July 25, 2013
Guests: Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Judith Browne-Dianis, Wayne Slater,
Michael Scherer, Jennifer Berman, Sherry Blake
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: New York decides.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
"Let Me Start" tonight with this: public office. What is it today? What
does it say to elevate one to public office? What does it mean to hold
someone high and say he or she should be our leader, that this is the best
of us, the leader we choose to speak for us, act for us, be for us in the
sun and storms ahead, who`s going to be our bridge over troubled waters?
But has our view of public office so declined, with just 1 in 8 of us
saying we respect the U.S. Congress and the majority saying to dump them
all -- have we reached such a base (ph) view (ph) of public figures that we
don`t expect some minimum standard of decency?
Well, the answer comes in the latest poll from New York City. This has 1
in 6 people supporting Anthony Weiner to be the mayor of the country`s
greatest city, who want him with all his baggage, some unpacked -- who
knows what`s still to unpack -- greeting world travelers to America.
Is it this bad? Has it been down so long, this looks like up to us? Is
Anthony Weiner the best we can hope for? Is this as good as it gets? Or
is it a good chunk of New York so depressed in its dreams that we`re down
to having this guy do his thing?
What, the world is quietly wondering beyond the Hudson, does Anthony Weiner
have to do to get you to quit him? What previously unimaginable act of
exhibitionism is below your standard? Because, ladies and gentlemen, my
bet is you haven`t seen it all. What`s your bet, that this is as bad as it
gets? Really? So want to give me -- what are you going to give me for the
Joan Walsh is editor of Salon and an MSNBC political analyst and Michael
Scherer is with "Time" magazine. Joan, I am laughing because a sixth of
New York still wants this guy, with it all. They seem to say, This is as
good as it gets. He`s still my guy. I`m just wondering what more could he
do, or is this the unbreakable core of his support?
JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No.
MATTHEWS: There`s nothing he could do...
WALSH: No. It will --
MATTHEWS: ... this one sixth.
WALSH: It will drop.
MATTHEWS: Your thoughts.
WALSH: He will lose. He will lose that one sixth. I don`t know how low
it will go, Chris, but he already lost a significant chunk of his support.
People are divided on whether he should leave.
And let`s remember this only really reflects about a day of reaction to
this new set of revelations. So you`re capturing people who don`t even
necessarily know, for example, as we`ve parsed many times, that this is
after he resigned, that this is as recently as last summer, this is after
the supposed rehabilitation and therapy and healing his marriage. So you
get a lot of people in there who think, It`s part of the same garbage and I
already dealt with it, and I don`t care.
MATTHEWS: I see.
WALSH: And as more and people of it comes out, I think people -- you still
got a significant drop, so I think as more comes out -- and it will come
out, you`re right -- people are going to peel away from this man. It`s
starting and it will accelerate.
MATTHEWS: Aren`t you little Miss Sunshine tonight!
MATTHEWS: You`re so hopeful! I mean, I just think...
WALSH: I am.
MATTHEWS: I can`t think of the particulars that are going to change
anybody`s mind at this point. Anyway, you might vial right. You might be,
Anyway, the New York tabloids continue to hound Weiner. Take a look at
this morning`s New York (INAUDIBLE) "Daily News" headline, there it is,
"God help NY" -- that`s New York, of course -- "if he`s mayor."
Well, meanwhile, we have a new poll out today, as I said, and it isn`t good
news for Anthony Weiner. According to the latest NBC (INAUDIBLE) that`s
the "Wall Street Journal" Marist College poll, Weiner has dropped to second
place, as we said, behind Christine Quinn among registered Democrats in New
York. Weiner lost 9 points since last month, maybe a lot of it in the last
24 hours. He`s now only slightly ahead of Bill De Blasio and Bill
Thompson, who we had on last night. Christine Quinn leads the pack now at
25. I would have thought it would have been higher for her.
Meanwhile, when asked whether Weiner should drop out -- this is pretty even
-- Democrats are fairly evenly split, 43-47, within the margin of error, so
it`s 50/50 on this guy.
Michael, as you report this story for "Time," I`m just wondering what is
the story at this point? It seems to me that this guy has all kinds of
problems. We`re going to get into this -- clinical problems and everything
else -- in the next few minutes.
But New York`s got a problem. They don`t have a great list of candidates.
He, probably in terms of background, is on par with some of the other
candidates, but they don`t have his problems.
But yet they`re willing to say, at least a sixth of New Yorkers as of late
last night when they were in the field with that poll, they can live with
MICHAEL SCHERER, "TIME" MAGAZINE: And the other...
MATTHEWS: As mayor.
SCHERER: The other candidates don`t have his charisma or his campaign
skills, either. That`s a problem. I`m not like Joan. I`m not ready to
write him off completely. If nothing else comes out, I could see a
scenario where he gets into the runoff. You only really need to get 20, 25
percent of the vote to get in the runoff. In a field like this, he`s not
MATTHEWS: A two-person runoff.
SCHERER: Yes, a two-person runoff. He`s not that far from being there
right now. And if there aren`t future revelations...
SCHERER: ... the question becomes -- it`s a big "if"...
MATTHEWS: You noticed my opening.
SCHERER: Yes, no...
MATTHEWS: I`m betting anybody that says there aren`t future revelations...
SCHERER: Or if these revelations don`t -- I mean, OK...
MATTHEWS: By the way...
MATTHEWS: What he said as of this morning -- we`ve been covering him all
day. He says, Well, there may be...
MATTHEWS: ... there aren`t dozens. He`s into a fallback, as sort of a --
you know, a...
