June 12, 2013
Guests: Claire McCaskill, Joe Klein, Bob Herbert
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Are Rand Paul and Ted Cruz ramrodding the
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews down in Washington.
"Let Me Start" tonight with this. It`s not a hard thing, separating the
two parties today, if you think about it. The Democrats are led by the
president, a progressive. The Republicans are led -- well, it`s a moving
There`s the hard-right majority in the House of Representatives that moves
the speaker, John Boehner, about at will. There`s Mitch McConnell, the
Republican Senate leader. Then there`s the half of the Republicans in the
Senate who are clearly to McConnell`s right. And then there are the three
-- the three on the hardest right, of course, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Mike
Lee, who are the loudest noises out there.
So when the vice president, Joe Biden, said the other day that it`s the
party -- the Republican Party is cowering to Paul and Cruz, I say he`s on
the money. Just as every Republican senator fears a primary challenge from
the right, so does the Republican Party as a whole fear a challenge in the
national debate from Rand Paul and Ted Cruz.
So let`s talk about the power of these two and whether one of them might
just be the next Republican presidential nominee. James Carville, of
course, is a Democratic strategist. And Howard Fineman is an MSNBC
contributor with the HuffingtonPost.
James, thank you for joining us tonight.
JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: You bet.
MATTHEWS: Let`s hear what he had to say, Vice President Biden, who is a
pretty smart guy when it comes to understanding politics.
MATTHEWS: He`s been around since `72, hasn`t lost an election. Here he
is. Biden said the GOP cowers in fear of Senators Paul and Cruz. At a
fund-raiser last night for Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey, Biden said,
quote, "The last thing in the world we need now is someone who will go down
to the United States Senate and support Ted Cruz, support the new senator
from Kentucky, Rand Paul. Think about this. Have you ever seen a time
when two freshmen senators were able to cower the bulk of the Republican
Party in the Senate? That is not hyperbole."
Case in point, the power they put on display in defeating the Manchin-
Toomey bill for gun background checks. Biden told the audience, quote, "On
the gun issue, I don`t care what your position is. I called 17 senators
out, and 9 of whom were Republicans, and not one of them offered an
explanation on the merits why they couldn`t vote for the background check.
But almost to a person, they said, I don`t want to take on Ted Cruz. I
don`t want to take on Rand Paul. They`ll be in my district."
James, is the party tilting now to the two sharpest voices?
CARVILLE: Well, you know, Chris, I just had a thought. With you and I and
Howard on air, we`re the only three people that have been around almost as
long as the vice president has.
MATTHEWS: I was thinking of you in the Doggett campaign. I`m not sure how
far back that goes.
MATTHEWS: You would call the speaker`s office, and I would hear about a
guy with a Southern accent from Louisiana talking about a guy named Lloyd
CARVILLE: Yes. I was...
MATTHEWS: That was your guy.
CARVILLE: I was still in the business. That was about mid-term for me.
Howard`s been covering me for God knows how long.
HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST MEDIA GROUP, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes,
CARVILLE: I was talking to you back in `84. But at any rate, look, the
problem Republicans have is what I call the Lester Maddox problem. Lester
Maddox famously said that the problem with the Georgia prisons is the
quality of the inmates. The problem they have is the quality of people who
vote in their caucuses and primaries. And they`re going to find Ted Cruz,
who`s a really talented, sharp guy, or Rand Paul, who`s very talented and
can raise a lot of money, to be very attractive.
And you`re right, it does scare these other Republicans, but I don`t think
there`s much they can do about it.
MATTHEWS: Yes, well, I`m just asking because I -- when you read, Howard,
that there was a vote in the Senate caucus and that DeMint barely lost to
Mitch -- to McConnell, and he was running to his right. So when you think
about Mitch McConnell being the villain for progressives, you got to look
to his right to see the real challenge.
FINEMAN: That`s right. And you see that in Kentucky, which is where I
MATTHEWS: Two guys there.
FINEMAN: And there you`ve got this interesting interplay between the new
guy, Rand Paul, who took on Mitch McConnell`s designated candidate in the
Republican primary in 2010.
MATTHEWS: Trey Grayson, yes.
FINEMAN: Trey Grayson, blew him out of the water. Now Mitch McConnell and
Rand Paul have a pretty good working relationship. Mitch McConnell`s up
for reelection in 2014. He`s got Rand Paul`s support. He`s got Rand
Paul`s campaign manager. He`s in pretty good shape, Mitch McConnell is.
But he -- he`s very much aware from personal experience of the power of the
Tea Party grass roots, and so he`s going to respond to it. As he navigates
the immigration bill, for example, that`s going to be a very good test case
to see how Mitch McConnell handles this.
FINEMAN: He`s got Rand Paul, who`s trying to set himself up as the deal
maker in the Senate, as the guy in the Senate who can go to the House Tea
Party people. What`s going on right now is a competition between Rand Paul
and Marco Rubio...
FINEMAN: -- to be the deal maker with the Tea Party. Marco...
MATTHEWS: On what issues?
FINEMAN: Marco Rubio, believe it or not, is now considered the liberal on
MATTHEWS: Well, on what issues can they actually (ph) deal? I`m curious.
FINEMAN: On immigration.
