Guests: Kay Hagan, Perry Bacon, Haley Barbour, Kevin Spacey, J.C. Chandor
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: The 99 percent solution.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews up in New York. Leading off
tonight: Can the Democrats occupy Occupy Wall Street? Forget about whether
the Occupy Wall Street protests are a progressive version of the Tea Party.
This movement has energy, numbers, popular support, and is a far more
natural fit for the Democrats than for the Republicans. Mitt Romney is, of
course, a creature of Wall Street. Republicans have begun, however,
backing away from the ridicule. Time to get in front of this parade before
it runs you over.
Plus, going South. President Obama begins a three-day swing through
North Carolina and Virginia today. The White House may say the trip is
non-political, but they would say that, wouldn`t they. Consider this. The
president could lose Florida, Indiana, New Hampshire and Ohio and still win
the presidency a second time by picking up either of these two Southern
states, Virginia or North Carolina. No wonder he`s spending three days
there on the road.
Also, can`t buy me love. No one loves Mitt Romney. Rick Perry has
fizzled, of course. Herman Cain looks like the flavor of the month, or the
fall. But is it possible the Republicans just won`t get their act together
And art imitates life. There`s a great new movie coming out called
"Margin Call." I`ve seen it. It`s all about the abuses and deceit on Wall
Street. It shows you exactly how the few can take advantage of the rest of
us. It stars Kevin Spacey and he joins us tonight right here.
And "Let Me Finish" with why it`s hard for the Tea Party to go
positive when their entire movement is based on a negative.
We`ve got joining us right now David Corn and Howard Fineman. They`re
joining us right tonight. And I have to ask you gentlemen about this whole
question -- it looks like the Tea Party is raising money -- oh, not the Tea
Party, the Occupy Wall Street is raising money, I was about to say --
$300,000. They`re having huge rallies. The labor movement is joining up
with them, especially the public employee sector, the teachers.
I want to go with you, David Corn, to start with. Is this possibly
the great marriage of the left and center-left you`ve been waiting for?
DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, we have
been waiting for this for a long time. I think Occupy Wall Street is kind
of at a fork in the road and a decision has to be made and it`s -- there`s
no one single person and one single group that can make the decision --
whether it`s going to go to a more organized movement with targeted
strategies and goals, and eventually demands, or whether it will remain
more amorphous and voicing dissent and voicing anger and resentment and the
And right now, it`s unclear which way it`s going to go. It`s really
up to the people doing the occupying. And you have the unions trying to
come in with money and with organizing skill and trying to shape and be a
partner. Whether this marriage takes or not, we won`t know probably for
weeks, if not months.
MATTHEWS: Well, Howard, the Occupy Wall Street movement is spreading
around the country now, and it`s going international. Look at these two
maps. The first one shows the cities in the U.S. that have seen their own
demonstration since September. It`s spread out West and down South, all
across the country.
And here`s a surprising one. The second map shows cities across the
globe where demonstrators took to the streets this weekend. Protesters
came out in Canada, over in Europe, and in parts of Asia, including India.
Howard, it`s amazing to see, it`s almost like you`re hearing "The
Internationale," all of a sudden. I mean, not to disparage this effort,
but the left hasn`t been this united over time, if you think about it.
HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST MEDIA GROUP, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:
Well, the mechanics are available to unite everybody. And it`s called the
Internet and it`s called FaceBook and Twitter, et cetera. Social media
aren`t just limited to the United States. They`re instantly and totally
But out here in Chicago, where I am, Chris, and where I just came from
the Obama campaign headquarters here in downtown Chicago, they`re watching
it very carefully and with great interest. The people at the Obama
campaign say that they like it so far because it gives their side something
to get enthusiastic about, that rather than sort of standing around and
criticizing Barack Obama by name, these people are out on the street and
trying to send a message.
And I think, at least so far, the Obama people think that it dovetails
-- to the extent that Occupy Wall Street`s about anything, it`s about jobs,
and that`s the theme that Barack Obama was hitting relentlessly down in
North Carolina today.
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s watch the president yesterday, Howard. I think
you`ve got a point there. Here`s this weekend, the president speaking at
the Dr. Martin Luther King formal dedication here in -- or rather in
Washington. He alluded to the movements in the streets. Here he is, I
think, trying to tie into the strong sentiment against Wall Street. Here`s
what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Those with power and
privilege will often decry any call for change as divisive. They`ll say
any challenge to the existing arrangements are unwise and destabilizing.
Dr. King understood that peace without justice was no peace at all. If he
were alive today, I believe he would remind us that the unemployed worker
can rightly challenge the excesses of Wall Street without demonizing all
who work there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: This is going to call for some real leadership by the
president, David and Howard. He`s going to have to find a way to distill
for the movement in the streets the right cause for him, something he
believes in, whether it`s equality of taxes, some removal, let`s face it,
of the capital gains tax -- he doesn`t want to say it, but that`s what he`s
talking about, getting rid of that 15 percent tax rate on money made off
money, as opposed to the 35 percent tax rate made off money for people who
work. He has to find some way to energize that effort, at the same time,
not get involved or blamed for, if this thing breaks bad, right, David?
