August 19, 2013
Guests: Amy Davidson, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Lee Daniels, Greg Louganis
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Hillary`s ahead of schedule, but who`s driving
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews, back in Washington.
In the news tonight, Hillary Clinton way ahead of schedule. Suddenly, it`s
as if she`s the next president, even if Barack Obama is still president.
But wait. Wait a minute. It wasn`t supposed to be like this. The Hillary
bandwagon wasn`t set to rumble off until after the 2014 elections, until
the Hillary forces were fully organized and ready to make their kick. So
why suddenly does it feel like she`s right there in the driver`s seat?
Well, people who want jobs and policy are either positioning themselves
already for a role in Hillary`s government or acting to lock in positions
they have with either her or the few people she would give the authority to
hire for her. Why does it feel like the train has already left the
And what does this mean for the other side? If the Republicans out there
who are also looking for jobs in 2016 and who need to win to get those
jobs, if they see Hillary on the move already, does that mean they`re more
likely to push a candidate who actually has a good chance of boxing her out
from the center, those people in the middle politically?
In other words, New Jersey governor Chris Christie. Does this help give
him a leg up? And speaking of boxing out, is that what the earlier than
expected coming of Hillary`s doing to President Obama? He`s still in the
inaugural year of his second term for (ph) all (ph). Is he getting brushed
aside from the rush for jobs and connections to a president who`s yet to
take office, who might actually never take office?
And who`s to blame for all this Hillary action right now? A two feisty
crowd pushing Hillary, a bored political class this August, a media -- OK,
I`m part of it -- looking too hungry for the next big story, or is it the
president in the Oval Office?
Is the reason Hillary`s getting all this attention, the reason the former
secretary of state is getting the big buildup, because the man in the White
House and the fire and excitement for action with three years to get things
done is so dimly lit right now?
Well, "The Washington Post`s" Chris Cillizza knows this stuff. He`s an
MSNBC political analyst. And Amy Davidson is senior editor for beautiful,
well-written, exquisitely put together "New Yorker" magazine.
Thank you. I want to start with Chris. By the way, great column this
morning in "The Post," "The Washington Post," about the sort of the -- the
oil and water aspect of -- of what`s his name, Rand Paul, who`s name I`ll
learn to say much more quickly, and Chris Christie.
CHRIS CILLIZZA, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you, sir.
MATTHEWS: They don`t have nothing in common! It`s like that mean "The
Candidate." We ain`t got nothing in common.
CILLIZZA: Not a lot.
MATTHEWS: But let`s talk about -- well, let`s talk about the Dems.
MATTHEWS: The Democratic Party used to be the party where all the fight
was. There was always a fight between left and right -- pro-war, anti-war,
Civil Rights, anti-Civil Rights, the old seggies hanging in there. And now
it seems to be a party of sort of a general agreement. It`s sort of the
But I`ve noticed something over the weekend. The slow sort of -- what do
you call it, that thing where you change color to meet the background, the
fitting-in thing in the animal -- the animal seems to be --
MATTHEWS: The chameleon. The chameleon party seems to be changing color
to a Hillary background, rather than an Obama background. And I know you,
reporting on the phone all day, must be hearing this.
CILLIZZA: Well, you know, what you hit on in the intro, Chris, is right, I
think, which is I will say I am struck by how aggressive and how public she
herself is being with this series of speeches. She`s given one, she`s
going to give two more, on sort of big topics, on voting rights, foreign
policy, going to talk about national security.
There`s no way to interpret those kind of speeches except laying the
groundwork for 2016. And I`ll add one other quick thing to it, which is
the Hillary -- the Ready for Hillary super-PAC -- the extent to which real
Clinton hands -- I`m not talking about, you know, sort of lower-level
operatives -- Harold Ickes, huge fund-raisers, huge factor in the sort of
Clinton world -- he is affiliated with it. Some of the Obama folks, Jeremy
Bird (ph) and Mitch Stewart (ph), two folks who were very involved in the
Obama field organization -- they`re affiliated with it.
I guarantee you -- and Chris, you know this -- if Hillary Clinton or
someone in her world said to Harold Ickes, You know what? Don`t get
involved with this right now, it`s just going to spur this thing out of
control, we don`t want it to start it, Harold Ickes would not be involved.
So there`s both --
MATTHEWS: You`re so right. I think people are so talking. The old joke
is, are they measuring the drapes. Well, let`s be more practical, Amy.
They`re already talking about who should be chief of staff. Tom Nye (ph)
should have the job. I was pushing Eddie Rendell. Maybe he wouldn`t want
it, maybe he wouldn`t get it. But they`re already pushing Tom Nye.
They`re already doing the deck chairs. They`re moving -- this is 2013.
It`s the first year of Obama`s second term, and they`re already talking
about Hillary and who`s going to do what in what -- are we ahead of
schedule on purpose, or is this just sheer accident? Have they blown it by
getting out too fast, or is it just smart to keep Biden out of the race?
