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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Read the transcript to the Wednesday show

Guests: Arlen Specter, David Weigel, Joan Walsh, Jonathan Turley.

HOST:  Will the real Democrat please stand up?

Let‘s play HARDBALL.

Good evening.  I‘m Chris Matthews out in Los Angeles.  Leading off

tonight: You say you want a revolution?  In a terrible year for incumbents,

there‘s no bigger name with a target on his back than Arlen Specter in

Pennsylvania.  He‘s in the fight of his life with Congressman Joe Sestak. 

Specter joins us at the top of the show, and I‘m going to ask him why

Pennsylvania Democrats should vote for a man who has been a Republican for

more than 40 years.  He‘s at the top of the show and you won‘t want to miss


The hostile climate for incumbents out there got worse last night when

Alan Mollohan of West Virginia became the first House Democrat to go down

in defeat in a primary.  Now we learn that the party folks are taking over

Maine, up in the state of Maine, and that Orrin Hatch out in Utah‘s in

trouble.  So who‘s next?

And we have the latest NBC/”Wall Street Journal” poll tonight, with a

lot we‘re going to give you tonight on the prospects for Democrats holding

the House this November and how Americans feel about Arizona‘s tough new

immigration law, and of course, racial profiling.

Also, a few years ago, a Republican senator said it was not important

for a Supreme Court nominee to have judicial experience.  So why‘s it so

important now that Elena Kagan has been nominated?  Could the Republicans

be playing politics?

“Let Me Finish” tonight with Dick Cheney, Halliburton and the gulf oil

spill.  I think it‘s time for the former vice president to testify out in

the open about his behavior with the oil industry, under the lights and

under oath.

Let‘s start with the Senate primary up in Pennsylvania.  Three polls

out today show the fight between Arlen Specter and Joe Sestak is a dead

heat.  A new Franklin and Marshall poll has Sestak up by 2.  A new

Quinnipiac poll has Specter up by 2.  And today‘s Muhlenberg/”Morning Call”

tracking poll has the race dead even.

Senator Specter joins us now.  Senator, let‘s play your ad now, your

latest TV ad.  It‘s showing right now in Pennsylvania.  Let‘s listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  President Obama and newspapers across Pennsylvania

agree Arlen Specter is the real deal.


things about Arlen Specter.  He came to fight for the working men and women

of Pennsylvania.  And Arlen Specter cast the deciding vote in favor of the

Recovery Act that has helped pull us back from the brink.

Because you know he‘s going to fight for you, regardless of what the

politics are.


approved this message.

OBAMA:  I love you and I love Arlen Specter!


MATTHEWS:  Wow, “I love Arlen Specter.”  That‘s a strong endorsement. 

Did you—were you surprised by that language, “I love you”?

SPECTER:  Well, I liked it.  I just focused on how nice it was and how

emphatic the president was.  I got to know him when he was Senator Obama

and had his office right down the hall and urged me to become a Democrat

again.  And he‘s got a dynamite television spot which could be decisive. 

Listen, this is a very uncertain race, but I feel pretty good about it.

MATTHEWS:  So do you love the president back, or is this unrequited? 

Do you love Obama?


SPECTER:  Of course I do.  But more than love him, I cast the key vote

in the stimulus package which saved us from sliding into a type (ph) 1930

Depression.  More than loving him, I provided the 60th vote for

comprehensive health care reform.


SPECTER:  So—but this is what the people are interested in.  The

people are interested in jobs, and I‘ve got a sound record fighting Chinese

imports, funding for the National Institutes of Health, contracts through

(ph) the Appropriations committee, and that‘s what people want to know


MATTHEWS:  What people are concerned about—based upon the polling,

I‘m surprised you‘re even.  I‘m surprised Sestak‘s running even with you

now.  But I don‘t think the polling—I know election‘s day‘s going to

decide this thing and what happens on election day, Senator.  I know how it

works in politics.

But let me ask you this.  Are you going to vote for President Obama

next time?  Have you made a decision you‘re an Obama guy, you‘re going to

vote for him next time?

MATTHEWS:  Absolutely.  I‘ve joined his team.  Listen, when that vote

came up on the stimulus, I knew it was the end of my association with the

Republican Party.  For years, they called me a “rino,” Republican in name

only, because I have voted with the Democrats more often than with the

Republicans on the big issues...


SPECTER:  ... minimum wage, woman‘s right to choose, right down the

line, against Bork, led that fight.

MATTHEWS:  Well, let‘s talk about Arlen Specter the citizen, Citizen

Specter.  How did you vote in 2008?  Did you vote for Obama, or did you

vote for the other guy, for McCain?

SPECTER:  I voted for McCain.  At that time, I was...

MATTHEWS:  OK, who did you vote for in 2004?  You‘ve now got a

character endorsement from Senator Kerry.  I‘m impressed by that.  He‘s

swearing to your character right now in a statement yesterday.  How‘d you

vote in 2004?

SPECTER:  Listen, when I was trying to reform and moderate the

Republican Party, I was supporting Republicans, trying to bring them back

to the center.  And when that schism broke, I returned to my roots.  I had

started off as a Democrat.  I voted for Adlai Stevenson.  I vote for—I

voted vote for him twice, voted for John F. Kennedy, if you want to go over

my voting record.

MATTHEWS:  Right.  But starting in ‘68, it was Nixon, Nixon all the

way.  And it was Reagan, Reagan.  And it was Bush, Bush, Bush.  And it was

against all the Democrats, like Al Gore and John Kerry and Dukakis and

Clinton.  You voted against a whole mess of Democrats.  Did you vote

against Eddie Rendell all those years, too?  I mean you‘re a Republican for

45 years.

SPECTER:  No, no.  No, I always supported Ed Rendell, gave him his

first job out of Wall Street.

