Guests: Sen. Sherrod Brown, Michael Mulgrew, Susan Milligan, Rick Santorum,
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Taking it to the streets.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews down in Washington.
Leading off tonight: The whole world is watching. The Occupy Wall
Street protesters who`ve been gathering across the country aren`t
necessarily looking for a leader, but a leader may be looking for them.
You can be sure the organizers don`t want to be co-opted by any political
party, even the Democrats. But you can be just as sure that the Democrats
are desperate to ride that wave of energy and enthusiasm. If there`s a Tea
Party on the left, you may be looking at it.
Also, Mass hysteria. Republican Scott Brown is fighting hard to
change the subject after taking a personal shot at rival Elizabeth Warren`s
physical appearance. This is just the start of what`s going to be the most
in-your-face Senate race in the country.
Plus, waiting for Superman, or Superwoman. Chris Christie said no.
So did Sarah Palin. Rick Perry`s losing supporters. And Rick Santorum is
hoping to be the guy who picks them up and becomes the big-name
conservative in the race. We`ll play HARDBALL tonight with Rick Santorum.
And Jon Huntsman finally came in first in a straw poll. That`s the
good news. The bad news is -- well, check out the "Sideshow."
And "Let Me Finish" tonight with a need to watch the Wall Street
protesters and listen to them for solutions.
Let`s begin with the Occupy Wall Street protests themselves. Sherrod
Brown is a Democrat from Ohio. Senator, if you were standing in Wall
Street with the Occupy Wall Street people, what placard would you be
holding up in the air?
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Boy, that`s a good question. I just
think for the president to stand on the -- stand -- stand -- be on our side
in the end. And I mean, this isn`t a liberal, conservative, left or right,
it`s whose side are you on. And the president`s starting to fight more
than he did. That`s a good sign.
I think the energy coming out of the Wall Street protesters is always
a good thing. When people non-violently speak out and stand for something,
it`s good to challenge authority when they do that.
MATTHEWS: Do you think they want reform, or do they want structural
change, the kind of stuff I grew up with and you grew up, which is a real
argument about what kind of a system of economy we have in this country?
Is this for structural change, radical change, like the way profits go to
different corporations or the way people get jobs? Is it systemic? Or do
they just want things fixed a little? I`m curious. What do you think?
BROWN: Well, I don`t think they want minor reforms. I think -- I
mean, you remember during the banking bill, one of the -- the Brown-Kaufman
(ph) amendment would have said -- it would have basically said those banks
that have gotten bigger and bigger and bigger, the biggest six banks in the
country, should have been broken up into smaller banks.
It would have -- instead of the power again occurring at the top. We
saw what happened this week, when some of the largest banks in the country
added additional charges quietly, sort of underhandedly, to some of the
veterans that were refinancing their homes. And those kind of things are
still going on.
So minor changes at the edge are not what people want. And I think
that, you know, having a -- having Rich Cordray in as the Consumer
Protection Bureau chief, things like that are really going to make these --
make the big banks and make others behave the way they`re supposed to.
MATTHEWS: Well, do you think corporations are, like Mitt Romney says
they are, they`re just people like us? Do you think they operate in the
national interest or the interests of working people? When corporate
boards meet and make decisions about automating and getting rid of
employees, or make decisions about investing overseas and not here, do you
think they make decisions in the interests of patriotism or just cash?
What do you think?
BROWN: Well, I think that they -- I think they`re operating -- I
mean, I remember the CEO of one major company -- may have been GE, or it
might have been Dow, I can`t remember -- a few years ago, said, I wish I
could move my corporate headquarters to a barge off the coast so I wouldn`t
have to be beholden to any country.
And I mean, I understand that. If that`s the way they are, then we
treat them that way. And that is that we treat them fairly but firmly on
taxes and other things. And you know, when we give tax breaks for
companies that move overseas, there`s something wrong with that.
Earlier today, I was speaking -- I was at Miracle Scott`s Grow (ph), a
company in sort of central Ohio, and one guy said, What are we going --
this guy is management. He said, What are we going to do to help the
middle class here? We`re seeing middle class wages decline. We`re see
manufacturing move jobs offshore.
BROWN: And I think that`s what these protests on Wall Street are all
about. They`re standing up not just for the middle class but for working
people who aspire to be middle class, and that is getting a fair shake from
companies and getting a fair shake from their government. They don`t feel
like they are, clearly.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I think they`re there to stay. I think this is going
to be as big as -- maybe not as big as Egypt, but I think this is going to
be permanent in our politics all through the next election. These people
have got their act together, more than I think the Democratic Party does
Anyway, let`s look at this Values Voters summit today. Republican
Majority Leader Eric Cantor denounced the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Let`s listen to his angle.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MAJORITY LEADER: I for one am increasingly
concerned about the growing mobs occupying Wall Street and the other cities
across the country. And believe it or not, some in this town have actually
condoned the pitting of Americans against Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Such babbitry! Babbitry. Why do you think he
MATTHEWS: No, really, it is like the old Sinclair Lewis. I mean,
here`s a guy speaking to the people of Main Street about the evils of the
little people outside their windows. I mean, why do you think the
Republican Party instinctively dumps on people who are out of work, people
who are simply, in an American way, raising their voices?
BROWN: Well, it`s the same people on the Republican far right that
anytime -- anytime we talk about a tax increase for somebody making a $1
million a year, anytime we talk about challenging the banks or challenging
big insurance companies or people protesting peacefully on Wall Street,
they say, Class warfare, class warfare.
