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'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

August 15, 2013
Guests: Rick Tyler, Robin Wright, Wil Haygood


Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Michael Smerconish, in for Chris Matthews.

Leading off tonight: Blocking the vote. Ever since the Republican Party
won over state governments in the 2010 elections, we have watched the
GOP in state after state move to limit voting rights in ways that
disproportionately affect African-American voters.

So it was of particular interest to us yesterday when Senator Rand Paul
of Kentucky told a Louisville-based NPR station, quote, "I don`t think
there`s objective evidence that we`re precluding African-Americans from
voting any longer."

Paul`s comments came in the wake of new voting restrictions, such as the
latest and most sweeping law coming out of North Carolina which now
requires a government-issued ID to vote, cuts early voting by a week,
eliminates same-day registration and kills a state-wide voter
registration drive.

Texas, Virginia, Florida and Pennsylvania have all passed similar strict
voter ID laws, some of which are tangled up in the court system, but if
they prevail could indirectly disenfranchise minority voters.

This is what Paul had to say about voter ID when he spoke at Howard
University, a historically black college, back in April of this year.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I think if you liken using a driver`s
license to literacy tests, you demean the horror of what happened in the
`40s and `50s, maybe probably from 1910 all the way through the 1960s in
the South. It was horrific. Nobody is in favor of that. No Republican
is in favor of that. But showing your driver`s license to have an
honest election I think is not unreasonable.


SMERCONISH: But if Senator Paul is looking for evidence, he need not
look any further than last November`s 2012 election. According to a
Massachusetts Institute of Technology analysis, black and Hispanic
voters waited nearly twice as long to vote as whites.

The long election day lines around Florida may have turned away more
than 200,000 frustrated would-be voters who gave up and went home before
they cast ballots or saw the lines that were hours long and decided not
to join them, according to data collected by "The Orlando Sentinel."
Florida governor Rick Scott slashed early voting from 14 days to 8,
which many believe was the leading factor contributing to the long lines
and the voter frustration.

Joining me now, "The Washington Post`s" Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist
Eugene Robinson and Republican strategist Rick Tyler.

Gene, what would be your response to Senator Paul when he says, Show me
the objective evidence of disenfranchisement?

say the evidence is pretty evident. There is that MIT study about how
long minorities had to wait to vote as opposed to whites. So you
already have a system that puts added burdens on minorities who would
like to vote.

Then you add on top of that voter ID requirements, which we know are
going to disproportionately affect minorities, and you end up with, I
think, plenty of evidence that these laws have the effect, if not the
intent, of turning African-Americans away from the polls.

SMERCONISH: Gene, when I say to folks this is a solution in search of a
problem, they often respond to me by saying, How do you know there`s not
more fraud taking place but people are getting away with it? You can`t
prove it if they`re getting away with it.

ROBINSON: Well, no, but you`d think that they`d get caught every once
in a while. You`d think that there would certainly be more instances of
impersonation voter fraud than we know of. We know of practically none.
It just doesn`t happen. It`s not a problem.

And I guarantee it`s not that Republicans have not been looking for
examples of impersonation voter fraud to justify these laws. They
haven`t found them because they aren`t there, apparently.

SMERCONISH: Rick, is your argument that this is all coincidence that we
have all of these measures coming at the same time that would
disproportionately impact African-American voters?

RICK TYLER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, first of all, the MIT study
was correct in that they identified districts where African-Americans
waited longer precisely because those districts are controlled by
Democrats, and they should be talking to -- almost without exception,
every single local polling place, including Palm Beach, Florida, is
controlled by the local authorities.

And so you go to those local authorities and you`ll find in Los Angeles
and those counties where African-Americans are having trouble voting, it
was in charge -- it was Democrats that are keeping them from voting in
those long lines. It`s not Republicans.

SMERCONISH: Right, but it was Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, who
cut back the early voting to which people had grown accustomed, and
consequently, lots of folks who had now come into the habit of voting
early couldn`t do so.

TYLER: Look, we want an open and fair system, but I`m just telling you,
you have ballots that are sitting around for weeks and months, and the
Democrats would certainly love to see a perpetual voting campaign, but
you`re just asking for problems.

The other thing is, is things happen. People drop out of the race.
Scandals occur. And the closer you get to the election, the better
information the voters have. Are we now going to allow voters who --
their candidate suffered a scandal to say, Gee, I`d like my ballot back
now because I already voted, you know, a month ago and I`d like to
change it now because I didn`t have the right information?

Look, there`s a responsibility as a citizen to vote, and I think a week
-- you only got 51 weeks to get people registered to vote and get them
out to turn out the vote. I think it`s pretty reasonable to have the
election be consolidated into one week as a civic duty.

