Guests: David Axelrod, Mike Papantonio, Loretta Sanchez, Andrew Romanoff
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Destroying the gulf.
Let‘s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I‘m Chris Matthews in Washington. Leading off
tonight: Crude awakening. Oil‘s been gushing from that gulf rig for 34
days now, and still no one‘s figured out how to stop it. And here‘s a
terrifying possibility. There may not be any way to stop it for months
or ever. The stopgap measures may never work. And today we learned
that the accident may well have been caused in part because BP simply
dug the well on the cheap.
Is this White House being straight with us about the scope of the
disaster and BP‘s ability to stop it before it triples the disaster?
We‘re going to put David Axelrod on the spot at the top of the show.
Plus, Rand Paul‘s spending half his time hiding from the media and
the other half blaming the media for reporting exactly what he said
about the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Is this guy ready for primetime?
And when it comes to gays in the military, some are saying, Don‘t
ask, just tell, as in, Don‘t ask the military to accept gays, just tell
Plus, I‘ve always thought I was second to no one in my criticism of
Dick Cheney, but former congressman Eric Massa may have just topped me.
Check out this, his charges of a planned Cheney coup d‘etat. That‘s in
And “Let Me Finish” tonight with why the White House needs to get
tough with BP.
Let‘s start with the oil spill in the gulf. We‘re here with
presidential adviser David Axelrod. David, when you look down the road
on this terrible mess down in the Gulf of Mexico, do you see it as a
two-month horizon or a couple of weeks? Are we into something that‘s
far worse in the future than it‘s been in the past?
DAVID AXELROD, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: Well, I think this will
be—the next few days will be determinative in some ways, Chris,
because as you know, they‘re going to try at top—what‘s called a top
kill, which could—which could curtail this—this siege. If it
doesn‘t work, they have a couple other sort of extraordinary
interventions they might be able to try.
But we always knew that the tried and true way of dealing with
these things is by drilling relief wells, and that‘s a lengthy process.
So you know, we‘re all hoping that this will work. Otherwise, yes, I
think it will take some time, and that‘s, of course, devastating for
people in that region and for the ecology of that region. And you know,
so we hope it works.
MATTHEWS: It‘s horrible. I know you and I share the same concern
about the conservation of the planet and this wonderful North America
that we‘ve all inherited. I‘m just doing the arithmetic. I‘m sure you
guys in the White House have done it. If you take a conservative
estimate, six million gallons already, if it‘s the more high side, it‘s
60 million gallons already, and two more months of that could be up to
almost 200,000 gallons -- 200,000 -- 200 -- what, 200 -- well, I‘m
sorry, 200 million gallons. These numbers are beyond imagination. Is
it all now up to BP, or can the federal government do anything here by
AXELROD: Well, the federal government can‘t do much by itself
because BP has the equipment, and under the law, they have the
responsibility to operate that equipment to stop the leak. And as you
can imagine, no one has a greater impetus to stop the leak than they do
our responsibility is to oversee the process, to give them technical
assistance with Dr. Chu and all the scientists we can bring to bear, any
additional equipment that they need that they don‘t have.
And our big responsibility also is to hold them accountable for the
spill. Where our interests diverge from BP is that they‘re going to be
measured in terms of liability based on how much oil they‘ve released
into the water. And we have a team of scientists, independent team of
scientists, who are looking at all of that data right now and will make
an estimate as to how much oil is actually being leaked.
MATTHEWS: We‘re talking about a well that‘s 13,000 feet into the
ground. It‘s 5,000 feet below the surface of the water, 18,000 feet all
of the way down to where that oil is, where the oil company, BP, has
cracked through 13,000 feet of rock. The pressure from that oil well is
now coming up to the surface.
I‘ve talked to people. I‘m not sure there‘s a good chance—this
guy from BP on the “Today” show said six chances in ten. I don‘t think
his face looked like six chances in ten. He looked like about a one.
And my concern is, what can the federal government do if it looks like
BP isn‘t up to this job? They haven‘t been up to the job of deciding
how to drill that well. They chose to go with sea water, rather than
with drilling mud, and therefore, they caused this problem, by all
likelihood. The problem is, why do you trust a company to do this job,
or do we just have no alternative?
AXELROD: I‘d say two things about that, Chris. One is, they‘re
not—everything they‘re doing is in concert with teams of scientists.
As you know, Steven Chu (ph), our secretary of energy, is a Nobel Prize-
winning physicist. He‘s been deeply involved in this effort, along with
scientists from our national labs, as well as scientists we‘ve recruited
from around the—around the country and the world to help on this.
The second thing is there‘s no doubt that BP has a great, great
interest in shutting off this leak. Their company is literally at stake
here. And so they understand that, and so they‘re going to bring
everything they can to bear, in concert with our scientists, to do what
they have to do.
The problem is, as you suggest in your question, this is an
extraordinarily complex problem and it‘s not one that yields easily to
anyone‘s solution. But they have—they have the equipment. They‘re
operating it in concert with us. And you know—and we‘ll see what
happens on Wednesday.
MATTHEWS: Maybe I‘m looking for confidence that you can‘t give me
at the White House, but is there a plan B? Is there a federal
government option here that if BP isn‘t up to this job—you say they
have a profit motive. That hasn‘t kept them from doing the wrong things
in the past.
AXELROD: But Chris, your—your assumption—your assumption,
though, Chris, is that there is an easy answer to this, that there‘s an
obvious answer, that somehow...
MATTHEWS: No, I‘m asking...