AMY DAVIDSON, "THE NEW YORKER": I don`t think it`s an accident. I think
you need to look a little bit at where she`s coming from. She came from a
highly visible role as secretary of state. I`m not sure that she knows how
not to be visible at this stage in her life after --
DAVIDSON: -- after all of the places she`s been and the way she`s been
doing it. But what`s really interesting in terms of Obama`s visibility is
that even as her secretary of stateship seems more and more now about --
having been about her and about her stature and less and less about really
crystallizing an Obama agenda -- and so now his foreign policy feels really
a little vacant, especially in the face of the crisis in Egypt and the NSA
MATTHEWS: Well, I would give him more credit than that. I think John
Kerry is doing a hell of a job --
DAVIDSON: And she`s -- he is --
MATTHEWS: -- bringing together the Middle East sides --
DAVIDSON: -- but at the same time --
MATTHEWS: -- because Hillary hadn`t done that. In all fairness to him,
he`s done what she hadn`t yet done. That`s the fact.
DAVIDSON: It`s true. I mean, but look at her luck, in a way. She left
the secretary of stateship before she had to deal with questions like
Edward Snowden`s passport --
DAVIDSON: -- or the crisis in Egypt. So now it really can be about --
about her and about her candidacy.
MATTHEWS: OK, well, the "New York Times," Amy, now has a reporter, a desk
editor, whose entire job at "The New York Times" -- Cillizza, back to you
on the daily news beat here.
MATTHEWS: Your competition is in "The New York Times." There`s actually
an editor there -- this woman has been assigned the job of Hillary editor.
That`s how close it`s gotten.
CILLIZZA: Look, Chris, you know, people always say -- people always say to
me -- because I write a lot about this stuff, unapologetically so. People
always say, It`s too early.
Look, if you think that no one who is thinking about running for president
makes their decision until after the 2014 election, you`re just wrong.
Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker --
CILLIZZA: -- you know, that`s -- Martin O`Malley, Joe Biden -- there`s a
story in "The Wall Street Journal" today --
CILLIZZA: -- Joe Biden says he might run regardless. This is a huge
process. I always compare it to an iceberg. The little part that people
see above the water, your average voter sees above the water -- there`s a
giant formation below the water that`s all of the stuff we`re talking about
So look, you cover it if it`s news. I think there is news there. She is
acting in political ways on a political landscape. And I think we all need
to write about that.
MATTHEWS: OK, let`s --
MATTHEWS: Amy, what`s the first year you can run for class president? Is
it high school freshman year? These guys and women show their hand that
day. Thirteen years old, they run for the -- I mean, Hillary Clinton was
the star of her graduating class at Wellesley. And no doubt about it from
the beginning, before she ever met this guy named Bill from Arkansas, she
had her eye on the prize.
This is something that comes with the territory, usually the guys, but here
we have a woman. And by the way, I think the women`s movement behind
Hillary is bigger than her. I think the reason she will win -- or run and
maybe win, maybe well win, is the power of women my age who want her to be
DAVIDSON: I think --
MATTHEWS: It is overwhelming power base that has little or nothing to do
with the tactics of her race. Your thoughts.
DAVIDSON: I think that there`s definitely that. But you know, you also
look at the other reasons that she`s been in the news and her campaign has
been in the news. And one of them in New York is Anthony Weiner and the
fact that somebody on her staff, Huma Abedin, was involved -- her husband
has been involved in this scandal and is running for mayor of New York and
gets asked about what Huma`s job might be on the campaign.
So there are these other slightly random factors --
DAVIDSON: -- that have pushed it forward and have made it sort of a
complicated question for women, as well, because it also brings up the
whole question of the Clinton marriage and the choices that she`s made. So
there`s that, too. It`s not -- I`m not sure that it`s -- for women of
every age, it`s overwhelmingly, unambiguously exciting to have Hillary be
the standard bearer for that.
MATTHEWS: Yes, but I`ll talk about women my age I`ve had to deal with,
like, close to home. And I got to tell you that Hillary has done so much
in her career that I think that overwhelms everything else.
Anyway, today on "MORNING JOE," NBC`s Chuck Todd said there have been
unintended consequences of the big Hillary Clinton push and becoming so
visible. And there we have also joining him is former White House press
secretary Robert Gibbs. He made a similar point on "MEET THE PRESS" just
Let`s listen to them both.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK TODD, NBC WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT/POLITICAL DIR.: There`s lame
duck status happens to any second term president in two phases. One is in
Washington in the ongoing back and forth with Congress. At some point, you
sort of just run out of political capital. The president is running up
against the clock on that over the next year.
But then the second phase, of course, is, Are you leader of your own party?
And at some point, the outgoing president is no longer -- you know, sort of
a -- is a -- is a leader at large but is no longer the rallying point.
And if you`re Barack Obama, you want that to start as late as you possibly
can. Nobody`s saying that this is what Hillary Clinton`s trying to do or
anything like that, but this is an unintended consequence and it`s going to
make it harder for Barack Obama to stay leader -- you know, to sort of be
able to marshal resources.
ROBERT GIBBS, FMR. WHITE HOUSE PRESS SEC., NBC POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: I
completely agree with Chuck. I, as a strategist, am fairly floored that
she has decided to enter the public fray so quickly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow. What do you make of that? What do you make of that, Amy?
DAVIDSON: Well, it`s interesting because, you know, we were at a stage
where we were going from Bush to Clinton to Bush, and then suddenly we`re
back at a Clinton. And it does have the effect of making the Obama
presidency seem what Republicans in one way always hoped it was, an
interlude. And it sort of makes it seem like a historical detour, and now
we`re back to the story that we already know.
