Guests: Jamie Reuben, Marion Barry, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Wayne Slater, Michael Fauntroy
TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC HOST: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama spent a lot of time this week explaining how they differ on foreign policy. The truth is both of them plan, if elected, to begin with drawing American troops from Iraq almost immediately.
But wait. What if the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff thinks that‘s a bad idea? He does, and said so, today.
Welcome to the show.
Admiral Mullen, Joint Chiefs chairman, said a rapid withdrawal from Iraq would create, quote, “a chaotic situation and turn around the gains we‘ve achieved and struggled to achieve and turn them around overnight.” Mullen‘s‘ term runs until September 2009.
That means Presidents Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama could take the oath of office at odds with their lead military adviser.
They continue to run on the platform of withdrawal.
Given that, in a minute, Clinton policy adviser Jamie Reuben joins us with an answer.
Also today, Clinton rolled out a chilling ad aimed at Barack Obama‘s readiness to be commander in chief.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AD NARRATOR: It‘s 3:00 a.m. and there‘s a phone in the White House ringing. Something is happening in the world. Your vote will decide who answers that call, whether it‘s someone who already knows the world‘s leaders, knows the military, someone tested and ready to lead in a dangerous world. It‘s 3:00 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep. Who do you want answering the phone?
HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I‘m Hillary Clinton and I approve this message.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: The worst part is, the call is coming from inside the house. You‘ve probably seen that movie. Just kidding. Obama calls this fear mongering. He says it‘s not about who answers the phone in the middle of the night, it‘s about judgment. He opposed the war, remember?
Will the ad work? Will they fear the prospect of Obama at the helm?
That‘s coming up.
I‘ll tell you about Hillary Clinton‘s gender-based appeal with voters.
This time it‘s an interview with ABC‘s Cynthia McFadden in which Ms. Clinton called the playing field unfair to women. She‘s played that card before. Will it work this time in Ohio and Texas on Tuesday?
We begin tonight with Democrats on a rock.
Joining us now is foreign policy adviser to the Clinton campaign and former assistant of state, Jamie Reuben.
Jamie, I appreciate your coming on. Thank you.
JAMIE REUBEN, CLINTON FOREIGN POLICY ADVISOR & FORMER ASSISTANT OF
STATE: Nice to be with you, Tucker.
CARLSON: Interesting moment in a conference call with reporters, Hillary‘s campaign talking about the ad we ran. John Dickerson from “Slate” asked an interesting question. He said, quote, “What foreign policy moment would you point to in Hillary‘s career where she has been tested by crisis?” Here is what “National Journal” happened next, quote, “Silence on a call. You could have knitted a sweater in the time it took the usually verbose Clinton team to come up with an answer. They came up with she‘s been endorsed by many high-ranking members of the uniformed military.”
Can you do better than that?
REUBEN: I think so. In U.S.-China relations, there‘s probably no more important issue more important to the U.S. going forward other than the Iraq war. What are we going to do about a rising China?
REUBEN: Back in 1995, the United States had to make a big decision, should we risk alienating Chinese by not sending Mrs. Clinton to china for the Beijing Women‘s Conference. And there was a major debate all over town. Democrats, Republicans, State Department, Defense Department. This was a very, very, very sensitive issue. Should she go and represent the United States.
And when she—the decision was made to go, it was a very sensitive trip. She had to thread the needle between, on the one hand, making clear our commitment to human rights, women‘s rights being human rights in addition, and not alienating a country that we want to move forward and develop a difficult relationship with. I‘ve watched a lot of diplomacy in my day, with Madeleine Albright, a number of other people. That was threading the needle and it was, in a sense, a kind of a crisis in the sense that if she made a mistake, it would have been heard around the world and would have been considered to be a break in a very important relationship.
CARLSON: I buy a lot of what you just said. I think she‘s probably a pretty good diplomat. She‘s certainly charming in person and she can stick to a message. That‘s hardly a call made in a crisis situation. Are you saying there was no consensus on whether to go to the women‘s conference or not and she said, you know what, I‘m going. Unilaterally, she made that decision.
REUBEN: No. I‘m saying the crisis situation—the issue is how do you handle pressure. How do you handle a moment when a lot of important consequences are affected for the United States of America? And that was such a moment, getting the needle exactly threaded for American foreign policy at the women‘s conference was something that had bedeviled State Department experts, White House experts. Nobody was sure how to thread the needle. She threaded the needle. She can handle pressure. That‘s for me, is what the issue is.
