December 2, 2014
Guest: Liz Mair, Charles Ramsey, Mayor Martin Walsh, Joe Madison, Dana
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Ferguson -- it`s not about geography, it`s
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
Ferguson -- it`s now a name in the American dictionary. Like Dallas is to
many of my generation, the word is explosive, tragic and big in our
imaginations. It stirs us in a way no one likes to be stirred, yet for
better or worse, it`s a specter that stands before us now and demands a
Blacks and a big chunk of white America believe that what went down last
week in Ferguson is not something they can approve. And so we ask the
question tonight of an extremely distinguished panel, What is Ferguson?
What does it say to you personally? And if you see it as a problem, what
is that problem, and what can we do in the near term to fix that problem?
Charles Ramsey is police commissioner or Philadelphia. Martin Walsh is
mayor of Boston. Edward Rendell was governor of Pennsylvania, mayor of
Philadelphia, and before that, the city`s district attorney. Eugene
Robinson is the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and associate editor of
"The Washington Post."
Commissioner Ramsey, what is Ferguson to you, and what needs to be done?
Well, let`s just start with what it is.
CHARLES RAMSEY, PHILADELPHIA POLICE COMMISSIONER: Well, I mean, it`s
symptomatic of a much larger problem that, unfortunately, exists between
police and members of certain communities, primarily minority communities,
communities of color, African-American communities. Also, it also
highlighted a gap between police and young people. So it`s a combination
of a lot of different factors.
MATTHEWS: And let me go to you -- I want to go to Gene on this. Gene, I
mean, it`s going to go in the dictionary. It`s something people are going
to be talking about weeks, months, years.
EUGENE ROBINSON, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I --
you know, I think what it may come to stand for is a question of whether we
have two justice systems in this country, one for young black men and one
for everybody else.
And you know, we`ve had the string of these incidents, these killings,
Trayvon Martin, and you go back, and just two more just recently, and it
has a numbing effect. It happens, it happens, it happens, and it finally
kind of crystallized, I think, in Ferguson for a lot of people, the
question of young black men and do they get a fair shake from justice in
MATTHEWS: Well, you both agree on that. I want to go now to Mayor --
Mayor Walsh. Mayor, up there in Boston, what do you -- how does this hit
you up there personally and as mayor?
MAYOR MARTIN WALSH, BOSTON: Oh, I think the question goes a little deeper,
as well. It goes into inequity around the country, and I think we have to
deal with those issues, as well.
I know that when we were waiting for the grand jury to come down with their
finding, we did a lot of work reaching out to clergy and community members,
the NAACP and the Urban League here in the city. We reached out to the
young people in our city.
But this is a major problem around our country, and it it`s a problem that
has to be addressed. We`re having conversations and we`re going to
continue to have more conversations around race in Boston. And sometimes
when you talk about race, people don`t want to have that conversation, but
it`s time that we have the conversation.
And what Ferguson has done, not so much in Boston because we were planning
on having that conversation, but really puts a spotlight on what are the
problems in our country, whether it`s the penal system that`s treating
people unjustly or policing around the country? We really have to have
MATTHEWS: Governor Rendell?
ED RENDELL (D-PA), FMR. GOV., MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think it
highlights the need for us to get back to the concept of community
policing, where the police become a part of the community, where we have
beat cops that walk the streets and get to know their constituents and get
to know who the kids are and where those kids live and who their parents
We need a police force that`s well trained, policemen that are trained to
respond to different contingencies. You know, when a football coach preps
his team for a game, they`re put in different scenarios and they role play.
Well, we need more training like that so police are adept at situations
Look, Chris, regardless of whether you think this officer violated the law
and should have been arrested, clearly, the result was a result that should
never have happened. There was absolutely no need for this young man to be
shot in the head and killed. There`s much better ways to resolve this.
And training, more recruitment of minority officers, more contact between
police and the community -- it`s not a coincidence that President Obama
asked Chief Ramsey to co-chair this task force because Chief Ramsey in
Washington and in Philadelphia has been the hallmark of that type of
community policing, that type of building bonds and bridges between the
community and the police. It can be done.
MATTHEWS: Commissioner Ramsey, you know, we`re very tough on teachers, a
lot of people are, and they take teachers -- especially in tough
neighborhoods where there`s not a lot of parental attention to the
schoolwork, there`s not a lot of good food in the morning, a good breakfast
to start the day with. There`s a lot of noise in the house and
distraction, and tough neighborhoods, where hardly anybody`s got a good
job. Then we take them into public (ph) so we expect the teachers to turn
them into great young adults at some point.
The police have a challenge like that, too, in neighborhoods like North
Philly, which are pretty tough, where there are poor people with no real
job prospects in many cases because it`s deindustrialized. And then we
say, All right, police officers, you go into neighborhoods like Hunting
(ph) Park and you make sure everybody`s happy there and everybody`s calm
It is a hell of a challenge in an unequal society to create equal justice.
How do you do it?
RAMSEY: Well, I mean, it`s difficult, and it is, in a sense, a balancing
act. But one thing remains constant, in my opinion, and that is you treat
people with respect. No matter what their circumstance may be, there`s no
excuse not to treat them with respect.
