August 25, 2014
Guest: Bobby Ghosh, Brian Katulis, Margie Omero, Elijah Cummings, Margie
Omero, Katie Glueck, Robert McCartney
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Who you going to call, a hawkish Hillary or a
dovish Rand Paul?
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews up in New York.
"Let Me Start" tonight with the wild possibility that we -- you and I --
may have to choose for our next president between a Democratic hawk and a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: If you want to see a transformational
election in our country, let the Democrats put forward a war hawk like
Hillary Clinton, and you`ll see a transformation like you`ve never seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: What will this do to mix up the decision? Well, after three
elections voting against a war pushed by W, we all know, and Cheney, can we
choose a Democrat who voted for that war and sounds hawkish even today, who
takes a harder line on Putin, on Iran, on Syria?
And how will Republicans behave in the voting booth when forced to vote for
a Republican, Rand Paul, who thinks the U.S. has been too war-like? All
this is possible. All this could happen if two things happen, Hillary
Clinton sticks to the hard line she voiced in a recent interview with "The
Atlantic," and Rand Paul wins the Republican nomination.
Think it can`t happen? It can. The big question is how party-line voters
will deal with it. Will Democrats get hawkish? Will Republicans get
suddenly dovish? Talk about changing partners!
David Corn is Washington bureau chief at "Mother Jones" magazine, and also
Eugene Robinson`s a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for "The Washington
Post." Both are, of course, familiar and prized MSNBC political analysts.
Let`s watch more of Senator Paul, who was performing pro bono eye surgeries
in Guatemala when NBC`s Chris Jansing interviewed him. Let`s listen to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: I think the American public is coming more and more to where I am,
and that those people, like Hillary Clinton, who -- she fought her own war,
Hillary`s war -- you know, people are going to find that -- and I think
that`s what scares the Democrats the most, is that in a general election,
were I to run, there`s going to be a lot of independents and even some
Democrats who say, You know what? We are tired of war. We`re worried that
Hillary Clinton will get us involved in another Middle Eastern war because
she`s so gung-ho.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, sometimes I hear this fellow, David and Gene, and I
go, wait a minute, that`s me talking. And I know we disagree on so many
domestic issues, but war has always been (ph), that and voter suppression
are the two biggest problems I have with the right, the way they try to
keep minorities from voting, and the way they get us into war so
irresponsibly, and then we`re stuck in these wars with a country like Iraq
broken up all around us.
Mr. Corn, you are my ideological soul brother on many of these issues. I
just want to know what you think when you heard Paul there talking. And
we`re going to show Secretary Clinton, as well, but you`ve heard what she`s
been saying lately.
DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. And you know
what? I don`t think Democrats are scared of Rand Paul as a nominee. I
think they`d love him to be the nominee because he, you know, is so extreme
in many ways. And I do find it really hard to believe that the Republican
establishment will get him -- will allow him to become the nominee. In
find it almost inconceivable.
But even that said, you know, Rand Paul I think would have a hard time
keeping one third of the Republican base, which is the hawkish national
security part of the party. So whatever he may pick up or believes he
might pick up from independents, he`s going to lose a lot of Republicans
should he be the nominee. And I think very Few real Democrats are going to
go rushing into the arms--
CORN: -- of a guy who wants to destroy government and make -- you know,
make abortion illegal just because Hillary talks tough.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me go back to Gene on that because, Gene, we know that
Hillary`s probably going to run and probably going to be the nominee. Put
all the probabilities together, she`ll probably be the nominee. And she
has been very hawkish, I think, always. I`ve always sensed she was a hawk.
I don`t know when I first got that sense. But she`s certainly talking that
EUGENE ROBINSON, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, she is
talking in a hawkish fashion. You know, I think what David said is
basically right, except we don`t quite know what circumstances are going to
look like if these two were to be the candidates. How messy is it going to
be in Iraq and Syria? How deeply will we already be involved? And if we
are involved in a messy conflict, as you know, we seem to be sliding toward
-- I mean, let`s face it -- and if Rand Paul is a candidate who`s saying,
I`m going to end this war, and Hillary Clinton is the candidate who`s
saying, We`ve got to push ahead, that does change the dynamic.
MATTHEWS: But David, isn`t there a difference -- I think there is --
between a gut defense of America against a treacherous attack on us,
killing that journalist, and this geopolitical ambition to rework the
Middle East? I mean, those seem to be different. Maybe one`s no smarter
than the other, but gut blood wars, like I feel like launching against ISIS
MATTHEWS: -- as opposed to this grand notion that got us into this huge
mess in the last 10, 12 years, which Hillary supported, which is some grand
notion of reworking the Middle East to our advantage, which was a terrible
CORN: I agree with you. I think that Hillary Clinton is, has always been
a hawk or hawkish. And I think one reason might be that she might make a
political calculation that the first woman president to be elected maybe
someone (ph) has to be tougher than -- be seen as tougher than less
But I don`t believe she is a neocon who is out there looking where to start
wars. I mean, I think given a set of circumstances as we saw in Libya and
as we saw in Iraq in -- you know, in 2002, her, you know, preference might
be to support something, but I don`t think she`s out there actually
actively looking to start wars to fulfill some grand strategic ambition,
the way the neocons are. But Gene`s exactly right in the sense that--
MATTHEWS: What about--
CORN: -- that the circumstances of what`s happening in the world will
really define what voters want in terms of a hawk or a dove or a little bit
MATTHEWS: What scares me, Gene, is -- we all lived through this. You and
I lived through it. We`re the same age. And I`m telling you, I watched
Jack Kennedy become president, and he made some great decisions, like not
bringing in air power in the Bay of Pigs and figuring out how to get us
through the Cuban missile crisis without a Cold War -- without a nuclear
war, going hot, because he didn`t have to prove his guts because he had
proven that as a young guy in the South Pacific.
