October 22, 2014
Guest: Michelle Shephard, Michael Weiss, Jay Newton-Small, John Stanton
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Terrorists without borders.
This is HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
Today terrorism struck to the north, in Ottawa, the capital of Canada.
A gunman shot and killed a soldier standing guard at the country`s war
memorial. He then entered the nearby parliament building and opened fire.
Here`s what it looked and sounded like.
MATTHEWS: The country`s prime minister, Stephen Harper, was in that
building, near where the shots were fired. He was quickly whisked to
safety. Lawmakers, meanwhile, barricaded themselves behind doors piled up
with chairs. The gunman was shot and killed. NBC News has confirmed his
name, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a common Algerian surname he`s believed to have
taken on his conversion to Islam.
The attack came two days after another Muslim convert ran down two
Canadian soldiers with his car, killing one, in a parking lot outside
Montreal. Last month, an ISIS commander had called on followers to kill
Canadians, Americans and other Westerners, whether military or civilian.
Well, tonight, we have the terrorist threat covered on all fronts,
both in Canada and here in the United States, where three girls in Denver
have tried to join ISIS, and other cases where we see Americans residents
are joining the other side. We`re going to look at how this security
breach on our continent is going to affect the U.S. mid-term elections
coming on strong.
Michelle Shephard is a national security reporter for "The Toronto
Star." Pete Williams, of course, is NBC`s justice correspondent. Here in
the U.S., we also have Michael Weiss, foreign policy columnist and editor
for "The Interpreter," and of course, Clint Van Zandt, former FBI profiler,
now with MSNBC.
We begin with Michelle Shephard up in Ottawa. Michelle, give us a
capsule of what happened today and how it fit into recent fears we`ve had
about terrorism on this continent.
MICHELLE SHEPHARD, "TORONTO STAR" (via telephone): Well, it certainly
has been a fear that we will have attacks here in Canada. I think that no
one thought Canada would be immune to this. And also, we have become
involved with the fight in Syria and Iraq, and that has really raised our
And as you mentioned in the introduction, there have been calls for
those who couldn`t go over to fight in the name of the so-called Islamic
State to have attacks at home. And there had been fear among our security
and intelligence services that particularly vulnerable were military
personnel and targets.
And sadly, that`s what happened this week, both with today`s attack,
the killing of the soldier, and also on Monday, there was an attack on
Quebec, where another soldier was killed, struck by a car.
MATTHEWS: Do the Canadian people see this as an intimidation to
discourage they from joining the coalition against ISIS?
SHEPHARD: You know, I think that`s probably what the intent of the
attack was. Here today in Ottawa, really, it`s just been sort of a state
of chaos and shock. I think that that`ll be the discussion that comes --
in the coming days.
There was so much uncertainty throughout the day. Much of the city
was locked down. And indeed, there are still large parts of the downtown
that can`t be accessed, and still a lot of information and questions that
we don`t know yet about what happened. But definitely, I mean, that is
going to be something that will be debated and discussed, no doubt.
MATTHEWS: I just wonder, Michelle, when the president of the United
States says "senseless violence" -- this is very purposeful violence. This
is political. It seems to me -- well, you tell me what the people up there
feel. This is aimed at changing Canadian policy towards ISIS. It`s not
senseless. It may be horrible and ruthless, but it does have a point.
SHEPHARD: Well, we don`t -- yes, we don`t know the circumstances,
either both the -- Monday`s attack or today. Both the shooters were -- or
sorry, the shooter and the suspect who was in the car, they were both --
they were both killed. But definitely, who they chose as targets would
lead to you believe that there was definitely a message that was being
sent, I agree.
MATTHEWS: OK, let`s go right now to justice correspondent here in the
United States, Pete Williams of NBC News. Pete, what do we know about how
this threatens us and how it`s all put together?
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, in terms of this specific
incident, as far as we can tell, U.S. officials have looked into the
background of this person, Robert Michael Hall, also had this nom de
guerre, or his recent convert name, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. He`s just turned
32. He`s from Quebec. They don`t see any connection between him and
people in this U.S. He was not, apparently, in any kind U.S. terror
database. There are indications that the Canadian authorities were aware
of him. What the extent of their surveillance of him is not clear. So
there`s no direct connection.
You know, to put this in U.S. terms, this would be like somebody
shooting someone at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington Cemetery, and
then coming over and firing shots in the U.S. Capitol. That really is the
U.S. version of what here. Now, we`re told there`s no further security at
the Capitol or the White House or many other federal buildings, but they
did increase security today, just as a precaution, at the Tomb of the
Unknowns and Arlington National Cemetery.
MATTHEWS: So it`s anti-military.
WILLIAMS: Well, that is certainly one of the targets -- anti-
military, anti-government more than anything.
MATTHEWS: And anti-memorial.
MATTHEWS: That`s interesting because...
MATTHEWS: ... that`s the ritual we observe, the way we are so
dedicated to the memory of people who`ve died in service, and they`re
creating a different torque (ph) to this thing.