But -- and there are advantages to that for her. But also, there is that
sense -- I think Chuck is totally right -- of just feeling a little -- a
little tired and a little early.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I get the -- I get the feeling that the president`s become
reactive. I mean, I was once warned, Don`t be reactive, Amy. No, stay
with you. I mean, this idea of spending your life reactively -- he gets a
bad headline in "The New York Times" about the Egyptian military going well
beyond what they should have done in terms of security over there, and all
of a sudden, he has a press conference the next day, a reaction to
That`s dangerous when a president begins to be not a protean case of
himself doing what he wants to do, why he was elected to be there, but
simply reacting to events. That doesn`t look strong. It looks to me
DAVIDSON: Whatever you would say about the Clintons, they`re not just
reactive. "Protean" is a word that was always used about Bill Clinton and
that way of disrupting. And changing and setting an agenda and telling a
new story is something that they have been able to do, and that maybe
they`re distracting Obama from really figuring out his own way of doing
MATTHEWS: OK. Well, your bet, Chris -- I know you don`t bet, so I`m
always pushing you to bet because Broder, one of your great-grandfathers,
told you not to do this because he never -- he never predicted either.
Will -- and he was the greatest. Why do you think Joe Biden might -- now,
this is the way I`m phrasing it -- why would he might take on Hillary for
the nomination fight, if it came to that.
CILLIZZA: Well --
MATTHEWS: Knowing he`s facing her.
CILLIZZA: Yes, I mean, I think it`s simple. He would like to be the
president of the United States. I always tell people that the best
indicator of whether someone will run or not is, Have they run before? Joe
Biden has run for president twice before, `87-`88, and 2008.
I think he sees -- he is as close to the job as anyone. He sees and
believes in his heart of hearts he`s the best person to do the job.
My guess, though, Chris is that this is -- I think that Joe Biden -- he
might do it regardless -- is much more about if Hillary doesn`t run. I
know the speculation is, Well, if she runs, he might run, too. But I think
it`s really -- this trip he`s going to make to Iowa next month to be at the
Tom Harkin steak fry -- I think all that`s about saying, Hey, Martin
O`Malley, Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, all the other people out
there if Hillary doesn`t run, I`m the top dog if she`s not in this race --
CILLIZZA: -- and I`m in this race if she`s not in. I can`t see him
ultimately running against Hillary in what would amount to basically a one
v. one because I don`t think any other serious candidate --
MATTHEWS: I agree. I agree. By the way, the way you described that is
because -- they run before is a sign they`ll run again -- it`s like, Where
do you find a baseball manager in the major leagues? Look for somebody
that`s been fired in the last three or four years.
CILLIZZA: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Chris Cillizza and Amy Davidson. Thanks for
joining us. Great to have you on, Amy. Great magazine, by the way.
Coming up: Stop and frisk. A judge has limited it dramatically, and many
have criticized it. But tonight, we`re going to hear from someone who says
that the policy of "stop and frisking," if done right, is saving lives. In
fact, it`s saving the lives of the very people who you would think would be
opposed to this, those who live in tough, dangerous neighborhoods. He`s
got the numbers, he says, to prove it.
Also, a lot of people say the U.S. should boycott the winter Olympic Games
in Russia coming up this winter because of Russia`s new anti-gay laws.
Well, Olympic gold medal winner -- actually, great diver Greg Louganis
joins us tonight to say, actually, that`s not his suggestion.
But next, it`s been 50 years since Martin Luther King, Jr.`s, "I have a
dream" speech, and nearly that long since the passing of the Civil Rights
Act in 1964. And now "The Butler," the movie based on a man who worked in
the White House for eight presidents. It`s the nation`s top-grossing
movie. I saw it last night. It is quite a movie. Cuba Gooding, who pops
out in the movie so dramatically and wonderfully -- he`s joining us in just
a minute live.
And "Let Me Finish" tonight with our new time slot, exclusively at 7:00 PM
Eastern. I got to talk to you about your -- our new viewing habits, you
and I together.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, here we`re back at it. San Diego mayor Bob Filner was due
to return to city hall today, but he didn`t show up. And some city
residents out there in San Diego are taking steps to make sure he goes for
good -- goes away.
Yesterday was the first day for recall supporters to collect signatures.
They have to collect more than 100,000 in 39 days to move ahead with the
recall. Anti-Filner protests -- you can see them there -- continue to
picket outside city hall. So far, 16 women have come forward to accuse
Filner of sexual harassment.
And we`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, next week, obviously, marks --
this weekend marks the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington, of
course, a seminal event in the Civil Rights movement and the setting --
look at this -- for one of the most famous speeches in U.S. history, Martin
Luther King`s "I have a dream" speech, which I`ve said today I think is the
second best speech ever given in this country, right up there with
Lincoln`s second inaugural.
Anyway, this week starts with a dramatic reminder of a portion of the arc
of race relations in this country with the movie "Lee Daniels` The Butler"
-- we`re going to call it "The Butler" -- which debuted at number one in
the box office over the weekend, made $25 million.
It is a movie that was inspired by the life of an African-American White
House butler who actually in real life served from Harry Truman to Ronald
Reagan over 34 years, spanning some of the most important years, of course,
of the Civil Rights movement, starting with the federal troops going into
Little Rock in the `50s.