LBJ gets in there, and he`s got to prove his guts. And that`s what got us
into Vietnam, 500,000 troops for all those years, a guy trying to prove he
had the stones to fight that -- I don`t want somebody proving they`re
tough! I don`t want a president who gets elected, says, The first thing I
got to do is prove I`m tough. That`s the road to perdition politically!
Look what it set (ph) us through. W wanted to be a tough, macho cowboy.
You know, LBJ wanted to be a Texas cowboy.
How about a little less cowboy or cowgirl, if you will, for me?
ROBINSON: Well -- well -- well, you know, Hillary--
MATTHEWS: I`d rather it be Angela Merkel or somebody, if you want to be a
woman leader who knows how to -- you know, how to put it together without a
war. Your thoughts.
ROBINSON: Yes, and she`s a tough leader, too. I mean, Hillary Clinton has
been secretary of state. She has -- she has shown herself on the
I think that question of having to appear tough is more an issue for the
campaign than it is for -- if she were to become president. I`m not sure
that she would, you know, feel that she had to, you know, demonstrate
something about her own firmness just for that sake. But I think her
instinct is -- is fairly hawkish, I mean, you know, as she looks at the
Middle East and as she looks at the projection of U.S. power.
CORN: And it`s an interesting moment now because there`s a lot of chaos
overseas that has Americans, I think, pretty worked up, or at least upset
or concerned, and they`re looking towards Obama. I think what they really
want is him to take -- is for a president to take care of it. They don`t
want a war. I think they`re tired of war. But at the same time, they
don`t want the chaos.
So it really leaves open, you know, for a very skilled politician to figure
out how to deal with a public that wants a leader that will deal with this
but without bringing us into a quagmire of a war. It`s not a very easy
calculation, and I`m not sure Rand Paul has any better sense of how to deal
with this politically than anybody else.
MATTHEWS: What I`d like to see is us to remind the Egyptian military, that
we`re paying most of their bills, the Saudi air force -- we`re giving them
most of the equipment and firepower. Same with Jordan. All those Sunni
countries over there--
CORN: And of course, Israel, too.
MATTHEWS: Yes. And say, Why don`t you guys get together and lead your air
force in the attack on ISIS? Why do we have to do it from over here? You
guys don`t like ISIS, show it.
Anyway, contrasts between Clinton and Paul on their approach to foreign
policy are sometimes stark. In her new book, "Hard Choices," Secretary
Clinton includes a memo to President Obama about Russian president Vladimir
Putin in which she writes, quote, "Don`t appear too eager to work together.
Don`t flatter Putin with high-level attention. Decline his invitation for
a presidential-level summit in Moscow in September."
Contrast that "give no quarter" approach to Rand Paul`s comments to "The
Washington Post" about dealing with Putin. Let`s listen to Senator Paul.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL : Some on our side are so stuck in the Cold War era that they want to
tweak Russia all the time. And I don`t think that`s a good idea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBINSON: Well, yes, I -- well, the question of how to deal with Putin --
you know, when Hillary Clinton`s book was written and Rand Paul was
speaking -- it -- we seem to have gotten past that. And so -- so you know,
Putin has entered a new phase in his relationship with the West and with
the United States. And no president is going to be sitting down and having
a friendly tea with him anytime soon. But it does say something about the
instincts of the two people.
MATTHEWS: Yes, let`s look at the latest polling on this. We got an
NBC/"Wall Street Journal" number here that shows that 9 percent of the
country want us to be more active in our foreign policy and 47 percent
less. I think that`s pretty clear, David Corn, that the people that want
to go off and yell Geronimo are few in number.
CORN: There is no support out there for the John McCain-Lindsey Grahams of
the world, who basically want to turn to war, whether it`s in Syria, Iraq,
as soon as you can, as fast as you can, whenever you can. They`re
certainly not that.
But at the same time, we see Obama`s numbers have gone down a bit with the
rise of these international conflicts in Syria and Iraq and elsewhere
because I do think Americans expect their president to deal with stuff
overseas, whether they can or they can`t.
