March 25, 2014
Guests: Melinda Henneberger, Michael Tomasky, Amy Klobuchar, Stephanie
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: The mystery returns.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
"Let Me Start" tonight with this. It`s not over. I pick up the
newspaper this morning thinking the mystery of flight 370 is dead, and it
comes screaming back to life again. Somebody, some human being did
something here. All this talk yesterday about some catastrophic event on
the plane that tore it into radio silence, that switched off all
communications with the ground and killed everyone aboard just doesn`t fit
with the fact, right there on the front page of today`s "New York Times,"
that that plane was put by someone on a brand-new course -- not some jerky
turn, but onto a totally new course that took it down on its death heading
into the south Indian Ocean.
Tom Costello is an NBC News correspondent who has been on this story
from the get-go. And Alan Diehl`s a former crash investigator for the Air
Force, NTSB and FAA. He is the author of "Air Safety Investigations: Using
Science to Save Lives One Crash at a Time."
So Tom, I guess this question -- you and I talk all the time about
this kind of thing, and I thought we had reached some kind of closure
yesterday, not just that it went into the deep and everybody was lost, and
that`s the end of the story, but that it looked like it was a catastrophic
event of some kind that explained everything. All the systems went out.
Everybody blacks out. The plane became a zombie plane. Enough said.
I look at "The New York Times" today and it says, Whoa! Somebody made
a decision or at some point early on in this to divert the course.
TOM COSTELLO, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I think that`s -- right now,
that`s without question. All the evidence suggests somebody did this on
purpose. Before we get to the screen, the video screen, here`s what you`re
talking about, Chris. This is showing the course for this plane.
It originally was headed up the spine of Vietnam towards Beijing. It
made a U-turn. If it had only made a U-turn, then yes, we believe it had a
catastrophic issue and perhaps the pilot was trying to come back, everybody
is incapacitated and the flight suddenly goes on and on and on forever.
It didn`t just make a U-turn, though. It turns up the Strait of
Malacca, and then it comes down, and all the way down here into what
they`re now searching in the search zone.
And here`s the other important piece of evidence. Let`s roll this
animation. This is what they`ve been looking at in terms of those
satellite pings from 22,000 miles up. They`ve been plotting based on these
faint pings where this plane hit, what was the trajectory. Look at that.
There are two different paths. And as you can see, they believe it heads
down towards the south Indian Ocean.
And here`s the last important piece of this equation now. What
they`re trying to do is say, based on the speed it was traveling at, where
would it be? If it traveled 460 miles per hour, they think the plane may
be over here. If the plane was traveling faster than that, 500, they think
it could be over here.
Why is that relevant? This is hundreds, maybe even thousands of miles
of difference. The search zone now, Chris, is about the size of Alaska,
600,000 square miles. Finding a wreckage in here somewhere is going to be
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s get back to the question of when that program
was set for the different flight direction, the different course. Do you
believe it was set before the first officer signed off and said "Good
night," or it was done afterwards, in other words, in the midst of a
COSTELLO: What happened this week is the Malaysians contradicted
information that U.S. authorities had given us. U.S. authorities said last
week they believe somebody pre-programmed into the flight management system
the U-turn. We now are told by the Malaysians that`s not true. That data
is not there...
MATTHEWS: OK. That.
COSTELLO: ... that this plane was not pre-programmed. But clearly,
somebody did program in and make these turns. That`s irrefutable.
MATTHEWS: Let me go back to -- let me go to Mr. Diehl. Your thinking
of this, the question of, again, was this a malfunction or was there a man-
made problem here or a combination of the two, if that`s possible?
ALAN DIEHL, FAA SAFETY EXPERT: Well, Chris, obviously, I think both
scenarios are on the table. It looked like a couple of left turns. I
didn`t see Tom`s graphic, but the initial left turn, that could be
explained by some minor problem in the cockpit, maybe fumes, whatever.
We`ve seen this before on other accidents. And then all of a sudden,
things get out of control and the pilots are incapacitated. We know this
Also, we also are aware it could be, you know, a bomb in the cockpit.
It could be hijackers. There`s nothing really that has been eliminated.
That second U-turn down towards the south Indian Ocean could well be
somebody else aboard. It could be injured pilots not knowing where they
are right now. And of course, it could be like what happened in 2005, when
a flight attendant went to the cockpit. This was a slow decompression in a
737. It was a male flight attendant. He put on the oxygen mask and tried
to fly the airplane. He did until it ran out of gas. So everything is
still on the table, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Well, back to you, Tom. It seems to me there`s always the
question of was anybody piloting that plane for seven hours or was it on
automatic? And people -- I`m getting different views. If you have a mask
on and you`re a pilot or a first officer, you can survive for 35 minutes,
we`re told last night.
Could there have been a pilot -- and then it goes back to the
question, why was there no radio transmission at all to the base, to
anybody on earth?
COSTELLO: No radio transmission, no ACARS data transmission -- that`s
the automated data bursts -- no transponder information. All of that went
blank. And the investigators do believe this plane was flying on
autopilot, at least all the way down here.
Why do they believe that? Because they believe that the speed was
consistent, the heading was consistent and the altitude was consistent.
And so when you put all that together, that suggests autopilot.