Well, as you know, and you`ve talked on this show, Chris, many times,
the class warfare`s been aimed by interests -- the best -- the biggest
wealthiest interest groups in the country aimed at the middle class. And
unfortunately, the middle class far too often is losing on these -- on this
class warfare coming from the most well-heeled interest groups in
And that`s why -- that`s why they`re fighting back. That`s why we`re
BROWN: That`s why you fight back on this show to just give everybody
an equal chance. And when Eric Cantor does that, he shows his true
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you so much. I`m with you, by the way. I
think you`re a great senator.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Sherrod Brown, Ohio.
BROWN: Thanks, Chris. Appreciate that.
MATTHEWS: Michael Mulgrew is president of the United Federation of
teachers, and he joins us right now from the protest site in downtown. Mr.
Mulgrew, I like you for where you are and I like the fact you`re on this
What can -- let`s talk about the left, the positive left, who want to
make this a better country. I`m not talking anarchy, I`m talking people
that really want good reform, structural change in the right kind of way,
more equality in this country. What can get done if labor can get in bed
with these people on the streets there?
MICHAEL MULGREW, PRES., UNITED FEDERATION OF TEACHERS: Well, the
people here at Occupy Wall Street, first and foremost, you know, they`re
very clear that this is not a political movement, this is a social
movement. And we`re -- you know, myself and some of my colleagues, we`re
here to say, Just do what you`re doing and keep it moving because this is a
discussion that we believe this country needs to have.
And as you walk through this park, you hear all of their different
ideas, but the main thing, the main message that they keep saying is,
Whatever`s been going on here in this country, 1 percent keep getting
richer and 99 percent are getting poorer and poorer.
And we`re hoping that by supporting these people and just let them
keep going out and saying the message that they`re doing, go across this
country, that that`s the debate we need to be having on every street corner
across this country if we want our country once again to work for everyone.
MATTHEWS: As you walk among those people -- and you can probably talk
well to them, as a labor organizer -- do you ever hear -- did you hear an
idea or two that struck you that you liked? What kind of -- I mean,
seriously, I want to know what you`ve learned out there because I`m talking
about it at the end of the show tonight. I think we can learn from people
out on the streets. Did you hear any ideas you liked from the people out
there, the Occupy Wall Street people there?
MULGREW: Well, they really have a -- it`s a highly structured
organization inside of this park right here. People tried to have -- put
them out there as, like, this complete chaotic group. I mean, they have a
structure for, you know, how do we make our decisions based on what
policies we want to do, just even how they work here. There`s a medical
center. There`s a cafeteria. There`s a library center.
And what we`re seeing here is all of their decisions are made about
what`s best for the majority of the people. How do we make sure we allow
the individual voice to be heard, but at the same time, how do we make sure
that whatever we`re deciding helps most of the people?
And that is something that has obviously gone awry here in this
country. I`m standing right now in downtown New York City. New York City
is the income disparity capital of the entire United States. So this is a
clear example of what`s going wrong. The financial industry`s here, but
more than half the households in this city are now below the poverty line.
And that`s what I`m learning (ph) from them. It`s, like, we all just
have to respect each other, but at the same time, stop with the politics.
We want our society to move forward. And I think that`s a very powerful
message they`re delivering.
MATTHEWS: Give me one thing that Congress could to that would reduce
the disparity, the difference between rich and poor in America?
MULGREW: Well, right off the top, it has to be -- you know, the tax
structure is completely out of whack. I represent teachers and school
secretaries. They`re paying more -- a higher percentage of tax than
someone who`s making $17 billion running a hedge fund. That`s absurd!
We haven`t had the concentration of wealth this high -- this is just
such a small percentage having all the wealth since 1929. And what you`re
hearing here and what so many people have been saying is, We don`t want a
complete collapse. We do not want another great recession. So just start
with the tax structure. Let`s be fair about it.
MATTHEWS: Well, wait a minute!
MATTHEWS: OK, it`s Friday. Let`s have some -- let`s get serious
here. The Democrats have controlled the Congress a lot in the last 20, 30
years. There`ve been chairmen -- we got still a Democratic chairman of the
Finance Committee in the Senate. They`ve controlled Ways and Means with a
lot of well-known people, like Charlie Rangel. They never got rid of
carried interest. They never got rid of those disgusting advantages that
the hedge fund operators get.
Why should you trust the Democrats, when they`ve had the power to get
rid of these crappy tax deals that give money to people who already make
billions -- why do you trust them to fix it?
MULGREW: You know, that`s why I was very clear to say to you this is
not a political movement. This is a social movement. It doesn`t matter,
Democrat or Republican. What we are hearing now is the government has not
been working for the people. We`ve had Democrats in control and
Republicans in control, and for 30 years, we`ve seen all this wealth shift,
and it has to stop.
That`s what I`ve learned from walking in this park and talking to
these people. It`s got to be about, stop with these party politics, but
more importantly, let`s do what`s right for most people. Let`s have a real
chance at the middle class again.
I`m a teacher. I educate children. But I also want to make sure that
as that child gets educated and goes to college, they have access to a good
life. It`s pretty clear, talk to anyone here, talk to anyone on Main
Street or anywhere else--
MULGREW: -- those opportunities are disappearing.
