October 25, 2013
Guest: A.B. Stoddard, Clarence Page, Judith Browne-Dianis, Dawnna Dukes,
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: The ticked-off right.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
"Let Me Start" with this tonight, angry Republicans. Or do I repeat
myself? A state representative in North Carolina says the president`s
loyalties are stuck in Kenya. Marco Rubio, trying hard to sell himself to
the hard right, says the reason immigration reform is dead is that the
president refused to kill his health care law. Blaming the president for
everything, including having secret foreign loyalties, is the Republican
default button. It makes them feel rotten just to stand in the same room
with this president.
My question -- is this going to be like this all the way to 2016, this
anger, this right-wing fever that never breaks, the sheer hatred that the
American people -- yes, the American people -- chose him as their president
not once, but twice?
Tonight, the delirious, insatiable, crazed anger of this country`s
right at the harsh reality that always seems they assumed would never be,
the presidency of Barack Obama.
David Corn`s Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones" and an MSNBC
political analyst, of course. And Joy Reid is managing editor of TheGrio
and an MSNBC contributor.
Having clearly lost in their ill-conceived plot to block the
president`s health care law by taking the federal government and the
economy hostage, Republicans have now decided to take their ball and go
They won`t work with this president on anything because he had the
nerve to beat them. Politico reports that Republicans plan to block
President Obama on all his initiatives, including immigration reform.
Quote, "Prominent immigration supporters like Senator Marco Rubio have
also backed off any deal, saying the Obama administration has, quote,
`undermined" negotiations by not defunding his signature health care law.
Representative Raul Labrador of Idaho went further, saying the president`s
trying to, quote, "destroy the Republican Party" and that GOP leaders would
be crazy to enter into talks with him."
Well, a source identified as involved in the conservative pro-
immigration movement said after Obama poisoned the well in the fiscal
showdown, the chances for substantive reforms unfortunately seem all but
Let me go to David on this. David, this seems to be the new excuse
for everything. The guy dared to protect his baby. And look, just in
sheer political terms, they must have known he wouldn`t give it up, health
care reform, having fought for it, historically, they`re now blaming him
Self-defense politically is now their reason for blaming him for
DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Chris, I hate to
say this, you`re thinking too rationally about this. You know, from the
very beginning, you know, on the day of the inauguration, the week of the
inauguration, the Republicans had a meeting about how to obstruct, you
know, and destroy President Obama`s presidency. This was back in January
2009. We know what Mitch McConnell said on what their number one priority
was, was stopping Barack Obama.
And now they have this great two-fer. People like Marco Rubio -- he`s
running away from the immigration bill that he helped craft because it
really puts him in trouble with the Tea Party base of his party. So now he
has a two-fer. He can say, I`m not going to do this and I`m not going to
do it because Barack Obama won`t defend -- or won`t defund "Obama care."
It`s -- you know, it`s amateurish. And you have these folks out there
MATTHEWS: Well, is this the new excuse...
CORN: Let me just finish one second. You know, they say that Barack
Obama is trying to destroy the Republican Party. It looks right now that
the Republican Party is doing a pretty good job of that itself. And they
just want to, you know, make any excuse they can for not dealing with the
problems the country has, whether it`s health care, immigration, jobs,
whatever, you name it.
MATTHEWS: It seems now, Joy, looking into their politics on the hard
right, the only way to get a hard-right badge these days -- in other words,
be acceptable to the real haters -- is to be one yourself. Now, I don`t
believe Marco Rubio is a hater. I believe he`s a moderate -- he`s not a
moderate, but by today`s standards, he`s not a far right-winger.
He wants to do immigration reform. He comes from an Hispanic
background. He wants to make that clearly part of America, that
background, and make it official, give these people a break.
And yet he has to sell himself almost body and soul to the hard right.
And the only way he can do that is to act like he`s as anti-Obama as the
crazies on the right. That`s the badge you have to wear.
JOY REID, THEGRIO.COM, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: It`s just incredible. He
has to adopt sort of the most xenophobic position on an issue -- look, I
mean, this is how insane this is, Chris. Marco Rubio`s prime directive,
the only reason he matters in the Republican Party, really, is because he
was the guy that was going make Republicanism cool for young people, for
REID: He was the guy who was going to open the door and broaden the
tent and bring all these new voters in.
And why was he going to do that? Because he was the guy with the
credibility. He was the Tea Party guy. I think he was on the cover of
"The New York Times" magazine as Mr. Tea Party. And he was going to take
the Tea Party ethos and modify that so that it was palatable to these other
sort of centrist...
MATTHEWS: Well said.
REID: ... and younger voters. But it was going to be on immigration.
He was the face of that bill. He may not have been the one crafting it
behind the scenes, but he was the face of that bill.
The minute he was slapped down by right-wing media, Marco Rubio has
run the other way. And if Marco Rubio, for God`s sakes, Mr. Tea Party,
can`t get immigration reform through and can`t even talk about it, has to
reject it and disown it, that party is in big, big trouble.
MATTHEWS: You know, just talk political horse flesh for a minute,
David. I think he`s got talent. I look at Rubio, I think he`s got charm,
he`s got likability, he`s charismatic.
MATTHEWS: He`s obviously good-looking and all the things that tend to
matter in politics. And he`s young as hell and he beat Charlie Crist down
there. He`s got -- you know, he`s got some victory stripes on him.
