Guests: Charlie Melancon, Julian MacQueen, Ed Overton, Philippe Cousteau,
Kathleen Parker, Pat Buchanan, David Corn
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Fifty days and counting.
Let's play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I'm Chris Matthews in Washington. Leading off tonight:
Too cool for school. For all those who think President Obama isn't showing
enough emotion, that his approach to the gulf oil disaster is too
antiseptic and academic, here's what he said on the "Today show when Matt
Lauer said people believe it's time for the president to kick some butt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I don't sit around
just talking to experts because this is a college seminar. We talk to
these folks because they potentially have the best answers so I know whose
ass to kick.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow. President Obama has good reason to be angry. We've
learned two things today. One is that plumes of oil are spreading far and
wide below the ocean's surface. The other is that neither BP nor the
government really has any idea how much oil is leaking or even whether the
latest effort to cap the leak made matters much worse. We'll go to the
scene for the answers.
Plus, it's a big primary day today in the country. Voters go to the
polls in 12 states. That's a dozen states. And the biggest story may be
what's good for the tea party Republicans (SIC) may wind up costing the
Republican Party seats it might otherwise win.
The sleaziest race by far is in South Carolina, where there are
charges of multiple infidelities, and now people are taking lie detector
tests. Check out the "Sideshow."
And "Let Me Finish" tonight by acknowledging the huge change we're
seeing in politics inspired by Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin.
And a reminder. We'll be covering primary voting all night tonight.
We'll live at 7:00 o'clock Eastern time, and then we'll be back again
tonight at midnight Eastern for a late-night election edition with a lot of
the results, maybe all of them by then, on HARDBALL.
Let's start with the president's response to the gulf disaster. U.S.
congressman Charlie Melancon is a Louisiana Democrat. Sir, let me watch
this-let me ask you to watch with me. Here's the president on NBC's
"Today" program, Matt Lauer interviewing the president. Let's catch the
question and the answer for full context. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAT LAUER, "TODAY": Here's a guy who likes to be known as cool and
calm and collected, and this isn't the time for cool, calm and collected...
LAUER: ... that this is not the time to meet with experts and
advisers. This is a time to spend more time in the gulf and-I never
thought I'd say this to a president, but kick some butt. And I don't mean
it to be funny.
OBAMA: No, I understand. And here's what I-I'm going to push back
hard on this because I think that this is a-just an idea that got in
folks' heads and the media's run with it. I was down there a month ago,
before most of these talking heads were even paying attention to the gulf.
A month ago, I was meeting with fishermen down there, standing in the rain,
talking about what a potential crisis this could be. And I don't sit
around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar. We talk
to these folks because they potentially have the best answers so I know
whose ass to kick.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Congressman Melancon, I can't tell whether the
president's madder at people like me, the talking heads-I guess I'm one
of them-or he's madder at the oil spill. But he seems to be reacting-
and that's what scares a lot of people. He seems to be reacting to media
attention, to Matt Lauer in that case, with the use of the language, which
is a bit unpresidential.
What do you make of his performance so far, Congressman? You're down
there. You're one of the victims.
REP. CHARLIE MELANCON (D), LOUISIANA: Well, he started off as a
president should-calm, collected, trying to assist as best he could. On
his third visit down-and I told him Friday when I-before he went to
Grand Isle-I'd been there the day before-these people feel like
they've been kicked in the gut and hit behind the head with a baseball bat.
They're mad, they're angry. This is their high season.
You've got BP that's nit-picking them on $5,000 for a shrimper or a
fisherman. That doesn't get them anywheres. That doesn't even start to
put them-pay the house notes or put food on the table or do anything
else, you know? So you've got-the anger is building. The frustration
is building. The uncertainty is building.
So what I think you're seeing now is a president who's been down there
three times. The first time, of course, the excitement right in the
beginning. Second time-people still not sure but hopeful. We're
pinning hope on hope on each one of these procedures, the coffer dam, the
top hat, the junk shot, you know, all that. But they had some plans out
And then of course, this last time, where everything seems to be
falling apart, or at least not working, and getting to see and talk to the
people on the ground at a point where they've had enough. I don't know how
much they can really take. And this builds from Katrina five years ago.
This is not something that this just started 40, 50 days ago. This is an
accumulation of incidences and episodes.
MATTHEWS: OK. Congressman, who are you looking to to help lead the
country, the president or Tony Hayward, head of BP? Who's the boss?
MELANCON: Well, I'm going to tell you, I think Tony Hayward needs to
go back to Great Britain. And I think maybe this morning I heard it on the
news that Billy Nungesser feels like the guy that they just sent down there
is a guy that he feels he can trust. I hope so because when Tony Hayward
said, I need to get a life-those the 11 people that died on that rig,
their families would like for them to have a life. These people that are
losing their businesses, they'd like to have a life. They'd like to know
what their future is.
So right now, BP needs to just stand up and instead of paying a $10
billion dividend, which is rumored they are, and a $50 million ad campaign
to protect their image, they need to start paying these small people down
there that are hurting...
MELANCON: ... that are frustrated, that don't know what the future
MATTHEWS: Let's take a look at the president here today, again on the
"Today" show, talking about BP CEO Tony Hayward, who you mentioned wants to
get his life back. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAUER: Have you spoken directly to Tony Hayward, the CEO of BP?
OBAMA: I have not spoken directly to him, and here's the reason,
because my experience is, when you talk to a guy like a BP CEO, he's going
to say all the right things to me. I'm not interested in words. I'm
interested in actions. And we are communicating to him every single day
exactly what we expect of him and what we expect of that administration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: What do you make of that? I mean, I think the public is
probably stunned to know that the president, our chief executive, hasn't
talked to the chief executive of the oil company.
