Date: November 6, 2014
Guest: Josh Earnest, Barney Frank, Steve Rattner, Joe Madison, Jay Newton-
Small, Lance Simmens
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: War and peace.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews back in Washington.
"Let Me Start" tonight with the big question. Will there be war or
will there be peace? If the president means it, he will act on millions of
illegal immigrants by the end of the year. If the Republicans mean it,
there will be war. From the looks of things, this is like the weeks before
World War I, when both sides set up their ultimatums, both sides put up
their iron walls of what they would accept.
So is this what the 2014 election gave us, a battle map, two lines of
political soldiers with rifles aimed across the field and no commander with
the grit and wit to figure an alternative? Is this what commanders are for
right now, to simply yell "Fire"?
And what about when the dust settles? President Obama will be facing
a field of angry Republicans and perhaps lots of other people thinking he`s
not only legalized millions who`ve come here illegally, but encouraged
millions more to come. Is that the solution to the illegal immigration
problem? Is it?
And what will Republicans have to show for doing nothing, a party
whose bluff has been called, an Hispanic community that feels only one
party is ready to act for them? Where`s the win in this for the future for
Let`s talk while there`s still time tonight to talk. Our top guest
tonight, White House press secretary Josh Earnest. Well, I`ve laid it out.
Am I wrong, or does it look like two sides are ready to go at it here,
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, Chris, It doesn`t
have to be that way. The fact of the matter is, there actually is a trump
card that members of Congress and the Republican Party are holding right
now. Right now, there`s a piece of legislation that has already passed
through the Senate, that has bipartisan support that House members, that
House Republicans could on the floor of the House of Representatives, and
they could pass it right away.
It`d be good for the economy. It`d reduce the deficit. It would
strengthen our borders. And it would deal with this problem of all these
immigrants right now who are living in the shadows. It would make them pay
taxes, learn English, go to the back of the line. But it also would help
them get right with the law.
And the fact is, Chris, if Republicans were to put that piece of
legislation on the floor, pass it through the House, the president wouldn`t
have to act unilaterally. He wouldn`t have to use his executive authority.
He`d just use his pen to sign that bill into law.
MATTHEWS: But there`s a couple things you don`t point out here. One
is, why doesn`t the president ever make the case for the teeth that are in
the bill -- no more illegal hiring after four years, you have to have an ID
card, real use of e-verify, no more game-playing by hiring cheap illegal
labor? Why doesn`t he say that, which would help the Republicans make
their case? He makes the Democratic progressive case, the pro-Hispanic
case, the pro-immigrant case. Why doesn`t he make the other part of the
bill part of the deal? Because then the Republicans could sell it to their
MATTHEWS: ... I know, and it`s to you.
EARNEST: A couple things about that, Chris. The first is, the
president spends a lot of time talking about the resources that would go to
the border in this situation through this bill...
MATTHEWS: OK, don`t talk about the border. That`s another decoy
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about...
MATTHEWS: Look, the number one magnet for people to come to this
country is not that the walls are higher or lower or there`s too many guns.
It`s -- people come to this country to get jobs, illegal jobs, where
business exploits the hell out of them. This law would get rid of that.
Why don`t you say that?
EARNEST: Well, Chris, we have talked about how we would level the
playing field and take away an incentive that some unscrupulous business
owners have to go out and hire cheap illegal labor. But the fact of the
matter is, the other thing that`s true about this bill, Chris, is that it`s
a compromise piece of legislation.
MATTHEWS: It is.
EARNEST: The president didn`t get everything that he wanted in it.
So he`s out there talking about the things that he thinks are most...
EARNEST: ... Republicans talk to about what they like.
MATTHEWS: Let`s go back to the news here. The president says he`s
going to act by the end of the year, December 31st. The Congress, the
House of Representatives, which you`ve talked about trying to take up the
Senate bill -- they`ve only have 15 days to do it. Do you think they`ll do
EARNEST: Well, Chris, I don`t know. My guess is they probably won`t.
They`ve had more than a year-and-a-half to do it, and they haven`t so far.
But they evince all this passion about the president not taking an
executive action, and the truth is, the Republicans in the House of
Representatives are right now the only ones who can prevent him the
president from taking this executive action. They could pass that bill.
The president wouldn`t sign the executive action. He`d just sign the bill
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about -- about tactics -- and I mentioned
this to you today on the phone. Is it still possible for the president and
the Republicans, whether it`s the speaker or it`s the new Senate majority
leader, to actually sit down and have a quiet conversation that doesn`t
leak out, so they can begin this process of probing for each other`s ways
they`re willing to give? Is that still possible?
EARNEST: Yes, I think it is possible. This...
MATTHEWS: A private conversation?
EARNEST: Yes, I think -- I think private conversations are still
possible and I think they can still be fruitful. You know, the president
mentioned in the news conference yesterday that Senator McConnell was
somebody who knows how to keep the commitments that he makes.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I think so.
EARNEST: And there have been occasions where Senator McConnell in
very difficult situations has shown an ability to make promises and deliver
on them when it comes to rounding up votes from members of his conference.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about...
EARNEST: So I do think there`s an opportunity for us to cut a deal
with Mitch McConnell. Absolutely.
MATTHEWS: Thank you. Let`s talk positive about (INAUDIBLE) could
work about (ph). Numbers are great. You say seven, I say nine, let`s go
with eight. I mean, the great thing about the Arabic number system, it`s
pretty easy to work with.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about the issues where we might get something
done and change history here. Trade expansion -- that`s a Republican goal
mainly, mainly Republican, some moderate Democrats -- certainly tax reform.
They want lower corporate rates (INAUDIBLE) lower individual rates.