SMERCONISH: Gene, Secretary Clinton jumped back into the political fray
on Monday, striking at the heart of these voting reform bills and
condemning the laws that she says are reviving old demons of
discrimination. Let`s watch.


HILLARY CLINTON, FMR. SECRETARY OF STATE: We do, let`s admit it, have a
long history of shutting people out -- African-Americans, women, gays
and lesbians, people with disabilities. And throughout our history, we
have found too many ways to divide and exclude people from their
ownership of the law and protection under the law.

Now, not every obstacle is related to race, but anyone who says that
racial discrimination is no longer a problem in American elections must
not be paying attention. And despite the best efforts of many well-
intentioned election officials, discrepancies in resources across
precincts and polling stations still disproportionately impact African-
Americans, Latino and young voters.


SMERCONISH: And then Rich Lowry of "The National Review" took to the
op-ed page of Politico to fire back at Mrs. Clinton for her political
tone, suggesting that she was just trying to gin up the base ahead of a
presidential run.

Quote, "Madam Secretary hasn`t missed a beat. She knows that the
calling card of the Democrats in the Barack Obama era is a polarizing
politics that seeks to fire up minority voters by stirring fears of
firehoses and police dogs. Its basic vocabulary is imputations of
racism. Its evidentiary standard is low and dishonest. And its ethic
is whatever works so long as it stirs fear, anger, and resentment. Get
ready for hope and change 2.0."

Gene Robinson, respond to both of those.

ROBINSON: Well, number one, the only people I hear talking about
firehoses and police dogs are Republicans. What I hear Democrats saying
is these are measures that are going to reduce African-American
participation in elections. They`re not talking about firehoses.
They`re not talking about police dogs. That`s sort of a red herring
that keeps getting brought up on the other side to discredit what I
consider the legitimate arguments against these laws.

Second, I think in terms of Hillary Clinton, we should acknowledge two
possibilities. Number one, she is laying the groundwork for a run for
president in 2016. Number two, that this is something she believes
deeply and cares about and wanted to express using her bully pulpit.

SMERCONISH: Gene, in light of polling data on this issue, would the
Democratic Party be wise to adopt the posture of, We`re fine with an ID
card, let`s just be reasonable and make sure that it`s the type of ID
card that suits all communities? If folks in a particular community
don`t drive automobiles and therefore don`t have a driver`s license,
then it`s got to be something else. The concept is fine.

ROBINSON: Well, that`s kind of where the Justice Department has come
down, actually, in its examination of these laws and deciding which ones
to challenge and which ones not to challenge and how to approach these

You know, I think perhaps that`s a reasonable approach. I still am
looking for the problem. I still don`t see a reason to interfere with
anybody`s right to vote in the slightest if there`s not a problem that
we`re fixing. And I don`t see the problem.

SMERCONISH: OK, Rick, question for you because I hear criticism coming
from the right on this. OK, if we`re going to have a national ID, then
why not make it the Social Security card and let`s put everybody`s
photograph on it?

TYLER: Look, we can all agree on -- we can all come to some agreement,
and I think the states can work that out and the local election

First of all, nobody`s denied a vote. If you go to the vote -- if you
go to vote today and you refuse to show an ID here in Virginia, or where
I live in Virginia, they will still allow you to cast a ballot. That`s
just -- you can cast a ballot whether you provide an ID whether it`s law
(ph) or not. It`ll be a provisional ballot, but you`ll be able to cast
a ballot. So that`s -- that`s number one.

You know, number two, I can see why Hillary Clinton and all these
people, Democrats, are sensitive because -- and Eugene`s right, they
don`t -- people -- Republicans shouldn`t bring up firehoses and
certainly Democrats shouldn`t because all those people with the
firehoses were Democrats.

All the -- all the Jim Crow laws were written by Democrats. All the
laws after Reconstruction to keep African-Americans from voting were
Democrats. Orval Faubus, who stood in the doorway of Central High
School -- he was a Democrat. The guy who would (ph) sent (ph) the 101st
Airborne to let those black children in that school, that was
Eisenhower. He was a Republican.

SMERCONISH: I`m going to -- I`m going to save Gene his breath.


SMERCONISH: The party was comprised entirely of totally different
forces at that time...


SMERCONISH: ... and had different leadership.

Hey, a Florida GOP operative spoke to "The Palm Beach Post" after the
2012 election on the condition of anonymity, but a remarkably candid
admission. He acknowledged that voter reforms in Florida, like cutting
back on Sunday voting -- that they were designed to curtail the African-
American vote.

And here`s what he said. Quote, "I know that the cutting out of the
Sunday before election day was one of their targets only because that`s
a big day when the black churches organize themselves."