MATTHEWS: I'm surprised. Are you surprised, Congressman?
MELANCON: Well, I-you know, that's between the president and Tony
MATTHEWS: No, it's not!
MELANCON: I have not...
MATTHEWS: You're a U.S. congressman and you're a-no, you're a
Democrat. He's your party leader.
MELANCON: I'm a legislator.
MATTHEWS: Do you think he should have talked to the head of BP at
some-how do you kick a guy's butt...
MELANCON: He is-he is the president...
MATTHEWS: ... if you're not in the same room with him?
MELANCON: He is the president of the United States, and it's his
prerogative whether he thinks he needs to speak to him or not. Thad Allen
needs to be down there taking action on behalf of this administration, make
sure things are done correctly. He's the general. He's the guy that's the
commander in charge. I look to Thad Allen every day. The president is
coming back down again next week.
But in the meantime, you know, why do you talk to a Tony Hayward? Is
there anything that's been said by BP that we're supposed to believe? It
was 1,000 barrels and then it was 5,000 barrels then it's now 15,000? It
might be 30,000!
MATTHEWS: You can tell him he's paying for this-you can tell him
he's paying for this and forget that little word of his, "legitimate," he
likes to throw in whenever there's talk of claims. You can tell him that.
Forget-you can get lawyered up all you want. Your company is either not
doing business in this country again or you're paying for all of this.
MELANCON: That's what I'm...
MATTHEWS: Anyway, let me ask you about the chain of command. You're
a U.S. congressman. You're a legislator. But you represent that area, and
it's getting screwed down there. Here's your question. Do you have a
strong sense of the chain of command? You mentioned Admiral Allen. He
seems like a fine guy to me, a public servant. But he's a public servant,
he's not a politician. He's not elected to run this country. He's elected
to-in charge with doing what he's told. Is there a chain of command?
And if so, tell me what it is.
MELANCON: Well, the best I can tell you, the chain of command is the
president, Admiral Allen and then his assistant, Lapierre (ph), or Laperry
MATTHEWS: Wait a minute! That's not what Allen told me. Allen told
me he reports to Janet Napolitano over at Homeland Security, one of the
least-you know, not exactly one of the top-rated cabinet departments.
He reports to her, and she reports somehow to the president. This is-
where's-where is Rahm Emanuel, the chief of staff to the president, in
all this? Do you have a sense that the White House is calling the shots or
Admiral Allen is doing it? Who's running this show?
MELANCON: I think...
MATTHEWS: It's not the president.
MELANCON: Well, I think...
MATTHEWS: Well, you answer.
MELANCON: ... that's a question you need to-I think that's a
question you need to ask the White House or Admiral Allen. As I said, I've
been down on the ground talking to the people, trying to find out what
their problems are, what their needs are and whether I can assist them in
any way. We've done it with health care...
MATTHEWS: Who do you complain to, sir, when you want to get help in
the White House, when you want to pull their chain?
MELANCON: I go to the White House.
MATTHEWS: Do you call Admiral Allen or one of his assistants or do
you call Rahm Emanuel? Who do you call?
MELANCON: I've gone to the White House.
MATTHEWS: Who at the White House?
MELANCON: We've gone to Rahm Emanuel, for one. And then we've gone
MATTHEWS: You talked to him? Have you talked to the chief of staff?
MELANCON: Yes, I have. And I've gone to Sebelius...
MATTHEWS: Are you satisfied that he's in the chain of command? Are
MELANCON: Don't know if he's in the chain of command.
MATTHEWS: ... there's a strict order of command here?
MELANCON: I went to Rahm Emanuel because I have a relationship with
him. I told him what my problems were. I told him what I wanted to do,
and he set that up. I went to Kathleen Sebelius because...
MATTHEWS: Sounds wobbly to me...
MELANCON: ... I wanted...
MATTHEWS: ... sir. It sounds wobbly. You've admitted tonight you
don't know who's calling the shots, the White House or Admiral Allen.
MELANCON: It's better than FEMA.
MATTHEWS: Let's move on. Thank you, U.S. Congressman...
MELANCON: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: ... Charlie Melancon. I know you felt the emotions. We've
seen you cry over this. We'd like to see something a little more like that
from the White House. Anyway, thank you, sir, for coming on HARDBALL
MELANCON: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Julian MacQueen is a businessman down in Pensacola,
Florida. He's the founder and CEO of the Innisfree Hotels, a nice Irish
name for you downstairs (ph) in those hotels. What's going on down there
at the ground level with the hotel business? Is anybody showing up? Do
you have vacancies? How are you doing?
JULIAN MACQUEEN, FOUNDER & CEO, INNISFREE HOTELS: Actually, we're
doing as well as we did this time last year so far. But we're seeing is
that the pace of reservations have really gone down almost by two thirds.
So we're looking forward to a tremendous decrease in business, and that's
what we're terribly afraid of. But if you come to the beach today, it's
clean, it's clear. There are some tar balls, but I was on the beach
Saturday with my grandson and we spent three hours there swimming. And it
was a great experience so far.
MATTHEWS: Well, is this a...
MACQUEEN: So far.
MATTHEWS: Are you facing a public relations challenge from the media,
or are you facing a reality challenge?
MACQUEEN: I think at this point, it's a public relations challenge.
And we're trying to get the message out now that our beaches are-are
certainly affected by these tar balls. We had the same situation in the
1980s with tar balls. It's so widespread at this point that it's really
not affecting the experience. So we're encouraging people to...
MATTHEWS: You know...
