February 26, 2014
Guest: Dana Milbank, James Clyburn, Seth Rogen, Anna Tovar, Dan Savage
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Ted Cruz secedes from the union.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
"Let Me Start" tonight with this. American democracy has rested on the
people`s changing loyalties between two major political parties. They`re
like two teams taking their turns at bat. For a century-and-a-half, we
have chosen either a Democrat or a Republican to be our president,
Democrats or Republicans to control each of the two houses of Congress.
But what if one of the two parties goes ballistic, heading so far off the
spectrum that it`s no longer competing for the majority of the voters`
loyalty? What if the Republicans get hijacked? If this happens, if the
Republican Party becomes a torpedo headed directly for the U.S. Capitol, if
it becomes a cruise missile targeted at the government itself, what then?
Well, this is the scary ambition of a certain senator from Texas, who not
only aims to topple the Republican Party leadership but smirks publicly
at the trouble he has created. To Ted Cruz of Texas, government shutdowns
and debt ceiling defaults are all in a day`s work. They are the business
he has chosen. For him, compromise is a curse word, and Republican
senators, including Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, spend their
days running from fights, as he puts it.
Well, earlier today, we awoke to news that Cruz is backing a rump group of
the right wing that wants to topple not just Mitch McConnell, but a whole
slate of Senate Republican leaders and veterans. Can he bring down the
Republican leadership? Can he explode the party, leaving it unable to
compete, for example, with Hillary Clinton next time? All this -- or also
that his wild bunch can rebuild it into a smaller, nastier political party
home only to the hard, embittered right wing.
David Corn is the Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones" and an MSNBC
political analyst. And Dana Milbank in a columnist for "The Washington
Gentlemen, this is rare in American politics. We have right, left, center.
We have a lot of nasty right (INAUDIBLE) but we only got one guy I know of
who seems to have a ballistic purpose, to blow up his political party.
Rand Paul wants to move it over to the right. We know that. He may
succeed. But this guy wants to take it apart starting at the top.
DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think the way to
understand Ted Cruz is to realize that he believes he`s leading a crusade.
There`s a theology to this. There`s some political calculations, sure, as
well, but he really believes that the Republicans, if they do anything, if
they let the Obama budget pass, they are enabling what he sees as the
destruction of the United States, and he`s taking it, self-appointed, self-
MATTHEWS: The functioning of the American government is his enemy.
CORN: Yes -- self-anointed to be the one to say no to this. It gives him
a part of the Tea Party base. But I -- I`m coming to the conclusion that
he really kind of believes that he is the conservative savior. And if that
means destroying Mitch McConnell and electing Tea Party folks who believe
Obama is like Nazis, so be it..
MATTHEWS: Well, they know some Spanish down in Texas, so I can use the
word "cojones." This guy`s got them. He`s out to knock off Mitch
McConnell, knock off Roberts, Pat Roberts of Kansas, knock off --
CORN: Thad Cochran?
MATTHEWS: -- Thad Cochran. He`s going down a whole list of Republicans
he has lunch with every week that he`s trying to destroy.
DANA MILBANK, "WASHINGTON POST": Yes.
MATTHEWS: And it`s -- it just came out today.
MILBANK: I disagree slightly with what David is saying Bill Clinton I
think that Ted Cruz is actually a charlatan. And I`ve been following him -
MATTHEWS: You think he`s a fraud?
MILBANK: A complete fraud. And I`ve been following him for something like
15 years now, and I think he`s a classic opportunist.
MATTHEWS: Then he really is Joe McCarthy because McCarthy was a fraud.
MILBANK: I think there`s an awful lot of that going on here. Now, he`s
not -- of course, he`s not loyal to the Republican Party. He`s not loyal
to any party other than his own interests. And you saw that when the Tea
Party arose, he switched from being an establishment lawyer-type guy who
helped to get George Bush elected, you know, this hustler out of Princeton
and Harvard law school, to suddenly, he`s going to be this demagogue from
the Tea Party. He sees this as a way to his own aggrandizement.
MATTHEWS: Well, here`s what Cruz writes in a fundraising letter we were
talking about this morning. It`s for something called -- I don`t even know
this group -- the Madison Group -- Madison Project. And take note of the
McCarthyesque language in that little number. Quote -- and here it comes -
- "Our nation desperately needs more strong conservative fighters in the
Senate, not more moderate career politicians who will sacrifice principle
and compromise with Democrats at every turn. Pull out all the stops to
elect solid, principled conservative fighters. It`s time to elect some
conservatives who won`t run from a fight."
There he is.
CORN: Well, you know, there`s -- there`s a --
MATTHEWS: They run from a fight. They`re treasonous, traitors. These
guys are not to be trusted, unprincipled. He`s talking about McConnell!
CORN: He`s talking about McConnell, McCain, Lindsey Graham and John
Cornyn, the lot of them. But the thing is, the group -- the guys they`s
supporting -- Chris McDaniel, who`s running against Thad Cochran -- this is
the guy who went to a neo-confederate secessionist group`s meeting. He`s
talking about Milton Wolf in Kansas, who`s up against Pat Roberts. Wolf
gets out there -- he`s a second cousin of Obama, but he compares Obama to
Hitler. He posts X-rays of dead people to the Internet and makes jokes
And of course, Matt Bevin, who`s running against McConnell, who says he was
against the bail-out when, actually, he was in favor of the bail-out. So
there`s not really principled conservatives here. It`s -- they -- it`s a
civil war within the Republican Party, and like any, you know, good --
MATTHEWS: What are the qualifications for --
CORN: -- any means possible.
