Guests: Bill Richardson, Richard Haass, Lynn Sweet, Chris Cilizza, David Schertler, Michael Isikoff, Mia Farrow
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: The judge dismisses a juror in the Scooter Libby trial for having contact with the media. Will 11 jurors deliver a verdict? Could it be tomorrow? Let’s play HARDBALL.
Good evening, I’m Chris Matthews. And welcome to HARDBALL on day four of the jury’s deliberations in Scooter Libby’s trial. Today the judge sent one of the jurors home for contact with media coverage of the trial. HARDBALL’s David Shuster will be here with more on what is happening in Libby’s trial.
And the other big story today, President Bush appears to have found a way to make a combative Congress work to his advantage. Reports out today that Bush is not happy with Pakistan’s help fighting the Taliban. And the president warns that Congress may cut off funding to Pakistan if things do not improve there.
And to reinforce the message, the administration sent their number one enforcer, Vice President Cheney. He made an unexpected visit to Pakistan today to deliver the message in person. Will Bush’s strategy work? In a moment, we will talk with Richard Haass, a former Bush State Department official who is now president of the Council on Foreign Relations.
But first, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, a Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, sir, thank you for joining us. What are your concerns, if you have them, about Pakistan’s role as an ally in fighting the terrorist organization al Qaeda?
GOV. BILL RICHARDSON (D-NM), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, here is my concern, Chris. For years, Pakistani prime ministers and presidents, in this case Musharraf, have had very little control over their intelligence services.
There is a rogue element in their intelligence services that have long had connections with the Taliban, with al Qaeda. None of those prime ministers or presidents have been able to control them. And it is very clear that there is a connection between the growth of the Taliban, the strengthening of al Qaeda, and the fact that Pakistan is not doing enough to stop them.
And so I think the vice president is right. You have to lean on Musharraf who is our ally. And what you do not want to do is provoke a situation, even though he is not a great champion of human rights, democracy, et cetera, to have somebody replace him who is less friendly to us, who would cause us real problems, especially if al Qaeda and the Taliban are growing.
So you are really caught in a very, very dangerous situation. So the good excuse is, blame the Democratic Congress. Saying, look President Musharraf, the Congress, which is Democratic now, will cut off assistance to you, will cut off all kinds of aid unless you change. And it is a pretty skillful message to give.
We used to do the same thing in the Clinton administration as a Democratic administration with a Republican Congress. But that is basically the situation.
MATTHEWS: Well, let’s talk about the reality here. Isn’t it a fact there is—well, let me ask you, you know more about foreign policy than I do. Is it possible that Islamabad does not extend its influence into those areas of the northwest?
I mean, I’m a student of Churchill. Back in the late 19th Century, the Brits were trying to extend their rule into those areas like Malakan (ph). And they could not do it because these are very tough tribal areas. Does Musharraf really rule that region? I mean, we think that Osama bin Laden is up there, right? I mean, can he even reach them if he is there?
RICHARDSON: Well, that is true, Chris. This is a very remote, very rural areas, tribal. They have a lot of connections with the Taliban. There are very rogue elements. I mean, it is like—you think of the Wild West in the 1800s was really very tumultuous. This area is totally tribal.
There are tribal conflicts all the time. But the options that we have, for instance, we probably know where these tribal areas are, if you engage military strikes by the U.S., it could really disrupt the stability of Musharraf. And so you don’t want to do that.
In other words, his internal stability, because as I once said, the intelligence service, like his CIA, they have really bad ties to these folks. And the CIA there, the intelligence service of Pakistan really is even more powerful than the military, is more powerful than Musharraf. So it is a real balancing act that I will say the administration is probably carrying out fairly skillfully. But, you know, it is very perilous. He certainly is not doing enough to control those tribal elements.
MATTHEWS: You know, I am trying to figure what out you are running on as a platform, Governor, and how the Democrats—I saw Hillary the other day—Hillary Clinton took a shot at other Democrats by saying that there are some people that do not believe there is a terrorist threat out there. Who is she talking about? Is she talking about you? Is she talking about Obama? About Kucinich? Who is she saying in the Democratic Party does not believe that terrorism is a threat to our country?
RICHARDSON: Well, I do not know who she is talking about. But I want to tell you.
MATTHEWS: Well, don’t you take umbrage at the fact that she is broad-
brushing other Democrats, perhaps, to her left? I mean, it is easy to get
to her left on the war in Iraq. She takes a somewhat—well, it is hard -
ambivalent position. It is very hard to tell whether she is with Lieberman or she is with the Democratic Party on the issue of the war. Who does she mean when she says that?
RICHARDSON: Well, she should be very careful. I don’t know who she means. But what is important is that we all stay positive because what we do not want is to be Democrats pictured as being soft on terrorism, on national security, on fighting al Qaeda.
So I believe that I have the strongest credentials in national security. You know, maybe she has voted on these issues, I have been there. I have been to Pakistan. I have talked to the Taliban. President Clinton sent me to try to get Osama bin Laden extradited.
I brought a little bit of a peace treaty between the Northern Alliance and the Taliban. It barely lasted. It lasted maybe a few weeks. So I believe it is important we stay positive, especially on issues of national security. And we stay as bipartisan as we can.
