September 16, 2014
Guest: Sen. Tim Kaine; Sen. Bob Corker, Howard Dean, Chris Smith, Jeff
Gardere, Shira Springer
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: War plan attacked left and right.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
A slew of big stories tonight, the new and loud calls against the war
President Obama`s championing against the terrorist group ISIS, the heavy
lift, including 3,000 U.S. troops, he`s asking us to perform, against Ebola
in Africa, the Minnesota governor`s call for a key NFL player, star running
back Adrian Peterson, to be sidelined for child abuse, and the number of
U.S. congressmen under a legal or ethical cloud right now who are very
likely to get reelected this November.
We start with the loud and angry debate over this new war against the
terror group ISIS. It exploded big-time here in Washington today. The
first attack came from the left, as Code Pink showed up to protest a Senate
hearing with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and General Martin Dempsey of
the Joint Chiefs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CARL LEVIN (D), MICHIGAN: Would you please not take advantage of
the freedom of this place? And will you please remove this lady from the
room? This disruption is not helping...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need to get out of Iraq, out of Syria, stop
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I`m glad we can hear her.
Then came a more damaging assault from the hawkish right, as Senator
John McCain struck hard at President Obama`s strategy of having the Free
Syrian Army carry the ground attack against ISIS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY, U.S. ARMY, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: If we were to
take Assad off the table, we`d have a much more difficult time forming a
coalition. But I think what you`re hearing us express is an ISIL-first
strategy. I don`t think we`ll find ourselves in that situation, given what
we intend to do with...
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: You don`t think that the Free Syrian
Army is going to fight against Bashar Assad, who has been decimating them?
DEMPSEY: As we train them and develop a military chain of command
linked to a political structure, that we can establish objectives that
defer that challenge into the future. We do not have to deal with it now.
MCCAIN: That`s a fundamental misunderstanding of the entire concept
and motivation of the Free Syrian Army.
For us to say that we are going to go in and help and train and equip
these people and only to fight against ISIL, you`re not going to get many
recruits to do that, General. I guarantee you that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I think McCain is right on this one. And these attacks
followed Rand Paul`s broad attack yesterday, calling the Free Syrian Army
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: It`s a mistake to arm them. Most of
the arms we`ve given to the so-called moderate rebels have wound up in the
hands of ISIS because ISIS simply takes it from them or is given them, or
we mistakenly actually give it to some of the radicals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: And that led to this swipe from Senator McCain last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: Has Rand Paul ever been to Syria? Has he ever met with ISIS?
Has he ever met with...
SEAN HANNITY, HOST, FOX NEWS "HANNITY": I`m not trying to cause a
MCCAIN: ... any of these people? No, no, no. I -- we`re going to
have a fight because it`s patently false. This is the same Rand Paul who
said we didn`t want to have anything to do with anything to do in the
Middle East, by the way. I don`t want to get in a fight with him at all.
MCCAIN: but it`s not true. I know these people. I`m in contact with
them all the time...
HANNITY: All right, let me ask you this...
MCCAIN: ... and he is not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: So now we have the president`s strategy against ISIS under
assault generally. Senator Tim McCain -- Tim Kaine, rather, not Tim McCain
-- is on the Senate Armed Services Committee, joins me now.
Senator Kaine, thank you for joining us.
SEN. TIM KAINE (D), VIRGINIA: Absolutely, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Is there going to be a vote in the United States Senate on
whether we support an air strike, a series of air strikes, practically
relentless series of strikes, against ISIS? Will there be a vote on that
KAINE: Chris, there will. Last week, I was very worried that we
weren`t going to have a vote, and I`ve been really advocating that there
isn`t constitutional or statutory authority to allow this without
congressional involvement. And I`m generally supportive of the proposal,
but last week, Senator Menendez, the chair of the Foreign Relations
Committee, indicated after listening to the president`s speech that it was
open-ended enough that it really needed a separate congressional
authorization. And so he has committed to that going forward, and that
makes me feel good.
I wish it was going to be sooner than it will likely be, but I am glad
that we will have the kind of debate that we`re supposed to have.
MATTHEWS: Well, before the election or after the election?
KAINE: Right now, I think the Vegas odds are that it would be after.
