October 29, 2014
Guest: Christina Bellantoni, P.J. O`Rourke
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Blood in the water.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
President Obama is struggling to defend his Ebola response, and Republican
sharks, all of them sweet `16-ers, are in the water. Christie, Jeb and
Romney are attacking him with gusto, with their eyes on the polls, their
noses sniffing the scent of human blood. Here`s the president whacking
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When I hear people talking
about American leadership and then are promoting policies that would avoid
leadership and have us running in the opposite direction and hiding under
the covers, it makes me a little frustrated. We`re at our best when we are
standing up and taking responsibility, even when it requires us making
sacrifices -- especially when it requires us making sacrifices.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That`s you, Chris Christie. You`re hiding under the covers.
Anyway, the battle`s over -- is over how to best protect the country
against a mysterious and deadly horror. Obama wants to stop Ebola at its
source, sort of a variant on the old neocon argument of dealing with
terrorism, that it`s better to fight it there than fight it here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I want America to understand, the truth is that until we stop this
outbreak in West Africa, we may continue to see individual cases in America
in the weeks and months ahead because that`s the nature of today`s world.
We can`t hermetically seal ourselves off. So yes, we are likely to see a
possible case elsewhere outside of these countries. And that`s true
whether or not you adopt a travel ban, whether or not you adopt a
quarantine. It`s the nature of diseases. As long as Ebola exists in the
world, no one can promise that there won`t be any more cases in America or
any place else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Governor Christie just wants to tussle with the president.
At times, he appears to be channeling Groucho Marx, offering to fight any
man in the house for a dollar. Jeb Bush, clearly angling for a piece of
the action, is going at Obama also, but also throwing a sharp elbow at
Governor Christie, his rival for the nomination.
At an event at Vanderbilt last night, he said Ebola -- Obama`s Ebola
response looked very incompetent to begin with, and that fueled fears that
may not be justified. And now you have states that are legitimately acting
on their (INAUDIBLE) concerns -- on their concerns, creating a lot more
confusion than is necessary. That`s at Christie.
Howard Fineman`s editorial director of the Huffington Post Media Group and
Ron Reagan`s an MSNBC contributor.
I want to start, gentlemen, with this. Let`s look at Christie here, who is
incapable of passing up a chance to take a shot at President Obama. This
is Christie today defending his quarantine idea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I think folks should understand part
of the sacrifice is going over there, and the remainder of the sacrifice is
when you come home, if you (INAUDIBLE) -- remember (ph), health care
workers directly exposed to the virus or now members of our military have
to be quarantined for 21 days. That`s common sense policy. I don`t know
when the White House is going to get around to admitting that and not, you
know, giving us seven-minute lectures from the South Lawn and just get to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Christie was also showing that he would throw a punch at
just about anybody in the room, guys. I want to show you this tape. Here
he is going after a bystander talking to him about something completely
different. Let`s watch it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: I`d be more than happy to have a debate with you any time you
like, guy, because somebody like you doesn`t know a damn thing about what
you`re talking about except to stand up and show off when the cameras are
here! I`ve been here when the cameras aren`t here, buddy, and done the
work! I`ve been here when the cameras weren`t here and did the work! So
I`m glad you had your day to show off, but we`re the ones who are here to
actually do the work. So turn around, get your 15 minutes of fame, and
then maybe take your jacket off, roll up your sleeves and do something for
the people of the state! So listen, you want to have the conversation
later? I`m happy to have it, buddy. But until that time, sit down and
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Ron Reagan, that`s an unusual way to perform -- or I should say
audition for president of the United States, but it`s one kind of
commander-in-chief, the New Jersey tough guy -- I`ll take on -- like
Groucho Marx said in one of his movies, I will fight any man in the house
for a dollar. Let`s go.
RON REAGAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, this may play well in Hoboken.
I suppose it does. He got a few cheers there. But really, you don`t want
that kind of guy sitting in the Oval Office behind the desk. I mean, this
does no good for Chris Christie, to be seen as a sort of bully and a guy
who can`t let this go.
You want to put down a heckler, you do it with one line and you move on.
You don`t spend five minutes challenging him to, like, go out in the
parking lot and mix it up with you!
What is the matter with this guy? And this is the sort of behavior that
Jeb Bush, of course, can take advantage of and has taken advantage of
already in positioning himself as an opponent of Chris Christie`s, frankly.
MATTHEWS: Well, he`s a milder version. Howard -- it seems -- it reminds
me of the bad old days of Frank Sinatra. Now, you do hear good thing about
Frankie, but one thing you knew for sure, any guy could get in a fight with
him in the men`s room. Just make a crack, and you got Julie Rizzo (ph) on
your back and you`re fighting against both of these guys!
HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST MEDIA GROUP, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:
Well, what you`ve got going on here, Chris, is there is the managers
category for 2016 among the Republicans. Not the -- not the ideologues,
but the managers.
MATTHEWS: And these are the managers.
FINEMAN: These are the managers, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and maybe Mitt
Romney all over again. So they`re each trying to show how they would be a
better manager than the current president of the United States.
And in Christie`s case in particular, he wants to pick a fight with
President Obama because the big knock on him within the Republican Party
are all those walks along the beach that he took with Barack Obama. So
that`s kind of what`s going on here. And I think -- I agree with Ron--
MATTHEWS: I forgot that Obama was Ebola. You`re not supposed to touch
FINEMAN: Yes. Yes. Now -- now, politically, that`s what he is within --
you know, among Iowa right-wingers.
FINEMAN: So that`s what`s going on here. And I think it`s fascinating
that Jeb Bush is now pretty -- pretty firmly in the mix here. You know--
MATTHEWS: He`s in.
FINEMAN: Yes. There`s been a change in thinking about that. It seems
like he`s in. Mitt Romney may be back in. They`re not going to let Chris
Christie take the manager`s role, especially when he acts like that on the
streets of New Jersey.
