November 18, 2014
Guest: Sen. John Hoeven, Sen. Ed Markey, Sarah Shourd, Joe Madison, Susan
Page, Susan Page, Joe Madison
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Victory. Obama wins one.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
"Let Me Start" tonight with one word, victory. In the first big
battle since the November election, President Obama`s side has prevailed in
the fight over the Keystone pipeline. Just minutes ago, the United States
Senate failed to reach the 60 votes required for approval. The measure is
now dead for the current Congress.
And this means that if the advocates are going to get the pipeline
approved, they will now have to rely on the Senate taking office this
January, which is controlled by the Republicans. The big fights are now on
the immediate horizon now. The president`s expected executive order
circumventing the House Republicans and welcoming perhaps millions of
immigrants to a legal status in this country. The action`s expected to
explode within days or even hours of a decision by that grand jury that`s
been sitting in the Ferguson case.
It`s a time of conflict, a troubling time, yet an important time to
follow precisely what is going on, most importantly the facts of each
issue. And even as people see all these matters as symbolic of important -
- historic importance, the devil, as always, will be in the details,
especially for those trying desperately to find the sensible ground of
truth that lies in the restlessly often in the middle.
Senator Ed Markey`s a Democrat from Massachusetts. He voted against
the Keystone legislation. And Senator John Hoeven`s a Republican from
North Carolina. (sic) He`s the co-sponsor of the legislation -- North
Let me ask you, Senator Hoeven, since I got the state wrong, let`s
start with you. You`re a co-sponsor of this bill. Why is it so important
to the country that we have this pipeline completed?
SEN. JOHN HOEVEN (R), NORTH DAKOTA: It`s about energy. It`s about
jobs. It`s about economic growth and it`s about building an energy plan
for this country, which is a national security issue. The American people
overwhelmingly support this project. Every time it`s polled, somewhere
between 60 percent and 70 percent of the American public says, Build the
Keystone XL pipeline.
MATTHEWS: How many permanent jobs?
HOEVEN: The State Department, in the environmental impact statement,
says about 42,000 jobs, and...
MATTHEWS: No, permanent jobs. Permanent jobs. Not building the
pipeline, but after it`s built.
HOEVEN: Yes, it`s 42,000 to construction, direct and indirect.
Unions across the country are supporting this project because they want
MATTHEWS: I hear it`s just 35 jobs after the pipeline is completed.
Is that accurate? Permanent jobs.
HOEVEN: If you`re talking about just jobs monitoring the pipeline,
that may be. But there are other jobs on direct and indirect basis. And
the other thing about it is you`re talking about the energy industry, which
is foundational to our other industry sectors. Low-cost, dependable energy
that we produce here makes all of our other industry sectors stronger and
our economy stronger in a global economy.
MATTHEWS: Where`s the oil going to go that goes down through the
pipeline through the United States? Where will it go to as its ultimate
market after it comes from Canada?
HOEVEN: According to Department of Energy report, it will go -- it
will be used here in our country. And that`s not me saying it, that`s the
Obama administration`s Department of Energy.
MATTHEWS: OK, let me go to Senator Markey. Senator Markey, just for
those who haven`t been following this very hot debate within the Senate,
why is it important not to build the pipeline?
SEN. ED MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Well, first of all, it`s the
dirtiest oil in the world in the tar sands of Canada. And then Canada
wants to build a pipeline through the United States of America down into
the Gulf Coast. where their intention is to export that oil right out of
How do I know that? Because I asked the Canadian government and I
asked the oil industry if they would accept the Markey amendment to keep
all the oil in the United States, and they said they would absolutely
oppose it. I brought that to vote twice on the floor of the Congress. And
both times, I was opposed by the oil industry, and I lost.
So if we`re going to be exporting young men and women over to the
Middle East in order to escort tankers of oil coming back from Arab
nations, the least that we should do if we`re going to have a pipeline that
comes through our country, a pipeline that`s going to have the dirtiest oil
in the world, is that that oil should stay in the United States of America.
And at the same time, we should also have the tax breaks for wind and
for solar and for biomass and geothermal...
MARKEY: ... for energy efficiency, and the Republicans are killing
the kind of incentives for alternative energy, while supporting a pipeline
out of our country for the dirtiest oil in the world.
MATTHEWS: Here`s Speaker Boehner today talking about this. He really
ripped into your side, Senator Markey, and the president for his threat to
veto the legislation if it is passed tonight. It wasn`t passed, but he`s
still going to veto it if it does pass next year. Here he is, John
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: A Keystone pipeline
veto would send the signal that this president has no interest in listening
to the American people. Vetoing an overwhelmingly popular bill would be an
indication that he doesn`t care about the American people`s priorities. It
would be equivalent of calling the American people stupid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, do you make that -- do you think that`s true, Senator
Hoeven, that the president`s calling the American people stupid for
believing in the pipeline? I don`t even get this. I mean, it seems me 60
percent want the pipeline. A much higher percentage want gun control, and
yet Congress doesn`t support gun control.