MATTHEWS:  I know, but did you vote for him?

SPECTER:  I voted for him, absolutely.

MATTHEWS:  Did you?

SPECTER:  Absolutely.  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  So you voted for—you voted Democrat for governor the

last couple times.

SPECTER:  That‘s—that‘s right.  I did that because I knew him,

trusted him and thought he was a good man.

MATTHEWS:  Right.  So let me ask about this—this mistake you‘ve

been making.  I know—you know what I do?  I write 19 instead of 20

sometimes by accident because I‘m not used to the 21st century yet.  You

seem to have this weird thing where you vote—you say Republican.  Here

you are in an audio last night in Pittsburgh.  Let‘s listen.


SPECTER:  I thank the Allegheny Republican Committee for endorsing me

for the Democratic nomination.

Great pleasure to be endorsed by the Allegheny County Republicans, and

together we‘ll (INAUDIBLE) victory.


MATTHEWS:  OK, you were happy to be endorsed by the Allegheny

Republicans last night.  OK, it‘s a little mistake.  People make mistakes. 

Here you are last month at Penn State.  Let‘s listen to you again, Arlen

Specter, Democrat, thanking the Republican Democrats—I mean, I‘m sorry,

the College Republicans for their support.  Here we are at Penn State last

month.  Let‘s listen.


SPECTER:  I‘m proud to have been endorsed by the college Republicans.


MATTHEWS:  Well, what is this pattern of keeping—you keep thanking

Republicans, as if you‘re still a Republican, this mental mistake you keep

making.  It concerns Democrats that mentally, your instinct is to say

you‘re a Republican still.

SPECTER:  You have cited three instances...


SPECTER:  ... but 853 other times I‘ve said Democrat when I meant

Democrat.  Look here, I‘m the speaker every now and then.  I‘m not a

professional communicator like—like Chris Matthews, so...


SPECTER:  ... occasionally, I misspeak.  But listen, where are my

votes?  Take a look at what I voted for.  Take a look at my support of a

woman‘s right to choose, voting for the minimum wage, voting against Bork,

voting against warrantless wiretapping.  Look what I did on the stimulus

package.  Look what I did on comprehensive health insurance.  On the votes,

you‘re in the well of the Senate and you‘re thinking, and you know whether

you say aye or nay.  I haven‘t made any mistakes on aye or nay.

MATTHEWS:  OK, let me ask you—great question.  Was voting for

Clarence Thomas a mistake, voting for Judge Alito, voting for Judge

Roberts, voting for Judge Scalia?  Were they—are you happy with the way

Clarence Thomas has turned out as a Supreme Court associate Justice? 

Clarence Thomas, let‘s take that example.  Are you happy with him?

SPECTER:  Chris, I made my best judgment at the time, but I‘m not

going to review those votes.  I‘m happy with the vote I cast against Bork. 

I‘m happy with the vote I cast in favor of Breyer.  I led the fight for



SPECTER:  In this line of work, you analyze it and you make your best

judgment.  There‘s a big picture involved.  And if I start looking over

10,000 votes, I‘ll never finish.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  How about Elena Kagan for solicitor?  You voted

against her.  Have you decided—I mean, you‘re very discerning in these

things.  You‘ve made some mistakes.  Is that a mistake?

SPECTER:  No.  She would not answer important questions.  The

nomination for Supreme Court is very different.  You can‘t ask a Supreme

Court nominee how they‘re going to vote because of judicial independence. 

I asked her when she was—if she was solicitor general, what would she do

with the case where the Holocaust victims were suing insurance companies? 

She wouldn‘t answer.  I asked her what would she do in a case where

survivors of victims of 9/11 were suing high-ranking Saudi officials and

sovereign immunity did not apply?


SPECTER:  And she wouldn‘t answer.  And that was a different

situation.  Listen, my political opponent wants me to come out declare for

her, yes or no.  Well, I don‘t make snap judgments before hearing the

evidence, before hearing the testimony.

MATTHEWS:  But let‘s think about an average Democrat in Pennsylvania

who knows you voted for Thomas, voted for Alito, voted for Roberts, voted

for Scalia, but you‘re still up in the air on whether to vote for Kagan. 

What did those four gentlemen have that you‘re wondering if Kagan has?

SPECTER:  Well, in each of those cases, I attended the confirmation

hearings.  I asked a lot of probing questions.  I talked to my colleagues. 

And I came to a considered—a considered judgment.  And that‘s the way I

operate, on an independent basis, and I‘ll continue to do that.  And I‘m

not going to make a knee-jerk reaction and respond to my political opponent

in the Senate campaign...


SPECTER:  ... because he wants to make political capital.  I‘m not

going to do that.

MATTHEWS:  So no endorsement—you‘re not going to make any

confirmation, prediction on your vote, even through next Tuesday?  Right

through Tuesday, you‘re not going to endorse Elena Kagan?

SPECTER:  Well, I may.  I‘m meeting with her tomorrow.  I want to hear

what she has to say.


SPECTER:  I‘ve got an open mind on it.


SPECTER:  I think that‘s what a senator ought to do.

MATTHEWS:  Fair enough.  I think you will endorse her over the

weekend, but that‘s my prediction.  It has no power over the actual event. 

You talked yesterday in Pittsburgh about your seniority.  Do you have a

deal with the Democratic leadership, such as it is right now, to restore

your full seniority?  Because you really lost most of it when you switched


SPECTER:  When I talked to Senator Reid, the leader, it was on the

understanding that I would have my full seniority, as if elected as a

Democrat in 1980.  And he said we would revisit the issue after the


MATTHEWS:  If Senator Reid is defeated out in Nevada—he‘s now 11

points behind Sue Lowden out there—if he doesn‘t get reelected, will you

be guaranteed you get your seniority back if you‘re elected as a Democrat?