WILLIAMS: Well, I think it`s too hard to read into exactly what the
motive was here of this gunman. I think the other thing we should say to
ourselves is, despite all of the chaos, one person was killed. Now, that`s
a tragedy, of course, but who knows how many victims this person had in
MATTHEWS: Yes, well, witnesses describe what happened this morning.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we were working on the statue, and I heard a
bunch of pops. I thought it was just firecrackers going off. So I looked
across the street, and there`s a man with a rifle shooting at a bunch of
people. So we -- you know, I yelled at all my guys, There`s a guy
shooting, so everyone would, you know, get down, get down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We saw a man with a mask over his face (INAUDIBLE)
scarf, long black hair. He was wearing blue pants and a black jacket and
he had a double-barreled shotgun. He ran up to the side of this building
here and hijacked a car at gunpoint -- didn`t hurt the gentleman in the car
-- and then took off towards the back here and headed in that direction,
towards the construction.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I, literally -- I was just taking off my
jacket to go into caucus. I hear this pop, pop, pop, possibly 10 shots,
don`t really know, thought it was dynamite, rather than -- or construction,
rather than anything else. Suddenly, the security guards come rushing down
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Michelle Shephard, let me ask you about the patterns of
these. We`ve seen in this country the attempt to bring down the World
Trade Center`s buildings back in `93. They attacked the foundations of the
building with dynamite. Then, of course, the blind sheikh gets picked up
because they ended up doing something stupid with a rental car, and he was
identified and prosecuted and imprisoned.
But then eight years later, they came back and brought it down with
airplanes. And you wonder whether -- this is a very fundamental question.
What stops a terrorist from going after their ultimate goal, even when
they`re intercepted at one point? They go after -- they go after the
monuments here to kill soldiers. What will stop the next people to do the
SHEPHARD: Well, I think -- you know, I think it`s a good point to
compare to past attacks. And what the security officials have feared and
been warning of for some time is it doesn`t take sophisticated plots like
we saw on 9/11 to really spread widespread terror. And this -- you know,
both today and Monday, were what looked like very, very simple attacks. It
takes someone with a mission and a gun to and go do something, and the
ramifications of that can be huge.
And I think, as was just mentioned, too, today, as devastating as it
was, it could have been a lot worse. This is the heart of the capital and
the heart of Canada. And it was a very crowded area, and it`s amazing
there weren`t more casualties.
MATTHEWS: They seem like suicide missions, that they knew they
weren`t going to get through them. You said before, or someone did, that
if they couldn`t get overseas to fight in the battle land over there and
between Iraq and Syria, they would have to do it here. But doing it here
meant they would probably end up killed.
SHEPHARD: Well, there`s another part of that debate, too, is that in
Monday`s attack, the suspect had had his passport taken. Canada brought in
a new program that if -- passports could be seized for those who were
suspected of wanting to go abroad and fight for the Islamic group or other
groups. So he apparently was one of those on the list who had their
And I think we`ve seen that in other cases, as well, most recently in
Australia. So that really adds another dimension of how do you -- how do
you protect both abroad and at home?
MATTHEWS: Let me go right now to Michael Weiss. He`s a foreign
policy columnist and editor of "The Interpreter." Michael, we get to this
question of a different asymmetric kind of war. We`re not -- we`re
fighting with a lot of police and Royal Canadian Mounted Police. We`ve got
our own police. We`ve got our FBI. We`ve got all kinds of constabulary --
tens of thousands of police officers in New York, for example.
But we`re up against people who are living a zealotry. I want to read
you something from "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" that Lawrence of Arabia wrote
years ago, which I used to think was romantic, and now it tells the story
of terrorism. "All men dream but not equally. Those who dream by night in
the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was
vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act
their dream with open eyes to make it possible."
And I just wonder -- these people that decide they`re going to be
terrorists become terrorists. Nothing stops it...
MATTHEWS: ... between wanting to and doing it, if you`re willing to
WEISS: Oh, absolutely. I mean, there are a lot of psychological
motivations here. We can`t pretend to penetrate the mind of this
particular perpetrator, but look, I mean, there are plenty of people who
see what`s happening in Syria and Iraq as the sort of great, romantic,
revolutionary struggle of our time.
And then you mentioned Lawrence of Arabia. This is kind of what I
would call orientalism turned on its head. They think that the way to help
Arab civilization or Arab societies is to join up with these barbaric
terrorist groups, who, I mean, it must be said, are fighting equally
barbaric regimes, and it`s certainly in the form of Bashar al Assad`s.
But here`s the problem, Chris. If you`re ISIS, right -- we talk a lot
about foreign fighters going to Syria and then, you know, we expend all
this energy and resources in trying to track their movements to come back
to the West and set something off.
If you`re ISIS, what`s more pragmatic, to send a commander or a rank-
and-file soldier in Syria in to, say, Belgium or Germany to blow something
up, or rather, to meet with somebody on line who`s already kind of in --
you know, tilting toward radicalization, somebody living in his mother`s
basement, let`s say, who might be in London or Montana or wherever, and
just tell them, Stay where you are. You`ll be one of our sleepers. And
when the time is right, we`ll connect with you other people in your
community or around the country. And when the time is right, then you`ll
set something off.