SCHERER: But here`s the bottom line with sex scandals, especially in big
city elections. The sex doesn`t matter. The personal life of the
candidate usually doesn`t matter.
MATTHEWS: This isn`t personal life. This is sexting around the country.
SCHERER: No, no, but...
MATTHEWS: This is reaching out to strangers.
SCHERER: What matters -- what`s hurting -- what`s hurting Weiner now...
MATTHEWS: This isn`t...
MATTHEWS: By the way, I`m not going to buy this private -- this isn`t
meeting in a some hotel somewhere with somebody you`ve known a while or
anything like that. This is reaching out and using the Internet to reach
people, some of whom I don`t think he`s ever met or will ever know.
MATTHEWS: So why is that private?
SCHERER: Because it`s consensual. I mean...
MATTHEWS: Oh, it is consensual? Why is he saying, I want to apologize to
any woman I might have inconvenienced with this? Who`s he talking about?
What does "inconvenienced" mean? I know I`m putting you on the grill
SCHERER: No, no.
MATTHEWS: ... but this is a crazy world we`re in now.
SCHERER: It`s definitely a crazy world!
MATTHEWS: ... "inconvenienced" mean?
SCHERER: But no, I -- look -- look, I`m not condoning the behavior.
MATTHEWS: ... it`s private?
SCHERER: I`m saying that if you look at the history of...
MATTHEWS: If it`s private -- I say this about all these people who get in
trouble publicly, whether it`s Monica who talks and blabs to her friend --
it`s not public -- it`s not private if we know all about it.
SCHERER: But it`s...
MATTHEWS: ... any investigative reporting on this!
MATTHEWS: Joan, I want to go back to you on this private thing. I don`t
think reporters today spend their time digging around in people`s trash
cans like J. Edgar Hoover did, or whatever they did to him, or anything in
the old days.
MATTHEWS: They don`t...
MATTHEWS: These stories are thrown at us!
WALSH: I think what...
MATTHEWS: Your thoughts.
WALSH: I think what bothers us -- and I -- you know, I defended President
Clinton, and he was a very good president. But in the moment, I thought it
showed poor judgment. I think what bothers us, Chris...
MATTHEWS: ... Monica was Hillary?
WALSH: We`re all...
MATTHEWS: I`m confused! I love this...
WALSH: Let me answer you. Let me answer you.
MATTHEWS: Go ahead.
WALSH: I think that -- I`m not condoning adultery in any form. However,
when people are consensual adults and they keep it quiet, that`s one thing.
When people have an urge...
MATTHEWS: You`re raising this to the level of adultery, by the way.
WALSH: When people -- when people have an urge to drag us all into it,
when they are completely indiscreet, there`s an element of recklessness to
WALSH: There`s an element of exhibitionism. There`s an element of wanting
to get caught. And that does -- as Michael is, I think, trying to say,
that is the thing that starts to raise...
MATTHEWS: OK, this is the public part of it.
WALSH: ... the red flags.
MATTHEWS: This is the public part of it.
WALSH: This is the public part of it. If people are discreet enough and
have enough respect for their spouses and whatever to keep it private, that
is actually a step above these people who are so compulsive and reckless
and ruin their marriages and ruin -- and -- and you know, shove their
private stuff in front of our faces, literally in the case of Anthony
MATTHEWS: Let me give you an example of discretion. Katharine Hepburn and
Spencer Tracy had an affair that -- you`re laughing because you`re so grown
up, you can`t handle this thing!
WALSH: He`s so young.
MATTHEWS: They had -- you`re so young. They had a quiet affair that went
on for years, if not decades. They would meet in -- they`d go to each
other`s hotel rooms. They didn`t shack up. They had separate hotel rooms
(INAUDIBLE) They never went out to dinner. And all those years, they
didn`t embarrass their spouses, his spouse, or anything, because they
wanted to keep it private. That`s what`s called private.
Anyway, today Anthony Weiner confirmed there were multiple -- he confirmed
there were multiple women he exchanged texts and nude photos with since he
resigned from Congress. This is all private, by the way. He`s just
keeping us informed. Reporters asked him for specifics. Here he is
bringing us up to date. It`s all private, though. Here it is. Let`s
watch. And keep it private.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY WEINER (D), FMR. CONGRESSMAN, NYC MAYORAL CANDIDATE: It`s not
dozens. Just like I told "The Post" and they made a big headline out of
it, it`s not dozens and dozens. It is six to ten, I suppose, but I can`t
tell you absolutely what someone else is going to consider inappropriate or
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) How many conversations did you have with women after
you resigned that were sexual in nature?
WEINER: I don`t believe I had any more than three.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: What do you make of that? That`s private matters here.
SCHERER: Let me finish my point from before.
MATTHEWS: ... it`s sad. I shouldn`t be laughing, but there is something
ludicrous when a guy`s saying, Well, it`s not dozens and it`s -- I can`t be
sure of that and...
SCHERER: I will concede that there`s probably nobody in the history of
American politics who has been as embarrassed as Anthony Weiner, has
SCHERER: ... publicly humiliated...
MATTHEWS: Is he honestly capable of embarrassment?
SCHERER: Well, he personally feels...
MATTHEWS: You think he`s embarrassed?
SCHERER: I think he is.
MATTHEWS: You do?
SCHERER: Yes, absolutely.
MATTHEWS: Why do you think he`s embarrassed? You`re projecting here. He
doesn`t look embarrassed to me. He`s loving this. He`s loving this, like
Nixon loved his resignation. National television...
SCHERER: Let me just finish...
MATTHEWS: This exposure, the recognition he`s getting?
SCHERER: The issue for New Yorkers...
MATTHEWS: He does...