MATTHEWS: -- wild bunch. I did this the other night because this guy,
Milton Wolf -- you know, I put -- these guys are crazy people. They`re
saying stuff, you would never nominate them if you actually had an
election. But they can -- this group, like the -- like this new Madison
Project, they find these people and say, Anybody who`s crazy enough to run
against an incumbent Republican senator is our guy.
MILBANK: Right. And then they`ll either lose in that battle or they`ll
come to Washington and they`ll actually get consumed by the process and
become establishment politicians themselves. Now, Ted Cruz is determined
not to do that, and he --
MATTHEWS: How do you know he`s a fraud, by the way? I`m fascinated by
your reporting here.
MILBANK: Well --
MATTHEWS: I have heard that story around town --
MATTHEWS: Can you nail it down?
MILBANK: I saw him down in Austin when he was working in the late `90s for
George W. Bush, and he was ridiculed fairly openly by his colleagues on the
Bush campaign as this most nakedly ambitious guy, a college debater before
that. The position wasn`t as important as it being Ted Cruz being the hero
of whatever the (INAUDIBLE)
CORN: Well, one thing interesting about his background -- and I`ve spent a
lot of time looking at tapes of his father speaking. His father is an
extreme fundamentalist pastor, and also as far on the Tea Party extreme as
you can get. And there`s something about the merging of the Tea Party and
the religious right that his father has --
MATTHEWS: -- the confusion --
CORN: And I don`t know -- I don`t know --
MATTHEWS: OK, here`s --
CORN: He`s very close to his dad, so there`s a long legacy there of
actually believing or at least absorbing --
MATTHEWS: OK --
MATTHEWS: I sympathize with people got kicked out of their country,
although he was part of Castro`s --
CORN: He wasn`t kicked out.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, well, it`s always murky sometimes. But in this case,
look, whatever you -- I don`t like Castro. Maybe somebody else does. I
don`t like him. I don`t like his brother. I don`t like his regime. If
we`d lost the cold war, they would have been in Central Park shooting us,
and he would have been enjoying it in his (INAUDIBLE) uniform, his
This guy seems to think that our elected Democratic government is Castro.
MATTHEWS: He -- he -- and he thinks Mitch McConnell is a fellow traveler!
That`s delusion! This isn`t religion! What is it?
CORN: I suspect that he doesn`t actually think that. This is the most
calculating man. He`s looking at 2016. Does he think he`s actually going
to be the nominee and the president? Not necessarily, but he does see
himself, as David was saying, as the de facto leader of this movement. And
whatever he`s doing now, if he has to sacrifice McConnell, Cornyn, others
along the way, it`s ultimately in the service of making him --
MATTHEWS: So you think --
MATTHEWS: -- a short runner.
MILBANK: Well, you can`t --
MATTHEWS: This is -- this is --
MILBANK: You can`t alienate -- he`s alienated everybody in his party --
MATTHEWS: -- makes no sense logically. He`s not building a career.
MILBANK: You cannot make it --
MATTHEWS: Anyway, earlier this month, Cruz -- that`s the senator again --
set a trap for Republican leaders in the Senate. He filibustered a vote to
raise the debt ceiling, which meant that a handful of Republicans would
have to join with the Democrats to advance the bill -- in other words, to
add up to 60, you need 5 Republicans to -- with the 55 Democrats to prevent
an economic collapse in this country. Well, the result was chaos on the
Senate floor. You were there.
MILBANK: I was there and you know --
MATTHEWS: You want me to read your column to you?
MILBANK: Poor Mitch McConnell was running around with three fingers in the
air, the number of votes he needed. They were scrambling. Somebody
knocked a glass of water to the floor. These guys were wringing their
hands. And there was Ted Cruz chewing bubble gum with hands in his pocket
and smiling. He wasn`t lobbying people to vote against McConnell, he
didn`t really care how it turned out. The whole idea was -- it was the
disruption was the purpose. It wasn`t -- the means were the end.
MATTHEWS: You got him -- you got him smirking at the confusion and hell of
the Republican Party.
MILBANK: Yes. It was great for him. It was -- look, it was bad for the
Republican Party. Who cares about the Republican Party? It was very
nearly catastrophic --
MATTHEWS: -- eventually, McConnell did cobble together the votes he
needed. He found five people willing to walk the plank, which Cruz and his
allies on the Madison Project then used against him.
Here`s part of this ad that just ran attacking McConnell. After they
screwed him, now they have some fun.
MATTHEWS: Well, when Cruz was asked point-blank by CNN`s Dana Bash about
this obvious case of sabotage, here`s his response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: I`ll tell you, several people raised a question
like you did there. Why are you trying to throw five Republicans under the
bus and make them vote for raising the debt ceiling? And I`ll tell you my
response. My response is I don`t want to throw any Republicans under the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, he did.
CORN: Yes, he sure --
MATTHEWS: What does it mean -- was that sort of done out of sadness? I
didn`t want to throw them --
CORN: Oh, no!
MILBANK: He was saying it was an easy vote and they all should have agreed
with me and allowed the nation to go into default. He knows they`re not
going to do that, but he can afford to because he knows that McConnell is
going to be the grownup.
CORN: What he had in this instance was the ability to sort of be pure and
not suffer the consequences. He knew that somebody else would save the
bacon. When the government shutdown that he helped start happened, he was
really left on the cross. And he had to sort of take a lot of flak. Here
he could get out there and say, I`m going to be as pure as any Tea Partier
is, and he`s going to let Mitch McConnell ride to the rescue, and no one`s
going to blame him for a default. That`s why he was sitting pretty.
MATTHEWS: Well, the way I started about this, trying to figure out how
this is going to lead to politics -- anyway -- in this election coming up
Anyway, last February, "The Washington Times" ran a piece noting that Cruz
was voting against pretty much every piece of legislation in the Senate.