So did we have a scenario where the people in the cockpit are dead,
are incapacitated? Did something catastrophic happen, and they`re unable
to perform their functions? Most investigators now think it`s unlikely
that somebody wasn`t doing this on purpose. Why? We have no idea.
And investigators are now trying to really get into the backgrounds
for both the pilot and the co-pilot. Was there any possible motive for
either one of these two guys to have acted this way? We don`t know.
MATTHEWS: Just to get through your negatives there, in other words,
it`s likely -- it`s likely that somebody was flying that plane all the way
COSTELLO: Somebody made a decision to execute the turns that caused
this plane to go all the way down south. Now they`re going have to find
the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder somewhere 23,000
miles (sic) down in the water.
And the trouble is the pinger, as you know, we`ve only got about 10
days left of battery life on it. And the cockpit voice recorder won`t hold
any of the clues here because that`s already been erased. The flight data
recorder may tell us what happened.
MATTHEWS: Are we going to be involved in that, the United States, in
the end? Are we part of the end game here?
COSTELLO: We have a P-8 anti-submarine hunter aircraft out there now.
But I think this is going to end up really being an Australian operation, a
Malaysian operation. And the Chinese are heavily invested. If you`re
looking at who is likely to spend the money and the time and put the
equipment in for a months or years-long operation, I think it`ll end up
being the Chinese.
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, Tom Costello, my colleague. And thank
you, Alan Diehl, for joining us.
Coming up: My rights or your rights? The Supreme Court heard
arguments today pitting religious rights of a corporation against the
individual rights of its employees. At the center of it, birth control.
Plus, an issue of economic interest especially to women, minimum wage.
Two Democratic senators, both women, are making their pitch for a higher
minimum wage. Not only would this help women, who are disproportionately
poor, they argue, but it`s also meant to get Democrats energized to vote in
a very scary election year.
And many conservatives are counting on Rand Paul`s anti-domestic
spying position to make him a hero with hipsters out there. Paul may be a
libertarian on surveillance and privacy, however, but he`s Rick Santorum`s
brother on issues like same-sex marriage.
Finally, "Let Me Finish" tonight with why young people will always be
attracted to a Barry Goldwater or a Rand Paul. It`s about youth and the
allure of pure freedom.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, the Obama administration is turning the tables on the
Tea Party. Take a look at this new bumper sticker aimed at promoting the
new health care law. "Don`t tread on my Obama care." That`s what the flag
It`s being handed out by Organizing for Action on BarackObama.com.
And if it looks familiar, you`re right. It`s a takeoff of the old Gadsden
flag of South Carolina, the "Don`t tread on me" banner that in recent years
has been adopted by the Tea Party. Actually, it should for everybody.
That`s very American, that snake.
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Rights -- my rights, your
rights, and who Decides that what you`re demanding is stomping on my
liberties? The answer is the Supreme Court, and today it took up some
familiar if tricky territory, religious beliefs versus the rights of the
government to provide all categories of health care, in this case to women.
I`m sure everyone watching right now has a position that matters to
them that echoes something within them. And yes, with some cases, there
will be a conflict here landing straight in your face.
NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams joins us from the Supreme
Court. The fundamental issue before the Supreme Court today, whether for-
profit companies can object on religious grounds to parts of the
president`s health care law that require employers to offer health
insurance that covers certain forms of birth control.
Hobby Lobby, which is run by Southern Baptists, says that obeying the
law would force them to violate their religious rights, in their words, it
would mean providing insurance that would, quote, "risk killing an embryo,"
making them complicit in abortion. As "The Washington Post" puts it, these
companies don`t have a problem with offering insurance that covers most
forms of birth control, but they aren`t willing to cover emergency
contraceptives like Plan B or Ella or IUDs. It`s territory -- historic
territory for the court. As Justice Sotomayor pointed out today, quote,
"We have never before considered a for-profit corporation as exercising
Well, with eight of the courts justices evenly split now, 4 to 4, it
looks like Justice Anthony Kennedy again will again be deciding the vote.
During the course of today`s 90-minute hearing, it was difficult to pin
down which side he will ultimately favor. At one point, he sided with the
liberal judges by saying that he was concerned about the rights of women
employees. But he also took aim at the lawyer representing the government.
Here`s what he told that lawyer, according to the reporters at
Scotusblog. Quote, "Under your view, for-profit corporations can be forced
to pay for abortion. Your reasoning would permit that. You say that for-
profit corporations have no standing to litigate what their shareholders
Well, Pete, you reported all that today, and I guess the question is,
Are we once again watching Judge (sic) Roberts -- well, here he is, he`s
Judge Roberts chiming in, basically saying that`s exactly what these
company think they`re doing now. Chief Justice Roberts also left open the
possibility that the court may issue a narrow ruling, one that only applies
to small companies.
But fundamentally, this court`s going have to confront a whole host of
thorny and heavily political issues here touching on women`s rights,
religious rights and the president`s signature piece of legislation.
Pete, it`s a big one. It`s got it all in it, religion, sex, the
president, his agenda, everything.
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Yes, except a couple of things.
First of all, the government has to take Hobby Lobby`s religious views as
they come. So off the table is any question about the accuracy of how
Hobby Lobby and another company, Conestoga Wood, view these contraceptives
as agents of causing abortion. The government concedes that that`s their
view. The court has to take that as it comes.