Now the question is, is it now the new nature of the party that in
order to get the Republican nomination in 2016, you must behave like
somebody who doesn`t deserve it? And this is the great quagmire they`re
going into. In other words, to be the nominee, you must be crazy, but to
be crazy, you`re not going to (INAUDIBLE) president!
CORN: Well, you know, it`s all about getting the nomination first
before you worry about the general election because in this country, you`re
going to get 45 percent of the vote just by having the R after your name.
So that`s the big prize for these guys.
And what we`re seeing is they have to -- they`re bidding up the
craziness or the anti-Obama, you know, rhetoric...
MATTHEWS: Hate (INAUDIBLE)
CORN: ... in order to appeal to where the votes are and the energy is
within the party, the Tea Party base.
So Rand Paul did a, you know -- you know, did a filibuster against
drones and became the Tea Party darling as the leader of the anti-Obama
opposition. And then Ted Cruz, you know, leapfrogged over him with "Obama
And Marco Rubio -- poor, poor, poor Marco Rubio is left to the
sideline, you know, burdened down especially by the fact that he was in
favor of immigration reform. So now he has to sort of get back into the
anti-Obama crazy contest. And the way to do that is to burn -- literally
burn what he worked on, you know, his big initiative as a senator.
CORN: It`s -- you know, it`s kind of sad, but he`s a big boy.
CORN: He`s making that decision to do that.
MATTHEWS: It reminds me of a kind of a political limbo rock, where
you have to get as low as possible...
MATTHEWS: ... lean over backwards, go under the limbo stick and...
CORN: How low can you go?
MATTHEWS: How low can you go! Exactly. (INAUDIBLE) how you remember
CORN: I remember that.
MATTHEWS: ... of course birther -- catch this. This is really low.
Of course, birther jokes, if you call them jokes, are still a hit with some
Republicans out there. Here`s a North Carolina state representative, an
elected official, addressing a town hall this week, in 2013. Let`s listen
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just don`t think it`s right at all to call
Barack Obama a traitor. You know, there`s a lot of things he`s done wrong,
but he is not a traitor, or at least not as far as I can tell, because I`ve
not come across any evidence yet that he has done one thing to harm Kenya!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Ha, ha, ha, ha! Ha! Ha!
Joy, it`s not funny. These people -- it`s horse laughter, the kind of
laughter you give to somebody because you`re supposed to laugh. I don`t
even think -- look, some ethnic jokes might be at least funny. This is
stupid, making a reference to the guy being from Kenya -- it`s not even
clever! It has not a bit of wit attached to it.
And these people are laughing because it`s their way of saying, yes,
we don`t like him. He`s somehow ethnically impure by our standards. He`s
from we don`t know where.
What is this? I mean, you knew it was a white guy. That was no
surprise. But what was this about?
REID: Well, you know, I think at the core of the Republican kind of
rage that`s sort of rumbling beneath the surface of the Republican base is
this sense that the country has slipped away from them, right, that they
may have been -- their parents benefited from the New Deal, they may have
gone to school on student loans. But now people who are undeserving and
unworthy and who are by and large black and brown are the main recipients
of the government, the welfare state, and they hate it.
And they don`t want to voice it openly. Stan Greenberg has done great
research on this. They never want to say it in a direct ethnic way, but
it`s a way of getting at this notion that people who are other than them,
other than the way they are, are inferior, are unworthy, and that that guy,
President Obama, is sort of the embodiment of that inferiority, and that
they have to get him. They have to humiliate him.
Remember how Donald Trump rose to the top of the heap when he was
briefly seen as somehow a credible presidential candidate? It was by
humiliating Barack Obama.
MATTHEWS: You`re so right.
REID: It`s not enough to oppose him, you have to humiliate him. And
that`s the way you get ahead.
And you know, the problem is -- and going even back to Rubio -- that
is not a winning political strategy. Americans don`t respond, by and
large, because most Americans are in the middle, to this kind of rage
politics. Barry Goldwater would be president if that was successful. The
John Birch Society would have taken over the Republican Party rather than
being pushed out if that was a successful kind of politics. Strom Thurmond
would have had a shot in the 1940s.
This is not the kind of politics that wins, but it`s the kind of
politics the Republicans are practicing and are stuck with right now.
CORN: You know, Chris...
MATTHEWS: You know, some good news for (ph) people of color ought to
know that you don`t hear black jokes. You don`t hear them. This kind of
behavior in public isn`t even practiced in private, certainly not for
And the idea that somehow that`s a joke, the idea that that`s wit or
leadership, is an absurdity. It`s obviously just a slur, and that`s all it
is. And by the way, I never thought of the way you put it about Donald
Trump. He became a frontrunner -- a front-runner! -- for the Republican
nomination last time around with the birther stuff...
CORN: But you know, Chris...
MATTHEWS: ... so much smarter than that. There`s no way he thinks
that`s true. No way.
MATTHEWS: Go ahead.
CORN: Chris, you know, Joy used the word "humiliate," which I think
is true. But another word comes to mind, and that is "negate." They want
to negate Barack Obama and his presidency.
MATTHEWS: I agree.
CORN: They want to negate him as an American leader, as someone who
believes in America, who`s part of America, who can represent America. And
they want to get rid of "Obama care," his signature accomplishment, because
that`s another way to negate the presidency of Barack Obama.
MATTHEWS: OK, let`s get to the bottom of this. Why, according to
this new Pew poll, are conservatives the angriest people in the country?