Certainly, we have to be aware of all the different factors that people
have to contend with in today`s world. I agree with what others have said
about what Ferguson means, but for police, it means fair and impartial
And we cannot allow ourselves to have two different sets of standards, one
for those that can afford police services that perhaps don`t find
themselves in the same circumstance as others, and then that for the poor.
It has to be the same, fair and impartial. And that`s really the source of
the mistrust. People don`t feel that they`re fairly getting police
MATTHEWS: Gene, you write about -- you wrote today about this problem --
well, it`s a horror of police killings.
MATTHEWS: And -- and I guess you can look at it two ways. One, police go
into tough neighborhoods, there`s people shooting at them, they`re shooting
back, or they`re scared to death in certain situations, honestly scared,
fairly scared. And then you go, Wait a minute. Maybe there`s the ratios
are wrong here. Maybe there aren`t enough shots at -- I have to say this
right -- there`s not enough justification for all this.
ROBINSON: Well, it`s --
MATTHEWS: Because that`s what the heart of this is, a bad arrest. That
guy, that cop should have probably arrested that kid, hit him with the
nightstick on the side of the knee, whatever it took, put the cuffs on the
guy. Instead, he shot him.
ROBINSON: Well, one hopes there was some other way to deal with the
situation, as Governor Ed Rendell said. We don`t know. But we don`t have
the data to really analyze police shootings in this country. We don`t
really know how many there are. The FBI has a set of data, but the vast
majority of police departments in the country don`t report to that -- to
the FBI, don`t report their data on shootings to the FBI.
Now, most big cities do. But without the data, we don`t even know what
we`re dealing with here.
I actually had a question for Mayor Walsh, though. How does the city of
Boston handle police shootings, both in terms of the legal process and also
in terms of dealing with what might be community reaction?
WALSH: Well, we have internal investigations in our police department that
investigate every shooting that a police officer does in the city of
Boston. In my time as mayor of the city of Boston -- I`ve been mayor for
11 months -- we had one incident where a police officer had to -- actually
shot someone who was going after them with a butcher`s knife. It was a
domestic violence case. But we have a process that goes through internal
And I think -- one thing I think that was said earlier -- not to -- not to
jump away from the question -- but truly, community policing is about
getting out into the community. I think the governor might have mentioned
this. You know, you have to get out to know the constituents. You also
have to get to know the community activists.
And the one thing I can say in Boston is what`s happened -- we`ve had about
20 years of community policing here in the city. And not saying that we
don`t have our own issues in the city of Boston, but in the way that
Ferguson was handled in the aftermath really was because we had
partnerships or we had relationships with different organizations and
different people and sat down with young people.
Not to say that we don`t have a lot more to go and a long way to go, but I
think building those relationships are vitally important. You know,
yesterday, the president mentioned at the meeting was that in low-income
neighborhoods, you know, the levels of crime are higher, so that means we
have to have more policing.
It also means we need to have more community policing so young people
understand that the police are their friends. When I took over as mayor of
the city of Boston, one of the commitments I made, to make sure that the
command staff of the police department reflects the community -- 50 percent
people of color in my command staff. I appointed the first African-
American chief of the department in the history of Boston three weeks after
I became mayor of the city of Boston.
We have to send messages like that as elected officials and as policing.
We have to send messages to the community saying, We want to work with you.
We can`t have situations where we have militarized police states. And
also, when the Ferguson protests were going on in the city of Boston, one
of the things that the commissioner and the chief in the city of Boston
said, We`re not going to go out there in riot gear. We`re going to have
conversations and try and -- try and defuse any situations that might --
might come up -- come up of what happened.
And we`re able to do that pretty much most (ph) successfully in the city,
and other cities did, as well. So I think when we talk about community
policing, we have to take the strength of certain cities and implement it
across the board. And I think there clearly is an issue here, or we
wouldn`t be having discussions this -- this -- this long.
I mean, the Ferguson discussion started as soon as Mr. Brown was shot. It
didn`t start after the grand jury investigation -- after the grand jury
came out with their decision. So these conversations have been going on
for a long time. I commend the president for the actions that he began to
take yesterday, and I also think mayors around the country need to step up
here and take responsibility and stop making excuses, but talk about
implementing true community policing in our communities, as well as other
steps we have to take.
MATTHEWS: Mayor -- Mayor Martin Walsh, it`s so great to have you on.
Thank you. Please come back again on HARDBALL. You`re a great guest.
WALSH: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: And Commissioner Ramsey, Governor Rendell and Eugene Robinson
are staying with us. We`re going to talk solutions coming up. Now that we
know about the kinds of things Ferguson exposed about American life, let`s
get to some of the fixes of these problems.
We`re also going to get to two late-breaking and problematic developments
on this story that just came in tonight. A man has now been arrested for
making threats to kill anything that has a badge on in Ferguson,
apparently, especially the police officer, Darren Wilson. And NBC`s Ron
Allen reports that Michael Brown`s stepfather is now under police
investigation for allegedly inciting a riot.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Speaker John Boehner says House Republicans may vote this week
to try and undo President Obama`s executive actions on immigration. The
vote would be a chance for angry conservatives to vent about the
president`s move without shutting down the government. But the Senate,
still under Democratic control, can`t be expected to go along with it.