MATTHEWS: So we`re talking show business here, Ron.
MATTHEWS: You`ve had an experience in that as a dancer. Let me ask you
this, in all seriousness. This looks like a bunch of auditions. The one
guy says, You want a tough guy? I`m from Jersey! I can take this guy! I
can take him in the third round! You got that guy. Then you got the mild-
mannered Bush of old money stock saying, Well, there`s a milder way to do
this, a much more Yankee way to go about these things. And then you got
the -- the absolute perfect hands-on manager of Bain Capital, who can turn
MATTHEWS: I`ll make you money, buddy! I`ll make you some money! Isn`t it
interesting to watch this, using the president as their audition material,
their casting director?
REAGAN: Yes, basically, the Republican platform is just, We don`t like
Obama. So you know, you can`t be seen walking with him, shaking hands with
him, God forbid you hug him or anything like that. You can`t touch Obama,
as you said.
Howard`s exactly right. You`ve got two teams on the Republican side.
You`ve got the establishment, or the managers, if you`d, like, and then
you`ve got your Tea Party types like Ted Cruz.
Jeb Bush -- the most important thing he has to do right now is win the race
among the manager types.
REAGAN: The establishment Republicans are usually the ones at the end of
the day that win. So he`s got to be the guy that the smart Republicans
will vote for, not Mitt Romney because he`s -- we`ve already seen him. He
didn`t work out. And not Chris Christie because he`s a hothead and you
don`t want him in the Oval Office. I`m the reasonable guy. I`m the
establishment guy who`s sane. Pick me, and I`ll run and defeat Ted Cruz in
the primaries, or whoever it might be.
MATTHEWS: Well, Jeb Bush is offering calm, as you said, Ron. Here he is
at a Vanderbilt event. He played up his crisis management experience. He
spoke about an anthrax scare when he was governor of Florida back in 2001.
Quote, "We gave people a sense of calm, and that was the plan. We spoke
talked in plain-spoken English. We were totally engaged."
Well, Howard, that was hitting all the points there--
MATTHEWS: -- total engagement, clarity and calm.
FINEMAN: Yes, he--
MATTHEWS: The un-Christie.
FINEMAN: Yes, and he`s trying differentiate himself both from the
president and from Chris Christie. But I agree with Ron. And by the way,
there`s a money thing behind this. There`s the big shot thing behind this.
In the managers category, the wise guys are looking for somebody to back.
FINEMAN: And -- and now with Jeb in it, it`s a real contest to see who
those establishment money people are going to go for.
I think there are two other categories. There`s libertarian Tea Partiers,
which is -- which is the Rand Paul kind. And then there`s the religious --
more religious cultural types, which I think Ted Cruz and the others. And
so it`s kind of like the play-offs--
MATTHEWS: OK, well--
MATTHEWS: -- intramurals among the shirts.
FINEMAN: Right. Exactly.
MATTHEWS: They haven`t taken on the skins yet.
MATTHEWS: The skins are waiting out there--
MATTHEWS: -- the Geronimo types, like crazy Ted Cruz and the rest of them.
Anyway, here`s Mitt Romney offering himself as the hands-on CEO. Earlier
today on "MORNING JOE," Romney actually ripped President Obama. He ripped
the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control, and he sided with Christie`s
quarantine notions. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R-MA), FMR. GOV., FMR. PRES. CANDIDATE: The president has
been, I think, as Charles Krauthammer said -- has been the -- the
spectator-in-chief, rather than the -- than the commander-in-chief as it
comes to whether it`s the VA or the IRS or the implementation of "Obama
care" or the CDC with regards to putting in place the protocols for Ebola.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, "MORNING JOE": You actually saw it with Andrew
Cuomo and Chris Christie.
ROMNEY: Yes. Yes.
SCARBOROUGH: Andrew Cuomo, of course, now is saying there needs to be a
21-day quarantine in somebody`s house. Do you agree that position?
ROMNEY: You know, I think it`s a very difficult--
SCARBOROUGH: That seem to make sense?
ROMNEY: -- call. I`m on the side of better safe than sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: What do you think of Mitt Romney there offering himself up there
as the quintessential CEO? I thought it was interesting, going after
Christie, as well. Your thoughts. Ron?
REAGAN: Oh, I`m sorry. Yes, well, I was interested that he really didn`t
answer the question about the 21-day quarantine, did he. He sort of kind
of liked the idea, but wouldn`t really commit to it at the same time. This
is Mitt Romney`s shtick, of course. I`m the Bain CEO guy, as you say. I`m
the manager. We`ve seen this before. Republicans have seen it before. I
guess they liked it well enough to nominate him last time. I`m not sure
they`re ready for another -- another go-around with Mitt Romney, though.
MATTHEWS: Did you like him blowing a kiss to the hard right, there, that
little -- meaning (ph) from the book of Krauthammer.
MATTHEWS: -- now have to -- you have to now begin every sentence with,
According to the latest column of Charles Krauthammer--
FINEMAN: Well, that--
MATTHEWS: He`s a smart guy, but it`s a statement of, I`m no moderate.
FINEMAN: Yes. But as Ron says, he also wants to differentiate himself
from Chris Christie, who I`m sure he`s implying is this kind of hothead
MATTHEWS: Oh, yes.
FINEMAN: -- who doesn`t know the fine points of management the way we do
it at Bain. You don`t commit right away. You want to see the details
before you decide on quarantine or not. And I thought that was -- that was
actually significant because he`s trying to show that he`s the thoughtful
detail guy, compared with the other.