Start with you, Joy. We`re looking at the number quickly. You can see it
quickly on this -- 41 percent of conservative Republicans are really angry
-- not just frustrated. Everybody`s a little frustrated now -- really
Why is that, Joy? Is it -- when you were talking about the
demographic changes, the combination of demographic, the browning of
America, if you will, or is it the combination of that with the squeeze on
the middle class, where -- by the way, I hate to break it to people who are
white, a lot of their kids are going to need federal aid to education.
They`re going to need the student loans. It`s just getting that way. You
know, that 3 percent loan I had to get to college, to Holy Cross and grad
school when I got the full ride, those things are going to be helping a lot
of white people, too, down the road. That`s the way it`s going to this
REID: No, absolutely. But you know -- and David Frum talked about
this as the age of scarcity and the kind of politics you see when there
aren`t as many jobs. We don`t have those factory jobs you can get right
out of high school and then get a really good job and raise a family with a
wife that can stay home and work. That sort of ability to have that `50s
gauzy (ph) America is gone.
And there is a competition for resources. So I think you do have a
lot of insecurity, and a lot of the anger comes from fear. And you have
MATTHEWS: ... by the way.
REID: ... that`s dying...
MATTHEWS: That`s my -- that`s what I grew up in, what you just
REID: Oh, yes, I have neighbors...
MATTHEWS: ... the post-war advantage we had in industry, in
MATTHEWS: ... because we won the war. Yes.
REID: Yes, the people who live across the street...
CORN: And one reason why...
REID: ... from us had a -- you know, an Army. It came home from the
Army, got a job. There was no college degree needed. You could get a
great job in construction.
REID: These things are gone. And I think a lot of that scarcity is
breeding rage and it`s breeding fear.
CORN: But also -- I think that`s right. Everything Joy said is dead
on. But at the same time, they`re angry because they`re losing.
CORN: They`re losing this cultural political battle.
CORN: They`re losing on gay rights. They`re losing on having, you
know, Barack Obama as president. They see it slipping away. They`re
And they can -- to me, there`s a semblance here of the lost cause,
like they believe that they`re about to lose the Civil War and this is
their last gasp. I mean, Ted Cruz has said that explicitly about "Obama
care," but I think it extends to things beyond "Obama care," that they`re
losing this sort of political battle we have over cultural issues and the
way we think of ourselves as Americans and as a nation.
And that`s one reason they`re angry. People on the losing side of a
battle like this tend to be angrier.
MATTHEWS: And by the way, if they rethought things and re-examined
their heat, they may feel more like they`re winning, by the way. The
country may be getting better. Think about it out there.
Anyway, thank you, David Corn, and thank you, Joy Reid.
Coming up: You heard it here first, Hillary Clinton`s "What difference
does it make" comment on the cause of the Benghazi riot will become the
"You didn`t build that" of 2016. Dick Cheney`s out there starting the
deception already -- did it yesterday -- implying that Mrs. Clinton, the
former secretary, doesn`t care that four Americans are dead. I think she
cares. And we know it.
Plus, suspicions confirmed. A local Republican official says new
voter ID laws are going to kick the Democrats in the butt. And then he
said this. We`re not going to help lazy black people who want the
government to give them everything. That`s a Republican out there. Guess
who`s out of a job today, by the way? That`s the guy.
Also, one more from the tinfoil hat crowd, you know, the zanos (ph)?
Remember the moment this week when a woman fainted at a White House event?
Well, the wingers out there on the right have decided the whole incident
was staged for President Obama`s benefit. She`s acting, they say.
Finally, "Let Me Finish" tonight with the joy of actually traveling
around the country -- here`s some good news -- meeting you folks.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, as we know, John McCain`s become something of a
pariah to the far right in his party. After all, it was McCain who coined
the term "wacko-birds" to describe -- well, discredit Ted Cruz and his
But being a man of the middle right has helped McCain become one of
the more popular figures on Capitol Hill these days. A new CNN poll found
48 percent of Americans view McCain favorably versus 42 unfavorable.
And that`s the best in the bunch of high-profile lawmakers. Nancy
Pelosi`s at 37 percent favorable, 47 percent unfavorable. Harry Reid`s
also 10 points underwater, with 30 percent favorable and 40 percent
unfavorable. But Mitch McConnell`s a bit worse even than them, Ted Cruz
even worse. And John Boehner`s the worst of all at 27 percent favorable,
double that, 55 percent, unfavorable.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Dick Cheney got very good at
misleading this country during these eight years as vice president. We
know that from Iraq. And clearly, little has changed. Earlier this week,
he labeled President Obama an extremist. Well, yesterday, he called in to
the conservative Hugh Hewitt radio show and made some pretty outrageous
statements, I think, about the president and Hillary Clinton, outrageous
even for Dick Cheney.
Here he is taking Hillary Clinton completely out of context over what
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DICK CHENEY, FMR. VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think the
Benghazi thing is one of the great -- it`s not just an embarrassment, it`s
a tragedy because we lost four people that night. And what I always recall
is her testimony saying, What difference does it make. And the fact of the
matter is, it makes a huge difference. She clearly wasn`t hands-on, and
now she doesn`t want to be hands-on. And she`s doing everything she can to
avoid responsibility for what clearly, you know, fell into her bailiwick.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, I hope you all caught that. He implies -- Dick
Cheney does -- that Hillary Clinton was talking about the four people being
dead, four Americans, of course, including Chris Stevens, when she said
"What difference does it make?" In fact, in those words, she was referring
to Republican attacks on the talking points used by Susan Rice afterwards.