SCHERER: The two issues for New Yorkers are, here`s a guy who looked at
them in the face and lied to them twice. Do we want somebody who can lie
that easily? And the second issue for New Yorkers is, if he does get in
the mayor`s office, will he embarrass the city?
MATTHEWS: What`s your bet?
SCHERER: About whether he would?
MATTHEWS: Whether he`d tell the truth if he`s mayor.
SCHERER: I don`t know. I don`t see there`s a good record to say he would
definitely tell the truth if he was mayor if he fell back into this
behavior. I think that`s...
MATTHEWS: ... journalism these days! You can`t look at Weiner in the eye
and see this guy!
MATTHEWS: Anyway, your thoughts, Joan.
WALSH: There`s no history of truth telling here. But I think the other
thing that`s actually equally troublesome i -- looks, Chris, this guy
became a progressive hero. He said some great things about single payer
and about the public option during the health care debate, but all he
really has as a record is standing up to people on Fox News. And you know,
I think he passed maybe one piece of legislation in his career in Congress.
He`s not an effective legislator.
We don`t necessarily know what he believes. And I want to take issue with
your saying there aren`t necessarily -- there may not be candidates with
his charisma and his on-the-ground skills, but I think there are decent
candidates. There are a lot of candidates...
WALSH: ... Christine Quinn. Like her or not, she`s good. I think, you
know, Bill Thompson is solid. Bill De Blasio is the actual progressive in
the race. He has policies, he has programs.
MATTHEWS: OK, let me...
WALSH: He`s doing -- saying all the right things and doing the right
MATTHEWS: ... Fox News, Roger Ailes will be doing...
WALSH: ... police brutality, about racial profiling...
MATTHEWS: Roger Ailes, the head of Fox News, will be doing backflips...
WALSH: Oh, God, yes.
MATTHEWS: ... if this guy`s mayor of New York. He will be in heaven. It
will be a poster boy for everything he opposes.
Anyway, thank you Michael Scherer. Sorry to go after you, but you are
MATTHEWS: Joan -- we agree once in a while. Anyway, thank you, Joan
Walsh. I guess it`s Catholic school coming back to haunt me again.
Anyway, this guy is too much. Anyway -- no, you don`t like to hear that,
do you. You didn`t like to hear that, did you.
WALSH: It`s fine with me.
MATTHEWS: You don`t like being called prudish. But anyway, thank you so
much for coming on, as always, Joan Walsh from Salon.
Coming up: Anthony Weiner on the couch. We`re going to talk to some
experts -- not us anymore, experts about this strange kind of sexual
addiction or what it is that drives people to go out and become these
digital streakers or whatever they -- I`m not sure it is sex, but they
think it is.
Anyway, also President Obama essentially has declared war on Republicans in
Congress, you might say finally. They`ve been waging war against him since
day one, since they heard of the guy. We know the Republicans are up for
this. Is the president? Does he really want to do battle for the next
And with a court filing in Texas, the U.S. Justice Department under Eric
Holder has now joined the fight to, in effect, restore the section of the
Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court struck down about pre-clearance on
Finally, "Let Me Finish" with the haters -- of Barack Obama, not Anthony
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, as Anthony Weiner plummets in the polls, former New York
governor Eliot Spitzer`s showing strength as he attempts his own comeback
from a sex scandal. Let`s check the HARDBALL "Scoreboard."
According to a new WNBC/"Wall Street Journal" Marist poll of New York City
Democrats, Spitzer has a 17-point lead over his opponent in the primary for
city comptroller. It`s Spitzer leading Scott Stringer 49 to 32. Looks
like he`s in good shape. We`re hoping to have him on next week, by the
We`ll be back with some deeper insight into Anthony Weiner right after
MATTHEWS: Well, for most of us, the nature of Anthony Weiner`s on-line
sexual activities, if you will, came as a shock. It`s certainly a surprise
for us people who cover politics. How can such a public figure act so
weirdly, basically, in public? But even more shocking was news this week
that Weiner continued his on-line activities even after he was exposed and
publicly humiliated. He just kept doing it.
And that certainly leads some people to legitimately wonder can he ever
control this? Is this some kind of addiction you have to go for therapy?
Or if elected, can he be in the basement of Gracie Mansion where the mayor
lives in New York, sending out nude pictures of himself to women on line?
Will he just keep it up? Why would you believe he wouldn`t?
We wanted to find out what those drives were that affect Weiner (INAUDIBLE)
engaged in and whether it can ever be controlled. Well, Dr. Jennifer
Berman is a psychotherapist and sexual health expert, and Dr. Sherry -- she
goes by Dr. Sherry -- Dr. Sherry Blake is a clinical psychologist. Thank
you, ladies, for both joining us.
This is a strange topic, and I mean strange because I don`t get it. I
think I get -- I get sex, like we all do. We get it, male and female, gay
and straight and other possibilities, but we get it. It has to do with
What -- Dr. Jennifer, what does it have to do with sex that you go on line
and someone who`s not anywhere near you, you don`t know them, you may not
even know the sound of their voice, and you have -- and show them pictures
of yourself? What is that, and why would somebody -- it`s not like
streaking in a street with a big raincoat opening up, where you get the
immediate reaction, and I get that excites the people that do it. What`s
the excitement in this? What`s the gratification in this that`s been going
on with this fellow maybe through this year continuing?
DR. JENNIFER BERMAN, SEXUAL HEALTH EXPERT: I think more in line with --
these -- these men in positions of power and control are thrill seekers and
sensation seekers. So this is just an extension of that. What we see with
Schwarzenegger, Strauss-Kahn, you know, John Edwards, Spitzer you mentioned
-- his, you know, fetish happens to be a little bit more risky because it
involves the Internet. And...
