Guests: Jim Cramer, Eugene Robinson, Hampton Pearson, Richard Engel, Bob Shrum, Donna Edwards, Barry Lynn, Tony Perkins
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Job number one, create jobs now.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews down in Washington.
Leading off tonight: Time for a jobs program. One day after a nerve-
rattling loss of more than 500 points on the Dow, some encouraging news.
The jobless rate dropped in June and more jobs were created than expected.
The stock market lurched this way and that, finishing modestly higher, and
President Obama tried to reassure American voters that we`re going get
through this, that things are going get better.
Well, this much we know. His presidency depends on it. But is there
anything he can do right now? I say, yes, there is. People need work.
They need jobs. And if private industry won`t do it, it`s time for the
government to step up. The country`s falling apart, old roads and
crumbling bridges. The best of America was built during hard times, let`s
remember, things like the Empire State Building and the Hoover Dam and the
Golden Gate Bridge. Let`s do it again.
Also, Rick Perry`s religious jamboree tomorrow in Houston. Is it
gathering of the faithful or the fringe? One of the participants calls the
Statue of Liberty, quote, "a demonic idol right there in the middle of New
And we`ll get a report from our own Richard Engel in Somalia, where
drought and war have created a devastating famine that has preyed largely
on the youngest, the weakest, the most defenseless.
"Let Me Finish" tonight with this new idea. It`s time for good, old
Let`s begin tonight with Wall Street. Jim Cramer`s the host of CNBC`s
"Mad Money." Jim, first some numbers. The unemployment rate dropped to
9.1 from 9.2. The economy added 117,000 new jobs in July. What are your
JIM CRAMER, HOST, "MAD MONEY": OK. I thought this was just plain,
unadulterated OK news. I didn`t say good news, OK news, because we were
looking for something that was completely un-OK, that we were going to
actually thought -- there was a thought that maybe there`d be no jobs
created at all.
So look, Chris, there`s a lot of bad news out there, but this wasn`t
one of them. This was actually something that was a relief.
MATTHEWS: What do you make of the fact that the Dow ended up 61 ahead
from where it started? We didn`t have that second fear run. I was afraid
there was going to be a run on the banks today, after yesterday.
CRAMER: Well, I do want to make a point that it was really not our
fault this time around, the 500 yesterday, the down 200 at one point today
after being up 176. It`s Europe. It`s Europe, it`s Europe, it`s Europe.
They`re falling apart over there. They don`t have any -- any leadership.
There`s nothing coming out of Europe that makes any sense at all. And if
they don`t develop a plan Sunday night to take care of the ne`er-do-well
countries, including Italy, we will be back down 200 on Monday morning
right at the opening!
MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask you a tough question here. You can take a
minute to pause on this one. It may not conform to your speed of answer,
usually. Is the federal government spending too much right now, in this
year right now, or too little? Right now --
CRAMER: Right now, not enough.
MATTHEWS: Are we spending too much in Washington or not enough?
CRAMER: I had -- you know, I had Leader Eric Cantor on today, and I
said, Look -- obviously, he going on and on about how bad unemployment is.
I said, Then obviously, you`re going to extend the unemployment benefits,
right? He said, No. No. We got to help small business.
I mean, it`s, like, Huh? I mean, we are about to have a retail
collapse in this country if we don`t get some people to have these
unemployment benefits! I mean, I never heard anything like it! On the one
hand, he`s talking about, We got to help the unemployed. And on the other
hand, when you say, Well, how about helping the unemployed, he`s, like,
What, are you kidding? Help the unemployed?
MATTHEWS: But that doesn`t make sense. Let me tell you -- let`s take
this back from the theory to reality. If we hear that the Philadelphia
Navy Yard is going to reopen and hire 500,000 new people, everybody in
South Philly`d go crazy.
MATTHEWS: This is dynamite. Small businesses`d be booming. There`d
be -- everybody, all the marketplaces, every clothing store, everything
would be booming down there. It`s not going to happen, but it would be job
If Boeing doubled its contract with Air Force planes, that would be
great news in Seattle and somewhere else where they`re operating.
MATTHEWS: Why -- in Houston, it`s space. In the South, West
Virginia, it was Bobby Byrd, it was Jack Murtha in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
Why do people have this disconnect? They know that the government creates
jobs. Every time in our life -- we know World War II saved us
economically. All our experience locally and historically is the
government creates jobs. And then you hear Eric Cantor, with this new cant
of his, this religious notion of some kind that somehow, this belief in
small business means the government shouldn`t do anything, when small
business is the area of the economy that does best when the government
CRAMER: Right. Well, small business --
MATTHEWS: What`s he (INAUDIBLE) about?
CRAMER: They`re the puppies that gets started around the big projects
that the government funds.
CRAMER: I mean, that`s how it works! You get --
CRAMER: It`s a feeder system! Small business doesn`t start first!
MATTHEWS: So why do they keep saying that government spending is bad,
when we know we need to have somebody spend and the consumer`s scared, the
investor`s scared? If government`s got the nerve to do it, don`t they have
to do it? We studied this in school.
MATTHEWS: We learned it from history. We learned it from our parents
talking about jobs reopening in the neighborhood, defense contracts being
let. And yet the right wing has sold this ideology of do nothing.
