'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for Friday, June 1, 2012

Guests: Joan Walsh, Hampton Pearson, Ed Rendell, Cliff Stearns, Donna Edwards, Todd Harris, Steve McMahon, Bob Shrum, Robert Reich

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: The big chill.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Let me start with this horrific day for the American economy. The
stock market dropped 275 points today, wiping out all the gains of the
year. We have fallen back to where we were in January. Why? Because the
jobless rate rose today. For the first time in a year, that vital number
went up instead of down.

The underlying news is worse. The American economy created just
69,000 jobs last month, less than half the number predicted. And it turns
out the economy produced less than a third that number in the combined two
months earlier. This recovery has run out of steam. We`re in a stall.
Got it?

What`s the political power of this? What will the president do? What
will the Fed do? What will the American people demand they do? Action.
That`s the word I`m interested in, "action." What action can we expect?
What action can we hope for?

Let`s get to the two people who should know the answer, former Clinton
labor secretary Robert Reich, who`s authored the book "Beyond Outrage," and
recent Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell. They both join us now.

Let me start with Robert Reich. If you were running the show right
now, if you were in the president`s ear and had the power to set or at
least recommend economic policy action steps, what would they be?

Even if the Republicans are not going to join me, I, the president, am
going to propose, number one, that the first $20,000 of income be exempted
from payroll taxes effective immediately, a shot in the arm for consumers.

Number two, I`m going to propose that we -- as a country, we use the
fact that borrowing costs are now unprecedented at a low point because
everybody else in the world is pouring their money into dollars. That
means we can borrow, and we can have a major infrastructure program to fix
our crumbling highways and roads and bridges and ports.

And I`m going to hire to make sure that all -- that a large portion of
the people, 23 million people who are now unemployed or underemployed --
I`m going to hire as many of them to fix America as possible. And then
we`re also going to have a WPA, Works Project (SIC) Administration, and a
Civilian Conservation Corps to take the long-term unemployed and put them
to work on our parks and our playgrounds and in our schools as assistant
teachers, or whatever.

You know, I`m not going to sit back. And if the Republicans don`t
want to go along with this, if they want to be called the "nattering nabobs
of negativism," that is fine.


REICH: I just want the American people to understand that I`m going
to move forward on this.

MATTHEWS: From your words to God`s ears! Let me go to Ed Rendell.
Governor, I don`t know how you can beat that band because that sounds like
music to me. I mean, let`s go out there and do it. The Republicans may
oppose it, but what the idea -- what you`ve been talking about for years
now -- I hate the word "infrastructure," but everybody knows what it means.

We are behind the Europeans. They`ve got the Chunnel. They`ve got
the TGV, the trains that go 300 miles an hour. We ride that Wild West
buckboard called the Amtrak, which is nice, but it is certainly yesterday.
They`ve got -- put a big tunnel to go to New York from New Jersey. Get --
tell that governor to get out of the way and put that thing in! Why don`t
we -- we have bullet trains in Asia.

Everybody`s ahead of us now, and we`re put-putting along here like
it`s 1953. Your thoughts, Governor?

Secretary Reich is absolutely right. It`s the time for action. And the
president should understand -- what the American people, I think, are
looking for in this election is, what`s next? What are the plans? We know
the economy`s improved, but it`s stalled. What`s next?

Governor Romney is suggesting that we cut taxes. First of all, that`s
never worked in the last 60 years. But even if it were to work, it`s two,
three, four years down the road. We need action now.

And I think Bob`s plan is a good one, particularly infrastructure --
25,000 jobs are produced for every billion dollars of infrastructure
spending. Every expert agrees with that.

Chris, if we did a $200 billion infrastructure improvement program --
and I`m not just talking about roads and bridges, our electrical grid, our
broadband, our dams, out levees, everything we need to fix, we`re falling
apart -- number one, it would make us more economically competitive.
Number two, it would make us safer. And number three, if you do the math,
it`s five million good, well-paying jobs on the job sites and back in
American manufacturing factories.

MATTHEWS: Oh! Let`s go -- today the president told Congress to

RENDELL: Let`s go!

MATTHEWS: ... to stop obstructing his limited -- I have to call it
limited -- jobs agenda.

RENDELL: Limited.

MATTHEWS: Let`s watch what he said.


is now`s not the time to play politics. Now`s not the time to sit on your
hands. The American people expect their leaders to work hard, no matter
what year it is.

Congress should pass a bill to help states prevent more layoffs so we
can put thousands of teachers and firefighters and police officers back on
the job.

Congress should have passed a bill a long time ago to put thousands of
construction workers back on the job rebuilding our roads and our bridges
and our runways.


OBAMA: Instead of just talking about job creators, Congress should
give small business owners a tax break for hiring more workers and paying
them higher wages.


MATTHEWS: Well, Robert Reich, let`s get to the politics. Why is he -
- if he`s going to -- if the Congress on the Republican side, Boehner and
the rest of them, are going to say no to Spam, why not ask for steak? I
mean, if they`re going to say no, go all the way!


MATTHEWS: Why the chicken -- I hate to use the word, but I can`t --
you know what I`m saying, the chicken. Why not go for something big? If
they`re going to say no, make them say no to something worthwhile, say no
to! They`re not going to say yes to anything. Your thoughts.

REICH: Chris, that`s exactly right. And I think what the president
needs to form is a very, very clear contrast in the public`s mind between
his desire to go forward and create jobs and what the Republicans want to
do, which is basically award tax breaks to the very rich. They`re not
going to create jobs. They`re not the job creators.