What`s this idea that if you don`t agree with somebody, they`re
HOEVEN: Look, the American public, 60 to 70 percent in poll after
poll, says that they want the project approved. And they want it approved
because it`s a no-brainer! It really is about getting energy that we
produce here in our country and working with our closest friend and ally
Remember, the oil in this pipeline is not only from Canada, it`s from
states like North Dakota, which now produces 1.2 million barrels a day, and
we`re having to move it in rail cars. This -- this pipeline will replace
1,400 rail cards a day that are now clogging up our railroads so that we
can`t move ag products, and it displaces oil that we`re now bringing in
from places like Venezuela, which has the same carbon footprint or higher
than this oil. Even the heavy crudes in California have the same
greenhouse gas emissions. And it makes sure that we don`t have to depend
on the Middle East for our oil. That`s why the American public supports
it, and that`s why we should pass it!
MATTHEWS: You know, it`s more complicated, and I Jut think -- both
senators, there -- you know, the speaker says the president is calling the
people stupid and you just called the opponents of the pipeline no-
brainers. I mean, is...
HOEVEN: No, no, no, no, no! I said approving it is a no-brainer.
HOEVEN: I`m not saying anybody`s a no-brainer. I`m not calling
HOEVEN: I`m being very careful to make sure I don`t.
MATTHEWS: It just seems so simple. To you guys, it`s so simple. My
MARKEY: Here`s where we are, Chris...
MATTHEWS: Let`s go to the question. Will the president -- it seems
like the president`s veto will hold next year because I look to the
numbers, there`s only four switchers right now of Senate seats that have
gone to the pro-pipeline position. And then it seems to me that that means
they won`t get the 67. They`re certainly not going to get the 290 members
in the House to vote for override. It looks like the president`s now going
to call this.
Do you think he should veto next year?
MARKEY: Yes I do, until we discuss this issue rationally. The last
355 months of temperatures on the planet have been warmer than the average,
meaning that if you`re 29 years old in the United States of America, you`ve
never known a month where global warming was not intensifying.
And so this is a big debate. It`s not just about climate change.
It`s also jobs in the United States, keeping energy in the United States
here and not allowing the Canadians to export it. It`s about our national
security. We`re still importing today just about the same amount as we did
40 years ago, when we put the ban on crude oil exports on the books.
So we need a big debate here, and it has to include wind and solar,
energy efficiency, all the things that the Republicans in this Congress
have blocked from going through. If you`re going to have a debate, it
can`t be just about oil above all. It`s got to be about all of the above.
You have to have every energy issue out there.
MARKEY: The Republicans just want to do the business of the fossil
fuel industry. If you`re the Koch brothers, you`re out there in Kansas,
you look out at the prairies and you see the destruction of your business
model because wind power is coming. So they want to kill it and keep us
addicted to coal and other fossil fuels.
We need a big debate. The next generation, the younger generation
demands that we have this debate for their children and their
MATTHEWS: It sounds like we`re hearing from "The New York Times"
(INAUDIBLE) Senator Markey there the need for some kind of deal here. Is
there going to be some kind of larger energy issue? You`re the co-sponsor
of this bill, Senator. You`ve got a key role in here. Is there a deal to
be made here if the president can`t have his veto override next year and
you`re stuck with no pipeline?
HOEVEN: Chris, we`re absolutely going to bring this up next year.
We`re going to have more than 60 votes, and we may get to even 67 votes...
MATTHEWS: But you need 290 in the House, as well, don`t you?
HOEVEN: Well, no, but understand, there`s a number of options here.
We could very well combine it with other energy legislation or even work
with an appropriations measure. So we`re going to get there. Again, we`re
picking up more...
MATTHEWS: What are you giving up to get it? What will you give up to
get the 290 in the House for an override and 67 in the Senate? You know
you`re going to have to negotiate to get more votes. You don`t have the 67
in your own body.
HOEVEN: No, no. There`s people on both sides of the aisle that are
talking about working with us on legislation, which we may combine with
this bill to get to the 67-vote threshold.
I want to respond to something that Senator Markey just said, and that
is if you want an "all of the above" energy plan, really, you`ve got to
build the infrastructure to do it. That means pipeline, that means rail,
that means road. And I would invite him to come to my state, where we not
only do oil and gas and coal, but we do wind and we do biofuels and we do
biomass and renewables, as well as fossil fuels. But you`ve got to have
the infrastructure to get it done...
HOEVEN: ... and to move that energy around.
MARKEY: Chris, if you want all of the above, you got to bring the
wind in off the prairies. You got to bring it in off of the coastline.
You have to be deploying solar panels all across this country.
What the Republicans are doing right now is holding up the extension
of the wind tax credit, which has led to the creation of 80,000 jobs in
this country in the production of new wind turbines. We right now have
142,000 people in the solar industry in America. There are only 70,000
coal miners, 142,000 in solar, 80,000 in wind. And yet these tax breaks
could be dead on December 31st of this year.
So that`s really what this debate is all about. It`s not all of the
MARKEY: It`s about oil above all. So everything that Senator Hoeven
just mentioned all goes to infrastructure...
MARKEY: ... for the fossil fuel industry. You never hear them
saying, Let`s pass the tax breaks...
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask him -- let`s not -- let`s not...
MARKEY: ... for the renewable energy industry.
MATTHEWS: Let`s let him respond. Senator Hoeven, I know that North
Dakota is very lucky in fuel and oil. It`s very lucky in wind, too. You
got a lot of wind up there. Why wouldn`t you support this kind of measure
that Senator Markey`s for, given you`re from North Dakota?
