April 17, 2013
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Guests: Clint Van Zandt, Jonathan Dienst, Deval Patrick
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Hot pursuit.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
There have been potentially significant developments in the Boston
terror investigation today amid a lot of conflicting media reports. Here`s
what we know at this time.
NBC News is reporting that investigators have obtained video, believe
it or not, of a person placing a black bag down near the scene of that
second blast on Monday and then walking away.
And that footage reportedly came from a surveillance camera at a
nearby Lord & Taylor store. The video reportedly shows the person`s face,
and authorities are looking to question that individual. Well, this
afternoon, the FBI denied reports from other media outlets that an arrest
had been made in the case.
Well, meanwhile, investigators today continued collecting forensic
evidence from the attack site as they learned more about the bomb that was
used. Well, NBC News reports that the bomb`s triggering mechanism was
fairly sophisticated. It included a battery pack and a circuit board, both
of which were recovered at the scene.
Investigators also caution that there is no indication at this time of
any connection to groups overseas.
Meanwhile, a devastated defeat here in Washington for gun safety
advocates this afternoon. The U.S. Senate has voted down the compromised
deal on extended background checks put forth by Senators Joe Manchin and
Pat Toomey. The vote was 54 for the extended for extended background
checks, 46 against. So, although that was a majority, clearly, it takes 60
votes to get a bill passed.
Anyway, President Obama was joined afterwards by Gabby Giffords and
families of Newtown victims and, I got to tell you, delivered one
passionate reaction to today`s vote which roughly 40 percent of the
American people believe in something, the Senate failed to respond.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All in all, this was a
pretty shameful day for Washington. But this effort is not over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Ninety percent of the American people support extended
background checks and they couldn`t get it passed in the representative
U.S. Senate. We`ll have more on the fight over guns coming up.
But let`s again with the latest on the investigation up in Boston into
NBC analyst Michael Leiter was director of the National
Counterterrorism Center and Clint Van Zandt is a profiler.
Michael, you`re on last night, I want your thinking now that all of
this is accumulated, the battery pack, circuit board, news about the
pressure cooker -- actually a piece of it discovered. So much physical
evidence and then the picture taken by the video surveillance camera at
Lord & Taylor`s, which we`re told in NBC. In fact, we`ve confirmed it.
It`s a picture of someone putting down a black bag, some sort of shopping
bag, and then walking away from the bomb site.
MICHAEL LEITER, NBC ANALYST: Well, it`s been a very good day, Chris,
and it`s interesting as we started this kind of one, two, before the
information came out, the refrain we`re hearing is, why is it more
happening, why do we know so little at this point? And the fact is, as
we`ve said over and over, it takes time.
Now, what you just described is kind of two legs of a three-legged
stool. You`ve got the forensic evidence from the blast site. That`s
helping them understand the bomb and how it was made. Potentially you can
trace things there.
The second leg of that stool is the media that they`re collecting --
the photographic evidence and videotape which is just invaluable.
And then the third leg of that stool, which thankfully is not being
reported on and we don`t know about is the other sensitive information that
they are collecting from human sources, from cell phones and the like.
Those three legs of the stool are what are supporting this
investigation as it goes forward. Now, the unfortunate media reporting
about an arrest that didn`t happen today doesn`t make their work easier.
So, I think the FBI has very legitimately begged media and others to
just take a deep breath and don`t report on some of this until we`re
getting good word.
MATTHEWS: Clint, we`ve been working on here at HARDBALL and other
programs at MSNBC and elsewhere is to look at the physical evidence.
And let`s start with that first leg of the stool, which Michael
referred to. This kind of thing that we`re looking at here, it looked like
a very badly damaged pressure cooker. It was discovered on the roof. This
battery pack, what does that tell you in terms of whether a person placed
it there and had time, perhaps a time bomb as we called them, and also the
What does it all tell you in terms of the way in which this thing was
CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI PROFILER: Someone has careful
instructions on how it`s built.
Realizes that some individuals who try to construct these things blow
themselves up because it can be a very tenacious type of thing.
I think the investigators are way ahead.
Realize, as you`ve just pointed out, Chris, when a bomb goes off, it
doesn`t just go into cyberspace or disappear into outer space. There are
chunks, there are pieces. And ATF, FBI, these other agencies are available
to put this back together.
