October 21, 2014
Guest: Judith Browne-Dianis
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Killing the black vote.
This is HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
This is rotten stuff, isn`t it, the Republican effort to kill the
black vote in state after state -- Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina,
Florida, Texas. We can all see what they`re doing. Believing they can`t
convert the African-American vote, they`ve decided to slaughter it.
Early voting -- shrink it down to nothing, or kill it altogether.
Sunday voting, that "souls to the polls" thing -- slam the door on it.
Same-day registration -- you got to be kidding. That`s like putting down a
welcome mat for African-American voters!
Look, this is murder in broad daylight. One Republican big shot after
another is telling us just exactly what they`re up to. It`s not about
reform or making elections more honest. The one thing they`re actually
honest about, if you catch them at it, is motive. This whole thing is
aimed at killing the African-American vote.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE TURZAI (R), PENNSYLVANIA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Voter ID, which
is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania -- done!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think all the attention drawn to voter ID
affected last year`s elections?
ROBERT GLEASON, PENNSYLVANIA REPUBLICAN PARTY CHAIRMAN: Yes, I think
a little bit. I think we probably had a better election. Think about
this. We cut Obama by 5 percent, which was big. You know, a lot of people
lost sight of that. He won -- he beat McCain by 10 percent. He only beat
Romney by 5 percent. I think that probably voter ID had a -- helped a bit
DON YELTON, NORTH CAROLINA GOP PRECINCT CHAIRMAN: The law is going to
kick the Democrats in the butt. If it hurts a bunch of lazy blacks that
wants the government to give them everything, so be it.
AASIF MANDVI, "THE DAILY SHOW": And it just so happens that a lot of
those people vote Democrat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow, sarcasm even.
It wasn`t always like this. You don`t have to go back to Abraham
Lincoln to find Republicans who backed Civil Rights, men like Republican
Senate leader Everett Dirksen of Illinois and U.S. Congressman William
McCullough (ph) of Ohio were champions of the `64 Civil Rights bill.
Republican senators voted overwhelmingly for it. Only two Republican
senators in the entire body voted against the `65 Voting Rights bill. This
was back when the Democrats were still encrusted with Dixiecrats.
But maybe this is a good time to go back to the Republican Party
roots, to 1854, when it started in Ripon, Wisconsin, to battle the
expansion of slavery into the new territories. Wisconsin, the state now
represented by himself, Reince Priebus, the man who now leads the
Republican Party`s state-by-state strategy to make sure that sons and
daughters of slaves have the hardest possible time getting into the voting
Where are the good Republicans, you might ask? Where are the people
who joined the party of Lincoln because they believed he was the greatest
president in our history? Where are they? Good question.
Judith Browne-Dianis is with the Advancement Project. Jonathan
Capehart is an opinion writer with "The Washington Post."
I`m going to ask you both. What happened to the Republicans that
believed in Lincoln, joined the party, proud of him -- every time there`s
an event, they talk about Lincoln, how great a man he was, saved the union,
got rid of slavery. And now they`re out there making sure people don`t get
JUDITH BROWNE-DIANIS, THE ADVANCEMENT PROJECT: Well, they sure have
BROWNE-DIANIS: Because we see...
MATTHEWS: Is it just partisan?
BROWNE-DIANIS: ... across the country -- it is now partisan. But
these that laws they have passed are surgically crafted, right, to hit
African-Americans, whom they know are more loyal to the Democratic Party.
And so we`re seeing this across the country. It didn`t just start
yesterday. We know in 2012, we know in 200 -- this is backlash for what
happened in 2008, and African-American turn-out in particular.
MATTHEWS: Jonathan, what do you make of the -- of the -- this isn`t
like -- you know, what`s his name, Joe Biden gaffes. They`re usually
harmless. This is people admitting that, We`re in the business of making
sure minorities don`t vote.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
MATTHEWS: They`re saying it!
CAPEHART: Right. Right. I mean, you know, Vice President Biden is
one person who says things. We`re -- you just showed a panoply of people
in the Republican people...
MATTHEWS: A pantheon...
CAPEHART: ... talking about how -- what they`re doing is to keep,
basically, Democrats from voting, African-Americans from voting. What`s
different here is they`re talking about it out loud.
CAPEHART: It used to be wink and nod and little code words. But now
it`s, like, yes, it`s about helping Mitt Romney. It`s about keeping lazy
blacks from getting up off the couch and going to vote.
You know, when President Johnson, I think it was when he signed the
Civil Rights Act, and he, you know, famously said -- and I`m paraphrasing
here -- I`ve just delivered the South to -- for -- away from the Democrats
for a generation. Well, what he also did was deliver those Dixiecrats you
talked about from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party.
And you know, we talked about Lincoln and how -- you know, how he
freed the slaves. And you know, Ronald Reagan is the savior of the
Republican Party, but I remember Ronald Reagan as the guy who went to
Philadelphia, Mississippi, his first event after getting the Republican
MATTHEWS: And that says what?
CAPEHART: And that says -- it sends the signal that...
MATTHEWS: What happened in Philadelphia, Mississippi?
CAPEHART: Well, in Philadelphia, Mississippi, is where the Civil
Rights workers were killed.
BROWNE-DIANIS: In `64.
CAPEHART: In `64. And so that sends -- that sends a message to those
white Dixiecrats that he`s one of us.
MATTHEWS: Goodman, Chaney and...
CAPEHART: And Shwerner.