HOEVEN: I think it`s very likely that that will be included as part
of the tax extender package. I believe we need to get a tax extender
package done before the end of the year. And so again, what we believe in
as Republicans is that you produce all of the above by encouraging
investment, not holding up permits for six years so that the industry can`t
HOEVEN: ... billions of dollars to put the latest, greatest
technology out there...
HOEVEN: ... not only to produce more energy but do it with better
MATTHEWS: Thank you very much...
MARKEY: Building a pipeline to send oil out of the United States...
MARKEY: ... just makes no sense, as it warms the planet dangerously.
And that is just the bottom line on this debate.
MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts,
Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota.
Coming up: In the wake of the ISIS horror, the Obama administration is
reviewing its hostage policy. That`s pretty interesting. And it won`t
change the policy, if it won`t, of paying ransoms to get hostages home.
What`s going to be the new policy? My question -- is the current policy
the right one? Should the U.S. government pay to bring hostages home, or
should families be allowed to pay ransom to free their own loved ones?
It`s a hot debate and it`s coming up here next on HARDBALL.
And this is the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, Louisiana`s Mary Landrieu pushed very hard for
today`s Senate vote on Keystone. She thought it would help her win her
runoff in Louisiana in December, but polling shows that`s an uphill battle
right now. Let`s check the HARDBALL "Scoreboard."
According to a new Gravis poll, U.S. Congressman Bill Cassidy, the
Republican in that race down there, has a 21-point lead right now over
Senator Landrieu, Cassidy 59, Landrieu 38. And that explains why the
Democratic Party isn`t going all out to help Landrieu down there.
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. There are right now reports
today that the White House has ordered a review of how the United States
deals with Americans held hostage by terrorists overseas. The DailyBeast
reports the president has ordered a top-to-bottom review.
The most fraught aspect of the government`s policy is the insistence
that the U.S. does not pay ransom to terrorists. In fact, the families of
American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff were reportedly advised
by someone in the White House they could be prosecuted if they tried to pay
Three of the four Americans held by ISIS have been beheaded, the
latest, Peter Kassig, was a 26-year-old aid worker who was dedicated to
helping victims of the Syrian civil war, a very good guy. And one American
female aid worker remains captive over there. Two of the three British
captives were also executed. Fifteen other European and Western captives
were released after their governments, however, paid ransom, an average of
$2.5 million, according to "The New York Times."
Should the United States reconsider its policy of not paying ransom?
Joan Walsh is editor-at-large at Salon and an MSNBC political analyst, and
Sarah Shourd is a visiting scholar at U.C. Berkeley. She was held prisoner
in Iran for 410 days.
I want to get to you in a moment, Sarah, but let me start with Joan.
Joan, what should be the United States policy when someone over there,
whether it`s in the Islamic State or anywhere in the Mideast or anywhere in
the world, says, We want X many millions of dollars for the safe release of
JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think we`ve got to
stick with the policy we have specifically around ransom. There are other
things we can review, Chris, but ransoming hostages has turned into a
business model for both ISIS and al Qaeda. I think ISIS is sitting on
something like $125 million because they`ve been able to get European
countries to pay these ransoms.
And "The New York Times" did a fabulous investigation in July looking
at the way al Qaeda has raised tens of millions, again from European
nations, and really concluded that kidnapping Europeans has become the
primary business model for al Qaeda. It then goes into financing the
operations that we are trying to fight.
So you know, my heart goes out to the families of these people who`ve
been murdered, and my heart goes out to Sarah, too, for what she endured.
She may have a different point of view, but I think that what we do, if we
cave on this, is just create a bigger market for hostage taking.
MATTHEWS: Well, what happens if somebody`s got a lot of money,
they`re zillionaires, and they say, $6 million, I can handle that, I`ll
have the check in the mail tonight?
WALSH: I think...
MATTHEWS: What do you say to that? No, really. Should our law
enforcement people criminalize that act, or what should they say?
WALSH: You know what? I...
MATTHEWS: What should they say in that particular case?
WALSH: Right. I have a problem with the idea that people, you know,
are talking to grieving, anxious, terrified parents and threatening
lawsuits or threatening prosecution, Chris. That seems heavy-handed to me
and that seems like there are other ways to go about that.
On the other hand, if you let, you know, families willy-nilly, if they
have the means, pony up their own ransoms, then you`re setting up a
situation where, you know, if I don`t have the money, my daughter is
murdered, and somebody who`s very wealthy, their daughter or son comes home
So it`s -- I don`t pretend this is an easy issue. And if I were a
grieving, horrified parent, I`d be doing everything in my power to get my
daughter home. I have...
MATTHEWS: That`s why I believe you on everything because you tell me
the truth about that stuff.
WALSH: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: No, I really -- I believe you on everything you make the
point, if it was you, you`d have a different perspective, obviously.
WALSH: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Let`s go to Sarah Shourd on this. Tell me about your
experience. Take a minute or two, or more, and tell us your experience as
a captive and the way you felt about -- if you could overhear this
conversation when you were in captivity, what would you think about it?