We`re going to have a hearing in Foreign Relations tomorrow...
MATTHEWS: Well, what kind of vote is that, after everybody`s in from
-- what kind of vote is that where you vote on something like war and peace
after the people have had a choice of senators? You don`t even get to
decide whether you keep or dump a senator based on their vote!
KAINE: Well, Chris, I`m not arguing with you on that, although I`m
sure that everybody who`s running right now is going to get asked what
their take on this is, and they should because this is something that
Congress needs to bless. The Article 2 power gives the president the
ability to defend, but not wage offensive war, and neither have the
authorizations, in my view, cover it. But we are going to take it up in
Foreign Relations, and I think we need to.
MATTHEWS: OK. Well, here`s a couple questions for you. Part of the
president`s strategy relies on a broad coalition that includes Arab
countries in the Middle East, but "The Wall Street Journal" reported today,
quote -- and this is pretty tough writing on the front page today -- "A day
after the U.S. said Arab states were willing to participate in air strikes,
Arab countries attending the Paris meeting gave no sign that they were
ready to join the military campaign. The hesitancy of many of the Middle
East`s major Sunni leaders, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United
Arab Emirates, to back military operations is driven in part by a belief
that American air strikes against the Islamic State will benefit the
region`s three main Shi`ite-dominated governments in Iran, Iraq and Syria,
according to U.S. and Arab officials involved in the deliberations."
So where`s this alliance? Who`s going to join us in the air over
Syria, or on the ground in Iraq or Syria? Are we once again going to be
the lonesome hawks in there, the only ones in there fighting?
KAINE: Chris, we shouldn`t be the lonesome hawks. We`re going to
have a hearing in Foreign Relations tomorrow with Secretary Kerry, and
that`s the question I`m going to ask. We can`t police a region that won`t
police itself. We can be an ally and a partner if there`s a sincere
interest in regional self-policing.
But as you point out, the news accounts in recent days have been
conflicting. We`re going to have partners, but some of them want to do it
quietly. If Arab nations aren`t willing to be public partners and be out
front in the leadership of this effort, it won`t be successful. And that
will, I think, change a lot of viewpoints about whether the U.S. should act
MATTHEWS: Well, who`s...
KAINE: They need to be on board.
MATTHEWS: So who`s going to fight ISIS? We`re going to bomb them
from the air, OK, we bomb them into smithereens, but somebody`s got to take
the smithereens and put it into a government again and create something
there. The Free Syrian Army, according to John McCain, is primarily
existing because it`s against Assad, the government in Damascus. They`re
not focused on going after ISIS. So who`s going to fight ISIS, if we
don`t, on the ground and all we do is pound them from the air with no
KAINE: Well, Chris, the answer to that question is much easier,
obviously, on the Iraq side of the border than on the Syrian side of the
border because in Iraq, you both have the Iraqi military, which with a
reformed government and training and assistance, has sufficient numbers and
equipment. If they`re led right, they can fight. In addition, the
Peshmerga in Kurdistan are a strong fighting force and they can be strong
fighters. I agree with you it`s much more complicated on the Syrian side
of the line and...
MATTHEWS: But that`s where they are. That`s where their headquarters
KAINE: Well, they`re in Syria and Iraq. They`ve erased the border.
MATTHEWS: But that`s where their headquarters is.
KAINE: That`s where their headquarters is...
MATTHEWS: How do you fight Germany without going to Germany? I mean,
how do you...
KAINE: Well, look, you...
MATTHEWS: How do you fight the enemy if the enemy`s somewhere you`re
not willing to go?
KAINE: You don`t have to fight every front at exactly the same time.
You fight in the places first where you can make the most difference, and I
think we`ve shown in the last few weeks we can make a difference in Iraq
most easily. And again, there are more allies there right on the ground
now who are willing to do that fight.
MATTHEWS: Yes, well...
KAINE: The training of the opposition is Syria is a dicey
KAINE: ... but as you point out, they are there. The leadership`s
there. And if we want to take it seriously, we`ve got to provide
assistance there, as well.
MATTHEWS: Are you confident we can win this war with the -- with the
purported help of the Free Syrian Army and the purported help of our Arab
friends on the Sunni side of the fence? Do you think this makes sense,
KAINE: If we have meaningful partnership from Arab nations in the
region, then yes, I do.