CRAMER: Well, I -- look, it`s a great way to elect a president, isn`t
it? I mean, if you keep -- if you get the unemployed so that they`re so
disenfranchised that they don`t have enough money to spend, you get very
negative poll readings for President Obama by being obstructionist --
CRAMER: It does work, Chris. I mean, that`s the other part of the
ledger. It`s not necessarily good for country, but it works.
MATTHEWS: OK, thank you much. By the way, one last question.
Business is sitting on $2.5 trillion. They`re not hiring anybody. Kids
are going to movies -- unless it`s got a robot in it, they don`t want to go
see the movie. We`ve become a robotic nation.
MATTHEWS: Is that where we`re headed? Is that where we`re headed,
big corporations are never going to hire people, they`d rather have robots?
CRAMER: But listen, we had the labor secretary on this morning, and
we asked her, Why don`t you do some deal where you repatriate the money,
and in return, people have to hire some people? It was, like, Well, we`re
thinking about it.
I mean, hey, listen, both the Democrats and Republicans are not doing
their best to create jobs. I mean, you bring back that trillion dollars,
you get some people hired, even if it`s just dividend money, it`d make
people feel better! But that money`s got to come back and the president
has to say, I want that back and I want it back now!
MATTHEWS: I want you as secretary of the treasury, if he can`t get
CRAMER: I`ll take the job in a flash!
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Jim Cramer, and --
CRAMER: In a flash!
MATTHEWS: -- thank you -- "Mad Money" airs weekday nights at 6:00
o`clock and 11:00 o`clock Eastern on CNBC.
For more on the politics of the economy, let`s turn to long-time
Democratic consultant Bob Shrum. Mr. Shrum, it sounds to me like reality
and Democratic old-style politics have met. They have met on the road to
somewhere. The latest "New York Times" poll, CBS poll, has 62 percent of
Americans say the country should now give higher priority to job creation
versus the 29 percent it should be cutting spending.
You just heard from Cramer. And I don`t even know Cramer`s politics.
I like him and I don`t know his politics. He says it`s time to spend
money. My question again -- everybody grew up knowing that whenever the
government let a contract somewhere, for Boeing or anybody, or Bud (ph)
company -- I group up in northeast Philly. Every time they spent money,
there were jobs, jobs, and jobs around jobs. Why don`t they do it?
BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I don`t get it.
MATTHEWS: Why doesn`t Obama do it?
SHRUM: I don`t get it. He ought to put a real jobs agenda in front
of the Congress, real job creation, even if they`re not going to pass it,
and then he ought to fight for it. JFK didn`t stop proposing Medicare
because the Congress wouldn`t pass it. You`ve got to go out there and
fight for those things you believe in. I think he`s got --
MATTHEWS: What would Teddy do right now? What would Teddy Kennedy do
right now? I`m serious. Give it a minute.
SHRUM: Well, I think --
MATTHEWS: What would he do right now?
SHRUM: An infrastructure investment bank, which John Kerry has been
pushing very hard, to get all that money out there into those roads, those
bridges, the railroads, get that construction spending going. That`s one
thing he`d do. You`d certainly extend unemployment compensation.
And you`d also draw some real dividing lines with Republicans, an old-
fashioned Democratic message. You`d ask the country, Who`s fighting for
the middle class, who`s standing up for jobs, and you`d prove that you were
the one that was doing it. You know, Chris --
MATTHEWS: You know, I don`t understand --
SHRUM: -- the other night --
MATTHEWS: Keep going. Keep going.
SHRUM: The other night, the president said, Well, I talked about
change, you know, we`re going to believe in, but I didn`t mean change right
away. I didn`t mean change tomorrow. We have to wait for change.
You know, that is a depressing message. That tells people to just
endure. What he needs to be saying is, We`ll never stop fighting for
change, and he has to carry that fight to the country.
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s talk about reality here. And you and I grew up
in America. We know this country. The president knows this country. When
something needs building -- I mean, we look at Chicago. There`s a city
that`s been run well over the years. Its public sector makes sense.
They`ve got the best downtown. They`ve got it all figured out. Everything
makes sense. They got the best museums. Everything`s there for the
people. It works.
What is this fear of government, this sense that government is by its
nature incompetent? Why is Obama selling that by his inaction? Because he
doesn`t seem to believe in it anymore.
SHRUM: I don`t know that you can, at this point, given all the
rhetoric that`s out there, defend government action as an abstraction. But
I`ll tell you what you can defend.
MATTHEWS: How about fixing a bridge?
SHRUM: You can defend putting government back to work, people back to
work. You can defend building a bridge. You can talk about the fact that
the whole interstate highway system in this country was done by government.
You know, there was a president who decided we could go to the moon and
that was done by government.
Government now needs to step into this economy and to spend more while
having a long-term deficit reduction plan tied to the pace of recovery.
That`s what any economist would say. That`s what Jim Cramer was saying a
minute ago. And instead, we have this mythology, and I think it may be a
self-serving mythology. I think the Republicans may want to wreck the
economy, make it even worse, assuming that that`s their road to the White
MATTHEWS: Well, I don`t know what their motivation is. I`ve been
told by people their stockholders would kick them out of their CEO jobs if
they thought they were holding back on investment to screw a Democratic
president. I don`t know what motivates people. But it seems like the
profit sector isn`t working, the profit motive isn`t working to create
jobs, the government better create jobs, or you`re going to have an
The unemployment is not, of course, reflective of how many people are
out of work or underemployed right now. We all know how many people are
underemployed, how many people are working at jobs they could do a hell of
a lot more work in and they`re being deprived of that opportunity.