MATTHEWS: Well, you know what I say about you, Governor? People ask me about you guys running for president, Hillary, I say this about you—and I think you are about fourth position right now. But you are within striking distance. I think there are four of you who have a real shot at the nomination. Hillary, of course, Obama, you, and Edwards. I think you have got a real shot.
Here is what I say about you. I say, we have tough people in the world. It does not do any good to go around saying they are evil, and they say we are evil and we are the heathens and they are the heathens and we are the bad guys. That is high school stuff.
You have got to figure out who you are up against and how you can deal with them. You have got to find their weak spots. You have got to figure out where you can work them, where you can’t work them, where you have to fight them.
You seem to be good at that. You like to go up and go head-to-head with tough guys, don’t you?
RICHARDSON: Yes, I do. And President Clinton used to send me to talk to Sudan, North Korea. We talked to Cuba. And we had success. My point here, Chris, is, like today, all of the governors met with President Bush, and I said to President Bush, Mr. President, you did the right thing, finally, with North Korea. You talked to them directly. Why don’t you do the same with Iran? Why don’t you talk to them? We have got a lot.
MATTHEWS: And what did he say?
RICHARDSON: Well, he kind of, in a very nice way, said that he said he wasn’t going to do it. But my point there is that unless you negotiate, and you can send tough messages when you negotiate, and talk to—directly to those that do not share our goals and our interests, you know, with Iran, the last thing we want is for them not to build nuclear—we don’t want them to build nuclear weapons.
RICHARDSON: We want them to stop messing around in Iraq.
MATTHEWS: Well, what do you make of Hans Blix coming out and saying that as part of the deal to try to pressure them we have got to throw a carrot out there, some non-aggression pact? I mean, I do not know whether the Iranians truly think we are going to attack them. Maybe we do have a plan to attack them.
I can’t read Cheney. I mean, if he had the call, he probably would be more aggressive. But are they legitimately concerned about us coming after them? He says—Blix says, the arms control guy, says, why don’t you make a commitment you won’t invade or something like, then they will have no excuse to build these weapons.
RICHARDSON: Well, that is an option, Chris. You know, what does Iran want? All right. Iran doesn’t want us messing with them in oil production, because they get most of their revenue. So they do not want sanctions from the United States or U.N. on oil revenues.
RICHARDSON: The Security Council is meeting now. So I believe Iran also wants stability on their borders. So I believe they are messing around in Iraq because we are there and they feel threatened. I believe there is more of a community of interest. We do not want Iran all of a sudden to attack Israel. That is an ally. So we have got things in common with.
MATTHEWS: No, I think it is more likely that Israel attacks Iran at this point based about—what Olmert is saying. Olmert is pretty open about this. And you talk to Ehud Barak on the other side over there, and he is pretty there. And of course, Bibi Netanyahu would love to throw the bomb right now.
I mean, clearly, Israel is scared to death. They are worried about immigration. They are worried about the long term, not just the short term, of having a nuclear-armed enemy so close.
RICHARDSON: Well, if you read the Iraq Study Group before—the report, it is James Baker, it s Lee Hamilton. I would send James Baker—
President Bush send your own Republican friend from Texas, very skillful. He has talked to the Syrians 11 times before the first Gulf War. He could talk to Iran. He could recommend it, and its bipartisan cover. And I believe.
MATTHEWS: Yes, well.
RICHARDSON: What is the cost? What is—the alternative is saber-rattling against Iran. The alternative is a president who is threatening them, military plans. That is not going to work. And I believe that it makes sense to talk. You do not have to make a big concession when you are negotiating and talking and evening sending a tougher message.
MATTHEWS: Well, Governor, I wish the president had taken the counsel of people like Jim Baker. But he seems to have made the decision against him years ago. Anyway, thank you very much, Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, candidate for the Democratic nomination for president.
Up next, more on the pressure on Pakistan with Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations.
And later, HARDBALL’s David Shuster will have the latest on Scooter Libby’s trial where today the judge dismissed one of the 12 jurors, 11 jurors are going to decide this case and it may be coming soon.
You are watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Richard Haass, the former Bush State Department, he was assistant secretary for policy review. He is now president of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Richard, you do not look happy enough. Angelina Jolie is joining the Council on Foreign Relations. What unique talent does this beautiful woman bring to your work?
RICHARD HAASS, PRESIDENT, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: I’m not going to get into individual cases, Chris. But I would just simply say this is someone who has been a goodwill ambassador of the United Nations. She has been heavily involved in the debate over Darfur. She is making a film about Daniel Pearl. She obviously has a voice and tremendous influence a younger generation, a generation that is younger than thee and me.
So without commenting on individual cases, I would just say, if she ever were to become a member of the Council, I think it is fully defensible.
MATTHEWS: Well, is she going to be a member? We just heard that report that she has been accepted already.
HAASS: Well, no one has been accepted. And I will just simply say, you know, I can’t comment about individual cases before we get there.
MATTHEWS: Well, she will probably improve attendance at some of your meetings if she shows up. Let me ask you about the serious stuff now. Let’s go through the axis of evil. It seems like a handy way to go through what is going on right.
First of all, Iran. I mean, Sy Hersh has got a new piece. We are going to have one tomorrow, I believe, to talk about on HARDBALL, a front page story—a big story, rather, in New Yorker magazine about some “Redirection” of U.S. foreign policy. We are going to now divide up the world between Sunni and Shia. We are taking the Sunni side, and the Israeli side, of course.