MATTHEWS: Well, calling Christie a hothead`s like throwing a basketball at
a barn door, isn`t it? You`re going to hit the--
MATTHEWS: -- on any given day! Anyway, thank you, Howard Fineman. I`m
not getting ethnic here, but there`s something about the East Coast aspect
of -- of Governor Christie. I`m sure the fellow from -- where is he from
now? What state`s he from? Utah? I think (INAUDIBLE) moving to Utah--
FINEMAN: -- a great campaign--
MATTHEWS: -- pleasant--
FINEMAN: Great bumper sticker, "Sit down and shut up."
MATTHEWS: Yes (INAUDIBLE) None of your business!
MATTHEWS: None of your business, Gail! That could be a big one, too.
Anyway, thank you, Howard Fineman. We`re having a lot of fun here with
Chris Christie. We love him. You`re good copy, governor.
Up next, the fire next time. If the Republicans get the Senate, watch out.
A pack of them -- and we know who they are -- are ready to yell "Geronimo!"
This isn`t about being an actual senator, mind you. They`re not wasting
time with niceties of deal making or even law making. They`re out for the
president`s head, out to kill -- out to kill (INAUDIBLE) "Obama care."
That`s what they want -- out to build higher border fences, out to
humiliate even their own party establishment. We`re talking the crazies
are coming to the Senate if they win next Tuesday. That`s ahead.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: With just six days to go now before the election next Tuesday,
we`ve got the latest polls now on the HARDBALL "Scoreboard."
We start in Iowa, where a new Quinnipiac poll shows Joni Ernest now with a
4-point lead over Democrat Bruce Braley. That`s looking bad for Braley --
Ernst up at 49, getting close to 50, Braley down at 45.
In Kansas, a new Survey USA poll has independent Greg Orman leading
incumbent Republican senator Pat Roberts by 2. It`s Orman 44, Roberts 42.
By the way, he`ll do no good for the Democrats if they get six votes on the
In Colorado, a new Strategies 360 poll shows Democrat Mark Udall with a 1-
point lead over Republican Cory Gardner -- very hard to pick that race out
in Colorado. It`s a difficult purple state. It`s Udall 45, Gardner 44.
That`s way in there close.
In Georgia, a new Monmouth University poll has Republican Dave Perdue now -
- this is something -- 8 points over Democrat Michelle Nunn. Now, earlier
polling showed a much closer race. This could be an outlier, but what an
outlier, 8-point spread at this point.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. If Republicans do win the Senate,
they could well do it next Tuesday, look out! The wild men will be coming
out for blood, no niceties or deal making. They`ll be out to bully the
president if they get the power.
They`ll try again to kill "Obama care." And forget immigration reform.
They`ll want higher border fences. That`s their solution. And along the
way, they`ll try to humiliate their own party establishment. You watch.
Plus, at least three senators right now with an eye on the White House --
Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio -- will be trying to prove their bona
fides to the base -- that means the hard right -- when they get majority
control. You`ve got Cruz, who reveled in his failed marathon filibuster
Obama (sic) and will no doubt be at it again with his party in charge now.
And he`ll be administering a loyalty test to anyone who doesn`t line up
behind him with a government shutdown.
Out stomping -- actually, out stumping in Kansas, he previewed this much
again for himself. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: A year ago last week, when I was standing on the
Senate floor, filibustering on "Obama care," Pat Roberts was one of a
handful of senators who came down and stood by my side and said "Obama
care" is a disaster and we got to stop it!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: How would you like the listen to that voice for eight years?
Anyway, Rand Paul is in contention to head the Senate`s Permanent
Subcommittee on Investigations, a committee with subpoena power -- in fact,
actually, partisan subpoena power. You don`t need the other side to agree
Out on the stump for Republicans in Kansas, Rand Paul already has his
sights set on Hillary Clinton. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: The president says, You didn`t build it, it
just sort of happened. Hillary Clinton comes up and she says, Oh, well,
businesses don`t create jobs. Anybody here think businesses don`t create
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I imagine that was a business group he was talking to. He`s
(ph) going to be hellish a couple of years from now.
Anyway, Jay Newton-Small is Washington correspondent for "Time" magazine.
And Perry Bacon is senior political reporter for NBC News.
As we scope out beyond next Tuesday, let`s just -- let`s just suggest that
they`ve got a -- a better than even chance to grab the six necessary pick-
up seats. And it looks like now that that may be enough. They don`t have
to worry about offsets in Georgia or in Kentucky. Maybe. We`ll see.
There`s going to be some surprises.
JAY NEWTON-SMALL, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Sure.
MATTHEWS: Assuming there`s no wild surprises out there, what do you think
that these kind of people are going to be up to when they get majority
control, when they`re all chairmen of the committees?
NEWTON-SMALL: Well, I mean, first of all, you`ve got Mitch McConnell out
there saying that as majority leader, he`s going to reopen the process, you
know, allow all kinds of amendments. And there`s a reason why, you know,
Harry Reid closed the process four years ago and that`s because Republicans
were introducing all kinds of amendments that were really hard for his --
you know, his members to take.
Mitch McConnell has six members who are up in 2016 who are in blue states,
and the minute he opens up that amendment process, Democrats are going to
start putting in all these amendments that are going to embarrass those --
those members, that are going to make it really hard for them to get
reelected, and they`re going to run all kinds of TV commercials off of
them, so it`s going to be really- you know, it`s going to be a total free-
for-all. There`s no way he can actually open up that process and protect
those members at the same time.
Add into that, you`ve got, you know, oversight, you know, of the president
that they`re going to be doing, confirmation of judges that they`re going
to be talking about, confirmation of cabinet officials, potentially a
Supreme Court justice. And then you`ve got -- you`ve got these sort of
people who are running for president who are going to be doing their sort
of own amendments and their own kind of bills and their own kind of--
MATTHEWS: This is a question -- before you (INAUDIBLE) to Perry -- isn`t
the goal to show how much you hate Obama?
MATTHEWS: No, really.
NEWTON-SMALL: Just out-hate Obama?
MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) throw spears at the guy, anything that shows your
hatred, you know, where there`s -- to try to undermine for the nth time
"Obama care," to cut out the funding of it, to find some way to screw it
NEWTON-SMALL: It is, I think, the only thing that every member in the
Senate agrees upon. And you`re talking about a Senate that`s ideologically
in the Republican conference hugely diverse. You`ve got, you know, very
moderates like Susan Collins in Maine. You`ve got uber-conservatives like
Jeff Sessions in Alabama. And the only thing that they agree upon is that
they want to repeal Obama -- Obamacare and they hate Obama.
MATTHEWS: Well, this will get a fun. There will be a lot of fun attacking
Obama. I understand opposition politics. It`s a lot of fun.
You don`t have any responsibilities. You don`t have to be a grownup. It`s
like the kids in the back of the car. Daddy, when we getting there? Mom,
when are we getting there? I`m hungry. She`s hitting me. You know, she`s
on my side.
You can act like an idiot.
MATTHEWS: But here`s the question.
NEWTON-SMALL: But don`t forget, the whole country is going to be going,
are we there yet?
MATTHEWS: That`s what I mean.
MATTHEWS: No, I wonder if we`re going to get -- but my question is, if
you`re the eventual nominee of the Republican Party, do you want this
behavior for the next two years or do you want a conscious effort to show
that you can grow up, you can cut a deal on immigration, get the Hispanic
thing off your back that is on there right now, move ahead with some kind
of growth policies, and show you know how to cut taxes, or you`re better
off just going crazy?
PERRY BACON, NBC NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Kevin McCarthy, the
new House majority leader, said the almost exact same thing you just said,
which is we need to figure out how to govern and show we`re responsible, so
we can win the presidency. This is the number two House Republican.
He is saying that the key question is, are Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and this
new group of House Republicans, are they listening to him at all?
MATTHEWS: Why doesn`t he run for president?
BACON: He might actually be a good candidate.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, he might be. That would probably make too much sense.
Anyway, that`s right. Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy --
you preceded my thinking here and the teleprompter`s -- is actually trying
MATTHEWS: -- even if the Republican troops show no inclination to fall
Speaking to a group of Long Island donors -- there are Republicans on Long
Island -- he said -- quote -- "I do know this. If we capture the House
stronger and the Senate and prove we can govern, there won`t be a
Republican president in 2016."
Does that make sense? Anyway--
NEWTON-SMALL: But the House is going to be even more ungovernable or as
ungovernable as the Senate is going to--
MATTHEWS: Because a lot of people running in these conservative districts
will be further conservative--
NEWTON-SMALL: Yes. So, there`s been 18 retirements. And a lot of them
are chairmen and a lot of them sort of sort of the old bulls who really
helped train the new incomers. This is how we do things in Washington.
This is how business is done.
And they were the moderates who were the ones who compromised and made
deals. They`re all retiring. You know, they`re -- and there are 25
retirements total, but 18 of those seats have now been filled by hard red
rebels who wants to burn down the Republican Party as much as the
MATTHEWS: Harry Truman ran in `48, when everybody thought he would lose.
Everybody grew up knowing that, the biggest upset in history -- because the
Republicans from 1946, when they grabbed back the House, they were crazy.
All they did was hold hearings, investigations.
They said they opened every day with a prayer and ended it with a probe.
That`s all they did.
MATTHEWS: And Truman walked back into the White House.
Is this the problem they face? If they offer themselves up as nothing but
the crazy party, the wild ass party that just attacks, attacks, attacks,
does that make it easier for Hillary if she runs to beat a reasonable
Republican like Jeb Bush?
BACON: I do. There is a big moment coming up. Obama says, I`m going to
do this immigration reform by executive order. He does that, can you
imagine if -- we`re going to have lawsuits.
BACON: We`re going to have attacks on him.
MATTHEWS: OK. But which side are you on that one? Do you think it is a
smart move by him to do a big executive order issuing green cards?
BACON: If he wants to accomplish policy, then, sure, I think he should do
it because he`s been saying it a long time. That`s his policy goal. He
should probably go ahead and do it.
MATTHEWS: Well, that is going to rip the scab off.
BACON: Yes, of course.
MATTHEWS: Well, it really is.
MATTHEWS: It is really.
BACON: -- happen anyway. If he wants to govern, he should go ahead and go
MATTHEWS: Well, then he might as well forget any details on anything else.
BACON: There was never a deal that was going to happen in the first place.
MATTHEWS: OK. Well, see, this is -- this is the argument I hear from
people on the left, on the progressive side of things.
They say, look, when this guy -- that people like Boehner can`t deal.
They`re useless. Mitch McConnell wants to destroy the guy. So, just use
the executive order. Do the big stuff. Have them hate you. Have them
editorialize against you in "The Wall Street Journal" and on FOX and
everywhere else. Live with it.
But at least you will have a fan club of Hispanics and other liberals who
will say, good.
NEWTON-SMALL: Well, I mean, it`s almost--
MATTHEWS: Elizabeth Warren will like it too, I think.
NEWTON-SMALL: It is almost better if -- for Republicans for 2016 if they
don`t win the Senate right now, because if they win the Senate right now,
Mitch McConnell is going to have to deliver something. He`s going to have
to say, here, we won the Senate and here`s what I`m delivering.
MATTHEWS: But we just made the point. I thought I just made the point
that the Geronimos, to use an old cowboy expression, don`t want to have a
record. They want to go at Obama hammer and tong..
NEWTON-SMALL: No, and that`s his problem is that how does he deliver
anything when a huge portion of his conference doesn`t want to deliver
MATTHEWS: What would -- Mitch McConnell just threw $2 million of his own
money into his race. Obviously, it is close with Alison Lundergan Grimes.