That`s the sort of lone wolf attack strategy which, frankly, al Qaeda,
prior to ISIS, had been pursuing with great gusto. I mean, you recall a
few Christmases ago, Umar Farouk Abudulmuttalab, nicknamed ``the underpants
bomber,`` tried to blow up an airplane over the skies of Detroit. This guy
was a student at University College London. His father was a Nigerian
minister in government who had warned the college and warned the U.K.
authorities that his son was tending toward radicalization. So now you`re
MATTHEWS: So Pete -- yes, it`s fascinating what you`re saying. I
want to bring (INAUDIBLE) expertise here. You work with the FBI all the
time. They have to live with this. What do they worry about?
WILLIAMS: This is exactly what they worry about because it`s
undetectable, for the most part. If a person is going to become
radicalized on his or her own, there`s nobody to tip off the government.
Now, oftentimes, there is someone who later says, you know, That behavior
struck me as odd. But we`ve seen it happen -- you think about the school
shootings that we`ve been through. Those young men were -- dreamed up
these ideas on their own. And in the case of self-radicalization, it`s the
"self" part that`s the most worrisome. There are no tripwires. There`s no
way to catch them.
MATTHEWS: And all -- a guy or a woman, I guess, could go out and get
a weapon, explosives...
MATTHEWS: ... and put them to work. And -- and -- this is something.
We`re going to be right back now about the threat here to the U.S.
because this is right on our border. As I said, terrorism without borders
is now real. We`re going to come back with Michelle Shephard, and of
course, our friend, Pete Williams, who covers justice right across the
country, and Michael Weiss, who`s very impressive right now.
Stick around because we`re going to talk about sleeper cells here in
the U.S. After that attack yesterday in Canada, how likely is it that
something similar, something very much like this could happen here at home,
for example, right before the elections? We`re coming right back with
that, a terrorist reality that is now too close for comfort.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: When we come back, three girls from Denver were picked up
at the Frankfurt airport in Germany on this Saturday trying to join up with
Islamic militants in Syria. We`re going to talk about sleeper cells here
in the U.S. and the threat we`re facing here at home.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: You know, when I watched that, and having spent so much
time in the U.S. Capitol, as Pete has, you begin to fear like that`s really
nearby. It could be our Capitol. Those are some of the horrific sights,
and of course, sounds of today`s attack on the Canadian parliament.
Our southern border with Mexico dominates the political conversation,
especially on the right. There`s now a very real threat happening from the
north. Catch this. In December 1999, an Islamic terrorist living in
Canada was arrested after gaining entry to the U.S. on a mission, his
mission, to blow up the LA airport on New Year`s Eve, giving him the
nickname "the millennium bomber."
But the threats aren`t isolated to the north or to the Mideast.
There`s a growing threat of radicalization, obviously, here on this
continent. Over the weekend, as I said, three American teenage girl from
Denver were apprehended over in Germany. Officials believe they were on
the way to join ISIS. Earlier this month, a 19-year-old kid from Chicago
was arrested after tried to hop a flight to Istanbul. The charges,
attempting to support a foreign terrorist organization.
Last month, NBC News tracked down a Roman Catholic-born law
enforcement official from North Carolina, who admitted trying to join ISIS
but couldn`t get past the Turkish border. And this summer, the FBI field
office in Minneapolis was worried that ISIS was recruiting Muslims from a
community of Somali refugees living there.
You have to wonder, if these Americans are trying to fight for the
ISIS jihad over there, is it only a matter of time before they declare
jihad and act on it here at home?
We`re back with Michael Weiss of "Foreign Policy," (sic) former FBI
profiler Clinton Van Zandt, and NBC`s Pete Williams.
I want to bring in Clint, our friend. Clint, this -- well, how`s it
hit you, just as a pro who thinks about this and goes to bed at night and
thinks about it? How does this strike the Canadian capital, this placid,
picture postcard little place that I`d love to be and visit...
CLINT VAN ZANDT, FMR. FBI PROFILER, NBC CRIME ANALYST: Yes. Yes.
MATTHEWS: ... all of a sudden, now has to lock down and start
bringing all the big tiger (ph) teeth and doors in your face and just, you
know, official ways and metal detectors and everything else that just
changes the quality of our democracy, and has already done it to us?
VAN ZANDT: Yes, it`s going to change. It`s got to change here. I
mean, once it happens one time, you can`t get fooled again. You got to
You know, Chris, the government tells us, our government tells us,
there`s, you know, plus or minus 100 people that the FBI is keeping track
of. Now, some of these people are those that have gone to the Middle East
to try to hook up in Syria with ISIS, those who have gone and come back and
those who have gone and been rejected. And they`re -- they can`t get out
(ph) any other way. So we`ve got these kind of hanging out there.
And then you`ve got these guys sitting in their parents` basement on
the Internet. They may, as one of your guests suggests, be in contact with
somebody who says, Just stay in place and we`ll call you. But as, I think,
Pete suggests, the other category that really bothers me, Chris, are the
ones that just not only -- they self-initiate. They make a decision.