But ironically, we have created a Shia-dominated Iraq—in the words of the king of Jordan, we have created a “Shiite crescent” of countries, starting all the way from Lebanon to Tehran. How can we be against the Shia when we gave them the biggest break in the world by giving them Iraq?
HAASS: Well, it was clearly the unintentional or inadvertent result of the Iraq policy, and the removal, not simply of Saddam, but the Sunnis from power in Iraq. That simply happened. But I don’t think, quite honestly, we want to have a Sunni policy or a Shia policy. That is a loser’s game.
What we want to do is have good relations with Iran, with Iraq, as well as obviously with the Sunni governments. So if we have to choose up sides, we have alienated a powerful constituency on way or the other.
MATTHEWS: As you look at it now acutely from outside the administration, do you believe that is what we are doing though, forming up a kind of a Sunni—a Saudi-led Sunni alliance with some sort of de facto alliance with Israel, because Israel is, of course, endangered by Iran?
HAASS: It is not that clear, because the administration is still trying to forge a close relationship with the Shia-led regime in Iraq. And even when it comes to Iran, the United States is no longer ruling out negotiations with Iran.
Clearly the secretary of state is talking about preconditions, that they stop enriching uranium. But it is interesting, the administration has moved over the last five or six years. Five of six years ago all the talk was regime change. Now they are talking about negotiations if certain conditions are met. That represents some movement.
MATTHEWS: I just heard Rudy Giuliani speak at the Hoover Institute at lunchtime today. And he made a very good point. He said, we have got to stop using the phrase “war on terror.”
The terrorists are waging a war against the United States. That is what is going on. And we are defending ourselves. We are not waging a war on the East or Islamic people or anything like that.
But he said, sometimes the world gets the impression we are the ones that are the aggressors when in fact, we are playing defense. What do you think of that analysis?
HAASS: Well, I think it is effective to a larger point. I don’t think we ought to be talking about a war on terror because it suggests that this is going to be fought on battlefields with military weapons, there is going to be end of it one day, a Battleship Missouri ceremony. It is not going t work that way.
It is much more like combating disease. It is going to be part of our lives for years to come. In many cases, the most important tools we have will not be military. So I don’t think it is terribly helpful to speak about a war on terror.
MATTHEWS: Well, even maybe a middle case, he said—not to beat his drum for him, he can do it himself. But Giuliani said today that he thought it was a mistake to continually compare the threat we face from Islamism or terrorism from the East with World War II, with, of course, Hitler and of course Pearl Harbor.
He said, compare it better to the Cold War, a long twilight struggle.
That is what it is like.
HAASS: Well, it is a long twilight struggle. But it is not even the same—we are not facing some powerful geopolitical opponent who can, you know, masquerade armies and ultimately control the large swathes of the Earth’s surface.
It is really the power much more to disrupt than it is to control.
And a result, we have got to push it back.
MATTHEWS: How do we deal with al Qaeda? Is—when you go to bed at night and worry about the world, because you are big thinker, do you worry more about al Qaeda, the people who hit us on 9/11, or do you worry about the Iranians?
The administration seems to be primarily worried about the Iranians. Who do you worry about, al Qaeda as an international organization, or the government of Iran?
HAASS: I would say more about terrorism, not simply al Qaeda, but its various offshoots, their ability over time to get a hold of various types of nuclear material or biological material, their ability to disrupt.
Iran is a nation state. It is a traditional threat in that sense. We have the address. We know how to potentially deal with it.
MATTHEWS: So if they try anything in the region, we can—and the people in the region, like Israel, particularly, could deal with them. But what about this thing—because I have heard this is what Tony Blair worries about, and I do respect Tony Blair.
That he is worried about the confluence of terrorism and nuclear weaponry. Not this nation state thing particularly, but this worry that you mentioned. How do we deal with the fact that there are Russians out there out of work, Russian engineers, there are physicists, there is nuclear technology available, it is already done, they don’t have to develop it, it is done, how do we keep it out of the hands of terrorists?
HAASS: Well, that is the biggest single challenge we face, Chris. And what is scary too is that we may not always succeed. So, yes, you know, we use our intelligence, we use law enforcement, we try to reduce the amount of nuclear material, lock it down.
But we have also got to think about playing defense. We have got to think about how—in the words of my colleagues here, Steve Flynn, how to make our society more resilient. Because the day will come, I fear, whether it is a New York, Washington, or some other city, that we are going to have some sort of a weapon, even if it is not a classic nuclear bomb, we could have some radiological weapon that could leave a city block contaminated.
MATTHEWS: Dirty bomb, yes.
HAASS: We are going to have to face that.
MATTHEWS: Some sloppy dirty bomb is more likely to be the weapon of opportunity than a real nuclear event.
HAASS: I think you are right.
MATTHEWS: Well, you are the one—I’m trying to figure what you know. I don’t know this. But thank you very much. Richard Haass, president of Council on Foreign Relations, which is now considering the nomination for membership of Angelina Jolie.
Up next, HARDBALL’s David Shuster with the latest on the Scooter Libby trial.
And later, actress and Darfur activist Mia Farrow, she is going to be on in a moment. You are watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. The judge in the Scooter Libby trial avoided a possible mistrial today by dismissing a juror who had been exposed to media coverage of the trial over this past weekend. HARDBALL’s David Shuster has the latest from the courthouse in Washington.