For example, this is a six-liter pot, not a gallon and a half, but
six-liter. The batteries are made overseas. They`re used for remote
Each of these is a separate lead. Each gives investigators the
ability to go out and say, who bought this? Who bought that? Who bought
And we can start to pull these together. If we can show one person
bought, for example, a battery for a model car and that same person`s
picture appears anywhere in that crowd, that`s a good investigative lead
that should help the authorities notwithstanding this media frenzy that
took place today that can do nothing but hurt an investigation.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you. Usually, we have them -- the six
liters, that`s more than a gallon. How much -- it`s filled with BBs and
filled with nails and also the explosive device and explosive material, how
much would that weigh in a pressure cooker?
VAN ZANDT: About 20 pounds. Yes, about 20 pounds. You take that
pressure cooker. You fill it with black powder, BBs, as you say, nails,
other types of paraphernalia. You put the detonator, the batteries and
everything else, you have plus or minus a 20-pound device.
We`re told at least one of these was a pressure cooker. The other has
been described off and on as another pressure cooker or a metal-type
But as you pointed out in your show yesterday, somebody had to carry
these 20-pound devices in a bag. This is not a pair of running shoes and a
VAN ZANDT: This is a 20-pound bomb that should be apparent seeing
somebody lug this down the street.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you about the material at hand here. If
it`s a battery pack, does that tell you about the detonating, was it done
by a remote control like a model airplane that you can fly around with a
remote control or a TV remote control? Was it controlled by a garage
opener? What would you say would be controlling with that kind of battery?
VAN ZANDT: Yes, one thing I would say the authorities know. The FBI
and ATF know, they`ve recovered the circuit board, they`ve recovered the
batteries, they`ve recovered the wire. It`s going to be very obvious the
circuitry that was put together and whether that was operated by a cell
phone or as you say a garage door opener.
Of course, a garage door opener is a line of sight. You have to be
near that explosive to set it off. A cell phone you could be halfway
across the world. So that would be an early part of the investigation.
How far away would the bomber have to be to set that off?
The FBI and ATF, they know that answer right now, because as, you
know, there`s a lot of investigation that you simply don`t share with the
public. You hold that back to use to make sure you`ve got the right person
when you arrest them.
MATTHEWS: Let`s bring in right now, an expert, WNBC`s Jonathan
Jonathan, thank you for joining us.
You know where we`re at in covering this and what everybody else is
pretty much in the same place, who`s got it straight, which is we`ve got
the materials at hand that has been discovered, the pressure cooker,
battery pack and circuit board and I didn`t mention a piece of black nylon
that could have been part of the bag.
How does that lead to someone? And then I want to get to the question
of surveillance tape.
JONATHAN DIENST, WNBC: Well, the best explanation that we`ve gotten
is that if they find and track these parts to where they were sold and who
purchased them, that`s going to help lead them to the suspect, you know,
pretty straight forward. And we`ve seen this in previous investigations in
the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. They found a part of the van with the
VIN number. They were able to track to the rental agency, find out who
rented that van. And as a result, they caught the suspects.
So, same theory here. So, that`s what they`re pouring over. That`s
part of the investigation and, of course, pouring all over the videotapes
for leads and that one piece of videotape of a suspect putting down a bag
outside the Lord & Taylor or caught on the Lord & Taylor surveillance tape
But, again, as Pete Williams and myself have been reporting all day,
there is no suspect. There is no arrest. There is no specific name. Now,
we`ve been told that there have been several names out there that obviously
they would want to run them down, but so far, we`re told what they`ve run
has been ruled out.
So, the investigation is ongoing, moving forward. That piece of tape
is one of many critical pieces that they are using to try to track suspects
but right now, again, no arrests.
MATTHEWS: Tell me how that`s done, Jonathan. You`re being looking at
a piece of video, you enlarge it, try to improve its fidelity, its picture?
What do you do?
You look at the wanted posters? I mean, how do you identify? Do you
look through mug shots? How do you find that person?
DIENST: The technology has improved tremendously in terms of facial
recognition technology and they are certainly using that matching images on
video at the scene to any faces that might be in databases and running
those images to see if there`s any sort of match. So, that`s one way. And
another way is, OK, here`s an image that we`ve got. Let`s go back to
others who we know that were at the scene, who were at businesses nearby
and show a picture. That would also be routine police work that`s done.
So, that`s just one of many, many aspects and I`m sure there are
numerous other aspects that they are not going to talk to us about as they
attempt to track down who planted these devices.
