Guests: Brian Shactman, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Rep. Elijah Cummings, Colin Hanna,
Eric Burns, Derrick Johnson, Douglas Brinkley
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Wake-up call for the Democrats.
Let‘s play HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Good evening, I‘m Chris Matthews in Washington.
Leading off tonight, excite me. If the Republicans grab the House
this November and maybe even the Senate, it‘s because they can‘t wait to
get to the voting booth. It‘s because Democrats would rather go to the
dentist‘s office. So what are the Dems going to do about it? How about
fear? How about scaring people with the basic facts of what the other side
is up to
. Remind seniors how some Republicans want to privatize Social Security. Remind Democrats that these rough and ready Republicans never did like Medicare. And oh yeah, Republicans are the hawkish party, that another war might be in your picture. Maybe Democrats can drum up turnout by simply warning their troops what Glenn Beck and his Tea Party crowd have up their sleeves.
Speaking of Beck, how about the obscenity or the insanity of him saying he wants to regain American honor by hijacking the anniversary of Martin Luther King‘s “I have a dream” speech on the Washington Mall itself, right in front of Lincoln‘s memorial. He‘s comparing the importance of his rally, by the way, to the moon landing, Rosa Park (SIC) and the Wright brothers. Honestly, I wouldn‘t have thought of those connections myself.
Also, what are we going to do about this story? A Mississippi middle school has insisted on deciding which elected class positions can be held by black students and which can be held by white students. For instance, the president of every class must be—well, you guessed it—white. The school board quickly changed its policy just this afternoon once the media got hold of the story. But it turns out this sort of policy‘s not so rare as you might think in states like Mississippi. More to come.
Plus, Katrina five years later. We‘re still learning more about the chaos and the violence down there in the days after the storm. We‘re going to go down there to New Orleans for a report on what‘s changed and what hasn‘t in New Orleans.
And finally, “Let Me Finish” with the majesty of Dr. Martin Luther King‘s “I have a dream” speech and the nightmare planned for tomorrow by Mr. Beck.
We start with the enthusiasm gap. U.S. congressman Elijah Cummings is a Democrat from Maryland. U.S. congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a Democrat from Florida.
Lady and gentleman, I‘ve got news for you just breaking in. The “Newsweek” poll just came in. I don‘t know if this is good news or bad news. Congresswoman, I‘ll start with you. The numbers are dead even now in what we call the generic vote—Are you going to vote Republican or are you going to Democrat this fall? Dead even now.
Of course, knowing history, that‘s bad news for the Democrats because the Republicans have, like, a built-in 3 percent because of the way the vote gets proportioned.
Your thoughts. How does it look right now for your party, Congresswoman?
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA: Well, obviously, we‘re facing a challenging environment both because of the economy, but also, traditionally, a mid-term election like this one, the party in power loses seats. But race by race—I mean, the generic ballot is one thing, but when you go head to head with their extreme right-wing nominees versus our moderate—you know, moderate to conservative incumbents—
SCHULTZ: -- our members are really doing very well both in terms of their average cash on hand being astronomically larger than their opponents‘ --
SCHULTZ: -- and also, you know—
SCHULTZ: -- really in the midst of what their—their constituents want them to be doing.
MATTHEWS: If I was worried about getting the Democratic vote out, Mr. Cummings, I‘d worry about the fact that tomorrow in Washington, maybe 100,000 to 200,000 people, most of them Republicans, are going to show up for Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, jumping up and down, doing hosannas over them, excited with unbelievable enthusiasm about voting in this coming election. And I‘m waiting for next Democratic rally with 100,000 or 200,000 people in this town. When‘s it going to come?
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: I think the—first of all, I think the Democrats have got to use that rally and the statements of Glenn Beck and others to remind our voters that we cannot take the rights and the opportunities that we have for granted, and that this president is doing everything in his power, and this Democratic Congress is, too, to bring hope, as opposed to just having people say no to America. And clearly, I think we can turn that around. In other words, I think that this—what‘s going to happen tomorrow with regard to Mr. Beck is going to backfire and - - but we have to do our part to make sure it backfires.
SCHULTZ: Hey, Chris—
MATTHEWS: Well, using the—let—let me stay on that word “backfire” because in this case, it‘s not—using terms like “backfire” because it has to do with cars, but I‘m thinking about firepower. It‘s not so much a stretch to say that this crowd that‘s around Beck includes people like Sharron Angle, who want to be able to use what they call 2nd Amendment remedies if they don‘t like what you folks are up to—in other words, gunplay.
CUMMINGS: That‘s right.
MATTHEWS: That‘s what she says—
MATTHEWS: -- use your gun if you don‘t like Congress and the way they‘re voting.
MATTHEWS: I mean, this is worse than, you know, the Civil War. We‘re talking about people talking up insurrection.
CUMMINGS: And they also—
MATTHEWS: They want to be able to—go ahead, Congressman. Your thoughts.
CUMMINGS: And they also say—and they also say, Repeal the 14th Amendment. Repeal the 17th Amendment. And so you know, they are—Debbie mentioned it a moment ago. I think we‘ve got some folk, tea party folk, Republicans, who are out of sync with the average American. And most Americans are in the middle. And I think that the voters are beginning to wake up and—but the question that we have to ask, Chris, is, Who is on your side? And I think, clearly, the answer to that—
CUMMINGS: -- is that the Democrats and President Obama.
