July 8, 2014
Guest: Wayne Slater, Michelle Bernard, Jeanne Cummings, John Feehery, Sean
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Children`s hour.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
"Let Me Start" tonight with this inhuman (ph) challenge on our border.
With 52,000 young Central Americans crowded on our country`s frontier, the
American people want to see the president to take charge. They see the
network that created this chaos, the cartels who exploit and traffic in
children, the so-called coyotes who smuggle humans up from countries like
Honduras with false promises of easy entry and legality, and they simmer
with rage. The American people do. What they hate most is the criminal
way in which the traffickers and smugglers are making we and our government
somehow the bad guys.
So the president acts to carry out the law while taking hourly hits for his
failure to stand himself on the U.S./Mexican border and confront the crisis
in broad daylight. But what will even the most -- the best immigration
law, the kind the Senate has passed last year, do in the face of the
spectacle that`s been engineered by those we see here so ready to exploit
the desperate and the imperfect system?
Chuck Todd is the chief White House correspondent right now for NBC News
and the host of "THE DAILY RUNDOWN" on MSNBC. And Wayne Slater is the
senior political reporter for "The Dallas Morning News."
Politically, Chuck, it`s -- well, let me go into some more details here.
Tomorrow, President Obama travels to Texas, where he`ll attend fundraisers
and also meet with Governor Rick Perry of Texas to discuss the current
crisis. Well,today, the president announced plans for a border security
In a letter to Congress asking for nearly $4 billion to combat the flood of
unaccompanied children pouring over the border, the president writes,
quote, "This funding would support a sustained border security surge."
His request includes money for more resources for border patrol agents,
more immigration judges, attorneys and prosecutors, funds to address what
he calls -- the president -- the root causes of migration from countries
like El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, and a State Department diplomacy
initiative to work with Central American countries in part to combat
misinformation campaigns down there that lure people up to our border.
In a letter to the president late last month, Speaker Boehner outlined his
solution, which looks a lot like what the president is asking for now.
Boehner`s solution included more resources for border control agents,
including National Guard assistance, the deployment of additional legal
personnel to process and remove aliens, various proposals to stem the tide
of migrants and pressure to have the State Department work more closely
with countries like Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. It sounds like
the president`s plan today.
Anyway, the White House, Republicans and many Democrats all say they share
a common goal. As U.S. senator from New York Chuck Schumer, a Democrat,
stated it plainly yesterday, quote, "Anyone who came here illegally cannot
Let me go now to Chuck on the politics of this. Is there a real partisan
difference on how to deal with these 52,000 young people who were brought
here by the coyotes and the smugglers in some attempt to disrupt our whole
system? I don`t know what`s going on.
CHUCK TODD, NBC WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT/POLITICAL DIR.: Well, there is
some difference, but it actually has to do with parts of the Democratic
Party and the White House, where they actually don`t see eye to eye.
That`s where there`s more of a split on this specific issue because the one
thing you didn`t mention in your lead-up there is the White House -- now,
they didn`t do it in this letter, they did it in a letter last week -- they
want to change the law, the current law right now, that 2008 law.
Remember, there`s two laws we`re dealing with here --
MATTHEWS: I know.
TODD: -- the executive order that the president signed that Republicans
say is what is being used by these drug cartels to create the rumor and
says if you just get across the border, you get to stay. President Obama
promised (ph). But it`s that 2008 law which does not give the Department
of Homeland Security and border patrol the ability to immediately
essentially deport these kids across back to their home countries in a
Instead, the 2008 law says, you know, they`ve got to be turned over to HHS,
then have this immigration -- it could take two years. And at that point,
under that circumstance, most of these folks do end up staying in the
So that`s the other part of this, and that`s what`s going to be the
political, tricky part of this for the White House, is they want to change
this law, and there`s some leading Democrats who do not. Dianne Feinstein
does not want to change that law. Bob Menendez, chairman of Senate Foreign
Relations, does not want to change that law.
So I think that`s where this politics is going to get a little sticky for
the White House because it`s members of their own party that are reluctant
to change that law. I think Republicans are willing to change that law,
even if they`re skeptical and distrustful of the president and how he might
deal with it. I think they realize --
MATTHEWS: Well, what is Feinstein want to do --
MATTHEWS: What`s Feinstein doing to the coyotes and these smugglers and
perhaps the cartels behind the whole thing? What does she want to do with
this flow that`s not going to stop? If they`re gaming the system, why
would she -- why would she want them to be allowed to do that and continue
to do this?
TODD: Well --
MATTHEWS: I`m not talking about these kids.
TODD: No --
MATTHEWS: I`m talking about the next six months, the next year, the next
10 years. Why wouldn`t they continue to flood the system if it worked to
TODD: Well --
MATTHEWS: They make 5,000 bucks a kid or whatever they`re making.
TODD: Right, and that`s -- and that`s the argument that some in the White
House are saying. Hey, you know, we`ve got to not create an incentive.
But Senator Feinstein and Menendez are just both arguing that you don`t
need to change the law to give the flexibility to the Department of
Homeland Security to speed up this process.