Some on the right are also talking about the idea of formally censuring the
president over his immigration action, a move that could seem as
We`ll be back after this.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. We`ve got two problematic
developments in Ferguson tonight. NBC News is reporting that federal
authorities have arrested a man after he allegedly made threats to kill
members of the Ferguson police force, saying, quote, "We need to kill the
officer," presumably Darren Wilson, "and anything that has a badge on,"
according to prosecutors. Well, that`s serious business.
And NBC News is also reporting that Michael Brown`s stepfather is now part
of an ongoing police investigation into the rioting, looting and arson in
Ferguson last week. Brown`s stepfather was heard screaming to crowds,
"Burn this expletive down" after prosecutors announced that Officer Darren
Wilson would not be charged.
With that, we turn to the big questions tonight. How do you keep the peace
in a society with a growing chasm of hope? And how do we live in an
unequal society where there`s inequality in wealth? (INAUDIBLE) inequality
in the neighborhood, peace in many cases, and therefore, unequal incidents
and crime rates.
If you`re a cop, how do you keep your wits about you? It`s tough to be a
cop. It`s no picnic growing up in a poor and dangerous neighborhood,
either. What can be done? What has to be done? The president`s task
force has 90 days to come up with a solution. We can`t wait that long.
Now as that`s (ph) -- let`s talk a little about the answers.
We`re back with Philadelphia police commissioner Charles Ramsey, former
Pennsylvania governor and Philadelphia mayor Ed Rendell and "The Washington
Post`s" Eugene Robinson.
Commissioner Ramsey, the tough question, I guess, which a lot of people
were thinking about. When something happens in wartime, you wonder how
that affects other people. They`re training people up in West Point or at
Annapolis. In police academies, what`s your sense of what they`re going to
teach people about minority relationships, young black teenagers -- they
could be big kids, but they`re teenagers still -- and they appear dangerous
to the officer and he has to take them in. What are they saying how to
avoid a Ferguson?
RAMSEY: Well, I think there`ll be a variety of things that you`ll start to
see in academies. In fact, you see it now in many academies -- concepts
like procedural justice, building trust within communities, deescalation
techniques. All those kinds of things are training tools that not only are
taught in the academy for recruits, but also in-service training.
And we need more reality-based training, where we put officers into
scenarios where they have to use proper tactics, use deescalation
techniques in terms of the words that they use in order to calm situations
down. And we`re going to have to start really focusing on that sort of
thing so that we can calm things down, because I think Ferguson really was
a good example of how things started at a pretty high pitch, and just went
up from there.
MATTHEWS: While I have to again -- I don`t want to talk only to you, but
you`re the police commissioner here. And I want to know, what do you think
of the idea of an officer having a camera on him all the time, or her all
the time, when they`re doing their -- their watch?
RAMSEY: I like the idea. We just started a pilot program in Philadelphia
yesterday. As a matter of fact, we`ve been planning it for a few months
now. We have officers out there now that have volunteered to wear the
cameras so that we can test them out to see how practical it is for field
use, at least the particular model that we`ll wind up purchasing. It is
the future. I believe it`s the way to go. It`s certainly the way we`re
going to go in Philadelphia.
MATTHEWS: Let me go back to Gene. What do you think of all of this?
ROBINSON: Well --
MATTHEWS: Because I think people want to know --
ROBINSON: Yes --
MATTHEWS: Does the cop have -- does the cop -- I don`t even like the word
"cop" -- police officer --
MATTHEWS: Do they have something to hide when they`re roughing up a person
ROBINSON: Well --
MATTHEWS: -- intimidating a possible witness or some the tricks police -
- the tradecraft --
MATTHEWS: -- of how you get stuff out of people on a street corner.
ROBINSON: Yes, I mean --
MATTHEWS: It may not be pretty.
ROBINSON: It may not be pretty. You know, cameras could go a long way
towards showing what actually happened. But there`s a question of fairness
and there`s a perception in a lot of these communities that it ain`t fair,
that people are not being treated fair, and especially young black men
don`t feel that they`re treated fair.
And that`s a question I would have for Governor Rendell is -- you know,
Chris used a word earlier that`s very important, is "hope," and I think
fairness is important. So how do you give people in these communities or
in any community hope for a better future, and also a sense that they`re
going to get a fair shake?
RENDELL: Well, I think Chris made a very good point. Police are asked to
act in the environment that`s created not by them. Sometimes occasionally,
an abusive policeman can do it, but it`s created by the things that we
don`t do as a society. We don`t have proper education. We don`t have
proper training. We don`t have commitment to finding people the right type
Those are the things that are important to people, and if there was less
anger in the community in general, that would help. But the policeman`s
put into those situations. The environment`s created by other things,
things that they have nothing to do with, and they`ve got to be a neutral
But the key is fairness and relationships. And I go back, and Mayor Walsh
said it, too, and Chief Ramsey practices it in Philadelphia, as well as
anybody. We`ve got to have police who get into the neighborhoods, who talk
to people, who build up relationships.