MATTHEWS: You know what‘s weird, Congresswoman? If George W. Bush had gotten his way and privatized Social Security and tied it to the stock market, your constituents would be 100 percent Democrats now -- 100 percent! -- because they‘d be looking at their 401(k) shrivel to nothing. I‘m sorry—they‘d be looking at their Social Security checks shrivel to nothing because they‘d be based on—
SCHULTZ: That‘s right.
MATTHEWS: -- the Dow Jones. I watch that Dow every day because I got some money in the market. Imagine if that‘s the only money you have and it ties to your Social Security. If Bush had won, the Democrats would have, ironically, be better off politically now because the voter right now, the older voter and the voter about to be old would say, Wait a minute, I can‘t trust the Republicans with my money.
SCHULTZ: Well, like Elijah just mentioned, that‘s the choice that we‘re going to be talking about throughout the fall campaign because the new direction that we‘ve taken this country in, turning the economy around and creating jobs and also preventing privatization of Social Security and Medicare becoming a voucher program, which is what their leadership has proposed—
MATTHEWS: Yes. I know.
SCHULTZ: -- is really a stark contrast. But you know, you mentioned the 200,000 that may or may not be on the Mall tomorrow. The 200,000 people that matter tomorrow are the 200,000 activists who are going to be knocking on doors tomorrow for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee‘s National Day of Action. We will do 200,000 door knocks tomorrow all across America, Chris, because our grass roots engine is second to none. We‘ve won, you know, seven special elections in a row, turning voters out. We do that far better than the Republicans. So between our issues, our candidates, and our ability to turn voters out, we are going to have a successful election day, or at least, certainly, better than most people in Washington are thinking we‘re going to have on November 2nd.
MATTHEWS: Let‘s—let‘s both of you talk about now the voters who always show up to the polls, the older voters. The AARP has census numbers out now that show that much—that most people depend on Social Security for their basic livelihood. And I think these numbers are conservative, by the way -- 37 percent of people age 60 to 65 depend on it for 50 percent or more of their income. It goes up significantly. By the time you reach 80 in this country, if you‘re lucky to live so long, Congressman, basically, you‘re relying on Social Security. Your savings are pretty much worn out. Whatever you started with, no matter what kind of a nest egg you had, you‘re really living on that check that comes in once a month. Democrats created Social Security. Republicans have challenged it, especially under Reagan and since.
Is this—isn‘t this an issue that should basically drive most older voters to vote Democrat?
CUMMINGS: It should do that. And remember, just yesterday, Leader
Boehner talked about still the privatization of Social Security. And you
just made the best argument against that. And the fact is, is that if we -
if they have their way, that‘s exactly what will probably happen, unless we‘re able to stop them. And so clearly, our seniors should be with us.
But there‘s one other thing, Chris, that you haven‘t mentioned. We also have a person in the White House who I think can help us.
CUMMINGS: The White House was very surgical with regard to the way they ran their campaign for president.
CUMMINGS: I think he‘s got to look at each and every district and say, OK, what can I do to help these voters? Keep in mind, in a state like Georgia, the African-American vote almost doubled. And if you go to any place, Chris, and look at polling numbers, 95 percent of the African-American voters are still much in favor of Barack Obama. So they want him to be successful. Now he‘s got to use that and make sure that those surge voters surge again in 2010.
MATTHEWS: Well, here‘s a thought about the presidential election coming up in a couple years. Here it is, the Republicans—subpoena power. Darrell Issa, the congressman from California, can‘t wait, he says, to get a hold of subpoena power. If the Republicans win a majority in the House, they will own that subpoena power. Former White House counsel Lanny Davis just told Politico, quote, “I actually think it will be even worse than what happened to Clinton because of the animosity these people feel towards Obama.”
Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz, could it be that if the Republicans squeak in by a couple votes and Boehner becomes Speaker and Issa gets the subpoena power, the reform committee, all we‘re going to see is investigation after investigation instead of legislation, positive or negative?
SCHULTZ: Oh, absolutely. I sat on the Judiciary Committee for five years with Issa, and it will pale in comparison to what they did when they were in charge and President Clinton was in the White House.
Elijah‘s absolutely right. We have to make sure that people understand that pursuing an agenda and adopting good public policy would be tossed out the window in favor of the window in favor of the Republicans—of what will become the Republican obsession to get Barack Obama. And we‘ve seen it, an insidious campaign through the Internet and through right-wing extremist groups. And they will be empowered through the Republican Party if the wrong decisions are made on November 2nd.
But I‘m confident, I think Elijah is confident that our candidates, our members are really doing a very effective job in making the case. They have the resources that they‘re going to need to have. And we‘re going to simply out-organize them. That‘s what we‘re aiming to do.
MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you very much. It‘s great having you on a Friday afternoon here. Thank you, Congressman (SIC) Wasserman Schultz and Congressman Elijah Cummings, sir.
CUMMINGS: Good to be with you.
MATTHEWS: Thanks for joining us.
Coming up: Does Glenn Beck really believe that his rally in Washington tomorrow is as big as the landing on the moon? God, you have to have an ego as big as the moon to say something like that! Well, maybe here. We‘ll look at that next.
You‘re watching HARDBALL. It is hilarious and it is scary that people think like this. HARDBALL coming back in a minute.