REICH: Award tax breaks to big corporations that are now sitting on
$2 trillion of cash they don`t even know what to do with. The reason
they`re not creating jobs is because there`s not adequate consumer demand.

And also, what do they want to do -- what the Republicans want to do
is cut the budget already. That`s austerity. That`s austerity economics.
We saw what that got Europeans in terms of making that European situation
even worse and creating a recession in all of Europe...

MATTHEWS: Yes, I know. Well, now he`s...

REICH: ... because of those budget cuts.

MATTHEWS: ... pointing to that.

REICH: So what -- so what -- you know, what -- what the president
needs to do is say, That`s what their agenda is, here`s what my agenda is.
I`m going to get jobs back. If they want to say no, then you make sure I
have a Senate and I have a House of Representatives that will say yes.

MATTHEWS: Well, here they are. Here`s Boehner and Cantor, the joy
boys here, with some strong words for the president this morning. Let`s
watch them in action. This is easy stuff for opposition.


REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MAJORITY LEADER: These job numbers are
pathetic. And you know, the American people really deserve better, and I
think under right -- the right leadership, we can do better.

the policies that we`ve seen are not working.

I`m not an economist. All I can say is that if they would have taken
our advice and worked with us, the economy would be better.


MATTHEWS: Well, Governor, he`s not crying there, I have to tell you
that, Boehner -- this is something that`s not bringing tears to his eyes.
It`s probably put a spring in the step of Romney.

Now, you were in the news today, or I don`t know how many -- in the
last several hours you made -- no, you didn`t -- Bill Clinton made the
news, but he was marching to your tune, saying, Don`t go after Bain
Capital, don`t go after the Massachusetts experience of Romney. Play -- in
other words, defend your own record, build on your own record, don`t go

Are you sticking with that? Is the former president -- well, let`s
hear it. Let Bill Clinton speak for himself. He took an axe to that whole
thing when he was out there with Harvey Weinstein the other night. Let`s
watch him.


that we ought to get in the position where we say this is bad work. This
is good work. There`s no question that in terms of getting up and going to
the office, and you know, basically performing the essential functions of
the office, a man who`s been governor and had a sterling business career
crosses the qualification threshold.


MATTHEWS: So there you go. Mr. Clinton, I don`t know what he`s -- I
don`t know what he`s doing. Governor, you know him pretty well. He`s
basically saying, Don`t go down the negative route, go the positive route.
You can`t win by bashing this guy on Bain Capital and what he did as
governor several years ago. You`ve got to win this positively.

RENDELL: I think the president`s doing two things. Number one,
exactly what you said, Chris, he`s saying, Get out there and talk about
what we`re going to do. And we do have good plans, the plans that Bob just
outlined, the plans the president outlined.

And you`re dead right. Don`t do just $50 billion of infrastructure
improvements over the next 18 months. The CBO says we can afford almost
$200 billion of new spending for the next 10 years. Let`s have a plan
that`ll transform America, make us economically competitive, 10 years of
five million jobs each year, good, well-paying jobs. Do something bold.
That`s what the American people are looking for.

The second thing the president`s doing is very smart. He`s going to
be, of course, for President Obama. But he`s building up credibility by
saying that Mitt Romney was a good businessman, et cetera. So when he does
differentiate, when he does give the American people reasons to support
President Obama, they`re going to say, Well, Bill Clinton, he didn`t try to
trash the other guy, he`s just giving us arguments why Barack Obama`s
better. It`s great politics.

MATTHEWS: You know, I wouldn`t have agreed with that two or three
days ago, Robert Reich, but you know, I think now, with the depths that
this economy`s fallen to, the fact we`re now seeing a rising unemployment
rate, we`re seeing a pathetic creation of new jobs just -- less than half
than was predicted for this month, a revised look at what happened the
previous two months, where it looks like we created hardly any jobs, you
got to say that this recovery shouldn`t be called a recovery anymore.

We`re not into a second dip, technically. We haven`t had two quarters
of declining GDP, but nothing`s happening. So if the president doesn`t do
anything between now and November, nothing will happen. Is that fair?

REICH: No, I think the -- I think it`s clear the president has got to
put forward an affirmative, clear, concrete message how he`s going to get
jobs back, paint the Republicans as negative. But I think he also has to
go after Romney.

I mean, with all due respect to my former boss, I think my former boss
is dead wrong. I mean, Bain Capital is part of the JPMorgan, part of the
Wall Street-ification of the entire American economy. Finance has taken
over from productivity.

I mean, you`ve got financial entrepreneurs instead of product
entrepreneurs, which is one reason that we got into the trouble we got into
in 2008 and one reason this economy is having such a difficult time getting
out of it.

MATTHEWS: So you say play offense and also develop a strong program
for the future. You got to do both.

REICH: Absolutely. Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: Governor, you want to respond?

REICH: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: First of all, Governor, I got to ask you about Bill
Clinton, who you still call the president. Fair enough. He`s still the
ongoing once and future president. But here he is, the president, former
president Clinton, again with Harvey Weinstein on that other network,
saying nice things about Donald Trump. Let`s watch.


Trump to be a sane, smart businessman, but he has this benefit. Romney
comes, and he talks about that birth certificate again. How do you put
that out of the minds of the American public...

CLINTON: I don`t know.

WEINSTEIN: ... once and for all? And doesn`t he realize how uncool
he is?