CARLSON: I definitely believe she can handle pressure. She‘s handling it pretty well right now. What do you make of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Mike Mullen comments today? Let me put them up on the screen. He said, quote, “I do worry about a rapid withdrawal. That would turn around the gains we have achieved and struggled to achieve and turn them around overnight. I‘m talking about a withdrawal that would be so fast that it would leave us in a chaotic situation, that the gains we have made would be lost.”
He‘s going to be the chairman if Senator Clinton becomes president.
That will be an awkward situation, won‘t it?
REUBEN: This country is a country in which the civilians make the decision and the military provides military advice. We have what‘s called civilian control over the military. And ultimately the real boss, are the American people. And this election in many ways is going to be a referendum on the future policy of the United States in Iraq.
Essentially, if you vote for the Republicans, you‘re voting for more of the same and staying for a very, very long time. If you vote for the Democrats, you‘re going to begin a withdrawal right away. It‘s the American people that are going to make that decision.
The general, the president, in a sense, is going to be working for the voters who are going to make this decision. They vote for the Democrats if the certain direction on Iraq, if they vote for Republicans it‘s a different direction.
CARLSON: Very quickly, NAFTA. I was interested to watch Tuesday night both Senator Clinton and Obama say we‘re going to renegotiate NAFTA, end NAFTA. Not one word was spoken about the ramifications of those decisions on our allies, our neighbors, Canada and Mexico both presumably would be hurt by that decision.
Has the Clinton campaign thought about what might happen, increased immigration, for instance, if we destroy the economy of Mexico, what we could do to our ally, Canada, by changing NAFTA?
REUBEN: Sure. We care about the relationship between the United States and our closest friends and neighbors. But before we end this segment, I just want to say that the point of all these statements and the point of our discussion today is that I believe that Hillary Clinton is the best qualified to be the commander in chief of the United States. And that‘s why I‘m so comfortable supporting her.
But as far as Canada and Mexico are concerned, they understand trouble is coming their way in terms of trade agreements. They have been watching the television set. They have been seeing what affects the trade agreements have. They can be renegotiated and I hope they will be.
CARLSON: Jamie Reuben, thanks a lot. Thanks for coming on.
REUBEN: Thank you, Tucker.
CARLSON: Coming up, we‘ve the latest, I mean, the last hour or two in the ad war between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. He sees a red phone and raises her. It‘s hot out there in the editing machine. We‘ll show you what we mean.
Plus, the Clinton campaign is worried about Tuesday‘s campaign in Texas. Are they worried enough to sue? Maybe. You‘re watching MSNBC.
CARLSON: Scare tactics worked before in elections. In fact they almost always work. Can Hillary Clinton make Barack Obama terrifying in times for Tuesday‘s elections? We‘ll show you the new ads, coming up.
CARLSON: Welcome back. The ads are getting good and tough in the final days of the Democratic primary season. Hillary Clinton had one out today, the red phone ad. You may have seen it. If not, here it is. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AD NARRATOR: It‘s 3:00 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep, but there‘s a phone in the White House and it‘s ringing. Something is happening in the world. Your vote will decide who answers that call, whether it‘s someone who already knows the world leaders, knows the military, someone tested and ready to lead in the dangerous world. It‘s 3:00 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep. Who do you want answering the phone?
CLINTON: I‘m Hillary Clinton and I approve this message.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Hillary Clinton at 3:00 in the morning is dressed with jewelry and makeup on. Why is that?
Joining us now to answer, senior editor at the “New Republic” Michelle Cottle. And the best selling non-fiction author in America—he‘s written, “American Fascism” and “The Secret History of the American Left” and “Mussolini, the Politics of Meaning.” He is Jonah Goldberg of the “National Review.”
Welcome to you both.
And congratulations on your book.
JONAH GOLDBERG, NATIONAL REVIEW & AUTHOR: Thank you very much.
CARLSON: Does that work? Do you look at that, Michelle, and you look at your children and say, holy smoke, hope someone is protecting them.
MICHELLE COTTLE, SENIOR EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW: I don‘t think it‘s that scary, particular as far as political ads go. She didn‘t follow it up, with do you want someone with experience or some loser who just came on the scene. It‘s fine considering her whole shtick is I‘m the experienced one ready to go.