SPECTER:  I expect to get my seniority back when reelected.

MATTHEWS:  Who promised you?  And who can deliver?

SPECTER:  Well, the majority leader speaks for the caucus.  And he was

the person I talked to, and I relied upon that and I still rely upon that. 

Listen, it‘s something that they try to do with some consistency...


SPECTER:  ... to persuade people to cross the aisle, and if they reneg

on me, who‘s next?

MATTHEWS:  Well, has Schumer or Durbin made that same commitment? 

Because they may well be—either one of them could be majority leader

next year.

SPECTER:  Well, I don‘t ask them for commitments as majority leader

when we‘ve got a majority leader, and I have a commitment from him.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  OK.  Final question.  Is this your last term?  I know

you think ahead and you love the Senate.  We all love the Senate—or I

do.  Is this your last term, Senator?  You‘re 80 years old.  You‘ve had 30

years behind you.  Will you run again, if you get elected again, run again

for another six years?

SPECTER:  Well, it is highly unlikely, but I never like to say

anything with finality.


SPECTER:  When you talk about age, Joe Paterno‘s older than I.  He‘s

still going strong.  When you talk about age, I agree with Satchel Paige.

Satchel Paige—If you didn‘t know your age, how old would you think you

were?  And I choose 37, Chris.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  Good for you.  And by the way, just—there‘s one

difference between you and JoePa.  He sticks with the same team.  But thank

you very much, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.  Good luck next Tuesday.  I

think you‘re going to squeak it.  I predict...

SPECTER:  Thank you.

MATTHEWS:  ... a squeaker, a couple points.

Anyway, a reminder we‘ll be in Philadelphia all night on...

SPECTER:  Listen—listen...

MATTHEWS:  I‘m sorry, Senator.  Go ahead.

SPECTER:  If everybody who‘s for me comes out to vote, I‘ll win.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Thank you very much.  I think you‘re...

SPECTER:  It‘s a matter of turnout.  But I appreciate your prediction

of victory.

MATTHEWS:  I‘m watching west Philadelphia.  I‘m watching Bobby Brady

(ph).  I‘m watching the impact of Tony Williams (ph).  I‘m watching the

whole thing.  It‘s fascinating to watch.  Thank you, Senator.

SPECTER:  You know Philadelphia like the back of your hand.  I take a

lot of heart in that, Chris.  Thank you.

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Senator.  We‘ll see you on Tuesday night up in

Philly.  Anyway, Senator Arlen Specter, running as a Democrat in the

primary next Tuesday.  We‘re going to be up there following this.  There‘s

so many hot primaries Tuesday night, and that‘s the hottest one, as you

just heard.

Coming up: Anti-incumbency fever.  Democratic congressman Alan

Mollohan out in West Virginia gets beaten in his own primary.  Tea party

activists take control of the Republican Party up in Maine.  Out in Utah,

they‘re warning—the partiers out there, tea partiers, are warning Orrin

Hatch he‘s next, next to go.  Is anybody safe in the Republican Party or

the Democratic Party?

Coming up in a minute, the Republicans pick a city to host their

convention in 2012.  They‘re going—well, they‘re going way south and

back to those chads again.

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:  Well, the Republican Party will nominate its presidential

candidate for 2012 in the city of Tampa, Florida.  Big news on that.  The

decision came today.  And when you consider the other finalist city, it‘s a

no-brainer.  The other choice for the Republicans were Phoenix—ain‘t

going there because of the controversy over the illegal immigration law—

Salt Lake City, which would provide endless storylines about how Christian

conservatives think about Mormons, regardless of whether Mitt Romney‘s the

nominee.  So mark your calendars and book your tickets if you‘re involved. 

It‘s Tampa for the Republicans in 2012, despite that lingering memory of

hanging chads and the governor down there who‘s been run out of his party,

a former Republican who may beat the Republicans.

HARDBALL will be right back.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  There‘s something going on

politically in this country, and we all know about it.  We don‘t want to

have to dig too deep to find out what‘s happening.  Look, conservative Utah

senator Bob Bennett was ousted in a primary last weekend, losing to two tea

party candidates.  Florida governor Charlie Crist left the Republican Party

after trailing tea party favorite Marco Rubio in that Senate primary down

there, and today Crist officially changed his registration to “no party


Well, Senator John McCain is facing a tough primary challenge out

there from J.D. Hayworth.  And this weekend in Maine, the state of Maine,

the state‘s GOP platform was thrown out and replaced with a tea party-

friendly version of the platform.  What‘s going on?

David Weigel is the national reporter for “The Washington Post” and

author of the blog “Right Now.”  And Joan Walsh is editor of

David, this thing is really serious.  It‘s bicoastal.  It‘s in all

four corners.  It goes from California all the way up to Maine.  Let‘s look

at this.  Here‘s a scene at the Maine Republican convention—we always

think of Maine as a moderate Republican state—when the GOP platform was

thrown out up there this weekend and a tea party-themed platform was voted

in.  Let‘s watch.  Let‘s listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The question before the body is the adoption of

the proposed amendment to substitute this language (INAUDIBLE) All those in

favor of the amendment will rise.


MATTHEWS:  Well, there they are, David.  They‘re not all dressed up in

suits, like big-shot politicians.  They‘re regular people up in Maine, a

state we thought was a moderate Republican state being taken over by the

tea party people.  Is this “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” or what?

DAVID WEIGEL, “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  Well, it‘s the same thing that

happened in Utah.

The—the reason that Bennett lost was that Tea Party activists spent

about a year—and they were encouraged by the Club for Growth to spend

about $180,000 helping them to do this—to take over the parties in—in

county from county and city to city. 