The questions are, Does a private for-profit corporation -- can it
claim religious freedom? The Supreme Court has never said that they can,
but it`s never said that they can`t. So they may have to answer that
question this time.
You`re right that Justice Kennedy seemed to be giving aid and comfort
to both sides here, so it`s a little hard to tell how they`re going come
out. My guess is, as you hinted at, the Supreme Court may try to find a
compromise in a couple of ways. First, they may simply say, If you`re like
Hobby Lobby, if you`re a closely held family-owned business, it`s
incorporated, but it`s clear that you have religious views, then maybe you
can claim this exemption, so that you couldn`t claim it, for example, if
you`re, for want of a better term, Comcast, Exxon, GM, some big corporation
with shareholders that are going to have a variety of different views. But
these are companies that don`t have publicly traded stock. So that`s one
Another one is to give these companies like Hobby Lobby the same
accommodation that the government already gives to religiously affiliated
non-profits, which is to say they themselves don`t pay for the insurance
coverage for these contraceptives, but the insurance companies do. So that
may be another possible compromise here.
Although I must say, Chris, that even that is objected to by some
religious organizations who say they don`t want to have anything to do with
this at all. And even tipping their hat to the insurance companies and
say, You do it, they say that`s still part of the process.
But it did seem that the court is not going to go as far as the people
who brought this case here, we`re hoping, which is to say all for-profit
companies can claim religious freedoms.
MATTHEWS: Pete, what about the argument that there`s been so many
exceptions made to this...
MATTHEWS: ... Affordable Care Act that this is just one more
exception, so how can the government argue a compelling reason to insist on
enforcing it here?
WILLIAMS: That`s right. That`s exactly what the Hobby Lobby lawyers
say. They say you get an exemption if you`re a church, if you`re a non-
profit religious organization, if you have fewer 50 employees or if you`re
What Don Verrilli, the lawyer for the government, says is, No, that`s
actually not the case you, that you still have to provide this coverage if
you provide any health care at all, even if you have fewer than 50
employees. And these grandfathered plans, they say, they may be
grandfathered now, but within a few years, they`ll have to provide this,
too. So they say it is a compelling need. Preventative care for women,
they claim, is important to provide this coverage.
MATTHEWS: Well, Pete Williams, it`s great having you on. Thank you
so much for the clarification.
WILLIAMS: You bet.
MATTHEWS: Here`s more from inside the court. According to Reuters,
quote, "Justice Elena Kagan, one of the liberals on the court, told Hobby
Lobby lawyer Paul Clement that if the court granted the challengers an
exemption from the mandate -- health care mandate, a wide swathe of other
laws from Social Security to immunization, health coverage would face
lawsuits. You would" -- quote, "You would see religious objectors coming
out of the woodwork," Kagan said.
Melinda Henneberger joins us now from "The Washington Post" and Lori
Windham is a lawyer representing Hobby Lobby. Melinda, thank you, as
MELINDA HENNEBERGER, "WASHINGTON POST": Thanks.
MATTHEWS: Let me go to Lori and your case here. As I understand it,
so people understand the nuance here, your client, Hobby Lobby, basically
does not want to pay for health insurance that covers things like IUDs,
which he argues cause abortions because they basically prevent the
continuation of life of a fertilized egg?
LORI WINDHAM, HOBBY LOBBY ATTORNEY: That`s exactly right, Chris.
MATTHEWS: OK. It`s not about preventing conception. It`s about the
death, if you will, of a fertilized egg.
WINDHAM: That`s exactly right. They do not cover abortion in their
plan. That`s a long-standing policy. And they also object to covering
drugs that they -- could produce what they consider to be an early
abortion, which would be terminating an embryo before implantation. The
government in this case has conceded that these four drugs and devices can
work in that way. And the science question is not before the court.
The question is, if the Greens have a sincere religious objection to
providing coverage and facilitating the access to these drugs, then do they
have an exemption, or can the government impose it?
MATTHEWS: Your client is a Baptist, right?
MATTHEWS: So he -- he, in terms of making his case, is simply saying,
as a Baptist -- he doesn`t have any particular religious belief separate
from his Baptist beliefs, basic Christian beliefs. In other words, he
doesn`t claim to be part of some small group of people that have a
particular concern about this kind of health care issue.
WINDHAM: No. These are beliefs that I believe are widely shared
among the evangelical community.
MATTHEWS: So any Baptist would be eligible for this kind of
WINDHAM: It would depend upon the individual beliefs of the person.
And so there are, I`m sure, many Southern Baptists who share the Greens`
WINDHAM: ... and who would also object. There are maybe some that
are not. But it would depend on the individual person who`s bringing a
MATTHEWS: Melinda, this is fascinating material here because there is
the nuance here. It`s not against all birth control. It`s not...
MATTHEWS: ... know-nothing thing. It`s -- it`s nuanced concern about
abortion. You and I know the issue and the moral question there. This
case, where do you see it going? Where do you think it should go?
HENNEBERGER: Well, I do think it`s really complicated, so I do not
agree with those on either side who say it`s obvious that this -- one way
or the other. However, I don`t understand how you could give some kind of
blanket designation to businesses that are for-profit becoming -- you know,
being regarded as people with religious views.
