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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

Guest: Ron Paul, Arlen Specter, Joan Walsh, Steve McMahon, Todd Harris

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  Nasty business.

Let‘s play HARDBALL.

Good evening.  I‘m Chris Matthews in Washington.  Leading off tonight:

Going negative.  Senator Arlen Specter has attacked Democratic congressman

Joe Sestak‘s military record.  A new TV ad Specter has running in

Pennsylvania opens by saying Sestak was, quote, “relieved of duty” after a

31-year naval career.  With just four weeks to go before the primary, why

is he doing this?  It‘s our top story tonight.

Also, President Obama takes on Wall Street, the president traveled

just a few subway stops from Wall Street to urge Wall Street‘s masters of

the universe not to fight proposed new regulations.



business model depends on bilking people, there‘s little to fear from these

new rules.


MATTHEWS:  Well, this looks like a win-win for Mr. Obama.  Either

Republicans fight him and take Wall Street‘s side in this fight, or they

join him and he gets a bill.  What‘s better?  Big question.

Plus, Michele Bachmann again attacks the Obama administration as,

quote, “gangster government.”  That‘s her phrase.  We‘ll get the HARDBALL

strategists to debate it.

And the man beloved by the country‘s Libertarians, Ron Paul of Texas,

joins me here tonight on the set to talk about the tea parties and their

future.  What a get he is tonight.

And I‘ll finish with a thought on how negative political advertising -

attack ads, if you will—work to depress democracy, not a great thing

to be doing in America these days.

We start with the Senate race up in Pennsylvania.  Joining me right

now is Senator Arlen Specter.  Senator Specter, thank you for coming on

tonight.  I want you to talk about your TV ad that‘s running in

Pennsylvania right now.  Here‘s the ad.  We‘re going to run it free for

you, and then I want you to respond to why you‘re running it right now. 

Here it is.  Let‘s listen.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Joe Sestak, relieved of duty in the Navy for

creating a poor command climate.  Joe Sestak, the worst attendance of any

Pennsylvania congressman and near the bottom of the entire Congress.  Last

year alone, Sestak missed 127 votes.  Sestak says the missed votes weren‘t

important.  He went campaigning instead.  Let‘s say no to no-show Joe.


MATTHEWS:  And here‘s part of a Web video your campaign put out last

summer.  Let‘s watch that.  And we have one more to show.  All three of

them we‘re showing tonight.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He wants you to vote for him, but doesn‘t vote for

us.  Joe Sestak, AWOL for Pennsylvania.

SPECTER:  I‘m Arlen Specter and I approved this message.


MATTHEWS:  And here‘s a Web site sponsored by your campaign called

“no-show Joe.”   It‘s the top of the page.  It says “Joe Sestak AWOL.”

Senator, it‘s four weeks to go before the primary in May.  Why are you

focusing on this man‘s 31-year military career and not his political


SPECTER:  Well, I‘m not focusing on that.  I‘m focusing most heavily

on my own very positive record.  And I‘m speaking about that on the stump

and I‘m advertising it on television.

But when Congressman Sestak puts on a commercial touting his service -

and I commend him for most of his service, but it‘s relevant, and the

voters ought to know why he was terminated.  And it is not my words, but

it‘s the words of “The Navy Times” and “The Army Times” that he was

terminated because of poor control climate—poor command climate.  And

when he puts on this ad, which is in violation of DoD rules because there‘s

no disclaimer, I think I‘m entitled to reply.  The voters ought to know the

whole story.  Listen, this isn‘t my opinion.  These are facts.

MATTHEWS:  Let me—let me ask you—I‘m not going to give his side

of the story, but he gave it to us last night, so I‘ll relay it to you,

Senator.  He says that a new chief of naval operations came in, Mike

Mullen, and he replaced Vernon Clark.  Vernon Clark says this about him. 

This is Vernon Clark, the CNO who appointed him.  “He did what I asked him

to do.  I wanted straight talk, and this put him in the crosshairs.  People

are going to say what they want to say, but he challenged people who did

not want to be challenged.  The guy is a courageous, a patriot‘s patriot.”

Now, this is the guy who appointed him.  A new CNO came in.  The new

CNO had the prerogative to remove him.  He did.  You say the word “relieved

of duty” and “terminated.”  Those words sound like he was fired, like he

did something wrong, that he was not getting a good performance review. 

What was it?

SPECTER:  Well, that‘s what the military journals say, that he was

fired.  And he has commented about what Admiral Clark said.  But when

Admirable Mullen came in, he terminated him.  And as “The Pittsburgh Post-

Gazette” quoted—and I wrote this down to be precise.  These are not my

words.  “The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette” on April 5th of this year, earlier

this month, said, quote, “A current admiral said that Sestak had a, quote,

‘tyrannical‘ leadership style.  He would command by fear and intimidation.” 

And that was why he was terminated, because of his poor command climate. 

But listen, those aren‘t my words, those are the reports in “The Army

Times,” “The Navy Times” and a currently serving admiral.

MATTHEWS:  Well, let me ask you about his whole military record.  You

said something relatively positive about most of his record.  I want to put

that up for the public so they know who the guy is.  He served in the—

he‘s an Annapolis guy.  He graduated second in his class.  He‘s the

highest-ranking former military officer ever elected to the U.S. Congress. 

He served for 31 years in the Navy and retired as a three-star admiral. 

And at one point, he led an aircraft carrier battle group, the George

Washington group, in Afghanistan.  And he also was with the Navy‘s deep

(ph) blue (ph) anti-terror team after 9/11.

He has had a long record.  Do you think it‘s fair on your part to run

an ad four weeks before the primary that said he was relieved of duty?  It

sounds to me like you‘re really—really killing the guy in terms of his

31-year record, based on perhaps how well he didn‘t get along with the new


SPECTER:  Well, I am not questioning any of the positive things you

have said, and I agree that that part of his record is commendable.  But it

is relevant as to why he was terminated.  And when he runs an ad touting

himself, I think the public is entitled to have all of the facts.  And

that‘s what we have laid on the line.