MATTHEWS: ... besides the BP answer.
AXELROD: ... that there‘s somehow...
MATTHEWS: Is there only a BP answer?
AXELROD: Everyone—everyone, Chris—every—everyone in our
government, every scientist in our government, from the top down to the
labs, everyone is working on this question. They‘ve brought in
scientists from around the world. It‘s not like there‘s some dearth of
firepower, intellectual firepower being addressed here. The fact is
that this is unprecedented in its scope and complexity, and there aren‘t
a lot of easy answers to it. So you know, obviously, it‘s not just left
to BP to decide what the answer is.
But the question is—when you say, What are you going to do about
it, it suggests that someone else would have an idea that they don‘t
have, and the fact is, we‘re exploring all of the ideas right now.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Let me just ask a conceptual question. Is there a
point at which BP cannot be trusted to fix this?
AXELROD: Well, I don‘t think...
MATTHEWS: Does that point come in two months or three months or
four months if this spill continues? Is there a point where the
president says, We intervene?
AXELROD: Well, the fact is that the—we‘re—we are there.
They have to—under the law, everything they do, we have supervisory
authority over. As I said, Dr. Chu and others are deeply involved in
the decision making and the planning and the strategy. So we are there.
I don‘t know what—you know, I don‘t understand—we—they have—
they have equipment that is—is made for these kinds of incidents. We
need that equipment. The government doesn‘t have that equipment. We
have some equipment they didn‘t have and we‘ve brought that to bear, a
gamma—a gamma ray machine that helped get a better picture of the
area. That‘s something that we brought to bear.
But this is something that requires the specialty, experience and
equipment that they bring here, and we are supervising them in that
MATTHEWS: Let me explain to you what my skepticism is based on.
MATTHEWS: Years ago, I studied the oil pipeline industry and did a
long investigative piece and discovered that when you really get into
the interstices of the federal government, there‘s really no real
regulation. It‘s all self-regulation. The federal government really
relies on the oil industry, as you are now in this cleanup, to do the
job because you assume the profit motive will discourage leaks, will
encourage this cleanup. The profit motive doesn‘t always work. And I‘m
just wondering, no matter much money they‘re willing to lose...
AXELROD: What would—let me ask you this. What would the—
first of all, I‘m not relying on them. When I have questions about
this, I ask Dr. Chu, I ask the scientists from our labs.
AXELROD: I‘m not relying on them. It‘s not as if they‘re
operating on their own here. They are not.
AXELROD: They‘re operating in concert with our scientists. But
let me ask you this, Chris. What would the motive be for BP to just let
the leak keep coming? What is their—what advantage do you think that
they would gain from this? Because I...
MATTHEWS: The scary thing is that they have the ability to drill
down at that depth, 18,000 feet into the ground, as I said, 13,000 into
the ground below the surface of the water. And they can go down that
far to drill, but they don‘t really have the capacity to handle safety,
that safety didn‘t come first.
MATTHEWS: Any point of the way, safety didn‘t come first.
MATTHEWS: Profit came first. And my fear is that they don‘t have
the capacity to solve this problem...
AXELROD: But I don‘t think...
MATTHEWS: ... and that‘s why I‘m pushing so hard here.
AXELROD: I understand that...
MATTHEWS: I want someone to admit it.
AXELROD: ... but the question is, if anybody—if any—if
anybody else, if there are other experts in the world who have the
capacity, we would bring that to bear, and BP would gladly...
AXELROD: ... would gladly accept it. They‘re not rejecting ideas.
They‘ve not rejected any ideas.
AXELROD: Dr. Chu embedded himself in that operation. They took
some of his ideas.
AXELROD: That‘s—some of these remedial things or some—some
of these things to expedite killing of the well come from him.
So you know, it—look, it‘s—no one—it‘s frustrating. It‘s
it‘s dismaying. And you‘re right, you know, the reason the president
appointed a commission was because it‘s clear that the way the industry
has been regulated in the past has been inadequate when it comes to
safety, and he wants to know what changes do we have to make.
But right now, the issue is killing that well, and in that, you
know, we are bringing all our resources to bear. I‘m sure they‘re
bringing all their resources to bear because, remember, every second
that oil pours out of that pipe, that‘s more money from BP, and their
company is at stake here. So they have every...
AXELROD: ... impetus to try and solve this.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let‘s hope that the six in ten chance is a good
chance this week in what they‘re trying. But I do believe—and I
don‘t mean this comically—I‘m very frustrated, as you are—that
they‘re in over their head, and I mean it literally. Thank you, David
Axelrod at the White House.
AXELROD: All right.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, sir.
AXELROD: Good to be with you.
MATTHEWS: Joining me now is Mike Papantonio, who has filed a class
action suit in three states on behalf of fishermen, oystermen and other
business owners affected by the gulf spill.
Mike, thank you for coming back. That thought I had wasn‘t meant
to be clever—They‘re in over their head. I don‘t know, based upon a
long conversation today with Bob Bee (ph), who knows this stuff, the guy
from Berkeley, that they have the capacity, that there is any existing
capacity to stop this leak.
MIKE PAPANTONIO, ATTORNEY FOR FAMILIES SUING BP: Well, you know, I
have great respect for David Axelrod. I know you do, too, Chris. But
it‘s wishful thinking. What we just hear is wishful thinking.
Look, the bad news is, you have people like Matthew Simmons (ph),
very well respected, says unequivocally that you can‘t stop this leak.