Why does he want to be a senator for the next two years? Just to undercut
Obama? Just like to make his life miserable, to be the troll under the
bridge? Is that what he wants to be?
BACON: This is one of his lifelong dreams, is to be Senate majority
leader. Mitch McConnell has talked about this for a long time.
MATTHEWS: To what purpose?
BACON: To be Senate majority--
MATTHEWS: That`s it.
BACON: What`s Boehner`s purpose? I don`t know that he has a huge public
policy goal. They wanted to have these jobs. And I do think, and
legitimately, Republicans think Obamacare is a really bad program. They
disagree with the policy of it. And they want--
MATTHEWS: So not the honor of the job, but the nasty potential of it.
BACON: Well, the potential to do -- undo some things they don`t like.
MATTHEWS: I like the way you think, Perry. Thank you. And I think a lot
of our viewers do too.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Jay Newton-Small of "TIME" magazine, Perry Bacon, who
spoke his mind.
Up next, we are going to have to live -- well, we`re going to go live to
California -- to Colorado right now, a key state battleground, where Jeb
Bush is hitting the campaign trail in what well may be a dry run for 2016.
We`re going to Colorado.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, Jeb Bush is actively stumping now for Republicans in the
homestretch before the midterm next week, headlining several events this
week out in Colorado.
But his role as a surrogate might be the opening act for a bigger role in
2016, as he and his family fuel new speculation that he will seek the
This past Sunday on ABC, his son, George P. Bush, had this to say about
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Do you think it is more than 50 percent, less than 50 percent?
GEORGE P. BUSH, SON OF JEB BUSH: I think it is more than likely that he is
giving this a serious thought and moving forward.
QUESTION: More than likely that he will run?
BUSH: That he will run.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, now, just a few days later, "The Des Moines Register" has
obtained a curiously timed fund-raising letter sent just this week to
residents in the first caucus state of Iowa.
While soliciting money for Jeb`s Excellence in Education Foundation, the
letter looks much more like a campaign document. And residents there seem
to agree -- quote -- "Several Iowans `The Des Moines Register` they have
never received a thing from Bush or his foundation until now. So they
detect some possible 2016 implications."
I love the way they say that. But even as he, Jeb, stokes buzz about 2016,
he is building -- he`s playing it coy. Here`s what he had to say about his
intentions just yesterday.
"At the end of the year, when I can find some quiet time to think and to
talk it over with my family and to go through this, if I have to -- if I
was to run, it would be with joy in my heart and to express the joy of this
Joining me is MSNBC political reporter Kasie Hunt, who is with Jeb Bush on
the campaign trails out in Colorado.
Kasie, it`s good to see you.
Are you smelling or feeling joy out there at the prospect of Jeb?
KASIE HUNT, NBC CORRESPONDENT: I think there is definitely some excitement
on the part of the people here tonight to have Jeb Bush here.
And it might be a little bit elevated since this past weekend. But, you
know, Jeb Bush, in a place like Colorado, you know, this is the kind of
state that Republicans feel like they need to do well in, even this cycle,
as they set up for 2016. And Jeb Bush is the kind of Republican who can
appeal to the people that the Republican Party needs to reach if they`re
going to win presidential elections.
He was here today doing a Hispanic Business Roundtable. He has cut a
Spanish-language ad for Cory Gardner. So, I think that`s really kind of
the focus that he`s taken here in Colorado.
MATTHEWS: My sense of Colorado is that the swing areas are the very well-
populated suburbs, where people tend to be secular in their lifestyles.
The women are very modern, of course. They demand equality. And issues
like abortion rights are important.
How does a Jeb Bush, who is pro-choice -- pro-life, how does he cut through
that sort of secular thinking in the suburbs out there to win Colorado?
Well, I mean, first, I would say there is a substantial evangelical
population in Colorado. So the Republicans to win here need to turn out
that base. But as far as appealing to secular voters, I think you have
seen Mark Udall struggle a little bit with that.
He`s in some ways run a one-issue campaign that is mostly focused on those
issues that you mention, on abortion on, contraception. And it doesn`t
seem to be working against a candidate, Cory Gardner, who comes across as
somebody who is nonthreatening on those things, who is airing an ad saying,
I want to give you over-the-counter birth control. And in some ways, Jeb
Bush is a presidential candidate that would fall into that same vein. He
doesn`t sound like Ted Cruz.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, that`s -- few of them do.
What do you sense? Do you sense that people out there -- can you tell from
your reporting that they think he is going to run? Because his son was
just on saying he thought it was better than 50/50 his dad was going to
run. That`s the closest we have come what looks to be a leading indicator
that he`s going to get in this thing, perhaps against Hillary, if he gets
HUNT: Well, look, Republicans are very focused on the idea of beating
somebody who is as strong as Hillary Clinton.
And I think that`s part of why you`re seeing a lot of hope for a Jeb Bush
candidacy. People are concerned about Chris Christie, whether it`s the
Bridgegate scandal or whether it`s -- I think you have seen some of his
personality come out in recent days on Ebola and just today on Sandy. He`s
been sort of in your face with people.
And I think that`s why there is a lot of pressure within the party on Jeb
Bush to run. And I have talked to several people who work with him, are
close to him, and they say, essentially, he is thinking about it. He has
yet to make up his mind. And as you saw him say, he will decide after the
MATTHEWS: Yes, I`m not sure Chris Christie`s style of life or manner of
speaking gets too much further west than South Philly.
Anyway, thank you, Kasie Hunt.
HUNT: I`m -- I`m not sure it works in Iowa, Chris.
HUNT: Thanks, Chris. Nice to see you.
MATTHEWS: I don`t think so either.
Up next, the hawks are in a tizzy over tough remarks about Bibi Netanyahu.
And the roundtable is coming up to talk about that and other things. Plus,
the feeding frenzy on the right over Ebola, could it have something to do
with the election now just six days away?
