Guests: Alfredo Gutierrez, John Huppenthal, Susan Page, James Cameron, Mark
Halperin, Tim Kaine.
HOST: Bordering on trouble.
Let‘s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I‘m Chris Matthews in Washington. Leading off tonight:
Border wars. Call it battle no one wanted to fight, immigration reform.
Democrats in swing districts worry about facing a tough vote. Republicans
worry about facing a future without Hispanic support. But two things, the
new Arizona law and Harry Reid‘s need to galvanize Hispanic voters in his
own reelection bid, are forcing the issue—tonight.
Plus: The “heads I win and tails you lose” battle the Democrats are
only too delighted to fight is Wall Street reform. Either they get a bill,
or the Republicans filibuster and look like tools of Wall Street. Senators
are gathering right now to vote on whether to bring the bill to the Senate
floor. We‘ll bring you the results and figure out the politics later in
Also, the man behind the highest-grossing film of all time, “Avatar,”
writer/director James Cameron, is sounding an urgent call to take care of
this planet, and he‘ll be here tonight.
And if Democrats are going to avoid huge losses in the fall, they‘re
going to have to mobilize those surge voters who put Barack Obama in the
White House, the kind of people who generally stay home for mid-term
elections, young, minorities, and first-time voters. The effort to capture
the magic starts today.
And I‘ll finish tonight with some thoughts on how views of the United
States around the world, which have improved so much, are very important to
what we can get done.
Let‘s start with the fight for immigration reform. Democrat Alfredo
Gutierrez is the former Arizona state senator—leader, actually, and he‘s
the Republican state senator John Huppenthal is also with us. He co-
sponsored the bill that everybody‘s fighting about right now.
I want to bring up Senator Gutierrez...
JOHN HUPPENTHAL ®, ARIZONA STATE SENATOR: Chris, good to be here.
MATTHEWS: ... right off the bat. And the question I have for Senator
Gutierrez is—the people who put this law into effect, which is causing
so much alarm, argue that they had to do it because the federal government
the feds, as we call them—refuse to enforce any kind of border
control, refuse to enforce immigration law, so somebody at the state level
on the border, like Arizona, had to do it. Your response?
ALFREDO GUTIERREZ (D), FMR. ARIZONA STATE SENATOR: Well, this bill
has absolutely nothing to do with the border. It has nothing to do with
border walls, border security, border enforcement. This bill simply is
about racial profiling. It is about focusing on Hispanics in the state of
Arizona. It‘s a civil libertarian‘s nightmare, and it balkanizes—
literally balkanizes immigration policy in the United States.
So their arguments are false at best. They are full of deception.
But they don‘t focus on the issue that we have, frankly, before us. We all
support immigration reform. We support border enforcement. We recognize
that we have to get control of the borders. We‘re not blind. We realize
what‘s going on in Mexico. But that was exploited—particularly the
murder of a rancher...
GUTIERREZ: ... exploited by the proponents.
MATTHEWS: There‘s a half million people in the state of Arizona who
are there illegally, in this country illegally. You deny the connection
between that and the immigration issue?
GUTIERREZ: No, not at all. Look, one third of Arizona is Hispanic.
There‘s 30 million of us in this country. Most of us are U.S. citizens.
Most of us are residents. This bill puts us all in jeopardy...
GUTIERREZ: ... and that‘s the issue. It‘s a deceptive piece of
MATTHEWS: OK. Let me go to Senator Huppenthal. Your thoughts, sir?
The question that comes about, which has been raised by your colleague
there, is that once you have a law like this in effect, in effect, the
police will be likely to suspect of illegal immigration in that part of the
country people who are darker skinned, who have Latin American accents, if
you will, Mexican or Colombian accents, and those are the people that they
will be going after. They won‘t be going after Heidi Klum or somebody from
Europe who came here illegally. They‘ll be going after people from a
particular part of our continent, isn‘t that right? And therefore, for a
HUPPENTHAL: Well, low-income Hispanics have been overwhelmingly the
victims of crime associated with illegal immigration, crime and violence.
And it‘s been like a tidal wave here in Arizona. Since we‘ve started
getting illegal immigration under control, we‘ve seen the murder rate in
Phoenix drop from 250 down to 125. That effort right there, low-income
Hispanics have been the huge beneficiary of that, not just murder but also
automobile theft, rape, crime of all sorts was visited upon low-income
Hispanic by illegal immigrants into this country.
We‘re getting that under control. This is a part of it, making sure
that our local police officers have the power, if they so desire, to
enforce all laws, not just the laws that they‘re talking about, about
crime, but also the federal law that makes it a crime to be in this country
MATTHEWS: Are they going to be able to throw people out of the
country, local police?
HUPPENTHAL: The—the—right here, they‘re going to be able to get
under control, help them get under control the crime and violence
associated with illegal immigration. I just mentioned we had 250 murders
in Phoenix in 2006. Since we‘ve begun to work to get this situation under
control, that‘s dropped to 125. Low-income Hispanics have been
overwhelmingly the beneficiaries...
MATTHEWS: OK, OK...
HUPPENTHAL: ... of that effort. This is another step...
MATTHEWS: Help me out here. How does...
HUPPENTHAL: ... in that effort.
MATTHEWS: How does giving a police officer the right to pick up
somebody they think is here illegally reduce crime? How does that work?
HUPPENTHAL: Well, what we‘ve seen, and to an extent that‘s not been
acknowledged by the people doing research in this area—we‘ve seen a huge
association between violent crime and all manners of crime with illegal
immigration. I have mentioned before, we had 250 murders in the city of
MATTHEWS: Yes, you said that. But how does that...