They`re already radicalized based upon the Internet, and maybe people
and friends, but they make the decision when they`re going to strike. Like
this guy today, he may -- he may, just for example, have seen this other
convert two days ago run over these two soldiers and said, A-ha, that`s my
sign. Now I`m going to act, too, and then he self-initiates. Even though
we don`t have these cells in the United States, we have people capable of
MATTHEWS: Well, we`re all in the same media world, Pete. You know
that. We`re on right now in Canada. A lot of people watch M.S. all the
time. They certainly watch NBC News all the time. And they`re exposed to
it, both the good people who are obeying the law and the people who have
pretty frightening ambitions in life.
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS JUSTICE CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: And much more
concerning is the fact that this ISIS propaganda push is something that is
especially worrisome to officials, because these are propaganda videos that
are produced rather slickly in English specifically to appeal to a North
American audience, to Americans and to Canadians.
They`re aimed directly at them and they say come on over and help us.
It is much different than what al Qaeda has done.
MATTHEWS: Al Qaeda never had that vernacular connection with us.
MATTHEWS: Let me go back to Michael Weiss on this.
Your sense about the nearness of this threat to us now, people living
in the United States, below the border, the Canadian border?
MICHAEL WEISS, "THE INTERPRETER": Well, I will give what you the
former deputy director of the CIA`s sense of it was, Mike Morell, who said
a few weeks ago, I wouldn`t be surprised -- it would shock me actually if
somebody in ISIS didn`t pick up an AK-47 and shoot up a change in rural
Again, going back to I think one of your prior guests` points, you
don`t need a spectacular along the lines of 9/11 or even what the so-called
millennium bomber was planning, which was to blow up Los Angeles
All you have to do is just, you have to traumatize and terrorize an
entire country by doing something very small like this attack, which
resulted in only one fatality, one too many of course. But this is not
what they would call a spectacular. This is a very isolated, specific
attack, obviously waged on a national sort of -- governmental, of huge
symbolic importance, the target.
But, again, anyone can do it. That`s what worries me and that`s what
worries I think most counterterrorism officials and national security
MATTHEWS: So one guy with a rifle walks into the -- goes after war
memorial and shoots a soldier who is on duty
WEISS: Or not even that, Chris.
Any -- a farmhouse, a school, any kind of remote location which, of
course, will become the subject of international attention, right? Killing
a bunch of people or holding them hostage, that`s the kind of propaganda
that a group like ISIS would look to engender.
MATTHEWS: Well, there is something about listening to the sound of
that hallway there, the tile floor as they`re racing down, and the sound of
bullets were echoing through that chamber, which grabs you as very iconic.
Anyway, as you mentioned, Michael, Former CIA Director Mike Morell
told CBS News in August that -- quote -- "If an ISIS member showed up at a
mall in the United States tomorrow with an AK-47 and killed a number of
Americans, I would not be surprised."
And Eric Holder offered this sobering warning over the summer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: These lone wolves, these
homegrown violent extremists are people who keep me up at night as well,
trying to monitor them, trying to anticipate what it is that they are going
to do. And the experience that we had in Boston is instructive. It only
takes one or two people to really do something horrific.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I want to go back to Clint and then I will get back to
Michael and Pete as well as we finish up this segment.
This notion -- and I was quoting from "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" about
terrorism in the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire -- where all it
took was somebody a rifle willing to die, to risk their lives, and of
course maybe give their lives. You can blow up trains. You can do it.
You get some dynamite and blow up trains.
Where`s the risk? And then it seems to me that if people are willing
to give their lives in this zealous religious crusade of theirs, how do you
stop them as a law enforcement official?
VAN ZANDT: Well, what changes the equation is that most of us want to
If in fact you want to die, then that changes everything. Look,
Chris, you and I and Pete and -- we all lived through the D.C. sniper. We
had two guys, a $300 rifle, a $20 box of bullets and a 15-year-old Chevy
Caprice and that locked up the entire D.C. area for a month-and-a-half.
What if you take that two or three or four times between Thanksgiving
and Christmas in the United States at different locations? That would be
MATTHEWS: And do you think because Christmastime is coming, when
people are packed into malls, packed into downtown areas, outlets,
everywhere you can think of, even at movie theaters -- they`re certainly
walking up and down Fifth Avenue in New York looking in the windows.
Is this a time that they`re going to strike, Cliff?
VAN ZANDT: Every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas scares the
hell out of me, Chris.
Because the bottom line is, a lot of retailers make 50 percent of
their money during that time period. If we had a terrorist group or
multiple lone wolves got together and said, let`s hit three or four
shopping malls simultaneously at the start of the shopping season, what
would that do to our economy?
MATTHEWS: Well, I know Pete is thinking about it.
WILLIAMS: Well, and of course that`s why you have heard the
government in recent days appeal for the public to give them tips. And you
saw the FBI put this video on not too long ago of an unknown person in an
ISIS recruiting video and said, if you know who this is, tell us. He had a
MATTHEWS: With a North American accent.
WILLIAMS: That`s right. And then they said, but if you know of
anybody else who is doing anything unusual, tell us. Public tips are so
You saw that just most recently in this case of the Colorado girls.
Now, it doesn`t appear that they were steely-eyed Islamic zealots. They
may have been sort of caught up in the adventurism of this whole thing.