I mean, if you did that, I really do think it`s important to see where
would you draw the line, even if you only limited it? As Pete was saying
earlier, to mom-and-pops, to very small organizations, I could have a
religious argument that I don`t believe in child labor laws. I don`t
believe in vaccination. I don`t believe in paying Social Security,
whatever it is.
I just don`t know how that would be sort of narrowly tailored, and I
don`t understand how, since a corporation is really a legal fiction
designed to protect the people who own the company from liability if the
corporation is sued. So, if you say...
MATTHEWS: Yes. Let me go back to that. Let me go -- there are two
questions here. And I want to get to the one you`re in to.
Does a corporation or a company have a soul? It`s not a person. How
does it have a moral reality? In other words, what is a Baptist company?
WINDHAM: I think the question here is, who are you looking at?
MATTHEWS: No, what is a Baptist company?
WINDHAM: It`s a -- this is a company that is owned by people who do
have souls have, who have sincere religious beliefs, and whose religious
beliefs are being violated.
I don`t think it`s right to say, hey, you have religious beliefs, and
then, when you incorporate, those go away, and you don`t have religious
MATTHEWS: But is it in the -- is it in the -- is it in the charter of
the company that it`s focused on Christian values or Baptist values?
WINDHAM: It is in the company`s mission statement. And the Green
family has always said, we operate this company according to our biblical
And so that`s something they`re very serious about. They close on
Sundays. They provide their employees nearly double minimum wage because
they believe that`s the right thing to do.
MATTHEWS: What other objections do they have, besides to abortion,
which I completely understand, but what else are they objecting to in terms
of public life? Same-sex marriage, do they have a position on that?
WINDHAM: They hire and they serve people without regard to their
sexual orientation. So it`s not a concern for them.
MATTHEWS: Even though that violates their religious belief?
WINDHAM: That`s not something that they`re concerned with.
MATTHEWS: But it does violate their religious belief. So, in other
words, they decide when the -- the affront is to them?
WINDHAM: I think you have to look at the issue of complicity.
Here, the government is telling them that they have to participate in
providing something that could terminate a human life. And they`re saying,
we can`t be complicit in that. Now, they have said all along, our
employers can have access to these drugs. That`s fine. They can use them.
They can make their own personal decisions. We just want to be left out of
And so the same thing could be true of other issues. Their employees
can make their own personal decisions.
WINDHAM: The Greens are simply saying, leave us out of it,
MATTHEWS: I guess this is -- the reference two question. One is the
complexity issue, Melinda, and one is the question of standing. Where are
you? You think the standing is the hard one, the fact that a company can`t
-- you question whether a company can claim to be a religious entity.
HENNEBERGER: I think they`re both important.
I don`t think that a company can claim to be a religious entity,
because, say, the court says, OK, as Mr. Clement said today, contraception
is a very sensitive issue. Do they -- if we then say somebody else`s
deeply held religious belief in -- if we equate the person with the
corporation they`re connected to, if that`s not a sensitive issue, then are
we favoring one religion over another?
I think the establishment clause says we can`t do that. So, I really
do think there are enormous slippery slope issues here. And I don`t
understand how you can -- the court could make those kind of decisions
without favoring one religion over another.
MATTHEWS: I mean, one concern might be that real health -- I mean,
there is always a health matter with reproduction, of course. It`s a
But a woman who is determined, because of her health situation, I
cannot have another child. And the IUD, for example, is a lot more -- a
lot more effective than condoms or pills. And so she may just say, I
cannot risk another pregnancy. What happens in that case?
WINDHAM: Well, and this is what the government has said.
But the problem is, the government has already exempted tens of
millions of employer plans from this requirement. And in those cases, the
government isn`t saying, oh, no, what do we do? All these women are on
plans that don`t have to comply. But with Hobby Lobby, they`re saying, no,
no, no, you have to comply.
So, I don`t see how the government can exempt tens of millions of
plans because if you like your health care you can keep it.
MATTHEWS: You know where this is headed? Back in the `60s. They`re
called conscientious objectors. And it was very tricky business.
Melinda, back in my day, to prove that you were a conscientious
objector, you really had to prove that your religion basically had a
problem with all wars generally. It was a tough standard to meet.
We`re going to -- interesting to see at what point the justices here,
including Kennedy, decide what their standard is about total commitment
here in terms of not having to be able to obey the law.
Thank you, Melinda Henneberger.
MATTHEWS: It`s great having you on.
Up next: Move over, Christine O`Donnell. You`re not a witch, but now
you have got competition for the most bizarre campaign ad.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL, and time for the "Sideshow."
Conservative candidates for office have long decried pork barrel
spending as a symptom of big government run amok. As a candidate for the
United States Senate from Iowa, Republican Joni Ernst is doing the same.
But you won`t imagine what she cites as the her main qualification for the
job of senator. Here is part of her latest ad just released today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONI ERNST (R), IOWA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I`m Joni Ernst.
I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm. So when I get to
Washington, I will know how to cut pork.
NARRATOR: Joni Ernst, mother, soldier, conservative.
ERNST: Cut wasteful spending, repeal Obamacare, and balance the
I`m Joni Ernst, and I approve this message, because Washington is full
of big spenders. Let`s make them squeal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow, the hog castrator.