HUPPENTHAL: ... in 2006.
MATTHEWS: Tell me how it works?
HUPPENTHAL: That‘s now down to 125.
MATTHEWS: How does—how does stopping a person because you think
they‘re here illegally stop crime? How does it work?
HUPPENTHAL: Well, I‘ll repeat it again. As we...
MATTHEWS: Well, you‘re repeating it, but you‘re not helping me. I
don‘t see how you stop a guy from murdering somebody or stop a guy from
robbing a house or robbing somebody on the street by throwing people out of
the country here illegally. Is there—explain the mechanics to how that
works. You pick up people. Are you intimidating people, is that what
HUPPENTHAL: You arrest somebody for a burglary, and you do an
immigration check. You find out they‘re here illegal. You do. You start
the deportation process. You get that going.
HUPPENTHAL: So it‘s the association between crime and illegal
immigration. That is the nexus. That‘s what we‘re trying to tackle with
this. And what we had is we had law enforcement officers who in the past,
they had seen law enforcement officers who had been falsely accused of
HUPPENTHAL: ... have their careers destroyed. And what we want to do
is make it clear that you, as a police officer, you have all of the tools.
When you arrest someone for burglary...
HUPPENTHAL: ... and when you arrest someone for rape, when you arrest
somebody for some other crime, often committed against low-income
Hispanics, you have more tools at your disposal now.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let me ask Senator Gutierrez, do you believe that what
you just heard was racist, or was it simply about self-protection and a
security concern? Do you believe that he‘s really talking about too—is
he really talking about too many Mexican-Americans, or is he saying, I got
a real crime problem? What do you hear when he talks?
GUTIERREZ: It‘s scandalous nonsense, is what it is, talking about
murder and rape and the undocumented in one phrase. It‘s scandalous
nonsense. The fact of the matter is, the federal government has for years,
not just recently, indicated that those states and those cities with higher
immigration have lower crime rates.
Let me repeat that for Senator Huppenthal because, apparently, he
can‘t hear that fact. The fact of the matter is—the fact of the matter
is, this bill is about intimidation and harassment. Now, what is the
public purpose of stopping someone and asking everyone in the car for their
papers when they‘re on the way to the synagogue, they‘re on the way to
church, they‘re on the way to their Mormon state?
GUTIERREZ: Is there a public good served by that?
MATTHEWS: OK, let me answer the question. What‘s the advantage in
stopping a car—let‘s stick on the same conversation here. If a police
officer suspects a car with people in it are here illegally, can he stop
them under this new law? Can he do it? Can he say, I don‘t like the looks
of this car? They look like they‘re illegal. Can he stop the car and say,
Let‘s see your papers? Can he do that?
HUPPENTHAL: The—you know, the racial profiling was illegal before
this bill. It‘s illegal after it. The bill itself makes it illegal. But
the good senator, former senator, is—he‘s come to the nexus of the
question, the association of violence and crime with illegal immigration.
What we have said here in Arizona is that association is obvious.
It‘s pervasive. And other people, the federal government, have denied it.
But you—there‘s no other theory that can explain the dramatic change in
Arizona from 250 murders to 125 as we have gotten our illegal immigration
problem under control.
MATTHEWS: OK. OK. I want to get back to this—can a police
officer—sir, you‘re the lawmaker down there. You passed the law. Under
the law you passed and was signed by the governor this week, can a police
officer who spots a car with five or six people in it, who he thinks
because of instinct, experience, whatever, evidence, whatever you use—
can he stop that car and say, I think these people are here illegally, I‘m
going to stop and check them? Can he under the law do that, without any
crime involved? Can he do that?
HUPPENTHAL: No, he cannot. That would be—that would just simply
be racial profiling, and that would not be permitted under the law. Now,
if he stopped them for speeding or something like that, he can inquire of
the driver at that point if they were an illegal immigrant. But you‘re not
going to find that kind of activity. That kind of kind of activity is not
going to be—that‘s not going to be a part of training. What is going to
be a part of training, I arrest somebody for burglary, I arrest them for
DUI, I arrest them after they‘ve maimed somebody...
HUPPENTHAL: ... in a DUI, then we‘re going to—then that is the
focus here, violence and crime and illegal immigration...
MATTHEWS: Well, what‘s wrong with that...
HUPPENTHAL: ... getting that under control.
MATTHEWS: ... Senator Gutierrez?
GUTIERREZ: It‘s not true!
MATTHEWS: Let‘s stay on the same sentence here. What‘s wrong with
once a guy...
GUTIERREZ: What‘s wrong with that is...
MATTHEWS: If you arrest a guy for—I mean, if you stop a guy for
breaking a law, and in the process of doing your law enforcement, you check
and see if they‘re in the country illegally, why is that offensive?
GUTIERREZ: That‘s the current law, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Once the person‘s broken...
GUTIERREZ: That‘s the current law. Obviously, the senator hasn‘t
read his own bill. What this bill does is, it says that any police officer
can stop anyone who appears to them to be reasonably suspicious of being an
undocumented person. And I‘m going tell you something, if you and I are
walking down the street, you‘re not going to be the subject...
GUTIERREZ: ... of reasonable suspicion. He is simply wrong about his
own bill. I suggest he read it.
MATTHEWS: Well, we‘re going to get the facts on this.
HUPPENTHAL: I don‘t—no—the—I don‘t—that‘s—I don‘t
believe that‘s—that‘s correct. I‘ve read through the bill carefully.