MATTHEWS: You know when you spill-you know when you spill milk on
the counter at home, or you spill ink in the old days, it spreads. Have
you looked at that map lately that shows it's spreading towards the beach?
And what you call a PR problem-it's a temporary PR problem, but a
reality check coming pretty soon when that ink blot reaches the shore.
MACQUEEN: I look at that every day and every night. I've got two or
three sites that I look at to watch this blob coming towards us. And
that's the-it's like the old science fiction, "The Blob." It's coming
towards us. We know it's going to happen, we just don't know when. But so
MATTHEWS: Who starred in...
MACQUEEN: ... it's not happened.
MATTHEWS: ... "The Blob"? Who starred in "The Blob"?
MACQUEEN: Yes, this-the blob is started by BP, and it's...
MATTHEWS: No, "The Blob"-who was...
MACQUEEN: ... and we're upset.
MATTHEWS: ... the star of the movie, "The Blob"? Who starred in the
movie "The Blob"?
MACQUEEN: Oh, gee...
MATTHEWS: Steve McQueen!
MACQUEEN: Oh, you got me there.
MACQUEEN: All right!
MATTHEWS: Steve McQueen, your namesake.
MATTHEWS: Come on! That was an easy one, and a silly one, I know, at
a moment like this, but now we know something, at least. At least we know
something now, Steve McQueen we're talking about, and you're Julian
Let me ask you this. Speaking for the hotel owners along the beach
down there, how much time do you have before the blob reaches shore?
MACQUEEN: Oh, you know, they won't project more than 72 hours out.
And right now, there is no sign of it hitting the shore. We had some
incidences this weekend. They were widespread. We had a very good
weekend. We filled our hotels up. People are still enjoying the beach.
My grandson and I were in the water. So far, so good. But we know it's
coming. We know it's going to get worse, and we're fearing that it's going
to be catastrophic, really.
MATTHEWS: Well, good luck.
MACQUEEN: At the end of the day, we think it's going to be
catastrophic. Thank you.
MATTHEWS: My wife, Kathleen McQueen (ph), is in hotel business. I
wish you all good luck. I know you're struggling down there. Thank you,
sir, for coming on tonight, Julian MacQueen, who represents the Innisfree
Hotel chain down there.
Coming up: Why doesn't BP know how much oil is spilling into the gulf?
Why don't they give us a ground-you know, a ballpark estimate of what
we're facing years to come from now in terms of this oil down there? And
the federal government has no better idea. This is what's so depressing.
Nobody knows nuttin'. We'll try to find out what's going on. We've got an
expert coming up, Philippe Cousteau's coming here.
You're watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: It's primary night in 12 states, a dozen states tonight.
Here's a number from the new "Washington Post" poll that could tell the
story tonight. Only 29 percent of Americans now say they're inclined to
support their member of Congress come November, less than three in ten.
Less than three in ten. It's even lower than it was back in '94, when
voters threw out the House of-House Democrats, took them out of power
after 40 years in the majority. Six in ten say they'll look for someone
else. I don't know what that other tenth's going to do. But three in ten
say they're not going to vote for-there are only three in ten are going
to vote for the incumbent.
HARDBALL returns after this.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. So why can't we get a straight answer on
how much oil there is in that BP leak and how much is actually spewing out
there in the Gulf of Mexico? Philippe Cousteau is an explorer,
environmentalist and CEO of Earth Echo, a non-profit environmental
education organization. Ed Overton is an environmental science professor
Professor, let me ask you the question, do you, when you look at all
the data that's been made available, have any idea of how many barrels of
oil are now out there in the gulf?
ED OVERTON, LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY: Well, no, we don't have any
total cumulative. If we use the latest numbers, it's somewhere between
10,000 and 20,000 barrels of oil a day. If you multiply that by the number
of days, you can get some idea. Remember, this oil, as it goes into a
gulf, about a third to 50 percent of it will be remediated. So you got to
take whatever was put in there because of evaporation and biodegradation
and cut that in half, and then you can get some idea of total amount of
oil. But it's not a very precise number.
MATTHEWS: OK, 10 years from now, what percent of the oil that's
leaked and will leak will still be there?
OVERTON: Way, way less than 1 percent. It'll be remediated pretty
quickly. A lot of it, hopefully, will be cleaned up before it gets on
shoreline. Only that that's buried down in the...
OVERTON: ... (INAUDIBLE) zone will last very long.
MATTHEWS: Well, you've given the happiest word I've heard so far in
about two months. What does remediated mean, actually?
OVERTON: Well, remediated means that it gets cleaned up off the
shoreline and removed.
MATTHEWS: What do you mean?
OVERTON: Well, there's a bunch of ways you could do it. You can add
bioremediating agents. You can skim it off the surface of the water.
There's solidifiers. There's a whole variety of chemicals that are used to
kind of clean up the oil-not chemicals but chemicals and physical
methods to get it off the surface and recover it and recycle it, hopefully.
I'm a big fan of recycling, and I hope they skim as much as they can and
send it to the refinery where it should have gone in the first place.
MATTHEWS: So you believe that they have, based on your professional
expertise-BP owns the capability to clean up most of the mess they've
created over time if they put the money into it?
OVERTON: Well, I don't know about BP owning the technology.
Technology is out there. There's a variety of ways to clean up oil. And
I'm concerned that we're not...
MATTHEWS: So in other words, your argument is that the remediation
means man-made efforts to clean it up. It doesn't happen by nature.