MATTHEWS: OK. Help me here because all the time we`re talking about
Union Station or 30th Street Station in Philly or anywhere, there`s a big
sign and an announcement. If you see something, say something.
Why don`t they let the people see the person and say, I know this guy,
or know this woman? I assume it`s a guy.
DIENST: That`s part of the debate that`s been going on all day today
as you look at the mess that went on this afternoon with some of the bad
reporting. And again I think earlier in the day, I think they thought they
had a name or a possible ID, possible, and that they have been running that
down and I believe that has washed out (ph), and that they are back trying
to figure out who is on this tape.
MATTHEWS: Wait a minute. Wash out, meaning, it didn`t match up with
a fugitive or a person with a record.
MATTHEWS: But how do they know that it didn`t match up with anybody?
DIENST: They are still working that. So, they are in the best
position to know whether by putting that picture, whether that`s going to
help them or not. Look, if you put that picture out, it could spook the
suspect or some of the conspirators if there are any, and tip them off and
they know specifically who they are looking for and perhaps flee. So --
MATTHEWS: Hey, look, it`s just common sense, Jonathan. If you`re --
if he`s -- whatever group these people are, watching right now on MSNBC,
they know there`s a picture of this person. They are already as far away
as they can get, right?
DIENST: You would think so. But look in the Times Square case.
Faisal Shahzad was still sitting in his house in Connecticut when the
manhunt was on and images being released here in New York and they were
able to catch him before he`s able over several days.
So, a bit of a grain of salt with this. And they`re going to make the
best determination as they sit there and assess where the investigation is
if they think it will be helpful putting this picture out. Again, it also
depends on how much confidence they have in that photo, how good the
quality of that images.
So, you know, they`re going to have a news conference later tonight
and perhaps explain why and how they are handling these images and when
they might be putting some out.
MATTHEWS: Let me go to Michael Leiter.
There have been reports that have been shot down, some perhaps
verified to some extent later on in the week. It may turn out that some of
this smoke will lead to fire. But my question is, you know, we`ve been
hearing this afternoon, not on NBC, but around other networks, a guy with a
baseball cap, hood on top of it, pretty much definitive information.
Are these stories possibly fleetingly true, but they don`t add up to
anything or what? How do these stories get out there? Do you think
there`s something there?
LEITER: I think, Chris, this is a long game of telephone. You know,
there are a lot of people involved in this investigation, at the FBI,
Boston Police Department, various parts of the U.S. government. But when a
lot of people get calls from reporters, even if they are not actually
involved, they start talking about what they have heard and then the
reporters report something that they have earned and inevitably you get a
lot of inconsistencies there.
So, people on the inside are trying to make sure that folks on the
outside know that they know something and people on the outside are trying
to get a story out. And what everybody has to realize is how disruptive
this can be to the investigation.
We have to remember, we`ve got a person or people out there who just
set off a bomb and killed three people. This is a very dangerous
individual or individuals. And the FBI and the police have to do this
extremely carefully, so they don`t spook the individual, they don`t spook
the group. So they don`t drive this person to more violence, not to
mention so they can actually collect evidence so when we ultimately arrest
this person, they can be prosecuted.
So, this is a multiple variable equation that the FBI and others have
to work through.
MATTHEWS: Clint, your thoughts of what they may be doing with this
video right now. I`m sure everybody is like me, we`re used to crime
stoppers, we`re used to television, we`re used to Perry Mason or whatever,
we`re used to Sherlock Holmes and when we find out there`s a video of a
person that looks like they are putting a bag there after last night
focusing on the other video here that showed a bag placed between the storm
fence and the gutter there and then seeing the pictures afterwards with the
fumes coming out of that bag area.
And then to find out today there`s an actual picture from across that
same street from Lord & Taylor`s pointing to a person putting a bag there,
you`ve got to see how we`re all looking at this, you know? We`re
wondering, why isn`t this galloping towards a conclusion given all this
VAN ZANDT: Well, I really think it`s galloping. I think there`s been
a lot of information developed. Realize, there are 60 different
investigative agencies that are involved in this, possibly somewhere within
that came this information today that was erroneous.
But the bottom line is, the FBI, the other agencies, if they have not
already identified the person or persons of interest, are working very hard
to. But there`s no need to put that photograph out right now if the
investigators can do it.