And what it says is that racial profiling was illegal before this bill.
HUPPENTHAL: The bill doubles up on that.
MATTHEWS: Gentlemen, we‘re going to keep working on this bill until
we get the truth. Thank you very much, Senator Gutierrez and Senator
GUTIERREZ: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, gentlemen. I think we gave you equal time.
Coming up: Republicans and Democrats are voting right now whether to
start debate, whether to start -- (INAUDIBLE) get 60 votes, that‘s how it‘s
done—on Wall Street reform. Will the Republicans succeed in
But first, during the commercials: Is Congress seeking to deny itself
a raise? We‘ll tell you in a minute.
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Congress has begun its annual debate over whether to give
itself a raise. On Thursday, the Senate passed a bill to stop the 2011 pay
raise, and now House members are already lining up behind a nearly
identical bill to freeze members‘ pay this year. Usually, members get a
raise about 2 to 3 percent. In the House—if the House passes a bill,
lawmakers will face the third consecutive year with the same salary.
Members now get a salary in both houses of $174,000 a year. We‘ll be right
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. The Senate‘s voting tonight on
whether to move forward on the Wall Street reform bill. Is it a win-win
for President Obama and the Democrats, no matter what happens?
“Washington Post” columnist Eugene Robinson‘s an MSNBC political
analyst, and Susan Page is the Washington bureau chief for “USA Today.”
Gene, I read your column, and it seems to me that you‘re right, that
they—the Democrats just—if this takes a year, if this takes a month,
the longer they—I think it was Machiavelli who said, If you‘re going to
inflict pleasure, do it slowly...
EUGENE ROBINSON, “WASHINGTON POST,” MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
MATTHEWS: ... pain, do it quickly. This is pleasurable for
ROBINSON: Right. Oh, absolutely. The longer they can portray as
Republicans as—portray Republicans as being on the side of Wall Street,
on the side of all these...
MATTHEWS: But aren‘t they?
ROBINSON: ... on the side—well...
MATTHEWS: It‘s not a false portrayal, is it? Well, let me go to
Susan. Is that a false portrait...
SUSAN PAGE, “USA TODAY”: Well -- (INAUDIBLE)
MATTHEWS: ... that the Republicans are more pro-business, that
they‘re looking out for these guys?
PAGE: Yes, they would say that. I mean, they wouldn‘t say the words
“Wall Street,” which have become like four-letter words, right? The Gallup
poll last week, when the included the word “Wall Street” and “regulation,”
it got higher support than if you just called them big...
MATTHEWS: If we whack Wall Street.
PAGE: ... financial institutions. If you just used the word “Wall
Street,” it made people more supportive of this legislation in the Gallup
MATTHEWS: Well, because the income levels that we‘re reading about in
the papers, your papers, a billion dollars a year not just to do nothing
but making billions of dollars a year by betting against somebody else
doing anything—you‘re betting on failure.
ROBINSON: Betting on failure. I think people understand that. I
think people understand, too, that all this betting—people ask the
question, Well, how is this helping the economy? How does this...
ROBINSON: ... channel capital in the most efficient way...
ROBINSON: ... and the economy the way...
MATTHEWS: Haven‘t you noticed...
ROBINSON: ... textbooks told us...
MATTHEWS: Haven‘t you noticed...
ROBINSON: ... was supposed to happen.
MATTHEWS: ... that people who big build things, like Donald Trump
even, big developers, or Steven Spielberg, who makes movies, at least—
people like those people. But people that make money, like Joe Kennedy in
the old days, remember, that didn‘t—they made their money without really
PAGE: Or these people...
MATTHEWS: ... are never the most popular guys.
PAGE: People at Goldman Sachs cheering because they made a killing
when the housing market collapsed.
PAGE: You know, you know how many people got hurt by the housing
market. There‘s nothing illegal about betting that the housing market‘s
going to go down, but it doesn‘t leave with you a warm political feeling.
ROBINSON: No. No. Doesn‘t.
MATTHEWS: Yes, more people own houses than own these securities.
Let‘s take a look. The New York—the new “Washington Post”/ABC News poll
finds the country supports stricter regulations by 2 to 1. This is where
people want big government, if you will -- 66 to 31, they want government
on their side against the money boys.
The poll also finds that the country trusts President Obama more than
it trusts Republicans. Here he is on that unusual high ground, 52-35,
Susan. He would—if I were him, I‘d dance up there. I‘d stand on the
MATTHEWS: I‘d never—I wouldn‘t go to immigration. I wouldn‘t go
to energy. I‘d stay right on this front.
PAGE: And look at the difference with the health care bill, which
never got majority support, even though they managed to pass it. Here‘s a
bill that the White House is very happy, as you said, to go on and on and
on debating on the Hill.
MATTHEWS: Well, what is it about the two parties that they are fairly
predictable, Gene? I mean, you write your column. I read it twice...
MATTHEWS: ... a week now. And I have to tell you—even before you
got your Pulitzer Prize, I read it—this idea that the party—it‘s sort
of like people don‘t change. The Democrats aren‘t so great on some issues.
I mean, they have to defend things like card check that nobody believes in.
They got to defend sometimes illegal immigration. They have to do things
that they don‘t like to do—politically, they do.
But it seems like on this issue, the Republicans are almost cornered.
MATTHEWS: Why is Shelby, Richard Shelby, sticking to his guns on
this? Why is Corker sticking to his guns? Why are all these members of
Congress from middle-of-the-road states like Indiana defending Wall Street?
