Guests: David Corn, Amanda Drury, Howard Fineman, Michael Scherer, Jay Carney, Sally Bradshaw, Mark McKinnon, Bob Shrum, Buzz Bissinger
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: The Newt salute.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews out in Chicago. Leading off
tonight: Is Gingrich for real? We`ve got incredible new poll numbers from
"Time" magazine that show he`s not just a power in Iowa, he could be Mitt
Romney`s undoing in South Carolina and Florida, as well. Could Gingrich
slingshot out of Iowa straight to the nomination?
Then, with just 27 days to go until the Iowa caucuses, less than four
weeks, Mitt Romney`s turning up the volume on his campaign. But he did
turn it up but perhaps too high today, and too obvious. For example,
speaking before the Republican Jewish Coalition, Romney criticized
President Obama for "appeasement" -- that was his word seven times today,
"appeasement" -- before a Jewish group. Is Romney getting tough or just
Plus, ad wars. Rick Perry`s going all-in in Iowa. His campaign will
saturate the airwaves in the coming weeks, including a new ad
unquestionably aimed at that state`s evangelical right. But can ads do
what he can`t? Can they talk for him? We`ll break down some of the most
telling and most provocative ads tonight and what they really show us about
the state of this election.
And Jerry Sandusky, back not by popular demand. The former Penn State
football coach was re-arrested today on new sex abuse charges brought by
two new accusers. And like some of the earlier victims, the two new ones
both met Sandusky through his charity, the Second Mile.
And "Let Me Finish" tonight with my take on the stark way -- in fact,
wild way -- this election is heading.
We start with the power of Newt Gingrich. Howard Fineman is an MSNBC
political analyst, of course, the Huffington Post Media Group editorial
director, and Michael Scherer is the White House correspondent for "Time."
Michael, I want you to go through some of these numbers. Let me just
begin the effort here, stunning new state poll numbers just out from "Time"
and CNN tonight show incredible gains in strength for Newt Gingrich.
Take a look at Florida, a state where Mitt was going to turn it around
and win the thing. Newt has blown away the other candidates, out of the
water, in fact. (INAUDIBLE) right now an enormously high number, 48
percent of the vote, to Romney`s rather puny 25 percent down there. Third
place down there in Florida, Ron Paul at just 5.
In Iowa, we`re less than one month away from the caucuses there, and
Gingrich leads there with -- it`s already up to 33 percent, Romney still
held down at 20, Paul in third place. In New Hampshire, Romney leads the
Granite State, but with just 35 percent of the vote, while Newt has climbed
all the way toward him with 26 percent. He`s getting within slingshot
range, based on Iowa.
And finally, here`s a big one. In South Carolina, Gingrich more than
doubles Romney`s vote down there right now, 43 percent to 20 percent.
Could that be the Mormon factor? It could be a lot of factors. Rick
Perry, a distant third.
Let me go right now to Michael. Let`s give it some analysis. Why is
Gingrich flying to the top of this fight in almost every state?
MICHAEL SCHERER, "TIME" MAGAZINE: I think there`s two things. One,
we always knew there would be an anti-Romney candidate. There`s been a
sort of mixed -- mixed chairs here, who would get to have it, and Gingrich
has come in strong just at the time when Mitt has had a rough couple weeks.
He`s basically been silent this week, doing fund-raisers, and so you see
this big boom.
I think that Florida number is the biggest number out of these polls.
The Romney theory from the beginning was, We do well in New Hampshire, then
Iowa and South Carolina won`t matter. We`ll get to Florida. We`ll get to
the other states.
If Newt or -- is able to hold South Carolina, do well in Iowa and then
go into Florida with numbers like that, Mitt`s in a lot of trouble.
MATTHEWS: Why does a guy with a diabolic grin -- and I`m being
completely objective here...
MATTHEWS: ... a guy who doesn`t look like a presidential candidate,
looks too nasty for one -- why is the nasty guy doing the best of all the
candidates right now, the one who`s so obviously nasty?
SCHERER: I think there`s a couple things going on here, too. Newt is
not carrying his own baggage. Everybody knows right now why they don`t
like Mitt Romney. People don`t know yet why they don`t like Newt Gingrich.
And that`s all going to come out in the next couple weeks. Democrats are
going to turn on him. Romney`s going to go much tougher on him. The other
candidates, Bachmann, Perry, are probably going to start hitting him in
Iowa. And so there will be a turn.
But the interesting thing is if you look at these poll numbers, some
of that is already showing up. Women are far less likely to be supportive
SCHERER: ... than men. He`s got that -- I think that`s part of that
-- that -- you know, he just kind of looks -- looks a little funny
(INAUDIBLE) plus his history with -- with several marriages.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, let me go to Howard now and a character
discussion here. It looks to me like if you`re looking to cast a villain,
somebody to go after the marshal, there`s President Obama, you`re looking
with a guy with some notches on his belt, and Newt`s got them -- look at
Jim Wright and the rest of them back then -- and with some scars on his
face, a guy that does look nasty.
I`m not being -- I`m not attacking Newt right now on that basis, I`m
just pointing out his appeal to the right-wing haters. They want somebody
who looks nasty, like a Jack Palance, you know, from "Shane," some nasty
guy that the dogs walk away from when they see him.
MATTHEWS: You know what I`m talking about.
HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST MEDIA GROUP, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:
I know what you`re talking about, Chris, and I wrote about it the other
week when Newt was really starting to rocket to the top because I`ve
covered him from the beginning. And I`ve always said, and I wrote in this
piece, that Newt`s main appeal and his main skill is as a guy who knows
exactly where to put the explosive device to blow up the bridge.
FINEMAN: He did it -- he did it to the Democratic establishment in
the House, which it had controlled the House of Representatives for 40
years. Newt basically invented a new style of semi-intellectual attack
politics that was made to appeal to the rising generation of Republicans,
Baby Boomers who`d read Barry Goldwater, who read "The National Review,"
who wanted an intellectual gloss for the all-out kneecapping that they were
about to commit against the Democratic Party. That`s Newt`s background.
The older generation of Republican voters, likely Republican voters,
remembers that Newt. They`ve forgotten some of the bad stuff, like the
shutdown of the government, et cetera, et cetera. They`ve forgotten Newt
the crybaby on Air Force One. They remember Newt the attack dog. They
remember Newt, the guy who blew up a seemingly, you know, entrenched
FINEMAN: And they`re looking for Newt at the age 68 to do the same
thing all over again to Barack Obama and his establishment. To them, he`s
not a villain. They think he`s a gunslinger, to use the Jack Palance
FINEMAN: ... and they like it, especially when all the other
conservatives have gone nowhere.
And the other thing I`d like to say about the "Time" poll -- it`s
amazing, Chris. You and I have talked about it a million times. Mitt
Romney is Mr. 20 to 25.
FINEMAN: I mean, leave New Hampshire out of it. He gets 20 percent
to 25 percent everywhere. Not usually less but never any more. It`s just
incredible. So that other 75 percent is flocking to Newt Gingrich.
MATTHEWS: And that 25 percent or whatever, he maybe gets to 35 in New
Hampshire on a good night...
FINEMAN: Maybe. Maybe.
MATTHEWS: ... is no better than Tsongas`s numbers because people are
going to discount them.
MATTHEWS: They`re going to -- you know what happened to Tsongas. He
beat Bill Clinton by 8 points back then, Michael, and everybody ignored it
and Bill Clinton declared himself "the comeback kid," and that was the end
of the game.
Here`s Gingrich taunting his fellow Republicans for not attending the
Trump circus debate, we`re calling it, later this month. Talk about a turn
on a dime. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH (R-GA), FMR. HOUSE SPEAKER, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I
think if you`re afraid to debate with Donald Trump, people are going to
say, So you want me to believe you can debate Barack Obama, but you`re
afraid to show up with Donald Trump? And I think it strikes me it`s kind
of a very weak position. I don`t know why people would do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That`s the evil genius, Michael, Newt Gingrich.
FINEMAN: Bingo. Bingo.
MATTHEWS: He`s turned around what was a show of -- a profile in
courage by Mr. Romney in not bowing to Donald Trump, and turned it into a
weasel act of him walking away from what looks to be a scaredy-cat
situation. So it`s a weird thing.
I`ve been watching this guy, Newt. He can turn anything around
diabolically to the way he wants to present it. He`s an opportunist who
lives off the land. This is a great -- Howard, do you agree, this is a
great example of Newt at his best, or worst, depending on who you are.
SCHERER: I think what`s really interesting here is you have Newt
turning his intellectual superiority act, which he`s been doing from the
beginning in the campaign, into an electability argument. He did it again
with the Republican Jewish Coalition today, where he talked at length about
these debates he wants to have that go hours and hours and have no
moderator, with President Obama, and really belittling President Obama`s
intellect, his academic credentials, and saying he`s ready to stand up.
That`s his electability argument at this point. He`s done it to the
other candidates. He does it to the press, whenever he talks to the press.
And it`s an interesting gambit. I mean, I think a lot of the debates up to
now for many Americans, especially in general election, this sort of "I`m
smarter than you" condescension can be off-putting, but it seems to be
working right now for him.
FINEMAN: Well, you know, but Barack Obama was a guy who was the
president of the Harvard law school. (SIC)
FINEMAN: Newt Gingrich is going to make himself the populist
antagonist to the guy who was editor of the Harvard law school. (SIC) Also,
Newt is great at dogwhistle politics, Chris. You know, he did it just
yesterday, where he said Barack Obama would be the greatest food stamp
president in American history.
MATTHEWS: I saw it. It`s right up there with the Welfare queen
MATTHEWS: ... with Ronald Reagan talking about the "young buck"
coming in and buying whatever, vodka, with his food stamps.
MATTHEWS: You know what he`s doing here.
FINEMAN: Right. Right.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Howard Fineman, so much. And thank you,
Michael Scherer. Good report by "Time." Good numbers.
SCHERER: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Jay Carney is, of course, press secretary to President
Obama. Jay, thanks for coming on tonight. You`ve heard us discussing the
possible entrants into this campaign. I guess -- I know I won`t expect an
answer, but I`ve got to ask it. Who would the president and his people
least like to fight, the street fighter, Newt Gingrich, who`s got a knife
in his hand, or go after -- or have to take on the genteel, or the
relatively genteel Mitt Romney?
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I`ll make a couple of
points, Chris. One, we`re not paying a lot of attention to it, honestly,
from this building here because the president has so much business to do
right here, right now with Congress and outside of Congress, to get
Americans back to work and the economy growing.