Chris, once that photograph is out, it goes viral. Remember, the
Sandy Hook shooting at the school, when they put out the picture of the
shooter`s brother and, all of a sudden, everybody thought he was the
shooter. Richard Jewel at the Atlanta park -- Olympic Park bombing.
So the investigators, the FBI, is going to be very careful and the
last thing you want to do is break public trust and put out a picture of
somebody who had nothing to do with it, or like a picture earlier today,
they showed a man running from the scene. Everybody said, he`s the guy.
He`s the guy.
It`s just one more victim trying to get away from the explosion.
MATTHEWS: Well, now we have something hard on the ricin case. NBC
News just learned this now. Justice correspondent Pete Williams is
reporting that two federal officials say a suspect has been arrested in the
case of those letters that initially tested positive for ricin. Officials
identify the subject as Kenneth Curtis of Tupelo, Mississippi, and we`re
told he may appear in court later tonight.
Two letters were intercepted in this case, one to President Obama and
one to Mississippi Republican Senator Roger Wicker. Let me go back to you
on this, Clint. What do you make of this case?
You know, I was talking to Tom Ridge, the former head of Homeland
Security, in fact, the first one. And he said there`s something about
these bombings where they seem to lead to -- it just seems to -- like
snakes travel in pairs, we get the ricin case and we get these -- cases
VAN ZANDT: Realize, the individual who sent these ricin letters, he
signed the letters, this is KC and I approve this message. That doesn`t
take a whole lot of heavy lifting to match up this guy whose name you just
said in the initial KC.
I think it`s logical to find out that it`s probably not ricin. It`s
probably another false positive. In this abundance of caution, especially
under the cloud of the bombing at Boston, you have to take these things
VAN ZANDT: But was there any connection between the two? Likely not.
MATTHEWS: I think somebody stirs up the nuts in cases like this
because we had anthrax last time. We got to Tom Brokaw and Tom -- the
former leader -- I forget his name.
Anyway, thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tom Daschle.
MATTHEWS: Tom Daschle. Thank you, Michael Leiter and thank you,
Clint, and thank you, Jonathan.
Coming up, we`re going to talk to Deval Patrick.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Well, today, we learned the name of the third victim killed
in Monday`s bombing. Lingzi Lu was a graduate student from China studying
math and statistics at Boston University. She was with two friends at the
marathon`s finish line when the bombs went off. There`s a picture of her
And one of those friends was injured in the blast. The third was
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Let`s go back to Boston where I`m joined by Massachusetts Governor
Deval Patrick for the latest on these investigations tonight.
Governor, it`s been so impressive watching officials up there in
Boston, and the state of Massachusetts. How do you see the investigation
going this evening now that it`s two days after?
GOV. DEVAL PATRICK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Well, Chris, it`s a large,
methodical, careful and professional investigation. We`ve got every
unimaginable law enforcement agency at the federal, state, and local level.
They are working very, very well together under the leadership of the FBI.
It is going to take time. It`s a several block crime scene and it`s
being combed sort of a quarter inch by quarter inch. It`s going to be a
slow investigation but I think as every hour and day passes, they make
MATTHEWS: What do you think is the attitude? You would know it as
well as anyone up there, the attitude of the Boston people and the
Massachusetts people about this? Do they just feel that they are victims,
something bad happened? Or is there a sense of anger, if you will, that
somebody would do this or a group of would do this?
PATRICK: Well, I think it`s a mixture of all of that and more. I
think certainly people are shocked, shaken, in many, many cases shattered
that something like this could happen at a civic ritual like the marathon,
of which we are so proud and on Patriots Day on top it. I think there`s
always a natural frustration that perpetrator or perpetrators haven`t yet
But I think people should take the kind of comfort I do from the fact
that such a thorough investigation is under way and folks are so purposeful
about it and collaborating and cooperating so well.
MATTHEWS: You know, one thing I`ve noticed about people, the younger
generation of this court, it`s much of more of a get out in the street, get
out because maybe public safety is better, people are out in the sidewalk,
cafes are always crowded, even in cities where it`s cold sometimes, places
like Boston, people like to get out of the house.
MATTHEWS: That`s not going to change, is it? This is going to be an
open outdoor city, as much as possible, Boston.
PATRICK: You know what? We waited a long, long time for a day like
this today. It`s in the 60s, it`s sunny. On my way over here from the
statehouse, there were people at outdoor cafes.
