IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for Friday November 21, 2008

Read the transcript to the Friday show

November 21, 2008

Guest: Rep. Janice Schakowsky, Rep. Dan Lungren, David Corn, Jill Zuckman

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Obama names his economic crisis team. Meet the "Four horsemen of the Apocalypse." Let's play HARDBALL.Good evening. I'm Chris Matthews. Welcome to HARDBALL. Leading off tonight, the new team. We're in the midst of the worst economic crisis in U.S. history since-well, since the Great Depression, at least-and a lot of people have been asking who's in charge. Well, tonight we have our first word on who President-elect Obama's economic and national security teams will be. NBC's Andrea Mitchell is reporting that the nominee for Treasury secretary will be Tim Geithner, who is now head of the New York Fed, and Bill Richardson expected to become the new commerce secretary. There are more appointments we're going to know about, and Andrea and NBC News political director Chuck Todd will join us in a minute to run through the new names on the team. I'm calling them the "Four horsemen of the Apocalypse." Also, there are lots of ways to show how awful the economy has been. Here are two of them, the Dow rallied today, gaining 494 points, almost 500 points. But even after that good day, the Dow has dropped just under 30 percent just since September 15. Since mid-September, we've lost 30 percent of value in this country. And consider this. Since CitiGroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo each received $25 billion in the government bail-out, their stock prices have dropped between 20 percent and 69 percent. Fear is gripping Wall Street. Who should be leading us out of this mess, President Bush, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, or is it now time for Barack Obama to take some responsibility even before he takes office? Plus, "The New York Times" is reporting that Hillary Clinton has now accepted the position of secretary of state. Leaving aside for a moment the leaks and the drama, our question tonight-Is this a smart move for Barack Obama? Will Hillary make a good secretary of state for Obama, or will she want to conduct her own foreign policy? These are interesting questions. Apparently, Obama is happy and he's confident he's made the right choice. We're going to hear two very different opinions on that point later in the show. Also, Hillary is just the latest member of the Clinton team to join Obama's team. What's with story with all the Clinton administration retreads? Well, that's a mean way to put it, what with all the veterans here. Was it experience in the campaign or change you can believe in? We'll have that in the "Politics Fix" tonight. I think you can remember the slogans each guy used. If you haven't seen the video, you might want to have a look at this, if you really want to look at it. We're covering it up a bit. That's Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska, having pardoned, as they say, one Thanksgiving turkey. She's doing an interview as some other unfortunate turkeys are being slaughtered right behind her. Talk about an unfortunate photo. Maybe it's the way they do things. We'll have much more on that and this priceless piece of video-we're going to show more of that for those who are ghoulish out there-on the HARDBALL "Sideshow" tonight. But we begin with word of Obama's economic and national security appointments. Andrea Mitchell, who always is the best reporter in Washington, anywhere in the world, in fact...


MATTHEWS: ... NBC News chief diplomatic correspondent, and Chuck Todd I call him Sweeney (ph) just for fun-is the NBC News political director. Hi, Sweeney.


MATTHEWS: OK, let's go. It is fascinating that after all these weeks of hell and horrendous economic news, we now have the shape of this powerful new phalanx of bright minds. Let's look at them as a package because they're going to work as a team.

The Federal Reserve-what is he, chairman-what do you call it?

MITCHELL: President of the New York Fed.

MATTHEWS: ... President of the New York Federal Reserve, Tim Geithner he's going to be Treasury secretary. Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico has found a way out of New Mexico. He's going to the Commerce Department. The big name on the list, ironically, is the old guy, Paul Volcker, one of the most respected Fed chairmans in history. He's coming on. He's an inflation battler. That's sort of his reputation. And Larry Summers is going to come on in some capacity. He, of course, was Treasury secretary under Clinton. OK, explain it without too much nuance. Give me the main strength here of this ticket. What's good about this phalanx of economic thinking that's coming in?

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, from the Obama perspective, what's happening is Tim Geithner. That is the new Treasury secretary. Commerce secretary, an important post for Bill Richardson, but the real player here, the player that the markets reacted to, is Tim Geithner. Larry Summers is a future pick, not a current pick.


MITCHELL: So Larry Summers did not get the Treasury post, but people in the Obama camp respect him highly, respect his information, his...

MATTHEWS: Was he too hot to handle because of his comment about women and mathematics aptitude up at Harvard?

MITCHELL: I don't think...

MATTHEWS: Was that the issue?

MITCHELL: ... that that was the issue primarily. I think they wanted change. The liked the youth of Tim Geithner, the public face that he represents.

MATTHEWS: We've maxed out. Is there a sense, Chuck-is there a sense in the new team of Barack's team that they've maxed out, as they say in politics, with Clinton people, just too many-Podesta, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera...

TODD: No, I really think...

MATTHEWS: ... Rahm Emanuel?

TODD: I think in this case, this was a stylistic thing between Geithner and Summers. We saw...

MATTHEWS: Younger?

TODD: We saw-not just youth and not just the idea that it's not a it's not a-it's a new name, not an old name, but Summers-this is a different job than when Larry Summers was Treasury secretary.


TODD: You've got to be this confidence face.


TODD: You've got to be this person...

MATTHEWS: It's emergency management.

TODD: Yes. So it's much different. I think you want the intellect of Larry Summers around. And folks will tell you-Andrea said this, that Tim Geithner-you know, first person he would call to talk about things and to beat around economics is Larry Summers.


