'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for Tuesday, May74th, 2013

May 7, 2013

Guests: Rep. Matt Cartwright, Marc Klaas, Bob Shrum, Matthew Perry, Douglas


Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

"Let Me Start" tonight with this. There have been a raft of charges that
fit under the heading "Benghazi." The sheer volume of them allows the one
making the charge to maintain the offensive. It allows people to take
glancing shots at this administration, and possibly a future
administration, without coming up with a sharp indictment that merits hard
public debate.

So to avoid that confusion, I`m going to divide the charges into four
periods. One, events before the Benghazi facility came under attack. Two,
events occurring when the Benghazi facility first came under attack.
Third, events occurring before the second attack in Benghazi. And fourth,
events after those two attacks.

Well, one of the charges Congress will hear tomorrow concerns the third
time period, between the attacks in Benghazi, between those attacks.
Gregory Hicks, a State Department official posted in Tripoli, said he asked
for four special forces personnel to be sent to Benghazi but was refused.
The Defense Department says the four personnel weren`t ready for combat.
Also, they were needed to defend the embassy in Tripoli.

A second charge Congress will hear tomorrow also concerns that third time
period, the one between the attacks. Mr. Hicks says he asked for fighter
planes to do a flyover of Benghazi. He says it would have scared off the
terrorists and prevented the second attack.

Well, the Defense Department says there that the planes stationed over in
Italy needed to be refueled en route and there was no tanker in the area to
do it.

Let`s take on the charges. Let`s take a look at them. We`re joined by
Andrea Mitchell, NBC`s chief foreign affairs correspondent and the host, of

Let`s get to this first charge. Gregory Hicks was the deputy chief of our
embassy in Tripoli at the time of the Benghazi attack. He told
investigators for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that
more could have been done in this period after that first attack on the
mission in Benghazi, but before two more Americans were killed hours later
in a second attack.

He said a team of four special forces operatives were ready to fly to
Benghazi in that period between the attacks, but they were told by Defense
Department superiors that they didn`t have the authority to do so.

He also said -- this is Hicks -- that the United States never sought
permission to scramble aircraft over Benghazi after the first attack. Had
they done so, he said, it might have caused the attackers to scatter before
the final attack.

So let`s start with those two main charges that have gotten publicity
today. Let`s start with the first, the four special forces personnel who
apparently are speaking on the record and saying they were ready to go to

in addition to the six who had already gone. And the pushback from the
Pentagon and the State Department is that they were needed in Tripoli, that
embassies were under attack all over the region, and that if those four had
left and gone to Benghazi, it would have exposed the embassy, a far more
important target, in Tripoli.

MATTHEWS: So that`s their main argument, not that they weren`t battle-
ready but that they were needed to defend the main base, the main American
operations base in Libya.

MITCHELL: The second argument is that they were not combat assault-ready.
In other words, that they were based in Tripoli, they were actually
visiting on a mission in Tripoli, and could not launch a combat assault at
a remote location.

MATTHEWS: My experience in political argument is, if you have a good
argument, and that`s the real reason you make the decision, you don`t add a
second one.

Can you tell from the way the testimony is developing what they truly were
guided by? Was it the need to protect the embassy in Tripoli, or was it
because they didn`t think these guys were ready to jump into hell,
basically, which is what they would have had to do once they hit the

MITCHELL: My best judgment is that they did not want to expose the embassy
in Tripoli.

MATTHEWS: Right. OK. Let`s talk about the aircraft. The Defense
Department position there, apparently, is those planes could have scrambled
from Italy. It would have taken three or four hours. But that route would
have required a refueling en route and there was no tanker available. Is
that their defense?

MITCHELL: Their argument is it would have taken five hours --


MITCHELL: -- and that there were no tankers available, that the closest
tanker was actually in Europe, not in Africa and not in Italy, not at

MATTHEWS: So what do the -- what do they critics say up against these two
pushbacks? What do they say in defending the charge that -- or basically,
taking down the defense that says, Look, we couldn`t spare those four guys.
What do they say about that?

MITCHELL: I talked to Jason Chaffetz today.

MATTHEWS: Yes. He`s one of the critics.

MITCHELL: He`s one of the leading critics on the committee. And he said
this is the first time we are hearing the specific pushback from the
Pentagon. He`s also saying, Why wasn`t Gregory Hicks interviewed by the
independent review board? Now, the other --

MATTHEWS: That gets to the fourth stage of discussion, after what
happened. They always shift these things around. Now, I`m not saying
they`re dead wrong on everything. I`ve just noticed a tactic. Every time
somebody defends something, they go, Well, what about this other thing?
I`m sorry.

MITCHELL: Let me stipulate --

MATTHEWS: That`s my point of view.

MITCHELL: -- that Gregory Hicks has a superb record. He was the deputy
chief of mission. But he is a diplomat. He is a foreign service officer.
And the Pentagon`s pushback is that he`s not a military officer, and to
suggest that a flyover of F-16s could have buzzed the mission, the outpost
in Benghazi, and scattered the attackers, is naive, number one. It`s
hypothetical --


MITCHELL: -- and that they couldn`t get there in time in any case for
the very reasons you`ve just cited, that they didn`t have the refueling

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s --

MITCHELL: And they were not -- they were not on the runway. It takes a
couple of hours --


MITCHELL: -- to get an airplane, an F-16, fueled up and on the runway
and in the air.