I mean, we are not going to go immediately back to the way we were
before this happened. As I said, it has a natural and predictable impact
on people`s way of thinking about their lives here in the city and in the
commonwealth, but we are a very resilient people and a very determined
people and we are not -- I think we also understand that if we are -- if we
have our sense of security permanently defeated, that whoever did this will
have won. We don`t intend to let them win.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about the Cathedral of the Holy Cross tomorrow
when you have the interfaith service and the president and first lady are
coming. Tell me about what role that is going to play in your city`s
PATRICK: Well, Chris, that`s about helping us all heal. You know, in
the conversations I`ve had all day today, when I`ve been going to hospitals
and talking to medical professionals and talking to some of the victims and
their families, everybody is looking for a way to acknowledge the grace and
kindness that people have experienced and that helps us heal from this.
And so having an interfaith service is very much to that effect and
we`re delighted that the president is going to come and bring us some words
MATTHEWS: Well, I think it`s great. Are you surprised by anything
that`s happened since this event, in watching the investigation, what has
impressed you that we may not have seen on TV?
PATRICK: You know, I mentioned grace and kindness. There have been
so many acts of this that I hear about that don`t usually make the news.
They are -- you know, you saw immediately afterwards the numbers of
volunteers who were not necessarily trained medical professionals who ran
toward the bomb sites rather than away from it.
PATRICK: Who were helping people in need.
I`ve heard from families along the race route who, once the race was
stopped, went out and brought in runners, gave them a place and a time to
recover, helped them deal with the enormity of what was happening and find
There have been so many acts of -- small acts of kindness and I think
it reflects so well on our community and those stories need to be told,
too, because they also help us heal.
MATTHEWS: The wonderful case of the person who put the tourniquet on
the person who lost their lives. What amazingly quick thinking and
PATRICK: That`s right. Extraordinary.
MATTHEWS: I think you`ve been great, too.
Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, thanks for joining us
PATRICK: Thank you, Chris. Thank you.
MATTHEWS: And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL.
Amid all of the tragedy we`ve witnessed from the bombings in the
Boston marathon, it`s good to step back and witness all of the signs of
support we`re seeing from Bostonians. One of the most notable was at
Yankee Stadium last night. We talked about this last night.
There`s a Yankee/Red Sox rivalry seemed to honoring a truce last night
right from the start. Look at it, "united we stand" video board, featuring
logos from both teams. There it is, the Yanks and Sox.
Between the third and fourth innings, as I said last night, the Yankee
fans did what was unthinkable, they sang along to the Fenway Park favorite
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MATTHEWS: How did they know the ho-ho-ho? That`s key to being at the
Anyway, the song was also played at Wrigley Field, Dodgers Stadium,
Cincinnati`s Great American Ballpark, among other ballparks. The Milwaukee
Brewers went a different direction playing the theme song from "Cheers,"
the great sitcom set in a neighborhood bar up in Boston.
Anyway, the Red Sox played the Indians last night at Cleveland`s
Progressive Field, but part of home was in the dugout. This jersey, look
at it there, 617. That`s Boston`s area code and the word "strong." It`s
Over to late night, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert summed up the
people of Boston and the national response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: Whoever did this, obviously, did not know
(EXPLETIVE DELETED) about the people Boston. For Pete`s sake, Boston was
founded by the Pilgrims, of people so tough, they had to buckle their
(EXPLETIVE DELETED) hats on. A city that made it through the big dig, a
construction project that backed up traffic for 16 years. I mean, there
are commuters just getting home now.
JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: New Yorkers and Boston obviously have a bit of
a competition. Oftentimes the two cities accusing each other of various
levels of suckatude but it is in situations like this that we realize that
it is clearly a sibling rivalry and we are your brothers and sisters in
this type of event. We got a hell of a city going there and you`ve done an
incredible job in the face of all this.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MATTHEWS: Stephen Colbert and, of courser, Jon Stewart.
Well, the community aspect of Boston is mistakably, of course. Boston
native Dennis Lehane, author of several well-known novels including the
Boston-centric "Gone Baby Gone" summed it up like this.
"Two different friends texted me the identical message yesterday.
They messed with the wrong city. This wasn`t a macho sentiment. It wasn`t
to bring it on or a similarly insipid bit of posturing. The point wasn`t
how we were going to mass in the coffee shops of the south end to figure
out how to retaliate. What a Bostonian means when he or she says they
messed with the wrong city is you don`t think this changes anything, do
Coming up, the big political story of the day, a devastating defeat.