We`ve got to do more things like PAL. You can scoff at PAL. And people
say that`s just window dressing. It isn`t. Kids who go through the PAL
program are not likely to view police as the enemy. There are so many
things we can do. And then we have got to have fair and appropriate
review. Prosecution has to be fair. The prosecutors have a tough time
reviewing the actions of police because police are their witnesses in 99
percent of the cases, so sometimes you have to have special prosecutors or
a special unit.
I created a police brutality unit that did nothing but review those cases.
They didn`t prosecute rape cases or assault cases or anything else. We
sort of walled them off.
And we have got to have prosecutors who are willing to bring a case to a
jury. Now, I don`t know what a jury would have done, an actual 12-person
jury hearing all of the evidence in this case. But it may have been this
is a question that should have been decided in the open in public by a
jury, a jury of the peers of both Michael Brown and the peers of the
policeman as well.
MATTHEWS: Let me go back to Commissioner Ramsey.
In your experience as a police officer, you have had people as commissioner
in Philadelphia where you have had police shootings, obviously, use of
lethal force. What is the general -- is there a general attitude about
police and using that gun? Is it last resort? Is it something that they -
- the best cops don`t have to do? What does it do -- and when they do it,
are you put on the bow and arrow squad? Are you basically on
What`s the whole situation like for a cop who uses his gun and kills
RAMSEY: Well, you`re trained that using a firearm is a last resort.
When we have a police-related shooting, and it goes through review, we not
only look at the justification in terms of the legal justification, but the
tactics that an officer used. Had they used different tactics, might there
have been a different outcome, for an example?
We do take officers off the streets for a period of time after a shooting.
There is counseling that they have to go through, if they`re cleared in the
shooting incident and so forth. So there is a process that`s in place.
The district attorney reviews every single shooting that we have, at least
if you were shooting at a human being, not destroying an animal.
But the DA does review all of our shootings, so there is a process in
place. But it is last resort. That is the training that officers receive
during the course of their both recruit and in-service training.
MATTHEWS: Well, it`s an honor to have all of you gentlemen on tonight.
Thank you. I mean it.
Thank you, Commissioner Charles Ramsey, who was once commissioner here in
Washington and very much a part of Philadelphia society keeping the peace
up there. Governor Rendell, thank you so much for your extensive
expertise, and Eugene Robinson for joining me in the questions.
Up next, from the streets of the country to the classrooms of royal Africa,
we have got a way to help. It`s one of my colleagues who is doing it.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Tonight, we`re going to talk about a little bit the rise and fall of Bill
Cosby, a man whose sunny persona on screen deviated so much from his
alleged behavior off screen.
And watch out, wacko birds. Jeb Bush says he won`t be kissing the ring, if
that`s what you think, of the extreme right if he chooses to run for
president. They are going to have to take him as he is. That`s coming up
in the roundtable, both those topics.
Right now, we turn to a vital cause my colleague Lawrence O`Donnell has
been championing, a couple minutes on this. It`s called KIND, K-I-N-D,
Kids In Need of Desks. And it`s bringing desks to classrooms over in
Africa, Black Africa, specifically the country of Malawi, an undeveloped
largely royal -- there it is -- former British colony in Southeast Africa.
In Malawi, millions of young Africans struggle in the classroom every day
because they have got no place to sit or write on, nothing but sitting on
the ground, which is often just a dirt floor. Well, KIND funds have
provided over 221 -- over a million kids now have desks in that country in
just four years through the efforts the Lawrence O`Donnell, who launched
the organization in conjunction with UNICEF, the great U.N. organization,
back in 2010.
And today, he has helped raise $7 million, thanks in large part to the
generosity of people like yourself, MSNBC viewers. KIND has also expanded
its mission to help pay for tuition, board and school supplies for young
girls, girls hoping to continue their educations over there.
I`m now joined by the man behind the effort, the host of "THE LAST WORD" on
MSNBC, Lawrence O`Donnell.
Lawrence, give us a little color of how you got into this and how you have
-- what you have learned in this good cause.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It`s been just a fascinating
four years for me, Chris. The first time I went over there was in 2010.
It was just before we launched "THE LAST WORD," the 10:00 p.m. show here
that I do here at MSNBC.
And I was trying to find something that -- that would be uniquely possible
because I had suddenly had this forum, this television forum, and I got on
to this through a friend of mine who visited Malawi, an educator who told
me about the schools there.
And this just seemed like success a simple need to me, Chris. Every school
that you go to in those days, you asked them what they need and the very
first thing they would say, they would just say chairs, Chris. They
wouldn`t say desks.
O`DONNELL: They wouldn`t say desks and chairs because they actually had
never seen desks in classrooms. All they wanted was there -- a place for
the kids to sit other than the floor. And, oh, by the way, while we`re at
it, could we get a chair for the teachers? Because the teachers are
standing there seven hours a day with no desks or chairs.