MATTHEWS: The new Mason-Dixon poll‘s out in Nevada. Senator Harry Reid and Sharron Angle neck and neck, Reid 45, Angle 44. More interestingly, some 68 percent of the voters said they would have preferred a candidate other than Angle as the Republican candidate and 58 percent, 3 in 5, would prefer somebody besides Harry Reid as the Democrat. They don‘t like the candidates out there. It seems like a full majority of Nevadans would be happier with other choices, but they ain‘t got them.
We‘ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Glenn Beck‘s rally at the Lincoln Memorial is tomorrow morning. What‘s it all about? Here‘s a video he posted on his Web site to give us an idea of what he‘s up to. Let‘s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every great achievement in human history has started with one person, one crazy idea, people unafraid to march boldly into the unknown, the unthinkable. Man has always searched for a better way to remember who we are, remember who you are, remember the spirit of those who came before us. It‘s time to restore America, restore the world. It‘s time to believe again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, there you have it. Colin Hanna—Colin Hanna, rather—is president of Let Freedom Ring and Eric Burns is president, of course, of Media Matters. Let me ask you, Colin—thanks for coming in, by the way. I always like it when you guys come in. What is it that‘s been stolen, and who stole it? Because this is a claim that I hear resonant over and over again, echoing over (INAUDIBLE). Somebody stole my country, I‘m coming to Washington to get it back. Who are the people? Give the names of people who stole America.
COLIN HANNA, LET FREEDOM RING: The whole thing, Chris, is about the American dream.
MATTHEWS: But who stole it?
HANNA: The American dream is alive and well in the grass roots of Americans today. That‘s the point. It—the Washington establishment on both sides has lost the original picture of the American dream. And in the grass roots, it‘s alive and well. It‘s non-partisan. It‘s deeply patriotic. And it‘s going to be in strength on the Mall tomorrow.
MATTHEWS: It‘s non-partisan, but he calls Barack Obama a racist. Glenn Beck—I‘ve got the tape. You want to see it? We can play it every night here, if you want. You know the tape. He said it. Here it is. Let‘s watch him. Here‘s a guy who you say is non-partisan, as the grand—
MATTHEWS: No—the grand vizier of this event. Let‘s see how non-partisan he is. Let‘s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, HOST, “GLENN BECK”: This president I think has exposed himself as a guy over and over and over again who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture. I don‘t know what it is. This guy is, I believe, a racist! Look at the way—look at—look at the things that he has been surrounded by!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: The reverend Glenn Beck, who‘s going to be leading this—this—I don‘t know what—meeting tomorrow. And he‘s non-partisan, that person we just heard from? He ain‘t non-partisan.
HANNA: I‘m talking about the people.
MATTHEWS: Oh, the people. But not—
HANNA: I‘m talking about the people.
MATTHEWS: -- the guy up on the lectern. Not the guy giving the speech tomorrow.
HANNA: Listen, he is reflecting a mood in the American people that has everything to do with our founding, everything to do with our values, everything to do with—
MATTHEWS: The American people believe Barack Obama is a racist?
HANNA: No, I don‘t think that that‘s—
MATTHEWS: Well, you just said he reflected—he‘s reflecting a mood.
HANNA: Because when you get 300,000 people on the Mall tomorrow, 400,000, 200,00 whatever it is, those are people who are there because the notion of restoring honor, of returning to founding principles, reclaiming America‘s founding principles—that‘s what‘s got them excited. You referred earlier to the excitement in the conservative base. That‘s what it‘s about.
MATTHEWS: Yes, but I wonder if it‘s—
HANNA: But it‘s not about demagoguery on either side.
MATTHEWS: OK, let me—I just heard something there—Eric, your thoughts.
ERIC BURNS, MEDIA MATTERS FOR AMERICA: There‘s a lot of demagoguery (INAUDIBLE) on the right, and we all know that. I mean, up until—you know, we‘ll see what happens tomorrow. Glenn Beck told everybody not to bring their signs because I think, you know—
MATTHEWS: He said there‘s going to be a miracle tomorrow.
BURNS: Yes, swastika signs, I think, at the rally aren‘t going to play well. This isn‘t really just about Glenn Beck. And you know, Fox News, obviously, the PR arm of this, is also kind of the silent-silent partner here, and I think that‘s who‘s stealing America. And it‘s the Koch brothers.
MATTHEWS: Why did the Republican Party get a million bucks from Fox television, if it‘s non-partisan, this event tomorrow?
HANNA: I don‘t know. That‘s not the issue.
MATTHEWS: Well, you keep saying—
HANNA: Chris, this is really important—
MATTHEWS: This is Glenn Beck‘s event.
HANNA: It‘s the people!
MATTHEWS: He‘s with Fox. Fox got a million bucks—or gave a million bucks to the Republican Party. You say it‘s non-partisan?
HANNA: That‘s—that‘s—that‘s incidental. I don‘t know. I don‘t know why—why they got a million bucks. Here‘s the point, though, Chris.
BURNS: Who‘s (INAUDIBLE)
HANNA: Something remarkable is happening in America in 2010, and that‘s what you‘re going to see on the Mall tomorrow. And some of these other people, Glenn included, who are professional communicators and well able to defend themselves—I don‘t have to be their apologist—but they are reflecting the mood of America—
HANNA: -- which is researching, trying to—
MATTHEWS: But isn‘t it just lurch to the right, the Republican Party, we‘re seeing over and over, knocking out Robert Bennett, maybe knocking out Murkowski—
MATTHEWS: -- trying to knock out John McCain. Isn‘t that just a move by the Republican Party, a shift to the right? Isn‘t that all it is? It happens in America once in a while. But why do you call it somehow a citizens‘ movement when it‘s an ideological lurch?