Same thing in Maine—these people hadn‘t really been active in

politics, so it was easy for them to kind of elbow out of the way the old

blue-hairs who haven‘t been working that hard in Republican—in the party

for a while. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, is this top-down or bottom up?  Top-down or bottom-

up?  Is it the people in the grassroots or is this stirred by the well-

financed Club for Growth?


WEIGEL:  Oh, no, this is pretty bottom-up.  The Club had a role, but,

you know, two years ago, Ron Paul supporters were doing the same thing.  We

just weren‘t paying attention.  It‘s really easy to take over in—in

Maine, yes, Olympia Snowe wins, Susan Collins wins, but we have seen

polling that says most conservative voters are not that fond of Olympia

Snowe.  And they just have had been active until the last year. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, you know, let me go to—let me go to Joan. 

Joan, it seems to me Maine has always been that state that is highly

independent.  They elect people who are basically independent-minded,

really classic Yankees, if you will, Down Easterners—Easterners. 

It seems to me we didn‘t think of that as sort of right-wing territory


JOAN WALSH, EDITOR IN CHIEF, SALON.COM:  No, and I‘m not—I‘m still

not sure it is.  It is a very independent state. 

You know, I would give a slightly different answer from Dave‘s,

although he is the expert on the Tea Party.  I think it‘s bottom-up with a

lot of help from top-down.  And I think that the Club for Growth and our

friend Dick Armey‘s FreedomWorks are putting a lot of money into helping

these people do what they do.

But, you know, Chris, you have really got to look at this new Maine

Tea Party platform.  I mean, it‘s crackpot.  I mean, it commits the state

of Maine to doing everything it can to defeat the U.N. Rights of the Child

treaty, which is about sex trafficking and child labor, nothing really

objectionable in there. 

It puts them on the side of the Tenthers, the people who say the 10th

Amendment will prevent—should prevent health care reform.  It‘s really,

really quite fringy.  It‘s going to—we‘re going to go back to Austrian

economics.  And maybe Dave can tell us what that is.

But, you know, it‘s all—they—they attack ACORN, which isn‘t even

a group anymore.  So, it‘s really an amalgam of fringe interests.


MATTHEWS:  OK.  Well, look at far it‘s going in terms of political


Here, Senator Hatch—a new Mason-Dixon poll—it‘s a good poll—

asks, if Senator Hatch were up for reelection this year, instead of 2012,

would you vote for him, or anyone else?  Fifty-one percent say someone


David, that‘s powerful stuff.  We all thought Orrin Hatch was an

institution in Utah.  The fact that people out there, not just the people

that show up at meetings with signs and attitude, but the average person

out there in the Republican Party says it‘s time for Orrin to go. 

I guess that explains, by the way, before I get your answer, why he

never went along with health care, why he pulled out of health care so

fast.  He saw which way the wind was blowing out in Utah, first Bennett,

then maybe him. 

WEIGEL:  Well, yes, that‘s the effect it‘s having—Susan Collins,

Olympia Snowe, Orrin Hatch. 

Orrin Hatch hadn‘t actually voted against a Supreme Court nominee, I

don‘t think, until Sonia Sotomayor.  I mean, he just knew what side of the

bread was buttered, because he realizes, if you go out of your way to

irritate Tea Party groups, you are going to get punished. 

Now, I was actually talking to Senator John Thune—he‘s a member of

the leadership—yesterday about this and said, you voted for TARP. 

Bennett voted for TARP.  How do you convince people not to oust you?

And he was a little bit sympathetic to Bennett, who cast this vote

that a lot of Republicans cast, but could not stop the onslaught of

pitchforks and Molotov cocktails from Tea Partiers. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, the funny thing is, Thune doesn‘t even have an

opponent this fall. 

WEIGEL:  Right. 


MATTHEWS:  In the Republican Senate primary out in Kentucky, Tea Party

candidate Rand Paul leads Trey Grayson, the establishment candidate, by 12


Joan, it looks like he‘s going to win next Tuesday, Rand Paul, based

on the polling.  He‘s got the wind at his back, and he was the guy that the

only guy back at him was Jim Bunning, who was the outcast out there. 

WALSH:  Right. 

No.  You know, I think the Tea Party is certainly having an impact.

So far, Chris, it‘s mainly having an impact on the Republican Party, and

it‘s pulling—it‘s pulling the party to the right in conservative states. 

Now, you know, so far, their big national effort was a defeat.  They -

they elected a Democrat in New York 23.  They take credit for Scott

Brown, but I really think that‘s pretty ridiculous.  So, I—we—we—

we‘re going to see some matchups in the fall between Tea Party Republicans

and Democrats of various stripes.  That‘s when it‘s going to get

interesting.  Are they going to go too far right to appeal to the

independents, or are they going to somehow capture the anti-incumbent fever

and convince people that they‘re right about government spending? 

We don‘t know that yet. 

MATTHEWS:  David, you‘re on top of this.  And, of course, we‘re

watching polls all over the place.  And I‘m looking at the new NBC poll.  I

can‘t give you the numbers tonight, but—at this time of night.

But I‘m also looking at what happened in Britain.  Is there some

movement out there that‘s bigger than the Republican Party? 

WEIGEL:  Well, yes.

MATTHEWS:  Is the word conservative now more attractive than the word

Republican in a big way? 

WEIGEL:  Oh, it has been for a while.  I mean, Gallup has shown the

same thing.  Gallup polls say that 40 percent of the country is

conservative.  And that was true even when the Republican Party was

absolutely digging around in a ditch after George W. Bush.

MATTHEWS:  So, what does it mean being a conservative today, as

opposed to being a Republican?  Dichotomize it. 

WEIGEL:  Well, there‘s a sort of a fight define that.  I mean, we just

talked about Maine.

Austrian economics, hard money, let‘s go back to the gold standard,

let‘s abolish-the-Fed economics, that didn‘t used to be what conservatives


WALSH:  Right. 