And so we went to work trying to figure this out. And with the guidance of
UNICEF there, which is my great partner on this, we found a manufacturer
who could just make us enough for one classroom just to see what that would
And I delivered those desks to that first classroom. And it really was up
to that point the most exciting day of my life, Chris, watching these kids
see these desks for the first time. It wasn`t -- it`s an interesting name
to call it Kids In Need of Desks, because the kids who are in need of desks
don`t even know they need them. They have never seen them.
They don`t know that that`s a possibility in a classroom. And I used to
work as a public school teacher. And every little advantage a kid can have
in a classroom makes a huge difference. And you never know what the trick
is with any individual kid.
And so I always like to think that there`s someone out there in the back of
that classroom who suddenly finds himself or herself in a desk where she
suddenly has the kind of visual angle on that blackboard up in the front of
the room that she needs to focus and do her work. And somewhere maybe in
the back of one of those classrooms is the next Nelson Mandela. And
changing the environment of that classroom just might be the trick, the
little magic moment that turns the struggling student into a great student.
Tell us what we can`t see on television. We`re looking at these young
kids, grade school kids. What was it like to sit in a room like that,
where -- rural Africa, with these kids` parents? They grew up maybe in
huts without any water, or any toilets or anything like that --
O`DONNELL: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: -- with very minimal food. They may be kids of subsistence
farmers living on corn all the time and a little bit of meat.
And then they show up in these great-looking uniforms, and they`re in a
world that`s already much more modern than where they go home to at night.
O`DONNELL: That`s right.
And most of the -- some of the girls do have uniforms. Most of them don`t.
Most kids there -- and, Chris, your Africa experience goes back much
farther than mine, the Peace Corps. You know much more about this region
than I do. And I`m a newcomer.
But everything you just said is true. That desk is actually in most cases
the only furniture that they have ever had in their lives in any way.
O`DONNELL: And you`re right. They go back to villages. They walk. Some
of them walk 10 miles every day to and from school.
O`DONNELL: If they`re lucky, one of them has a bike and a couple of them
get on that bike.
And they do live in what we think of, what we would definitely think of as
desperate circumstances. But I`m sure you have seen this, Chris. They
don`t feel like desperate people. It is astonishing what good humor these
kids have, just how energetic they are, how up they are, how creative they
are in their play.
They don`t have any toys. And you see them by the side of the road and
other places doing the most creative kinds of play with these twigs and
things that they find with each other. There`s nothing -- there`s
certainly nothing depressing about being around these kids in their
It`s really just a constantly kind of uplifting experience actually.
MATTHEWS: You say it well and you have got it all. Well said. Thank you.
And to donate or know more about the KIND fund, K-I-N-D, you can visit the
Web site on your screen or call 1-800-4 -- 1-800-4-UNICEF.
And I thank you. There`s the information. Let`s hope that up for a bit.
Up next: Bill Cosby`s stunning fall from grace. He`s resigned from the
board at Temple University, the place he poured his heart into over the
last decade. So, where does he go from here? Plus, lots of noise now
about 2016. Jeb Bush seems like he wants to run, but he wants to run on
his own terms. He`s not going to become a wacko bird. He`s not going to
join the clown car. He believes in education, he believes in Common Core
education. He believes in immigration, good immigration. He is different
than some of those Ted Cruz types out there. And he`s not going to cross-
dress and pretend he ain`t.
We`re going to ask the roundtable what they think of that. You`re watching
HARDBALL, the place for politics.
RICHARD LUI, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hi. I`m Richard Lui. Here`s what`s
President Obama visited the National Institutes of Health, which recently
completed phase one trials of a potential Ebola vaccine. He says the news
is a reminder of the importance of government-funded research and the need
to keep investing in it.
Two schoolchildren and an aid are dead following a school bus accident in
And a helicopter crashing into a building earlier in North Salt Lake, Utah,
two people there reported dead. Witnesses saying it broke apart before it
went down -- now back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL and time now for the roundtable.
Bill Cosby has faced an intensifying, you must call it, a barrage of sexual
assault allegations in the past weeks. In the face of these accusations,
Cosby himself resigned from the board of trustees of Temple University the
other day, which he was so closely identified with.
NBC`s Kate Snow reported on Cosby`s links to the school and then his
BILL COSBY, COMEDIAN: Think about your power. Think about it.
KATE SNOW, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For years now, Temple
University has put Dr. Cosby on the podium.
COSBY: You did this. And you came and now you have it. Now do something
SNOW: This was his beloved Temple.
DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": I always
associate Temple with you and college.
SNOW: The place Bill Cosby reminisced about, the name he wore on
sweatshirts. But on Monday, he called the chairman of the board of
trustees he served on and resigned.
"I have always been proud of my association with Temple University," Cosby
said in a statement. I have always wanted to do what would be in the best
interests of the university and its students. As a result, I have tendered
my resignation from the Temple University board of trustees.
MATTHEWS: We`re going to have to point out here, for practical purposes
and for the truth, he was never charged with a crime, Mr. Cosby, Dr. Cosby,
and he`s denied all allegations in the past.
