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

'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for Tuesday, May 19

Read the transcript to the Tuesday show

Guests: Chuck Todd, Stu Rothenberg, Rep. Jim Moran, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Ryan Lizza, David Corn, Ron Brownstein, Jonathan Martin

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  Republicans try to rebrand the Democrats, but who‘s giving who a bad name?

Let‘s play HARDBALL.

Good evening.  I‘m Chris Matthews in Washington.  Leading off tonight, party death rattle.  How do Republicans get out of the manhole they‘ve stepped into?  A new Gallup poll has Republicans losing ground now in every group in the country.  Today Republican national chairman Michael Steele offered a cry of desperation.


MICHAEL STEELE, RNC CHAIRMAN:  The era of apologizing for Republican mistakes of the past is now officially over.


MATTHEWS:  But who‘s to stop the stream of Republicans confessing disaster, from Matt Dowd to Scott McClellan to General Colin Powell, all saying the party has kissed off women, young people generally, blacks, let‘s face it, practically everybody north, south, east and west?  NBC News‘s chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd joins us in a minute.

By the way, are the Republicans becoming the Luddites, opposing science on every front, from evolution to stem cell research to climate change?  That‘s not a joke.  There remains a group of elected members of Congress right now who reject the whole idea of global climate change.  The party chairman, the aforementioned Michael Steele himself, is a member of this merry band of non-believers.  When even ExxonMobil says we humans face a problem with a deteriorating atmosphere, when even heavy industry applauds President Obama in setting new auto emission and mileage standards, as it did today, what are these Republicans thinking?  We‘ll talk to one prominent Republican who remains even now a hold-out on global warming.

And how does the big-time coalition that we know to be at work right now between Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and by extension, former president Bill Clinton—how‘s that coalition doing right now?  Are all sides getting what they wanted when this coalition was forged last fall?  Are all sides on track to what they hoped or dreamed of getting from it?  And what is the dream?  Is the presidency still in the cards for Secretary Clinton?  Is Obama cool with that?  Let‘s do a bed check on this strangest of political bedfellows.

And speaking of strange bedfellows, what‘s with this story of a top Hillary Clinton backer trying to get Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska—catch this—to give money to help Hillary Clinton retire her campaign debt?  What could possibly be behind that idea?  What‘s going on here?  We‘ll get to that in the “Politics Fix.”

Last night on “The Colbert Report,” John McCain‘s daughter, Meghan McCain, had a lot to say about tonight‘s big HARDBALL story, what Republicans need to do to win back the country.


STEPHEN COLBERT, “COLBERT REPORT”:  You‘re pro-sex, pro-life and pro-gay marriage.



MATTHEWS:  Wow.  More Meghan on the HARDBALL “Sideshow.”

We begin tonight, however, with Michael Steele‘s speech today and the Republican Party‘s efforts to remake itself and rebrand the Democrats the socialist Democrats, or whatever, the “Democrat socialists.”  Chuck Todd is NBC News chief White House correspondent and political director and Stu Rothenberg is editor of “The Rothenberg Political Report” and a keen observer of Republican politics for years now.

Let me go to Chuck.  I want you to both look at this quote from Michael Steele.  Some people found this speech amazingly shallow today.  Here‘s the chairman of the Republican National Committee today, speaking to his fellow state chairs.  Here he is.  Let‘s listen.


MICHAEL STEELE, RNC CHAIRMAN:  The honeymoon is over, but there‘s a very important distinction I want to make here.  We‘re going to take this president on with class.  We‘re going to take this president on with dignity.  This will be a very sharp and I think marked contrast to the shabby and classless way that the Democrats on the far left spoke of and treated President Bush over the last eight years.


MATTHEWS:  So they‘re going to bring on their chargers with class and dignity.  Well, here he is a moment later, Chairman Steele, saying he‘s going to take the president on with dignity, but he also said this.  Let‘s listen.


STEELE:  The argument goes that we should be careful here because the polls suggest that President Obama is popular.  Folks like him.  He‘s got an easy demeanor.  He‘s a great orator.  His campaign style is wonderful.  His campaign was based on change and hope.  He‘s young.  He‘s cool.  He‘s hip.  He‘s got a good-looking family.  What‘s not to like?  He‘s got all the qualities America likes in celebrity, so of course, he‘s going to be popular.


MATTHEWS:  Stu Rothenberg, why are the Republicans recycling that old canard from last summer, He‘s a celebrity, like that‘s some sort of weird cartoonish put-down of this president?

STU ROTHENBERG, “ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT”:  Well, Chris, they are trying to make the distinction between Barack Obama‘s personal appeal, his personal style, his excellent speaking ability, and the fact that he has a terrific persona, public persona...


ROTHENBERG:  ... and issues.  And they‘re trying to draw that...

MATTHEWS:  Has this ever worked?

ROTHENBERG:  Well, it‘s hard...

MATTHEWS:  I worked with Democrats when everybody, including me, tried to...

ROTHENBERG:  Ronald Reagan, yes.

MATTHEWS:  ... do that to Ronald Reagan, and you can‘t separate the person from the politics.  It never seems to work.

ROTHENBERG:  I think you‘re right.  I think it‘s hard to do, and it would depend on circumstances...

MATTHEWS:  By the way, we like the person.



MATTHEWS:  We vote for that guy or woman.

ROTHENBERG:  He‘s popular.  He‘s personally popular.  If there‘s bad news, if the public becomes dissatisfied with events, circumstances, then they may start to reevaluate him, but it‘s really hard to attack him right now.

MATTHEWS:  Well, the crime rate seems to be raising down there at the White House again.  There‘s that siren, Chuck!


MATTHEWS:  I always say to people, Let the sirens go, let them know we‘re in Washington.



MATTHEWS:  Without a siren, we wouldn‘t know where we were!  What do you make of the fact...

TODD:  That‘s for sure.

MATTHEWS:  ... that the Republican national chairman seems to be going back to the old stuff here, with going after Obama?

TODD:  Well...

MATTHEWS:  This is today, by the way, not last year.