Anyway, the starring role in "The Butler" is played by Forest Whitaker, who
-- and Cuba Gooding, who`s unbelievable in this movie. He plays his co-
worker in the White House. In this clip, he welcomes -- here`s Cuba
Gooding`s character welcoming the new guy on the block, the new kid on the
block, Forest Whitaker, to the back rooms of the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CUBA GOODING, JR., ACTOR: There he is! Heard you were coming. What`s
your name (INAUDIBLE)
FOREST WHITAKER, ACTOR: Cecil Gains.
GOODING: Cecil Gains. I`m Carter Wilson, the head butler. Don`t worry
about big Mo behind you. That brother`d steal your wallet before you even
knew it. This brother in the mirror (ph) over here, his name`s James
Holloway (ph). He`s my second in command.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
GOODING: Why don`t you shake the man`s hand first before you start asking
difficult questions like that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just want to know where the man`s coming from.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looks like the jury`s still out on that one, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) give you the tour yet?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He did. Did you dodge (ph) the students (ph)?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I might be able to answer at question if Carter over
here will stop running his nasty mouth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That was Lenny Kravitz, of course, over there at the basin (ph).
Joining me right now is Academy-award-winning actor Cuba Gooding, JR., and
the movie`s director, Lee Daniels.
Guys, you did it. Last night, I saw it at the Avalon Theater in D.C. You
got one customer. And when I start selling a movie, I never stop. What I
loved about it was the education.
MATTHEWS: Are you guys having a conversation up there without me?
(INAUDIBLE) let me in on this, OK?
GOODING: First off, thank you for all the wonderful things you said about
the movie. We love to you death anyway.
MATTHEWS: It`s all true. I couldn`t hear a thing.
LEE DANIELS, DIRECTOR: I couldn`t hear a thing.
GOODING: But he couldn`t hear a thing. His earpiece --
MATTHEWS: Just assume it`s fabulous. Here`s the story. What I came away
from, not just the sweetness of the characters -- and you were -- you
popped, Cuba. You just popped out of that room from that first scene
because every once in a while, I`m getting down with Forest Whitaker`s
character because he`s like Job. He`s taking this like an Old Testament
character. How much more of this crap can he take from history, from his
kids, from his wife, who`s cheating on him? How much can he take? And he
keeps taking it.
And you have this effervescence, and you`re alive and you`re enjoying who
you are and you`re helping the kid out when he`s in trouble secretly from
the old man. You`re giving him money but saying, Give me that money back.
It was just a great snappy character.
But what I want to go back to Lee on this question is -- first of all, tell
me about your character, what it meant to you to play in the White House
there as a butler behind the scenes, but yet a man on top of things?
GOODING: It was great.
It was great, because with this particular story is, it`s easy to make
these butlers seem one-dimensional and without emotion and life, almost
like dehumanize them. They had to be in a room and be invisible in the
So Lenny Kravitz and I had a real opportunity to be behind the scenes and
just let our hair down, so to speak, and to get, you know, Forest`s butler
to laugh and just experience life. And in the -- particularly in those
scenes in the house, it was just an opportunity.
I mean, Lee was throwing stuff, threw a parrot at us during one scene, had
me doing the James Brown and all that, just to show that these were just
human people so that the audience could connect with them.
MATTHEWS: You know, Lee, I don`t know if you thought about this, but I`m
going to ask you, because I`m one of those guys who is a movie nut going
back to the `20s movies, John Ford movies. Can you hear me?
GOODING: No, he can`t hear you.
MATTHEWS: Well, maybe you can translate here.
Here`s what I want to know.
LEE DANIELS, DIRECTOR: I can hear you. Go.
MATTHEWS: Here`s what I want to know.
MATTHEWS: Black history.
MATTHEWS: What just reeks -- this movie reeks of black history. It`s a
little bit like "Forrest Gump" because the young guy is -- the son is
playing -- he`s in Selma. He`s a Freedom Rider. He`s a Black Panther.
He`s everybody. He`s everywhere.
But the thing that hit me was, black folk in this country, African-
Americans, not people from the Caribbean or anywhere else or mixed
background, like the president, your history in this country is so deep and
it goes so far back to the beginnings of the colonization of this country.
And you have seen all the white people performance. You have seen all of
us, just like you have seen all the presidents.
It`s a sweeping look at how blacks are the real deep down Americans. And
your history is American history. And that`s what grabbed me about that
movie last night.
DANIELS: Thank you.
That`s what -- I did it originally. I did the film originally so that --
because, to me, it`s a father and son love story. And what I found out
that it was -- when we were doing the -- when we did the bus scene and the
Woolworths scene, the sit-ins, I found out it was deeper than just a father
and son love story, that it is an American story. It`s the civil rights
movement and that the civil rights movement is American history.
American history is the civil rights movement. We didn`t ask to be brought
over here and we didn`t ask for those atrocities to happen to us post us
being freed as slaves. It`s -- it was a magical experience, a learning
experience for me.
MATTHEWS: Cuba, in what you could see as an African-American, just as an
American, you can see this, the way blacks have to talk to white people,
you know, because the white people maybe have power in situations and you
have to put up with the B.S., if you will, of acting a certain way like
you`re happy when you`re not, you`re subservient when you don`t feel
subservient, and all that.
MATTHEWS: What did that mean to you as you learned the way this movie is
portraying the black experience of living in two ways, the white way you
have to show yourself and the real family way and friend way you behave?
