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'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Read the transcript to the Wednesday show

June 19, 2013
Guests: Steve McMahon, Rick Nolan, E.B. Stoddard

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: The Berlin story.

Let`s play HARDBALL

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

"Let Me Start" tonight with this. "Ich bin ein Berliner." Well, 50 years
after Jack Kennedy, Barack Obama stood today at the Brandenburg Gate
signaling his support for nuclear arms reduction, the need to move beyond
the mindset of what he called perpetual war and committing himself to
closing Guantanamo.

Well, tonight, the politics of Berlin, what Obama`s close partnership with
Germany`s Angela Merkel says about a woman -- generally, a woman`s
readiness for world leadership. Is Merkel showing the way for Hillary? Is
Obama`s closeness to Merkel making it easier for Hillary Clinton here at
home to take on a world leadership role?

Howard Fineman`s editorial director for the Huffing Post Media Group and
Eugene Robinson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for "The Washington
Post." Both are MSNBC political analysts.

Well, before his speech at the Brandenburg Gate today, President Obama
shared a podium with Chancellor -- well, German chancellor Angela Merkel.
He made a point of noting that they don`t look like leaders of the past.
Interesting point.

Let`s listen to it.


Merkel, for your leadership, your friendship, and the example of your life,
from a child of the east to the leader of a free and united Germany. As
I`ve said, Angela and I don`t exactly look like previous German and
American leaders...


OBAMA: ... but the fact that we can stand here today, along the fault line
where a city was divided, speaks to an eternal truth. No wall can stand
against the yearning of justice, the yearnings for freedom, the yearnings
for peace that burns in the human heart.


MATTHEWS: Well, it`s a bright day in Berlin today, and we`re getting to
the news of it. And I like to always think about our country first, not
the big global possibilities here. But Howard, you and I were just
talking. The fascinating thing is a world leader in Europe -- not since
Thatcher has there been a woman out there who`s clearly the leader of
continental Europe today, who stands out there with even success year after
year of constant highly successful leadership.

In fact, you were pointing out we`re trying to make her more of a leader
than she is already, taking on more leadership.

I think that was a big part of what the president`s speech was about. He
was speaking not only to the world but to her.

He was saying, You are the leader. Germany needs to be the leader.
Economically, it has to be even more of the engine in Europe, which is
having trouble coming out of the recession. And Germany needs to play a
big role in security.

There Hey were under the Brandenburg Gate, the symbol of German imperialism
that the Germans themselves have rejected after a thousand years of triumph
and pain.

MATTHEWS: So how do we get...


MATTHEWS: How do we get the good aspect of Germany? It`s amazing...

FINEMAN: Well, that`s what...


FINEMAN: That`s what the president was saying. He said, Look to the good
side of history. I think he used that phrase, or a phrase like that, Look
to the good side of history. Don`t be afraid of what history calls on you
to do now. I think he was saying that to her, to the German people, and
telling all of Europe and the world that that was the case, especially
after that awful meeting that he had with Vladimir Putin...

MATTHEWS: Yes. Terrible.

FINEMAN: ... which is another power to the east, saying to the Germans,
You`ve got to take care of Europe. You may be reluctant, given your own
history, but you need to do it. And we`re with you.

MATTHEWS: You know, Gene...

FINEMAN: We`re with you.

MATTHEWS: ... we`re looking at the world of our kids now. We`re looking
at a world where Brazil and India and China and Russia are going to be
competing with us, probably, really competing with us as equals, perhaps,
somewhere down the road maybe.

And he`s saying, Look, you got to lift your load in Europe, too. It`s
(INAUDIBLE) the United States competing with these new (ph) countries. You
as an another old power, another old European power, if you will, you`ve
got to carry your load.

you wanted to sum up the Obama foreign policy thus far, it is that the
United States is no longer astride the entire world. The United States
cannot run the world right now. Others do have to step up.

And I think it`s kind of an untold story. He has gotten along very well
with Merkel. There`s a relationship there...

MATTHEWS: What is that relationship?

ROBINSON: You know, I wondered about that. I wondered if it isn`t what he
started with, We don`t look like...

MATTHEWS: Outsiders.

ROBINSON: ... the normal...


ROBINSON: She`s from the east. She`s -- he`s African-American. They`re

MATTHEWS: Yes, that being from the east is almost like a minority.

ROBINSON: Exactly. Exactly. They`re both outsiders who are now leading
these societies. I think, in a way, you know, Barack and Angela are the
new Ronnie and Maggie. I mean, they`re kind of -- they can be kind of...

MATTHEWS: So he...


ROBINSON: ... a dynamic duo.

FINEMAN: I feel a column coming on!



MATTHEWS: In other words, the way we used to do it, Reagan would be nice
to the queen and to Thatcher, and then George, senior Bush, would come
along and become friends with Helmut Kohl, sort of the establishment old
boys club.

And yet here he`s saying, No, this is not an old boys club. This is
something of the outsiders who are now on the inside who should now rally
the outsiders of the world.

FINEMAN: Well, but I...

MATTHEWS: He`s saying to Germany, Look out for the poor people of the


MATTHEWS: Don`t just be Germans.