OVERTON: Well, yes, some of it's-some of it's natural and some of
it's man-made. I don't think we're putting enough man-made assets into
cleaning this oil up, period. We need to do a lot more at skimming the oil
off the surface once it gets on the surface. We ought to have every
skimmer in the world. Why don't we have every skimmer? Ask Admiral Allen
that. We need every skimmer in the world and the infrastructure to support
those in the gulf, cleaning this oil up before gets onshore, where it is
difficult to remediate.
MATTHEWS: Well, that's my question for about several weeks now.
Philippe Cousteau, sir, the same question. Why doesn't the-if we have
man-made means of cleaning this up-remediation is the term of art here -
whether it's skimming it or dispersing it, whatever we can force it to be
cause it to be evaporated, whatever, biodegraded, why is BP counted on
as the lone ranger out there? Why isn't every oil company in the country
being dragooned into this operation?
PHILIPPE COUSTEAU, ENVIRONMENTALIST: Well, you know, the...
MATTHEWS: Why aren't we doing it, as a government, saying, Oh, you
all got to get down here with all your equipment, you all got to chip in
COUSTEAU: I would agree we're not putting enough resources into this.
I've been down three times in the last month, seeing this disaster both
under the water and on top of the water, not only how it's affecting the
environment, but the people that live in those communities. I'm going back
down on Friday.
And I don't think we're doing enough. There's a lot of frustration in
the people along the-along those communities that are suffering so much
from this that we're not doing enough. The bottom line, though, is not
only that we're not doing enough, but the technology hasn't advanced in
The reality is that only 20 percent of the oil on average can be
collected by skimming or by burning, and the rest of it is going to end up
in-either in the water column, which, even though it's out of sight, it
shouldn't be out of mind.
MATTHEWS: Well, you're disagreeing now with Professor Overton?
COUSTEAU: Well, I am a little bit, because-you know, and I think
he's largely correct. But the problem is...
MATTHEWS: He says 99 percent will be gone by 10 years from now.
COUSTEAU: I wouldn't agree with that, because I know that Exxon
Valdez, 20 years after Exxon Valdez, you can still dig into the sand and
there's oil there. There's oil in the rocks.
I would love it to be 1 percent, and I hope it indeed is, but I think
that might be a little optimistic. The other problem that we didn't deal
with, for example, in Exxon Valdez is that when the oil gets into the
mangroves and into grasses and the wetlands, you can't clean it up.
COUSTEAU: On the beach, you can, but not in the grasses.
MATTHEWS: Your response? He's skeptical about your ability to-our
ability, even if BP puts the money in, to collect 99 percent of this
OVERTON: Well, I didn't say 99. I said there wouldn't be but less
than 1 percent left. And that is the case in Exxon Valdez, numerous
There's oil, there's Exxon Valdez oil, but it's a tiny, tiny fraction
of what was originally spilled. And the same thing is going to happen in
the Gulf Coast. Now, we do need better techniques. I totally agree that
skimming technology has not improved all that much, although it has
My problem is that we're not even using the-the technologies that
we have got right now. Let's put all of them in the Gulf and use what we
can to keep the oil off of the coastlines and out of the mangroves.
MATTHEWS: Let me-let me-I want you to respond to the latest
news from NOAA. That's the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
The government says water tests have confirmed underwater oil plumes
as far as 142 miles from the BP oil spill. But the concentrations are very
low. The administrator points out that they have reached-here it is-
oil as far as 3,300 feet below the surface, 42 miles northeast of the well
site, and also 142 miles southeast.
Professor, what does that tell you about the extent or the volume?
Does it tell you anything about the volume or just how far it's spread?
OVERTON: Well, first off, that 142 miles was not determined to be
from this spill. So, that's another source of hydrocarbons.
The 42-mile plume was-was pretty reasonable. And I think of course
we're dispersing the oil as it leaves the wellhead. So, oil has got to be
down in the water column, and I think these researchers and others-
there's three or four ships out there. We're part of the team that's
analyzing some of those samples.
And this-these findings are very consistent with what we're
finding, low part per billion-part per billion levels of dispersed oil
down at depth. Remember, 3,300 feet is near the bottom. This is a 5,000-
foot bottom on this well. So, this does not surprise me. There's oil down
there. There's got to be if that dispersion is working.
MATTHEWS: What does this tell you, Philippe, about the impact of all
that volume and dispersion on the land? What's going to happen to-that
very gutsy hotel owner we just had on talked about how it's still OK down
there now, the coast is clear right now, but he says he only gets a 72-hour
notice of what's coming.
COUSTEAU: Yes. Well, the communities are terrified.
I mean, I was down talking with captains and fishermen on Friday and
Saturday down in Grand Isle, Louisiana. They're seeing their whole way of
life change. I think what's scary again is that we have not had an oil
spill-Exxon Valdez was purely on the surface. This is coming a mile
underneath and mixing into the water column.
And I agree completely that this is unprecedented, that these plumes
are happening. What we need to be afraid of is what we can't see, not just
what we can see washing up on the coastline, into the mangroves -- 40
percent of all the wetlands in the lower 48 states exist along the coast of
Louisiana. That's some of the most precious coastal habitat. That's a
What we have not seen and what we don't understand yet is what's
happening in the water column itself.
MATTHEWS: What are you worried about underneath?
COUSTEAU: I'm worried about all the plankton, the fish, the larvae,
all the animals that exist in the water column. The problem is that one...
MATTHEWS: What's a water column? I'm sorry.
COUSTEAU: Water column is the vertical distance, the vertical area
between the surface and the bottom...
COUSTEAU: ... the actual vertical column of water.
MATTHEWS: All right.
COUSTEAU: And one-oil can exist in one part per billion in the
water, and it's deadly toxic to fish, larvae and eggs. So, you don't have
to have that much oil to begin with.