CAPEHART: And it says to African-Americans and folks who fought
really hard, not just African-Americans, but folks who fought hard for the
right to vote, This guy and this party isn`t exactly for us, or thinking
about us or with us. And so now you`ve got...
CAPEHART: ... people within the Republican Party, a generation-and-a-
half, two generations later, who are actively trying to stop people from
exercising the franchise!
MATTHEWS: First of all, you`re educating me. I thought it was the
welfare queen and the young buck buying the...
BROWNE-DIANIS: It`s all...
MATTHEWS: ... the gin with the welfare, with the food stamps.
CAPEHART: It`s all of that. It is all of that.
MATTHEWS: Yes. But the other thing is that -- I`ve grown up where
there were moderate Republicans, the ones who sort of read "The New York
Times" and take the train to work and know what`s going on -- moderate
Republicans. There`s still some left.
Aren`t they put off, white people, put off by this behavior?
BROWNE-DIANIS: Well, I think...
MATTHEWS: They`re the ones that usually -- they -- they used to say,
We won`t talk in front of them.
BROWNE-DIANIS: Right. Well, I mean, the thing is...
MATTHEWS: The right-wingers.
BROWNE-DIANIS: ... if the messaging around it is not clearly like,
We`re going after black people -- because they`re not actually saying,
We`re going after black people, right?
MATTHEWS: But that guy...
CAPEHART: That one guy.
BROWNE-DIANIS: That one guy, he was a gem! We -- you know, we use
that a lot in North Carolina. But usually, it`s a little bit more nuanced,
MATTHEWS: Well, we`re going to trim their vote.
BROWNE-DIANIS: ... so it`s about -- it`s about your guy voting,
right? So the thing is, in North Carolina, if we can shave 100,000 votes
here and there that are African-American votes, then we can win. And so
moderates are feeding into that, but also with this whole idea of voter
MATTHEWS: Well, wait a minute!
MATTHEWS: If African-Americans are aware this is going on, why aren`t
whites aware it`s going on, or they`re closing their eyes to it, or they`re
saying, Well, that`s just politics. Or what are they saying?
BROWNE-DIANIS: Well, because...
MATTHEWS: They don`t want to admit they`re racist.
BROWNE-DIANIS: Well, they`re -- first of all, they`re being fed the
line of voter fraud, right, and the fact that, We`re trying to prevent some
problem with voter fraud. But also, you know, this is really -- it`s being
covered under partisan politics...
MATTHEWS: Now, these are the same business guys, by the way,
Republicans, who don`t want a voter -- they don`t want a work permit. They
don`t want anybody to have to have an ID card in this country. You
shouldn`t have to have an ID card...
MATTHEWS: No, just to vote.
BROWNE-DIANIS: Except to vote.
MATTHEWS: You can work here for slave wages, you just can`t vote.
You know how it works? No ID needed to work in the fields. No ID to work
in the hotels, restaurants or the golf courses. That`s fine. Come on and
work here. But don`t -- you don`t have to show ID for that. You can be
MATTHEWS: But to vote, I don`t care if you`ve been here 300 years, I
want to see that number.
Anyway, even more Republicans, by the way, are calling for these new
voting laws, and they`re calling them what they are, voter suppression
laws. A Reagan-appointed judge who previous supported voter ID now says he
was wrong and wrote in a recent dissent, quote, "There is only one
motivation for imposing burdens, and that is to discourage voting by
persons likely to vote against the party responsible for imposing the
Charlie Crist, who has since left the Republican Party and expanded
voting access when he was governor, put it plainly. Quote, "The people
that worked in Tallahassee" -- that`s the state capital -- "felt that early
voting was bad. I heard from Republicans around the state who were bold
enough to share it with me that, You just gave the election to Barack
A Republican county chairman in Ohio who opposed early voting said, "I
guess I really actually feel we shouldn`t contort the voting process to
accommodate the urban" -- read African-American -- "voter turn-out
machine." Anyway -- and Phyllis Schlafly -- we all know her -- writing
about North Carolina on a conservative blog just said, "The reduction in
the number of days allowed for early voting is particularly important
because early voting plays a major role in Obama`s ground game."
BROWNE-DIANIS: Right. It`s...
MATTHEWS: They`re open.
CAPEHART: They`re open, and it`s reprehensible. They -- look...
MATTHEWS: ... by the way.
CAPEHART: Rotten, reprehensible, repugnant...
CAPEHART: I mean, what -- what -- look, at least they`re talking out
loud about it. At least we know what their motives are and what they`re
trying to do. What we saw in 2012 during the presidential election was
when you told black voters they couldn`t vote, they said, I don`t care how
long it takes for me to stand in line, I`m going to go vote. Now, that was
a presidential election year. These voters...
MATTHEWS: Is that steam (ph) still there to do that?
MATTHEWS: ... wind at their back to do that?
CAPEHART: Well, I was just about to say, but now we`re in a midterm
election season, when all voter -- all voter turn-out goes down. But the
Obama coalition -- people of color, African-Americans in particular, Latino
voters -- those numbers go way, way down.
And so as Janice (sic) was saying before, if people can shave off a
few thousand votes here and there in various precincts, they`re not -- the
opposition, the other folks, win not on the basis of their ideas, not on
presenting an alternative vision, contrasting that to their Democrat
opponent. They`re winning because they`re basically preventing people from
voting -- from voting their conscience.
MATTHEWS: ... OK, voting restrictions -- go ahead.
BROWNE-DIANIS: They`re winning...
MATTHEWS: Because you actually...
BROWNE-DIANIS: ... by changing the rules.