Look here, when we talk about his absenteeism and missing votes, we‘re

not questioning his judgment or speculating about what—who may be right

or who may be wrong.  We have dealt with hard facts.  And I think that the

public is entitled to know all the facts.  If he wants a promotion to be a

senator, why hasn‘t he done his job as a member of the House of

Representatives, the worst record of anybody in the Pennsylvania

delegation?  Now, should that not be brought to the public?

MATTHEWS:  Well, let‘s talk about the public interest and not the

interest of either of your candidacies.  You‘ve been a respected member of

the Senate for 30 years.  You‘ve been very successful in getting reelected,

and people think you‘re a smart guy and you‘re on your game.  But the

question, I guess, the public has a right to ask is, why don‘t you confront

him to his face with this stuff?  Why don‘t you debate him on television

like this?

And you‘re a prosecutor.  You know the rules of the courtroom.  You

have a right to be confronted with the evidence against you in person, in

court.  Why don‘t you debate this fellow on television, like we‘re doing—

well, I‘m not doing it for him, but I‘m trying to serve up, I guess, this

debate.  Are you going to debate him on television?

SPECTER:  The answer is yes.  I‘ve agreed to a statewide televised

debate in all the markets.  When he ran for reelection 2008, his opponent

wanted a series of debates and he said no.  And why did he say no?  Well,

that‘s the customary response of an incumbent.

Listen, Chris, it is difficult to get name recognition, to get people

to know you.  I travel to virtually every one of Pennsylvania‘s 67 counties

every year.  It‘s hard work.  Well, let Congressman Sestak earn his own

name recognition.

I‘ve agreed to the debate.  And we also had another debate where I

confronted him.  We debated before the Democratic women several weeks ago. 

We had a joint appearance before a group in Pittsburgh.  We‘ve—we‘ve

been together, and he‘ll have his debate.

And listen, Chris, he has not spared the rod in criticizing me.  He‘s

been doing it for more than a year.  And listen, I‘ve developed a thick

skin.  I‘m not complaining about his criticism of me.  I‘m talking about my

positive record, what I‘ve done on NIH funding, what I‘ve done on bringing

jobs to Pennsylvania.  But I think the public‘s entitled to know all the


And listen, you invite me, I appear.  I‘m very accessible.  I‘ve been

on MSNBC—this is my third time in 36 hours.

MATTHEWS:  I know you‘re on a lot on “Joe.”  Let me—on Ed‘s show. 

Let me ask you, when will this debate be, so people watching now will know

when to tune in?  When will this debate...


SPECTER:  May 1st, 7:00 o‘clock, statewide, all the television

markets, a full hour.

MATTHEWS:  That‘s Saturday night at 7:00 o‘clock.


MATTHEWS:  OK.  Well, good luck in the debate, Senator.  You‘ve

answered the question for me.  The guy was terminated.  He was relieved of

duty.  I personally hope you have more than one debate, but that‘s your

call.  Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.

Coming up: President Obama went up to New York today to take on Wall

Street.  How did he do?

But first, during the during the commercials, among the field of 2012

GOP hopefuls for president, who‘s up and who‘s down?  We got the latest

numbers.  We‘ll tell you in a minute.

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:  Nate Silver at says the Republican

presidential candidates are currently regarded more poorly by the public

than leading Democratic candidates were four years ago.  Look at this.  By

looking at all favorability polls conducted within the past year, only Mike

Huckabee and Mitt Romney—only those two—have favorable numbers.  All

the others—Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, and of course, Sarah

Palin—all have high unfavorable ratings.

We‘ll be right back.



OBAMA:  I‘m here today specifically, when I speak to the titans of

industry here, because I want to urge you to join us instead of fighting us

in this effort.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  That was the president up in New

York earlier today, asking Wall Street to stop opposing financial reform. 

Did he close the sale on reform and really get tough with Wall Street?  I

don‘t know.

Joan Walsh is editor-in-chief of Salon and Pat Buchanan‘s an MSNBC

political analyst.  I want to hear from the firebrand from out West here. 

I thought I got a little too much Ray Milland from this guy, as I like to

say, a little too casual, and not enough fire-eating Huey Long from our

president.  What do you think?

JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM:  You got Barack Obama, Chris.  And you know,

sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn‘t.  I‘m with you, I wanted to see

more fire.  He wasn‘t Teddy Roosevelt.  He wasn‘t Franklin Roosevelt.  You

know, a lot of people on the blogosphere today were bringing up the old

famous old FDR speech, where he talked about the banks and these evil

corporate interest and he said he welcomed their hatred.


WALSH:  They hate him (SIC), and I welcome their hatred.”

MATTHEWS:  Oh, yes.

WALSH:  That is not Barack Obama.  But really, more—you know, you

and I both know...

MATTHEWS:  Well, he gets their hatred, whether he welcomes it or not!

WALSH:  Exactly.  Exactly.

MATTHEWS:  He might as well welcome it, you know?

WALSH:  It‘s very—it‘s very unlikely that they‘re going to join him

on this one.


WALSH:  To me, it‘s not about style, though.  Ultimately, it‘s about

what‘s in the bill, how tough is the bill.  And from all indications, it

doesn‘t sound—it sounds like there‘s going to be a lot of loopholes even

in this relatively tough and encouraging derivatives legislation.  So

that‘s what worries me.  I‘m—I—he can talk as cool as he wants, but I

want to see some toughness in the bill, and I don‘t know that we‘re going

to get it.

MATTHEWS:  So there‘s not enough teeth in this bill.  Pat, do you



graduate seminar than anything else, Chris.  But I don‘t think you can do

FDR, you know, denouncing the money-changers in...

MATTHEWS:  How about Teddy Roosevelt and the malefactors...

BUCHANAN:  Malefactors...


BUCHANAN:  How about money-changers in the temple of our civilization,

when Lloyd Blankfein, sitting right there in front of you, your buddy,

who‘s the head of Goldman Sachs and whose company who gave you a million

bucks.  But I think what Obama did correctly was—look, he‘s won the

battle here.  The Republicans are aboard.  He‘s playing president.  He‘s

being magnanimous in victory.

MATTHEWS:  Has he rolled them?

BUCHANAN:  It‘s the right thing to do...

MATTHEWS:  Has he rolled them?

BUCHANAN:  He‘s...