And my question to you again -- let`s go through the things here. We
know that localities benefit when things are built and people are put into
jobs, not thrown out of them. Why does the public resent that? Why have
they been led to resent that?
SHRUM: I don`t think the public resents that. I think Republicans
have done very well, these Tea Party Republicans, by talking about big
government in the abstract or talking about debt in the abstract.
And I think the president has done, you know, about as well as he
could in a very difficult situation, but he has now got to turn and he`s
got to turn and communicate with the country. He`s got to fight for jobs.
He`s got to go out there and be willing to draw those dividing lines and
say, Look, I`m fighting for you. These guys are fighting for the special
Take even financial reform, which they never talk about. He ought to
be saying, We want to make sure the Wall Street excesses are reined in, the
other guys want to let the speculation run rife, which could destroy your
homes and your jobs all over again.
MATTHEWS: Right. OK, let`s --
SHRUM: It`s a Democratic message --
MATTHEWS: You guys --
SHRUM: Go ahead.
MATTHEWS: -- beat Mitt Romney once. You beat him when he tried to
knock off Ted Kennedy, and you beat him because he didn`t know what he was
talking about. He`s a little better now. He`s a little smarter pol than
he was then, but he`s not that great.
Here`s the Romney campaign ad. I want to know how you would deal with
this. Here`s the statement he put out today, Mitt Romney. "Today`s
unemployment report represents the 30th straight month that the jobless
rate has been above 8 percent. The administration promised with their $800
billion stimulus that they would keep unemployment below that number. When
you see what the president has done to the economy in just three years, you
know why America doesn`t want to find out what he can do in eight."
So that`s the campaign. He`s going to threaten the people with bad
economic news under Obama, promise them jobs, jobs, jobs. Doesn`t the
president have to act now, or give him that argument a year from now?
SHRUM: Sure. And that`s why I say, he`s got to put a real jobs
agenda, a real jobs program out there, and then Mitt Romney, because the
Tea Party types won`t let him, will have to be against it. And also, you
can then --
SHRUM: -- on that basis, go to Romney`s own record, which was a guy
who destroyed jobs, not created them, in the private sector. He was a
restructure artist who made millions and millions and millions of dollars
while cutting people`s wages and putting them out of work.
MATTHEWS: So he was running a chop shop. He`s now coming out saying
how he`s going to create jobs. But Bob, I`m warning us, I`m warning
anybody who cares about this country, what you`re going to see is a guy
claiming to create jobs because it`s easy to promise something when you`re
the only alternative to nothing. And in terms of job creation right now,
it`s nothing on the Democratic side. You`ve got to do something and play
your own strengths. And I don`t know why they`re not playing their
Bob Shrum, as always, a wise man. Coming up: We`ve been talking about
SHRUM: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: -- what this country needs is a jobs program. There are too
many out of work right now and too many things that need being done and
they`re not getting the people who want to work with the jobs that need to
be done. We did it in the great Depression, we can do it again, and the
president needs to stand up to any Republican who says we shouldn`t be
spending money. Shrummy`s right. Make them say no. Let them say this
bridge is fine the way it is. As dangerous as it is, we don`t have to fix
it. Let them say that!
You`re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Well, President Obama`s losing ground in the all-important
battleground state of Florida. Boy, that`s an important one. The new
Quinnipiac poll found that he`s deadlocked now in a hypothetical matchup
with Mitt Romney -- I said so -- 44 to 44. He`s got a lot of promises out
And the president is losing support among Florida independent voters.
They now disapprove of the job he`s doing by nearly 2 to 1. That is
trouble for Obama, 61 percent disapproving him among the independents, only
33 supporting him. Dark clouds for the president in the Sunshine State.
He`s got to get at it.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Isn`t it time we stopped talking about green jobs? This country`s
broken and there ought to be a way to fix it. The government can put
Americans to work on what`s out there, the bridges that are out of shape
and dangerous, the updating of our infrastructure -- if you want to use a
fancy word -- we rely on every day. We did during the great Depression.
Most of the great things we see in this country, public sector jobs, were
done during the great Depression.
Democratic congressman Donna Edwards of Maryland -- she`s here right
with me -- and Eugene Robinson, associate editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning
columnist for "The Washington Post." Well, I`ve got two people here I
trust, so let`s start with this.
Why doesn`t President Obama act like a Democrat and start creating
public service jobs? Has the talk of the deficit, the reality of a $1.7
trillion deficit, scared Democrats out of being Democrats?
REP. DONNA EDWARDS (D), MARYLAND: Well, I think way we get this
economy rolling is we talk about the government actually investing, and not
just reducing spending.
MATTHEWS: Well, why are we doing the other?
EDWARDS: Well, you know, I`m going to tell you something. I`m going
to have this argument and debate within our Democratic caucus and also with
the president, say, Now`s the time to actually spend money. You say
infrastructure -- really big word -- roads, bridges, water and sewer
systems. Pretty simple, put people to work. We have 151,000 bridges in
this country that need repair. That`s a lot of jobs.
MATTHEWS: Why don`t you go down to Richmond and go around and look
for all the bridges below code and all the roads that have potholes in them
and all the systems, the water systems and the sewer systems that are out
of date, and put them on local television and stand there and say, There`s
one man standing against fixing these things, his name`s Eric Cantor.
EDWARDS: Well --
MATTHEWS: All politics is local.