MATTHEWS: You should be doing most the talking here because you have
been studying this thing and working on this thing for years.
BROWNE-DIANIS: Right. We`re...
BROWNE-DIANIS: I mean, we`re litigating in North Carolina. We won in
Wisconsin, voter ID in Wisconsin, in the Supreme Court. But in North
Carolina, we lost it. But at the end of the day, I think North Carolina
numbers -- the turn-out`s going to be up because there`s a movement because
people understand that they are under attack because they turned out...
MATTHEWS: Reverend Barber...
MATTHEWS: We were down there with him.
Anyway, voting restrictions like limits on early voting opportunities
could tip the scales in some of the tightest races of the midterm. In
Georgia, early voting was cut in half. That`s where Democrat Michelle
Nunn, who`s been steadily gaining on Republican David Perdue, is in a neck-
and-neck race, with Nunn currently leading, actually, 46-45. In the
Georgia`s governor`s race, Jason Carter has been steadily narrowing the gap
with Governor Nathan Deal. Now they`re tied.
And in North Carolina, where we were recently, where voting
restrictions have been among the most severe in the country, Kay Hagan
maintains her steady -- actually, few-point lead over Thom Tillis, but it`s
so close. The latest automatic (ph) poll -- automated (ph) poll down there
has her up 47 to 44.
Talk about this. You`re an expert. You go -- you`re on -- you`re on
the battle lines on this. When you talk to the Republican legislators, or
you challenge them, are they as open as they are in these clips we`ve dug
BROWNE-DIANIS: They`re not. You know, they go on the state floor of
their legislature and they say this is about fraud. But at the end of the
day, we will...
MATTHEWS: Do you ask them for cases?
BROWNE-DIANIS: Yes. I mean, we -- so we`ve been -- I mean, in these
cases that were in the litigation, we`re getting all the memos. We`re
MATTHEWS: No, I`m...
MATTHEWS: I`m sorry to interrupt. But you -- look, there is --
people cheat occasionally. I mean, I don`t think there`s a lot of it in
certain states. There`s some...
MATTHEWS: ... more frequent in other places. But do they have
examples of people cheating in the minority community?
BROWNE-DIANIS: No. Listen, in Wisconsin, for example, the Supreme
Court case that we just took up to the Supreme Court, the judge in the 7th
circuit, that judge, Judge Posner, who believed in voter ID, actually said
that, in fact, that some of this voter fraud idea is paranoid. He called
it "goofy" ideas of voter fraud because we`re revealing the fact that this
was all a fraud. The fraud is the fact that they say that there is voter
fraud because there are no cases. In North Carolina, there aren`t cases of
voter fraud. So this is really not about that. It`s not about preventing
fraud. It`s about preventing voting.
MATTHEWS: OK, big story between now and the next two weeks, and I
think it`s so important. I hope people do what you said, they overwhelm
all the forces against them, all the obstacles making people even more
determined to vote.
Anyway, by the way, somebody said the -- you have to show an ID to get
on an airplane. Getting on an airplane is not a right.
MATTHEWS: You pay for that. Voting comes from being a citizen. You
have a right. They have to make a case against you coming in. You don`t
have to make a case to go into the voting booth.
MATTHEWS: They have to make a case against you. They got it all
MATTHEWS: It`s a right.
MATTHEWS: ... Jonathan Capehart, Judith Browne-Dianis, again
congratulations on your efforts.
Coming up: As Republicans work to suppress the African-American vote,
some Democrats seem to be taking it for granted, and that can be dangerous.
And that`s their dilemma. How can Democrats energize black voters when so
many of their candidates are virtually denying President Obama`s existence?
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: The must-see video of the day. Watch what happens when a
voter tells President Obama not to touch his girlfriend. It really
happened, and we`ll have it for you later in the hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you vote for President Obama in 2008 and
ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES (D), KENTUCKY SENATE CANDIDATE: You know,
this election isn`t about the president. It`s about...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know, but...
GRIMES: ... making sure we put Kentuckians back to work and...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you vote for him?
GRIMES: I was actually in `08 a delegate for Hillary Clinton, and I
think that Kentuckians know I`m a Clinton Democrat through and through.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why are you reluctant to give an answer on whether
or not you voted for President Obama?
GRIMES: Bill, there`s no reluctance. This is a matter of principle.
Our constitution grants, here in Kentucky, the constitutional right for
privacy at the ballot box, for a secret ballot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. A Democratic Senate candidate,
Alison Lundergan Grimes there, has cut President Obama from the ticket.
She`s not alone, either, by the way. And can Democrats turn out the black
vote by denying the president`s very existence?
As we showed you earlier, Republicans across the country are trying to
suppress the black vote. Are Democrats taking it for granted? How else
can you explain the rash of Obama-phobia out there? In Kentucky, the black
vote should be big for Grimes, but if you expose your strongest flank in
politics, you play a dangerous game, I think. Your opponent will attack it
Grimes`s opponent in this case, Mitch McConnell, has now led the
charge against every major piece of the Congressional Black Caucus`s
agenda. But his campaign is now on the radio as of today with an ad
promising that he, Mitch McConnell, will fight for black voters. Here it
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Alison Grimes won`t say she voted for President
Obama, but I will. I voted for President Obama twice. So you might be
surprised to hear that I`m also voting for Mitch McConnell. And I think
you should, too. I`m Dr. Noelle Hunter (ph) from Moorehead, Kentucky. As
an African-American, I know from personal experience that Mitch fights for
our community and cares about us. In 2011, my ex-husband kidnapped our
daughter, Mona (ph), and took her to a dangerous part of Africa. Mitch
knocked down barriers for my family, and with his help, my baby came home
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Perry Bacon, of course, is NBC News senior political
reporter, and Ron Reagan`s an MSNBC contributor.
