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'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for Monday, July 28th, 2014

Read the transcript to the Monday show

July 28, 2014

Guest: Michael Tomasky, Michelle Bernard, Amy Walter, Nia-Malika
Henderson, Amy Walter, Willie Brown, Joe Conason

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: When in doubt, throw `em out.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

"Let Me Start" tonight with this. Out, out, damn spot! How do we rid
this country of President Obama? How do we erase his name from the history
books, from the history of our presidents? How do we at least put a giant
asterisk next to him so that future generations studying in school will
never believe the name Barack Hussein Obama truly belonged in the list of
American presidents?

First, they tried to say he wasn`t born here, that he was
unconstitutionally elected in the first place. Then they set about ruining
any chance he had to build a presidential record. They wanted Barack Obama
to do just one thing. They wanted him to leave.

Then, of course, they tried defeating him for reelection. They even
got down on their knees, they nominated a candidate to oppose him whom they
didn`t particularly like, didn`t trust. His one selling point, which they
bought (ph) in broad daylight, was that he was the best bet to do what they
had set their hearts on, get Barack Obama out of the White House.

And now, with the years of his second term passing away, comes the
last gasp of the Obama haters. They want to impeach him, maybe not get rid
of him but certainly smear him with a mark of personal condemnation.

They keep changing the reasons, but that`s no surprise because to
friend and foe alike, the reason for their wanting Obama destroyed was
never a question of it (ph) but of who. It`s not what he`s done as
president -- brought us back from the economic abyss, getting Osama bin
Laden -- but the fact that he dared enter that office and sit in that

For his nastiest enemies and those who secretly cheer them, that
historic moment can never be forgiven and most certainly never forgotten.
The quest to bring down Barack Obama will, it now seems, never come to an

Michael Steele is an MSNBC political analyst and was chairman of the
RNC, and Michael Tomasky`s a special correspondent for the DailyBeast.

Gentlemen, I make my case. This impeachment thing -- let`s look at
the numbers right now. This is not a small rogue group of Republicans.
Right now, according to this CNN poll, "Should President Obama be
impeached" -- look at this number here, 57 percent want him kicked to the
curb. This is amazing because the rest of the country, as a whole, 65
percent don`t agree with that thinking at all.

Michael, how do you put that together?

- I think...

MATTHEWS: The difference between the Republican majority of the party
you once led...

STEELE: Right.

MATTHEWS: ... and the American people.

STEELE: Well, we`re...

MATTHEWS: Are so much at odds.

STEELE: On this issue, we`re clearly out of step. I mean, my
attitude at this point is there are enough other things to talk about with
what the president has done in foreign policy, the economy, jobs, all of
that, that don`t rise to this level of, you know, talking about

And if you really want to give the House back to the Democrats, if you
really don`t want the Senate next year and you want to take yourself out of
any contention for presidential politics in 2016, file those articles of
impeachment tomorrow. Just go ahead and do it. If you want to see where
the American people really are, you want to see that 65 percent...


MATTHEWS: I know you`re not in office right now, in political office,
but if you`re sitting in the Congress or the Senate -- we`re going to get
to a case A of this, example A. If you`re sitting in office, do you want
to say right now, as you go into a general election in, say, a district
that`s fairly even, it`s not a -- you know, it`s not a slam-dunk Republican
district -- do you want to announce for impeachment right now?

STEELE: No, you don`t. This is the last thing you want to talk
about. Unless your district is bleeding red, this is the last thing any
Republican in elected office wants to be talking about going into the fall
campaign. Why? Because the American people don`t give a damn about this
issue. They`re still concerned about the fact that they don`t know what
"Obama care`s" look like when the new premium...


MATTHEWS: I think they don`t want you to say it because you don`t
want to say it. I don`t think Republicans -- before primaries, fine. Once
the primaries are behind them, Michael, I don`t think they want to say it
because they`re facing a general election out there. And according to our
numbers, 65 percent of the people, which may even include a majority in
some of the tough red states, they don`t -- they think this is jackass


MATTHEWS: It`s the behavior of some guy on a barstool.

TOMASKY: John Boehner...

MATTHEWS: Somebody on a barstool can go, Give me another beer, and
impeach that bastard. I can hear -- or somebody in your carpool. That`s
not what you`re supposed to behave like as a Congressperson!

TOMASKY: It`s 57 percent of their base voters. John Boehner doesn`t
want to say it, and a lot of other Republicans maybe in the Senate, running
for Senate in non-really-conservative states, they don`t want to say it.
But Steve Scalise was on television...

MATTHEWS: Yes, we`re going to show him -- we have the tape.

TOMASKY: You have the tape.

MATTHEWS: OK, first of all, this is the...


TOMASKY: Oh, you`re going to cut me off. But OK.

MATTHEWS: OK, speak your mind.


TOMASKY: Let`s watch the tape. Let`s watch the tape.

MATTHEWS: OK, that`s what I thought. I mean, Chris Cillizza, we
love, writes in today`s "Washington Post," quote, "However Republican
candidates come down on impeachment, they are doomed to alienate either the
GOP base or moderate voters ahead in the November midterms." That`s well
said. And if you want to see poetry in motion, take a look at Republican
whip, newly elected whip, Steve Scalise, of Louisiana on yesterday`s "Fox
News Sunday" doing what he can do to avoid to avoid in any way taking a
clear position on the issue. And by the way, Chris Wallace did a good job
on this guy. Let`s watch.


CHRIS WALLACE, HOST, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY": Will you consider impeaching
the president?

REP. STEVE SCALISE (R), LOUISIANA: You know, this might be the first
White House in history that`s trying to start the narrative of impeaching
their own president. Ultimately, what we want to do is see the president
follow the laws. But the president took an oath to faithfully execute the
laws of this land, and he`s not.