That`s what he said. And Gene, I think that`s unquestionably accurate
insofar as that is a critical day for mobilizing the vote in black

ROBINSON: Yes. That has become kind of a traditional day for getting
black voters out to the polls. And look, if black voters are going to
go, you know, 95 percent for Democrats in a year when Barack Obama`s on
the ballot and perhaps 85 percent in a year when he`s not, one
understands why Republicans would want to limit that vote because it`s
going to go to the Democrat.

It`s just that you can`t do that. We have equal protection under the
Constitution and you can`t do that.

SMERCONISH: And Rick, that comment is reminiscent of what I`m sure we
all remember from my home state of Pennsylvania, similar acknowledgments
that this was all being utilized as a political weapon.

TYLER: Well, as I remember, in Pennsylvania, the only objective
evidence was two New Black Panther people trying to keep people from
voting, presumably white. I assume they were working for the Democratic
Party. That`s the objective evidence of people (INAUDIBLE)

SMERCONISH: You know, I have to tell you something. I know a little
something about that. I investigated it and wrote about it at the time.
That was an overwhelmingly African-American polling place, where the
president ended up with something like 98 percent of the vote.

TYLER: Why were they there?

SMERCONISH: If you wanted to intimidate voters to vote for Barack
Obama, you`d come out to the lily-white suburbs, where I live. You
wouldn`t go to a polling place where you were already going to get that
lion`s share of the vote.

TYLER: Hey, Michael -- then I`ll ask you, why were they there?

SMERCONISH: Because they`re knuckleheads, and everybody who lives in

TYLER: Well, that`s for sure!

SMERCONISH: ... that these nitwits...

TYLER: We agree on that.

SMERCONISH: ... that these nitwits stand outside of city hall with
bullhorns and they manipulated the national media and it worked.

TYLER: Look -- look...

SMERCONISH: Anyway, thank you -- if I had more time, believe me, I love
the issue. Thank you, Eugene Robinson.

TYLER: Appreciate it.

SMERCONISH: And thank you, Rick Tyler.


TYLER: Thank you.


SMERCONISH: Coming up: President Obama cancels joint military exercises
with Egypt after yesterday`s bloody crackdown. My question -- should
the U.S. still be sending money to a military government that slaughters
its critics?

Also, reality deniers, right-wing ideologues who deny the existence of
global warming despite all the evidence to the contrary. What can we do
to solve a worldwide problem when much of the country refuses to admit
there is a problem?

And the hits just keep on coming for San Diego Mayor Bob Filner with yet
another mocking video.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SINGING) Maybe it`s time you left. Maybe you
should resign. Mayor Filner, you are (INAUDIBLE)


SMERCONISH: And finally, "Let Me Finish" tonight with why it`s time we
all put people ahead of party.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


SMERCONISH: The economy is improving slowly, but steadily, but
President Obama`s approval rating on his handling of the economy is
falling and fast. Take a look at this new Gallup poll. Only 35
percent, about 1 in 3, say they approve of the job the president is
doing on the economy -- that`s down 7 points since June -- 62 percent
disapprove. Those numbers don`t bode well for a White House girding for
budget battles with Republicans in Congress come fall.

We`ll be right back.



A foreign policy disaster for the U.S. That`s how NBC "First Read"
characterized the ongoing violence in Egypt, with more than 600 people
now dead after clashes between security forces and protesters supporting
ousted president Mohammed Morsy. The Egyptian military declared a state
of emergency and imposed a nightly curfew. Today, protesters burned
government buildings, and Reuters reports several churches around the
country have been attacked.

In response to the violence this morning, President Obama announced that
we are canceling joint military exercises with the Egyptians that were
scheduled for next month.


strongly condemns the steps that have been taken by Egypt`s interim
government and security forces. We deplore violence against civilians.
We support universal rights essential to human dignity, including the
right to peaceful protest.

Let me say that the Egyptian people deserve better than what we`ve seen
over the last several days. And to the Egyptian people, let me say the
cycle of violence and escalation needs to stop.


SMERCONISH: He stopped short of saying that he would cancel the $1.3
billion in aid that we provide Egypt. Already, some are blaming the
president, accusing his administration of dropping the ball and failing
to rein in the Egyptian military.

NBC foreign correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin is in Cairo. Ayman,
thankfully, a quieter day today in Cairo than yesterday. What, if any,
was the reaction to what the American president had to say?

AYMAN MOHYELDIN, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, reaction from the Egyptian
government has been somewhat muted, in fact, no official comments coming
out from either the interim government or the Egyptian military. You
can rest assured that the Egyptian government is in probably some
serious discussions amongst itself as to how it wants to respond,
whether or not it is going to change its course of action as a result of
this new announcement.