GOODING: Well, I got to be honest with you, Chris. When I read this
script, I thought that that was such a powerful mechanism to use to show
the civil rights era, not an opinionated, biased approach, but an open
approach explaining two ideologies, one being representative of the
teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, where we should be representative of a
people and accessible as a people and professional and act eloquently and
And then you had the other teachings of Malcolm X, who said by any means
necessary we will get the respect that we deserve, until he later changed
his views. But this film steams encompass both of these trains of thoughts
through the relationship that is specific between the Cecil Gaines
character and his son.
GOODING: And it was interesting because it wasn`t just about race. It was
about a parent and a son growing and evolving in their relationship.
And one -- you know, all the misunderstandings and misgivings that we all
have with our teenage children, and how we have to give them the tools for
them to be, you know, independent and strong and fierce, and at the same
time not be too overbearing on our own opinions on what they believe.
GOODING: And I think that`s what`s so beautiful about this movie is the
statement as it opens a dialogue so that kids today can learn what we as
Americans, white and black, fought and struggled for during the sit-ins,
during the Freedom Rider bus situations --
GOODING: -- and how we were -- we have been enriched by Americans
because of that experience.
And, you know, like I have been saying in all these interviews, we travel
foreign a lot. And the American brand has been beaten up. And if they
knew where we have come from as a people, they`d understand that President
Barack Obama is a natural progression of things, to have a black president
of such a wonderful nation.
MATTHEWS: Well, Lee Daniels, congratulations. I hope this movie wins
every weekend for the next three months.
And I got to tell you, I will never know what it`s like to be black.
MATTHEWS: I think every American --
GOODING: You got a little soul in you , Chris. Come on.
DANIELS: Here`s the thing, Chris.
MATTHEWS: This movie gives you a hint, a hint of what you think it might
be like, because it`s so rich and because it`s conflicting.
You got Oprah Winfrey, who was wonderful in this movie, who is doing some
cheating, she`s drinking too much. She straightened herself out at one
point, stopping drinking, staying faithful to her husband later on, a mixed
person with problems.
You got the young good-looking woman with the afro here who is not a good
person. You got the son, who is a mixed bag. You got the other son, who
is this loyal American who gets killed in Vietnam. There`s so much
richness to this story.
DANIELS: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: It`s about people and it`s about our country. You should be so
GOODING: Thank you, Chris.
DANIELS: Chris, what I have learned is, is that what I walked away with
this film was that it wasn`t -- as an African-American, you think that we
as black people were the only people that experienced the civil rights
But there were so many white people, just as many, that were killed trying
to help America with the civil rights movement. So, that was my learning
experience from it. And I that hope everybody will walk away with that
MATTHEWS: Yes, two of those three guys burned alive were white.
Thank you, Cuba Gooding.
And thank you. What a great performance you did. You`re going to get an
Oscar nomination, sir. You are going to get one.
GOODING: Oh, my goodness.
MATTHEWS: Oh, you are going to get one. You were great.
GOODING: We`re already dealing with one O. in the movie, and that`s Oprah.
All right? So back off a little bit.
MATTHEWS: She is going to win one too. But the other guy, Whitaker, is
getting the big one.
Anyway, thank you, Lee Daniels. Great work, fabulous, historic work.
MATTHEWS: Up next: It`s America`s biggest yard sale, if you will, and if
you ever wanted a souvenir from the war in Afghanistan, now is your chance,
if you want a Humvee.
And a very important programming note. And it couldn`t be more important
from this room. Starting next Monday, one week from today, you can catch
HARDBALL exclusively at 7:00 Eastern, no more 5:00.
I`m going to talk about that at the end of the show. For those of you who
watch us at 5:00 eastern, starting next week, you are going to need to tune
in at 7:00, at 7:00. And don`t worry. I`m going to keep reminding you all
this week about that.
We`re going exclusively at 7:00 Eastern. So we`re going to have to share
some time at a different time.
Anyway, that`s HARDBALL. I`m HARDBALL. It`s the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL, and time for the "Sideshow."
If you have ever dreamed of taking a joyride around the neighbored in a
camouflaged five-ton cargo truck, well, now is your chance -- $50 billion
worth of military hardware used over the last 14 years in Afghanistan will
be coming home over the next 16 months. And, believe it or not, some of it
can be yours at govliquidation.com.
There it is. It`s like eBay for the Department of Defense. The site
publicly auctions everything from aircraft parts and cranes to vending
machines and household appliances. It`s made more than $500 million for
the Department of Defense as of 2011.
But the drawdown in Afghanistan, which is the largest pullout in American
history, means that they will have a lot more inventory in the coming
Next up, a San Diego radio show took to the skies last Friday to send a
not-so-subtle message to besieged Mayor Bob Filner. "Surrender," it said.
Filner has refused to resign and is now facing a recall effort. The
skywriting was an homage to the famous scene from "The Wizard of Oz,"
although, in this case, nobody expects a happy outcome.
Now, catch this. U.S. Congressman -- actually, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz
released his birth certificate on Sunday to prove to naysayers that he is
indeed a natural-born U.S. citizen. But, according to "The Dallas Morning
News," he may also be a Canadian citizen as well.
After consulting with Canadian legal scholars, the paper reported -- quote
-- "Born in Canada to an American mother, Ted Cruz became an instant U.S.
citizen. But under Canadian law, he also became a citizen of that country
the moment he was born there. And unless the Texas senator formally
renounces his citizenship, he will remain a citizen of both countries,
legal experts say."