But I think when you talk to the administration, they say the only way
you`re really going to stem the tide --
TODD: -- really be able to, you know, start sending planeloads of
children back to Honduras in the next two or three months is to get this
MATTHEWS: Let me go to Wayne Slater to the conditions politically on the
ground in Texas. Is there a general agreement that this system`s being
gamed by bad people, by people who are exploiting this system for money,
the coyotes, they`re called? Is the cartels behind this? Are they trying
to get even with the government of the United States for getting tough on
human trafficking in young kids for sexual purposes? I mean, how much evil
is there behind this, or is it just mothers trying to get a good deal for
WAYNE SLATER, "DALLAS MORNING NEWS": No, it`s not mothers trying to get a
good deal for their kids, although that is the motivation of the mothers,
clearly, who come with their children. No, there is a sensitive --
sensitivity here in Texas. I think, obviously, in the far right, there`s
some nativist attitudes, and among the Democratic left, there are other
But the broad majority of Texans recognize, after years and years and
decades of living on the border, that there are a couple of things going on
here. One, the Mexican-Americans who are coming over in a disorderly way
is causing some problems, but these are, by and large, people who people
see in their neighborhood, who work hard, who are contributions in their
communities. And so that`s one thing.
This new group from Central America, I think there`s a clear sensitivity
that these are refugees. These are people who are here because of dire
circumstances in their home country. And that`s why I think there is a
sense among a lot of people, if only Obama looked like he was doing
MATTHEWS: Well, what do they want him to do?
SLATER: -- if he was standing there and doing -- well, they don`t have -
- most Texans don`t think, because they live here, that you`re going to
totally seal up the border. But look like you`re a leader and you`re
dealing with the issue. I think this $3.7 billion request I think is the
beginning of that kind of approach.
Also, frankly, Obama could go to the border. Democrats and Republicans
MATTHEWS: OK --
SLATER: -- want him to go to the border --
MATTHEWS: I`ve got an expert here --
SLATER: -- and look like a guy who`s taking control.
MATTHEWS: -- who can tell me why they`re not -- is this a Katrina in the
TODD: Well, I heard Henry Cuellar say that, the Democrat, down at the
border. He said that he thought President Obama risked that. I think they
found -- you know, this White House gets a little stubborn. They don`t
like to be bullied into a decision --
TODD: -- based on politics, and you know, between the media and
Republicans and even Democrats are piling up on him to say, I can`t believe
you`re going to do fundraisers in Texas and not go to the border.
So they came up with this compromise, right? They`re going to meet with
Rick Perry one on one in Dallas. They`re going to have an immigration
roundtable in Dallas. So they can say they went to Texas, they dealt with
-- they talked about immigration. They had an important meeting with the
governor down there who`s dealing with this, but then they were still able
to stand their ground and say, Hey, we didn`t get bullied into going to the
I have found it fascinating how open the White House is about the idea of,
We`re aware of the optics, but he doesn`t need to go to find out new
information. They argue he already knows this is a crisis.
MATTHEWS: Well, wouldn`t there be some photographer, a reporter, a
photographer going to the news agencies, AP or one of the big newspapers,
who will be dying to get on Air Force One near the president to catch him
looking out the window?
MATTHEWS: Won`t they want that picture --
TODD: Well --
MATTHEWS: -- so much? Because it`ll be like W. down there somewhere
near Katrina, looking out this window.
TODD: Yes, I don`t think the AP photographers are going to get invited up
to the cabin of Air Force One to get that photo. Nobody`s going to make
But look, I think what they`re more -- again, I go back to the politics
that the White House is fearful of, and frankly, why I think Jeh Johnson
could not bring himself to say, We`re going to deport most of these
children back to their home country, is that they don`t want to look
insensitive to kids --
MATTHEWS: I know.
TODD: -- who, as Wayne pointed out, These are refugees. And many of
them -- they`re caught in the middle here. They`re victims.
MATTHEWS: I understand.
TODD: They`re victims of lying drug smugglers. They`re victims of their
parents` situation, perhaps. They`re the ones caught in the middle here.
They`re not -- and so there is a sensitivity, and the president`s worried
about alienating members of his own party and his own base. He`s not
worried about alienating middle-of-the-road voters. But I think the
MATTHEWS: Yes, OK --
TODD: -- of this could be different if he went on the border --
MATTHEWS: Well, Chuck --
TODD: -- and had that executive in charge idea that Wayne`s talking
MATTHEWS: You know what I can`t -- Wayne, you know what bothers me as a
citizen? I don`t like big American companies or anybody wants their lawn
taken care of or their kids -- deciding U.S. immigration policy. I don`t
want some SOB cartel leader down in -- or some coyote leader down in
Guatemala deciding our immigration policy.
The American people, with their good judgment and fairness over the years,
should be making U.S. immigration policy. The way it looks now is if some
bad guy down there, some fiend decides that he can load up the trucks with
kids, bring them to our border, he can somehow create his own American
citizenship plan. This is what it looks like. These guys are taking
And I think that`s why people want to see the president there at least
formally saying, No, we the American people decide on immigration policy,
not the businesses who want cheap labor or the churches that may want more
communicants or the Democrats who want more voters. The government of the
United States, through the American people, make these decisions. And that
would be the way it would normally be thought through.
And nobody seems to even -- they seem to have lost hope that our government
can make policy and enforce it anymore. That`s what I think`s going on.
Your thoughts down there.
SLATER: Look, there are a whole lot of people -- and I`m speaking from
people -- many people here in Texas -- who look at the undocumented workers
who have come here over the decades, over the decades. They see them in
their communities. They recognize -- what they don`t like is not these
brown people in their community. These are their neighbors. These are the
people who work for them or they work with.
What they don`t like is a president who doesn`t seem like he has a sense of
control at the moment.
MATTHEWS: I agree.
SLATER: If Obama went down there, got his picture taken with some children
-- and if he wants to say to Republicans -- frankly, I don`t know what the
White House is doing. If he wants to say, When you`re talking about these
Central American refugees, if you -- whoever you is, the Republicans,
whoever -- if you really want to turn these over and have us turn them
around and go to killers, gangs, dictators and very, very bad people who
will kill them, you talk about that.