MATTHEWS: You know, in Cairo, you and I watched it, like everybody
else, what happened over there. They brought down Mubarak. They brought
down the statues. They changed everything in Egypt. I hope that doesn`t
happen here because I don`t like violence and I do love our Constitution.
But what do you think? Can good come out of this in the end? In a couple
weeks or a couple months, what`s going to be different in America because
of that crowd behind you?
MULGREW: What I`m -- what we`re all hoping is that that discussion
about really making those changes, about stop -- the income disparity is
one of the major things you hear over and over in here. And they all feel,
for their own little reasons, they might have about campaign finance, it
might be about free media, or where it`s not independent anymore -- they`re
all saying that you need to stop the income disparity that`s just out of
control in this country because you have to have that strong middle class.
MATTHEWS: I agree with you.
MULGREW: And if we start hearing politicians on both sides start
talking about that, instead of trying though play these divide games, then
these people have accomplished something that we haven`t been able to do in
MATTHEWS: You`re great, Mr. Mulgrew. It`s great having you on.
Please come back to hard HARDBALL. You belong here, too.
MULGREW: Take care.
MATTHEWS: Coming up: Republican senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts
is fighting hard to get away from a very rough comment he made about
Elizabeth Warren`s physical appearance. You don`t do that here. Brown
versus Warren can promise to be one of the most in-your-face Senate races
in this country, and it`s just getting started. We`re going to go to that
right after this break.
You`re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
We`ve got new poll numbers from Pew on the possible general election
matchups. Let`s check the HARDBALL "Scoreboard." These are hot.
Right now, it`s Mitt Romney and President Obama both at 48 percent,
dead even. But among independents, Romney has a commanding lead over the
president. That is scary for the Democrats and the White House -- 54 to 41
among independents. Against Rick Perry, President Obama leads but just by
4 against Perry, 50-46. But again, the president trails even Perry among
independents. Look at that. They break Perry 48-45.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
There`s a fight brewing between Massachusetts Republican senator Scott
Brown and his most likely Democratic opponent for the Senate next year,
Elizabeth Warren. It all started on Tuesday, when in a Democratic debate,
Warren, Elizabeth Warren, was asked by a young Republican how she paid for
college. The questioner then reminded everybody, including her, that Scott
Brown had posed nude for "Cosmopolitan" magazine to pay for his law school.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To help pay for his law school education, Scott
Brown posed for "Cosmo." How did you pay for your college education?
ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), SENATE CANDIDATE: I kept my clothes on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: "I kept my clothes on." Well, yesterday, Scott Brown was
asked about the exchange in a radio interview. Let`s listen to that.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you officially responded to Elizabeth
Warren`s comment about how she didn`t take her clothes off?
SEN. SCOTT BROWN (R), MASSACHUSETTS: Thank God!
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: "Thank God." Anyway, later, Elizabeth Warren responded to
his statement. Let`s listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think about this "Thank God" comment?
WARREN: You know, I`ll survive a few jabs from Scott Brown over my
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think he should apologize?
WARREN: I`ll survive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow. And "The Boston Globe" reports that Brown went back
on radio last night to say his earlier statement on Warren was a joke.
That`s what he says.
So in a competitive race, does a back-and-forth like this help either
candidate? Susan Milligan has covered Massachusetts politics for years.
She writes for "U.S. News & World Report." David Corn`s the Washington
bureau chief, of course, for "Mother Jones," and Alex Wagner is an MSNBC
I want to start with Susan. Who`s won this thing, so far, this little
back-and-forth about making fun of somebody`s physical appearance, saying
it`s a joke? She sort of -- she didn`t exactly start it because that
Republican youngster started taunting her. Go ahead.
SUSAN MILLIGAN, "U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT": Yes. I think if anybody
wins, it`s probably Elizabeth Warren. I mean, first of all, I think we all
know that a woman would never be able to run for office like this if she`d
posed nude for a magazine. It didn`t seem to trouble people about Scott
But I think what his problem is, is that his campaign is now saying
that this is an example of how elitist Elizabeth Warren is because she
didn`t have to do something like that.
MILLIGAN: And I kind of want their theme song to be that Donna
MATTHEWS: They`re trying to bring it back to what happened 30 years
MILLIGAN: Right. Exactly.
MATTHEWS: I want to know just your bottom line, who won the back-and-
forth when she took the opportunity to mention that he`d posed naked for --
nude for "Cosmopolitan" years ago, when he was in law school, and then he
made the personal shot at her.
MATTHEWS: Who won in that exchange?
MATTHEWS: Oh, I think she did because--
MATTHEWS: -- his was personal.
MATTHEWS: OK. Your thoughts on that, David Corn?
DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, she--
MATTHEWS: And then we`ll get back to the history part.
CORN: She won because he engaged in frat boy humor. And then he kind
of said, It was just a joke. It was a joke about what he thought about her
appearance. And you know, she was--
MATTHEWS: He was like a kid yelling out a dormitory window at some
women walking by--
CORN: Thank God she didn`t take off her clothes. We know what he
meant. And then he can`t really sort of `fess up and say, I -- that was,
you know, a bad remark on my part. And then it`s sort of spinning into
this debate about their respected biographies, which she wins, as well.
MATTHEWS: OK, let`s get to the thing -- and just to finish it up,
Alex Wagner, is this just a case of a guy being gross? He`s seizing an
opportunity to be very unpleasant to a woman he should respect.
ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, Chris, I think this has
gotten slightly blown out of proportion.
MATTHEWS: Oh, yes?