MATTHEWS: But it`s not sex.
BERMAN: It is intimacy. He`s engaged, though -- it is -- there is the
sexual sort of connection that he`s trying to make with people, and it is
compulsive. He`s put himself at risk. He`s put his family at risk.
MATTHEWS: OK, explain to me, Doctor -- you`re a psychiatrist --
psychologist. Tell me why this is enjoyable. You got to help me more than
just say this is an addiction or it`s a power trip. What is the kick here?
He`s getting in trouble. He`s doing this and hurting himself. He lost a
seat in the United States Congress, which was his on-base -- it was the on-
deck circle to be mayor someday. Now he`s jeopardized, perhaps lost his
chance to be -- get the job of his dreams.
Why would he keep throwing that into play, whatever this behavior is or
what it`s about, except -- is there cost-benefit analysis and he said, You
know what? The benefit of doing this beats the heck out of being the mayor
of New York, so I`m going to do it. What have got here? What is this that
he gets that says, I`m going to do this rather than be a reasonable
SHERRY BLAKE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, first of all, I don`t think he
ever thought he was going to get caught. And many people...
MATTHEWS: Why not? Why not, Dr. Sherry? Didn`t he go on line with
strangers? Bill Clinton took the chance on Monica, somebody who worked for
him, at least. At least he knew her. And she talked to somebody else,
Linda Tripp, and she talked to somebody else, apparently. But in this
case, he`s just blasting it out like -- like a robocall...
BERMAN: ... getting caught is the least of his concerns. This is a
compulsive, impulsive addiction. He`s not thinking about getting caught.
The reward or the thrill that he gets from that, whatever it is, is greater
than the risk. So the -- you mentioned (INAUDIBLE) risk rewards -- a
reward to him is greater than the risk, and that defines the disease of
addiction, whether it be alcohol, cocaine, putting your penis on the
Internet, or you know, sleeping around with hundreds of women. It`s the
same thing, just a different manifestation.
MATTHEWS: Well, I go back to...
MATTHEWS: Dr. Sherry, I want to give you a moment her by yourself here and
-- is it an addiction or is it something he can control every time he does
this? Which one is it?
BLAKE: Well, you know, it could be both. You know, he could have an
addiction. I`ve heard people say he`s just narcissistic. He`s getting a
lot of attention for this.
MATTHEWS: I`m with you.
BLAKE: (INAUDIBLE) been humiliated. But you know, the reality is, he may
not be as humiliated as others may think. He may...
MATTHEWS: I`m with you, Doctor.
MATTHEWS: I`ve always suspect, as much as I`m not a Nixon hater, per se,
but I always thought Nixon loved that night when he resigned on national
television. He knew in that moment a hundred million people, maybe a
billion people were watching him. It was total recognition of his being.
This guy doesn`t look like he`s -- there he`s checking his watch. He`s got
his -- he looks good. He`s got the shirt on, the tie perfect, sleeves
rolled up like he`s Bobby Kennedy. I mean, everything is together with
this guy. We`re the only ones -- I think you`re so smart. We`re
projecting that he`s embarrassed.
BLAKE: Absolutely. And keep in mind, look at the attention. My God. He
is getting global attention. He cannot buy this kind of media attention.
BERMAN: Narcissism goes along with the addiction. The two go hand in
BERMAN: This guy actually went to some sort of treatment recovery center.
My concern is, is that it`s only been a year. The fact that he engaged in
the behavior after he had stepped down and after he apologized is not
surprising to me at all.
BERMAN: Any -- there`s probably multiple triggers that ignite this
And the question is, has he got it until control, does he have other tools
or outlets to sort of cope with the impulse to do it?
Let`s go to this gender aspect of this. You`re both women and I`m a male.
Let me answer this question -- ask this question. I`m wide open on this.
Is this something that only men do? Is there any recorded history in our
modern technology of women doing this kind of tweeting, naked tweeting,
digital streaking? That`s what I call it.
Does anybody on your side of the gender argument -- and it is an argument.
BERMAN: They do it.
BLAKE: Of course.
BERMAN: They do it, of course.
BLAKE: Of course they do it. Of course they do.
MATTHEWS: They do?
BLAKE: Of course.
MATTHEWS: So this isn`t a feminist issue. This is just a general problem?
MATTHEWS: OK. Let me ask you this, because I`m loving this conversation.
This part, I`m going to love.
First, Dr. Jennifer Berman and then Dr. Sherry, what would you tell the
wife to do? What would you tell the patient in this case, if he ever
agrees to be your patient, to do to kill this problem, at least so we won`t
know about it ever again?
BERMAN: You know, therein lies the problem.
If the Internet and social media did not exist, we would not know about
this. This is -- and I guarantee you a lot of the other politicians have
other issues that they`re doing in private. The problem is this man`s
compulsion and addiction involves the Internet. So, he needs to find other
tools, other outlets, other ways of coping.
MATTHEWS: Would you take away his cell phone? They say to people about
real alcohol problems is don`t go to hang around bars. I believe that. I
drank too much.
BERMAN: He needs to be in a 12-step program. It has to do with intimacy.
It has to do with connection. It has to do with self-soothing.
MATTHEWS: Do you keep him away from the machinery. Can you keep him away
from a computer at night? Apparently, when he -- I assume he does this at
night. Can you keep him away from being alone with a computer?
BERMAN: Well, it`s a good point. You do tell an alcoholic to stay out of
the bars, so that is a good point. And probably in the short term when he
was in treatment, he was required to do that.