CORN: So what I think they`d like to see is a leader who comes across as
tough, maybe even hawkish in rhetoric, but who doesn`t bring us into war
and finds another way of dealing with the situation. And that`s what`s --
and it`s -- and that`s really what`s damnably hard--
CORN: -- in these particular circumstances and could be even harder in
MATTHEWS: Like, talk loudly and carry a little stick? Is that what you
MATTHEWS: Anyway, Gene, you and I are the same age. I just remember that
great character in "Arsenic and Old Lace," the old Teddy Roosevelt guy--
MATTHEWS: -- charging down the stairs, you know, like he`s charging up San
Juan Hill. That reminds me of Lindsey Graham, and of course, John McCain
MATTHEWS: Anyway, great men, but they`re getting a little wacky sometimes.
Anyway, thank you, David Corn.
CORN: Sure thing.
MATTHEWS: And thank you, Gene Robinson.
Coming up: American and British intelligence are closing in -- isn`t this
great? -- on the man thought to be involved in the murder of James Foley.
Remarkably, they say they`ve I.D.`d the masked jihadist seen in that
gruesome video of the American journalist`s execution. What a story that`s
going to be tonight.
Plus, Michael Brown was laid to rest today in St. Louis, of course. And
will the anger of the African-American community, especially about what
happened there, lead to an increase in voter turnout this November in the
African-American community? I hope so.
Anyway, the prosecutors in the Bob McDonnell case, speaking of levity here,
accused the former Virginia governor of stonewalling today, refusing to
answer questions in the courtroom.
And finally, you might not have known his name, but you definitely knew his
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DON PARDO, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": It`s "Saturday Night Live"!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That was the great Don Pardo, the vintage voice of "Saturday
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: This weekend, the family of American journalist James Foley
shared his final letter home. They said on their Web site that because all
letters were confiscated by Foley`s captors over there, he asked a hostage
who was about to be released to commit a message for his family to memory.
It read, in part, "I know you are thinking of me and praying for me, and I
am so thankful. I feel you all especially when I pray. I pray for you to
stay strong and to believe. I really feel I can touch you, even in this
darkness, when I pray."
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. The horrific murder of journalist
James Foley, an innocent civilian killed only because he was an American,
has increased calls for the U.S. to go after the terror group responsible.
The president himself gave voice to some of that desire for revenge last
week, calling ISIS a cancer that has no place in the 21st century.
Well, officials have left open the possibility of expanded air strikes
against the group in Syria. But what is the administration prepared to do?
Well, today, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said he
would oppose air strikes in Syria because there`s no evidence ISIS is
actively plotting against the United States here in this country.
Meanwhile today, in what could be a remarkable feat of intelligence, NBC
has learned that U.S. and British counterterrorism officials have
identified the man with the British accent in that gruesome video showing
Can we get him? Bobby Ghosh is managing editor of the digital publication
Quartz and Brian Katulis is a senior fellow at the Center for American
Bobby, thank you so much for this. What do you think about, first of all,
the question of whether we`re going to catch this guy? And there are a
limited number of British-accented Islamists over there. I guess they`ve
got pretty good intel on him, maybe the way that J. Edgar Hoover knew every
communist in the United States, including all his agents who were
pretending to be communists. They seem to be pretty fast on this trail.
BOBBY GHOSH, QUARTZ: Well, they`ve had quite a lot of time. They`ve known
for a while that there`s a steady stream of British nationals who`ve been
going to Syria via Turkey. They know what the channels are. They know who
the imams in Britain are who are sort of firing these young men up. They
know the supply chain.
And they`ve also got plenty of sort of voice -- this particular character,
it turns out, is a failed rapper and veejay or deejay. And so they`ve got
a lot of voice tape and they`ve been able to match that to the tape from
Jim Foley`s murder. And so they seem to have triangulated and narrowed
down the possibility, and they`ve got this one guy. His name is Abdel-
Majed Abdel Bary. He lives -- he lived in Maida Vale in London, a pretty
up-market neighborhood, quite popular with American expats. I lived there
myself. It`s not the sort of place where you`d normally expect--
GHOSH: -- radical Islam, but--
MATTHEWS: Where are his roots, in the Middle East or in South Asia? Where
are his roots, do we know?
GHOSH: Well, his father was Egyptian. I`m not sure what nationality his
mother was, but most probably Arab, and -- but raised in London. His
accent, as you can tell, is pure British accent. There`s nothing to
suggest that he was in some way isolated away from the British community,
unable to sort of adjust himself to the British community. He was a -- he
was a veejay and a rapper. That suggests that he had embraced at least
some aspects of Western life.
MATTHEWS: Brian Katulis, I still think there`s a leap between joining an
insurgency because you`re willing to risk your life, which has some
admirable qualities, even if I don`t like the cause, because it has guts,
and to be an executioner. That is an escalation in your moral commitment
to something beyond what most of us can imagine, to be so committed to your
hatred of the West that you would execute a guy in that cold-blooded,
frightening manner, right out there in the desert. It was like a staged
event, except it was a snuff movie for the world to see, you know?
BRIAN KATULIS, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Yes.
MATTHEWS: It takes a certain character to go that far in your hatred.
KATULIS: Yes, absolutely.
MATTHEWS: Cold hatred.