WAGNER: They`re calling for Scott Brown--
MATTHEWS: Not by us.
WAGNER: Well, I think, listen, you know, some organizations are
calling for him to reconsider whether he should be running for reelection,
that he should have a place in the U.S. Senate--
MILLIGAN: Oh, come on!
WAGNER: I think it`s a basically tasteless joke, but I think, in the
end, of course, Elizabeth Warren wins. It underscores her tenacity, her
strength. The fact that she can survive a couple of jabs from Scott Warren
-- Scott Brown -- is an understatement.
MATTHEWS: Well, two female senators, women senators from the
Northeast, obviously allies of Brown`s, tried to shift the discussion.
This is what you call spin.
Both statements shifted the focus from Brown`s comment about Warren`s
looks, which everybody`s been talking about, to how Brown made money back
as a law student back 30 years ago.
Kelly Ayotte from New Hampshire said in part -- quote -- "It`s
inappropriate to make light of his personal circumstance or to disparage or
belittle him for the decisions he made to improve his life."
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s special.
MATTHEWS: And Maine`s Susan Collins said in part -- quote -- "It`s
wrong to mock anyone who had to make hard choices to overcome tough
obstacles. His story is no different than millions of Americans who are
doing everything they can to make ends meet."
MATTHEWS: Oh, it`s so -- it`s so cute.
MATTHEWS: You know, I used to run a birthday concession at Holy
Cross. This isn`t about how you made money in college. This is about
whether he`s frat boy and does he show a certain character problem by
taking a shot at somebody about their physical appearance?
CORN: Well, he did. And more importantly, afterwards, his campaign
manager said, this is just an indication of Elizabeth Warren`s elitist
MATTHEWS: How so?
CORN: She`s looking -- from Harvard, she`s looking down on a poor,
working-class guy. This guy went to Tufts. He went to Boston college,
which is a private school. She grew up as an Oakie in Oklahoma, went to
She has more of a working-class background than he does, but they`re
trying to use the Harvard thing out of this against her.
MATTHEWS: Let`s go back to your argument. Let me go, because you
have got an opportunity to make a larger statement.
MATTHEWS: This is always tricky in business. My friend, Susan
Milligan, you said that if a candidate for public office who was female had
-- 30 years before posed in a magazine, they would be disqualified for
MATTHEWS: You absolutely believe that?
MATTHEWS: Do you believe that, David, that she would be disqualified?
CORN: I think if we found naked pictures of Michele Bachmann or Sarah
MATTHEWS: No, no. In "Cosmo."
CORN: No, but naked, if they`re naked, if they`re naked. Naked is
naked, Chris. I think they would have a hard time, at least with their own
MATTHEWS: OK. This is Friday around here. Let`s go to the numbers
right here. I`m always happy -- thank you. My producer knows exactly
where I want to go in these moments.
MATTHEWS: Let`s look at these numbers. This is what I find fricking
MATTHEWS: Brown is 41-38 over somebody who has just came into
politics, is not a politician. He`s one of the best pure politicians, like
a pure quarterback. I`m not saying anything about his policies. He`s a
good pol with the barber coat, the car, and the truck. Come on. This guy
has got all the apparatus.
MILLIGAN: You know what his problem is, is -- and we can talk a lot
about their supposed working-class backgrounds and so forth, but the math
is still very tough for him. He`s still running in Massachusetts. You`re
asking a lot of people to pull the lever for Barack Obama and Scott Brown.
I`m not sure it`s going to happen.
And the second thing is that she has an advantage. I think that in
the first campaign, people were comparing Martha Coakley, who was a deeply
flawed candidate, to Ted Kennedy or the memory of Ted Kennedy. And now
Elizabeth Warren is being compared to Scott Brown.
MATTHEWS: Well, at least Scott Brown showed pictures of Jack Kennedy,
whereas Elizabeth -- what is her name?
CORN: Martha Coakley.
MATTHEWS: Martha Coakley pretended there had never been a candidate.
MATTHEWS: Alex Wagner, your thoughts about this? You come from a
long pedigree of political people here. Your thought?
WAGNER: No one who has taken their clothes off to go through college,
though, no one who has taken their clothes off to go through college.
MATTHEWS: No. Exactly.
But let`s go back to the sheer politics, which we do better here than
naked pictures. This question--
WAGNER: That`s arguable, but--
MATTHEWS: Would you say this is the closest race, it looks like, on
paper? Is Scott Brown in as much trouble as being within the margin of
error against an absolute newcomer?
WAGNER: Absolutely, Chris. And his favorability rating was sky-high
just months ago.
Look, you combine what`s happening on Wall Street, the feeling of
anger and frustration and that the middle class has unduly borne the brunt
of this economic recession, with the fighting that Elizabeth Warren has
done, and her record in Washington, fighting the banks and fighting to some
extent the government, she is the candidate for right now.
BALDWIN: So she could be the gutsy Joan of Arc up there that really
says, I`m taking on the big guys?
CORN: She is the perfect, perfect Democrat. She has a populist
background that is rooted in her own experience. It`s not an academic
experience, the way she grew up.
She understands big finance and can relate to little people or other--
CORN: -- people.
MATTHEWS: She`s got to get out of that Boston elite thing. It`ll
kill you, though.
CORN: But you know what? They took a poll and 13 percent said they
were less favorably disposed to her because of the Harvard background. But
that`s a small number. You know, I`m not--
MATTHEWS: How do you beat that, my friend, my fellow Irishwoman here?