They call him zero for 2013. When they asked Cruz`s office about it, his
spokesman beamed, saying, quote, "He didn`t come to Washington to make
friends. He came to help save the country."
Well, let`s talk about himself politically, following your theory that he`s
up for something here. The latest numbers (INAUDIBLE) Would you like
people to run for president -- he is running among Republican 2016
hopefuls. Look at this. This is not who you want. This is who you think
should even run.
When asked about each candidate individually, only 24 percent of
Republicans said they`d like to even see Cruz run for president. That puts
him pretty far last -- in fact, dead last in a list that includes Chris
Christie, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Jeb Bush.
MILBANK: Right, but that poll --
MATTHEWS: So he`s not doing too well --
MILBANK: That poll doesn`t capture the intensity of people. He`s going
for the guys who are going to outlast everybody in the Iowa caucuses, the
ones who are going to get out there in a snowstorm and the rain because
he`s looking for the absolute true believers in the party. This isn`t
really a -- I can`t imagine -- Ted Cruz is a smart guy. He can`t imagine
he`s going to win the Republican nomination, much less the presidency. But
he can become a hero (INAUDIBLE)
CORN: Oh, they all -- they all think they can win.
CORN: Listen, you know, Jeb Bush doesn`t run, Chris Christie doesn`t run.
So that leaves --
CORN: -- Rand Paul, Marco Rubio.
MATTHEWS: That`s exactly what`s going to happen!
CORN: He has the energy --
MATTHEWS: OK --
CORN: -- in Iowa, he has the energy in New Hampshire --
MATTHEWS: OK --
CORN: -- he blows --
MATTHEWS: OK --
CORN: -- (INAUDIBLE) and the crusade rolls on.
MATTHEWS: OK, they`re meeting in Las Vegas. right, in the summer of 2016,
where they may (ph) be (ph). And then you got Ted Cruz giving speeches
like this, and Rand Paul is the moderate compared to him. They`re going to
beat Hillary Clinton? Fat chance. Anyway, I wonder why they`s self-
destructing here. By the way, that`s what I think`s going to happen.
Anyway, David -- I think Rand Paul`s going to run against Hillary Clinton
and she`s going to clean his clock. Anyway, thank you.
CORN: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) David, and thank you, Dana.
Coming up: Democrats have a simple plan for 2014, win women and win
elections. Today, Democrats took a big step on economic fairness,
important to women. They moved to force a vote in the House on increasing
the minimum wage, force those Republicans to say yes or no to the petition.
Also, we`re used to seeing actor Seth Rogen in comedies like "Knocked Up."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I found out about (INAUDIBLE) I totally -- like, I
just had this flash of me, like, in a white Ford Bronco, and I`m just
hauling (EXPLETIVE DELETED) for Canada, man, and the chopper`s taping the
whole thing. And I just -- I bust through the border, and I`m a free man.
That`s all I kept thinking, man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, today Seth Roguen took on a much more serious role on
Capitol Hill, Alzheimer`s disease. Why? Actually, for him, it`s personal.
And what`s in a name? Well, a lot if your name is Bush, Jeb Bush. No
surprise, Jeb thinks sharing the last name of two former presidents isn`t
going to help him if he runs in 2016. Smart guy there, that Jeb.
Finally, "Let Me Finish" tonight with how President Obama is better on
fiscal responsibility than the cheap shot folks out there who attack him.
This is HARDBALL, place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, Chris Christie held another town hall today. This time,
he was on his home county of Morris County, an area that`s friendly to
Republicans. Listen to what the governor said about politics, very
discerning here, actually telling -- and telling the truth, apparently, or
about telling the truth
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: The fact is that I`ve got an
obligation to tell you all the truth, no matter what. And let`s remember
something else about politics, too. I`m in my second term now. According
to our constitution, you know, that means I can`t run for governor again.
I can tell you something. That`s really good news for you. It`s really
good news for you. And here`s why. I`m not worried about politics
anymore, everybody. This is it. I`m on the back nine. And when you`re on
the back nine and you don`t have to worry about playing another front nine,
your only obligation is to tell people the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: "I`m on the back nine." That`s his -- by the way, that`s what`s
called spin. That`s an attempt to say that all the charges that lay
against him right now that are now in the court system and in the legal
system are somehow all just politics. Very clever, Governor. They`re not.
Evidence is going to rule this case.
So does that mean that what he said, that he`s not going to run for
president? Interesting. A lot of Republicans hope that`s true, by the
way. Take another look at that new "New York Times"/CBS poll just came
out. Republicans say they don`t want Christie to run for president. And
boy, more say that than say they want him to run.
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, today, Democrats made good on
their promise they made nearly two weeks ago at their winter retreat to try
to force a vote on a national minimum wage of 9 -- of $10.10. Raise the
minimum wage is a potent issue, of course, for the 2014 election cycle, as
support for it crosses party lines. A lot of Republicans believe in a
higher minimum wage. And it`s awfully hard to disagree with an effort to
give America a raise, if you talk about people at the bottom.
But beyond that, Democrats hope the push to raise the minimum wage
especially resonates with women voters and motivates them to go out there
and vote this November. Here`s House minority leader Nancy Pelosi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: Over 60 percent of the people
getting minimum wage are women. And what the impact of this is on women,
and when women succeed, America succeeds. Mr. Speaker, give us a vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Democrats can`t do it alone. They need a majority in the
House, of course, 218 to get this thing passed. Congressman Tim Bishop
filed what`s known as a discharge petition today to force a House vote on
the $10 minimum wage -- that`s $10.10. He pointed out there were no
Republicans lining up to sign on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TIM BISHOP (D), NEW YORK: When I left the chamber a few minutes ago,
there was a long line of members signing the discharge petition. Now, I
regret to observe that in that line were only Democrats.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Congressman Jim Clyburn of South Carolina is assistant
Democratic leader of the Democratic Party and a long-time advocate of
raising the minimum wage. Also joining us now is NBC News political
reporter Kasie Hunt. Kasie, hold on. I want to go to the congressman on
this for a minute.