Minimum wage -- that`s a Democratic issue, largely. Infrastructure
spending for some reason has become a Democratic issue.
All four of those issues work together potentially to have a shared
economic growth path we`re not on yet, something really good for everybody,
if you put them all together. Isn`t that a real chance for a grand deal to
get things rolling, getting real growth for the middle class?
EARNEST: It could be, Chris. I think, probably, some of these things
are easier to do in bite-size portions, though, right, that if you`re going
to try and build some confidence and demonstrate -- build a little bit of a
track record of dealing with one another, it might easier to just do these
in little bite-size chunks, right? We`ll do, like, one -- one little thing
on expanding exports, or one little thing on infrastructure, and that could
lead to a bigger deal, or at least the capacity to reach a broader
agreement. But you know...
MATTHEWS: Well, I got a better idea. If you put everything together,
you have a lot more running room, a lot more -- you can say, OK, the
Republicans will say, We`ll spread out that $10.50. We`ll go to a lower --
a higher minimum wage, but we`re going to take a while. We got to do it in
stages. But in return, we want you to help us with trade expansion. Or
we`ll give you a lower tax rate, but we want those loopholes plugged and we
want some of that money to go to infrastructure spending.
It just seems a larger playing field gives you more opportunities to
trade off. And trading -- it`s not common ground. There`s so little
common ground, Josh. You know that. We can agree it`s Thursday, right?
MATTHEWS: After that, it gets tricky. After that, it gets very
tricky in politics. And I`m just asking, through you, I hope the president
looks at compromise and deal-making and that dirty old word "politics."
Get in the back room and trade some horses because looking for common
ground is hopeless. You guys don`t have anything in common with Mitch
McConnell, do you?
EARNEST: Well, I think there are some small things. I mean, you
mentioned infrastructure. I think it`s a great example. I`ll bet you
right now -- Mitch McConnell knows his -- his home commonwealth of Kentucky
really well. I`ll bet you off the top of his head, he can name 10
infrastructure projects that he thinks are a worthy investment. And I`ll
bet you the president would agree that all 10 of those things are worth
funding. So that should be an easy thing for us to make some progress on.
MATTHEWS: I`m with you. I think that`s...
EARNEST: That`s not a grand bargain, but it`s worth moving forward
EARNEST: There`s a little bit of (ph) politics in there, but that`s
worth moving forward on.
MATTHEWS: I love that. You know what Kennedy did back then? He
couldn`t get the conservatives to spend any money, said, How about spending
on defense? OK, we`ll do that. How about spending money on space? OK,
we`ll do that. We don`t want to do social stuff. You got to go where the
soft spots are. Josh, you know your business. Thank you for taking the
time to come on HARDBALL tonight.
EARNEST: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Joining me right now is former Republican National
Committee chair Michael Steele and "Mother Jones" Washington bureau chief
David Corn. Both are MSNBC political analysts.
David, you`re on the home court here. What do you say?
DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you
MATTHEWS: What`s new here?
CORN: I don`t know if there`s much...
MATTHEWS: Come on! You got to...
MATTHEWS: He says about -- We`re going to let those guys have some
pork. The one thing he said...
CORN: Well -- well, maybe we can come up with a grand deal to get
some money to Kentucky, OK, and we`ll call it the Matthews option.
MATTHEWS: Well, it`s his point. It was his idea.
CORN: But the thing is, I think...
MATTHEWS: Spend some money on job growth.
EARNEST: Right now, the White House is doing what you`d expect the
White House to do. They`re laying back. They said, We have some things we
want to do. The president named the things he wanted to get done in the
lame duck tenure here. And he also said, I`m going to do something on
immigration. Ball`s in your court, Mitch McConnell.
And so the Republicans still have to figure out how they`re going to
play this. There are more Tea Party, call them extremists or call them
die-hard, whatever you want to call them, in the House. And that`s where
the problem was. Remember John Boehner saying, It`s so hard! It`s so
CORN: ... not getting any easier for John Boehner.
MATTHEWS: If there was a vote in the House right now, how good a
majority would it be, if it was a wide-open vote on the Senate bill?
CORN: On the Senate bill in the House?
CORN: I think he`d get 350 votes.
CORN: Easy. You get almost every Democrat and you get half the
Republicans. Do the math.
MATTHEWS: So why didn`t Boehner throw it open to the House and say,
Vote. This is an important national issue. Vote your conscience. Vote.
I think we need immigration reform.
MICHAEL STEELE, FMR. RNC CHAIR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: You know,
I`m not -- I`m not...
MATTHEWS: Then he could retire!
MATTHEWS: No, really! Do one big thing and then walk.
STEELE: But I`m not so certain he wouldn`t do that. We`ll see how
the next 15 days -- and you`re right about the window here. We`ll see how
that plays out.
I took from Josh`s interview the fact that after six years, these guys
still don`t trust each other. When he started talking about, Well, maybe
we do this in bite-size chunks and just see how it works out -- that still,
at the end of the day, Chris, is still the underlying issue.
STEELE: It really is.
MATTHEWS: That sounds like the Arabs and the Israelis. Let`s do
MATTHEWS: What`s wrong with a grand deal on these things we`re
STEELE: There`s absolutely nothing wrong with a grand deal on this
because you have the framework for one. We`ve been talking about this
since election night. The framework -- and Josh hit it, he`s absolutely
right -- is the Senate bill. And so the question now for -- for -- I
think, quite honestly, for McConnell in this interregnum -- that`s a nice
little Latin term -- this lame-duck session, is putting the -- putting the
ball, helping to put the ball in the Republicans` court in the House to get
MATTHEWS: ... help them pass it? For example, I push on this so
often. On the progressive side, nobody likes to talk about it. Somebody`s
got to do this. If you want a deal, you have to have a deal. You can`t
just pass a bill that`s -- they can call amnesty. So you say, No, people
are living here for 20 years and 30 years, they`re Americans. Let`s get it
over with. Let`s move on and get them to pay taxes, let them be happy with
their kids, who are Americans because...