MATTHEWS:  He‘s got Richard Shelby aboard!  He‘s got Bob Corker.

BUCHANAN:  Well, look, when you got that...

WALSH:  We‘ll see.  We‘ll see.

BUCHANAN:  I mean, you don‘t rub somebody‘s nose in the dirt.  Be

magnanimous.  I think he handled it very well all the way around.  But he -

Chris, that‘s not him.  I remember Gerald Ford‘s friends—buddies asked

me, should he really go after the media, as Agnew did?  I said, No...

WALSH:  Right.

BUCHANAN:  ... because he can‘t do it.  He won‘t do it.  It‘s not him. 

He won‘t follow through.  Barack Obama is what you saw up there...

MATTHEWS:  OK, my question is this.  It‘s an American question, and

it‘s totally non-ideological.  It‘s the same question we asked after 9/11. 

After all the precautions, after all the homeland security, all the

fighting terrorism and all that stuff, could it happen again exactly the

same way it happened, where the guy‘s coming down from Portland, Maine,

same four guys getting on the plane?  What‘s to stop it this time?

What‘s to stop these guys up there, the masters of the universe...


MATTHEWS:  ... from coming up with some new gizmo, some weird scheme

and doing it all over again?

WALSH:  Well...

BUCHANAN:  It could happen again.  Suppose you had the EU, the—

Greece—let‘s say Spain and Italy gone just as Greece did.  These banks

would start down, and if JPMorgan went under, Chris, we would go in and we

would rescue JPMorgan.

MATTHEWS:  Because?

BUCHANAN:  Because look—because if...


BUCHANAN:  ... if they go under, they drag everybody under with them.

WALSH:  Well, I think...

MATTHEWS:  So in the end—so in the end, the argument was made today

by one of our commentators in real time—Joan, your thoughts—that no

matter what they say about this $50 billion package they‘ve got ready,

they‘ve gleaned from the industry itself in case they need it to do a bail-

out, that in the end, if somebody goes down and it‘s $100 billion or $200

billion or whatever, they‘re going to get bought off and the rich guys are

going to walk away, bankrolled again, once again insured by the federal

government‘s fear of “too big to fail.”  Yes, again.

WALSH:  Yes.  I think that—you know, there‘s a big—big

Democratic debate, actually, right now, Chris, whether you need to go in

the direction of the Sherrod Brown-Ted Kaufman “too big to fail” bill and

really—and really set limits on how big these banks can be and what

percentage they can be lending and how—you know, how vulnerable that

makes us.

The Obama White House seems not to love that idea.  Chris Dodd seems

not to love that idea.  A lot of us think we need both.  We need tough



WALSH:  ... but we also need to—we need to break up some of these

banks and create...

MATTHEWS:  Do we need Judge Green again, and Judge Green, and Ma Bell

being broken up again?  Is that what we need?

BUCHANAN:  You‘re not being...

MATTHEWS:  Something like that?

BUCHANAN:  I don‘t think you‘re being fair to the Democrats here. 

Look, if it goes down...


BUCHANAN:  ... a big one goes down this time—well, you‘re not!  If

a big one goes down this time, they do like General Motors.  They‘re going

to wipe out the leadership.  They‘re going to wipe out the shareholders.


WALSH:  They are saying that.


MATTHEWS:  OK, for everybody watching, that‘s the good news.  I‘m

told, Joan, that in Europe, when they bail somebody out after they blow it,

all the big shots are gone.

WALSH:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  The minute you take a dollar or a pound or a franc from the

government, the deal is you go.  Nobody stays.

Let‘s look at it.  Here‘s the president, completely—well, he shot

down Republican claims that the reform bill would translate into endless

taxpayer bail-outs.  That‘s the Frank Luntz talking point.

WALSH:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  He had to address it today.  What a victory for Frank

Luntz!  The president of the United States has to go to Cooper Union like



MATTHEWS:  ... and respond to your frickin‘ talking points!


MATTHEWS:  Here‘s the president taking on Luntzie (ph).


OBAMA:  What‘s not legitimate is to suggest that somehow, the

legislation being proposed is going to encourage future taxpayer bail-outs,

as some have claimed.  That makes for a good sound bite, but it‘s not

factually accurate.  It is not true.

A vote for reform is a vote to put a stop to taxpayer-funded bail-

outs.  That‘s the truth.  End of story.  And nobody should be fooled in

this debate.



MATTHEWS:  Well, Joan, somewhere, somewhere, Frank Luntz—he‘s in

England, I guess—is having a thrill going through his brain right now

because he has concocted a phrase, “endless taxpayer-funded bail-outs,”

which has become Mitch McConnell‘s prayer book, his catechism...

WALSH:  Even when it‘s shown to be a lie...

MATTHEWS:  ... and the president had to respond to it.

WALSH:  Even when it‘s shown to be a lie, Chris, which is unfortunate. 

You know, they are saying—I saw—Austan Goolsbee said it the other

day, that they are going to go in—if this happens again, they will not

be bailed out, they will be thrown into bankruptcy.  You know, there‘s a

level at which people want to see the guys who screw it up—and they are

mostly guys, don‘t mean to be sexist—taken out. 


WALSH:  They want them taken out.  They don‘t want them to get

bonuses.  They don‘t want them to get golden parachutes.  And they don‘t

want taxpayer money going to this.

I‘m a little bit worried, though, that—that the administration has

indicated it will compromise on this re-administration restructuring fund

because of so much Republican opposition...


WALSH:  ... which I think is kind of ridiculous.  These are fees paid

by the bank.  There will be administrative costs in bankruptcy.  Somebody

needs to cover those costs.  This was an innovative way to do it. 

But Obama, because he‘s getting pushback, is already saying, well,

maybe we—maybe we don‘t have to have that in the bill.  And that‘s a

little worrisome.

MATTHEWS:  You know, I just heard somebody with a—with a wonderful

name like Joan Walsh, one the nicest names—it‘s mellifluous—it‘s

beautiful—making—just making reference to a guy named Austan



MATTHEWS:  It‘s just—there‘s something inconsistent about...


WALSH:  He‘s got a perfectly nice name, too. 


PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  It‘s something out of Dickens. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes, I know.  It‘s Dickens. 