WALLACE: But impeachment is off the table.

SCALISE: Well, the White House wants to talk about impeachment. And
ironically, they`re going to out and trying to fund-raise off of that, too.
This is...

WALLACE: I`m asking you, sir.

SCALISE: Look, the White House will do anything they can to change
the topic away from the president`s failed agenda.


MATTHEWS: I like the way Chris did it politely -- "I`m asking you,
sir." I would have said, "Answer the question!"

STEELE: Right. Well, that -- but that makes the point I was

MATTHEWS: Well, he`s standing on a beachball. Did you ever try to
stand on beachball?

STEELE: It`s a very hard thing to do.

MATTHEWS: That`s what that guy was trying to do there.

STEELE: It`s a very hard thing to do, and I think it -- I think
Scalise and others recognize that, you know, this idea of impeachment does
two things. One, it furthers the narrative for their base. And two, it`s
a fund-raising tool. Beyond that, this thing does not have any serious
traction. And as I go back to my point, if really you want to do it, then
file the articles of impeachment and see how the American people respond
because there are other things to fight this president over. This is not
one of them.

MATTHEWS: I think the mere talk about it, which they`re all doing now
and the people believe -- is to smear the guy.

TOMASKY: Well, sure, but --


STEELE: ... smearing the president. With those 67 percent of voters
who don`t want it to happen?

TOMASKY: Chris, it`s their nature. Why does a scorpion sting? This
is why they do it. They`re going to do it. They`re going to do it, at
some point. I used to think maybe if they got the Senate -- if they didn`t
get the Senate back, they probably wouldn`t bother because they knew they
couldn`t get a Senate conviction. But I`ve really kind of changed that...

MATTHEWS: Well, they`ll have to do something...


MATTHEWS: They don`t have to impeach. Anyway...

STEELE: ... for the reasons you said...

MATTHEWS: If they`re...


STEELE: ... that asterisk on his name.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Republicans have used nearly ever issue now,
Benghazi, the debt ceiling, Gitmo, the ACA -- that`s the health care bill -
- the border crisis, now, Syria, of course, you name it, to threaten to
impeach (sic) proceedings against President Obama. But people in the White
House have never appeared to take them seriously.

That`s changing. This is senior White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer on
Friday speaking very seriously about the Republican Party`s impeachment


DAN PFEIFFER, SENIOR OBAMA ADVISER: I think a lot of people in this
town laugh that off. I think it is -- I would not discount that
possibility. I think that Speaker Boehner, by going down the path of this
lawsuit, has opened the door to Republicans possibly considering
impeachment at some point in the future. And I think that -- that the
president acting on immigration reform will certainly up the likelihood
that they would contemplate impeachment at some point.


MATTHEWS: Wow. Well, White House press secretary Josh Earnest isn`t
laughing it off, either. This is Earnest -- I love that name -- sparring
with reporters on Friday who openly wondered if the Democrats were using
the issue of impeachment to raise money by themselves.


QUESTION: Do you really believe that the president could be

are senior members of the Republican political party, or certainly
prominent voices in the Republican Party, who are calling for exactly that.

QUESTION: And this sounds like a fund-raising ploy, a political ploy,
not a real thing. You don`t really think the president is going to be
impeached, do you?

EARNEST: Well, Jim, I think that there are some Republicans,
including some Republicans who are running for office, hoping they can to
get into office so that they can impeach the president. That is apparently
a view that they have -- hold because it`s one that they have repeatedly
expressed publicly.


MATTHEWS: Well, Charles Blow, one of my favorite columnists from "The
New York Times," attacked the Republican Party for its crusade against
President Obama the other day. He described it like this. "There is an
insatiable vengeance lust for the haughty president who refuses to bend
under pressure or fold under duress. He must be brought to heel. He must
be chastened. He must be broken. So House Republicans are throwing the
red meat into the cage."

STEELE: Yes, they are. I think that that -- but this is not what the
country wants right now. The country doesn`t want to see you throwing red
meat. They want to see you solving problems. And I...

MATTHEWS: Well, you keep telling me this...


MATTHEWS: ... in your judgment. But why is your former confreres on
that Republican Party side doing it?

STEELE: Well, because you`re talking about two different strata of
activism here. You`ve got the congressional leadership, who, as you saw
with Scalise...

MATTHEWS: Scalise.

STEELE: ... Scalise, is just not -- they`re not feeling this. They
get the...

MATTHEWS: Why didn`t he answer the question?

STEELE: Because he does -- because he`s on that beachball because if


STEELE: If he sits there and goes, No, I`m not for impeachment, guess
what happens in three minutes after that hits the air?

MATTHEWS: The Tea Party has a new candidate for whip.

STEELE: And if he goes out and he says, Yes, we are for impeachment,
guess what happens to all the...

MATTHEWS: OK, let me give an example...


MATTHEWS: Fredo. Let`s talk about Fredo for a minute. John


MATTHEWS: No, John Boehner actually said when Luke Russert -- Luke
Russert asked him, Are you for impeachment, rather than this -- the suing
the president, he said, I disagree, I disagree. So at least Fredo at the
top was willing to stand up to him.

TOMASKY: Well, he has to say that...


STEELE: What else is he going to do?

TOMASKY: He`s the Speaker of the House. He`s the one who...

MATTHEWS: I`m talking about the brother in "The Godfather"...


MATTHEWS: -crazy. Fredo was the weak brother. He`s my brother, but
he`s weak, Michael said. Go ahead.