MATTHEWS: OK. Great.
FINEMAN: On immigration.
MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at some of Cruz`s greatest hits. James,
comment on these when they`re done.
CARVILLE: All right.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Internally in the Republican conference, we`ve
had probably five or six lunches. They said, Listen, before you did this,
the politics of it were great. Now we all look like a bunch of squishes.
CRUZ: Well, there is an alternative. You could just not be a bunch of
I refer to this new generation of leaders as the children of Reagan because
we learned watching him.
I`m going to suggest the last election can be explained in two words, 47
I think Republicans are and should be the party of the 47 percent.
Let me be clear, I don`t trust the Republicans. And I don`t trust the
I think President Obama is the most radical president we`ve ever seen. But
I think an awful lot of Republicans fail to stand for principle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, that doesn`t include remarks that Ted Cruz has made behind
the cameras, like in 2010, when he said that Obama would make a perfect
president of Harvard law school because, quote, "There were far fewer
Republicans in the faculty when we were there than communists," assuming
that the communists, of course, would vote for the president.
This guy goes pretty far out (ph). But I think he fits in the tradition of
Father Coughlin and McCarthy and of course, and maybe to a lesser extent,
Pat Buchanan and of course, O`Reilly. These guys are hard right-wing guys.
They look a lot alike. They have that -- we call it the black Irish look
to them. They don`t smile much. It`s quite a tradition here, but it does
run to the right of the regular Republican Party.
CARVILLE: You know, if we showed this to a focus group of Iowa caucus
goers or South Carolina primary voters, anything like that, they would love
this. They would go, That`s our guy!
CARVILLE: To us, it seems kind of way out there. But to the people that
are going to decide that -- he`s the most desired Lincoln Day speaker they
have. He`s got more invitations to go speak to Republicans around the
country than the next three people.
And when you look at that, you can`t look at it like we would look at it,
you got to look at it like you`re somebody in Iowa or South Carolina, one
of these kind of states, and you`re going to say, yes, that guy`s right.
You can`t trust anybody. He`s speaking out. He`s fearless.
MATTHEWS: -- conundrum here. You know, the worst thing that people can
say about Obama -- and there`s a bunch of them down in Texas, like Poe and
who`s that other -- Gohmert down there (INAUDIBLE) birthers -- they say
Obama may be born to an American mother. They never challenge that. So
he`s a citizen, but they`ve said he was foreign-born, therefore he can`t be
president. Same situation with Cruz, roughly. He`s born to an American
mother. Nobody denies that. But he was born in Canada.
How are they going to put him up for president under the rules that they
themselves say disqualify Obama from being president?
CARVILLE: Because the same rules don`t apply to them. I mean, come on!
MATTHEWS: I`m sorry for being slow. I`m a slow reader here.
CARVILLE: You know, no matter what Obama is, he`s going to be anything
that you can imagine, a guy that`s (INAUDIBLE) the anti-Christ or whatever.
But they don`t apply the same rules to them as they apply to Democrats,
Chris. You`ve been around long enough to know that.
MATTHEWS: I know. I thought for a moment consistency might be important
FINEMAN: Well, Cruz -- I think Ted Cruz would welcome a debate on that or
anything else because, first of all, he`s a very, very smart guy.
FINEMAN: He`s a terrific debater. He`s very, very sharp. And he has an
edge of anger to him.
MATTHEWS: Yes! Like the other guys I mentioned.
FINEMAN: More even than Rand Paul. Rand Paul -- and I`m reporting on
these people. Rand Paul has a sort of a little bit of a twinkle in his eye
from time to time. His is more of a philosophical Ayn Rand kind of thing.
It`s got more of a broad philosophical thing to it.
Ted Cruz has an edge of anger and retribution about him that some people
might find appealing. I`m not sure -- I`m not sure I totally agree with
James on Iowa and South Carolina Republican caucus and primary voters, only
because Ted Cruz may be a little too strong for them.
MATTHEWS: Me, too.
FINEMAN: It`s one thing to get invited to the -- and James knows, it`s one
thing to get invited to rabble -- you know, gin up the crowd at the Lincoln
Day dinner. It`s another thing if you`re an Iowa caucus goer saying, Wait
a minute, I want to pick somebody who might actually get elected president.
MATTHEWS: Is a demagogue a good career plan? I mean, it worked for Huey
Long for a while. It worked for a lot of guys like Coughlin for a while,
and certainly McCarthy for a while, and some people more recently. But is
it a career move to be a demagogue?
CARVILLE: Well, first of all...
FINEMAN: I know what James is going to say.
CARVILLE: -- Rick Santorum won the Iowa caucuses and Newt Gingrich won
the South Carolina primary.
FINEMAN: Yes. I realized I stepped in it when I said that.
CARVILLE: We`re trying -- again, we`re trying to -- these people believe
in global cooling, all right? They believe in self-deportation. Or they
believe that tax cuts for rich people help middle class people have higher
incomes. They (INAUDIBLE) weapons of mass destruction. You`re trying to
apply a thought of a rational thing to...
FINEMAN: No, but...
CARVILLE: -- and I go back, that`s the way these voters are over there.
FINEMAN: But I would also say, though, that there are many, many tens of
millions of people who are very skeptical about government, even if they`re
taking the Medicare payments or looking forward to Social Security.