PAGE: Parties have DNA, and it‘s—the DNA strands are made of
history, of special interest support, of campaign contributions.
ROBINSON: And of course, Wall Street gives to both sides, but—but
MATTHEWS: But I used an infelicitous reference on Friday to explain
the fact that they both benefit from taking money from Wall Street, the
mother‘s milk of politics, all that money. They both take money from Wall
Street. Why do the Republicans deliver?
ROBINSON: Well, you know, and the thing is, Wall Street knows that.
Wall Street knows that the Republicans will basically deliver and the
Democrats basically won‘t. But they‘ve got to hedge their bets. They
hedged their bets on the housing market, they got to hedge their bets on
MATTHEWS: Did you see the numbers these guys are collecting on the
Hill? I watching it over the weekend with David Gregory. Amazing amount
of money going into the hands of the political parties...
PAGE: Well, because, of course...
MATTHEWS: ... including the ranking members on Banking...
MATTHEWS: ... like Dodd and Shelby. They‘re all taking the money in,
and their only defense is what? A Democrat says, Well, of course, I‘m for
public funding. That‘s the old dodge, but...
PAGE: Well, they go to these institutions for money because that‘s
where the money is, right? That‘s where you can get a lot of money. But
you know, Republicans can make the argument that—and do make the
argument that they—their approach is more—is better for the free
market economy than...
PAGE: ... the increased regulations...
MATTHEWS: OK. OK. Here‘s the smoking gun. And I‘m trying to figure
These are the—the documents which have leaked from Goldman Sachs.
Here‘s one internal Goldman Sachs e-mail. It came out of CEO Lloyd
Blankfein—he‘s new head of Goldman—wrote—quote—“Of course, we
didn‘t dodge the mortgage mess. We lost money, then made more than we lost
because of shorts,” short selling.”
Here‘s another e-mail by a bond trader named Fabrice Tourre.
MATTHEWS: I love this guy.
He wrote—quote—“Anyway, not feeling too guilty about this. The
real purpose of my job is to make capital markets more efficient and
ultimately provide the U.S. consumer with more efficient ways to leverage
and finance himself. So, there is a humble, noble and ethical reason for
my job. Amazing how good I am at convincing myself.”
EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: He used the word humble.
Now, he refers...
MATTHEWS: But he‘s laughing.
ROBINSON: ... to himself in other e-mails as Fabulous Fab, OK?
ROBINSON: So, there‘s not a whole lot of humility.
MATTHEWS: Well, this guy is now famous, or infamous, as being the guy
who concocted—I have to be careful with what law is here—somebody
concocted the idea you can make a billion dollars by getting people to
invest a billion dollars in a bad deal.
PAGE: Right, that you could bundle some subprime mortgages, sell them
to investors, but then bet against that loan, so that you make money either
MATTHEWS: Do you realize that the I.Q. that has gone into those guys
to think up these scams or schemes or plans, had it gone into like solving
ROBINSON: Well, it used to when finance was a much smaller percentage
of our GDP.
MATTHEWS: Isn‘t that in your column today that said it was once 16
percent of the American economy, finance, and now 40 percent of the profits
made in the American economy are in finance, in other words, money made on
money, not money made on things or production or services.
MATTHEWS: Susan, isn‘t that a problem? Kids today say, where should
I go to make money coming out of business school? They go, well, let‘s see
where the money is. It‘s not in steel. It‘s not in coal. It‘s in money.
PAGE: Yes. And it‘s—he called it noble. It‘s not really what
Americans, I think, think of as noble.
As you say, building a hospital, endowing a university...
ROBINSON: What no one is talking about, with the possible exception
of Paul Volcker, who I think gets this, is really scaling this back to
where finance was.
MATTHEWS: Either party is willing—neither party is willing to let
a big company go down, because the economy would collapse, probably.
But here‘s the question. Does Barack Obama intend to fight this
slowly or quickly? Would he rather have a summer of war with the
Republicans on this issue or a quick win in the next two weeks? What would
he rather have?
ROBINSON: Oh, I think he would rather fight this for a while.
MATTHEWS: All summer.
PAGE: I disagree. Quick win. He‘s got a supreme Court nomination
coming up. They want to do an energy bill. Maybe Harry Reid wants to do
an immigration bill.
MATTHEWS: So, take it while you can? So, take it while you can?
PAGE: They don‘t mind a couple days of debate, but I think a quick
victory and then go onto some other things he wants to do.
MATTHEWS: OK. That‘s what like, a good dispute here.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Eugene Robinson. Thank you, Susan Page.
Up next: Guess whose new memoir is coming out soon entitled “Decision
Points”? That‘s in the “Sideshow.” It was written by a man known as the
decider. I think you can figure out who it is.
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
The question is, who actually wrote it?
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Now for the “Sideshow.”
Extra, extra, read. Regular watchers of this show know that I love
newspapers, the big broadsheets that you page through with a morning
appetite over a bowl of Cheerios and a big black cup of French roast.
That‘s why I‘m happy to see “The Wall Street Journal” launch today an
additional section for papers sold in the New York City area, a metro
section dedicated to covering local news, politics and sports.
It‘s the first time “The Journal,” the number-one paper in circulation
nationally, has rolled out a local edition. Owner Rupert Murdoch means for
it to challenge “The New York Times” for readership and city reporting. I
say more the national media organizations devoted resources to covering
local issues, the better.