MATTHEWS: How does that work? Why would only that small percentage
of the water that had the oil in it be dangerous or toxic to all the fish
in that entire area?
COUSTEAU: In the same way that I had to wear full hazmat diving gear
when I went diving in the spill. It's a toxic poison. And if the eggs and
the fish larvae encounter that poison, it gloms on to them, they absorb it,
it kills them.
MATTHEWS: Last point, Professor. You mentioned there was another
source of this oil that has been detected by NOAA. What is that, do you
OVERTON: Well, there's the plume down near the bottom and of course
the oil that's on the surface. So, those are the two sources of oil that
are floating in the environment.
The plume is very low-concentration , down in the part per million,
part per billion range. A lot of the damage occurs at the surface, of
course, in the nektonic layer, which is that floating layer where the eggs
and larvae are.
And, of course, there's lots of oil on the surface. That's why we
need to get this oil as much as possible off the surface, keep it from
spreading. Why isn't-aren't every skimmer in the world in the Gulf?
That's the question, not how much oil is flowing.
OVERTON: Why aren't we doing more at the surface?
MATTHEWS: And you say there's so much technology available, we
haven't deployed it yet here?
Call around to every port in the nation in the world and ask them if
they have got any extra skimmers. Every major harbor has skimmers.
MATTHEWS: Well, that was my seat-of-the-pants notion about a month
ago. But thank you for being the expert on this. I thought there was a
lot more out there besides what BP has at hand. And why aren't they all
being brought into this by a national effort?
OVERTON: That's right.
MATTHEWS: These oil companies do well in this country. They ought to
do well for us for once.
Thank you, Philippe Cousteau.
COUSTEAU: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Ed Overton, professor at LSU.
Up next: If you want to follow in President Obama's footsteps, you
have your chance. Check out the "Sideshow" tonight-coming up next.
You're watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Time for the "Sideshow."
Last night, the comedians did some dark humor on the oil spill. Here
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO")
JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": Well, BP officials
are now saying the campaign to clean it up could last until fall. That's
why they call it a campaign.
You know why it's called a campaign? Because it's like an election.
It's dirty. It's slimy. It never seems to end.
LENO: That's why they call it a campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN")
DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": The oil
spread-don't kid yourself, and I don't care what they're telling you.
The oil spread is getting bad. There's so much oil and tar now in the Gulf
of Mexico, Cubans can now walk to Miami.
LETTERMAN: Honest to God, it just...
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE COLBERT REPORT")
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE COLBERT REPORT": Mr. President, Mr.
President, you need to talk the talk, walk the walk, and, most importantly,
wear the clothes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you see what-President Obama was being
criticized for what he had on when he was standing at the shoreline there.
He had on fancy pants and a fancy shirt.
COLBERT: This is no time for fancy pants.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
COLBERT: There's no fancy pants.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
COLBERT: When the Germans bombed London, Churchill didn't wear a
COLBERT: He was out there in sweat pants and a Packers jersey.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: It's so easy to make fun of FOX.
Anyway, the great point there, the worse that war, World War II, got
for Churchill's country, the better he dressed. And guess what, FOX? It
Next: a little piece of history. Up for rent. This New York City
rental on the Upper West Side seems like your run-of-the-mill cramped
apartment in New York City, except this also happens to be the place where
President Obama when he was a student lived during his junior year at
Columbia University. The price? Nineteen hundred dollars a month. A
leasing agent tells "New York" magazine that the price would be exactly the
same whether the president lived there or not.
Well, on to another item that makes us ask, what's up for South
Carolina. The Palmetto State, known lately for its scandalous politics,
may have reached a new low in the Republican primary this year.
Gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley has had to fend off two allegations by
men of infidelity in recent weeks.
One of the accusers, Larry Marchant, worked for Andre Bauer, Haley's
rival for the Republican nomination. Marchant offered to take a polygraph
test to prove his claim. The results? Inconclusive. And catch this.
Andre Bauer, Haley's actual rival, took his own polygraph test. Why? To
prove that his campaign hasn't been out there trying to capitalize on this
these accusations of infidelity. Wow.
Anyway, the real winner of all of this may be Nikki Haley herself, the
victim of all this talk. She's maintained, if not widened her lead in the
polls heading into Tuesday's-or today's actual primary. There's a story
for you. The more they attack you, the better she looks.
Now for the "Number." A nice display of bipartisan spirit last night.
The Democratic National Committee competed here in Washington in their
annual softball game against their Republican counterparts. That isn't to
say that politics didn't bleed into the field. DNC fans chanted during the
game, "We passed health care." The RNC's chant? "We will repeal it."
So, which party came out on top? This often happens. The
Republicans, 15-3. What a baseball game. What a softball game. It wasn't
even close. The RNC shuts down their rivals 15-3. A harbinger of things
to come this November? Wow. It's tonight's "Big Number"s.
Up next: Voters in 12 states, a dozen states, are going to the polls
tonight. It's a big primary night. We're going to be covering it all
through the night. We will preview the hot races coming up next.
And, then, all through the night, 7:00 to midnight, all the other
shows on MSNBC, we will be talking about the results tonight.
You're watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
JULIA BOORSTIN, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I'm Julia Boorstin with your CNBC
Stocks ending mostly higher, with investors shying away from the tech
sector, the Dow Jones industrials jumping 123 points, but still hovering
below that 10000 mark, the S&P 500 up 11.5 points, and the Nasdaq sliding
Big-cap technology stocks on the Nasdaq under pressure today. Solid
gains from pharmaceutical names not enough to offset concerns about the
sector's European exposure. But banks and materials bounced back nicely on
encouraging words from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. Bernanke soothed fears
about a double-dip recession, but cautioned that the recovery will be
Deepwater drillers like BP, Transocean and Diamond taking a beating on
concerns that the current six-month ban on deepwater drilling could be
extended. And investors still looking to pare back their exposure to
risk., gold prices hitting a new record high, above $1,250, before closing
around $1,237 an ounce.