MATTHEWS: So this falls into the category (INAUDIBLE) we grew up, Monday
morning quarterbacking. Fine. And it`s legitimate disputes. We can argue
about how it could have been handled better. But it`s certainly not a
mortal sin politically that would cause the downfall of an administration,
even a British-style ministry, where they do resign in these situations.

Let`s talk about the cover-up, supposedly. And you talk about it. Let me
read this other point. Gregory Hicks, who is, of course, this respected
foreign service officer based in Tripoli, took issue with the account that
Ambassador Susan Rice of the U.N. gave after the attack, that it was a
spontaneous attack that grew out of the protests.

Hicks told investigators, quote, "I thought it was a terrorist attack from
the get-go. I think everyone in the mission thought it was a terrorist
attack from the beginning."

And here`s what congresswoman -- Congressman Darrell Issa of California had
to say about that. Let`s watch him in action.


thing. The talking points were right and then the talking points were
wrong. The CIA knew it was a terrorist attack. The deputy chief of
mission, Gregory Hicks, knew it was a terrorist attack. The ambassador,
before he died, one of the last words he ever said is, We`re under attack.

MATTHEWS: So the significance -- I mean, Secretary Clinton before she left
her post as secretary of state, said, What`s the issue here?

What is his issue there? We`re not talking about saving lives or lives
that could have been saved, saving Chris Stevens`s life or anything. We`re
talking about how the PR was handled by the White House. Why`s it so
significant to the critics?

MITCHELL: I think it`s significant to the critics because they see
political targets. They see a cover-up. And they believe that in the
weeks before a major -- you know, a presidential election, where President
Obama and team were claiming that al Qaeda had been diminished, that there
was an effort to whitewash, or you know, clean the talking points to make
it appear less a terror attack and more a --

MATTHEWS: Was there a move by the --

MITCHELL: -- spontaneous --

MATTHEWS: -- assistant secretary for public affairs at State to say it
wasn`t terrorist or change that? Was there any evidence that anything --

MITCHELL: All of the evidence --


MATTHEWS: -- for PR reasons?

MITCHELL: No, all of the evidence has been that it was changed in the
intelligence community, and General Clapper took responsibility for that.

MATTHEWS: Because of their own estimates of what happened?

MITCHELL: Because it`s -- they did not have what they felt were the hard
evidence. Clearly, it was an attack. When Ambassador Stevens said, We`re
under attack, that didn`t define who was attacking. So I think that is a
red herring, you know, the last words of the dying ambassador, to hold that
against the State Department. I do think that there were screwups along
the way in the way the --

MATTHEWS: Afterwards?

MITCHELL: Afterwards, in the way the intelligence community and the White
House -- all these things are vetted. They`re rewritten.


MITCHELL: It`s clear that Petraeus went --


MITCHELL: -- and said one thing and then --

MATTHEWS: I understand. Here`s my --

MITCHELL: -- then the talking points were changed.

MATTHEWS: This is my political analysis. You don`t have to buy it. I
notice that all these attempts to smear somebody, generally speaking, what
they do is they take, say, legitimate concerns about what, for example,
John Kerry said when he came back from the Vietnam war. He basically said,
This is the wrong war, we did horrendous things. And that was a legitimate
criticism of him by the people on the right.

And then they went after his record. So they got people to criticize his
statements after the war as a way to blemish his war record.

Now, here they take legitimate disputes of how the PR was handled -- we can
argue about that -- and now cast doubt about how -- what efforts were
really not made to save the lives of these diplomats. I think it`s an
attempt to mush it up a bit.

MITCHELL: Well, I mean, I think there are legitimate --

MATTHEWS: And that`s usually a very successful --

MITCHELL: -- questions --

MATTHEWS: -- PR tactic on either side politically.

MITCHELL: Why wasn`t Gregory Hicks interviewed before this? Why did not
his testimony become part of the independent review board? That is a
question that needs to be answered.

But whether this is dispositive -- is this going to really prove anything
about how we handle embassy security? They`re still not asking the
Pentagon why there aren`t more than 1,200 Marines globally to take care of


MITCHELL: We`re not putting Marines in front of embassies or missions.

MATTHEWS: But you know, this diplomatic world better than anybody in our
business. You can`t stock a Fort Apache in the middle of a country that`s
barely a country yet, like Libya, which is -- we don`t have a right to move
in with a military, you know, brigade.

MITCHELL: You have to have host country permission. The bottom line is --

MATTHEWS: And they have to protect us, basically.

MITCHELL: The bottom line here is we are not spending the money to either
secure these outposts --


MITCHELL: -- or staff them properly, and still foreign service officers
like Greg Stevens (sic) are raising their hands and saying, I want to serve
there, even though I know I could die there.

MATTHEWS: I think that`s a big part of this story, the courage of our
diplomats to go into tricky situations, knowing there`s a certain
percentage of chance they won`t come back.

MITCHELL: Exactly.

MATTHEWS: And that`s -- and you know how much we respect those people.
Thank you -- you especially. Thank you, Andrea Mitchell.

Let`s go now -- for more on the investigation, I`m joined by U.S.
Congressman Matt Cartwright. He`s a Democrat from Pennsylvania. He`s a
member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which is
holding these hearings tomorrow.

What do you make of this -- we`re trying to settle (ph) through, Andrea and
I and everybody in our -- all our production team have been trying to
figure this out. It looks like they`ve got a couple charges about the way
things were handled before the attacks, during the attacks, which are
basically Monday morning quarterbacking. We can argue about them forever.
But no real malfeasance yet.