WALSH:  I like Austan Goolsbee, you guys. 


MATTHEWS:  ... for—I know.  He‘s a good source, too.  I know all

about him.

BUCHANAN:  Right. 



MATTHEWS:  Let‘s go to this.

Bottom line, Pat, as the summer ends, will the president, as—it

looks to me like this was going to be a fight that was going to go on all

the way through September, and they were going to sign the bill, cleaning

up Wall Street, restricting it in all these ways, saying no more money for

the guys who win when there‘s a bailout. 

BUCHANAN:  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  And they were going to sign it around the time that Lehman

Brothers went down, sometime in September.  It looks like to me like this

fight is going to be over a lot faster than that, and he‘s going to be on

fighting about energy and immigration at some point. 

BUCHANAN:  It‘s not going to be a big deal.

The Republicans basically are giving him a bye.  They are saying,

we‘re not going to fight you on this particular battle.  Let‘s move on to

the next one.  So, he wins, but he doesn‘t have the big fight.  It‘s like

winning a primary with no opposition, Chris.  

WALSH:  Well, he‘s had a...

MATTHEWS:  Joan, you agree they going to roll on this and just let him

have it and then say he won, without letting him be able to feel a



WALSH:  They will never say he won.  They will never say he won. 


WALSH:  They—you know, and the—and the people who didn‘t vote

for it will continue to use these talking points about bailouts.  They will

treat him unfairly, no matter what happens. 

I happen to think that it‘s a good thing to get it out of the way, as

long as there‘s teeth in it.


WALSH:  The idea of dragging it out all over the summer, we saw what

happened with...


WALSH:  ... with health care reform and death panels and the lies that

can spring up.  I think they should get it down now while they seem to have

the votes and they have the momentum. 


MATTHEWS:  Would he be smarter if he did energy next, come down in the

center again, like he did on this issue, come down in the center, one-time

progressive, health care, then the center on this, on cleaning up Wall

Street, the center on energy, and put off immigration? 

If he does immigration next, I think he ruins the summer, my thought.

Your thoughts, Pat? 

BUCHANAN:  If he does immigration now, he will be torn to pieces on

it, and he will lose the battle.  He may have been pushed into doing


MATTHEWS:  Yes, I don‘t understand it.

BUCHANAN:  ... by the Hispanic Caucus, which came aboard... 

MATTHEWS:  I think that‘s a mistake.

Your thoughts.  What‘s he better to do, energy right now, as we start

using more gas this summer and worry about gas prices, or do immigration to

meet the concerns of the Hispanic voters? 


WALSH:  you know what?  He‘s being pushed to do immigration, but it‘s

largely because of that idiotic racial profiling law in Arizona.  That‘s

what‘s pushing them. 


MATTHEWS:  Try explaining that to history:  I did it because of

Arizona.  Excuse me.  I think he‘s crazy, he‘s a knucklehead if he does

immigration this summer.


WALSH:  I don‘t think he can afford to take Latinos for granted.  I



MATTHEWS:  OK.  Thank you, Joan Walsh.

BUCHANAN:  He‘s got a big Supreme Court battle coming up, Chris.   


WALSH:  There‘s a lot.  There‘s always a lot.


MATTHEWS:  Well, the smaller the battle, the better.

Joan Walsh.

Thank you, Pat Buchanan. 

WALSH:  Thanks, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  We‘re sizing up the summer.

Up next:  Vice President Joe Biden talks about his BFD in the

“Sideshow.”  That was the nickname for it.

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MFN...


MATTHEWS:  ... only MSNBC.  





Back to HARDBALL.  Time for the “Sideshow.” 

First: Joe Biden‘s BFD.  Earlier today, the vice president gave “The

View” a look behind the scenes of his hot microphone moment during last

month‘s health care signing.  I guess it bothered some people, what he

said, though I don‘t know who exactly.

Guess who it didn‘t bother?  The president.  Here‘s the veep on “The




JOY BEHAR, CO-HOST, “THE VIEW”:  Did you not realize there was a

microphone in the...


BIDEN:  I realized there was a microphone, but I had no idea it was

that sensitive. 


BIDEN:  I was as far away from the microphone as there to here, and I

was whispering in his ear. 



BIDEN:  And, after it was over, we walked out, and—and we got in—

in the limo to go over to another event, and he was laughing like the



BIDEN:  I said, “What‘s so funny?”


BIDEN: “I don‘t see anything funny about this.”

And he said, “Well”—he said, “Katie, my secretary, told me, when

you said that to me, everybody could hear it.”

And I went, oh, God. 



MATTHEWS:  Well, I never seen something so no—anyway, that‘s no BFD

become such a long-lasting BFD. 

Anyway, next: tempest in teapot.  The man behind a famous ad campaign

has lost his job after leaving a nasty voice-mail message for the Tea Party

group FreedomWorks. 

Here‘s the voice-mail.  See if you can recognize the voice. 



I‘m doing a paper about FreedomWorks, and I was wondering if somebody

could give me a call back.  It‘s—I‘m wrapping up, and I just have one

more piece of information I need to get from you guys. 

Just need to know what the percentage is of people that are mentally

retarded who work for the organization and are—are members of it. 

And, oh—and one final thing, also.  Wondering what your plans are,

how to spin it when one of your members does actually kill somebody,

wondering how, if you‘ve got an actual P.R. spinning routine planned for

that, or are you just going to take it when it happens. 


MATTHEWS:  Voice-mail from hell.  Recognize that voice?  It‘s Larry

Baxter, the announcer in the Geico ads, not the gecko, but the guys who

says, “Geico, real service, real savings” at the end of those commercials.

Baxter says that he left the voice-mail after hearing about the slurs

yelled at members of Congress during the run-up to that health care vote. 

He also said leaving the voice-mail was stupid and doesn‘t blame Geico for

giving him the axe for leaving that message. 

Finally: aiming at the top.  Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich

asked a judge today to subpoena President Obama to testify at his federal

trial.  B-Rod claims President Obama has direct knowledge concerning the

allegations against him.

Remember, by the way, B-Rod is up on charges of trying to sell the

president‘s old Senate seat.  The White House isn‘t commenting. 