WEIGEL:  It‘s just that the people with the most energy in the base

are Ron Paul activists, Dick...


WEIGEL:  ... you know, supporters of Dick Armey, people who listen to

Glenn Beck.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  I agree.

WEIGEL:  And they‘re redefining what it is to be a conservative right

now.  It‘s very—so, Republicans are being led by it. 


MATTHEWS:  Joan, on the progressive side, I think the big worry has to

be—even though people don‘t like John Boehner, they don‘t even know who

these guys like Mitch McConnell are—they‘re going to go into that voting

booth with a conservative, anti-liberal, anti-progressive attitude.  And

they‘re going to vote Republican and.

That‘s why I think the House could go Republican this fall, not

because they like Republicans.  They would never elect John Boehner

nationally to anything...

WALSH:  No. 

MATTHEWS:  ... or Mitch McConnell to anything, but they‘re so angry

with the way things are, these people, they will vote Republican.  Your


WALSH:  Well, for now, my—my thought is, it‘s anti-incumbent.  It‘s

not necessarily anti-liberal.  It‘s not necessarily anti-Democrat.  It

could become that. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

WALSH:  It‘s a question of how the Democrats define themselves,

whether they come up with an insurgent message at all that reaches people. 

For now, I‘m looking at the effect on the Republican Party.  I‘m not

saying what you‘re talking about won‘t happen, Chris.  I think it‘s early. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes, thank you.  I think what‘s happening to the Republican

Party is truly revolutionary.  It‘s losing its establishment aspect.  Maybe

that‘s good for both parties in the long run.  We will see.

David Weigel, thank you very much, Joan Walsh, as always.

Up next—oh, by the way, yesterday, we invited any Republican

officeholder who disagrees with Rush Limbaugh to come on HARDBALL and tell

us Rush is wrong.  Easy statement, I would think, that he‘s gone too far,

that Rush is not the leader of the Republican Party.  Well, so far, no

Republicans called us or asked to come on HARDBALL.  It‘s only been a day,

but we‘re, and the operators are standing by. 

Up next:  How far right is the Republican Party today?  Just ask the

candidate for governor in Alabama.  He‘s been attacked for supporting—

oh, my God—evolution.

The “Sideshow” is next.  You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC. 

Religious tests coming.


MATTHEWS:  Back to HARDBALL.  And more of the “Sideshow” tonight. 

Evolution, it‘s a dirty word in some circles.  Just check out the

Alabama ad we‘re going to show you that‘s meant to attack Bradley Byrne, a

Republican candidate for governor. 


NARRATOR:  Bradley Byrne was a Democrat.

NARRATOR:  Now he‘s a Republican.

NARRATOR:  On the school board, Byrne supported teaching evolution,

said evolution best explains the origin of life, even recently said the

Bible is only partially true. 

Bradley Byrne, another liberal blowing in the wind. 

NARRATOR:  Trying to look conservative. 


MATTHEWS:  Blowing in the wind?  How about “Inherent the Wind”?

Let‘s get this straight.  Support for teaching evolution, suggesting

that the Bible is not literally true, they‘re not—they‘re not exactly

attack lines, are they? 

Well, equally disheartening, the candidate in question, Bradley Byrne,

was quick to come out with a statement denying all of the charges.  Quote -

here‘s what he said in defense—“The record clearly shows that I fought

to ensure the teaching of creationism in our school textbooks.”

He also added—quote—“I believe the Bible is the word of God and

that every single word of it is true”—close quote.

Has it come to this, a religious test for holding public office? 

Well, you just saw a religious test.  It apparently has come to that. 

On a lighter note: Mark Sanford‘s affair to remember.  The outgoing—

I love that phrase—the outgoing South Carolina governor confirmed today

that he met with his Argentinean lover, Maria Belen Chapur, over the

weekend to see if they could restart their relationship.  Remember, Sanford

famously went missing in action for a week last summer.  He was first said

to be hiking the Appalachian Trail before he admitted to visiting Chapur

down in Buenos Aires. 

Sanford‘s divorce was finalized early this year, a story that proves

that there are indeed second acts in American life.  Anyway, we‘re going to

have to see what happens there. 

Now for the “Number.”

On Sunday, pitcher Dallas Braden pitched a perfect game for the A‘s

out in Oakland against the Tampa Bay Rays, no runs, no hits, no walks, no

base runners, nothing. 

Well, per today‘s “New York Times,” the big four banks, Bank of

America, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and J.P. Morgan, have just pitched Wall

Street equivalent of a perfect game.  In the last quarter, how many days

did those banks lose money, I mean any days?  Zero days.  That‘s right. 

The big bank made money every single day last quarter, zero days of losses,

no days in the red, every day in the black—tonight‘s incredible “Big


Up next:  The new NBC/”Wall Street Journal” poll is just out tonight. 

It suggests that incumbents, and especially Democrats, are in for some

rough weather.  Chuck Todd joins us next. 

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.  



CNBC “Market Wrap.”

A solid midweek rally on some encouraging reports from the tech

sector, the Dow Jones industrials jumping 148 points, the S&P 500 climbing

nearly 16 points, and the Nasdaq soaring almost 50 points. 

IBM the biggest gainer on the Dow, after telling shareholders it

expects to earn at least $20 a share by 2015. 

And Intel leading the Nasdaq, after saying it expects to double

earnings growth in the next few years by expanding its chip sales into

smartphones and TVs. 

Networking giant Cisco  reporting just after the closing bell, beating

expectations on profits and revenue.  Shares were an even 3 percent higher

at the close, moving slightly lower after hours. 

Morgan Stanley shares skidding 2 percent on a report it‘s the target

of government investigation into its mortgage derivatives. 

