coming from? They`re coming--
ROBINSON: Nobody is going to get Ebola, walk across, you know, the Texas
MATTHEWS: Well, by the way, New Hampshire`s pretty far from Mexico!
ROBINSON: -- and walk to New Hampshire. Right.
MATTHEWS: Yes. I know. I mean--
ROBINSON: That`s never, ever going to happen. And so -- but you know,
Howard is right upon. It`s this -- it`s the atmospherics. It`s creating
this sense of doom and foreboding and chaos.
And so the particulars, if you look at them, they don`t parse, right? They
don`t actually make sense as discrete things you ought to be scared of.
But they`re trying to create this atmosphere that you ought to be scared of
it all and you ought to be dissatisfied with whatever the Democrats are
doing or not doing to protect us from this sort of--
MATTHEWS: Does anybody think--
ROBINSON: -- inchoate fear.
MATTHEWS: -- that the Republicans would be more active in West Africa in
development and health standards? Does anybody believe they would have
been more actively over there working to prevent that--
ROBINSON: No because--
MATTHEWS: -- that travesty over there?
ROBINSON: -- you know, Republicans -- a lot of Republicans are still
saying, you know, Stop the flights, unaware that there are no flights.
There are no flights from the affected countries directly to the United
MATTHEWS: They go to Belgium.
ROBINSON: None. Right. Stop the flights from Europe.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, the fear factor`s obviously going to play a role in
this. We`re looking at Thom Tillis down in North Carolina. We`ll get to
that in a minute. But this guy`s just hyping it up.
Anyway, in a new Politico poll, nearly two thirds of likely voters in swing
states say they feel the U.S. has lost control of major challenges. One
reason could be the chorus coming from big names on the right saying the
administration can`t be trusted to handle Ebola.
Now, watch this chorus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN: If you were president, and NIH or the CDC were saying,
Hey, you know, this will only make it worse. A travel ban, a flight ban
will only make it worse, what we have in place is better, you would
overrule the doctors and the experts?
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: But Candy, their arguments -- Candy, the doctors
and the experts that are saying this are working for the administration and
repeating the administration talking points, and their arguments don`t make
MITT ROMNEY (R-MA), FMR. GOV., FMR. PRES. CANDIDATE: Look, this
administration couldn`t run the IRS right, and it apparently is not running
the CDC right. And you ask yourself, what is it going to take to have a
president who really focuses on the interests of the American people?
MIKE HUCKABEE (R-AR), FMR. GOV., HOST, "HUCKABEE": I`m feeling a little
sick myself, but it`s not Ebola. I`m just sick of a government that I`m
paying for telling me not to worry and just trust them. I wish I could,
but if they repeatedly lie to me, I don`t believe them anymore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Howard, the malice in these comments, the malice of accusing
people like Frieden and Fauci, of guys who spent their life fighting
infectious diseases -- that`s what they do. They`re not political.
Accusing them of being flacks for Obama is dishonest, unless you got a
screw loose. And that guy, Ted Cruz, always makes me think he does.
Where does he get the idea that these guys are flacking for Obama? I don`t
even know what their party labels are. I have no -- I know Fauci
(INAUDIBLE) what his politics are!
MATTHEWS: What is this -- what is this about--
MATTHEWS: -- that they would blame the president for writing the scripts
of doctors? How would he know what to put in the scripts, and what would
be his motivation for playing down the danger? What does it mean to keep
saying "politically correct"? What do they mean by that?
FINEMAN: Well, two points. First of all, the Republicans here, if you
listen to what they`re saying, they`re actually advocating for more of a
government role. They may not like what the president is doing, but they
want government activism here, to which many Democrats would say, How dare
you. You`ve been tearing down the authority and the reach of government
both here and around the world for decades. Now you want the government to
be an activist government? That`s the first point.
The second point is, Ted Cruz, in his comments there about administration
talking points about science, is the perfect example of the intellectual
bankruptcy of parts of the Republican Party that dismiss the idea of
science. They dismiss the idea of accepted facts.
FINEMAN: They live in their own world. They think the left lives in its
own world, and never the twain shall meet. So even science has been ripped
apart. In science, in consensus on experimentally verified scientific
facts, the whole basis of the thinking of the last 300 years since the
Enlightenment is being thrown out the window by Republicans in this case!
MATTHEWS: Is there anybody that doesn`t know they`re loving this?
ROBINSON: No! No!
MATTHEWS: I mean, let`s talk politics. They`re loving this. Let me read
MATTHEWS: Scott Brown -- I don`t know the guy at all, but look at this.
"I think it`s naive to think that people aren`t going to be walking through
ROBINSON: "Walking through here," through New Hampshire.
MATTHEWS: Now, listen to this -- "here who have those types of diseases" -
- those types -- what he -- there`s only one we`re talking about here --
"those types of diseases and/or other types of intent, criminal or
terrorist." So there`s just -- be on the lookout for the bogeyman. He`s
coming through here. It might be Typhoid Mary with Ebola. It might be
somebody carrying -- you know, their cantaloupe legs carrying hauls of
drugs or whatever in the country.