Ron, what do you make of this? This is, to me, when you cut somebody,
when you just say, Well, I`m not saying who I voted for, it may offend some
people who are emotionally connected to this particular president. That`s
what I think. Your thoughts?
RON REAGAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, her answer was a very weak one.
We can agree with her on principle, by the way, that we do have the right
to privacy at the ballot box. So OK, I`ll give her that much.
But really, I think we all know that the answer was, Of course I voted
for President Obama. He`s the standard-bearer of my party. Don`t be
ridiculous. Of course I voted for him. Now, that doesn`t mean that I
don`t disagree with him on certain things -- and then you can tick those
off, if you care to. But you know, have some gumption here.
Chris, we`ve been having this conversation for, I counted I think,
about 14 years. We`ve been talking together on the air about how
Democrats` biggest problem, or one of them, in my opinion, at least, is
they don`t have the strength of their own convictions. They chicken out
all the time about stuff like this, and we see it here. It`s a mistake.
It always is.
MATTHEWS: Yes. There was a phrase from the founding fathers we all
read in school, which is, If we don`t hang together, we hang separately.
You know that one?
MATTHEWS: And that seems to be true. The Democrats should read some
of that old history sometime.
PERRY BACON, NBC SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: We`ve seen this before.
In 2006, you had all these Republicans say, I don`t agree with Bush, I
don`t like Bush. It never works. People believe that you...
MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) Bush.
PERRY: ... agree with your party...
PERRY: ... whatever party you`re in, because the D beside your name
is the most important thing.
MATTHEWS: As Joe -- Joe Louis once said, the great heavyweight
champion, you can run, but you can`t hide.
BACON: Right. Exactly.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, African-Americans are not happy with Grimes,
according to the latest polling out of Kentucky.
Look at Kentucky. In a Kentucky Bluegrass robo-poll taken a few weeks
ago, Grimes led McConnell among blacks by a margin of 80-15. That was
before she refused to say she voted for Obama. Now Grimes is pulling in
about 60 percent of the black vote. McConnell gets 22 percent now. That`s
a seven-point improvement for McConnell and a 20-point drop for Grimes.
Now, Ron, we may argue, if you`re a Democrat, well, they will go home,
they will end up voting where they have to because they`re not going to
vote for Mitch McConnell. But it is interesting that they`re telling
pollsters, I`m not saying I`m for him now, just like she wasn`t saying she
voted for Obama.
They`re not saying telling pollsters they`re going to vote for him,
which must be a source of some concern with about 8 percent of the vote
being African-American in Kentucky. It`s still the vote. You usually get
at least seven of those votes if you`re a Democrat.
REAGAN: You would think. I`m not sure the big problem is that so
many black voters will go for McConnell, but they may just sit on their
hands and they may just stay home here.
Count me among the white liberals, I guess, who finds it just
incredible that any black voters go for the Republican Party. Why would
you do this? This is a party that`s trying to prevent you from voting.
MATTHEWS: Well, there`s an ancient history before the time of your
dad and everybody where the Republican Party had all kinds of people like
Jackie Robinson and Lionel Hampton, famous African-Americans in our
culture, who were all Republicans.
MATTHEWS: Wilt Chamberlain.
BACON: Wilt Chamberlain.
MATTHEWS: I can think of a bunch.
BACON: I do not believe that poll. I will be very surprised. I`m
from Kentucky. I have talked to Democrats there, black Democrats.
MATTHEWS: Were you polled?
BACON: What did you say? I was not personally...
MATTHEWS: I will give you the standard question. Do you know anybody
that was polled? People always say this. Do you know anybody who`s ever
BACON: But people in Kentucky, black Democrats get it. They
understand Grimes is trying to win over white rural voters.
MATTHEWS: It`s tactical.
BACON: They know people in Kentucky don`t like Obama. I will be very
surprised if she doesn`t get 80 percent of the black vote at least. Same
thing like Michelle Nunn has got to do.
You got to look at the polling. Michelle Nunn is getting 87 percent
of the black vote and about 30 percent of the white vote. So, you got to
bring up that second number.
MATTHEWS: You mean they`re that Christian that they said -- like
Jesus said that Peter denied him three times before the cock crowed.
BACON: Yes, of course.
MATTHEWS: They say, well, we figured you were good for that. Is that
the low expectation?
BACON: Yes. I think people understand that Grimes is not going to be
going out loud and proud for Obama.
I think we all should know black voters are Democratic all the time,
and I really don`t expect them to fall off because of -- they`re not Obama
voters, they`re Democratic voters. I think you are going to see that in
the polls at the end.
MATTHEWS: What do you think it`s like being the president right now,
when you hear the people that you have been consorting with politically,
Ron, for -- ever since you have been in public life, not a long time for
him, but all of a sudden, they`re all denying him?
I`m going to talk at the end oft show it`s like being a father of a
teenage daughter. You get used to that. So, he`s got two teenage
daughters. When you go in public with Sasha and Malia, I know what it`s
going to be like for him. Like, dad, do you have to walk so close to me?
Do you have to act like you`re my father? Can`t you keep a little
distance? What are you doing here? Disappear.
That`s what fathers know when they have teenager daughters.
REAGAN: That`s right.