KAINE: If we don`t, I think it`s very, very difficult.
MATTHEWS: OK. Well said. Thank you very much, Senator Tim Kaine of
In an exchange with Senator Lindsey Graham at today`s hearing, General
Dempsey -- he`s chair of the Joint Chiefs -- said without the backing of
Arab countries, the goal of destroying ISIS is almost impossible. That`s
just what Senator Kaine just said. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: So our national defense, in
terms of stopping ISIL from killing thousands or millions of Americans if
they get the capability, really comes down to whether or not we can
convince the Arab world to go in there and defeat these guys?
DEMPSEY: It really comes down to building a coalition so that what
the Arab Muslim world sees is them rejecting ISIS.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Senator Bob Corker joins us right now. He`s from
Tennessee. Senator, I have never seen an American war we go into thinking
we`re going to lose, and that`s what the polling is showing. Two thirds of
the people polled by "The Wall Street Journal" and NBC say they don`t think
we can win with this strategy, and yet they support it. How do you explain
SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: Well, I think people want to see
something happen because of the demonic activities, if you will, of ISIS.
At the same time, what they hear -- I mean, the American people, Chris -- I
thought the questions you asked my good friend, Tim Kaine, were
outstanding, and they`re the questions -- many of the questions I`m going
to ask tomorrow of Senator -- Secretary Kerry.
Look, it`s very evident the administration came out with this public
announcement because they felt they needed to because of what`s happening
in the midterms. They really don`t have a plan yet. I agree with Senator
Kaine we should vote on this authorization now. I mean, if that`s what
they`re asking for, we should vote on the full authorization by teasing out
the details of the plan, and as you`ve asked, ask how it`s going to work,
especially in Syria.
I mean, I think it`s ludicrous to think that ISIS is located in Syria,
based in Syria, it`s where their strength is, that training up a few
thousand moderate folks that are there, by the way, because of Assad, is
going to make any difference...
CORKER: ... or at least much difference at all on the ground there.
So again, I think this was something that was thrown out. I think the
president was looking at polling.
I want us to be successful, but I think the only way to be successful,
Chris, is to really think this through. Typically, when you talk about a
coalition, you put it together first, and then you announce the coalition.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I think...
CORKER: To say you`re going to be putting one together just speaks to
the fact that they`re sort of dreaming this up on the fly. And again, I
hope before we commit men and women in harm`s way, we`ll really think
through, not get hysterical about this, but think through the long haul...
CORKER: ... how we`re actually going to deal with this and be
effective, the same kind of questions you`re asking.
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s talk about our history. We became a country
because the British tried to beat us with hiring Hessians from Germans.
Even with the Hessians they hired -- they were good fighters -- they lost
us because we really cared.
Now we can`t even find Hessians. We can`t find -- we call it the Free
Syrian Army. They`re not interested in fighting ISIS. The Arab countries
-- which Jordanian soldier is going to put his foot into Iraq or Syria?
None. Which Saudi Arabian fighter pilot`s going to go in there and fight
ISIS from the air, or bomber? None. Who from the Arab Emirates is going
to go in there? None.
So we`re talking about bringing in the Hessian army of other people
that we`re going to try to get to fight our war for us, or for themselves,
and there`s no evidence as of today that anyone else wants to fight a war
that we have declared. How can you declare a war without the use of an
CORKER: Yes. So again, Chris, all of the types of questions that
you`re asking now are the types I`m sure that will be asked tomorrow.
CORKER: This is why, as Tim just mentioned, I mean, having a real
authorization authorize this is important, but that`s after the
administration comes and seeks that...
CORKER: ... and teases out all of these details, none of which have
been forthcoming. I think you only have to look, Chris, to Libya. And we
talked about the coalition there, but who really footed the bill there? I
mean, it was the United States.
CORKER: And I think as you look at what`s happening or going to
happen in Iraq and Syria, it`s really going to be the United States. I
hope we can cobble together some coalition members that really are
providing something, other than being coat-holders. But that`s to be
determined. That`s what we need to push for. Obviously, I don`t think we
can be successful unless we`re able to cobble together those things that
are meaningful and will be sustainable. That`s what we need to do on
behalf of the American people is ensure that`s going to be the case.