David, is everything smooth sailing now? They got rid of one of these jurors for talking—reading the newspapers or whatever. Now are we back on course?
DAVID SHUSTER, HARDBALL CORRESPODENT: Yes, that is what it sounds like, Chris.
I mean, there were some initial fears this morning that this particular juror may have taken this information and shared it with other jurors, thereby possibly tainting the entire jury. That was at least the initial fear the judge expressed in court this morning.
Then when they questioned the foreperson and then questioned this particular juror, they thought, no, it is isolated. The judge said that this woman—an elderly woman who was a retired art curator, that she came into this information essentially by accident and did not share it, did not taint the rest of the jury. So they simply dismissed her.
The most interesting thing today, Chris, was then when the judge decided, well, let’s figure out, do we move on with just these 11 or do we add a 12th, use one of the two alternates, which would then force the jury to start over from scratch?
All the notes they had written, any documents, any sort of timelines they had put together during jury deliberations, those would have to be pushed aside. The defense said, let’s just move forward with the 11 we have. The prosecution said no, let’s go ahead and follow protocol and add one of the alternates and force the jury to start from the beginning.
And the judge said, no, I’m confident that the jury should just go ahead and—the jury should just go ahead and take the 11 that we have, continue their deliberations. And that is what they did.
MATTHEWS: What do you make of the fact that 11 jurors may well decide a case that will put a guy away perhaps for 20 years? Is that going to be the basis for an appeal?
SHUSTER: Well, that is what is so interesting, Chris. Because the defense was the one who said, no, let’s just go forward with the 11 jurors. If it had been the other way, it had been defense who said, no, I want that 12th and the judge made the decision against them, then you are looking at a possible basis for appeal.
According to the rules, they can make a—they can render a verdict with just 11. They just cannot go down to 10. And the fear that everybody has now is that as this goes along, if the jury is going to continue deliberating for several more days before reaching their verdict, if they were to lose another juror, then they would have to go back to one of the two alternates who have been sent home and simple been instructed, don’t watch any sort of media coverage.
But suppose they were to lose another juror. They go down to the 10. They need at least one to bring it up so they can render a verdict. If they were to then go to the alternates who are sitting at home with presumably nothing to do, if those alternates in any fashion have been watching any media coverage, then they do not have another juror they can bring in. And at that point you are looking at a mistrial.
But the hope of course is that these 11 jurors will stay intact and they will be fine with these 11 and they will make a decision in the couple of days—Chris.
MATTHEWS: Let me suggest something. This juror that was dismissed today did something wrong. They did something wrong, knowing that they did it wrong, they were warned not to do it. They came in with some information they felt was exculpatory or whatever—incriminating, whatever, I would bet exculpatory.
Somebody had said, you know, well, there was never an original crime here, or you know, the thing they were keeping out of court, that there was no original—there is no indictment here on leaking the name of Joe Wilson—or his wife, rather.
What is going on? Why somebody would feel something was so important, they had to tell the foreman of the jury, knowing they were not supposed to do this one thing, don’t listen to the media, and certainly do not share anything you heard accidentally with anybody else in the jury, and this woman did this one thing they were told not to do?
SHUSTER: Right. Well, Chris, one of the things that has come up repeatedly in this case, that the judge has repeatedly reminded the jurors, that the issue of whether Valerie Wilson was covert or not, in other words, whether there were the grounds for the original charge based on the leak, the judge has repeatedly said to the jury that it is irrelevant to the idea of whether Scooter Libby lied...
MATTHEWS: Right. That is what I am thinking about here.
SHUSTER: . and obstructed justice during the investigation.
MATTHEWS: That is what I’m thinking, some.
SHUSTER: What some (INAUDIBLE) that that was—it is not clear that was the actual issue. But again, if a jury—if we think it is important, and if the judge is repeatedly having to remind the jurors, do not to pay any attention to this, it is likely that perhaps a juror said, hey, you know what, was there an original crime here or is this basically a perjury charge based on nothing?
And if that was what got into it, that would be a reason for the judge to essentially say, you as a jury, you are tainted, you have to get out of here.
MATTHEWS: Well, you have got to wonder who the buttinski was in this case and you have got wonder, maybe that juror is better off off of the jury if they can’t think, you know, consciously enough to do the one thing they were told not to do.
Anyway, thank you very much. We will talk to you later in the show. We will have more on this Libby trial and more with David later in the program.
Up next, the HARDBALLers will look at where the 2008 candidates are headed this week.
And later, a special HARDBALL straw poll on where Hollywood stands on 2008. We interviewed some people last night on the Red Carpet.
You are watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Big political news here in Washington and out on the campaign trail. Congress is still sorting out the best way to take on Iraq. More newspaper coverage of the Bill Clinton factor in 2008. And Al Gore gets lots of love at the Oscars.
Here to dig into all are the HARDBALLers, the Washingtonpost.com’s Chris Cilizza and Lynn Sweet of “The Chicago Sun-Times.” Lynn, “The Washington Post’s” Ann Kornblut is on this program a lot, wrote this big piece this weekend about, once again, Bill Clinton’s the target of conversation. Is this going to go away, or does he have to issue a statement of some kind, I’m not going to be a problem for my wife’s campaign? How’s this going to end, this buzz?