Now let‘s get the trend going in other cities other than New York, and
let‘s hope—this is big-time—that the editorial pages of “The Wall
Street Journal” stay exactly where they are, apart from the news. I‘m
getting to like the Saturday “Journal,” not just because of Peggy Noonan,
but also the cultural stuff. Let‘s keep that part of the paper clear of
the porcine attitudes that run rampant on the editorial pages.
Next: the decider on the record. We just got our first look at
President Bush‘s memoirs. “Decision Points,” that‘s the name, a book his
publisher says will center around 14 key decisions that Bush made over his
His publisher also says that, since leaving office, the former—
quote—“has spent almost every day”—close quote—“writing the book.”
Whoa. Writing? Actually putting words down? Writing paragraphs?
Organizing chapters? OK, I know he‘s the decider, but let‘s not overdo
this claim. Let‘s just say he approved the book. It comes out this
November 9. We invite the president to come on HARDBALL and flog the hell
out of it.
Finally, a primer on what not to say if you‘re running for office.
This comes from Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer during South Carolina‘s
first Republican gubernatorial debate. So, who does Bauer blame for
illegal immigration issues? What he calls the flat-out lazy people of his
own state of South Carolina. Let‘s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. GOV. ANDRE BAUER (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: South Carolina passed one
of the toughest immigration laws in the United States. However, we aren‘t
addressing the real problem.
The real problem is, is the work force. And if you don‘t have a work
force, people that are peach farmers, people that are in the hotel
business, people that are in the construction business, they Gates go
somewhere to find people to find someone to fill those jobs.
Why do we have so many vacancies? The problem is, we have a giveaway
system in this country and in this state that is strong that people would
rather sit home and do nothing than do these jobs. There are a lot of
people that are flat-out lazy, and they‘re using up the goods and services
we have in this state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow. Interesting analysis. Let‘s see how it plays on the
Now for tonight‘s sports-meet-politics “Big Number.”
You can see President Obama there welcoming the 2009 world champion
New York Yankees to the White House this afternoon. It‘s actually the
first time the Yankees have won the title since 2000, when President
Clinton was in office.
But catch this little sugarplum. How many times straight now has a
Democrat been in the White House when Yankees have won the series? Nine
times in a row. Is there a connection here? Perhaps. We have had a
Democratic president the last nine times the Yankees of New York have won
the World Series—tonight‘s food for thought “Big Number.”
Up next: “Avatar” director James Cameron will be here, right here at
this desk, to tell us how to better take care of our planet and fight the
fight for energy.
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
JULIA BOORSTIN, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I‘m Julia Boorstin with your CNBC
Stocks ending mostly lower, despite some solid corporate earnings and
an upbeat report on the jobs front, the Dow Jones industrials squeezing out
fractional gain, the S&P 500 sliding five points, and the Nasdaq falling
A new survey of business owners shows 37 percent plan to hire new
workers this year. That‘s up from 29 percent in January.
In earnings news, Caterpillar leading the Dow today after beating
expectations and raising its full-year profit outlook by 75 cents a share.
And Whirlpool appliance shares surging nearly 10 percent after topping
forecasts and raising its outlook as well.
The financials and health care stocks turning negative today.
Citigroup slid more than 5 percent after the government said it‘s selling
1.5 billion shares of the bailed-out bank.
And Humana, WellPoint, and UnitedHealth all losing between 2 percent
and 4 percent on worries new Medicare restrictions could lead to cuts in
That‘s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide—now back to
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Chances are, if you have been to a movie in the past 20 years, it was
the work of James Cameron, just to name a few, “The Terminator,” “The
Abyss,” “True Lies,” “Titanic,” and now “Avatar.” “Avatar” is now the
highest grossing movie of all time, earning more than $2.7 billion
worldwide. And it‘s now out on DVD and Blu-ray, where it has also just
come out and also broken all the world‘s records.
James Cameron is concerned about protecting the environment, which is
such a big part of that movie, as evidenced in that film, and it‘s also
echoes in his life. Yesterday, he spoke at the Earth Day rally here in
Washington on the National Mall.
And I managed to catch up with him and hook him for the show.
JAMES CAMERON, “AVATAR” DIRECTOR: Reporting for duty, sir.
MATTHEWS: ... you know—no, no, I think what struck me about
“Avatar,” which everybody who is watching has probably saw, was that there
is a stake. At some point, the piggishness on this planet, the use of our
resources just gets to the point where you have got to go out and get
something else and go out and colonize some other world.
MATTHEWS: Now, maybe it‘s imagined in your movie...
MATTHEWS: ... but your feelings about that—that reality?
CAMERON: Well, it‘s a fantasy. I mean, the film is a fantasy. But
it‘s about a very real reality, which is our relationship with nature and
how we have this kind of attitude of entitlement, that we can take what we
Historically, in the colonial period, in North and South America, we
took what we needed, or we took Australia, or we took what we needed from
Africa, speaking, again, kind of as the way the European community just
kind of spread out.
CAMERON: And we have never really backed off that model. We take the
resources we needed—need. We take everything, and we don‘t give enough
And we‘re crossing over a threshold where the earth is not going to be
able to sustain us.
MATTHEWS: Why do you think business fights concerns about climate,
about energy depletion, about the need to find renewables? Why do they
fight it, these people from the oil patch, from Oklahoma especially,
constantly carping and denying...
MATTHEWS: ... people like Glenn Beck...
MATTHEWS: ... making a living by—by not telling the truth?
CAMERON: If you make your living in oil, and the answer is a
different answer, a different solution—and renewable energy, like wind
or solar or something like that—you are going to deny that answer
exists, or, more probably, you‘re going to deny that the problem exists.