And then we have this whole question of cover-up. Do you see any merit --
I know you`re a Democrat -- but do you see any merit in what Darrell Issa
is up to, or is this just politics?

I`m a Democrat from northeastern Pennsylvania, Chris. And you`ve got a lot
of fans in that part of the world, I can tell you.

MATTHEWS: Thank you.

CARTWRIGHT: But I will say this. I am a freshman. I`ve been in Congress
now for four months. I`ve been a member of the House Oversight and
Government Reform Committee.

And one thing we see on this committee is something I`ve never seen before
in my life. I`ve done courtroom jury trials for 25 years, exercises in
finding the truth. Sometimes, it really doesn`t look like we`re interested
in finding the truth in these hearings we see on the Government and
Oversight -- Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Let me give you an example. You show up at these hearings. They have
titles -- you know, "Why such-and-such is so." And then they take the

They are exercises in the majority of the committee deciding what hearing
is going to be held, and then withholding the information until the very
last minute, or in many cases, revealing what`s going to be in the hearing
by leaking it to the press --


CARTWRIGHT: -- the night before, including documents, including what
witnesses have to say. So for example, tomorrow in this Benghazi hearing,
we`re going to find out from this witness, Mark Thompson, things that --
those of us on the minority on the committee have no idea what this man is
going to say because we have been granted no access to this witness.


CARTWRIGHT: So it`s a complete surprise.

MATTHEWS: Well, not to fuel your concern that this is a stacked jury here
-- certainly, something the look of a show trial -- look at former U.S. --
former governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee, who ran for president, of
course, as a Republican. Yesterday, he said that Benghazi is a more
serious scandal that Watergate, and he made a startling prediction. Let`s
look at Mike Huckabee.



before it`s all over, this president will not fill out his full term. I
know that puts me on a limb, but this is not minor. It wasn`t minor when
Richard Nixon lied to the American people and worked with those in his
administration to cover up what really happened in Watergate.

But I remind you, as bad as Watergate was because it broke the trust
between the president and the people, no one died. This is more serious
because four Americans did, in fact, die.


MATTHEWS: Did you catch that? He`s not accusing people in the State
Department or Defense Department bureaucracy of making a mistake or a human
error or just things that are always looking better afterwards. You can
always think things through.

He`s accusing this of a high crime and misdemeanor, something from the
president on down that`s a grievous crime against the state, that should be
answered with impeachment and conviction and removal from office, without
ever saying what it is. This is classic, classic conspiracy talk. Your

CARTWRIGHT: Well, you know, as I mentioned, I did jury cases for 25 years,
and if you got caught grandstanding to the jury, you would be admonished by
the judge. Here in Washington, D.C., the definition of grandstanding is
completely different. It`s an art form.


CARTWRIGHT: And so something like that -- look, this is not what the
American people sent us here to do, Chris. They want us to work together.
And as an oversight panel, we should be sharing information with each other
so that we work together to get at the truth because you know what? If you
share with us what the witnesses are going to say, what the documents are
that you`re going to use ahead of time, the truth isn`t going to change.

The truth is going to come out. Truth is the daughter of time, and it
doesn`t change. So let`s work together. That`s what the American people
want us to do.

MATTHEWS: Congressman, my best to the sons and daughters of Scranton,
especially the Irish, and everybody else up there. Thank you for coming on
tonight, Congressman Matt Cartwright of the Scranton area.

Coming up, one of those stories that makes you wonder, How could it happen?
Three women held captive in Cleveland, Ohio, for a decade, 10 years, were
just found and freed in their own neighborhood. And the three brothers,
middle-aged brothers, accused of holding them are now under arrest.

My question -- did police just assume these three women -- they were girls
at the time -- were just lost causes, they ran off? And they were found in
their own neighborhoods.

Plus, from the moment we heard that New Jersey governor Chris Christie had
had lap band surgery, stomach surgery, we were faced with two
possibilities. Christie wants to lose weight for health reasons. That`s a
good one. Or this is the surest sign yet that he plans to run in 2016.
Well, could be both. It probably is.

And Matthew Perry, the actor -- remember "Friends"? -- is here tonight.
He`s a recovering prescription drug addict, and he`s here in Washington
telling Congress that treatment, not jail time, is not only more effective
but far less expensive. And that makes sense.

Finally, a pro-same-sex marriage public service announcement straight out
of the 1950s starring "Modern Family`s" Jesse Tyler Ferguson.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dale wants to restrict marriage to a man and a woman.
He doesn`t care whether the couple just met on a drunken trip to Vegas, a
reality show, or if they`re only marrying for a green card.


MATTHEWS: By the way, could you tell who`s narrating? You`ll find out in
a minute, interesting guy we all grew up with.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Well, voters in South Carolina`s 1st congressional district are
heading to the polls today, and they`re deciding whether to give former
governor Mark Sanford a second political career or whether to deny their
preference for Republicans -- it`s a Republican district -- and elect a
Democrat, Elizabeth Colbert Busch.

Well, the latest polling showed a tight race, and it could be a while
tonight before we know the winner. I`d say about 11:00. Who knows. We`ll
have the results for you on MSNBC the minute they`re done, the minute
they`re called. Polls will be closed at 7:00 Eastern.