Yet his resignation from the Temple board is an indication of the effect
these accusations are having on him.
Joining me right now is our roundtable, Joe Madison from SiriusXM radio.
He`s a talk show host. Liz Mair is Republican strategist -- in fact, the
only one. And Dana Milbank works for "The Washington Post" and writes a
delightfully evil column every couple days.
MATTHEWS: Thank you.
Joe, you want to say a thing about Ferguson. And then I want to move on to
Cosby, because Cosby is a rich topic as well.
JOE MADISON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, I think Ferguson, we now know, is
There`s this task force put together. It`s going to be a lot different
than the `60s, because you have the president.
MATTHEWS: More than the Kerner Commission?
MADISON: Oh, Kerner Commission. Absolutely. We`re old enough to remember
that Kerner Commission.
MATTHEWS: And whatever happened to that?
MADISON: Well, it got shelved.
The reality is, a few things happened. But there are so many balls. I was
with the attorney general yesterday in Atlanta. And he was treated like a
rock star. And I think, one, when he announced that the --
MATTHEWS: Why is he quitting?
MADISON: I don`t know the answer to that. And --
MATTHEWS: They`re not going to get a good replacement.
MADISON: Well, no. I think -- I think --
MATTHEWS: In this Congress?
MADISON: I think -- well, if they`re smart, they will go ahead and given
the president the lady, because she is tough.
MADISON: Don`t underestimate her. She`s tough.
But when he -- when he mentioned that the investigation on civil rights was
going to go through, standing ovation. When he mentioned that he was going
to announce a platform for racial profiling, standing ovation.
When he announced -- and this doesn`t get covered -- that we also have
personal responsibility, we have to teach our young people that they have
got to be on the other side. They have got to respect law. Law has to
respect them. Standing ovation.
And the demonstration that a couple of networks focused on were a group of
students, very contrite, that stood up, said their piece, and they put
their hands up, and they walked out. And the church at Ebenezer, the
historian Ebenezer Church, gave them a standing ovation. And then Eric
Holder said, that`s democracy. I ain`t mad at them.
And he got a standing ovation.
My belief about that is, I don`t take the same view some other people do
about that. My view is, if you want a person to honestly put their hand
here during the Pledge of Allegiance and "The Star-Spangled Banner," if you
want them honestly to show respect for what they believe, then you have got
to let them say what they want to say.
MADISON: And that`s --
MATTHEWS: Freedom is freedom. There`s no -- you can -- you can get mad at
MATTHEWS: That`s your right, too.
MADISON: And, by the way, you have got 80-plus cities that have already
asked for matching funds to buy body cameras.
MADISON: So, I hope -- I just hope Congress -- this should not be a
Republican/Democrat, conservative/liberal issue. This ought to be passed
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s move. Anyway, Joe Madison, if you can burn the
flag, you can do this. Anyway, and that`s the country we live in.
MATTHEWS: It`s called freedom.
Now, let`s talk about this very -- I have looked at this. Usually, when
some big shot goes down, I go, hmm, that`s OK, because I don`t mind. I
have schadenfreude in my soul. Sometimes big shots are too big for their
britches, people. Then, Cosby comes along, who I`ve respected so much, not
just because he got a good personality, he came out of North Philly. He
got to Central High School, a tough school. You know, he made his career
on stand-up, which is the hardest way to make it, the fact that you can do
stand-up sometimes in a dower way. You could do it.
DANA MILBANK, THE WASHINGTON POST: I`d be a poor man.
MATTHEWS: No, but the thing is, he`s done to himself. He became -- Robert
Culp putting that a show together, "I Spy" the first African-American to be
a star, not just a good singer and a dancer, but an actual dramatic and
comedic star on television. He did all that.
MILBANK: It`s tragic. In a way we all loved Bill Cosby. I grew up every
Saturday morning on "Fat Albert." And, you know, it`s hard to know what it
feel worse of, the monstrous things that he`s accused of or the abysmal way
in which he`s handled it. He`s sort of broken every rule in the book in
terms of how you respond to these things.
And, you know, at this point, there`s not a whole lot he can do about it.
I think he`d come on HARDBALL and explain himself to you. But, his
MATTHEWS: I want to go to you, because there seems to be something weirdly
sexual about this whole thing. I mean, many guys, me, and everybody else
who has fallen in love with an attractive woman, you ask them out, you go
on a date with them, and you court them. This guy didn`t have that
LIZ MAIR, FORMER DIR., RNC ONLINE COMMUNICATIONS: Allegedly.
MATTHEWS: It`s almost like necrophilia. Have you ever come across any
stories of this type, with ruffies and all this? It`s a whole new thing
MAIR: I think, unfortunately, the sad reality, and I think a lot of women
will tell you is that we`d like to think that this really is a one in a
million scenario, and I think it probably is a little more common --
MATTHEWS: Ruffies are common?
MAIR: I think that they`re a little more common than that. I think that`s
one of the things that is so disturbing with this is, yes, there is the
issue of many people having enjoyed his comedy and looked at him as a role
model and suddenly, you know, this other side of him allegedly turns up.