And that -- that goes right to what he was talking about yesterday in
Osawatomie, Kansas, about his vision, about the debates that we`re having
over the economy, and specifically about the need to pass this payroll tax
cut extension and expansion. Congress needs to do that and get it done
before the holidays.
You know, going to the second question more broadly about political
primaries and processes, one of the reasons why we don`t think about it --
I mean, obviously, we have an interest eventually because the president`s
running for reelection, but these are organic things, and it`s hard to know
who you`d rather run against.
So we don`t spend a lot of time picking likely winners or preferred
winners. We`ll just wait and see who emerges. And when the time is right,
the president will engage with the Republican nominee and -- and go, I`m
sure, toe to toe with putting forward his ideas about where this country
ought to be and where it ought to go.
MATTHEWS: Well, Jay -- Jay, the president -- I paid attention to the
president`s speech yesterday, as you advised me to, and it was a very
strong progressive appeal. It wasn`t just paying tribute to Teddy
Roosevelt, he was very much in sync with what Roosevelt stood for as a
progressive at the beginning of the last century.
But here`s the question. In tough economic times, can you turn the
tough squeeze on the middle class against the opposition, when they
normally would blame the incumbent?
CARNEY: Well, look, I think the American people understand that the
economic crisis that this country experienced in 2008 and 2009 created a
very deep hole, and it will take a long time to climb out of that hole.
The crisis, put another way, wasn`t created overnight and the American
people understand that we can`t get out of it overnight.
But they do know that this president`s policies have resulted in a
reversal of that trajectory that he inherited. As we know now -- and this
is really -- whenever I think about this, I`m astounded. At the time when
the president was sworn into office in January of 2009, economists of all
stripes believed that the baseline analysis was that the economy had shrunk
in the fourth quarter of 2008 by about 3 percent.
We now know, through revisions of those statistics and analysis, that
the economy shrank by almost 9 percent. I mean, that is Depression-era
levels of shrinkage. And that`s the kind of calamity that this country was
facing when President Obama was sworn into office. These were tough times,
and he took big decisions and made tough calls to -- to point this economy
back in the right direction.
And as you know, Chris, as we heard from the latest jobs report, that
we`ve now created private sector jobs for 21 straight months, and that`s
nearly 3 million private sector jobs. It`s not enough, but...
MATTHEWS: Well, you got a good report card.
CARNEY: ... we`re going in the right direction. We`re going in the
right direction. And I think the point that the president was making with
regard specifically to his battles with Congress right now on economic
CARNEY: ... but also I think from what we`re hearing from all
Republicans right now, would-be presidents included, is that they want to
go back to the same policies that everyone knows got us into this mess in
the first place. And I mean, I -- you know, I just don`t think that`s an
easy message to sell.
MATTHEWS: Well, as the leader of the Democratic Party, do you think
the president is wise not to pay attention to what the Republicans are
saying in these debates? I mean, is he really not paying attention to this
fight between Newt and Mitt? He`s leader of the party, right? I mean,
Obama has just acknowledged that. He`s a partisan leader. He`s leader of
the Democratic Party, as well as being president...
MATTHEWS: ... and he`s not paying attention to the Republican fight?
CARNEY: No, he`s paying attention as an observer, Chris. I mean,
he`s aware of it. He follows the news. You know, he doesn`t watch a lot
of TV, I`m sorry, but he does read a lot. And -- and he -- he`s fully
aware of what`s happening in those primaries.
And when we get questions from you, or I get questions from the press
in this briefing room, about charges made by Republican presidential
candidates, I respond to them if they go to the president`s record and his
What I`m saying is that we don`t spend a lot of time gaming out what
outcome we would prefer...
CARNEY: ... in the Republican process because, as we`ve seen, you
know, it`s a -- it`s an unpredictable game, right? We don`t know who the
nominee is going to be. And as you pointed out, we have one candidate who
was nowhere three weeks ago who`s top of the heap right now. So who knows
who`s going to be top of the heap in three or four months.
MATTHEWS: Can I ask you a civics question? Is President Obama, as
well as being commander-in-chief and head of state and head of the
executive branch -- is he also head of the Democratic Party?
CARNEY: Yes, he is. I mean, he`s a proud Democrat. He -- he comes
from that tradition. I think he -- he`s a progressive in the sense that he
expressed yesterday in echoing what Teddy Roosevelt, in many ways the
original progressive, expressed, even though Roosevelt had been a
Republican -- when he gave that speech in Osawatomie, he was contending
with a Republican Party that he felt had lost its way...
MATTHEWS: That`s right.
CARNEY: ... much as -- much as, you know, some critics say the
current Republican Party has lost its way and sort of lost track of the --
of the middle class, you know, the folks who really need Washington`s help
right now in helping make ends meet...
CARNEY: ... and growing and expanding their ranks.
MATTHEWS: OK, Jay, we got to go.
CARNEY: All right, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Jay, you just cost me some money. I just lost a bet. You
said he was the leader of the Democratic Party, right out there with no
CARNEY: There you go.
MATTHEWS: I thought you`d find some sophisticated way of saying,
Well, he`s sort of -- you know...
CARNEY: I tell it like it is. I tell it like it is, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Two out of the three -- just two people on my staff, two
producers of this, made some money. Anyway, thank you, Jay Carney, for
coming on tonight on HARDBALL.
Coming up, Mitt Romney`s on...
CARNEY: I appreciate it, Chris.