Boy, am I happy of that? We`re all unhappy about this. The gun safety
advocates lost a big one today and we may not get another for a while. And
that compromised deal, which was a good one, on expanding background checks
goes down in defeat, even though a majority of senators voted for it, even
though 90 percent of the country wants it. We`re going to hear from a very
passionate President Obama in a few minutes.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Gun safety advocates, people who are eager to keep guns out of the
hands of criminals and the mentally disturbed which we think would be
everybody suffered just -- well, just a few weeks ago would have been
considered an unimaginable defeat. The U.S. Senate has voted this
afternoon down on expanded background checks.
Senators Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey had put together a bipartisan
compromised bill, weaker than gun safety advocates had wanted, of course,
that they hoped it could get past the Senate and it didn`t. Not today.
The amendment went down to defeat, getting just 54 of the 60 votes
needed for passage. The message was clear: a minority of senators, mostly
Republicans, nine of out 10 Republicans, were more afraid and still are of
the NRA than they are of the roughly 90 percent of the American who support
expanded background checks.
Anyway, a short time after the vote, the president stood in the Rose
Garden with Newtown families surrounding him and fought back against the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But instead of
supporting this compromise, the gun lobby and its allies willfully lied
about the bill. They claimed that it would create some sort of big brother
gun registry, even though the bill did the opposite.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Kasie Hunt covers Capitol Hill for NBC News and "Huffington
Post" Howard Fineman is an MSNBC political analyst.
I want to start with you, Kasie. You`re up there doing a great job.
You`ve been helping me understand which way this is going. It went against
the un-safety people.
We have a couple more votes though. After Manchin/Toomey went down,
you have a vote on assault weapons went down even more so. You had another
vote on the 30-round gun clips. That went down as well.
What did that tell you about the mood up there about a potential
future mood on gun safety, the fact that all three went down today?
KASIE HUNT, NBC NEWS: Look, this was expected on the assault weapons
and the clips, but what I find really interesting is the vote on the clips.
It got six more votes in the Senate than the assault weapons ban did.
And if you look at the folks different on those, it`s folks from out
west, Democrats in Colorado and Democrats in New Mexico. Colorado, of
course, passed a limit on high-capacity magazines. They`ve seen a lot of
gun violence, Aurora happened there.
I`ve been talking to some senators up here, Democrats who have said
that it`s this issue that might really come back to bite some of their
colleagues over the years. They say that this clips argument like what
happened in Newtown where the parents are here saying, listen, if this guy
had had to reload more often than he did, more of our children would have
been saved, that`s an argument that might resonate with Americans more
going forward than the assault weapons ban.
MATTHEWS: Yes. I think Howard, just I intuitively, I`m not a hunter.
I`m not a gun guy, all right? I`ve shotguns.
But the fact that you need a 30-round clip to go after deer hunting is
kind of rough to imagine.
HOWARD FINEMAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think it`s easier to
get confused about the definition of what is an assault rifle and what
FINEMAN: But a magazine clip is something that a civilian can
understand, so to speak.
FINEMAN: So I think Kasie might be right. But to flip around just
for a minute, the fact that all three of these went down the way they did,
maybe the NRA will lose the war in the long run, but they won the battles
today. It`s clear they won battles today and the president is going to
mobilize and the Newtown families are going to have to mobilize and the gun
safety people are gong to have to mobilize for the long haul, for the 2014
election, they are going to have to get in the ball game the way the NRA
is. This is the way politics is played today, like it or not. That`s what
they are going to have to do. It`s going to get the president in the
midterm election next year and he`s clearly going to do it based on the
righteous indignation he showed today.
Well, you could also argue that the high-water mark for anger about
guns and multi-round clips and semiautomatics exploited by this crazy
person up in Newtown should have been the great opportunity to stop the gun
crowd and it didn`t work.
FINEMAN: It wasn`t. I think when Harry Reid, the Democratic leader,
signaled, even though he voted for the assault weapons ban today, he
signaled at the very start that that was off -- that wouldn`t fly. That
gave the dog whistle signal to everybody.
MATTHEWS: Here`s a statement now from the NRA, following the vote on
Toomey/Manchin today. It reads in part, quote, "This amendment would have
criminalized concern private transfers of firearms between honest citizens,
requiring lifelong friends, neighbors and some family members to get
permission or exercise a fundamental right or face prosecution, as we have
noted previously, expanding background checks at gun shows or elsewhere,
will not reduce violent crime or keep our kids safe in their schools."