SLATER: I`m not doing that. They`re going to stay here until they`re
MATTHEWS: Let me get back to Chuck for one quick one. You know, we all
grew up (INAUDIBLE) in a big city. We expect the commissioner, the police
commissioner and the fire commissioner and the mayor to show up when
there`s a big fire. You like to see them on site. Does the White House
sense this problem that they`re not seen as on site, as Wayne was well --
stating well there?
TODD: They are very much in denial about this at all. And in fact, they
push back and say, We sent Joe Biden a month ago to Guatemala, to El
Salvador to start dealing with this issue. We sent Jeh Johnson to the
border. They sent the FEMA director, created a -- so they`re very --
they`re in -- they totally deny this allegation coming from some of us in
the media that they don`t look like they`re on top of this situation. They
argue they`ve very much been on top of this situation, and the president
physically being there isn`t a big deal.
You know, as you and I both know --
MATTHEWS: OK --
TODD: -- Chris, politics sometimes is about pictures. And pictures do
matter. George Bush found that out the hard way.
MATTHEWS: And the president, when he was walking with Chris Christie, made
good pictures. He`s not doing it now. Anyway --
TODD: It was good pictures. And he went to see that natural disaster.
MATTHEWS: Yes. White House correspondent for NBC Chuck Todd, thank you,
sir. And thank you, Wayne Slater, as always, for the on-site view from
Coming up, an audiotape from the old archives has Hillary Clinton laughing,
believe it or not, about a child rape case where she defended the accused.
How will Hillary`s team respond to this bit of information from the past?
Also, yesterday, U.S. Congressman Jason Chaffetz right here told me he
thought Mitt Romney was running for president, was going to do it, and he
was going to win. Well, power, as well all have learned from the old days,
hates a vacuum. Will Romney fill the void and make a third run for the
White House because Jeb`s probably not running?
And the pizza delivery man from North Carolina who just might help deliver
a Senate seat to the Democrats. He can be the Ralph Nader of North
Carolina, though that`s definitely not his intention.
Finally, "Let Me Finish" tonight with this question. Who fills the bracket
on the Republican side marked center-right? Who`s going to be the credible
candidate to take on Hillary?
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, Hillary Clinton still holds her lead over the Republican
field nationally, but that lead is narrowing. Let`s check the HARDBALL
According to a new Quinnipiac poll, Secretary Clinton leads Jeb Bush by
just 7 points. It`s Clinton 48, Bush 41. Against Paul Ryan, it`s the same
7-point margin, 48-41 in this case for Clinton. Chris Christie trails
Clinton by just 9 points. It`s Clinton 47 and Christie 38, despite all his
problems. Against Rand Paul, Hillary Clinton`s lead is also 9, 49 to 40.
And she has the same 9-point lead over Mike Huckabee, 49-40. Five match-
ups, all within single digits.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. A newly discovered audiotape of
Hillary Clinton back in the 1980s laughing about the facts of a decade-old
child rape case is coming back to haunt her. In 1975, Mrs. Clinton was 27
years old, newly married and running the University of Arkansas`s legal aid
clinic. Well, according to "The New York Times," she was appointed then by
a judge to represent a 41-year-old man accused of raping, believe it or
not, a 12-year-old girl.
Well, the case had been written about before, but The Washington Free
Beacon, a conservative newspaper, uncovered audio last month from an
interview Mrs. Clinton did with Arkansas reporter Roy Reed (ph) in the
1980s. In that interview, Clinton laughs about the case and seems to
suggest she thought the client was guilty -- her client.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON: Of course, he claimed that he didn`t, all this stuff. He
took a lie detector test. I had him take a polygraph, which he passed,
which forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs. But you know, what was sad
about it was that the prosecutors had evidence, among which was his
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: By all accounts, Mrs. Clinton, then a private citizen,
basically, wife of the governor, aggressively defended her client. The
prosecutor in the case, Mahlor Gibson, told "Newsday" in 2008 that Clinton
was just a real bulldog in the case. She attacked the credibility of the
accuser, the young girl. She also went after the forensic evidence, which
seems to have been badly mishandled by the authorities. She took some to
an expert in New York, who confirmed the evidence couldn`t prove anything.
Here`s how Clinton describes what happened next.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CLINTON: (INAUDIBLE) Gibson (INAUDIBLE) but I cut (ph) out (ph) who`s (ph)
who (ph) (INAUDIBLE) ready to come from New York to prevent this
miscarriage of justice.
CLINTON: So we (INAUDIBLE) plea bargain. So I went before Maupin Cummings
(ph), who (INAUDIBLE) plea. And Maupin (INAUDIBLE) you know, first degree
rape. And -- but you know, he`s dropping the charges, dropping them to --
I can`t remember, something like (INAUDIBLE)
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, this all comes out of the jar of the bizarre. Anyway,
ultimately, the defendant served less than a year in jail for what was a
capital -- almost a capital case in the old days, a rape case.
Joan Walsh is editor at large for Salon and an MSNBC political analyst.
And Michelle Bernard is the president of the Bernard Center for Women,
Politics and Public Policy.
Joan, let`s start with you on this.
I have listened to the whole tape. And she does laugh throughout it. And
I -- I don`t know how to talk about it, except to explain here was a guy.
She was defending him, a public defender, basically, assigned to the case.