Listening to Grimes, you would think that Obama had showed up to pick
her up at the school dance wearing pajamas and a bathrobe.
MATTHEWS: That`s what I`m talking -- well, I never did that, but
thank you. I was told you got to drop your daughter off two blocks away
from the party.
And if there`s a party at your house, don`t even come out and watch
while they`re dancing. Just disappear.
Anyway, the DNC is running ads in black newspapers right now to
energize voters. The ads reads -- quote -- this is a pretty impressive ad
-- "Get his back." In other words, stand up for him, stand with President
Meanwhile, two more Democratic Senate candidates have on recent
occasion denied him. Michelle Nunn in Georgia, Mark Begich in Alaska
appear to be following the Grimes playbook. Both candidates were recently
approached on the street by Republican trackers, but refused to say if they
voted for President Obama. Let`s watch them and then Perry will react.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ms. Nunn, did you vote for President Obama in 2008
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you leave her alone?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ma`am. Ma`am.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Begich, did you vote for Obama in 2008 and
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That`s the way people walk past guys you`re trying to get a
buck or a quarter from somebody. It`s like walking right past the guy.
BACON: We should note, Chris, Michelle Nunn has told "The Washington
BACON: ... that she voted for...
MATTHEWS: Subsequent to that.
But in that moment..
BACON: But in that moment, you can tell they don`t want to be caught
-- I think it`s a big thing -- they don`t want to be caught on video, as if
it`s like a dangerous thing and a bad thing.
BACON: They don`t want to be caught on camera, because it will turn
into an ad. This is what they`re -- I think this is a silly concern in my
mind. Of course Michelle Nunn voted for the Democratic president.
MATTHEWS: It`s like Obama has got Ebola. You don`t want to be -- I
wasn`t near him, I didn`t touch.
BACON: I don`t think he`s worried at the White House. I think he
gets it. I`m told he tells candidates in red states, do what you got to
MATTHEWS: Perry ,you`re a young man. He`s got a thicker skin than I
do. I`ll tell you that.
MATTHEWS: Ron, he`s got a thick skin to put up with this kind of
treatment. they don`t even know the guy.
Thanks, Ron, as always. Thanks for coming on.
REAGAN: You bet.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Perry Bacon.
Up next, Democrats are primed for a historic win in Pennsylvania two
weeks from now, as challenger Tom Wolf, one of the best the Democrats have
ever had, is poised to knock off the unpopular Republican Governor Tom
Corbett. It would be a huge win if the Democrats pull this off.
And good news for Hillary Clinton. Pennsylvania is Clinton country
heading into 2016. Tom Wolf, the candidate of the Democrats, is going to
join us next here on HARDBALL.
And this is the place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM WOLF (D), PENNSYLVANIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I know what the
polls are saying right now. And, selfishly, I mean, it`s a wonderful thing
to say, hey, I`m up 20 percent or whatever it is.
Those polls don`t matter. The only one that matters -- I know you`re
not supposed to say this, but the only one that really matters this year is
on November 4.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
WOLF: Don`t believe the polls. Don`t believe any of the polls until
the one that ends on November 4, that evening, when they call the election.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was Democrat and political newcomer Tom Wolf, who polls right now
show him big winner with a big lead over Republican Governor of
Pennsylvania Tom Corbett. The RealClearPolitics average shows Wolf now
with an 11-point advantage in what could be one of the big bright spots for
Democrats coming up on election night this year.
Pennsylvania is poised to throw out its sitting Republican governor
for the first time in the state`s history, when you could dump a guy for a
second term. It`s symbolic of how toxic the political environment is for
incumbents, I argue, for 2014, but good news for Democrats ahead of the big
prize in 2016.
Joining me right now is the man himself, set to make history, I think,
in a few weeks, Democratic candidate for governor, Pennsylvania`s Tom Wolf.
Tom, thank you for coming on.
And I have never met you before, but I have to tell you, that speech
you just gave say is the speech that guys 20 points back in the polls
usually say. The only poll that matters is the one on Election Day. Here
you are, moving along, trucking along with a pretty good lead, saying,
don`t believe it.
Give me your thinking here.
WOLF: Well, first of all, Chris, it`s great to be on.
I`m new at this. And I`m not so sure what I`m supposed to be
thinking, but I`m not going to be complacent. And I think the worst thing
that could happen right now is to be complacent. I was on the track team
in high school and college. And you run through the finish line. You
don`t run right up to it.
And so I want to make sure that all of us feel that this race is still
to be won.
MATTHEWS: Pennsylvania needs a spirit kick in the butt. It needs a
hope for the future. It needs to have a sense of -- you know, I used to
work for Tip O`Neill, I always say.
And the advantage of that state was, it was all one party. They were
all Democrats. So, they had a lot of clout in Washington. They had the
speakership every other time, it seemed. They traded it with Texas. And
they had all that power.
Now, you have a split state, which isn`t all Democrat. It`s roughly
50/50 generally. How are you going to have an economic development plan in
Pennsylvania that puts things together, the infrastructure, the education,
the health care, the stuff that makes a state build and get out of its
lethargy and becomes a zooming state where kids go to college and stay
there like they do in Massachusetts? How do you do that in a state that`s
WOLF: Well, I think it helps to have someone from York County,
someone who is not from either extreme of the state. I`m from York County.
And I think people are looking for exactly the Pennsylvania you just talked
I think we`re in crisis right now. I think the last four years have
not been good to Pennsylvanians. And I think everybody in Pennsylvania --
or most people -- are looking for a change. I think that`s why my poll
numbers are so good.