EDWARDS: No, it is --
MATTHEWS: Say it to them!
EDWARDS: People actually know --
MATTHEWS: That was my job, working for Tip O`Neill, was thinking of
those -- thinking of things like that.
EUGENE ROBINSON, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No, I
mean, look, we -- you know, this is a country where a couple years ago, we
had a bridge fall into the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, you know? I
mean, it`s not as if the work isn`t there to be done. It`s not as if there
isn`t a need. There`s a huge need for infrastructure improvement. Go to
any -- almost any developed country in the world and look around at the
airport. And look at our airports.
MATTHEWS: Have you seen LA airports lately, LAX?
MATTHEWS: It`s a dump!
ROBINSON: It is!
MATTHEWS: Have you been to Penn Station in New York, the train
station? It`s a rat hole. Paul Krugman, "New York Times" today, echoed
what I`ve been saying here on HARDBALL. Quote, "The point is that it`s now
time, long past time, to get serious about the real crisis the economy
faces. The fed needs to stop making excuses while the president needs to
come up with real job creation proposals. And if Republicans block those
proposals, he needs to make a Harry Truman-style campaign against the do-
nothing GOP. This might or might not work, but we already know what isn`t
working, the economic policy of the past two years and the millions of
Americans who should have jobs but don`t."
My fear about the president, who I really do respect, he`s getting on
that bus, Gus, he`s going to be riding around the Midwest, for what
purpose? He`s not Pawlenty. He`s not some politician running for the
presidency. He`s got the job.
EDWARDS: Well, I think we`ve got to go out to where those roads and
bridges are. And you don`t have to drive to Richmond. You could go right
outside Washington, D.C., or in Washington, D.C., and find the roads that
are in repair (ph). We actually had a water main break in my district,
right across the Washington Beltway, held up traffic up and down the
We can do these things, and this is not rocket science. I mean, it
was done after the great Depression so that we could get people back to
work, spend a billion dollars, a lousy billion dollars on infrastructure,
and get 35,000 jobs out of that.
MATTHEWS: Well, why are we not doing that?
EDWARDS: Well, we need to.
MATTHEWS: Why is the Democratic caucus --
EDWARDS: We have to. I think --
MATTHEWS: Why isn`t Pelosi and the other leaders like Steny, your
colleague, why aren`t they proposing a big jobs bill? Why don`t they do
EDWARDS: We -- we -- wait a second, Chris. We have. We have also
said we have got to spend it in --
MATTHEWS: What, this bank?
EDWARDS: No, not just an infrastructure thing.
But, look, we had a proposal for $600 billion to be spent on building
roads and bridges, and it`s stalled. And right now you know what the
Republicans are proposing? Two hundred billion dollars. The Urban Land
Institute says that we have $2 trillion in infrastructure needs. And they
want to spend $200 billion.
MATTHEWS: Why do you have to tell me now? Because I read the papers
every day and I don`t know this.
EDWARDS: Well, you know, you should know it. And you know what? The
American people --
MATTHEWS: I should know it. So, it`s my fault?
EDWARDS: No, no, no. The Americans who are out of work know it,
because their construction --
MATTHEWS: They don`t know that the Democratic -- let me go to an
independent journalist here, because you`re a politician.
The Democratic Party is not selling itself as a jobs party, because
it`s not actually fighting for jobs. They control the U.S. Senate.
Where`s the jobs bill from the Senate?
EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, good question.
I mean, look, there are Democrats like Representative Edwards and
others who talk about infrastructure, who understand the need to create
MATTHEWS: That`s about as good a word as stimulus, by the way. I
love those words, boring, boring words.
ROBINSON: Yes, bad word.
But there are other Democrats who frankly are cowed, I believe, by the
kind of Republican message machine that debt and deficit are somehow a more
urgent problem than the deepest and longest-lasting, you know, recession
since the Great Depression, a period that we`re going to look back on and
have to come up way name for like Great Depression, if it proceeds. Maybe
it`s not technically a depression, but unprecedented numbers of Americans
are out of work.
MATTHEWS: Yes. I wonder --
ROBINSON: Not just -- not just the infrastructure, which is a huge
part of it, but the real estate crisis.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, I know we have that problem.
You know what my problem is? You know, I believe in capitalism, like
we all do generally. But there`s a problem with capitalism right now. You
can`t rely on it to create jobs. Big corporate boardrooms are having --
stuffed with money -- $2.5 trillion, we`re told, there sitting in their
wallets, not spending.
And every time you hear about something happening around here or
anywhere else, they`re firing people and bringing in robots. That`s what`s
EDWARDS: Well, I mean, that`s what the replacement economy is.
And that is exactly why we have to have government, and I know that
there`s been -- there`s been so much beating up on government that people
actually believe government can`t do anything, but what government can do
is hire people. You know, send the money out to the states. Get those
road crews going again. Put the billion dollars to create the 35,000 jobs,
another $6 billion in economic activity from the truck that has to bring
the food by the road crew to the cafeteria.
EDWARDS: People will be working across this economy. This is not
ROBINSON: And the time to do did it is now, when the labor is
available and money is cheap.
Gene, to make your point, look what we did in the `30s. We have got
some pictures to show. These are structures, edifices, really, that went
up doing the 1930s, the Empire State Building, the Hoover Dam. There it
is, the Hoover Dam. Rachel Maddow has been doing all those ads out there.
That was built in the `30s.