FINEMAN: No, I mean, he`s basically saying, Look -- and as I say, the
Germans -- and I`ve spent a lot of time there. They`re very conflicted, at
best, about their own history.

MATTHEWS: Oh, sure.

FINEMAN: They`ve seen the down side of empire, as well as the glory of it.
They`ve seen the pain and the -- and the -- and the horror of it. They
don`t want this necessarily. The German people don`t want it.

But what the president is saying is, It`s OK. Look to your good history.
You have to worry about Greece and Spain. You have to worry about Europe
as a whole. You have to worry economically and in terms of security.
That`s the part you should look to.

And again, in terms of Ronnie and Maggie, I think Gene is absolutely right.
They were outsiders in their own way, too, because...

MATTHEWS: The conservatives.


FINEMAN: They were conservatives going against...

ROBINSON: Exactly.

FINEMAN: ... the World War II consensus, and Ronald Reagan and Maggie
Thatcher made that deal. And I think it`s a very interesting historical
echo for what`s...


ROBINSON: To Howard`s point, though, about the Germans and leadership --
you know, the word for "leader" in German is "Fuehrer."


ROBINSON: The word is fraught with...

MATTHEWS: That`s a nice way of putting it.

Anyway, President Obama made news in his speech, of course -- this is the
big hard news today -- pledging to work to dramatically reduce U.S. nuclear
weapons and to negotiate reduction with Russia, who`s become a difficult
partner out there.

Let`s listen.


OBAMA: Peace with justice means pursuing the security of a world without
nuclear weapons, no matter how distant that dream may be. After a
comprehensive review, I`ve determined that we can ensure the security of
America and our allies and maintain a strong and credible strategic
deterrent while reducing our deployed strategic nuclear weapons by up to
one third. And I intend to seek negotiated cuts with Russia to move beyond
cold war nuclear postures.


MATTHEWS: And this is the smart new world we live in. I don`t know if
it`s brave, it it`s smart. The president there reiterated his
determination to close Gitmo. Let`s listen to him here. Here he is
talking to the German youth and the sort of the liberal left youth of
Europe here from Humboldt (ph) University, probably.


OBAMA: And as we remain vigilant about the threat of terrorism, we must
move beyond the mindset of perpetual war. And in America, that means
redoubling our efforts to close the prison at Guantanamo.



MATTHEWS: This, Gene, is what`s so different than our parents. Our
parents` age in Germany, for example, would not have spoken English like
these guys.


MATTHEWS: I was in Germany recently. You`ve been over there in Berlin.
You`ve probably been there recently. You go to a movie like a Bruce Willis
movie, like I tend to go to...


MATTHEWS: ... everybody in the room speaks English. There`s no
translation. There`s no dubbing.

FINEMAN: They speak English better than Bruce Willis does.



MATTHEWS: Anyway, so here we have a president who`s really talking back to
the United States by talking to the kids of Europe, the youth, the well
educated college kids of Humboldt University down the street there about
Gitmo. Why do they care about Gitmo? They do.

ROBINSON: Oh, they care a lot about Gitmo, actually. They care about that
as a symbol of...

MATTHEWS: OK, talk to -- why is he talking to them to get to our students,
our kids, our young people?

ROBINSON: Well, there is an echo here. Remember the speech before the
election, when he spoke to 250,000 people and -- in Berlin. And one of the
things, one of the hopes that they and a lot of people around the world
invested in President Obama was he would end a lot of the Bush-era policies
that were condemned around the world. I mean, it`s very important stuff to
people, and the torture and Guantanamo...


ROBINSON: ... a huge symbol of all of that. And there is disappointment
that he hasn`t -- that he hasn`t...

MATTHEWS: Is that because, Howard,they sort of in a cartoon way thought
African-American, Democrat, he`s a man of the simple left, like a lot of
the students are?

FINEMAN: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: Like, I remember during the war with Iraq, I was over there
covering some things, and all the people in Bonn said, "No blood for oil,"
"Kein Blut fuer Oerl," you know? So they were very much against those

FINEMAN: Right. If it`s a head snapper for a lot of Americans who wonder
about the NSA surveillance under this constitutional lawyer president, yes,
it is a much simpler, almost cartoonish view over there. And he`s trying
to not -- not have them lose faith.

But let me say also that the president has appointed -- I think has
nominated a very shrewd lawyer named Cliff Sloan (ph), a brilliant guy...


FINEMAN: ... to work on the Gitmo issue.

MATTHEWS: Oh, it`s a tough one.

FINEMAN: So -- I know it`s a tough one, but if anybody can do it, it`s
Cliff Sloan.

MATTHEWS: You got to figure out what to do with people we can`t make a
case against but who are dangerous. And that is so hard.

FINEMAN: This is a guy who has experience all over the place, so...

MATTHEWS: OK, let`s talk about this thing -- I`ve got to go back -- do you
have another thought? Because I`ve got something I want to get off my
chest. I -- most of the world leaders in our lifetime, in the last 10
million years, have been men.


MATTHEWS: Sometimes we`ve seen really good women leaders come to the fore.
Certainly, Golda Meir was fabulous, right? Certainly, Margaret Thatcher,
for the British mind (ph) especially, was great -- not necessarily for the
coal miners but great for the country and its spirit. Certainly, Indira
Gandhi was a great leader.