CORN: Yes. The president has been walking a delicate balance since
the very beginning, since he -- before he became president and he signed on
with the TARP bail-out back in September 2008, about whether he was going
to be populistic and bash Wall Street and try to exploit or capitalize or
lead on the anger out there against Wall Street, or whether he was going to
try to get Wall Street on his side.
And he -- you know, and the business community has been very tough on
him, despite the fact that he saved their backsides. And so he hasn`t
really come down on one side or the other on this, which may be a
president`s job to try to straddle that line.
But as this movement grows, if it does grow, and the target becomes
Wall Street and Wall Street greed, it may be harder for him to finesse this
point. And he may not want to going into the next election. He may want
to be more populist because actually, look, trying to be kind to business,
trying to, you know, not bash them too much has not gotten him much from
business itself. They`ve been very mad at him.
CORN: Jamie Dimon had a very public break with him, the head of
JPMorgan Chase. And so he hasn`t got a lot out of the business community
for trying to be a good guy. And still, you know, he`s been up against the
Republicans on Wall Street reform. This may force him...
FINEMAN: But Chris, I can...
CORN: ... if this movement expands, you know, to come down harder on
one side than the other.
FINEMAN: Yes, well, I think that he will try to still straddle, and I
don`t think he`s going to become a whole-hearted Wall Street basher, even
if that`s what the people at the Obama campaign think the Occupy Wall
Street movement ends up being about.
I think they would like to use the energy of the Occupy Wall Street
movement to focus on the jobs message, on the notion that President Obama`s
the guy who proposed a jobs plan, with many pieces that in the past
Republicans have supported, and that all he`s asking for is that Congress
pass that jobs bill, because the Obama White House has been on that message
for the last two or three weeks. They think that it`s been working. They
look at recent polls that show some bump up in numbers for the Democrats,
and so forth.
Also, the Obama campaign`s been out advertising heavily in a lot of
swing states to push his numbers up a little bit. I think they`d much
rather try to let Occupy Wall Street energize the base but not get dragged
off into a pure confrontation with Wall Street.
First of all, President Obama`s not like that. Secondly, even if
Jamie Dimon and a lot of the others don`t support him, I don`t think that
the president, especially who`s trying to win states like North Carolina
MATTHEWS: I agree with you.
FINEMAN: ... is going to want to be that old-timey, sort of
Northeastern, Franklin Roosevelt bash Wall Street kind of guy. I don`t
think that`s who he is.
MATTHEWS: I`m glad you said that, Howard, because I was thinking
that. The fact is, if he`s going for those people that make over six
figures, those high-tech people down in the Research Triangle...
MATTHEWS: ... and out in Colorado and places like that...
MATTHEWS: ... he better not bash money.
MATTHEWS: But here`s where I think he has an advantage...
CORN: There is a difference, Chris -- there is a difference, Chris,
between bashing money and people who work hard for it and bashing what`s
gone on on Wall Street over the past few years and how that`s tied into our
MATTHEWS: Well, here`s an example. I was going to say this. Here he
is -- he doesn`t have to do the bashing because I think Romney does his own
FINEMAN: Oh, yes!
MATTHEWS: Take a look at this picture.
MATTHEWS: It`s right out of "Bonfire of the Vanities." Here`s Mitt
Romney bragging, stuffing money in his pocket -- look at all these people
from Bain Capital -- it`s right out of "Bonfire of the Vanities," masters
of the universe all, obnoxious, all of them, the joke picture taken after
an official company brochure photo was snapped, shows Romney and the other
colleagues literally stuffing money into their clothes. It was uncovered
by "The Boston Globe" two years -- three years ago.
It seems to me, David, that this is something where he self-immolates
here. Here`s a guy who is as much a part of Wall Street at Michael Douglas
is part of Hollywood. You can`t take him away from it. You can`t repot
this guy. He is money. He`s Bain Capital.
Could Obama, the president, benefit by the fact that the guy we`re
looking at right now is so much a target of what the little people, if you
will, down on Wall Street, looking up at those buildings don`t like?
CORN: I think in a lot of countries, that would be a game killer for
Mitt Romney, a picture like that. Now, this is a key issue. I think what
the people in Occupy Wall Street are expressing is a sentiment that`s held
widely across the country. You don`t have to be part of a drum circle to
wonder about the difference between the top 1 percent and the bottom 99
percent and to think that you`ve been shafted while they got saved.
And the question that`s going to happen -- and I think this plays into
what Howard was talking about on the campaign -- is whether that
discontentment and that dissent that`s being raised is identified with by
people in mainstream America because there`s a cultural component to this
protest. There`s also a political-ideological component. And people may
look at these people and say, That`s not me, and they don`t want to be part
of it. But if they hear what they`re saying and they share that anger,
which I think people do fundamentally, then someone like Mitt Romney is
going to be in a really difficult position.