TODD: And that might be where he fits best.

MATTHEWS: I have a sense...


MATTHEWS: I have a sense that people don't...

MITCHELL: We want to be very clear here. Summers is a future role, not a current role.

MATTHEWS: OK. OK. I have a sense that everybody I talk to in the money world doesn't know what's really going to happen now. We don't know how bad or how long this recession is going to get. It may not even be a recession. It may be a serial decline in our wealth in this country. There may be something really serious going on here, like happened in the '30s, where we're facing a very long time of downturn, where everyone's wealth is going to be lost. We don't know that now. We keep hoping it's just the business cycle. Let me ask you, is it smart to bring a New York guy in, just to be blunt about it, somebody who comes from Wall Street, somebody like Rubin, Bob Rubin, who was so successful with Clinton? Is there a sense that that's always the smart move, a New York guy, Wall Street guy?

MITCHELL: This is what Wall Street wanted.

MATTHEWS: That's what I mean.

MITCHELL: The New York Fed...

MATTHEWS: Another Wall Street guy.

MITCHELL: But he's not from an investment bank. One issue would be to not bring in someone who came from one of these investment banks, one of these banks that has been so troubled.

MATTHEWS: Because?

MITCHELL: Because they are controversial. They're tainted right now. He is a career official. He started in the Treasury in 1988. He served in three administrations under five Treasury secretaries, including Rubin and Summers. He came to the surface as the staff guy who was advising...

MATTHEWS: One last question...

MITCHELL: ... Summers and Rubin on the Korean (ph) crisis.


TODD: He's not a Wall Street guy.


MATTHEWS: But he's a New York-based guy, so he covers the market.

TODD: OK, but it's because the New York Fed is such an important part of our economy.


TODD: But that's what's the most important thing here is that he's not a Wall Street guy.


TODD: And I think that that...

MATTHEWS: What is he? What's his specialty?

TODD: The fact that he's...

MITCHELL: Crisis management.

TODD: ... a numbers guy and that he understood...

MITCHELL: And an economist.

TODD: And he is an-almost more of a think tank academic type and not a Wall Street guy.

MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask you this. Is one for-is he capable of giving an FDR-type explanation to the American people what's going on? That's what I find missing in Paulson. He can't get on television, like you, and boil the story down to a couple sentences that make sense.

MITCHELL: He's very articulate.

MATTHEWS: I know he is.

MITCHELL: He is a very attractive personality, and he, I think-they think, at least, will be a very good spokesman...

MATTHEWS: Good. We need one.

MITCHELL: ... as the chief spokesman for crisis management on this team.

MATTHEWS: You know what I do? I take him, I take Landon Parvin (ph), the best speech writer in a long time, maybe Mike Gerson, a speech write for President Bush, sit them in a room-sit them in a room for hours until they can come out and explain to my grandmother, if she's still around, and to me exactly what's going on and what we're going to do about it in the short run and what we're going to do about it in the long run. I want to know what the prospects are for relief...

TODD: You bring up a very important point here...

MATTHEWS: ... reform and restructuring. I want to know how we're going to do it. Roosevelt could do this for the American people in the "fireside chats," and it's really missing right now.

TODD: You bring up a very important point. There's always an emphasis on who the message people are going to be at the Pentagon, State and at the White House. There has never been an emphasis before on who are going to be the message managers at Treasury. That will change in this White House.

MATTHEWS: And I think the message is, in fact, in this case, to a large extent, the policy, because if you can't explain it to the average person, we're not going to get our confidence back.

MITCHELL: Well, actually, Hank Paulson has had one of the great, you know, PR guys, Jim Wilkinson, who worked at the White House, Condi Rice...


MITCHELL: ... who worked at CENTCOM. This is-not at CENTCOM, but he worked over in Kuwait. He is one of the real message managers...

TODD: He can be a bunker guy sometimes.


MATTHEWS: Let me move on. When's the new team going to begin to accept partial, at least, responsibility for the situation this country is in, Andrea? Will they wait until January 20? Will they begin to play some role in directing the economy?

MITCHELL: The significance of what we're reporting today is that Barack Obama, as Chuck has reported so ably, has realized that they cannot wait to roll this team out. So on Monday, Barack Obama will hold a news conference to introduce the economic team. They are postponing any roll-out of the national security team.

MATTHEWS: Oh. They want the focus...

MITCHELL: The economy is front and center. They want to reassure the American people, they want to reassure the markets, and they know that they have to get involved and already are. Dan Terrulo (ph), the economic adviser to Obama who may end up, by the way...


MITCHELL: ... as the National...

MATTHEWS: Economic Council head.

MITCHELL: ... Economic Council head-they're already getting involved...


MITCHELL: ... in brainstorming as to how to deal with the auto industry.

MATTHEWS: OK. Let me move on, Chuck, to something that is really political, and it ain't complicated at all. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton almost won the Democratic nomination for president. She won 18 million votes. She was beaten by a couple of points, basically, if you were looking at this as a sports contest, but Barack Obama. She's now going to be secretary of state. That's a done deal, right?

TODD: It's all but done. I-I-I-you know, they are-they are-they are being very careful not to say done deal for a reason. You know, you can never say something's done until the announcements happens.

MATTHEWS: Because they want the alacrity of the announcement, perhaps.

TODD: I think they want a little bit of that, but I also think they also don't want to step on Treasury, at this point. I actually think that there is something about moving...


MATTHEWS: Andrea Mitchell is my favorite reporter. Is she the next secretary of state?