Anyway, up next: President Obama`s nomination for surgeon general,
speaking of which, is being held up by, of all things, the National Rifle
Association. Never mind that the post has been vacant since last July.
Senate Republicans are refusing to confirm Dr. Vivek Murthy because he is
for gun safety.
And here was Jon Stewart on that one last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART")
JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": So what were
Dr. Murthy`s comments about guns?
SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER (R), TENNESSEE: In your tweets of October 16,
2012, "Tired of politicians who are scared of the NRA."
Those are some of the words. And I would hope you would know that
Americans have a First Amendment right to advocate the Second Amendment.
STEWART: Yes. Americans have the First Amendment right to advocate
for the Second Amendment.
STEWART: Apparently, you don`t have a First Amendment right to
STEWART: ... a different opinion from that. Everyone knows the First
Amendment only applies to saying positive things about the Second
STEWART: But even if Murthy`s was anti-gun, he is just the surgeon
general. He`s the nation`s official scold. The worst he could do is put a
warning label on bullets. That`s not going to do anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Up next: Rand Paul is getting lots of attention as the one
Republican who might just attract younger voters. But Paul`s position on
social issues like same-sex marriage puts him well outside the hipster
crowd. That`s next. He is fascinating.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger.
Here`s what`s happening.
Authorities in Washington State expect the death toll from this
weekend`s mudslide to rise as crews sift through that debris; 14 are
confirmed dead and more than 100 are believed to be missing.
Searches have resumed off the coast of Perth, Australia, for missing
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Objects that may be related to the missing
plane were spotted by Chinese and Australian search crews on Monday.
And North Korea has reportedly fired two missiles hours after
President Obama met with leaders from Japan and South Korea -- back to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: You may be a Republican or a Democrat
or a libertarian. I`m not here to tell you what to be. I am here to tell
you, though, that your rights, especially your right to privacy, is under
I`m here to tell you that, if you own a cell phone, you`re under
surveillance. I believe what you do on your cell phone is none of their
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: "None of their damn business" -- there is an applause line.
Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, of course, speaking to students
at the University of California at Berkeley just last week, a college with
of course a big liberal reputation where Republicans rarely venture.
Anyway, Paul, who I believe is the likely 2016 Republican nominee, is
trying to broaden his appeal by seeking common ground with the younger
folks out there, the millennials, in some cases, the hipsters, arguing that
the GOP needs to -- quote -- "evolve, adapt or die."
The Kentucky senator is trying to attract millennials to his party and
to serve as their champion of privacy rights and civil liberties heading
Michael Tomasky of The Daily Beast says, not so fast. He writes -- I
love the name of that thing -- "The likely GOP presidential candidate has
anti-surveillance state libertarianism in common with millennials, but
that`s about all."
According to the Pew Research poll, 69 percent of millennials support
the legalization of marijuana. Big surprise. And 68 percent support gay
marriage; 56 percent, a bit lower, support abortion in almost all cases.
And 54 percent of millennials say it`s the government`s responsibility to
provide health care to all.
And Rand Paul is opposed to all of the above, except for his concern
about liberal -- libertarianism and stopping the NSA.
Anyway, Michael Tomasky is a special correspondent for The Daily
Beast, and Michael Steele is an MSNBC political analyst and former chair of
the Republican National Committee.
So, you can talk about how big this tent can be.
I think the guy`s got -- somebody said the other day, his Kentucky
accent, it has kind of a stoner quality...
MICHAEL TOMASKY, THE DAILY BEAST: Right.
MATTHEWS: ... and the just sort of the vague, casual way he talks,
almost lazy way he talks, makes young people think, hey, he is one of us.
He is against big -- big -- Big Brother.
TOMASKY: That could be. He is a shrewd politician. I would agree
your assertion at this point that he seems the likely 2016 -- I mean, what
does that mean at this early point?
MATTHEWS: That means there are so many dodos running against him.
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, right, right.
TOMASKY: But he`s strong. He is clever. He is a smart guy.
But I think that he has that one issue going for him. But on
virtually every other issue, Michael, virtually every other issue, young
people disagree with him. It`s not just the cultural stuff, Chris. Young
people are also pretty much big government liberals, as that health care
MATTHEWS: As long as it doesn`t tie them down to wearing a helmet and
stuff like that on a motorcycle. They don`t like being told what to...
MATTHEWS: Look, I completely get the appeal. Hillary Clinton was
like me. In our 18 -- 18 -- by the time I was 21, I was thinking how
complicated life is.
But, at 18, this guy says, get big government off your back. You got
away from your parents. You got away to school. You don`t have to put up
with your parents. Why do you have to put up with government anymore?
It`s a great allure.
STEELE: I think that`s right. But realize that he`s not -- he was at
Berkeley, yes. He was also at Howard University.
And the fact of the matter he is talking to that 18-to-22-year-old
crowd. But that conversation is resonating beyond the 22-year-olds to the
23-to-27-to-30-year-olds as well.
MATTHEWS: What is the message? What is the message?
STEELE: And the message is really one about your independence, about
you taking control and making choices.
I think the test for a Rand Paul is going to be, how does he translate
that vis-a-vis other policies of the GOP that we have supported and
articulated, whether it`s on issues of life, whether it`s on issues
MATTHEWS: OK. OK.