MATTHEWS: What about the Penn State thing? When you go up there and
see a game there, you see tens of thousands of people all in white,
everybody completely gung-ho. The traffic jam is unbelievable, the love
the people have for Penn State, and yet the kids, the working-class kids
that go to that school somehow got hurt by all that, by the Sandusky thing.
And JoPa ended up badly at the end. Do you think that could have been
handled better, the way it was handled, just a wide-open question? Do you
think the whole people that looked at what happened there, studied it,
could have made that thing better than it turned out for the feelings that
-- and the way that Pennsylvania and the state university has been
I mean, all of us in Pennsylvania feel badly for what happened to Penn
State. And I think it was handled badly. Now, I could be forgiven for
saying that. I have a vested interest in the outcome of this race.
But I think most Pennsylvanians feel it was handled badly. And it`s a
black mark on Pennsylvania. I think we can do a lot better with a lot of
things. And the way Penn State was handled was just one more instance of -
- instance of how we have handled things poorly here.
MATTHEWS: Well, I`m going to editorialize.
I think JoPa is coming back at some point. I don`t know how long it`s
going to take for the smoke to clear. You don`t have to say it. I`m
saying it. I`m not running for anything. I don`t know what kind of words
were passed about Sandusky`s conduct, but horsing around doesn`t tell me
anything. I want to know the words.
I`m tired of words that don`t tell you anything. It`s a terrible
thing that happened to those kids, terrible beyond belief. People should
have used English, graphic language in describing it, graphically said to
other people what happened. It shouldn`t have been any confusion. And I
think there was.
Anyway, thank you, and good luck in the race, Tom Wolf. It`s one hell
of an historic thing you may be pulling off here.
WOLF: Thank you. Hey, thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Up next, the roundtable, the Republican Party`s all-out
effort to keep power by keeping minorities from voting. I`m talking about
them killing the black voting out there.
Plus, how is this for outreach? A Republican running for Congress in
South Carolina called same-sex couple gremlins, gremlins. That`s coming to
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
RICHARD LUI, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hi. I`m Richard Lui. Here`s
Ebola patient Ashoka Mukpo is now free of the disease and will be
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videographer working for NBC News, contracted that disease while working in
Also, the National Institutes of Health has upgraded the status of
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patient Thomas Eric Duncan.
Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security says all travelers from
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U.S. airports that already have enhanced screening measures in place.
And U.S. officials believe three Colorado girls who flew to Germany
over the weekend intended to continue on to Syria and then join up with
Islamic militants -- now back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL.
And while some in the Republican Party are trying to disenfranchise
black voters, there are Democratic candidates out there who seem to be
taking the black vote for granted. Will that come back to haunt them on
Election Day? Also, did you hear about the Republican candidate in South
Carolina who called same-sex couples gremlins? The local Republican Party
has criticized the guy, but how is it that a candidate still talks like
that in 2014?
The roundtable tonight, Michelle Bernard of the Bernard Center for
Women, Matthew Littman, a former speechwriter, yes, he has them, for Vice
President Joe Biden, the words of professionals, and Republican strategist
Thank you, all.
I want to talk about this thing that I only get it -- if people pay
attention to me, there`s two issues that get me crazy.
MICHELLE BERNARD, FOUNDER, BERNARD CENTER FOR WOMEN, POLITICS AND
MATTHEWS: One is stupid wars, stupid stuff, as the president calls
it. And the other is an attempt by anybody to keep somebody from voting.
MATTHEWS: It`s a right. You shouldn`t have to make the case with all
kinds of documentation. You have a right to vote. If somebody wants to
make a case against you, they got to show the documentation.
And I just think it`s gotten completely out of hand and partisan. I
don`t think it`s necessarily racist, but if I were black and somebody said
you can`t vote because of this little thing I got going over, I would take
BERNARD: Well, how could you not take it personal?
As an African-American and particularly as an African-American woman,
I would say that you sit back and you watch -- and although we know it`s
not legally permissible, it feels as though it`s been legally permissible
to murder Trayvon Martin, to murder Michael Brown, and then of course what
follows up next is to murder black people`s ability to vote.
There is -- weeks ago, I said that some Americans have declared a war
on black boys. It feels like some Americans have declared a war on black
people, period. If you have to stand in line for a long time to vote, it`s
a poll tax and it`s a poll tax that people that are minimum wage workers
cannot afford to pay.
If you don`t provide I.D. and you don`t have access to I.D., it`s
another way of killing black America and relegating us to a permanent
underclass. It`s awful.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s wait for the grand jury for my view on some of
that stuff, but -- because I want to know some more facts on that last case
But I think -- I think the attitude comes across that way.
MATTHEW LITTMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes, I don`t -- I mean, I
would take it personally too if I were an African-American person.
But if the Republican Party can get all of the people to California --
in California not to vote, they would do it if they could find a way to do
it. I don`t think it`s about African-Americans necessarily. It`s about
getting people not to vote...
MATTHEWS: What about the guy we had on tonight that talked about the
lazy blacks? I mean, he was pretty personal, I thought. Didn`t you see
LITTMAN: Well, I mean, of course it`s ridiculous, but that`s not the
LITTMAN: That`s not the comparison. They just don`t want people to
vote who are going to vote against them.
BERNARD: But why not just open -- why like do something to make
African Americans want to vote for the Republican Party, rather than
suppress the vote?
MATTHEWS: Why not convert rather that than depress?