SARAH SHOURD, FORMER PRISONER IN IRAN: Well, the way that I felt when
I was being held hostage by the Iranian government is that I didn`t think
it was very likely that my government was going to do what the Iranian
government was asking of it. I didn`t know what they were asking, but I
knew it probably had to do with a prisoner swap.
Now, I felt differently once I was released. My release was
negotiated by the Omani government, and the Omani government paid half a
million dollars on my behalf. It was a thinly veiled ransom that the
Iranian government called a bail.
After I was released, my now husband and friend were still being held
captive. And I was at the center of the campaign and I worked very closely
with the Omani government. Eventually, the Omani government paid another
million dollars for my husband and friend. And they were all -- we were
Now, what I think is really important with this debate is that we
start from a very honest place. The U.S. government says they don`t pay
ransom to get hostages freed. Now, in my case, the Omani government paid
the ransom, but I know for a fact that they never would have done that,
they never would have taken that action without tacit approval from the
That is how politics work. The Omani government did the U.S.
government a favor, and they will someday cash that in and get a favor in
return. Now, if the argument against paying ransom is that we don`t want
to put money in the hands of loathsome groups like ISIS or al Qaeda, what
difference does it make if the U.S. government is giving permission to
third parties to pay that ransom?
SHOURD: The money is getting into those hands, and that in each of
the cases, it`s -- there shouldn`t be a blanket policy.
Now, I`m very, very glad that there`s going to be a review of the
policy, because the policy is obviously not working. And there is an
increase in these cases.
MATTHEWS: OK. What would work? Sharon -- I mean, Sarah, you know
what you are talking about here. What would work? The trouble people have
with this is it`s said we could pay $5 million to get someone back. They
will grab another Westerner or American particularly and ask for another
MATTHEWS: And let me go back to Joan on this.
They will grab another American and ask for another -- it`s like a --
it`s a bubble gum machine. They are just going to keep grabbing people.
And it is a transaction without end.
MATTHEWS: I mean, if we could give them hundred thousand million
bucks -- or 100 million bucks, and they would never steal one of our people
again, and never behead another person, it might be a decent deal there.
MATTHEWS: But there`s no more deal that anybody is going to make from
their side, no more beheadings for $100,000 or $100 million.
MATTHEWS: There is no end to it. It is kidnapping. And, I`m sorry,
it is blackmail, and blackmailers never get enough, never.
And I do want to say that in my mind there is a distinction between
what Sarah went through and the outcome of Sara`s situation, where the
country of Iran did something reprehensible and they were suffering in the
eyes of the world. It was a terrible thing that they did. They shouldn`t
have done it. And they were presented with ways to get out of this
Now, are they great humanitarians? No. But I think when you are
dealing with a country that is part of the world community, they`re not our
friends, but we`re -- we have diplomatic interests there, and so do they, I
think that is a slightly different situation.
And I want to be clear. To my knowledge and to the knowledge of
Western reporters, the United States is not winking at anybody giving money
or ransom to al Qaeda or ISIS. I think -- I think Sarah is absolutely
right that they do wink sometimes in different sorts of situations, but
giving money specifically -- I think it is possible to draw a distinction
between giving money in these awful situations and when you are dealing
with a state actor.
And I finally want to say, Sarah, I love your work on solitary
confinement. It`s -- you`re awesome.
MATTHEWS: Sarah, why don`t you respond -- Sarah, why don`t you
respond to what Secretary of State John Kerry, as he defended the policy of
not paying money? Let`s watch him. And then you react to him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: And as for kidnapping, the
United States has set a heart-rending, but absolutely necessary example by
refusing to pay ransom for captured Americans.
All of the evidence shows that where and if a country is paid a
ransom, there are many more people who are taken hostage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Sarah, your response?
SHOURD: Well, first of all, let`s address the money, the issue of the
Many -- some reports show that the Islamic State is making a million
dollars a day from its so-called government and business activities. This
terrorist group is not desperately in need of money the way that al Qaeda
is; $6.6 million would be a good day for ISIS, but it wouldn`t be -- it
wouldn`t make or break the organization.
So I don`t think that the money is as valuable to the Islamic State as
the propaganda has proven to be. It has escalated violence. It`s gained
them recruits. Of course, the vast, vast majority of Muslims across the
world completely condemn ISIS and consider their acts to be completely un-
But there are a portion of radicals in Arab countries, just like there
are in every country in the world, that will be emboldened by this
propaganda and have been emboldened. So, my argument is that $6 million,
$10 million is nothing compared to the damage that has been done by these
videos that ISIS has created from these beheadings.
To respond to Senator Kerry, I do -- and also I do want to respond to
saying -- I do think there is a distinction between our case, when you are
dealing with a rogue government and a rogue terrorist group. But I also
think that the U.S. government, there have been many cases -- one is
Raymond Davis in Pakistan.
He was a CIA operative accused of murder. Within weeks, he was facing
execution. And within weeks, he was on his way home. There was a blood
money paid to the family of the murdered. No one knew where that money
SHOURD: All I`m saying is that when the U.S. government wants to get
their people out, whether it`s CIA operatives, military officials, they
find a way. They do it through back channels.
SHOURD: And I want the U.S. government to be more honest about its
policy and I want it to safeguard the work of aid workers and journalists,
just as much as it does CIA and FBI operatives.