Congressman, I`m curious, is this going to be an issue for the Democrats or
a victory? Which -- because it can`t be -- if you win, you win before
November, before the House adjourns.
REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: Right.
MATTHEWS: If you don`t win, you talk about it. What`s the goal, win or
talk about it in the election?
CLYBURN: It`s always to win. I would much rather see the people on Main
Street of America, those hard-working men and women, get the raise that
they deserve. That`s why we are doing this.
We believe that to raise the minimum wage will lift a couple of million
people out of poverty. It will affect, as we said earlier -- 60 percent of
the people who are affected by the minimum wage are women. And we -- so
many of those women are heads of households. So that`s what we want to do.
We want to give America a raise, and we`ll worry about the politics of it
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you about the politics of it, because I got to
talk about it now, because I`m not sure this thing can win.
You have got 199 members of your caucus. The Republicans have 232. They -
- you need 218.
MATTHEWS: So, you need at least -- if you get every single Democrat, man
and woman, you get -- you`re still short 19.
MATTHEWS: How are you going to get those Republicans, the moderate
Republicans, reasonable Republicans, mostly from the Northeast and Midwest,
to vote with you? How do you put the pressure on these guys to sign your
CLYBURN: I do believe that, if all the Democrats were to sign this
discharge petition -- and I have already heard there are two or three
Republicans who said they are open to this -- then I believe that the
pressure comes from the voters.
Over 70 percent of the American people say that we ought to raise the
minimum wage. And so it won`t be us doing it. We will have done our part
when we sign. I was number 111 today, which means we only need 107 more.
So I would hope that we can get to that, because all we are asking is for a
vote, and then let the people decide whether or not they want to vote for
it, but just bring it to the floor. And that`s all this does.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you -- well, you are an expert at politics and civil
rights. I have great respect for you.
CLYBURN: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: But let me suggest some street tactics. Why don`t you go into
those districts, in those suburban districts around Philly, with Meehan`s
district and Fitzpatrick and to Gerlach, go to those districts, go to Peter
King out there in Long Island, go into their districts and to talk radio,
put a tag team in there, a bunch of your leaders, women, too, especially
women, and get in there and talk it up?
And then go into the guy`s office and say, are you going to sign or not?
And when he says no, you come out and say he refused to sign. Build on the
fact that he is refusing you, not wait for the guy -- hit him for not
signing now. What is going to change between now and November? Make him
say no. And when he says no, you nail him. Just a thought.
CLYBURN: Well, I think you -- oh, I agree with you.
We do plan to do that. And we do plan for our challengers out there to
raise this issue, run on this issue. And I really believe it is a winning
issue. We have seen that even in a statewide race down in Kentucky. The
lady down there who is running for United States Senate is pushing the
minimum wage as one of the things that she is for.
I believe this is a winning issue for any of our people who are challenging
out in those districts like Pennsylvania and New York.
Congressman Clyburn, I want you to watch now what governor -- the governor
of Connecticut was a powerhouse here on last night. He came on last night.
I mean, I had -- I couldn`t stop him.
MATTHEWS: Here is how he made his case. He was fighting with Bobby Jindal
down at the White House. He came on here last night and kept the fight
going. Here is how he made the case, machine gun-style, on HARDBALL last
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. DANNEL MALLOY (D), CONNECTICUT: Let me point this out.
The people who will benefit the most are women. And women support it by 79
percent. We need to move people out of poverty. We particularly need to
move women out of poverty.
Women in our country deserve to work 40 hours a week and not live in
Women in our country deserve a minimum wage that will allow -- lift them
out of poverty to raise their children, to raise their families, and to
Either you`re for women, either you`re for building a middle class, or
you`re against it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Pretty good, huh, Congressman?
CLYBURN: Absolutely. I could not have said it better myself.
MATTHEWS: Well, you might well after --
CLYBURN: I think that he --
MATTHEWS: Just listen to this guy.
MATTHEWS: I love the way that -- let`s bring in Kasie Hunt on the numbers.
Hold on there, Congressman.
Let`s get a reporter to talk about the numbers.
And 218 to get a bill on the floor, 218 to pass it once you get it there.
What -- a petition can put pressure on Republicans, but it doesn`t deliver
the 218, does it, Kasie, yes or no, between now and November?
KASIE HUNT, NBC CORRESPONDENT: I don`t see it delivering 218, only because
I don`t think that there are that many Republicans who are willing to cross
Speaker John Boehner.
It is one thing to want to vote for this if your leader has decided to put
it on the floor. It is a little bit of a thumb in the eye to sign this at
this point and sort of say, you are not running the floor the way we want
But, you know, I think you sort of outlined it pretty well. I think
Democrats see it as an organizing tool, something that they can take in
those districts and swing areas and across the country as sort of a
unifying message, especially one that they can use to appeal to women that
goes beyond arguments about reproductive rights and into some of the
broader themes that we are going to see driving this election, particularly
But what about labor towns? What about labor areas where you have a lot of
labor influence, around the Philly area?
MATTHEWS: A lot of organized people, they`re organized workers. It is
like card check. I`m not a huge fan of card check, but it would work in
this case. You go around to the guy and say or woman and say, look, sign
or don`t sign, but you are not with the worker if you don`t sign. You are
not one of us. You are a free rider here.
HUNT: And those are the areas where they --
MATTHEWS: And force them. And then they have got to go to the speaker and
say, Mr. Speaker, you have got to release me. You got to give us a break.