CORN: Because we`re not rounding them up...
MATTHEWS: Yes, we`re not going to ever do that...
MATTHEWS: But everybody has a concern, reasonable, about some
reasonable border control, some reasonable immigration (INAUDIBLE)
MATTHEWS: So pass a law you believe in and are proud to enforce. I
say that to the progressives. But even there, you noticed Josh doesn`t
have a long enough leash to talk like this. He wouldn`t just say, yes,
there`s some tough...
MATTHEWS: ... because he doesn`t want to do that.
CORN: But this is not the problem. The problem is not the president
selling the bill to conservatives.
MATTHEWS: Who`s going to do it?
CORN: ... John Boehner. Well, John Boehner can`t sell the bill. And
you saw what Josh said and the president said yesterday -- very smart.
Mitch McConnell, he keeps his promise. We can work with him. We did it on
the debt crisis. We did it on the tax cut deal of 2010 in the lame duck
session. Do they say about that John Boehner? No. In private, they
MATTHEWS: Are you arguing to get something done here or just to
CORN: If John Boehner can`t make it happen, it won`t happen!
MATTHEWS: Look, we can -- ...
MATTHEWS: ... rest of our lives (INAUDIBLE) I`m right and you`re
wrong. Thank you.
CORN: ... but can Mitch McConnell get John Boehner to get...
MATTHEWS: But it`s not -- how do you get a deal?
STEELE: But it`s not just...
CORN: They got a deal in the Senate!
STEELE: David, David, give me a second here. It`s not just what John
Boehner has to do. It`s not just what Mitch McConnell has to do. It is
also -- and Chris is right -- you can see the leash on the question that
was asked. Josh couldn`t go there because the White House, the president
himself, is not prepared to go there. There has to be...
CORN: It`s in the bill! It`s there!
STEELE: ... have the president come out and say it!
CORN: Why is it on the president to do this...
CORN: You can`t get a vote in the House, Michael!
STEELE: David -- David...
CORN: You can`t get a vote.
STEELE: How long have you been in this town? And you know daggone
well there comes a point where the president of the United States can frame
the argument to give people the space to move into.
CORN: What -- what did...
STEELE: And the president has...
MATTHEWS: You know what I`d do? You know what I`d do?
MATTHEWS: ... Reince Priebus (INAUDIBLE) most Americans never heard
of the guy. You know what the president could do? I think he will doing
the EO, if it comes to that. He`s just made the point. I trust his
(INAUDIBLE) he`s going to do it. But what he ought to do before that --
he`s got plenty of things to do -- call a joint session of Congress. Talk
directly to the Republican members and say, You want a compromise? This
Senate bill is a compromise. This is all we can do is stop the flow of
illegal immigrants in the country. I`m not anti-immigrant, but I`m willing
to do this to make this law pass, and I`m doing it, damn it. Now it`s your
turn to respond.
CORN: I think that`d be great. I don`t think the Republicans will
move in the House on this.
MATTHEWS: Well, we`ll see.
CORN: They`ve had a year-and-a-half and they haven`t done it.
MATTHEWS: Nothing to lose. He`s got to take some steps before he
pulls the trigger. If he pulls the trigger, he better bargain beforehand -
- I tried everything.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Michael Steele. I think we all agree. Anyway,
MATTHEWS: Coming up: The public wants action on the economy. It was
the number one issue of the election, of course, but since 2009 -- look at
this -- the stock market`s gone way up to the roof. The unemployment
rate`s gone down. President Obama and the Democrats didn`t get credit at
all. Well, maybe they should have asked for it. So who`s going to get the
credit if the economy does continue to improve, the Republicans, the
Democrats, or both? That would be good. They might actually have a deal,
not these little things that Josh talked about, but a big one.
Anyway, HARDBALL coming, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Catch this. Gay marriage could be heading to the U.S.
Supreme Court. That`s because late today, a federal appeals court in
Cincinnati upheld gay marriage bans in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and
Tennessee, bucking a trend set by other federal courts that have overturned
similar laws across the country.
And that divide among federal appeals courts raises the likelihood
that the U.S. Supreme Court will take up the issue and settle it once and
HARDBALL back after this.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, the economy was the
albatross around Democrats` necks this election, but it didn`t have to be
that way, did it? This economy ain`t chopped liver, after all.
Unemployment is down below 6 percent now. We`ve got 10 million new jobs.
The deficit`s at its lowest since 2008. Health care costs are growing at
an historically slow rate. Gas prices, as we all know, are below $3 a
gallon. The auto industry is back, thanks to the government and President
Obama. And the stock market is at an all-time high today -- all-time high.
But voters weren`t buying any of those numbers. Seventy percent of
midterm voters this week said the economy was in the dumps. They didn`t
trust Democrats to fix it. The economy was the most important issue for
voters by a mile, and our NBC election poll showed Republicans carrying it
on that issue by a 9-point edge over Democrats on the economy. So the
Republicans got the advantage.
But if the voters weren`t buying -- here`s my question -- were the
Democrats actually selling? Compare today to 1984, and like today, the
country back then was still digging itself out of a bad recession. But
when people went to the polls back then, the unemployment rate was higher
than it is today at 7.5 percent back then. Yet President Reagan campaigned
on the progress the country had made until that date. He took the credit.