Here`s the full context of that comment by the secretary.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RON JOHNSON (R), WISCONSIN: We were misled that there were
supposedly protests and then something sprang out of that, an assault
sprang out of that. And that was easily ascertained that that was not the
HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: But -- but you know...
JOHNSON: And the American people could have known that within days.
JOHNSON: And they didn`t know that.
CLINTON: With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead
JOHNSON: I understand.
CLINTON: Was it because of a protest, or was it because of guys out
for a walk one night who decided they`d got kill some Americans? What
difference, at this point, does it make? It is our job to figure out what
happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, A.B. Stoddard`s a columnist at "The Hill," and of
course, Clarence Page is a columnist for "The Chicago Tribune."
A.B., you first. Sometimes nuance means a whole lot. She was talking
about the PR afterwards, not about what was done to protect the lives of
those people in real time. Now Cheney comes along with that avuncular
manner of his, Well, of course, you understand -- that kind of bonding
thing he does -- and some of the interviewers fall for it. They respect
him too much to ask him, Wait a minute, you`re lying here.
A.B. STODDARD, "THE HILL": Well, yes. It`s -- I mean, it`s...
MATTHEWS: ... he`s saying something she didn`t say. She didn`t say,
What difference does it make four people are dead. She says, What
difference does it make that we talk after the fact about what was the
nature of the protest.
STODDARD: Well, I would argue that he would still -- even if he was
corrected, he would still say she shouldn`t have said, "What different does
MATTHEWS: By the way, I agree with that. I agree with that. But
that`s not what she`s referring to.
STODDARD: That is the great mark on her otherwise very impressive
tenure as secretary of state.
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s go back to Cheney. Was Cheney accurately
saying she didn`t care about people getting killed?
MATTHEWS: "What difference does it make?"
STODDARD: ... he doesn`t exactly say that. It`s not exactly the way
he puts it. It sounds like he`s saying she said, What difference does it
make because four people were dead. It`s -- if he`d been corrected, he
would have said, No, no, no, I`m saying that in her testimony, four people
MATTHEWS: OK. I have watched this guy...
MATTHEWS: I have watched this team conflate stuff all along. They
conflate everything, nuclear programs with chemical programs, Iran -- I`m
sorry -- Iraq with 9/11. They`re always conflating. They`re brilliant at
They throw one thing with another. And the lazy viewer that`s not
really focused goes, yes, yes, I guess so.
But she didn`t say that.
CLARENCE PAGE, COLUMNIST, "THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE": Well...
MATTHEWS: Here`s more from Dick Cheney`s interview, by the way. Here
he is talking about Osama bin Laden`s killing. According to Cheney, the
president failed to do something. Well, let`s listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One, I was
glad they got him. Two, they needed to recognize, as some have, although
he never really has, all the work that was done by our intel professionals
over a period of 10 years to make that possible.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: So the president never recognized all the good work done by
our intelligence agencies. That would be a good point, of course, if it
Of course it`s not, though. The president has repeatedly thanked the
intelligence community and given them credit. Just days after the killing
of bin Laden, he even went to the CIA headquarters to speak to the
intelligence community in person. And here`s the president`s message that
Cheney must have missed. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, I have returned
just to say thank you on behalf of all Americans and people around the
world, because you carried on, you stayed focused on your mission, you
honored the memory of your fallen colleagues.
I wanted every single one of you to know, whether you work at the CIA
or across the community, at every step of our effort to take out bin Laden,
the work you did and the quality of the intelligence that you provided made
the critical difference.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAGE: Well, let`s be clear. Dick Cheney isn`t upset that President
Obama didn`t recognize the intelligence community, because obviously
President Obama did recognize that community.
He`s upset that Obama didn`t recognize Dick Cheney and George W. Bush
and all the wonderful work they did over the years trying to get to bin
Laden, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
MATTHEWS: Tora Bora.
PAGE: And he`s not alone.
MATTHEWS: When they let him go at Tora Bora?
PAGE: He`s not alone. There are many other conservative Republicans
who say the same thing and have said the same thing.
MATTHEWS: Except we went to war to get the guy and we had a war
without getting the guy.
PAGE: Well, let`s talk about what Cheney`s really talking about.
PAGE: It`s not counterintelligence. It is politics.
And he`s playing attack dog role, as he did as a V.P. and a running
mate. Now he`s supporting his daughter Liz out there, who is also...
MATTHEWS: I think that`s a big part of it. I think that`s the
leitmotif. It`s daddy backing daughter, which I understand.
But, anyway, Cheney also hit President Obama for seeming to take a
victory lap after the killing of bin Laden. According to Cheney, the
president should have kept the whole thing quiet. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CHENEY: By going public the way they did, they lost, I am convinced,
some opportunities. You don`t go out and broadcast the fact that you have
got the guy.
You want to take that intelligence and be able to exploit it over the
next few nights and wrap up large parts of the network. They were in such
a hurry to go out -- or not Benghazi, but with bin Laden, such a hurry to
go out and announce victory, that I`m convinced that they probably did not
get maximum damage out of the intel that they -- they had captured.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Anyway, they were in such a hurry to get the news out,
according to Mr. Cheney.