JOAN WALSH, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
MATTHEWS: The guy was probably guilty. The way she was talking about him,
she thought he was guilty. And certainly, I don`t know -- I have never
been a defense lawyer. I have never been particularly sympathetic to
criminal lawyers in many ways when they have a really clever defense or a
shrewd defense of somebody they know to be guilty. But that`s the way the
law works. I understand it.
You don`t have to like somebody to know that the job has to be done.
MATTHEWS: But then there`s a case where they talk about how the guy had
underwear with blood on it and whatever else on it, evidence of a rape.
And, for some reason, the stupid police in that case cut out the patch of
the underwear that had the blood in it and all the evidence of a criminal
act, a rape, and lost it.
So, she takes the rest of the underwear with that part of the patch cut
out, takes it up to some hot shot guy up in Brooklyn who is an expert
forensic evidence. And they are all chuckling about the fact that they
don`t even have the evidence.
MATTHEWS: And they have been able to prove that there wasn`t -- they were
able to say to the judge as he reviewed their further testimony that there
wasn`t enough evidence left on the pants with the part cut out with
evidence on it to justify that as forensic evidence.
So -- but they are all laughing about this. She`s laughing about the fact
the guy flunked a lie detector test, which she said told her that lie
detector tests don`t really work. So, you put it all together, your
views. I`m trying to leave this open. That`s my take on it. Your view.
WALSH: He passed the lie detector test. And that`s what she said
convinced her they don`t work.
And liberals don`t really believe in lie detector tests. So, that`s
consistent with her belief. Look, Chris, it`s not a fun tape to listen to.
I`m not going to try to sugarcoat it. But this is what defense attorneys
do. And this is the foundation of our democracy, that you are entitled to
a competent defense lawyer. You`re -- and you sometimes get a bad one.
This guy got a good one.
If she had thrown the case --
MATTHEWS: But is it laughable that you got a --
WALSH: You know what? She --
MATTHEWS: Is it laughable that you got a rapist off and raping a 12-year-
old? Is that -- why is she laughing?
WALSH: I`m not -- I`m sure she would take that laughter back. She`s
specifically laughing -- and you have -- we have both listened to the whole
tape. She`s laughing about this judge. She`s laughing about the bad
handling of the evidence.
And that`s what lawyers -- criminal defense lawyers deal with that all the
time, because evidence can be falsified. They have to be on top of it.
Maybe in this case, she took advantage of the law. But it was the law.
She didn`t do anything wrong.
MATTHEWS: I wish it was just that.
WALSH: She`s having a -- she`s having a casual conversation with a
reporter she knows. I`m sure she would take that laughter back.
MATTHEWS: But it`s worse than that, unfortunately. Unfortunately, it`s
worse than that --
WALSH: I`m not sure it is.
MATTHEWS: -- when she laughs about the fact she calls it a miscarriage
of justice if the guy gets convicted, as if that would be a joke.
I`m sorry. It wasn`t -- it wasn`t have been a miscarriage of justice. It
would have been justice.
Anyway, here`s more from the audio with later Secretary Clinton. The key
piece of evidence in the case was the defendant`s underwear, as I said,
which had traces of blood on it. But it had been mishandled, as I said,
while in police custody and partially destroyed. As I said, they took the
patch out with the blood on it.
Anyway, in the tape, Clinton talks about going to the judge trying to
obtain the underwear to get it independently tested. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CLINTON: I had to go to Maupin Cummings and convince Maupin that yes
indeed I had a right to see the evidence before it was presented.
So they presented the underpants with a hole in it. I said, "What kind of
evidence is that?" You know, a pair of underpants with a hole in it.
Course, the crime lab had thrown away the piece that they`d cut out. It
was really odd. I mean, I plea-bargained it down because it turned out
they didn`t have any evidence.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Twelve-year-old rape victim, obviously a victim.
MICHELLE BERNARD, FOUNDER, BERNARD CENTER FOR WOMEN, POLITICS AND POLICY:
MATTHEWS: Blood on the underwear. The guy -- she said it would be a
miscarriage of justice if he would be convicted. It would have been
Now, I -- I don`t know. I have never been a criminal lawyer. Well, how do
you put it in --
BERNARD: I got to tell you, this is -- I think that this could be very
problematic for Hillary Clinton.
I know that "The New York Times" reports that she was appointed to take
this case. But if you listen to the tape, in the very beginning of the
tape, she tells the interviewer that the prosecutor in the case called her
and asked her to take the defendant on as a client because the defendant
was looking for a woman to be their -- to be the lawyer.
Obviously, a criminal defense -- a criminal -- somebody who has been
accused of rape, a male who is looking for a woman lawyer thinks that he is
going to get more help from a woman lawyer accusing -- saying that the
victim is falsely accusing him.
So, the question is, if she wasn`t court-appointed and she decided to take
this case as a favor to the prosecutor, there are many Americans who are
going to look and listen to this tape and they`re going to say --
WALSH: But she was court-appointed. Wait. She was court-appointed.
BERNARD: Please, Joan, let me -- but let me finish. This is very serious.
This girl was allegedly raped and beaten by two men living in her parents`
home. The second man just didn`t happen to be accused. Hillary Clinton
took the case. This is a woman who undoubtedly has always been an advocate
for women, children and families.
But she took the case. She knew what the allegations were. She indicated
in the tape that she believed that her client more likely than not was
guilty of the crime that he was accused of. And so people are going to
say, inevitably, who is the real Hillary Clinton?
She has got a distinct Southern drawl on this tape, which she no longer has
today. She took on a case where she believed her client probably raped
this young woman. The young woman was in a coma. She was in a hospital.
She did many, many years of physical therapy.
She ended up drug-addicted, never married, no children. She`s speaking out
now and she`s saying, Hillary Clinton ruined my life.