ROBINSON: It could be ISIS.
MATTHEWS: So the whole thing, you got to shut down this country. They`re
ROBINSON: Yes. Again, it`s -- it`s--
MATTHEWS: That`s what you do when you`re 10 points behind!
ROBINSON: -- this sort of an umbrella, you know, designation. You should
be afraid of everything. Bad people are coming to get you. And the
Democrats are going to allow it.
MATTHEWS: Haven`t these people seen "The Music Man" recently?
MATTHEWS: This is "The Music Man"! It`s trouble in River City -- "Oh, we
got trouble." Oh, we got trouble! But they at least should tell us--
MATTHEWS: -- I think a reasonable person can debate this.
MATTHEWS: But they don`t want to debate it--
ROBINSON: No, it is debatable. Tony Fauci said today, Look, you can
disagree. We can discuss whether or not there ought to be a travel ban.
In our professional opinion, there shouldn`t be one. You know, and so--
MATTHEWS: Well, that -- they`re getting that--
FINEMAN: Can I mention race here?
MATTHEWS: You may.
FINEMAN: Let`s put the cards on the table here.
MATTHEWS: You mean the word "Africa"?
FINEMAN: No. The brown people coming from the south, the Arab people
coming from the east, the black people coming from Africa -- nobody`s
saying that in so many words. Nobody`s saying it at all. But it`s in the
background of this whole discussion, and anybody who would deny that
doesn`t know how this country operates.
It`s not the only way this country operates. We`re bigger than that in the
end. But that`s definitely a subtext of a lot of what`s going on here.
There`s just no question about it. And I`ll say it if other people won`t.
MATTHEWS: It is the arrival of "them."
MATTHEWS: Even though African-Americans -- big hint here -- have been here
before we got here!
ROBINSON: Well, yes. There is that.
MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) surprise there!
ROBINSON: Or the Mayflower.
MATTHEWS: I know.
ROBINSON: But no, and Howard is absolutely right. I mean, you know,
diseased Africans, you know, we have to keep them out, and these, you know,
murderous Arabs, and these -- you know, these brown Central Americans, we
have to keep -- you know, absolutely.
MATTHEWS: People who come walking through here with those kinds of
ROBINSON: And we don`t want them walking through here.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, there`s a difference between justifiable fear, as we`ve
been trying to say here, and hysteria. In the past few days, we`ve seen a
couple of examples that verge into the latter, hysteria. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: School district officials on Wednesday sent this
letter home to parents of students who attend Strong (ph) School, where the
suspended staff member teaches school. She traveled to Dallas earlier this
week representing Maine at a national conference.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Parents voice their fears about the possibility that
the teacher could have been infected by the deadly virus. Following the
meeting, the teacher, who has not been identified, was required to take a
21-day paid leave of absence.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Many parents kept their kids out of school today, all
because a middle school principal just go back from Africa.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a real sense of panic outside Hazelhurst (ph)
middle school. Principal Lee Wenick (ph) just returned from his brother`s
funeral in Zambia, far from the Ebola hot spot countries, on the other side
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That`s about 2,500 miles. We did the math today on the ground.
ROBINSON: A long, long way.
MATTHEWS: I don`t know. This is hysteria, and I think we have Professor
Harold Hill out here, you know, We got troubles in River City.
ROBINSON: They don`t--
MATTHEWS: And you know why they`re doing it--
ROBINSON: -- teach geography anymore, do they.
MATTHEWS: You know why they`re doing it? Because there`s an election in
MATTHEWS: And that is it. This isn`t a reasonable discussion of good
public health, it`s an attempt to scare people into the voting booth to
vote R because that`s the vote for fear. Thank you, Howard Fineman. Thank
you, Gene Robinson. And you`re onto something, Howard.
Coming up, black power. I use that loosely. The Democrats` only hope to
hold the White House -- Senate, it seems, is to have an extraordinary turn-
out by African-Americans this November, equal to that of 2008, or 2012,
when President Obama was actually on the ballot himself. Can they deliver
on election day? As I said, the infantry is being asked to be the cavalry
this time, save the day.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: We`re going to be right back and talk about what I called black
power, the big story out there now that the only way the Democrats can hold
the U.S. Senate is if African-Americans get out and vote the way they voted
in 2012. This is an extraordinary leap they`re going to have to make.
They`re going to have to jump up and catch something they`ve never caught,
a midterm election as strong as a presidential election. But they have to
do it, it`s argued, if the Democrats are to hold the Senate.
We`ll be right back to talk about that hot button issue.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, the only chance for Democrats
to keep control of the U.S. Senate, it has been said, is an extraordinary
turn-out by African-American voters, one equal to that of 2012, what a
standard! A report in "The New York Times" headlined, "Black vote seen as
last hope for Democrats to hold Senate," reveals the contents of a private
memo that put the Democrats` reliance on black voters in stark terms.