Of course, that`s something the Bush-Cheney White House was never
guilty of, right?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL BREMER, FORMER U.S. ADMINISTRATOR IN IRAQ: Ladies and gentlemen,
we got him.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That was Paul Bremer of course trumpeting the capture of
Saddam Hussein just hours after that happened.
A.B., is this just politics? Is it just nonsense we have to listen to
this and one of the reasons people don`t like politicians is the B.S.
STODDARD: Well, every time we have a debt ceiling debate, we`re
reminded of the hypocrisy of when you have the convenience of voting
against the debt ceiling increase vs. when you have to vote for one.
I think it`s prerequisite for being president, being hypocritical.
That said, Dick Cheney, when he`s talking about how they mishandled killing
Osama bin Laden knows that if they had a chance, they would have loved to
have gotten bin Laden during their years in office.
MATTHEWS: They might have said mission accomplished.
STODDARD: And if they might have dragged out -- you stole my line.
MATTHEWS: I`m sorry.
MATTHEWS: I`m sorry. I`m sorry. That was your line.
STODDARD: They would have dragged out the mission accomplished
MATTHEWS: A.B. Stoddard -- as A.B. Stoddard would say, they might
have said mission accomplished.
STODDARD: They might have dragged out the old banner, which was at
that point sort of toxic politically.
And I think that, you know, it`s sour grapes to say that they took bin
Laden out in some kind of wrong way. If they had to get him in a shoot-
out, they would have gotten him in a shoot-out.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s go to the big enchilada that`s always bugged me,
Cheney role in talking us or some people into the Iraq war. And he also
had strong words, Mr. Cheney did, for the president`s handling of Syria and
other Middle East issues. Let`s watch Cheney, then watch another point of
view that comes at -- quickly after.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CHENEY: If you`re a friend and ally of the United States in that part
of the world tonight, you have to say, you know, what`s this guy all about?
Can we count on anything he`s told us? And is the historic relationship
between us and the United States worth anything?
At the same time, our adversaries out there no longer fear us. And I
think the incompetence of this administration and the way they have handled
these kind of affairs especially in the Middle East is one of the worst
aspects of this presidency.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, a tough indictment would be more convincing if it
wasn`t coming from the guy, him, who got the Middle East so completely
wrong in the run-up to the Iraq invasion.
Remember these pearls of wisdom from Mr. Cheney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: Regime change in Iraq would bring about a number of benefits
to the region. When the gravest of threats are eliminated, the freedom-
loving peoples of the region will have a chance to promote the values that
can bring lasting peace.
TIM RUSSERT, NBC WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: And you think the American
people are prepared for a long, costly, and bloody battle with significant
CHENEY: Well, I don`t -- I don`t think it`s likely to unfold that
way, Tim, because I really do believe we will be greeted as liberators.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I don`t know. That -- that avuncular turning of the head,
"Tim," the kind of attempt to bond, Clarence, it`s really a turnoff.
PAGE: The power of positive thinking, wasn`t it?
MATTHEWS: Oh, we know, of course we know that bonding, we know, and
we -- of course we know. And every time he did it, it was dishonest.
PAGE: Yes. There were so many strategic mistakes that that
administration made. And they aren`t the first.
MATTHEWS: You`re being kind.
PAGE: But the fact is -- yes.
MATTHEWS: They wanted us in that war in the worst way and they got us
into that war. And they said anything to get us in that war. And
PAGE: Getting back to Cheney`s statements...
MATTHEWS: Cheney, with his five deferments, was heading the way,
pushing for it.
PAGE: Yes. He sounds like he`s unhappy that we didn`t invade Syria.
MATTHEWS: The king of the chicken hawks.
MATTHEWS: I`m sorry, A.B., who has the view. I can tell it`s coming.
STODDARD: I think he -- you can tell in this interview and others
that he still enjoys this role as sort of the righteous, unapologetic
MATTHEWS: How does he get away with the Kissinger treatment?
MATTHEWS: Kissinger is another case.
MATTHEWS: There`s a couple guys that never will be questioned --
never are questioned about their own records. They can talk like prophets,
when they have always been wrong. How do they do it, this talk like, I`m
your Uncle Tonoose? How do they do it?
STODDARD: Well, I`m not going to characterize it generally.
I think, in that response, he`s -- they`re very burned by the fact
that when -- when Obama came in and when he ran against McCain and Hillary,
he ran on sort of Bush fatigue and how -- and his -- one of his
characterizations was that we had -- Bush had ruined our alliances around
the world and really made more enemies during his tenure.
STODDARD: And so now Republicans and conservatives are taking
advantage of the fact that we`re having problems with our allies around the
MATTHEWS: Let me give you razor`s Occam -- Occam`s razor. Barack was
right about the war. They were wrong. That`s what bugs them.
Thank you, A.B. Stoddard. But you`re wonderful.
MATTHEWS: Thank you.
And, Clarence Page, you`re wonderful.
PAGE: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Up next, the latest right -- and happy weekend.
The latest right-wing conspiracy theory about President Obama and the
health care law.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART")
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The chancellor of Germany told President Obama to
stop tapping her phone.
JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": Ladies and
gentlemen, my impression of how that phone call went.
Hey, how are you, Angela Merkel?
What do you mean? You know how I am.
STEWART: Although it is impressive the we managed to put a tap on the
actual chancellor himself. Who could have gotten close enough to do
something like that? I mean -- oh, my God!
STEWART: That`s what it was. He was planting the bug.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Anyway, time for the "Sideshow."