MATTHEWS: OK. OK.
SHOURD: And I -- in my own case, working very closely with the U.S.
government, I was part -- privy to dozens of meetings in the White House
and the State Department.
And because there is no consistent policy on how to deal with these
hostage cases, we saw finger-pointing again and again. In the same day, we
would meet with someone in the State Department, and they would say, you
have to go to the White House, so they`re the ones that make the final call
in this. We would go to the White House, and they would send us back to
the State Department.
SHOURD: So, what I want to see is a more consistent policy, less
finger-pointing and less inaction, because, as we can see, inaction leads
to lost time, and lost time leads to lost lives.
MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you very much. Well said. And we hope
everybody paid attention to that. It is more complicated than I had
Sarah Shourd, and, of course, Joan Walsh for stating what is the
United States` position right now.
And we will be right back after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER")
BILL MAHER, HOST, "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER": All right, new rule,
the attendees at the APEC summit have to come up with a better way to show
unity than all dressing the same.
You are world leaders, not bridesmaids.
MAHER: And if we have to dress like that when we go there, when they
come here, they have to dress in traditional American garb.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL and time for the "Sideshow."
Of course, that was Bill Maher on the president`s trip to China for
the APEC summit. But that wasn`t the only photo-op, nor the only summit of
last week. President Obama also travelled to Australia to meet with the
leaders of the G20.
Here was Jimmy Fallon on that gathering last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JIMMY FALLON")
JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JIMMY FALLON": At the G20
summit this weekend, politicians took a break from saving the world to do a
couple of photo-ops. So, check out these world leaders who have never
shaken hands before.
FALLON: Put your -- put -- put you`re hand on red and left hand on
yellow. Hold on. Spin it. Spin it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Next up: It seems like Republicans and Democrats disagree
on just about everything these days. Now a new study reveals that the two
parties also differ when it comes to their first names.
The study draws on the records of political contributors --
contributors, the money guys, to analyze which names are more likely to
belong to a member of one political party over the other. They found that
people named Duane, Dalton or Brittney are more likely to be Republicans,
while people named Natasha, Ethan and Dylan are more likely to be
But, unlike Congress, the study also shows that there is plenty of
room in the middle of the political spectrum as well. In other words, most
names are pleasantly bipartisan.
Finally, Mitt Romney reflected on his unsuccessful 2012 bid for
president in a speech today at Brigham Young University, BYU, where he
revealed some new details about the kind of advice he got while he was
According to Romney, one supporter even encouraged him to grow a beard
so he could look, in his words, more sexy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: One of the best and
worst things about a campaign is that you get a lot of advice.
Usually several times a day, someone in an audience would hand me a
letter with their 100 percent surefire way for me to win an election.
I was told to take bigger steps when I walk to show that I`m young and
ROMNEY: Another person said I should stop shaving for a few days to
look more sexy.
ROMNEY: As if I needed that.
ROMNEY: Of course...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Ah, the wry Mitt Romney.
Up next, the roundtable on the big fights this week, the first one,
over the Keystone pipeline. President Obama and the Democrats win the
first round, but there is much more to come.
And we are still expecting President Obama`s executive order, the
E.O., on immigration. It`s all ahead.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
RICHARD LUI, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hi. I`m Richard Lui. Here`s
what`s happening this hour.
An Israeli policeman is the fifth person to die following today`s
brutal attack in Jerusalem. Three Israeli Americans and a Briton died at
the scene when two armed Palestinians stormed a synagogue.
A powerful winter storm pummeling the Great Lakes and parts of New
York, where snow closed a 130-mile stretch of highway. Up to six feet
could eventually fall in some areas.
And safety regulators calling for a national recall of driver`s-side
air bags made by the company Takata for use in vehicles by 10 automakers --
now back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Well, time for the roundtable.
We have got -- we are going to dig into today`s hot issues, first the
Keystone vote. Then, of course, we`re getting into all kinds of things.
The Senate today failed to get the 60 votes needed to go along with
constructing the pipeline. This was the first skirmish in what will be a
series of epic battles, I believe, between the Congress and the Republicans
and the president, who is of course the leader of the Democrats. And then
President Obama`s ordered review of U.S. hostage policy following a series
of brutal beheadings -- I think all beheadings are brutal -- of Americans
by the ISIS terrorist group.
And some families members of hostages have criticized the Obama
administration for its no-ransom stance. The question tonight, to pay or
no to pay, of course.
The roundtable tonight consists of radio talk show host Joe Madison,
my friend, "USA Today"`s Susan Page -- I have known her forever -- and
David Corn of the -- he`s the young guy here. Just kidding.
MATTHEWS: So, let`s go.
I first of all wonder what we argue about, what we choose to argue
about. The Keystone pipeline is red hot with people like Senator Markey.
I know him well. And I -- people get very emotional about this. They were
able to keep the vote from passing tonight. They didn`t get the 60 votes.
But we have got -- that -- that pipeline if completed would be 125th
of 1 percent of U.S. oil pipelines in this country. Why the heat on this
JOE MADISON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I really don`t know, other than
you have I think environmentalists on one side that are arguing it, and
then you have the big oil companies in the United States that are arguing.