It predicts crushing Democratic losses across the country if the party does
not do more to get black voters to the polls. On top of that, in key
Senate races that are currently neck and neck right now, new voting
restrictions will make it harder for many minorities to vote, especially
In North Carolina, where Senator Kay Hagan is fending off Republican Thom
Tillis, voters have to contend with reduced early voting and no more same-
day registration. Same deal in Georgia, where Republican David Perdue and
Democrat Michelle Nunn are essentially tied right now.
In some of the closest governors` races, it`s the incumbent Republican
governors themselves who`ve signed the voting restrictions into law. Guess
why? It helps them. In the Wisconsin race, no more early in-person voting
on weekends. That law was signed by governor Scott Walker, who doesn`t
like "souls to the polls," who`s the fight of his life against Democrat
Mary Burke (ph).
In Florida, there`s reduced early voting and curbs on voter registration
drives brought to you by Republican governor Rick Scott, who I don`t
personally like too much, who`s fighting off a challenge from Charlie
Crist. And again, in Georgia, where early voting days have been cut in
half, Governor Nathan Deal is in a fight to the finish with Democrat Jason
Carter, who`s Jimmy Carter`s grandson and a Peace Corps volunteer.
Campaigning yesterday in Chicago for Governor Pat Quinn, President Obama
himself made his case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Starting tomorrow, you can
vote, too! You`ve got to grab your friends. You`ve got to grab your co-
workers. You know, don`t just get the folks who you know are going to
vote. You got to find Cousin Pooky.
OBAMA: He`s sitting on the couch right now watching football, hasn`t voted
in the last five elections. You`ve got to grab him and tell him to go
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Joining me right now is former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown
-- he`s no Uncle Pooky, I don`t think, he`s a very active fellow -- and
U.S. Congresswoman Donna Edwards of Maryland.
You know, me, a white guy, only learned that phrase today, Mayor. "Uncle
Pooky" is apparently a term for the old guy that shows up, maybe doesn`t
work too hard, has a drink now and then, enjoys life but is not really what
you`d call active. But you all know this guy.
Anyway, what do you think the president was up to in saying, Reach out to
that guy and get him to the polls?
WILLIE BROWN (D), FMR. SAN FRANCISCO MAYOR: Well, I think he was trying to
say exactly what needs to be done, and I`m pleased that he`s doing it. He
should have been doing it over the last month. Although many Democratic
candidates running who are running this time don`t want to be anywhere near
Barack Obama. That guy is a winner in black neighborhoods. He won the
presidency on the backs of blacks in this country, because they turned out
in numbers far superior to anything that they have ever done in any
If he does that again, the U.S. Senate will stay in the hands of Democrats.
MATTHEWS: You know, for years, people who worked for the Kennedys have
tried to get elected to office, and they have failed. But the Kennedys get
Can he project Obama the person and the magnet to other people? Same on
you -- Mayor, I want that thought from you. Can he do what doesn`t often
get done, project your influence to someone else?
BROWN: Yes, he can.
He can make it a race issue. It can be just as if it was Martin Luther
King Jr. saying vote, Rosa Parks saying vote, Malcolm saying vote, James
Meredith saying vote. He can do what needs to be done in order to motivate
African-Americans to go vote.
And if you couple that with a huge infusion of money, if you couple that
with a huge infusion of voter registration effort, if you get all the
faith-based African-American churches in this country to do the same thing,
you will be saying Barack Obama`s legacy depends upon your vote, go do it,
and it will be done.
MATTHEWS: So, Congresswoman, what we need is -- apparently, to win this
battle, you need -- to win for the Democrats, you need charisma from the
president somehow injected down to the other Democrats. You need some
street money. And you need David Plouffe-style voter identification and a
really good polling operation. That`s a lot to put together.
REP. DONNA EDWARDS (D), MARYLAND: Well, it is.
But I also think that what the president is doing in the places where he
can go in Illinois and places like Maryland, he actually projects that
message on a national level. And it gets across even to those districts in
Iowa, in Southern Illinois, and other places where we have a strong
African-American population, and we need them to turn out in the 90 percent
rates that they did for the president.
And so I think that`s what he`s shooting for here. And it`s never too late
to call on voters to vote. And the fact is that, in 2012, even with all
the voting restrictions out there, African-Americans showed up in record
numbers. And so I think people are prepared to vote if they hear the
message from the president, and he doesn`t have to be in Kentucky for
Kentucky voters to hear that message.
MATTHEWS: You know, party leadership really matters.
EDWARDS: It does.
MATTHEWS: You know, you would be a great leader.
Let me tell you somebody who is a terrible leader. Reince Priebus. The
Republican Party in three dozen states has been leading these efforts to
suppress the black vote. They know what they`re doing. A lot of these
legislative leaders answer it.
I want the mayor to respond to this.