MATTHEWS: So well said. Howard, you and I grew up in a class (ph), I
believe it`s fair to say, and my father, who was a lifelong Republican,
said the one weakness of the party he voted for was they were in bed with
big business and money. And he would talk about the days of the -- the bad
old days of the GE price-fixing and he would say, These are guys who have
betrayed the free enterprise system. These are the guys who have
manipulated it. And that`s the one embarrassment he had about the
Can this president have the skill to separate that middle, like my
dad, from the wealthy cheaters, basically, who they see as having
manipulated the system? We`re going to talk about it later with Kevin
Spacey. And by the way, this movie...
FINEMAN: Well, the...
MATTHEWS: ... "Margin Call," is all about the cheaters.
FINEMAN: Right. The way to do that, Chris, is the way that the
people who ran against Mitt Romney on behalf of Senator Ted Kennedy did it
years ago, when Romney was challenging Ted Kennedy for that Senate seat.
They went out to Indiana -- the Teddy people went out to Indiana, found a
plant that had been shuttered by Bain Capital...
FINEMAN: ... as part of a takeover and makeover...
MATTHEWS: A chop shop.
FINEMAN: ... and they launched a caravan -- a caravan of unemployed
people that went all the way from Indiana to Boston. Lights out for Mitt
Romney. You have to do it that way. You can`t do it like resenting the
guy who looks like the guy on the Monopoly card.
FINEMAN: That`s a caricature that won`t work. It won`t work.
MATTHEWS: Thank you. Was Shrum involved in that? I think Bob Shrum
had his fingerprints all over that baby.
FINEMAN: Maybe Shrummy did that. Probably.
MATTHEWS: He`ll be thanking me, by the way, for saying so. Anyway,
we`re all talking about how you sharpen the knife going after the ancien
regime here on HARDBALL. Thank you, Howard Fineman. Thank you -- that was
a Dickensian reference. Anyway, thank you, David Corn.
Coming up: President Obama heads South, happy hunting grounds,
Virginia, states he thinks he can win even if he loses some of the Rust
Belt. In fact, if he loses, they say, in the inside, he could lose
Florida, Indiana, New Hampshire and Ohio and still win if he picks up North
Carolina and Virginia. I`m skeptical he can win on the outside of the
pumpkin if he loses on the inside.
Anyway, you`re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC. Halloween reference
MATTHEWS: Check this out. Since the beginning of the year, President
Obama and the Democratic National Committee have spent close to $87
million. That`s roughly the same amount as the Republicans have raised in
total this far. That money has allowed the Obama campaign to open offices
and build up networks in 15 key states. So despite his lower poll numbers,
the president`s deep war chest gives him the resources to run a successful
But President Obama`s losing the Wall Street money race to Mitt Romney
right now. But that should help the Obama campaign in its effort to paint
Romney as a creature of Wall Street. That`s who`s giving him the money.
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: If we want the best roads and best bridges and best airports
here in the United States, if we want to continue to invest in our
technology and our basic science and research so that we can continue to
invent new drugs and make sure the new cars of the future that are running
on electricity are made right here in North Carolina and made right here in
America -- if we want to do all those things, then we`ve got to step up.
We`ve got to get to work. We`ve got to get busy right now!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. That`s President Obama today down in
Asheville, North Carolina, where he kicked off a three-day, two-state
campaign to sell his jobs bill, but piece by piece this time. Let`s listen
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: So we`re going to give members of Congress another chance to
step up to the plate and do the right thing. This week, I`m asking members
of Congress to vote -- and what we`re going to do is we`re going to break
up my jobs bill. Maybe they just couldn`t understand the whole thing all
OBAMA: I`m going to ask members of Congress to vote on one component
of the plan, which is whether we should put hundreds of thousands of
teachers back in the classroom and cops back on the street and firefighters
back to work.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Senator Kay Hagen`s of North Carolina. She`s with the
president today when he visited her state, which gave President Obama a key
victory in 2008. Senator, it`s so great to be with you.
SEN. KAY HAGEN (D), NORTH CAROLINA: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: I`m talking now about moderate Democratic politics,
American economic development. Every country in the world knows you need
education to do well, and certainly today. You need infrastructure, you
need the highways, and you need the basic utilities. And you need R&D,
usually public R&D, invested in.
So why is that a hard sell? Why is what he is selling, Obama,
basically, economic development from the public sector, so darn hard to
sell with the Republicans, your colleagues?
HAGEN: Well, you know, people have voted on this before. And I look
at the fact that it is the future, the fact that education is our future.
We`ve got to have good infrastructure in this country. And research and
development is a tool that has made America a great superpower.
We have got to continue these investments, especially when we`re in an
anemic growth right now. The economy is not good. And unemployment in
North Carolina is over 10.4 percent. I feel very strongly that we`ve got
to work together, Democrat and Republican, to help turn this economy around
and not wait until next November.