Now, I was -- I acted as a public defender my last year of law school and I
knew early on I would have to be a prosecutor, because I couldn`t stand
doing something like this. So, people are going to ask --
BERNARD: Joan, I`m almost finished.
WALSH: Well, you`re filibustering.
BERNARD: People are going to ask -- people are going to ask, why did she
take the case when the prosecutor said, I have got a client -- I have got
somebody who has been accused of raping a 12-year-old girl and he`s
specifically looking for a woman lawyer?
WALSH: Can I please get --
BERNARD: For some people, that is going to leave a distaste.
MATTHEWS: OK, Joan.
WALSH: Can I please get some facts on the record?
She was court-appointed. Yes, the prosecutor asked for her, but the judge
asked her to do it. She has since said -- "The New York Times" reported
this too, Michelle -- she has since said, she asked not to take the case,
but the judge forced her to.
BERNARD: She did?
WALSH: She was -- she was running -- yes. Yes, she did do it.
And you know what else, Michelle? She didn`t go on to become a public
defender. She didn`t go on to become a criminal defense attorney. Maybe
she didn`t like it either.
Now, I`m not defending her laughter. I don`t know why she was laughing.
But this is the way our system of justice works. And you have presented
the facts in a particularly twisted way that leave out her objecting.
MATTHEWS: What was twisted? I`m sorry.
BERNARD: I would like to know what was twisted also, because the facts are
BERNARD: You go on. If you listen to the --
WALSH: She was court-appointed.
BERNARD: And I`m not saying -- and I`m not saying that she`s wrong.
I`m saying, if you`re part of the American electorate and you`re a woman
who supports Hillary Clinton, who, I have to say -- I believe that if she
wants to be the next president of the United States, this will -- that she
will have -- she will absolutely be elected and have the job.
But there are people who are going to ask, how do you take a case where the
WALSH: And they`re entitled --
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s talk politics for a second. Can we talk politics
for a second?
WALSH: No, can we just get the -- can we get the facts on the record? She
was -- she was appointed.
MATTHEWS: You`re arguing she was court-appointed. You are saying she
MATTHEWS: She was asked by a prosecutor to take the case.
BERNARD: Look, I`m not disagreeing with Joan. The prosecutor asked her to
take the case. She said she was court-appointed. I don`t know if it
happened before or after that prosecutor --
MATTHEWS: What`s the difference?
BERNARD: Because, when you`re court-appointed, you don`t have a choice.
WALSH: She did not have a choice. You guys -- I`m sorry.
WALSH: Read "The New York Times."
BERNARD: And I agree with you. And I`m saying, on the facts, that she had
said that she wouldn`t take -- that she regrets taking the case.
MATTHEWS: Let me suggest this case is going to be -- if it comes out --
the Republicans have this tape, of course. They`re are going to get it
from "The Free Beacon."
MATTHEWS: Number two, they`re going to use it.
Number three, Joan, I think they are going to get this -- this victim, who
was 12 years old at the time, who is now a grownup, a country person.
MATTHEWS: She will be out there.
WALSH: She`s already been -- she`s been interviewed.
Look, I`m not saying it can`t hurt her. I`m absolutely not saying that.
But I just think that we have a responsibility to put it in perspective.
And some perspective was lacking and some facts were lacking here.
Let`s also put it in perspective. She was 25 years old at the time.
MATTHEWS: And she may have been a hot shot young lawyer with hot shot
young lawyer`s values in the way they look at things.
I have watched enough movies about court cases to see Tom Cruise in action
when you talk a certain way when you`re talking to somebody interviewing
you about being a hot shot lawyer.
MATTHEWS: Maybe you don`t talk in the way we -- you and I like to talk,
all of us.
MATTHEWS: And I think -- I want to let this -- put this aside. This is
not going to stop Hillary Clinton from becoming president of the United
MATTHEWS: But I do think it`s all part of the process.
MATTHEWS: And she has to look at this and say, do I want to put up with
this stuff? Yes. Anyway, she will have to and I think she will.
WALSH: And she will.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Joan Walsh, as always.
WALSH: Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: And thank you, Michelle Bernard. A lively discussion.
Up next, the people`s court, John Boehner-style.
And this is HARDBALL, obviously the place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JIMMY FALLON")
JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JIMMY FALLON": In a new
interview, Hillary Clinton said that she would want Meryl Streep to play
her in a movie about her life. When asked who would play him in the movie,
Bill Clinton was like, Drake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Time now for the "Sideshow."
Jimmy Fallon returned from his holiday break with plenty to say, including
his reaction to John Boehner`s plan to sue the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JIMMY FALLON")
FALLON: Here are is news out of Washington. House Speaker John Boehner is
threatening to sue President Obama for using executive actions to create
laws, instead of going through Congress first.
Yes, then Obama just shrugged and made a new law that said, you can`t sue
FALLON: I can do this all day, Boehner.
That`s right. John Boehner wants to sue President Obama, although it`s
going to be weird when Boehner walks into the Supreme Court and you hear:
This is the plaintiff, House Speaker John Boehner. He claims that the
president abused his power to pass laws. He also claims Obama promised to
replace four tires on his Jeep Grand Cherokee, and never followed through.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: And, finally, an update on Senator Pat Roberts.
I said last night that the Republican has been criticized for favoring life
in D.C. over his home state of Kansas, even going so far as to rent out his
home in Dodge City.
Well, Senator Roberts explained to Politico that an Army captain needed a
place to live so Roberts agreed to rent him his home, saying -- quote --
"Now, hindsight, maybe I shouldn`t have done it."