LYNN SWEET, “CHICAGO SUN-TIMES”: Well, he’s the elephant in the room. It won’t end. But there’s two parallel Bill Clintons here, one who’s out raising money, making appearances in certain places for Senator Clinton, just as (INAUDIBLE) for the New York Senate, and then this stuff that just won’t go away. My guess is the campaign knows this, expects it, factored it in. That’s why they responded so hard last week.
MATTHEWS: Can they keep saying, It’s his personal business, it’s his personal private behavior, it’s not relevant to Hillary’s campaign? Can that line hold?
SWEET: I think it can hold because if there is nothing more out there for people to say, then there is no place else to go with it, and then you’re just rehashing the past.
MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) against the fact that “if” is not a question anymore. They’re saying, whatever it is, it’s irrelevant. That’s a stronger statement.
MATTHEWS: They’re not saying he’s a good guy and he’s a good husband, they’re saying, Whatever he’s doing is irrelevant to this campaign.
SWEET: Yes. And that...
MATTHEWS: Can that argument work even if something does come up?
SWEET: I think it can work because that’s what they are laying the groundwork for. That’s what you’re seeing are the seeds being planted right now. Now, a lot depends if, you know, something happens...
SWEET: ... which we don’t know of, and I don’t want to get any...
MATTHEWS: I don’t want to, either...
MATTHEWS: I don’t know anything, either. Let me get—Chris Cilizza, that question—I noticed your newspaper, Ann Kornblut, made a point it was really a retrospective concern that the Democrats running against Clinton—Hillary Clinton, in this case—might raise impeachment. That’s not the issue. In all fairness, the issue is current behavior raised by “The New York Times” a couple of months ago and then raised again by David Geffen. Current behavior is the issue.
CHRIS CILIZZA, WASHINGTONPOST.COM: Look, I think the problem that the Clinton campaign faces is if you go out on the trail with Senator Clinton, and I’ve done it a few times in New Hampshire and South Carolina, she brings up Bill Clinton in the good ways—balanced budget and, Look at the prosperity that we had during the Clinton administration. If you are going to bring him up, make him and his administration and those eight years that they spent in the White House part of this debate, then you also have to accept the fact that it’s very possible that the other side of that, that your opponents will bring up some...
MATTHEWS: But why, Chris, did she bring up, I’ve had experience dealing with bad and evil—why did she make him the butt of a joke a couple weeks ago? Why did she bring him up in that way?
CILIZZA: Well, because I think what she’s trying to show—and again, she doesn’t tell me these things so I can’t tell you definitively one way or the other, but I think what she’s trying to show is that they have, you know, a marriage just like anybody else. They’re playful and that, you know, she can make fun of him and he can make fun of her. She made a joke about how he went and ate at too many Dunkin Donuts when he campaigned in 1992. I think it’s aimed at saying, OK, you think you know Hillary Clinton and you think you know Bill Clinton, you think you know...
MATTHEWS: Are you married, Chris?
MATTHEWS: And you think this is a playful (INAUDIBLE) I’m sorry. I’m going to end it right here. But there’s nothing playful about this topic. Let me ask you—let me go to the thing of Romney’s polygamist great-grandparents. I mean, I’ve got kids. Their great-grandparents—or my grandparents—and I grew up with them—it’s not like it’s, you know, back in the days of the Old Testament. Is this going to be an issue for Romney to have got a polygamous family in the fairly recent past?
SWEET: It does look like an episode out of, you know, that—that...
MATTHEWS: That Mormon story.
SWEET: The Mormon story, “Big Love,” right now.
SWEET: One of the things that he I’m sure is thinking of in his campaign is that the nation needs a massive education job in just what exactly his religion is about, even though it’s one of the fastest-growing religions in the country...
MATTHEWS: Sure is.
SWEET: ... and just what the heck the polygamous past meant in terms of explaining it, Chris, because everybody runs on their narrative, everybody runs on their biography, and he just has one that is going to need explaining. But I think that’s the least of his issues right now because a lot of people don’t even know who he is.
MATTHEWS: Well, the problem he has, Chris Cilizza, is that as recently as three years ago, he espoused a liberal position on the issue of abortion, which is a hot-button issue, as we all know, maybe the hot-button issue domestically, and now he’s espousing a position which is 180 from that. That’s a quick switcheroo, and I think that makes—but you know what? I remember growing up with Nixon running. He was a Quaker. It never come up as an issue. Romney, his father, George Romney, he was head of the—he was—he was head of, you know, American Motors. His issue was auto companies. It wasn’t that he was a Mormon.
SWEET: Clearly, it’s—lookit, it’s not just the Mormon church, of which a lot of people don’t know about, again...
SWEET: ... even though it’s fast-growing in the United States. But you got to admit that the polygamy thing is just something that people don’t understand...
SWEET: ... and when the church (INAUDIBLE)
CILIZZA: Chris, if you look at—we—you know, “The Post” does a poll monthly. If you look at—we ask regularly this question, Would it impact your vote if a candidate was black? Would it impact your vote...
CILIZZA: ... if a candidate was a woman? Would it impact your vote if a candidate was a Mormon? It’s a quarter of people who are willing to volunteer that it would make them less likely to vote for someone if they were a Mormon. You know, I mean...