MATTHEWS: Well, here`s a tough one. Here was the headline in the
hearing today, everybody thinks. It was General Dempsey, chair of the
Joint Chiefs, suggesting if the current strategy against ISIS fails, he
might recommend we send ground forces into Iraq. Here`s the general. I`d
like your reaction to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In terms of utilizing the -- on the ground, the
forces that are Syrian and Iraqi, rather than Western forces -- is that
part of the thinking at this time, as well, to avoid a Western ground force
in an Arab or Muslim country?
DEMPSEY: My view at this point is that this coalition is the
appropriate way forward. I believe that will prove true. But if it fails
to be true, and if there are threats to the United States, then I, of
course, would go back to the president and make a recommendation that may
include the use of U.S. military ground forces.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Senator, the White House put out a statement -- obviously,
they always do after statements like that are made -- and said it was
hypothetical. But it does have the look of a slippery slope.
CORKER: Yes. Now, look, it`s my understanding that recommendations
were made on the front end that we would have special ops on the ground in
both Iraq and Syria, and the president pushed back on that. But I think
that is what our military leaders have been pushing for, and over time,
it`s my sense that some need for that will exist.
I mean, we already have people on the ground in Iraq. Obviously,
they`re not in combat roles. They`re in enabling roles, obviously, some
ISR roles. But at the end of the day, again, especially with all the right
questions that you`ve asked earlier, you do have to ask, Well, who is then
-- and obviously, again, our armies, our military people are the best-
trained in the world. That`s a question that I think is going to persist.
But again, I think, Chris, those are all the things we need to be
CORKER: ... on the front end. I think what would be a tragedy here
would be for this to become something no one ever envisioned in the first
place, and by the way, for people to lose the will halfway through and it
be another one of those confrontations where men and women lose their lives
and limbs and we lose treasure, and the outcome that we`re trying to
achieve is never achieved.
So I think all of these are good questions. We need to continue to be
diligent, and hopefully, get to a place that we all feel comfortable will
be successful, back to your initial question on the program.
MATTHEWS: Right. Well, thanks so much, Senator Bob Corker of
CORKER: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: My own skepticism about this strategy grows and grows.
Coming up, from ISIS to Ebola. President Obama announced today a
major effort to fight the deadly disease over in West Africa with $500
million -- and catch this -- 3,000 American troops headed to West Africa,
another front. And once again, it`s up to us, the United States, to meet
and beat a monumental challenge.
Plus, more problems for the NFL, of course. The governor of
Minnesota, as I said up front, says the Vikings should suspend star running
back Adrian Peterson until accusations of child abuse are resolved. So
far, the team`s owners are letting him play this Sunday. The question is,
And they`re being called the bad boys of Congress. They`re all facing
legal or ethical issues, or both, and they`re all poised to win reelection
this November. Why are voters so soft, so willing to give these guys a
Finally, "Let Me Finish" with this NFL thing about child beating --
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, that race in deep red Kansas could be one that
decides, of course, which party controls the U.S. Senate this November.
Anyway, Democrat Chad Taylor is suing to have his name removed from the
ballot. The Kansas supreme court`s hearing that case today and must decide
by Friday. Taylor dropped out of the race earlier this month in a move
that could help independent candidate Greg Orman defeat incumbent
Republican senator Pat Roberts.
And a new poll shows what`s at stake. Even with Taylor on the ballot,
Orman leads Roberts by 7 points, 41 to 34, among likely voters. That`s
according to a PPP poll, which doesn`t meet NBC`s polling standards, but is
nonetheless fascinating. Six percent say they`d still vote for Taylor, the
Democrat. Orman hasn`t said which party he`ll caucus with should he win.
And we`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Well, a dramatic escalation today in the U.S. response to the Ebola
crisis in West Africa. The White House has announced a major military-led
campaign involving 3,000 service people, troops, to support relief efforts
over there. The escalation comes as the epidemic continues to rage out of
control in West Africa. Health officials currently are aware of 5,000
cases in seven countries since the outbreak began just a few months ago,
but are worried that many more cases have gone unreported. That makes
One senior administration official told reporters that -- quote -- "If
we don`t arrest the growth now, we could be looking at hundreds of
thousands of cases." And it`s lethal, of course, that disease.