MATTHEWS: OK. So that's done. Is there some deal that's been struck here in terms of responsibility? Because the secretary of state normally goes over there, accepts the fact that the president names the ambassadorships, the president makes many of the serious, big-time appointments at State. Have they cut a deal where she has more authority than usual in those areas of ambassadorships and top appointments at Foggy Bottom.

MITCHELL: Not to my knowledge. To the contrary, I think that the deal that they have cut is that she will be his secretary of state and she will be articulating his policy. And she will be loyal. She will be a team player. She will work with Joe Biden, who will have a big say in all of this, and I think Jim Jones as national security adviser.

MATTHEWS: OK. Will she be below or above or equal with Joe Biden, the vice president of the United States? Do you know, Chuck?

TODD: I think they're equals. I mean, I...


MATTHEWS: What does that mean, though? When they both go to the president and there's a dispute, does the president regularly say, Joe's in charge, regularly say, Hillary's in charge...

TODD: I think Obama...

MATTHEWS: ... or does he have to delineate it each time?

TODD: One thing that what we've all underestimated about Obama is his own self-confidence on foreign policy. This is why he wanted to be president...


TODD: ... was to run America's foreign policy.

MATTHEWS: You're Joe Biden...

TODD: So he's the guy...

MATTHEWS: ... you pick up "The New York Times," you get an idea...

TODD: Biden and Clinton...

MATTHEWS: ... you get a brainstorm.

TODD: ... are his two number one...

MATTHEWS: Who do you take the brainstorm to? You think of something about Darfur, the Middle East. You have an idea. It's cooking in your head. You get to work. You tell your chief of staff, Ron Klain. And who do you tell Ron Klain to get it to, Hillary or the president, Andrea?

MITCHELL: The president.

MATTHEWS: OK. Let's go...

TODD: No, I don't think...


MATTHEWS: Is there another deal in the works here-I'm just speculating here because I heard something late last night. Is there an interest on the part of former president Bill Clinton in becoming her replacement as senator from New York?

MITCHELL: I have not reported that.

MATTHEWS: Have you heard anything about that, a discussion like that?

MITCHELL: I have not.

MATTHEWS: Have you heard anything like that?

TODD: No. Everything I have heard is that everybody and their brother has been calling our friend, Howard Wolfson, saying, How do I get this seat? But beyond that...

MATTHEWS: So you believe it's open, there's no-there's no...

TODD: I think it's wide open...

MATTHEWS: ... interest by the former president himself.

TODD: I think it's wide open. I think you're going to have a whole bunch of...


TODD: You have David Paterson's own reelection you got to worry about, and Chuck Schumer is going to have a say. You know what? He will not want to see Bill Clinton on there.

MATTHEWS: Yes. I just-I just...

TODD: And don't forget...


TODD: This person has to run for reelection immediately in 2010.


MITCHELL: Well, Bill Clinton could be elected pope of New York state, but...

TODD: There's no doubt he could win it...


MATTHEWS: ... be elected president of Ireland!


TODD: The question is, is that what David Paterson thinks will help him get reelected? Don't forget he's running...


MATTHEWS: OK. I find it only fascinating...

TODD: All politics is local.

MATTHEWS: ... because the Clintons are endlessly fascinating and one never knows what's the next step.

MITCHELL: You've got Andrew Cuomo. You've got Robert Kennedy. Jr., for his father's...

TODD: You've got Caroline Kennedy, who may very well decide that she who's from New York state, who may decide she wants to get involved in politics.

MITCHELL: Stay tuned on that one.

TODD: Yes, I will...


MATTHEWS: You know, that's one of the great opportunities in American political life...

TODD: The line...

MATTHEWS: ... to be U.S. senator of New York. Never underestimate how attractive that position is, even to a former president, even to a Kennedy. There's nothing like being the New York state senator. There's nothing like it. You represent Wall Street. You represent the Empire State!

TODD: I have a feeling Chuck Schumer...

MITCHELL: There's New York...

MATTHEWS: ... is going to have a lot to say about this, and he doesn't want to be senior senator to somebody who's more senior than him.

MATTHEWS: You know, I thought of that in the second instance. But my first instance was, Wow, Bill's coming back to Washington. Andrea Mitchell, thank you.

TODD: Wow.

MATTHEWS: Great reporting, as always. You broke this story, didn't you, about Hillary Clinton.

MITCHELL: Hillary Clinton? Yes.

MATTHEWS: No, no. You broke the story. Take the accolades.

MITCHELL: Geithner is Todd's.


MATTHEWS: Excuse me. Congratulations.

MITCHELL: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Congratulations. What a team I'm on! I'm a lucky guy. So with the Obama team taking shape, how big a role should Obama be taking right now? The timing issue coming up. When should Obama walk out with his team and start giving orders and start setting policy? Or should he, like Franklin Roosevelt, let Hoover have his role and come in on inaugural day and not a minute sooner? We're talking now who's in charge right now. Are we falling between the cracks? You're watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Joining me now, Democratic congresswoman Jane (ph) Schakowsky of Chicago and Republican congressman Dan Lungren of California. Let me ask you both about this big question. Who should be in charge right now, Congressman Lungren? Is your team, the Republican team, still running the economy? And if so, what a situation that is. And do the Democrats begin to accept some measure of responsibility for the hell we're going through? The market is bouncing up and down like a slinky. It went up 500 points today, but you can predict Monday will be a bad day. Every other day seems terrible.