And we`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. All day long now, people have been
asking the same question. How? How could three women disappear and then
be held captive for a decade, 10 years, in their own neighborhood with no
one knowing they were there?

Well, their awful ordeal came to an end yesterday when one of the captives
managed to attract attention and escape. Here`s her dramatic call to 911.


AMANDA BERRY, KIDNAP VICTIM: Help me! I`m Amanda Berry!

911 OPERATOR: You need police, fire or ambulance?

BERRY: I need police.

911 OPERATOR: OK. And what`s going on there?

BERRY: I`ve been kidnapped, and I`ve been missing for 10 years and I`m
here. I`m free now.


MATTHEWS: Wow. That was Amanda Berry, who went missing on April 21st,
2003, 10 years ago. She was 16 at the time of her disappearance, just one
day shy of her 17th birthday.

Also freed from same house, Gina DeJesus, who went missing April 2nd, 2004.
She was 14 at the time of her disappearance. And Michele Knight, who went
missing August 22nd, 2002. She was 20 at the time of her disappearance.

As this map shows, the women were found miles, but not that far, from where
they disappeared. And the neighbor who responded to Amanda Berry`s call
for help is being hailed as a hero. His name is Charles Ramsey. And he
describes the homeowners -- well, who is now in custody, the owner, who is
now in custody with his two brothers. All three of them apparently were
living with these three young women. Let`s listen.


CHARLES RAMSEY, WITNESS: we see this dude every day. I mean every day.

QUESTION: How long have they lived here?

RAMSEY: I have been here a year.


RAMSEY: You see where I`m coming from?


RAMSEY: I barbecue with this dude. We eat ribs and whatnot and listen to
salsa music. You see where I`m coming from?

QUESTION: And you had no indication that there was anything --

RAMSEY: Bro, not a clue that that girl was in that house, or anybody else
was in there against their will, because how he is, is, he just comes out
to his backyard, plays with the dogs, tinkering with his cars and
motorcycles, goes back in the house.

So he`s somebody that you look and you look away, because he`s not doing
nothing but the average stuff. You see what I`m saying? There`s nothing
exciting about him. Well, until today.


MATTHEWS: I would call that fellow cooperative witness, wouldn`t you?

Anyway, joining me on the scene in Cleveland is reporter Sarah Dallof.

Ms. Dallof, thank you for joining us. We haven`t met.

But tell me. Answer some of my questions. People live next door to three
middle-aged guys, men, older men, and they never hear young women`s voices
in all those weeks and nights and days and hot nights and whatever? It
seems unreal. It does.


And that is the big question that everyone has on their mind. How could
these women be being hidden relatively in plain sight under the noses of
the people looking for them? That is what investigators want to answer.

We can tell you that during the time these women were missing, police did
respond, were called to the home twice, but the calls were not related.
One was even the homeowner calling to report a fight on the street. The
other was a question to deal with his job. He was a school bus driver,
accidentally left one of the kids on the bus.

Neither of these calls the police say they received were in any way related
to the disappearance of these three women.

MATTHEWS: Are the houses where -- the house we`re talking about like the
houses behind you? I mean, I grew up in a neighborhood that looks like
that, rowhouses. Are they that close together, this house to other houses?

DALLOF: They are close together, close enough that you easily could throw
a stone and hit your neighbor`s home. This is not a remote area. There`s
traffic on this street. There`s a school about a block this way, a day
care about another block and businesses, some restaurants, some local shops
here. This is not an area where people are not frequently here, where
they`re not here on a daily basis walking these sidewalks.

MATTHEWS: Do we know -- last question, do we know how Amanda Berry, who
got the 911 call through, why she was finally able after 10 years to have
the confidence, I guess the right word is, knew that she wouldn`t be hurt
if she made that call?

DALLOF: Well, you heard -- you hear her on the 911 call pleading with the
911 operator to send a patrol car as soon as possible, that she`s worried
that a man is going to return. She wants the police there beforehand.

We don`t know what led up to this, her ability to escape last night. From
everything that neighbors say, that witnesses saw, she was screaming and
pounding on that door. She wanted out.

MATTHEWS: Well, good reporting. Thanks so much, Sarah Dallof in

Joining me now is Marc Klaas. We know him. His 12-year-old daughter Polly
was kidnapped and killed nearly 20 years ago. Also joining me is Jeff
Gardere. He`s a psychologist and NBC News contributor.

Thank you, Jeff.


MATTHEWS: And thank you, Marc.


MATTHEWS: Marc, tell me about this, what it tells you about the missing

I mean, you do hear about young women running away from their parents,
maybe a difficult situation at home or they just want to have freedom. And
are they never heard of again and the police just rest the case, they kill
it? What happened to these cases, do you think?

KLAAS: Well, the fallback position used to be that if a girl is missing or
a child is missing, that they`re most likely a runaway, and that would
absolve law enforcement of most responsibility.

We have learned that in the 20 years since Polly that that`s not the case
at all, but for a variety of reasons, children are snatched off the street
either by other family members or, in the rare instance, strangers, such as
this guy Castro was. And that`s exactly what happened in this.

We have tools that exist now that didn`t exist before, including law
enforcement protocols, things like the Amber Alert. We have things like
Megan`s Law that gives us a heads-up as to who these individuals are in our
neighborhoods. But the reality is, is if one of these guys snatches one of
these kids in stealth, and nobody is watching him, and then he is able to
marginalize them successfully, this ultimately can be the outcome.