MATTHEWS: Well, there are some clubs you go to, ladies, where you go to
they don`t let you bring your cell phone or your computer. Maybe he should
hang around those clubs, because then he can`t have one.
MATTHEWS: I`m serious. Is that part of the therapy? Or stay away from
the machinery that you seem to use for this thing of yours, Dr. Sherry?
Therapy only works if you want to work it. The reality is it`s not very
realistic to keep him away from all computers. He has got to control his
behaviors. And the question is, does he really want to? He`s getting some
satisfaction out of this. I don`t care what you say. He`s getting some
BLAKE: And the reality is, the needs are being met inappropriately.
And what is happening also, he`s exposed, not only locally. He`s exposed
but globally. In terms of his wife, you know, that`s a choice she`s making
to stand by him, to do that. Of course, I`m sure she has her own agenda in
this as well. But the reality is, yes, he has a problem, and it may be a
deeper, psychological issue, but the attention, the media and all those
things he`s getting with this, hey, he`s getting a pretty good deal.
MATTHEWS: I like you both. I like you both. Dr. Sherry, you speak not
with a forked tongue, but very clearly. Thank you. Very clearly, I get
BLAKE: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Dr. Jennifer Berman, you as well.
Thank you both for coming. It`s a strange night on HARDBALL. But I`m glad
you`re both with me.
BLAKE: Thanks for having us.
MATTHEWS: Up next -- thanks for coming.
Up next: That didn`t take long. In honor of the latest Anthony Weiner
scandal, you can already buy your own -- you won`t believe this -- Carlos
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART")
JOHN OLIVER, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": He calls himself
OLIVER: Anthony Weiner`s alter ego is a Bolivian action hero/porn star.
OLIVER: Danger is my username.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to the "Sideshow."
That was John Oliver, of course, reflecting on Anthony Weiner`s online
alias last night. And while Carlos Danger is a great comedic fodder there,
online retailers are also capitalizing on the ridiculous screen name. I
guess the was inevitable. And here`s the latest Carlos Danger-branded
merchandise, the perfect gift for the scoundrel in your life.
Even Spirit Airlines is in on the game. The company sent out an airfare
promotion today, playing off the Carlos Danger phenomenon, complete with a
hot dog mascot. Weiner might have to take that deal himself to escape all
this bad publicity.
Anyway, next up, if you`re a fan of Robin Thicke`s hit song "Blurred
Lines," you might appreciate this new mash-up of Bill Clinton singing the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All right.
If you can`t hear what I`m trying to say, if you can`t read from the same
page, maybe I`m going deaf. Maybe I`m going blind. Maybe I`m out of mind.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I...
CLINTON: He tried to domesticate you, but you`re an animal, baby. It`s in
your nature. Just let me liberate you. You don`t need no papers. That
man is not your maker. And that`s why I`m going take a good girl. I know
you want it. I know you want it. I know you want it. You`re a good girl.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Sounds like he needs more practice on that baby.
Anyway, it`s official. Joe Biden is contemplating another run for public
office -- in India, that is. The vice president went off-script while
speaking in Mumbai yesterday, explaining why he might be able to run in
that country -- quote -- "Maybe some genealogist in the audience can follow
me up, but I have received a letter from a gentleman named Biden, Biden, my
name, from Mumbai asserting that we were related. And so I was thinking
about it. If that`s true, I might run here in India for office. I might
Well, qualified, maybe. Eligible? Probably not.
And, finally, talk about starting off on the wrong foot. Apparently, Mark
Sanford, remember him, never got the memo that the House was voting last
night, nor did he get the memo about the dress code. The newly elected
South Carolina congressman showed up last night in a sweat-soaked T-shirt,
gym shorts and sneakers, while protocol requires that congressmen wear
appropriate business attire in the chamber. Sanford did the next best
thing. He borrowed a blazer from an aide. I think he was out hiking on
the Appalachian Trail.
Up next: President Obama fighting back against the Republicans who have
been at war with him since day one.
And you`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
HAMPTON PEARSON, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Hampton Pearson with your CNBC
The Dow gains 13 points. The S&P 500 added four, the Nasdaq jumping 25
points. More Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week. Jobless
claims rose by 7,000. General Motors posted second-quarter results that
beat expectations. Revenue was up 4 percent to $39.1 billion. Facebook
shares skyrocketed nearly 30 percent, this after reporting better-than-
expected quarterly results yesterday boosted by strong mobile ad sales.
That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide -- now back to HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we don`t make the
necessary investments to ensure that America`s a magnet for good jobs,
investments in education, manufacturing, research and transportation and
information networks, we`re just waving the white flag of surrender to
other countries as they forge ahead in this global economy.
We know strong infrastructure is a key ingredient to a thriving economy.
That`s who the United States became the best place in the world to do
business. Unfortunately, over the past two years, too many folks in
Washington have been cutting these investments. The world can`t wait for
Congress to get its act together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
As you can see there, the president wasted no time in getting back on the
road after yesterday`s strong and much-hyped speech in Illinois about the
American economy, a speech which condemned Washington`s dysfunction and
accused Republicans of an agenda of obstructionism. Fair enough.
The White House continued its get our groove back tour in Jacksonville,
Florida, today, its third stop in just two days. While today`s speech may
have focused on America`s infrastructure, it`s not just bridges and roads
Obama is looking to mend. It`s his legacy, obviously, which Republicans
are out to destroy with a wrecking ball of brinkmanship.
How far will this take it? We`re threatening -- they`re threatening a
government shutdown and U.S. default if Obamacare is not defunded and
Obama`s budget priorities slashed. Well, today is about Obama fighting
back, a recognition that this is a political war.