But many people here outside of the framework of government don`t see
the U.S. rebuke as being that severe. They are not necessarily that
concerned with how the U.S. has canceled this largely symbolic, and for
the most part, a photo-op of a military exercise between the two
countries. So it is not the kind of strong condemnation who those in
this country that are concerned with the way the military has been

Now, keep in mind, the military still does enjoy a tremendous amount of
support here, especially in wake of what they`ve done recently, but also
in terms of what they did nearly a month ago with the removal of
President Mohamed Morsy. Many see that the military did step in on the
side of the people, and their role has been somewhat welcomed over the
course of the last several weeks in trying to get this country back on
the right track and taking it from the hands of what many people here
are calling, you know, the terrorists of the Muslim Brotherhood.

SMERCONISH: Isn`t this what the start of a civil war looks like?

MOHYELDIN: Well, it`s very difficult to say that at this point. There
are some indications that civil strife may be on the horizon. But to
get into a civil war, a full-out civil war, is somewhat premature.
There are not all the indicators there that that is where the direction
of the country is going for one very simple reason. That is, the Muslim
Brotherhood itself, which is perhaps one of the major players in this
scenario, has renounced violence. They insist that their demonstrations
are going to be peaceful.

But we know for a fact that`s not necessarily the situation on the
ground with many of their supporters. So it is an indication that the
leadership of the organization still subscribes to peaceful
demonstrations, although there are now some cracks within the
organization and we`ve seen a rise of some of the militancy in the Sinai

But as a civil war in a pure sense, that is very difficult to project
right now, given the fact that you still have a very strong, functioning
central government, security forces and state institutions all across
the country.

SMERCONISH: Ayman Mohyeldin, thank you, in Cairo.

For more, I`m joined in Washington by Robin Wright, a senior fellow at
the Woodrow Wilson Center.

Robin, here`s what occurs to me. We`re funding a military leadership
that toppled a democratically elected president and is now responsible
for the deaths of 600 protesters. How do we square that with principle?

challenge for the Obama administration, and I think there`s going to be
a growing debate in Washington about how far to go.

The words today from President Obama were tough. Reaction was rather
modest. I think there`s going to be pressure on the Hill, particularly
from Republicans, to take stronger action. There are a lot of different
permutations that are possible when it comes to U.S. aid.

But I also suspect that the Egyptian military really doesn`t care, that
it`s determined to continue on a charted course, to confront and confine
the Muslim Brotherhood, to basically eliminate it from the political
equation, and to move forward on its own agenda.

And so I suspect that relations between the two countries are likely to
get worse and potentially far worse before they get better.

SMERCONISH: In the Daily Beast today, Peter Beinart called what is
happening in Egypt Obama`s greatest failure -- quote -- "By historical
standards, the Obama administration has presided over few genuine
foreign policy disasters. That`s no accident. Its self-consciously
Hippocratic approach modeled on world-weary pragmatists like Dwight
Eisenhower and George Herbert Walker Bush is designed to avoid them.
But sometimes the refusal to take a bold, principled stand turns out to
be the riskiest course of all."

Respond to that.

WRIGHT: This is an historic moment for the Middle East in the same way
that two-and-a-half years ago the Obama administration took one of the
most imaginative and boldest positions in saying to President Hosni
Mubarak, an ally for 30 years, it`s time to go.

And it was an important precedent in standing on the side of the people
after tolerating autocratic rule for so long. This is a moment that the
administration looks like it is willing to accept a coup, and that is
not going to look good in the history books. So it is a moment of
principle because this is a precedent. Egypt is the most important
country, the cornerstone of the peace process, as well as U.S. relations
with the entire Arab world. So a lot is at stake here.

SMERCONISH: Robin Wright, thank you very much for your time.

WRIGHT: Thank you.

SMERCONISH: Up next: what Bill Clinton could teach President Barack
Obama about dealing with the other side.

And a programming note: You can listen to my radio program weekday
mornings at 9:00 a.m. Eastern on SiriusXM`s POTUS channel, 124.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


SMERCONISH: Back to HARDBALL. Time for the "Sideshow."

Netflix`s "House of Cards" is up for nine Emmys in September, which is
unprecedented for an online series. Leading man Kevin Spacey was on
"The Colbert Report" last night, where he revealed the inspiration
behind his character, the Machiavellian D.C. insider Frank Underwood.
But take a look at what happened afterwards.


KEVIN SPACEY, ACTOR: This character was actually, when it was
originally written, was based on Richard III.


SPACEY: Yes, which is why, in the series, I turn and I talk directly to
the audience, much the same way you do here night after night.


SPACEY: Although, in my case, they listen.


COLBERT: You haven`t won that Emmy yet, Kev.