MATTHEWS: Well, these guys don`t look like Mr. Rogers. They look pretty
scary guys.

The kids -- how does it happen? You`re an expert about this,
unfortunately, Marc. And how did they -- you don`t know if they have ever
been armed at all. We don`t know if there was ever any arms involved in
this. How do you grab a kid and get them out of a public situation without
them being able to even scream for help? Are they seduced away from it or
are they just grabbed physically and gagged?

KLAAS: Well, my suspicion is that these kids were probably gagged.

I mean, it`s been -- this guy has been described as a sexually sadistic
psychopath. And, quite frankly, I can`t find any fault with that. What
he`s going to do is, he`s going to find a situation where nobody else
appears to be looking and then make his move at that point.


KLAAS: And then isolate these kids, is exactly what he`s going to do. And
this guy has been able to successfully do that for a long time.

These are young girls that are being approached and being manhandled by a
determined predator. That`s a huge -- that`s a huge disconnect as far as
power goes.

MATTHEWS: You know, let me bring Jeff in, an expert.

I have seen movies like "The Lovely Bones," and you think about predators
waiting and waiting for their chance to grab a -- what does it tell you
about the psychological condition of these apparent predators?


We have learned from an uncle that they were actually isolated from the
family. Other family members had not spoken to them for a couple of years.
So these are literally, perhaps, the bad seeds of the family. And as part
of that sociopathic thinking, of course, they are going to wait and look
for the right moment to grab these girls.

I think they did those things on three separate occasions. But you have
got to believe, Chris, that there was a lot of mind control going on.


GARDERE: You talk about, how could this have happened? Maybe, you know,
there was a situation of where there might have been some occasion for them
to get some help and maybe didn`t.

We shouldn`t blame the victim. This is part of the brainwashing that we
see all the time, where they threaten to kill them or maybe another one of
their roommates there if they say or do anything. And, luckily, Amanda
Berry finally just seemed that she had had enough. She ran out of there
with her daughter. That was the perfect time for her to make that escape.

MATTHEWS: It doesn`t look like they -- there`s a Stockholm syndrome or
anything you want to call -- it looks like these are rough-looking guys.
And you wonder whether the fear of these guys, just because they look
pretty rough.

They look -- I mean, I can`t judge people by their appearance, obviously.
But the mug shots here are pretty frightening. And you wonder whether
there was just terror going on, just, you move, we`re dead. We will find
this out. But I think it`s fascinating that they were so intimidated, if
you will, psychologically frightened, that they were afraid to even yell
out in the night, like at 2:00 in the morning just start howling like a

And people would hear it. All they had to do was hear it once, right?

GARDERE: Oh, yes, absolutely.

And it`s also the situation of where first we assume that they were
physically assaulted, sexually assaulted, emotionally assaulted.


GARDERE: So, all of those things play in, and then still might be some
Stockholm syndrome in that their lives were actually in the hands of these

MATTHEWS: Yes, their whole beings.

GARDERE: Exactly.

MATTHEWS: That`s the only world they knew after years and after -- hey,
Marc, I always feel for you, buddy. I know it never goes away. And I know
about this. And thank you so much for coming back on to talk about this
kind of horror again.

Jeff Gardere, you`re a great guest. Thanks for coming on.

GARDERE: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: We will be right back.


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

First, Funny or Die teams up with "Modern Family" star Jesse Tyler Ferguson
and also others on a marriage equality public service announcement. It`s
what you would expect actually from a 1950s TV show with a clever twist.
And here`s a look. And while you watch, see if you can identify who`s
doing the narrating.


GEORGE TAKEI, ACTOR: This is a typical American neighborhood, friendly
faces and quiet streets. But there is one person living on this street
whose orientation threatens to destroy society.

There`s Dale Wilson struggling with his lawn mower. What you can`t tell
about Dale is that he`s sick. He opposes marriage equality. He gives off
clues of his prejudice with buzzwords like pro-family. Dale would let any
two idiots marry unless those two idiots are gay.

Dale has been divorced twice. His third marriage to Joan is -- well, take
a look at it. She doesn`t look happy, does she? The good news is that
feelings are changing. Many people are evolving into champions of equality
by participating in reparative therapy that includes watching a Broadway
musical or simply meeting a gay person.



MATTHEWS: Pretty funny. Anyway, there you have it. Anyway, the narrator
is actor George Takei. As you probably know him, he was Sulu on "Star
Trek." There he is. He`s gay.

And, by the way, today, Delaware became the 11th state to approve marriage
equality. This thing is moving. There`s a flip side here. Enter Rick
Perry comparing the Boy Scouts` ban on gay members to former Texas Governor
Sam Houston`s refusal to pledge his loyalty to the Confederacy back in

Here`s Perry with the Family Research Council`s Tony Perkins.


GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: The greatest governor that ever served this
state was Sam Houston. And from this library that I speak, he made a
powerful decision that cost him his governorship. He was against slavery
and he stood up and very passionately said, you know, Texas doesn`t need to
leave the Union over this issue of slavery.

But that`s the type of principled leadership, that`s the type of courage
that I hope people across this country on this issue of Scouts and keeping
the Boy Scouts the organization that it is today.


MATTHEWS: So Governor Perry believes keeping gay boys out of the Scouts is
like opposing secession? Wasn`t Perry the guy talking up secession a while
back? Well, it`s true Sam Houston was against secession, by the way. He
did own slaves. He just wanted to not extend them into the new

Up next, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has even more people thinking
he`s running for president in 2016, and that`s because he quietly had lap-
band stomach surgery earlier this year in an attempt to lose weight. And
that`s ahead.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


"Market Wrap."