But what got them stopped is their parents got suspicious and called the
authorities. And that`s how they got stopped in Germany.
People seeing something and saying something turns out to be
MATTHEWS: That`s what they say on Amtrak.
VAN ZANDT: Sure does.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, gentlemen.
Michael, we will have you back. I home we don`t have to have you back
too soon. But, Michael Weiss, thank you for joining us from "The
MATTHEWS: Pete Williams, as always, sir.
MATTHEWS: And Clint Van Zandt, thank you, sir.
Still ahead, the attacks today in Canada won`t help calm an already
rattled American electorate as we are heading toward this election. The
world we`re living in when we step into that voting booth is a lot
different than it was just a few days ago. Let`s get to the fear factor
heading into the midterms and what`s it going to do to them now less than
two weeks away.
And up next, my tribute to the great Ben Bradlee.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: When I first came to Washington, and was working in the
mornings in a senator`s office and at night at a patronage appointment to
the U.S. Capitol Police, I would take the 33 bus down Wisconsin Avenue
through Georgetown on past the White House, all the time glued to "The
It was a broadsheet, just like the "Philadelphia Inquirer," only
thicker. As the bus rambled forward, I would struggle to get to the jump
of the article, to get to the rest of the story "The Post" was driving home
with style that morning.
That paper crackled. It was liberal. It had a point of view with
great columnists like Nicholas von Hoffman and of course Art Buchwald. It
also had audacity. Holy -- it`s what editor Ben Bradlee loved hearing
himself say when he was handed a hot scoop.
And that`s what the reader got for a quarter. For 25 cents, you were
in the midst of Washington excitement. Well, back in 1988, when I made my
switch from politics to journalism and one of Ben Bradlee`s top reporters
had taken a hard whack at me for doing it, I walked into the famed
"Washington Post" newsroom, entered Bradlee`s glass-enclosed office and
began complaining that his guy had singled me out for this crap.
Ben, the great Ben Bradlee, whose newspaper had brought down a
presidency, sat there rather quietly, patiently. Finally, my rant
completed, he said, "So, you came in here to pee on my leg."
Well, somewhere along the way in the years ahead, Ben and his beloved
Sally invited Kathleen and I into their world. Their was no B.S. to the
man. He would say openly that he had no real idea what Jack Kennedy
thought of him and their famous friendship.
I love saluting him as the lion, because into his 90s, he was still
the physical presence in the room, still competing with other men as a man.
And while you`re not supposed to say this when a guy just died, he had this
high school toughness still alive in him.
If you took at shot at him, he would just as soon give you the finger.
It was his way of saying, I`m still in the game, pal. It helped that he
had this beautiful hot ticket wife. What you wanted most from Ben Bradlee
was respect. And he had a way of dishing it out. Having him throw a crude
gesture at you or a verbal towel snap about you being a harp or whatever
hard guy recognition he had up his sleeve was to be for that moment a peer
of Ben Bradlee;s. There was no greater honor.
A couple years ago, he sent me a birthday present, a photograph of his
pal Jack Kennedy with Richard Nixon, the guy Ben`s paper had brought down
with Watergate -- quote -- "Don`t you miss them both?" he inscribed it.
He was your classic greatest generation guy. He once said to me and
my fellow boomers, you guys don`t get it. You don`t what it was like to be
21 years old and steering a destroyer through Japanese waters.
Well, he was right, of course. Long before he became a pal of Jack`s
or the greatest newspaper editor of his time, he made his bones in World
War II in the South Pacific Navy. But he was when you came to realize it
born to be a newsman. He had his nose for it, for the news.
He wanted to know everything, who was close to who, who had it in for
someone, who had done what with whom, all of it. And he wanted to know it
first, most of all before the competition, most of all before "The New York
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Why did your paper take the risk that nobody else did, to
put all the chips on the table and say, we can beat a president, we can
prove he did something wrong there?
BEN BRADLEE, FORMER "WASHINGTON POST" EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Because we
got into the story quick, early.
And Woodward and Bernstein did. And if you -- within three or four
days, if you have the source of the money, as CRP, the Committee to Reelect
the President, if you have the White House phone number in one of the
burglars, and you have the fact that CIA is involved, there`s no way you`re
going to pull me off to that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: And he was in his 80s then.
Anyway, he beat the "Times" to Watergate, "The New York Times," and
nobody has ever forgotten it.
What was he like personally? Well, I think he was a mix of Brahman
and front page. Don`t kid yourself. He could play that wasp card of his.
I once said how great it was for a young woman to get a scholarship to
Boston College. Here`s what he said. "Pretty good day, hob school (ph),"
he said, not missing a beat.
And that was decades after B.C. had gone on to become a great national
university, and not just a commuter school.
Anyway, almost to the end, Ben Bradlee was still in the game, playing
his Harvard against your whatever, his quality newspaper over yours, his
cojones over yours, but loving the fact he had all of us in the same
company. He didn`t have a prejudiced bone in his body, but loved the
tribal fun, because it only added to the competitive spirit, the spirit on
which he thrived.