FINEMAN: They`re very skeptical about government. They don`t like the
reach of government. They distrust everything about it. And they have
some legitimate reasons to feel that way.
MATTHEWS: And they say, Keep the government out of Medicare.
FINEMAN: Right, don`t take away my Medicare.
MATTHEWS: Here`s a guy that is making noise on the inside. Here`s Darrell
Issa, the House Oversight Committee chair. He`s gotten -- well, pretty
tough now. A few weeks ago, Issa released limited bits of pieces from
interviews his committee conducted over at the IRS. Well, those excerpts
were his smoking gun proof that Washington, and by inference the White
House, were the ones that coordinated the Tea Party targeting in that
Well, to combat accusations that he was cherry picking those excerpts to
further his anti-Obama agenda, Issa said the full transcripts would be
released. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DARRELL ISSA (R-CA), OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: The full
transcript will be put out. We (ph) understand (ph) these are in real
time. And the administration is still -- their paid liar, their
spokesperson, picture (ph) behind, he`s still making up things about what
happens and calling this local rogue. This is a problem that was
coordinated, in all likelihood, right out of Washington headquarters, and
we`re getting to proving it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, one conundrum for Mr. Issa, the committee`s ranking
Democrat, Elijah Cummings, who was here the other day, released additional
excerpts directly contradicting Issa`s claims. Cummings says he`ll release
the full transcripts by Friday if Issa doesn`t do it.
Not surprisingly, Issa now doesn`t want the full transcripts released. In
a letter to Cummings, he writes, quote, "Your push to release entire
transcripts from witness interviews while the investigation remains active
was reckless and threatened to undermine the integrity of the committee`s
investigation. If a full transcript were released, it would serve as a
road map of the committee`s investigation. The transcript could be used by
future witnesses and their attorneys to prepare answers to likely questions
and to devise testimony consistent with the narrative that previous
witnesses presented to committee investigators."
Well, when you think about it, the last person in Congress with the
standing, the credibility to accuse anyone else of devising a narrative is
one Darrell Issa, who seems to have built a campaign here.
You and I have been around in this business, James, for a long time, as has
Howard. I see a pattern of career here. It`s the old pattern of using the
investigative committee. McCarthy did it. Nixon did it.
MATTHEWS: It seems to be Issa`s strategy. Why do the American people like
the investigator today more than perhaps the constructive legislator?
CARVILLE: Well, look, first of all, this morning, I was talking to a
friend of mine. (INAUDIBLE) how do you show your face? We can`t tell
people what`s going on after he -- you know, again (INAUDIBLE) He`s a fool.
(INAUDIBLE) you know, it`s obvious -- it`s obvious that they know what
happened in this. They`ve interviewed everybody. Of course the White
House didn`t dictate this or anything else.
And I`ve said on Fox or any number of places I thought the investigation
was legitimate, that if there was any targeting of somebody based on
politics -- and anybody, I`m sure the two of you would find it hideous and
offensive, if that was the case.
It`s obviously not the case. They ought to close the investigation and
tell people what happened.
MATTHEWS: Well, thank God for Elijah Cummings because he`s going to rat
them out, apparently. Howard, next question.
FINEMAN: Well, I think -- I do think it`s worthy of an investigation. And
I also think if the Republicans were looking for the way to play it best
politically, Darrell Issa is not the way to play it.
FINEMAN: You need to do it more in sorrow than anger. You need to do it
step by step. You need to draw -- you need to build a case.
MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) going to say...
FINEMAN: You need to take a legal approach to it because on its face, it`s
outrageous. You don`t need to pound the table about the misbehavior in
MATTHEWS: I`m going to clean up the mess at the IRS. That`s what you have
FINEMAN: Yes, you don`t need to do it. So you don`t -- you don`t need to
overplay your hand.
FINEMAN: And I think, politically -- in terms of political theater,
Darrell Issa has certainly done that.
MATTHEWS: We`ll see. I think it`s still going to hurt anybody who
believes in government because the IRS is paying for the government with
our money. Thank you, James Carville. And thank you, Howard Fineman.
Coming up: There`s a new front line in the battle over sexual assaults in
the U.S. military. The Senate, the Armed Services committee, is working on
legislation to help protect members of our military from abuse, but one key
provision is being tripped from the bill.
Plus, feeding the big government paranoia. NSA leaker Ed Snowden is on the
lam, of course. Well, I think he`s in Hong Kong. And he`s running
literally for his life. That`s the thinking according to Ron Paul, who
says he`s worried that the American government is going to kill Snowden
with a drone strike, OK?
And money talking. New York mayor Mike Bloomberg is asking big donors to
withhold making contributions to Democrats in the U.S. Senate who didn`t
vote in favor of the Manchin-Toomey gun safety bill. But really, is going
after Democrats the smart strategy?
And Bill Clinton received a big award yesterday and it`s got nothing to do
with politics. That`s in the "Sideshow" coming up.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, as I mentioned, Vice President Biden spoke at a fund-
raiser last night for Senate candidate up in Massachusetts Edward Markey.
And today President Obama made the trip to Massachusetts to show his
support for Markey. Markey`s running against Gabriel Gomez for John
Kerry`s vacant Senate seat.