There is too much heat on me.
Well, and that is the other potential effect that this could have. I mean,
discharge petitions in the past have been used to put pressure on the
opposing party to offer their own version of similar legislation. So, if
there is enough internal pressure, it is possible that they could --
HUNT: -- eventually put some pressure on to do another type of bill.
But what the congressman was saying earlier, too, you have to remember
there are some divisions even on running on minimum wage. While Alison
Grimes in Kentucky is running on it and focused on it, Mark Pryor in
Arkansas is running away from a federal bill. He has embraced a state-
level hike to minimum wage. But he says that the bill that is before
Congress right now is too much too fast.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Well --
HUNT: And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid put off a vote until at least
later next month.
MATTHEWS: Yes, he is in a right-to-work state.
Congressman Clyburn, you got -- you are hopeful of this happening, right?
You think we`re getting a higher minimum wage, for the women especially?
CLYBURN: Oh, I really do believe it`s possible to do.
I think you are exactly right. Both of you, I think, are right on the
money. We have to create a climate among the electorate to make them
clamor for this. We are not going to be able to make it happen ourselves.
All we can do is get our people to sign, get our challengers to run on this
issue. And those of us here need to go out there in the hustings and help
them make this the issue that it can be.
And if we do it, then I do believe that we can see some people saying to
Mr. Boehner, you got to bring this to the floor.
MATTHEWS: Well, HARDBALL supports a $10.10 national minimum wage, sir.
Now it is official. You heard it here.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Congressman Jim Clyburn.
Great respect for this fellow.
Thanks for coming on.
CLYBURN: Thank you for having me.
MATTHEWS: Kasie Hunt, thanks for reporting to us.
HUNT: Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Still ahead: Actor/comedian Seth Rogen, he`s both. You may
have seen in comedies like, dare I say, "Knocked Up" and "Superbad." Well,
today, he`s in town on a much more serious mission, a family mission, if
you will. I have it in my family. I know all about it.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS")
SETH MEYERS, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS": A new poll shows that
half of New Jersey residents believe Chris Christie was involved in the
Bridgegate scandal, half of them, while the other half know how to keep
their fricking mouth shut.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Time for the "Sideshow." That was pretty funny.
Anyway, the turmoil in the Ukraine, by the way, has already got some in
this country speculating about its potential impact on the 2014 and 2016
But, as Jon Stewart pointed out on "The Daily Show," it is not at all clear
Ukraine will have any effect on American politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART")
JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": After all, Ukraine
does rank as an issue voters care about just under equal rights for ghosts
STEWART: -- and should evolution be taught in pools?
STEWART: Well, and I`m sure that Ukraine is equally as fixated on American
There`s only one way to find out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe this uprising will help Christie. We have
done it to distract Americans from Bridgegate. This will help Christie in
the Iowa Caucasians.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Next up: Jeb Bush may be considering a bid for president in
2016, but the question still looms, how many Bushes are too many Bushes?
Well, he addressed that concern at a luncheon earlier this week,
acknowledging that his last name might be a big hurdle for voters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: We had a Bush, then we had a
Clinton, then we had a Bush. Then we`re going to have a Clinton? And then
he turned to me and goes, and then we`re going to have a Bush?
BUSH: So, you can -- I get the point. I get the point. And it is
something that I would have to -- if I was to run, I would have to overcome
that. And so will Hillary, by the way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Not the same way.
However, on "The Late Show" last night, David Letterman had a different
take on what the Bush family legacy really means for Jeb in 2016.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN")
DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": I would say to
Jeb Bush, really, if you are thinking of running for president you, Jeb
Bush, my friend, have some mighty big shoes to fill.
LETTERMAN: Take a look.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I love that spit at the end.
Up next, the great comedic actor Seth Rogen is coming right to the table.
You know him from the movies like "Knocked Up." Today, he is here in town
on very serious business, testifying before Congress on his fight against
Alzheimer`s disease. And a lot of us know about that.
You are watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
FRANCES RIVERA, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Frances Rivera. Here`s what`s
At 7:45 p.m. Eastern time, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer will be speaking
about the controversial anti-gay law passed by the state legislature last
week. We will bring you that event live in just a few minutes.
Meanwhile, President Obama traveled to Saint Paul earlier, where he
unveiled a plan to improve the nation`s transportation infrastructure.
And many in California are hoping stormy weather will provide relief from
the state`s historic drought. Flooding is expected in some areas -- now
back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Well, this is good, even though it is a sad subject.
Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Actor and comedian Seth Rogen sits right here. He kept us laughing in
movies like "Knocked Up," "Superbad," "Pineapple Express," "The Green
Hornet," "The Guilt Trip." That`s with Barbra Streisand. That one -- that
wasn`t Barbra Streisand right there.
MATTHEWS: He has come to Capitol Hill today. He`s there talking serious
business there. We watched him testify today about the toll that
Alzheimer`s has taken on American families. And he`s, by the way, an
advocate and spokesman for National Alzheimer`s Association, and showed his
talent for comic relief to show U.S. senators today how a deadly disease
has touched him personally.
Here`s a bit of Seth in the real world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SETH ROGEN, ACTOR: Thank you for the opportunity to testify today and for
the opportunity for me to be called an expert at something, because that is
ROGEN: I don`t know if you know who I am at all. You told me you never
saw "Knocked Up," Chairman, so --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want the record to note this is the first time -- I
will wager this is the first time in any congressional hearing in history
that the words knocked up have been used.
ROGEN: Oy. You are not going to like the rest of this, then.