HANNA: Well, its‘ -- but it‘s a lurch to principles, Chris!
MATTHEWS: To the right.
HANNA: It‘s a lurch to principles and away from—
MATTHEWS: I think it‘s an ideological movement. I don‘t think it‘s a citizens‘ movement.
MATTHEWS: I think everybody out there votes Republican. That‘s my hunch.
HANNA: Oh, I think that‘s probably right.
MATTHEWS: Well, then how do you call it non-partisan?
HANNA: Because it‘s—it‘s coming from the grass roots.
BURNS: That‘s absolutely not true.
HANNA: It‘s not coming from the partisan apparatus.
BURNS: Look, the tea party movement and the 9/11 (INAUDIBLE) was practically invented by Fox News. They spent months promoting it. The Koch brothers—
HANNA: They are not that good, Eric.
BURNS: -- are actually—are actually funding it, as they were funding the John Birch Society back in the 1950s and have been funding things ever since, up to $100 million worth.
This is the same money that brought us George Bush, that brought us, you know, BP, the—the deregulation, the collapse of the financial, you know, market.
MATTHEWS: Yes. It‘s hard for me not to think this is somewhat ethic, going after the president and calling a guy who has done everything by the American rules, studied hard in school, got into great schools, put together a beautiful family, a good husband, good father, by all appearances, a good guy in every way, done everything the American way, has given speeches about America that are more patriotic than any speeches given thank since King.
HANNA: Oh, many of them are Reaganesque.
MATTHEWS: And then you guys trash the guy as a racist. Why?
HANNA: I don‘t trash the guy as a racist.
MATTHEWS: -- Glenn Beck. You want me to play it again?
HANNA: No, I‘m talking about the mood in the people.
MATTHEWS: Who is leading the mood tomorrow? Who is the king?
MATTHEWS: Well, why is Glenn Beck the leader?
HANNA: Glenn has done a remarkable job of educating people on some of the founders. The things that he does on those Friday shows are instructive.
MATTHEWS: OK. What is the goal? What is the bottom line? Is this the Protestant Reformation? Is this a purification of the national temple? What exactly is the goal tomorrow?
HANNA: It‘s the reawakening of America‘s founding principles.
MATTHEWS: To what effect? To what effect?
HANNA: To a reexamination of who we are as a nation, what we grew from. It‘s a return to the basics. And that‘s why the Constitution is such an important thing.
What we‘re doing with Let Freedom Ring, we have a project called wereadtheconstitution.com.
MATTHEWS: Excuse me.
MATTHEWS: This country is very patriotic. I look at the firefighters that went up the stairs when everybody was coming down on 9/11. I look at the people that join the Army every day in this country. I look at the people that join the Peace Corps every day.
HANNA: God bless them.
MATTHEWS: There‘s a lot of patriotic people in this country. I don‘t know if they need some moral rearmament by some right-winger talking racist nonsense to make us a better people. I don‘t think Glenn Beck is a better person than anybody living in this city. Do you? Do you think he‘s better than the people who live on the East Coast?
HANNA: No, and I‘m not judging --
MATTHEWS: Oh, I wonder. I wonder.
MATTHEWS: And this attack on the mosque is un-American. You know it is. I‘m not sure where I stand, but the way the attack has been waged—and I think it‘s a legitimate debate.
HANNA: No question that some of that has been demagoguery.
MATTHEWS: But the way it‘s waged has been ethnic. Why are 54 percent of the American people against Muslims in the latest poll, against Muslims per se? Explain that. Republicans—why are the Republicans anti-Islamic?
HANNA: I‘m not going to make that argument.
MATTHEWS: You don‘t agree with it?
HANNA: I‘m not against Muslims.
MATTHEWS: Well, why is 54 percent of the Republican Party, which is all the people who are going to be out there tomorrow? You said they‘re all going to be Republicans. Why are they anti-Islamic?
BURNS: Because the Republican Party and FOX News is driving that every day. They‘re fear-mongering.
MATTHEWS: But the president—our most recent president, who is a Republican, George W. Bush, mightily tried not to let that happen after 9/11. And that seems to have gone away.
BURNS: Well, because, again what we‘re seeing—
MATTHEWS: Didn‘t he did try?
BURNS: He did try. He did try.
But what we‘re seeing here at the—especially with the rally tomorrow is a re-branding of the conservative movement, because the GOP brand, let‘s face it, I mean, it‘s—
MATTHEWS: Here‘s what I‘m concerned about. Rush Limbaugh yesterday came out and said we‘re not anti-Islamic in this country because we elected Barack Obama.
MATTHEWS: You‘re laughing. Once again, here‘s perpetrated the notion that the guy is Islamic.
BURNS: And it‘s a outright lie.
MATTHEWS: He does it every darn day. It‘s a big lie campaign, as you know. And you have got a good sense of humor, sir. You seem like an upbeat guy. Why are you associated with this negativity?
HANNA: I‘m not associated with negativity. I‘m excited about what is happening in grassroots America.
MATTHEWS: If you catch a swastika sign down there tomorrow—it‘s going to be a beautiful day, by the way. He is very fortunate on the weather.
HANNA: Maybe he‘s being blessed.
MATTHEWS: If you walked up and see a guy holding up a Nazi sign or something that paints the guy‘s face white like whiteface or blackface, if you see that, what will you say to that person? Are you just going to stand next to him and say, great weather, huh?