MATTHEWS: ... is coming on the attack right now, criticizing
President Obama. And here he is using a word that`s very disturbing, if
you know 20th century history, especially if you`re a Jewish person, and
anybody really, "appeasement." Romney kept saying that over and over again
today. Is he desperate, to use words like that in an American political
debate? Is he really saying that Obama is one of the appeasers?
You`re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Well, I`ve been out here in the middle of the country
touring, with overwhelming crowds of people coming out to hear about my
book, "Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero." It seems like I have a thousand people
wherever I go. I`m here in Chicago today for a great event at the
prestigious, I must say, Standard Club. Tomorrow I`m in Minneapolis.
We`re going to talk to the Westminster Town Hall forum there, a huge crowd,
something like 1,800 people. And on Monday, I`ll be in New York at the
great 92nd Street Y, where all great -- well, everybody goes who has a big
It`s been an honor to encourage people to get out and bring back and
celebrate a great American hero this Christmas, the true story of Jack
Kennedy`s heroism. I think it`s a gift we all need now.
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: President Obama has adopted
an appeasement strategy. Appeasement betrays a lack of faith in America,
in American strength, and in America`s future.
Like others among the Washington elite, he believes that America`s
role as the leader of the world is a thing of the past. And so he seeks to
appease those he believes will balance us or who might challenge our
leadership in the future.
This appeasement by this administration has taken a lot of different
forms over the last three years. It includes offers to engage with the
world`s most despicable dictators.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, you heard the word there, appeasement, despicable
dictators. Get the point?
By the way, his hair is starting to get messed up a little bit there,
and he is actually starting to do a Mitt Romney equivalent of sweating, I
Disturbing talk of course from Romney earlier today speaking to the
Republican Jewish Coalition back in D.C. He accused the president of
appeasement to our enemies and not standing by Israel. He also said the
president doesn`t understand America. There`s an old canard: He`s not
really one of us.
Let`s remember this is a president who has gone on aggressively
against terrorists around the world. He has increased the use of drone
strikes. He`s taken out Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki, aided in the
death of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. And, diplomatically -- and I`m
most impressed with this -- President Obama stood up to many in the U.N.,
including a lot of our allies in Europe, and backed Israel, and not alone
in the end,. He had people behind him, thanks to Susan Rice and Hillary
Clinton, in rejecting Palestinian statehood this fall.
And yet Mitt Romney chose to use that word, that inflammatory word in
front of a Jewish group that refers historically and painfully to British
Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain`s failure with his umbrella to stand up
to Adolf Hitler back in `38.
We`re going to talk about that. And, also, can Romney get credibly
aggressive with his chief Republican rival now, Newt Gingrich? He says
he`s only begun to fight.
Well, Sally Bradshaw is a Republican strategist down in Florida, a key
state. She served as a senior adviser to Mitt Romney back in 2008. And
David Corn is an MSNBC political analyst and Washington bureau chief for
Sally, thanks for coming on the show.
You have worked with Mitt Romney. Why is he using that inflammatory
word appeasement? It has one particular historic reference point, giving
away Czechoslovakia to Hitler.
SALLY BRADSHAW, FLORIDA REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: It does. It does.
And that`s exactly why he`s using it, because that`s exactly what the
president is doing. I mean, the fact is the issue is Iran. The litany of
things that you went through, Chris, may all be admirable on behalf of the
president. He should have done all those things. But someone has to get
tough with Ahmadinejad and Iran.
And certainly of all the groups, he should...
MATTHEWS: What does that mean, get tough?
BRADSHAW: ... it`s this group.
MATTHEWS: What does that mean, get tough? What do you mean?
BRADSHAW: Well, I think it`s totally appropriate for him to...
MATTHEWS: No, what do you mean by...
MATTHEWS: Define the word. Define the word carefully. What you mean
BRADSHAW: He is clearly saying the fact that this president agreed to
sit down and negotiate with Ahmadinejad, a man who may have a nuclear
weapon within a couple of years, who has called for the elimination of
Israel from the face of the earth, is a problem.
MATTHEWS: What do you mean by tough? I`m going to give you a couple
minutes to do this.
MATTHEWS: Define tough.
BRADSHAW: By saying we`re not going to negotiate with someone like
that, and we`re going to do -- we`re going to bring every resource to bear
that we have to ensure that this crazy dictator in Iran doesn`t have a
It`s not just Jewish voters who should want to hear that from their
leader. It`s all voters. All voters are concerned about this.
BRADSHAW: And I have to tell you, I think it`s funny that you think
appeasement is an inappropriate use of that word to describe...
MATTHEWS: No, I want you to define it in this sense. What has he
done -- what would you do? When you said get tough with Iran, what would
you recommend he do? Say it now clearly, please.
BRADSHAW: I`m not running for president.
Sure. I`m not running for president.
MATTHEWS: You`re saying he`s not saying what he should say. What is
BRADSHAW: What he should do is say is that he`s not going to
negotiate with a terrorist, and that`s Ahmadinejad, and that he`s going to
bring resources to bear to ensure that we don`t have a nuclear weapon from
Iran in the next several years.
DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, this is...
MATTHEWS: OK. Fine. OK.
Let`s go back to David Corn here.
The use of the word appeasement to me is inflammatory. It`s
suggesting that we`re dealing with Hitler...
MATTHEWS: ... and that this guy is giving away countries to Hitler,
the way we began World War II.