That's it from CNBC, first in business worldwide-now back to
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL.
As we speak, the polls are open from coast to coast for primaries in
10 states and runoffs in Arkansas and Georgia.
NBC's political director and chief White House correspondent, Chuck
Todd, joins us for more on the big races to watch.
Chuck Todd, first off, let's look at Arkansas, Chuck. It's a runoff
between Democratic Senator, U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln and Lieutenant
Governor Bill Halter, the challenger for the Democratic nomination. What's
the message in this if Halter knocks off an incumbent?
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I think, in this case, it's
not that much-I mean, look, this was a message that was sent by labor to
the rest of the Democratic Party: Don't take us for granted. We will-
we're willing to spend a ton of money, even sacrifice a Senate seat, if
that's necessary, to send this message.
Well, message is-is probably going to be received. The rule of
runoffs on this, particularly for incumbents, what's your polling at the
day before the runoff is probably the number you're going to get. Hard to
imagine you're going to get any undecided. She's been sitting at about 46,
47, depending on whose private poll you believe. So, you've got to assume
that's her number at the end of the day.
Halter probably wins this one. And the question now is, does labor
double down on Halter, who will start as a huge underdog against the
TODD: ... Congressman John Boozman.
MATTHEWS: A quick thought. Can he get through the general election
without saying where he stands on card check? This is a right-to-work
state, not exactly friendly to aggressive union-unionization. How can
he win with SEIU support without actually saying he's for their main
TODD: I will say this about card check or whatever you want to-or
employee free choice. The only people that care about it are corporate
boardrooms and labor board-and labors-union members.
Actual members of the public, I don't think care about this either
MATTHEWS: Well, they will be educated to it by November.
TODD: ... I just don't buy it as a real issue there.
TODD: I think this thing is going to be about-about old-fashioned
D. vs. R.
MATTHEWS: OK. We will see.
Up next in Nevada, here's a wild-a wild one...
TODD: Oh, yes.
MATTHEWS: ... a three-way fight for the Republican nomination among
Sue Lowden, that was on HARDBALL last night, Danny Tarkanian, who is the
son of the football coach at UNLV, and Sharron Angle, who is the Tea
What does that look like to you? And will that be another Tea Party
TODD: Well, it is. It looks like Sharron Angle, she is surging. She
is this-she's the favorite. There's this group, one of the organized
groups of the Tea Party, called the Tea Party Express, really put a lot of
money in there, turned her from a single-digit candidate to the leader.
Look, Sue Lowden had her own self-inflicted wounds-you asked her
about it last night-having to do with this comment about bartering for
chickens. She said it was in jest, but the problem is, that story lived
for about a week. She never could shake it. A lot of money was put behind
MATTHEWS: I know.
TODD: One thing Republicans will say is, Sharron Angle has taken a
lot of shots, particularly from Sue Lowden, and is she surviving.
The fact of the matter is Harry Reid is upside-down. All three of
these candidates are not the best candidates. The best candidate is Dean
Heller, the congressman there that decided not to run. But he's waiting
for the appointment to John Ensign's seat. Instead, Harry Reid is going to
have to win ugly. This is going to be an ugly, ugly race, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Let's go to the biggest state in the country, California.
Carly Fiorina is in a three-way fight for the Republican Senate nomination
against Tom Campbell, who ran 18 years ago, and Chuck Devore, who is on the
right. And in the governor's race, Meg Whitman of eBay faces Steve Poizner
for the Republican nomination. Has this become the year of the woman for
California Republicans? Will it be-tonight, all bets, probably, Carly
and Meg? Does it look like that?
TODD: Absolutely, it looks that way. Year of the woman CEOs. The
behind the scenes in this is kind of interesting. The Meg Whitman folks
are not crazy about the idea of Carly Fiorina, another former CEO, sort of
drafting with Meg Whitman. You know, Whitman believes her record at eBay
is better or sells better to the average voter in California than Carly
Fiorina's record at Hewlett-packard. And this idea of merging the two-
it got so estranged at one point, the Whitman campaign, basically not so
secretly, pushed Tom Campbell to move from the governor race to the Senate
race. But Campbell just, like all of his previous races, couldn't raise
Fiorina doesn't seem like-she seems too conservative in this state.
But Republicans say this, they don't care if Fiorina necessarily wins or
loses. They just care if the national Democrats and the president has to
spend time defending Barbara Boxer.
The bigger story, the return of Jerry Brown, Chris. Jerry Brown is an
even-money favorite to be the next governor of California, which is
unbelievable when you think about the history of this state these days.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let's go to that weird stuff, dirty stuff down in
South Carolina. It used to be men didn't talk, and now you've got-well,
that's ideal. Now you've got two guys down there claiming they had affairs
with the Republican front-runner. This is the dirtiest thing I've seen.
It's hard to say the dirtiest thing in politics, but this is really warped.
What do you make of this?
TODD: I'll just say this-I'm going to re-quote Stu Rothenberg.
You know Stu. He's one of the great handicappers in D.C. He called South
Carolina the stink-hole of Republican politics. There's really no other
better way to sum it up. It's a mess down there.
MATTHEWS: Well said, thank you.