HANNA: No, absolutely not. I don‘t think that the kind of—
MATTHEWS: Why don‘t the people in your group walk up to those people and rip those posters out of their hands and say, that‘s not America, just once, just once?
HANNA: I‘m ready. And I hope your camera is there, because that‘s not what the thing is about.
HANNA: And that‘s not what it was about last time either. And if you look at the signs, very, very, very few of those.
HANNA: I‘m sorry. Go ahead.
MATTHEWS: What does he have in common with Martin Luther King?
HANNA: Let me be a gentleman and let you answer.
BURNS: Well, absolutely nothing, first of all, except that he‘s trying to steal his legacy and steal George Washington and Abraham Lincoln‘s and --
MATTHEWS: -- words like nullification, interposition, all the words of an opposition and—support, rather, support for Jim Crow, are the very words that Martin Luther King was against in that speech.
MATTHEWS: And, yet, the people that support those positions, which, you can reject federal law, you can defy federal law, you don‘t have to enforce it, that‘s the language of the people out there tomorrow. That‘s what weird.
BURNS: Can I make a point here, guys, because this is important?
BURNS: Colin, you were saying this isn‘t racist. This is isn‘t political. You‘re going to be there tomorrow, I take it.
HANNA: Right. Absolutely.
BURNS: You‘re a birther.
HANNA: I‘m not a birther.
BURNS: You have questioned the president‘s birth certificate. I have seen the writing. You‘re still one of the—
HANNA: No, that‘s not true.
HANNA: That‘s absolutely not true.
MATTHEWS: Somebody is wrong here.
HANNA: I don‘t know what writing you‘re referring to.
BURNS: I‘m referring to the writing that I have seen absolutely from you. And we can certainly provide it on our Web site. You have never questioned the president‘s birth certificate?
HANNA: That‘s correct. I have—I have criticized the president‘s defense against those charges.
BURNS: Well, OK.
MATTHEWS: Do you have any doubt that he‘s American?
MATTHEWS: OK. You have no doubt.
HANNA: And I have said that to you before here.
MATTHEWS: I‘m not taking his side until he proves it. I hope he has the facts straight.
MATTHEWS: Somebody doesn‘t.
HANNA: For Eric, this is a home game. For me, it‘s an away game.
OK? So, I understand—
MATTHEWS: No, but you ought to know what you have said. And you sound like—you‘re always on better ground when you know what you say. I take you at your word.
MATTHEWS: But I‘m sure it will be posted on Media—would you post it on Media Matters tonight?
BURNS: Absolutely will. Absolutely will. Absolutely will.
MATTHEWS: Either way. Either way. OK, either way.
BURNS: And can I just add one more thing?
Colin, you wrote that Barack Obama was a token president, that he wasn‘t—
MATTHEWS: What‘s that mean?
BURNS: Well, I mean, I think that—
HANNA: I don‘t recall the context in that. I don‘t—I don‘t—
BURNS: That he wasn‘t qualified, he was a token. This again goes back to the whole—
MATTHEWS: My concern is that these kinds of rallies are always good.
It‘s good to see people on their feet generally.
MATTHEWS: But what I worry about is, this thing is going to get hot.
And I do worry about the fight at the mosque.
And these things develop. And what happens is somebody somewhere, like the cab driver in New York gets assaulted, or this preacher down there who says he‘s going to burn the Koran on 9/11. Imagine burning a bunch of Korans on national, international television. That‘s going to cause trouble. That‘s the kind of atmosphere we lived in 1963 about the time that led up to the Kennedy assassination, that atmospheric of anything goes and violence is OK. And that‘s what I‘m worried about.
HANNA: Do yourself a favor, Chris. Go down to the Mall yourself tomorrow. See the people. Talk to the people. And see if you come away with the concerns that you express here in the context of the studio.
MATTHEWS: Well, I‘m going to be out of town.
BURNS: They have been told not to bring the signs.
MATTHEWS: I just hope they don‘t come with guns.
HANNA: Talk to the people.
Oh, come on.
BURNS: I do, too. I do, too.
HANNA: You‘re better than that.
MATTHEWS: How many rallies—do you want the pictures of people with guns at rallies, at these rallies?
BURNS: We had a guy in California that was out going—
MATTHEWS: I have asked the people, when are you going to use your gun when you‘re at a rally? What‘s the use of a gun at a rally, at a political event? And they say, I have a right to carry my gun.
But why would you bring it? That‘s my question.
MATTHEWS: I wish everybody was like you in that crowd out there, Colin, because you seem like a reasonable guy, although appearances may be deceiving.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, Colin Hanna, sir, thank you for joining us.
Eric Burns, get your—you‘re going to post tonight whether you‘re right or wrong on this, either way, either way.
BURNS: Absolutely. Absolutely. No, we‘re right, absolutely.
MATTHEWS: The truth shall set you free.
Up next: New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg takes the mosque debate to “Jon Stewart.” And it‘s really quite a moment. That‘s in the “Sideshow‘ tonight.
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. And time for the “Sideshow.”
Gotham Mayor Mike Bloomberg, the most impressive public figure in this New York mosque debate, took his case to “The Daily Show” last night. Here he goes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART”)
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: And people say, well, in Saudi Arabia, you can‘t build a church. Yes. That‘s the difference between Saudi Arabia and America. And I just—it‘s plain and simple, that.