And I read an article the other day where these mega-oil barons are
saying, it`s too late. You should have done this six or eight years ago,
and there is a glut of oil already on the market. That`s why gasoline...
MATTHEWS: What`s wrong with cheap oil, though? We like cheap oil.
MADISON: Well, I like cheap oil. But if you are an investor or
speculator, you don`t like it.
DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: One issue why it has become
symbolic, it`s sort of bigger than it, is because this is the opening of a
certain type of oil exploration, using tar sand oils that give off 17
percent more greenhouse emissions than conventional oil.
So, the environmentalists said we have got to try to stop this early
in the process and say that this is a type of oil exploration we have got
to prevent if we`re trying to turn the corner on our emissions patterns.
So, for them, it is not just what this pipeline is going to do, but the
fact that it is really pioneering a new type of highly polluting oil
And that is why they have so much gain. And I think Republicans have
made a big deal out of it because they conflate -- or inflate all these
jobs numbers. And it was -- they found a baseball bat they thought they
could hit Obama with, even though, as you noted earlier, it is 50 full-time
jobs after the two-years of constructing...
MATTHEWS: Yes. He was a little vague on that, Senator Hoeven.
Let me go -- let me go to you on this. It seems to me that this is
like fracking, that the further you go when running out of -- nobody ever
says we will ever run out of anything, but every time you go deeper and
deeper or go to difficult sources like tar sands or fracking to get the gas
out, you are making it more environmentally pollutive. You just are.
SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "USA TODAY": Right.
MATTHEWS: If we could have grabbed this stuff years ago, we would
have done it. But we didn`t -- we would get cheaper gas, cheaper oil from
PAGE: It is a more carbon-intensive fuel.
But if it is -- if it is largely a symbolic fight between
environmentalists and Republicans, why -- why have it? Why not fight about
things that are actually going to make a difference, an immediate
difference on the environment, or why not cut a deal that gives the
approval for the Keystone pipeline and gets some concessions on some other
thing that really makes a difference?
MATTHEWS: Do you think the president is up to that? "The New York
Times" is saying he is up to that.
PAGE: Maybe after...
MATTHEWS: Because he can stop it by keep vetoing it. He can veto.
They are not going to get the 290 votes in the House. That`s a lot of
PAGE: But they are going to get the 60 votes.
MATTHEWS: Not going to get 67 either.
PAGE: But they are going to get to 60 in the new year.
MATTHEWS: Then he vetoes it.
PAGE: And they`re going to send it to him.
PAGE: And he vetoes it. So, why -- why do we keep having these big
MATTHEWS: Because both sides like to fight.
CORN: Well, I don`t -- I don`t think it`s as quite symbolic.
I mean, I really think the strategy here is to try to nip a certain
technology in the bud.
MATTHEWS: Well, they won`t because they`ll travel -- they`ll move the
oil by truck or whatever or by rail.
CORN: Well, they might but that does actually increase the cost. The
reason they want to do this is because it is cheaper and easier. If they
take away those incentives particularly with the price of oil dropping
worldwide, it makes this oil less attractive.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about something that`s not symbolic but it`s
very human. We -- I don`t know about you, guys, but after -- I think I
said this the other night, when I see a beheading of an American on video,
I would have -- if somebody put a button in front of me that says kill
every ISIS fighter, I`d push that button. I`d get so angry.
And then a week later, I go, why are we still over there? So, I`m
like, most of us -- I bounce around emotionally about what we`re doing over
there. It does seem like a hopeless war. We have nobody on the ground
fighting for us. The Iraqis are run by Iranians and Shia. They`re not
going to help us. There is no Syrian Free Army over there. And all we`re
pounding by air and our guys are getting beheaded every couple of weeks.
So, why not pay off? I`m asking it because it`s -- we have to ask
every question. We have a policy don`t pay kidnappers.
JOE MADISON, SIRIUS XM: Some countries do. But then here is the
problem. If my child was taken --
MATTHEWS: You heard Joan Wallace say that, too.
MADISON: If my child was taken, I would go, OK, how much?
MATTHEWS: You would go to the Koch brothers to take the money if you
can save your kid.
MADISON: Yes, but that`s the point. Then, what if they start saying,
no, I want $2 million from you, and you don`t have $2 million?
MATTHEWS: You go to anybody you get it from probably.
MATTHEWS: If you mortgaged -- say you are a popular person in the
neighborhood, everybody mortgage their house and you wouldn`t have enough
money and you`d never be able to pay it back.
MADISON: But, Chris, the person who wants the ransom is the one that
sets the price. That`s the problem.
CORN: That`s the thing. They have negotiated these deals. There
have been several journalists who have come out and have been very quiet
about how they worked this out of Afghanistan in particular. No doubt some
news organizations have paid for journalists.
And as Sarah pointed out, too, when she got out with Shane and her
friend, Shane is a contributor to "Mother Jones", they were covered by the
Omani government which paid $1.5 million.
MATTHEWS: Was that a pass through?
CORN: I`m not sure it was a pass through, but they knew they would
get $1.5 million in chips from Washington for that.
So, there`s kind of purity here. So, we even though we have this pure
stance, we don`t negotiate with terrorists, and we all understand the logic
of that. We hope it means they don`t grab more Americans. There still is
I think room for sub-rosa activity.