How do you beat that rap of being part of the Boston elite, wine and
cheese, we`re better than you crowd that drives most Massachusetts people
MILLIGAN: Well, first of all, as David has pointed out, she`s the one
who went to a public university and a public law school and it`s Scott
Brown who went to the private schools.
And she doesn`t come from some kind of privileged background. What I
think is remarkable is that we sit here and wring our hands over the state
of education in this country and how kids aren`t making their SAT scores,
but going to Harvard has somehow become this negative thing.
MATTHEWS: There`s a difference between academic achievement and
elitism, an attitude of looking down on people and I`m better than you
because I went there. You`re allowed to go to the best schools in the
country, but in this democratic society, don`t act like it. Don`t act like
you`re better than other people.
MILLIGAN: What does she have to do? Take off her clothes?
MATTHEWS: I don`t know. I`m asking. I`m asking. How about winning
for once? That`s what she has to do.
MILLIGAN: But then she will be part of an elite group of 100 people.
MATTHEWS: No, you`re wrong. You`re wrong. You`re wrong. It`s the
Dukakis problem. I`m sorry.
CORN: She`s good at crusading and championing for the average
consumer. She talks about these big issues in a way that people get. And
she makes a connection. She will be great on the campaign trail. Scott
Brown should be damn scared.
MATTHEWS: You`re great. You are really good. You`re a wart healer.
This guy is the best street corner pol. You have got to get a bullhorn out
CORN: I would be happy to manage her campaign.
MATTHEWS: Anyway -- anyway, I like the way you talk.
Anyway, thank you, David Corn.
Thank you, Alex Wagner.
Thank you, Susan Milligan, who doesn`t -- you know what elitism is.
MATTHEWS: Up next: Jon Huntsman comes in first place in a straw
poll, but there`s a big but.
MATTHEWS: Catch the "Sideshow." Guess what straw poll he won.
You`re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Now to the "Sideshow."
First up, finally, a moment of triumph for GOP candidate Jon Huntsman.
That`s right. The former Utah governor ended up in the number one slot in
a recent straw poll. Only problem -- well, here`s a hint. The group that
conducted the straw poll -- well, they`re called the Take Back the American
Dream Conference -- is actually a progressive organization, and we`re
talking really progressive.
In the same poll, 97 percent supported President Obama`s American jobs
bill. When asked which of the Republican candidates was most qualified to
be president, 49 percent went for Huntsman. So he didn`t want to win this
one. Mitt Romney came in a distant second with just 22 percent. And this
has got to be a bittersweet moment for Huntsman, probably more bitter than
sweet, if you consider that primary season has yet to be in full swing.
Next up, you picked the wrong guy. That`s the gist of what former
President Bill Clinton has to say about an ad targeting President Obama`s
Jobs Act released by the conservative super PAC American Crossroads.
Let`s take a look at the snippet that got Clinton`s attention.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, POLITICAL AD)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president proposes tax increases.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One-and-a-half trillion dollars.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One-and-a-half trillion dollars in new tax
NARRATOR: President Obama`s latest way is still the wrong way.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I personally
don`t believe we ought to be raising taxes. It won`t solve the problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, if you thought the president -- the former president
didn`t notice this cameo appearance, those people who put the ad together
In response to his appearance in the ad, Clinton said -- quote -- "The
advertisement implies that I opposed the Buffett rule. In fact, I support
both the American Jobs Act and the Buffett rule. I believe that it`s only
fair to ask those of us in high-income groups to contribute to solving our
long-term debt problem."
Well, there you have it. And later: "What I did say was that the
Buffett rule" -- this is Clinton again -- "cannot solve the problem alone.
Reducing the debt requires three more things, economic growth, more
spending cuts, and more revenue."
Bill is on his game.
And now for the "Big Number."
When you`re debating what movie to see, how often do you out there
personally think about where the leading actor or actress stands
politically before buying your movie ticket? Well, it turns out that`s not
an uncommon consideration, especially when you`re talking about Tea
Partiers. A new poll conducted by "The Hollywood Reporter" asked that
How many of the Tea Party respondents answered that a celebrity`s
political views do in fact influence the decision to watch them at the
movies? Well, 45 percent say yes. That`s more than double the amount of
Democrats who answered yes to the same question. Tea Partiers, I guess,
want to know that the guy kissing the girl is thinking about taxes being
too high -- 45 percent, and that`s tonight`s wild "Big Number."
Up next, Republicans are still looking for the next anti-Romney.
Could Rick Santorum be that guy? He`s coming here to HARDBALL in a minute.
You`re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
TYLER MATHISEN, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Tyler Mathisen with your CNBC
A late sell-off leaving stocks in the red for the day. The Dow
industrials down 20 points. The S&P 500 gave up nine and the S&P slid 27.
But today`s losses not enough to drop the averages into negative territory
for the week. They all added about 2 percent. And that`s despite those
big losses Monday and Tuesday.
That September jobs report good, but not good enough to convince
investors the worst is definitely behind us. Still, 103,000 jobs added was
better than expected. Europe still a concern after Fitch downgraded the
credit ratings of Spain and Italy and Moody`s cut ratings on a dozen banks
and lenders in the U.K.