REP. DAN LUNGREN ®, CALIFORNIA: Well, Chris, I'd say this. Yes, it's important that people get an idea of what Senator-soon to be president-Obama wants to do. And I think it's of interest to what his economic team is going to be, who his economic team is going to be. But I happen to be one of those who believes that institutions are important and that the office of the presidency and the Congress and positions in the cabinet are more important than the celebrity or the person that may be in them at any one time. And I think it would be wrong for us to suggest that somehow, a current sitting president of the United States loses all his power, is not, in fact, in charge at a particular time, and somehow, people who don't-who are not vested with the constitutional power yet are somehow acting. So I'm one of those who understands the urgency of the matter, but I also think it's extremely important for us for the long-term interests of the United States not to confuse who's in office and who's not in office.

MATTHEWS: So basically, you think the president of the United States should retain the ultimate, and in fact, the vigilant responsibility for the American economy until the day he leaves office.

LUNGREN: Well, I happen to believe in the Constitution, Chris.

MATTHEWS: I agree...

LUNGREN: It's an inconvenient truth at times for some people, but I happen to think it's extremely important. Yes, there ought to be collaboration to the extent possible between the incoming president and the current president, and hopefully, we'll have not only a peaceful transfer of power but an effective transfer of power. We have to show that we are above partisan politics, I hope, both of those of us in the Congress and the outgoing and incoming people in the administration. I mean, I think that's...


LUNGREN: That would give more confidence to the American people...


LUNGREN: ... that somehow trying to make points right now.

MATTHEWS: Well, here's the problem. Let me have the Congresswoman Schakowsky answer this question. Here it is. In today's "New York Times," Paul Krugman wrote-and he's a liberal-"The interregnum of 1932 to 1933, that long stretch between the election and the actual transfer of power between Hoover and Roosevelt, was disastrous for the U.S. economy, at least in part because the outgoing administration of Herbert Hoover had no credibility, the incoming administration of Franklin Roosevelt had no authority, and the ideological chasm between the two parties and the two sides was too great to allow concerted action. And the same thing is happening now."

Is that how you see it, Congresswoman, that the attitude, the point of view economically and politically of President-elect Barack Obama is so adversarial to that of President Bush, they can't work together between now and January 20 to save the economy?

REP. JANICE SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: Clearly, the appointments that were announced today and that are going to be formalized on Monday are an example of President-elect Barack Obama having an influence already on the economy. You saw what happened to the markets. The markets actually like Tim Geithner. You saw the dramatic rise. I think we'll hear statements on Monday that indicate the direction that they want the economy to go.

Hopefully it will be a soothing kind of message that help is on the way. But we've already seen some softening in the Bush administration agreeing to an extension of unemployment insurance benefits. The Congress is going back in December.

We're going to hopefully deal with the auto industry. One out of 10 jobs is related to the auto industry. It would be very helpful if the Bush administration would soften on their approach to helping them out, too.

MATTHEWS: What do you think you would do if you were Barack Obama right now? Would you be on the phone with President Bush urging him to take steps like aid to the auto industry and say, look, if you don't do it, I'll do it. You might as well start the ball rolling?

How would you approach the next couple of months? Look, we've got all of December ahead of us. We've got two-thirds of January ahead of us. That's almost two months, in fact, two months if you add it all up including this next thanksgiving week, all the way before we have a new man, a new person at the switches. What are we going to do in this interregnum? Who is in charge-I'm not clear what you're saying.

SCHAKOWSKY: First of all, I think even Ben Bernanke agrees that what really has to happen is a major stimulus package. The Democrats, the president-elect have all talked about that, and right now it does seem, because of the reluctance of the president, that that's going to have to wait until January. We'll be ready to hit the ground with it by that time. If the president-he knows what President-Elect Obama wants to do, and I think certainly what the country needs to have done, a major, major stimulus package, jobs, help for the states, health care, food stamps. These are the things that will actually get the economy going and the Bush administration has been stubbornly against those things.

MATTHEWS: Well, Congressman Lundgren, should the Bush administration respond to this jawboning? You're getting this loud, a lot more than a whisper of calling for an auto bailout. I think that's what Barack Obama may have talked to the president about when he was visiting him a couple of weeks ago. Nothing has happened. You've got the stimulus package where Barack Obama says if you don't do it on your watch in the lame duck, I'm going to do it when I get in there. Should that be enough oomph for the president, who's still our president as you point out, to do something?

LUNDGREN: The best news I've heard is that the Obama is team is looking at some sort of prepackaged program that would actually use the bankruptcy code to deal with what's happening in Detroit. I've been one of those who has said the bankruptcy law which I helped write some 15 or 20 years ago so that it could take care of situations such as this where you can put everything on the table and you can have the kind restructuring that frankly doesn't look like Detroit wants to do unless there is some-there are forces on the outside to require them to come to the table to do that. As I say, when I see that that's what the Barack Obama campaign people or transition team is looking at, that at least gives me some hope that they understand that a $25 billion bailout with frankly questionable terms and with those in Detroit responding, they don't know if that's going to help. They don't know if that's going to be enough. They don't know how they're going to use it. They seem to be like Secretary Paulson when he first came to us asking for the $700 billion, give us all this money and have faith. I just remember Ronald Reagan's words, trust but verify. We've got to look at what the circumstances really are there. And I'll repeat what I've said before. There are many, many American workers building American cars that are being purchased by Americans today. They just don't happen to have the names of those companies in Detroit. Some companies have made an effort to try and find what the American people want, and also have tried to find how they are able to function in the global economy. If we forget that lesson, any kind of bailout package is not only not going to be successful but it will make matters worse.