He was fearless. He was a lion, Benjamin Crowninshield Bradlee.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Well, the world around the voting booth has changed a lot in the last
couple of days because of what happened to our closest neighbor, Canada, a
frightening scene inside the halls of Parliament today. A local radio
reporter happened to be on the phone with his editor when the shooting
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know. There`s a bunch of -- a bunch of
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A guy with a shotgun out there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A guy with a shotgun?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I saw him come in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where do we go? Where do I go?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Over there. Over there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Thank you. Yes. Are you rolling on me right
OK. I`m in -- I`m in a security office right now. Apparently,
somebody has walked into the front steps of Parliament Hill with a -- a
single guy game in with a shotgun.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got a rifle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Yes. Go put me on air right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, when security like that is front and center, the
hawkish party, generally the Republicans, is the one that dominates.
And a new AP poll, an Associated Press poll that likely women voters
now want a Congress controlled by Republicans by a 2 percent margin. Last
month, women voters favored a Democratic-controlled Congress by seven
points, so you a nine-point swing there.
Joining me right now is Jay Newton-Small, BuzzFeed Washington bureau
chief John Stanton, and MSNBC political analyst David Corn.
But, first, let`s go to NBC`s Kristen Welker on the phone from the
White House, where someone has once again -- a new person has jumped the
fence -- Kristen.
KRISTEN WELKER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Chris. That`s right.
We`re actually in a bit of a lockdown mode here at the White House,
the reporters, the photographers not being allowed out on to the North Lawn
while the Secret Service investigates exactly what happened.
Our photographer, our NBC News photographer Dennis Gaffney, was able
to capture some video of it, though, Chris, so you can sort of see the
person over the fence, and the Secret Service official screaming at him and
yelling at him to get back.
And the video is hard to see, but they essentially...
WELKER: It looks like they were able to apprehend him.
And we have calls out to the Secret Service. We`re trying to get to
the bottom of exactly what happened. But, obviously, this comes at a
moment when the Secret Service is already in the process of trying to
rebuild, to repair its image in the wake of all of the recent security
breaches, including that big one when Omar Gonzalez was able to get inside
the White House.
And, Chris, as you know, as we`ve been reporting, there is a new
interim director, Joseph Clancy, who has been on the job for several days
now. So, obviously, this is yet another security breach that he`s going to
be looking into -- Chris.
MATTHEWS: Thanks so much, Kristen Welker.
Jay, this is the most dangerous thing in the world but these are like
little boos, like boo! You know what I mean?
JAY NEWTON-SMALL, TIME: Well, it`s Halloween. It`s coming up. I
MATTHEWS: Well, I mean, the voters, let`s talk politics, this maybe
crude but we are talking political implications immediately. If I were
Scott Brown up in New Hampshire and the Canadian voter, I`d say, you know,
I don`t want to say this out loud, but this is going change the topic away
from minimum wage and all the Democrat issues, even equality, all kinds of
things, economic equality, marriage (ph) equality, to people are scared.
NEWTON-SMALL: Already, you saw Kay Hagan who looked like she`s about
to break away three weeks ago in North Carolina, ahead of Republican Thom
Tillis and --
MATTHEWS: The lead is gone.
NEWTON-SMALL: The lead`s gone, Ebola. It was Ebola --
MATTHEWS: She tried to switch, right, John. She tried to switch, she
did, on whether we should put up the wall or not and stop a ban on travel.
JOHN STANTON, BUZZFEED: Also, it has also been interesting to watch
how Democrats for years have sort of worked their way back into a fighting
position on these issues on national security. And over the last month or
two, they`ve just lost all of that, all of that momentum that they`ve got,
all the ground they`ve gained.
The people look at president, and they don`t feel like he`s doing a
good job. And it`s really hurting the party. And they`re sort of getting
retrenched back into this old style of notions that they are the weaker
party on this.
MATTHEWS: You know, it`s no longer the 3:00 in the morning question,
what we do in Saipan or somewhere. This is a sound in the night in your
house. Who`s going to go upstairs and check on that? Who`s going
downstairs to see what that footstep was all about? Are you going to
And I`m thinking the Republicans are in a better position to say, I`m
going to get down stairs with a rifle to see who is down there.
DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: Well, prior to all of this, even the
economy has been gradually improving, not fast enough, public attitudes
have been, still, a lot of unease. People believe they`re on the wrong
track. So, there`s been sort of pent-up popular anxiety.
MATTHEWS: What do you make of that picture we`re looking at, David,
my friend? Look at that picture.
CORN: But, listen, let me make my point, Chris. This was going on
for the last few months. And then you have Ebola, ISIS, fence jumpers,
here and there, what happened there in Canada. It really feels as John
said coming in that the whole world is going to hell.
So, when that happens, the party in power, the guy in charge, the guy
you want to fix it, whether he can or he can`t, is the president and the
Democrats. So, you know, it makes sense that right now they would be on
the defensive because a lot of these things are not fixable in the time
frame that Americans would want them to be fixed even if they`re not like
the greatest threat to them immediately, like Ebola is not an immediate
threat to any American. But, yet, people are still freaked out by it.
NEWTON-SMALL: This is midterm elections where Democrats are finally
getting the economy back on track. They`re creating jobs. Wages are
CORN: Obamacare is working.