Latest polls show the Democrat, Markey, with a solid lead. Let`s check the
WBUR up there has Markey ahead of his opponent by 7 -- that`s consistent
with the other polls -- 46-39. But the numbers aren`t all in yet, as you
can see. And the latest U. Mass. poll numbers show an 11-point lead for
Markey, 51-40, over Gomez.
We`ll be right back. You want to get over 50 percent in these things.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Over the last weeks, several weeks, we`ve brought you many stories on the
issue of sexual assault in the U.S. military and the particular spotlight
women on the Armed Services Committee were bringing it to you. The most
vocal among them is New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who wanted the
reporting and prosecution of sexual assaults in the military taken out of
the chain of command -- in other words, out of the uniformed people. Let`s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D), NEW YORK: Not all commanders are objective.
Not every single commander necessarily wants women in the force. Not every
single commander believes what a sexual assault is. Not every single
commander can distinguish between a slap on the ass and a rape because they
merge all of these crimes together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, today the Democratic chairman of the Senate Armed Services
Committee, Carl Levin, said that taking it out of the chain of command was
not necessarily the best remedy. Let`s listen to Carl Levin of Michigan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CARL LEVIN (D-MI), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I do not
support removing the authority of commanders to prosecute sexual assault
cases and putting that decision in the hands of military lawyers outside of
the chain of command, as the Personnel Subcommittee provision would do.
I believe that doing so would weaken our response to sexual assault and
actually make it less likely that sexual assaults would be prosecuted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, at that same mark-up hearing, Senator Gillibrand pushed
back. Let`s listen to her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GILLIBRAND: The victims tell us they do not report because of chain of
command. So I disagree with the statements today and previously that the
chain of command at the disposition phase is the problem. It`s not that
their decision`s wrong, it`s that they are the decider, and the victims
have said, I`m not reporting because it`s within the chain of command.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Well, today, the Senate Armed Services Committee supported Levin and voted
to keep the prosecution of sexual assaults inside the military within the
armed forces chain of command itself.
Senator Claire McCaskill, who has pushed for many reforms to stop sexual
assault in the military, voted with Senator Levin, the chair, today.
You know, this is a tough one. And I`m learning this. By the way, look at
this breakdown, Senator. These sexual assaults aren`t yelling, "Hey,
cutie," or something like "Nice dress today" or something. These are
incredibly -- a third of the cases involving women involve sexual touching,
a third attempted sexual intercourse, attempted rape, basically, a third
completed sexual intercourse, rape, in other words.
These charges are almost to the level of capital crime. They`re incredibly
serious, sexual assault, certainly felonies. These are not misbehaviors.
And can you trust the military to enforce the law here?
SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: Well, you have to understand, Chris,
that my decision today was guided by years of experience as a courtroom
prosecutor handling hundreds of these cases.
And I believe what we have done today has strengthened the environment for
successful prosecutions and it will support the victims. We have taken out
of the chain of command the review. So, if a commander doesn`t agree with
a lawyer, then it goes straight up to the civilian secretary of that branch
of the military. No uniform.
Secondly, if both the lawyer and the commander say we don`t want to handle
this, it gets another review. And the most important thing we have worry
about in this area is retaliation against the victim. And what we passed
today, unlike the previous proposal, it`s a crime to retaliate, and I
firmly believe that victims will have less retaliation when the commander
has signed off on the case going forward, rather than just lawyers outside
the unit that no one knows.
MATTHEWS: Well, what happens if you`re a sergeant and it`s a lieutenant
that did it to you and you report to that sergeant -- lieutenant?
MCCASKILL: You know, first of all, do you not have to report the crime to
the chain of command. We have lots of places you can report the crime.
And you do not have to go through the chain of command.
You can go to a health care facility. You can go to a special unit that we
have now created in the military to report these crimes. And then the
criminal investigators take it. And if at the point in time it`s time to
file charges, the commander can either sign off, but if he doesn`t, then it
goes straight to the secretary, the civilian head of that armed forces
MATTHEWS: And how would it be different if you had an independent
operation, like the one Gillibrand wants, Senator Gillibrand wants?
MCCASKILL: Well, I -- as a former prosecutor, I can tell you, there are a
lot of these cases that prosecutors don`t want to go near. And, frankly,
we file cases in the military that civilian prosecutors say, no thanks.
So if the prosecutor said no under Senator Gillibrand`s plan, it would be
over. It would be over. Under our plan, if the prosecutor says no, if the
lawyers say no, there`s still another level of review. So what this is
doing is basically saying, commanders, you have no business overturning
verdicts. We took that away. Victims, you are entitled to more support.
We put that in.
But at the same time, it`s saying we`re going to create a culture within
the command that if you do not support these victims or if retaliation
occurs, you`re going to be relieved of your command and you can be
prosecuted for the retaliation.
MATTHEWS: How long are you going to give them to do it? How long are you
going to see if this works before you go to a stronger action?
MCCASKILL: Well, as I said today, anybody who thinks we`re going away on
this doesn`t know us very well.
MCCASKILL: The women on the Armed Services Committee, we are committed on
a bipartisan basis. And, you know, some of us split today. But that
doesn`t mean we`re split in terms of our passion or our focus. We`re going
to hold these guys` feet to the fire.