And gold prices hitting a record high again today, as investors look

for safety amid fluctuating euro—euro and the dollar. 

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


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

We have a brand-new NBC News/”Wall Street Journal” poll out tonight

that tells us a lot about what the country‘s thinking ahead of two weeks,

the big primaries coming up these weeks, next Tuesday, of course, and the

November‘s midterm coming up in November. 

Chuck Todd‘s our expert, NBC News political director, and chief White

House correspondent. 

Here‘s the first tranche of numbers I want you to look at.  Let‘s

start with the mood of the country.  It‘s bad.  Eighty-one percent are

dissatisfied with the economy.  That number has been steady for a year now. 

There‘s an even split now on who should control Congress, bad news for

the Democrats, 44 percent each, Republican or Democrat.  That‘s only the

second time in seven years that Republicans have pulled even with the Dems. 

And by 2-to-1, people say it‘s better to have the parties control one

party the White House and the other party the Congress. 

What do you make of these numbers?  I think there‘s a structural

advantage for Republicans.  If it‘s even, it means the Republicans grab the

House, my thinking.


structural advantage for the out party, that‘s for sure, and for outsiders

in particular. 

And I want to take you inside those—that generic ballot number. 

The enthusiasm gap, there‘s an 18-point gap.  We asked people, you know,

how enthusiastic, on a scale of one to 10, are you to voting in November? 

The nines and 10s are what we call likely voters.  There‘s an 18-point gap

between Republicans being enthusiastic, saying nines and 10s, and


And, so, right now, the big worry among the White House, when you talk

to their guys, and to the Democratic Party committees is that there is this

enthusiasm gap.  They can‘t get the Obama surge voters, they can‘t get some

rank-and-file Democratic voters fired up. 


Is that why...

TODD:  And that is what is missing.

MATTHEWS:  Is that why the president has been laying up, as they say

in golf, on a couple issues?  He‘s picked a safer choice for Supreme Court. 

He‘s pulled back from his hard line on the Middle East with Israel.  Have

you noticed over the last month—well, you notice everything. 


MATTHEWS:  It seems like he‘s pulling back from that sharp edge, big

change guy. 

TODD:  Well, yes and no. 

I mean, look, I think the reason on the court pick is because he still

wants to get one or two more big things out of this Congress.  He—look,

the White House is not stupid.  They know this could be the last three

months that they have this type of advantage... 

MATTHEWS:  I see. 

TODD:  ... in a Congress.  So, if he wants to do energy and he wants

to do financial reform, those two big things, he can‘t clog up the system

with a controversial court nominee.

And I think that‘s why he went with—some people call it a safe

choice.  I say it‘s a comfortable choice.  He‘s comfortable in that he‘s

going to...


TODD:  ... she‘s going to be somebody who will fight Roberts and, at

the same time, she will be somebody who is not going to rile up the base of

the Republicans too much. 

MATTHEWS:  I think you just gave away their strategy by not mentioning

immigration as one of the bills they want this year. 

TODD:  They don‘t want it, yes. 

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s take a look at why not.  Here are the numbers. 

They‘re devastating, immigration among all adults.  More than 2-to-1

support the Arizona law, and almost 50 percent strongly support it, if you

look at the internal. 

TODD:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  Among Hispanics—no surprise—they‘re the opposite. 

About 70 percent oppose it.  They feel they‘re threatened by this.

And the public generally agrees with them, all the public, rather. 

Two in three people saying it‘s likely there will be some sort of

discrimination or profiling involved.  And, of course, four out of five

Hispanics Latinos also agree.  They believe it, too. 

So, it seems to me the public are troubled by it in the sense it will

mean some perhaps nasty treatment of minorities, but they say, damn it,

this is the only way to make it work. 

TODD:  And I...

MATTHEWS:  That seems to be their judgment. 

TODD:  There is.  Let me get you through some short term/long term

inside the numbers on this.  Among Hispanics, by the way, younger

Hispanics, Hispanics under 40 and under, they‘re more pro-Democratic and

more upset about this immigration law than Hispanics over 40.  And the

thing that this concerns—our pollsters are saying this should concern

Republicans long term because they could lose a whole generation.

And I was talking to one Republican strategist earlier today about

this.  And they said, you know, in California that Prop 187 back in 1994

had similar numbers.  People were very supportive of it, overwhelmingly

supportive.  Hispanics weren‘t.  But overall, you saw those same numbers. 

And a lot of Republicans say, oh, this won‘t be so bad.  And yeah, it

helped them in ‘94.  Pete Wilson got reelected in a land scale.  The

Republicans did very well in the congressional ballot in California. 

And guess what, California hasn‘t had a chance at a Republican winning

anything there statewide in a long time, outside of Schwarzenegger, and we

know how he had to do it.  So it is—it is one of those things; short

term, immigration is playing well for the Republicans.  You‘re seeing it in

rural districts pop up.  This is not a good issue for Democrats in 2010. 

The problem for the party is, what does it mean in 2012?  What does it mean

in 2016, in a presidential year?  

MATTHEWS:  I wonder whether younger voters, Hispanic voters, and

citizens here are more militant about issues like assimilation?  Are the

older voters more happy to basically learn the English faster.  Any

indication of that in the polling, about general culture attitudes about

young and old? 

TODD:  There‘s not in the poll.  I can tell you about my own

experience in Florida.  There is a split there.  You see the older, the

second and third generation Hispanics would sit there and say, you know

what, they‘re older Hispanics.  They had to do it the hard way.  They had

to go through the system, this and that.  The younger Hispanics are saying,

wait a minute, this seems to be unfair.  And while my parents or

grandparents went through it one way, this isn‘t going to be the way we

have to deal with it. 