STEELE: And how does he -- how does he triangulate that ultimately?
STEELE: But I think he is setting a baseline...
STEELE: ... right now for a further -- for a longer and much more
deep conversation if he decides to run for president.
People have to prioritize when they vote, young people, old people.
Right now, I would guess that on campus -- check me on this -- they`re not
focused -- they don`t think abortion is going to be outlawed. They don`t
think same-sex is not going to be the wave of the future. They believe in
all that is coming.
One thing they`re worried about is big government coming. My cell
phone is the only private life I have got if I`m a young person. I don`t
own a car or a house or an apartment even. All I have got a dorm room and
a cell phone.
MATTHEWS: And they`re getting into me and I don`t like it. Isn`t
that the appeal of the guy?
TOMASKY: That`s totally the appeal of the guy. But is that the over
-- is that salient issue? Is that the number one...
MATTHEWS: I`m asking. I think it is.
STEELE: I think it is.
MATTHEWS: What do you think it with the young -- what is the hottest
issue? Sex, getting a meal on the table and getting through exams.
TOMASKY: I think, if you look at the research, the research doesn`t
MATTHEWS: It may not be sex actually at a lot of schools.
TOMASKY: The research just doesn`t show it, guys, that that`s the
number one issue.
MATTHEWS: Well, what is the number one issue?
STEELE: So, what is the number one issue?
TOMASKY: Same-sex marriage is way up there. Immigration is way up
MATTHEWS: They`re for it.
MATTHEWS: Are they worried about it?
TOMASKY: Yes, they`re worried about it, sure.
STEELE: But, Michael, are you basing that on the fact that 63 percent
said they support same-sex marriage, or is there a poll that shows that, in
ranking, what is your top priority?
I would bet you if you asked a 22-year-old or an 18-year-old that
question, NSA surveillance of their private phone conversations would rank
number one, not same-sex message.
TOMASKY: There are some polls that show that. It`s up there, but
it`s not necessarily the runaway number one issue.
MATTHEWS: OK. When he`s going to get nabbed? When are the people on
the other side, whether they be Ted Cruz from the right, or the hard right,
or somebody from the moderate Republican side, maybe somebody a little more
to the center, like Kasich, whoever else runs are, are they going to call
him on this and, yes, you`re -- but can they say? You`re as bad as I am on
the other issues?
MATTHEWS: How can they nail him? They`re all anti-same-sex. They`re
all anti-abortion. They`re all conservatives.
MATTHEWS: Would Hillary -- will Hillary do it if she is the nominee?
TOMASKY: Oh, of course Hillary is going to do it if she is the
MATTHEWS: But you know what he will say to her? Hillary Clinton,
when you were young, you were for Barry Goldwater. You thought -- you saw
the appeal of this stuff.
TOMASKY: She will say, and I grew up and I got a little smarter. And
Barry Goldwater`s campaign didn`t work out very well, by the way.
MATTHEWS: Well, because he had another...
STEELE: ... to those young people that you`re immature, you don`t
know what you know?
MATTHEWS: Can you say that?
STEELE: And Hillary Clinton is not going to say that.
So, she is going to be in as much as a box as Rand Paul if she goes
down that road.
MATTHEWS: Now, Michael, you say that, ultimately, that Paul --
Senator Paul will be unable to hide from his right-wing views.
And here`s what you write: "All Paul`s deeply reactionary positions
and statements likewise will be minimized because he takes one or two
interesting positions that make him a different kind of Republican. Paul
will try to make millennials forget about all those reactionary positions
of his. The press will largely help him, but Clinton will remind them" --
that`s Mrs. Clinton -- "at some point. So will he. The GOP base will
demand it, and the jig will be up."
Millennials who according to Pew Research information, also America`s
most racially diverse generation, probably won`t react warmly to Rand Paul
when reminded about how he felt about the Civil Rights Act back in TV
commercials airing clips like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Would you have voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964?
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I like the Civil Rights Act in the
sense that it ended discrimination in all public domains. And I`m all in
favor of that.
PAUL: You had to ask me the "but". I don`t like the idea of telling
private business owners -- I abhor racism. I think it`s a bad business
decision to ever exclude anybody from your restaurant. But at the same
time, I do believe in private ownership.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That`s a tough but, isn`t it?
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It`s a tough but. And
again, it is a traditional libertarian position with respect to an
individual decision privately made and privately held.
MATTHEWS: Yes, it`s a nice theory but --
STEELE: It`s a nice theory. But the country has evolved, thank God.
And fortunately, I think that this senator will likely do the same. It
will be interesting.
I saw the first test of that at Howard University where he got the
pushback and he stood in the well and he took it. And he helped -- at
least he tried to explain some of it. And I think this is going to be the
nub for him.
MICHAEL TOMASKY, THE DAILY BEAST: And how many of those kids are
going to vote for him?
STEELE: You don`t know that. I`m not going to make an assumption --
STEELE: -- because they`re black students that they`re going to not
vote for him because of that. But I think that if he can make the
argument, he has a chance.
MATTHEWS: It`s a healthy argument.
Michael Tomasky, good writing. But the argument is going to help this
country, because the more we argue about civil liberties in this country,
the better this country is going to be. I want to fight about them. I
want to take away from us without a fight.