Here`s a clip from his "morning in America" advertisements.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This afternoon, 6,500 young men and women will be
married, and with inflation at less than half of what it was just four
years ago, they can look forward with confidence to the future. It`s
morning again in America, and under the leadership of President Reagan, our
country is prouder and stronger and better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow, what a voice that guy has.
Anyway, in this recovery, Democrats never took credit, whether it was
the stimulus, saving the auto industry or creating 10 million new jobs.
People still want something, of course, when it comes to the economy. But
what do they want? And when will they get it? And who`s going to get the
Barney Frank was U.S. congressman from Massachusetts and an architect
of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill. And Steve Rattner was auto
adviser to the U.S. Treasury, had a lot to do with saving the auto
industry. In fact, he led that effort. I guess "czar" is still a good
Let me go to Congressman Frank on this question. Is this all PR,
advertising, big bucks for TV that made Ronald Reagan somehow a hero of an
economy that had come back from the recession he created, he and Paul
Volcker back in the early `60s. By `84, he was Mr. Cool. This president
was hiding in the bushes this whole campaign because people didn`t want him
out there because he should have been embarrassed in some way.
Explain the different psychologies of the two parties on the economy.
BARNEY FRANK (D-MA), FORMER CONGRESSMAN: Well, it goes back, I think,
to the terrible economic crisis. And the Democrats had the worse (ph) hook
(ph). A crisis occurred, a terrible one, in 2008 that was really brought
about by Republican policies more than anything else, although there was
some shared blame, the total deregulation and resistance to any regulation.
And the Democrats had the responsibility of cleaning it up. You mentioned
the auto effort, which was an enormous success. I believe if you poll the
American people today, they would denounce the Democrats for bailouts.
Everything that we call a bailout was started by George Bush. We helped
make it work.
But I think that that`s the lingering problem. Secondly -- and here
is the problem with the economy. And it`s a vicious cycle for the
Democrats. It`s the increasing inequality. Yes, we have the best economy
in the developed world by a significant margin, but very little of that is
felt by the average person.
And, in fact, I think, for people`s whose incomes have been frozen,
and who have not seen their own situation improve, they almost get angry
when they hear things are good. So we have got to -- we`re in a vicious
cycle. People are blaming government because they`re not getting a part of
So they then vote for the people who are determined to make sure that
the government doesn`t do anything that would share things more equally.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I understand.
But, Barney, let me ask you this. Ronald Reagan probably faced the
same inequality. Maybe he didn`t care about it, but it was there too.
And yet the Republicans rolled past the inequality factor and just took
credit for the overall numbers. How come they get away with it? President
Reagan carried 49 states.
FRANK: Two things.
First of all, inequality has gotten worse, unfortunately. There are
economic factors at work and there are things that have exacerbated it.
And the other thing is that the country has been in this terrible mood
since the financial crisis. It was a paradox.
FRANK: We had to look as if we were helping the people who caused it.
MATTHEWS: I see.
FRANK: I think we should have been tougher on them. But I think
that`s the -- that`s the situation, that the context in which he was
operating was worse.
And then there was some other factors, things like Ebola and the
Islamic State, irrelevant to any decision made by this government or not.
In fact, I think the president has done a very good job on Ebola, but it
just added to a general malaise.
MATTHEWS: I know.
FRANK: And we`re the party of government. When the people are angry
at the government, we suffer.
MATTHEWS: Steve, let`s get in here because I think Barney Frank made
it very clear there. Words -- it`s all about lingo, morning in America,
bailouts. Use the right lingo and you do get an edge.
Explain to me why the president has never gotten credit for what you
and he did together on saving an industry which most people consider iconic
American industry? We make cars. We love cars. Kids used to wait for the
first car -- cars to come out, you and I, in September. Who are the new
cars? What are the hot cars? We loved that stuff.
Where`s the excitement now about the auto industry coming back?
STEVEN RATTNER, FORMER ADVISER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA ON AUTO BAILOUT:
Well, I think -- I think the president has gotten some credit for the auto
Look what happened in the 2012 election, when he carried Michigan, he
carried Ohio. I think, if you look at the polls, while Congressman Frank
is right that bailouts are generally unpopular, I think the auto industry
rescue has tipped into positive territory.
But let me just take one thing that Congressman Frank said and -- and
bring it forward, because I think it is the key point. Inequality in and
of itself I don`t think is the major problem. I think it`s bad, but I
don`t think it`s what`s bothering Americans.
What`s bothering Americans is that the average American has still not
gotten a pay increase in the last six years.
RATTNER: It`s not President Obama`s fault. There`s a lot of
But, for the average American, wages are down about 1 percent after
you adjust for inflation. So, it`s very hard to go out there and say, this
is great and there are 10 million new jobs. If you look at jobs, for
example, there`s a smaller percentage of working-age Americans working
today than there were six years ago.
Again, the president has done a great job of bringing this country
back, but it`s still a glass half-full for many Americans, and therefore
it`s a hard case to make.
MATTHEWS: Well, you pick up on this. What is being talked about is a
menu of options to really getting the economy growing, not necessarily more
fairly, but growing and boosting the economy overall.
Trade expansion, that`s more of a Republican issue. Tax reform,
corporate tax reduction rates, that`s more of a Republican issue. What`s
it called? Minimum wage, that`s a Democratic issue. And infrastructure,
unfortunately, has become a Democratic issue. In those areas, of four
areas, is there a combination of those different policy improvements that
could get the economy growing for everybody, Steve Rattner?
RATTNER: Yes, I think all the things you mentioned would actually be
pluses, if they`re done right, if they`re done in a way that fair to the
average American, that are not simply a giveaway to big business.