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger. Here`s
Health officials in Maine say doctors and nurses coming back from the Ebola
outbreak zone must remain in their homes for 21 days. If they refuse, the
state will seek a court order to ensure they comply.
Texas Governor Rick Perry is thanking a nurse who returned from Sierra
Leone for her heroism and agreeing to not go out in public for 21 days.
And California has issued guidelines requiring quarantines for health care
workers who have had contact with Ebola patients in West Africa -- now back
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Well, Republicans smell blood in the water on Ebola, certainly, especially
those eying 2016 for president, like Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney. The far
right of the Republican Party, people like Steve King of Iowa, are
beginning to get control of the Senate for their party and increase their
margins in the House. And what are they promising? I think it is fair to
say ideological warfare for two more years. Plus, a senior administration
official says tough things to a reporter about Prime Minister of Israel
Bibi Netanyahu, who is a tough guy to start with.
Anyway, the roundtable tonight, NBC`s chief foreign affair correspondent
and host of "ANDREA MITCHELL REPORTS," my friend Andrea Mitchell.
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC CHIEF FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Hi.
MATTHEWS: And the editor in chief of "Roll Call," the editor in chief of
"Roll Call," Christina Bellantoni, and the author P.J. O`Rourke. His new
book, "The Baby Boom," in paperback, there it is.
Actually in paperback, right?
P.J. O`ROURKE, DAILY BEAST: I don`t know. They don`t tell me anything.
MATTHEWS: You love the money.
O`ROURKE: I think you can still get it in hardback.
MATTHEWS: You love the celebrity and the money.
Has he showed -- as we showed you earlier, this is my favorite quote of the
week. Christie unloaded on some guy, some protester who dared to hold a
sign at a press conference today. This is Sinatra country in the old days.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I will be more than happy to have a
debate with you any time you like, guy, because somebody like you, who
doesn`t know a damn thing about what you`re talking about, except to stand
up and show off when the cameras are here.
I have been here when the cameras aren`t here, buddy, and done the work. I
have been here when the cameras aren`t here, and did the work.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
CHRISTIE: So I`m glad you had your day to show off. But we`re the ones
who are here to actually do the work. So, turn around, get your 15 minutes
of fame, and then maybe take your jacket off, roll up your sleeves and do
something for the people of this state.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
CHRISTIE: So, listen, you want to have the conversation later, I`m happy
to have it, buddy. But until that time, sit down and shut up.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTINA BELLANTONI, "ROLL CALL": He keeps calling the guy "buddy."
MATTHEWS: Andrea Mitchell, if you had spent many years in Philadelphia, in
the South Jersey area as well--
MITCHELL: I know--
MATTHEWS: -- this manner, it is what you get approached by some Eagles fan
in the parking lot, you know?
MITCHELL: Buddy, sit down and shut up.
MITCHELL: I mean, he is showing his feistiness and he is taking the
president on, on Ebola. And I think that is deliberate.
MATTHEWS: That guy put a sign up. That`s all he did.
MITCHELL: And that was about Sandy.
MATTHEWS: He didn`t get his money for Sandy or something.
MITCHELL: -- for Sandy.
But I`m not sure how this plays in the Republican Party. And as you see
O`ROURKE: Oh, it plays with this Republican.
O`ROURKE: Come on. America is ready for a sit-down-and-shut-up president.
BELLANTONI: In Iowa -- Kasie was right -- the Iowa nice here, there are a
lot of people who will protest. And if you shout them down, this is your
neighbor that you`re shouting down. Like, I don`t think people are going
to like that.
MATTHEWS: But how do they vote?
MATTHEWS: Do they vote with him?
O`ROURKE: Yes, they vote with me.
MATTHEWS: They like they don`t like it -- they don`t like arguing on
television, say they like Sunday morning when it is quiet and genteel.
O`ROURKE: And then they watch--
MATTHEWS: And then they drive by a traffic accident, and they`re craning
their necks out the window to see what just happened.
O`ROURKE: Yes, because what they actually watch is the pit bull channel.
MATTHEWS: Which one is that?
O`ROURKE: Any number of them.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, Steve -- Steve King of Iowa, speaking of Iowa, the guy
who says the Hispanic come across with calves the size of cantaloupes
because they`re carrying so much dope, I guess, he admitted, by the way, he
said he attempt -- there is going to be some real governing? No, that`s an
afterthought, he said.
"It is not so much about what could be passed, but setting the agenda and
debate for the next presidential race."
That`s what he said it is all about. Don`t do anything. Just get the
MITCHELL: But what really strikes me is that what Chuck Todd and others,
Kasie, who have been out there this last couple of weeks, people want to
get things done.
They`re sick of the gridlock. They`re angry at the Democrats. They`re
certainly angry at the White House. But they`re not yet sold on many of
the Republicans, because they want to sort of throw all the bums out--
MITCHELL: -- just to paraphrase.
And that kind of talk isn`t going to appeal to those people. I don`t
think. I think people will want someone in the Republican side like Mitt
Romney, even Jeb Bush. Someone who wants to get things done and they won`t
want more gridlock in Congress.
CHRISTINA BELLANTONI, ROLL CALL: And good luck to that Republican
presidential nominee ultimately in June in 2016 who`s going to be able to
marshal Republican Senate and a Republican House. That`s going to be
really hard --
O`ROURKE: See, if I were the chief strategist, what I would be doing right
now is trying to lose the House and the Senate --
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: And blame it all?
O`ROURKE: Blame it all on the Democrats, you know?
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s ask a question we hate to admit. Next Tuesday, so
what? The Democrats can`t rule because they don`t have the 60 votes. The
Republicans may be able to get 52 votes, 53 at the big night. They may go
to 55, who knows? But you know what? They won`t have 60.
BELLANTONI: No. Not by a long shot.