COLBERT: OK. All right. No, no, no.

SPACEY: No, no, no.

COLBERT: No, no.



SMERCONISH: President Obama spoke out on Egypt this morning before
hitting the golf course with an entourage of White House staff.

Of course, he can look forward to teeing off against Republicans over
the looming threats of a government shutdown when he returns to
Washington. Overcoming D.C. partisanship has become increasingly
difficult over the years. But take a look at this. Former President
Bill Clinton had a creative way to deal with that issue when he was on
vacation 20 years ago.


BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: In Vail, Colorado, this summer
Saturday, President Clinton on what`s being called a working vacation
was part of an interesting golf threesome at a local country club.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jack Nicklaus missed the cut by a stroke at this
week`s PGA Tournament. His consolation, golf in Vail with a couple of
presidents present and past. And it was Gerald Ford, besieged again by
the White House press.



else to talk to the press.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it`s President Clinton who needs help. And the
symbolism of this bipartisan outing was inescapable.

CLINTON: The way I`m going to try to run the rest of my administration.
I don`t ever want the kind of polarization we had the last six months.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clinton desperately needs Republicans to help pass
his two top priorities, a free trade agreement and health care reform.
Gerald Ford promised today to help Clinton out with Republicans.

FORD: We have got a few things where we have similar views.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now with Bill Clinton in hot pursuit of a few
birdies and a few votes in Congress, it looks bipartisan.


SMERCONISH: No word on whether Obama has invited any former presidents
to the vineyard for a round of golf.

Next, just when the Bob Filner scandal couldn`t get any creepier, a new
woman comes forward. His latest accuser is a 67-year-old great-
grandmother from the senior citizens service desk at San Diego`s City
Hall. And then there`s this from U-T TV, a mash-up of the mayor and
Robin Thicke`s "Blurred Lines."




SMERCONISH: And in other news, there`s this sight. This hot dog truck
has been spotted around New York City. It`s the latest homage to
mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, and it`s dispensing free hot dogs. If
Weiner doesn`t become mayor, maybe he has a future in marketing.

Up next, how do we tackle climate change when the right wing in this
country even denies it`s happening?

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


"Market Wrap."

The Dow plunging 225 points today. The S&P 500 was off by 24, and the
Nasdaq down 63. Unemployment claims dropped by 15,000 last week to a
six-year low. The drop is a sign that companies are cutting fewer
workers. Unfortunately, that good news was bad news. A lot of folks
worried that now the Fed will cut back on its stimulus program sooner
rather than later. Meantime, consumer prices edged up 0.2 percent in
July, this as gas prices rose more slowly. Wal-Mart shares down after
the world`s largest retailer reported a sales drop in its quarterly

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


whether we need to act.

The overwhelming judgment of science, of chemistry and physics and
millions of measurements has put all that to rest. Ninety-seven percent
of scientists, including, by the way, some who originally disputed the
data, have now put that to rest. They have acknowledged the planet is
warming and human activity is contributing to it.

So the question now is whether we will have the courage to act before
it`s too late.



That was President Obama earlier this summer laying out a series of
sweeping measures aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Republicans denounced the president`s plan, and while that`s hardly
surprising, some of their reasoning on the issue of climate change is
flat-out shocking. As you heard the president say, the science behind
global warming and man`s contribution to the problem is not in doubt,
but that`s not the way that the Republicans tell it.


REP. JOE BARTON (R), TEXAS: I would point out that if you`re a believer
in the Bible, one would have to say the great flood is an example of
climate change. And that certainly wasn`t because mankind had
overdeveloped hydrocarbon energy.

REP. DANA ROHRABACHER (R), CALIFORNIA: Today`s environmental alarmists
use faulty and in some cases deceitful computer models to prove that the
world is being destroyed one way or the other quite often, and the ones
they`re using in the last 10 years, of course, was the world is being
destroyed by manmade carbon emissions.

SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R), OKLAHOMA: The fact that this all this is
happening is due to manmade gases I really believe is the greatest hoax
ever perpetrated on the American people.


SMERCONISH: Now, it`s worth noting that the last person you saw in that
clip is James Inhofe, a member of the Senate`s Committee on the

Like so many substantive issues in politics today, President Obama has
been tasked to reason with members of the Republican Party with
inflexible and entrenched ideological views. It all comes at a
potentially toxic moment for the GOP, as they look to rebrand their
image as a more reasonable party.

But like so many other issues, their dysfunction and obstruction isn`t
just their own problem, because on an issue as important as the future
of the planet, it`s everybody`s problem.