TODD:  Right.  Well, you got to remember the context of the speech in this sense, Chris, is that he was trying—he‘s still trying to win over his constituents.  And in this case, the constituents aren‘t rank-and-file Republicans, they‘re members of this club called the Republican National Committee.  He got off to a shaky start.  They didn‘t—they don‘t have an idea of who this guy is yet.  They‘re not necessarily comfortable with him as the spokesperson for the party.  So he‘s still trying to win them over.

And one of the ways he did it is that I think he was playing to the base of his constituency group, and they want to hear more attacks on the president.  They‘re getting frustrated in the states, in the grass roots, and he kept referring to it over and over again in the speech, that they‘re frustrated that nobody is going after the president.

You know, he even has this whole line, he goes, They say go after Pelosi because no one likes Pelosi.  Go after Harry Reid.  Well, nobody knows who Harry Reid is.  And then he goes into some weird shot at Barney Frank, which quite frankly, I don‘t know what they were trying to—what he was trying to do with that line.  Others can draw conclusions of what he was doing there.  But it was all sort of coming back to—and I got somebody close to...

MATTHEWS:  You mean because Barney‘s openly gay, that they think there‘s a shot to be had there, that that‘s a big win for them?

TODD:  I don‘t know.  I‘m not going to read in between the lines on that, but they dropped a Barney Frank reference in there, and—which is not—he‘s not somebody that‘s well-known outside of sort of this group of insiders.


TODD:  It was a speech to insiders trying to say, Hey, I‘m now going to go after Obama.  I know some of you say, Don‘t do it.  I‘ve decided, as head of the party, I‘m going to do it because that‘s what the state parties are telling me to do.

MATTHEWS:  Well, Stu, here‘s the thing.  He‘s backtracking on that weird little thing they set this meeting up for.  The purpose of this meeting largely was to rebrand the other party to, quote, “Democrat socialist party.”  That‘s the new title they were going to give it.  Now apparently, this fellow here, Michael Steele, likable fellow in many ways, has said, No, that‘s too strong.  So just as he‘s supposedly going to charge up the batteries of this party by trashing the president, he can‘t bring himself to do what he called this meeting to do.

ROTHENBERG:  I think one of the problems...

MATTHEWS:  What‘s wrong with that?  Are they really going to call these—are they going to agree tomorrow to go “Democrat socialist party”?

ROTHENBERG:  No, this is just fun and games that the parties have at one another‘s expense.  The big problem, and you‘re hitting on it, seems to me, is he doesn‘t control what everybody says about the Democratic Party or the president.  He doesn‘t control what John Boehner and Mitch McConnell say, what Rush Limbaugh says, what Republican candidates around the country, what talk radio says.  So he‘s laying out what he would like to do.  But he doesn‘t dictate to everybody the tenor and tone of the Republican campaign.

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s take a look at here, he‘s talking about how the Republican Party should stop apologizing for being the Republican Party.  Here‘s Chairman Michael Steele, who, by the way—he told me the other night at the dinner, the correspondents‘ dinner, he was headed towards this show this week.  I keep waiting for him to show up here.  He says he‘s coming.  I guess there‘s a bureaucratic mix-up there.  We do hope to get him on the program.  We want Michael Steele here to talk about his party.

But here he is, talking about how it‘s got to stop apologizing.


STEELE:  The era of apologizing for Republican mistakes of the past is now officially over.  It is done.


STEELE:  The time for trying to fix or focus on the past has ended.  The era of Republican naval gazing, gone.  We have turned the corner on regret, recrimination, self-pity and self-doubt.  Now is the hour to focus all of our energies on winning the future.


MATTHEWS:  Well, here are some numbers to give them some self-doubt, some self-pity, and self-recrimination and regret.  A new Gallup poll shows the Republicans now are suffering losses in almost all demographic groups.  Republicans suffered a 10-point loss among college graduates—that‘s no surprise, they tended to vote for Barack Obama -- 9-point loss among young people 18 to 29, those are the youngest voters, Midwesterners, low-income earners, people earning less than $30,000 a year, middle-income voters who earn between 30 and 75K a year.

It‘s just about every group, Stu, except—and we have to be fair here.  There‘s one group where they‘re doing well, church attenders.  They do pretty well there, as they‘ve done among traditional Americans for a long time.

ROTHENBERG:  Here‘s the problem with this assessment, Chris, is that you know very well that‘s party ID, and that‘s not necessarily how people vote.  That‘s why pollsters ask different questions...

MATTHEWS:  Well, why is the party ID down to 1 in 5?

ROTHENBERG:  Because the Republican brand stinks.  People, when they think of the Republican Party, they still think of George W. Bush, the war, the economy, and so people are turned off.  But when they vote, they‘re not going to vote in quite these numbers.  The Republican base is larger than 21 percent.

MATTHEWS:  Well, let‘s go back to that.  It seems to me that there‘s a lot of common sense in this country.  I‘ve always argued, Chuck Todd, my colleague, that the American voters are rational.  They‘re very rational.  What turned them off to the Republican brand wasn‘t necessarily ideology or culture, it was the complete incompetence of the previous administration in one regard, the way they didn‘t handle Katrina.

They watched on television as people in a major American city went under water.  They did not see their president for four or five days.  The president finally showed up, sort of flying over the place like he‘s flying over, I don‘t know, Eritrea somewhere, a country he didn‘t even know.  And he finally got ahold of the thing and he couldn‘t again get Rumsfeld to help, so it was worse than we thought it was.

But the American people saw that and said, Wait a minute, I don‘t think this guy‘s running the show the way we want it run.

TODD:  Well, it was a collective moment.  That was the sort of—don‘t forget, I think five months earlier is where the beginning of the end happened, and that was that Terri Schiavo mess, where the federal government got involved in the court case down in Florida about whether to pull this feeding tube, and it became a very big cultural issue.  But it was a moment where I think the middle and the libertarian wing of the Republican Party, and even conservative independents, who believe in less government, looked at that and said, Hey, government intervention didn‘t work there.  And oh, by the way, the other reason we elect Republicans is they‘re supposed to be the competent party, the ones who knows how to run things.