Well, the senator added: "I am from Dodge City. I have been there 30
years. I have owned houses. I have rented houses. I pay taxes in Dodge
City. I vote in Dodge City. I don`t know what else I can do in Dodge
Senator, as you said, you can keep your residence there. That would be a
Up next, is Mitt Romney, now beating President Obama in the polls, ready to
run this time against Hillary?
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger. Here`s
Germans at Brandenburg Gate are celebrating a World Cup shocker -- soccer
shocker. Germany disgraced host Brazil today 7-1. And riot police were
deployed outside the stadium just in case. But there are no reports of any
trouble so far. Brazil fans started with the game at halftime with their
team trailing 5-0. It is Brazil`s worst loss ever and the most goals ever
allowed by a host nation. Germany advances to Sunday`s championship game.
In the Middle East, the Gaza Health Ministry says Israeli attacks in Gaza
have killed 24 Palestinians. The Israeli military targeted a hundred
locations in response to rocket fire from Gaza.
And legal sales of recreational marijuana began in Washington State today.
Colorado was the first state to allow legal pot back in January -- now back
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Mitt Romney may already be a two-time loser in the presidential
sweepstakes, just as Ronald Reagan was after losing the nomination fight in
`68 and `76. But there are recent signs that something of a Romney revival
is under way. It may come as surprising news to some, considering the Tea
Party`s dominance of the Republican politics lately.
But last night, Utah Congressman and Romney confidant Jason Chaffetz joined
me here on HARDBALL and made this declaration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I think Mitt Romney in his head, he looks at these polls that
show him beating the president right now if there were another election --
there won`t be -- that he really wants to run for president again. What do
you think? What would you advise him?
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: I think he actually is going to run for
president. He probably doesn`t want me to say that. A hundred times, he
says he`s not. But Mitt Romney has always accomplished what he set out to
MATTHEWS: Oh, news. You made news.
CHAFFETZ: I think he`s proven right on a lot of stuff.
I happen to be in the camp that thinks that he`s actually going to run.
And I think he will be the next president of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, since his loss in 2012, Mitt Romney has emerged as a
formidable Republican Party leader, endorsing more than 30 candidates for
Congress in local offices. Most recently, he was back in the first primary
state of New Hampshire to campaign for Scott Brown, holding an event last
week at the very same forum where he himself announced his presidential
candidacy in 2011.
Romney`s efforts has stoke a draft Romney movement among his supporters.
Meanwhile, he`s clearly -- clearly out there to say he`s not actively
running. Of course, that`s strategy, like he did here on "Meet the Press"
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "MEET THE PRESS WITH DAVID GREGORY")
DAVID GREGORY, HOST, "MEET THE PRESS": Will you be a candidate in 2016?
If you were drafted, if the conditions were right, would you consider
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: David, I`m not running for
GREGORY: So, 100 percent, Mitt Romney will not -- even if drafted, will
not be a candidate in 2016?
ROMNEY: I`m not running. And talk of a draft is kind of silly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: "I`m not running." It`s one of the best lines ever. Hillary
isn`t running either.
Anyway, the Quinnipiac poll earlier this month showed that more Americans
now think the country would be better off if Romney had become president
than President Obama being president, 45-38, something of a spread there.
Furthermore, there is no clear front-runner among Republicans for 2016.
And I think if Jeb Bush decides not to run, there is going to be no center-
right candidate to challenge Tea Party firebrands like Rand Paul and Ted
Cruz. So, while it`s clear there has been something of a Romney revival as
of late, is it possible that Mitt Romney could give it a third try in 2016?
Joining me right now is "Bloomberg`s" Jeanne Cummings, and Republican
strategist John Feehery.
Just tell you how I look at it, there`s two brackets in the Republican
Party. There`s the right wing bracket, the more libertarian guy who I sort
like, Rand Paul, probably kill him, running against Ted Cruz, who I don`t
like. And then there`s an open bracket. It could have been filled by that
big guy from New Jersey, but he didn`t look like he`s filling it, or Scott
Walker or Jeb Bush. They don`t seem to be showing up. And I argue, if
those three don`t show up, Mitt Romney is back in the game.
Your thoughts to fill that bracket?
JEANNE CUMMINGS, BLOOMBERG: It would be hard for him to get back into the
game. I think he doesn`t have it in him to run and he might try to get
somebody else in there to run. Mike Pence is another one out of Indiana,
another governor who could step into the space.
MATTHEWS: Describe for those who don`t know him, the personality of Mike
CUMMINGS: Well --
MATTHEWS: Come on, help me out here.
CUMMINGS: Let me give you the qualifications -- 89 percent rating from the
Chamber of Commerce.
MATTHEWS: I know, the first -- he`s a Chamber guy.
CUMMINGS: And very close to the Kochs. He`s very close to the Kochs, too.
MATTHEWS: He`s a Jayceer from the time he was 12. I don`t deny that.
But go ahead.
JOHN FEEHERY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, Mike Pence would be a great
candidate. He`s very much trusted by --
CUMMINGS: See, I started for you.
FEEHERY: -- very trusted by the conservatives. If Jeb Bush does not run,
the door is wide open for Mitt Romney. And why wouldn`t he run? He would
have a nomination given to him. I mean, compared to Ted Cruz, are you
kidding me? But if Mitt Romney does run, he`s going to be a much better
MATTHEWS: Did he fix the problem he had of being elitist?
FEEHERY: I think he can fix it, but it`s going to take a lot of work, a
lot of thought. The problem with his campaign was him.
MATTHEWS: Yes, he said so.