CARLSON: And I never sleep. I‘m dressed, even at 3:00 in the morning.
GOLDBERG: And big Clark Kent glasses. I‘ve never seen those Clark Kent glasses. She‘s Super Woman.
CARLSON: This is the moment, I thought, Obama is going to win. He‘s run a better campaign. The moment, literally 45 minutes ago when I was e-mailed by the Obama campaign a response to the ad you just saw.
Let‘s put up the Obama campaign response in the last couple of hours.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AD NARRATOR: It‘s 3:00 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep but there‘s a phone ringing in the White House. Something is happening in the world. When that call gets answered, shouldn‘t the president be the one, the only one, who had judgment and courage to oppose the Iraq war from the start, who understood the real threat to America was al Qaeda in Afghanistan, not Iraq, who led the effort to secure loose nuclear weapons around the globe. In a dangerous world it‘s judgment that matters.
BARACK OBAMA, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I‘m Barack Obama and I approve this message.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: You can say at 3:00 a.m. you‘re not wondering who voted for and against the Iraq war. It‘s a nimble campaign that can respond that fast.
GOLDBERG: It‘s a great response. I hadn‘t seen it until you showed it.
CARLSON: I don‘t think it‘s been on television until now.
GOLDBERG: This first ad, Hillary Clinton in a pants suit. She‘s really George H.W. Bush, Pa Bush, ran the same ad against Bill Clinton. He lost terribly. I‘m more prepared, know the world, all this stuff. I don‘t think that sort of pitch works certainly not with the Democratic electorate. They are nothing going to be scared with fear of terrorism into voting for Hillary Clinton over Obama.
GOLDBERG: It‘s the wrong constituents.
CARLSON: This is aimed at lower-income women. Maybe it‘s because I believe that‘s Hillary Clinton‘s sort of last bastion of support. You don‘t think it works?
COTTLE: I think what has happened is Hillary bet the entire farm on that this was going to be an experience campaign. It made perfect sense because George Bush has proved a disaster and he had no experience and now we need somebody who knows what they are doing. You bet wrong. It‘s a change campaign.
CARLSON: I did bet on it. I always bet on campaigns and I bet that message would work. Democrats would take a look at Bush and say the problem is the guy came out of nowhere, no experience, I want someone different. Everyone is beating up on that theory now.
GOLDBERG: The problem is she must hate Obama. Obama couldn‘t have run if Hillary weren‘t in the race. What Hillary did in the initial months of the race, said there‘s no difference between anybody up here. We‘re all better than George Bush, any one of us would be better than George Bush, but I have more experience. Over time, people realized there‘s no difference why don‘t I vote for who I like, the person that inspires me, makes this a better country in terms of how I feel about it. And Obama wins that hands down.
CARLSON: Just because we‘re mean, I wanted to put up the most uncomfortable ad of the season. This is Ned Lamont, won the Democratic primary in Connecticut. He became the Democratic nominee but he lost to the independent Joe Lieberman in the end.
He‘s a footnote of history but has returned with this. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NED LAMONT, (D), FORMER CONNECTICUT DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE: Yeah, it me again. Oh, a little of this and a little of that. Come on, lighten up. We just have one year to go. But that‘s why I‘m calling, on behalf of Barack Obama. I think he‘s got the tone and the temperament to bring us together, to bring out the best in people and the best in our country. I think he‘s got the wisdom and the judgment to get the big things right and to get them done. Health care, energy, and to bring our troops home from Iraq. Just imagine, President Barack Obama stepping out of Air Force One in countries around the world. That‘s a fresh start for America. We‘ll be safer and stronger for it. Anyway, look, I‘ll let you go. All the best.
My name is Ned Lamont and I support Barack Obama for president.
GROUP: And so do we!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Because it‘s about the children. He‘s a human robo call.
COTTLE: That is the saddest—I‘m pained for Ned. He needs a day job. He needs more to do with his campaign. The Obama campaign, I cannot imagine, is...
CARLSON: There‘s a downside to being really rich, you‘ve got free time.
GOLDBERG: I know he‘s a multimillionaire but he looks like he should be fisting a bottle of Jack Daniels in a trailer somewhere. It‘s the most down energy, depressing, polishing your pearl handle revolver.