MATTHEWS: Do you think of news organization (INAUDIBLE) terrorists,
they wouldn`t pay them?
CORN: I think they all will pay. I think they have and I think
they`d try to.
PAGE: Doesn`t the U.S. policy, I mean --
MATTHEWS: I don`t know the answer.
PAGE: It`s heartbreaking when you see these individuals. I mean, no
-- there is no question about that. Would it serve larger interests if we
negotiated with terrorists? Wouldn`t it encourage more Americans to be
taken? Wouldn`t it help fund terrorist activities? I mean, I abide the
U.S. argument on this. Maybe the point should be to push other governments
to take more similar stance to reduce value of taking hostage.
MATTHEWS: Excuse me, Susan, what`s the better PR thing for them
propaganda-wise? To behead people or get -- take the money?
MADISON: I think behead people, the terror of beheading people. That
is what has all of us talking about it right now.
PAGE: But if we were paying ransom for Americans and more and more
Americans got taken, doesn`t it help them, as well? It`s a source of study
MADISON: We have become a cash cow for them.
MATTHEWS: It goes back to what we can do to stop this. I don`t know
what Obama and Kerry and Dempsey and others are thinking about when they
get together. And it`s just three or four them together, or Rice. What is
our policy to end this war successfully with is? Is there one?
CORN: That`s a big question because as you mentioned the Free Syrian
Army, it seems to have collapsed at least in the north, and the militia
there they don`t want to fight ISIS. They want to fight Assad. We say we
want to train them so they could fight --
CORN: We did -- the Americans helped and the Iraqis and Kurds keep
ISIS out of Kobani in the last few weeks. I don`t know how long it`s going
to last. But a long-term strategy here, given all of the divisive elements
that are intra-fighting themselves seems nearly impossible.
MADISON: Why don`t we take the position of just leave? Everybody
leave. Let them all fight themselves?
MATTHEWS: That is a mood that they keep beheading people, that`s why.
MADISON: But, I mean, no, pull everybody out. Get everybody out.
MATTHWES: I wonder how many missionaries are floating around over
there in the little towns that they can go find. I don`t know how much
picking they can find of people to behead. It`s horrible.
PAGE: Isn`t the lesson of 9/11 that you can`t withdraw and leave it
to themselves and expect there not to be repercussions for the United
States and for America?
MADISON: I agree with you. I am being somewhat sarcastic about it.
MATTHEWS: Like red China, we never recognize it for 50 years, but it
was a reality. Is ISIS going to become a reality we`ve got to leave with?
And if so, we`re going to give them a flag? What do we do?
Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us.
When we return we will talk about a huge confrontation with President
Obama`s executive order, which is coming up on immigration this week.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Tomorrow on HARDBALL, we have a guest on the program. His
name is Senator John McCain. It`s going to be interesting. We`re going to
find out what he has to say about the president`s immigration plans, but
also about his new book. We`re going to talk about, and also about the new
Republican majority in the Senate. It will be an interesting discussion
about demand and his concern and actually belief in American fighting men.
That`s tomorrow night on HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: As I just said, we`re going to be talking to Senator John
McCain of Arizona about his new book "13 Soldiers". It`s a brand new book.
We`re going to talk about that and his respect for America`s fighting men.
We`re going to get to some other big news obviously in that interview.
We are back with our roundtable, Joe, Susan and David.
Let`s talk about this president and what we are walking into this sort
of -- I can`t say the word -- but it`s a storm, a very unpleasant storm for
three or four days. We will have a black/white issue coming up. Probably
we don`t know what the verdict of the jury is in Ferguson, Missouri, but it
was a white cop and a black teenager, it`s going to be a hot one.
And then we have, right in the middle of the president throwing (ph)
what some people are calling a grenade. The president is saying, I can`t
get anything for Congress. OK, I`ll do it my way. I`m going to basically
legalize -- most of the people here illegally, give them green cards, send
them on their way. They`ll have driver licenses, a way to work legally.
Basically, he`s writing immigration law.
And the question is what kind of country are we living in, Joe
MADISON: You`re going to be living in a country where people
recognize freedom, emancipation.
The reality is he can`t do much about Ferguson. Let`s be very honest
about that. He can be the moral leader, if we have disturbances. And I`m
hoping we don`t. If we had disturbances, he will obviously go forward and
leave Eric Holder and say, look, you guys have got to stop. A peaceful
demonstration is what we need.
MATTHEWS: Do you think Holder did a good job when the case first
MADISON: Oh, I think Holder did an excellent job. I was there. I
mean, I was there. The biggest problem you have in Ferguson are not the
citizens of Ferguson for the most part. It`s provocateurs, who don`t care
about the president. They don`t care about Ferguson. They don`t care
about the media. They are just provocateurs and I saw it.
MATTHEWS: And, by the way, that`s not an ethnic observation. That`s
just a fact. Every time you have a situation of rife, civil disruption,
there`s a certain kind of people that get in their car and arrive because
they like that edginess. That license to commit with bad behavior.
CORN: At the same time, though, you need to make sure that the police
there, you know, handle it the right way. And if there are provocateurs,
that they are trained to separate them from --
MADISON: And that`s what changed in Ferguson.