MATTHEWS: ... more religious-conscious now than we were because you can say all you want about, you know, Kennedy back in ‘60 said, The Catholic Church isn’t going to tell me how to vote—well, I got to tell you, in the last 47 years, the Catholic Church has made a lot of statements about how people should vote and how they should behave, dealing with marriage, capital punishment, the war in Iraq. The Catholic Church regularly issues statements, the papacy does, on where the church stands on hot issues, sometimes on the right, sometimes on the left. They’re very liberal on economic issues, conservative on sex issues, liberal on issues like life and death and capital punishment. But they always have a position, and to say that your religion doesn’t tell you what the values of your church are—I wonder what kind of a position that is anymore.
What do you think, Chris? I think times have changed.
CILIZZA: Well, I think times have changed to an extent, but I still think Lynn’s basic point is right. I don’t think people think that if Mitt Romney is elected, the Mormon church is going to run out of the White House. I think they’re just—they don’t know enough about the Mormon church, and what they hear, they don’t necessarily like. I think he needs to go on a big education and informing campaign in the next three months or...
SWEET: And one other thing. If you think—and excuse me if I cut you off, Chris. I’m sorry.
CILIZZA: No, no, no.
SWEET: The Senate—the Democratic leader of the Senate is a Mormon, too. And I think this is just going to be a time when the American public gets educated on what the church is about and what they believe in. And the fact that you have a leading—the leading Democrat in the Senate is of the same church I think helps Mitt Romney because it makes people stop and say, Oh, OK, we have two leaders in it, former governor of Massachusetts...
MATTHEWS: OK, by the way...
SWEET: ... means something...
MATTHEWS: If the Republican Party were an executive search firm right now, they wouldn’t find any qualified candidates because the standards they cite—you know, pro-life, tough on capital punishment, support the president on the war, lower taxes, have a Protestant religion, probably evangelical is best, right—they don’t have anybody running like that.
CILIZZA: Well, Chris, remember, they always say that it’s not—it’s not you versus whatever great candidate the other party would like to put up. It’s you versus another specific candidate...
CILIZZA: ... best thing working for the Republicans...
MATTHEWS: Put it this way. They’re in Filene’s Basement and none of the shoes fit.
Anyway, thank you, Chris Cilizza and Lynn Sweet.
Up next, more on what’s happening on Scooter’s trial. And later, actress and Darfur activist Mia Farrow’s going to be on with us.
This is HARDBALL only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. The judge in the Scooter Libby leak trial—it actually is not a leak trial—averted a possible mistrial today by dismissing a juror who had been exposed to out-of-court information—in other words, the media—about the trial over the weekend.
For more on the developments in the trial, we turn to former federal prosecutor David Schertler and “Newsweek’s” Michael Isikoff, who’s also co-author of a fabulous book which tells you everything you need to know about this, “Hubris.” And standing by at the courthouse is HARDBALL’s David Shuster.
Let me go—let me go first of all to David Schertler. Does this surprise you that we’re going to get a jury verdict maybe in the next day or two from 11 people? Will that stand up?
DAVID SCHERTLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes, it’ll stand up. And there’s—it’s actually not that uncommon in the course of especially lengthy jury deliberations that you lose a juror. There’s actually a federal rule that allows Judge Walton (ph), in this case, to proceed with 11 jurors.
MATTHEWS: How low can it go?
MATTHEWS: Is that the minimum?
SCHERTLER: Yes. It can’t go below 11, unless the parties agree, and I doubt that the parties would agree to go with less than 11. But the judge cannot unilaterally go with less than 11. He has to...
MATTHEWS: Why did the—why did the defense ask for a—stay with the 11 and not to bring in one of the optional jurors, one of the alternates?
MICHAEL ISIKOFF, “NEWSWEEK”: Hard to know. They’re reading tea leaves. This—one thing we know about this juror is that she didn’t wear the same red shirt with all the other jurors on Valentine’s Day. So the assumption would be that the defense, Ted Wells, is making a gamble that he’s got a jury that’s paying attention to his arguments about the fallibility of memory and the conflicts in the other witnesses. He thinks...
MATTHEWS: Yes. And also...
MATTHEWS: ... I hear from David—David, tell us what you know about that next-in-line alternate juror?
DAVID SHUSTER, HARDBALL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Chris, the alternate juror’s the woman who sat in the first row of the jury box, and Mike Isikoff will remember her as the woman who had blond hair. She was paying a lot of attention, writing a lot of notes. But what’s so interesting, Chris, is during the closing argument offered by Ted Well, she was sitting there often with her arms crossed and sometimes sort of glaring at Wells when he was making this emotional appeal. So it might have simply been a strategic decision, Let’s not have her as the 12th because she might be hostile to the defense and pro-prosecution. But again, that just may be a gut feeling that the defense had about her.
MATTHEWS: Is it your sense, David, that this trial is going to a verdict? The jury’s going to sit around—not sit around—they’re—let me go back to you, David Shuster, now that you responded. Is this going toward a verdict? I have sense, maybe because I hear a lot of buzz, that it’s tomorrow. They had two days back this week. That’ll be enough. If they have a verdict, it’ll come tomorrow. If they don’t, they’ll say they don’t.