FEEHERY: I follow the lead of Jim Sensenbrenner who has pushed a
Voting Rights Act update, which should happen. In that update, which is a
bipartisan bill with John Conyers, there`s also an allowance of some voter
ID because, you know, you have to have a compromise with the legislative
process. I think the idea of Republicans trying to suppress the vote, I
think it`s -- that perception is out there. I think Republicans have to
overact to make sure that perception is eliminated, because you have to get
votes everywhere especially with the --
MATTHEWS: Can I start with an ID card? The big business types, the
big agricultural combines, the hotels, everybody`s in the business of
needing cheap labor, a lot of it illegal labor. They don`t want ID cards.
They don`t want people needing a work permit. They want -- come in here
and work, I give you a few bucks.
When it come time to vote, they want to see an ID card. There`s a
little bit of a problem, because in other words, they want you here working
for them, but not being citizens. Let`s find the difference.
By the way, voting is a right.
FEEHERY: I think Republicans should do is if you`re doing voter ID
thing, you should give people resources if they can`t afford it to get
those voter ID cards.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about the sex thing, because we`re talking
ethnicity here, and I guess race. What about this gremlins thing. What`s
in the Republican mind-set where the candidate, he`s not going to win, but
LITTMAN: I`m not a Republican, but we can`t condemn the whole
Republican Party based on one --
MATTHEWS: Well, how about this guy?
Anyway, let me read about it. Down in South Carolina, Anthony Culler,
he`s the Republican candidate running against James Clyburn. He had some
pretty shocking things to say about same-sex couples.
In a Facebook post last week, he wrote, "Same-sex marriage is a
pestilence that has descended on our society against our will by those in
the courts and government that do not value the traditional family. Same-
sex couples that seek to destroy our way of life and the institution of
marriage are not cute and cuddly, but rather gremlins that will only
destroy our way of life." He said he was referring to the 1980s movie
Not surprising, he came under fire, including from his own party
leaders. But Culler is not backing down. He released a statement, in
fact, a new video Monday, this week, defending his comments. Let`s watch
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY CULLER (R-SC), U.S. CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: I noticed
something ironic about this. All across the nation, I have had all these
bigots calling me a bigot, which I found that ironic. I think it`s really
What we have is, I made a comment that same-sex couples that want to
destroy traditional marriage, and our way of life, they`re gremlins.
They`re these creatures that are so disgusting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: There was a train going by there.
John, what do you make of that guy?
FEEHERY: That`s a hell of a video, huh?
MATTHEWS: It was a --
FEEHERY: I think the interesting thing here, almost anyone who is
represented any political party can say something crazy, it gets on YouTube
and it becomes a blot on the whole party. And I think that we have to
understand that it`s a big country out there, there`s all kinds of crazy
people who say all kinds of things. We should put this in perspective.
BERNARD: Can I --
MATTHEWS: He`s speaking in line with the Republican platform.
FEEHERY: The platform says nothing about gremlins.
MATTHEWS: No, but it`s the Republican Party platform. We reaffirm
our support to a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of
one man and one woman. So, you`re still pushing a constitutional amendment
for your party.
FEEHERY: Well, we`ll see what happens in the next convention.
MATTHEWS: Oh, OK, so the platform doesn`t mean anything. OK.
BERNARD: Not even, here`s what`s really interesting about the ad
which I have to say is one of the most bizarre I`ve seen all campaign
season, the fly --
MATTHES: The flying (ph) flies.
But what`s interesting, this is in South Carolina. In the South, this
time, we are seeing, I think, a big competition between white voters and
black voters. White voters who dislike the president, and also dislike gay
marriage, and in South Carolina, and in North Carolina, a lot of African-
Americans are very conservative on this issue, and they do not like gay
marriage. It is the way that George Bush and Karl Rove went after the
black vote in 2004, and they picked up points on that issue alone.
And there is a slight possibility that he might tick off some of the
votes that would go for Clyburn on that issue alone.
MATTHEWS: Remember Don King, the fight promoter?
BERNARD: Yes, yes.
LITTMAN: This guy is an idiot and he`s going to lose, right? So that
will be the end of this guy. In two weeks, you`ll never see him again.
BERNARD: And he`s wrong.
MATTHEWS: If you Google the word gremlin, you`ll get him.
Anyway, the chairman of the party, just to finish this out, in the
South Carolina, said the party would no longer support Culler`s candidacy.
And this is today, and strongly criticized the language used there.
He said most people learned in kindergarten not to call other people
names. Our party believes in the conservative definition of marriage, but
we also believe in loving our neighbors and treating them with respect.
Mr. Culler`s desperate attention-seeking antics in no way represent the
good, decent South Carolinians I`ve met across our state.
So, there you have it, your party is clean as a whistle. You didn`t
have, in fact, we`ve never heard this --
FEEHERY: Nothing to see here, let`s move on.
MATTHEWS: I`d say, for the rest of your lives, the word "gremlin"
will be associated with this guy.
Anyway, the roundtable is sticking with us, and we`re going to talk up
next about the side of President Obama everybody loves. We`ll show you
And what happened when a voter in Chicago told the president not to
mess with his girlfriend. He was joking, but it`s all in this video, which
is kind of -- I think shows the president`s personality at work when you
don`t really see it.
This is HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: With exactly two weeks until the election, there are a lot
of very close races out there. Let`s check the HARDBALL scoreboard.
First to Kentucky, two new polls show Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes
within the margin of error now. According to the "Courier
Journal"/Bluegrass poll, it`s McConnell by one. He`s at 44. She`s at 43.