TODD: They play dirty. It's ugly. And it-I can't believe this
state is in charge of deciding who the Republican nominee is for president
MATTHEWS: OK. The president is going back to the Gulf, we hear?
TODD: He is. He's going to overnight in the region, Mississippi,
Alabama and Florida. He's going to overnight, next Monday and Tuesday.
MATTHEWS: Maybe he needs to overnight in London so he can get within
butt-kicking distance of Tony Hayward. What do you think? Just asking.
TODD: I have a feeling that Tony Hayward probably got a phone call
finally from the president today as well.
MATTHEWS: Yes, because he said to Matt this morning that he hadn't
talked to him yet. Amazing. Let's go right now to Kathleen Parker. It's
amazing. You're a South Carolinian. You're from Charleston. What do you
make of the fact that Nikki Haley, this obvious front-runner, is getting
talked about by the Republicans down there. They just don't want a woman
governor or what?
KATHLEEN PARKER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": It's pretty disgusting. It's
truly awful. I really can't add anything to the comment that Chuck quoted.
MATTHEWS: Did Palin play the big role?
PAKER: Palin helped a lot. She bumped her up ten points and gave her
legitimacy. That was hugely valuable.
MATTHEWS: Will she be able it go around the country at the end of
this year and say look, I went around the country and I won a lot of races,
like Dick Nixon back in '66? Is she building for the presidency, do you
PARKER: I wouldn't have said that two weeks ago. I never did think
she was going to run because she's having too much fun being a celebrity
making money. But maybe she is building her base.
MATTHEWS: She's putting together the pieces of a claim that although
she may not know more man the other candidates, she's much more credible as
a beater of Barack Obama because she's won all these races.
PARKER: Yes. She's hugely popular with the Tea Party.
MATTHEWS: Tea Party a plus or negative tonight, with Angle possibly
winning in Nevada, with other things going on in the country?
PARKER: The Tea Party is very good at helping people get elected.
I'm not sure they're electing the right people when it comes to the general
election. I think they're going to have a harder time beating the
Democrats then they think.
MATTHEWS: Is Angle a mistake in Nevada?
PARKER: Very possibly. It's hard to say.
MATTHEWS: Harry Reid wants here, apparently. Harry has picked his
opponent. He wants Sharron Angle, the Tea Partier.
PARKER: So maybe-but she's apparently a pretty strong candidate.
As you say, she's been taking all of these licks from Sue Lowden.
MATTHEWS: Are you proud, as a women interested in politics, that
right now we're used to the fact that women are running for governor in all
of these states now? They're in what we call in baseball the on-deck
circle for the presidency. A lot of races where the women are the front-
runners now, Whitman, Fiorina.
PARKER: I just think it's the zeitgeist. I think it was just time
for women to take the lead. And they're stepping up to the plate. Look at
what all of these women have in common. they're business people,
including, by the way, Nikki Haley. She comes out of the business class.
She's an accountant.
MATTHEWS: Republican women used to be women who didn't work outside
the home, who would show up at all of these meetings. Now they're women-
PARKER: They're executives.
MATTHEWS: Executives, top people.
PARKER: Yes. So I think it's very interesting. And I can't wait to
have enough women in public office that we no longer have to say, oh, she's
MATTHEWS: Do you give some credit to Hillary for this?
PARKER: I give Hillary more credit than I would give Sarah Palin. I
MATTHEWS: I do to. I think really established the fact that she can
compete and women can compete at the highest level.
PARKER: Yes, I agree completely. She gets it. >
MATTHEWS: I become more and more impressed as the days go on. Thank
you, Chuck Todd. Thank you, Kathleen Parker, my Pulitzer Prize winner
here. Speaking about setting new standards.
Up next, could the Tea Party actually hurt the Republican party?
That's our question. And cost Republicans elections they might otherwise
win? This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: We're back. The Tea Party movement has had some big wins,
but it might be ultimately costly to the GOP. Some winnable seats could be
forced too far to the right. David Corn is the Washington bureau chief of
"Mother Jones," and a great friend and fan of the Tea Party movement. Pat
Buchanan, I'm not sure where he stands, probably much much more friendly.
He's an MSNBC-
Let's talk about the Tea Party people. We've got this Sharron Angle
out there in Nevada. She's the front runner, Pat. Is that good for your
party, the Republicans?
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it's a close race.
MATTHEWS: Can she beat Harry Reid or is she just the one he picked?
BUCHANAN: She's running ahead of Sue Lowden.
MATTHEWS: Not in the matchup.
BUCHANAN: The match up with Harry Reid she is. She's not quite as
strong as Tarkanian. She's three ahead of Harry. Harry's got nine million
dollars. It's going to be a very tough race, anyhow.
But, look, why not? The Tea Party is out there. It's full of energy
and fire. She's a tough conservative candidate. That's who you want to
win if she's-it's the Ronald-
MATTHEWS: I think Harry Reid went out there and found himself the
DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES": This woman, at the time of the Gulf oil
spill, wants to get rid of the EPA and the Energy Depart. After the Wall
Street meltdown, she wants to privatize Social Security. She's not just
Tea Party. She's really far right. She couldn't win a Republican primary
four years ago for a congressional seat, but, yet, she has become the Tea
Party darling. I think this is the escape hatch for Harry Reid. I mean-
MATTHEWS: Remember the knucklehead that ran and gave Spiro Agnew the
race in Maryland?
MATTHEWS: The clown who finally won a-
MATTHEWS: You're laughing and know this is what happens. Let me ask
you about this other one, Orly Taitz. She grew up in the Soviet Union,
when it was the Soviet Union, moved to Israel for a while, moved to the
United States, as an attorney. She's a dentist. And she's a Birther.