Mayor Brown, they admit it. In Pennsylvania, they admit it, what they`re
doing. Reince Priebus oversees it as a party leader. This is a
pronounced, declarative, deliberate effort by a white minority party to try
to continue its power in this country against a growing browning of a the
through underhanded tactics that are equivalent to Jim Crow tactics, to all
the tricks of a poll tax, and the stuff you grew up in Texas.
Why am I telling you this? But it`s so blatant, the way they do it. And
then not -- Priebus could just make a statement in the next 10 minutes and
say, no more of this crap. But he won`t do it because he knows there`s
votes in it and there`s salvation in that narrow sense they see it. They
can stay on a few more decades if they cheat. Your thoughts?
BROWN: Well, let me tell you, Chris, they are clearly, firmly in the camp
of being against affordable health care. They`re against minimum wage.
They`re against immigration policies.
They`re against quality education for every kid. They literally are living
in the backward times. And under every circumstance, they want to maintain
that, because let me tell you, if voters turn out in the numbers they can
turn out in Georgia on the black side, in North Carolina on the black side,
for Mary Landrieu in Louisiana on the black side, if they turn out in
Maryland, Brown will win the governorship.
That`s known by the Republicans. They have done the polling. They have
done the testing, and they will do everything they can to make sure the
only people that show up to vote are white folk that think like them. They
don`t want anybody else.
BROWN: They don`t want young people either.
MATTHEWS: Did you hear Howard a couple minutes ago, Howard Fineman?
EDWARDS: I did.
MATTHEWS: And he said there`s an undercurrent here. Beware the West
Africans, beware the Mexicans, beware the Arabs, beware them all. There`s
EDWARDS: Except that it`s not an undercurrent. It`s an over-current.
MATTHEWS: Well, anyway, President Obama told the MSNBC`s the Reverend Al
Sharpton, who precedes me every night, about the importance of voter
turnout in the midterms. Let`s listen to the president.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can`t afford to be
sitting at home, thinking that the midterms don`t matter, because I have
got two years left in my presidency, and I want to make every single one of
them count, and I need a partner in Congress.
And the truth is, is that, in most of these states, in most of these
congressional districts, if we have high turnout, we win. And when we have
low turnout, we lose. It`s as simple as that. So, what I need everybody
to do is just go out there and vote.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Give me the stats. How does it look right now where your
efforts are for the Democrats?
EDWARDS: Well, I think that we have done all the things that we need to
do. We have raised the money. We have the candidates. We have the
message. We have got to get the turnout.
And we have got an operation on the ground. We have registered more voters
this time. We have never had voter registration operations that`s really
out of our party operations. And we have done that this year too.
But the president is right. People have to vote, and they can`t let any of
the potential barriers out there get in the way. They have got to show up
and vote for their children, for their grandchildren, for the future.
MATTHEWS: Well, I just assume anybody who watches this show votes. So, I
wish you well. I`m going to vote on Thursday here in Maryland.
EDWARDS: I`m voting on Sunday after I go to church.
MATTHEWS: Because -- I have to vote this--
MATTHEWS: Because I will be in New York covering election night up there
on Election Day.
Anyway, thank you, Governor Willie Brown, Mayor Willie Brown, and Speaker
BROWN: And I have already -- and I have already voted.
EDWARDS: All right.
MATTHEWS: What a man. Anyway, thank you, sir.
And U.S. Congresswoman Donna Edwards of Maryland, thanks for coming on,
both of you.
Up next, the Democratic Senate candidate in Michigan is accused of taking
campaign money from a loan shark. Wow. How do they dig this stuff up?
Anyway, this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL and time now for the "Sideshow."
The Supreme Court doesn`t let you take TV cameras into the courtroom during
oral arguments. That`s why the news coverage you also see is limited to
the oral or the audio recording and of course these courtroom sketches.
HBO`s John Oliver now says those sketches are too boring for TV. He`s
looked at some of the most popular videos on YouTube and he`s come up with
a new way to showcase the court`s arguments, with a little help from man`s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER")
JOHN OLIVER, HOST, "LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER": This week, we
spent an incredible amount of time, and almost immoral amount of resources-
OLIVER: -- to produce an entire Supreme Court featuring real animals--
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
ANTONIN SCALIA, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE, U.S. SUPREME COURT: Let`s assume I`m in
a relation that requires polygamy. I mean, could I say, well, OK, I won`t
have three wives, just let me have two wives? I mean, you`re still--
SCALIA: -- highlighting your religion, it seems to me if wants his beard
to clipped to one -- one -- one inch, isn`t he?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is the state`s burden that is explicit in the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only limit--
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hair on the top of your head and hair on the front of
your head is -- it`s not even rational.
OLIVER: Be honest. You now want to hear the entire hour-long oral
argument, don`t you?