MATTHEWS: To me, it`s like saying you`re soft on communism. It`s a
word that to me destroys the American debate, because it basically says the
other side is un-American and shouldn`t even be in the debate. And ways of
dealing with the real power in Iran, which you know is not Ahmadinejad --
it`s the clerics -- and how we deal with them effectively, let`s go on from
CORN: Well, you know, I don`t want to be rude to Sally here, but we
BRADSHAW: Thank you.
CORN: ... her inability to answer the question shows that this is
nothing except empty, debasing rhetoric.
The use of the word appeasement in this context -- and -- and your
pal, your old pal Mitt Romney, who you may come to support in this
campaign, didn`t just say it was about Iran. He said it was about Barack
Obama`s entire approach to the world.
BRADSHAW: And he`s right.
CORN: Ask Moammar Gadhafi about -- no, no, no.
Well, did we appease Moammar Gadhafi? Do you even know what happened
on the Asian trip that the president just took about the Chinese military
influence in the Pacific? Do you know?
BRADSHAW: No, but I think you`re going to tell -- I think you`re
probably going to -- I think you`re probably going to tell me now.
CORN: Do you know?
BRADSHAW: I think you`re probably going to tell me.
CORN: Well, yes. Well, the president -- the president got other
countries there in the Pacific region, and they actually ticked off China
by pushing back on its growing military influence in the oceans over there.
So, that`s not appeasement. So, if you`re going to talk about this
stuff, I think Chris is right, you have got to be specific. And if you`re
going to talk about getting tough, President Obama has -- has implemented
And do you believe -- here`s a good -- here`s a good trick question
CORN: Do you believe we should be -- he should be supporting the
people fighting for democracy in Iran?
BRADSHAW: I think he should be supporting the democracy of Israel,
which is exactly Governor Romney`s point. And he`s not doing that.
MATTHEWS: Give Sally a chance here.
Sally, I want you to analyze again. I will give you another chance
here to go for it now and plenty of time to do it.
MATTHEWS: I am impressed by the secretary of state`s success, with
Susan Rice at the U.N., in brilliantly I think so far finessing what looked
to be an unstoppable move by the Palestinians to have a state established
They have managed to get the Germans on our side. I believe the
French and the English are also going to abstain. What looked to be just
us and the United -- us and the Israelis against the world, which would
have been terrible for both of us, they have managed to avoid this -- would
have been a terrible situation.
Can`t you give Secretary of State Clinton credit for what they have
been able to do to prevent what looked like an automatic defeat here?
BRADSHAW: Sure. And I do.
MATTHEWS: Go ahead.
BRADSHAW: But that`s not what we`re talking about.
MATTHEWS: Is that appeasement? Is that appeasement?
BRADSHAW: You have -- you have -- let me finish, Chris.
MATTHEWS: I will let you finish.
BRADSHAW: You have thrust me into the role of State Department
spokesman, which is not what I want to do.
But I will tell you this. It is appeasement when we abandon our
friend Israel, the democracy in the Middle East.
MATTHEWS: How have we done that?
CORN: We didn`t do that.
BRADSHAW: Because he -- OK, tell me how we have not done that. Tell
me where Barack Obama has been on Israel and why, if he hasn`t done that,
CORN: Chris just told you, Sally.
BRADSHAW: There is so much concern among...
CORN: Chris just told...
BRADSHAW: OK, David, let me finish.
CORN: He just told you.
BRADSHAW: There`s so much concern among -- there`s so much concern
among Jewish voters about Barack Obama`s policy, you know, towards Israel
and towards Iran and in the Middle East.
I -- frankly, you`re asking me. I`m giving you an honest opinion. I
think there`s nothing wrong with calling it exactly what it is. And if you
don`t understand that, you are fundamentally misunderstanding where voters
are in this country...
CORN: You`re not using...
BRADSHAW: ... and the concern they feel about the president.
CORN: You`re not using the word correctly.
CORN: If -- Chris just outlined how the United States had Israel`s
back, whether you agree with it or not, but had Israel`s back in the U.N.
on this very tricky matter.
And then a second later, you come out and say he`s abandoning Israel
and it`s appeasement. This is like black is white. How do you justify
BRADSHAW: Because that`s exactly what he`s done. I mean, your world
view may be your world view, David, but it is not my world view.
CORN: You`re amazing.
BRADSHAW: And it`s not -- thank you.
And it`s not the view of the majority of voters, particularly Jewish
voters, which is a problem for Obama and an opportunity for Mitt Romney.
MATTHEWS: OK. We have to go now.
Thank you, Sally, for coming on.
BRADSHAW: You`re welcome.
MATTHEWS: But the latest polling out of Israel has definitely got a
big uptick, a strong uptick for the president. They are very happy, I
believe, and they are very sophisticated voters in this country, by the
BRADSHAW: Oh, just like you.
MATTHEWS: But they are the most sophisticated voters, and in many
ways, they hear these arguments and they are going to see through them.
Anyway, thank you, David Corn.
Up next: Think the topic of must-see TV is a nonpartisan issue?
Well, think again. Apparently, people pick programs on the basis of their
political proclivities. Not surprised here. Find out which shows topped
the list on each side of party divide. That`s next in the "Sideshow."
You`re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Now for the "Sideshow."
This one is all about must-see TV. Well, apparently, the party divide
right now, Democrat vs. Republican, goes a lot further than the polling
booth. To be specific, how about programming your DVR? That`s right. A
new study by a consumer research group shows which TV programs top the list
for liberal Democrats, as opposed to conservative Republicans.