COTTLE: It‘s “Wayne‘s World.” Like he made it in the basement with a hand cam and had 30 minutes to kill.
CARLSON: I like it, something sort of charming about it.
COTTLE: That‘s because you‘re evil.
CARLSON: I bet you that‘s a late night favorite among stoners on college campuses.
We‘ll be right back. Some black superdelegates say there‘s absolutely no way they will switch support for Barack Obama, despite intense pressure from the Obama campaign and many of its supporters. We‘ll talk about a man who knows all about pressure, former D.C. mayor for life, Marion Barry.
Plus, Hillary Clinton holds a lead in most polls over Obama in Ohio.
Did the performance in last Tuesday‘s debate actually work? This is MSNBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I love him. He‘s a great man. He wound up getting an opponent because of his long friendship and support with Hillary. It was wrong, but he had robo calls into his district paid for by a local Republican consultant, which was an interesting little twist. As far as John Lewis, he‘s one of the greatest people in America, one of the last living active leaders of Martin Luther King‘s movement. And I want him to do whatever he needs to do. I think he‘s a wonderful man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Got to think that news of Congressman‘s John Lewis defection hit hard. They have been long time friends and allies. Will it create a domino affect of superdelegates leaving Hillary Clinton for Barack Obama? What is going on behind the scenes?
Former mayor and current city councilman, Marion Barry.
Mr. Mayor, thanks for coming on.
MARION BARRY, FORMER D.C. MAYOR & CURRENT CITY COUNCILMAN: How are you doing, Tucker?
CARLSON: Great. Congressman John Lewis, well thought of on the Democratic side, from Georgia, switched his allegiance, as we said, from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama.
Here was his interview with Andrea Mitchell in which he described how difficult that decision was. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN LEWIS, (D), GEORGIA: Forty-three years ago I marched across the bridge in Selma. That was much easier than the decision I have to make. But I had to make it.
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: You‘re saying this decision was harder than the Selma march?
LEWIS: It was much tougher.
MITCHELL: Congressman, you got your head beaten in. Your face was covered with blood.
LEWIS: But this is tougher. I‘m dealing with friends, people that I love, people that I admire, part of my extended family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Boy, Mr. Mayor, I don‘t know what to make of that. Endorsing Obama was tougher than getting beaten up on the Edmund Pettis Bridge. Do you buy that?
BARRY: I think you need to understand John Lewis. I understand him very well. He and I started a student movement together in 1960 in Nashville, Tennessee. He was at seminary and I was at the university working on my master‘s degree. He‘s a person of deep morale character, first of all, and deep loyalty. He does go back many, many years with the Clintons, even before ‘92, before they ran. They were political friends and social friends.
And most of the time in politics it‘s about relationships anyway to some extent. That is at that level relationships. So it was agonizing. Whereas to go across the bridge was not hard for John Lewis or myself or anybody else that went across because that was our mission in life. We felt that was something we had to do. We were called to do those kind of things.
Whereas with this situation, where once he made a commitment, he liked to keep his word. His word is his bond.
See the other thing I think was happening, Tucker, it‘s true with African-Americans and with women, there‘s an instinct to want to support your own in that kind of sense. But you also look at the larger picture. So I think there‘s always that tug-of-war. Even with me, a tug-of-war as to where you go with the situation.
CARLSON: How much pressure is there? I feel so sorry for the black
superdelegates that are pledged to Hillary Clinton. They are coming under
they are called names and I don‘t think that‘s unfair.
BARRY: I understand what you‘re saying. They don‘t want sympathy. We all adults in this world. I know what you mean by that. But you have to reflect the pressures of your constituency.
John was under tremendous pressure. I‘ve had half a dozen calls, what are we going to do with John? He‘s wavering, doing this and that. I suspect, I don‘t know this for a fact, I‘m sure Barack has called him, Obama called him four or five times. In fact, he‘s called our state chair here. I think there‘s pressure. That‘s what politics is about, though.
CARLSON: Are there going to be any sizable number of black superdelegates for Hillary Clinton after Tuesday?
BARRY: Not many. If you‘re an elected official, like I am or others, and your constituents are 65 percent, 75 percent for Barack Obama, you‘re not going to jeopardize your own political career by going against that grain.