In stocks, Sprint plunged after its CFO told investors the company is
looking for ways to raise more cash. Sony skidded on reports that it may
try to buy out Ericsson`s stake in those two companies` mobile phone
venture. And Disney slipped after CEO Bob Iger said he will retire when
his new $2.5-million-a-year contract expires. He will step down as CEO in
That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide -- now back to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When that phone call comes
at 3:00 in the morning, ladies and gentlemen, I will be up and waiting for
the call, because I will know what`s going on in the world around us. You
won`t have to get me out of bed.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, welcome back to HARDBALL. That was former Republican
Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum at the Values Voter event earlier today
He`s made a name for himself at the debates recently, but polls show
him still at the bottom of the pack. The latest "Washington Post"/ABC News
poll has him running at 2 percent among Republicans, although these numbers
Santorum would like to become the Mitt Romney alternative, wouldn`t
What did you mean by you would be up at 3:00 in the morning? Are you
a nocturnal creature or what?
SANTORUM: Well, no.
What I was saying is that if something like that was going to occur, I
would probably have a better handle on it that I wouldn`t have to be
surprised to get out of bed. In other words, I would be up and on top of a
situation when something bad was about to happen.
MATTHEWS: You were speaking in metaphors?
SANTORUM: I was speaking in metaphors.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about this race here.
It looks to me -- now, the way I look at it in sports terms. Romney`s
won the eastern conference. He`s the moderate, and there`s still a wide-
open battle for who`s going to challenge him down the stretch, whether it`s
you or Perry or it`s Bachmann, or it`s, in all fairness, Herman Cain.
SANTORUM: Sure. Sure.
No, I think that`s an accurate assessment. I think Mitt has
established himself as the traditional candidate, the establishment
candidate. And the question is, who`s the conservative alternative?
And, as you know, I have had a pretty good, long track record of being
a consistent conservative.
MATTHEWS: You`re a conservative.
SANTORUM: And it`s -- you and I don`t agree on the issues, but I
think you would say I have been a consistent conservative. I have led on
those issues, and I have had my share of accomplishments in the process.
MATTHEWS: I keep asking -- I know you`re out campaigning, but I keep
asking on this show, I can`t see how your party can go down to Tampa, with
all those Tea Partier red-hots -- Tea Party people are red-hot and
passionate about their beliefs, like you are, and getting excited about
picking -- outsourcing the nomination to someone like Romney, a guy who
would never go to a Tea Party meeting in a million years.
SANTORUM: Yes, I think there -- if you look at the national polls,
you know, Mitt has trouble getting over 20 to 25 percent. He may hit 30.
MATTHEWS: What`s that tell you?
SANTORUM: That means that 65 percent to 75 percent of the people out
there are looking for somebody else.
And the question is, who is that alternative? And, obviously, we
think that national polls are nice, but it`s how well you`re going to do in
Iowa, how well you`re going to do in New Hampshire, and you walk through
the process, and that`s what we`re focused on.
MATTHEWS: OK. You have never been a rich guy. I don`t think you
have any big interest in big money. You have never been driven by that.
So let`s talk about this country`s inequality situation. What`s
happening in New York, on Wall Street are a bunch of people -- obviously,
it`s a disappear band of people, a motley crew, if you will. We don`t know
what they all stand for. Some of them may be anarchists, but a lot of them
are just unemployed guys and women looking to make some noise about a
terrible situation they`re in.
Now, my question to you is, what`s your reaction when you see people
in the streets about the inequality of income in this country?
SANTORUM: Yes, my reaction is that people have -- particularly going
to Wall Street, that they have a legitimate reason to beef that you had a
situation where Wall Street did a lot of things that they shouldn`t have
And no one -- very few people lost a lot of jobs in Wall Street
because of that. And we bailed them out. We -- not we, the guys behind
you in the White House, President Bush and Republicans and Democrats alike,
bailed Wall Street out. And we see them sort of going on their merry way,
big bonuses. And I don`t -- you know people --
MATTHEWS: You wouldn`t have bailed them out?
SANTORUM: I would have said -- look, moral hazard means something.
And if you`re going to go out and do the kind of behavior that these folks
did and play the kind of games that they knew they were playing, then
someone needs to suffer the consequences, both financially, and if
necessary, criminally. And basically, people skirted, went off scot-free.
And I can understand that frustration. If you look at the economic
plan I put forward, Chris, it`s an economic plan based on trying to grow
the middle of America back. It`s an economic plan based on getting
manufacturing jobs back into this country. That`s why I always say, you
know, we`ve got the plan that can actually get bipartisan support, because
it zeros out corporate taxes for manufacturers and processors only, because
we want to be able to compete for those jobs back in America.
MATTHEWS: But the fact is, that the American people don`t like the
idea of a tax system, where the top -- people who make money off money are
paying 15 percent, and the people who make money off sweat and showing up
at work are paying 35 percent.
MATTHEWS: Do you like that system?
SANTORUM: Well, the top rate pays 35 percent, as you know.
MATTHEWS: No, of salary.
MATTHEWS: But all the people in Wall Street living off the hedge fund
money and carried interests, they`re not paying 35 percent, they`re paying
SANTORUM: They`re playing capital gains, just like Warren Buffett.
MATTHEWS: And you like that idea?
SANTORUM: The problem with that with the --
MATTHEWS: That`s why they`re complaining about Wall Street right now.
SANTORUM: No, I understand. But you have to look at that as the
price of capital and where capital can move to.