TOMASKY: Her`s really the only one who absolutely has to say no. And
I guess McConnell has to say no. Other than that, they can -- they can --
they can stand -- dance on the beachball as much as they want. Scalise --
Steve King -- I love this one, you know, where Boehner said about the
border crisis that Obama has the ability to solve the unilaterally. And
Steve King comes back and says, If he tries to deal with it unilaterally,
I`m going to support articles of impeachment against him. You know, this
is the game that`s going to be played...


MATTHEWS: ... finish this up here. Let`s go -- let`s be seers,
prophets. Will the Boehner salient (ph) of going with an alternative,
which is to sue the president -- will that satisfy the right wing?

STEELE: It should, but likely won`t because they`re going to stoke
the flames on impeachment.


STEELE: Still.

TOMASKY: Right wing will probably be smart enough to stay relatively
quiet through November, but ultimately, absolutely not...


MATTHEWS: I think it`s going to come up at town meetings right to the
election, and they`re never going to have the nerve not to say they`re for
it, like Scalise. They`ll skate on it.


MATTHEWS: Or stand on that beachball.

STEELE: Or stand on that beachball.

MATTHEWS: We`ve created a metaphor. Thank you, Michael Steele and
Michael Tomasky.

Coming up, Senator Rand Paul`s pitch for African-American votes. We
haven`t seen a Republican do something like this since the great days --
well, the days of Jack Kemp, who was a great man. Can the libertarians
turn blacks against big, bad government? Interesting stuff here.

Also, 99 days to go now for the midterm elections in November. Can
the Democrats hold the Senate? It`s an open question.

And have women candidates in both parties broken the glass ceiling? I
believe that`s true in so many states.

Plus, it`s been 10 years since an unknown Barack Obama thrilled
Democrats at their convention with his keynote speech. I covered that
convention in Boston, and here was my immediate reaction.


I have seen the first black president there. The reason I say that is
because -- because I think the immigrant experience combined with the
African background, combined with the incredible education, combined with
his beautiful speech -- not every politician gets help from a speech, but
that speech was a piece of work.


MATTHEWS: Well, tonight, how reality has collided with hope.

Finally, what happens when a Republican congressman lectures two
people he thinks represent the government of India, only to find out
they`re actually Americans? Oops.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Well, look who`s back at the top of the Republican field
for 2016. New Jersey governor Chris Christie leads the pack in the latest
CNN/Opinion Research poll. Despite his troubles back home, including some
legal problems, perhaps, Christie`s polling at 13 percent, not too high but
just ahead of Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee, who are tied at 12. Rick Perry
and Paul Ryan round out the top five. Each has 11. They`re all bunched
together there.

On the Democrats side, Elizabeth Warren has moved ahead of Joe Biden,
the vice president, but still trails Hillary Clinton by almost 60 votes.
And we`ll -- 60 points.

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Republican Rand Paul is doing
something few in his party seem willing to do. He`s trying to reach out to
African-American voters. Last year, Paul spoke to students at Howard
University. And then this Friday, he addressed the National Urban League
conference. He told the crowd that he was teaming with New Jersey senator
Cory Booker to expunge non-violent felonies from a person`s record because
it makes it harder to find a job and because it disenfranchises voters.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Nationwide, five million people are
prevented from voting because of their criminal record. It`s the biggest
impediment to voting in our country. I want more people to vote, not less.


MATTHEWS: Well, Senator Paul`s message has a libertarian lilt, of
course -- government is not your friend, is his message. And the jury is
out, of course, whether it will sell with any voters, but especially
African-American voters. As this "New York Times" photo shows, there were
quite a few empty chairs in that room at Rand Paul`s address. But the
paper describes it this way -- not so nicely. "Row upon row of empty
chairs. The space did not look much fuller after one of the organizers
urged people seated near the back to fill in the front rows." I think
they`re laying it on there a little thick.

Anyway, to be fair, Rand Paul didn`t exactly get primetime billing.
He got to speak at 8:30 on a Friday morning. Not exactly primetime.

Joining me, "Washington Post" columnist Eugene Robinson and Michelle
Bernard, president of the Bernard Center for Women, Politics and Public

So Gene, as a veteran of these wars, and talking about the African-
American vote in particular, he`s trying to make the argument -- you know,
this is -- there are cases where big government (INAUDIBLE) been helpful in
the Civil Rights era especially and in economic programs and support
programs -- there`s times when it`s your enemy, and one of them is when
they keep you branded as a felon for life and you can never -- even if you
committed a crime, say a hold-up when you`re 18, and you clean up your
life, you can still never vote. You`re never a full citizen again
(INAUDIBLE) common law (INAUDIBLE) where that comes from. But he says,
We`re going to get rid of that, he and Cory Booker.

look, I think if he -- if he genuinely wants to appeal to African-American
voters, I think, you know, "Big government is bad" is Not the way to do it.
That`s not -- that sort of broad philosophical point. But to make specific
points, for example, about the felon voting rights, about...

MATTHEWS: Why isn`t -- why didn`t a Democrat think of that?

ROBINSON: ... sentencing...

MATTHEWS: I mean, blacks have been voting for -- historically --
we`re going to get into the numbers, but African-Americans have been voting
Democrat pretty -- pretty faithfully.


MATTHEWS: Why didn`t a Democratic official come out and say, You know
what? This felon thing is too general, it`s too permanent...

ROBINSON: No, but...

MATTHEWS: ... it kills hope?

ROBINSON: There are Democratic officials who are working on that in

MATTHEWS: Cory Booker.

ROBINSON: Well, Cory Booker, and there are people working on it in
Virginia, and you know, in states around the country where that`s the case,
where you lose essentially lose your voting rights more or less
permanently. And...

able to take the African-American vote for granted because we know more
likely than not, African-Americans are always going to vote the Democratic
ticket. Democrats have the big tent. They speak to issues that matter to
African-Americans. I think this was smart on Rand Paul`s part, very smart.