Chris Hayes is of course the host of "ALL IN" on MSNBC. And he just
finished a new documentary on climate change called "The Politics of
Power," which airs tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

How did this issue become one of those that defines the partisan divide,
like gun control or abortion? Everybody lines up in their usual place.

fascinating, actually, the trajectory of it, because you have basically
opposition based on interest and opposition based on ideology.

And the story of how one converted to the other is really interesting.
The opposition based on interest, the fossil fuel companies, who
understand that it will be their bottom line fundamentally that`s going
to take a hit as we move forwards renewables, and they have done a lot
to fund the denial industry, et cetera.

But what they have also successfully done is gone to the conservative
base and transformed it into a culture war issue. So it`s not an
abstract issue. It`s about you`re going to be told what kind of
lightbulbs to put in. It`s about the liberal conspiracy that`s lying to
you. And they have managed to make it a kind of culturally resonant
issue with the base, so that now that base doesn`t even need the fossil
fuel industry to tell it to hate this. Right?

It has successfully learned to do so.

SMERCONISH: Is it in part what you`re saying then it`s driven by what
those solutions might be and that those who are progressives, they like
what those represent; conservatives do not?

HAYES: That is a big part of it.

What -- Dana Rohrabacher was just speaking a few days ago where he
basically tipped his hand to this. It`s basically, if the planet is
warming, then we will need government intervention. Because we don`t
like government intervention, ergo, the planet cannot be warming.


HAYES: And it`s a reverse-engineered kind of logic that gets them to
opposing it.

SMERCONISH: Chris, polls show that this isn`t a pressing issue for
Americans. That`s an issue that you examine in the documentary. Let`s
take a look at your work.


HAYES: According to a recent Gallup poll, only one-third of Americans
are greatly worried about climate change. What can possibly explain
this apathy, when 99.8 percent of scientific study support the existence
of human-caused global warming?

Well, some of the credit goes to the so-called experts who peddle
dubious science to counter any government attempt to tackle the issue,
the deniers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you do nothing about this at all, for the whole
of the next 23 years, the worst that will happen, using the U.N.`s own
estimates, is a one Fahrenheit degree warming, which will be largely
harmless and beneficial.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it`s really important for people to
realize that climate change denial has nothing to do with science.
These people are for hire. They do not have any real scientific

HAYES: Not surprisingly, some of the funding for climate change denial
comes from the very industry with the most to lose, fossil fuel

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s obvious why they want climate change not to be
true. As long as climate change is not true, then we can keep selling
coal, natural gas, and oil, so remove the cause and your business is


SMERCONISH: And yet I hear that same argument being made from the other
side. They say, well, this is all about getting funding research. And
that`s why all these scientists are buying into the notion of climate

HAYES: Oh, you`re saying the denialists.


HAYES: Yes. I think...


SMERCONISH: They say it`s a gravy train.

HAYES: You would have to posit an unbelievably, unprecedented
distributed conspiracy of essentially untold proportions to think that
were the case.

And, in fact, given the fact the amount of money there is on the other
side, given the money that fossil fuel companies would love to lavish on
any research scientist who was credibly finding dissension from the
consensus, there is actually -- there would be a huge market for that.

SMERCONISH: Right. You want to be the individual who could disprove...


HAYES: Exactly. You would -- you would have -- you would be
celebrated. You would get -- you would get a lifetime grant, probably,
from numerous fossil fuel companies.

I mean, the fact of the matter is, I actually think in some ways we talk
about denial, because it`s very important to understand the contours of
the politics, but it is losing steam. In fact, you have already seen
conservatives switching from denial to an argument about futility. I
see it all the time now.

Even the conservatives in my Twitter feed who are yelling at me about
this special, they say, well, China and India are going to keep pumping
it, and we can`t do anything about it. You can`t do anything about.

SMERCONISH: What is the answer to that? What is the answer to, we
can`t do it single-handedly, and Russia and China, unless there`s a
movement afoot in those countries that`s successful?

HAYES: Two answers.

One, there are indigenous movements around the world. There are
movements in China. There are movements in India to deal with the
problem. Number two is, it certainly is not the case we can do it if we
don`t do something at home first.

I mean, the necessary precondition to have that conversation with the
Chinese and with the Indians and with the Russians and the Brazilians is
for us to get our house in order. And then we have the credibility to
actually come to the table internationally and really start working
towards something international.

SMERCONISH: Thank you, Chris Hayes.

"The Politics of Power" premieres tomorrow night at 8:00 Eastern right
here on MSNBC.

Up next, when history happened, he was there. The new movie about the
man who served far longer in the White House than any president.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


SMERCONISH: Three Arizona lawmakers want the federal government to send
relief aid to the victims of the Arizona wildfires, even though they
voted against relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy. Senators John
McCain and Jeff Flake and Congressman Paul Gosar say that FEMA isn`t
doing enough to help wildfire victims in their state. FEMA helped
firefighters battling the June blaze but did not declare the town of
Yarnell, Arizona, a federal disaster area, saying the damage to private
homes there was within the capabilities of state and local agencies.