Here goes. The top five for self-identified liberal Democrats, in
first place, "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," followed by "The Colbert
Report," PBS`s "Masterpiece Theater," NBC`s "30 Rock," in fifth place, Amy
Poehler`s "Parks and Recreation." That`s the big five for the liberals.
As for self-identified conservative Republicans, in first place -- I
don`t even know these shows -- we have "Barrett-Jackson Collector Car
Auction." That`s "Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction." That`s an
interesting one, followed by -- I knew this one -- "This Old House" -- get
out your toolkit -- and "The 700 Club" -- that`s Pat Robertson -- and
"Swamp Loggers," and finally "Top Shot." Quite a lineup there on the
The list could be quite a guide, by the way, for candidates on both
sides, left and right, on where to drop political ads when this election
season really heats up.
Up next: ad wars. You don`t want to miss that one. We are going to
show you the latest, most provocative, wild political ads playing right now
in Iowa and on the Internet.
You`re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
AMANDA DRURY, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Amanda Drury with your CNBC
A little roller-coaster ride in the final hour of trade today, the Dow
Jones industrial average up 46 points after falling almost 40 in the final
15 minutes, the S&P 500 adding two, and the Nasdaq ending just fractionally
A pretty quiet day, though, as investors wait on that key Eurozone
summit at end of the week. Then, around 3:00, banks started moving higher
on a report from the Nikkei that the IMF was considering a $600 billion
lending program for the E.U.
But the rally fizzled when our own Steve Liesman shot down that report
with firm denials from the IMF. Meanwhile, investors zeroed in on U.S.
Airways as the most likely beneficiary of the American Airlines bankruptcy.
And Martha Stewart Omnimedia surged on word that J.C. Penney is buying
setting a 16 percent stake and setting aside floor space. Also, women`s
retailer Talbots skyrocketed after a private equity firm offered a $212
That`s it from CNBC. We`re first in business worldwide -- back over
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
The Republican fight for the nomination for president is coming to TV
with a full barrage of ads unrolling in Iowa now and also in New Hampshire.
We are going to go through the latest ads right now and look at what an
anti-Obama ad from Karl Rove`s Crossroads GPS tells us about the ad wars to
come next year.
Bob Shrum is a Democratic strategist, and Mark McKinnon was
advertising director in the Bush campaign and is vice president of Hill &
Gentlemen, let`s start our cars. Let`s go right to Rick Perry`s big
play to get back in the game. This is his new ad going up in Iowa. It`s a
clear pitch for the state`s evangelical Christians. Can it do him any
good, this ad do what he can`t do, which is talk? Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, RICK PERRY CAMPAIGN AD)
GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m not ashamed to
admit that I`m a Christian, but you don`t need to be in the pew every
Sunday to know that there`s something wrong in this country when gays can
serve openly in the military, but our kids can`t openly celebrate Christmas
or pray in school.
As president, I will end Obama`s war on religion, and I will fight
against liberal attacks on our religious heritage. Faith made America
strong. It can make her strong again.
I`m Rick Perry, and I approve this message.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: So, Bob, here we go again. Let`s get the gays out of the
military, back into the closet. Let`s bring, I don`t know, the King James
Bible back to public school.
I mean, this guy is something else.
BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, listen, this is, if I may use
the expression, a Hail Mary pass for him in Iowa, an attempt to get to
social conservatives. I don`t think it will work.
By the way, he has spent more money on advertising than anybody else.
And, as Mark will tell you, advertising is of limited utility in
presidential campaigns, because real things occur in real time in the real
world. And that`s what happened to Rick Perry. He proved that he didn`t
meet the presidential threshold in those debates.
So I don`t think he is going to be able to ride a buckboard of
resentment and bigotry to the White House. And beyond that, all the other
Republicans in this field are at least running as social conservatives.
So, I don`t think it`s going to work, but I will be interested to see what
MATTHEWS: Is there still some pay dirt in the anti-gay vote, for
Perry to be pushing this button right now, when he`s obviously desperate
for any support?
It clearly looks to me like a -- you know, it`s a -- it`s an SOS,
really. But going after gays to try to get back to double digits, like the
other guys going after the Jewish vote by yelling appeasement, those look
to me like the signs of failing campaigns, not campaigns that are coming on
Your thought, Mark?
MARK MCKINNON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Maybe so, Chris. But this is
the Rick Perry that we know from Texas. It`s over the top, it`s
outrageous, but it`s a strong appeal to social conservatives.
I mean, it looks like Rick Perry thinks the way to win the nomination
is bring back the Crusades, and --
MCKINNON: And, you know, he`s going to inflame and divide. But, you
know, when you look at the mix -- he`s spending a ton of money out there.
I mean, millions of dollars that he`s dumping in Iowa. This is his only
play and, yes, it`s a long shot. But when you put in the mix of what Ron
Paul is doing which we`ll see in a minute and you mix that all together, I
don`t count Rick Perry out.
This is a very -- this is a laser shot and I`m not sure it might not
have some appeal and strike a match out there.
MATTHEWS: Wow. That`s terrible news for the country. Anyway, if
that kind of stuff works.