Now, there`s duplicity, obviously.
Kasie, it seems to me, there`s two parts to that, both duplicity.
One, this bill carefully written by Toomey did exclude any kind of
requirement when you sell a gun to a friend, as long as it`s not a
commercial transaction, that`s excluded from a background check. If your
buddy across the street wants your gun, give it to your brother-in-law,
none of that has to be checked. why do they lie?
And the second question is -- let`s stick with that one. Why did they
HUNT: That`s how the president characterized it, of course. There
are some sections of this bill where gun advocates say this raises a sector
of some problems for transactions for folks. Senator Joe Manchin didn`t
want to go as far as to call it a lie in an interview he did with me
shortly after the vote. But he did say that, listen, if these folks had
read my bill, it doesn`t do any of the things that they are claiming that
it does. So he --
MATTHEWS: Yes, it`s like the death panels all over again. Poison a
bill by saying things that are untrue, the big lie again. Howard --
FINEMAN: The big lie was the -- the death panel thing was especially
the gun registry.
MATTHEWS: Gun registry. Yes. And the second part of this says it
won`t work. Please listen to this, it`s calling loving something to death.
In other words, you don`t like a bill but then you say, what I really
have a problem with this, it won`t go far enough. This lie. It`s another
-- well, whatever you want to call it -- lie is a strong word. They are
clearly saying this won`t eliminate all gun violence in America so why
FINEMAN: Well, and the president had a good answer for that in the
Rose garden. He said, if it can save one life, it could save 100, 1,000 it
would be worth doing because it was tailored to achieve a purpose without
MATTHEWS: Like, why have guardrails on bridges because somebody wants
to jump over it? Why have a guardrail? Because a lot of people don`t want
to jump off the bridge.
Anyway, the president also took on the Rand Pauls of this world. What
a disgusting thing he said today and the Rush Limbaughs. Here`s Rand Paul
and I don`t normally have a problem with this guy. He referred to the
Newtown children`s families lobbying on the Hill this way. Let`s watch
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I`ve heard folks say --
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: When I see a father and mothers and
them testifying and I know they are coming voluntarily and they want to
come and be part of this debate, it still saddens me to see them, I used to
them. I think that in some cases the president has used them as props and
that disappoints me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Here`s the president responding to that props line.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I`ve heard folks say that having the families of victims lobby
for this legislation was somehow misplaced, a prop somebody called them.
Emotional blackmail, somebody said.
Are they serious? Do we really think that thousands of families whose
lives have been shattered by gun violence don`t have a right to weigh in on
this issue? Do we think their emotions, their loss is not relevant to this
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Kasie, describe if you can what it`s like to go around the
corridors of Capitol Hill, the senators, especially, and see these people
with the green ribbons. I thought they were very much right to be doing
that and they were on their own. They were not brought in by the
Democratic National Committee or anybody.
It seems to be odd for a U.S. senator saying we don`t like people
visiting us on Capitol Hill who have a particular concern about something.
What a strange thing to say for a representative of the people.
HUNT: These folks haven`t been saying too much as they have made the
rounds here on Capitol Hill but, you know, quietly when you talk to them in
an aside as they`ve been moving from office to office, they say really this
is their initiative. They have representatives with them. They are
working with a P.R. firm.
But it`s coming from them and they have been extraordinarily powerful
spokespeople for themselves. They`re the ones who are talking directly to
these senators. I was in the room when they were talking with Manchin last
week before the cloture vote and they were the ones who were saying thank
It was them carrying the message. It was the families who introduced
him tonight in the Rose Garden. It was a family member who gave the
address on Saturday.
So the idea that they are not speaking for themselves in this argument
is, I think -- has not been the experience for folks up on Capitol Hill.
MATTHEWS: So, Rand Paul spent his day having interviews in people
with the Ayn Rand Society and Heritage Foundation and all these organized
conservative groups and I thinks it`s really disturbing, and sort of, you
know, (INAUDIBLE), for these people to come up to the Hill that have lost
FINEMAN: How dare they be in the galley? How dare they be in the
halls of Congress?