That was Jon Stewart, of course, last night on the fallout in Germany
over new disclosures that NSA was involved in that. Anyway, I guess we
have rubbed the chancellor of Germany the wrong way again.
Anyway, next, you might remember the woman who almost fainted in the
Rose Garden earlier this week during the president`s speech on the
Affordable Care Act. Well, some conspiracy theorists out there, real
wackos on the right, say they believe the whole incident was staged by the
A blog post on the conservative Web site called Lady Patriots said the
woman who fainted was used for -- as a prop for the president`s defense of
the ACA. Listen to this -- quote -- "Obama has to have props around him
when he does one of his con jobs in the Rose Garden or wherever he chooses
to deceive or receive his worshipers."
Well, the allegation was posted by "The Weekly Standard," and
yesterday gained more attraction when Sarah Palin said, she couldn`t blame
someone for believing it. Hmm. Quote: "With the Obama White House`s total
lack of transparency, it`s no wonder that some will ask whether they staged
even a fainting lady in the Rose Garden. What was once a major leap in
logic has become a single step because President Obama has lied so often
and so blatantly."
Well, the personal assault on the president continues to this day. We
have no idea where -- Sarah Palin, by the way, what she reads. She
couldn`t answer that to Katie Couric. And we don`t know where she gets her
Coming up, a local Republican official says new voter I.D. laws are
going to kick the Democrats in the butt. That`s not even the worst of what
he said. And you`re going to hear it next.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger.
Seven people were hurt when a crowd tried to rush through a gate at
Howard University in Washington, D.C. They were trying to get into a
J.P. Morgan will pay $5.1 billion to settle claims that it misled
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac about risky investments leading up to the
And DNA tests have linked a young blond girl discovered in Greece to a
Bulgarian couple. However, it`s not clear if she will be returned to them
-- back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Still to come later in the show, I`m going to talk about a longtime
friend and personal lawyer of TV legend Johnny Carson. He`s written a book
about "The Tonight Show." Wait until you hear the inside stuff, the
incredible stories of Johnny`s drinking, divorces, being beat up by the
mob, incredible stories we never knew about.
But now to the latest turn in the Republican effort to limit voting,
especially by minorities and young people. In both North Carolina and
Texas, restrictive voter I.D. laws are being unmasked now as the voter
disenfranchisement mechanisms they really are.
Anyway, on Comedy Central`s "Daily Show," a Republican precinct
chairman from North Carolina defended his state`s new voter I.D. laws. You
won`t believe what this guy says on the record.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART")
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The law is going to kick the Democrats in the
butt. If it hurts a bunch of college kids that`s too lazy to get up off
their bohunkus and go get a photo I.D., so be it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right, right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it hurts the whites, so be it. If it hurts a
bunch of lazy blacks that wants the government to give them everything, so
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it just so happens that a lot of those people
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: There he is being sarcastic about it.
And that wasn`t an actor, although it`s a good reason to think he
might be. And, needless to say, he was asked to resign by the county
Republican chairman. Anyway -- or as county chairman.
In an interview today, by the way, he finally described his fellow
Republicans as gutless. In other words, they`re afraid to talk like he
Anyway, in Texas, a district court judge who has been voting for five
decades -- that`s 50 years -- with no problem, now has one, a problem.
Thanks to voter I.D. laws down in Texas, they are enforceable against the -
- the Supreme Court`s gutting of the Voting Rights Act. Judge Sandra
Watts` driver`s license lists her maiden name as her middle name. But her
voter registration card has her actual birth middle name.
Because of this discrepancy, the judge was forced to fill out a
provisional ballot which may not even get counted and she wasn`t pleased.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDRA WATTS, TEXAS DISTRICT JUDGE: What I have used for voter
registration and for identification for the last 52 years wasn`t sufficient
yesterday when I went to vote.
This is the first time I have ever had a problem voting. I don`t
think most women know that this is going to create a problem, that their
maiden name is on their driver`s license, which was mandated in 1964, when
I got married, and this.
And so why would I want to use a provisional ballot, when I have been
voting regular ballot for the last 49 years?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Judith Browne-Dianis is co-director of The
Advancement Project, and Dawnna Dukes is a Democratic Texas state
Let me start with you, Judith.
This -- you know, my wife is classic. She went from having her middle
name she was born, Ann, to Cunningham, her maiden name, as her middle name.
Same first name on the ballot. Same last name, Kathleen Matthews. But for
this judge, she couldn`t vote.
JUDITH BROWNE-DIANIS, CO-DIRECTOR, ADVANCEMENT PROJECT: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: And the same exact situation which a lot of married women
do. They keep their old...
MATTHEWS: They keep their old surname as their middle name, but it`s
still the first and last name are the same. What`s the problem with these
court officials, and why would a law interfere with the normal way people
get married and move on?
Well, you know, I`m Judith Browne-Dianis, so I too have this problem.
And really this about laws that were surgically crafted to hit those who
turned out in record numbers in 2008.
MATTHEWS: So, you think this was aimed at women?
BROWNE-DIANIS: Oh, it was aimed at women. This law was aimed at
women. This lame was -- this law was aimed at minorities. This law was
aimed at young people.
MATTHEWS: Was it a general set of hurdles that were set up under the
theory that Republicans are better at dealing with hurdles, or just pointed
directly at women and minorities?