CORN: That wasn`t what happened in the beginning.
MADISON: Not initially, yes.
CORN: It sounds like the authorities there know what they`re doing
now. Boy, it`s a hard way to learn a lesson.
PAGE: I think that`s right. But maybe it`s an opportunity to show
that things are different from that first spade of demonstrations when you
had that big, militarized response to peaceful demonstrations. We`ll see.
This is going to be a test.
MATTHEWS: You know, Mike, that work in the court system, back in
Philly, back in the `50s, he was like the dean of the court reporters. And
he would tell me about the cops. My dad was fairly conservative, but he
was no right winger. He would say when they had black kids they brought
in, they beat them up in the car.
MADISON: Look --
MATTHEWS: Not that they weren`t guilty of crime. They don`t want to
court to decide it. They just beat them up in the car.
MADISON: On my show this morning, we talked about the fact that a
young black youth will be killed 21 times more than a white teenager by a
policeman in the United States of America.
PAGE: Well, we have a story in tomorrow`s "USA Today" --
MATTHEWS: Well, he also might be killed by his enemies and the gangs,
too. I mean, a lot of -- he faces a lot of danger.
MADISON: They`re supposed to be teenagers.
MATTHEWS: I`m with you.
PAGE: A big disparity, racial disparity in Ferguson, we have a story
in tomorrow`s paper that shows --
MATTHEWS: "USA Today".
PAGE: -- (INAUDIBLE) 1,600 police departments have disparities that
are wider than that in Ferguson across this country.
MATTHEWS: Is that just father-son, Irish tradition, for example, of
being police officers, firefighters in New York, in Philly? Is that just a
predilection? Is there an African American rate that`s up to the
proportion of the population? I say like, Ferguson, for example, I don`t
get why the city there is so pro -- totally white, and why the police force
is totally white when you have a large, black community.
MADISON: Or because of the politicians that run the city.
MATTHEWS: Why did they run the city?
MADISON: Because people don`t vote. That`s exactly why.
MATTHEWS: And good candidates don`t run probably.
MADISON: People don`t vote. People don`t get politically engaged. I
remember one argue. Was when they started having city council meetings
after the disturbances of the places packed. One man stood up and said,
look, I`ve been coming to these meetings and this is more people than I`ve
seen in 30 years.
CORN: Listen, attorney general nominee, Loretta Lynch, was involved
in the Abner Louima case which wasn`t that long ago. It`s not just
Ferguson. New York had these problems. L.A. had these problems. I mean,
this has just been endemic in urban --
MATTHEWS: I mean, not everything is the same, but isn`t that sort of
story of the American history. The community groups, ethnic groups, blacks
were here before anybody, but they get involved to protect themselves. You
know the largest register of votes was in the history of Philadelphia?
MATTHEWS: Because he was seen as anti-black. Everybody registered.
It was a higher percentage of black voters than white voters because of
MADISON: My first job as a political director of NAACP was to go into
Philadelphia and stop him from changing the city charter so he could run
for consecutive terms.
MATTHEWS: Oh, you succeeded.
MADISON: Oh, big time.
MATTHEWS: He didn`t get that third term. He kept running, though,
right, at the end? I think protecting your community is one of the reasons
why people vote. It`s not to get ahead. It`s to hold together, you know?
PAGE: There`s some self interest in voting. You hope so, right?
MATTHEWS: So, what your piece is going to tell us tomorrow? Give me
a little (INAUDIBLE) --
PAGE: It`s going to say that Ferguson is not only not different from
the rest of the country, it`s not as bad as many as 1,600.
MATTHEWS: In what sense?
PAGE: In the sense of a disparity between the rates on which blacks
and whites are arrested. You`re three times more likely to be arrested in
Ferguson if you`re black than if you`re white. There`s 1,600 places where
that number is bigger.
CORN: And then you have on the other side, the disparity in
sentencing, which we talked about for a long time. And Democrats on the
Senate and the Congress haven`t done much to address it as well.
MATTHEWS: -- incidents of crime in all that --
PAGE: It`s not necessarily all racism.
MATTHEWS: Joe, great to have you on.
MATTHEWS: Good luck in doing your part on this, because I know you`ll
be part of the good guys.
Thank you, Susan. Thank you, David. You`ll be safely on the left.
Joe Madison, David Corn, and Susan Page, good luck with the newspaper
When we return, let me finish the celebration for those opposing the
Keystone Pipeline. They won a big one today.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with a celebration for those opposing
the Keystone pipeline. They not only prevented its passage this year, it
looks like they`ll be able to beat it again next year. The numbers are not
there for an override of an expected veto by President Obama. They just
The vote got 59 senators today for the pipeline. They`ll need 67 for
a veto override. Thanks to the voters, like it or not, there will be four
more states, of which the new senator, a Republican, will be back to the
project. Those states are Colorado, Iowa, South Dakota, and West Virginia.
That`s four plus 59, which makes 63, four votes short of a veto override.
In the house, there`s no way they`re anywhere near the 290 votes
needed to override next year.
So, it looks like President Obama is the victor in the first round of
the battle that`s going to go many, many rounds. But it`s always better to
win the first one. It`s always better to win the first one.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for you watching. Thanks for being
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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