Well, that means he could assert the right to vote in Canada or even run
for parliament up there. Well, while dual citizenship doesn`t preclude
Senator Cruz from becoming president in this country, he`s disputing the
legal experts anyway, asserting that he`s not, he says, a Canadian citizen.
That`s what he says. They say differently.
Up next: Stop and frisk, yes, it`s controversial, but does it work?
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
JOSH LIPTON, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Josh Lipton with your CNBC "Market
The Dow drops 70, the S&P 500 fell nine, and the Nasdaq slid 13. On the
earnings front, shares of Saks remained steady, despite the retailer
reporting deeper-than-expected losses in the second quarter. Google shares
rose today. That`s on the ninth anniversary of its IPO. The tech giant`s
stock has skyrocketed 900 percent since it went public back in 2004. And
LinkedIn announcing its dropping its age limit to 14 starting in September.
That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide -- now back to HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: I actually thought that Bill
Thompson said it right. Bill Thompson said he didn`t like stop and frisk,
but he had a son and he wanted to make sure the kid didn`t get killed. And
the only way you can do that is to get guns off the street.
This is not just an academic exercise. This is people getting killed.
And, sadly, unfortunately, we all see it again and again and again. It`s
the same group of people, young minority males, and it`s just devastating
that society. We have just got to do something about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
And talk about a tough subject. That was New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg
speaking earlier today making reference to Bill Thompson. He`s an African-
American Democrat running for mayor right now who is taking a somewhat
moderate position on the city`s stop and frisk law.
In fact, a couple of the candidates are trying to find the middle here.
Bloomberg`s remarks came today at a press conference where he announced a
massive sting operation, which resulted in the largest seizure of illegal
guns in New York City`s history.
Well, the shakedown comes as he continues to defend the city`s
controversial implementation of its stop and frisk program, which the mayor
argues -- that`s Bloomberg -- has made the city safer by taking guns like
these -- these are guns they picked up in stop and frisk.
Anyway, a federal judge has recently ruled the NYPD`s stop and frisk
tactics were unconstitutionally targeting blacks and minorities. That`s in
the courts right now. Bloomberg was livid when the ruling came out last
week. He`s filing an appeal, as I said, and continues to plead his case,
not just with New Yorkers, but obviously with the country.
In today`s "Washington Post," he spells out in a big editorial -- there it
is -- plainly stop and frisk is not racial profiling. He writes -- quote -
- "Unlike many cities where wealthy areas get special treatment, the NYPD
targets its manpower to areas that suffer the highest crime levels. Ninety
percent of all people killed in our city" -- that`s New York -- "and 90
percent of all those who commit the murders and other violent crimes are
black and Hispanic. It is shameful that so many elected officials and
editorial writers have been largely silent on these facts. When it comes
to policing, political correctness is deadly."
Well, Bill Bratton was commissioner of New York`s police department under
Giuliani and before that. He is now an MSNBC analyst. And the great
Eugene Robinson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Washington
Post and an MSNBC political analyst.
Unlike other people, I`m going to try to find the way here to good security
in this country, people who love our cities, Mr. Commissioner, who love
walking the streets of our cities in nighttime and in day, and would like
to walk to as many neighborhoods as they could at night without fear of
death or mugging or something else.
I believe police have a responsibility. I want the honest police officer,
man or woman, white, black, Hispanic, Latina or Latino, to do their job.
My question is this. Police are not scarecrows. They don`t just walk
around with police uniforms and nice hats and do their jobs by simply
showing up. They have to take action, proaction to prevent crime.
What`s an appropriate role for a police officer to do if he sees some
people passing by in his sights that he believes are out for trouble? In
other words, let`s take the example of a gang that has just suffered a hit
and he thinks that gang is going out for revenge that night. What`s the
proper role to prevent a crime?
BILL BRATTON, MSNBC ANALYST: Well, you would want your officers to
effectively be cops, what cops are paid to do, which is to go in harm`s
way. And if they see something that rises to the level of a suspicion that
a crime has been, is, or may be about to be committed, you want them to do
You don`t want them to do as they did in Los Angeles in 2001 and 2002 prior
to my going there as chief of police, drive by and wave, and with the
result a significant increase in crime.
You want your cops to be assertive. You want them to be active. But you
also want them to be respectful. You want them to be mindful of the law,
not break it to enforce it. And you want them to in all neighborhoods of
the city be the same, not behave differently in a minority neighborhood
than you would in a white neighborhood.
MATTHEWS: Well, just to stay on that subject, like we do at airports, I
know Gene and I have been in many airport situations, you have, where it
looks hideously stupid. I`ve said before, it`s like Lourdes where they
expect people in wheelchairs to stand up and walk 30 feet to go through the
And I go, why are they doing this to an older woman? Leave her alone,
she`s not a bomber. But yet they want to be consistent. They don`t want
to be prejudiced towards people who look Middle Eastern. We know that
But on the streets, would you stop four or five business guys coming out
for lunch to see if they`re carrying? Would you do that in order for
optics? Would you do that if you were commissioner of New York today to
keep it consistent, would you say?
BRATTON: You would not. And you would not want your police officers to do
that either, absent something that attracts the attention of that have
individual to the police officer or the police officer attracted to them.