BROWNE-DIANIS: It`s pointed directly at women and minorities because
of the fact there`s an agenda that they want to pass in the state of Texas
and in the state of North Carolina.
MATTHEWS: Let`s check this out with Representative Dukes.
Representative Dukes, do you have any reason to believe there was a
markup somewhere in Texas where a bunch of right wingers sat together and
say, how could we make it hard for women to vote? How about this? How
about we say, if they`re married and took their husband`s name which is
pretty traditional, it`d be hard for them to vote?
STATE REP. DAWNNA DUKES (D), TEXAS: Absolutely. It was orchestrated
during the debate in 2011, or on voter ID, we Democrats brought up actual
instances in which women would be disenfranchised or minorities or even
some elderly persons who didn`t have birth certificates on records. And it
was brushed off totally and completely. And in the dark of the night
during appropriations process and conference committee, language was added
to the appropriations bill to put in additional hurdles for even acquiring
a driver`s license or an ID just in case voter ID didn`t pass.
So they were looking at every angle they could in order to eliminate
the ability and disenfranchise many from the right to vote.
MATTHEWS: You know, it reminds me of what I`ve been saying awhile.
If a right wing right guy in this country, you want African-Americans to
behave a certain way. By the way, they`re right about this except for the
attitude about this. Obey the laws, raise your family, be a good husband,
you know? Go to school, finish school, do well in school, get A`s.
Be a good father. Don`t break the law. Be ethical.
That`s Obama. They may not like his politics, but he`s exactly the
man they want all African-Americans to be.
They also say it`s patriotic to vote. Get out there and vote. I
don`t care what the weather`s like -- don`t care what the weather is like,
don`t care whether they`re not that interested. Get out there and vote
like a Republican. Show up every time like we do.
And then when the minorities and the Democrats or both show up and try
to be good voters, they say gotcha. Gotcha.
What can you do about it down there? You`re a lawmaker.
DUKES: Well, absolutely, Chris. And in Washington, D.C., in the
United States district court, I testified concerning the turnout of
minorities as it related to our redistricting battles which is connected to
voter ID because the whole purpose is to be -- is their reasoning for
wanting to elect more people in their party so they can then control
redistricting. And what we saw was that there was a higher turnout of
African-Americans in 2012 and in 2008 because African-Americans were proud
that there was an individual who graduated from Harvard with a law degree,
who was articulate, that happened to be African-American to vote for.
So the turnout nationally was six to eight points higher for African-
Americans. The courts, the U.S. Supreme Court used a higher turnout of
African-Americans as a reason to throw out section four of the voting
rights act, which is ridiculous. Because of having the ability to
challenge the measures that Republicans were putting in place, more
African-Americans, more Hispanics, more women, more young people felt
comfortable in going to the polls and knowing that they were not going to
have to recite the preamble to the Constitution or some poll tax.
MATTHEWS: In Greek, in Greek.
MATTHEWS: Quick answer, why are they so open about it? Why do they
do interviews where they say it, just to stop blacks from voting? And this
line about lazy blacks and everything, they`re actually doing it now.
DIANIS: This guy was actually refresh thing. And guess what, he had
to resign under force, right? Because they don`t want people to know that
that`s what this is about. It`s about suppressing the vote.
MATTHEWS: We had the guy in Pennsylvania, though, remember him?
DIANIS: That`s right. That`s right.
MATTHEWS: He just came out and said --
DIANIS: About Mitt Romney, exactly. I wish they`d be honest about
MATTHEWS: It just shows where in a balkanized country, where you can
live in little communities and get away with this stuff because nobody`s
actually listening. But everything is viral now.
Anyway, thank you, Judith Browne Dianis -- all three names. You`re
going to have trouble in Texas.
Anyway, State Representative Dawnna Dukes -- thank you for joining us
for your expertise and inside knowledge.
Up next, if you`re a public figure and you know you`re in trouble when
you find yourself the butt of the late night jokes. And for that, we can
thank the great Johnny Carson.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, this weekend Bill Clinton hits the campaign trail in
Virginia for his old friend, Terry McAuliffe. McAuliffe is in good shape
in the Virginia governor`s race. Let`s check the HARDBALL score board.
According to a new poll from Old Dominion University, McAuliffe is
maintaining his lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli. It`s McAuliffe 44,
Cuccinelli 37. And the libertarian in the race at seven. By the way, I
say base (ph) 10. It`s probably up to 15.
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is commonly assumed in Washington that once
somebody reaches the point where you use them in your monologue, they`re
JOHNNY CARSONS: President Ford is considering an income tax cut for
people in lower tax brackets. That`s the good news.
Now, the bad news is he still hasn`t figured how they can get an
Good political news. Bill Clinton has laryngitis, lost his voice.
And I do have a late breaking news bulletin. World War 3 was just
declared. I`m just kidding of course, not really. I just wanted to get
Reagan out of bed to watch the monologue.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
To many, there was no bigger star than "Tonight Show" host Johnny
Carson. Carson was one of the most famous and recognizable people in
America. His long-term attorney, consigliore, fixer and described by
Carson as his best friend, Henry Bushkin, has written a new memoir about
the 18 years he spent with the king of late night.
On air, Carson was a charming, funny, generous guy to his guests and
welcome in our homes. Off air, however, Bushkin, reveals the darker,
personal side of Carson that America never knew, the tale of the son
grieving over the acceptance or disapproval, crave for his mother but never
got -- a struggle that led him down a painful path of four broken
marriages, estrangement from his sons, a battle with alcohol and even
The book is simply entitled "Johnny Carson."