So the two items together, Schiavo at that moment give months earlier, and then boom, Katrina—then all that did is it make it easier for Democrats to make the case, Oh, by the way, this guy also can‘t run the war.  If he‘s running the war like he‘s running Katrina or if they‘re legislating—getting involved—having government intervention the way they are getting involved in Terri Schiavo—well, that‘s how the middle went away from them.  And that‘s the problem Republicans have right now, it‘s the middle.

And so you know, what Steele did today, Chris, was about trying to get the base, keep them enthusiastic because they‘re the ones that give the money, and, oh, by the way, they‘re the ones that keep him in power.  And he had to do that and he had to say what he had to say today.

But they still haven‘t—they still got a long way to go to figure out how to appeal to those demographic groups you just laid out there on the screen from Gallup, the middle of this country, Midwesterners, moderates, working class folks who feel like that—you know, they want some government help right now, even though that isn‘t—they don‘t want government running their lives.  They‘re not trusting the Republicans right now.


MATTHEWS:  You know, I love working with Chuck Todd because he‘s brilliant.  Everything he said there should be capsulized for all political parties to write down because it‘s so glaringly true.

ROTHENBERG:  I agree completely.

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about a small point here.  You agree with everything he said.

ROTHENBERG:  I have to say one thing.  The one word is “performance.”

MATTHEWS:  People want competence.

ROTHENBERG:  The American public wants performance.  And that‘s the Republicans‘ problem.  They‘re out of power now...

MATTHEWS:  You know why this country‘s...

ROTHENBERG:  They can‘t...

MATTHEWS:  ... a great country?

ROTHENBERG:  ... demonstrate performance.

MATTHEWS:  You know why everybody comes here and does well here?  You know why we turn on a dime and change?  Because we‘re competent.  That‘s one great thing about America.

Let me ask you about this crazy thing in Kentucky.  I‘ve always been a fan of Jim Bunning.  I grew up in Philly, obviously.  He was our hero.  You‘re laughing, Chuck.  You know why he was my hero.  He won games!  He was competent.  He‘s got this weird...


TODD:  ... big losing team!

MATTHEWS:  Well, yes.  Well, that was what we had.


MATTHEWS:  So was Robin Roberts (ph).  So was Richie Ashbrook (ph). 

We remember our heroes.  OK, let me go—let me go here.

ROTHENBERG:  I like Johnny Castle (ph).

MATTHEWS:  Johnny Castle was my -- .290 hitter. (INAUDIBLE) great.

ROTHENBERG:  Great arm.

MATTHEWS:  Look, can we get back to Jim Bunning?


MATTHEWS:  Jim Bunning is the United States senator from Kentucky.  He‘s got another United States senator from Kentucky named Mitch McConnell, who‘s the leader of his party, who doesn‘t like him, who keeps trying to push him towards the edge.  I think this is the craziest intramural fight we‘ve seen.  What‘s going on out there?

ROTHENBERG:  McConnell thinks that Bunning can‘t win.  It‘s as simple as that.  And McConnell doesn‘t want to lose that Senate seat in his own state and...

MATTHEWS:  Can he defend it if it‘s somebody else?

ROTHENBERG:  But he—well, they—there is a statewide official who would run, who would be competitive without Bunning, much younger man.  But Bunning is an ornery guy, same reason he was a good pitcher.  He would throw high and tight.  And he doesn‘t want to be pushed out, and it looks to him as though McConnell is doing the pushing.  McConnell is trying to do it delicately, but Mitch is not always the most delicate person.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  I‘m with Bunning.  I like Bunning.  Anyway, good luck, Senator Bunning.


MATTHEWS:  Don‘t—you keep your foot in the bucket!

TODD:  I‘ll tell you...

MATTHEWS:  Go ahead.  Right.

TODD:  Mitch McConnell, though, is the only reason why Jim Bunning is a U.S. senator.  He never would have won that race in ‘98.  Stu knows that.  Without Mitch McConnell...

ROTHENBERG:  That‘s true.

TODD:  ... pulling every string possible to salvage him in a race that was like this.  So Bunning may, you know, realize, hey, he was made by Mitch McConnell and he may be destroyed by Mitch McConnell.

MATTHEWS:  Well, I‘m with the Philly pitcher, anyway.  You guys—you guys talk all you want.  He was with Connie Mack when neither of you guys were there.  Anyway, thank you, Chuck Todd.  Thank you, Stu Rothenberg.  And we lost some games on those hot nights.  Coming up—not with him, though!

Coming up: As President Obama announces an unprecedented program to

curb tailpipe emissions and raise fuel economy standards—by the way,

cars 35 miles a gallon, pretty good deal.  That‘s the law starting in ‘16 -

there‘s a vocal group of Republicans on Capitol Hill who still don‘t believe in climate change.  They‘re fighting it.  Are they Luddites?  Is this “The Planet of the Apes”?  What‘s going on with these people?  We‘ll be right back to talk about the people that don‘t believe in science.  We‘ll argue about it.

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  There‘s a huge consensus on global warming in this country right now and man‘s contribution to it.  A United Nations report says it‘s unequivocal it‘s happening, and very likely due to manmade greenhouse gases.  Polls show Americans want the government to do something about it, 75 percent say so.  But some Republican hold-outs don‘t believe.  Among them, California congressman Dana Rohrabacher, who‘s also joined right now by Jim Moran of Virginia, who is a believer with the great American majority in global warming.

I‘m going to ask Jim Moran to lead since he‘s with the establishment, for once, on this one.


MATTHEWS:  You were with most scientists, the United Nations.  Most Americans, three quarters of us want something done about CO2 emissions.  What‘s the scientific argument for why we‘ve got to do something about CO2 emissions?

REP. JIM MORAN (D), VIRGINIA:  Well, Chris, they just built an 18-hole golf course in Juneau, Alaska, that just a few years ago used to be entirely under water.  Glaciers in Juneau are melting away at the rate of about 30 feet or more per year.  You know, we have 2,300 of the most reputable scientists in 130 countries that have said the globe is warming and that it‘s the result of human activity.  We need to act now.