Plus, the fact I think the Clintons are not running a good campaign.
It makes it more difficult to support them. I admire John Lewis.
CARLSON: We‘re going to keep the tape from today, Mr. Mayor, and see if you‘re right after Tuesday.
BARRY: That‘s what‘s going to happen.
CARLSON: Marion Barry. Thanks very much. I appreciate it.
BARRY: Thank you.
CARLSON: Hillary Clinton plays the gender card in television. Are things harder because she‘s a woman? She says so. Will that motivate voters to deliver wins in Texas and Ohio? Does sympathy work again?
Plus, Barack Obama tells a mostly African-American crowd that presents need to turn off the television, unplug the video games, help kids with their homework and not eat Popeye‘s for breakfast. What affect will this message have on Tuesday‘s election? You‘re watching MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: -- let‘s think of the future?
TODD: I think, with the last name of Clinton, she can win that argument. That‘s why she can go back—
MATTHEWS: Even with NAFTA?
TODD: Even with NAFTA, because she can say, look, in the Clinton administration, we created 22 million jobs. You know, they say those figures so many times over and over again.
MATTHEWS: Does she look like—is she the one that looks like she gave us the jobs or does Bill Clinton, who is now off the stage, look like he did it?
TODD: That could be part of the problem in why she‘s having a tough sell. But Obama hasn‘t exactly connected on the economy yet either. That, I think, has been what‘s helped her stay even on this turf.
BROWNSTEIN: She‘s not having a tough sell so far until Wisconsin. She has won this argument. If you look at white men, Gary Langer of ABC has accumulated all the exit polls up until Wisconsin. She is winning white men without a college degree by 19 points up through Wisconsin. College educated white men, he‘s winning by 17 points.
MATTHEWS: So it‘s almost even.
BROWNSTEIN: It‘s almost even. Then in Wisconsin, everything moved towards him. The question is, can she get it back. The polling in Ohio has her getting it back among the down scale white men. The thing to keep in mind here is that this is a diminishing piece of the pie. In the “National Journal” today, I have a long piece looking at how the Democratic coalition is evolving this year. White men as a share of the vote are down in every state—
MATTHEWS: I love your report. Older people are down too.
BROWNSTEIN: Older people are down.
MATTHEWS: Latinos are up. Blacks are up.
BROWNSTEIN: The big increases are young voters and voters over 100,000 K a year, way up in most states. In some ways, they are steering this campaign through the rear view mirror. Their rhetoric is not really in line with what the coalition—
MATTHEWS: Danger sign, you put up a big red flag for the Democrats. If the people participating in these primaries are more Latte, more educated than the average Democrat or independent, come November, Jimmy Brez (ph) used to say, those regular people think voting is patriotic. They don‘t vote for political taste. They show up because they believe in it as Americans.
what happens when the regular voters, the non-college person, the older voter, the people that vote regularly, they show up? Do they blanket out what has happened here in the primaries and kill Obama, if he‘s still the nominee?
BROWNSTEIN: If he‘s the nominee, he‘s going to continue the trend of Democrats running better up scale in the general.
MATTHEWS: You think this trend will continue?
BROWNSTEIN: It will continue in the general. But he may have a lot of—there are warning signs for Democrats about his ability to compete for down scale voters, especially women, especially on the security issues.
MATTHEWS: Has Hillary Clinton brought the races together?
TODD: I don‘t want to—
MATTHEWS: I‘m serious. White men choosing Barack Obama over her, what‘s going on here?
TODD: Well, I was just going to say, we don‘t know for sure if this trend from Wisconsin about down scale white men also moving over.
MATTHEWS: We don‘t know that.
TODD: I think what I‘m going to be fascinated to watch is, if it is Obama/McCain, McCain will plant himself in three states, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Those three states with a ton of down scale white men, they become that swing vote. Two of those three states have been reliably Democratic, two of the three Kerry and Gore both carried, Michigan and Pennsylvania. It‘s going to be a different map.
BROWNSTEIN: A class inversion.
MATTHEWS: Another case for putting Eddy Rendell on the ticket with Obama. It mixes it up ethnically. It‘s brilliant. The guy with the Barack name, a Jewish guy running with him. It‘s perfect. What am I? A king maker. Anyway, thank you Chuck Todd. Thank you, Ron Brownstein.