NEWTON-SMALL: Obamacare isn`t even an issue anymore. And yet for
some reason, they are losing. I mean, it`s because of these scares. It`s
because of the sense of nervousness.
STANTON: I think they also -- Republicans were trying for so long in
this election to get this to be about Obama and they were never able to do
it. They can`t do it with Obamacare. They couldn`t really do it with
economy. They were struggling.
And suddenly, world affairs have dropped this in their lap and for
them, it couldn`t have come, you know, politically, at a better time.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you a basic political question. During the
Great Depression, where we really faced horror, everybody`s at war, 25
percent employment, there was a tend to lurch to the left, to look for more
CORN: And rally around the president.
MATTHEWS: No, just ideologically, more government. Somebody`s got to
intervene here. The market is not working. But when there`s a security
threat, what`s the lurch to the right about? Why do people get interested
in tough military, screw the people, put up the wall, to have a travel ban,
those sort of right wing urges?
STANTON: It`s fear right? I mean, that`s what it is, is people are
afraid and they look at the outside world. It`s a terrifying place right
now -- everything from the war in Israel to ISIS, to what`s going on in
Canada. They just want to have anything to do with it. They want someone
to protect them from that.
CORN: And the Republicans have been exploiting this really well.
Scott Brown talks about Ebola, ISIS, and the Mexican border, not the
Canadian border. All those things --
MATTHEWS: Why the Mexican border?
CORN: Well, you tell me why the Mexican border. And so, they had
nothing to talk about. They try to make it about Obama. They haven`t
talked about one single Republican policy as they try to nationalize the
campaign, but finally they had fear to talk about.
NEWTON-SMALL: There`s also, I mean, to some degree media, right,
because five years ago we would not have known about a disease trapped in a
mountain top in Iraq or we wouldn`t have known about, you know, Boko Haram
and kidnapping 200 Nigerian girls. And now, all of a sudden, every single
one of these issues gets elevated and the president has to respond.
MATTHEWS: We`re going to hear from I`m sorry, I`m sorry, Jay, we`re
going to hear from the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper any second
But I think one reason is we had so many soldiers over there for all
that time, if we`ve never been to Iraq twice.
STANTON: Right. It`s also interesting that like most of the country,
particularly conservatives, we`re over the war. They didn`t want to have
any more war. There was so much fatigue with it and you started seeing a
lot of Republicans sort of moving to the Rand Paul part of the party. And
now, they`ve just swung right back and they`re now -- you know, we`ve got
to be tough on this, we`ve got to be out there, being aggressive against
ISIS, being aggressive against all of these things, shooting on the borders
because of Ebola and it`s fascinating to watch this shift of --
MATTHEWS: Well, we`re going to come back after the Canadian prime
minister and talk about what a mistake Governor Christie made the other
day, making fun of people who rely on minimum wage. This could be the next
47 percent. Everybody makes mistakes, these are following a pattern --
STANTON: Well, it`s disdain. He`s just showing disdain for those
Americans. And it`s I think 25 -- 50 percent of people who make minimum
wage are over the age of 25. It`s not just teens doing summer jobs. To
say all of those people it doesn`t matter to you? Well, you know,
hopefully, some of those people tell him it does matter in the voting
MATTHEWS: Why don`t Republicans encourage people to make good pay so
they`re not on welfare? It seems to me you want to create a differential
between getting a check from the government and going working hard
somewhere for 40 hours a week. You know money is not that good.
STANTON: Well, you know, part of it I think is they are playing --
they`ve done a very good of sort of playing this argument of the free
market and if you boot strap yourself you`re going to be picked up. And
they`re also playing this reality that most Americans identify with a
higher economic bracket than they actually are in. They see themselves as
doing better in certain ways than they actually are, and I think -- so,
they say, you know, oh, I`m not that guy. I`m not doing that bad.
MATTHEWS: OK. We`re going to take a break. Good thinking, and I
think that is an American tendency, which is not all that bad to be
optimistic, if it isn`t.
MATTHEWS: We are aspirational -- we are not the British Labour Party
in this country.
All right. We`ll be right back. We`re going to take a minute here,
but we are waiting for the American prime minister to make a statement
about the horrific scene we just saw in Canada.
MATTHEWS: For some political news, there are some very close races
for governor out there right now. Let`s check the HARDBALL scoreboard.
First to Florida where a new Quinnipiac poll has the race between Rick
Scott and Charlie Scott (ph) actually even, 44 all.
Same story in Connecticut, where the Quinnipiac poll finds the race
between Dan Malloy, the incumbent governor, and Tom Foley, at 45 a piece.
In Massachusetts, Republican Charlie Baker has taken a one point lead
now over Democrat Martha Coakley in a new WBUR poll. It`s Baker 43, and he
is coming on, I think, and Coakley, 42.
Down in Georgia, a new WXIA poll has incumbent Republican Nathan Deal
up two over Democrat Jason Carter, the grandson of the former president.
It`s Deal, 45, Carter, 43. I think Jason`s going for it.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL, and back to our panel of Jay,
John and David.
Let me -- let`s take a look right now. We`re awaiting, by the way,
the address from the Canadian prime minister. It`s been delayed, Stephen
Harper, of course, in Ottawa.