Whether you like a mosque or don‘t like a mosque, you don‘t have to go. There‘s already another mosque down there within four blocks of the World Trade Center. There‘s porno places. There‘s fast-food places.
BLOOMBERG: I mean, it‘s a vibrant community. It‘s New York.
JON STEWART, HOST, “THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART”: Why did you have to look at me when you said porno places?
STEWART: Why did you—
STEWART: You know, you were going through—it was a very—I thought it was a very eloquent defense, and then suddenly you looked up, like, right?
BLOOMBERG: Well, I just wanted to make it relevant to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That‘s a sharp conversation. By the way, Bloomberg flew up to Martha‘s Vineyard today to play a round of Gulf with the president. Reporters were told the two discussed the economy. I wish I was with them.
I wish I was with them.
Next: the primary on ice. The big story on Tuesday night was the Tea Party candidate Joe Miller‘s lead over Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski. With all precincts accounted for, Miller is now ahead by 1,668 votes, less than 2,000 votes, though absentee ballots still need to be counted. We‘re waiting to see how the final count comes in.
Here‘s Miller last night on FOX Business.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK)
JOE MILLER ®, ALASKA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Frankly, we‘re working right now to make sure that the election, that the votes are accounted for fairly, without any type of game play. It concerns us any time that somebody lawyers up and tries to pull an Al Franken, if you will.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That‘s a sleazy comment. Senator Franken won his 2008 Minnesota election after a statewide recount. He got more votes than his rival, Republican Norm Coleman. Miller may have a legal battle ahead of him, which often accompanies a close vote, but there‘s no reason to disparage Senator Franken‘s victory as a way to disparage the final vote count that might just show you, Mr. Miller, are on the short end.
At any rate, Murkowski has got an uphill battle. She needs to win 55 percent of the outstanding absentee ballots in order to win the primary.
Now, on to tonight‘s “Big Number.”
At this point in the 2006 midterms, candidates for state and federal office had spent $286 million on TV ads. Fast-forward four years to now, how much has the same crowd of hopefuls spent in 2010? -- $395 million. It gets worse, an increase of 40 percent in TV ad spending.
With two months still to go, 2010 candidates spend $395 million on TV ads. And, by the way, most of those ads are disgusting. That‘s tonight money-can-buy-you-love “Big Number.”
Up next: A public school in Mississippi says that only white students can run for class president. What‘s going on down there? We‘re going to find out.
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
BRIAN SHACTMAN, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I‘m Brian Shactman with your CNBC “Market Wrap.”
Stocks closing out the week with a solid rally. Take a look at the numbers, the Dow soaring 164 points, the S&P 500 up 17, the Nasdaq surging nearly 35 points.
Investors breathing a little bit easier today after the fed chief, Ben Bernanke, said the Central Bank is ready to step in with more policy changes as needed to sustain the recovery. Meanwhile, second-quarter GDP was revised downward, showing growth at 1.6 percent. That‘s a big drop from the original estimate, but still not as low as some had thought would come through today.
Now, in stocks, investors apparently unfazed by a warning from Intel that their-quarter earnings will probably fall short of expectations. But a similar warning from J. Crew sent its shares tumbling more than 7 percent.
And the proverbial ball is back in Dell‘s court, after HP sweetened its bid for 3Par to $30 per share. That‘s pretty darn sweet when you think about it. Two weeks ago, 3Par was trading at just $10 a share. I bet Mr. Matthews wouldn‘t have minded getting in on that trade.
That‘s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide—now back to
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Late today, a public middle school down in Mississippi changed a policy that might find very hard to believe it existed there at all. The school segregated its elected class positions by race. It broke down like this. The class president position was open to only white students in all grades of the middle school.
The class vice president position is designated for white students in grades six to seven and for a black student in grade eight. Well, late today, the school board issued a statement that reads in part—quote—
“The current practices and procedures for student elections have existed for over 30 years. It is the belief of the current administration that these procedures were implemented to ensure minority representation and involvement in the student body. It is our hope and desire that these practices and procedures are no longer needed.”
Derrick Johnson is president of the Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP.
Mr. Johnson, thanks for having us on. It‘s an honor to have anybody on from the NAACP.
Is this a remnant of racism or a remnant of an effort, sort of a pathetic effort, you might say, to give some affirmative action to make sure that black kids at least have a shot at some top positions in a school that‘s mostly white? What are we looking at here?
DERRICK JOHNSON, PRESIDENT, MISSISSIPPI NAACP: Well, this is a remnant of the system of integration where whites across the states did all they could to resist integrating public education.
You will find remnants like this perhaps across the South. As we find them, we try to work to eliminate them. You have racial primes, black and white primes. You have situations where you have black and white class valedictorians. And you also have black and white class office slots.
In this particular situation, it has been in place for many years, a very rural school district. And until a parent complained, no one knew that this practice was still taking place.
MATTHEWS: Do you know in practice what was going on? Was this the only office a black student, boy or girl, could get elected to? Or were they seeking these positions? Or were they just open to them and nobody ran for them, or what?
Was it—what was the effect, that there be a black V.P. and a black president every time, or what happened? Do you know, in practice, what happened here?
JOHNSON: Well, based on our conversation and our investigation, they would alternate some of the officers every other year. So, one year, you will have a black class president. The next year, you have a white class president.
It‘s our position that you should allow the students to participate in a fair and open election and not hand down the baggage of the adults who run the school.