And then there`s one other one you didn`t mention, which is education
and training. When you look at what`s happened to wages, manufacturing
wages are down about 3 or 4 percent over the last six years. We need to
find ways to reeducate, retrain these people, train the younger people for
the jobs of the future.
These are all incredibly positive things that can happen, but of
course, as you well know, we have had nothing but gridlock for the last two
years. And so nothing`s happened.
MATTHEWS: Help it out. What would you do to make it work? How do
you put a deal together that helps at least the more progressive approaches
to issues, like obviously minimum wage, obviously a progressive approach to
infrastructure, because that means real jobs with real salaries, good
RATTNER: Well, it`s hard.
Obviously, we had an election that didn`t go our way. So it`s a
little hard to dictate the agenda. So, what we`re going to have to do is
compromise. So, the Republicans want corporate tax reform. There are ways
you can do corporate tax reform that are not a giveaway to big business and
where you can use the proceeds for infrastructure, for education, for
programs like that.
So, we have to be willing to deal. We have to be willing to make
compromises to move the country forward.
MATTHEWS: Let me go to Congressman Frank.
While we`re being positive here, because I want to be positive, for a
little while at least, Mitch McConnell is out there to take away Dodd-
Frank, your Wall Street reform effort. What do you think? Is he going to
get somewhere with a Republican Senate? Are there areas where they can
just repeal the good work you did with Senator Dodd?
FRANK: I hope they try, Chris.
I agree with the Steve Rattner. The auto bailouts are popular. Mitt
Romney had a -- got in trouble and all tied up by trying to explain why he
hadn`t been for them. Bailouts -- but that`s our problem, by the way.
Government in general is unpopular. Much of the specifics are popular.
Government is a rare example that I guess can exist in the political
world, not in the physical, of whole that is smaller than the sum of the
parts as far as Republicans are concerned.
MATTHEWS: I agree. I agree.
FRANK: But with regard to financial reform, they don`t like the
Consumer Bureau. Let them try to dismantle that.
They want to re-deregulate derivatives. Frankly, they talk a good
game here. I think, in the end, they aren`t going to do this. The
American people, if there`s anything they dislike more than what they think
is incompetent government, it`s the financial reform.
In fact, I think part of the anger is that they think the financial
industry was treated too gently in response to the crisis.
FRANK: So if that`s what McConnell thinks -- can I just say, there`s
one thing McConnell said that I thought was extraordinary in self-
denigration. He said when the president talked about doing some things by
executive order, as far as the Republican Party was concerned, it was like
waving a red flag in front of a bull.
Describing your own party as a dumb animal that goes into a frenzy
when it sees a nonthreatening inanimate object, I guess to some extent
FRANK: I guess that`s the way I thought about the Tea Party. But I`m
interested to see him joining in that characterization.
MATTHEWS: I think you outthought him.
Anyway, thank you.
By the way, I always people about government. Do you want to --
tomorrow`s Friday. With Catholics, that`s always the day they eat tuna
fish. Would you like to open a can of tuna tomorrow that has not been
inspected? Would you like to know there`s no FDA? Would you like to get
on an airplane there`s no FAA, there`s no inspection of -- for safety of
Government doesn`t get a good sales pitch. But, my God, if we lived
in a country without it, we`d be in trouble.
FRANK: The parts of very popular. And then you add them up, and
somehow it becomes an unpopular whole.
MATTHEWS: Hey, Steve Rattner...
FRANK: And, by the way, Chris, the church -- the church has changed
MATTHEWS: I know. I do know that, Barney. You don`t have to tell me
FRANK: ... advice about that.
MATTHEWS: I have outsourced my thinking.
Anyway, thank you, Barney Frank. And thank you.
Steve Rattner, by the way, smile, because you helped save the American
MATTHEWS: Every young guy looks up to you as the guy that gave them
their hot new car. Thank you.
RATTNER: Thank you very much.
MATTHEWS: Up next: Michael Jordan launched a war of words when he
criticized President Obama`s golf game. Well, now the president -- well,
this isn`t serious stuff. He`s hitting back. Not really. I`m sure they
like each other.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. And it`s time for the
"Sideshow," of course.
Well, some of the youngest Republicans ever won seats to the United
States House and Senate on Tuesday. So "The Daily Show"`s Jon Stewart
offered his take on how the Democrats can compete with a younger, fresher,
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART")
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Republican Tom Cotton defeating Democratic
incumbent Mark Pryor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He will be the youngest senator, at the age of 37.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New York`s Elise Stefanik at 30 becoming the
youngest woman ever elected to Congress.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Democratic Party`s leadership is going to look
old and stale in comparison to where the Republicans are.
JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": Oh, please.
Old and stale? Come on. They`re not -- oh, my God!
STEWART: Someone put the bandages back on those mummies. Oh, my God!
STEWART: If they want to compete with new young Republicans, Harry
Reid is going to have to get a couple of sleeve tattoos and a vest from
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I don`t think that shade of pink suits Harry Reid.
Anyway, meanwhile, conservative Steve Colbert played off his party`s
victorious midterm election with a celebration only he could call humble.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE COLBERT REPORT")
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE COLBERT REPORT": I want to be sensitive
to all my liberal viewers. I have been told that some liberals do watch
the show. I don`t know why. It`s a free country.
COLBERT: So as happy as I am that America is now headed in the right
direction, I`m not going to spike the metaphorical football, or even the
COLBERT: ... that I had made with Obama a face on it right there.