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
OLIVER: No, no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Next up, as you know, Senator Mark Udall is in a tough fight for
reelection out there in Colorado. He didn`t help himself much this weekend
when he had trouble answering this simple question from a local news
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Name three of the most influential books in your life
and the last song you listened to.
SEN. MARK UDALL (D), COLORADO: Oh, wow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know. That`s the toughest.
UDALL: So, the three most influential books in my life, "Profiles in
Courage." The -- let me think. We can play this over, right? Let me
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, let`s go back to the -- what about music? What`s
the last song you listened to?
UDALL: I`m brain-dead today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, they believed that.
Anyway needless to say, that`s hardly a gotcha question. And it shows the
importance of spontaneity in politics, doesn`t it?
Finally, a new attack ad released on the Web today by Michigan State
Republican candidate Gary Peters for taking campaign donations from loan
sharks. He gave the money back, but they didn`t mention that in the attack
ad. It`s a low-budget parody of the made-for-TV movie "Sharknado" --
"Sharknado." Obviously, I don`t watch that show.
And some are already calling it the worst political ad of 2014.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, POLITICAL AD)
NARRATOR: Gary Peters is in the eye of the storm. Funded by a convicted
felon. Connected to a loan shark ring, run by an international gangster,
who also contributed to Peters` campaign. "Gary Peters: Loan Sharknado"
coming soon to a voting booth near you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I`m voting for Peters just because of that ad.
Anyway, next up, buyer`s remorse. Mitt Romney, of all people, leads the
Republican field for 2016 by a lot. Plus, some big-time leaders are
protesting a New York opera, "The Death of Klinghoffer." And I know why.
Anyway, the roundtable joins us next. We`re going to over Ebola and the
black vote, both big stories tonight.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
PAGE HOPKINS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Page Hopkins. Here`s what`s
The CDC has issued new guidelines for health care workers treating Ebola
patients. They must now be trained in the use of personal protective
equipment, leaving no skin exposed. And a supervisor must oversee the
proper use of the equipment. The guidelines were issued after two nurses
became sick after treating an Ebola patient in Dallas. And an American
doctor infected with the virus while working in Sierra Leone has been
discharged from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. The patient has
asked -- has asked to remain anonymous -- and now we`re going to take you
back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Ebola, terrorism, and presidential management, fear and anxiety hits the
campaign trail. Can the black vote save Democrats? They have been the
infantry for years. Can they be the cavalry?
And buyer`s remorse dominates the Republican field for 2016. Mitt Romney,
having done nothing cool, suddenly has a double-digit lead. What`s
changed? He hasn`t changed. Obama`s gotten in trouble.
The roundtable tonight, David Corn of "Mother Jones," MSNBC political
reporter Kasie Hunt, and Wesley Lowery of "The Washington Post."
Did I say that right?
WESLEY LOWERY, "THE WASHINGTON POST": You got it.
MATTHEWS: "The Washington Post."
LOWERY: "The Washington Post"
MATTHEWS: Let`s start right now.
You know, the reason why everything matters on election night now is that
anything can matter. These votes are 44-44, 46-40. Even Scott Brown is
within three points and he`s out there doing -- raising the we got trouble
in River City thing up there. Oh, they got Mexicans coming in there. We
got West Africans coming here, Arabs, ISIS coming in, scare, scare, scare.
But it might shake loose three or four points.
Wesley, you start.
LOWERY: Of course.
MATTHEWS: That`s what it`s all about, the Ebola scare.
LOWERY: Well, it is.
We all thought there would be some type of October surprise. What would be
the issue? What would we be talking about? ISIS came a little too early
for that, but Ebola had the perfect timing. I think that there`s nothing
that mobilizes voters more than being scared of something.
MATTHEWS: Who rolled out Ebola? Who rolled it out?
KASIE HUNT, NBC CORRESPONDENT: And Democrats have really struggled to talk
about this. They were really slow to kind of grasp that this was going to
be a problem that voters were going to tie in with the president, that
Republicans were going capitalize on.
For a week, you didn`t see Democratic Senate candidates talking about it
and now they`re one by one getting hit for changing their position.
MATTHEWS: Kasie, you`re a straight reporter, so tell me this. Try to
imitate a Democrat explaining the case against a ban on West African
HUNT: Try to make the case against it?
HUNT: Oh, well, they`re kind of a little all over the place.
MATTHEWS: It`s very--
HUNT: Like, we think that it should be part of a broader policy, but we`re
not totally sure.
It`s really, really hard to explain. A travel ban seems like common sense
to a lot of voters. They say, hey, why should we let sick who are people
come into our country? Making that public health, the reasonable sort of
day-to-day management argument for this is much more difficult.
MATTHEWS: It`s like capital punishment. Get rid of the murderers, by
definition. Kill them all. Or build a higher wall, the Rio Grande. The
conservative -- I have sort of come to the conclusion the conservative
argument is clear, sharper and shorter.
DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it`s -- because it`s demagogic,
because it`s playing on people`s fear.