MATTHEWS: So, even though the rules, the old 30 (ph) rules, were saying black kids—the black kid gets to be V.P., the white kid gets to be president. You‘re saying that in effect, they were black kids were getting elected president?
JOHNSON: Well, based on our information. We still don‘t have investigation.
JOHNSON: They alternated the slots every other year.
JOHNSON: But we find that the practice should not exist at all. Under Mississippi public education system, after the schools were forced to integrate in the early 1970s, many districts did all they could to preserve a two-race system.
Currently, in the same school districts, our biggest concern is the lack of African-American teachers who have been hired. We‘ve had several teachers to apply who‘s been—who‘s qualified and yet, they have not been selected. And that‘s the bigger issue here and that‘s the issue that we‘re going to be investigating.
MATTHEWS: Well, you know more about this than I do, Mr. Johnson.
It‘s your concern as head of NAACP down there.
What is—what is - well, give some other examples of what‘s left (ph). I remember being in the Peace Corps training down in Louisiana in, what, three years, four years after the Civil Rights Act. They still had a white-only sign in the Laundromat. I mean, those are sort of harmless, stupid things. I mean, it‘s just embarrassing. They‘re not going to enforce it.
Is the real enforced de jure segregation going on in the South still?
JOHNSON: Well, it‘s more structural racism than it is, the racism as we know, the white and black water fountains. You know, it‘s ironic that tomorrow is the anniversary of the march on Washington and we‘re talking about this issue. It shows that we‘re not living in a post-racial society. It shows that there are a lot of work still to be done.
But it also shows that you have individuals with very smart minds in the Deep South across this country. And we must identify those situations where it is influencing young minds, young students, middle schools in this situation and work to rectify the problem.
MATTHEWS: What do you make of this guy Glenn Beck who has called the president, Barack Obama, a racist, and now he is leading this, well, it‘s a commemoration, let‘s say, of Martin Luther King‘s perhaps one of the two greatest speeches in history right alongside Lincoln‘s second inaugural. And there you have Glenn Beck, he‘s going to be on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, basically a bit below where Martin Luther King stood in ‘63, but talking up King. In fact, he‘s got a member of the family there with him.
What do you make of that?
JOHNSON: Well, I think it‘s unfortunate that any member of the King family would join him. He‘s a demagogue, and he‘s fear mongering. There‘s nothing about his march tomorrow that will in any way suggest it supports the visions and ideas of Martin Luther King, and all the many individuals who participate to ensure that this democratic society was inclusive to all the citizens.
MATTHEWS: OK. It‘s great having you on. It‘s an honor to meet with anyone from the NAACP—Mr. Derrick Johnson representing the state of Mississippi.
Up next: a look at New Orleans five years after Hurricane Katrina.
This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Well, it seems now that most Americans believe gay men and lesbians should be able to serve openly in the U.S. military. A new CBS News poll shows that 75 percent of Americans, three-quarters, believe they should be allowed to serve openly, while only 19 percent opposed. What a shift in opinion. Interestingly, among veterans and current service members, a somewhat smaller number, 61 percent, support allowing gay people to serve.
HARDBALL will be right back.
MATTHEWS: Wow. Welcome back to HARDBALL.
It‘s been five years since Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. But still today, we‘re finding out more about the racist violence down there that took place in the city of New Orleans as it fought for its life.
A “New York Times” report, quote, today, “A clearer picture is emerging, including white vigilante violence, police killings, official cover-ups and a suffering population far more brutalized than many were willing to believe.
Well, historian Doug Brinkley is an expert. He‘s author of “The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.”
Doug, it‘s great to have you on. I have complete faith in your ability to do this quickly. Give us a sense of the story we didn‘t get as we watched pictures of this Convention Center, as we watched the life and death struggle down there. What was it on television?
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, HISTORIAN: Well, it was awful here. I mean, people
these were shelters of last resort. The Convention Center and Superdome didn‘t have adequate food and water. The Louisiana National Guard had their assets below sea level. So, they got washed away at Jackson Barracks. So, there was nobody in control over the streets. So you started getting a lot of looting.
Now, looting is one of the words. Somebody is stealing some baby food for their child is not a looter, but other people were coming in and getting radios and breaking into buildings. Remember that electricity was off. And at night, you had dark city day after day.
And so, there became a great deal of fear of violence and you had an overanxious and shattered police department. Many of the police, one out of every three cops, fled New Orleans. Just took cars and left. And a group of other policemen that stayed were thugs, brutalized people. They shot seven civilians in the six days or so after Katrina.
And as “The New York Times” is starting to really look at, there was racism involved with African-Americans trying to walk right behind me across the Mississippi River bridge and were turned back, saying we don‘t want you in our neighborhood of Algiers Point.
BRINKLEY: “The Times” is onto a story that many people have known about for a while. But it‘s starting to make the press.
MATTHEWS: Have the white conservatives won out though in the end because they‘ve driven a lot of the black population out of New Orleans and created a better political environment for the conservatives?
BRINKLEY: It‘s a tough question you‘re asking, Chris. And I think the answer is a lot of it is yes, unfortunately. A lot of white New Orleanians will say, it‘s better now. It‘s less African-Americans here.
This is a deeply racist community, New Orleans. Plessey versus Ferguson happened just blocks from where I‘m standing right now. Cities like Birmingham, and Montgomery, Little Rock, who can built civil rights museum, there‘s not a civil rights museum here in New Orleans because they always were selling tourism and had to put the veneer of a happy city forward—and yet, as we saw in Katrina, the poverty, and particularly in the African-American communities, Chris, and a lot of those have not been rebuilt—Gentilly, the Lower Ninth.