Up next, the politics fix. With just four days left, by the way, before the big primaries make or break events in Texas and Ohio, who is going to be the nominee on Wednesday morning. Can Hillary Clinton come back and soldier on? Is this Barack‘s to win? Can Hillary still win this baby? This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Time now for the politics fix. Wayne Slater is with the “Dallas Morning News.” Katrina Vanden Heuvel is with “The Nation,” and Michael Fauntroy is a professor at George Mason University and author of the new book “Republicans and the Black Vote.”
I thank you all for joining us. Here is Senator Obama with some tough love down in Texas last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: So turn off the TV set, put the video game away, buy a little desk or put that child at the kitchen table, watch them do their homework. If they don‘t know how to do it, give them help. If you don‘t know how to do it, call the teacher.
Make them go to bed at a reasonable time. Keep them off the streets.
Give them some breakfast. Come on, can I get an amen here?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: So, Michael Fauntroy, why now? Why that message of self reliance? It‘s a bit of softer version of Bill Cosby. What is it about? Why now in this election?
MICHAEL FAUNTROY, GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY: This is from the church of Obama. I will tell you that message has no particular public policy implications. He was speaking to voters not necessarily in that room, but to voters in suburban Dallas and suburban Houston.
MATTHEWS: Is he talking to whites or blacks?
FAUNTROY: He‘s talking to moderate independent white voters, because he didn‘t say anything in that clip that we saw, at least, about any policy that may come out of these things he‘s discussing.
MATTHEWS: Let me go to Wayne Slater. Why would that message of kind of a tough love, pull yourself up by your boot straps, get your act together, why would that sell? Among which communities would that work between now and Tuesday?
WAYNE SLATER, “DALLAS MORNING NEWS”: It would work best among African-American communities and maybe moderate and lower middle class white communities. These are two communities that are important, because he‘s got the African-American vote, 80, 90 percent here in Texas, certainly, and among those lower middle class whites, that‘s Hillary territory.
So you talk to these folks and get them. Having said that, I‘ve got to sense having gone to some Barack Obama rallies here and elsewhere, he could be reading the phone book and could be getting responses like that.
MATTHEWS: Let me go to Katrina. What do you think of that message? That‘s an unusual message to unearth—unveil right before a major primary, to give this self help message, not about what the federal government is going to do in terms of programming, not about foreign policy at a time of war, but how the average family should get its act together. I think that‘s unusual to do right before an election.
KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, “THE NATION”: I think he‘s talking to all Americans, Chris. One thing that‘s always struck me about the speeches Obama has given, and the one in Houston, one of the great lines he gets, and it‘s not about change from below, or we‘re all in this together, it‘s let‘s stop in this country having teachers teach to a test, this no child left behind.
I‘m telling you, the applause lines are huge. I also think he does both though, Chris. He was like the father preacher there, and having a good time. I think he‘s looking awfully comfortable in his skin as he moves into these two primaries. But he is also—does speak to the structural unfinished business of this country, where you have schools that are crumbling, and African-Americans and Latinos, particularly in Texas, who are being hurt by the lack of government attention and community attention. So it‘s both. It‘s both. He does both messages.
MATTHEWS: But Michael, he‘s not saying the government is on the way with more help for education at the lower, middle level or upper level. He‘s saying to people, get your act together. You can solve these problems. Give the kids a decent breakfast, help them with their homework, bring the teacher in, get involved in school. It‘s all hortitory (ph). IT‘s what you‘ve got to do.
FAUNTROY: Well, there are two things here. First, these comments are curiously Cosbyan, if you will.
MATTHEWS: Yes, they are.
FAUNTROY: These exact same comments were levied by Bill Cosby and he got vilified by some segments of the black community in that regard.
MATTHEWS: Whites love to hear it.
FAUNTROY: By the way, by the way, there‘s nothing wrong with the actual message, the question is the context. What are the public policy implications? Why is he saying this in the context of a political campaign, as opposed to --
MATTHEWS: What are the politics, not the policy, but the politics?
FAUNTROY: As I said earlier, he‘s speaking to suburban voters, not just in the primaries in Texas and Ohio, but also around Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and perhaps around St. Louis and other places like that in a general election.
MATTHEWS: I think, Katrina—you may disagree. Go ahead. I think he‘s saying to voters, more conservative Democratic voters, don‘t worry, I‘m not a radical. I basically share your bourgeois values.