Another record-breaking day on Wall Street. The Dow gains 87 points
closing above 15000 for the first time ever. The S&P adds eight, also
finishing at a new high. And the Nasdaq closed up three.

Home prices jumped 10.5 percent in March over year-ago levels according to

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve says consumer borrowing rose much less than
expected in March.

And Disney`s latest revenue and earnings exceeded expectations.

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

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

And, finally, a story everyone can understand. Call it gut check. New
Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has publicly struggled with his
obesity, revealed today that he underwent lap band surgery three months
ago, a procedure which can lead to dramatic weight loss, and has already
shed some 40 pounds off the larger-than-life political figure himself. So,
it`s working.

The story was broken by "The New York Post" today, and the governor
addressed the issue late today, saying the decision had nothing to do with
larger political aspirations like running for president.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: It`s not a career issue for me. It
is a long-term health issue for me. And that`s the basis upon which I made
the decision.

So it`s not about anything other than that. Everybody`s going to have
opinions, as is obvious from this, you know, scrum of people here today.
But I don`t --


CHRISTIE: With all due respect to everybody here, your opinions on this
issue really don`t matter a whole hell of a lot to me.


MATTHEWS: That was scrum, by the way, not the other word.

Anyway, but what about it? Is he going to lose? Anyway, but what does he
gain about all this in terms of politics? Like it or not, the public does
judge politicians for many reasons, including their appearance, obviously,
from Jack Kennedy`s good looks to Obama`s youthful athleticism. It all

Joining me now is Michael Steele, who benefits in the same way, former RNC
chair and MSNBC political analyst.


MATTHEWS: And, of course, Bobby Shrum, who knows all about glamour.

Thank you, gentlemen.

I want you, Shrummy, because sometimes you can put the dagger in to the
other side. This decision has got -- I know a friend of mine here -- I
can`t mention his name, but let him speak for himself -- he`s a fellow
broadcaster -- who`s had his surgery. And it`s worked very well for him.
He`s a fellow diabetic with me. And yet it`s gotten rid of his diabetes.
It`s been fantastic.

And if you can`t lose weight by giving up everything you love, and it`s
still not working, and you exercise, and it`s still not working, I think
people try alternatives. In this case, the governor, I think, is
heroically trying something else.


MATTHEWS: It won`t work -- and I think, if you keep eating, I don`t think
it works, but go ahead.


BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I don`t want to disappoint you, and I
don`t want to hurt Governor Christie, but I think, potentially, he`s the
strongest Republican nominee in 2016.


SHRUM: I take him at his word that that`s not the reason he did this. I
mean, he`s got a family. He`s got his health to consider. He`s got young

But if this doesn`t have political intention, it certainly has political

MATTHEWS: Well-said.

SHRUM: I have a very good friend who`s a senior Republican strategist who
strongly favors Christie, who is very worried that if he ran in 2016, he
just couldn`t withstand the rigors of a presidential campaign. You and I
both seen what candidates go through in these campaigns.

MATTHEWS: You eat a lot, too. Barney Frank once told me, Michael, that he
gained 40 pounds in some race because all you do is try to get your
metabolism down by eating hamburgers and French fries and pizza, all the
worst stuff.

MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIRMAN: I mean, it`s very true. In my run
for lieutenant governorship and again for the U.S. Senate, you know, even
if you`re just running in a state, yet alone the entire country --


STEELE: -- you`re hitting the hamburger joint at 11:00 at night and 1:00
in the morning.

So, look, I`m very proud of the governor, very supportive of the governor`s
effort here. I don`t second guess his intentions. But I think Shrumy put
it exactly right. The implication is another thing.

MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at some polling on this if we can, because I
think you always want to check your own gut sense -- gut sense of this.
Let`s take a look.

Does weight really matter when it comes to voters? Well, according to the
Quinnipiac poll which we use all the time -- from March, basically, it was
taken in March. Four out of five registered voters, registered voters not
just adults, in New Jersey said they`re fine with an overweight
gubernatorial candidate.

In fact, if you look at the numbers, we had a dispute on that here, but 64
percent comfortable with, for, enthusiastic about an overweight, and only
17 percent with reservations. Only 4 percent that said outright it bothers
them really.

So, I think it`s interesting, but I do think what we`re on to is something
actually humane and human. I think as the wife of a famous politician
who`s on this network a lot once said to him, trying to get her husband to
lose weight, did you ever see an old fat man? Because old people tend to
survive, by definition, because they have somewhat better health than the
people who didn`t.

STEELE: Right.

MATTHEWS: And if you`re way overweight, you`re not really going to make it
probably. I`m sure there`s exceptions out there, and I apologize to you.
But, generally, I think it`s good advice to stay within non-obese category
when you`re getting older.

STEELE: And I think, look, the rigors of running are one thing. The
stress of governing is something else. I think Chris Christie recognizes
that, you know, to keep the pace of running the state, to keep in the game,
he`s got to do something about his health. He`s taken this step. Now,
let`s see where it goes.