MATTHEWS: Look, I'm trying to get a simple answer. Who's still in charge, Congressman Lungren. Real simple, is Bush in charge or Obama in charge?

LUNGREN: I follow the constitution. George Bush is the president of the United States.

MATTHEWS: Bush is in charge. Congresswoman Schakowsky, who's in charge, Bush or Barack?

SCHAKOWSKY: Well, I think that bush is in charge, but right now what he's playing is a role of obstructing an effort to really bail out the economy and Barack Obama is doing all he can to make sure that we ameliorate the situation until he takes over.

MATTHEWS: You are saying Barack Obama is acting as economic policy leader for the country but Bush isn't taking his instructions? Is that what you're saying? I am trying to figure out what role you think he is playing right now.

SCHAKOWSKY: I would say that. And I would also say that the Democrats have been very clear to Detroit and to the auto industry that by December 2nd they have to come up with a clear plan. Look, we cannot twiddle our thumbs. That's how you began, Chris, saying this is an emergency situation. I think Barack is doing all he can to move this administration.

MATTHEWS: OK. I think we have the problem at hand here. The problem is we have an interregnum, we have a gap between the outgoing administration and incoming administration and they have not figured out how to deal with this transition between them. We have a country not in firm hands right now, not because of the Constitution is failing us, because the politicians haven't figured out how to do the handoff. We're stuck in the middle, we're falling between the cracks. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, thank you. Congresswoman Dan Lungren (SIC), thank you. Up next, the most bizarre turkey pardoning ceremony ever seen on television. Sarah Palin pardons a turkey, then holds a TV interview as the birds that didn't get pardoned meet their fate behind her. This is sort of like Scooter Libby getting a pardon while the other guys are getting executed. It's very interesting. We'll have the video for you if you want to watch. You know you're going to watch. We'll be back with HARDBALL after this.


MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Time for the "Sideshow." Say this for Sarah Palin, she knows how to get attention. Here's the Alaska governor just yesterday participating in one of those Thanksgiving-time turkey pardonings in Wasilla, Alaska. But if you don't mind too much, take note of what's going on behind Governor Palin when she steps out of that hatchery to give that post-pardon interview, something very different from a pardoning. Something to do with the French revolution, if you will. You know, the guillotine stuff? Be warned. We've covered the leg twitching, but the video is out of the spirit of a pardoning.

GOV. SARAH PALIN, ® AK: It's nice to get out and do something to promote a local business and just to participate in something that isn't so heavy-handed politics that invites criticism. Certainly I will probably invite criticism for doing this, too, but at least this was fun.

QUESTION: What are you going to cook for thanksgiving?

PALIN: I'll be in charge of the turkey. Yeah. My sisters and the mom will bring everything else. But I'm always in charge of the turkey. I'm where I need to today to prepare for that.


MATTHEWS: I guess she wasn't disturbed by that thrashing about behind her where they jam the turkey into this funnel and cut its head off, all while she's talking. By the way, Governor Palin was asked whether she wanted to change the backdrop during the interview. She didn't see the problem. But would you pardon Scooter Libby, for example, like she did that lucky turkey with an unlucky Scooter getting executed right behind him? Next, Chicago's bid for the Summer Olympics got a big boost from a hometown celebrity today. Guess who. Get a look at the video sent to the Olympic committee.


BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT-ELECT: I deeply believe in the Olympic mission and have long supported hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Chicago. As president-elect, I see the Olympic and Paralympic Games as an opportunity for our nation to reach out, welcome the world to our shores and strengthen our friendships across the globe.


MATTHEWS: That wasn't Fred Arneson (ph), by the way. That was him. Barack Obama. Here is another reason Obama may be stumping to have Chicago host the games in 2016, provided that he wins reelection in four years, the 2016 games would take place during the last year of his second term as president. That's quite a last hurrah for him. Time now for the big number. It's been a bad couple of years for republicans including in the South. The region where it still dominates. It turns out even in that region the GOP's strength is dropping. By how much? Fourteen seats in the U.S. House of Representatives in the last two elections. The GOP's 14 southern seat losses in the 2006 and 2008 elections, tonight's big number. Up next, Hillary Clinton's nomination to be secretary of state is on track according to an Obama aide. And "The New York Times" says she's accepted the position. Is it a smart move for Obama to make Hillary his secretary of state? That debate is next. Apparently the deal is on, the debate continues. You're watching HARDBALL only on MSNBC.


MARGARET BRENNAN, CNBC ANCHOR: I'm Margaret Brennan with your CNBC market wrap. Stocks rallied after NBC News that Federal Reserve Bank President Tim Geithner will be named to be treasury secretary on Monday. The Dow Jones Industrials soared 494 points, closed back above the 8,000 benchmark level it crossed earlier this week. The S&P 500 gained 47 points and the NASDAQ jumped by 68. Citigroup shares fell to a new 15 year low, though, as analysts say the banking giant may be forced to merge or sell some of its prized businesses. Citigroup closed at $3.77 a share. And General Motors announced it will extend a holiday shutdown or make other production cuts at five factories in an effort to save cash. GM, Ford and Chrysler are hoping that congress will approve a $25 billion bailout package come January. That's it from CNBC, first in business worldwide. Now back to Chris and HARDBALL.