Here`s Mitt Romney launching his new ad in both Iowa and New
Hampshire, making it clear an instated contrast between him and the
Newtster, Newt Gingrich. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think people understand
that I`m a man of steadiness and constancy. I don`t think you`re going to
find somebody who has more of those attributes than I do. I`ve been
married to the same woman for 25 -- excuse me, I`ll get in trouble, for 42
I`ve been in the same church my entire life. I`ve worked at one
company, Bain, for 25 years, and I left that to go off and help save the
If I`m president of the United States, I will be true to my family,
to my faith and to our country, and I will never apologize for the United
States of America.
I`m Mitt Romney and I approve this message.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I`m going wild here. He has gone after Newt Gingrich for,
quote, "changing his religion," coming up with two marriages beyond the one
he started, shows this gorgeous picture of his wife, fair enough. But the
message is clearly, Bob, that this guy, unlike him, he stayed with his LDS
Mormon religion, the other guy switched religions.
I`ve never seen anything like this in politics, going after a guy for
being a religious convert. Usually, you think that`s a somewhat positive
thing in some ways. He`s not for becoming a Catholic, it`s unbelievable.
BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, Gingrich presents it, by the
way, as a positive, in the sense that he says I`ve become a Catholic. I
repent my past mistakes.
SHRUM: And I think there`s a tendency on the right, as there should
be in all of society by the way, to forgive people their past mistakes.
SHRUM: It`s clearly a negative ad dressed up as a positive ad. But
we`re going to find out in the next two weeks whether or not Newt Gingrich
is Teflon, because the truth is, he has all of this baggage. Conservatives
know about it, but they think that at heart, he`s a conservative. They
worry that at heart Mitt Romney is a conman.
MATTHEWS: Good thought.
SHRUM: So what he`s doing here is saying I`m real in kind of a
synthetic way. I`m real. The other guy you`ve got to go after, but you
know what? He speaks in some fundamental way, Gingrich does, the voice of
the Republican Party right now. It`s the only way to explain his poll
MATTHEWS: OK. Let me go back to Mark for a bit. Do you think he
can get Gingrich for having as much baggage as Jacob Marley? I mean, is
this really going to work?
MCKINNON: I don`t think it`s going to work. I think this one is
ineffective, Chris, because Mitt -- first of all, Mitt Romney is reminding
everybody that he`s the flip-flopper by raising this issue.
And second of all, I agree completely with Bob. This is not an issue
you`re going to get Gingrich on. You know, evangelicals, like most
Americans, love a redemption story, and that`s what -- that`s what
Gingrich`s personal life story is.
MCKINNON: The more effective attack is going to be the Ron Paul
attack on hypocrisy --
MATTHEWS: Well, here it is, here it is. Ron Paul`s anti-Gingrich
ad, it started on the web. That`s now on air in Iowa. He`s the first
Republican candidate launching an ad going after Gingrich. Here`s a
portion of it. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, POLITICAL AD)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Newt Gingrich renewed his support for an
individual mandate, a key tenet of President Obama`s health care law.
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Support for individual mandate?
Folks, don`t ask me to explain this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything that Gingrich railed against when he
was in the House, he went the other way when he got paid to go the other
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is demonstrating himself to be the very
essence of the Washington insiders.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s about serial hypocrisy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Can you get a villainous character like him by calling him
a villain? I mean, Mark, it looks like -- they are showing him to have
notches on his belt? Isn`t that what people want, a proven gun fighter to
go against Barack Obama?
MCKINNON: Yes, they do, but I think that this is a pretty powerful
ad. I mean, the one thing that voters do find unacceptable is hypocrisy,
and if they can lay out a real logical framework of hypocrisy with
Gingrich, that to me seems the more effective way to go, and I think it`s a
pretty powerful ad.
The fact is that Paul doesn`t have a lot of money behind that ad.
But I think if there was a lot of money behind it, it could work.
MATTHEWS: OK. We got to go. Bob Shrum, thank you, sir. Thank you,
Up next, here we go again. Ex-Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky has
been re-arrested today, this after two new alleged victims have come
forward. We`re going to give you the latest on this story that won`t stop
This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Rod Blagojevich was sentenced today to prison for 14 years
in one of the stiffest penalties for political corruption ever. The former
governor of Illinois was found guilty of corruption that included trying to
sell or trade an appointment to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President
Obama. Blagojevich had apologized to the court for his crimes and had
asked for mercy, but, there he goes again.
By the way, he`s the second successive Illinois governor sentenced
for corruption. His Republican predecessor, George Ryan, is still serving
a six and a half-year term.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
News broke late this afternoon that ex-Penn State coach Jerry
Sandusky was arrested again today on new sexual abuse charges brought forth
by two new accusers identified as victim number nine and victim number 10.
The new charges including four counts of involuntary deviant assault, two
counts of unlawful contact with a minor, one count of indecent assault, and
two counts of endangering the welfare of children.
According to the testimony in front of the grand jury, victim number
nine met Sandusky in 2004 through that Second Mile program at the age 11 or
12, and hugging and touching eventually escalated into oral sex and anal
penetration --- sorry about.
Victim 10 also met Sandusky through the Second Mile in 1997, and
wrestling sessions progressed into incident of oral sex.
So, we`re getting the graphic details, like it or not.
Sandusky already faces 40 counts of child sex abuse, stemming from
allegations that he sexually abused eight young boys over a 15-year period.
Sandusky is currently in county jail after he was unable to post a $250,000
cash bail requirement earlier today.