SHUSTER: Well, Chris, keep in mind that the jury sent notes last week only asking for office supplies. Despite the interactions today with the judge, which they had an opportunity, if they wanted to, to raise questions about the law, about the evidence, or to say, Hey, we’ve got a verdict on some counts but not others, they have not signalled in the least that they are stuck. So that would at least suggest that after three-and-a-half days, they’re going through his very methodically, maybe very slowly, but it does not suggest that they’ve run into any problems. And I think that’s what’s leading to sort of the anticipation that they should reach a verdict very soon.
MATTHEWS: Well, it seems to—let me—we’re into an area of speculation, but I’ve been there before. Michael Isikoff, the fact that they asked for a flip chart, they asked for tape, they asked for Post-its, suggests to me that they want to go through each one of the counts and each one of the—basically, the witnesses, because there’s several witnesses attached, as you all know, fellows, to each one of those counts—Matt Cooper, Tim Russert, et cetera. It’s pretty clear. You can look at the counts and say which person’s going to be believed and which was the most substantive conversation here.
It looks to me like they’re looking at each—at each case. There isn’t a blanket attitude by the jurors, or they’re not all saying, Hey, there’s no case here, these witnesses are not—they didn’t buy that theory from Ted Wells, which is, He who is without guilt throw the first stone. They’re all ready to throw a stone. They want to make sure they hit the mark.
ISIKOFF: Right. And I mean, that’s a fair assumption. Look, there are nine witnesses that Fitzgerald brought in there that testified to conversations about Scooter Libby that wee different than the way Scooter Libby testified to the conversations.
ISIKOFF: You can raise questions about almost every one of those witnesses, if not every one. In fact, Ted Wells did. And I thought he scored, particularly on some like Bob Grenier (ph), the former CIA official, who only remembered talking to Scooter Libby about the wife a year after...
MATTHEWS: ... a conversation with Walter Pincus.
ISIKOFF: Yes, or—or...
MATTHEWS: He forgot a whole conversation.
ISIKOFF: Fitzgerald’s argument was nine witnesses, look at the totality. Is this all a coincidence that they all testified one way and Scooter Libby another? But you know, the more—that’s what prosecutors always like to do, to lump them all together to show a pattern. But the more that the jury focuses witness by witness, the more it helps the defense.
MATTHEWS: OK, David, you’re the only totally non-political person here. We’re all totally political. You are an investigative reporter. David Shuster’s a fabulous political reporter. What are the laws of this thing? How’s this law look to you? Just look at it as any case in D.C. federal jury right now. If this was a regular case, what would the fact that they’ve been in there since mid-week last week, they’re sitting in there now, they went until 5:00 o’clock Monday, today, no sign of defeat, no sign of victory. What’s it tell you?
SCHERTLER: I think this is where both sides, and particularly the prosecution, start to worry that this could be a hung jury. The issue in the case is fairly simple. Did he deliberately lie? And they may be deliberate and methodical about it, but at this point, you’d think that they would have been able to answer that question. And if I’m the prosecution, I’m worried that this may be a hung jury, and that in the next day or two, we may get a note saying, We can’t reach a unanimous verdict.
MATTHEWS: In which case, the prosecution then has to decide whether to try again.
SCHERTLER: Yes. I think that always favors the defense.
MATTHEWS: Boy, that’ll be messy to go back...
MATTHEWS: It’s going to be so hard to come back with this.
ISIKOFF: ... an excruciating decision that Fitzgerald will have to make, whether to just—whether to retry this case, with all the controversy it’s brought, with all the questions raised about whether he’s taking this too far, or to throw in the towel, a really tough decision for him.
MATTHEWS: So a hung jury’s a victory, probably, for Ted Wells and his defense.
ISIKOFF: It certainly would be perceived as such. And of course, if there’s a conviction, the other tough decision is the president. Does he pardon him?
MATTHEWS: We’ll soon find out, of course, accepting a pardon is accepting guilt, and that’s a question. I wonder whether Scooter wants to accept guilt. I think he’s probably an honorable man. I wonder if he wants to accept it. We don’t know.
David—David Shuster, thanks for everything. Thank you, David Schertler. Thank you, sir. And thank you, Michael Isikoff. Name of the book is “Hubris.”
Actress and activist Mia Farrow on her recent trip to Darfur.
Actually, she was in Chad and the Central African Republic very recently.
More on what’s going on in Africa. It’s miserable.
Plus, a report on what Hollywood had to say about—on politics. We did a little survey on the red carpet of how they stand out there. It may be important to you. It is to me.
You are watching HARDBALL only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. U.N. goodwill ambassador Mia Farrow just concluded her fourth fact-finding mission to Central Africa, where hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and over two million are displaced or living in refugee camps. She calls the conflict the forgotten humanitarian crisis and is here to tell us what needs to be done.
Good evening, Mia. Thank you. Where were you, and when did you get back?
MIA FARROW, UNICEF AMBASSADOR: I got back about 30 hours ago, and I was gone for three weeks. I went first to the Central African Republic, and that really is the forgotten crisis. But forgotten implies that it was once remembered. Perhaps it’s more accurately the neglected crisis.
It is—if you picture the map of Sudan, Darfur’s borders touch with Central African Republic and also with eastern Chad. So I visited those two countries. Central African...
MATTHEWS: People are coming out of—the people that are coming out of Darfur, the people that are coming out of Sudan into all those neighboring countries, including, I hear, down to Kenya and Uganda and places like that—all those people come into those countries starving to death or scared to death. What happens? How are they greeted? Are they greeted with animosity, hostility or what?