And late today, President Obama addressed the outbreak and the large-
scale U.S. response from CDC headquarters in Atlanta.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re prepared to take
leadership on this to provide the kinds of capabilities that only America
has and to mobilize the world in ways that only America can do.
The scenes that we`re witnessing in West Africa today are absolutely
gut-wrenching. In one account over the weekend, we read about a family in
Liberia. The disease had already killed the father. The mother was
cradling a sick and listless 5-year-old son. Her other son, 10 years old,
was dying, too. They finally reached a treatment center, but they couldn`t
And said a relative, "We`re just sitting."
Now, these men and women and children are just sitting, waiting to die
right now. And it doesn`t have to be this way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, from fighting ISIS in the Mideast to combating these
awful scenes of Ebola in West Africa, once again, America`s role in the
world is in focus. Quite simply, this is what the world counts on us to
do, to respond.
Howard Dean is the former governor of Vermont and DNC chair, of
course. He`s also a physician. And U.S. Congressman Chris Smith is a
Republican from New Jersey and chairman of the House Subcommittee on Africa
and Global Health.
Gentlemen, thank you both for joining us.
REP. CHRIS SMITH (R), NEW JERSEY: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: This is a unique example of something that has very little
to do with ideology and it has a lot to do with your belief in life and
HOWARD DEAN, FORMER DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Well,
it`s not just that.
I thought the president was pretty emotional. But it`s also -- the
public health ramifications are really significant. I mean, you could have
entire countries collapsing as a result of this. And the infrastructure in
some -- in places like Liberia and Sierra Leone is essentially zero for
MATTHEWS: They don`t have hospitals?
DEAN: Well, they have hospitals, but they`re basically places you go
to die. And the sanitary conditions are appalling. And that`s the
You pick up your child who is dying, you`re probably going to get
Ebola. So they really do need -- and the reason for the military, I think,
you have got to have some people who are going to bring some order. And
this is -- he`s -- the president is right -- this can threaten a lot more
places than Africa.
MATTHEWS: Can soldiers -- Congressman Smith, thanks so much for
SMITH: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: I know your history of supporting life. And I respect that
a lot. And I want to tell you something. This is an issue that is going
to unite us, I think. And my question is, do you think service people --
you have got to talk to your constituents when a soldier, male or female,
whatever outfit they`re in, whatever unit they`re in, gets sent over there.
Is this a safe deployment?
MATTHEWS: Relatively safe.
SMITH: ... it will be made safe. It will be made safe.
And, frankly, I`m chairing my second emergency hearing on Ebola
tomorrow. And we will hear from Dr. Anthony Fauci from NIH. We had Tom
Frieden an on in August. And I just got off the phone a half-hour, 45
minutes ago with President Sirleaf Johnson, the president of Liberia.
And she has said that if the transmission chain is not broken, that
her whole country is at risk. That`s how bad this is. What the military
can do, and they can do it very effectively, is to stand up more beds,
provide command-and-control, provide security, because there`s a decreasing
amount of security, particularly in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia.
And this terrible outbreak could quickly become a pandemic if it`s not
contained. Containment is the issue, and, of course, treatment. There`s
no cure, but there are some promising interventions that have already had
very positive results with certain patients.
So we need to do everything humanly possible to help the suffering and
the families, best practices, including what you do with remains. With a
dead person, if you touch that person, which is very customary in African
culture, you can pick up the disease.
All of that has to be quadrupled in our efforts. And, again, the
United States and the professionals at the CDC, NIH, USAID, the NGOs that
are unbelievable, particularly the faith-based, we are leading by doing.
And I give high marks to those people who put their lives on the line, and
our military will add that added security, plus beds. There are no beds in
SMITH: ... people who are sick.
MATTHEWS: Let`s look at the extent of -- Congressman, let`s take a
look at the extent of the response already.
MATTHEWS: As I mentioned, we`re sending 3,000 military personnel to
West Africa to combat the outbreak. An Army command center is being
established in Liberia`s capital city of Monrovia. Medical supplies will
immediately target the 400,000 most vulnerable families over there.
And the Pentagon is diverting $500 million for the effort.