This is now their mission to create an environment where successful
prosecutions can put these predators behind bars, and we`re not going to
give up on this until it happens.
MATTHEWS: You know, these numbers are unbelievable, almost 4,000 rapes,
unbelievable, anyway, in the military between enlisted people in the United
States military, one doing it to another. It`s unbelievable.
Thank you so much, Senator McCaskill.
Joining us now, former U.S. Congressman from Pennsylvania and MSNBC
contributor Patrick Murphy.
You have a different view. You`re with Gillibrand.
PATRICK MURPHY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: That`s right. And I do want to start
MATTHEWS: You were a JAG, right?
MURPHY: Yes. I prosecuted these sex crimes when I was in the military and
I used to work in the Philadelphia DA`s office.
The difference -- and let me just start, Chris, Senator McCaskill has been
a champion. She has been awesome. And a lot of women in the Senate and
the House have been awesome on this. But the difference is -- and the
steps that they made today are great, what`s called UCMJ Article 60, taking
that away, making sure these trial,s these verdicts stand where they are.
But where I differ from the senator is, is that it needs to be independent.
And, Chris, now I was going to -- Senator McCaskill did try sex crimes.
She did handle these cases. But she never had to go to a mayor or to the
governor to get permission to prosecute these cases.
It should be an independent military justice system. And let me say one
other thing. Senator Leahy, who I respect, has a bill to say let`s take it
out of the military justice system and let`s put it in the civilian side.
That`s a bridge too far.
Senator Gillibrand`s proposal in this bill is the moderate step and the
right step to make sure that women move forward. The problem here is,
there`s been 26,000 sexual assaults in the military estimated. Only 15
percent, Chris, of the women are disclosing what`s going on.
And the number one reason, as Senator Gillibrand mentioned in the hearing
today, was because they`re afraid of the chain of command. By keeping it
separate from the chain of command and within the judge advocate system,
which is already set up in the military justice system, let them decide
what cases to bring on these high level, on these felony cases.
Chris, if it`s a comment in formation, something that was not right, if
someone, a sergeant says, hey, good looking or hey --
MURPHY: That`s not a trial. That should be a reprimand, what`s called
nonjudicial punishment in Article 15.
Under Gillibrand`s bill, that stays within the commander, the chain of
MATTHEWS: I see.
MURPHY: But these felony cases --
MATTHEWS: Well, I`m with you. I`m with you because, look, I keep thinking
when I look at these numbers, I think about the worst prison movies I have
ever seen, you know, like "Shawshank Redemption" and stuff like that, where
you have got rape.
MATTHEWS: And these cases are astounding, women being raped by male
officers, male enlisted men, a third of them actual rapes.
Second -- the second largest count, attempted rapes, and these people are
still in the military.
MURPHY: Right. And the numbers are going up and up.
And, listen, I have a lot of faith and confidence in Hagel and Odierno.
And they say, listen, this is a leadership issue. And I agree. It is a
leadership issue. And they`re addressing it.
MURPHY: They just fired a Japan commander, by the way, last weekend. But
still it`s a systemic issue, Chris. And that`s why it needs...
MATTHEWS: Why is it a systemic issue, again?
MURPHY: Well, part of it is because they have to go and prosecute these
cases, they have to go to a brigade commander.
MATTHEWS: Oh, but it`s not -- but this behavior isn`t systemic. People
don`t join the military to become rapists, do they?
MURPHY: No, they don`t.
And it`s the same -- basically, it`s the same percentage of sexual crimes
in the civilian sector in the military. But, Chris, as you know, the
military should be a higher standard.
MATTHEWS: Well, I would think. People should take the oath take and it
Anyway, thank you, Patrick Murphy, for the expertise.
Up next, what the late-night comedians have to say about what`s been
happening at the NSA. That`s in the "Sideshow."
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL and now to the "Sideshow."
First, a late-night roundup on all the things dealing with the NSA.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE COLBERT REPORT")
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE COLBERT REPORT": Let`s get straight to the
story everyone`s talking about. The NSA knows what everyone`s talking
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART")
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Get a warrant. Go after a terrorist or a
murderer or a rapist. But don`t troll through a billion phone records
every day. That is unconstitutional. And I`m going to be seeing if I can
challenge this at the Supreme Court level.
JOHN OLIVER, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": I`m not sure that
you are the right person to lead this particular challenge. You might
remember that when the justices ruled Obamacare constitutional last year,
Rand Paul said, "Just because a couple people on the Supreme Court declare
something to be constitutional doesn`t make it so."
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN")
DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": I saw an
interesting commercial directed to newly graduated men and women in this
country. It`s fascinating. Take a look at this for the June grads.
NARRATOR: Are you interested in building your future while you help your
country? The National Security Agency is looking for bright, motivated men
and women who can keep their (EXPLETIVE DELETED) mouths shut.
NARRATOR: The National Security Agency, the good hands people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, next, updates from some other form presidents.