MATTHEWS: You know, I went to Chapel Hill in grad school, and I`m so
proud of that place, Chapel Hill, and it`s part of the Research Triangle of
North Carolina, and North Carolina State, N.C. State, of course, and Duke,
and all that effort down there. Do the North Carolinians know that they`re
a modern state today because of the smart leadership of people like Frank
Graham (ph) going way back and Terry Sanford and people like that, that you
have to have some kind of public leadership, like Obama`s trying to give?
HAGEN: Well, you know, Jim Hunt did a great job, too.
MATTHEWS: I forgot him.
HAGEN: North Carolina -- we actually invested in the biotech sector.
We`re the only state about 25 years ago that actually created the biotech
industry in our state as a public/private agency. And we have hundreds of
thousands of jobs in North Carolina at the RTP because the government came
together with private industry and helped create this industry in North
So, I think we have got to continue doing that. But we have got to do
it with Democrats and Republicans putting aside the partisan bickering, the
ideologues, and work together.
Just last week, I introduced a bill with John McCain as the co-sponsor
on the Foreign Earnings Reinvestment Act. Our -- American companies have,
right now, over a trillion dollars sitting overseas, not doing Americans
any good. If we can bring that money back to our country, we can begin to
hire American workers.
And, once again, John McCain and I came together and put this bill
forward. It`s got to be a bipartisan effort in order to move forward.
MATTHEWS: Well, the crowd in North Carolina around the president
shouted -- chanted four more years for Obama, but the president made clear
his priority right now. Let`s hear what he had to say. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I appreciate -- I
appreciate the four more years, but right now, I`m thinking about the next
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
OBAMA: ... because, yes, we have got an election coming up, but that
election is a long ways away, and a lot of folks can`t wait.
Look, I want to work with Republicans on ways to create jobs right
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: The president carried North Carolina, as you know better
than anyone, by one-third of 1 percent last time around, Senator. Can he
do it again, by any margin?
HAGAN: He can certainly do it again. He`s got to stay focused on
jobs. We have all got to stay focused on jobs. That`s what`s hurting
people right now.
And if we don`t work together, I worry about more people being laid
off. I have talked to numerous people today and all across North Carolina
that are hurting because of the unemployment situation. And people cannot
wait until next November. We have got to work together, create
bipartisanship legislation that can really put people back to work.
And I`m talking about infrastructure. I`m talking about refurbishing
our schools, making them more energy efficient, creating science labs in
our school classrooms, helping people right now with jobs that will put
them back to work.
MATTHEWS: It`s great to hear the voice of North Carolina again,
Senator Kay Hagan. I love your accent.
HAGAN: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Nice, soft, smart, North Carolina, so much -- I loved
going to that school.
Anyway, Perry Bacon joins us right now. He`s White House reporter for
"The Washington Post."
Perry, give me a sense about the jobs bill and whether he can do it
piece by piece. Now he`s talking about, the president, about pushing for
the teachers` piece in this, about $30 billion to keep teachers employees.
That serves two purposes. It`s jobs and it`s education.
PERRY BACON, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Very unlikely to get that passed.
The House Republicans have been very clear they view that as along the
lines of another version of the stimulus plan. I think that one is going
to be very difficult to get through. It`s a good message for the president
in terms of it`s a very popular idea from polls, at least, so I think it`s
a good message for the president, but I don`t that the Republicans are
going to approve of that.
MATTHEWS: How can the Republicans vote against teachers, not unions,
but teachers, putting teachers back to work when you have got overcrowded
classrooms and you have got teachers laid off and their kids are at school?
Isn`t this important, even to the far right, that we educate ourselves, or
is that also off the table? I`m being sarcastic now.
BACON: I think as you`re watching the Republican debates, you`re
seeing a sign of where the party`s going, which is very much opposed to
more public spending -- stimulus is like a bad word. I just think right
now there`s not a lot of -- and it`s not clear Obama has really punished
them for these votes as well. The Republicans won so much last time.
MATTHEWS: They can`t all be homeschoolers, are they? They`re not all
homeschoolers, are they?
BACON: They`re not all homeschoolers, but they`re not really
supporting much spending.
MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at the president, how he contrasted --
boy, this is tough language. He contrasted his jobs bill, which is putting
people to work, with this so-called Republican jobs bill, which is just
slapping a label on a bunch of right-wing -- excuse the phrase -- crap.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: My plan says we`re going to put teachers back in the
classroom, construction workers back to work rebuilding America, rebuilding
our schools, tax cuts for small businesses, tax cuts for hiring veterans,
tax cuts if you give your worker a raise. That`s my plan.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
OBAMA: And then you got their plan, which is, let`s have dirtier air,
dirtier water, less people with health insurance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, I like that, because he`s basically not letting them
pound them anymore. He`s saying, wait a minute, their notion is about
deregulation and less government really comes down to dirty air, dirty
water, dirty food, and probably unsafe travel.
So, it`s interesting he`s finally turned the corner on that, Perry.