And I`m thinking now whether Angela Merkel is on that level and whether
this partnership between our president and her, so vividly displayed with
the hand over the back, sort of a pal kind of thing going on there, isn`t
that -- isn`t that a leading indicator -- I think the word "avatar" might
be appropriate here -- of a Hillary Clinton leadership role?

I think it says to Americans watching television, Yes, this makes sense.
It makes sense to him for Hillary to be the next person standing in that
role he`s in.

ROBINSON: That`s an interesting way of looking at it. Maybe -- gee, maybe
if Hillary runs, maybe he`ll support her.


MATTHEWS: That`s what I`m getting to. Don`t you know what I`m getting to?
You think Joe Biden likes that picture?


MATTHEWS: I`m just guessing. Howard?

FINEMAN: No, I think...

MATTHEWS: I know this is a conceit I`m working here, but I`m looking for

FINEMAN: I think it`s very legitimate. I think it`s very legitimate. And
I think the more leaders on the world stage who are women, the more the
message of Hillary Clinton reverberates. And don`t forget that Hillary
spent a lot of her time working on advancing women`s leadership around the


FINEMAN: ... through her own organization...

MATTHEWS: This is only important to older men and to older women.

ROBINSON: Yes. Exactly.

MATTHEWS: Younger women and younger men have -- they don`t have to be
taught. They`re ready for this.

ROBINSON: They`re ready for it. And -- and by the way, I do think you
have to put Merkel on that list at this point. I mean, she is the most
powerful person in Europe, period.


ROBINSON: Full stop.

MATTHEWS: And totally even in her leadership. She doesn`t have bad years.

ROBINSON: (INAUDIBLE) a long time. She`s -- you know.

MATTHEWS: She`s not like the Phillies, for example.


FINEMAN: I`m disappointed that you didn`t run the George W. Bush video


MATTHEWS: That was a bridge too far.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Howard Fineman. A little bit of partnership,
but not that kind. Eugene Robinson.

Coming up -- can you imagine Roosevelt giving a back rub to Churchill?

Anyway, some people were out there screaming today in front of the Capitol
to abolish the IRS. That crowd was out in force today, the real fringies.
It`s that kind of Tea Party jamboree that`s making the GOP look like a
bunch of fringie back benchers screaming from the cheap seats, don`t you
think, than a group of adults, grown-ups who actually want to govern this
country? That`s no what they want to be.

Plus, I`ve been saying this for weeks. If we`re going to go to war or get
into that war in Syria, we darn well ought to better declare it somehow.
How about a vote of some kind? Now Democrat Rick Nolan of Minnesota, who`s
a sharp guy -- he`s pushing for Congress to actually vote the money or not
vote the money to send to Syria. Good for him. He`s joining us tonight
and joining me in my opinion, I must say.

But coming up next, here are two things that just happened in the
immigration reform fight. One, the CBO, the Congressional Budget Office,
which is nonpartisan reported we`ll save money -- that`s their argument,
based on their computations. And two, Speaker John Boehner says he won`t
bring immigration to the House floor absent a majority of Republican
supporters. Is that going to kill the bill? Is that going to let the
right wing of the Republican Party take control of the whole party?

Anyway, the Republican resistance to immigration reform was material for
John Oliver of "The Daily show."


JOHN OLIVER, "THE DAILY SHOW": How will they manage to make this bill
bipartisan? Well, because it`s a win-win. Good for Republicans because
they think it will win them Hispanic votes. And good for Democrats because
it will actually win them Hispanic votes.



MATTHEWS: That is really well said. That and more in the "Sideshow."

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: I`ve been saying it for a long time. President Obama should
have a big jobs program to fix the country`s roads and bridges and build
things. Anyway, today the group Transportation for America released a new
study that finds one in nine bridges in this country is rated -- catch this
-- structurally deficient. That means those bridges are in poor enough
condition that some could become dangerous or be forced to close without
substantial repairs.

And get this. If you were to lay those bridges end to end, all the
deficient bridges would span from D.C., here in Washington, to that other
D, Denver. By the way, the state with the highest percentage of deficient
bridges, those below code, I`d say, my home state of Pennsylvania, with
nearly 25 percent, that`s one in four, bridges are deficient. Think about
it when you drive over them.

Be right back.


MATTHEWS: Well, back to HARDBALL. From the sublime to the ridiculous, the
Tea Party gang was out together again with a jamboree at the Capitol. The
on the, well, their anger. That`s always their object, going after the IRS
this time. Their event was called Audit the IRS.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: What`s happened with the IRS is an absolute
outrage! It is an abuse of power! And it fits into the pattern of the
Obama administration of abusing government power and then misleading the
American people!

are clear with your message! And your message is it`s time to abolish the
IRS, take up something where every single American has to pay something to
support this magnificent country!

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Anybody want to fire some IRS agents?


PAUL: Why don`t we start with the 16,000 IRS agents that are going to
implement "Obama care"?