SANTORUM: And our capital gains tax rates are not even at this rate
particularly competitive with a lot of other countries. You have some
countries that have a zero capital gains tax rate. So you have to compete
for capital and you have to have tax rates that make it competitive --
MATTHEWS: But how do you sell that to a guy or woman out there making
30 or 40 years, sweating, somebody making 20,000 times more than that are
paying a much lower tax rate.
SANTORUM: I would say two things to sell it to them. First off, you
have almost half of America doesn`t pay any federal income tax.
MATTHEWS: It`s more than that.
SANTORUM: Well, no, it`s about half. So, you`re talking about half
of America isn`t paying any taxes --
MATTHEWS: You know who I`m talking about -- I`m talking about the guy
and woman whose combined income is about $70,000. They`re both working, if
SANTORUM: I`m getting to that. And what those people really want is
an opportunity to rise. They want an opportunity to get into that middle
income and higher, and that`s what the economic plan that I`ve laid out
MATTHEWS: I want you to answer one question. Do you think it`s fair
to tax people, for people to make money off money lower than people who
make money off work? That`s the problem.
SANTORUM: I would say the answer is, most Americans don`t get taxed
more, because most Americans pay no -- almost half of Americans pay no
income tax. And so, the answer is the people who are paying those higher
MATTHEWS: See? This is the part I don`t understand about you, why
you defend the super rich --
SANTORUM: It`s not a matter of the super rich, Chris, it`s a matter
of having a system that allows you to invest in capital and not penalize
the return --
MATTHEWS: Let`s go to news just broke here. Robert Jeffries, who`s
the senior pastor at First Baptist Church down in Dallas, I don`t know the
man, but he just introduced Rick Perry at today`s value summit today, in
Washington, talking to reporters afterwards. Perry spoke.
Pastor Jefferies called Mormonism. The LDS Church a cult.
Let`s listen. It`s on tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT JEFFRIES, PASTOR: Well, Rick Perry, he`s a Christian. He`s an
evangelical Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ.
Mitt Romney`s a good, moral person, but he`s not a Christian.
Mormonism is not Christianity. It has always been considered a cult by the
mainstream of Christianity.
So, it`s a difference between a Christian and a non-Christian.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: A spokesman for Rick Perry later said, he told NBC by e-
mail, quote, "The governor does not believe Mormonism is a cult." That`s
Rick Perry talking.
You know, we were going over the numbers last time in 2008. Romney
never carried a single Southern state, never carried a border state, which
tells me he does have this problem with evangelical Christians, with his
SANTORUM: I think it`s unfortunate.
MATTHEWS: You think it`s unfair to vote against --
SANTORUM: I think it`s unfortunate. I don`t think you should vote
against anybody based on their religion. Mitt Romney, as even the pastor
said, he`s a good, moral man.
MATTHEWS: Is he Christian?
SANTORUM: He believes he`s a Christian. I`m not an expert on the
Mormon religion --
MATTHEWS: Oh, you`re hedging!
SANTORUM: I`m not hedging.
MATTHEWS: It`s the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. You
don`t believe that?
SANTORUM: Every Mormon I know believes that they`re Christian. I`m
not an expert in Mormonism, so if they say they`re Christians, than as far
as I`m concerned, they`re Christians. If they say they believe in Jesus
Christ, fine, they`re Christians.
MATTHEWS: But they`re not a cult?
SANTORUM: No, they`re not a cult. I believe the people should focus
on public policy, focus on his morality in his own life. And as far as I
can say, it`s a good one.
MATTHEWS: We`d be better off not talking about these things sometimes
in a political environment.
Anyway, thank you, Rick Santorum.
SANTORUM: You bet. My pleasure.
MATTHEWS: Up next, gridlock on capitol hill. What can be done when
the two sides don`t work together? They simply don`t even meet or talk.
This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Well, today marks the 10-year anniversary of the start of
war in Afghanistan. And the statistics of the past decade are simply in
human terms staggering. One thousand seven hundred and ninety American
servicemen and women have been killed in the mission. The war has cost
nearly $340 billion so far, and that`s nearly $8 billion per month.
It`s a grim reminder, of course, especially the human cost of this war
-- the longest war in American history.
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
We started tonight by talking about the anger at Wall Street and that
politicians were not being able to work together. Now, we`re going to turn
to a different time when compromise wasn`t a dirty word.
Robert Strauss was known as the ultimate Democrat power broker during
the 1970s and `80s. He was able to broker deals with his Republican
counterparts, also calling many of them his friends.
In fact, George Herbert Walker Bush, the first President Bush, wrote
this to a letter to Strauss back in October of `74. It reads in part,
"Strauss, you old bastard, you`ll never believe this, I miss our jousts and
our leisure times of pleasantness. Hang in, pleasantly. Best to all at
DNC, but, damn it, lose! Bar -- that`s Barbara -- sends her love, best
G.B.," that`s George Bush.
So what skills can today`s politicians learn from guys like Strauss.
Kathryn McGarr is the great niece of Robert Strauss and she`s written
a great book, "The Whole Damn Deal," which is Strauss` description of what
he liked about his job. "Robert Strauss and the Art of Politics."
Thank you so much, Kathryn, for coming on. I just want to talk about
this situation last night. And this is right classic Strauss situation.