MATTHEWS:  We‘ll have to study that.  Anyway, the Gulf Coast oil spill

is the top news story that concerns people, seven points more than the

Times Square bomber even, and almost 20 points more than the immigration

law in Arizona we‘ve been talking about.  That‘s the hot issue. 

The spill is also the top corporate mess that bothers people, more so

than this sub prime mortgage mess or the other mess, Goldman Sachs.  And

people are split on how the government‘s handling this bill, but the

government gets better marks than BP.  Is this a somewhat of a Democratic

advantage here, go after BP? 

TODD:  Well I don‘t know if it‘s a Democratic advantage.  Let me tell

you something more about these corporate numbers, what I found fascinating

about it is that this anger at Washington, it‘s also—there‘s anger up at

Wall Street and corporate America.  And so there‘s this growing distrust

and that‘s part—I think that‘s part—partially feeding this sort of

anger at the system, the throw the bums out attitude. 

It‘s all feeding into this same pessimism that you‘re seeing all

around the country.  And I think it‘s why we saw the Bob Bennetts of the

world in trouble.  We saw a Democratic congressman lose last night.  Arlen

Specter and Blanche Lincoln in big, big, big trouble come Tuesday.  And

it‘s all because there‘s this sense that like the people that have been

running things, whether it‘s corporate America or Washington America, get

them out.  Let‘s try something different. 

MATTHEWS:  Are the numbers—are the numbers on the economy cooked

now, baked as you say, for the fall?  People say by April, people make up

their mind about the economy.  Look at this number, 81 percent dissatisfied

with the economy. 

TODD:  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  People think it is still a recession.  Even if the economy

creates enough jobs to even knock that number down to, say, nine percent or

8.5 percent, will that influence voting, or are they already decided this

is a terrible time and they‘re going to vote negative?  

TODD:  I think it‘s amazing when you think about—think about all of

the good economic news that the public has heard about over the last six

weeks, since we went in.  Over the last three months, not a single one of

it has changed perceptions of the way that people feel about the economy. 

And I have to say if they—if it hasn‘t happened in the last three

months, then I tell you, it is hard to imagine that, unless something

dramatically happens—you‘ll have to see job gains of 500,000, 600,000 in

a month in these last three or four months before November.

So I have a feeling that it does feel like it‘s cooked.  Look, this

thing—the only thing that I‘ll say is that the Republican parties—the

one thing that—they have one land mine and that‘s themselves at this

point.  There is certainly a sense out there that people, they want—they

certainly want to throw the bums out, and the Democrats are the ones

sitting there.  But there isn‘t a positive feel toward the Republican party

like there was in 1994.  And that‘s what makes it, I say, Buffalo

Springfield new best.  There‘s something happening out here, Chris, but

what it is ain‘t exactly clear yet. 

MATTHEWS:  I‘ll tell you two things anecdotally.  People are still

getting laid off.  People my age or younger even are getting laid off.  And

number two, housing values are not going up for most houses.  You can‘t

sell a house for more than a year or two ago.  It‘s not happening.  That‘s

reality check.  Chuck Todd, thank you. 

Up next, Republican hypocrisy, and I mean it.  Some the same

Republicans who today are criticizing Elena Kagan‘s lack of bench

experience found that lack of bench experience refreshing when George W.

Bush picked two—tried to pick Harriet Miers, for example.  We got the

record to show this.  They were for her because she wasn‘t a judge.  Now

they‘re against Elena Kagan because she wasn‘t a judge. 

Anyway, but in one minute, we‘ve got some proof that Arlen Specter

wasn‘t the ardent supporter of Democrat Ed Rendell that he claimed to be,

at least not in public.  This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:  Earlier in the show, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania

told me that he voted for Ed Rendell for governor.  He‘s a Democrat for

governor in 2002 and 2006.  Well, while Specter may have secretly voted for

the Democrat Rendell, and he probably did, in 2006 he publicly supported

the campaign of Rendell‘s opponent, Lynn Swann.  Check out this from “the

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette” in 2006, “in a meeting with the Post Gazette‘s

editorial board, the five-term senator, Specter, said he‘s supporting Mr.

Swann‘s campaign to unseat Governor Ed Rendell”   By the way, he also took

a shot at Rendell‘s gambling proposals at that moment. 

More HARDBALL after this.  I love this stuff.


MATTHEWS:  We‘re back.  The same Republicans who are questioning

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan‘s lack of judicial experience had no

problem with Harriet Miers‘ inexperience in the bench when George W. Bush

nominated her five years ago.  Take Senator John Cornyn of Texas, for

instance.  Earlier this week, he said, “Ms. Kagan is a surprising choice

because she lacks judicial experience.  Most Americans believe that prior

judicial experience is a necessary credential for a Supreme Court justice.”

Well, when President Bush nominated Miers five years ago, Senator

Cornyn said, quote, “one reason I felt so strongly about Harriet Myers

qualifications is I thought she would fill some very important gaps in the

Supreme Court, because right now you have people who have been federal

judges, circuit judges most of their lives, or academicians.” 

So can Republicans get away with knocking Kagan for the very same

reason they liked about Miers.  Jonathan Turley is a law professor at

George Washington University.  Jonathan, your chuckling at the absolute

absurdity of this hypocrisy.  Cornyn is a party guy, fair enough.  He‘s a

Bush guy, fair enough.  But here he‘s caught saying 180 against what he

said before.  It‘s not refreshing, in this case, to have somebody off the

bench.  It‘s not good. 


know, the real mistake I think is assuming that we have a standard resume

for justices.  If anything, our current court is by—too far homogenous

in terms of their social, religious, educational backgrounds.  We really

benefit from having different influences, different backgrounds. 

I think it‘s ludicrous to say that judicial experience is necessary. 