MATTHEWS: Well, no matter how ridiculous abolishing the IRS may sound, a
new CNN poll shows that idea that the -- well, it shows the idea that the
IRS scandal was ordered by the White House -- that`s gaining ground, that
idea. I`m so sad the information is getting out there the wrong way.
Forty-seven percent say the IRS agents were acting on orders from the White
House. That`s a 10-point jump from a month ago. Forty-nine percent say
that what IRS agents involved have said, that the agency acted on its own.
In other words, well, more than the other half of the people are wrong on

David Corn is the Washington bureau chief of "Mother Jones" and an MSNBC
political analyst himself, and ABC -- ABC Stoddard -- actually, just A.B.
Stoddard (INAUDIBLE)...


MATTHEWS: Look, guys, it just shows the problem of not being smart
politically. The White House has let this stupid stew thing stew out there
day after day after day until the average person who doesn`t have time to
pay attention to this every night of the week, like people who watch this
show -- Oh, did you hear anything about the IRS, Herb? I heard something,
too. And all of a sudden, it`s out there, even though it`s totally
incorrect, according to Elijah Cummings, with a complete dossier on this
thing the other day, completely comes out and shows there was no political
involvement, and yet it`s too late maybe.

is that when one side in a political debate is willing to fabricate,
misrepresent, even lie in a way that reinforces people`s bias -- everybody
wants to hate the IRS. They want to think the worst of the IRS politically
and tie in the White House. And so when you have this chorus of
Republicans out the for weeks saying that the White House is behind this,
the White House has committed crimes, the White House knew -- Darrell
Issa`s been saying this for weeks -- it really sort of reinforces these
biases of people...


CORN: ... who are inclined to believe. And the White House -- but you`re
right. Let me just finish. The White House, I think, is slow to


CORN: ... that this can happen. And they just can`t -- they...


CORN: They are slow-footed and they can`t intervene.

MATTHEWS: A.B. -- A.B., when I first heard that the White House didn`t
move quickly on this -- the minute they heard about the IG report coming
out of there and should have seen it was trouble, and should have had the
president jump on it and say, Whatever little screw-ups are going on out
there out in Cincinnati, I`m going to fix them personally right now. I`m
going to -- heads are going to roll.

I thought there`s only two reasons why they didn`t do that. They were
lawyered up and afraid to say anything, or they did worry that somebody in
White House may have -- or the campaign had some contact with those people
in the IRS, so they`d better be careful what they say.

Well, it turns out nobody had any contact, so the only reason for screwing
up was they screwed up. They didn`t act!

A.B. STODDARD, "THE HILL": It might have been out of abundance of caution,

MATTHEWS: Why? What were they afraid of?

STODDARD: It was a political error, Chris. They just really
underestimated the potency of this story. While they were also answering
questions on Benghazi and the Department of Justice investigation and
fishing expedition into the records of reporters, they were sort of hit in
three ways, and they didn`t under how potent the...


MATTHEWS: If you`re driving down the street -- A.B., if you were driving
down the street and you see a giant hole in front of you, a giant hole as
big as the Grand Canyon, and you keep driving, is that underestimating?


MATTHEWS: what did they think it meant?

STODDARD: This is an absolute -- this is -- nothing excites the Republican
base more than the idea that there was political targeting at the IRS.


STODDARD: The fact that they could have looked at transcripts that
Cummings revealed and gone at this much sooner is -- was really an error.


STODDARD: And at the same time, Republicans last week, on another note,
who support the NSA program said to me, he`s got to come out and start
explaining it to people. It`s defensible.

MATTHEWS: That`s another area he`s been slow.


MATTHEWS: It`s this second term-itis, the inability -- first of all, the
right wing are crazy. What they`re saying about getting rid of the IRS is
insane and I think almost traitorous, because the federal government has to
be paid for.

CORN: Yes.

MATTHEWS: The government has to exist. Are they saying not exist? Don`t
exist? Don`t have a government?

CORN: One factual point is that the deposition, the interview that
Cummings released yesterday, that interview was only done about a week ago.

And I think that the president and that people around him have what should
be a justified assumption that we wait to see what a story is. You know,
we want to have a good investigation. That`s the way the world should

And that`s indeed what they have done in some of these cases, Benghazi as
well. But yet what happens is you have the other folks on the other side
putting out evidence that is fabricated or misleading, and the White House
doesn`t even have -- they don`t have at their fingertips the information
like that came out this week, and so they`re out there sort of in the dark,
while the other side is not even waiting for facts to be determined.

MATTHEWS: But why didn`t the White House snap up that information
immediately when they saw the threat coming?

CORN: Well, the question is...

MATTHEWS: They`re in a political war here.

CORN: What you have to do, I think, it`s not having the information.

They have to take steps and action. Like, they could have released the
Benghazi e-mails a lot sooner. Obviously, they could have done that. He
could been for more forceful in the first few days of the I.G. report on
the IRS business. There are things he could have done.

But I do think they believe that we should have institutions that function
properly in Washington, and they are therefore at a political disadvantage.
It`s kind of crazy.

MATTHEWS: Well, let me go back to the Clintons, not that I like their
tactics, because sometimes the Clintons just always just love the war too
much. But you got to understand, you got to understand...


CORN: The political war.

MATTHEWS: The political war.