MATTHEWS: Do you think it`ll work?

BERNARD: I think...


MATTHEWS: I mean, next year at this time, will he still be saying it,
is my question. See, that`s the key...

BERNARD: Well...

MATTHEWS: Will he stick at it?

BERNARD: Will he stick -- he has -- I -- I`m -- I am going to bet
that this time next year, he will be saying the same thing because he`s
gone out so far on a limb. He goes out, he`s putting himself in places
where he basically can get pummeled, where he can be laughed at, where
people may or may not listen to him. And I think he`s going to keep saying
the same thing over and over and over again because he`s a libertarian and
I think he believes it.

MATTHEWS: Well, believe it or not, there was a time when Republicans
got a fairly respectable slice of the black vote. In 1956, for example,
two fifths, 39 percent, of African-American voters went for the Republican.
Of course, it was Dwight Eisenhower.

By 1964, however, following the signing of the Civil Rights Act, the
black Republican vote had fallen off the cliff -- 6 percent went for Barry
Goldwater, who opposed the act, the Civil Rights Act. Republican share of
the black vote remained in the very low single digits for decades
thereafter. In 2012, of course, the Republican share of the black vote was
back at that dismal 6 percent.

You know, it`s interesting, and you and I know this. We`re the same
age. This Republican forfeiting of the black vote -- they were about a
third of the vote -- and then (INAUDIBLE) then they get about less than 10
percent. it`s because of the way they handled the `60s.

ROBINSON: Absolutely. My great-grandfather was a Republican Party
activist in South Carolina. They used to be the party, right? It was the
party of Lincoln. It was the party of...

MATTHEWS: Reconstructions.


And -- but that Republican Party allowed the Democratic Party to be
the party of civil rights. And even though Democrats in my part of the
country took a while to get there...


MATTHEWS: Well, let me just tell you, before you give a -- I wouldn`t
-- I wouldn`t let the Democrats off too easily.


MATTHEWS: Because the 1964 civil rights bill, the most important
thing done by Congress in our lifetime, the Republicans overwhelmingly for

ROBINSON: Yes. Mm-hmm.


MATTHEWS: You know?



MATTHEWS: And the Democrats had a lot of people against it. It was -
- it was -- anyway. I don`t have the numbers here.

ROBINSON: Look, those Democrats were Dixiecrats who were staunchly
against desegregation. And Republicans...


MATTHEWS: I have got the numbers now in my head. They were right in
front of me -- 27 of the 33 Republicans, all but six voted for the Civil
Rights Act, where the Democrats were someone deficient in that regard.

BERNARD: Kennedy and Johnson had to work hard to get all of that
legislation passed. It wasn`t -- it was never -- it was never a done deal.

MATTHEWS: What happened to that Republican Party in the North that
was all for civil rights?

BERNARD: Well, it got taken over by the loudest and most racist
elements of the Republican Party.

When Ronald Reagan came back in and starting talking the same language
as George Wallace about states` rights and believing in states` rights, I
think just about at that time forever forfeited the African-American vote.

MATTHEWS: Or the young buck, as he once said, who was in line buying
-- using food stamps to buy vodka or gin with.

BERNARD: Yes. Well...

MATTHEWS: If that ever happened, ever, it happened in "Reader`s
Digest" somewhere.


ROBINSON: It was the Southern strategy that made the Republican Party
the refuge for the die-hard racists and segregationists.


ROBINSON: Not that all Republicans are that, but that`s where they


MATTHEWS: Senator Paul has been through a lot of these debates
already. Look at this. Here was Paul. He has some work to do to win over
African-American votes.

In 2010, when he was running for the Senate in the first place,
Senator Paul himself, Rand Paul, told the editorial board of "The
Louisville Courier-Journal" that he had some concerns with parts of the
civil rights bill of `64. Here is part of that interview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But under your philosophy, it would be OK for Dr.
King not to be served at the counter at Woolworths?

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I would not go to that Woolworths. And
I would stand up in my community and say it is abhorrent.

But the hard part is -- and this is the hard part about believing in
freedom is, if you believe in the First Amendment, for example, you have to
-- for example, most good defenders of the First Amendment will believe in
abhorrent groups standing up and saying awful things.

And we are here at the bastion of newspaperdom. I`m sure you believe
in the First Amendment. So, you understand that people can say bad things.
It`s the same way with other behaviors. In a free society, we will
tolerate boorish people.


MATTHEWS: Well, NBC News Kasie Hunt reminded us -- Senator Paul of
that position after he declared support for the Civil Rights Act in his
speech to the Urban League the other day.

Let`s listen.


KASIE HUNT, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: You noted in the speech that you
support the Civil Rights Act, but specifically do you think that private
businesses should be allowed to discriminate based on race?


HUNT: So you have changed from when you said before you were
concerned about that title?

PAUL: No, I never said -- I never said before.


MATTHEWS: What do you think?


BERNARD: Well, I remember when I first heard the comment and I
thought, what a nitwit. Everyone in the Republican Party, regardless of
their age, had completely lost their mind. But I don`t...


MATTHEWS: Might he be an honest man who actually said I had concerns
intellectually at the time about the use of the Commerce Clause to extend
to the use of -- for civil rights?

BERNARD: He absolutely...

MATTHEWS: But he shouldn`t have said it politically, but

BERNARD: Intellectually, he could have believed it. But I take him
at his word for where he is now.