Buzz Bissinger is the great reporter. He`s writing for "The Daily
Beast." He`s also author of, of course, "Friday Night Lights" and other
Buzz, your thoughts, your feelings about this case and what it tells
us in this latest installment.
BUZZ BISSINGER, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, it just furthers the
monstrosity of Jerry Sandusky, but it also furthers the monstrosity of Penn
State. You have to remember, the shower incident where allegedly Sandusky
conducted anal penetration on a 10-year-old kid, that was in 2002.
Now, we have a victim who he has apparently done the same with in
2004. That means two years later, because Penn State did nothing, because
either it wasn`t taken seriously or miscommunicated or whatever, Sandusky
is at it again.
It makes the culpability of the university inexcusable. It`s a
terrible word. This is such a monument at tragedy.
And, Chris, you`re right. It`s going to get worse. It just is going
to get worse. They should not play football. They should not go to a
bowl. They should not play football next year.
They should -- football should be the last thing on Penn State`s
mind. They need to get their act together.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about that for a second. You`re an expert on
sports, too, and the way the rewards system seems to shortchange a lot of
things, other values that we hold a lot more dear than sports victory in
this country, even if we don`t say so.
Now, Penn State has won eight games this year. What`s that tell you
about it? It does have a bowl game potential, obviously.
BISSINGER: Yes, I mean, they have a bowl game potential. Frankly, I
found the stories about what bowl they were going to actually depressing,
because it was all because of Jerry, the accusations against Jerry
Sandusky, they`re not going to the bowls they should, and they`re going to
some mediocre or minor ball games.
I mean, who cares? You know, at a certain point, with these new
accusations, with the fact that Sandusky allegedly committed another
heinous crime against a minor victim two years after Penn State knew
something, and they knew something also in 1998, I say forget football.
Who cares about a minor bowl game?
SMU got two years I think of the death penalty for payoffs. This is
nothing compared to payoffs. This is literally aiding --
BISSINGER: -- and abetting in the activities of a sexual predator.
MATTHEWS: Connect the issue of football royalty at Penn State, where
it is the sine qua non, the school thought of its success. Penn State had
to be good at football. How did that lead to these alleged crimes? Give
me the connecting point that has to be broken.
BISSINGER: Well, to me the connecting point is -- and it`s not just
to Penn State. I`ve seen it all the time. I`ve spent a lot of times in
high school locker rooms and professional clubhouses.
I call it the code of Omerta. Coaches are very, very tight. They
spend a lot of time with each other. They gossip with each other. They
always know what`s going on with each other. And it`s like cops. They
will not turn in their own.
And Jerry Sandusky was a legend, a great defensive coach, and I think
the feeling was, hey, he`s a friend, let him go, he won`t do it again. I
think Paterno`s feeling was, I don`t want to touch it, I`ve done my minimal
duty and I`ve got a football team to coach.
And I think Penn State bent over backwards not to do anything,
anything, to harm that football program.
MATTHEWS: Boy, you know it sounds a lot like my church and what
happened over the last 30, 40 years. And I -- you know, you get into all
kinds of psychobabble about why the church recruited certain priests and
why the top-level priests and bishops and cardinals covered it up. But it
sounds a lot like what you`re talking about. It`s putting the win, if you
will, above everything else.
Thank you, Buzz Bissinger. Great writing and great on-air reporting.
When we return, "Let Me Finish" with this -- I think I know where
this election is headed in 2012. It is pretty scary.
You`re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: "Let Me Finish" tonight with this:
I think I now see the way this election is headed. The president,
President Obama, intends to turn the bad times against the Republicans. He
will say that Republican policies are squeezing the middle class right now,
that the country needs to reelect him to simply offset the power of Wall
Street, that he`s the progressive champion fighting the good fight against
the money people and their power over Congress.
He, Barack Obama, is the 21st century`s progressive fighter, the
Theodore Roosevelt battling the malefactors of wealth. And that`s what
Teddy Roosevelt called them, on behalf of regular people.
OK. Not bad, maybe it will work. Maybe it`s true. If you have
faith in Obama to put some teeth marks into that manifesto he`s out there
Now for the other side. Here`s the deal: the red hots are out there
looking for the meanest, nastiest gladiator they can find. They want a
street fighter who will look Obama in the face and verbally spit at the
guy, who will show no respect, no remorse and certainly no guilt.
And this is where Newt comes in. He`s got no guilt, no remorse, and
shows no respect and doesn`t expect any. All he wants is the title shot,
the chance to go head to head in the championship ring with the president
of the United States.
This is where we`re going, I think, at least right now. I see hatred
being the key ingredient of the Republican candidate selection process.
Hope is still the main theme of the Obama brigades -- hope. Hatred
is not about building a better American, it`s about hurting Obama, hurting
him good, beating him up, humiliating him, getting him to lose, concede the
To the true haters out there, their biggest dream, their big night
isn`t victory by traditional Republican standards of smaller government.
It`s about watching Obama bite the dust. That`s what they lust for. And
that explains why they can seriously get behind the candidacy of Newt
Gingrich, because he promises them what they yearn for in their sleep --
the destruction of a positive, hopeful, progressive presidency that proves
every day that the American Dream is for everyone.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.
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Guests: David Corn, Amanda Drury, Howard Fineman, Michael Scherer, Jay Carney, Sally Bradshaw, Mark McKinnon, Bob Shrum, Buzz Bissinger