You can‘t stop the leak until the two pressure gradients match up, until
the well goes dry or until the pressure gradients match up. He says you
can talk about it. It sounds good. You can put a four-inch pipe in
there and tell somebody you‘re doing something. You talk about Dr. Chu
and what a clever man he is. You can talk about this wish to get along.
But the truth is, if you believe Matthew Simmons—Simmons was the
energy adviser for George Bush, for God‘s sake. This is not a tinfoil
hat moonbat. He says this won‘t stop.
I hope he‘s wrong, Chris, but I hate to hear the talk coming from
David Axelrod, like we‘re all in this together and everything‘s going to
be OK. There are two different issues here. Stop the leak. The other
issue, though, is clean up the mess. They know how to clean up the
mess. Back in Saudi Arabia, in 1994, they had a 700 million dollars—
700 million gallon spill. And you know what they did, Chris? They
brought in tankers from all over the world and they sucked it up out of
the bays, and they treated it. And you know what? They cleaned up 85
percent of it.
You know where those tankers are right now? They‘re filled up.
They‘re waiting for the market to change so they can go unload in Asia
and Europe. Those tankers have the technology and the ability to suck
it right out of the water and treat it.
There are two different issues. The leak may never stop. But for
Axelrod not to address the real problem—the entire gulf coast is
dying because right now, Obama has the bully pulpit. You want—you
want to know the most—the most effective thing Obama has control of,
that‘s the bully pulpit, and he needs to sound like Huey Long right now,
not Gandhi. We‘re tired of the Gandhi speech. We‘re tired of kumbaya.
I‘m tired of the David Axelrods saying we have Dr. Chu and we‘re going
to solve this problem.
You can‘t—you can‘t even taste the anger down here. It‘s beyond
belief. People are angry about the fact we have brown pelicans so
soaked that they have to hobble around on their knees. They can‘t even
fly. Pelican eggs found in Louisiana nesting grounds that are
completely destroyed. Virtually impossible to clean up those areas.
Sixty-five miles of shoreline is covered in oil today, Chris. Cleanup
workers are being hospitalized because of the toxins involved.
And Axelrod tells us that he‘s trying. Look, I respect David
Axelrod. I respect Obama. But we have to be honest with ourselves. He
needs to use the bully pulpit to do what he does best, sound like Huey
PAPANTONIO: ... not like Gandhi, and you‘ll see those tankers come
to this gulf.
MATTHEWS: Well, I—Huey Long had some strengths, and one was
that he could rattle people up when they had to get rattled up. But let
me—here‘s the question I have. If you‘re right—and that seems to
be right—that they can‘t solve this problem, that all this talk from
about they‘re going to go down there and try to fix it this week and
they‘re going to have a six in ten chance, and maybe they‘ll get around
to it in two months, is all BS from BP—if that‘s the case, then this
Have you any idea how much oil will come out of the ground? I‘m
estimating, if you just double what‘s come out already because it‘s two
more months of one month‘s effort, we‘re up to almost 200 million
gallons of oil in that bay.
PAPANTONIO: Oh, yes.
MATTHEWS: In the gulf.
MATTHEWS: And if you figure it‘s never going stop until it‘s
empty, how deep—how much oil is that?
PAPANTONIO: I can‘t give you that answer.
MATTHEWS: I don‘t even know how to...
PAPANTONIO: It‘s—look, our people are telling us, based on the
photos, the camera work that they finally saw at the bottom of the gulf,
that it could be as high as four million gallons a day. And you still
have BP and you still have the government talking like it‘s 250,000
gallons. They know it‘s not. But why is there this relationship
between government and BP? This is a corporate felon. These people...
MATTHEWS: You know what—you know what I think the answer is?
Once again, we‘ve allowed a—you know, “Too big to fail”? We‘ve got
it in the oil industry now. The only people we can go to is the oil
company that caused the trouble to solve the problem. You know, it‘s
like getting Al Capone to clean up Chicago. I mean, it‘s just
unbelievable, you (ph) asking it. Anyway, Mike Papantonio, thank you,
sir. I think you‘re right on the emotional level. I think you‘re right
on the facts.
Coming up: Rand Paul is now blaming the media for reporting exactly
what he said about the ‘64 Civil Rights Act. We‘re going to get to that
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Republicans won their first special election in eight
tries the other day. Charles Djou was elected Saturday to fill the seat
of retiring congressman Neil Abercrombie in Hawaii. Democrats shot
themselves in the foot in this contest. The party couldn‘t agree
between two Democratic candidates, and Djou won with a plurality of just
40 percent. The Republican wins with 40 because the Democrats got 60
altogether. If Democrats manage to unify behind one candidate this
November, look for this seat to flip back in traditionally blue Hawaii.
Be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Is the Republican Party
beginning to have second thoughts about Rand Paul? Paul canceled his
appearance on “MEET THE PRESS” yesterday, and it seems to be part of his
campaign strategy to blame the media for his disastrous interview last
week with Rachel Maddow.
For more on this let‘s turn to two MSNBC political analysts, Eugene
Robinson of “The Washington Post” and “Newsweek‘s” Howard Fineman.
Howard, let me—let‘s get to this question. First of all, we
should look at the tape here. Here‘s what Paul told a local Kentucky TV
reporter about this network, MSNBC. Let‘s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAND PAUL ®, KENTUCKY SENATE CANDIDATE: I need to be very
careful about going on certain networks that seem to have a bias, you
know, because it really wasn‘t the interview so much that was unfair.