Former President George Herbert Walker Bush turns 89 years old today, and
his presidential library down in Texas has a way for everyone to get in on
the celebration, if you will. This all has to do with Bush`s affinity for
wearing colorful socks. Bush Sr.`s presidential library foundation asked
people to don their most colorful socks and post a photo to their Facebook
The former president himself led the way with this one, his own mismatched
socks accompanied by his great-granddaughter. And there`s this one of Bush
41 in Superman socks.
Now to Bill Clinton, who got a completely non-political award yesterday.
Here`s his daughter, Chelsea, giving -- doing the honors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHELSEA CLINTON, DAUGHTER OF BILL CLINTON: He every day is my dad, and I
don`t need an award to tell me that he`s the best I ever could have hoped
for. But I`m grateful he`s getting the recognition that I, of course, as
an unapologetically biased daughter, think he always deserves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That`s right. Bill Clinton got a father of the year award from
the National Father`s Day Committee. Apparently, he heard from Hillary
before his acceptance speech.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When the national
anthem was being sung, my cell phone started vibrating. And I had a text
message from Hillary saying: "Congratulations. I think you deserve this."
B. CLINTON: In our family, that`s a very big deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, now a piece of good news for George W. Bush. According to
a new Gallup poll, more people view W. favorably than unfavorably, 49
percent favorable, 46 percent unfavorable. That`s the first time, by the
way, we have seen with a more positive rating than nothing rating from
I think it`s from staying out of politics and basically staying away out of
sight from people. People forgive you if you don`t keep bothering him.
That`s what is going on here. He`s ain`t looking better. He`s just
Up next, how some Republicans are adding the fear and paranoia factor to
the NSA controversy and loving it.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
HAMPTON PEARSON, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Hampton Pearson with your CNBC
Stocks down across the board, with the Dow logging its first three-day loss
of the year, the Dow plunging 126 points, the S&P 500 shrinking 13, the
Nasdaq down 36. Shares of Hewlett-Packard were up however after CEO Meg
Whitman said on CNBC that revenue growth was -- quote -- "still possible in
the next fiscal year." Amazon is jumping into the 3-D printing business.
The online retailer will offer the printers along with software and other
That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide -- now back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Listen to how some critics use the latest story about the NSA programs to
go after the government, as they put it. They make it seem as if it`s one
monolithic entity capable of vast conspiracies. It`s a misuse of language
actually that helps build fear and paranoia in this country.
Yesterday, Rand Paul -- Ron Paul, actually, fed into that paranoia with
this speculation. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
RON PAUL (R), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Yes, I`m worried about somebody in
our government might kill him with a -- with a cruise missile or a drone
missile. I mean, we live in a bad time, where American citizens don`t even
have rights and that they can be killed.
But the gentleman is trying to tell the truth about what`s going on.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, did you catch that? Our government might just kill this
guy, Ed Snowden, with a cruise or a drone missile. Congressman Paul is not
alone, by the way.
Here`s Texas Republican Ted Poe, a birther, by the way, on the House floor
yesterday railing against government spooks. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TED POE (R), TEXAS: Mr. Speaker, the American people have lost trust
in this government. You think? The government spooks are drunk on power
and it`s time for Congress to intervene to prevent the invasion of privacy
by government against the citizens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, "TIME" magazine`s Joe Klein took on that mind-set in a
He wrote -- quote -- "Far too many people get their notions of what our
government is all about from Hollywood, the paranoid thriller. It`s a
wonderful form of entertainment, but it`s a fantasy. The idea that our
government is some sort of conspiracy, that it`s somehow a foreign body
intent on rubbing us of our -- robbing us of our freedoms is corrosive and
dangerous to our democracy. This remains and always will be an extremely
libertarian country. It`s encoded in our DNA."
Well, Joe Klein joins us now, along with "Mother Jones" Washington bureau
chief and MSNBC political analyst David Corn.
Gentlemen, thank you. I want your views about this.
I do think that some of the people are rattling the cage, the government,
when they understand that all these agencies are usually at war with each
other, and Congress is elected, and the courts appointed, and the
president`s elected, and they keep treating our government like it`s a
regime, the way they`re talking.
JOE KLEIN, COLUMNIST, "TIME": Like it was imposed from Mars.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Yes.
KLEIN: I mean, but this has always been with us. There`s always been a
paranoid tinge to American politics.
But now, we have the megaphones especially on the right, but a little bit
on the left, too. You have people -- paranoia is what people do instead of
KLEIN: You know?
I mean, there`s cause for concern with the kind of data mining that we do.
It needs to be monitored. That`s for sure.
But it isn`t a plot against the people. It just isn`t. There`s no
MATTHEWS: It really drives me crazy. Who are these Americans? Turncoats,
Benedict Arnolds who declared war are in the field against us. What are
you supposed to do to them?
DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: I think there`s a legitimate policy.
MATTHEWS: Don`t you shoot back when people are shooting at you?
CORN: It`s legitimate policy issue of constitutional rights, and when you
can sort of put them aside when somebody is an American overseas. But that
doesn`t mean that the American government is using drones to go after
people in cafes or in Hong Kong and start a war with China.
You know, you had Ron Paul --
MATTHEWS: Ron Paul, does Ron Paul still have his marbles? I`m serious,
when I hear him talking, he was giggling about this. He wasn`t saying --
CORN: Let me tell you about Rand Paul, his son, who is still in the
Senate. He sent out a fund-raising e-mail today that I wrote about, which
he says, you know what`s next, the government using GPS and cell phones to
track you if you go to a gun show.