You got to understand that Hillary Clinton would have been ready for this
or Bill Clinton. They`re used to that from their days in Arkansas, that
there`s always an opposition out there. It`s always about 50 percent of
the state or the country. And you got to always be ready for their latest

And don`t assume we`re past politics here. Is Obama thinking we`re past
politics, he doesn`t have worry about Ted Cruz, worry about Rand Paul,
worry about this whole bunch?

STODDARD: No, he`s always, always taking the long view. And he doesn`t
like petty daily skirmishes.

He thinks in the long view he will win out the news cycle skirmish of the

MATTHEWS: Is he right?

STODDARD: It actually is of great frustration to the Democrats in year
five of his presidency that he has not anticipated political fights, has
not gotten in there and done the proactive, preventive...


MATTHEWS: Does he have a wartime consigliere at the White House, or does
he got peacetime people working for him?


MATTHEWS: He has got wartime political people around him?

STODDARD: I don`t -- I think when we`re looking at the IRS story and how
much he engaged on that, at what he did or Benghazi, I don`t know how to

MATTHEWS: I know. He doesn`t.

STODDARD: ... their political acumen.


MATTHEWS: They`re at peace. They`re at peace and the enemy is at war.
They`re at peace.

STODDARD: He waited too long on many fronts.

MATTHEWS: The enemy is at war. They`re at peace.

Thank you. A.B., thanks for coming in tonight, A.B. Stoddard.

Thank you, David.

CORN: Sure.

MATTHEWS: Coming up, another Republican turns back the clock to the 1950s.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL and now to the "Sideshow."

"The Daily Show"`s John Oliver takes on immigration reform. He asked, what
are Republicans really after and is it going to work?


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: A demographic death spiral as a
party, and the only way we can get back in good graces with the Hispanic
community, in my view, is pass comprehensive immigration reform.



Graham, say to you , the Hispanic community, we choose to help you not
because we want to, but because, mathematically, we feel we have to.



OLIVER: I understand that someone else has an amendment to propose.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That amendment by Republican John Cornyn would force
the Department of Homeland Security to reach specific metrics, such as
apprehension of at least 90 percent of all illegal border crossers, for the
overall law to stand.

OLIVER: Ninety percent border security.


OLIVER: You know what that means? Bring nine friends with you, and you
get in free.


OLIVER: You will be up one new country and down nine old friends.



MATTHEWS: We need to have an immigration law -- I have been saying for a
while -- we`re proud to actually and effectively enforce.

Next, as the time comes to start rolling out additional provisions of
Obamacare, the White House is launching an all-out marketing campaign to
beef up awareness and support, and for good reason. A poll back in April
found that 42 percent of Americans didn`t know that Obamacare was still on
the books.

Well, according to Politico, the White House is looking to an unlikely
source for backup, the National Basketball Association. "For the
administration, the allure is obvious," the articles reads. "The NBA`s
season calendar tracks closely with the six-month period during which
Americans have a chance to sign up for subsidized insurance around the
country, beginning October 1. And NBA fans fit key demographics targeted
by supporters of the health law."

Well, the NBA has yet to comment on a potential partnership with the
government, but here`s an interesting fact. Back when he was governor of
Massachusetts, Mitt Romney himself looked to the Red Sox to help beef up
support for his health care legislation.

Also, Chris Christie thinks outside New Jersey. At a visit to an
elementary school yesterday, one student asked Christie about his favorite
sports teams. His choice for football, professional football, might not be
a political plus.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: My favorite football team are the
Dallas Cowboys.



CHRISTIE: ... which -- which, by the way, is not the smartest thing for
the governor of New Jersey.

The Giants and the Jets pretty much stunk when I was a kid. And my father
was a Giants fan. And I used to remember watching him when I was 8, 9
years old. And every Sunday, he would watch the Giants and yell at the TV
set. I used to think to myself, like, why do I want to root for a team
that makes you angry? So, I decided not to. And the Cowboys were really
good back then.


MATTHEWS: I think he just wanted a fight with his father.

Anyway, being for America`s team might come in handy if Governor Christie
finds himself campaigning down in Texas.

Finally, feeling nostalgic for the 1950s? Georgia Republican Congressman
Phil Gingrey is on the House floor -- he was on the House floor speaking
yesterday out in support of DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act. And he
proposed an idea to make sure that the children of this country have an
idea about what it means, DOMA, what it means.


REP. PHIL GINGREY (R), GEORGIA: Maybe part of the problem is we need to go
back into the schools at a very early age, maybe at the grade school level,
and have a class for the young girls and have a class for the young boys
and say, you know, this is what`s important.

You know, this is what a father does that is maybe a little different,
maybe a little bit better than the talents that the mom has in a certain
area, and the same thing for the young girls, that this is what a mom does,
and this is what is important from the standpoint of that union.


MATTHEWS: Who are these people?

So, let me get this straight. We`re going to have classes that teach kids
about marriage roles. So knowing who usually does the dishes is somehow
going to kill the idea of same-sex marriage? What is this guy talking

Anyway, up next, there`s not even a whiff of a scandal at that IRS
kerfuffle out there, no political motivation involved, no White House
involvement. But that`s not stopped Ted Cruz and Michele Bachmann. They
want to abolish the IRS for this reason.