COLBERT: I`m also not going to have a balloon drop, OK? That would
So, Jim, let`s cancel the balloon drop. Let`s just clear the balloons
out of that net and get all that victory music out of the speakers. Come
on. Get rid of it. Get it out of there.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
COLBERT: Whew! Whew!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, one thing you learn after years of going to
political conventions every four years, is the Republicans always get the
balloon drop right. It comes down just like it`s supposed to. Democrats
have never learned how to do the balloon drop. Maybe that says something.
Finally -- maybe something inconsequential.
Anyway, finally, from spiking the football to going par for the
course, last week, we told you about former basketball star, the greatest
perhaps, Michael Jordan`s harsh words in regards to President Obama`s golf
game. Here he is again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL JORDAN, FORMER NBA PLAYER: I have never played with Obama,
but I would. But, no, that`s OK. I take him out. He`s a hack. Man, it
would be all day playing with him.
AHMAD RASHAD, BACK9NETWORK: Do you really want to say that about the
president of the United States?
JORDAN: Yes. Don`t worry about it. I never said he wasn`t a great
politician. I`m just saying he`s just a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) golfer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well -- well, this week, the president reacted to Jordan`s
tough critique during an interview on a Wisconsin station, and he did not
hold back. Take a listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But there is no doubt
that Michael is a better golfer than I am.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
OBAMA: Of course, if I was playing twice a day for the last 15 years,
then that might not be the case. And he might want to spend more time
thinking about the Bobcats, or maybe the Hornets, but what`s a whole
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That`s a shot back.
Anyway, up next, there`s a big collision coming between President
Obama and the new Republican Congress. We know about it. And there`s no
bigger fight looming than the one over immigration. That is a hot one, a
hot baby. And there`s a left and there`s a right that wants to fight.
They both want to fight.
Plus, there`s all kinds of talk that Hillary Clinton has to announce
for president now. I say, who says?
The roundtable is coming here next.
And you`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
FRANCES RIVERA, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hi. I`m Frances Rivera. Here`s
Officials tell NBC News that a U.S. drone strike killed a top bomb
maker for the Khorasan terror group in Syria. The group was said to be
plotting an attack in Europe or the U.S.
Ray Rice and his wife finished testifying in an appeal hearing on
Rice`s suspension from the NFL. The league suspended Rice indefinitely
after surveillance video emerged of him hitting his then fiancee.
And players from the Jackie Robinson West little league team visited
the White House earlier, meeting President Obama in the Oval Office -- now
we take you back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
And as I said at the start of the show tonight, the pitchforks are
out, and the collision could be coming with a new Republican Senate and
some on the right and on the left are spoiling for a political fight now.
How will that play out?
Also, why aren`t Democrats getting a little more credit, just a little
more, when it comes to the economy? And just as the 2014 election season
is winding down, the 2016 campaign is ramping up. Democrats are turning
their attention to Hillary Clinton, who is expected to pursue her party`s
nomination a second time. Some Democrats want her to announce her
intentions sooner, rather than alter. But does Hillary Clinton want a
target put on her back so soon?
Those questions for the roundtable tonight, radio talk show host my
friend Joe Madison, Washington correspondent for the great "TIME" magazine,
which has a great cover about -- you may not like the looks of this cover,
but it`s got him on there, Mitch McConnell, Jay Newton-Small, who
contributed to "TIME"`s cover story, aforementioned story, and -- on Mitch
McConnell. And Lance Simmens is the author of "The Evolution of a
Revolution." We got a picture of that, too.
Let`s go to this question that the pitchforks are out.
Jay, I just looked at the way -- it`s like the World War. It`s like
Barbara Tuchman, you know, "The Guns of August."
MATTHEWS: The president says, by the end of this year, December 31, I
will go by executive order to maybe legalize or give parole, whatever you
want to call it, to millions of people here illegally. And I don`t -- if
the Congress doesn`t act.
They have only got 15 days on their schedule to act. Is there any
chance in the world the House of Representatives will act in those 15 days
and pass the Senate bill?
JAY NEWTON-SMALL, TIME MAGAZINE: I think they`re going to want to
act. They keep saying they`re not going to allow this to stand. They`re
going to -- you know, this is outrageous. They`re going to defund it.
They`re going to do something. There`s going to be so much outrage.
There`s going to be so much outcry.
MATTHEWS: Will they act to do immigration reform before the president
does it his way?
NEWTON-SMALL: Oh, no, absolutely not. I mean, there`s just not
MATTHEWS: So, there`s a war. That`s the red flag in front of the
JOE MADISON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: It`s not going to happen before.
MATTHEWS: But then we`re going to war.
MADISON: That`s right. There will be war. And I don`t -- you know,
the reality is, I think you were bringing this up after the election. It`s
not a common-ground situation. Somebody said, you know, somebody wants
nine. Somebody wants seven. You got to find eight.
MATTHEWS: But you can trade.
MADISON: Of course you can trade.
MATTHEWS: You can trade people here illegally for stopping the flow
of people coming here for cheaper jobs in the future. You can do that.
They did back in `86, of course.
NEWTON-SMALL: The Senate did that already last session.
MATTHEWS: Every time I hear a guy say border, I think it`s BS. They
know it`s going to put, anyone of us -- I`d like to say possibly for all of
us, would find a way to get here to get a job. Find a way to get here, we
would get a boat or an airplane, we would have gotten here.
LANCE SIMMENS, AUTHOR, "THE EVOLUTION OF A REVOLUTION": You can only
have a compromise. You can only have what you`re looking for. If you have
confidence in the abilities of the negotiators, and I think there`s a
crisis of confidence in this country -- the crisis in confidence in our
leaders and our institutions.
MATTHEWS: Nobody trusts the leaders to make the deal.
MATTHEWS: I`m going back to my old world of Tip and Reagan. There
was no bigger liberal than Tip O`Neill, no bigger conservative. So when
they dealt, they dealt.