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. President-Elect Barack Obama is expected to name Senator Hillary Clinton as his next secretary of state, in fact his first one, perhaps his only one, after Thanksgiving. Is this a shrewd move politically? With us "Mother Jones'" David Corn and "The Chicago Tribune" Jill Zuckman. I've fascinated by this. It's the first real surprise of my adult life. I love to say I can predict elections. I can get them pretty close. I predict the Senate wins. I know something about politics. I can at least predict it five days ahead. I had no idea they were that close. I had no idea they had forged such a tie of trust that he's given her the jewel in the crown, secretary of state.

JILL ZUCKMAN, "CHICAGO TRIBUNE": You can't read his mind yet.

MATTHEWS: I can't read his mind.


MATTHEWS: You've got to tell me how it happened. I want reportage and whether it's smart.

ZUCKMAN: They've clearly been talking about this for a while. This has been going on in the background, somewhat quietly, not so quietly .

MATTHEWS: Did this start at Diane Feinstein's house with nobody in the room? Although you won't get vice president, anything else you want? Come to me? Is there something like that? Do we have any reporting on that? Has she shared that with anyone?

ZUCKMAN: Not that I know of, and I would be surprised if that began at that point. I think that was a little too early. I think things were probably a little too raw for Senator Clinton. But I think it's not a bad idea. She is well-liked throughout the world. The Clintons have a great reputation worldwide. He wants an emissary who can go out there and be respected. And I think she will be.

MATTHEWS: His policy, her policy, some combination of his/hers and his, Bill's? Whose policy will it be that brings us peace in the Middle East, that brings us hope for Darfur, that brings us some sort of deal with Iran that avoids a big war? Whose policy? Simple question. I want a simple answer. Whose policy will it be?

ZUCKMAN: President Obama's.

MATTHEWS: David Corn, you think this is a lousy idea, right?

DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES": I agree on the policy front there really isn't much difference.

MATTHEWS: Well, there was during the Iraq War. You and I talked about that for seven years.

CORN: Yeah, yeah. But where they are now, despite the fact that they try to gin up these differences on the campaign trail, I think in all those issues you looked at there's not a big difference. And I do believe that she will take the lead from President Obama in terms of public policy. You know, the concern I have and the question I raised in a blog I wrote is, why does Barack Obama want to bring the Clinton circus into his tent? If you look at the way she managed her campaign, if you look at just the general political style of the Clintons.

MATTHEWS: That's my concern which I have voiced.

CORN: You and I agree with this. She always surrounds herself with people who throw a lot of elbows-there is a lot of leaking, there is a lot of scheming. And so, why do you want to.


MATTHEWS: OK. This is it. This is the heart of it.

CORN: Why do you want that.


MATTHEWS: When you're alone with Hillary Clinton, I don't care if you're on a row-plane with her or lucky enough to have a meeting with her, she is brilliant, charming, and absolutely wonderful as a human being. The minute you walk out of the room, you're surrounded by this Clinton world, these people that-you know, Howard Wolfson and Philippe Reines and all of these-and Sid Blumenthal, all of these people, and Lanny Davis, they're all over the place all talking and arguing and demonstrating and whatever. It's a.

CORN: The question.

MATTHEWS: It is a menagerie of people. Jill, you're laughing. You know it's true. It isn't just Hillary Clinton. You get the world with her.

CORN: But the question is whether these people can be loyal to the Obama White House, more so than the Clintons.

MATTHEWS: When they never were.

CORN: And I don't think they can be, by and large.


MATTHEWS: Can she bring her world (ph) aboard?

JILL ZUCKMAN, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE: That's the big question. How many people is she going to get to bring into the State Department with her? I think that's up in the air. I mean, President Obama is going to do that.

MATTHEWS: Well, wait a minute.

CORN: Well, that will be.


MATTHEWS: That's a different question. Can she make her crowd loyal to Barack? Or will her crowd stay adversarial? Before-they shouldn't get any appointments anyway unless the president appoints them, but go ahead.

ZUCKMAN: No, I think they are.

MATTHEWS: Unless they're her immediate staff.

ZUCKMAN: They're Democrats. He won. He's going to be the president.

I think that they will be-I think they will fall in line.

CORN: Well, I would say, isn't it pretty to think so.


CORN: Because.


MATTHEWS: That's from "The Sun Also Rises." That's Jake Barnes who said that.

CORN: Hemingway, yes, that's the last line in the book, I believe, or close to it. But look, as we've seen in both Republican and Democratic administrations, the State Department is always struggling, if not at war, with the White House or the National Security Council, with the Pentagon over legitimate issues.

And I just look at the Clinton crowd coming in there and acting the way it has on the campaign and in the past in term of politics, and I say, this isn't good for the republic.



MATTHEWS: Don't you hear the calliope playing when you think about the Clintons?


MATTHEWS: Don't you hear, da-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na?

ZUCKMAN: You know what I.

MATTHEWS: Don't you hear that calliope from the carnival when you hear of the Clinton world coming in there? You don't, you don't hear it.


MATTHEWS: You don't have to say you do.

ZUCKMAN: No, but you know, when I heard about this, the thing that I thought about was that forum that all of the Democrats did. And one of the questions was about Darfur. And Senator Clinton had the best answer of anybody up there. She went, one, two, three, four, five, these are all of the things we need to do there. I think she's very well-versed on the issues and I think she's clearly a hard worker. She has been well-respected senator. I think she has a lot of potential to do a good job.