I mean, this is why -- I don`t think that you are going to see large
droves of African-Americans decide that they`re going to register
Republican. But he`s gotten smart. In the era of Trayvon Martin -- my son
is here with me today. There is not one black woman, black mother that`s
going to hear what Rand Paul is saying about crime and our laws and
disproportionately negative impact that they have on African-Americans,
particularly black boys, and not think twice about whether or not she
should listen to what he`s saying and how it might impact the lives of
those -- of her children.

ROBINSON: Yes, his position on Civil Rights Act now has to be, that
wasn`t me. That was some other guy.



MATTHEWS: Well, you know what it makes me...



ROBINSON: No, I mean, it wasn`t me.


MATTHEWS: You guys, this is something I have extrapolated from what
he`s doing, because I know he`s nimble on this one.


MATTHEWS: He has moved from intellectual opposition to political



MATTHEWS: He`s going to do the same things with the hawks on foreign
policy. I really believe he will be much tougher in the Middle East than
you would have thought. Oh, yes, to get past the huddle, to get that
nomination, he is going to move to the hawkish side.


BERNARD: Well...


MATTHEWS: He`s not going to let the establishment Republicans paint
him as a dove.

BERNARD: Imagine a 2016 on civil rights if he`s really up there in
the numbers, and someone else -- we`re talking about Marco Rubio or
somebody else -- is going to come out and oppose him on all the things that
he`s saying about civil rights today. What does the Republican Party do in
2016? Vote Hillary?

MATTHEWS: I`m just thinking about the fact that your kids are -- your
kids are both movie stars. And you brought them into the room today.


MATTHEWS: Thank you so much. They are beautiful kids.

Thank you, Eugene Robinson.

And thank you, Michelle Bernard.

Up next, a U.S. congressman commits an international booboo, an oops.
Gets nationalities mixed up, ours and theirs.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. And time for the "Sideshow."

A freshman U.S. congressman from Florida made a major mistake last
week during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing. Republican Curt
Clawson made the point that he wants cooperation and commitment from the
government of India. Well, that`s a good point. Only problem? He was
addressing U.S. officials Nisha Biswal of the State Department and Arun
Kumar of the Department of Commerce.


REP. CURT CLAWSON (R), FLORIDA: Just as your capital is welcome here
to produce good-paying jobs in the U.S., I would like our capital to be
welcome there and there to be freedom of capital, so that both sides are on
the same territory. And I ask cooperation and priority from your
government in so doing. Can I have that?

I think your question is to the Indian government, and we certainly share
your sentiments and we certainly will advocate that on behalf of the U.S.


MATTHEWS: Oops. That`s right. Congressman Clawson was actually
questioning two senior U.S. government officials.

You know that, once John Oliver caught that faux pas, he was going to
pounce. And he did.


favorite part of it, other than absolutely everything...


OLIVER: ... is Mr. Kumar, who is absolutely loving the whole thing.


OLIVER: He`s leaning back in his chair going, oh, this guy is


OLIVER: Please, please, nobody tell him. I have got 10 bucks which
says he about to compliment me for my role in "Slumdog Millionaire."





MATTHEWS: Congressman Clawson later apologized in a statement he
made, for some reason, to "The USA Today" saying: "I made a mistake in
speaking before being fully briefed. And I apologize. I`m a quick study,
but in this case, I shot an air ball."

Well, I guess that`s a good save.

And, finally, remember, last week, when we told you Darth Vader had a
higher approval rating than all of the current potential 2016 presidential
candidates? Well, Hillary Clinton showed her savvy I think on why she lost
to the villain.


FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN: One final question, and then we`re done. What
do you make of the fact that Darth Vader is polling ahead of every
potential presidential candidate?


ZAKARIA: What`s the deeper meaning of this?

the deeper meaning is that people love fantasies.


CLINTON: And, sometimes, when we are so frustrated with the gridlock
in Washington, we would like some deus ex machina figure.

I -- Darth wouldn`t be my choice, but somebody of perhaps a slightly
more positive attitude, his presentation, to come in and just fix it.


MATTHEWS: If you don`t like that Hillary, go find yourself another
candidate. That`s Hillary at her best. She is great. And that`s what
she`s really like.

By the way, somebody with a more positive attitude? Well, let`s face
it. Losing to Superman wouldn`t have gotten any headlines.

Up next, 99 days to the midterms. Can President Obama and the
Democrats hold control of the Senate?

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


Here`s what`s happening.

Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel will continue to act aggressively until
its mission is complete. Meanwhile, the U.N. has called for an immediate
cease-fire between Israel and militants in Gaza.

A judge has ruled that Shelly Sterling can sell the L.A. Clippers to
former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Her estranged husband, Donald
Sterling, has been banned for life from the NBA for making racist comments.

And singer Linda Ronstadt was at the White House earlier to receive
the nation`s highest arts award -- back to HARDBALL.

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

With 99 days now left until this Election Day, get ready for a sprint
to the finish, or a slog, whatever you want to call it. It`s pretty clear
that Republicans hold the edge now on winning control of the U.S. Senate.
They have three big thing going for them, and they`re all national, one,

Recently, in the sixth year of a party`s term in the White House, that
party averages a loss of six seats in the Senate. So, on average, they
should win this thing. Also in their favor is President Obama`s
popularity, which isn`t so great. He`s standing at just 41 percent. Maybe
go up. Could go down. According to the most recent NBC/"Wall Street
Journal" poll, it`s at 41. Not good.

And 63 percent of the country, according to our same poll, says the
country is heading in the same direction, what has long been the best
experts` way of figuring out who is going to win an election, just are we
happy or not happy. Do we want to vote yes or do we want to vote no? And
right now it`s a no.

So the Democrats are certainly in a fight for the Senate. Here is how
it looks with 99 days to go. Republicans need six seats net to win. They
are virtually assured of winning in three Democratic seats right now, West
Virginia, South Dakota, Montana.