A Western Kentucky University poll puts McConnell`s lead at three,
In Colorado, a new Monmouth poll shows Republican Cory Gardner leading
incumbent Senator Mark Udall by one now. It`s Gardner, 47, Udall, 46.
These are so close.
In Kansas, the Monmouth poll has it all tied up. Republican Pat
Roberts and independent Greg Orman, both at 46 all.
And in New Hampshire, the second street poll showing Senator Jeanne
Shaheen up 3. The New UMass-Amherts/WBZ poll has Shaheen at 48, but not
50. And Scott Brown at 45. That`s still close.
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back at our roundtable. Michelle Bernard, Mathew
Littman, and our friend, John Feehery.
Well, President Obama was at his local polling place in Chicago, Chi-
town, yesterday, to cast an early ballot in this year`s midterm elections.
And that`s when two local voters struck a spontaneous conversation with the
leader of free world.
It was all caught on camera and on tape. Let`s look at this, we`ll
show you the type of actually what`s being said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE: Mr. President, don`t touch my girlfriend now.
VOTER: Did you say that?
OBAMA: You know, I really wasn`t planning on it.
VOTER: I`m sorry, please excuse him.
OBAMA: Now, there`s an example of a brother just embarrassing you for
VOTER: Just embarrassing.
OBAMA: Just for no reason whatsoever.
VOTER: I know he was going to say something smart, but I didn`t know.
OBAMA: Now, you`ll be going back home and talking to your friends
about, I cannot believe -- what`s his name?
OBAMA: I can`t believe Mike. He is such a fool.
VOTER: He really is.
OBAMA: I was just mortified.
MIKE: But she`s having a conversation with the president.
OBAMA: But fortunately, the president was nice about it.
VOTER: I`m freaking out right now.
OBAMA: So, it was all right.
VOTER: Thank you so much.
OBAMA: It`s all right. Mike seems like a decent guy. He`s a decent
VOTER: This is not happening. This really isn`t.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, you know, you can tell when somebody`s on camera and
when they`re not. He didn`t think he was on camera -- Mathew.
LITTMAN: Yes. No, I think the reason, first of all, with Obama, at
this point, with ISIS and Ebola, I`d be hiding in the White House bunker.
I wouldn`t have any sense of humor whatsoever. I`d come out in 2017. I`d
be scared out of my mind. I`m amazed that he was so funny, but the reason
why we actually care about this, why this video is important is because it
shows somebody unscripted, somebody being spontaneous, somebody willing to
say something that may not be the perfect thing to say.
MATTEHWS: But you work for Biden?
LITTMAN: He said everything went perfectly well.
The Alison Grimes thing, with her not willing to say who she voted
for, I mean, it`s ridiculous. And that`s part of what irritates us about
politics. It also speaks the fact that people are afraid.
I mean, you guys worked in the Capitol Hill, when you got to Capitol
Hill and you`ve proposed something, right? The first question you get
asked is who`s against it? Right? because everybody`s afraid and it`s a
much more unscripted world in terms of reality television.
MATTHEWS: It`s what people want do, John, in politics. They love to
know that the person is at home, the lights are on and somebody`s home.
There`s somebody there.
FEEHERY: This was a nice moment for the president. I thought he
could understand what this poor lady was going through with this idiot
And the way he was able to communicate that. I thought it was a very
nice moment. It was unscripted. And I think it will give people, hey,
this is a cool guy. And that`s the thing about President Obama, is when
he`s had his unscripted moments, he`s immensely likeable.
BERNARD: And here`s what like, he was voting at the Martin Luther
King community center in the hood, in Chi-town, very comfortable. He was
with his people.
He had a very different cadence then when he is speaking at the
lectern, at the White House, very comfortable, with I should say our
MATTHEWS: OK, before you own him that way. He was like that with me
a couple times.
Anyway, but thank you, when he relaxes. He does get like that. He`s
very cool. Some people think too cool for school. But it doesn`t matter,
because then people think you`re a wise-ass.
So, you look better than they do. You`re looking like a regular guy.
Anyway, Michelle Bernard, thank you for owning the president.
Mathew Littman, thank you. The guy who wrote all the great stuff for
Joe Biden. And John Feehery.
When we return, let me finish with how the Democrats running this year
are treating President Obama the way teenage daughters treat their dads. I
don`t even know why he`s here.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this.
I have to figure that President Barack Obama, the father of two
teenage daughters, have some personal experience with this shunning
business. You know, the Democrats out there running for office while
pretending they don`t even know the fella in the White House who happens to
share the same political party with them.
I said because being once the father of a teenage daughter myself, I
know the feeling of being out there in public with her while getting
treated as if I`m not actually there. You other fathers of daughters know
the drill. You arrive at the party, but are told to drop her off a few
blocks away. She doesn`t want her friends to see you actually driving her
to the party. It`s magic, she just appears.
Or you`re out there sitting at an ice cream place, Haagen-Dazs, and
you get the distinct feeling that your daughter is pretending that while
you may be at the same table as her, it`s one of those European seating
deals where everyone just sits with everyone else to save space. In any
case, the deal is, you drive the car, you pay for the ice cream or the meal
but you are not to be seen and definitely not heard.
If she`s having a party at your house -- well, you know the drill
there, too. Disappear until everyone -- I mean, everyone -- is gone from
This is what the president must feel like when he hears someone like
Alison Lundergan Grimes say she won`t say whether she`s voted for him or
not. Not even if he`s the leader of our father. Wow, but a father knows
Anyway, that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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