Now for the “Number.”

The White House is said to have 10 names on its short list to replace

Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.  Who is leading the pack?  Well,

according to the oddsmakers at over in Dublin, current

Solicitor General Elena Kagan with 41 percent.  She‘s also a former Harvard

Law dean.  Kagan‘s odds are almost even to make it to the Supreme Court, 41


Wow.  She‘s ahead of the pack—tonight‘s “Big Number.”

Up next: Congressman Ron Paul on the future of the movement he helped

create, the Tea Party, the libertarians. 

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.  



“Market Wrap.”

Stocks climbed back from a morning plunge to finish modestly higher

today—the Dow Jones industrial average adding nine points, the S&P 500

up two, and the Nasdaq gaining 14. 

Concerns about Greece continuing to weigh on the markets.  This

morning, it was news that its debt in relation to GDP was higher than

expected.  But stocks began to recover around midday, despite a wave of

lackluster earnings forecast. 

Chipmaker Qualcomm‘s shares tumbling more than 8 percent, after

lowering it outlook, and Nokia plunging more than 13 percent on a weak

forecast due to stepped-up competition in the smartphone market. 

And posting earnings after the closing bell today, Amazon shares

moving sharply lower after-hours, despite beating expectations on a 46

percent increase in sales. 

Microsoft also on the decline after-hours, the tech giant beating on

earnings and revenue as well, citing strong sales of Windows 7 and the


That‘s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide—now back to


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

We saw thousands of Tea Partiers rally in Washington on tax day last

week.  And a recent Politico poll actually shows the movement is split

between social conservatives, who look to Sarah Palin as their leader, and

libertarians, who look to Congressman Ron Paul. 

Well, Congressman Ron Paul is with us tonight.

It‘s an honor to have you, sir.  You‘re a leader of a movement. 

Sometimes, you remind me of my hero growing up, who was in fact Barry


REP. RON PAUL ®, TEXAS:  Oh, well, that‘s...


MATTHEWS:  And then I grew up.


PAUL:  Oh, wait a minute.


MATTHEWS:  And I began to see the complications of life, like people

get old, and they don‘t have a lot of ability to save money, so they need

Social Security, and we need a civil rights bill, even if it was done under

the interstate commerce clause, and it may have been a fiddle there.

But the fact is, it isn‘t always as clear and simple as libertarian

philosophy argues.  But you have stuck to your position.  You are a

libertarian.  At your age, still believe way less government is way better. 

PAUL:  But aren‘t we on the verge of proving our point? 

Social Security sounds good, but it‘s broke.  And even if they take

care of sending out the checks, eventually, the checks won‘t buy anything,

because we will just print the money.  So, I think our point has been

proven.  We‘re—that‘s what this whole movement is about.  And that‘s

what the Tea Party movement is about. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Let me give you that—OK.

PAUL:  And that—I mean, the failure of government is everywhere

around us. 

MATTHEWS:  But what about the—let‘s just take the most—I used to

argue this with my dad, who was sort of middle-of-the-road Republican.  I

would try to take your position.

And he would say, yes, but some people just don‘t save money.  Maybe

they don‘t have the discipline.  Maybe they don‘t have the financial

ability.  They live paycheck to paycheck. 

All of a sudden, they‘re 65.  They don‘t have any money.  And, in the

old days, you would move in with your kids.  And, in modern society, the

kids have already moved to the suburbs.  You‘re in the old neighborhood. 

It doesn‘t work.  That‘s why the government felt it needed to have some

kind of safety net for retired people. 

You still don‘t think we need Social Security?  This is pretty



PAUL:  There‘s a moral issue there as well.  The person that didn‘t

save and spent their money and had no money when they were 65, what does—

why does that give them a moral right to take it from the person who was

frugal and saved? 

MATTHEWS:  Because you force them to pay in the payroll tax. 

PAUL:  But, no, what if you didn‘t force them?  What if...

MATTHEWS:  That‘s the problem my father would say. 


MATTHEWS:  OK, so, what do you do with those people?  If you don‘t

have a Social Security system, what do you do? 

PAUL:  Well, you‘re going to be a lot better off than a Social

Security system where everybody is dependent and it goes totally bankrupt,

and you have a whole society broke.  That‘s what the problem will be. 

Nobody is going to get..


MATTHEWS:  Would we be better getting rid of Social Security? 

PAUL:  Pardon me?

MATTHEWS:  Would we be better getting rid of it? 

PAUL:  No, not under these circumstances.  I have bills in the

Congress that would make it solvent, that you couldn‘t spend a penny of it.

And I would—I would take care of these, these people who are

totally dependent by stopping the money being spent overseas.  And I would

have a transition in order to do that.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  I‘m with you on that.

By the way, that overseas—that adventure, I‘m with you on that.


PAUL:  Yes, that‘s the only place—that‘s the only place that you

can save.


MATTHEWS:  That‘s the part I like.

Let me ask you about this health care bill.  It always seems to me

when people say, I don‘t want a helmet, fine, drive without a helmet. 

PAUL:  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  But, when you get picked up on the highway, and you‘re all

messed up, and the ambulance gets there, and the rescue squad gets there 10

minutes later, you‘re taken care of.  Somebody takes you to the best

hospital, the closest hospital, gives you the best treatment they can give


So, society does look out for its individual members.  It does. 

Libertarians say, I don‘t need society.  I don‘t want to pay into health


Is that logical? 


MATTHEWS:  Do you libertarians have a logical position?


PAUL:  No, it‘s not logical to have what we have.  That means you

create the moral hazard.  The person can go out and say, oh, I don‘t really

have to worry.  If I get hurt, somebody else is going to take care of me. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  Well...

PAUL:  But where does he have the moral right to say that, I have been

injured—it‘s a socialization of medicine.  This idea that government

will take care of me, that means that somebody will.

MATTHEWS:  No, but don‘t you have to make—doesn‘t a person have to

take responsibility and buy health insurance, so that, when they do get

into trouble, they have to...


PAUL:  Well, I think they have to take responsibility for their life. 

If they injure themselves, if they‘re stupid—we can‘t protect people

against themselves. 