Louis Brandeis came directly from practice.  He‘s considered if not the

greatest justice of all time, one of the greatest.  Thurgood Marshall, Hugo

Black, Earl Warren, all of those should be cautionary examples for putting

so much importance on judicial experience. 

MATTHEWS:  So, Jonathan, what does this tell you about the hearings? 

It looks to me like, if this is all they have got in their blunderbuss,

nothing‘s going to happen.  You can‘t defeat a candidate for Supreme Court

on the grounds that they don‘t meet your specks, can you? 

TURLEY:  You know, I did an op-ed today—actually both “USA Today”

and “L.A. Times,” talking about the confirmation process.  This is a

process that‘s really perfectly nauseating for academics.  It has the

substance of a Big Gulp Slurpee.  There‘s nothing there.  The centers of

both sides ask platitudes and get similar responses from the nominee. 

Most of the objections to Kagan is coming from the left.  The

Democrats are never going to pursue those inquiries.  They‘re going to be

defending the nominee, avoiding those questions.  What you have is a

process that‘s virtually devoid of content.  It makes “American Idol” look

like a substantive inquiry. 

MATTHEWS:  Why did the president lay back on this?  Why did he not go

for a leader, apparently?  There was lots of talk on this program, lots of

it, enthusiasm from me and lots of our guests about the prospect of having

a true progressive leader join the court and become a leader of five,

including Anthony Kennedy, and not just the four progressives, and really

changing the court and bringing it back to its exciting landmark days.  Can

Elena Kagan do that? 

TURLEY:  I‘m not quite confident that she can.  The important thing is

that these nominations become a comparison of nominees to themselves.  They

don‘t allow comparisons to those people that were not selected.  There were

a great number of leaders that Obama passed by who happened to be quite

liberal.  What‘s amazing is that the White House is continuing to talk

about wanting to get someone like Scalia from the left. 

MATTHEWS:  Where‘s that person?  They‘re not there.  She‘s not that. 

TURLEY:  You get someone who has a proven history of being a leader,

proven views.  The conservatives tend to do that.  They tend to find people

with confirmed conservative views.  The liberals simply don‘t do that. 

They look for the most confirmable, instead of the best candidate.   

MATTHEWS:  How about charisma?  Have you ever spent any time with

Scalia?  I know you have.  He‘s amazingly attractive as a person.  You can

disagree about original intent up the gazoo.  I‘ve spent some time with

him.  He‘s absolutely charismatic.  He‘s a charmer.  In many ways, he

reminds me of the guys I grew up with, my dads friends, Knights of

Columbus, Italian guys, Irish guys, regular, regular, regular, but with a

big mind.  He just is a very—I would think over lunch hanging around the

office, he‘d be a very attractive intellectual leader. 

Can Elena Kagan arouse that kind of interest hanging around the court? 

Will she be able to lead the minds over there? 

TURLEY:  I don‘t see that in her writings.  In fact, civil

libertarians are uncomfortable with some of her writings, particularly in

free speech.  But I also don‘t see that type of clarity of purpose or

thought that we saw with Scalia.  This business about, you know, someone

who can reach over the aisle and get compromise, I mean, that‘s really

silly.  I mean—

MATTHEWS:  Really? 

TURLEY:  Scalia and Kennedy, even Kennedy, are not going to say, you

know what, I really like Elena so I‘m going to separate the church and

state a little more. 

MATTHEWS:  Don‘t debase my thought, professor.  I‘m talking about

intellectual charisma.  For example, when you brought Earl Warren on the

court, and you joined up with Frankfurter, and you saw inherently in the

Constitution that separate but equal wasn‘t equal, that kind of thinking. 

Or to see that the idea of pursuit of happiness and the basic founding

documents said same-sex marriage should be on the table.  I‘m sorry. 

That‘s my argument. 

TURLEY:  You know, Warren—Warren was able to convince his

colleagues the importance of all of them voting heavily in this regard, but


MATTHEWS:  We‘re heavy.  Jonathan, please come back.  More on this. 

We‘re out of time.  But it‘s great to have you on.  We have an argument,

you and I. 

When we return, I‘m going to have some thoughts about the spill in the

Gulf of Mexico and how it all goes back to Dick Cheney.  You‘re watching

HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.  It really does.


MATTHEWS:  Let me finish tonight with some unfinished business.  Dick

Cheney was CEO of Halliburton before running for vice president in the year

2000.  At the time he left Halliburton, he received some kind of bonus or

whatever amounting to 34 million dollars. 

That raised questions.  There would be more.  When he got into the

White House, Cheney held secret meetings with the big oil companies,

including BP.  He held a separate meeting with BP CEO.  None of the

business conducted in those meetings was permitted to leak outside.

You see, in the cozy world of oil and those charged by public oath

with regulating it, these are leaks that can be prevented.  Halliburton is

now saying it‘s not to blame for what happened in the Gulf of Mexico.  How

on Earth are we to know who was responsible for this in this incredibly

incestuous little set up? 

We have the V.P. of our country, fresh from his job as CEO of the oil

company, holding secret meetings with oil companies in the White House. 

From top to bottom, the government President Obama inherited was stocked

with Halliburton people, supposedly looking at Halliburton, while the whole

thing looks like they were looking out for Halliburton.  Don‘t you think?

Years ago, I wrote a long investigative piece about how the oil

industry, the pipeline industry, had just one employee in the entire U.S.

government looking at 200,000 miles of oil pipeline.  It smells like we‘ve

got the same deal going offshore.  Cheney needs to testify.  Not in the

clubby way he did in the Scooter Libby leak deal, in a backroom with W

sitting alongside to keep their stories straight.  In this leak case,

involving the destruction of the Gulf of Mexico, he needs to be under the

lights and under oath.

That‘s HARDBALL for now.  Right now, it‘s time for “THE ED SHOW” with

Ed Schultz.




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