BACON: I think this is really important. Obama`s strategy, it
appears, this time is to really rally the base in the same way that Bush
did in 2004, really make sure his base turns out as much as possible. And
this kind of really direct language is the way to get there. He`s not
talking pie in the sky, he`s not talking about everyone coming together.
He`s really laying out a very clear difference, my party is for health
care, their party is for dirtier water.
It`s very unusual language from him, very descriptive and very precise
and I think you will see more of that.
MATTHEWS: It`s one of those contrast TV ads they run in party
elections. They call them contrast ads.
MATTHEWS: I like it, in other words, negative. Thank you very much,
Peter -- I mean Perry Bacon of "The Washington Post."
Up next, what if Herman Cain had a 999 plan for everything? Cain gets
the "Saturday Night Live" treatment. Boy, talk about having fun with this
fellow. They have it this Saturday night.
You`re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Now for the "Sideshow."
And this is the Herman Cain edition. First up, 999, call 911. Herman
Cain`s got a name for his pain. "Saturday Night Live" this past weekend
targeted the most recent GOP debate and along with it the accusation that
Cain`s economic plan is just too simple. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE")
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Well, let me explain. I never thought that I
would be taken seriously. So I never thought that anyone would look at it.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: The original goal of the 999 plan was to get me a
show on FOX News at 9:00.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: But if America is looking for catchy, unworkable
solutions to complicated problems, Herman Cain will keep them coming.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: How do we fight terrorism? My 555 plan. For
every terrorist, American will send five airplanes, five soldiers, and five
of those dogs that caught Osama bin Laden.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: How do we fix health care? The 333 plan. Every
time you get sick, you get three pills, three days off, and three chicken
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, don`t go giving him any ideas.
We actually haven`t heard much from the candidate on his proposals
besides the 999 plan.
Up next, a hidden gem. So far, we don`t know a whole lot about Herman
Cain`s stint as CEO of Godfather`s Pizza way back in the `90s. But after
watching his 1991 -- this 1991 performance by the candidate himself, at the
very at least you will have a firm grip on his passion for all things
pizza. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1991)
HERMAN CAIN, CEO, GODFATHER`S PIZZA (singing): Imagine there`s no
pizza. I couldn`t if I tried.
CAIN: Eating only tacos or Kentucky Fried.
CAIN: Imagine only burgers. It`s frightening and sad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: What a great voice.
Anyway, good thing he didn`t use the John Lennon lyrics, you know, and
no religion too. That would have gotten him into trouble, and not just
with the religious right. Don`t you think?
Up next, Republicans don`t like Mitt Romney, Rick Perry is fading, and
Herman Cain admits his plan will raise taxes. We will talk to Mississippi
Governor Haley Barbour about the troubles facing the Republican field right
You`re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
SUE HERERA, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Sue Herera with your CNBC "Market
Stocks slumping on lowered expectations for a quick resolution to the
European debt crisis, the Dow Jones industrial average plunging 247 points,
S&P 500 falling 23, and the Nasdaq tumbled 52. The German finance
minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, dampening hopes that a definitive solution to
the debt crisis can be reached at a summit that is scheduled for October
23. Now, that drove the euro lower and it weighed on European banks
trading here in the U.S.
American banks had some problems of their own today with Wells Fargo
missing earnings estimates by a penny. Citigroup slid despite beating its
estimates with a 74 percent jump in quarterly earnings, fueled by a one-
time accounting gain.
IBM reporting earnings and revenue in line with expectations after the
closing bell, but it wasn`t enough for the Street. The shares are moving
lower in after-hours trading. And some M&A activity in the energy sector.
Natural gas pipeline operator Kinder Morgan is buying rival El Paso for
And that`s it from CNBC. We are first in business worldwide -- now
back to Chris and HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Herman Cain is the GOP`s newest front-runner and he`s forcing many in
the Republican Party to give him a second look. According to the latest
CNN/ORC poll today, nearly two-thirds of the Republicans say they have not
made up their minds about whom to support. And Mitt Romney is
statistically tied with Herman Cain at 26 to his 25.
Rick Perry has taken a 17-point dive in the last month and is in third
place with 13 percent. Is Herman Cain the Republican Party`s Superman?
Can he sustain a campaign?
Haley Barbour is the Republican governor of Mississippi, a former
Republican National Committee chairman.
Governor Barbour, I`m a student of your party, if not a member of it,
and I do wonder what`s going on. You have had one candidate after another
come up to challenge Mitt Romney and to do a pretty good job while they`re
on top, basically one on one with him, and then fade. And here we have
basically a head-to-head now with Herman Cain. Could Cain actually beat
GOV. HALEY BARBOUR (R), MISSISSIPPI: Well, could he? Sure. Of
course, he could. The fact of the matter is, the Republicans are -- have a
field where we don`t have the typical front-runner, as so often is the case
for Republican nominations.
And Republicans are very patiently, and I think prudently, looking at
each one of these guys to learn more about them. They like some of the
things they learn, some of the things, maybe not as much. But I think this
is a matter of Republicans not being in nearly as big a hurry as the news
media. You know, the news media -- and I`m not being critical, but the
news media wants this thing to be going full blast.