FEEHERY: He knows that. Looking at that "Mitt", the film, the --
MATTHEWS: OK, let me be clear. We pundits don`t decide who runs. But in
the soul of each person, man or woman, they decide. And if people would
run for president and won like Nixon, that nobody else on the planet
thought should have won, because he personally run. They decided who wants
to be president, and we select among them. That`s our only choice, it`s
free choice, not free will.
They decide whether to run or not. If Mitt Romney runs and spends all the
money he`s got for the Mormon connections, the equity funds, all the rich
guys he knows, he`s a player.
CUMMINGS: He`s definitely a player if he gets into it. There`s no doubt
MATTHEWS: Why wouldn`t he run?
CUMMINGS: Well, one thing to consider is that party has changed.
MATTHEWS: I agree.
CUMMINGS: Even in the last two years, that party has changed because of
the Tea Party pulling them to the right, bringing in these libertarians --
MATTHEWS: I`m going to fight with you.
CUMMINGS: They aren`t Romney people.
MATTHEWS: I`m going to fight with you.
Here`s my question. A Republican guy has to go to his wife and say, I`m
supporting this person over Hillary Clinton who will be the Democratic
nominee, I assume. And he has to make a pretty good case to his spouse why
this person is a more reasonable product -- prospect for president than
Hillary Clinton who has the greatest resume in the world. He has to come
up, this guy, and make his case. I`m telling you.
This whole thing -- this is going to be a family fight everywhere in
America. Women are going to want to vote for Hillary. The guys are going
to have to come up with somebody if they don`t like Hillary, if they don`t
like somebody, obviously, for somebody else. You can`t run Rand Paul
against Hillary Clinton or Ted Cruz.
CUMMINGS: Well, we aren`t there yet.
MATTHEWS: You have to run somebody who can beat her.
CUMMINGS: But we aren`t there yet. We don`t know if Chris Christie will
survive bridgegate. He may and that is where Wall Street wants to go.
They want to go to him. And -- so, we`ll see if he survives.
MATTHEWS: That`s what "Bloomberg News" is reporting.
CUMMINGS: There you go.
MATTHEWS: They still stick with the big guy?
CUMMINGS: They want to go there.
MATTHEWS: It`s so close in the polls.
CUMMINGS: That`s right, and he`s going to Iowa soon. So, he`s starting to
get back into this arena. And, you know, his big personality may not sell
in Iowa. We`ll see. But he`s still in there. And I wouldn`t count him
FEEHERY: What Chris Christie has, he has the fire in his belly. Mitt
Romney has been through it. His wife has been through it. I`m not sure
that she wants to do it. The other person --
MATTHEWS: She wants to be first lady. Come on.
FEEHERY: Well -- the other person is Jeb Bush. Does Jeb Bush run? That`s
a big if.
MATTHEWS: Do you think he`s running?
FEEHERY: I don`t think so.
MATTHEWS: Do you think he`s running?
FEEHERY: If he does, all the talk is over, Jeb Bush. And the other guy
that you have to talk about is Marco Rubio, because Rubio --
MATTHEWS: President of the United States.
FEEHERY: All the inside the Beltway folks think that Rubio is the
Republicans` best shot.
MATTHEWS: I think he`s the Republicans` John Edwards.
CUMMINGS: That`s interesting.
MATTHEWS: Oh, yes.
FEEHERY: He`s one of the more creative thinkers on Republican side. And
he`s certainly no Ted Cruz and he`s no Rand Paul. And he`s that mantle of
the Republicans --
MATTHEWS: We`ll come back in a year. I say Mitt Romney is running. You
say Chris Christie is still in the game. We`ll see.
CUMMINGS: OK, all right. Don`t forget Mike Pence.
MATTHEWS: Thank you. If they`re still pushing Rubio.
Thank you, Jeanne Cummings and John Feehery.
Up next, the pizza delivery man who Democrats hope will end up tipping that
North Carolina Senate race the Democratic way. This is HARDBALL, the place
MATTHEWS: Hello, Cleveland. The Republicans have picked Cleveland to be
the site of their 2016 national convention. Cleveland beat out Dallas for
the honors, even though or perhaps because it`s Democratic territory and a
swing state that twice went for Barack Obama. That`s Ohio.
Anyway, the Democrats are also considering Cleveland to host their 2016
convention, along with Columbus, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Birmingham, and
Well, that decision is expected by the end of the year.
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
Republican hopes of taking the Senate in November this year hinge on a
number of tight races. Among them, in North Carolina, where the incumbent
Democrat, Kay Hagan, is in a tight race for her survival.
But Republicans are worried that a third party candidate could pull in just
enough votes away from Republican Thom Tillis to tilt the race Hagan`s way.
Right now, Hagan leads Republican Tillis by an average of just three
points, according to Real Clear Politics, which carries the averages.
But the libertarian candidate Sean Haugh, well, he makes ends meet by
delivering pizza. He`s getting anywhere from eight to 11 points, however,
according to four different polls we`ve looked at, taken in May and June
for PPP, a Democrat-leaning poll. And Civitas, a Republican leaning one.
Not even enough to win, of course, but enough to affect the outcome of an
already very close Senate race.
Haugh does most of his campaigning on YouTube, recording videos in his
campaign manager`s basement. Here we go.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HAUGH, NC SENATE CANDIDATE: I`m a libertarian because I know I`m not
smart enough to run your life for you. I mean, I would think you`d be the
expert on that.
You know what burns me? That the state thinks it can come into my bedroom
and judge my marriage. You don`t have the right to judge in the first
place. So, get out of my bedroom, you pervert.