And that‘s what these kind of professional deniers and skeptics are
doing. They are swaying the public dialogue away from this major crisis
MATTHEWS: Well, the first person I ever heard who I think has an
I.Q., like Glenn Beck—and he‘s obviously smart enough—I heard him on
radio a couple of years just denying that there‘s climate...
MATTHEWS: What do you make of that, just saying it‘s not true?
CAMERON: Well, look, I think that people are—well, people are just
in denial in general. The public are in denial. And it‘s getting worse.
And a recession economy makes that denial worse. Two years ago,
according to polls, 50 percent of people believed in climate change and it
being caused by human activity. Now we‘re down to 34 percent. So, we have
gone from half to a third. We‘re going the wrong direction.
CAMERON: We should be raising awareness and consciousness on this and
really, you know, believing that there‘s a clear and present danger to our
nation, to our children.
CAMERON: And we‘re moving the wrong direction.
MATTHEWS: What do you make of the decision a couple days ago to just
dump—just dump it, just shelve it, by people like the Democratic
leadership of the Senate? We were going towards an energy—combination
energy, combination climate change bill. Just say, oh, we will put it
aside; we‘re going to do something else, immigration?
CAMERON: You know, there‘s always going to be something. It‘s going
to be health care. It‘s going to be immigration. It‘s going to be
financial reform. There‘s always going to be something right in front of
us that‘s more important.
But, in reality, if we don‘t solve this problem, all of that stuff
isn‘t going to make any difference. Health care is not going to help us in
a fundamentally unhealthy planet. Financial reform is not going to help us
in a planet where we can‘t afford to live in a healthy way, or even in a
MATTHEWS: I have got to get to something that‘s fascinating. I read
that Stephen Hawking, obviously one of the smartest people in history, he
was talking about alien life...
MATTHEWS: ... meaning not aliens like we‘re fighting about with
border fights here in America...
CAMERON: Right. Right.
MATTHEWS: ... but about real aliens over from another planet—quote
“We have only—we only have to look at ourselves to see how
intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn‘t want to meet. I
imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources
from their own planet. If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would
be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn‘t
turn out very well for the Native Americans.”
What do you make of that horrific notion that—that aliens coming
here, if we ever meet them there, will be like the ones in your movie,
avaricious and frightening?
CAMERON: Well, I didn‘t know Stephen Hawking did—did science
fiction, but I think he‘s right on the money.
The history of the human race has been that any technologically
superior nation, when it met a technologically inferior, kind of guns
against bows and arrows, they always took over. They took what they
needed. They—it was either genocide or the population was displaced or
was assimilated in some kind of paternalistic manner.
CAMERON: They were converted to Christianity, or whatever it was.
And this has been our history.
So, why would we expect aliens to be any different?
MATTHEWS: Well, he puts us with the bow and arrows and the aliens
with the machine guns.
CAMERON: That‘s right. That‘s right.
MATTHEWS: But you in your movie, in “Avatar,” at least put us on the
side of the advanced weaponry, but we end up losing the war anyway.
CAMERON: We were the bad aliens in “Avatar.”
I was turning it around. You have seen all these movies where the
super-advanced aliens come to Earth and they try to be like us and...
CAMERON: ... they can take over.
MATTHEWS: The Orson Welles guys, yes.
CAMERON: Yes. Well, “Avatar” was just that story turned around. Our
main character is trying to blend in and be one of the aliens on their
planet. So, it‘s same story...
MATTHEWS: So, putting it all together—you have to go—putting it
all together, the idea that this country is leading the world in depletion
of resources of the world—we use more—we are the most porcine of any
people on the planet. We use up more gas, more everything compared to our
If the world keeps going in this direction, heating up the planet,
using up our resources, are we going to end up on those spaceships?
It‘s not just us. It‘s China. It‘s India. It‘s the places where the
middle class is exploding. Everybody is sucking up more power, populations
continuing to grow. You know, we‘re going to have to do something about
it. The planet just can‘t sustain...
MATTHEWS: Do you have your faith—do you have faith in any—I
want to let you leave on this. Do you have faith in any political leader
who will take the noise and the heat and perhaps the political defeat that
will come from a person who really stands up and defends this planet?
CAMERON: Lisa Jackson at the EPA is standing up. You know, she‘s
using the Clean Air Act to actually go after polluters.
But the reality is that the leadership in the House and the Senate
doesn‘t have a strong public mandate right now because the public isn‘t
aware enough of the problem. They have to start critically thinking,
denying the deniers, doing their own research, not going with the rhetoric,
not going with the talk radio, actually learning issues, and believing what
the science community is trying to warn us about. Then there will be a
public mandate for our leaders to do something.
You know on the Hill, they don‘t do anything unless we tell them.
MATTHEWS: I know. I‘m worried about the media, though, because now
we have a right wing media available that if you feel like—if you‘re a
business guy, for example, or a business woman, and you want to have a good
excuse, a good dodge not to do anything, you listen to someone on the right
like Beck, who comes in saying you don‘t have to do anything; these guys
are a bunch of tree huggers. Forget about it.
What do you think of Beck‘s power in that direction to give people a
big excuse slip not to do anything?
CAMERON: Guys like Beck and the others—
MATTHEWS: Are they dangerous?
CAMERON: I think they‘re very dangerous to this country. I think
that some day they‘re going to have to answer to my children and to your
children and their children for the world that they‘re helping to create
MATTHEWS: OK, thank you very much, James Cameron. Congratulations.