A lot of people on our side are saying, I have got plenty of time, I`m
going to take my time, because I want to make sure we nominate somebody
that beats Barack Obama.
MATTHEWS: I agree with what you said when you said that about a month
ago, Governor, but there`s nobody else getting in, it looks like. And so
you`re basically -- they`re basically looking at, do I want coffee or tea
right now, and they can`t decide which one.
Is it that they don`t want either one? Is it they don`t want Perry,
because -- they don`t want Perry it looks like right now. They don`t want
Cain because he`s untested, he`s a business guy with no political
background, and they don`t think Romney`s a true conservative, it seems to
How else can you explain why they can`t pick Romney, who has been
around? Why wouldn`t you pick a guy you have been watching for seven or
eight years now? Why wouldn`t you pick him, if you like him?
BARBOUR: Well, the fact of the matter is, Rick Perry`s been the
governor of the second biggest state in the country for quite a long time,
but he`s still not very well known by the average voter, even the average
Mitt Romney`s not well known by the average Republican, average voter.
Of course, Herman Cain, some of the others are brand-new to most voters.
I just think people are being patient and taking their time is the
main thing going on here, because they realize, this election is an
election with incredibly high stakes.
MATTHEWS: If I look at the candidates who are in the race and I
compare them to the ones who aren`t in, Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour, Jeb
Bush, Chris Christie, the list of people not in this race on the Republican
side outweigh, in a lot more ways than one, the people who are in the race.
And I mean that positively.
Don`t you think your team of candidates who chose not to run would
cream the ones who chose to run?
BARBOUR: Well, you know, I`m flattered. And you`re very generous,
MATTHEWS: Well, it`s true. And you know it. You know it`s true.
You and Jeb Bush and Mitch Daniels have so much weight on these guys
that are running, it`s unbelievable. I mean, Mitt is a credible candidate,
but these other guys, they`re not going to be president, are they?
BARBOUR: I bet a lot of people in 1991 and 1992 were saying the same
thing about Bill Clinton. Why didn`t some of the heavyweights run for the
Democratic nomination? Or Jimmy Carter in 1975 and `76.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, we`re smarter now.
BARBOUR: The more these guys...
MATTHEWS: Can I ask you a question? Here`s Cain talking about the
border fence. Tell me if this qualifies him for president. Here he is
talking about a serious problem, illegal immigration in this country.
Everybody has some solution to it. Let`s watch his.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAIN: We will have a real fence, 20 feet high, with barbed wire,
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
CAIN: ... with a sign on the other side that says it can kill you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, there`s a good neighbor policy. I mean, think about it.
Twenty feet high from the Atlantic to the Pacific, electrified, and it
says, "It can kill you." That`s our message to the entire southern part of
this hemisphere. "It can kill you." Is he serious?
BARBOUR: I had read a story about this -- I had read a story about
this where people were criticizing Cain because they said that he acted
like he wanted to kill people. It sounds to me from hearing the rendition
that I just heard that what he was actually saying is: we would warn people
that this is dangerous and they don`t need to come to it.
You know, whether you agree that that`s the right way to do it or
not, we have to secure the border of the United States.
BARBOUR: And in some places, fencing is a very good way to do that.
In other places, we`ll do it with technology, with cameras, with drones,
with motion sensors. And, of course, we`ll have to have a lot of boots on
But there is no question that there are certain parts of the United
States, particularly in the urban areas where you got an urban area on both
the north and the south side of the border that a fence is a very effective
MATTHEWS: Would you put up a 20-foot-high electrified fence anywhere
across our border? Electrified, that says this could kill you, would you
do that? Anywhere?
BARBOUR: Well, I don`t think that -- I think past experience shows
us that you don`t have to have an electrified fence.
MATTHEWS: So, you wouldn`t do it?
BARBOUR: I don`t think there`s anything wrong -- I don`t think
there`s anything wrong with having an electrified fence.
BARBOUR: I wouldn`t want to have one that would actually kill
people, though it might get some people`s attention if they thought it
MATTHEWS: OK. Well, let`s listen to what President Obama had to say
last month on issue of fair taxes and then we`re going to play you what
another prominent Republican had to say, besides you, about the same issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And that`s why this
plan eliminates tax loopholes that primarily go to the wealthiest taxpayers
and biggest corporations. It is wrong that in the United States of
America, a teacher or a nurse or a construction worker who earns $50,000
should pay higher tax rates than somebody pulling in $50 million.
RONALD REAGAN, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: We`re going to close the
unproductive tax loopholes that have allowed some of the truly wealthy to
avoid paying their fair share. In theory, some of those loopholes were
understandable. But in practice, they sometimes made it possible for
millionaires to pay nothing while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his
salary, and that`s crazy. It`s time we stopped it.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MATTHEWS: That`s President Reagan, as you remember, making the case
for tax reform, which he succeeded in getting actually in `85. What do you
think of the comparison of the two? It sounds familiar, both of them.