CLINTON: I don`t know. You know, Donald Trump has been uncommonly
nice to Hillary and me. We`re all New Yorkers and...


CLINTON: And I like him, and I love playing golf with him. But the
evidence is pretty clear that President Obama was born in Hawaii, and this
whole election should not be about any of these side issues.


MATTHEWS: Well, there he`s giving the president the benefit of the
doubt, Governor. He`s saying "the evidence is pretty clear."


MATTHEWS: Would you say that was a strong endorsement of his fellow

RENDELL: Chris...

MATTHEWS: ... the fact that he was native-born -- "the evidence is
pretty clear" here that Donald Trump might be wrong. I`m just teasing, but
it is a strange way to phrase it for a very articulate fellow like Bill

RENDELL: Let me tell you, we want Donald Trump to keep it up.


RENDELL: I mean, I think Donald Trump says some important things.
But every time he says this stuff, it drives independent voters into our

I would disagree with Bob about one thing. I think President
Clinton`s right in the sense that I don`t think this is the time to attack
Mitt Romney.

We can use that material for counterpunching. If Mitt Romney stands
up in a debate or he stands up and makes a policy speech and says, As
governor of Massachusetts, I did a great job with the economy, we can raise
our hand and say, Governor, but you were 47th out of 50 states in job
creation? That`s not a very great job on the economy, particularly in a
well-educated high-tech state like Massachusetts.

So I think let`s counterpunch, but let`s go on the offensive by
telling the American people what we`d do.

What the American people are looking for is who`s the best bet to get
them out of this. And I think it`s Barack Obama because I think he has the
best plans.

And I would pin the tail on that Republican Congress. I would say,
They don`t want to do anything. They`re more interested in politics than
getting this economy charged up. Let`s roll. Let`s get this done.

MATTHEWS: Well, I think that`s what the agreement of you two
gentlemen, is, get the economy rolling, more money, in fact, a lot -- a
major, historic commitment to building this country up in terms of its

RENDELL: No question.

MATTHEWS: ... electric grids, its mass transit, its highways,
everything. I don`t know...

RENDELL: Broadband.

MATTHEWS: ... why we`re not doing it. As you point out, the low
interest rates, Robert, is so critical, the fact that you have people ready
to work, you have capital ready to be used...

REICH: This is a perfect time.

MATTHEWS: ... you have low interest rates. This is the time that --
look, we built the Empire State Building in 1931. I mean, that to me still
remains the great example of what you can do with...

RENDELL: And Chris?

MATTHEWS: Yes, sir?

RENDELL: Chris, you remember what they said 75 years ago when they
said, We`re going to build a bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge? People said,
No, you can`t do it. It`s too dangerous. It`s going to be too expensive.
But we did it. We used to big things. We were a country that no challenge
was too hard for.

MATTHEWS: I agree.

RENDELL: We got to get back to doing it.

MATTHEWS: Build, baby, build. And I got to tell you, the Golden Gate
Bridge -- I offer it as an example of the one case in which mankind has
improved on nature, the Golden Gate Bridge. It is stunning today...

RENDELL: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: ... every time I go near it.

Thank you, Robert Reich. Thank you, Ed Rendell, for joining us.

REICH: Thanks, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Coming up: John Edwards hints at a comeback. Now, there`s
a man with optimism! But after such a dramatic fall, could he actually
rise again? Maybe we all need John Edwards`s hopefulness.

And why did House Republicans push a bill yesterday banning gender-
based abortions? Is this something about the Asian-American community?
Are they willing to say what they`re really talking about here? It`s a
particular issue here in that community, and I just wonder if the
Republicans are playing this as a game.

The HARDBALL "Strategists" will be here, by the way, on what happens
when a top surrogate, like Bill Clinton, gets a bit off-message.

And "Let Me Finish" with a make-or-break moment for the president. I
think that`s what he`s in right this moment.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Well, here`s another muscular foreign policy move from
President Obama. "The New York Times" reported today that since he first
took office, this president has secretly stepped up cyberattacks against
Iran. The attacks on the computer systems over there that run Iran`s
nuclear enrichment facilities began under former president Bush, but
they`ve grown increasingly more frequent and more sophisticated in the
Obama administration.

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: Well, John Edwards may have gone free yesterday, but can he
rebuild his political career? Three jurors who spoke with Matt Lauer this
morning believed he was guilty of the crimes he was charged with but said
they didn`t think they had the evidence to convict.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that he had some knowledge.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he definitely had some knowledge of the
money, where the money was going.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was just smart enough to hide it, and we
could not find the evidence.

MATT LAUER, CO-HOST, "TODAY": Raise your hands if you think John
Edwards was guilty on at least some of the counts against him. OK, raise
your hands if you think John Edwards is a bad guy. Interesting.


MATTHEWS: Well, they chose wisely there. Is Edwards planning a
comeback, or is he out of touch with public opinion on that?

Let`s ask our two next guests. Bob Shrum`s a long-time Democratic
strategist who first met John Edwards in 1997 while working on his `98
Senate campaign, which he won. And Salon`s Joan Walsh is an MSNBC

Now, what`s with John Edwards? Is he all delusion? Is he a guy that
has so much optimism that he doesn`t really connect with reality, like
talking yesterday about, God still has a plan for me, and all that? What
was all that about, after basically beating the judge by a few feet?

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes, well, the people don`t have a
plan for him. Look, he can maybe redeem himself as a person, if he doesn`t
talk about himself. And that`s what was wrong yesterday. Whatever he
does, it can`t be about him.