MATTHEWS: So, what`s going to happen?
O`ROURKE: Exactly what happened over the past two years. This is -- this
is strictly a throw the bums out election. This is not an ideological
MATTHEWS: I think you`re right, except the president. They don`t like the
O`ROURKE: They don`t like the president.
MITCHELL: But Hillary Clinton could be the big winner under one scenario
if the Republicans take both houses and the Steve Kings rule rather than
those who want to get something done.
MATTHEWS: I will make my strongest case for Hillary Clinton right now.
I`m an uneven warrior.
O`ROURKE: All right. Yes.
MATTHEWS: I think you`re dead right. I think you`re right. You`re wrong.
MATTHEWS: I think the country is sick of squat. They`re sick of turning
on the news religiously to find out what got done and learning nothing got
done. They want a deal maker. And maybe a woman -- generally might be a
better deal maker because they do spend a lot time building consensus more
than we do. We`re all John Wayne, who`s the boss here?
MATTHEWS: Women, I think, is -- my wife taught me thought all this in
corporate life. They sit down and they try to figure it out, they try to
get something damn done. They got to get it done, and Hillary would look
to me like a pro. She is not a visionary but I think she could get along
with John McCain. She gets along with Lindsey Graham.
BELLANTONI: She knows how to pull together a coalition. She also knows
every single --
MATTHEWS: That`s what the country wants. She`s perfect for this.
O`ROURKE: Still, when it come -- when I get some time to think later this
year, I`m going to be thinking, no Bush, no Clinton.
MATTHEWS: Any way, how bad -- somebody said the other day, Luke Russert
will be covering the campaign between Bush and Clinton. What a perfect
continuation of the traditions of our country in politics.
Anyway, how bad our relations between the White House and Israeli Prime
Minister Bibi Netanyahu, Benjamin Netanyahu? Take a look at this quote,
attributed to a quote, "a senior Obama official", close quote. This person
told journalist Jeffrey Goldberg, who is a sound journalist, quote, "The
thing about Bibi is, he`s a chicken" -- you know the rest of that. That`s
a bad word. You know what it has to say there.
This person went on to say, "The good thing about Netanyahu is that he`s
scared to launch wars. The bad thing about him is that he won`t do
anything to reach accommodation with the Palestinians or with the Sunni
Arab states. And the only thing he`s interested in is protecting himself
from political defeat. He`s not Yitzhak Rabin. He`s not Ariel Sharon.
He`s certainly not Menachem Begin. He`s got no guts."
The reaction from both here and Israel was swift today. White House
spokesman Josh Earnest disavowed the comments. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Those comments do not reflect
the United States position, and they do not deflect the personal views of
the president of the United States. This is a critically important
relationship. The United States is as committed as it has ever been to the
security of Israel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`ROURKE: That`s called lying.
MATTHEWS: You know, the enemies of the president, the political parties, I
understand the game they`re playing, find out who did it.
Now, the question I have is, doesn`t this in effect really -- without using
the harsh words of chicken stuff -- doesn`t this reflect the attitude of
this administration toward Netanyahu, right or wrong?
MITCHELL: And vice versa. That`s the point.
I`ve heard similar things, not quite as barnyard epithets, but I have heard
the same kind of language. Jeffrey Goldberg is right on. I know that he`s
MATTHEWS: How is it different on the record?
MITCHELL: And, by the way, nobody is denying that it was said.
Look, the last time Netanyahu met with Barack Obama, it was after Gaza and
after settlements have been announced. It was October 1st.
I saw Netanyahu a couple of hours later. He left the White House and both
denounced Netanyahu, called what he had done poisonous on settlements.
When I said to him, how does it feel? You walk out of White House. And
this is what they`re saying, they`re denouncing you within a half-hour. He
said, it doesn`t feel good.
MATTHEWS: You were trying to get a quote out of him. But the fact is, he
is the once who announced the thousand settlement. He stuck it in the eye
of the administration, and all previous administrations on putting more
settlements into the West Bank. He knows what he`s doing.
MITCHELL: And his own defense secretary said John Kerry was maniacal and
obsessive by trying to pursue peace talks. So, they both
MATTHEWS: We know John Kerry pretty well. I wouldn`t say he`s maniacal.
Waspy maybes sometimes. I wouldn`t call him maniacal. He`s so calm and
O`ROURKE: The waspy, stupid, focused, you know?
MATTHEWS: I think they think he`s too tough on them, clearly. And that`s
BELLANTONI: And no doubt that the White House is frustrated with what`s
been happening. The Republicans just zoom right in on this. They can
always tell when they know they have to --
MATTHEWS: It is not just kids or brothers fighting. If Netanyahu doesn`t
want to deal with Iran, what does he want?
BELLANTONI: That is definitely a better question for these experts. I
MATTHEWS: What is the alternative to some kind of living together with
Iran, war with Iran, with Hezbollah, Nasrallah unleashing every rocket he`s
got on Israel, on Tel Aviv. One we start, we attack, we have no idea what
O`ROURKE: Right, in the Middle East they never, ever say it can`t get
worse. It can always get worse.
MATTHEWS: War with a real country.
MITCHELL: Netanyahu has told people in his cabinet that he`s written off
Barack Obama. You saw Reince Priebus and others, John Boehner, denouncing
what was in Jeff Goldberg`s piece, which was I say not denied by anyone in
the White House.
MATTHEWS: You mean the courageous Reince Priebus, the guy who spends of
his time repressing the black vote. Anyway, that`s what he does.
MITCHELL: I`m just saying that the Republicans see a campaign issue here.
MATTHEWS: Of course, they do. It`s an open opportunity. He put his chin
out. And, by the way, this kid, whoever talked to this reporter, thought
on background meant deep background. It wasn`t deep background.
Anyway, the roundtable is coming back. When we return, today`s he memorial
for the great Benjamin Bradlee. It was quite an event here in Washington.