So, it‘s been a brunt of Katrina‘s fallen disproportionately on the African-American community.
MATTHEWS: Let‘s talk about civil rights violations. The police officers, were their motives, ignorance, fear, impulsiveness or were people really committing crimes? How do you see it mean? I mean, doing crimes.
BRINKLEY: I went—I was—I got a boat down in central city and I was doing rescuing during Katrina. And I‘d go in the boat and I was a little scared of the water because you were worried it was toxic and was going to poison you. But I saw the policemen say, why are you wasting your time helping those fire ants? Meaning, the four people left behind, elderly people that may have been HIV positive—and a lot of the elderly people didn‘t leave because they didn‘t have their Social Security check. There were no buses to get people out.
BRINKLEY: There was a cold callousness of the police. Today, now, the FBI is in, Mayor Mitch Landrieu has doesn‘t right thing bringing in the Feds and they‘re trying to get the bad apples out of the police department which was really the most corrupt in the United States. It‘s still a murder capital here in New Orleans on the fifth anniversary.
MATTHEWS: Do the people of Louisiana still see politics as entertainment primarily?
BRINKLEY: I think less so now. I think Katrina woke that up. You know, Bill Jefferson, former congressman, is in jail. Edwin Edwards is in jail.
You‘re having a new bit of capable political leadership. Governor Bobby Jindal, who people feels doing a pretty good job. Mary Landrieu, who‘s doing a pretty good job. The city‘s very happy to have Mitch Landrieu in there now as mayor because he‘s a really great booster for the city and he has wonderful contacts with the Obama administration, the Clintons and others.
So, I think there‘s a new era coming on, Chris. But it‘s getting a little better in that regard.
MATTHEWS: Well, let‘s take a look at some of the, we‘re looking at a reprise. Here‘s NBC News Carl Quintanilla reporting from New Orleans five years ago. Here‘s a part of one of his reports. It‘s quite inspiring, it‘s quite disturbing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARL QUINTANILLA, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the scene on Napoleon Avenue, a neighborhood of stately homes flooded to the front door. Choppers above us our crew drives until we have to walk.
(on camera): The water is getting too deep and it‘s getting deeper. We‘re told there‘s a hospital about six blocks away and we‘re going to try to make it there.
(voice-over): Each encounter gets more and more profound.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got people in three-story houses. They‘re still trying to survive in the houses.
QUINTANILLA: An air boat offers to take us to the hospital, but it sinks in the maze of tight corners. We dig the boat out and Stanley Borderland (ph), a volunteer who has brought four of his air boats to New Orleans, offers us a ride. But just as we reach the front door, we meet Terrence and Victoria Tunsen (ph) swimming up to their chins, a young married couple who say they need to find their father stranded at home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My dad, he‘s trapped in the house.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much.
QUINTANILLA: Slowly, we reach their street and it‘s suddenly clear this neighborhood is packed with people who never left.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, that was Carl Quintanilla‘s report a couple of years ago, five years ago. What a time—what a time to live through. We were down there reporting on it for MSNBC.
Doug Brinkley, sir, thank you for joining us.
BRINKLEY: Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: The book is “The Great Deluge,” one of the great historians of our time—Doug, thanks for joining us.
When we return, I‘ll have some thoughts of the link between Martin Luther King—well, you‘ll get it, Glenn Beck.
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC. There‘s really no link.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with those few lines from the Martin Luther King speech of 1963.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., CIVIL RIGHTS ICON: But not only that, let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Dr. King was talking about the founding place of the KKK, Stone Mountain. The site of the Scottsboro Boys trial—Lookout Mountain.
This was 1963, never forget. The civil rights bill was a year away. Lunch counters and gas station restrooms were still for whites only, so were hotels and restaurants throughout the South. I remember myself seeing those white-only signs along the highway heading south during a spring break. I remember seeing one still there when I went to rural Louisiana to train for the Peace Corps.
There was a hard divide in this country back then. On one side stood the people who believed in the power of the federal government to do the right thing, especially when state governments, local governments and local businesses persisted in doing the wrong thing or doing nothing.
It was the time when governors like Ross Barnett of Mississippi and George Wallace of Alabama stood up to keep their universities white only.
A time when people used terms like “nullification” and “interposition,” who claimed the right to obstruct the federal government, to act even when Congress passed a law.
Today, we hear the echoes of those voices, people calling for nullification. Even secession gets a call from those who just don‘t like the federal government and certainly don‘t like the man leading it.
Tomorrow, those who thrill to such words are heading here to Washington. They‘re heading directly to the Lincoln Memorial, site of the Martin Luther King speech. The main speaker is the man who said this about this country‘s first African-American president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS HOST: This guy is, I believe, a racist. Look at the way—look at—look at the things that he has been surrounded by.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That is the man who comes to Lincoln‘s feet to claim the mantle of Martin Luther King.
Can we imagine if King were physically here tomorrow, today, were he to reappear tomorrow on the very steps of the Lincoln Memorial?
I have a nightmare that one day a right wing talk show host will come to this spot, his people‘s lips dripping with the words “interposition” and “nullification.” Little right wing boys and little right wing girls joining hands and singing their praise for Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. I have a nightmare.
Many talked today about a religious center near Ground Zero being a desecration. What do you call this?
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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