We had -- I mean, I don`t know what -- I think that`s the Golden Gate
Bridge going up. That`s the Hoover Dam, that one. Then we have the Empire
State Building going up there. That was private sector. The others were
And I believe we have got a Golden Gate picture coming up in a minute
-- coming up in a minute here, Golden Gate, which was I think one of
mankind`s few improvements on nature.
MATTHEWS: I just went over that a couple times. That is an
improvement on nature as it went up.
And they were built at the time we had tremendous -- Rockefeller
Center -- at the time we had tremendous unemployment, a lot of guys and
women looking for jobs, and they were given jobs, and labor was relatively
cheap, as it is now available, and there`s resources out there.
We don`t have inflation now. And I look at this city, this beautiful
city, the Federal Triangle, Jefferson Memorial, all this stuff built during
the times. It`s an imaginative opportunity to do it again, Gene.
ROBINSON: I couldn`t agree more. And you could even just go around
the city and you could pick out the projects that really ought to be done.
Let`s do them.
You know what they do with private sector giving? They say every --
99 percent of this will go to the charity. It won`t go to administrative
costs. The next time the president passes one of these doofus stimulus
bills, this bill, 99 percent will go to actual construction jobs. Nothing
will go to tax cuts. Nothing will go to -- everything will go to
construction jobs that you can actually see and smell and stand on sidewalk
and look at.
And then we will believe in stimulus when we can actually see it.
That`s the trouble with the bill.
Anyway, I`m lecturing to the experts here.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Congresswoman Donna Edwards.
You`re looking at me like, will he stop giving speeches?
MATTHEWS: Eugene Robinson.
MATTHEWS: Up next, the truth comes out.
A former Michele Bachmann aide says he quit because -- he was the
chief of staff -- because -- he was a recent chief of staff -- because of
her tendency to -- quote -- "make things up." Ooh. That`s next in the
You`re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Now to the "Sideshow."
First up: fed up. That`s how one of Michele Bachmann`s recent chiefs
of staff describes his sentiments after repeatedly having to face the
backlash of Bachmann`s tendency to make what he calls blatantly false
statements. There was the issue of Obama`s $20 million -- $200 million
trip to India last year. Not true.
And then a staple in many of her speeches that Obama has added more to
the federal debt load than all the other presidents combined. That`s
right, all 43 of them. Well, the former aide expressed frustration in a
"Wall Street Journal" interview, saying -- quote -- "It was simply not
true, but yet I could never get her to drop that line."
Well, the piece points out that when it comes to staff, Bachmann has
an unusually high turnover rate.
Next up, in the midst abysmal approval ratings, Florida Governor Rick
Scott is launching a new initiative to reach out to voters and taking a
trip down memory lane once a month. Scott will take a day off from his
gubernatorial duties and take up the responsibilities of an employee at a
It kicked off earlier this week when he briefly joined the staff of a
local doughnut shop, a bit of a sentimental choice, given that Scott owned
one of them in his earlier days. Although he plans to continue the project
with one workday a month, many voters weren`t amused by the publicity
stunt, stopping by to hand him over pink slips to the governor -- their
pink slips -- and calling for jobs, not doughnuts.
And some quick thinking by GOP candidate Rick Santorum. When the
lights went out to him during a speech in Iowa last night, let`s take a
look at his unexpected reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: (OFF-MIKE)
SANTORUM: So --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, he could have used a spotlight there. Nothing like a
little Frank Sinatra improv routine to prove that, when it comes to the
candidate at least, the lights are on and somebody`s home.
That brings us to tonight`s "Big Number."
Texas Governor Rick Perry is gearing up for a big prayer event at
Reliant Stadium in Houston. Not quite unexpectedly, the number of "I plan
to come"s is rather low.
Just how many seats are still available in a stadium that can hold
71,500 people? Roughly 6,300 -- actually, 63,500 seats still available.
That`s a bit ironic that the event is entitled "The Response." If that`s a
response, what do you call a regret?
MATTHEWS: That`s tonight`s "Big Number."
We will be back with more on Rick Perry`s prayer jamboree coming up.
He`s getting closer to running for president, maybe. So can he afford to
share the stage with some of the fringe fanatics at that big prayer
jamboree tomorrow? Some have made anti-gay remarks, anti-Catholic remarks.
One even called the Statue of Liberty a demonic idol.
You`re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
HAMPTON PEARSON, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Hampton Pearson with your
CNBC "Market Wrap."
If you blink, you might have missed a rally or a plunge today -- the
Dow whipsawing through 400-point swings to finish 60 points in the green,
the S&P 500 down a fraction and the Nasdaq shedding 24 points.
Despite today`s gains, the markets are logging their worst week in
more than two years. Stocks started higher on today`s better-than-expected
jobs report, 117,000 jobs added in July bringing the unemployment rate down
to 1.9 percent, but started sliding on rumors that S&P was going to
downgrade the U.S. credit rating after the close today.
Then the roller coaster started climbing again, after Italy announced
key structural reforms aimed at stabilizing its economy. In earnings new,
Procter & Gamble beat expectations, as cost cuts and price hikes offset
rising materials costs. And online travel agency Priceline wowed the
Street with killer profits and big growth in its overseas markets.
That`s it from CNBC, first in big worldwide -- now back to HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: With the economy in trouble, communities
in crisis and people adrift in a sea of moral relativism, we need God`s
help. That`s why I`m calling on Americans to pray and fast, like Jesus
did, and as God called the Israelites to do.