And you know, I‘m a little disappointed in my good friend, Dana.  I‘m inclined to ask him how he feels about the earth revolving around the sun or whether, you know, smoking causes cancer.  These things have been resolved, Dana, by the best experts.  Now we have to move forward and figure out what we‘re going to do about it.

MATTHEWS:  Congressman Rohrabacher, are you a Luddite, a troglodyte? 

Are you a part of “The Planet of the Apes” that doesn‘t want science? 

Where would you place yourself in this argument?

REP. DANA ROHRABACHER ®, CALIFORNIA:  I would place myself in the—in the position of being someone who‘s willing to speak the truth while the rest of the—while the rest of the people are being fed a bunch of baloney. 

Let me just note this to you, Chris:  The poll you quoted was wrong.  That‘s an old poll.  The Rasmussen—the latest Rasmussen poll shows that a vast majority of the American people do not believe that the climate is changing due to human activity and, furthermore—furthermore—furthermore...

MATTHEWS:  Well, I got a poll from the...

ROHRABACHER:  ... furthermore—furthermore—further...

MATTHEWS:  ... Washington Post-ABC, which is one month old—that‘s not the one I‘m quoting.  I‘m not quoting—the Rasmussen is a Republican poll.  We generally don‘t quote it here. 


MATTHEWS:  Look at this:  75 percent in the last month‘s ABC- Washington Post poll said government needs to do something about global warming.  Three-quarters in a recent poll, not a Rasmussen poll. 

ROHRABACHER:  Well, what does “something” mean?  Does that mean that they‘re going to agree to have their taxes raised by $1,600 a family? 

But, no, let‘s go back to the science on this.  There are—I have never seen in my lifetime—I have never seen an effort more—with more pressure to try to cut off debate than what has been happening on this issue. 

We hear—you have just demonstrated to your audience calling names, “The debate‘s over,” “What are you, a Luddite?” What is that about?  How do you discuss science with those types of terms, Chris?  What we‘ve seen across...

MATTHEWS:  Well, where is the debate?  I don‘t know—who opposes this?

ROHRABACHER:  Where is the debate?  Where is the debate?  The debate is—we just talked about Alaska.  How about Greenland a thousand years ago was a place that was green?  How about we have gone through fluctuations like we‘re going through now throughout the history of this planet and it happens to mirror solar activity, things that are going on in the sun, not what‘s going on, you know, and what type of transportation is being used by that generation of Americans? 


Mr. Moran, let me go with Mr. Moran on this, because, when you have ExxonMobil joining the movement to do something about CO2 emissions, you‘ve got to wonder whether science hasn‘t made its case.  Mr. Moran?

MORAN:  The lost two decades have been the warmest in millennia. 


ROHRABACHER:  That‘s not accurate.  That‘s totally inaccurate.  The last eight years, we haven‘t had one bit of warming for the last eight years.  So you can‘t say for two decades we‘ve had warming; that‘s just not the case. 

MORAN:  Well, Dana, you know, I‘m...

ROHRABACHER:  Where did you get your statistics on this? 

MORAN:  I‘m reading—because I‘m reading what the experts are telling us, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  All of the most credible scientists, other than those that are being paid by the industry to support the industry—and now the industries are siding with the scientists.  They understand this debate has taken place for decades, and they have lost it. 

The fact is, it is real.  The globe is warming.  There are hundreds of millions of people who live within a few feet of the oceans‘ borders, and their lives are in danger.  In fact, the world economy...

ROHRABACHER:  And this is caused by mankind?  This is caused by humans? 

MORAN:  Yes.  That was their...

ROHRABACHER:  We have had these fluctuations throughout the...

MORAN:  That was their unequivocal conclusion. 

ROHRABACHER:  OK, well, if it‘s caused by mankind, why do we have those same temperature fluctuations going on, on Mars and Jupiter?  Isn‘t it more likely that the sun is causing this rather than the automobiles? 

MORAN:  Dana, you know, it‘s—it doesn‘t get us anywhere to—just...


MORAN:  ... to argue this point.  I‘m going to rely upon the experts. 

ROHRABACHER:  Answer the argument, the scientific argument that we have fluctuations going on, on Mars and Jupiter that parallel what‘s going on here.  And if that‘s the case...

MORAN:  Read the scientists.

ROHRABACHER:  That‘s science.  No, that is science.

MORAN:  People that have spent their lives studying this stuff. 

ROHRABACHER:  How about—how about scientists—how about scientists...

MORAN:  They—all of them have concluded, and now you‘re trying to argue against them. 

ROHRABACHER: “All of them have concluded?” How about...

MORAN:  But even if it were not the case, we need to build new green jobs.  We need to clean up this atmosphere.  We need to reduce our dependence upon foreign fossil fuel supply. 

ROHRABACHER:  Well, I agree with you there.  I agree.  We agree.

MORAN:  And we‘ve got to reduce the emissions coming from vehicles. 

We need more—a more energy-efficient economy. 

ROHRABACHER:  We agree on that. 


MORAN:  And so it‘s time to act. 

ROHRABACHER:  If you focus on CO2, you‘re not...

MATTHEWS:  OK, let me—let me slow this down. 

ROHRABACHER:  By the way, let me just point out that Dr. Richard Lindzen, the top scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, along with hundreds of other scientists throughout the world totally disagree with what you‘re trying to say, Chris.  And I would suggest to the audience to take a look at global—global warming skeptics and Google that and see these top-level scientists...

MATTHEWS:  Oh, I know they exist.  They‘re in the papers all the time. 

ROHRABACHER:  ... from around the world who oppose that.

MATTHEWS:  The ads run in every paper.  Let me ask you about...

MORAN:  Dana, these are the last gasps of a dying party.  You know, to continue to fight this in the same way you fought the link between cancer and—and smoking...

ROHRABACHER:  Oh, well, there you go again. 

MORAN:  ... this is where we are today.  This is where you‘re going.

ROHRABACHER:  Don‘t answer—don‘t answer the argument. 

MORAN:  You‘ve got to look to the—OK.  Oh, Dana.

ROHRABACHER:  Don‘t answer the—the scientific argument that it was warming through all these fluctuations. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, let me ask you about...