I mean, so that -- they`re really extrapolating. They`re using this as a
cudgel to make an argument against government which they don`t like,
because they don`t want health care. They don`t want Wall Street reform.
This is why they`re doing this.
MATTHEWS: A few years ago I read about Posse Comitatus. You know, you
guys know about these far right groups in Idaho, in places like that.
That`s not become the mainstream thinking of some in the Republican Party.
KLEIN: Well, yes. You know, the Republican Party has been in a place
where the people farthest right have the most credibility.
MATTHEWS: Yes, so Joe Biden is right.
KLEIN: That`s where the Democratic Party was in the late `60s and early
`70s. It`s a disease they have to cure themselves of.
I`ll tell you something, the real scandal here is that Bradley Manning, the
guy who is at the heart of the WikiLeaks scandal, his disclosures put a lot
of lives at risk overseas. I know this for a fact, people who were talking
to the United States government in places like China all of a sudden had to
hide, leave the country. You know, do whatever to survive.
This -- that is a disgrace. They should throw the book at that guy.
MATTHEWS: Well, here he is, the NSA leaker himself, Edward Snowden,
surfaced today in an interview with a local English language newspaper over
in Hong Kong. He told them he wasn`t trying to hide from justice and his
mission was to, quote, "reveal criminality".
Quote, "I have had many opportunities to flee Hong Kong, but I would rather
stay and fight the United States government in the courts." He went to
say, quote, "I heard today from a reliable source that the United States
government is trying to bully the Hong Kong government in extraditing me
before the local government can learn of this," referring to alleged NSA
efforts to hack accounts in Hong Kong.
"The United States government will do anything to prevent me in getting
this into the public eye, which is why they are pushing so hard for
extradition." Well, they could be pushing hard for extradition because
they think he`s a criminal.
CORN: Well, yes. He said, you know, he exposed criminality. That remains
to be seen.
The difference between what was going on in the Bush years and what`s going
on in the Obama years is that Obama put a lot of these programs under
judicial review, secret judicial review but congressional oversight more so
than in the Bush years.
That doesn`t mean that the stuff is without problems. It may be excessive
and may be going too far. You know, putting (ph) this in the Internet,
interceptions, may not have enough safeguards. These are all policy issues
that people like Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, Democratic senators, for years
have been saying we need to have a debate about this.
They are right. So, it`s a good thing we`re having that debate but it
doesn`t mean what`s happening is necessarily criminal. It`s -- there are a
lot more nuances to this that get kind of lost in the hyperbolic rhetoric
that you get from Rand Paul, that you see on Twitter. I mean, it`s really
kind of engaging, interesting and very difficult stuff.
MATTHEWS: Ari Fleisher, just partisan, this is just Republican talk trying
to conflate the two.
Anyway, today on Capitol Hill, the man in charge of the NSA testified for
the first time since the stories broke. He made it clear how important the
programs are in question by the way actually important to the country.
Take a look at how General Keith Alexander of the NSA responds to a
question from Senator Patrick Leahy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: Has the intelligence community kept track
of how many times phone records obtained through Section 215 of the Patriot
Act were critical to the discovery and disruption of terrorist threats?
GEN. KEITH ALEXANDER, NSA DIRECTOR: It`s dozens of terrorist events that
these have helped prevent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, I guess my question is the way this is being played
politically. I heard earlier on MSNBC this morning that Dianne Feinstein
was accused of supporting waterboarding. I found out that wasn`t true. I
mean, there`s a lot of people trying to conflate the two parties saying
they`re both the same.
My argument is, this is President Obama, who I generally supported, in
fact, pretty much supported, he`s never taken us into an unnecessary war.
The guy before him did. That`s one reason why he`s president. We don`t
have unnecessary wars right now.
He`s not engaged in torturing people. That`s a big issue with me. And in
terms of these other issues of surveillance, I think it comes down to the
question, if we get hit again, no matter which party`s in power, they`re
going to be asked, did you do what you could have legally to protect this
KLEIN: Absolutely. But the fact is, the basic political point is this:
David was talking about the Rand Paul fundraising letter. This is a big
fund-raiser for the ACLU, too.
MATTHEWS: I understand.
KLEIN: They are -- you know, they`re hyping this issue. Just as this guy
Snowden seems to have a kind of exaggerated sense of his own world
MATTHEWS: Well, it only takes a few percentage points in the country to
raise a lot of money for an organization like the ACLU or to become a
celebrity in certain parts of the country.
CORN: I care less about the source of the information than the information
itself. So, Snowden can say whatever he wants. I think it`s important to
be looking at the stuff and the exchange you just showed is really, really
important -- not because of what Keith Alexander said, but the way this is
supposed to work. If we`re going to have secret government and secret
surveillance program, you need to have members of Congress who are
representatives right and left, middle and everywhere place else, being
able to know what`s going on, and being able basically to affirm to us that
So, if he says dozens, I want Patrick Leahy to sort of say, OK, show me the
dozens so he can come out tomorrow or maybe on Friday and say listen, I
have checked on this. I can tell you this. I`ll bring the Republicans in.