BARBOUR: Well, I think it was `86.
MATTHEWS: The bill was passed in `85.
BARBOUR: The fact is, the Reagan bill cut rates. It reduced rates
to two rates. Obama wants to add rates and then make the rates go higher -
- 5.5 percent higher, which is a 12 percent increase.
There is no excuse for a system that allows people that make enormous
amounts of money to pay no taxes. There also is no excuse for a system
where half the people in the country pay no income taxes. That`s why I
thought the president`s own commission, the Simpson/Bowles commission, came
out with a perfectly reasonable plan that would have lowered rates, lowered
rates even lower than Reagan did while eliminating broadening the tax
So, there`s a huge difference between what Ronald Reagan was saying
and what Barack Obama was saying and proposing.
MATTHEWS: But do you think it`s fair to pay 15 percent taxes on
capital gains and 35 percent on sweat work?
BARBOUR: Well, people don`t pay 35 percent on, quote, "sweat work,"
if you`re talking about that`s some kind of, that`s some kind of hard
MATTHEWS: A salaried income is 35 percent taxed, whereas a money
income is being 15 percent taxed.
BARBOUR: I misunderstood you. I thought you meant sweat literally,
you mean like being a TV host.
MATTHEWS: Something like that. I`m trying to include us all,
including governors and other people. I`m talking anybody that gets paid a
salary, why should they pay a higher rate than people that get money off of
BARBOUR: Most of the countries in the world, either tax capital
gains at a lesser rate than us or at no tax at all. Because they want
people to invest their money in job creation, in technology, and our
capital gains tax rate, when they were lowered to 15 percent, actually
increased the amount of revenue that was collected by the United States
And you know, you remember what Barack Obama told Charlie Gibson
about that on national television -- even though raising the rate for
capital gains would decrease the amount of money that the government took
in, it was a matter of fairness.
MATTHEWS: OK, I heard that.
BARBOUR: Well, I think the policy we want in this country is a
policy that creates more jobs and capital gains help create more jobs.
MATTHEWS: Well, I`m with the Buffett rule, myself.
Thank you, Governor Haley Barbour. You always seem reasonable -- or
at least you sound reasonable. Thank you, sir.
BARBOUR: I`ll take that as a compliment, Chris.
MATTHEWS: It is one. Thank you.
BARBOUR: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: No, no exactly -- anyway, Governor Haley Barbour of
The great new movie "Margin Call" comes out and it does talk about
the deceit of Wall Street and the incredible dishonesty of some people up
there as they dump bad assets on good people so they can escape with their
billions. Kevin Spacey one of the bad guys in the movie and he`s a very
good bad guy.
This is HARDBALL only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Kevin Spacey joins us next. He`s the great bad guy in the
new movie, "Margin Call," about Wall Street and how it takes advantage by
cheating the rest of us.
Be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN SPACEY, ACTOR: But, John, if you do this, you will kill the
market for years. It`s over. And you`re selling something that you know
has no value.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are selling to willing buyers of the current
fair market price so that we may survive.
SPACEY: You will never sell anything to any of those people ever
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I understand.
SPACEY: Do you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you? This is it! I`m telling you, this is
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That`s a clip from the new movie, "Margin Call," which is about a
fiction I think in the way Wall Street firms -- actually about all of them
-- on the eve of the 2008 financial crisis.
It opens this Friday around the country and stars the great Kevin
Spacey who`s here with me tonight. Also joining me is J.C. Chandor, who
wrote and directed the film.
J.C., thank you for joining us.
I want to now talk to Kevin Spacey.
MATTHEWS: Kevin, what I love about his movie is -- I saw it a couple
of weeks ago. It is spectacular because it finally explains the ultimate
evil, which is the willingness of people with money to do anything to keep
it, even screwing people that they like and work with.
SPACEY: Well, I also think what J.C.`s done with this movie is given
you a very clear idea about hierarchy. Every time you think you`ve met the
top guy at this firm, five minutes later you meet somebody else who`s above
that guy and somebody else is above that guy. And I think that that`s why
it`s become so difficult to sort of necessarily point the correct fingers
at the correct people.
But it certainly is interesting to us that at the very moment that
Wall Street is being occupied because I think people are realizing that
there was a very big Band-Aid put on a very big wound in 2008. You know,
this movie isn`t a history lesson. It`s happening.
MATTHEWS: It`s a lot like high noon where you have a clock ticking.
And in real time, you realize that people under pressure will say, well,
let`s screw the people we do business with so we come out on top. And, by
the way, do they always make the bad guys at the top have bad English
accents? Is that like in Spartacus, the real bad people are --
SPACEY: You called me a bad guy in this movie --
MATTHEWS: You are, because you buckle.
SPACEY: He`s a human being. He doesn`t set out to do bad and he`s
against it all the way. But ultimately he`s got to feed his family.