ROHRABACHER:  What we have here is a normal fluctuation of weather patterns of our—of the world‘s history and with a power grab trying to tax this money from the American people with that as an excuse.  There‘s your climate change disaster.

MORAN:  We‘re trying to save the planet.  And we‘re creating millions of green jobs in the process of saving the planet. 

MATTHEWS:  Mr. Rohrabacher, Mr. Rohrabacher, I wonder if Mr. Moran has a point.  I want to know if you respond to it this way. 


MATTHEWS:  Is there a cultural divide between the two parties that goes beyond this issue, where one party is more traditional in its values and it relies more on faith than on science?  For example, we‘ve had people on this program—I‘m sure they‘re all over the country—who don‘t believe in evolution.  They don‘t believe in biology the way it‘s taught.  They don‘t accept the way that we...

ROHRABACHER:  Oh, oh, Chris, that‘s...

MATTHEWS:  Are you one of those? 

ROHRABACHER:  Chris, that‘s a good way to shut down the argument. 

Case closed.

MATTHEWS:  No, I‘m asking the question. 

ROHRABACHER:  Listen—no, you‘re not.

MATTHEWS:  If it‘s not true, the answer is no. 

ROHRABACHER:  No, you‘re not.  What you‘re doing is trying to throw other things in there to poison the well of an argument. 

MATTHEWS:  How‘s this another thing?

ROHRABACHER:  How about—how about—how about tackling the argument, Chris, that solar activity has caused these fluctuations in the past?  How about saying—how about—how about answering the argument that those people...

MATTHEWS:  OK, the reason I do that...

ROHRABACHER:  ... who—hold on.  Hold on.  Wait a minute.  Let me finish my—let me finish my one point.

MATTHEWS:  ... is to get back to the scientific method.  Do you accept the method? 

ROHRABACHER:  Let me finish my one point, that we—that they started the global warming—their—their baseline started at a 500-year low in temperature.  Is that the way you decide what‘s warming?  How about the fact that we‘ve had warming trends and—and—and cooling trends that lasted like, for example, during the ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s, there was a cooling trend even though CO2 was on the rise?  How about answering all of those solid scientific questions...

MATTHEWS:  Well, I—I just want to know whether...

ROHRABACHER:  ... rather than trying to poison the well with that type of nonsense?

MATTHEWS:  I‘m not.  I‘m asking, do we accept science?  Do you accept science?  Do you accept evolution, for example? 

ROHRABACHER:  I just gave—I just—I just gave you...

MATTHEWS:  You won‘t answer the question, will you? 

ROHRABACHER:  ... scientific—well, no, no.  I just gave you scientific—scientific challenges on this issue and you throw that kind of garbage back at me? 

MATTHEWS:  It‘s not garbage if you...

ROHRABACHER:  No, no.  It‘s not garbage...


MATTHEWS:  Is evolution garbage? 

ROHRABACHER:  No, no, wait a minute.  How come you are trying to argue creationism when—when you‘re supposed to be talking about global warming?  The bottom line is...

MATTHEWS:  Because it gets to—it gets to a method. 

ROHRABACHER:  No, no, because you‘re trying to poison the well...

MATTHEWS:  How do you logically achieve truth?  Do you go through a scientific method or do you go through something called this general skepticism towards science?  Which you can espouse here. 

ROHRABACHER:  No, no, and what—I‘m not talking—hey, I‘m not espousing...

MATTHEWS:  You can espouse that.

ROHRABACHER:  Hey, I‘m not espousing skepticism about science.  I have given you four or five major points. 

MATTHEWS:  All right.

ROHRABACHER:  The change in the temperature on planets Mars and Jupiter.  How about the change, the fluctuations we‘ve had in the Earth‘s temperature? 

MATTHEWS:  OK, I want to go back to a last word.

ROHRABACHER:  How about Greenland used to be green and had nothing to do with—with us?

MATTHEWS:  OK, I want to give you—I don‘t want to debate this.  I just am skeptical about your skepticism.  I think you are unwilling to say you believe in evolution tonight on this program. 

ROHRABACHER:  I believe that evolution may well be within the concepts of my religious faith. 

MATTHEWS:  OK, thank you. 

ROHRABACHER:  So the answer is yes.

MATTHEWS:  Jim Moran—OK, great, thank you. 

MORAN:  Yes, I believe in evolution.  And I also believe the fact that more than 2,000 of the most credible scientists concluded that global warming has been so intense that it couldn‘t possibly be solely attributable to—to changes in the sun‘s reflection. 

The reality is, this is manmade.  The—the leaders of human society across the globe need to get together.  And to save this planet, we need to start now. 

And, unfortunately, our obstacle—our principal obstacle is the party that is proving itself to be the anti-science policy party.  They had eight years.

ROHRABACHER:  See, there he goes again.

MORAN:  In eight years, they have disputed every scientific fact that would have enabled us to move forward.

ROHRABACHER:  Thousands of scientists agree with me.  And they‘re skeptical about this.  And when they try to shut down the debate...


MATTHEWS:  Congressman, I‘m—Congressmen, President Bush, who just left office, disagrees with you.  ExxonMobil disagrees with you.  The United Nations disagrees with you. 

ROHRABACHER:  Yes, all—all...


MORAN:  John McCain disagreed.

ROHRABACHER:  Yes, I‘m sure they do.  Sure they do.  Does that make them right?

MATTHEWS:  OK, thank you very much for—you‘ve made a heroic argument tonight, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California...

MORAN:  Keep the party pure, Dana.

MATTHEWS:  ... sir, thank you for joining us. 

And Congressman...


MATTHEWS:  ... Jim Moran with that last lick in there.


MATTHEWS:  Thank you, gentlemen.

Up next:  As Republicans figure out their future, John McCain‘s daughter says it‘s time for the party to be more liberal in many ways.  Well, she seems to be more modern than some people.  We are going to have her—a little piece of her from “The Colbert Report” coming up next.  It‘s kind of fascinating. 

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.  


MATTHEWS:  Back to HARDBALL.  Time for the “Sideshow.”