MATTHEWS: Here`s another poll. This is University of Missouri. It was
taken in 2010. Not long ago. It concluded that, quote, "Contrary to
expectation, obese candidates were rated more favorably than non-obese
candidates. Obese male candidates were evaluated more positively than non-
obese males and non-obese females on obese female over" -- you know, I was
just thinking, you have to be really careful about, people are sensitive,
but probably the most popular person in the country is Oprah Winfrey. And
I remember every time, you know, she was always talking about her weight
issue. People were always rooting for her.

You know, Bob, people root for people. Every time you buy a Krispy Kreme -



MATTHEWS: I will now go to my whole list of five guys (ph) hamburger.
Every time you see a really good cinnamon bun, you go, OK, I`ll start the
diet in an hour after this baby.

SHRUM: I haven`t had a cinnamon bun in about five years. But let me tell
you --

MATTHEWS: They`re really good.

STEELE: They`re good.

SHRUM: A lot of should have (ph) list and a lot of cliches about
presidential politics. You and I know that. Mike knows it.

I mean, one of them was age. Ronald Reagan disposed to that. Another one
was the idea that you can`t have an overweight president. Sure, we haven`t
really had one since William Howard Taft.

But I think Chris Christie could have won votes as a guy who was heavy
because he has a remarkably uncanny sense of how to communicate with

MATTHEWS: Doesn`t he?

SHRUM: I don`t happen to agree with him. I wouldn`t have voted for him.

MATTHEWS: Isn`t it something? I`m not sure you would -- you probably
wouldn`t, you`re a real progressive. I`ve made exceptions for different
people over the years, with people, I just sort of liked them a lot better
than the other Democratic voter. I`m not a regular voter, I started with
Arlen Specter, for example. I moved around.

But I do think that he would have the appeal not to straight line voters,


MATTHEWS: I think he would have appeal to people slightly center left in
that center.

STEELE: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: I think he would have an appeal. I just trust him more. Or he
grew up like I did, sort of an ethnic guy, a big city guy. He seems like

STEELE: He seems like me. He`s real like me. He`s going through real
life experiences like me, whether it`s his weight or other things. So,
people identify with him.

And Chris Christie`s challenge is not his weight. It`s his primary.
That`s going to be where this thing gets played out all the time.

MATTHEWS: You know one reason I like him, besides we talk once in a while,
every three years or so. I have to tell you, I liked about him is I picked
him to beat Corzine. I always liked the guys I picked because that was an

And when they had a picture of him getting out of the car looking really
overweight, Bob, remember that? Remember the ad ran against him? I
thought that`s a bad ad. He`s going to win this darn election.

SHRUM: I thought that was a stupid ad and I thought it hurt -- it
distracted from the message.

MATTHEWS: It hurt his opponent.

SHRUM: I think it hurt Jon Corzine who`s a very good friend of mine. I
think it was a dumb ad.

But let me tell you something. This guy`s personality is bigger than his
politics. That`s why his appeal transcends normal ideological lines.

But Michael is absolutely right. He`s going to have a very hard time in
these Republican primaries. He`s a conservative. They think he`s not
conservative enough.

STEELE: Right.

SHRUM: He doesn`t seem to care. The other morning on "MORNING JOE," he
was asked about President Obama and hurricane Katrina again. He said,
listen, the president`s kept every promise he`s made. And I thought, well,
there goes at 3 percent or 4 percent in Iowa away from this guy.

MATTHEWS: I know, I know, I know. I don`t think he cares about that
nonsense. I think he`s quite willing, as he showed during hurricane Sandy,
tropical storm Sandy, he`s willing to do the right thing for Jersey.


MATTHEWS: That took a lot of guts.

Thank you, Michael Steele, sir.

Thank you, Shrumy. You were in your best behavior tonight, we`ll have you
back as a partisan next time.

But up next, Matthew Perry is going to join us right here. He battled an
addiction to prescription drugs. He`s right here in Washington telling
Congress that treatment, not jail time is the answer. Got a smart guy
coming up here.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: You know, our ongoing series here, "The Unkindest Cut", is
looking at how Congress` automatic across-the-board spending cuts are doing
real damage to the poor and also anyone vulnerable across this country.
And don`t forget, we want to know from you, how the cuts are hurting you.

And you can reach us in any of the following ways. Get this down, tweet us
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Facebook.com/hardball. And you can tell us how you`re affected on our Web
site, just go to TV.MSNBC.com and click on HARDBALL.

And we`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: We are back.

You may remember him as the charmingly funny Chandler Bing on the hit show
"Friends." Or more recently as radio host Ryan King on NBC`s new comedy,
"Go On."

But this week, Matthew Perry left Hollywood for Washington, to bring
attention to an issue he knows firsthand: addiction. Perry has been on
Capitol Hill today and at the White House, advocating for drug courts, a
system for nonviolent criminals to get the help and rehabilitation they
obviously need rather than go to prison to pick up other bad habits.

Matthew Perry is here with me tonight, along with Dr. Doug Marlowe, the
chief of science policy and law for the National Association of Drug Court

First of all, what`s a drug court?

MATTHEW PERRY, ACTOR & ACTIVIST: What is a drug court? Drug court is a
system of judges that take people, as you said, that take people who have
committed nonviolent, first-time drug offenders. And instead of putting
them -- throwing them away into prison, puts them in a rehab situation
where they get a chance to get better.

MATTHEWS: By the way, you play that sleaze ball on "Good Wife," don`t you?


MATTHEWS: That`s why I don`t -- that guy is awful. First of all, he tries
to screw up my hero, Julian Margulies` character and her husband. Then he
runs against the guy. And you just lost the election last week.