MATTHEWS:  No, but shouldn‘t—no, but when you get a stroke or you

have a heart attack, or you have—something goes wrong with you at the

workplace, and somebody has to look out for you, isn‘t it better that

society says, no, wait a minute, while you‘re young and healthy, kick into

health care, like this new plan requires, so that, when something goes

wrong, you have already begun to contribute?

PAUL:  See, I think where we disagree...

MATTHEWS:  What is wrong with that?

PAUL:  Where we disagree is, you use the word society rather

carelessly.  Society—who is society? 

Society is just everybody.  But there‘s only a few people who are ever

in the Congress someplace dictating what—who society is and who pays,

who gets bailed out, who doesn‘t. 

And, under a society where people are responsible for themselves, they

have to suffer the consequences.  If they don‘t take care of themselves,

they have to depend on charity, their friends or their neighbors or their


But you would have a lot fewer people.  Now we‘re going to have a

whole society.  I mean, now we have 21 percent of the people that are

underemployed because of this false illusion about Keynesian economics,

that this is going to work.

There‘s going to be nobody else to bail them out.  So, society isn‘t

going to be there, because society is broke, because the government is


MATTHEWS:  So, the president should not have pushed a big spending

bill in the face of the big looming second Great Depression?

PAUL:  Oh, that was horrible.  It was exactly the opposite thing...  

MATTHEWS:  He shouldn‘t have done that?

PAUL:  He should have cut spending and put the money—I would


MATTHEWS:  That‘s what Hoover did. 

PAUL:  What? 

MATTHEWS:  Cut spending. 

PAUL:  No, he didn‘t.  He—Hoover was every bit as bad as Roosevelt. 

Roosevelt just continued a Hoover program.  Hoover—Hoover...


MATTHEWS:  OK.  You want to go back to Coolidge.

PAUL:  Huh?

MATTHEWS:  You want to go back to Coolidge. 

PAUL:  Well...

MATTHEWS:  You love Coolidge.  You guys love Coolidge.


PAUL:  No.  How about Thomas Jefferson?  How about people like that...


PAUL:  ... who believed in freedom and free markets?

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s take a look at the Tea Party movement that you, in a

way, you and Barry Goldwater, going back, people who believe there‘s too

much government, too much big government. 

I understand the impulse.  Some people in the Tea Party movement don‘t

exactly go along with that.  They‘re more for Palin.  They love, you know,

outlaw abortion.  A lot of other issues, they‘re very concerned.  They

don‘t like same-sex. 

Is the Tea Party movement too social and not economic enough for you? 

Or how would you describe what you see in that? 

PAUL:  Well, I don‘t think anybody can describe it yet.  I mean,

they‘re claiming there‘s a difference.  But they say that I am not as

interested in the social issues.  But, you know, in many ways, here, I am a

very conservative person socially. 

MATTHEWS:  But you‘re not running around against the evils of same-sex

marriage.  I don‘t hear you talking about that. 

PAUL:  No, but to say that I‘m not interested in family values, you

know, I happen to be married and have children and all that. 

MATTHEWS:  I know.  But that‘s fairly normal.  But you‘re not out

there waving signs against same-sex couples.

PAUL:  No, that‘s true.  I do not.

I believe in values, but I do not believe in using force to put those



PAUL:  I don‘t believe in using force to make you a better person for

your own sake. 

But I don‘t believe in putting force on you to make you more

responsible economically.  I apply the rules equally to social justice and

economic justice.  I don‘t understand this division, why you may defend

social liberties rather well, but as soon as it comes to me spending my

money on assuming responsibility—I say, why don‘t you apply—


MATTHEWS:  But you‘re the only one that I know because most people who

say that they‘re libertarians always come back in and say, yeah, but no

same-sex marriage and let‘s outlaw abortion. 

PAUL:  I think the consistent position is government shouldn‘t be

involved in marriage.  Why should we have this argument? It‘s up to

anybody‘s opinion. 

MATTHEWS:  I agree, but do you think a Tea Party person takes that


PAUL:  Probably not.  But I think everybody should be able to define

it.  I have my definition of marriage but I don‘t have the right to impose

my views on others.  But nobody has the right to impose their views on me. 

MATTHEWS:  What do you make of the ugly part of the movement?  And I

don‘t think you have anything to do with it, but when I look at these

signs, they‘ve got Hitler moustaches on this guy, the president of the

United States.  They do crazy colors on his face to play around with his

ethnic background.  Look at this stuff, you‘ve got a hammer and sickle. 

All of this stuff is really kind of nasty, edgy, I hate the guy, rather

than I have a different philosophy of this guy.  He got elected president

legitimately.  I disagree with him.  Why all this delegitimatization?  He‘s

not really our president.  He wasn‘t really born here.  What is all this


PAUL:  Well, I think that might be distortion.  I‘ve never seen that

on FOX.

MATTHEWS:  You‘ve got to look around a little bit. 

PAUL:  I think it‘s, I think -

MATTHEWS:  Most people are aware that this is part of the movement. 

PAUL:  I think it‘s very small and I think it‘s ugly. 

MATTHEWS:  Bill O‘Reilly, who‘s been kind of almost moving to the

center compared to some of those guys, I mean he knows it‘s going on. 

PAUL:  But they‘ve done some detailed polling of these people.  These

are well-educated people.  And most people, probably 99 percent of the

people don‘t carry ugly signs. 

MATTHEWS:  But who put the signs up, when the signs that are outside? 


PAUL:  Maybe the left did. 


MATTHEWS:  You‘re kidding me, you are kidding me. 

PAUL:  Yeah, probably.  I try to needle you. 

MATTHEWS:  Where are you going?  Rand Paul, I know this guy, he‘s your

kid, your son, he might pull an upset and win at the Senate seat for


PAUL:  It looks good. 

MATTHEWS:  It looks good for him.

PAUL:  It looks very good.

MATTHEWS:  Who are you—you guys have become the bandwagon.  Who is

backing your son now? Isn‘t it Mitt Romney is backing him?

PAUL:  I don‘t think so. 

MATTHEWS:  Not yet?

PAUL:  But Bunning is.

MATTHEWS:  Bunning?