Henry Bushkin joins us now.
Henry, thank you so much for joining us. I was against the idea of
the book but I`m really -- I`m glad I read it. So you win the argument.
HENRY BUSHKIN, AUTHOR, "JOHNNY CARSON": Thank you. Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Let me talk about -- let me ask you. I have to tell you
one bit of news you may not know. When I was with President Carter, Rick
Hertzberg, the chief of the speechwriters, would have the Army Signal Corps
keep track of all the Carson monologues because we knew once he turned on
somebody, you were gone. That was it.
Let me ask you why I love -- I want you to give me an answer because
you knew the guy. I thought he was the best company in the world. If I
wasn`t doing anything socially back from college on a weekend with my
parents, I`d get my peanut butter and crackers, or my Coke or cheese and
crackers, and I couldn`t wait to sit there with Johnny Carson. He made me
feel welcome. He was my best company in the world.
And yet you portray a guy in miserable condition, drinking himself to
waste every night.
How did he do both?
BUSHKIN: Well, first of all, the drinking stopped when he moved to
California in 1972. The drinking I described was really in the early days
in New York with Ed McMahon and Johnny. So, I described a complex and
complicated guy, one that the public never knew.
And I think it`s great we`re talking about it and he`s due for a
renaissance or revival. After all, Chris, he had no memorial. There was
no funeral. He faded away after he retired.
So, we`re talking about him again. This is a good thing. People will
get to know him again.
MATTHEWS: Well, I used to drink a lot and I quit drinking because of
this problem. You can`t lead two lives. You`re going to be a drinker and
not a drinker.
How was he able to physically get up in that New York studio at 30
Rock and be debonair, sweatless, positive, having been up all night
drinking? How did he do it?
BUSHKIN: Well, don`t forget, he didn`t have to be in the studio until
3:00 in the afternoon, so if he went to bed in the 3:00 morning he could
get up at 2:00 and walk over to 30 Rock. He lived on 48th Street. So it
wasn`t a long stretch to walk when he lived in New York.
But those were the days behind him when he moved to California.
MATTHEWS: Do you think he feared his death when he got the mob hit
contract on him? Did he really fear he was going to get killed?
BUSHKIN: I think he feared he was going to get hurt. I don`t know
about killed. But he did the safer thing. He stayed home.
NBC solved the problem for him by broadcasting the Columbus Day parade
back then, which was merely an ode to the five families and NBC covered it.
No one else would. That ended the problem.
MATTHEWS: What do you think about his news judgment?
BUSHKIN: His what?
MATTHEWS: What do you think of the news judgment of covering
something you didn`t think was news worthy to save the head of your top
BUSHKIN: Well, I mean, you know, as I wrote it, I hope the reader
would see it as a great deal of fun. It was no fun then. But as you know,
you take tragedy and add a lot of years and it comes out to comedy. I
didn`t write it as a comedic bit, but it was written to show the type of he
was when he was in New York.
MATTHEWS: You know, there`s a sad bit of business, everybody finds
out his wife has been cheating on him. One of these beautiful women he
married. They all were beautiful, of course.
And he found out one was cheating with a famous football star. They
go over to the apartment in New York City and with you, you took the
opportunity to say, well, he paid for the apartment. It`s his right to go
What was it like to be with him when he rise, and he was cuckolded by
this beautiful of his?
BUSHKIN: Well, it was not a good thing. It was a horrible thing. He
We all wished we weren`t there. You could imagine it happening to any
of us. It`s just a bad thing. But again, it was horrible then.
I wrote it 43 years later essentially to an amusing bit. It was never
intended to create any controversy.
MATTHEWS: Yes or no, were he and Ed McMahon friends?
MATTHEWS: Yes, with a pause.
BUSHKIN: Yes. No, they were, of course, great professional friends.
But social friends, yes. But it waned over the years in California.
Johnny was at one strata and Ed was at another.
MATTHEWS: I understand. Thank you so much. "Johnny Carson" is the
title of the book. I do recommend you read it. Thank you, Henry Bushkin.
BUSHKIN: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: The bombastic Bushkin, fame on television.
And we`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this:
The best thing about traveling around the country on behalf of my new
book "Tip and The Gipper: When Politics Worked" is meeting the people who
watch HARDBALL. Again and again, I wish I could record the wonderfully
nice things people say.
A widower told me of reading my last book, the one on Jack Kennedy to
his beloved wife before she died, reading it to her. I treasure all the
times people have said how a husband watched me, as the widow put it, right
to the end. There`s nothing that means more to me than hearing that I`ve
been good company to someone. That they figured me out and just liked
spending time together talking about our beloved country.
Well, tonight, I`m speaking to what I know will be a big crowd at the
Enoch Pratt Library up in Baltimore. And later tonight at 10:00, I`ll be a
guest on Alec Baldwin on "UP LATE" right here on MSNBC. And tomorrow at
1:00 p.m. in the afternoon, I`ll be up in Barrington, Rhode Island, at
Barrington Books where there must have been a thousand people there last
time greeting me for my Kennedy book.
I`ve had exciting times in and covering politics including in those
early years winning battle with Ronald Reagan and still managed to get
things done for the country. Thanks so much for wanting to share those
stories. Please go and get a copy this weekend. "Tip and The Gipper: When
Politics Worked", the story of my political growing up.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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