U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is also the chairman of the
Democratic Party. She`s from Florida, of course. And Michael Steele is a
former -- he`s a former Republican national chair and a political analyst
here and a great fellow to have.
Let me ask you, since you are the guy here enjoying all of this, it
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I don`t know about that.
MATTHEWS: ... that your party, not your regular party, not your part of
the party, the regular old Republican Party...
MATTHEWS: ... but the right wing of your party is now saying the
Unless Obama, the president of the United States, agrees to no revenues at
all in a new package on the budget, agrees to no paying off of the national
debt, if there is one, just not agreeing to any kind of debt extensions,
and killing Obamacare, there will be a government shutdown and probably a
default on the loan -- on the federal government.
What kind of a statement is that by responsible officeholders?
STEELE: Well, it`s basically saying, look, we`re not going to go down a
road where we continue to spend without some idea of where the end point
is. We gave -- you got the tax increases at the beginning of this year.
MATTHEWS: For who? Who got taxed?
STEELE: Everybody got taxed, Chris. Everybody`s taxes went up in the
beginning of the year. So don`t sit in this little bubble and act like it
MATTHEWS: I`m talking about income taxes. They went up for the top 2
STEELE: Income taxes, payroll taxes, everybody got a hit to their bottom
line at the beginning of the year, OK? Republicans signed off on that at
the beginning -- at the end of last year.
MATTHEWS: They signed off -- they were for it.
STEELE: They signed off on the tax cuts. We have not seen the spending
STEELE: And that`s part of the conversation going forward.
Look, this president went out to Illinois to a place where he said -- he
gave his first economic speech in 2005. We just didn`t expect him to give
the same speech. We have heard this before, we have been in this room.
What is different from yesterday than what we have seen before?
MATTHEWS: Congresswoman, what is going on?
Why did he, out of nowhere, come out with this strong tactic of political
offense? He hadn`t been doing it for months. He just said, oh, we`re at
war, let`s face it.
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA: Because a president has a few
tools available to them at their disposal to try to shake things up.
Clearly, what you outlined is that the Republicans in Washington have only
one interest. That is being obstructionists. And they`re even willing to
be obstructionists and stop him to the point of harming the economy. And
that`s deeply disturbing. So, the president has the bully pulpit.
And the bully pulpit is diffuse, so over the next two months, President
Obama, beginning with yesterday, is traveling the country, talking about
the importance of deepening our recovery, of making sure it takes root, and
making sure that we grab some Republicans by the lapels in Washington and
encourage the American people to grab their Republican...
MATTHEWS: So, what`s going to happen?
Michael, first. Look, Republicans...
MATTHEWS: You have just laid it out. The Republicans are basically saying
no deal unless you don`t raise taxes, unless you don`t raise taxes, unless
you raise the -- don`t increase the debt, the extension of the national
dead limit, and that you -- and you somehow get rid of Obamacare.
Do you actually think he`s going to ever sign a piece of paper that says
getting rid of Obamacare?
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s what your party is asking for.
STEELE: He`s not going to sign a piece of paper getting rid of Obamacare.
We understand that .
MATTHEWS: Have you listened to Ted Cruz lately?
STEELE: I have heard Ted Cruz and I have heard a lot of others.
MATTHEWS: And Rand Paul and Mike Lee?
STEELE: The bottom line, though, Chris, is that we have to start
somewhere, Chris. The president is giving yet another speech. The reality
of -- how many speeches can he give on creating jobs?
MATTHEWS: ... speech from your side every night on this show ,a speech
from one of your right-wingers saying, we`re going to kill this...
STEELE: There are two numbers that tell you how President Obama is doing
on the nation`s economy.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: There are five things.
STEELE: Let me give you the numbers. The two numbers are the positive
rate, which has doubled, OK? And the...
MATTHEWS: What are the Republicans doing about the poverty rate?
STEELE: And -- let me finish the other one -- and the median income of
households in this country has gone down from $52,000 to now $50,000.
So the reality of it is Americans are financially still hurting. All of
this wonderful show and flutter out here...
MATTHEWS: The flutter is that the Democrats passed a budget.
STEELE: Where are the jobs? You keep talking about it. Where are they?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I`m trying to be polite.
MATTHEWS: Just a minute, Michael. This government can`t even set up a
fiscal policy, because the Senate that is run by Democrats has passed a
STEELE: First time in five years.
MATTHEWS: But the right-wing guys won`t even let them...
STEELE: Spare me.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Why aren`t we in conference?
STEELE: Why did it take you five years to pass a budget?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Now you wanted -- you wanted us to pass a budget. We
passed one. Now you`re arguing about how long you took us to pass it?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Let`s do what the legislative process is designed to
do, have both sides, two chambers, sit down and hammer out a conference
report and send it to -- and send it to the president.
But what we shouldn`t be doing, as a member of the Appropriations
Committee, is ignoring the targets and artificially even cutting below the
sequester, cutting the heart out of education, health care, housing,
investment in infrastructure, decimating people`s retirements and ability
to live comfortably with a safety net in place. That`s what the
Republicans are hell-bent on...
STEELE: All that is a discussion point.
STEELE: Let`s put it on the table and see -- and see what the...
MATTHEWS: Well, why don`t you want to have a meeting with the two sides?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: We need a balanced...
STEELE: Oh, I do want to have a meeting with the two sides.
MATTHEWS: No, you`re opposing a conference between the two.
STEELE: No, I`m not complaining.
MATTHEWS: Look, your party --
STEELE: My problem is this holier than thou because you passed a budget in
MATTHEWS: Would you recommend your party meet for a conference? They`re
not doing it.
MATTHEWS: OK, that`s good to hear.