PAUL:  Bunning is the conservative independent.  You know, he was not,

he didn‘t fall into the trap of being part of the establishment.  He‘s

anti-establishment.  He‘s with the grassroots and the Tea Party people. 

And the people who like individual liberties and free markets and sound

money.  I mean they‘re all for that. 

MATTHEWS:  You guys can win it you can win in Florida with Marco

Rubio, you can win in Kentucky.  You can win around the country.

PAUL:  There‘s a revolution going on, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  Are you the leader?

PAUL:  No, I‘m not a leader. 

MATTHEWS:  Is Palin?

PAUL:  I don‘t think there is any one leader. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you think she could be president by her abilities?

PAUL:  Oh sure, just look at the past history.  Almost anybody can

become president. 

MATTHEWS:  You‘re just not saying anything.  You‘re not even saying. 

You‘re saying anybody can be president, you‘re saying there‘s no standards?

PAUL:  Well—

MATTHEWS:  It‘s a complicated job.

PAUL:  That‘s right.  But I would say that on both Republican and

Democratic sides, people rise to the occasion.  All of a sudden they have

good advisers. 

MATTHEWS:  True romantic, a Harry Truman romantic here.  Thank you. 

Congressman Ron Paul.

PAUL:  Good to see you.

MATTHEWS:  Up next, Congresswoman Michele Bachman, another version of

the dream here, trying to defend her calling of the Obama administration

“gangster government.”  I guess she‘s Elliot Ness this week.

But in one minute, does Governor Rick Perry of Texas want to run for

president of this country?


MATTHEWS:  If you‘re good enough for Texas, why not America? That‘s

one of the questions posed to Governor Rick Perry of Texas in this week‘s

cover story in “Newsweek” magazine.  In an interview, Governor Perry

insisted he is focused on Texas and would not run for president under any

circumstances.  However, he then goes on to say what he wants whoever is

elected president to make Washington as inconsequential in our life as we

can.  I want to get this country back, he says.  Only time will tell what

he‘s really up to.


MATTHEWS:  We‘re back.  President Obama seems to be gaining the upper

hand in the Wall Street reform fight.  The Republicans miscalculated,

thinking they could turn bailouts.  That term of art they‘re using into the

death panels of this debate.  For more on that, the coming fight on

immigration and Michelle Bachman‘s latest gangster talk, let‘s bring in the

strategists, Democrat Steve McMahon and Republican Todd Harris.  We‘ve got

three big questions.  First of all, this fight on Wall Street, has he won?

STEVE MCMAHON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  It looks like he‘s won it.  The

Republicans now are talking about compromise and they‘re talking about

bipartisanship and maybe even supporting the bill. 

MATTHEWS:  Clinching?

MCMAHON:  Well I mean, I think that they see the momentum going the

other way. 

MATTHEWS:  You don‘t like this boxing terminology, are they clinching

like the middle-weights?  Is that what they‘re up to?  Don‘t hit me.

TODD HARRIS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  I think there‘s going to be some

bipartisan compromise, but not until the bailout fund is removed from the

bill.  There‘s dissension even on the Democratic side. 

MATTHEWS:  But the bailout, before you throw Frank Lantz‘s talking

points here, $50 billion that‘s coming from Wall Street itself, it‘s not

taxpayer money. 

HARRIS:  Ultimately, but that gets passed on to taxpayers, Wall Street

is not just going to write out a check for $50 billion and hand it over to

the government without passing on those funds to all their customers and

their customers are taxpayers.  So ultimately, that gets paid by the


MCMAHON:  OK, so this is a little bit disingenuous, just as the

argument that the bailout is disingenuous.  The money comes from the big

institutions and it‘s to be used to dismantled them if they fail to get rid

of their CEO, get rid of their board, and to take it over and sell it so

that they can actually fail and go out of business, which they didn‘t do

last time.  It‘s the opposite of a bailout.  It‘s a put them out of

business fund, is what it is.

HARRIS:  On Main Street, there‘s no government fund if some mom-and-

pop shop goes belly-up, there‘s no government fund to come in and help

those people out.  If a financial institution makes risky decisions and

they go belly-up, the officers ought to be out on the streets.  The

shareholders ought to lose their money.

MATTHEWS:  While you‘re running your trump card, getting so tough

here, is Wall Street the Republican Party‘s ACORN?

HARRIS:  The answer is yes.

MATTHEWS:  I think it is. 

HARRIS:  I don‘t know. 


HARRIS:  When President Obama gives back the money—

MATTHEWS:  Your big embarrassment.  You‘re laughing because your—

MCMAHON:  Here‘s an interesting fact from a Gallup poll.  If you say

Wall Street reform, the numbers go up 15 points.  When you say financial


MATTHEWS:  OK let‘s—

HARRIS:  When President Obama gives back the money he took from

Goldman Sachs. 

MATTHEWS:  OK here‘s a question I don‘t know the answer to, a

dangerous question.  Immigration in Arizona, the states are getting tough,

they‘ve given up on the federal government enforcing the law.  Their police

officers stop and basically check a guy for an ID or a woman.

MCMAHON:  A little bit of vigilantism.

MATTHEWS:  No.  The law enforcement official is doing it.  Is this

something that‘s going to cut which way?

MCMAHON:  Well, I actually think it cuts both ways.  At the end of the

day, it‘s going to cut for the Democrats because Hispanics all over the

country are looking at this thing and saying, what are they doing down

there and why are they doing this?  John McCain now has a primary opponent

is supporting this, but only because he has a primary opponent.  Remember,

John McCain cosponsored immigration reform with Ted Kennedy, the

Kennedy/McCain bill.

MATTHEWS:  When are the Democrats going to enforce immigration law?

MCMAHON:  I think President Obama and the leaders on the Hill are

talking about moving immigration reform maybe even ahead of climate change. 

And if they do, you‘ll see how serious—

MATTHEWS:  Are they going to keep the biometric checker in there?  Is

it really going to be a checkable system, or just more BS?


MCMAHON:  It starts with securing the borders, then it talks about—

MATTHEWS:  No, no, the key is the ID card. The key is the ID card. 

Are they going to have it in there, because it‘s in there now.  Will they

keep it in there, or have it taken out?