Four Democrats are in competitive races in states where President
Obama is especially unpopular, really red, North Carolina, Arkansas,
Louisiana and Alaska. Joining those at-risk states are four that seem
likely Democrats all along, but are now competitive.

I think New Hampshire is a long shot for the Republicans. Michigan is
certainly in play now, Iowa very much a 50/50. And so is Colorado. They
could go either way.

So, the Democrats however could offset Republican chances in cases
where they could lose seats by picking up seats in either -- two seats
being held by Republicans right now, Georgia, where Michelle Nunn is
running, the daughter of the famous congress -- senator down there, and
Kentucky, where you have got a real shot with Alison Lundergan Grimes going
after Mitch McConnell, who nobody likes.

Well, joining me right now to talk about the state of play are Nia-
Malika Henderson -- by the way, if you find somebody who likes him, let me
know -- the political reporter with "The Washington Post," and Amy Walter,
who is an expert, who eats this stuff for breakfast. She`s senior editor
of The Cook Political Report.

So, I`m building you up.


MATTHEWS: You know more than I do. OK?

WALTER: Wow. Thank you. I appreciate that.


WALTER: That`s huge. I should just leave right now.


MATTHEWS: That`s called -- that`s called patronizing.


MATTHEWS: No, I`m just kidding. You really do.


MATTHEWS: So, when you look at the states, where do you -- I see the
usual problems. In the more conservative states, they want to vote against

WALTER: Right.

MATTHEWS: And here is their chance. Where do you see the Democrats
bucking that, red states where you see a Democrat pulling an upset and say,
even though the people in Louisiana or Alaska or North Carolina or Arkansas
don`t like our president, they will say, yes, but I like this guy or this

WALTER: Well, I mean, Mark Begich is the one I think who is doing the
best job of trying to localize the race, successfully able to do that. But
part of the reason he has been successful is that there is not a nominee


MATTHEWS: Isn`t there...


WALTER: They still have to have a primary. The primary is still a
ways away. So, there`s been a lot of focus on Mark Begich not a whole lot
of focus on the Republican yet.

So, I`m with you.


MATTHEWS: But there is a downside to that, but we know one other


MATTHEWS: Once a party picks a nominee...

WALTER: They poll less.

MATTHEWS: ... all that in internecine, intramural struggle ends, and
they unite.

WALTER: Yes, theoretically.

POST": I think Landrieu, she is doing the same kind of very localized race
in Louisiana. She`s of course is running against Bill Cassidy.

MATTHEWS: Didn`t she get just a big endorsement?

WALTER: She`s got sort of big oil...


WALTER: Maybe the Chamber of Commerce.


HENDERSON: Yes, the Chamber of Commerce.


HENDERSON: But she`s got some big oil there because she`s got that


MATTHEWS: Well, she`s pro-Keystone.

HENDERSON: That`s right. And she has got that big chairmanship as

Also, you do see these folks who are incumbents running sort of
localized races, but also using the power of their incumbency to say,
listen, I`m the folks who are -- have the chairmanships. I`m the people
who can go back and get stuff done in Washington. So, it`s sort of a


MATTHEWS: But you have feminist sentiments, which I share

WALTER: Yes, of course. Yes.

MATTHEWS: Well, you do.

And I want to ask you about this -- I think there is optimism here on
the way. I don`t know about the glass ceiling for president yet. If
Hillary wins it, it may be broken or smashed even. But right now, I think
there are certain states where it doesn`t hurt you to be the woman, on the
East Coast, West Coast, women having a good chance, a Gillibrand, of
course, and California and all.

I`m looking at these women. I`m just talking -- regardless of party -
- I`m looking at someone like Joni Ernst, who is running this funny
castrating hogs ad. It`s just a funny way to get her name out there. Mary
Landrieu, Joni Ernst, Terri Lynn Land, a Republican running in Michigan,
Alison Grimes running a great campaign in Kentucky, Kay Hagan hanging on in
North Carolina.

Could it be that women -- women`s issues, not just the female
candidate, women`s issues can really help a candidate now?

WALTER: Well, this is the best time of all to be an outsider in some
ways, right?

And so the Joni Ernst and Terri Lynn Land, who are not in Congress
right now, they can portray themselves as, I`m not part of that mess there
in Washington, and they have the benefit of running against male members of
Congress who are part of the mess in Washington.


MATTHEWS: Is that why you say hog castrator?


WALTER: That`s why...


MATTHEWS: What do you think of that as an angle? Is it funny or does
it say something about, I`m tough, or I`m funny, or I have got a sense of
humor? What does it say?

WALTER: I think it says I understand...


WALTER: Right. And it also says, I`m from Iowa. Where else do we
talk about...


WALTER: ... issues like hog castration?

You know what was funny was, after that came out, reading the local
papers, almost single every candidate had to come in and they were asked
about things they did on a farm. So, one candidate was like, I pulled
chicken feathers. Well, I...


MATTHEWS: That started with Lincoln and being the rail splitter.

HENDERSON: Yes. Yes. It`s whole the idea of populism.


MATTHEWS: OK, women. Is it a plus or minus or is it neutral in some

HENDERSON: I think it depends. I think you are going to see
Democrats sort of ramp up the war on women again, particularly in states


MATTHEWS: Colorado.

HENDERSON: Colorado, states like North Carolina, where you have a
woman against a man.

MATTHEWS: Virginia.

HENDERSON: Virginia as well.

MATTHEWS: Could you believe that debate the other night between Ed
Gillespie and Mark Warner, two guys?


MATTHEWS: And the headline in your paper, I think it was, was all
about a women`s issue...