But it is disturbing because, you know, you`re looking at a wide range of
allegations that are extremely similar in the substance.
It`s very hard for me to find anything that strikes me as non-credible in
anything that`s out there. And so, you know, at the end of the day we are
confronted with some very difficult circumstances.
MATTHEWS: Somebody was saying the other day, Gene Robinson, a much
respected fellow around here, he said he`s got to fess up and in some way
address this. But if he does that, let`s face the litigation situation. I
don`t know what that does to the statutes of limitations, if he were to
admit he did something here, is there any way --
MAIR: From a moral standpoint I think that`s beside the point, if he did
this, and certainly my opinion is looking at everything that`s been
reported, yes, he probably did.
MATTHEWS: Should he just go away?
MAIR: No, but he`s got to come to grips with what he did and what the real
impact of that was on people, and if that means litigation and if that
means paying out a hell of a lot of money, so be it. What he did, at least
based on my interpretation of it, and this is just my opinion, but what he
did was so significantly wrong that that really does have to be addressed.
Him just going away, disappearing, is really --
MATTHEWS: I would think one count is a felony.
JOE MADISON, RADIO HOST: The statute of limitations has run out. What
people are telling me is that, here`s is what they don`t understand --
celebrities do this all the time -- why not sue for defamation of
MILBANK: Well, the statute of limitation thing cuts both ways, because he
MATTHEWS: Because you can lose that case based on fact.
MADISON: Well -- then isn`t that what we`re -- we don`t know what fact is.
MILBANK: It can no longer be brought unto court, but he also can`t
vindicate his reputation ever. That`s why the only place he can really
fight it now is in the court of public opinion and it looks like that`s
MAIR: Well, yes.
MATTHEWS: This is to me -- does anybody feel good about this?
MILBANK: Nobody in America.
MAIR: One thing I do feel good about -- one thing I do feel good about we
hear a lot of the time about the challenges that women who have been -- and
men -- victims of sexual assault and rape feel in coming forward, there is
always a fear, I think, with people in that situation that they won`t be
believed. And obviously hear we`re talking about a lot of women who felt
if they came forward and said these things up until recently they would not
MAIR: I do think one silver lining in this is that if people who are
alleging something against Bill Cosby who obviously has very powerful, very
robust, very aggressive lawyers and publicists, if people feel they can get
a fair hearing on this at this point, in the media environment we have
currently, I think that is at least some good news for some girl out there
who is being abused, who doesn`t feel that she can come forward and be
treated seriously. That`s what I would say.
MATTHEWS: Knows one thing on the Cosby PR offensive here, they don`t take
any shots at the women. It`s all fantastical but nothing about it -- I
haven`t heard yet.
MAIR: There`s been -- there`s been pushback. I don`t think that they do
MATTHEWS: Have they criticized the women`s character?
MADISON: Today they said, I think, that they`ve come close to just saying
MATTHEWS: That`s the trouble. That`s a problem.
MAIR: Well, I believe they pushed back on one of them by saying, hey, she
was previously struck off the bar and that sort of thing. I don`t know if
they`ve done it --
MAIR: It definitely appears to have been done.
MATTHEWS: Because the worst thing they can do is attack the women, the
MAIR: Yes. Well, I think they have.
MATTHEWS: The roundtable is staying with us.
When we come back, Jeb Bush is talking like he wants to run for president
but only if he can do it his way. In other words, run like Romney should
have run. Be honest, talk straight, don`t cross dress, don`t pretend
you`re some whacko bird, be who you are.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: The "Associated Press" is now reporting that President Obama
will nominate Ashton Carter to be the next defense secretary. Carter
served as a deputy defense secretary. If confirmed, he`d replace Chuck
Hagel at the Pentagon after Hagel resigned last week. Administration
officials tell NBC News that Carter is the likely nominee barring any last-
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with the roundtable, Joe, Liz and Dana.
We`re going to start off on Jeb. Does Jeb have the stuff, the cojones,
perhaps you could say, to stand against the conservative party and say, you
know what, I`m a little different with you guys. I`m for Common Core
education, I`m for some kind of positive, progressive even immigration
MAIR: I think he does. I still, personally, don`t think Jeb Bush will end
up running for president.
MAIR: I`ll caveat everything with it.
I think Jeb Bush`s primary issue is he wants to push the party on a couple
of particular things. Either hold them to stances or move them in that
direction. And I think he, actually, will probably be more successful in
that than people are anticipating. I think as long as he is, given that
his family hasn`t traditionally been don`t see the need to jump in the way
people are participating.
That being said, I think he`s doing a really good job of scarring the
living crap out of people. From the perspective of somebody who even if
I`m not speaking about Common Core specifically, I generally do think
accountability, and standards in education is a good thing. I`m glad he`s
a part of this debate and that he`s out there saying what he`s saying.
MATTHEWS: But he wouldn`t be a part of it if he doesn`t run?
MAIR: I think he can push right up into it at that line. Yes.
MILBANK: I think he`s kind of setting himself up as this kind of white
knight candidate if the rest of the field destroys itself.