I‘ve never seen anything like this in the movies. I‘ve never seen anything
like it. You are winning all the awards and you‘re getting everything.
Thank you for coming on, the maker of “Avatar,” which has broken all the
records again on DVD.
Up next, President Obama is trying the troops ahead of the 2010
midterms. We‘re talking the political troops, the young people. Can he
stir up some excitement?
But first, during the commercials, we may be closer now to the truth
about former presidential candidate John Edwards and his relationship with
his mistress—isn‘t that the right word—Rielle Hunter. That‘s in one
minute. This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Former presidential candidate John Edwards has a date with
destiny. He will testify under oath on May 13th about his relationship
with mistress Rielle Hunter, facing questions about whether he spent
federal campaign funds to hide that relationship. A federal grand jury has
reportedly been looking into Edwards‘ campaign spending habits for some
time now, though the former North Carolina senator has denied any
inappropriately. HARDBALL will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It will be up to each
of you to make sure that the young people, African-americans, Latinos and
women who powered our victory in 2008 stand together once again. If you
help us make sure that first-time voters in 2008 make their voices heard
again in November, then together we will deliver on the promise of change
and hope and prosperity for generations to come.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: We‘re back. This is going to be exciting. That was
President Obama in a web video message for the Democrat National Committee
that they hope will rally supporters to bring in 50 million dollars in the
plan they‘re going to spend to get out the vote in November. How are they
going to do it, spend 50 million to get the young people to vote?
Former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine is chairman of the Democratic
National Committee and “Time Magazine‘s” Mark Halperin is co-author of the
best-selling book “Game Change.” His latest column is about President
Obama and the 2010 election.
Gentlemen, thank you for joining us. Governor, it‘s very important to
have you. I want you to respond to this statement made by Rush Limbaugh
today. It‘s—what Rush was doing was responding to what we just saw,
President Obama calling for the young people, minorities and women
especially, to get out and vote this year. Here‘s Rush. Let‘s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: We have to reconnect young
people, African-Americans, Latinos, women for 2010, in a video put out by
the DNC over the weekend. This is the regime at its racist best. What‘s
the regime doing? Asking blacks and Latinos to join him in a fight. What
is a campaign if not a fight?
He‘s asking young people, African-americans, Latinos and women to
reconnect. To fight who? Who‘s this fight against?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: There you have it. The tribalism has been encouraged there
by Rush. And what do you make of it, governor? He says the president is a
racist for asking young people and minorities to vote.
TIM KAINE, DNC CHAIR: I think, first, he didn‘t listen to the video.
I don‘t think anybody takes Rush Limbaugh seriously on stuff like this.
The guy is an entertainer. He‘s trying to get a headline.
MATTHEWS: Keep dreaming, governor. He‘s the leader of the Republican
party. He‘s your opposite number. You ought to get used to it. I hate to
be disrespectful. But if you guys in the Democratic party think Rush
Limbaugh isn‘t calling the shots, you are deaf and blind. Just go on.
KAINE: Leader/entertainer. You have to at least give him both. That
kind of comment about the president is not to be taken seriously. What the
president said in the video is our plan in the midterm. We have to
energize voters across the spectrum. But we‘re focused heavily on the
first-time voters from 2008. And we just know who they are. There was
about 15 million people that registered—and we were part of registering
them—for the first time in 2008. And it‘s an electorate in that group
of 15 million that are heavily young, heavily new Americans and minority
voters and women. That‘s just who they are.
This is a group that would normally participate pretty heavily in a
presidential year, but then the turnout would fall off in a non-
presidential year. So our goal is to make sure that their participation in
the midterm election does not fall off so dramatically and, instead, stays
high in support of candidates who are supporting the president‘s agenda.
MATTHEWS: Mark, you are an expert on this. Can this happen? Can
they win at this cause of getting people who normally—you know how hard
it is. I don‘t know if you have young kids. But it‘s hard to get young
people to focus on a presidential campaign, normally. This last time was
an exception. This coming November won‘t be an exception. How do you get
young people to vote?
MARK HALPERIN, “TIME MAGAZINE”: Chris, this plan, as it is designed,
and as they plan to execute it, including deploying the president, is no
crazier than the motion that you can bring tens of thousands of new voters
out to the Iowa caucuses in 2008. A lot of people were skeptical of that.
I think you have to give this operation at least some benefit of the doubt
that they now how to energize these people, even in an off year, employing,
most importantly, the president. He has a personal connection.
MATTHEWS: You believe he can replicate what happened in 2008?
HALPERIN: I‘ m just m not instantly skeptical of it, because these
are smart people. They understand how to target. And that intimate
communication that they do through the web video we saw today—there will
be e-mails from the president, I‘m sure. There will be voice mail
messages. They know how to use this group‘s connection to the president.
They don‘t care much about politics. I think they let them rest
somewhat in the intervening months. But they starting before Labor Day to
begin that conversation. Again, it‘s up hill. But they did it once
before, and they‘re using the same techniques, and, again, that same
centerpiece of Barack Obama himself.
MATTHEWS: Governor, I want you to check—governor, I have something
to show you that should scare the daylights out of you. This is a new
Republican ad, put out by the Republican Governors Association. It reminds
me of something of Bruce Hearst did back about the Czechoslovakian invasion
by the Soviet Union. It starts out with a lot of nice mood music and
classical forum, and then it shows this horrific picture of the arrival of
President Obama and his administration. I‘ll give you some of the picture
you‘re missing. The words will help you guide it. Here it is, the RGA ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Yes, we can.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: The bill is passed.