KATULIS: And what`s scary about this, Chris, is U.S. officials and outside
experts estimate that there`s perhaps 3,000 people from Western countries -
- Canada, Europe, the United States -- maybe a hundred from the U.S.,
perhaps 700 from France.
And these people are connected by the Internet. You know, a lot of these
guys are tweeting and Facebooking their way to the battlefield, and they`re
doing these horrific things. And it`s just an awful situation we need to
get a grip on.
MATTHEWS: You know, not everybody likes living in America. They don`t
like the pace of life, maybe the competitiveness. There are things they
think -- we`re too chauvinistic about people. We`re too -- I don`t think
we`re any worse than anybody else. But there`s a big difference between
going back to the homeland or feeling a fealty to the homeland you came
from or the culture and coming out and declaring war on us.
Anyway, here on "MEET THE PRESS" yesterday, House Intelligence Committee
chair Mike Rogers put in stark terms the threat posed by ISIS. Let`s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MIKE ROGERS (R-MI), CHAIR, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: One of the
problems is, it`s gone unabated for nearly two years, and that draws people
from Britain, to across Europe, even the United States, to go and join the
fight. They see that as a winning ideology, a winning strategy. And they
want to be a part of it. And that is what makes it so dangerous. They are
one plane ticket away from U.S. shores.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Bobby, what do you make of that? I mean, that`s a stark
challenge. I respect Mr. Rogers. He`s chair of the committee.
But what damage can one person do?; 9/11 was incredibly, almost Alistair
MacLean kind of an event, the idea of orchestrating all the attacks on
those pilots, killing all those flight attendants, organizing the whole
thing so you knew there was only a few men on the plane. They did all the
casing. That was an elaborate conspiracy to commit that horrible attack on
the United States.
That`s not the same as to say somebody who doesn`t like us and they`re
willing to come home and do something. Do you think there is an
overstatement here by Mr. Rogers even of the danger here in this country
GHOSH: Well, it`s hard to know because he has more access to intelligence
than you or I do.
So, what -- I hope what he`s saying is based on something he`s seen or
heard. It`s worth remembering that ISIS is a far more sophisticated than
al Qaeda was, which is something--
GHOSH: -- which is something to make us concerned about.
It has a larger pool of people to choose from when it comes to picking
people for operations against the West. And the last point that`s worth
making is that this is the 21st century. You don`t have to come to the
American mainland to hurt American interests or to hurt Americans. Even in
the Middle East, there are a huge number of American institutions,
organizations. American individuals, hundreds, thousands of American kids
go to the Middle East to study Arabic, for instance, to Egypt, to Jordan.
The opportunity to do harm to America and to Americans exists all over the
world, much closer to where some of these people operate than we think.
MATTHEWS: So, to make the point that Bobby just made, let`s listen to
this. This weekend, NBC News correspondent Keir Simmons spoke to a group
of Muslim extremists in London who defended ISIS, defended ISIS, and,
chillingly, the killing of James Foley itself.
Let`s listen to this strong, I would say frightening opinion here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are a lot of people who would feel that the
Islamic State does has a duty to protect themselves and defend against
KEIR SIMMONS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: But killing a journalist isn`t --
isn`t protecting yourself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The vital question to us is, who is really to blame for
the death of James Foley? I believe it is the foreign policy of Obama.
SIMMONS: It`s the man who put that knife in his neck, surely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the thing is, you have got to ask is, why was
this particular man chosen? It seems like he was chosen because he was an
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, there is more of that attitude, Brian. And it`s pretty
frightening. One of the guys later says in that tape that he basically
blames us and they have the right to do it. It was basically the message
this is justified. This is fair revenge, if you will.
KATULIS: Well, it`s crazy.
And I think what needs to be done here is, there are these counter-
radicalization efforts in communities here in the United States and in
Europe. And some of our best allies are leaders in the Muslim communities
there. And they have worked with the U.S. to counter this.
But this sort of odious, I mean, hateful language, especially after last
week`s incident, really needs to be countered in that way. And I also
think the tip of the spear here, we have talked a little bit about it, is
good law enforcement and intelligence work.
Automatically, a lot of people in Washington want to turn to, what can we
bomb or how can we use our military next?
MATTHEWS: I know.
KATULIS: And really I think the first step is, how can we keep ourselves
safe through law enforcement? The second step is to get the countries in
the region, which have more than 1,000 combat aircraft, many of which we
have given to them or sold to them, to actually pull their weight as well.
It shouldn`t solely be about what we do or what our military does.
KATULIS: And that`s the lesson we should have learned from Iraq.
MATTHEWS: Well said.
Let me ask Bobby that question. How does a president of the United States
-- he hasn`t exactly been on the job lately it seems sometimes, the
president, but when he gets his head around this, can he bring in the
Egyptian air force, the Jordanian air force, the Saudi air force, and do
what we`re doing over there?
Aren`t they as good as us? They don`t have to be exactly as good, but
can`t he get them into action against ISIS, which they all claim to say is
GHOSH: Well, yes, not only the air force. He will need ground troops and
perhaps those countries can contribute as well.