CORN: The Birther.
MATTHEWS: She's the Birther. She could be secretary of state of
California by Midnight.
CORN: No, no, no. She could be the Republican nominee. And she may
well be. The problem there is for Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina. Every
time they campaign, they're going to be asked about the number-three person
on their ticket. And do you really believe-
MATTHEWS: Are you comfortable campaigning for the entire Republican
ticket, including Orly Taitz, Pat Buchanan?
BUCHANAN: California is in the worst shape. It's like Greece and
they're going to be worried about somebody who is secretary of state.
MATTHEWS: I love the way-you don't want to play defense, you just
BUCHANAN: For heaven's sake, I'm sure it's a minor problem. Look,
Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina both have a shot at winning the governorship
and the senator thing. You have a woman in Nevada. You have a woman in
South Carolina. The Republican party has all these women out there-
MATTHEWS: You're taking-are you with her or against her? What
side are you on that one?
BUCHAN: I would vote straight ticket.
MATTHEWS: You're absolutely incorrigible. Let's go to "the New York
Times"-we've got a new poll, and a new "Washington Post"/ABC poll shows
that 50 percent of Americans now have an unfavorable view of the Tea Party
movement, an 11-Point jump from March. It's beginning to ware off for it's
I guess the glow or the freshness is off the rose.
BUCHANAN: What you want to do is run as the Republican candidate
who's got the support of the Tea Party.
MATTHEWS: But isn't one.
BUCHANAN: Just like Reagan ran as the Republican candidate, Moral
Majority's with me' I'm not of the Moral Majority. They're with me.
MATTHEWS: Same with the Birch Society too.
BUCHANAN: Well, the-
CORN: The best thing any Republican-
MATTHEWS: He said I'm not rejecting any vote that votes for me, is
what he said.
CORN: I think the best-
BUCHANAN: They vote for me; I don't vote for them.
MATTHEWS: Well said.
CORN: The best thing any Republican can do this year is run without
any party affiliation, as the non-incumbent.
MATTHEWS: Run against the Ds.
CORN: Run against the Ds and don't-the Tea Party-listen, people
now see what does the Tea Party stand for? It's Rand Paul saying he's
against the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask you guys-I have two men here. Has the
glass ceiling begun to be broken? When Senator Clinton ran for president,
she was so far ahead of what seems to be the wave of women candidates
running now that she may have inspired. You've got South Carolina, an old-
time state, with a woman could be the next governor, Nikki Haley.
MATTHEWS: Could be real groundbreaking like you have with Jindal down
in Louisiana. You've got a woman-two women-you're touting them.
This is really a change in our life politically. It is.
BUCHANAN: Jan Brewer's moved ahead now, I think. You have two women
in California, governor and senator. You've got the Senate candidate.
MATTHEWS: What's changed in your party? Women used to be people that
were married to guys who were executives. Now they're the executives.
Your party has changed in its women leadership I think.
BUCHANAN: Basically, these women get out there. They run. They're
MATTHEWS: They have money.
BUCHANAN: They do a better job. Some of them have real money.
CORN: That's what's happening. In California, you're looking at two
candidates, Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman, who didn't come up through the
party. They didn't run for lower races and win-
MATTHEWS: They chose Nixon. They don't go for looks. Anyway-
CORN: Thank God for that, for all of us.
MATTHEWS: Thank God for that. David Corn, Pat Buchanan.
When we return, let me finish with some thoughts about women in
politics. This really could be their year on the Republican side. You're
watching HARDBALL. I think Senator Clinton did a lot to inspire this.
Only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with some thoughts-strong thoughts
about women, women in politics that is. MSNBC is the place for politics,
we like to say. If you haven't noticed, politics is increasingly the place
for women. Look at the races we're going to be covering tonight in the
later editions of HARDBALL.
In South Carolina, Nikki Haley is the front-runner in the Republican
primary for governor. And she's managed to hold that position in the face
of what we used to call bad form by some men in the political world down
In California, women are the favorites in the Republican primaries for
both governor and U.S. senator. Meg Whitman made her name and money as
head of eBay. Carly Fiorina is known for being CEO at Hewlett-Packard.
Should they come in first tonight, both of these women stand good chances
in the general this November. They are hardly the sacrificial lambs women
candidates have served as in the past.
In Nevada, two women, Sharron Angle and Sue Lowden, are in a battle
with Danny Tarkanian for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. Both
have at least a fighting chance, should they win tonight, against Senate
Majority Leader Harry Reid.
All these women are new comers at this level. It's hard not to notice
that they're running in the very first elections after the 2008 election,
one that included a precedent-setting campaign by Hillary Clinton for
president, and another precedent setter for vice president on the
Republican side by Sarah Palin.
Here's a fact to remember as you watch the returns tonight: Hillary
Clinton would not have been such a strong contender for the presidency in
2008 if she had not had the courage to run for the Senate in 2000. That
courage is what took her to the highest level of political competition. It
could well be that her strong showing is what's inspired these other women
to test their meddle in the ring this year. And it's elections like those
tonight that will tell us whether this set, the new set of women, will be
the top contenders in the future.
Fifty three percent of the voters in 2008 were women. It's an
increasing probability, the way things are going, that our top candidates
for the top offices will begin to reflect that statistic. Watch what
That's HARDBALL for now. We'll be back in one hour at 7:00 p.m.
Eastern for a live edition of HARDBALL. Then again at 12:00 Midnight
Eastern with results of today's primaries across the country. All 12
states are having primaries tonight. Right now, it's time for "THE ED
SHOW" with Ed Schultz.
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