Back in January, McCain, Flake, and Gosar all voted against the $50
billion Sandy relief package. McCain questioned whether some of the aid
was going to help those affected and Gosar even voted against a bare-
bones $9 billion funding bill, one of just 67 members to do so.

We`ll be right back.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re very popular around here. Everyone says
you`re the man that got them to raise the promotions. I had no idea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wish I could take credit for that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`d like to invite you to the state dinner next

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m going to be, Mrs. Reagan.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, not as a butler, Cecil. I`m inviting you as a

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the president prefers for me to serve in person.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don`t you worry about Ronnie. I`ll take care of
that. So we`ll see you next week, you and your wife.




SMERCONISH: Hey, we`re back.

That was a scene from the new movie "The Butler," which opens this

The movie`s inspired by the real-life story of Eugene Allen, a White
House butler who spent decades serving U.S. presidents.

In 2008, as Barack Obama was campaigning to become the nation`s fist
African-American president, "Washington Post" reporter Wil Haygood set
out to find an African-American who worked in the White House before the
idea of a black president ever seemed possible. His article, "A Butler
Well-Served by This Election," was published in the aftermath of the
election, and here`s how it describes Mr. Allen.

Quote, "President Truman called him Gene, President Ford liked to talk
golf with him. He saw eight presidential administrations come and go,
often working six days a week. He was there while America`s racial
history was being remade, Brown versus the Boards of Education, the
Little Rock school crises, the1963 march on Washington, the city`s
burning, the civil rights bills, the assassinations. When he started at
the White House in 1952 he couldn`t even use the public restrooms when
he ventured back to his native Virginia."

The writer of that article Wil Haygood joins us now. He`s also the
author of the new book "The Butler: A Witness to History."

And Ron Reagan knew Gene Allen from his father`s White House years.

Wil, I remember that tremendous column you wrote. I think we all do.
How did you first get on to the story?

WIL HAYGOOD, THE WASHINGTON POST: I had wanted to find somebody who
worked in the White House during the era of segregation and -- because I
thought that then-Senator Obama was going to win. I just felt it in my

And so, I launched a nationwide search looking for someone, and someone
down in Florida told me about this man who they thought had served in
three administrations. When I finally tracked down Mr. Allen after 57
phone calls, he let me know very clearly and very pridefully that he had
actually worked for eight administrations.

SMERCONISH: Wow. I know so many of us are anxious to go out this
weekend and see the movie. How loyal is it to the real story?

HAYGOOD: I think that the arc of the movie certainly gets Mr. Allen
beautifully. But, of course, Hollywood, the great director Lee Daniels,
has taken some artistic license, but I think it all serves the story
quite well, and I think everybody will realize that the movie is
unequivocally based on the life of this astonishing man who served eight

SMERCONISH: Ron Reagan, what do you remember about meeting the real
Eugene Allen?

RON REAGAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Eugene Allen would have been
one of the first people my parents encountered when they entered the
White House in 1981. In fact, I remember meeting him there after the
inauguration. And they developed an immediate and really profound
respect for him, not as a butler per se but as a compendium of knowledge
about the White House. He was an immensely dignified, enormously
competent man.

And you realized really that you were in his house in a sense when you
were in the White House. You were just passing through. All these
presidents that come and go, you know, that`s one thing, but Eugene
Allen stayed. And he made you feel like you`re in his house but as a
very gracious host.

SMERCONISH: Hey, let`s make clear that your mother inviting him to a
state dinner is not Hollywood fiction. That happened.

REAGAN: No. Yes, indeed. He was retiring shortly thereafter. And
they really did want to do something nice for him, because they just
loved the guy. They were really crazy about him. They thought he has
never been to a state dinner except to serve at the dinner. Let`s have
him and his wife actually as our guests. They thought that was the most
natural thing to do.

SMERCONISH: I`m dying to know. How does your mother feel about Jane
Fonda playing her in the movie?

REAGAN: She is kind of tickled. She gets the irony of that. I`m sure
Jane Fonda does, too. She is tickled and looking forward to seeing it.
I don`t think she has seen it yet.

SMERCONISH: Wil Haygood, discretion is such an important part of this
job that individuals who serve the first family play.

HAYGOOD: Yes, it is. And I think that`s why they trusted Mr. Allen.
He really -- he really took care of their secrets. And I think also the
leaders of the free world who live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, they`re
very learned men. They all knew about the Emmett Till murder, the
Medgar Evers murder, the Little Rock school crisis. These events
happened on their watch.