Michael Tomasky, sir, my liberal friend.
And, Michael Steele, my moderate friend.
Up next, the issue Democrats hope can carry them to victory this
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: U.S. Congressman Bruce Braley`s Senate campaign in Iowa hit
a rough patch when a video emerged showing him demeaning his state senior
senator, Chuck Grassley. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BRUCE BRALEY (D), IOWA: If you help me win this race, you may
have someone with your background, your experience, your voice, someone
whose been literally fighting tort reform for 30 years in a visible and
public way on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Or you might have a farmer
from Iowa who never went to law school, never practiced law, serving as the
next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Braley, the Democrat in the race, apologized late
today for that farmer comment saying both his parents grew up on Iowa
pharmacy during the great depression, and he is the best candidate for
Iowa`s farmers. Anyway, the video was posted online by a Republican
opposition research firm.
HARDBALL back after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And when women hold
most lower wage jobs in America, Congress needs to raise the minimum wage,
because no woman who works full-time should ever have to raise her children
in poverty. So call up your member of Congress and let them know that it`s
time for $10.10. It`s time to give America raise. A true opportunity
agenda is one that works for working women. Because when women succeed,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
President Obama has been out front on raising minimum wage, as you
just saw there to $10.10. An issue that is not just good for the working
class, if you will, and the economy generally you could argue, but one that
could be a needed political boost for the president this fall. And by the
way, his arsenal of issues hasn`t exactly been big lately.
Our NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll back in December found a lot of
support for raising the minimum wage to $10.10. Sixty-three percent,
that`s two-thirds favored it. Among women, it`s even more popular, 68
percent of women favor a minimum wage hike to $10.10. And if you narrow
the demographic to women ages 18 to 49 who are most affected, it`s
extremely popular, 73 percent, just about three-quarters of you can women
support the boost. And they`re just the kinds of voters out there
Democrats need to turn out in November, of course.
Our most recent NBC poll asked what characteristics Democrats value
most in their candidates. This is the one I like, number one, the ability
to compromise and work with members of the other party. That`s something
you don`t see on the other side of the aisle.
But also a close second, right here on this one, a huge 81 percent is
the candidate who supports raising the minimum wage. So that`s four out of
Well, this is a winning issue, a big one for Democrats. And today,
Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota held a press conference on the
importance of doing it, raising the minimum wage for women especially and
the economy in general.
Joining us is Senator Amy Klobuchar. She`s head of the Joint Economic
Committee of Congress, and co-sponsor of the Senate bill to raise the
minimum wage. Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is, of course, the mayor of
Thank you, ladies, for joining me.
I guess this issue amazes me all the time because of the number of
people it affects.
Senator Klobuchar, talk about how it doesn`t just affect people at the
very bottom, how it affects people a bit higher, and how it particularly
affects people who work for tips, which is a lot of women, and generally
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: Exactly, Chris. You know, this is
a big deal for our whole economy, but particularly women. Two-thirds of
minimum wage workers are women. Most of the people, the majority of the
people who work in the service industry who make tips for a living are
And you have a situation, which as you pointed out, it doesn`t just
affect minimum wage workers. If we can increase the minimum wage, which we
haven`t done for years, this could mean at least conservative estimates
over 16 million people will get a raise.
And when you`ve got a situation where it`s getting harder and harder
to send your kids to college, or the waitress we had with us today from
Texas who talked about the fact that she`s got to raise her 3-year-old kid
on $2,000 to $3,000 a month, about the fact that she`s got to live on a
$2.13 per hour minimum wage when some nights she gets a rare tip. Some
nights are better. Some nights are bad. This is a big issue for our
economy and it`s time to move ahead.
MATTHEWS: Where the hell are the labor unions? You know, back when
we were growing up, I was growing up, I`m older than you, they used to have
labor rallies. You actually come out for things like civil rights and they
showed up in Washington by the hundreds of thousands.
We have a Right to Life rally. Good for them every year. I don`t see
a rally for minimum wage.
Where the hell are the unions? Why aren`t they out there in the
streets demanding a minimum wage increase?
You`re doing this. Where`s the noise level, Senator? I don`t see it.
I don`t hear it.
KLOBUCHAR: Well, you know, Chris, I think that noise level is just
starting. You see the president coming out --
MATTHEWS: When are we going to have the unions come to town and make
some noise? When are they going to do it?
KLOBUCHAR: They make pretty noise in my state. And, in fact, Richard
Trumka was coming. He got stopped by a snowstorm unfortunately. But he`s
going to come again on minimum wage.
The unions are out there. This is a big issue to them. They get it.
But, mostly, we`ve got to move some of the Republicans on this.
I would point out the last time we increased the minimum wage in this
country was under a Republican president. It was under George Bush.
MATTHEWS: I know.
KLOBUCHAR: So, there`s no reason they can`t work with us to get this
minimum wage increase. We`re going to start that noise and start pushing
on this next week in the United States Senate on the floor, and you`ll see
MATTHEWS: Mayor, thank you for joining us. You know, I`m going back
to my old saw here. Noise, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Noise
matters. I don`t hear the noise.
I know Senator Klobuchar and Senator Debbie Stabenow and other women
in the Senate, yourself, you`re here tonight. But I`ll tell you, it`s
numbers that matter. Number, numbers, numbers.