Let me ask you about this other thing. So we agree they`re going to
war, right? No compromise.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about why the Democrats are so lousy in
salesmanship. Early in the show tonight, we showed "Morning in America",
that guy with that wonderful voice on the radio, you know, powerful voices
can be. It`s morning in America, all these young people are getting
married, everything`s great.
The unemployment rate was higher then in `84, than it is now. There
was no reason to brag about it, and there was Reagan in the end zone. The
Democrats this time had the highest outreach, that`s not everything for
everybody. Unemployment, way down from where it was when W. left office.
The auto industry which we thought was almost extinct is back and booming,
people are buying American cars now. There are a lot of things that -- gas
prices are below 3 bucks. When they`re up around four, people would be
bitching about that.
It`s a lot of good things you can say. You know, we`re not there yet,
but we`re moving in the right direction. Nobody has said that.
MADISON: Radio has changed, Chris. Let`s be quite candid. It has
changed. When I started in radio, you had the fairness doctrine. You
don`t have that fairness doctrine now.
Now what you have is the stratification. I`m going to listen to who I
like and that message. And that`s why you cannot get the message out.
Everything you said is true.
MATTHEWS: Is that why the president only used black radio?
MADISON: Well, he didn`t only use black radio. But that`s exactly
why he -- and the problem was he used it to late.
The reality is, black radio is the drum beat. That`s the drum beat of
the community. I must tell you, though, I take exception with one word
that the media kept using, that it was stealth. We`ve always been here.
We`ve always --
MATTHEWS: No, it was meant to not get in the face of the conservative
white voter. Wasn`t it done that way?
MADISON: As if they didn`t know we were here?
MATTHEWS: They turned that dial.
MADISON: I`m stuck between progressive and patriot channels, so I
know they know I`m there because they`re going back and forth.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk PR. Reagan`s crowd and the Republicans
certainly know how to spike the ball. They don`t score anymore touchdowns,
but they fight the ball with much more elan, they know what they`re doing.
They brag really well.
Democrats, I think I know why, tell me why they don`t brag about
anything on the economy front.
NEWTON-SMALL: I mean, it just was sort of Ebola, Ebola, Ebola. And
then, you know, Obamacare, Obamacare. Then there was ISIS and beheadings.
Every five minutes, there was some new crisis and the president`s not going
to be involved, the president`s disconnected, the president is not doing
anything, and then he gets involved, and then the president`s too involved.
He`s too much there.
MATTHEWS: Let`s get to another question. The president did two
things the Republicans didn`t like that both worked -- the stimulus did get
us to having some fiscal demand out there, some spending going on,
government demand, people demand, eventually. They really did save the
auto industry, against the advice of people, these free marketers like Mitt
Those are clear-cut cases, and yet, as Steve Rattner said earlier in
the show, they call them bailouts. They put them down. Not saving
efforts, or successes. So Republicans win the war with lingo.
SIMMENS: Look, fear, anger, frustration, all are winners in this --
MATTHEWS: For who?
SIMMENS: -- in atmosphere we`re in right now. This environment.
They`re winners for the Republicans. And they`ve been playing off
this and winning off this for a long time. I think when you go down that
route, you`re closing off rationality. When you close off rationality, you
close it off --
MADISON: Progressives have this one problem. They keep talking to
each other. They keep -- real quick, I`m going to tell you this. When I
graduated from Washington University, I come back Thanksgiving Day, I`m
waxing eloquently at the table. My grandfather --
MATTHEWS: Which one? You got --
MADISON: St. Louis, St. Louis.
MATTHEWS: That`s a really good one.
MADISON: That`s right, that`s right.
MATTHEWS: I spoke at the commencement. Real good.
MADISON: And they make you pay for it. But here`s the deal. I came
back, waxed eloquently at the table. My grandfather from Clarksdale,
Mississippi, looked at me and said, Joseph, will you put it where the goats
can get it?
And I looked at him like he looked at me, what the hell does that
mean? Put it simple. Goats go to the root. We don`t go to the root of
MATTHEWS: Remember Denzel Washington in "Philadelphia" the movie?
MATTHEWS: Talk to me like I`m your grandmother.
MADISON: That`s right. And progressives don`t do that. They seem to
want to try to impress each other with the language.
MATTHEWS: You are wonderful critic of our business, TV as well as
Anyway, the roundtable is coming back with talk that Hillary Clinton
has got to announce really fast for president. Who says? You know what,
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Which TV market was inundated with the most campaign ads
this election year? Well, Anchorage, Alaska. Our NBC station out there
aired the most ads of any station in the country.
According to the Center for Public Integrity of Kantar Media, KTUU in
Anchorage played more than 16,000 political ads this year. And the Senate
race up in Alaska is still up in the air. Maybe the ads had kept it up
there. By the way, if you watch these ads back to back in one sitting, it
would take over 11 days to see them all. No mas, no mas.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with a round table with Joe Madison. Of course,
Jay Newton-Small of "Time" magazine, and Lance Simmens.
You know, "Politico`s" Maggie Haberman, who`s really covering Hillary
Clinton, has talked about this and even before the networks officially
declared a Republican majority in the Senate, Democrats were openly saying
they hope Clinton, Secretary Clinton, will declare for 2016 soon after
Election Day. That was her reporting for "Politico".
And some of her advisers have suggested, Hillary advisers, talking
about opening an exploratory committee this year to allow her to raise
money sooner or others are adamant that she should wait until next year.
Well, some Democrats said Tuesday night that Clinton will want to wait
a bit to let the 2014 midterms pass by and to get some distance between
herself and a blood bath that happened this Tuesday night. She also
generally doesn`t seem ready to flip a switch on a campaign in a number of
decisions still remain about staffing and, more importantly, messaging.