Anyone who knows anything about epidemics and dealing with epidemics and
pandemics say that this is not a good idea. So you have people like Thom
Tillis, Scott Brown, noted public health experts, getting out there and
saying, oh, we know better than the scientists and the experts, or Ted Cruz
saying, well, they`re just saying that to protect Obama.
Listen, there have been three cases of Ebola, three cases.
MATTHEWS: Two of them -- well, let`s get it straight. One came in as an
import, where the guy lied.
CORN: I saw a tweet today. Someone said -- someone said, Kim Kardashian
has had more wives -- than the number of Americans have been hit by Ebola
MATTHEWS: Your point being?
CORN: You don`t want to be glib about this, but it`s not a major health
MATTHEWS: You are being glib.
CORN: Republicans had nothing in this election.
MATTHEWS: I like it when we`re future apart, by the way.
MATTHEWS: Can we talk about what I talk about here? What happens if
you`re Kay Hagan? You guys cover the -- you covered a case.
You go down there and there`s Kay Hagan neck and neck, but about two or
three points ahead. All of a sudden, this thing comes along, and the other
guy says, just slam the border shut.
HUNT: Well, it`s playing into voters` fear and anxiety. And the question
is, and I had, you know, I was on the phone with Democratic strategists who
are trying to cast this as something where maybe voters don`t want to
change horses midstream. I mean, there`s that sort of line of thinking as
well. When you`re in the middle of a crisis, maybe you don`t want to
change your leadership.
MATTHEWS: Yes, don`t have a change in your senator?
HUNT: But that doesn`t seem to be coming across in this case.
WESLEY LOWERY, THE WASHINGTON POST: It`s also sort of difficult to argue
in negative, though, and that`s one of the things Democrats had to deal
with. Republicans can basically -- they`re arguing against whatever the
president is doing, or whatever the federal government is going. If he
does institute a travel ban, he didn`t do to soon enough, or should have
done it more broadly.
If he -- why doesn`t he name a czar yet? Wait, now, we don`t like who the
czar is. So, it`s a lot easier to be in that position politically, because
no matter what the government does, you hate it and you can play to the
MATTHEWS: Let me talk about this African-American vote, because I watched
Wanda Sykes last night. She was very funny. She said she sneezed a couple
times on the plane. She said I`m going back to being just black, because
it`s weird -- anybody sneezes on the plane, I don`t like the word African
American now, because you don`t want to say African anymore.
But let`s talk seriously. When I read a piece the other day, this week,
and it said the only way the Democrats win the Senate, or keep the Senate,
is if the African vote comes on like the cavalry as I`ve been saying, like,
wow, like there`s never been a vote like this in history. You know, they
want it to be up to the level it was in 2012 when you had an African
American candidate for president, history being made again.
And most people being whipped, told you can`t vote. All the positive ways
of getting person to vote is say: A, you have pride in your vote, and, two,
you can`t vote. You vote, right?
LOWERY: Exactly. I think that`s one of the things Democrats are trying to
do. That`s why we`re seeing the president out right now, speaking and
campaigning in some of these battleground states.
MATTHEWS: Do a Sharpton (ph) interview.
LOWERY: Exactly, because black voters when you look at them, the way they
poll, they`re still intensely loyal to the president of the United States.
If they can frame it, as the president of the United States needs to show
up for his legacy, for him to continue accomplishing what he`s
accomplishing, that`s their hope. But the problem is the poll that DCCC --
the campaign committee earlier this year, found that 67 percent of
Democratic base voters, black voters, Hispanic voters, young women, said
they didn`t know there was an election this year. So, that doesn`t make
MATTHEWS: What about the attempt to intimidate them out of voting?
CORN: Well, that`s true. It`s happening in Texas, North Carolina,
Georgia. And when you do that, when people want to vote or they`re
thinking about an election, they do get ticked off and it motivates them.
But the question is, as he just indicated, they`re so disaffected or so
distant from this election that they may not even know that they`re not
being allowed to vote. And then you have candidates in some key states who
are trying to -- Democratic candidates, who are trying to distance
themselves from Barack Obama -- Alison Grimes, Kay Hagan. And so, it`s
hard to sort of have a two-level strategy.
HUNT: It`s been the Democrats` problem all the way along. Exactly, is how
do you motivate and get out the Obama coalition, as Wesley was talking
about, while also not alienating -- they`re going to need rural white
voters also, to put that coalition together. Right. So, they were turning
MATTHEWS: OK. So, let`s talk about the Republican Party for some relief
here. Not comic relief.
It`s just fascinating, Mitt Romney who was sort of dead -- he was cold
toast about a year ago, is now Mr. Cool. He`s getting 21 percent opposed
to Jeb Bush and other establishment candidates who`s at 11 percent. Then
come the conservatives Huckabee at nine and Rand Paul at nine. And then
Christie, Rubio, and Perry, of course, and Carson -- Carson and Paul Ryan
around lower single digits.