And I don`t see the roar in the streets for something that seems to me
an easy one for Democrats, for progressives, for women, which is raise the
minimum wage. Your thoughts?
MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE (D), BALTIMORE: My thoughts are, a lot
of the times you might not hear the noise, but it`s what people are talking
about. These are meat and potatoes issues and it`s something that women
You know that you talked about the number of people across the country
who support the minimum wage. You also know that 60 percent of the women,
60 percent of the households -- women-led households are either primary
winners or co-winners, co -- you know, making the money for the families.
So, when we increase a minimum wage, we`re helping them help their
families. So I don`t think it`s that -- it is something that people don`t
care about. They might not be as vocal. It is something I know people
care about in Maryland a lot.
We`ve had rallies. Unions have been here in Maryland. So this is
something that is -- we`re hearing the noise.
MATTHEWS: OK, I`m here in Washington. I don`t see nothing. I don`t
see anything. Nothing.
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: You also don`t --
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: You also don`t see a lot of action from the Congress
MATTHEWS: I`m pushing on you ladies because I saw the civil rights
movement. I saw the hundreds of thousands. I saw the anti-war movement.
I was part of that.
People showed up, they made noise. They pushed this Congress to do
what they wanted to. Progressives are sitting on their butts. I`m sorry.
I hear from Ed Schultz, yes, yes, yes. But where are the numbers? Where
are the numbers?
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: The Republican Party has voted 50 times to repeal
Obamacare and can`t get off their you-know-what to move this issue. That
is critical --
MATTHEWS: Because they don`t support it.
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: -- to everyone.
MATTHEWS: But, Mayor, they oppose it. That`s why.
But you guys are for it. I`m asking, where are the fors out there?
Why aren`t you out there making the case with the public? Look at these
numbers. I showed the statistics --
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: It`s not making the case. The public is on our side.
We don`t need to make the case.
KLOBUCHAR: That`s why we`re on your show today.
MATTHEWS: OK. Where`s the heat?
KLOBUCHAR: We`re on your show today to make the case.
MATTHEWS: Senator, I don`t want to attack the ones who show up, but
you`re showing up -- OK.
KLOBUCHAR: We`re going to be saying -- thank you.
MATTHEWS: Which unions are making the most noise? Who`s out there
making the biggest case for minimum wage increase? Who? Give me some
KLOBUCHAR: The AFL-CIO --
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: AFSCME has been a big supporter.
KLOBUCHAR: SEIU --
MATTHEWS: Let me talk about this from a human term, first Senator
Klobuchar. Who`s out there? I was stunning by this, restaurant workers,
because they assume you get tips although you don`t always get tips.
People get stiffed, of course, $2.13 an hour for a waitress, a wait person.
OK, that assumes I guess you make $5 in tips to get you up to the $7
level. So, when we go to a five guys or Burger King, I`ll start with the
mayor on this, because you`re close to the people in the city there. Who
is minimum wage in our face? Who do we see every day that`s working for
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Oh my goodness, you have food workers, you have
personal care workers. I mean, we heard testimony from a woman who works
in home care taking care of the sick who had to choose between whether she
was going to eat one day or her children were going to eat. These are
people who are working hard.
The productivity of the American worker has gone up year after year
after year. The thing that hasn`t caught up is the wages.
And we deserve better. We have to have a country where the American
dream means something to everybody.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Mayor
Stephanie Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore, Maryland.
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this.
I totally get the appeal of libertarianism. When I was in college, I
was out there rooting for Barry Goldwater. He was the true believer in the
best government being the least government. Let me live my life in
freedom, stay off my back, don`t tell me how to live.
Well, let`s face it. This is precisely what you want to hear in those
years when you are finally out of the house, when you are no longer ruled
daily by strong parents.
You can feel the freedom when you go out at night. You can feel the
freedom of the morning, noon and night when you`re away at college. "Away"
being the key word there, of course.
Why would anyone want a nagging, demanding paperwork-insisting
government hanging over your head back in your youth? Why would any person
if they had a choice choose to have a big government telling them how to
live, snooping into their cell phone, judging what information is useful to
some guy in Washington -- some morsel of economic or cultural social fact
about you that can be consumed in the general bank of public information?
Look, even back in the 1960s when we didn`t know about such things as
the NSA, we never heard of Edward Snowden, we wanted to be free. The
problem came when we realized government is not only necessary, but good.
You get old, Social Security is a pretty good idea. Keeps people from
being dependent on their kids, on public welfare.
The civil rights, I guess it tells businesspeople they can`t
discriminate whether they want to or not but think about it. Could we
really persist in a society where gas station owners could tell a black
family they couldn`t use the restroom? I used to see those signs when we
drove down to Florida on spring break. Yes, white-only signs were there
for everyone to see, a moral embarrassment to everyone -- Northerner,
Southerner, white, and black.
So we grow up and we put away the things of the child, the charming
libertarianism that grabs us in our youth. Look, even Hillary Clinton was
a Goldwater girl. But it doesn`t hurt a bit to have people around like
Rand Paul these days reminding us of that ideal, perfect ideal of freedom
we hungered for as youth.
The urge for liberty is as American as apple pie and it can taste just
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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