MATTHEWS: Who would be in charge, the president, the national security adviser, the vice president, or Hillary Clinton? In most administrations, it starts with the president, it has to do with the vice president sort of in a collegial relationship, national security adviser, they set policy in the White House, then the State Department carries it out. That's the way it has evolved. Is that the right way it will work in this administration?

CORN: Well, I pity the national security adviser because that person's job is to basically coordinate.

MATTHEWS: Susan Rice maybe.

CORN: Well, if it's Susan Rice or General Jim Jones, maybe if you put Hillary Clinton in, you'll have to have a general in the White House to keep things in line. But, you know, that person is going to have to, you know, coordinate a lot of heavy hitters and throw in the vice president, who just like with Dick Cheney, Joe Biden has a lot of strong ideas on foreign policy. And he is not just going to want to sit back and say, Hillary, you take it.

ZUCKMAN: Right, exactly. Right. And she.

MATTHEWS: The sun never set on the Clinton empire.


ZUCKMAN: Oh, my God. And.

MATTHEWS: Did it ever set?

ZUCKMAN: And to follow up on the Biden idea, Senator Clinton is extremely close to Joe Biden.

MATTHEWS: But who is the boss?


CORN: We hope.

MATTHEWS: And then among.


CORN: We hope he's the boss.

ZUCKMAN: Oh, between Obama and Clinton?

MATTHEWS: No, no, between-don't.

ZUCKMAN: I mean, between Biden and Clinton?

MATTHEWS: Don't play me here.


MATTHEWS: Who would be, the vice president? Cheney was clearly in charge of everything known to man. But in this case, would-Joe Biden took credit during the campaign of being the foreign policy expert, the maven. He said when he came in he would help with crises, which he was notoriously famous for having said. Is he going to be the chief foreign policy guy or the secretary of state will be?

ZUCKMAN: I think it's a.

MATTHEWS: There are different models here.

ZUCKMAN: Yes, there are. And we're going to-and Senator Obama has talked a lot about wanting to do things differently. You know, with this campaign, this whole no drama mantra, I mean, we'll see, it hasn't been working so well in the transition.

CORN: Hey, it's good for business, our business.

MATTHEWS: Well, this week has been dramatic. Anyway, we'll see. I mean, maybe it's not all of their fault because I think with all of the hands in the stew here-or spoons in the stew the last couple of weeks, so many, 50, 60, how many people involved in this transition, they're all talking and they all have old relationships with the press. And the tradecraft of our business is to work those old relationships, right? That's why all of this stuff is leaking. Let me explain it to you. Old relationships mean relationships of trust. That means people will leak to reporters knowing their names will not appear in the paper. And since there is a couple of hundred people involved in this transition, you can always hide from responsibility, especially if you have got a good relationship with a reporter. That's a secret that everybody has in this city. Thank you, David Corn. Thank you, Jill Zuckman. With the economy getting worse, what does Barack Obama and his new economic team, I call them the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, need to do to right now stop the bleeding? The "Politics Fix" coming up next.


MATTHEWS: Ahead on HARDBALL, Barack Obama says we have one president at a time. But when that president is missing in action with an economic crisis afoot and getting worse, isn't it time for Obama and his new to accept some role in all of this? HARDBALL returns after this.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL and the "Politics Fix." Joining me tonight, MSNBC political analysts Michael Smerconish and Michelle Bernard. Let's have one minute on the turkey kill. What did you make of that, Michael? All day long on MS, I'm sure elsewhere, we watched Sarah Palin, that lady of the country, proving her rural roots, talking without a blemish, without a pause, as turkeys were being assassinated right behind her. What do you make of that, Michael? That's the difference between city mice and country mice right there.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It was sent to me by a 20-something producer for my radio show. Truth be told, I had to watch it twice because I was convinced it was a spoof and that it could not be real. I thought it was Tina Fey, honestly, Chris. It's amazing to me.


MATTHEWS: What I like was the thrashing-well, I didn't like it. What I noticed was the thrashing by that turkey upside-down in that funnel getting decapitated, getting the Marie Antoinette treatment. And all the noise behind her, and she doesn't move. You see jumping around behind her where you don't cover it up. That's a turkey fighting for its life, and she's just looking great in the Burberry-what is it called, Burberry.


MATTHEWS: Scarf, looking great. Just calm and casual.

BERNARD: Doesn't miss a beat. Just keeps on chatting like whatever. Turkeys are being killed.

MATTHEWS: I know, but it's different, you know, they don't do that-they don't do that in the burbs, Michael. Let me ask you about Hillary Clinton. I would guess that that part of the country where you represent so well, that southeastern part of Pennsylvania, that this is going over pretty well. That Hillary Clinton country likes the fact that she's getting really the jewel in the crown of this new administration, foreign policy.

SMERCONISH: And on a certain level, I think it looks awfully magnanimous on his part. You point out that it's a very close call because you don't just get Hillary, in fact, you don't just get Bill and Hillary, you get that whole menagerie. Look, I'm a little bit selfish in this regard. It means it's going to be great fodder for talking on television and talking on radio because there are always a lot of stories with the two of them.

MATTHEWS: It is really-I mean, soap opera is a putdown, but there is a color to this game and it has to do with the number of personalities. And the only problem you have is you want your administration to speak in one voice and you want to know whose voice that is. Now I'm trying to go back positively to all of the administrations I've covered. And remember, under Eisenhower, I remember John Foster Dulles, a real tough Cold Warrior. Under Nixon, it was a real tough guy deal-maker, international deal-maker Henry Kissinger. Under this president, what?