The interview I think was very fair. But then they went on a whole day,
repeating something over and over again, and it makes me less inclined
to go on a network. I mean, I think you‘ve been fair. But if your
network all day says a lie about my position, I won‘t come back on.
So I think journalists, good journalists, understand that you have
to present both sides. You ask tough questions. But you can‘t go on
and then, as a journalist, misrepresent something. And I think even
they realized they overstepped their bounds on that because they are now
saying what my correct position is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, there we go.
Howard, it seems to me this started in the afternoon, when Mr. Paul
last Wednesday had an interview with Robert Siegel on National Public
Radio. Then he came on this program and then he went on “RACHEL
In the course of those three interviews, he established he had
problems with public accommodations title of the Civil Rights Act of
‘64. He came—his opponent came on this show and said he was for
outright repeal of it, Rand Paul was, mischaracterizing, in fact,
lampooning perhaps his position, going further then he had.
And then he went on “RACHEL MADDOW” and again expressed concerns
about and questions and skepticism about the Civil Rights Act. So, it
seems to me the two interviews that got him into trouble were Robert
Siegel on NPR and Rachel Maddow. His way of addressing this is to blame
the media by saying, Jack Conway, his opponent—by the way, here he
is, his opponent, that afternoon, mischaracterizing the position of Rand
Paul by saying that he‘s overtly for repeal, when, in fact, he had never
said the word repeal.
He had simply raised questions, rather dramatic questions, I should
say, about his position on the public accommodations title of the ‘64
act. Let‘s watch Jack Conway, his opponent. Let‘s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: What‘s your best case that he‘s outside the mainstream,
that he‘s too flaky, too Tea Party, whatever? What would you say?
JACK CONWAY (D), KENTUCKY SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I would say just
look at the statements he‘s made here in the last few weeks, Chris.
He‘s stated that he would like to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
MATTHEWS: Well, you know, you just said something so incredible to
me, having grown up during it. You‘re saying that this fellow running
for Senate from Kentucky, the United States Senate, wants to repeal the
Civil Rights Act, which says you can‘t deny—you can‘t deny an
African-American a chance to use your bathroom at a gas station. You
can‘t deny him the right to sit at your lunch table, your lunch counter.
You‘re saying he wants to get rid of that law and let people be
CONWAY: He—he made a statement in his editorial board interview
with “The Louisville Courier-Journal,” Chris, said that we don‘t need a
Civil Rights Act, that the commerce clause was interpreted too broadly
and that the private marketplace could take care of the Civil Rights
needs of this nation. He said something to that effect.
It‘s on—it‘s on a streaming video of “The Louisville Courier-
Journal.” And Kentucky‘s come a long way. We have people who have bled
and fought for the right to sit at lunch counters, for example, and
that‘s not going to be acceptable in a place like Kentucky. And it‘s
not going to be acceptable across the country.
MATTHEWS: I didn‘t know that about Rand Paul. I now know it. If
he‘s against the civil rights bill and wants to get rid of it, he‘s not
on my list of favorites for my Christmas card this year.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, there you have Jack Conway coming on live
television telling us something that was certainly an overstatement.
But, in defense of the opponent, his opponent, who I will not
defend his misstatement, clearly carried the drift. The guy was opposed
to—he never said he was for repealing, although, on almost every case
that doesn‘t like don‘t ask, don‘t tell, they want to repeal it.
MATTHEWS: It‘s not an unusual flip.
EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Take repeal off the
table. What do you think of it, huh? What do you think of the Civil
MATTHEWS: Well, that‘s what he doesn‘t want to talk about.
MATTHEWS: That‘s what Rand Paul doesn‘t want to talk about.
ROBINSON: And when he does talk about it, when he finally did say,
well, you know, I would have voted for it, he adds, because of the
specific situation in the South that obtained at that time and da-da-da.
So it suggests follow-up questions. I suppose this would be gotcha
journalism, but does it apply in the rest of the country, for example,
or should it, or only in the South?
MATTHEWS: It‘s only remedial.
ROBINSON: ... been time limited...
MATTHEWS: Yes, I think you‘re right. I think he—
constitutionally, he still had the problem with using the interstate
commerce clause to justify the Public Accommodations Act.
By the way, I grew up—you grew up living this thing. I grew up
watching it. Everybody knew that fight growing up about whether the
Constitution would allow for the courts—or the courts would allow the
civil rights bill to pass muster.
It did. Most people stopped arguing about it. He‘s still arguing
about it. That‘s his problem.
HOWARD FINEMAN, NBC CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
I think—I think, if Rand Paul really was outraged by Jack
Conway‘s overstatement of his position, then Rand Paul would have had
the perfect platform to attack Conway about it, which was “Meet the
Press” on Sunday.
MATTHEWS: But he didn‘t want to make that distinction between I‘m
for repeal and I never liked the damn thing.
FINEMAN: He didn‘t want to...
FINEMAN: ... because of what Gene said, which is that Rand Paul
has not completely repudiated his view at all. He insisted on clinging
to the idea that, yes, he would have accepted it back in ‘64 because it
applied to the South...
MATTHEWS: And David Gregory, I watched him. He‘s doing a great
MATTHEWS: David does this thing, as Tim used to do on “Meet the
Press,” it‘s their market. They show the tapes.
FINEMAN: They show the whole darn thing.
MATTHEWS: Rand, Dr. Paul, I want you to watch this tape. And they
would show him with Robert Siegel.
MATTHEWS: Then they would show him with “The Courier-Journal.”
Then they would show him with Rachel Maddow.