In a speech late today, President Obama took dead aim at Republicans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m laying out my ideas to
give the middle class a better shot and if the Republicans don`t agree with
me, I want them to lay out their ideas. If they`ve got better ideas to
make sure every American knows the security of affordable health care --
well, share it with the country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s right.
OBAMA: You know, Repealing Obamacare and slashing our budgets in education
and research and infrastructure, that`s not an economic plan. Threatening
you won`t pay the bills in this country when we have already racked up
those bills, that`s not an economic plan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no.
OBAMA: You know, that`s just being a deadbeat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, before the president even addressed the crowd down in
Jacksonville, Republicans had already issued their prebuttal, if you will.
This is House Speaker John Boehner speaking to reporters today about
Obama`s economic speeches.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: You know, the president
pivoted the jobs, as he`s been known to do on occasion. And under the
president`s leadership, our country has fallen into the new normal of slow
growth, high unemployment and stagnant wages. I think it`s unacceptable,
but the speech turned out to be all as you sizzle with no steak. That`s
assuming that there is any sizzle left after he did these things so many
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: OK, that`s language, boring. But --
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: That`s adorable, and nice fodder for the base, but it
doesn`t make sure that we can continue this recovery. We`ve had 7.2
million jobs over the last 38 months in the private sector created.
We know that the public feels much better about the economy, but wants us
to focus together on a balanced approach to deficit reduction. They
absolutely want us to make sure we replace the sequester and take away the
pain that the Republicans are hell-bent on continuing.
I mean, Chris, in my home state, President Obama was in Jacksonville today,
where the National Guard in the middle of the height of hurricane season
have 11 furlough days, every Monday from now until the end of the fiscal
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: And what`s going to happen when in Hurricane Alley, a
category 4 hurricane comes bearing down on us, and the National Guard is
going to struggle to be there. That`s thanks for the Republicans.
STEELE: If it happens on a furlough day, the governor is going to call
them in anyway because he`s not going to sacrifice the folks who --
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: How about the seniors?
STEELE: And states will take care of business the way they always do.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: So, it doesn`t matter?
STEELE: The fact of the matter is no one in the country is talking about
sequester. That`s a red herring.
MATTHEWS: I just saw "Lone Ranger." It`s not a greatest movie in the
world. Johnny Depp plays Tonto, OK? He`s not a great movie, but the whole
thing was the lone ranger should have known and may have known that his
posse, the Texas Rangers, was heading into a box canyon, and the cabin (ph)
was waiting for, the cabin this gang was waiting, to slaughter them.
I think the president is the lone ranger now. He says, you know, we`re
going into a box canyon this November, December. We`re going to face a
government shutdown over the national debt. They`re going to screw us.
They`re going to shut the government down. They`re going to bring the
economy even lower. We`re going to have an even slower economy, and then
they`re going to declare a victory. So, he said let`s start to fight now.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: The bottom line is -- it doesn`t have to be this way.
We need to come together and focus on --
MATTHEWS: Reform to that plan.
MATTHEWS: Thank you for coming on.
Madam Chairman, please come back as on which as you can, as often as he
Thanks to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairman of the Democratic National
Committee, and Michael Steele, as always.
Up next, the Justice Department has joined the fight to protect voting
rights down in Texas. It`s one of the voting rights state and they`re
trying to reinstate them as a voting roots states, in effect.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Some big changes in the 2016 presidential landscape.
Here they are: a new PPP poll shows Rand Paul, I`ve been predicting this,
now has the hot hand. And former favorite Marco Rubio is falling fast.
Paul leads the GOP field with 16 percent followed by a three-way tie for
second among Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and Paul Ryan. Texas Senator Ted
Cruz is down at 12, and Rubio, who led the field earlier this year, is down
to 10. It`s got to be about immigration, and probably because he has been
No surprise on the Democratic side, where Hillary Clinton is over Joe Biden
by 40 points. Boy, that`s a winner.
We`ll be right back after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: And today, I am announcing that the Justice
Department will ask a federal court in Texas to subject the state of Texas
to a preclearance regime similar to the one required by Section 5 of the
Voting Rights Act.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
That was, of course, Attorney General Eric Holder today in a speech to the
National Urban League up in Philly. Holder declared he`s not going to sit
back and take it anymore, announcing that the Justice Department, his
Justice Department, is asking a federal court down in San Antonio to
require the state of Texas to obtain approval from the Department of
Justice in advance before putting future voting changes in place.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who`s running for governor now,
responded on Twitter saying, "I`ll fight Obama`s efforts to control our
elections and I`ll fight cheating at the ballot box."
Well, it`s a new front in the war on voting rights since the Supreme Court
invalidated a pivotal section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act back in June of
Well, the attorney general is expected to announce a series of challenges
to similar laws currently on the books or making their way through state
legislatures in other states, signaling that the fight against
discriminatory voting laws is not over.
Joining me right now is Judith Browne-Dianis of the Advancement Project,
and Wayne Slater, chief political correspondent for "The Dallas Morning
Thank you very much, Wayne and Judith.
Judith, you know from the beginning of this thing, I`ve spotted Reince
Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, of overseeing
if not supervising this multi-state, dozens of states around the country,
all with Republican legislatures, some of them in blue states, using their
power to screw the black voter out of voting. That`s what they`ve been
In many cases, they openly stated they can`t get a majority of all the
voters. So, they say, we`ll get the majority of the white voters and we`ll
keep the others from voting much.
JUDITH BROWNE-DIANIS, ADVANCEMENT PROJECT: Right.
MATTHEWS: It`s pretty clear what they`re doing.