It really doesn`t matter how you feel about a woman`s right to choose.
It`s her body and her mind. She is the one who`s going to make that
We have got to stop spending more money than we have. Stop voting for
politicians who do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Well, Haugh is showing he might not have the resource to compete with the
big dogs out there, but given the slice of the vote he could capture in
November, Republicans are taking this pizza delivery guy very seriously.
Sean Haugh is the libertarian candidate running for the United States
Senate in North Carolina. He joins us now.
Sean, thanks for joining us.
A couple of question, little wise-guy question to start with. Thirty
minutes is still the rule? You have to have the pizza there in 30 minutes
or you get it free?
HAUGH: Actually, that was a different company than the one I worked, for
which I personally don`t care to name. I don`t want to get them involved.
HAUGH: That was years ago. Yes.
MATTHEWS: OK. So 30 minutes --
HAUGH: They don`t say that anymore.
MATTHEWS: OK. What`s the --as a libertarian, I have a lot of respect for
the philosophy of libertarians, it`s the details I worry about. What`s the
biggest, hugest, most expensive federal government program as a libertarian
you`d like to see disappear and you think you can do it as a senator?
MATTHEWS: Get rid of.
HAUGH: War. We need to stop our war machine that takes up so much of our
budget in so many different ways. We need to stop intervening in the
affairs of other countries. We see the results of that happening now.
We need to bring our troops home. We need to stop arm sales and donations
to other countries. We need to stop militarizing our own police here at
And that`s the one really big-ticket item that not only do I want to end,
but I think that there`s a majority of people out there from all across the
political spectrum who are tired of perpetual war and want to have peace
within this country and in the rest of the world.
MATTHEWS: So, out of the bedroom and out of Iraq?
HAUGH: Oh, yes. Well, what motivated me really to run was to stop all
I -- that really is the main issue to me is something I always want to keep
coming back to. I just felt like it was really important for there to be a
voice in this race because I really don`t count on the Democrat or
Republicans to ever get out and say this war that`s been going on all this
time, this insanity, and it needs to stop. Somebody needed to get up and
carry that message.
MATTHEWS: So on social issues like same-sex and abortion rights, you`re a
libertarian. On issues like foreign policy, you`re basically against the
hawks, the neocons.
HAUGH: Yes, because we see the results. I mean, we have this force now in
Iraq, ISIS, that`s much bigger than anything we`ve ever dealt with before.
And they`re armed with our weapons that we either gave to them directly --
thanks, John McCain -- or that we left behind in Iraq.
So, in Syria, we`re arming Sunni rebels against government forces, and then
right next door in Iraq, we`re arming government forces against Sunni
rebels. It`s crazy.
MATTHEWS: I`m with you on most of this stuff. I do find it attractive
what you`re offering. It`s an interesting and, in fact, attractive pitch,
But here`s the problem. Third-party candidates, since they can`t get a
majority of the votes. They can`t get a plurality of the votes usually,
end up helping one of the other candidates. When you`re thinking about
that, you might help Kay Hagan get re-elected because you take away from
the conservative side, the Republican side.
HAUGH: Well, I think that`s kind of a philosophy of despair, like nothing
will ever change. And there is a possibility that I could win this race.
And I`m going for the win. We`ll see what happens.
I just decided to get in there and let the chips fall where they may
because I think it`s very important to get that message out there. Your
vote is your way to tell the politicians what you want. So the more people
that vote for me, the more votes Democrats and Republicans are going to
have to sit up and take notice and say, oh, we`re going to have to be more
peaceful. We`re going to have to be more libertarian, we`re going to have
to stop this war if we want to keep these voters.
The socialist party worked that well in the `30s and that`s, frankly, a
model that gives me hope.
MATTHEWS: Do you disagree with Kay Hagan on the issues you mentioned,
choice and same-sex and the wars? Do you disagree with her?
HAUGH: Well, I don`t pay too much attention to what my opponents say to be
MATTHEWS: Well, I do. You don`t disagree with her on those issues from
what I can tell.
HAUGH: I find that -- I was interested to find last night when I was doing
a little opposition research that, yes, my position on abortion is exactly
the same as Kay Hagan`s. However, I`m preaching to a different audience in
a way. I`m looking -- I`m talking to people who are looking to vote for me
MATTHEWS: Sean Haugh --
HAUGH: --and to get these ideas across to them.
MATTHEWS: Sean Haugh, thank you for coming on. I can`t contribute to your
campaign but I do like what you`ve been saying. Thanks so much for coming
HAUGH: Well, thanks so much. I appreciate it. Visit my Web site,
MATTHEWS: Well, I might do that. We`ll be right back. Thanks for coming
MATTHEWS: Let me end tonight with this strange absence of a challenger to
Hillary Clinton. I`m not talking about a Democrat contesting her in the
primaries. That`s a situation I don`t expect to persist. I think real
candidates in the Democratic side will come forward to give her a run for
No, the real MIA is the Republican who can take Hillary on in the general,
who will fill the all-important bracket of center-right credible candidate
who can challenge the Democrats in all-important swing states like Ohio.
Christie -- I don`t think so. Jeb -- again, I don`t think so. I don`t
think he`ll end up running. Scott Walker -- not big enough.
And so, the question, who fills the bracket on the Republican side marked
center-right credible candidate? Who fills the bracket that will present
Hillary Clinton with her greatest challenge should she go for the White
I think Mitt Romney is thinking about this every day. Thinking about how
close he came in `12, how close he could be to winning in `16. I think
Mitt will run for the same reason Hillary Clinton will run. You don`t go
this far and stop.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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