PERRY: Yes, he`s a fun character to play because he`s a sociopath. You`re
on the show, too.

MATTHEWS: I was on once.

PERRY: People say that you were good, but I was better.

MATTHEWS: You`re a pro. I was on with Michael (INAUDIBLE).

Doc, tell me seriously about this. Most people talk about prison being
packed with drug offenders. People picked up for robbing a convenience
store to get the cash to buy the drugs. So much of that is drug related.
If you could find a way not to introduce them into the system, you know,
where they learn criminality.


MATTHEWS: People would like think.

MARLOWE: It`s fair to say that 80 percent of criminal offenders are there
in part because addiction is fueling their criminal activity. So, what
we`re trying to do is find a middle ground. We`re not going to let them
go. We`re not going to endanger public safety. We`re also not going to
throw them away.

So, a judge, prosecutor, defense lawyer, treatment get together and they
work together with the individual to ensure --

MATTHEWS: Who would make that call, a jury or judge? That a guy or a
woman wouldn`t go to prison, they`d go to this sort of enforced rehab

MARLOWE: All the people I just said. Prosecutor agrees. Defense counsel
agrees. Judge agrees. The offender agrees.

And it`s a deal. Everybody gets something from this deal. The offender
avoids prison. The offender avoids a criminal record. The offender gets
treatment. The services they need.

And we get public safety.

MATTHEWS: OK, what kind -- let me ask you, Matt. You had prescription
drug --


MATTHEWS: But what about people with horse, and really bad stuff, heroin
and stuff like that? Can you get them off that?

MARLOWE: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: Through a court ordered situation?


MATTHEWS: And all the other drugs?

MARLOWE: You name it.

MATTHEWS: Cocaine addiction, everything?

MARLOWE: The most common drugs are methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine,
followed by marijuana and alcohol.

MATTHEWS: What`s the hardest to shake?

MARLOWE: I would probably say methamphetamine because it`s so damaging to
the brain. But we`ve had very good success with methamphetamine.

MATTHEWS: Rock cocaine, too, right?

MARLOWE: Yes. With methamphetamine, it really damages you cognitively.
It`s generally a 6 to 12 month process before you`re dealing with the
person again.

MATTHEWS: How did you deal with it? You didn`t commit crimes?

PERRY: That`s the thing. I did commit crimes. I never got arrested.

MATTHEWS: What was your crime? Just using?

PERRY: I bought them illegally. And had I gotten arrested, then I
wouldn`t be here helping people. I`d be somewhere -- you know, I`d be in
prison with a tattoo all over my body, you know?

MATTHEWS: It doesn`t make you a better person.

PERRY: No, I was fortunate. I got to go to rehab.

MATTHEWS: Was this on your own? A friend intervene?

PERRY: No. I mean, I was worried that I would die from it.

MATTHEWS: So, something -- you hit bottom.

PERRY: Yes. I hit bottom.

MATTHEWS: You were working all this time on TV while this was happening?

PERRY: Yes, yes.

MATTHEWS: Explain that.

PERRY: Well --

MATTHEWS: You get up and make your call in the morning, 6:00 in the
morning. All the time you`re, what, throbbing with a hangover? What were
you dealing with?

PERRY: I had to get the right amount of pills to get through the day.
And, you know, I`d joke about it that I --

MATTHEWS: Did your fellow actors know you were under the influence?

PERRY: Oh, they knew. Yes. And they were very concerned about me.
Because I, you know, my joke is that I returned to my original birth
weight. So that`s when they -- that`s when they knew.

MATTHEWS: Oh, I think I`ve been through something like that with alcohol
and I beat it and I -- go ahead. A lot of my friends were in the program.
I`m for anything that works.


MATTHEWS: I appreciate you coming on. This is the greatest cause you can
do. You`ve been there. You don`t want anybody else to be there. You want
to get out of it. There`s hope because of you.

Thank you, Matthew Perry. I really don`t like your character on "The Good

Anyway, we`ll be right back.

Dr. Marlowe, too, thank you.

MARLOWE: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: He really was a sleaze ball.

PERRY: Yes. Fun to play that guy. Yes.


MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this.

Americans govern itself best, I think, when it has two presidential
candidates who can credibly lead the country. And it is done so well when
one party gives up the center and plunges often to the extremes.

We saw this with Goldwater in `64 and maybe with McGovern in `72. In each
case, we were left no choice on Election Day. I`m speaking about the
country at large, and left with the presidency that lacked an earned
connection with the American people. One led us to Vietnam, the other to

It`s far better to have elections when both candidates are credible. Let
me be honest, I like it that way. I like to know if the candidate I start
the campaign with ends up totally disappointing me, I have an option in
November, someone I`d prefer to see president at that point.

Well, Chris Christie looks like he`s gearing up to make a run. Whether he
is or not, he conforms to my notion of a credible candidate. It`s his
political value system, I suppose.

He made it clear last year that he`s willing to work with the other party
to get things done. He and Obama presented the one good picture of
positive political news the entire campaign simply by working together as
elected officials of our country should.

So, maybe the governor of New Jersey is getting in shape to run or maybe
just to improve his health. In any case, it will be good to have him as a
prospect for 2016 if only because he`s someone many people on both sides of
the political middle can actually imagine voting for.

And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

"POLITICS NATION" with the Reverend Al Sharpton starts right now.


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