Anyway, that`s ahead. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


"Market Wrap."

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That`s it from CNBC. We`re first in business worldwide -- now back to

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Well, they`re angry out there, and they`re loud. Let`s watch.


ROBERT RECTOR, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: How many people here believe that an
individual who has less than a high school education pays more in taxes
than they get in government benefits? Would you raise your hand if you
think that`s the case?


Now, I have asked that question to thousands of U.S. citizens, and not a
single one of them thinks that a person who has less than a high school
education pays more in taxes than they get in government benefits. You
know the only people who believe that?

Right there! Right there!


REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Robert Rector, he told us that
amnesty costs a fortune. Amnesty could also cost something more than just
money. It could cost a nation.

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: Don`t come in to be a taker. Come in to be
a giver. And if you will come in to be a giver, give us your tired, your
poor, because we will give you a chance to work. But we should not be
giving a chance to be a taker.



MATTHEWS: Wow. Well, that was a rally on Capitol Hill today hosted by
conservative Republicans, as you can tell. Much of their volume focused
primarily around the cost of immigration reform.

Well, you might remember Robert Rector, who you saw in that clip. He was
part of a duo at the Heritage Foundation that put together a report awhile
back estimating amnesty would cost taxpayers an astounding over $6
trillion. Well, the study was used as a rallying cry for conservatives,
even though it got panned by economists, who questioned its methodology.

Well, you might also remember the other co-author of the study with Rector
was a guy by the name of Jason Richwine, who had to resign from the
foundation after media outlets unearthed a dissertation he had written
arguing that Hispanic immigrants had substantially lower I.Q.s than whites.
Well, that might suggest a little bias.

Well, last night, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office put out a
report contradicting both the Heritage report and other critics of the
legislation who argue it would cost too much.

Well, let`s take a look at their report, by the numbers, at least -- $900
billion, that`s the amount the immigration bill will reduce the deficit
over the next 20 years, it argued. That`s the savings for taxpayer; 25
percent, that`s the estimated reduction in illegal border crossings from
this bill, because it will be more effective at stopping illegal crossing.

In total, the bill would grant legal status to an estimated eight million
illegals. The numbers don`t look too bad, but bill has just been put on
life support. And here`s why. Yesterday, a much bigger story, Republican
Speaker John Boehner dealt the bill a serious blow, saying he`s very
unlikely -- I think he`s unlikely -- to bring it to the House floor. Watch
-- watch the standard he`s setting.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I frankly think the Senate
bill is weak on border security. I think the internal enforcement
mechanisms are weak and the triggers are almost laughable. And so I don`t
see any way of bringing an immigration bill to the floor that doesn`t have
a majority support of Republicans.


MATTHEWS: Well, that`s the Hastert rule. Nothing comes to the House floor
unless a majority of Republicans support it ahead of time.

We`re joined now by two political strategists, Republican Steve Schmidt,
who is an MSNBC political analyst, and Democrat Steve McMahon.

Gentlemen, I want to start with Steve Schmidt, because this is really a
fight within the Republican Party, maybe by the Republican Party. I don`t
know if numbers mean anything in this discussion. I think if you`re
against border crossing of any kind by people from the south from Latin
America, you probably don`t care about the numbers, unless you`re using
them to support your own attitude to start with.

But let`s go with this. What Hastert -- the speaker of the house said
today there isn`t going to be a bill on the floor dealing with anything to
do with path to citizenship unless a majority of his rank and file support
it. Is that pretty much the big nail in the coffin for immigration reform,

STEVE SCHMIDT, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: That`s the big nail in the coffin
for it.

It is going to be very difficult to get through the House. But one thing,
Chris, and you just alluded to it, the compromise has always been
predicated on the notion that, on the one hand that there`s going to be
finally real border security in the country and, on the other hand, that
will enable a path to citizenship.

None of these Republicans in the House believe the bill that came out of
the Senate has real security provisions in it. And absent that, it`s going
to be impossible to get a majority of them for it.

MATTHEWS: Do the Republican Party and the middle of the party, the average
Republican, if you can find one, does he or she believe that the Democrats
would ever stop illegal immigration across the border, would ever get
serious enough to get it down to a trickle, say?

SCHMIDT: I think, if you could show substantively in the bill that this is
the path to how we`re going to effectively end illegal immigration en
masse, this is what we`re going to do to put workplace sanctions in place,
this is how we`re going to secure the border, this is what the strategy is,
and you heard Democrats go out and say that, yes, we agree with that,
here`s the deal, we`re going to settle this problem one time and for all.

But that`s not the debate we`re having. So, I think it has a very
difficult road in the House.

MATTHEWS: Steve McMahon, do you believe the average Democrat, male or
female, supports really cut -- shutting down the border to illegal hiring
and to illegal crossing? They really want to stop illegal immigration? Do
you believe the average Democrat wants to do that?

think the average Democrat wants to accomplish it partly by border security
but also by increasing fines and penalties associated with hiring illegal
workers and requiring employers to actually take some responsibility,
because the workers are coming here generally for a better life and for
money to support their families and for opportunity that is provided by
people who hire them illegally.