MATTHEWS: .. which Mark raised to the last question as an
afterthought, not an afterthought to -- it was an afterthought to the
moderator, not to him.

HENDERSON: Right. They are looking at the last Virginia
gubernatorial race where the war on women and women`s issues really proved
pivotal. You have Planned Parenthood going in there during that race,
talking about birth control, talking about abortion -- but mainly birth
control, right, in that --

MATTHEWS: You`ve got fresh issues here. Democrats hope the Supreme
Court`s Hobby Lobby decision was game changing, and once again raising the
profile of women`s rights as a campaign issue, which they hope will draw
single women to the polls in November, single women made the difference in
the Republicans` first electoral off year test. That was last year`s
Virginia governor`s race where Democrat Terry McAuliffe ended up beating
Republican Ken Cuccinelli by just two points overall, but by more than 30
points among unmarried women.

And just look at the battleground state of Colorado, which has now
become ground zero for the fight over women`s issues, and where Democrat
Mark Udall is painting his opponent, Congressman Cory Gardner, he`s a
Republican, as an extremist.

Here`s one of Udall`s ads.


SEN. MARK UDALL (D), COLORADO: Because this really matters, it`s
important you hear this directly from me. My opponent, Congressman
Gardner, led a crusade that would make birth control illegal and sponsored
a bill to make abortion a felony, even in cases of rape and incest.

His record is beyond troubling. It`s wrong. We are talking about
your rights as women, as families, as Coloradans.

I`m Mark Udall. You have the right to live life on your own terms.


MATTHEWS: You know, I have learned women don`t like men talking about
their reproductive rights. They like women making those decisions. I`m
talking politics, not Constitution here.

AMY WALTER, THE COOK POLITICAL REPORT: You know, this is the same
message that worked in Virginia with two men. It worked in Colorado the
last cycle. This was Michael Bennet`s attack against Ken Buck in Colorado.

MATTHEWS: Is this the ace in the hole for Democrats?

WALTER: Listen. I think it matters when the candidate they are
running against is proven to be too far, too extreme.

The problem for Democrats though is what is the other issue that
single women are worried about? It`s the economy, the direction of the
country. That is the one depressant on all of this. Is it going to be
enough to say, oh, here they go again on birth control or abortion, when
these women voters are saying, you know, I have been hearing this for the
last six years. I keep turning out and nothing is changing for me. I`m
still not getting ahead of my job and I`m still not making enough money.

HENDERSON: And I think Democrats in some of these Southern states
particularly have to thread carefully on these issues because it`s more
conservative evangelical states. It might not work in Louisiana or North

MATTHEWS: Just keep coming back. Keep reporting.

Thank you, Nia-Malika Henderson of "The Washington Post", Amy Walter
of "The Cook Report".

Up next, we are hoping reality collides. The 10 years since an
unknown Barack Obama thrilled Democrats at the national convention and all
that`s happened since.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Well, look at this. A new CNN/Opinion Research poll shows
that Mitt Romney would beat President Obama by nine points in a
hypothetical rematch of that 2012 election. It`s Romney now, 53, Obama
now, 44. Well, that`s good news for Romney and the Republicans, of course.

Now, the bad news for both. In a prospective match-up for 2016, Mitt
Romney would lose to Hillary Clinton by 13 points. Wow. Clinton, 55,
Romney down at 42.

And we`ll be right back.



THEN-STATE SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS: I say to them tonight,
there is not a liberal America and a conservative America. There is the
United States of America.

There is not a black America and a white America and Latino America
and Asian America. There is the United States of America.


MATTHEWS: We`re back.

It`s been 10 years since Barack Obama`s famous keynote address in 2004
Democratic National Convention up in Boston. It was hard to miss the
promise the young state senator showed that night, not only because of the
talent he possessed but because of what he represented to so many.

Back then, Barack Obama was largely an unknown politician running for
a seat in the United States Senate out in Illinois. His speech that night
took the country by surprise, sending an already rising star on a
trajectory that would lead just four years later to the White House. His
message was aspirational. It cut through the partisan applause lines that
had become all too familiar in the 2004 election cycle.

Here is my reaction that night.


MATTHEWS: I have seen the first black president there. The reason I
say that is because I think the immigrant experience, combined with the
African background, combined with the incredible education, combined with
his beautiful speech. Now, every politician gets help with a speech. But
that speech was a piece of work.



Well, with all that changed many the past 10 years, some for the
better, some for the worse, of course, it is hard to recognize today the
America that Barack Obama envisioned in that speech. In many ways, that
vision of America is still an aspiration.

Joe Conason is editor of and Willie Brown, of
course, was mayor of San Francisco at the time.

Mayor Brown, thank you for the brilliant thinking back then and what
you are thinking now. What`s changed?

I think one thing -- I`m just going to advertise something that people
keep forgetting. In 2004 when he gave that speech, the economy -- we hated
the war, we`re fighting the war. It`s big controversy, but the economy
wasn`t screwed up like this thing -- the Great Recession came in 2008 and
`09 and stayed through `10 and `11. That drop, that historic drop in our
economic situation, I think that`s a huge part of this. He had nothing to
do with it. But it hurt I think the way he came on stage as president.

Your thoughts?

believe the speech was extraordinary. As a matter of fact, it came long
before I thought we would have been addressing the people of America in
that way. I`m glad he did and I`m glad America responded appropriately.

However, he has run into a buzz stone that is you just -- there`s no
way to explain how all those things contained in that speech, the dreams,
the goals contained in that speech, we`ve not been able to achieve.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Let me go to Joe on this.

Joe, I don`t know whether people -- it was the economy, I think rocked
this country to its heels. The rich, the poor, the middle just can`t
believe what happened to us in `08, `09 and `10. It just got worse for a
while there, up almost double digits.