He has to be quiet. He has to quietly give himself to a cause he
genuinely cares about, stay in the valley for a while, no publicity, no
Oprah-like interviews. He has to do something good not because it`s good
for his image but because it`s right. And maybe he can never undo the
verdict, the non-judicial verdict that`s been rendered on him, but he might
change some people`s lives.

If it looks for a moment, though, like he`s manipulating this, he will
tarnish himself even further.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I wondered last night, Joan, whether he was really
making a call-out to rich contributors out there saying , the lord`s not --
by the way, whatever your religious beliefs, you have got to wonder about a
guy who starts describing what God`s plans are for -- that`s certainly a
strange thing to start talking about.



MATTHEWS: I think God would like to make his own plans, and he
doesn`t like having somebody basically predict them.


MATTHEWS: But your thoughts, Joan, about that strange sort of
egotistical moment last night when he began acting narcissistically.

WALSH: Oh, it was a terrible moment, Chris. I really -- I honestly
couldn`t believe it.

I speak as somebody who supported him in 2007 and I speak as somebody
who voted to put him a heartbeat away from the presidency in 2004. You
know, I apologize to the American people for that. We didn`t know. But
when he started speaking, like Bob says, yesterday, I literally couldn`t
believe it.

I knew he was a narcissist, but it was so wrong. And it was wrong
from the minute he started, maybe a thank you to the judge and the jury and
to his family for standing by him, maybe. But that performance just showed
a man who is so out of touch with -- with the world, with himself, and is
just so full of himself.

I mean, love your children, go out and love your children. Be a good
father. Go out and help the world, help the children of the world. God
bless you. Go do that. Don`t tell us about it.

MATTHEWS: Yes. But don`t say your favorite kid is the one you had
with your girlfriend.

WALSH: Well, that and then that.

MATTHEWS: That was too strange.

WALSH: I mean...

MATTHEWS: That was too strange.

WALSH: Oh, it was so -- it was so bizarre.

MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look. Here he is speaking for himself in, I
have to say, a narcissistic fashion yesterday.


JOHN EDWARDS (D), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: I don`t think God`s through
with me. I really believe he thinks there`s still some good things I can

And whatever happens with this legal stuff going forward, what I`m
hopeful about is all those kids that I have seen, you know, in the poorest
parts of this country and in some of the poorest places in the world, that
I can help them, in whatever way I`m still capable of helping them.

And I want to dedicate my life to being the best dad I can be and to
helping those kids who I think deserve help.


MATTHEWS: Well, public opinion in this country is certainly not on
John Edwards` side.

In April, a CBS News/"New York Times" poll found that just 3 percent
of the country has a favorable opinion of him; 41 percent has a negative
view of that. That`s not too good.

By the way, he hasn`t been out talking to the poor kids of America.
He`s been hanging around the bars and restaurants of Chapel Hill, which is
not a bad way to spend your time, but it`s not exactly stuff -- you know,
it`s not exactly stuff that gets into the 12 apostles, you know?


SHRUM: Well, I don`t think he`s trying out for the 12 apostles. He`d
be lucky to kind of get into the lower ranks of heaven.


MATTHEWS: Well, wait a minute. I want to go after you, Mr. Shrum,
because you`re one of my close friends.

But you believed in this guy.

SHRUM: Sure.

MATTHEWS: Bunny Mellon believed in him. I have talked to her.

People fell for this guy. That was his cute manner, was that sort of
little boy manner. Why did you fall for him?

SHRUM: When I met him -- when I met him in 1997, I thought he was a
person of extraordinary talent.


SHRUM: He was articulate. He was smart.

Look, nobody thought he could beat Lauch Faircloth in North Carolina
in 1998.


SHRUM: And he went out and did it.

And he came to the Senate and John McCain was very impressed with him,
Ted Kennedy was very impressed with him. But then over time, he never
fulfilled that potential in...

MATTHEWS: Did he ever read a book? Did he ever read a newspaper?

SHRUM: Well, I think he read a newspaper.


MATTHEWS: I don`t believe that. I don`t believe he reads anything.


SHRUM: I don`t think he worked very hard.

MATTHEWS: I watched him.

SHRUM: To be honest, I don`t think he worked very hard at being a
senator. I watched him in the 2004 campaign, when quite frankly we should
have picked Dick Gephardt for vice president.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Let me tell you, I...

SHRUM: We went to the -- I went up to his debate practice. He wasn`t
ready for that debate. He had to go back to his room.

Elizabeth had to make him study those books.

MATTHEWS: Of course he wasn`t ready. He is never ready.

SHRUM: Elizabeth had to make him study those books.



MATTHEWS: This is what I teach people about politics. And you have
done it a million times.

Study, study, study, learn what you`re talking about before you run
for anything.

Joan, I was out on this bus out in Iowa during the 2004 campaign. I
finally get in to see him. I`m looking all through the bus. I don`t see a
piece of paper, not a briefing note, a newspaper, a magazine, no indication
of any intellectual life.

He was all B.S. It was all cute. It was all hair. It was nonsense.
And they -- and he fell for his own B.S. He believed he was some kind of
sparkling savior of the nation, based upon what? What?

WALSH: Based upon...

MATTHEWS: What was there?

WALSH: ... being a good-looking Southern guy at a time that we all
thought that, you know, the next president, like Bill Clinton, should come
from the South, and all of that kind of, frankly, garbage.

MATTHEWS: Bill Clinton was a Rhodes Scholar.