And, again, the Supreme Court has basically laid this out with a clear line
that you can`t go over. That you have to have a reasonable suspicion. And
that`s defined in the law and that`s defined --
MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, give me that -- give me that -- I want Gene`s
reaction to what you`ve said so far.
EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I actually agree with the
commissioner that you want police officers to be proactive. I think what
the judge said in this case was that this policy, the way the policy is
being done in New York, violates equal protection.
It`s not the same in all the neighborhoods of the city the way the
commissioner said it should be. And, you know, once you look at the
figures, you look what has happened with "stop and frisk," there`s some
interesting things that jump out. One thing that jumps out at me is that
for 2012, 86 percent of those stopped were black and Hispanic, right?
In only 2 percent of those cases did they find any weapon at all on the
person, 2 percent of the cases in which they frisked. But of the few
whites who got frisked, in 4 percent of those cases they found weapons.
Now that tells me that there`s something not terribly bright about the way
it`s being done, that you`re actually --
MATTHEWS: Well, what do you think is at work here? What do you feel, as a
columnist, and as a person who covers social life in this country in a
broad sense, what do you think is the matter of motivation for the police
to stop these usually young men, let`s be blunt about it, minorities? Why
are they doing it? To harass them or because what?
ROBINSON: Well, you know, I can`t look into their minds. I think there`s
some genuine good police work going on. There`s some element I think of
keeping a neighborhood under corral (ph) and harassing -- but look, it
doesn`t -- that doesn`t bother me as much as the fact that it`s not done in
And that in fact, the number one thing -- the number one offense that gets
alleged or charged after "stop and frisk" is marijuana offenses. So that
makes it a victimless crime on Wall Street but not on --
MATTHEWS: I`m with you, my friend, on that.
Is there any way you can stop and frisk for weapons and leave it at that,
Mr. Commissioner? Because it seems to me, we have a general public
interest in not having guns on the street. That`s why people have problems
with "stand your ground" laws, why people walk around with guns.
BRATTON: One of the reasons why there has been so much resistance to the
policies of Mayor Bloomberg is, unfortunately, because of his focus, his
well-intended focus on the issue of guns. He has created the impression
that the reason that "stop and frisk" is practiced in New York City is to
get guns off the street.
That is one of the results, if you will, but "stop and frisk" is used for
everything. If I stop you for a traffic violation, if I stop you for
drinking a beer in an open container, it isn`t intended to get guns off the
street unless you specifically see a gun.
The idea is "stop and frisk" is the basic tool of American policing. And
so much of the resistance to what`s going on in New York is around the idea
that, well, geez, you`ve got 600,000 stops but you`ve only got 700 guns,
isn`t that really overkill, if you will, to get those guns?
So it`s -- we`re talking past each other, unfortunately, on the situation.
ROBINSON: Well, yes, and that`s a problem, frankly, of the mayor`s
creation. The mayor keeps saying it`s to get the guns off the street.
BRATTON: And it`s not.
ROBINSON: And so if he keeps setting that as the bar --
ROBINSON: -- people are going to say --
MATTHEWS: -- confused me because I thought it was that too. Anyway --
ROBINSON: Well, that`s kind of what he said. But I really think you can
get around the Fourth Amendment questions of unreasonable search and
seizure. I think the 14th Amendment questions of equal protection are more
difficult. But they`re easily solved by just -- you know, would it kill
them to stop some white guys? Would it kill them?
MATTHEWS: OK. You know what I think? I wish we had the technology where
a decent police officer could have a little scanner at 20 yards, not offend
anybody, find out if they`re carrying. Anyway, some day we`ll have that.
Commissioner Bratton, it`s great to have you on, as always, thank you, sir.
BRATTON: Good to be here.
MATTHEWS: And it`s a decent argument. We`re trying to find the truth
Eugene Robinson, as always, sir.
We`ll be right back. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, I want to remind you again, starting next Monday, HARDBALL
will be on exclusively at 7:00 Eastern time, no more 5:00 show. So,
remember, if you want to see us, and I do want you to join us, I`ll talk
about that later, 7:00 is your time for us to share.
Back in a minute with Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis on whether
America should boycott the Olympics coming up this winter in Russia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY CARTER, 39TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`ve sent a message
today to the United States Olympic Committee spelling out my own position,
that unless the Soviets withdraw their troops within a month from
Afghanistan, that the Olympic Games be moved from Moscow to an alternate
site or multiple sites or postpone or cancel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, that was President Jimmy Carter, of course, on NBC`s "MEET
THE PRESS" back in `80 announcing plans to boycott the Summer Olympics held
that year, that summer in Moscow unless the Soviet Union withdrew its
troops from Afghanistan, which they weren`t going to do.
The Soviets refused and Carter went through with his promise to boycott.
American athletes did not participate in the `80 Summer Olympic Games. And
the Soviets responded by boycotting the 1984 Summer Games in L.A.
Well, the Cold War is over but when Russia announced its anti-gay law would
apply during the games coming up this summer -- this winter, rather, gay
rights and human rights activists turned their focus to protesting the 2014
Olympics in Russia.
The law, by the way, over there allows for the fining and detaining of
anyone deemed to -- I don`t even know what this means sometimes, "promote
homosexuality to children under the age of 18," whatever that is.