And I`ve watched it over the years, Chris. I think it`s become
increasingly like that on the Hill, where the members find it extremely
annoying that there are members of the public around. They would just
assume to have the Capitol be free of members of the public and run -- but
the best answer to Rand Paul from the pro-gun safety people is to organize
in show that it`s not the people from Newtown.
MATTHEWS: You know what? You used to be able to go to Capitol Hill,
and bother -- knock on the door, look for a job, make a case. Now, you got
to go through the tourist entrance.
So, we`re not citizens anymore.
MATTHEWS: We`re tourists and we can be moved through like a crowd
through Disneyland. It`s rotten. It used to be a democratic country in
Kasie, thank you, again, great reporting. Kasie Hunt with the
numbers. I hope we have more positive results in the future, but good
Thank you, Howard, as always.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Earlier this morning, Senator Chuck Schumer formally in
introduced the bipartisan immigration reform bill, usually a big day around
here talking about that. The Border Security Economic Opportunity and
Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 was filed at 2:00 a.m. this morning,
all 844 pages of it.
And while the bill has key support by both parties, some on the right
are calling it amnesty and some on the left say it`s unnecessarily harsh.
And it`s a great bill possibly.
Still, President Obama is urging the Senate to move it and move it
Acknowledging it`s a compromise, it doesn`t give anyone everything
they want. I think it might just work and be good law.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
As I said earlier this evening, rarely have I seen this president so
passionate and emotional as President Obama was this afternoon, after the
amendment on background checks went down to defeat. Remember, this is a
minority of the Senate rejecting something that an overwhelming majority of
Americans say they want. It`s an extraordinary speech, I think, by Mr.
Obama and just showing a few seconds doesn`t do it justice. So for those
who missed it early, catch this.
Here`s more of the president of the United States late today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: So while this compromise didn`t contain everything I wanted or
everything that these families wanted, it did represent progress. It
represented moderation and common sense. That`s why 90 percent of the
American people supported it.
But instead of supporting this compromise, the gun lobby and its
allies willfully lied about the bill. They claimed that it would create
some sort of big brother gun registry even though the bill did the
opposite. This legislation in fact outlawed any registry, plain and
simple, right there in the text. But that didn`t matter.
And, unfortunately, this pattern of spreading untruths about this
legislation served a purpose. Because those lies upset an intense minority
of gun owners and that in turn intimidated a lot of senators.
And I talked to several of these senators over the past few weeks.
And they`re all good people. I know all of them were shocked by tragedies
like Newtown. And I also understand that they come from states that are
strongly pro-gun. And I have consistently said there are regional
differences when it comes to guns, and that both sides have to listen to
But the fact is, most of these senators could not offer any good
reason why we wouldn`t want to make it harder for criminals and those with
severe mental illnesses to buy a gun. There were no coherent arguments as
to why we wouldn`t do this. It came down to politics.
The worry that that vocal minority of gun owners would come after them
in future elections. They worried that the gun lobby would spend a lot of
money and paint them as anti-Second Amendment. And obviously a lot of
Republicans had that fear, but Democrats had that fear, too.
And so they caved to the pressure. And they started looking for an
excuse, any excuse to vote no.
One common argument I heard was that this legislation wouldn`t prevent
all future massacres. And that`s true. As I said from the start, no
single piece of legislation can stop every act of violence and evil. We
learned that tragically just two days ago.
But if action by Congress could have saved one person, one child, a
few hundred, a few thousand, if it could have prevented those people from
losing their lives to gun violence in the future while preserving our
Second Amendment rights, we had an obligation to try. And this legislation
met that test. And too many senators failed theirs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That`s President Obama. Boy, was that strong. That was a
strong reaction to the Senate`s failure today to pass a measure expanding
We`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this.
You know, I have to say that I am constantly impressed by any NBC
colleagues around here. They are generous, factual, and professional.
They have the ability to take pains, the strength to resist those
competitive pressures to beat the other networks. Getting it right and a
tad later is always better than getting it early and wrong, don`t you
think? Because getting it wrong isn`t news you can use, is it?
And Pete Williams today, wow, didn`t just get it right a tad late, he
got it right from the start. And here`s my advice, if a dozen reporters
are saying "X" and Pete says "Y," go with "Y."
Pete Williams has been our man this week, I mean it. Right from the
outset, he`s been the correspondent we wait to hear from because we know
what he says is solid or in this imperfect world we live in, as solid as a
great reporter can get it.
So, here`s to Pete and NBC and, of course, us at MSNBC for being lucky
to have him.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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