And also, I think the fact they liked him as the first African-
American president, as the nonpartisan guy he was in that speech.
Obviously, they realized he was a man of the left on things. He was a
Keynesian, he believed in a big stimulus program. He really wanted a
health care program and he did it.

And I think that probably shocked the center. My God, this guy`s a
liberal, they weren`t ready for it. That`s my thinking.

JOE CONASON, THE NATIONAL MEMO: Well, I guess that`s partly true,
though. Chris, you have to consider they gave him a Republican health care
program. He gave them the Heritage Foundation, you know, health insurance
program. The one that --

MATTHEWS: You and I know that. It was sold by the enemy as the worst
socialism in the world. You know that.

CONASON: I understand that. You know, what he tried to do I think
was consistent with the speech.

The stimulus program was more than the Republicans liked. It was less
than we actually needed. I think the president tried very hard to find
Republicans who would support him on a lot of these issues, and he couldn`t
because the Republican Party has changed quite a bit since he gave that
speech, Chris.

You know, when he was in the Senate, couple of years -- a year or so
after that speech was delivered, he was mentored by Dick Lugar, Republican
from Indiana who had since been driven out by the Tea Party Republicans.


CONASON: So, you know, the Republicans that he was thinking about
when he gave the speech saying there`s no red America, there`s no blue
America, there`s the red, white, and blue America, is not a Republican
Party anymore. Now, it`s a Republican Party that wants to talk about
impeaching this president.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Mayor Brown, let`s talk about that from both sides
and be down the middle here. There are two points of view you hear all the
time. One is that it`s Obama`s fault because he`s not a schmoozer.

Let`s start with that, and we`ll get to the bad guy`s side in a
minute. You, now, not just as a person who can speak on television, speak
in a big room, but you`re renowned for the backroom stuff. Was that
something we didn`t see wasn`t there with Obama?

BROWN: I think he`s without that kind of a skill. And America
probably now knows that. He`s not a good fighter. He`s not a good in-
fighter. He really does start with what ought to be the end of process,
where he`s convinced everybody to buy in.

He starts with the ideal -- and the ideal never, never, never comes
off if you begin with it. You have to work. You have to build toward it.
He doesn`t have the skills to do that.

MATTHEWS: Let`s go to the other side, Joe Conason. And that`s -- the
other side made a decision early on, I`m going to get this at the end of
the show, to screw this guy. They didn`t want him president. Some, I
think I really believe that. Some of it is just ideological.

But they didn`t want this guy to be successful. They want him to be
an asterisk. They didn`t like him from the beginning. Mitch McConnell
plotted that from election night on. These guys wanted to make his
presidency not exist somehow.

Is it their fault or the lack of schmooze? Did he have to be more
Willie Brown, more Lyndon Johnson? Mix it up. Try to give me a cut at
this that really is nonpartisan -- what do you think is the lacking here?

CONASON: I think more Lyndon Johnson would have been good. You know,
presidents don`t have the power Lyndon Johnson had anymore. But, you know,
a tougher approach to the Republicans might have worked better.

I think he does, as Mayor Brown said, he starts from the ideal. What
reason should get you, you know, how you can put forward an argument, how
you can get to the point where you want to be, and without realizing what
you just said which is that they were not interested in that. They wanted
to destroy him from the beginning, and if you`re facing an adversary like
that, you know, there are certain tactics and strategies that you have to
adopt in order to fight them.

BROWN: Chris, there`s almost --

MATTHEWS: Twenty-five seconds, Mayor. Is it worse now -- is it worse
now politics than even he imagined 10 years ago?

CONASON: Oh, I think much worse.

MATTHEWS: Mayor Brown?

BROWN: Chris, I think there`s one factor, though, that most of us
don`t like to address. The question of race is still paramount in the
minds of a number of people holding public office. And Barack Obama
represents the rejection that they would like to impose upon people of
color. And they have the opportunity to do that and they disguise it as
lots of other things.

MATTHEWS: Mayor Brown, my friend, my hero, wait until you hear how I
say this at the end of show. I completely agree with you. I`ve been
watching this baby. This is not all about politics.

CONASON: Please allow me to say I also agree.

MATTHEWS: Got to go. Thank you, Joe. Thank you, Mayor Brown.
Thanks for coming on.

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this.

Ten years ago, Barack Obama came upon the American public as a breath
of fresh air. He spoke in ways that awakened our hopes, broke through the
clouds of cheap politics and stormy rhetoric. We heard him, and elected
him our president.

Not just the minorities and other progressives, not just the African-
Americans but many who beamed at the notion of electing one as our
president, our president.

How many of us wanted that to be truly the case, who wanted the world
to know that the belief that all men are created equal was as alive as the
American pulse, that making it real would, indeed, quicken that pulse, make
us a more alive democracy? How many of us, did, yes, believe that and
still do?

But how many other Americans saw a different reckoning, when
confronted with that name, Barack Obama, right there on the ballot in front
of them? How many saw that name and that face and that man with dread?

How could this be? How could this have happened? For this man is not
our president. No, he is their president. We will do all in our power to
make that deadly clear.

We may not do it the day he`s in office, but we will surely get to it
as sure of the turning of the earth, we`ll get to it. We`ll get it written
down somewhere that there was some mistake. Someone left the gate open and
this man got himself into the Oval Office.

You don`t believe this? Check the numbers: 57 percent of the
Republican Party wants this man run out of office and thrown to the curb.
They can`t come up with a reason he deserves impeachment, but that`s not
their fault. Not really.

You see, they never went looking for a reason. They never needed one.
It was not what he did. It was from the outset who he was.

That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.


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