We have only learned today that Egyptian and UAE aircraft have been used to
attack Islamist targets in Libya, of all places. So, if that`s possible,
then it can certainly work in Egypt.
Can I just make a point though, Chris, about that video we just saw? We
should call these people on their bluff on these things. This is a
nonsense to suggest that American foreign policy in some way is
responsible. ISIS has been killing hundreds, thousands of Muslims.
What foreign policy is responsible for that? They kill anybody they can
get their hands on. These are psycho killers. They are not responding to
any country`s foreign policy. They are responding to something in the
brain that is not functioning properly and makes them want to do this to
fellow human beings.
MATTHEWS: Do you think that is what recruits them? I just keep thinking,
for years, we have been pro-Israeli instinctively in this country, for a
lot of reasons, moral reasons, political reasons. We know all the history
of supporting Israel.
Has that driven the Arab people crazy anymore than they have ever been
driven crazy by our pretty consistent policy, or is it that there are just
-- their fundamental challenge to Western culture, they don`t like women
wearing short dresses, they don`t like women working, they don`t like the
whole culture of the West, which they see as sinful?
Bobby, what`s the mix that leads to anger?
GHOSH: Well, Chris, first of all, it`s not a they as in one group. It`s a
very large community. And the vast majority of them are perfectly well-
adjusted people who want nothing more than what you and I want out of life.
GHOSH: It`s a small minority. It`s people, organizations that exploit
these things. The business about Israel and Palestine, there are many ways
to respond and many Arabs who are responding in peaceful ways, in political
ways, trying to create dialogue, trying to make things happen.
There is a small minority that responds in this way. But there is a
network of individuals and organizations who make it their business to
recruit, to brainwash, and then unleash these people and into their own
communities, doing most of the harm in their own communities.
MATTHEWS: Yes. They are killing Arabs.
GHOSH: It has nothing to do with -- it has no -- nothing to do with Israel
in slaughtering 500 prisoners of war in Mosul, which is what ISIS did, all
-- almost all of them Muslims.
Israel and Palestine had nothing to do with it. This is -- these people
are -- are playing out some primitive, sadistic fantasies, that we should
recognize that for what they are. They are a sophisticated and dangerous
organization. But what they are not is a religiously motivated
organization or a politically motivated organization.
Let`s not give them credit they don`t deserve.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Bobby Ghosh, for cutting through the crap here.
And thank you, Brian Katulis, both of you.
Bobby, I love having you on.
Up next, remembering the voice that defined "Saturday Night Live" for
nearly 40 years, the great Don Pardo. I`m going to say something about
And we will be right back.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL and time for the "Sideshow."
"Saturday Night Live," as we know, launched the careers Of Eddie Murphy,
John Belushi, Chris Rock, Bill Murray and Gilda Radner, also Dana Carvey,
Billy Crystal, Dan Aykroyd, and the great Darrell Hammond, who did me all
In recent year, it`s been the big start for Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon, and
Seth Meyers, who soon had their own shows here on NBC.
Well, last week, we lost the voice of "SNL," the guy we heard every week at
the split second we realized that wild opening was there to grab us where
we lived, in that weird world between reality and the absurdity it often
During its remarkable 38 years on air, the look and feel of the show may
have changed, but that voice always remained.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DON PARDO, ANNOUNCER: It`s "Saturday Night Live"!
Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin.
It`s "Saturday Night Live"!
It`s "Saturday Night Live"!
Kristen Wiig, Andy Samberg, Bill Hader.
It "Saturday Night Live" with Vanessa Bayer, Aidy Bryant, Taran Killam.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That was the great Don Pardo, the veteran TV announcer of 76
years, who died last week at age 96. "SNL" cast members say their first
mention by Pardo was one of the greatest of their lives.
Here`s what Bobby Moynihan wrote last week: "On Separatist 13, 2008, I
heard Don Pardo say my name for the first time. I cried until the 16th.
Thank you, Don. You owe me a coffee."
So, here is a tribute to Lorne Michaels, the founder and creative force
behind "Saturday Night Live," who had the savvy to pick this voice from the
old days of broadcasting to give an opening blessing to the new kids on the
block, promising from the very beginning that this show, this great "SNL,"
would itself become part of TV history.
Don Pardo, it`s Saturday night.
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger. Here`s
An Israeli airstrike hit one of Gaza`s tallest apartment buildings. The
structure also contained offices and shops. According to a report, two
people died and 20 were wounded.
Experts say Napa Valley could experience strong aftershocks following
Sunday`s 6.1-magnitude earthquake. They say there is a 5 to 10 percent
chance an even bigger quake could occur in the next week.
And Burger King is in talks to buy Tim Hortons and move its headquarters to
Canada, where taxes are lower -- back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Well, the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and its
aftermath over the last 16 days has highlighted how race relations can be
strained to their breaking point. But while the streets of Ferguson may
have quieted, anger over Brown`s death linger among a community that
believes itself the victim of injustice.