FARROW: Well, in Chad they were welcomed by host communities who are already overstretched. There’s, you know, insufficient water, food and so forth. But about 235,000 Darfurians have fled, of all places, into Chad, which is so stretched for resources. But then over the last year, Darfur’s Janjaweed have now crossed the borders from Darfur well into eastern Chad and have been attacking Chadian villages in the same sort of way, you know, burning the villages, maiming, mutilating, raping, just mayhem, rampaging along Chad’s eastern borders, not only the refugees who fled there seeking safety, but the Chadian villages, as well. So...
MATTHEWS: Tell me about the...
FARROW: ... Chad is...
MATTHEWS: ... Janjaweed and what makes them so predatory.
FARROW: Well, they’re sponsored by the government of Sudan, and they’ve been let loose upon the civilian population of Darfur. It’s now been four years that they’ve been attacking Darfurian villages, and 80 percent to 90 percent of Darfur’s villages have now been destroyed. As you’ve said, 2.5 million people are living in camps, and 4 million are just displaced and on the run.
MATTHEWS: Well, what’s happening to Africa? I mean, it seems like just as the Sahara is growing and we’re losing vegetation and forestation, it seems like the refugee thing, like the horror that we identify with Ethiopia years ago—and I was over there for that with Mickey Leland—that that whole problem of just vast famine, and therefore refugees, and these gunman who seem to prey on these people, is just getting larger and larger as a pert of Africa.
FARROW: Right. But this is interesting because it’s not just about land, though that’s certainly a factor and an incentive for Janjaweed to want to attack the villages and claim the land for their own. They’re semi-nomadic people, and they’re like the—their migration routes. But it is also a genocidal regime which was responding to an insurgency in Darfur in 2003. Their response...
MATTHEWS: ... killing Christians? Is that what they’re doing?
FARROW: No, it’s Muslim against Muslim. And their response to an uprising was an all-out slaughter of the black African...
FARROW: ... communities. And so it’s Arab government against black African villages.
MATTHEWS: I see.
FARROW: And even though that seems an oversimplification, those are elements at play.
MATTHEWS: So what can we do, if we do anything?
FARROW: What we’ve got to do is we contact our leadership and we really have to push for a political solution. There should be a crack negotiating team over there addressing the very real needs of the legitimate rebel groups. And support our humanitarians, of course, who are there risking their own lives, aid workers addressing the needs of millions of people. And we need a peacekeeping force. Number one, first and foremost, the plea from the people of Darfur, of eastern Chad and Central African Republic was for protection, protection, protection. Even above their overwhelming need for water and food, the plea was for protection. So...
MATTHEWS: ... contact? We only have a couple seconds. Who do they contact, Mia, if they want to do something?
FARROW: Your state leadership, your senators, congresspeople. Say you care.
MATTHEWS: OK, thank you. And it’s about Chad, it’s about the Central African Republic, and of course, about Darfur.
MATTHEWS: Mia Farrow, thank you very much for coming on.
FARROW: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Finally tonight: Hollywood’s biggest party of the year, of course, was last night. It was also a chance for the stars to weigh in on who they like in 2008 in the presidential race. MSNBC’s Ashley Pearson caught up with some of them and took a poll.
ASHLEY PEARSON, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I’m Ashley Pearson, and I’m here for HARDBALL at the “Vanity Fair” Oscar party. The biggest celebrities in the world are here tonight, and they’re talking about the business of making movies, the best films of the year, and of course, what people are wearing.
But the big story tonight is the upcoming presidential race.
SPIKE LEE, DIRECTOR: The question, you know, is, is it going to be Clinton or Obama? That’s the one.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It’s early.
LEE: It’s early. Too early.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very early.
SUZANNE SOMERS, ACTRESS: Well, see, I like Rudy Giuliani a lot, and I also like Newt Gingrich a lot.
LAURIE DAVID, ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST: I think the race is very early, and I’m kind of—you know, maybe somebody else will jump in. You never know.
JEFF GOLDBLUM, ACTOR: I liked Al Gore tonight a lot.
REGIS PHILBIN, “REGIS & KELLY”: Well, gee, I think Barack Obama, you know, has got a lot of strong quality, and I think Hillary looks great. Yes, Giuliani has got a lot of vitality. I think it’s going to be an interesting race. But only Chris Matthews knows how it’s going to end!
JOE PANTOLIANO, ACTOR: You know what I’d like to see happen is Michael Bloomberg to run because he’s an—on an independent ticket with $500 million of his own money. Then he wouldn’t be beholden to anybody.
JAMES WOODS, ACTOR: But I have to say on both sides of the aisle, there’s some pretty good candidates. I mean, there’s Hillary on one side and Rudy on the other, Barack Obama. I mean, there’s some really interesting people who I really think (INAUDIBLE)
PEARSON: Can you tell me who you like and way?
GAYLE KING, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, “O,” THE OPRAH MAGAZINE: Give me a B.
Give me an A. Give me a R. Give me an A. Give me a C. Give me a K.
What does that spell? Barack Obama.
PEARSON: Well, Chris, we’re a year away from the first primary. We’ll check back at next year’s Oscars and see if things have shaped up any differently.
MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Ashley Pearson with the latest from Hollywood.
Right now, it’s time for TUCKER.
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