WALSH: Right. No, no, no, there`s no comparison.

MATTHEWS: Bill Clinton was a Rhodes Scholar.


WALSH: Look there`s no comparison, but there was that glamour.

SHRUM: John Edwards is smart, by the way. He is smart.

WALSH: He has to be smart. He honestly has to be smart. He is
pathological. We all thought the...


SHRUM: He`s very self-involved.


SHRUM: When I told him in the 2003 that he shouldn`t -- that he
shouldn`t run for president, he wasn`t ready, and that I wasn`t going to
work for him, I was going to work for John Kerry, he said something to me I
have never forgotten. It was stunning. He said, "I will never forget even
on my death bed what you have done to me and my family."

And from that moment...


WALSH: I`m sorry. I don`t mean to laugh.

SHRUM: No, I mean, it was an extraordinary statement.

WALSH: I know. It really is.

MATTHEWS: He does have a sense of his own power, though, like he is
Mephistopheles. He will bring the darkness upon your people.

SHRUM: Yes, well...

WALSH: On his death bed, really.

SHRUM: Sadly, sadly, he`s in the dark valley. I`m glad he wasn`t
convicted because his family has been through a lot of tragedy.


SHRUM: And it would have been very tough.


MATTHEWS: I think he`s read too much of "The Count of Monte Cristo."

Anyway, thank you very much.

The great avenger.

Anyway, thank you, Bob Shrum.

Joan, I love it when you`re sympathetic to the beautiful young men of
this world. Anyway, just kidding.


WALSH: Oh, stop.

MATTHEWS: Up next, wait until you hear how Donald Rumsfeld -- I`m
off, I know -- Donald Rumsfeld, he`s back and he`s pooh-poohing President
Obama`s decision to get bin Laden. I would say President Obama has a
slightly better foreign policy track record than Rummy. Typical Rummy
there, by the way. It`s up in the "Sideshow," where he belongs.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Now to the "Sideshow."

First, that proposed ban in New York City on sodas larger than 16
ounces is causing noise. "The Daily Show"`s Jon Stewart is perplexed.




STEWART: As a New Yorker, I can go on my lunch break to -- I don`t
know -- Carnegie Deli...


STEWART: ... and order 14 pounds of pastrami garnished with seven
pounds of beef tongue.



STEWART: From there, right over to Hooters for quick basket of
chicken wings battered, deep-fried and tossed in hot sauce and melted
butter served with a bowl of cheese. Top it all off with a little bit of
frozen hot chocolate. This is legal, until it melts.


STEWART: Mr. Mayor, I know you can be intimidated by these large-
sized drinks. You and I are both, let`s face it, small.


STEWART: We might see a generously proportioned sugared beverage and
think of it as a drowning hazard.


STEWART: But it`s not fair. It`s not fair.




MATTHEWS: Actually, Mayor Bloomberg marked today as National Doughnut
Day, officially NYC Doughnut Day, with a proclamation.

I think there`s some sugar in doughnuts, Mr. Mayor.

Next up, during a debate on a pension billion in Illinois Tuesday,
Republican state Representative Mike Bost took to the floor to argue it was
just too soon to bring that bill to a vote.


person`s hands, not the American way! These damn bills that come out of
here all the damn time, and I got to try to figure out how to vote for my

I`m sick of it! Every year, we give power to one person! It was not
made that way in the Constitution! He was around when it was written!
Enough! I feel like somebody trying to be released from Egypt. Let my
people go!


MATTHEWS: I think he just had one of those 16-ounce sugar drinks.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, Bost said he doesn`t normally act that way. Again,
I think it was a sugar attack.

Anyway, finally, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said that
President Obama made a gutsy call on how to kill Osama bin Laden. In an
interview with Charlie Rose, his predecessor, Donald Rumsfeld, however,
said the decision should have been a fast one, an easy one, thanks in part
to past administrations.


of dollars and lives trying to track down Osama bin Laden, and you have 40
to 80 percent or whatever Bob said confidence in your intelligence.

said, yes.

RUMSFELD: It seems to me that it is a 15-minute decision, and the
first 14 are for coffee. Could it be wrong? You bet.

ROSE: Yes, with enormous consequences. Ask Jimmy Carter. Failed

RUMSFELD: Listen, our special forces in the Jimmy Carter era were so
early in their evolution. The investment that the Obama administration
benefited from, the capabilities they have were developed during their
predecessors. And each president has...

ROSE: Predecessors meaning the Bush administration you served?


RUMSFELD: And -- yes, exactly.


MATTHEWS: Wasn`t that fellow Rumsfeld the guy who said Saddam Hussein
had nuclear weapons? How long did that decision take for him? Hmm. Let`s
remember these guys` track records.

Up next: Republicans in the House try to ban gender-based abortions,
but are they really just going after the Asian-American community here and
can they really change that culture on these issues? We are going to talk
to two members of Congress on either side of the ban.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


CNBC "Market Wrap."

Stocks are crushed by dismal data on the state of the economy. The
Dow tumbles 275 points, wiping out all gains for the year. The S&P loses
32. The Nasdaq falls 80 points. As you heard earlier, there were just
69,000 jobs created in May, much fewer than expected. The unemployment
rate rose to 8.2 percent, adding to worries China`s factory showed further
signs of weakening. And oil prices fell nearly 4 percent to about $83 a

That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide -- now back to


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the ultimate war on women, Mr. Speaker.
If we don`t allow women to be born, we cannot talk about any other rights.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You talk about a war on women. This is a war on
ethics. Woe to you if you vote against this bill.