And I sincerely hope you will join mean in Houston on August the 6th
and take your place in Reliant Stadium with praying people asking God`s
forgiveness, his wisdom and provision for our state and nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Hmm. Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was, of course, Governor Rick Perry we`re all getting to know,
inviting Americans to participate in "The Response," a day of prayer and
fasting tomorrow in Texas -- in Houston, in fact.
Civil liberties groups are in Texas protesting the event, saying that
Perry`s religious revival blurs the line between the separation of church
and state. And critics also point out that some of the groups organizing
the event hold extreme right-wing positions on gay rights and other issues.
Joining me right now is Tony Perkins, the president of the Family
Research Council, and Barry Lynn, the executive director of Americans
United for Separation of Church and State.
What do you make of the participants in this, Tony Perkins?
That`s for coming on, by the way, sir.
What do you make of these participants, like Bryan Fischer, Reverend
Hagee, Mike Bickle? What do you make of these characters?
TONY PERKINS, PRESIDENT, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: Well, first, let me
just thank you for bringing my old friend Barry Lynn and I back together.
We had a chance to visit in the green room -- a good few years since we
have been together.
And I think that actually makes the point when you look at who`s going
to be on the stage tomorrow that there is -- there`s a lot of diversity
when you look at kind of evangelical denominations. I`m Southern Baptist.
Richard Land is a Southern Baptist. We have a lot of theological
differences of opinion with some of those who will be there tomorrow, but
we all share one thing in common. We have an orthodox view of
And we`re coming together for one thing, not to make speeches, not to
even preach --
PERKINS: -- but rather, simply, to pray, to pray for the nation.
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s -- Barry, I want you to respond to this.
Here`s Reverend --
BARRY LYNN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AMERICANS UNITED FOR SEPARATION OF
CHURCH AND STATE: Yes.
MATTHEWS: Well, he`s Bryan Fischer. He`s with the American Family
Association. Let`s hear what he has to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRYAN FISCHER, SPOKESMAN, AMERICAN FAMILY ASSOCIATION: Hitler
discovered that he could not get straight soldiers to be savage and brutal
and vicious enough, but that homosexual soldiers basically had no limits in
the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict on whoever Hitler
sent them after.
Permits in my judgment should not be granted to build even one more
mosque in the United States of America, not one. We ought to be done with
the building of mosques in the United States of America.
President Obama is half-white and half-black. Herman Cain is all
black. He`s authentically black. He is the real black man in the race.
That`s why President Barack Obama nurtures this -- nurtures this
hatred for the United States of America, and I believe nurtures a hatred
for the white man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Barry, what do you make of this character?
LYNN: Well, this is really fringe material.
And, of course, Governor Perry shouldn`t be calling on people in Texas
or around the country to come to a Christian-only prayer rally, which is
exactly how this started. The diversity that Tony Perkins talks about, by
the way, does not include anyone who is Muslim, anyone who is Jewish.
The only way they`re invited to even come tomorrow is so they can
learn about Jesus. In other words, this is now government evangelism
sponsored by the -- I think government evangelism, by the way, is an
Mr. Fischer, on the other hand, is not some guy who lives in his
basement and who writes obscure blog postings. This is a guy employed by
the American Family Association, the key, lead sponsor of this event,
chosen, recruited by the governor to do this event, whether it`s a success
or a failure.
LYNN: So when people sometimes say, well, it`s guilt by association,
no, this is guilt by construction. The governor decided who we wanted to
lead it, and he got just what he wanted, these people on the far fringes of
even conservative Christianity.
MATTHEWS: Tony, your response to the fact --
PERKINS: Well, I would --
MATTHEWS: -- that the sponsoring organization was just spoken for by
that -- that wing nut we just heard from, who`s calling -- and saying gays
are butchers, and he didn`t any Islamic religion practiced in this country
and a lot of other far-out stuff. He`s the sponsor of this organization
meeting tomorrow, this jamboree of religion.
PERKINS: No, he is -- look, the American Family Association here,
he`s -- he has a talk show on the American Family Association.
Look, in terms of Barry saying that this is a fringe, Southern
Baptists are 18 -- the largest Protestant denomination, 18 million
Americans. Are you saying they`re all fringe?
And, Barry, if you`d done your homework, you would know that Jewish
people have spoken in favor of this. Yes, it`s open to everybody, but is
also an overtly Christian event, where people are coming with an orthodox
LYNN: Tony, why is it a Christian event sponsored by the governor of
the state of Texas? The Lone Star State is a state.
PERKINS: The governor is not sponsoring this.
LYNN: It is not the church, last time I checked.
PERKINS: Barry, Barry, Barry, not a single dollar of taxpayer money
is being spent in this. This is all funded --
PERKINS: -- by the private sector over $2 million. Let me ask you,
Barry, would you come to a prayer event? I mean, would you sponsor a --
MATTHEWS: OK, let me moderate, Tony. I welcome you here to be a
guest not a moderator.
Let`s take a look at Reverend John Hagee. This guy hates Catholics.
His most controversial statements in the past had been he called the
Catholic Church the great whore. That`s part of the diversity here
tomorrow. He called the Hurricane Katrina God`s judgment or punishment of
New Orleans. He said America has become a pagan society.