BERNARD: Condoleezza Rice.

MATTHEWS: Not really the person in charge. It was sort of-or Colin Powell, didn't really have the clout that came with the job. Condoleezza Rice doesn't seem to have that strength. I'm not sure we have got the right role model here. What do you think it is? Should the vice president-or the secretary of state be the president's message deliverer? Colleague? Somewhat junior partner? Who should they be-or he be?

BERNARD: I think that person needs to be the president's messenger. The nation elected Barack Obama as president on many, many issues and they're going to be looking for his foreign policy, not Hillary Clinton's. I think it is absolutely very critical that they form a very close relationship if she in fact is going to be the secretary of state. Head of states around the world need to know that when they're speaking to her, they're speaking to Barack Obama and that she's not off the reservation, setting her own foreign policy goals.

MATTHEWS: Tom Friedman of The New York Times questions whether she can fill that role conclusively and convincingly, Michael. That foreign leaders will look at her and say, you know, she's not really Barack Obama's person. They're adversaries. He questions in fact, denies, doubts that she can be a forceful representative of her former adversary's point of view.

SMERCONISH: Well, he's an awfully smart guy and far be it for me to quibble with him, but I would say that world leaders would look at her as an individual of stature. And I would think that she would be far better received on a foreign stage than would anyone else you could think of for that position. The person that I feel sorry for in this whole equation is Joe Biden. Because I recognize they have a good relationship. But, Chris, that was the salient feature of Joe Biden, former head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, bringing those foreign policy chops to Obama that he so desperately needed. Where is he in this whole mix? That's the part I can't fathom.


BERNARD: So who will she take direction from? Is Joe Biden going to call her and say, here, here's what the president wants you to do, here's what our foreign policy is, and expect Hillary Clinton to actually listen to that?

MATTHEWS: Suppose Joe Biden reads The New York Times, or reads The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Delaware newspapers, and he sees a good idea, or he comes up with a good idea, who does he call, Michael, with his new idea, does he call to Hillary and say, Madam Secretary, I have got an idea for you and she says, I'm not interested, I tried that before, my guys don't like it? Or does he call the president and say, jam this down her throat? I mean, where do these-how does he influence foreign policy successfully, effectively, Michael? How does he do it?

SMERCONISH: Well, I think he has got to go through the president. I mean, he is the vice president of the United States. The question becomes then, how would that be received by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton?


SMERCONISH: And one hopes that it would be received well. But he has to go to the president. The answer is obvious.

MATTHEWS: And she'll say, is this one of Biden's ideas?


MATTHEWS: I mean, I just a three-way here. Anyway, we'll be right back with Michael Smerconish and Michelle Bernard. Let's talk about the economy coming back. Who is really in charge? I worry that we're in an interregnum right now to make it fancy. We're falling between the cracks. Bush is still here but sort of in the locker room with a towel around his neck having given up the game. And the new guy doesn't have the uniform on yet. You're watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS: We're back with Michelle Bernard and Michael Smerconish for more of the "Politics Fix." You know, during this break, I was privileged to hear from Michelle. And stronger language she used during the break than on the air, so share with me the appointment of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. Your view as to the smartness of that call?

BERNARD: I just-I don't think it is smart. I don't understand it. I'm trying to fathom what the president-elect is thinking, if in fact he is going to make her the secretary of state. I mean, undoubtedly, she is qualified. She is a brilliant woman, but she is a leader. She is not a follower. If she becomes the secretary of state, I believe very strongly that she will be setting her foreign policy goals. I can't imagine Joe Biden or the national security adviser or anyone else calling up Senator Clinton, who would then be secretary of state, and saying, here's your job, you know? She's not leaving the Senate, as we just discussed, to take orders from anybody. This is a woman who will always be a leader. Its' a great attribute, but not if you're supposed to be working for the president-elect. It's a great attribute if you are the president-elect, and she's not.

MATTHEWS: Michael? Your thoughts on those big points?

SMERCONISH: Maybe we're all over-thinking this. I mean, what I've heard from Michelle is typical of what I heard all day long today from folks who are looking for the Machiavellian instinct in these political officials. And maybe it is much more simplistic. She is a gifted leader. You know, you may disagree with her politics but she is a person who can play on the world stage. She is going to get the respect of all of those foreign leaders. He is looking to her as competence. And for that reason alone, he is selecting her.

MATTHEWS: We elected a candidate for president who thought the war in Iraq was wrong, who didn't think we should make the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group, who didn't think we should permanent bases in Iraq. On point after point, they have disagreed. And Barack Obama won on points, won on the arguments. Now you're suggesting, Michael, that foreign policy should be written and led by someone who disagreed with the public opinion of this country, right?

SMERCONISH: Chris, if the litmus test is, I can only put people in the cabinet who agreed with me every step of the way, then we should start to question each of these individuals, I guess starting with Bill Richardson, because he shared the stage with Barack Obama and disagreed on all sorts of things. So did Joe Biden.

MATTHEWS: OK. Well said, even though I disagree with you. Michael Smerconish and Michelle Bernard, thank you, Michelle, thank you, Michael, have a nice Thanksgiving.

Right now it is time for "1600 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE WITH DAVID



END ) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and ASC LLC's copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.>

Watch Hardball each weeknight