MATTHEWS: Well, welcome back to HARDBALL.

The bill in question we`re talking about here, the members were there
on the floor, was a bill that would ban and criminalize gender selection as
a reason for abortions. Although 246 House members voted for the bill the
other day and 169 against it, it didn`t get the requisite two-thirds in the
procedural rule in which it was brought up.

So, here we go. Let`s take the two -- talk to two congressmen on both
sides of the bill. We have got Cliff Stearns of Florida, who voted for it,
and we have Donna Edwards of Maryland, who voted against it.

I want Mr. Sterns to make the case.

What community in this country is engaged right now in gender
selection in terms of abortion?

REP. CLIFF STEARNS (R), FLORIDA: Well, it`s across the United States.

Dr. Puri of the University of California has shown through evidence by
interviewing women from 2004 to 2009 that a lot of them made this decision
based upon sex selection.

MATTHEWS: Which community, though? Which community is it?

STEARNS: Well, the immigrant community is one of the large ones that
he looked at because of that problem.

MATTHEWS: Is anyone else involved in this, to your knowledge, besides
Asian women who come to the United States who have that culture they bring
with them that prefers boy children? Does anyone else -- do you have any
evidence beyond that community of this practice?

STEARNS: Well, let me -- you talk about the...

MATTHEWS: No, I want the answer to that question.


MATTHEWS: Do you have any evidence beyond that community?


The National Academy of Science has done a study from the last census
in this country. And they found, statistically, there`s a deviation that
shows more of these abortions occur and that there is sex selection.

So I think, if the National Academy of Science shows that evidence
pretty strongly, I think that`s a testament to the facts.

MATTHEWS: But you don`t have any evidence of cases. In other words,
if you were going to go to court, you wouldn`t have cases, would you?


MATTHEWS: In other words, you`re talking about a law here. My
problem is this. You don`t want to punish the woman. You want to punish
the doctor.

But in this case, a woman could -- if she did have this intention
because of her background or values or whatever they are -- and I`m
certainly not for them -- if there was such a case, she would simply go
from doctor to doctor who wouldn`t ask her the question and she`d proceed
with the abortion.

So what do you accomplish with this law? It couldn`t be enforced.

STEARNS: Well, I will tell you what you accomplish, Chris. There`s
one thing you`re missing.

This same law has been passed in all the Western civilization
countries, including Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Sweden,
Norway. I can go on.

In fact, when you go to the Asian community, it`s banned in China,
it`s banned in Singapore, it`s banned in Thailand. I mean, all these
countries have banned it. So to think that the Democrats voted against a
bill that was prevalent in all these countries, both in the European
community, as well as the Asian community, is -- really flabbergasts all of

MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, they don`t ban abortion in China. Let`s get
that straight.



STEARNS: No, they don`t ban -- but they ban sex selection.

MATTHEWS: You`re only allowed to have like one kid.

STEARNS: Yes, they ban sex selection.


Let me go. I think this -- I think you guy are sporting for trouble
here, because I think this is about one community. And I don`t certainly
like what I see in that community, if they do this, and the evidence shows
they did. But the idea -- first of all, I don`t know who is against having
girl children.

STEARNS: Well...

MATTHEWS: I mean, I don`t even know who is out there. Who do you
know that doesn`t want to have a girl -- a grandchild or a daughter? Who`s
out there doing this?

STEARNS: Chris, the whole point of what your question is, why did we try
to pass this bill and we had 246 people that think it`s the right bill. I
thought we were talking about the bill. The bill is the same that`s passed
all through Europe, all through Asia.

Are you arguing against the bill yourself?

MATTHEWS: I know why you`re doing it. You`re doing it to try to
find moderate Republicans from swing districts you can nail.


MATTHEWS: This is pure politics.

STEARNS: This is pure principle. And those people that voted
against this bill are -- woe to them because they`re immoral.

MATTHEWS: You see what he just did, woe to them. What are you,

REP. DONNA EDWARDS (D), MARYLAND: Woe to me, I voted against it.

STEARNS: I wish I was Lincoln. I wish I was Lincoln.

EDWARDS: The study he cites they interviewed 65 women out of
millions across this country, 65 women. And that`s the basis for national
policy here. I mean, this is really ridiculous.

This continues -- the Republicans on one hand don`t want us to say
there`s a war on women, yet every single week there`s some new measure to
ban abortion, to end family planning. They don`t want to provide for
family planning, but then they want to prevent so-called sex-based
abortions, finding a problem that really doesn`t exist in this country to
merit the level of national policy. This is really ridiculous.

STEARNS: Chris, can I answer that?

MATTHEWS: Sure, go ahead, sir.

STEARNS: First of all, the United Nations agrees with this bill. I
mean, Donna is saying this is a war on women. This is not a war on women.
In fact, the United States has said that you based abortions based upon sex
selection. That they said is a war on women.

EDWARDS: Cliff, you just agreed to end family planning for the work
that the United Nations is doing across the country. I mean, let`s stop
this already.

The Republicans every single week in this Congress, Chris, the
Republicans put forward yet another measure that says to women, you don`t
have privacy in the decisions with your doctors, we`re going to criminalize
the doctor, we`ll make doctors mind readers.


STEARNS: Let`s stay on the facts.

MATTHEWS: Let`s stay on the facts. I want to know your background
on this. If you could pass a law in this country to get a constitutional
amendment passed that banned abortion, would you do it?