After forgetting who she and her loved ones were, my mother-in-law, a
teacher for 35 years, then forgot how to speak, feed herself, dress herself
and go to the bathroom herself, all by the age of 60. That`s right. The
situation is so dire that it caused me, a lazy, self-involved, generally
self-medicated man child, to start an entire charity organization.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, your mother-in-law was diagnosed with Alzheimer`s what --
at the age of what?
ROGEN: Fifty-four, I believe.
MATTHEWS: And when did she lose awareness of who everybody was, including
ROGEN: A few years after that. I would say by the time she was around 60,
which was around when I was getting married to my wife. We actually often
talk how we feel like our wedding was kind of the last time we saw like
some recognition in what was really --
MATTHEWS: Yes. And people learn how to fake it, too.
She seemed like there -- over the years, there was kind of some mechanisms
that she had come up with, but eventually it became to the point that there
is no hiding it or faking it.
MATTHEWS: You know, it strikes -- it struck Ronald Reagan, President
MATTHEWS: You know, if you talk to Nancy Reagan, she will say it is worse
than anything. You lose your company.
MATTHEWS: You lose the person you love.
ROGEN: Oh, it has been like unbelievably sad to see, and so unlike how I
have seen it portrayed in the media, in real life, that it -- that is
honestly one of the things that made me start doing this, is I had been so
MATTHEWS: Well, there`s a lot of people who watch the show. The nicest
thing people say to me doing this every night is, they will come up to me
and say, my mother watched you to the end or my husband watched you to the
end, meaning, people are aware of it, because then they lose people -- I
call it the long goodbye.
MATTHEWS: I lost my mom this way.
So, talk about where it stands. You have become something of an advocate.
So, are we getting closer to finding -- is it aluminum in the plaque, or do
we know anything we didn`t know before?
ROGEN: I mean, I was just at this hearing. And there were people who know
much more about this than I do testifying.
And the overall answer they seem to have to that question is they don`t
know. It seems like the biggest problem is that they don`t have enough
money to fund the ideas they have to pursue these avenues of thought. It
seems like they are not even quite at the place where they can answer those
questions, because the money is so inconsistent, that they -- they don`t
They are just now, it seems like, getting enough to start moving in the
direction to start answering those questions, but, even still, the
frustration I could hear in the voices of the researchers --
MATTHEWS: Who is doing the work, the NIH?
ROGEN: Yes, the NIH, it seems like are on the forefront.
MATTHEWS: You know about cases, like a friend of ours got Alzheimer`s at
ROGEN: Yes. I mean, that`s like -- my wife`s mother was in her 50s. Yes.
MATTHEWS: And he was -- he died within a few years. My mom was 15 years.
I think it is more normal, it takes a while. But --
ROGEN: Yes, it is unbelievably painful. I didn`t realize it was a fatal
MATTHEWS: OK, this show is called HARDBALL, all right?
MATTHEWS: They got a problem everybody out there knows about. One problem
I saw I didn`t see senators sitting there. I saw Harkin --
MATTHEWS: -- and I saw Jerry Moran --
MATTHEWS: -- and all other seats are empty.
ROGEN: Yes, they left.
MATTHEWS: You`re sitting -- remember where we start. Usually, the
senators at least show when the cameras were there.
ROGEN: Yes, I mean, it was --
MATTHEWS: Why weren`t they there? Did you ask anybody where the hell you
guys are supposed to work here are?
ROGEN: I honesty assumed -- I hope they had somewhere better to be.
MATTHEWS: You think so?
ROGEN: I think it is indicative of the mentality that we find so
frustrating is that it seems to be low priority. It seems like these
people don`t care. That`s the direct message they are giving by leaving
during the testimony is that they don`t care. Two of them were falling
asleep during the first part of the testimony, literally. I saw it
And then they ask questions that are answered in the testimony because they
clearly weren`t paying attention. I mean, on the ground floor level, there
were some very distressing things I witnessed just being in that room and
seeing how two of the people seemed to care and everyone else, I have no
idea what they were doing.
MATTHEWS: What`s Hilarity for Charity?
ROGEN: It`s an organization me and my wife started that -- its goal to get
young people involved in --
MATTHEWS: Yes, we better because we`re aware what`s going on. Once you
get Alzheimer`s, it is too late to do much good.
ROGEN: Exactly. And our generation soon will be affected by it. It`s not
just grandparents. It`s our parents. And again, we look around and saw
absolutely no attempt being made by anyone really to educate young people
about what is happening --
MATTHEWS: You know what it is important. Excuse me, I interrupt --
ROGEN: I like it.
MATTHEWS: The key thing about this, it is not like somebody isn`t that
bright and becomes less bright. It strikes like thunder.
MATTHEWS: It goes after women. My mom was wanting to run for city
council. It strikes people that are gung ho intellectually, who read the
paper every day, who are thinkers, they play bridge and do everything to
fight it. It just keeps coming.
ROGEN: Yes, it`s unbelievable. And again, what I have been so shocked by,
by watching my mother-in-law, is how she literally can`t walk or talk or
MATTHEWS: She can`t get down the stairway.
ROGEN: Yes. She is in a wheelchair a lot of the time. There is literally
no communication. I mean, a brief moment of eye contact is considered like
MATTHEWS: Are there wonderful flashbacks where she does know somebody?
ROGEN: No. There`s nothing.
MATTHEWS: My mother was like, once in a while, she would come back.
ROGEN: No, if she could, if she said two words in a row, we`d be thrilled.
There is hello.
MATTHEWS: Let`s get something done here. You are here. We are live.
Tell me what people should do who are watching and listening to you and
care about you, in fact? They care about you personally. You`re telling a
story that you care about.
ROGEN: Some do.
Yes, I mean, I think people need to -- a stink needs to be made. I mean, I
think people --
MATTHEWS: Just write your congressman.