MATTHEWS: ... you seem to have a real problem with the Civil
Rights Act over and over and over again.
FINEMAN: Rand Paul‘s problem on this is that first he stated
something pretty unequivocally. And then, when they realized what...
MATTHEWS: At least three times.
FINEMAN: At least three times.
Then they realized what a disaster it was potentially nationally
for the Republican Party and even for his chances Kentucky. Then he
started backing and filling up to a point. That made it more of a story
over a couple-day period. It wasn‘t us repeating stuff that was the
same thing over and over again. It was the fact we were watching him
painfully inch by inch halfway walk his way back.
MATTHEWS: We have got to go Sarah Palin here. We have got to...
ROBINSON: We‘re going to wonder, what else does he have to say?
MATTHEWS: Sarah Palin, who is competing with Howie Kurtz as media
critic these days, Sarah Palin is now saying that this is a typical
example of gotcha journalism, because what Rachel does and people like
that do—and I guess David would have done it, too—which is, they
anticipate your answers. And then they think about it.
ROBINSON: The nerve.
MATTHEWS: Oh, the nerve.
ROBINSON: The nerve of those people.
MATTHEWS: I mean, anticipating answers is not really a crime.
FINEMAN: You know what I—my theory? My theory about this is,
it has to do—something to do with the Internet age and the blogging
age, which is a lot of one-way—it‘s a lot of blasting position papers
FINEMAN: It‘s a lot of saying, I feel great because I have made
this statement. But the fact is, nobody is cross-examining you about
the statement. And they‘re not doing it face-to-face.
MATTHEWS: By the way, we‘re already past the primary, and it‘s
only now that even Robert Siegel, the best in the business, Robert
Siegel and people like that, are raising the question.
ROBINSON: Exactly. Exactly.
MATTHEWS: “The Louisville Courier-Journal,” by the way, how long
did they sit on this interview?
FINEMAN: Well, they didn‘t sit on it. I know—that‘s the paper
I used to work for.
FINEMAN: This happened in an editorial board meeting. And the
editorial board was concerned and wrote about it.
MATTHEWS: Did they turn it over to the news division?
FINEMAN: Wait a minute. But that‘s why they didn‘t endorse
anybody in the Republican primary.
MATTHEWS: Did they turn it over to their news writers?
FINEMAN: Well, I haven‘t talked to all my old buddies down there
MATTHEWS: Was there a Chinese wall in that paper?
FINEMAN: Well, there was a Web site that Trey Grayson, the
opponent, had that said RandPaulstrangeideas.com or whatever.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Too strange.
FINEMAN: By the way, that site has been taken down. You can‘t get
on that site...
MATTHEWS: OK. Bottom line, Gene, and your most skeptical self, do
you think this might sell in Kentucky, his position, which is basically
vaguely, you know, I really didn‘t like the civil rights bill, but I
can‘t say it, and they know why?
ROBINSON: Maybe I am in an optimistic mood. I don‘t think this
helps him that much in Kentucky. I really don‘t, especially...
MATTHEWS: So, you think it‘s a downside for him?
ROBINSON: I think it‘s a downside for him.
MATTHEWS: Why doesn‘t he just come on this kind of program? I
would love to have him on. I think—we always were pretty nice to Dr.
Paul—go check tapes, Doctor—all through that.
We thought it was interesting that a philosopher was running. But
there is a problem—we all grew up with this—when your philosophy
meets certain facts. You have to make certain intellectual compromises.
You can‘t be for pure libertarianism.
We probably need things like Social Security. Probably—I know
we do. We need things like civil rights action by the federal
government. It would be wonderful in an ideal world where everybody
made the right decision on race, right?
ROBINSON: Not going to happen.
FINEMAN: Well, a couple things have to happen.
One here is that Rand Paul has to accept some outside advice, and
one people—person advising him right now is Ron Paul‘s—his
father‘s old press secretary, who has been around the block in the
FINEMAN: And the other thing Paul has to realize is that Kentucky
voters don‘t like to be embarrassed about Kentucky.
This is a friend, a really smart friend of mine down in Kentucky, I
was talking to an hour ago. He is a moderate. He‘s Republican, and he
FINEMAN: ... Kentuckians don‘t like to be embarrassed about their
state. And if Rand Paul becomes a punchline all around America, that‘s
something that Kentuckians—that‘s something Kentuckians aren‘t going
MATTHEWS: I‘m with both Pauls, father and son, on the war in Iraq.
I thought it was a mistake. A lot of people who watch this show agree
and a lot of Americans agree with me on that. He‘s on sound ground on a
lot of issues.
MATTHEWS: On this issue, he has to...
FINEMAN: He has to come off like a—not like a whack job, to
quote another one of my Kentucky friends.
ROBINSON: No, but he‘s got this—he believes in the 10-lane
superhighway from Canada to Mexico and the dissolving of sovereignty and
everything. I mean, it‘s really out there.
MATTHEWS: OK. We will get to that. We have got one plate on the
Thank you, Eugene Robinson, who has many more to serve us...
MATTHEWS: ... and Howard Fineman.
MATTHEWS: Up next: Wait until you hear the wacky accusation from
ex-Congressman Eric Massa—wait until you catch this guy—about a
coup d‘etat led by Dick Cheney.
First of all, Dick Cheney would never get drafted into something
like this. It‘s too military for him—up next in the “Sideshow.”
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Now for the “Sideshow.”