STEARNS: Well, certainly.

MATTHEWS: Certainly, so you`re totally against a women`s right to
make a decision in this regard.

STEARNS: Well, I`m pro-life, that`s absolutely correct.

MATTHEWS: This is one way -- this is one step forward in terms of
your ultimate goal.

STEARNS: No, no, this is not talking about one step forward. This
is talking about basic moral values. Do you think it`s wrong to abort a
baby because she`s a female? And that`s a question that Donna has to ask
in her inner heart --

MATTHEWS: Well, if it`s morally wrong -- why don`t you punish the

STEARNS: We can punish the doctors.

MATTHEWS: Why not the women?

STEARNS: The way the bill is set up is the doctor has no right to
question the motivation of the girl.


EDWARDS: Because that`s not what this is about, that`s why. So you
punish the doctors, you ask the doctors to be mind readers, to sit and
figure out when a woman comes to the office --


MATTHEWS: What should be the punishment, sir? I had this with
people who say they are pro-life. I think we`re all pro-life.


MATTHEWS: What should be the punishment for a woman who chooses to
have an abortion?

STEARNS: Well, I`m not talking about abortion.

MATTHEWS: Answer that question before we go on.

STEARNS: No, no, no, Chris.

MATTHEWS: You want to outlaw it, call it murder, use terms like
that. What should be a punishment for a woman who chooses -- goes to a
doctor, they don`t go door to door, she goes to the doctor and asks for
this procedure, what should be the punishment for that?

STEARNS: If we`re talking about abortion, we have the Hyde rule
which says you can have an abortion for incest, the life of the mother.


STEARNS: And things like that and rape. So we already have that in
place. But the question is --

MATTHEWS: So, what should be the punishment for a woman who wants an
abortion because she doesn`t want to deliver the child, period? What
should be the punishment?

STEARNS: Let me ask you --

MATTHEWS: So, you don`t want to answer this, do you?

STEARNS: I want to ask you a question is --

MATTHEWS: No, I just ask the questions.


MATTHEWS: You want to outlaw abortion and you don`t want to do it
because you know deep down you know the average voter, even in your
district, which maybe conservative doesn`t believe the woman is guilty of a
murder, they really don`t think it should be a murder charge, they don`t
think it should be fineable, because deep down people are troubled by this
issue. It`s a difficult moral dilemma and that`s why we let the person
make the decision, it`s so difficult.

That`s why we don`t make all these laws that you want to pass. Why
don`t you let the women answer it?

STEARNS: It`s your show. Let me answer the question.

MATTHEWS: You won`t answer it.

STEARNS: I`ll answer the question the way I want. It might be your
show and you can do all the talking but I can answer the question the way I

The question is: should there be a law preventing a woman making an
abortion based upon sex selection to eliminate female embryos. And that I
agree is wrong and I think you agree and Donna also agrees.

MATTHEWS: What should be the punishment for the woman doing that?

STEARNS: It should be against the law. Just like it`s against the
law in all of Europe --

MATTHEWS: What should be the punishment?

STEARNS: I think the punishment should certainly be very serious.

MATTHEWS: What should it be for the woman? What should it be for
the woman?

STEARNS: It should be more than a civil case. It should be
something very serious --

MATTHEWS: So, should it be a criminal matter for the woman as well
as the doctor?

STEARNS: I think so. You are killing an embryo and sometimes four
or five months into gestation --

MATTHEWS: Look, I agree with the value. I just think we get
involved in personal decisions here.

STEARNS: I understand. But you just said you agree with the bill.
You just said that.

MATTHEWS: No, I don`t believe in punishing people for having
abortions, unlike you. I couldn`t be more different.

STEARNS: But, Chris, you just said that you agree that sex selection
is bad --

MATTHEWS: Of course it is.

STEARNS: OK, that`s the bill we`re talking about, that`s the bill
that`s going to come back on the floor not under suspension.

MATTHEWS: Please come back.

STEARNS: All right.

MATTHEWS: You are a good sport even though I think you got to
rethink where the moral decision -- I think sometimes you guys on the far
right think women are incapable of a major decision like this, so you
punish the doctor who you presume is a male. I really think you got a
problem with this and you don`t want to admit that it`s a moral conflict
here. But that`s why we leave it in the hands of the woman because it is
so difficult.

Let me go back to Congresswoman Edwards. Let her speak on this.
That`s why we let the woman decide. It is so hard for anybody else to

EDWARDS: Of course. This is a really difficult decision. It really
needs to be between the doctor and the woman. We don`t need the government
in the doctor`s office making those decisions.

MATTHEWS: Especially when they can`t handle the question like you

EDWARDS: We don`t need to punish women. We can educate women about
sex abortion, but we don`t have to punish women or doctors.

MATTHEWS: Thank you so much.

STEARNS: Can I have the last word? Can I have the last word?

MATTHEWS: Quickly.

STEARNS: The basic question is if all of Europe and most of Asia has
this same rule that you cannot have sex selection as an abortion, why can`t
we in the United States pass the same bill?

MATTHEWS: It`s always amazing when you guys on the right want to
import the values of other countries. Any time we do it, any time we do
it, any liberal tries to do it or a progressive tries to do it, you say
they`re bringing foreign values into this country.

Anyway, thank you, nice try. Congressman Donna Edwards, and
Congressman Cliff Stearns, who`s now a world federalist when it comes to
abortion policy.