First up, a Republican daughter—John McCain‘s daughter Meghan McCain has taken to the airwaves and the Internet of late to advocate for modern, state-of-the-art Republicanism.  Here she was last night on “Colbert.”


STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, “THE COLBERT REPORT”:  You‘re pro-sex, pro-life, and pro-gay marriage. 


COLBERT:  What do you mean pro-sex?  Republicans, how do they normally reproduce?  Through mitosis?


COLBERT:  A firm handshake right before bedtime? 

MCCAIN:  I think, if the Republican Party just says abstinence only is the only way to be, then we‘re going to lose a lot of young voters.  And I think I would never want to ever practice anything I didn‘t preach.  And...


COLBERT:  I mean...

MCCAIN:  My father is going to watch that.  God. 


COLBERT:  I don‘t think he watches this show. 


COLBERT:  I don‘t think he would watch this show even to see you. 



MATTHEWS:  She‘s so normal. 

Anyway, the one topic the young McCain would not discuss is her father‘s 2008 running mate, not a word from Meghan on Sarah Palin.  You have got to love this stuff. 

Anyway, I was up in Philadelphia this weekend speaking to the graduates of the great Saint Joseph‘s University. 


MATTHEWS:  Nobody care what dreams you have when you put your head on the pillow at night.  If you want to push your ambitions or dreams, you have got to get out there and champion them.  You have got to be able to face rejection, hostility, and, more often, uncaring indifference. 

The higher your ambitions take you, the more stamina you will need, the more willingness to get a “no” slammed in your face.  The more failure you can accept, the greater chance of your success. 

And never, ever look down on the job that starts you off. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, I‘m telling them how it is. 

Anyway, if you a hard-earned—some of my hard-earned wisdom I gave to them, get “The HARDBALL Handbook.”  It‘s just out now.  And it‘s loaded with that kind of advice for the real world for those who are just now facing it.  And I mean it.  I tell my kids this stuff.

Up next:  Bill Clinton gets a job with the U.N.  Hillary Clinton is out there doing everything right, right now.  Are the Clintons still in the business?  Is Secretary Clinton maybe still hoping to get to the White House on her own? 

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.  


MARGARET BRENNAN, CNBC CORRESPONDENT:  I‘m Margaret Brennan with your CNBC “Market Wrap.”

Stocks closed mixed after yesterday‘s big gains, the Dow Jones industrial average losing just a modest 29 points.  The S&P 500 fell a point-and-a-half, and the Nasdaq did climb, but just a little more than two points. 

After the close, Dow component Hewlett-Packard reported quarterly earnings in line with analyst estimates, but H.P. lowered its outlook for the full year, and, because of that, shares are trading lower after-hours.  That will definitely impact Wednesday‘s session. 

Disappointing news about the housing industry today, after some recent positive signs.  Housing starts plunged 12.8 percent in April, falling to the lowest level on record.  Analysts had been predicting a modest increase.  Applications for building permits also fell to a record low. 

And the Federal Reserve said approval for big banks to repay bailout money could start in early June. 

That‘s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide—now back to Chris and HARDBALL. 

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

Secretary of State Clinton has the best job in the Obama administration.  Will it serve her well if she runs for president someday? 

Joining me is Ryan Lizza of “The New Yorker” and David Gergen of the “Mother Jones” magazine.  And he‘s also with 




CORN:  It‘s an eye test.

RYAN LIZZA, “THE NEW YORKER”:  Very similar magazines.

MATTHEWS:  “GQ” is doing pretty well, actually, right now, too.  I wouldn‘t knock “GQ.”

But let me ask you fellows.  You can be skeptics if you want.


MATTHEWS:  I‘m a totally political person. 

CORN:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  I think nobody who is a politician ever really retires.  I don‘t believe the Clintons have retired from politics. 

I see, as I look down the road, a fascinating coalition being forged here, not the appointment of Hillary Clinton to do a job for Barack Obama, but the merging of these great political families.  John Podesta, Rahm Emanuel, Capricia Marshall, they‘re all—Richard Holbrooke. 

You can start, Ryan. 

This administration is packed with Clinton people, Clinton alumni, loyal perhaps to both people now.  How does it work? 

LIZZA:  Well, look, there are two reasons why it‘s so packed with people from the first Clinton administration.  One is Obama hasn‘t been around that long.  He didn‘t have some big patronage operation where he could draw on his people.  He wasn‘t a governor.  When you‘re a governor, you fill your state with friend and allies. 

He was a state senator and a senator.  He didn‘t have a big operation. 

So he didn‘t have a lot of people. 

Secondly, he‘s—

MATTHEWS:  He feels comfortable, though, with these people who were rooting for the other side during the primaries, which I find interesting. 

LIZZA:  If you‘re a Democratic president, where do you go to fill your cabinet?  You go to the last Democratic administration.  So I‘m just saying there‘s a lot of talk about how—

MATTHEWS:  Clinton did not go to the Carter administration. 

LIZZA:  He did in two places.  He went to Arkansas.  That didn‘t work out so well.  And he went—there were plenty of Carter people in that administration. 

DAVID CORN, “MOTHER JONES”:  That‘s true. 

MATTHEWS:  So you see it as a natural evolution of just using the available personnel.  You don‘t see it as an interesting coalition. 

CORN:  I see it interesting, and I think what‘s marvelous for Democrats is that it‘s gone so well so far.  You really hear very little grumbling from any particular camp. 

MATTHEWS:  I think it‘s been brilliant.  Do you know why I think it is?  All this talk about bipartisanship is just talk, until we get to health care.  Then I think it‘s going to happen.  But 97 percent—you see numbers like that—of Democratic unity.  I have never seen any political party as united as this one.  And I believe it‘s because they forged a coalition between the Obama forces and the Clinton forces, and that united the party. 

CORN:  I will never get in your way of coming up with a political conspiracy involving the Clintons. 

MATTHEWS:  Why are you mocking me?  See how you do it?  You do it. 

You deny doing it, but you just did it.  Go ahead.  Stick a fork in me. 