And that might have political implications this coming November. That is
just 10 weeks from now. According to a Pew Research poll last week, public
reaction to the Brown case varies widely by party I.D., and 68 percent of
Democrats believe the case raises important issues about race, compared to
just 22 percent of Republicans who say that.
Well, considering that big disparity, could anger over the Brown case
motivate more African-American voters to turn up this November?
Joining me right now is Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings and
Democratic pollster Margie Omero.
Congressman Cummings, I got to this topic this morning when I got up
because I remembered that the greatest registrar of African-American voters
in Philadelphia history, where I grew up, was the existence of Frank Rizzo,
the tough police commissioner up there--
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: Yes.
MATTHEWS: -- who was seen as too darn tough on black people. You
remember, he had the nightstick in his cummerbund and all that?
MATTHEWS: And he had the big military hardware he brought in, the tanks
CUMMINGS: Oh, I`m very familiar.
MATTHEWS: Remember all that?
CUMMINGS: Oh, yes.
MATTHEWS: And that got people to register in a higher percentage than
white people. So, I`m open to the idea that this fall, with all the horror
that has gone on with the -- and recognized today and marked today by the
sad funeral, that there might be a side effect.
MATTHEWS: Your thoughts.
CUMMINGS: Yes. First of all, let me express my sympathy to the Brown
family and the Ferguson community.
But I think you`re absolutely right, Chris. People -- first of all,
Ferguson, Missouri -- we have Fergusons, by the way, all over the country.
And there are a lot of pent-up frustrations on the part of African-American
people and Hispanics with regard to the kind of incident that we just saw
happen in Ferguson.
And what happens is, I think these kind of incidents become more or less a
wakeup call. I have often said that, in time, a moment will happen that
can be -- could then be turned into a movement. And I think you`re going
to see a surge in not only voter registration, but voter participation,
because people realize that it`s one thing to be upset and to be angry and
It`s another thing to harness that energy and make change happen. And so I
believe that that`s what`s going to happen here.
MATTHEWS: You know, Margie, we have gone over this map so many times, you
and other experts. You have seen how the minority community, which can be
so strong in big cities, has a tremendous impact statewide in these
elections, because although you can only elect your own congressman, you
can have a tremendous impact on Senate races, on gubernatorial races, on
the Electoral College for president.
So, if a member of Congress from a minority community wants to get people
outraged -- they are outraged -- get them voting, it seems to me this would
be a weapon to do that with.
MARGIE OMERO, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Well, sure.
There are states in -- whether it`s Georgia, the Georgia Senate race, or
Louisiana, or Arkansas, or North Carolina, where a boost in minority
turnout could impact the election. It`s not always -- I think though there
is a common myth that lower turnout among minorities or younger voters or
women is what boosts or lifts up Democratic prospects.
That`s not actually true. In 2006, the percentage of the electorate that
was African-American was basically identical to the percent in 2010. Yet
you had different -- completely different results in those midterm
So, I think it is incumbent upon Democrats and among voters to really -- to
turn out across the board. And Democrats need to reach out to voters
across the board.
MATTHEWS: Well, when it comes to--
CUMMINGS: Oh, I agree.
MATTHEWS: Go ahead, Congressman.
CUMMINGS: I agree with that completely. We have to have what I call a
revolution of inclusion, people who are like-minded. You cannot turn this
around, Chris, just with African-American people. We have to see more
whites, Hispanics and others joining together with African-Americans to
create that majority to address some of these issues.
And one of the things that was so heartening right after the brown incident
happened is that when they did a panoramic view of the various rallies
going around the country, you saw a lot of white people involved. I
thought that that was good, because it means they, too, recognize that
there is an issue that needs to be addressed and the more people that we
can get involved in this, I believe the more effective and efficient we can
MATTHEWS: You make the case, Congressman. You and I grew up with the fact
that it was police dogs down in Birmingham.
CUMMINGS: Yes, that`s right.
MATTHEWS: That when the white people of the North and all across the
country, I should say, when they saw that by people who were white, they
said, that`s not my crowd. I`m not going to do that anymore. I think
there`s the dogs, remember?
CUMMINGS: I remember.
MATTHEWS: Those pictures on television of dogs biting people and fire
hoses and all that stuff being used against people, in their protests
warned everybody in a way they had never been warned before that this is --
this is evil, what`s going on down there.
CUMMINGS: It also it reminded them that this is bigger than white or
bigger than black. It`s about all of us. It`s about diversity. I believe
that diversity is our promise and not our problem.
MATTHEWS: Well said.
Let me get back to you, Margie. Give me a sense of what is going to excite
the voters if you are African-American, if isn`t this situation? I saw the
church today. There was a lot of amen-ing there and there was a lot of
emotion. And it was tears.
And it seems to me -- the pictures -- there is the mother, of course. But
I think -- McSpadden, but I just think there are so many people. It wasn`t
just Reverend Sharpton we know so well. It was so profoundly important to
people there. They weren`t just concerned about one death in a community.
They were concerned about something else. I just wonder if it`s going to
go weigh politically, it`s going to go across the country?