But is boycotting the games the solution? President Obama has already said
he`s opposed to a boycott. Joining me now is somebody who ought to know
about this, former -- well, actually four-time Olympic gold medalist Greg
Louganis, a diver who competed in the `84 and `88 Summer Olympics, and
later came out as gay.
Greg, it`s great to have you on. By the way, you know how that --
GREG LOUGANIS, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: It`s great to be on.
MATTHEWS: -- started? Robert Kaiser, a great reporter for The
Washington Post, a columnist at the time, wrote a column saying we should
boycott the Olympics over the invasion of Afghanistan.
Walter Mondale, the vice president, saw the article that morning, took it
to Jimmy Carter, the president, who I was working for as a speechwriter.
And Carter said, OK, let`s do it. I think we`ve got to be careful about
these things but your thoughts, you`re an athlete.
Your life, your career, your greatness comes from being able to compete.
Should we stop our young people from being able to compete because we don`t
like an ordinance, I guess it is, in the Russian government that we don`t
LOUGANIS: Right. You know, I did compete in the 1976 Olympic Games in
Montreal. And then I had that opportunity, silver medalist there. And
then 1980, I was one of the team captains of the 1980 Olympic team for our
And what we wanted to do is we wanted to go over there, send one person
into the opening ceremonies, and then all the rest of the athletes stay
home in protest of the Soviet Union`s invasion of Afghanistan, but still
have a presence there.
And we had a really strong team. And you know what, an athlete -- an elite
athlete has a shelf life. You know, I was fortunate. I was able to
continue competing through `84, through `88. And I was on both sides of
two boycotts. So, you know, I was very blessed in that way. But not all
athletes have that opportunity.
MATTHEWS: So what`s the right way for people, gay and straight in this
country, to say, we don`t like your stupid law? I don`t even -- by the
way, I mean, I don`t want to be sarcastic about this, but I don`t know what
it means to "promote homosexuality."
I mean, you are or you aren`t to me, it`s nature. But I guess you can
argue about it. But, I mean, it doesn`t -- something like an advertising
campaign isn`t going to change your orientation it seems to me.
LOUGANIS: Exactly. I mean, I would be walking propaganda myself
personally. I`m a gay man. I`m also HIV positive, but I`m also an athlete
too. So, you know, I`m totally against a boycott.
MATTHEWS: So what`s the right way to do it? What`s the right, smart
American way to -- given our evolutionary values on this? I must say, our
values have changed positively, as you know personally. So here we are 20
or 30 years ahead of the Russian people. What do we do to get them to
catch up? How do we hit them hard or kiss them the right way or whatever
it takes to get them to change?
LOUGANIS: I don`t know if we`re going to kiss them the right way. But --
and I don`t know what that`s about. But I don`t know that I would want to
be involved in that.
MATTHEWS: It`s not about anything. Go ahead.
LOUGANIS: So but, you know, I think it would be wonderful for our athletes
to go over there, you know, gay or straight. And if they`re sympathetic to
the cause, I mean, because there are other countries that are involved
here. There`s Denmark. There`s the U.K. There`s Sweden, who --
MATTHEWS: Well, how about a black power --
LOUGANIS: New Zealand.
MATTHEWS: Remember the black power salutes at the Olympics years ago where
the black athletes did compete in the track and field, but they did put
their fists up with the gloves on sometimes.
Should something like that happen --
LOUGANIS: They did.
MATTHEWS: Should something like that happen in Russia this winter?
LOUGANIS: You know, I don`t know if it needs to be all that overt either.
I mean, if all our allies were to dedicate their performance to their gay
uncle, son, you know, daughters --
MATTHEWS: To make it individual.
LOUGANIS: -- aunts, you know, to make it individual because, you know,
it personally says a story, that they`re in support of their gay family.
MATTHEWS: Greg, we`re out of time but you have got the standing to make
that proposal. And thank you so much for doing it here. Greg Louganis,
the great medal winner.
LOUGANIS: My pleasure. Thank you.
MATTHEWS: And we`ll be right back. We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Well, "Let Me Finish" tonight with this. I want to conclude the
show tonight with a big ask. Starting next Monday, that`s next Monday,
HARDBALL, the show of my dreams, is going to be on at 7:00 Eastern. That`s
every night Monday through Friday at 7:00 Eastern, not at 5:00.
So what my big ask is, that you adjust your evening ritual, and believe me,
I know it`s a sweet time of day, to sharing company with me at 7:00. It`s
going to be our hour, our one hour to share our points of view on what`s
happening in the country.
I know from experience and from the political world in which I`ve lived the
importance of asking. You ask to borrow the car from your dad. You ask a
girl for a date. You ask someone to marry you, ultimately, if you`re
lucky. You ask.
So now I`m asking you. I`d really appreciate after all these years for you
to share your time with me starting as soon as it`s possible for you at
7:00. I`ll have the news. I`ll have the analysis. I`ll have my "at-ti-
tude," as we say in Philly, my "at-ti-tude," my passion to make this a
And with you aboard sharing your good time with me, we`re going to keep
trying to get it right. And, oh yes, what I say to everyone who is kind
enough to say hello to me when I`m on vacation, when you bump into me
somewhere in D.C. or New York or Philly or somewhere else, it`s this,
thanks for being part of all of this.
And that`s HARDBALL. For now, thanks for being with us. "POLITICS NATION
WITH AL SHARPTON" starts right now.
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