CORN:  Sometimes you can do well by doing good.  I think Hillary Clinton now is just doing her job really, really well.  And that will create possible political openings, as you laid out—

MATTHEWS:  So when you get all A‘s in school, you get to be class president. 

CORN:  Sometimes without causing a big fuss. 

MATTHEWS:  Duty serves. 

CORN:  And if you show you‘re loyal to the team, all those scores that we thought would be deep from last year, they have vanished pretty quickly. 

MATTHEWS:  So a good partnership here has been forged.  She‘s been dutiful.  Let‘s face it, she‘s made no mistakes.  She‘s been absolutely fabulous, in terms of doing the job.  It seems to me the acid test will come when, as Jim Baker, the former of secretary of state, says, there must be no seam between her and Obama when it comes to tricky issues like the Middle East.  She can‘t be more pro-Israeli than Barack Obama.  She has to be careful to be him.  Right?  How‘s that going to work?

To me that‘s a test.  They got to fight with Bibi Netanyahu.  He is a tough customer, a Likudnik, tough as hell.  Are they going to forge a coalition and bring him aboard on a two-state solution? 

LIZZA:  If you go back to the primaries, there were a lot of people in the pro-Israel community who thought this was a difference between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.  Barack Obama had a reputation of being more pro-Palestinian.  Hillary Clinton—

MATTHEWS:  He was against the Iraq war and she was for it. 

LIZZA:  Exactly. 

MATTHEWS:  Different Middle East policy. 

LIZZA:  -- more towards Israel. 

MATTHEWS:  More to the right. 

LIZZA:  If that difference existed, I don‘t see it in this administration.  I think the best explanation is when she was a New York politician, she was playing politics in New York. 

MATTHEWS:  Right.  I understand the ethnic part.  Let me ask you this, you sense they‘re working together.  This is really—talk about HARDBALL.  You‘re trying to forge a coalition and bring in Mahmoud Abbas, bring in Egypt into something more than a cold peace, trying to get the Israeli middle to trust you, trying to bring in some deal with Syria and the Emirates.  This is a tough one. 

If he gets this done, he‘s a historic figure.  If he fails, he‘s just another loser in the Middle East. 

CORN:  Look how close Bill Clinton came.  Remember the end—

MATTHEWS:  But he started after the election.  He started too late. 

CORN:  At the end of his administration, he was trying very hard to get this through.  Now you have Dennis Ross—

MATTHEWS:  Second question, when we have a bad economic situation next year—I watch the market every night on this show.  It‘s part of the show.  If the economy stays weak or takes another dive next year, I think Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton are going to be critical to Barack Obama.  Your thoughts? 

LIZZA:  Why are they critical? 

MATTHEWS:  Because they have 18 million votes behind them of working class whites who didn‘t vote for Barack Obama, who are going to be damn angry—

LIZZA:  No, but I think looking at the 18 million votes behind Hillary Clinton, is there any evidence in any of the polling that those 18 million people have any reservations about Obama anymore?  I think that‘s history.  I think that‘s a vision that existed in the primary that‘s history. 

Every poll shows it.  We have 95 percent Democratic support for this guy.  I think a lot of those class divisions and racial divisions that existed in the primary are just ancient history. 

MATTHEWS:  I feel like a mugger in the convent.  I am surrounded by totally goody two shoes tonight.  But I think you might be right. 

LIZZA:  I am just looking at the evidence.  It doesn‘t show up in the polls.

MATTHEWS:  Lack of political self-interest could have taken over Washington.  It happened last night and I missed it. 

CORN:  Look at the trip wires that occurred during the campaign.  As

soon as Bill Clinton went after Barack Obama, he was ostracized, isolated -


MATTHEWS:  I think they were wrong in criticizing him. 


CORN:  It was a very risky move, and almost tarnished his legacy. 

MATTHEWS:  We‘re going to have another meeting on this in about a month.  I think it‘s a fascinating coalition.  Politics does make strange bedfellows.  Don‘t tell me it‘s not strange.

LIZZA:  Their interests are aligned now.

MATTHEWS:  Ryan Lizza, a smart guy.  Ryan Lizza, “The New Yorker.” 

David Corn of “Mother Jones.”  Up next—and of CQ. 

Up next, speaking of the Clintons, a Sarah Palin insider wanted to help retire Hillary Clinton‘s campaign debt last fall after the election in an attempt to help a fellow woman political leader.  This is weird stuff.  This is John Coale at work here.  That‘s Greta Van Susteren‘s husband.  We‘re going to find out what was going on here in this weird deal to take her money and give it to Hillary, far right to the left.  What‘s going on here? 

We‘ll be back with the politics fix.  It gets stranger tonight.  This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC. 



OBAMA:  This gathering is all the more extraordinary for what these diverse groups, despite disparate interests and previous disagreements, have worked together to achieve.  For the first time in history, we have set in motion a national policy aimed at both increasing gas mileage and decreasing greenhouse gas pollution for all new trucks and cars sold in the United States of America. 


MATTHEWS:  So, Dana Rohrabacher doesn‘t believe in climate change, but the auto industry does.  That‘s President Obama today at the White House, announcing new regulations on auto emissions.  That‘s CO-2 emissions on fuel efficiency, getting it up to 35 MPGs, which is very impressive, by 2016.  Who wouldn‘t want a car like that? 

Jonathan Martin, smart cars are good for 50, by the way.  Jonathan Martin covers the White House for “Politico,” which is so hot.  I get it every morning.  And Ron Brownstein is with Atlantic Media.  By the way, Atlantic Media is the best magazine there is right now.  Thank you.  I‘m giving the kudos out.  I mean it.  I love “Politico” and Atlantic. 

Let me ask you this, fuel efficiency; is this for real or is this one of those things where every couple years we got to push back the deadline?  Is it too cute to say I‘ll do it by ‘16? 

RON BROWNSTEIN, “ATLANTIC MEDIA”:  No, this is enormous change and this is historic change of a fight that has been going on at one level for two decades, since the 1980s, and more immediately since 2002, when California passed the first law in the nation trying to regulate the greenhouse emissions. 