OMERO: Yes, you certainly don`t -- you don`t have to be African-American
to be outraged at what happened, not just the shooting but the aftermath
and handling. I think a lot of the outrage comes not just from the
tragedy, but also that there continues to be division. And while it`s not
-- it`s obviously a lot different than how it was years ago as you
mentioned, you still -- the pew poll that you showed, there are some other
polls showing real racial division and reaction to the shooting, reaction
to whether the police went too far, reaction to the protesters. And I
think that that`s also where a lot of outrage comes where people feel we
are not really understanding each other, not really able to view each other
-- the prospective of where people sit.
MATTHEWS: We saw that in the O.J. case the community reaction. When it
comes to the political reaction --
OMERO: Or Trayvon Martin.
MATTHEWS: -- in what`s happening in Ferguson, Maggie Haberman of
"Politico" reported yesterday that former Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton avoided questions about Michael Brown during a book signing
yesterday. Here`s the quote, "Two reporters called out questions to
Clinton about her thoughts on Ferguson after she had wrapped up at Books &
Books on Main Street in Westhampton Beach. Clinton ignored the questions
and kept walking toward the rear entrance of the bookstore."
Congressman, what do you make of that? Is this a smart -- well, that`s a
ridiculous question. Is this something leaders have to talk about no
matter what they say, they just can`t skip?
CUMMINGS: Yes, I think leaders do have to talk about it. Keep in mind
that a large percentage of the electorate of African-Americans and when you
look at the Democratic side is very significant. And I think people want
their leaders to speak to their hopes and dreams and their values.
And they want to know that people feel -- that is, elected people, feel
their pain and will turn that pain into a passion to carry out a purpose of
making their lives better. So I think electeds have to address those
One last thing, you know, governor -- the governor of Missouri was --
recently have a meeting, talking about security and safety, Chris.
CUMMINGS: And the thing that upset most people is they began to talk
about underfunded and underperforming schools. A lot of this is about
education and jobs.
CUMMINGS: Very significant, because they are tied together. A lot of
pent-up emotions are in our African-American communities all over the
MATTHEWS: I say that every time to people about the blocks I grew up in
North Philly, when we were young kids, those blocks are now African-
American rather than Irish or Polish. But there are no jobs there. Those
factories are gone. And that means the government has got to step in.
That`s one of my rants.
CUMMINGS: I agree.
MATTHEWS: U.S. Congressman Elijah Cummings, it`s an honor to have you on.
Margie Omero, I love to hear from you. I always learn something.
Up next, Bob McDonnell, the erstwhile governor of Virginia, has got
problems. He took the stand in his own defense against the corruption
charges he faces. But now, it`s the prosecution`s turn to cross-examine
the former governor. And their questions are not going to be easy for this
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: If you`re not visiting new Hampshire, you`re probably not
running for president. And Texas Governor Rick Perry made that pilgrimage
there this weekend. It was Perry`s first visit, of course.
According to a report from NBC News and "U.S. News and World Report", Rand
Paul, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio have made a
combined 40 trips to New Hampshire and Iowa this time around. That`s four
times more than their Democratic counterparts which include or who include
Vice President Joe Biden and Brian Schweitzer, Hillary Clinton, by the way,
has not made stops to either state, neither Iowa nor New Hampshire -- not
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We are back.
Well, the prosecution in former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell`s
corruption trial cross examined him today and they came out swinging.
McDonnell testified last week that his marriage was so broken it was
impossible to have conspired with his wife to take money and gifts from a
wealthy Virginia CEO. But today, the prosecution took aim at the
governor`s testimony in a series of intense, rapid-fire questions, asking
McDonnell whether he`s denying key facts in the case.
WRC reporter Julie Carey tweeted, "Cross-examination of McDonnell is testy
from the start."
"The Richmond Times-Dispatch`s" Jim Nolan tweeted, "Palpable tension
between Governor McDonnell and prosecutor dry on cross in packed
Even the judge grew impatient with the former governor in his answers on
the stand. Well, according to a live blog from "The Washington Post",
Judge James Spencer scolded McDonnell, raising his voice. Quote, "That
doesn`t answer the question. I`m pressing you here because I don`t want to
get into this pattern of a question and a 10-minute answer."
For more on the fireworks in court today, we turn to "Washington Post"
columnist, Robert McCartney, who`s been following this trial closely since
its opening days, and "Politico`s Katie Glueck, who is in Richmond, in the
Katie, we`ve got to go to you, you were there.
First of all --
KATIE GLUECK, POLITICO: Yes.
MATTHEWS: -- this charge by the governor, former governor, his wife was
somehow a bit nutty. That she was on medication, that she was getting
mental health counseling, is this as low as he`s gotten in terms of
throwing her under the bus?
GLUECK: Well, we have certainly seen a lot of throwing Maureen McDonnell
under the bus over the last week. In fact, that`s the central element of
the defense`s plan. Their argument essentially is that the two McDonnells
could not have been conspiring together that`s because they were hardly
speaking. Their marriage was a mess. They`re really pinning a whole lot
of blame on Maureen McDonnell, who, of course, is not the elected official
And so, we have continued to see that kind of testimony from Bob McDonnell
last week and he has to some extent stood by that today as well in the
MATTHEWS: Wouldn`t the women and men on the jury, especially the women
after -- everybody`s got an interesting marriage, to put it lightly, who`s
married. Wouldn`t they want this woman on the chair at some point, just in
fairness after being whacked so hard by her husband and the lawyers?