I was there, Andy was there.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, the nurse who was briefly quarantined in New Jersey is
speaking to reporters outside the house where she`s been staying in Fort
Let`s listen now to nurse Kaci Hickox just moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KACI HICKOX, NURSE: I went into public health because I believe that good
science and compassion can make a difference in people`s lives. And that
is exactly why I went to Sierra Leone, to fight Ebola. It is not my
intention to put anyone at risk in this community.
We have been in negotiations all day with the state of Maine, and tried to
resolve this amicably, but they will not allow me to leave my house and
have any interaction with the public, even though I am completely healthy
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow. That`s Kaci Hickox, as I said, talking to reporters up in
Maine. It looks like she is getting the same treatment up there she got in
Anyway, HARDBALL back after this.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with the roundtable tonight.
Andrea Mitchell and Christina Bellantirona -- Bellantoni, I hate making
mistakes like that. P.J. O`Rourke, my friend forever.
Earlier today, friends and families said goodbye to a giant in journalism,
Benjamin Bradlee, the legendary editor of "The Washington Post" who died
last week at the age of 93. Bradlee transformed "The Washington Post", as
everyone knows, into one of the country`s top newspapers and inspired a
generation of journalists. Famed reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein
paid tribute to their old boss today.
Here he is -- here they are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARL BERNSTEIN, THE WASHINGTON POST: What was the central part of his
character, the part of him that was different? It`s this. He was not
BOB WOODWARD, THE WASHINGTON POST: Psychologically, Ben`s passing is in
some respects and in some very clear ways marks the end of the 20th
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Bradlee`s youngest son Quinn right now delivered an emotional
eulogy to his dad. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUINN BRADLEE, BEN BRADLEE`S SON: Everyone who ever met him wanted more of
him, and wanted to be his best friend, and wanted to please him. My father
was the most confident man I ever met. He would never brag. He didn`t
need to build himself up. In fact, his instinct was to play himself down.
People talk a lot about his colorful language. But in my opinion, he also
had the most colorful heart.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, I can`t say it better. I tell you this guy was loved in
this city and he had the guts to go after big shots. And he once said to
me, when he was celebrated as Jack Kennedy`s best friend. You know what he
said to me one time? He said, I have no idea what he thought of me.
He was honest. He didn`t brag.
MITCHELL: Well, they actually lived next door to each other before he was
MATTHEWS: He didn`t build it up.
MITCHELL: I love the fact -- I mean, all of the tributes today were so
telling, Quinn`s best of all, of course, the emotional connection there.
David Ignatius --
MATTHEWS: That was the best.
MITCHELL: David Ignatius said he combined the qualities from Casablanca,
of Victor Laszlo, the wonderful resistance fighter, and Mr. Rick in the
MATTHEWS: That was the swaggering nightclub guy, the cynical guy. He was
both the tough guy and the good guy.
BELLANTONI: And, you know, I never got a chance to work with him, but I
know so many people who have. And they just are -- they find him just this
And I love that he set such a good example for what you should be as a
journalist, not just a political journalist, you know, holding power to
account. Making sure that people understand that if they`re beholden to
taxpayers, they need to answer questions from you. And that`s just such a
great standard for all of us to live by.
MATTHEWS: You know, it`s unusual in fact, like most Washingtoners, were
joiners. He never joined nobody at any -- he never went to gridiron. He
never went anywhere. Never joined any club, any club, including
Metropolitan Club, never felt he needed to be part of some organization to
be a person.
O`ROURKE: Well, I too, was charmed by the man. But --
MATTHEWS: Go ahead, put your but?
O`ROURKE: Yes, I know.
MATTHEWS: This is HARDBALL. Go.
O`ROURKE: (INAUDIBLE) here.
I think he failed to do a couple of things. Well, one thing --
MATTHEWS: You got time for one.
O`ROURKE: OK. To position "The Washington Post" as a brand the way "The
Wall Street Journal" when all this began to come apart, "Wall Street
Journal" fixed on business. "The New York Times" was a little slow to pick
it up, but they fixed on national and international news. "The Post" was
there to be the brand covering politics, more inside information, more
inside connection, and they hadn`t really aligned "The Post" so "The Post"
was able to take care of that.
MATTHEWS: Well, they got their money now. Watch them come back with Jeff
Bezos. We got to go.
O`ROURKE: Hope so.
MITCHELL: I think the most courage of all.
MATTHEWS: I agree. He had so much guts. Loved that guy.
Anyway, Andrea Mitchell, Christina Bellantonio, Bellantonio -- Bellantoni,
right? I love that name. Bellantoni. P.J. O`Rourke is more familiar.
We`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this battle for national CEO. That`s
what it is, certainly. We`re not talking left versus right here, but how
to do the job or how not to do the job.
The job at hand is keeping Ebola from this country`s shores. The president
argues that quarantining health workers puts an unnecessary burden on those
fighting the disease. Governor Christie, his sharpest critic, questions
why a 21-day quarantine is so onerous after you`ve spent months on the
front lines of West Africa. If you`re ready to take on the larger burden,
his argument goes, what`s so hard about the quarantine when you get back?
Well, other aspirants for the president`s job are offering up alternatives
to Christie`s street corner toughness. Jeb`s pushing calm. Mitt`s pushing
his hand on business-savvy.
What`s puzzling here is the vast gap between the heat being raised here by
this tag team assault on the president and the actual differences of
approach when this fight is all done and months from now, we see the true
dimensions of this danger to this country. Will this west side story seem
in any proportionate to the tactical issues involved? I wonder if what
we`re really watching here is not a battle over Ebola but a battle with it.
An opportunity to exploit it first by Christie, then by Jeb and Mitt, so
show they can match wits or jabs with the man holding the job on which each
of these guys has set his heart.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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