Let`s look at this collage of voices that are going to be representing
-- here`s a montage, I should say, of controversial comments from Bryan
Fisher, a spokesman for the group sponsoring the event, Mike Bickle, the
International House of Prayer, John Benefiel, who`s head of Heartland
Apostolic Prayer Network, each of which would be participating in
Let`s listen to this montage of voices and then Tony can respond.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
BRYAN FISHER, AMERICAN FAMILY ASSOCIATION SPOKESMAN: I believe that
homosexuals are morally disqualified from holding public office. Why?
Because they are engaging in sexually abhorrent behavior.
JOHN BENEFIEL, HEARTLAND APOSTOLIC PRAYER NETWORK: You know, there`s
a statue in New York harbor called the Statue of Liberty. You know where
we got it from? French Freemasons. Listen, folks, that is an idol, a
demonic idol, right there in the middle of new York harbor.
MIKE BICKLE, FOUNDER OF THE INTERNATIONAL HOUSE OF PRAYER: The Harlot
of Babylon is preparing the nations to receive the antichrist. I believe
that one of the main pastors as a forerunner to the Harlot movement, it`s
not the Harlot movement yet, is Oprah. A classy woman, a cool woman, a
charming woman, but has a spirited deception and she is one of the clear
pastors, forerunner, to the Harlot movement.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MATTHEWS: Tony, the Harlot of Babylon is Oprah Winfrey. The Statue
the Liberty is a demonic statue.
These people don`t sound like Christians to me. Are they to you?
PERKINS: Look, as I said before -- not everybody that`s on that
platform agrees with what others have said or what they hold to believe.
But there is one unifying factor that brings people there tomorrow, and
it`s what you will see. It is a prayer for our nation. A prayer for this
state and for other states, for God to move in this country, and there`s a
unifying element is the orthodox view from Christianity that Jesus Christ
is the means of salvation, and he is the means to communicate with the
Therefore, we`re having a Christian event because in the pluralistic
event that Barry would sponsor, you can`t pray in Jesus` name. He wants a
public sector, a public square that`s devoid of Christianity and some kind
of nebulous, you know, I feel myself holy religion. This is clearly
LYNN: No. Actually, that`s not -- in fact, weren`t of the --
MATTHEWS: Your turn, Barry.
LYNN: Tony, you know, of course, that we are holding -- yes, we`re
holding an alternative event, a family, faith and freedom event tonight at
a largely African-American Baptist church here in Houston.
PERKINS: I saw that moniker.
LYNN: It is diverse. There will be humongous. There will be
presentations from the Muslim and Jewish community.
Why? Because we think inclusiveness is the American way. It`s the
American principle. It`s what the Constitution requires --
PERKINS: I`m glad you`re doing it.
LYNN: -- that governor be neutral on these matters.
Now, Tony, wait a second.
PERKINS: No, no, no.
LYNN: You and both of get invited to speak to large numbers of
people, big events. Are you telling me you didn`t look into the
backgrounds of any of these people or just cut them a break even though
they`ve said these outlandish things?
LYNN: Come on!
MATTHEWS: Tony, is this going to --
PERKINS: I said I don`t agree with these things.
MATTHEWS: Do you support Governor Perry for president?
Tony, I got to get to the politics. Do you think Rick Perry would be
a good presidential candidate? Tony?
PERKINS: I think -- I think he has the makings of a presidential
candidate. Let me say, Barry`s talking about, he wants elected officials
to check their religious -- personal religious convictions at the door.
Nothing in the Constitution says that. In fact, that`s to the contrary.
MATTHEWS: Let me make a point -- Barry, John Kennedy went to Houston
to meet with the ministers of Houston and said he`d keep his religion apart
from his public duties as president and his responsibilities to the
Do you think Rick Perry is doing that tomorrow? Saying that he`s
going to keep his religion apart from his constitutional duties?
LYNN: No. He`s merging the two and trying to act like the job
description for governor of Texas is find a way to bring everyone from San
Antonio to Dallas to Jesus. That is not part of the job description. I
read what his job duties are. That is not one of them.
And, Tony Perkins, I`ve got say, again, this idea that somehow this is
the decoupled from politics I think is nonsense. Governor Perry, if he
jumps into this race is already jumping into a race filled with people two
of whom, at least Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich, who have suggested
that God has already chosen them to run. He`s got to show whether he`s
even holier than they are, whether this is successful or not.
I`ll tell you, if he doesn`t fill up half of those seats in the
stadium tomorrow, this will be a political disaster, whatever he has in
MATTHEWS: Barry, you can`t read the mind of Rick Perry, as small as
Thank you very much, Tony Perkins. Thank you, Barry Lynn.
I think Barry went over the boundary saying he knows what Rick Perry
thinks. That`s kind of a mind reading operation.
Up next, let`s go to the front lines of that horrible famine, serious
business coming up here in Somalia. Our own Richard Engel, the best
reporter around, is in Mogadishu with the latest.
This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Mitt Romney may be looking over his shoulder at Rick Perry,
whom we just talked about. Romney just signed an anti-gay marriage pledge
supporting another constitutional amendment here defining marriage as
between one man and one woman.
They love just love loving the Constitution. Keep changing it.
He`s one of only three presidential candidates to sign the pledge.
The other two, staunch social conservatives, Rick Perry and, of course,
Michele Bachmann. Romney is clearly watching his right flank as the Texas
governor considers getting in the race.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`ll get to Richard Engel from Somalia in just a minute.
But, let me talk about something I`ve started tonight, it`s jobs.
It`s talk -- not talk, not taxes, not this political togetherness that adds
up to doing nothing in this country, not a bus trip.