And as long as those people aren`t being held accountable and responsible
for doing that, people like Mitt Romney during the presidential campaign
admitting there were a number of people who are working on his properties
that come here legally, Mitt Romney didn`t get in trouble for that. The
employer didn`t get in trouble for that.

The problem is that they come here because there are jobs. So you`ve got
to like take care of that.

MATTHEWS: So, what`s the problem then, Steve? You start here, Steve

Here`s the problem: if the Democrats are sincere about stopping the bulk of
illegal crossings, there`s always going to be some, we`re connected to this
Latin America by land. It`s going to happen. But cutting down the bulk of
the traffic we see every night with NBC or anybody else, these cameras out
there. If they`re serious about that, why wouldn`t the Republicans go
along with a bill that would stop illegal immigration? Because we`re not
stopping it now. That would improve the situation from where it is. Why
wouldn`t they be for it then?

MCMAHON: Well, a number of Republicans have. I mean, you`ve got the gang
of eight in the Senate. It looks like that bill in the Senate could get 70
votes, which means a lot of Republican votes. There`s a bipartisan group
in the House which includes Paul Ryan, by the way, who is saying we need to
pass bipartisan immigration reform.

It`s the nut jobs that have taken over the Republican caucus and threatened
John Boehner`s speakership that are putting the nail in this coffin.

MATTHEWS: OK. That`s -- there`s your tact to respond to Steve Schmidt.
Is it the nut jobs in the Republican Party or the rank and file that want
to have a serious border security, serious penalties on hiring and also
want to allow a path to citizenship on those conditions?

SCHMIDT: Look, the nut jobs in the party certainly play a big role in
making it very difficult to move this through the House. There`s no
question about that.

But there is also a widespread belief in the House, among members in the
House, that the Senate Republicans got taken to the cleaners on the border
security provisions by Chuck Schumer, that they did a bad job of
negotiating on that point.

And then the second point of it politically is, is none of these
Republicans in the House are in competitive districts. They`ve been
gerrymandered and redistributed into districts where they have almost no
chance of ever losing in a general election, but for facing a primary
challenge for their right for voting something like this. So, you have a
structural political problem.

You have a distrust of the Senate negotiators. And then I think there are
some real questions about the effectiveness of the border security. I say
that as someone who`s been for immigration reform for a very, very long

MATTHEWS: Very well said, both you guys, let me got it quick, both of you
guys, very well said. I think if everybody`s listening to that, they get
where we`re at.

Steve Schmidt, thank you, Steve McMahon.

MCMAHON: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Up next, if we`re going to going to war in Syria, shouldn`t we
have a congressional vote of some kind? I`d been saying that for a while
now. And now, Minnesota Democrat Rick Nolan is pushing Congress to
actually a vote to give the money or not to whether we get involved in that
war. Shouldn`t we be a democracy on this stuff?

I mean, this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: We`re coming back with a U.S. congressman who wants Congress to
approve any money we send to Syria for that war. After all, we do live in
a democracy, don`t we? And we`ll be right back after this.



Situation Room, poring through intelligence and meeting directly with our
military folks, unless you`ve been involved in those conversations, then
it`s kind of hard for you to understand that the complexity of the
situation and how we have to not rush into one more war in the Middle East.


MATTHEWS: One more war in the Middle East. He`s talking about Syria.

President Obama says he`s playing the Syria game of risk very carefully.
It`s complex he says, as you just heard. And we don`t want to rush into

But by getting the United States involved in a conflict which at its heart
had its battle lines drawn centuries ago between Shia and Sunni, he`s
thrown himself and this country into a very dangerous situation. And like
it or not, we`re involved in that war now.

Well, today, the president spoke alongside Germany`s Angela Merkel about
the conflict in Syria.


OBAMA: We are united to see a negotiated political settlement to that
conflict. We want to see a Syria that`s unified, Democratic and at peace.
Right now, we need to see an end to the bloodshed and we have to make sure
that chemical weapons are not used on the ground.


MATTHEWS: Here`s the question: how do you crosswalk his proposal, the
president`s, to give humanitarian aid to some of the rebels and small arms
to some of the rebels, to what he`s describing what he wants? He`s asking,
well -- let`s ask this, because I`m looking at what he says he wants. He
says he wants a unified, democratic and peaceful Syria. And the question
is, how does he get there?

Anyway, I`m not alone in asking there`d be some kind of a vote on this
matter. Rick Nolan, a Democrat from Minnesota, introduced an amendment
into the defense bill to specifically prohibit the use of any American
dollars to armed combatants in Syria without actually Congress approving

Well, it failed in the rules committee in the House, but it`s not dead just
yet -- at least not just yet.

Congressman Nolan joins me now.

Congressman, I guess the dog that hasn`t barked here is any kind of
national call to have some kind of referendum on the Congress, at least, on
whether we get involved in a war.

REP. RICK NOLAN (D), MINNESOTA: Well, that is the simple truth, Chris.
There are two important issues here. One, should we get involved in the
conflict? And then, of course, the other one, should we have a vigorous
debate and congressional approval? Should we have a vote on it?

As you may or may not know, I think it would be a tragic mistake for us to
get involved in that conflict. But perhaps even more importantly, that
Congress needs to step up, do its job, and have a vigorous debate and
provide either express approval or disapproval, whether or not we`re going
to get involved in this conflict.