It looks like J.D. Hayworth could use a history refresher. John
McCain‘s right-wing primary challenger was at a Phoenix event last week
when he was asked about the United States‘ reluctance to formally
declare war in modern-day conflicts. Hayward‘s stance? It‘s OK because
the U.S. never declared war on Nazi Germany.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
J.D. HAYWORTH ®, ARIZONA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I would point out
that, if we want to be sticklers, the war that Dwight Eisenhower led in
Europe against the Third Reich was never declared by the United States
You will recall the Congress passed a war resolution against Japan.
Germany declared war on us two days later. We never formally declared
war on Hitler‘s Germany yet. Yet, we fought the war.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we did. I think we did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That guy is right, by the way—not J.D., the other
We never declared war in Hitler‘s Germany? While it‘s true that
Germany first declared war on the United States after Pearl Harbor, the
United States immediately responded with its own declaration of war,
which means we did in fact declare war on Nazi Germany, a fact in
history that everyone, most especially a candidate for the United States
Senate, ought to know.
Next: a crazy allegation out of Eric Massa. In a new “Esquire”
profile, the disgraced ex-congressman claims Dick Cheney was conspiring
to get David Petraeus elected president. Massa came to “Esquire” with
the story weeks before allegations of his inappropriate contact with
male staffers hit headlines.
According to Massa, Cheney tried to recruit General Petraeus to run
in 2012 against President Obama, a move he called treason, Massa called
treason, because—quote—“In order to succeed electorally, General
Petraeus must fail militarily.”
Boy, that‘s a twist. Today, General Petraeus, through a
spokesperson, denied ever discussing a presidential run with the former
Time now for the “Big Number.”
At a press conference last Tuesday: Connecticut Senate candidate
Richard Blumenthal flat-out denied that he knowingly inflated his
military service by saying a number of times that he served in Vietnam.
Well, Blumenthal, that day, said he simply regretted that he misspoke.
Last night, Blumenthal came out with another statement saying he
was sorry that he had been not as clear or precise as he should have
It‘s not a question of clarity. It‘s a question of character. You
said you served in Vietnam, and you did not.
How long has Blumenthal been stonewalling on this issue? Six days
now, almost a full week. Richard Blumenthal has yet to adequately
address questions about his inflating or—well, making up his military
service. Six days and counting—tonight‘s entirely too “Big Number.”
Up next: Don‘t ask. Just tell. Has the time come for the Obama
administration to simply tell the military to end don‘t ask, don‘t tell?
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
JULIA BOORSTIN, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I‘m Julia Boorstin with your
CNBC “Market Wrap.”
An aggressive sell-off in the final minutes of trading leaving
stocks in negative territory at the close, the Dow Jones industrials
finishing 126 points lower, flirting with a return to 10000, the S&P 500
losing 14 points, and the Nasdaq shedding 15.
Worries about European debt are continuing to dog the markets,
after the Bank of Spain stepped in to bail out a regional savings bank.
The move pushed the euro lower and put the pinch on the U.S. financial
sector. Big banks and regional banks among the day‘s biggest decliners.
Tech stocks were stubbornly positive throughout the day, despite a
negative Nasdaq at the close. Apple and Google managed to remain in the
green, while Sprint Nextel surged more than 8.5 percent on an analyst
But there was an ogre in the markets as well, DreamWorks Animation
shares plunging 11 percent on an anemic opening weekend for “Shrek
That‘s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide—now back to
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Well, both the House and the Senate might take action this week on
the military don‘t ask, don‘t tell policy. Can Democrats find enough
votes to repeal it or will they have to find some other way to end it?
Democratic Congressman Loretta Sanchez of California is a member of
the House Armed Services Committee.
Congresswoman, it‘s great to have you on, on an issue that I think
is very upbeat for a lot of people and a matter of concern for some
Most Americans—I‘m talking about 70 percent in all the polling,
the best polls—want to end this discrimination. They say, if you
want to serve your country, man or woman, whatever your orientation you
are left with or born with, you have a right to do what you want for
your country, a right to be patriotic and serve it in the military.
That‘s your view, right?
REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, my view would be that
actually serving in the military is not necessarily a right, but it is a
And if you like, if you want to and you have the skills to serve us
and we can put you to work in the military, then you should be able to
and we should take advantage of that and use you as one of our military
MATTHEWS: Well, what are the chances right now? I‘m looking at
it. The Republicans can oppose this, I hear, by simply saying they want
to see the results of a military study, the old—the old—well, the
old dodge, if you will, of saying I‘m waiting to get more facts, I don‘t
really know, as if common sense and human decency isn‘t enough of a
SANCHEZ: Well, first of all, the report will be out in December.
So if we cannot get the votes this week, in some way, either from the
Senate or from the House, to be able to pass an amendment that would
allow gay members who are in the service to serve openly, then we can
wait until December and see what that says. However, I believe we may
have the votes. We‘ll continue to take a look and see if we can do
There are several reasons we should do it. Efficiency; it takes so
much effort, so much energy, so much money to find these people and to
get them out of the military. So it‘s just a waste of time really.
Secondly, a readiness issue. There have been at least 800 gay
members of the military that we have taken out that were in critical
spots that we needed their skill sets. So that‘s important.
And then of course the whole issue of fairness. Americans are
about fairness. So when you—I think Admiral Mullen said it best when
he said something about a person should be able to serve and be
themselves in the military.
MATTHEWS: What do you make of the General Shalikashvili‘s comment
over the weekend. He wrote a column. There‘s a man with a lot of
military credibility coming out and saying you ought to end it right
now; don‘t wait for the military to do it. If you let the military
think about it some more, it will slow the whole process down.