ROGEN: Write your congressman. Make them realize it is a relevant issue
and that people are not going to accept that America has no means of
dealing with this disease at all when they pride themselves on being on the
forefront of scientific and technological advancement.
MATTHEWS: 202-224-3121, I can always do that one. 202-224-3121, that`s
the United States Senate.
Anyway, Seth Rogen, thank you. Maybe they will show up for the next
ROGEN: Yes, maybe.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, up next -- thanks for coming on.
ROGEN: Thank you for having me.
MATTHEWS: Up next, there`s a big push across the country to legalize
marijuana. It`s projected to be a billion dollar industry in Colorado
ROGEN: I should stay for this.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about it.
You can`t stay.
Is pot`s economic boom worth the dollars that come with it? We`re going to
find out the goal is? Harry Smith is joining us, from the brand new,
"Marijuana in America." Who would have known this was coming and it`s
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ANCHOR: Breaking news out of Arizona today, where
Governor Jan Brewer is about to make a statement on a controversial bill
that would allow business owners to refuse service to gays and lesbians on
the basis of religious freedom.
GOV. JAN BREWER (R), ARIZONA: -- great concern and careful evaluation and
deliberate consideration and especially to Senate Bill 1062. I call them
like I see them, despite the tears or the boos from the crowd.
I took the necessary time to make the right decision. I met or spoke with
my attorneys, lawmakers and citizens supporting and opposing this
legislation. As governor, I have asked questions and I have listened.
I protected religious freedoms when there is a specific and pressing
concern that exists in our state. And I have record to prove it.
My agenda is to sign into law legislation that advances Arizona. When I
address the legislature earlier this year, I made my priorities for this
session abundantly clear. Among them are passing a responsible budget that
continues Arizona`s economic comeback. From CEOs, to entrepreneurs to
business surveys, Arizona ranks as one of the best states to grow or start
a business. Additionally, our immediate challenge is fixing a broken child
Instead, this is the first policy bill to come across my desk. Senate Bill
1062 does not address a specific or pressing concern related to religious
liberty in Arizona. I have not heard of one example in Arizona where a
business owner`s religious liberty has been violated.
The bill is broadly worded and can result in unintended and negative
consequences. After weighing all of the arguments, I have vetoed Senate
Bill 1062 moments ago.
To the supporters of this legislation, I want you to know that I understand
that long held norms about marriage and family are being challenged as
never before. Our society is undergoing many dramatic changes.
However, I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to
create more problems than it purports to solve. I could divide Arizona in
ways we could not even imagine. And no one would ever want.
Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value. So is --
BREWER: Senate Bill 1062 into a renewed search for greater respect and
understanding among all Arizonans and Americans.
HAYES: That is Arizona Governor Jan Brewer announcing that she had vetoed
the controversial bill Senate Bill 1062. You`re seeing a live shot I
believe from right now outside the state capitol in Tucson, Arizona, where
protesters have amassed this piece of legislation which was relatively
under the radar just a few days ago, when passed by both houses, has
precipitated a massive backlash.
And joining us now, NBC`s Mike Taibbi who`s joining us from -- I`m sorry,
Phoenix, Arizona, not Tucson.
Mike, what are the governor`s people saying about the decision she made?
MIKE TAIBBI, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I think the most important thing,
Chris, that we`ve heard in the last three days while we were waiting for
this decision, the least surprising decision given all the words that we`ve
heard all the advocacy we`ve heard was in an aide to the governor who said
two days ago, look, this bill was never part of her agenda, making that
clear. And that being the case, and her being term limited at this point
has seemed very clear, given all the pressure that`s come to bear in the
last 48 hours, last four or five day, the last 48 hours particularly, that
there was only one way that she was going to make a decision, that she
announced that a moment ago as you just heard.
HAYES: Do you get the sense that the governor and the state Republican and
the state political leaders were taken aback by the breadth of opposition.
I mean, you had everything from JPMorgan Chase, to Major League Baseball,
to the NFL to both Republican senators. It has been swift and broad the
backlash to this piece of legislation.
TAIBBI: Yes, as you know, you`ve watched Arizona politics over the years,
it`s pretty tough and it`s pretty Republican. This is a very red state.
We talked yesterday to Steve Pierce, who`s the Senate majority whip, a
Republican, who is one of the supporters of and voters for this bill. And
he was one of the three people who objected to what he did.
One of the turncoat Republicans who basically said we`ve changed our mind.
We made a mistake, we got to fix it.
We spoke to him yesterday, he was almost shaken to the extent this issue
became the word viral. This issue became viral so fast and so vehemently,
that it seemed clear there was no way to go forward with support for the
bill. He said he hadn`t thought about it in terms of an LGBT issue, or
issue of gender identification and discrimination, only as an issue of
Give him the benefit of the doubt, if that`s what he said, he thought
that`s what it was in the beginning, let`s accept that`s what he said. But
he saw the perception of the bill changed and changed his opinion as well.
And he changed the vote and asked the governor to do the same thing, to
veto the bill and she did.
HAYES: One of the things I found striking over the last few days as a
backlash this legislation has grown. It has grown quite quickly. It`s
actually been hard to find people that were speaking up for it, and I`m
curious what we`re going to hear if you know from the supporters of that
TAIBBI: Well, we found some, Chris. I mean, last night, we interviewed a
couple dozen people in the church, one of the fellowship Christian churches
in town, and they said to an individual, that what happened in Oregon, what
happened in the state of Washington, where a baker refused to bake a
wedding cake for a same sex couple, the flowers weren`t provided, the
photography wasn`t done for the same sex couple, they all said, yes, that`s
fine. They should have the right to do that.