VANDEN HEUVEL: What‘s bourgeois about wanting to build a community of family and kids an teacher to have --
MATTHEWS: Taking personal responsibility. That‘s not what he‘s saying.
VANDEN HEUVEL: That is not bourgeois. I think it speaks to African-Americans. It speaks to Latinos.
MATTHEWS: He‘s not pushing more government.
VANDEN HEUVEL: You‘re listening to part of his speech. It‘s one event. He does speak about No Child Left Behind.
MATTHEWS: I‘m asking about that part.
VANDEN HEUVEL: That‘s one part. I does speak about others. You can‘t have everything in one.
MATTHEWS: I ask you to respond to what he said right there, and what he said right there was self help. It was conservative.
VANDEN HEUVEL: Why is it conservative? I‘m a liberal and I want my daughter to go to sleep tonight and go and take her SAT test tomorrow. I want her to be safe. Public security, good education, families involved with government partnerships, communities; why is that conservative?
MATTHEWS: Because he‘s talking about what the people have to do for themselves, not what government can do for them.
VANDEN HEUVEL: Both, Chris, both. That‘s called movement politics. You have people organized to do—make change in alliance with good government.
MATTHEWS: All right. I‘m with Michael on my assessment. We‘ll be right back on the round table and more of the politics fix. You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: We‘re back with a round table for more of the politics. Here we are on a Friday right before the big Tuesday elections in Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont and Texas. I want to ask—I want to go to Wayne on the question down there in Texas; what do you think is the significance of the Hillary Clinton campaign running that ad about 3:00 in the morning, a woman answers the phone? Who do you trust at 3:00 in the morning to deal with an international crisis? What‘s that about now?
SLATER: I think this ad is a good ad down here. She‘s got to differentiate herself from Obama. One of the ways you do that is to say that she‘s got the experience. He responds, I‘ve got the judgment. This is aimed clearly at women, although it could be aimed at all Texans. It‘s an ad basically that I think is important.
What‘s interesting to me is the way the ad was made. It‘s a scare tactic, in a sense. But it reflects, as Ron Brownstein earlier said, the 1984 ad by Walter Mondale. Who made that Mondale ad? Roy Spence of Texas, who is now advising the Hillary Clinton campaign. It worked in that primary and I think it will help here bring those voters to Hillary Clinton.
MATTHEWS: Katrina Vanden Heuvel, the ad really pushed the idea at 3:00 in the morning, who do you trust?
VANDEN HEUVEL: You know, we‘ve lived with too much fear in this country in the last seven years. Fear can be used to divide people against each other. I‘m not sure those traditional security moms are there to be tapped the way they were in 2000. You know what, a mother could be picking up the phone to be told that her family‘s home is about to be foreclosed. I mean that. I think we need a new definition of security in this country at this time. It‘s both economic security and national security, but not fear-mongering all over again.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, Michael, the same question. The ads, they both have—in her case, especially, a kind of a menacing—you know what that voice sounds like. The other is a little more reassuring. They are both talking about fear at 3:00 in the morning. I wonder how many dog whistles are going off, how many secret messages are being sent here about 3:00 in the morning, worried about being burglarized, worried about the usual things. They‘re not worried about, you know, nuclear conquests.
SLATER: No, but Hillary Clinton is playing the only card she can play, and that‘s the experience card. I think she‘s at a point right now where she doesn‘t play these cards now, she‘s not going to have them next week or the week after to play them. This is part of the kitchen sink.
MATTHEWS: This is my question. Back to you, Katrina, why do you think the two Democrats are playing on what looks to be Republican territory. This is Rudy Giuliani kind of advertising, it seems to me.
VANDEN HEUVEL: Hillary Clinton is playing this card. I think, again, Michael is right. She‘s trying to throw, like FDR style, everything up against the wall to see what sticks in terms of a tactic or strategy. I don‘t see it working. I think, again, this may backfire. People in Texas, you‘ve got a lot of economic anxiety. You do in Ohio, too.
MATTHEWS: Certainly. We all know that. We live in a very dangerous economic situation right now. I watch the stock market crash again today. Wayne Slater, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Michael Fauntroy, join us again Monday night at 5:00 and 7:00 Eastern for more HARDBALL. Right now it‘s time for “TUCKER.”
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