SANCHEZ: The other side would say that it‘s a matter of
cohesiveness of the unit. But I guess I would say back to them, listen,
the cohesiveness of our unit, it‘s intact. They are very strong and
this will not affect them. They can take a gay person being in their
unit. I think people don‘t realize how strong our men and women are in
the military. They can take this.
MATTHEWS: Do you have any conversations with your people across
the aisle from Republicans? I know you get along with people. Is it—
do they say—do they give you good reasons for opposing it or do they
just think it‘s politics? Are there people that you meet in Congress
who honestly think it‘s wrong for a person who is born gay to serve in
the military? Do they honestly believe that? When they know it‘s
always happened. It‘s happened since the beginning of time probably.
SANCHEZ: Chris, you know as well as I do there are members in the
Congress who are opposed to gay anything. And that‘s where they come
from and that‘s what they believe, and so they will be opposed to
anything that has anything to do with gay people.
On the other hand, I have talked to some of my Republican friends
here in the Congress who understand that it‘s politics, or they‘re
worried about their elections back home, or they don‘t know how this
will play. And then there are some who are truly concerned about this
whole issue of unit cohesiveness. I continue to tell them, listen, that
our units are strong. They can take this.
So when you look at the amount of time wasted on this, the amount
of money wasted on this, and when you look at the readiness issue of our
military, I think it‘s about time we end Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell.
MATTHEWS: There‘s a big piece in “Politico” this morning,
congresswoman—I don‘t know if you saw it—about gay staffers on
Capitol Hill. They work for members of Congress on both sides of the
aisle, in both the Senate and the House. Are they having—what do
they say to their bosses? You have transgender people up there, which
sort of surprised me. But I guess it‘s part of life. They are all up
there. Do they ever say, hey, boss, I know we‘re Republicans, but don‘t
we think people like me ought to have a chance to serve their country?
Me, being one of these Republican staffers?
SANCHEZ: Well, certainly, there are a mix of people up here as you
know, including many gay and lesbian staffers up here. I don‘t know the
discussions that they have with their member of Congress. I would just
say that it must be pretty sad and disheartening for someone to be gay
and to see their boss voting against something that would allow them,
for example, to serve openly in the military.
Remember, one of the things about Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell is the
Don‘t Ask part of Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell means that members of the gay
community do get to serve in the military. It‘s just can they serve
openly in the military? That‘s where the Don‘t Tell comes in.
MATTHEWS: Let‘s get down to what‘s probably going to happen. In
the Senate, they are voting this week. They‘re trying to get six new
members—six—nobody has committed yet. They‘re trying to get
votes. It looks to me like it‘s a tough fight. If they don‘t get it—
if you don‘t get it in the House, if you don‘t get this passed to the
president this week, would you like to see the president come out and be
more forceful? I don‘t think he‘s been very loud on this topic.
SANCHEZ: Well, again, people forget this, but it is true that the
Congress makes the policy for the military. Article I, Section VIII
says that Congress is in charge of the military. So if the president
would make the moves to try to change this, I‘m sure that there probably
are enough votes in the Congress. If they‘re not there to change Don‘t
Ask, Don‘t Tell, there may be the votes to go after the president.
We‘ll have to take a look at it. I think we may be close, Chris.
I think it‘s a little bit tougher, actually, in the House of
Representatives than it is over on the Senate side.
MATTHEWS: That‘s what I read.
SANCHEZ: We‘ll see the Senate. And if they can move it, and they
think they can—Chairman Levin thought that he would have the votes
maybe. If they can move it, then we‘ll work very hard and continue to
work to find them on the House side.
MATTHEWS: Maybe it‘s time for people who are gay and Republicans -
I‘m thinking of the Log Cabin Republicans to make some noise on this.
I don‘t know how they can be active Republicans, active in politics and
don‘t believe they should have the right to serve their country if
they‘re getting involved in politics. Anyway, that amazes me.
SANCHZE: Again, Chris, it‘s a privilege. It‘s a privilege to
serve in the military. I hope every military member feels that way.
MATTHEWS: Well, it‘s a privilege, but I also think if you want to
serve, it‘s a right. Anyway, thank you Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez.
Up next, we‘ve got the challenger to Senator Michael Bennett in
Colorado. He just won the convention out there this weekend. Can
Andrew Romanoff do to Bennett what Joe Sestak did to Arlen Specter?
That‘s beat him in the primary ultimately. This is HARDBALL on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Well, we got some politics for you. We‘re back. In the
wake of Utah and Pennsylvania‘s primary purgings, this weekend, Colorado
became the latest state to deliver bad news to a sitting U.S. senator.
The good news for Michael Bennett, of course, is that he still earned
enough votes at this weekend‘s state Democratic caucus assembly to make
the primary ballot out in August. It hardly takes the sting out of
losing by 20 points to former State Speaker Andrew Romanoff, who joins
Speaker Romanoff, are you an outsider or insider, sir? We‘re
trying to figure these things out. Sestak was a U.S. congressman, an
admiral for 31 years. He was an outsider. How do you do these things?
How do you spin from in to out these days?
ANDREW ROMANOFF (D), COLORADO STATE SENATE: I‘m outside of
Washington. I don‘t have a lot of experience cutting deals with drug
company or insurance companies to protect their profits or big Wall
Street banks. The Democratic party I led, and the party I still believe
in, stands up for working people. That‘s the leadership I bring to this
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about—are you a progressive? If so,
more progressive than Michael Bennett? Who wins the progressive fight
in Colorado on the Democrats‘ side?