Up next, why is Bill Clinton off-script? He`s praising Mitt Romney`s
work at Bain and talking up -- talking up Donald Trump? What`s with this
guy? Is he really helping the Obama campaign? Let`s see.

We`ll be right. That`s ahead.


MATTHEWS: We`ll be back in a minute to talk about Bill Clinton.
He`s supposed to be President Obama`s top surrogate. He`s gone a bit

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: OK, this is a great question.

We`re back.

What was Bill Clinton thinking? That`s an old question, of course,
by criticizing the Obama`s campaigns attack on Bain Capital and saying nice
things as hell about Donald Trump.

It`s a big question for our strategist Steve McMahon. Great Friday
afternoon question. He`s a Democratic strategist. Of course, Todd Harris
is a Republican strategist.

How fun is this to watch the Democratic Party come apart other these
stupid things like Donald Trump and Bain?

TODD HARRIS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You know, when you`re an ex-
president, it`s sort of like being an 85-year-old man, you can wear your
pants up to here and socks up your knees, you just don`t give a damn what
anybody thinks.

MATTHEWS: But George Bush Sr. showed up in those crazy socks in the
White House.

HARRIS: That`s right. You just don`t care. Unfortunately, for the
Obama campaign, the former president of the United States loves talking to
the media. And he is so smart and you know this wasn`t a mistake.

MATTHEWS: He`s not Joe Biden.

Here he is talking to Harvey Weinstein, a guy he probably likes to be
friendly with, a big Hollywood producer, with 70 Oscars.

Here he is talking to him about Donald Trump.


HARVEY WEINSTEIN, MOVIE PRODUCER: I know Donald Trump to be a sane
smart businessman. But he has his benefit. Romney comes and he talks
about that birth certificate again. How do you put it out of the minds of
the American people once and for all? And doesn`t he realize how uncool he

BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I don`t know. You know, Donald
Trump has been uncommonly nice to Hillary and me. We`re all New Yorkers.


CLINTON: And I like him and I love playing golf with him, but the
evidence is pretty clear that President Obama was born in Hawaii. And this
whole election should not be about any of these side issues.


MATTHEWS: If it`s pretty clear -- he didn`t exactly lock it in, did

STEVE MCMAHON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: The former president is in a
different business now and he runs with people in New York. He raises
money for his foundation. He golfs with Donald Trump. He hangs out with
venture capitalists.

So, I`m not surprised to hear him say this. What Bill Clinton, Todd
is right, you know, it`s like being the 85-year-old man, you get to say
whatever you want, you`re an ex-president, you don`t have to worry about
it, but it certainly isn`t not doing the Obama campaign any good right now.

MATTHEWS: We`re noticing. Just quick to this -- I wouldn`t call it
a pile on, but it`s a pile away from Obama. Nobody is making any special
effort to give away credits so they can help Obama.

I mean, Cory Booker, Ed Rendell, all these heavy weights now in the
party are just saying, yes, I don`t agree with him. I don`t agree with

HARRIS: Within the Democratic, what you hear time and again is that
the White House and Obama in particular has never made any special effort
to reach out of any of these people.


MATTHEWS: They`ll get asked at midnight. Roosevelt would sit around
all night hanging out with Southern congressmen and senator, writing checks
when he lost at poker, knowing they would never catch the check because
they got his signature on it.

But is he doing that?

MCMAHON: All that maybe true. But the Democrats who are walking
away from the president on this are all Democrats from the Northeast who
hang out with all the venture capitalist guys.

MATTHEWS: The equity people.

MCMAHON: All of their friends are equity people and so, they`re
doing this to choosing friendships over the president on this one point.
They all support the president, they all think he`s done a great job, and
they all want him to be reelected, and they`re all campaign for him when
they`re not --



HARRIS: The single worst moment of Obama campaign so far was
produced by Harvey Weinstein. Who would have guessed?

MATTHEWS: Thank you, guys. It`s not a great day, 275-point drop in
the Dow today. What a bad day today for this economy.

Steve McMahon, thank you.

MCMAHON: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Todd Harris, I know the difference between you.

When we return, let me finish with why President Obama needs to do
something to get the economy rolling again now. No more just blaming the
other side.

You`re watching HARDBALL, a place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Let me finish on this tough hard note it`s come to, I`m
talking about this coming election. There was a sense on the part of the
Obama administration and the White House out in Chicago that the main
thrust had to be negative in this campaign. The economy is not going to
perk up. So, the goal had to be going at Romney as hard as possible.

You couldn`t rely on defense, only a good strong offense guaranteed
the best chance of victory.

Well, I think today`s hard economic news, the pathetic number of new
jobs this past month, the even worse number of new jobs and the figures
coming in for the previous two months must be a wake up call. Quote, now
hear this: there is little way that Obama will win the election in the
middle where it will be fought among middle of the road voters by telling
people that things are bad, but it will be even worst under Romney.

You can`t sell out of the frying pan into the fire. Why? Because
the American people are at their core an optimistic people. We don`t
believe the only alternative to a bad outlook is a worse outlook. And
that`s why you can`t put it together.

In fact, we`re not put together that way. We have to believe. We
have to have faith. We have to see a better day coming if we make the
right decision.

Well, Romney promises a fresh start. If he is to beat him, President
Obama needs to promise fresh hope. And the only way he can do that is to
do something. Words won`t do the trick.

It`s June 1st, time for a summer offensive, but it must be based on a
policy, an economic policy, not a political one. The president needs to
take action that gets this economy moving again, that`s what voter wants
and what he or she will vote for.

That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.


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