You know, I`m thinking, my theory is, I`ll just test it. Mitt Romney is
the guy you didn`t vote for when you voted for Obama. He was the
Through some interesting logic in the head of an average person -- oh, I
now got a chance to say in a poll, I made a mistake, I should vote for him,
or he should have won. So, he almost wins now because he`s the guy that
ran against Obama. He was the alternative. I don`t know if he`s the
alternative to Hillary Clinton when the time comes, but right now, he looks
like he`s the alternative --
HUNT: It`s either that. When you break up with somebody, your ex looks,
you know, better in the rearview mirror than when you`re actually --
CORN: But I would say 21 percent is not a good number for Mitt Romney.
Everybody in this poll, Republicans, know who Romney is. So, what you`re
saying, four out of five Republicans don`t want the last guy who ran, who
is now seen as the leader of their party.
MATTHEWS: He wasn`t near 21 a year ago.
CORN: But now everyone knows who he is.
MATTHEWS: But why is it growing?
MATTHEWS: Can you ever say a good word about a Republican?
CORN: You want me to?
MATTHEWS: Well, stating the obvious, he`s going up.
CORN: I`d rather be Paul Ryan at this stage of the game, than Mitt Romney.
HUNT: Some of the problems, what Romney ran on, are some of the things
we`re facing. I mean, what we`re looking at with Ebola, for example, it`s
obviously partly public health, it`s partly a management crisis. Romney
ran as --
MATTHEWS: And he created Obamacare in Massachusetts.
I think if he ran as the guy he was, he would have been a hell of a
candidate. But he never did.
MATTHEWS: And that was the problem. You got to be who you are, anyway,
even if you`re not that great.
Anyway, the round table is coming back. We`re going to talk about this
huge uproar up in New York City tonight, tonight, about this, "The Death of
Klinghoffer." I think it`s kind of in-your-face opera for a lot of people
who are Jewish and other people. We`re going to talk about this. It`s a
fascinating thing where theater and literary freedom, if you will, clashes
Anyway, this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Watch this. It`s within the margin of error in the Senate race
up in New Hampshire. A state Democrats need to win to keep control,
Let`s check the HARDBALL scoreboard there. According to a new Suffolk
University poll, incumbent Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen has a three-
point lead over Massachusetts transplant Scott Brown. Shaheen, 49, Brown,
up to 46. Shaheen`s nearing the 50 percent marker, but Brown is still
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with the round table. David, Kasie, and the new guy,
Some big protests happening in New York tonight, as I said. Former Mayor
Rudy Giuliani, former Governor George Pataki and two members of the United
States Congress are leading a movement against an opera that set New York
ablaze. The production is called "The Death of Klinghoffer", and it
premiers tonight up there.
It`s based on the 1985 murder of a disabled older Jewish pastor, Leon
Klinghoffer, at the hands of four members of the Palestine Liberation Front
that hijacked this cruise ship, Achille Laura. Klinghoffer was shot in his
wheelchair and then thrown overboard. Some claim the production is anti-
Semitic, other critics object to a moral equivalency between the two groups
portrayed on stage.
The Anti-Defamation League put out this scathing statement, quote, "`he
Death of Klinghoffer` perverts the terrorist murder of Leon Klinghoffer and
attempts to romanticize, rationalize, legitimize and explain it."
They go on to criticize "the opera`s disingenuous and dangerous
juxtaposition of the plight of the Palestinian people with a cold-blooded
terrorist murder of an innocent, disabled American Jew. Its
rationalization of terrorism and false more equivalencies provide no
thoughtfulness or insight."
Well, that`s pretty clear. I think it (IANUDIBLE) up there.
What do you think?
CORN: Well, you know, they said originally that it wasn`t anti-Semitic,
which other people are claiming.
MATTHEWS: Well, that is close.
CORN: That comes close. That`s a very harsh criticism.
As "The New York Times" editorial pointed out, or the last couple of days,
they say that most critics have seen this opera, it`s been performed for
the last 10 years or so, it`s nothing new, have identified Klinghoffer as a
voice against political terrorism, and against the use of political
violence whether it causes justified or not.
So, they are saying critics who have seen this in "The New York Times",
that it`s the opposite message of what ADL. So, it brings you the bottom
line here is -- who`s right, who`s wrong? Maybe we leave it up to the
audiences, and not the politicians.
MATTHEWS: Is this -- is this a dispute -- I`m not Jewish -- but is this a
dispute in the Jewish community where some people are more hard-lined, more
Likud (INAUDIBLE), tougher? Don`t want any criticism or any celebration at
all of what the ADL seem to give some respect to, which is the Palestinian
plight of those people over there, apart from the heart of this crime.
LOWERY: I don`t know why you`re looking at me as the Jewish expert on the
MATTHEWS: We`re whipping around, right?
LOWERY: I think within any community, you have those types of splits. I
mean, I think you see that any time you`re talking about acts of terrorism
or acts -- people who have been previously persecuted or subject to some
type of maltreatment.