ROMANOFF: We‘re winning that fight.
MATTHEWS: Are you a progressive? Are you a progressive? Will you
be a progressive in October if you get that far? Will you keep that
ROMANOFF: Yeah. It‘s a good question. I‘m not going to change my
tune. I‘m the only candidate in this race who isn‘t taking any money
from any special interest group now, I won‘t take it after I win the
MATTHEWS: Let‘s take a look at these numbers right now. You won
with 60 percent. Michael Bennett got 40 percent. What was your winning
argument against the appointed senator, Michael Bennett?
ROMANOFF: Stiffen your spine or step out of the way. What
Democrats across Colorado and Arkansas and Pennsylvania are looking for
is somebody who is willing to stand up to the special interests, stands
up to your own party when you think they‘re doing something wrong. I am
right now by running against the wishes of the national political
And it‘s working. We‘re winning.
MATTHEWS: Well, how does that—which issues do you differ from
on voting rights—when you come down to voting in the United States
Senate—people are voting for you to vote for them in Washington—
give me some examples of where you would not have voted the way Michael
Bennett voted during his short stay in Washington.
ROMANOFF: Yes, I‘ll give you a few examples. One, there was a
proposal in the Senate last year to protect families from foreclosure, a
cram-down amendment that the banking industry opposed. My opponent
voted against that bill. I would have voted for it.
There was a chance to push for the public option. My opponent said
he would. He didn‘t. He raised a lot of money off of a promise he
didn‘t keep. I would have pushed for that option, so we can give
Americans more choices and insurance companies more competition.
And there was a proposal just a couple weeks ago to prevent banks
from becoming too big to fail by imposing limits on their leverage, the
Brown/Kaufman Amendment to the financial reform bill. My opponent voted
against it. I would have voted for it.
MATTHEWS: Let‘s talk about Arizona, a hot issue in that part of
the country, in the Rockies out there. Arizona has passed a law. It‘s
been interpreted different ways. Some say it‘s profiling. Some say the
law itself says literally it‘s not. What do you believe should be the
proper enforcement methods for stopping illegal immigration? What
enforcement mechanism do you support?
ROMANOFF: Yes, I would offer a few. One, we ought to provide
funding for the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, stop drug
runners and human smugglers and traffickers from coming here, keep
felons out, and remove those who are here against the law. We ought to
hold employers accountable. You know this.
MATTHEWS: How do we do that? That‘s a big issue with me. How do
you tell an employer, a person running a factory or a person farming,
who wants to go out—guy shows up—he goes down to the local
wherever people hang out looking for jobs, and says who here has legal
documentation to work in this country? Can you guarantee that employer
will be able to be asked for and get a document which will prove that
he‘s hiring somebody legally, so he won‘t be hiring anybody illegally?
Will you give him such a document as a senator?
ROMANOFF: I believe there should be a document—
MATTHEWS: No. Will you vote for a document that cannot be forged,
cannot be faked? It has to be that person standing there.
MATTHEWS: OK, so you‘re for a biometric—you‘re for an—you‘re
the first Democrat I‘ve heard since Ted Kennedy, who has passed away,
who‘s honestly said to me they‘re for outlawing illegal immigration.
ROMANOFF: I don‘t know anybody who‘s—
ROMANOFF: I don‘t know of anybody who‘s in favor of illegal
immigration. The problem is—
MATTHEWS: Well, they are, because they won‘t do anything on
enforcement. But you‘ve said so. We‘ll see what kind of noise you
take. I‘m impressed by your willingness to say that you‘re for—what
about people who live here now who came into the country illegally?
What do we do?
ROMANOFF: Here‘s what I say. Produce a criminal background check.
If you‘re a felon, if you‘ve broken the law in that fashion, you ought
to be gone. If you‘re willing to work hard, play by the rules, obey the
law, pay taxes, contribute to the country, there ought to be a legal
path by which to do that. You should go to the back of the line and—
MATTHEWS: OK, I completely agree with your views so far. Thank
you, Andrew Romanoff, for coming on, having the guts to put a balanced
program before us.
When we return, I‘ll have some thoughts about the horrific oil
spill in the Gulf. You‘re watching HARDBALL only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with what I learned today about
the horror in the Gulf of Mexico. Depending on how much is coming out
of that well a day, it‘s dumped somewhere between six and 60 million
gallons of crude oil into our water. That‘s the water in the Gulf and
wherever else it will travel over time, certainly up on to the beaches
of the Gulf, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, perhaps then
up the coast of the Carolinas.
That crude oil isn‘t going away. It‘s going to be there, where
it‘s not supposed to be, for the ages. Or at least until some brilliant
engineer figures out how to take it up and save us from it.
Worse yet, it looks like we have at least two more months of this
spill ahead of us. That means millions more barrels of oil pouring into
the waters God gave us. I think of that Robert Frost Poem, “The Gift
Outright.” We were the land‘s before the land was ours, that wondrous
notion that what we were given, those of us who came to this beautiful
North America, and now we‘re kicking the crap out of it with this
dumping of millions of gallons of crude into the water and land God gave
This is about basic human decent conservation, what every Boy and
Girl Scout, every camper has been taught since day one: leave the land
better than you found it. What a horror this generation is leaving all
the ones to come.
I don‘t trust British Petroleum. They made the decisions to do
this. I don‘t trust the regulators. They don‘t regulate.
That‘s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. Right now,
it‘s time for “THE ED SHOW” with Ed Schultz.
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