MCMAHON:  I think they have to keep in it there in order to get it


MATTHEWS:  Sanchez the other day seemed opened to it.  Not happy with

it, but she understands why it might have to happen.

HARRIS:  I think as far as what‘s happening in Arizona, it‘s probably

good short term politics. I agree with Steve, this is bad long term


MATTHEWS:  I don‘t understand why we don‘t just say everybody who is

here is here, no more people get in illegally.

HARRIS:  That‘s exactly right.  The way that you take care of the

immigration problem, you‘ve got to secure the border.

MATTHEWS:  We‘re reaching common ground here, this is going to get

dangerous.  Let‘s go to Michele Bachmann, who is not common ground at all. 

And here she is last week at the Tea Party rally. Let‘s listen to Michele



REP. MICHELE BACHMAN ®, MINNESOTA:  They don‘t realize that your IQ

scores are way above average.  We‘re on to them.  We are on to this

gangster government.


MATTHEWS:  Well Bill Clinton reacted to that in the “New York Times”

by saying, quote, “They are not gangsters, they were elected. They are not

doing anything they were not elected to do.”

What is this delegitimization by your crowd. The right wing, he didn‘t

get elected, he‘s not an American, they‘ll say anything.  What is this


HARRIS:  I think if you ever talk to someone who worked for President

Bush, you‘d hear that for eight years—

MATTHEWS:  Nobody ever said he wasn‘t an American.

HARRIS:  They certainly said he wasn‘t elected.

MCMAHON:  He was elected, right, guys?

MATTHEWS:  If that election had gone the other way in Florida, in

2000, and the guy who had the less popular vote, I think the right wing

would have blown up.  I don‘t think they would have accepted at all the way

Al Gore took it like man.  He took it, he conceded, even though he got more

votes than the other guy, 600,000 more votes. He said OK, this is the way

the system works, I‘m going to bow to the Supreme Court.  Would you guys

have bowed to the Supreme Court?

HARRIS:  I agree, Al Gore took it like man. The liberal base of the

Democratic Party is still whining about it

MATTHEWS:  Would you guys have taken it, you guys on the right?  Would

they have taken it? Would you have let the Supreme Court pick a president?


MATTHEWS:  I know you wouldn‘t, you guys—there would have been

generals in uniform. Here‘s Bachmann again yesterday talking on the “Hill.”

She‘s not backing down.  Here‘s Michele Bachmann, the congressman.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Do you think it‘s right to use the words gangster


BACHMAN:  Absolutely, I do. And the best example of that would be from

the automobile task force. That‘s a gangster government move. When

government comes in and decides who the winners are, who the losers are,

and there‘s no recourse. That‘s what happened to 3,400 dealerships across

the country. That‘s one example of gangster government.


MATTHEWS:  I think it was the consumers that decided which—

HARRIS:  If gangster government means that the government picks

winners and losers, then I don‘t like gangster government. I‘m not really

sure what gangster government means.

MCMAHON:  Here‘s what she‘s done.  She‘s managed to slander people

from Chicago and African-Americans at the same time.

HARRIS:  And Italians.

MCMAHON:  It may be clever but it‘s—

MATTHEWS:  I think you‘re mispronouncing the word, but it‘s gangsta,

but that‘s all right.

MCMAHON:  But it‘s insidious and it‘s what the right --  it has a

racial undertone.

MATTHEWS:  It does?  I didn‘t think it does.

MCMAHON:  It absolutely does, absolutely has a racial undertone.

HARRIS:  Oh, please.

MATTHEWS:  What do you think of the language of these people in the

far right?  Your guy Rubio doesn‘t do this stuff, does he? 

HARRIS:  He doesn‘t do this stuff.

MATTHEWS:  Un-American?

HARRIS:  Have you ever been to a union rally and listen to the

language that goes on there?

MCMAHON:  Have you ever been to a union rally?

HARRIS:  I have, I was escorted out.

MATTHEWS:  He was one of the scabs.  Anyway, Steve McMahon, Todd

Harris, when we return, I‘ll have some thoughts on disgusting negative

campaign commercials. I hope this guy never makes any, this guy. You‘re

watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:  Let me finish tonight, roughly where I began tonight. I

really don‘t like negative political ads, could you tell? When it gets near

election time and they start running them, I get thoroughly depressed. 

Some sound like indictments. They‘re usually in black and white.  You hear

this creepy voice of the announcer sometimes sarcastic, even sneering,

other times whispering.

He‘s giving you the dirt.  You see the old newspaper clippings, the

mocked up headlines that flash up on your screen.  They kind of give the

attack ads some authority.  Hey this guy belongs in jail. This is criminal

stuff, how awful? How does this guy live with himself? Does he actually

have a family? How does he get up in the morning or go to bed at night

being this corrupt?

We‘re supposed to have a couple of reactions to all these negative

ads.  First, we‘re supposed to vote against the guy in the nasty,

disgusting ad.  Second, we‘re supposed to then forget all about the ad once

the election is over and go on believing our government is in good hands. 

We‘re supposed to believe in all those we‘ve elected to run the country,

even if we remember that the same faces and names we‘ve spent weeks

watching and listening to and those disgusting TV ads, all those state

assembly people and judges and city council people, U.S. senators and

members of Congress.

But some of us don‘t vote for the other guy after watching some

negative TV ads because after we‘ve watched so much of this stuff, we

really don‘t feel so good about politics at all, neither do we forget all

about what we‘ve seen after the election is over. No we remember face after

face, familiar sounding name after familiar sounding name as the people who

are now running the government.

Those ads we get at election time are the previews of coming

attractions like you see at the movie theater, what‘s coming to a political

office near you. So I don‘t like ads that attack the other guy‘s character.

I don‘t like politics as prosecution because I‘m one of the people, like

you maybe, who thinks politics can still bring out the best in us.  We can

still find good people to lead us, sometimes for what we‘re facing right

now, the very best people.

These nasty TV ads you see, how about the next time you catch one, you

pay attention to which guy is paying for the ads, you know that guy who

says I‘m Joe Blow and approve this message.  Next time, how about voting

against that guy?  That‘s HARDBALL for now.  Thanks for being with us. 

Right now, it‘s time for “The Ed Show” with Ed Schultz.




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