Then along comes the Supreme Court. It`s lead by conservatives, 5-4. And
they say, 5-4, by the way, we`re getting rid of the Voting Rights Act,
which was the main tool to stop this kind of stuff from going on.
How do you do it without it?
BROWNE-DIANIS: Well, I mean, Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act allowed
the Department of Justice to pre-clear any changes in the law. So, now,
what the Justice Department has said is we`re going to step up our efforts.
We may not be able to do it that way.
But there is other provisions of the Voting Rights Act that stop
discrimination. And so, they`re doing their job. They`re not doing --
MATTHEWS: Can he ask a guy down in Texas, Texas judge, male or female, to
do what he wants? Will they do it?
BROWNE-DIANIS: Well, actually, in this particular case, in a redistricting
sense, for example, the court already found there was discrimination in
Texas in redistricting. So, now, they can go back to the court and say you
found discrimination, so, court, we need you to make sure that they don`t
continue their actions.
MATTHEWS: Wayne, there`s been an old trick. It`s been perverse -- the
perverse use of the Voting Rights Act when it existed by the Republicans.
What they did is all over the South is erase white Democratic Congress
people, or as many Democratic Congress people as they could erase by
flooding the zone. Taking all the minority voters they could get in the
state, jamming them into one district, let that district go 90-10 Democrat.
Meanwhile, they gobbled up two or three other seats, 55-45, or 60-40. They
generally rationed out the seats so they could get three or four
congressional seats when they only deserve maybe less than two.
And now, they`re doing it down in Texas. They apparently flood the zone of
one district with all Hispanic voters and grab the three for themselves.
This is a pattern.
WAYNE SLATER, THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: That is exactly what happened, and
that`s why the federal court panel said that the lines drawn by the
Republican legislature were discriminatory. If you look at the growth in
population in Texas over the last decade, 80 percent of it was Hispanic.
And we have four new additional congressional seats. But as you said, only
one of those actually went to a minority opportunity district. The other
three went to safe Republican districts.
So it was a prima facie case that the state of Texas, the Republican
legislature and the district lines that they drew were discriminatory by
doing exactly as you said. You put the minorities, pack them in some
districts and you maximize the opportunity for the white majority in the
state, bare majority in the state, but you denied the rights of a whole lot
And the same thing is happening, of course, with the issue of photo ID.
It`s another effort --
MATTHEWS: Oh, I know.
SLATER: -- to sort of restrict the votes in Texas. All that of is under
litigation in Texas.
MATTHEWS: What about the attorney general running for governor assuming
there has been some kind of corruption down there, vote stealing?
Therefore, he has to have these new laws. They never -- I do find -- look,
there is some obviously in the country from different places. But nobody
ever seems to be able to find it.
MATTHEWS: It certainly is in bulk volume, because if there was bulk volume
stealing. That would get it. But they never seem to need. In
Pennsylvania as well, they never seem to need to show up with any evidence
of criminality to change the law.
BROWNE-DIANIS: That`s right. I mean, the Advancement Project is on trial
right now as we speak in Pennsylvania. And we have no evidence of voter
fraud by the other side, the same thing in Texas. But then they tell
people you need an ID to prevent voter fraud.
But what we know is it`s about making it harder to vote for African-
Americans and Latino voters. In Texas, they`re the postal child for voter
suppression. You know?
And so, the Department of Justice has decided that they were going to do
what they had to do to enforce the law. This is nothing new. It`s a
provision of the Voting Rights Act, and we`re glad the attorney general is
doing his job.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you a question, Wayne, about your state down there.
Is that state getting more diverse and perhaps more purple than red?
SLATER: Of course, it is. I mean, you can tell by the growth in Hispanic
population, Hispanics, of course, disproportionately vote Democratic. It
is more Hispanic, more minority. It`s moving toward Democrats, but it`s
still a solidly Republican state. And it`s run at this point by elected
SLATER: -- who are all Republicans at the statewide level.
MATTHEWS: We`re seeing that right now in this voting rights scam.
Anyway, thank you, Judith Browne-Dianis and Wayne Slater, as always.
When we return, let me finish with the haters of Barack Obama. You got to
stay for this.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: "Let Me Finish" tonight with this:
I said it before and I`m now saying it again. There are too many people on
the American right who hate the very notion of Barack Obama in the White
House. It grates on them, just as it thrills -- even now -- tens of
millions of others.
They hate not just his politics but him.
Think about all the days we have known him, from way back when he gave that
breathtaking speech at the 2004 convention? Was there ever a time in all
those days and weeks and months and years since that his haters on the
right have stopped in their tracks and said, "Well, good for him. I liked
the way he did that"?
Think hard. Have his haters ever stopped hating him?
When we got Bin Laden?
When the stock market doubled, doubling very 401(k), making all those
haters richer -- twice as rich as they were when Bush left us stranded with
a dropping, scary economy? Did they ever look up and say, even hesitantly,
"Well, I`ll give him this one?"
No. No. No.
You can discount it all. You can say it`s not about race or whatever. You
can say it, but -- think about this: in all the criticisms from the haters
about African Americans, generally, all the years of your life -- and think
about this man`s life - about how hard he`s worked at school, how he`s
achieved so highly at school, how he`s married so well and so faithfully,
how he`s fathered two great daughters and kept them, protected them, been a
truly great father to them, be a true partner in his marriage, treated his
office with such respect and dignity, has never once let us down with his
personal behavior -- and yet, they hate him.
They really do and I don`t have to be the one to tell you.
We live in a country where a good chunk of the country hates its elected
leader and won`t really -- I mean really -- tell you why.
It`s the same reason they spend their time thinking of clever gimmicks to
keep so many people from voting. Anybody disagree?
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.
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