And so they had to know that this was having a deep personal effect upon
Mr. Allen, especially in the years he was serving at the White House
before the big civil rights bills.

SMERCONISH: Let`s take a look at another clip from the movie depicting
a huge generational guide between Forest Whittaker who plays Eugene
Allen, his inspired character, and his son.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What was the name of that movie, honey?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "In the Heat of the Night".

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "In the Heat of the Night" with Sidney Poitier?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sidney Poitier is a white man`s fantasy of what he
wants us to be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you talking about? He just won the Academy
Award. He is breaking down barriers for all of us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By being white. By acting white. Sidney Poitier is
nothing but an original baton (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at you. All puffed up. Your hat on your head,
coming here saying whatever you want. You need to go.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get the hell out of my house. Get on out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now everybody just sit down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m sorry, Mr. Butler, I didn`t mean to make fun of
your hero.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everything you are and everything you have is
because of that butler.


SMERCONISH: You can see it`s an all-star cast. Ronald Reagan, on that
last subject of discretion, the folks who serve first family, they
really do know where all the bodies are buried. And what a wonderful
thing that in a 24/7 news world bubble in which we live, there is still
a keeper of secrets.

REAGAN: It`s true. I can remember being in the White House in 1986 and
having an argument over dinner with my father about Iran Contra,
actually, and we adjourned to the living quarters, and things got a
little more heated. I was really giving to it old man. I was in my 20s
and all.

And suddenly I looked up and there was one of the ushers with a tray of
decaf coffee for after dinner. And I thought oh my God, I`ve been
venting here in front of this person. But then I realized absolute
discretion on their part, they`ve heard much worse, I`m sure. Nothing
ever leaks from the White House from the steward`s office there.

SMERCONISH: Wil Haygood, congratulations. I remember, as I say, in
2008, a couple of days after the election, we should point out that the
butler`s wife didn`t live to see the election of President Obama. And
they had made plans as you pointed out in that piece to go and to vote

It with us the sort of thing I can remember sharing with friends. And I
guess I just wanted to say thanks for finding the story and now being in
a position to be able to bring to it the big screen. We`re all looking
forward to seeing it.

Thank you both.

HAYGOOD: Thank you so very much.

SMERCONISH: All right. Wil Haygood and Ronald Reagan.

We`ll come back to HARDBALL right after this.


SMERCONISH: Let me finish with this:

Congressmen Charlie Dent and Jim Matheson belong to opposite parties and
represent districts on different sides of the country, but they have
something important in common: neither is an ideologue. They are both
no labels` problem solvers. Each has evidenced an independent streak in
the House.

And now, they want to make it easier for voters to respond in kind.
They`re trying to end straight-party voting in federal elections.

Dent is a Republican who comes from Pennsylvania`s 15th congressional
district in the Lehigh Valley.

Matheson is a Democrat from Utah`s 4th congressional district, which
stretches from parts of Salt Lake City in the north to Spring City in
Sanpete County in the south.

Pennsylvania and Utah are two of just fifteen states that still allow
the practice of voters pulling a straight-party lever instead of making
individual selections in elections.

If the People before Party Act sponsored by Dent and Matheson becomes
law, voters would need to make individual selections for Congress,
Senate and the presidency

Now, nothing would preclude a voter from selecting all Republicans or
all Democrats, but they`d have to get there in three steps instead of
one. The two congressmen are hoping that forcing voters to vote for
individual names instead of party labels will limit severe partisanship.

Matheson told me that when voters can, quote, "walk in, open the first
page of a ballot, punch a party label and walk out," it diminishes their
vote. He said it means we`re not looking at individuals, we`re just
looking at party.

Supporters of straight-party balloting say that it guarantees that less
publicized races are not ignored on the ballot. Those who seek to end
the practice counter that it will spur consideration of independents and
minor party candidates.

Not surprisingly, Matheson told me the parties are not pleased with his
effort to upset the status quo.

And according to Dr. Randall M. Miller, a professor of history at St.
Joseph`s University, the history of straight party voting stems from
patronage. Miller said the straight-party balloting has declined
sharply with baby boomers who are more inclined to split tickets. But
he questions the appeal of banning the method. The real problem with
partisanship, says Dr. Miller, is not straight-party voting, but hyper-
partisan districts created by gerrymandering.

Well, Miller is right. Nate Silver has documented the decline of
competitive districts at the FiveThirtyEight blog. In 1992, there were
102 competitive districts, and now, there are only 35.

But if we want to support problem solvers like Dent and Matheson, we can
take a step forward by forcing voters to make multiple choices instead
of pulling just one lever.

That`s HARDBALL for now. Thank you for being with us.

"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.


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