And we spoke to a guy today, a lawyer, a constitutional lawyer here, Shane
Crowser (ph). And he had an interesting take on it, he said the governor
should have signed the bill, because it would have proven the free market
would meet out people who discriminate against one group or another, just
because they want to do it, just because they can do it. And the free
market would weed them out of the business. So, that was his point of
He also said he didn`t think the governor would sign it into law, that you
would in fact veto it, and she did.
I`ll give you an idea how clearly it was anticipated that she would veto
it. A couple of these protesters showed up before with preprinted signs
saying, "Thank you, Governor Brewer. Arizona is open for business now for
everyone." Very nicely done signs.
HAYES: NBC`s Mike Taibbi, thanks so much.
Joining me now by phone from Arizona is Democratic State Senator Anna
Tovar, who is a minority leader.
Senator, I`m assuming that you were given a heads up this is the way it`s
going to come down, what`s your reaction?
STATE SEN. ANNA TOVAR (D), ARIZONA (via telephone): Well, definitely we
are glad that the Governor Brewer vetoed this devastating bill that would
have marginalized members of our LGBT community and others. We want the
nation and the world to know that SB-1062 is a mean spirited effort to
legally sanction discrimination is not representative of our state.
Arizonans expect us to be working on things that matter to them like
improving education, fixing PPS, creating jobs and growing the economy.
HAYES: Senator, let me ask you this, let me ask you this about what
happened in the legislative debate, because what you`ve seen is this bill
got passed by both houses, it could cued up for the governor, massive
backlash happened. And a bunch of Republicans kind of seemed like, oh, I`m
not quite sure what we were passing.
Was there spirited debate in the process of this bill passing both houses?
TOVAR: Absolutely. There was spirited debates and also amendments
provided by our Democrats, to try and prevent this bill from moving
forward. So, again, we knew the ramifications of this bill and owes throws
that say otherwise are false. This bill from day one, Democrats have stood
in opposition, along with business leaders, the LGBT community and
It`s time to move Arizona forward and make sure something like SB-1062
never happens again. It`s time to show the world what Arizona is really
HAYES: Do you think this episode is a black eye for the state? I mean,
obviously, you`ve been in the -- the state has been in the headlines for
two or three days. We`re just taking a live statement from the governor.
The amount of backlash from JPMorgan Chase, the Major League Baseball, the
National Football League, was remarkably broad in scope.
Do you think this episode has tarnished the state`s reputation?
TOVAR: Yes, I did. It is -- again, we were in the headlines, Arizona was
in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. We do believe that this has
tarnished our image. But again, it`s time to move Arizona forward and
making sure that something like SB-1062 never happens again.
HAYES: Democratic State Senator Anna Tovar of Arizona, thank you.
Joining us now by phone is syndicated columnist Dan Savage, host of the
"Savage Love" podcast.
Well, Dan, the gay mafia, a powerful, powerful force, man. You guys turned
this thing around pretty quickly.
DAN SAVAGE, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST (via telephone): Yes, we couldn`t prevent
it from being passed in the first place, and we couldn`t prevent from
percolating through the legislators in other states, but, yes, we pulled it
out in the end with the help of the Chamber of Commerce, notorious locust
(ph) of pro-LGBT activism and liberalism in the past.
HAYES: Well, you know what? You joke about that, but what was interesting
to me in watching this episode play out is the -- this to me was a kind of
new plot point in the trajectory of corporate America on LGBT issues. I
mean, you really did have a unified front from corporate America against
this legislation. And it just shows me how much it is now the case that
corporate America has allied itself on the side more or less fairly
routinely now of gay equality.
SAVAGE: Well, they`ve aligned themselves on the side of non-
discrimination, because discriminating against people of whatever stripe is
bad for business. And it`s important to emphasize again and again, that
this bill didn`t single out just LGBT people for discrimination. They
didn`t mention LGBT people. It said that anyone who could point to a
religious belief could discriminate against anyone else for any reason.
SAVAGE: And it wasn`t just gay people who were going do get it in the
teeth if this became law. This was the road to chaos. Cab drivers are
refusing to drive you home because you are drinking alcohol and they don`t
approve. Their religion prevents drinking alcohol. These are pharmacists
refusing to sell women birth control, because they disapprove of birth
control, selling it to single women.
It`s just you don`t want to empower people who make these kinds of
distinction. In your private life, you can discriminate against whoever
you care to, not have people over for dinner or not attend a wedding. But
in public life, in providing goods and services using the road, the courts,
everything else that we all paid for, police departments, fire departments,
you have to do that evenhandedly and in a nondiscriminatory fashion.
And that`s the side that people came down on. People didn`t just rush to
the defense of just LGBT people, but everyone.
HAYES: Yes, I think the Pandora`s Box aspect of this was a huge one. And
it also you know, it strikes me here that you`ve got a situation in which
you`ve got legislation that is a solution in search of a problem. And I
think actually Jan Brewer did a pretty good job of laying that case out in
the beginning of her statement, basically being like, it`s not like there`s
a huge problem in the state of Arizona. There`s not a bunch of religious
folks who feel like they`re being dragged into doing things against their
will. I actually haven`t heard of any complaints in our state, why are we
SAVAGE: You know what I would like to see? If there are lots of
businesses out there who would rather --
HAYES: Dan Savage --
SAVAGE: -- not want to serve gays and lesbians, create a Web site and
identify yourselves and publicly state that, you know, we`ll serve anyone,
we`ll honor anti-discrimination laws, but really we`d rather not have your
business. I don`t think they have the courage to do that.
HAYES: Dan, I`ve got to -- I`ve got to break in right here. Thank you for
Breaking news tonight, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has vetoed the
controversial bill that will allow business owners to refuse service to
gays and lesbians on the basis of religious freedom.
We`ll be right back.
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'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for Wednesday, Febraury 26th, 2014