And the auto companies have fought this in court.  They fought it in

Congress.  And today, in really an extraordinary—ten major auto

companies agreed to 30 percent reduction by 2016, and really, you know,

continuing a trend, Chris, we‘ve seen over the last week.  In rapid success


MATTHEWS:  Should government do this? 


MATTHEWS:  Is government capable of saying a car will henceforth get 35 miles per gallon?  That‘s the law?  It‘s going to happen?

BROWNSTEIN:  Yes, absolutely.  They can set the standard.  But the broader point here—let‘s see what we‘re seeing at the end of the sequence.  Last Monday, the health insurance and medical industry going with Obama, saying we have—we‘re going to work to reduce costs over the next decade by two trillion dollars. 

On Thursday, we saw major elements of the utility industry support what Waxman and -- 

MATTHEWS:  Who is the smart person doing this? 

BROWNSTEIN:  A lot of it is the White House.  Today we have the auto industry working with them.  In each case, we see industry saying that they would rather make a deal with a dominant Democratic party than join the Republicans in absolute opposition.  And that is a big change at the tectonic level of the kind of alignment of power in Washington.  All of these groups have traditionally been closer to the Republican coalition than to the Democrats. 

MATTHEWS:  In Africa, when they had liberation—I was in the Peace Corp over there—the whites who were minority, the small minority, always wanted a strong black leader to do business with.  They died for a Kinyata or a Mandella.  You know why?  Because they could keep the deal. 

Maybe this is a different story.  Why are Republicans who have an interest in business, in lower taxes, in less regulation, going along with a president who believes in pretty much in regulation and believes in the need to raise taxes and the need to do something about CO2 emissions?  Why are they going along? 

JONATHAN MARTIN, “POLITICO”:  They can be inside the room or outside the room.  If they‘re inside the room, they at least have the opportunity to shape or perhaps mitigate some of the sort of damage being done to them.  And that‘s the choices they‘re making here.  Democrats control this town entirely. 

MATTHEWS:  How is an auto manufacturer who is working in Detroit to save his industry, like Ford—I met him the other day.  How does he all of a sudden produce a car?  Are they going to be lighter cars? 

BROWNSTEIN:  More hybrids.  There are variety of ways in some cases. 

MATTHEWS:  Would they be more dangerous?

BROWNSTEIN:  Mostly, they say no.  And this has been the argument for 25 years about fuel economy standards.  But they say they can do it with existing technology, with more hybrids.  Essentially, what they have decided, I think, as I said, is that—as Jonathan said, they are better off making a deal with the Obama administration, which also displays flexibility.  And what they say they want, above all, is certainty about what the rules are. 

Same thing with the utilities.  Potentially, most importantly, same thing with the medical industry. 

MATTHEWS:  I think it‘s fascinating business getting together with the Democrats.  The center right, center left getting together.  Jonathan Martin, Ron Brownstein, back in a minute.  We‘re going to talk about this crazy coalition that somebody tried to hatch between Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton.  Right and left, what was this about?  Two women political people getting together or maybe not.  We‘ll be right back with this strange one on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:  We‘re back with the fix, with “Politico‘s” Jonathan Martin and Ron Brownstein, who is political editor of the Atlanta Media. 

This is a strange story that you broke.  You explain it.  John Coale, husband to Greta Van Susteren, tried to hook up a deal whereby Sarah Palin, the conservative governor of Alaska, was going to give money to help retire Hillary Clinton‘s campaign debt.  This was why? 

MARTIN:  The thinking of John Coale was that he would try and help foster a relationship between Sarah Palin and the Clinton family.  And the first step would be to help retire her debt. 

His goal, Chris, to sort of lower the temperature between these two families.  You would then help Palin‘s numbers with Democrats and independents, and make her less polarized. 

MATTHEWS:  To what affect?  What was he going to help her do?  What was he trying to help Sarah Palin accomplish?  A presidential campaign? 

MARTIN:  Yes, I think to get her on the road for 2012.  Try to make her more—

MATTHEWS:  Why would John Coale, who was a Hillary Clinton supporter all the way, like Sarah Palin for president?  What are his politics? 

MARTIN:  Democrat trial lawyer, big donor for the Dems over the years. 

MATTHEWS:  Why is he switching to the right? 

MARTIN:  Somebody who has always supported female candidate, a big Hillary supporter.  After that primary supported McCain/Palin and really took an interest in Sarah Palin.  And since the campaign was over, has been a sometimes adviser to Sarah Palin.  He‘s not anymore. 

MATTHEWS:  I met some of these people back in the Kennedy-Carter fights, where people who lost the Kennedy fight to Carter, instead of sticking with the Democratic party, and their ideology, got so angry and bitter, if you will, that they flipped all the way over to the other side and backed Reagan. 

BROWNSTEIN:  And this turned out to be a much smaller group then we talked about last Spring, when it looked like a large portion of Hillary Clinton.  Roughly 80 percent of Democrats now say they strongly approve of Obama‘s performance, more than double the following of Bill Clinton. 

MATTHEWS:  But Hillary did that?  She brought them in. 

BROWNSTEIN:  I was thinking Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton.  There are some coalitions, some couples that are a little too odd to imagine.  Obama‘s done very well with this odd couple thing.  This one if just -- 

MATTHEWS:  You make your point—you broke the story.  Why would Sarah Palin want to have any of her contributors give any of their money to Hillary Clinton?  Bottom line, why would she do it?  Not what John Coale tried to make this happen.  Why would Governor Palin want to betray her conservative cause? 

MARTIN:  She would not want to use the PAC to give them money.  They rejected Coale‘s idea.  But they were open, Chris, to the idea of working with the Clintons, of being seen with Bill and Hillary Clinton, developing a relationship there.  Why?  I couldn‘t tell you. 

MATTHEWS:  We‘d love to get her on the show sometime.  Governor Palin, welcome.  Please come to HARDBALL.

Yes, OK.  Jonathan Martin and Ron Brownstein.  Right now, it‘s time for “THE ED SHOW” with Ed Schultz.



Transcription Copyright 2009 CQ Transcriptions, LLC  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 CQ Transcriptions, 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