MATTHEWS: So many Wall Street people say the same thing. We have to
stay in business. We have to cut deals. We have to deceive.
Don`t they all say that, they`re all human beings?
SPACEY: Yes. But you can`t lump "deceive" in there with "we do have
to pay bills" and we have to -- some do and some didn`t. And some didn`t
go down the road this firm. This was, you know, your father was in the
business for a long time.
J.C. CHANDOR, WRITER & DIRECTOR, "MARGIN CALL": What we tried to do
with the film is to actually look at these people as human beings and
actually figure out that it`s not pure greed or pure deceit. It`s a very,
very complicated issue that there`s no simple answer. We`re not going to
solve this --
MATTHEWS: What did you learn on Wall Street you want to show in this
movie so that people watching HARDBALL now get it?
CHANDOR: That this is not going to be fixed quickly. This is going
to be a long, complicated conversation. And if we just put our heads back
in the sand and say, "You`re bad, I`m good," we`re going to be right back
in the same place.
MATTHEWS: But the beauty of your film is we`ve all learned about how
real estate assets were bundled together into securities and sold off to
Belgium or somewhere. And along that chain of custody, this stuff that had
no value because the poor people who bought these homes couldn`t pay for
them, especially with the declining real estate market, it`s always going
to be worthless. I like the way you explain that in a movie.
SPACEY: Even the characters like -- the characters I play and
several of the other characters, they admit that they can`t read those
graphs. There`s no idea any of that stuff means. You know, they got to
get the smaller guys, the underlings to explain to them --
MATTHEWS: You fire the guy in the movie who warns you what`s coming
-- it`s like the guy in the "Titanic" that says, the ship hit an iceberg,
fire that guy.
CHANDOR: We met a lot of those people who told us that.
SPACEY: They had warned the firms. They had warned their bosses.
And they were completely ignored.
MATTHEWS: Stanley Stotz (ph) is walking out with his box, like
people who have been fired have to do. They had to walk out with the box
being escorted by security, you know? And then he`s the guy they have to
go and basically pay him to shut up.
CHANDOR: There were also a lot of people leading up to the crisis
that were fired for wimping out too early, as they sort of call it. So,
there`s this -- if you get out too early, you`re gone, you`re being too
cautious. If you stay too late, it`s almost better to stay too late. And
I`m not sure that`s the smart way to run a multinational corporation.
MATTHEWS: Why should people see a movie that`s going to make people
mad at Wall Street?
SPACEY: Well, I hope people are going to understand it. And I hope
that it`s not as black and white as you`re painting it out to be.
MATTHEWS: That`s how I saw it.
SPACEY: I think it`s more nuanced, and I think ultimately what`s
nice is to --
CHANDOR: Was it fun, too?
MATTHEWS: I loved the movie. And, by the way, I congratulate you on
the number of people you put out on the Wall Street. All the streets out
there, all those number of people demonstrating for this movie --
MATTHEWS: I`m just teasing. Thank you.
They`re real out there. This is a movie.
Kevin Spacey, J.C. Chandor, the movie is called "Margin Call." I
highly recommend it because I can understand it.
When we return, "Let Me Finish" with the one big problem about the
Tea Party -- they`re totally utterly negative.
You`re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: "Let Me Finish" tonight with this -- it`s hard to go
positive when your movement is based on a negative. Isn`t that the problem
with the Tea Party? Oh, they`re passion and energy. Their very roots are
built on a "not" -- not liking Obama, not liking taxes, even on the
wealthy. Not liking the government. Not liking government, period.
And this is why we see the utter failure of the Tea Party set to
settle on a presidential candidate to remove Mitt Romney from his
frontrunner status. Oh, they have candidates all right. They have them
They love Trump for a week or two. Loved Bachmann, but that was a
summer romance. Then they swooned for Perry before he swooned over in
Now, they like Herman Cain. But with him, they have a problem. It`s
not him exactly -- it`s the fact that he`s the last one standing. How can
they embrace a guy they might get stuck with?
And this is serious. We`ve got a loud political movement that`s
proving itself incapable of speaking a clear message on the most basic duty
of a political movement. To locate, advocate for and elect someone to run
The reason is that "they" -- the Tea Party crowd -- really don`t like
leaders. They don`t trust the person who stands in front of the room and
says: make me your leader.
No, they much prefer the loud guy in the back row waving his hand
angrily. The guy who doesn`t like what`s going on, even in a room where
nobody likes what`s going on any time anywhere. And because that guy on
the back row, the one who is always ready to jump and yell down something
someone else just said is the one really calling the shots of the Tea
Party. It`s really hard to find someone to stand up in front of a room and
try to lead that.
Negativity spouts negativity and that`s why the last man standing in
the Tea Party world, Herman Cain, will not be the last man standing. And
why Mitt Romney, a candidate who would never attend a Tea Party meeting in
his life, will be the last man standing.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for watching.
"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.
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Guests: Kay Hagan, Perry Bacon, Haley Barbour, Kevin Spacey, J.C. Chandor