But here at home, we`re just two weeks out from election day. And
Governor Chris Christie, who is definitely running for president, takes an
elitist view for some reason on his contempt for the minimum wage debate.
Yesterday in the speech to, where else, to the U.S. Chamber of
Commerce, Governor Christie who`s not on the ballot this year, but will
clearly running for president said he`s tired, that`s his phrase of hearing
about the minimum wage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I`ve got to tell you the truth.
I`m tired of hearing about the minimum wage, I really am. I don`t think
there`s a mother or father sitting around a kitchen table tonight in
America who are saying, you know, honey, if our son or daughter could just
make a higher minimum wage, my God, all our dreams would be realized. Is
that what parents aspire to for their children?
They aspire to a greater growing America where their children have the
ability to make much more money and have much greater success than they`ve
had. And that`s not about a higher minimum wage, everybody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, I know what he`s talking to. He`s talking to
business guys. But we`re all listening.
And suppose you`re on minimum wage and you`re watching that, supposed
your parents or your kids are on minimum wage, it`s a directed message to a
directed group of people that basically dismisses the others.
NEWTON-SMALL: Well, there`s -- there`s a whole branch of the
Republican Party that is very cognizant of this. You`ve got Paul Ryan out
there. You`ve got Rand Paul talking about poverty. Rick Santorum talking
But then there is another branch of the Republican Party that is tone
deaf on these issues, business Republicans and Christie has just proven
himself to be --
CORN: I do think the Republicans have come up with a bit of a
strategy. Not too long ago, Scott Walker running for re-election in
Wisconsin was asked about this in a board meeting or something. And he
says, I don`t want people making the minimum wage, I want them making two,
three, four times the minimum wage.
And so, I think Republicans are trying to say, hey, we don`t care
about people making cents amount of money, we want you to be wealthy. Two
chickens in every pot, you know?
MATTHEWS: That`s called loving it to death. Of course, I`m for
minimum wage. I`m for more money.
CORN: That`s right. And so what he was saying in a much cruder
fashion is, what we shouldn`t be caring about the minimum wage, we should
give everybody a unicorn.
MATTHEWS: OK. The media in this country is -- not that it`s good all
the time, certainly, but it does have sort of a regular guy`s point of
view, because the most people watching are regular people. They get mad
about the weather with the people. They`re going to take a position
against this. He`s going to pay for this.
NEWTON-SMALL: Well, absolutely. I mean, he`s going to be, everyone -
- I bet you, I`m sure he`ll be out there talking about poverty soon. He`ll
have to be a poverty tour.
CORN: A poverty listening tour.
NEWTON-SMALL: Yes, listening tour, he`ll have to come up with a plan
to fight poverty, because there`s no way. I mean, you have to, this is a
big problem for the Republican Party. So many conservatives that said this
is wrong. This is not the party that --
STANTON: He`s not the guy, though, to go out and do a poverty tour.
He`s like -- one of his big selling points, he`s the brash guy from jersey,
right? And he owns that. And he has to sort of accept this and own it.
And I do think, Republicans believe that the people that are going to be
offended by these comments aren`t a large part of the electorate.
And even -- if some of them are there, they`re not going to identify
with those people. And so, you know, OK, fine, cut bait with those people
and say we want you only to have that job for a short amount of time or
whatever. And you can get a better job later. So, why should we --
NEWTON-SMALL: But 2/3 of the people on minimum wage are women and
they have a big problem with women already. They`ve been losing women, you
know, every year since 1982. And so, I mean, that`s not necessarily
something you want to say when you`re trying to appeal to women.
STANTON: He`s not going to go away from it, right?
MATTHEWS: You know, I`d run an ad if I were a Democrat. I`d run an
ad. If I were a candidate, I would run an ad showing the people working at
the fast food place. We get your coffee in the morning, or you get your
hamburger, your fries, and say minimum wage person. You want to they will
them to their face they`re not worth any more money.
You want to say to the guy working in the hotel out front, we walk
past the hotel, there`s a guy standing there. Do you want to say to all
kinds of people working for minimum wage? Tell them to their face, you
ain`t worth seven bucks --
CORN: You know, the brash --
MATTHEWS: That`s a hell of a statement.
CORN: The brash stuff was working for Christie once upon a time.
Then, this little George Washington Bridge thing happened and his ability,
to sort of -- his temper, his arrogance and all that stuff that used to be
an asset became a liability.
So, when he talks like this, again, it`s just not as charming as it
used to be. So, some people still relate to it, some of that Jersey-ness.
But I think he`s lost his flow (ph).
MATTHEWS: Used to say, none of your business, Emily. That was sort
of cute. Anyway, ever since he started stopping traffic in the morning.
Jay Newton-Small, people in a hurry, John Stanton, thank you, sir.
And thank you, David, who is always right.
Stay with us. We`re going to have more on that fence jumper at the
White House in just a minute. NBC`s Kristen Welker reports the jumper was
tackled by officers and dogs. Not tackled by dogs and is being treated for
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: That`s HARDBALL for now.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
Content and programming copyright 2014 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Copyright 2014 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.