MATTHEWS: That`s that we call checks and balances.
CORN: That`s what you need.
KLEIN: That`s absolutely right.
CORN: And one problem is over the years, we haven`t had that sort of
oversight from Congress. And we haven`t had people in the White House who
have welcomed that sort of oversight.
MATTHEWS: You like the chairs of the committees on intelligence, you like
Dianne Feinstein? Is she good enough?
CORN: I like her. I think she did a good report on torture, 6,000 pages
that the CIA is still sitting on. I like to see that report.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Joe Klein. Great writing as always.
Thank you, David Corn.
MATTHEWS: Up next, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg calls out Democrats
who voted no on gun safety legislation, telling Democratic donors to put
their campaign contributions elsewhere. This is going to be a hot one for
us here and it`s coming up.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
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HARDBALL, back after this.
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to make the Democrats who voted no
on gun legislation pay. Well, today, the mayor sent a letter to top
Democratic contributors, urging them to cut contributions to senators who
voted in April against increased background checks for gun purchases.
Those senators include Max Baucus of Montana, Mark Begich of Alaska, Heidi
Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.
The letter put out by Bloomberg said, "The next time these four senators
want you to support them with donations to their campaigns, tell them you
cannot. Until they show they will stop bowing to pressure from the gun
lobby. You should not support them."
Was this the best way for Mayor Bloomberg to make his point?
Ed Rendell is the former governor of Pennsylvania, an MSNBC political
analyst. And Bob Herbert is a senior fellow at Demos.
Governor, does this work? First of all, do you believe there should be
another vote along the same lines as the gun safety measure which called
for wider background checks, including those at gun shows?
ED RENDELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure. I think it`s time to revote.
I think these Democrats plus people like Kelly Ayotte have heard from their
constituents and they`re mad. Chris, I support the mayor on this 100
percent, and let me tell you why. Why would four very decent Democrats
vote against reasonable and responsible controls on gun violence, because
they believe that Second Amendment rights voters are single issue voters.
But the vast majority of us who believe in responsible gun controls on gun
violence are not. Well, there has to be consequence for their action. And
the mayor is delivering the message, and the message is we`ve had it. And
we`re angry enough that we`re going to be single issue voters.
We`re going to be single issue donators. And if you cross us, because you
can`t stand up to the gun lobby, there will be consequences for that. And
unless we start doing this, nothing`s going to change.
MATTHEWS: Let me go to Bob Herbert. I don`t know where you stand. Tell
BOB HERBERT, DEMOS: Well, I almost always agree with Governor Rendell, but
this is the first time I can think of I do not. I think that Mayor
Bloomberg is making a mistake. He has $27 billion, so he can do whatever
he wants to do and he usually does.
But I think this is the sort of thing that can jeopardize control of the
Senate by the Democrats. And, you know, given the things that the mayor
professed to believe in, he`s got a much better chance of seeing those
things realized if you have the Democrats in the control of the Senate and
not the Republicans.
MATTHEWS: Governor, here`s the problem. If you`re one of those four
people and you -- everybody reads the papers to some extent they know
what`s going on. This wealthy mayor of New York says, get your act
together and vote my way, switch your vote.
If you do switch your vote 180 from where you voted two months ago, three
months ago, it comes to that next month, then they will know you bowed to
pressure from outside the state. How can that help a person politically?
RENDELL: But it`s not pressure from Mayor Bloomberg. It`s pressure from
the 94 percent of North Dakotans who disagree with Heidi Heitkamp`s vote,
to 73 percent of Arkansans who disagree with Senator Pryor`s vote. That`s
where the pressure is coming from, and those four senators absolutely
violated the overwhelming wishes of the people they represent because they
were afraid of this gun lobby.
Unless we who believe we`ve got to have responsible controls on gun
violence, unless we become single issue voters, single issue donators,
nothing`s going to change.
RENDELL: Nothing`s going to change, Chris, and we`ll be here for the rest
of our lives.
MATTHEWS: OK, you know what you`re talking about, Governor Rendell. Thank
you so much. You`d been fighting those guys for years up in Pennsylvania.
Anyway, Bob Herbert, I think you might be right, but we`ll wait and see.
I`m taking wait and see. I`m on your side (ph) on this one. I`m going to
wait on this one and see how it works out.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this.
I`m a believer in both political parties, including a moderate wing.
Republicans need to have people who are more liberal. Democrats can use
people who are more conservative.
Why? Because of arithmetic. It`s the only way to build a solid, governing
majority. And because without a majority, a party cannot govern in this
Mike Bloomberg is out there punishing those Democratic senators who fail to
support the gun safety position this spring. I don`t think it will have
its desired effect. I think the senators themselves will fight back
against the Eastern influence.
If they reverse their votes, their future opponents will be able to say
they`ve been bought or whatever by that millionaire mayor of New York. So,
I don`t see this turning over the vote, OK?
What I do see working is taking the Leahy, that`s the Pat Leahy/Susan
Collins proposal on gun trafficking and building on that, strengthening on
that. It`s partisan (ph) to get people to bolster what they`ve agreed to
before than it is to admit they were wrong.
This is politics. Think about it. We need to get something done here.
Not just talked about.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.
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'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for Wednesday, June 12th, 2013