MAIR: That is another --
MILBANK: And the playbook that he`s using -- this is exactly what George
W. Bush was doing in 1998, I remember writing for "The New Republic" about
how -- there`s a lot about George W. Bush that will really appeal to
liberals. Well, maybe not as much as it turned out.
MAIR: There was, unfortunately --
MILBANK: But remember, it was No Child Left Behind. He was in the same
place on immigration. But, of course, this isn`t 1998, and the party`s
changed dramatically. Now, the question for Jeb is, do the conservative
because there`s so many the race, carve themselves up so much, that there
is no clear alternative. Then he walks --
MADISON: You guys forget. The crazies ran the primaries.
MILBANK: But they don`t have -- there is no designated crazy.
MAIR: There are a couple --
MADISON: That`s the point. You`re going to have 18 peoples, just like the
last time, and we`re going to watch these debates.
MAIR: And then you`re going to dominate this squishy moderate. That`s
what we do.
MADISON: You`ve got Ben Carson sitting up here talking about Obamacare was
worse than 9/11. I mean, give me a break.
MATTHEWS: Who wants to hear that?
MAIR: I think there are couple of points here. Statistically and when
we`re looking at it from that`s perspective, Dana is right, there is the
ability of this party to carve itself up and for the base to carve itself
up in so many different directions that the guy who looks like the big RINO
in the room can actually sneak through.
MATTHEWS: Republican in name only.
MAIR: Yes. But I would also point out that when we`re talking about the
Republican Party and the things that actually matter can put people in a
position to win. We`re not just talking about what people in Tea Party
rallies think. We`re also talking about big donors.
We`re talking about big donors. If you don`t have money, you`re going to
have a difficult time to get your message out. If you don`t get your
message out, you`re not going --
MATTHEWS: You know what you`re afraid of? Big money Democrats are afraid
of? They`re afraid of Jeb.
MAIR: No, the donors are in support of things like comprehensive
immigration reform, regulatory reform, comprehensive tax reform, all the
things that Jeb Bush is talking about. They`re in favor of educational
standards. So, I would not --
MADISON: Well, then, he should be their candidate.
MAIR: Well, if he runs, I think they will like him. But I don`t think he
will run. That`s the --
MILBANK: Any Bush is going to have a ton of money. And if there are 18
crazies, as Joe pictured, and each is carving up 5 percent, there`s clearly
running room for him there. But it`s not just that. There`s Chris
Christie who --
MAIR: I was going to say --
MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s have some fun.
MATTHEWS: You`re the expert. Start here.
MATTHEWS: Can you tell me who`s -- give me the ideal ticket for
MAIR: Oh, now you`re going to force me to offend like half of my former
MATTHEWS: I would say a governor with a conservative, hard right running
mate. I would say Perry, along with perhaps Rand Paul.
MAIR: But a lot of this depends on who we`re running against, right?
Because everybody`s --
MILBANK: Running against Hillary.
MAIR: But we may not be running against Hillary. I`m not personally --
MATTHEWS: Liz, the betting window is open.
MAIR: I think there are Democrats who would present a much bigger
MATTHEWS: Liz Mair, thank you for that provocative opinion.
MADISON: Good luck.
MATTHEWS: The betting window is open in my office right now, by the way.
I`ll give you good odds.
Thank you, Dana. Thank you, Joe Madison, my buddy. Thank you so much for
When we return, let me finish with a big question mark about 2016. It`s
not about Hillary Clinton, no matter what that Liz says. It`s about Jeb
You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this Republican problem.
You know, under the usual rotation, voters seem to prefer, it`s the
Republican`s turn to win the election for president next time. That`s the
way it seems to work, one party gets its eight years and then the voters
look to the other party to have a try.
It makes sense for a very American reason. It`s that people don`t like
giving too much power to the same party like they do in other countries.
They like checks and balances of the three branches of government. They
also like to add to those checks and balances by keeping one party from
holding the White House for too long.
But if it`s the Republicans` turn, it`s also, many women and perhaps some
men believe, more arguably a woman`s turn. So, basically, 2016 is opening
up before us, as it is, these two years out, as a jump ball. One claim of
whose turn it is against the others.
So, we see why so many Republicans want to run this time. For one thing,
it`s an open seat. For another, it looks like, as I said, a jump ball
situation. Both parties have an even shot at winning. If you`re going to
run for president, this is your time.
It`s not so simple for Jeb Bush. The fact is, he`s not your typical
Republican candidate out there. He`s pro-education, he`s pro-Common Core
education, he`s not an ideologue. He`s more professional who`s made his
public career dealing with policy and practice.
But unlike previous candidates of that description, think Mitt Romney, he`s
not hiding who he is. There`s no "don`t ask, don`t tell" with this guy
going. No political cross dressing like the former moderate governor of
Massachusetts pulled off. He`s running as who he is. Take me as I am.
So, this is the question: does Jeb Bush really have the guts to tell the
party of Ted Cruz and that sort that he, Jeb Bush, has no intention of
joining the clown card. Does he have the courage to tell the right wing
that he`s his own kind of conservative, who cannot only win but lead and
govern and even unite this country. It`s the best question out there in
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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