MATTHEWS: When I have a hard time -- maybe you can delineate this
situation. The president is going to give small arms support, rifles,
grenade, whatever, bullets, to some of the rebels. We sort of like to cut
at their jib, OK, fine.

How does that lead to an end to the conflict, end to the bloodshed? How
does that lead to a transition whereby the Assad family leaves or gets
whatever is done to them, they`re out of the picture -- how does that lead
to the peaceful solution? That`s what I don`t get.

NOLAN: Well, I think what`s been proposed doesn`t lead to a peaceful
conclusion. All it does is increase the violence. You know, the president
made the point that, you know, unless you`re in the war room with the
admirals and the generals, you ought not to be speaking out on this. in
response to that, Chris, you know, I`ve done business in the Middle East
for the better part of 20 years. I lived in the Persian or the Arabian
Gulf for four years. I studied the language, I studied the culture.

We`ve got no business in this conflict. We have no friends on either side.
And to make that same old tragic mistake of believing that some how the
enemies of our enemies are our friends has gotten us in trouble again and
again. It`s been just a tragic and costly waste of money and treasury, and
we`ve got to put an end to these wars of choice in the Middle East. Start
using those money to rebuild America. Our bridges are falling down, Chris.


MATTHEWS: Is it better not -- so, bottom line people would say it`s
another Rwanda. Like Bill Clinton, the former president. I think they`re
confusing action with motion. Just giving money or doing doesn`t mean
you`re getting anything done.

Here`s my question, are we able to just stay in the side and let these
people fight it out, the Sunni and the Shia, in Syria, like they`ve been
fighting it out in every other country like the Middle East.

NOLAN: Well, I think we should provide humanitarian assistance where we
can, but this is a battle that`s been going on for centuries between --


NOLAN: -- the Sunnis and Shiites. And our getting involved is not going
to do any good for either side and, more importantly, it does America no
good whatsoever. And in my judgment, it escalates the violence and
prolongs the conflict.

MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you so much, U.S. Congressman Rick Nolan, Democrat
from Minnesota.

When we return, let me finish with John F. Kennedy`s historic speech in
Berlin 50 years ago next week.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this.

Berlin, where President Obama spoke today, was for many of my generation,
for those older, the scariest of places. I`m speaking about the 1960s
here, what historian Michael Beschloss called the "Crisis Years".

The crisis was the frightening chance that this planet of hours would burst
into nuclear war, with the United States and then Soviet Union firing their
vast arsenals of intercontinental ballistic missiles in one devastating
conflagration and left the world destroyed, our atmosphere poisoned beyond
the level of human survival.

Always in those crisis years, it was the city of Berlin that could ignite
this horror in our lifetimes, bringing with it the end of life, certainly
as we can imagine it, or would want to recognize it.

Beginning with the defeat of Germany in the spring of 1945, the American,
British, and French had maintained an occupation in west Berlin, an island
of freedom surrounded by the brutal dictatorship of East Germany,
controlled then by the secret police, the Stasi, and garrisoned by 350,000
Soviet block troops.

West Berlin was in those early years of the 1960s, the detonator cap for a
Third World War. Why? Because if the Soviets had decided to grab it, the
U.S. had just a sliver of the conventional military power to resist.
Within hours, we would have had to decide whether to yield the city up,
along with the freedom of its residents, or use tactical nuclear weapons to
ward off the attacking red army of 350,000 strong.

Well, this was the prospect, the possibility that Kennedy would have to
make this choice that kept him worried day and night. That he would be the
American president who would be forced to start a Third World War, a
nuclear war, a world-ending war, if you will.

Well, this is what the Cuban missile crisis was all about. Not the island
in the Caribbean where the Russians had placed offensive nuclear weapons
but what the Russians would do if we invaded Cuba, the threat made directly
by Soviet leader Khrushchev in a letter to President Kennedy that he
Khrushchev would respond by taking Berlin -- thereby setting off the
nuclear trip wire starting the countdown to a Third World War.

And this is what Berlin meant in the years 1961 and `62. It`s why Kennedy
said when he heard the Russians had put up that Berlin wall, quote, "better
a wall than a war." It`s why the people of Berlin were so exuberant when
Kennedy came to visit in June of `63, 50 years ago next week. It`s because
the American people were determined to stand their ground in defending the

More than that, it was our country`s statement to the rising third world at
the time, especially the newly independent countries of Africa, that this
was the choice they faced in building their own societies -- a free West
Berlin or a society that needed walls to keep its own people in.


JOHN F. KENNEDY, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: There are many people in the world
who really don`t understand, or say they don`t, what is the great issue
between the free world and the communist world. Let them come to Berlin.



MATTHEWS: Jack Kennedy`s speech in West Berlin was for all those reasons,
the finest statement of the Cold War. What the conflict was about, what
the stakes were, what the rising new world should learn from it. Nothing
in my life was stirring, so stirring historically than to stand on this
eastern side of that Brandenburg Gate back in 1989 and ask a captive East
German what freedom meant to him and to have him respond in German that it
was the ability to talk openly with an American reporter, me.

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

"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.


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