OBAMA: Yes, we can.
REP. ALCEE HASTINGS (D), FLORIDA: There ain‘t no rule around here.
We make them up as we go along.
PELOSI: We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in
REV. AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: The American public
overwhelmingly voted for socialism when they elected President Obama.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), MINORITY LEADER: Certainly our government
can‘t continue to spend money that we don‘t have.
OBAMA: Yes, we can.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: It comes off as the invasion of a foreign hostile army.
The voices you hear are those from Alcee Hastings and Reverend Sharpton
admitting or actually bragging that this is a socialist victory. Alcee
Hastings saying there‘s no rules to the government of the Obama
administration. It‘s pretty electric stuff. What do you make of it,
KAINE: Chris, these guys are just scared out of their wits. Here‘s
what they see happening: if you look at the stock market or jobs or GDP
growth in the last 18 months of the Bush administration, when they were
running things, it was in a free fall and they weren‘t even willing to pull
the rip cord on the parachute. If you look at it since Inauguration Day,
it‘s climbing dramatically.
They see the trends, the sharp V, with the economy turning around at
the time this president came in. Lord knows, we‘ve got a lot more work to
do. But the passage of health care, arresting key Taliban leadership, the
economy coming around, these guys are running out of any argument they can
use to win seats in November. So they‘re going to try to come up with
every bogeyman they can think of.
I think the American people know what‘s science fiction and knows
what‘s fact. I say that with all respect to James Cameron.
HALPERIN: I think there‘s two—I think there‘s two interesting
things in that video. One is the Republicans do have an argument—and
governor knows it. Their argument is big government, that Obama has come
to Washington and exploded the size of government. That‘s going to be an
effective argument for them all the way through the election.
The other thing is John McCain stayed away from using race in the last
election. That video suggests that at least some Republicans are open to
the idea of not doing what McCain did, which is bend open backwards to not
open themselves up to charges of using race to try to damage the president.
MATTHEWS: What do you think of that, governor? I think it is tribal.
I think Rush Limbaugh is the leader of the Republican party. My proof of
that is—governor, you‘re a smart guy. You‘re an elected official. Can
you name a single Republican in this country who‘s ever stood up to the
leadership of Rush Limbaugh? Has ever—when they make a faux pas that
sounds like it might be offensive to Rush, they apologize on their knees
within 24 hours. He‘s the leader of the party. It‘s tribal, and he‘s
KAINE: Well, no, I think that he‘s trying to stoke that up. And if
you just ask anybody who stood up to Rush, I had 15 names but then, you‘re
right, they all caved within five minutes after they did.
MATTHEWS: Right, because he‘s the boss.
KAINE: Trying to whip up this kind of feeling. I think Mark is
right. Mark has assessed this correctly.
MATTHEWS: Are they using race? Are they using race?
KAINE: They are using a lot of emotions, and there are a lot of
emotions out there. But here‘s the good news: Americans are not
fundamentally negative, angry people. Even in a time of anxiety, with
concerns, they want results. They want can-do people. Again, the results
of whether it‘s health care, economic turnaround, arresting Taliban
leadership, getting Iraq under control they‘re going to reward the results
MATTHEWS: You‘re up against a ferocious team. Thank you, governor.
Thank you, Mark Halperin.
MATTHEWS: When we return, I‘m going to have some thoughts about
America‘s image in the world, which is getting better all the time. You‘re
watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with a good news. There‘s a new poll
floating around that asks 30,000 people around the world what they think of
our country. The good news is we won. After a bad spell and based on this
pretty good sample, we‘re riding much higher of late. The bottom line?
For the first time, this poll, which has been taken for the past five
years, has people saying America‘s influence on the world is more positive
than negative. The global standing of America is, in the words of the
polling company‘s chairman, clearly on the rise.
Obviously it‘s the Obama effect. People like our president. In fact,
he‘s the most popular leader in the world. So what are we going to do with
this renewed world leadership? One thing we should do is lead. Tonight,
we had James Cameron on the show. He gave us “Avatar,” the most successful
movie in history, which tells what happens when the people of this planet
exploited it so badly, abused natural resources to the breaking point, and
then head to others worlds to find the mean of sustaining life.
It‘s what happens when mankind abuses the habitat in which he was
born. A half century ago, an American statesman addressed this very issue.
Quote, “we travel together, passengers on little space ship dependent on
its vulnerable reserves of air and soil, all committed for our safety to
its security and peace. Preserve the from annihilation only by the care,
the work, and I will say, the love we give our fragile craft.”
That was Adlai Stevenson, the American ambassador to the United
Nations speaking in Geneva, a week before he died 45 years ago. Is our
country doing what it can to avoid the desperate future we so in “Avatar?”
Are we leading the world in dealing with climate change and resource
exhaustion? Are we the people that the other people of the world can look
to for Earthly salvation?
Second immigration. If we‘re regaining our prestige in the world, how
are we dealing with the desperate people who want to come here and work
here? Are we dealing with them in a just and fair manner, using honest
rule of law? Are we exploiting the most recent, most desperate arrivals to
gain the cheapest possible source of labor?
My thoughts tonight or these, one, lead the world in dealing with the
real prospect of climate change and get serious about renewable energy.
Two, show how a just and clean government handles the challenge of
immigration. Begin honest documentation of incoming workers, begin fair,
open and transparent treatment of people who come here to work, and stop
the scandal of under the table employment practices. Let‘s call it what it
is, the exploitation of the desperate.
That‘s HARDBALL for now.
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