There`s a funny word.
Jay, I think -- I think she should do this. My late stepmother, her
son said, spend your life not looking behind you. And spend your life not
looking to either side. Spend your life looking narrow, look ahead. Don`t
listen to all of these voices. Don`t listen to what everybody else is
talking about. Keep that clear line of sight about making your life`s
I think it works for a lot of things, but especially running for
president. Don`t try to be Elizabeth Warren. You know, don`t worry about
what Obama`s up to. Just be the person you want to offer to the American
people as their next president. Think about that.
NEWTON-SMALL: I mean, it`s absolutely a very personal decision that
she has to make. But, at the same time, the first thing that everybody did
the day after Election Day, whether it was Rand Paul or the Republican
National Committee, was turn around to her and say, this is all Hillary`s
fault. You know, the entire campaign, the loss, the Democratic loss in the
Senate is Hillary`s fault, look at all of these campaigns that she
campaigned for that lost. It`s all -- these are all her losses.
MATTHEWS: Who believes that?
NEWTON-SMALL: I mean, that`s what the Republicans are saying. So,
she`s already taking enormous amounts of flak and she`s got to have
somebody out there, some apparatus built in to defend --
MATTHEWS: Isn`t that so transparently, Joe, your attempt to take a
shot at the person that`s going to be the nominee next time?
MADISON: Absolutely. And the reality is, I mean, what? Do you give
a tax advantage if you contribute to a campaign before December 31st?
What`s the deal here? Of course, you don`t.
The reality is it`s going to seem like a lifetime when she does
announce. And, plus, don`t you want to wait until the State of the Union
Address. So, if your candidate before and President Obama says something
at that State of the Union, where are the cameras going to be? And do you
agree with that State of the Union?
MATTHEWS: That`s the big question, Lance. You know, it`s very hard
to succeed a president if you`re a part of him for eight years. It
happened like once since Van Buren. That was, of course, the first George
It`s very hard, because you`ve got to run as something new, something
different, but, also, something loyal. That`s hard.
SIMMENS: Look, I think, as a person, both you and I appreciate very
much, all politics is local. I think it`s absurd to be pointing at Hillary
Clinton and saying, look how many candidates she went out for and they
didn`t win. All politics is local, and no races legitimately are won or
lost on endorsements, first of all.
Second of all, I think that she is in such a positive position right
now, being essentially held up as the person to beat. Why in the world
would you want to play with the formula that is working --
MATTHEWS: She`s also clean of all the troubles of the nation right
now. I mean, really clean of them. Nobody can blame her for anything,
really. I mean, you can go back to Benghazi if you`re obsessed. But
that`s about the line the country we`re looking at here.
NEWTON-SMALL: As everything happens, does she have to weigh in on it,
right? What does she think about Obama`s response to Ebola? What does she
think about Obama`s response to ISIS? What`s going to happen in Syria, and
now going ahead, you know, whatever deals the Republicans try to make with
immigration reform, whether it happens. All of these things are things
that she`s going to be asked and weighed in on. And so, as they happen, as
a candidate, it`s so much more intense than it is if you`re just sort of
MADISON: And the reality is, they`re not going to wait. Their side
is not going to wait whether she announces or not. They`ve already
started. Look at the Rand Paul did it the other day. I mean, it`s already
MATTHEWS: It`s kind of unpleasant way you did that. I think he does
the show he`s gotten to his gun. He`s willing to keep shooting at anybody.
He`s not afraid of her. I think that`s part of the game they play.
Anyway, I am watching Rand Paul. Not like a lot of my progressive
buddies around here. I think he`s interesting to watch. And I still think
he`s the one guy with any kind of magic that might win this nomination.
The rest of them are yesterday.
Anyway, thank you, Joe Madison.
MADISON: Thank you, any time.
MATTHEWS: You don`t have to agree. And you don`t.
Jay Newton-Small, thank you. And Lance Simmens, thank you.
NEWTON-SMALL: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: When we come back, actually, when I come back, we`re going
to finish with the way this election finished in Kentucky Tuesday night. I
really watched what Mitch McConnell had to say. I`m watching this guy.
I`m going to keep watching him. I`m looking at you, Mitch.
You`re watching HARDBALL, obviously, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with the way the election finished in
Kentucky Tuesday night.
I hereby congratulate Senator Mitch McConnell for winning a new term
and with it, the historic position as majority leader of the world`s
greatest deliberative body.
Senator McConnell, you said yesterday that you recall how President
Reagan and Speaker Tip O`Neill fixed Social Security, how they cut tax
rates together down to 28 percent, as a matter of fact. They did it not by
finding common ground, but by finding areas in which to compromise. You
give, I give, we both get something out of it.
So, I wish you well on taking this route. I`ve got a book on this
subject, I`d be glad to send you a copy, but it`s obviously, you`ve already
got the gist. Left can meet with right without both changing their
principles. Let and right can deal and end up with something really good
for the country. It`s why we have this system.
I should say that I didn`t like the way you began the Obama
presidency, that your number one goal back then was to knock this new guy
out of office. But I must say I like your new approach in finding ways to
work together for the country. Your change, of course, reminds me of what
some wise guy out in Hollywood said about a veteran movie star who began
making lovable movies in which he played the hard to get girl. Indeed, the
downright prod. He said I knew her before she was a virgin.
And I knew you, Mitch McConnell, when you were out for Obama. I like
the new Mitch a lot better, even if I can`t quite forget the old one.
So, for the good of the country, keep at this new approach, Senator.
It will win you some fans out there and it won`t cost you a single one.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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