I think that you see this type of split in terms of -- in a very specific
sensitivity in terms of how those things are portrayed. But, look, I think
it`s hard any time to discuss a piece of art, or a piece of literature, a
production, without having seen it. And I think that will be one of the
questions where a lot of the Palestinians are weighing on this.
Have you sat through this opera yet? Do you really know what`s going on?
MATTHEWS: Well, I`ve seen is the disputes in New York, which are endemic
to New York, especially of Maple, but (INAUDIBLE). You know, most of us
consider disgusting art defended as art, right? People like Giuliani
jumping all over that, because New York has this bastion of ethnicity and
And if you do something like this -- but I want to get back to the point
which we all understand. Does the end justify the means? Does anybody
think because there`s a legitimate plight of the Palestinian people, which
most of us recognize there is, they`ve been left with very little land as
it stands, all the new housing developments. And they`re getting squeezed,
and squeezed and squeezed. Does that justify taking an older guy and throw
him from a ship?
CORN: Anybody who`s involved in this production and anyone who watches it
probably would say no. And that`s been the message.
MATTHEWS: Is that the message of the opera, though?
CORN: Critics that have been watching this the last few years tell you
that is the message of this opera and it doesn`t justify the ends. And it
doesn`t glorify. But obviously, ADL and other critics, maybe a few who`ve
actually seen, come to a different point of view.
HUNT: Well, it is a question, you know, sort of more broadly, OK,
obviously, there`s some objections. We can argue whether those objections
are justified or not. But does that mean that the show shouldn`t go on?
Does that mean that audience, they shouldn`t have a chance to see that.
MATTHEWS: What`s your answer?
HUNT: I mean, I think that everybody has to decide that for themselves,
but I think that`s what, you know, a lot of those critics are wrestling
with. I mean, even that statement, they went very far in that statement,
but they didn`t go so far as to say --
MATTHEWS: But what about the protesters? Do they want to shut down or
just protest what they consider --
CORN: Giuliani is interesting. I give that to him here. He doesn`t want
to see it shutdown, but he wants to protest it, which I think it`s kind of
a responsible way to go.
MATTHEWS: That`s a way to do it.
CORN: There you go.
MATTHEWS: So, you`re saying something good about a Republican tonight.
See, I pushed you into the corner I wanted to have you in.
Anyway, thank you all. We have nothing to fear but Ebola itself, is what I
believe. We keep right on the ball here, which is the disease and not let
the fear itself start driving us.
Anyway, we`ll be right back with more.
Thank you. Thank you so much, David Corn, Kasie Hunt, and Leslie Lowery.
Welcome to the club.
We`ll be back with my personality thoughts on a guy named Jay Leno. And I
mean it, a really good guy.
You`re watching HARDBALL -- a mensch, if you will -- the place for
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with Jay Leno, who is honored last night
at the Kennedy Center with the Mark Twain Award for American comedy. You
know, the hardest thing in the world, or certainly one of the hardest, is
to quit doing something you love to do. And that`s what Jay Leno had to do
last year and he`s made the best of it. He`s out there doing live
performances. And knowing his work ethic and professionalism, he`s giving
those audience nights to remember.
There were things that people said about Jay last night that run true with
me personally. The most important was that what a nice guy the guy is
personally. Every guest on the show knows that and said that last night.
He visits you in your dressing room before you go on. And then he hangs
out with you for a while and gets you comfortable with what`s coming.
And then he comes to you after the show, every time you`re on, to
personally thank you for being there, thanking you, when he and you both
know that getting on "The Tonight Show" is the best thing you can do in
Anyway, I have a special night I want to show you when the great Chelsea
Handler was teasing me for talking too fast one night. She`s not the first
person to do that, but for some reason, I decided to respond in kind.
Here`s how it all happened, including how Jay Leno leapt to my defense.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I did an investigative piece on the oil industry for "The
Washington Post" back 37 years ago. And I found there were 220,000 miles
of oil pipeline in this country. They got one federal guy looking out for
this. It`s a joke. They do not regulate the oil industry.
CHELSEA HANDLER, HOST, "CHELSEA LATELY": Could you talk faster?
MATTHEWS: The oil industry is completely --
MATTHEWS: You know, my dear, you`re beautiful, but if you concentrate, you
can keep up.
JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": Oh!
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
LENO: Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
LENO: Thank you.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
LENO: I should have done that five years ago.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
LENO: Yes! Thank you, Chris!
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
LENO: Thank you! I`m not taking it anymore from her.
LENO: Thank you, Chris!
HANDLER: I gave him that -- I gave him that line backstage, by the way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: If I would have known she was that great, I wouldn`t have said
Anyway, see why I like Jay leno? In all 29 times he had me on, he always
chatted away during commercials, which you`ve yet to see and told me I was
doing what I was supposed to do to be on the show. Anyway, to you, Jay
Leno, an American treasure.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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