Here`s my jobs program and how to make it happen.
Mr. President, all you have to do is get your public works and
economic development people and these government agencies to draw up a list
of all of the bridges in this country below safety code in all the
congressional districts of the country. You get some help locally on this
from the chief engineers of the towns across the country. That`s how they
get the information. Start with that.
Get a picture of those dilapidated bridges and have your local
Democratic committee people, or mayor, or whoever you can call, local
newspaper, local TV affiliate, and get them to put a picture of those
bridges and their exact locations right on the television or the newspaper
before the local people. Let them see the danger that bridge poses to the
next car or school bus that goes over and demand that the local member of
Congress vote to fix it. Vote to get it up to safety code.
It`s not about political defense or defense, not about trying to match
the other party in your fervor to cut government spending or cut taxes or
whatever else is on their agenda. It`s about getting to the country`s
agenda, putting people to work, doing things that need doing.
Look, if you want to get things build, the Empire State Building and
Golden Gate Bridge -- they all went up during the middle of the Great
Depression. You build them when labor is cheap, when prices are held down
by the slow economy. You do the jobs that need doing when there are people
out there looking desperately for something to do.
This is the Chris Matthews jobs program -- take the pictures, put them
before the public. Let people know what`s failing, falling down, and fix
If some member of Congress refused to do it again, put the heat on him
or her. Make him or her defend that dangerous bridge, make them explain
why it`s get better to not dot job that government is there to do.
Is the private sector going to fix the bridge? Don`t wait too long
for them to do it.
The key is focus here, political focus. The key is keeping it local.
The key is hitting those projects that need doing. Not shovel-ready,
whatever that means.
It`s something broken that needs fixing and some lazy stubborn member
of Congress is keeping it from getting fixed. Put the heat on these people
instead of sitting there and having them put that heat on you, Mr.
The bus trip would be a lot better if you were taking that bus over
the bridges and the roads, pass the other public works jobs that you are
dead set on fixing and your opponents are afraid to refuse. So, make them
an offer they can`t refuse. Offer to fix the bridges where they live,
where their kids have to cross in the morning this September. Just do it,
because it`s a lot better than getting yelled at for doing something and
being looked down on for standing there and taking it.
So, there is it is, the Chris Matthews jobs program. Don`t worry, you
don`t have to post it on the site. Your name is going to be on that one.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
Thousands of people are dying from hunger over in Somalia, in the Horn
of Africa. And Islamic terrorists are taking advantage of the situation by
blocking humanitarian aid and using the tragedy as a recruitment tool,
believe it or not. Dr. Jill Biden, the vice president`s wife, is scheduled
to lead a delegation to the region this weekend.
All throughout this segment, by the way, we are putting up Web sites
on the lower part of the screen where you can see, where you can visit if
you want to help, and I hope you do.
NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel joins us right now
from Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.
What have you seen over there, Richard, that you can tell us about?
RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we
were able to see today is that there is starting to be a cholera outbreak
in the city. We went to the only hospital for children in Mogadishu.
The conditions are appalling. This hospital has no electricity, no
water, no operating room, no toilets even, and you can imagine what it`s
like in a hospital where there is now a cholera outbreak and no toilets.
People are just withering away. They are dying.
We saw one woman about a week and a half ago. She walked over a
hundred kilometers, a hundred miles, excuse me, to get to this hospital.
And today, she died of cholera. And they took her body outside.
So, people are still coming to Mogadishu, escaping some of the even
harder hit famine areas in southern Somalia. But once they get here, they
are finding that the situation is not much better.
MATTHEWS: What`s the government doing? Or is the government being
there? Is there even a government in that part of Somalia?
ENGEL: There is a government but I think you can also say that
government is so weak that it is almost not a government. There is a
central authority that is backed up by the United States, some
international donors. It`s backed on the ground by African peacekeepers.
I`m on one of the African peacekeepers military bases in Mogadishu,
not far from the airport. There are 9,000 peacekeepers here from Uganda
But this government, without the support of financially from the
outside world, without the physical support of these 9,000 troops, would
not exist. And it really doesn`t exercise much authority in this country
or even in Mogadishu. It controls maybe half of the city but without this
extra support from the outside, it probably wouldn`t control anything.
MATTHEWS: You know, I just look at human desperation. I think it`s
sort of the final limit of human desperation when you don`t even bother to
swat the flies any more. There are so many of them and the conditions are
I mean, what`s the United States -- what can we do? What are we
doing? And not in that order. What are we doing and what can`t we be
ENGEL: The problem is this group that you mentioned, al Shabaab. It
is a militant group. That`s the group that controls the other half of this
city, controls the other half of the country. It is a group allied with al
Qaeda. It has sent troops to fight alongside al Qaeda. It`s actually
getting a lot of support now because Yemen, which is just across the Gulf
of Aden from here, is in such a state of chaos that al Qaeda in Yemen is
helping al Shabaab here.
So, it is a strong organization on the ground. And it is not allowing
any aid to come into its areas.
MATTHEWS: Thanks so much -- the great reporter Richard Engel over in
Mogadishu. What a terrible situation. I hope we can help.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. Here in America,
we are so lucky to be here.
More politics ahead with Al Sharpton.
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Guests: Jim Cramer, Eugene Robinson, Hampton Pearson, Richard Engel, Bob Shrum, Donna Edwards, Barry Lynn, Tony Perkins