Wouldn`t they say darn it, why don`t we hear from her? She`s a person.
And she`s being charged here.
GLUECK: Certainly, well, and certainly will be interesting to see the
extent to which there are any gender dynamics that play out down the road.
That`s obviously been, you know, one point in which some observers looked
to. But Maureen McDonnell is not expected to testify and Bob McDonnell`s
lawyers and hr lawyers are sticking with this broader argument that she was
the one who was so intimately involved in some of these conversations with
this businessman. She was the one who was making these offers and not Bob
McDonnell, the elected official. They`re sort of taking this --
MATTHEWS: Yes, I`m sorry, Katie.
This is a crazy case, Robert. I mean, here you have the defense team
putting all the blame on one of the defendants and basically saying they`re
a little screwy, they need medication. They have mental health counseling
requirements. And all this -- and she`s supposed to sit there with a dunce
cap on and accepting this as some sort of route to freedom.
ROBERT MCCARTNEY, THE WASHINGTON POST: Right. Well, it serves both their
interests. If they can make this thing stick, they can say that he didn`t
know what was going on because she was doing it all behind his back and you
can`t convict her because she`s not a public official, so how can you nail
her on public corruption charges?
But I think a real low point or a tough point, I`d say, for Bob McDonnell
today on the stand, he`s been saying that the marriage was, you know,
basically over, that it was a broken marriage. They were barely
And they pointed out that during, in 22 months in office, he and Maureen
went on 18 vacations together. So -- and they also showed three photos of
them, you know, holding hands and looking happy, sometimes coming to and
from court. So, they are definitely hitting him on this whole idea that
the marriage was broken.
MATTHEWSD: Well, this will do wonders for sandals who argues she get along
better on vacations. I don`t know.
Let me get back to Katie on this. What about the judge getting frustrated
here, with the failure of McDonnell to simply -- he`s bogarting, as I say,
to answers, every time you ask him a question, he gives you 10 minutes of
falafel or whatever it is, instead of the direct answer.
GLUECK: Right. Well, that`s very in keeping of what we`ve seen from Judge
Spencer over the last couple weeks. You know, he has not hesitated to tell
anyone to get to the point. He`s made it clear he`s on the jury`s side. I
mean, they`ve been here for weeks already, hearing all kinds of testimony.
And, you know, some of it has been very interesting, but some of it has
also been a little bit more focused on financial information, on numbers.
And so, he`s really looking out for them, and he wants everyone, whether
it`s the lawyers or the governor -- an ex-governor, to get to the point.
MATTHEWS: What have you learned as a young journalist on this case of
American politics? Anything strike you that surprised you in covering this
facts factually or whatever?
GLUECK: Well, it`s certainly been an interesting trial to keep tabs on it
and be here in Richmond for it, because as we were talking about earlier, a
soap opera nature of this case. Where you do to see a former governor who
at one time we thought to be a leading contender to be the vice
presidential nominee for Mitt Romney who was thought to have a path to the
presidency, himself. You know, now, he`s in a position where he`s really
sort of speaking in such kind of graphic terms about the state of his
marriage -- really an example of how far he`s fallen and a shocking one to
see a national figure kind of fall so far from grace. You know, we`ll see
if that`s able to save him eventually.
MATTHEWS: And, Robert, can you tell which way this trial going at this
point, after all these weeks? Can you sense it?
MCCARTNEY: Well, I -- personally, I will be surprised if the Bob McDonnell
wins not guilty on all counts. I think he`s quite personally, I think he`s
quite vulnerable, especially on the charge of making a false statement to
MCCARTNEY: And personally, I thought that the -- there are so many
contradictions and sort of convenient rationalizations in his own defense
for himself that he might go down on the -- on one or more of the
corruption charges as well.
MCCARTNEY: But the real weakness, of course, in that is that, you know,
they didn`t give that much to Jonnie Williams and there`s sort of an
argument over whether what they gave Jonnie Williams constituted an
MCCARTNEY: So, that`s very fuzzy, that part of it.
MATTHEWS: Well, we`re out of time. It`s great hearing from you, Robert
McCartney, and Katie Glueck. Thank you so much.
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with the funeral in St. Louis today. The
death of Michael Brown has engendered anger. The question is whether it
will bring justice, whether it will bring change.
Justice -- true justice will take time. It will take clear-headed minds
and consciences. The other question is whether the tragedy marked today
will bring change, change in the policing of our cities and the way police
The number one thing people can do is to show up on Election Day and cast
your ballot for people you trust, to act as a citizen, especially in those
local elections that are easy, too easy to skip, the elections that lack
the fire cracker excitement of a presidential campaign.
Ferguson can become a code word for change. And that would be good.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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