Here`s last night on the Senate floor. Here`s Harry Reid, the
Democratic leader, talking about how personal politics has become, how
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We should be able to
move matters through here that have been happening since the beginning of
this country. Nominations, for example -- we can`t do that because my
friend, the Republican leader, as candid as he was, said his number one
goal is to defeat President Obama. And that`s what`s been going on for
Let`s get back to legislating as we did before the mantra around here
was defeat Obama.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, Kathryn, what`s been happening the last couple
days in Washington, I`m hearing it more than ever, Boehner is now saying
the president is no good, he`s not a leader anymore. There you got Reid
saying that the Republican Leader McConnell is just out to ditch Obama.
It`s (INAUDIBLE) politics. It`s get rid of the other guy. It`s not
trying to find a deal.
KATHRYN MCGARR, AUTHOR, "THE WHOLE DAMN DEAL": Right.
MATTHEWS: Why do even bother coming to Washington when they don`t
want to meet each other? That`s where it`s at.
MCGARR: It`s not Bob Strauss`s kind of politics. He was chairman of
the DNC when George H.W. Bush was chairman of the RNC. So, they should
have been political enemies, and that`s when H.W. Bush wrote that letter
that you read from.
And then he went on to be confirmed in the Senate to be Carter`s
special trade representative. And this was going from a place of extreme
partisanship at the DNC, to, you know, a love-fest basically on the Senate
floor because he did have friends across the aisle. And it was an easy
And then one of the biggest trade bills in history, he got the Tokyo
Round passed in 1979, unprecedented, 90-4 vote in the Senate. And this was
not an uncontroversial bill. That was a feat.
MATTHEWS: I remember the MTN deal. I know all about it. It was one
of his greatest accomplishments.
Let me ask you about this -- a lot of people watch this show are truly
believers, they`re progressives. Some of them are moderates, but a lot of
them are progressives. How can you have deep political beliefs and the
kind of the country you want to live in, at the same time get along with
people who disagree with you? How do you do both at the same time?
MCGARR: You know, it`s a fine line. And Bob, in part, you know, he
didn`t do both, because he was a patriot, and, you know, as you know, and
he really loved this country. He believed in doing the best and he
believed in Democratic values.
But he was not an ideologue. I think that`s the difference between
believing in policy and being such an ideologue that you can`t even see the
other side. Bob could always see the other side and he always thought it
was better to compromise and get maybe 80 percent of what you want instead
of some of the vitriol you see going on today where people, you know, they
only want 100 percent or nothing.
MATTHEWS: Well, you`re all right. You know, Bob Strauss, by the way
-- one time I was carrying out ton of stuff at the Democratic Convention
back in `72, down in Miami. It was 100 degrees out. I would have had to
walk a mile to find a door that was open. Along comes a guy that says let
this kid in the door, that was Bob Strauss.
Another time, I was about to fly with Jim -- for the Carter campaign,
all the way from Philly to Pittsburgh in the worst wind I`ve ever seen and
we`re in the smallest plane I`ve ever seen. And Bob Strauss comes along
and says, get us a bigger plane.
I do remember these. A great man.
You`re his niece?
MCGARR: Yes, his grandniece. His brother, Ted Strauss, is my
MATTHEWS: Well, I`ve got to tell you, great man. The book is called
"The Whole Damn Deal." If you love politics and you love getting things
done in this country, care about the country, this is the guy to read
Thank you, Kathryn McGarr, for coming on.
MCGARR: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: When I come back -- when we come back, "Let Me Finish" with
why the country`s problems may require -- and this is going to scare some
people -- radical solutions.
You`re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: "Let Me Finish" tonight with this: "radical" -- normally,
we don`t like that word. Normally, we live our politics somewhere near the
center, somewhere between progressive and conservative. We get beyond that
and people consider you troubling at best, dangerous at worst -- radical
positions, radical solutions, radical politics. Normally, as I said, not
the stuff most people are comfortable with.
But there come times when the positions, the solutions and the
politics of normal times don`t seem to be working or to be more exact:
aren`t working. We have a 9-plus percent jobless rate right now and about
double that number of people are not in full-time jobs. They`re not
getting hired, not being put to work the way they need to.
The normal forces aren`t solving our problems. Corporations are not
hiring. They`re investing overseas or finding automated ways to get work
We`ve got a housing situation that isn`t getting fixed. Older people
unable to sell homes they need to, that they don`t need. And young people
are having a rough time getting mortgages and finding a house they can
afford. Here again, the normal forces of supply and demand are not getting
houses priced to sell, which means price to be bought.
Not everyone is getting hurt by all this, of course, certainly not
equally. The oil companies have made huge profits -- so have many in the
financial community. And millions have been hurt. They`re hurting more
each month as they hunt for work and they grow in -- those months grow into
years as the corporations -- who were told by one Republican presidential
nominee are really just people like us -- continue to find ways to make
profits without offering people in this country real full-time jobs.
So, people with brains and a sense of history begin to think about
solutions to our problems that arise below the normal list of progressive
or conservative tools we`ve used to fix our problems. So we have to listen
to the arguments being made down on Wall Street by those protesters, listen
to those radical solutions, because sometimes they`re the right solutions.
Think of American independence. Thomas Paine was right. We had to
cut our ties with England, pure and simple.
Think of abolition, the only right way to deal with American slavery
was to ban it outright, not negotiate with the slavers.
How long exactly should we continue with policies that leave so many
out of work without the dignity and vitality of a job to go to? How long
do we let our economy shrink there right in front of us?
We may have a society that has to take direct action to put people to
work. If the corporations aren`t coming to our rescue, why isn`t the
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.
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Guests: Sen. Sherrod Brown, Michael Mulgrew, Susan Milligan, Rick Santorum,