MATTHEWS: You`re talking to a serviceman`s family, a servicewoman`s
family right now. The conduct of putting up military cordons around areas,
probably isolating situations where it`s broken out, or whatever the role
of the military, that doesn`t involve the kind of contact, does it?
DEAN: It doesn`t have to, and they can be dressed appropriately.
Some of these people are going to be the equivalent of directing
traffic. These countries have come a long way, but they`re still pretty
chaotic. They don`t -- have very little basic systems of any kind,
transportation, but even public health.
The thing is that people say, well, what business is it of ours to go
straighten this problem out? We live in a global world. And there`s no
problem anywhere, anywhere in the world that can`t get to be our problem in
a big hurry, whether you`re talking about the Russians in Ukraine or you`re
talking about this.
MATTHEWS: I know. Well, 14 percent of the American people, one in
seven, think it`s a serious -- they are seriously worried about it
affecting them. Now, that may be just hyperbole in the coverage.
DEAN: It could happen. Now, it turns out that if you happen to be
unfortunate enough to get Ebola, and you come to the United States, your
chances of survival are much, much better.
DEAN: Because of the modern medical...
MATTHEWS: But for the average person living in Oklahoma, they`re not
going to get Ebola?
DEAN: They`re not going to get Ebola...
DEAN: ... right now. But suppose a whole planeload of people come --
come -- land here and then somebody has been on that plane that came from
one of these places. There`s a lot of things -- what -- what...
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask -- let me ask Congressman Smith, who has
got to deal with this as chairman of the Africa Subcommittee.
How do you -- and nothing`s permanent and nothing`s perfect. And
there`s always too much intolerance of something happening, but do you
think you will be able from the congressional end to oversee this and make
sure that the -- all the reasonable steps are made, that nobody brings it
back with them?
SMITH: Great question.
We know that CDC and every state department of health have protocols
in place, particularly at ports -- points of entry, like Newark
International Airport and other airports throughout the country. But,
again, there`s always flaws. There`s always the possibility we won`t get
But let me just say on your question about the military, I have to
tell you, when there have been -- whether it was the tsunami -- and I went
to Phuket, and to Sri Lanka, and to Banda Aceh, and it was the military
that put the tourniquet on what would have been a larger of life, the same
way with crises that happened all over the world.
These troops will be very well-trained and focused on the mission.
There`s always the possibility, sadly, of getting sick, but I think it`s
greatly mitigated because they will be taking every precaution to fulfill
the mission, which is now a big gaping hole that`s not being met in
Liberia, as well as the other two countries most now affected.
MATTHEWS: I think one of the things George W. Bush did, one of the
few where I really agreed he did the right thing, was PEPFAR in East
SMITH: Oh, without a doubt.
MATTHEWS: And it really did the job of stopping that pandemic of AIDS
over there, HIV. And this is another case where we, in a bipartisan way --
and that`s why I`m glad we had it set up with both of you guys on tonight,
because this is one time where America can be the good guys, and, truly, in
your case, certainly pro-life.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Howard Dean.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, U.S. Congressman Chris Smith.
Up next: "Duck Dynasty"`s Phil Robertson strikes again. That`s ahead
in the "Sideshow." This man is ridiculous.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL and time for the "Sideshow."
Well, the people of Scotland face a crucial referendum this Thursday,
whether to vote for independence and secede from the United Kingdom, or to
stay in the union they have shared for the last 300 years. Well, the
stakes are high, obviously. Polls show that the balloting will be close.
But as Stephen Colbert pointed out last night, their bid for
independence is more of an economic decision than a matter of national
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE COLBERT REPORT")
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE COLBERT REPORT": At issue is whether
Scotland will be able to control their own tax and social security rates
and decisions about the level and allocation of public spending.
This is an emotionally charged struggle that traces its roots all the
way to the days of William Wallace.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: They may take our lives, but they will never take
our freedom to calculate pension benefits based on inflation or earnings,
whichever is higher.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Perhaps not the most convincing battle cry.
Next up, Phil Robertson, that ultra-conservative patriarch of "Duck
Dynasty," got suspended by network late last year when he railed against
homosexual behavior in "GQ" magazine. Now, nine months later, he`s gone
even further, telling Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council on his
radio show last week that diseases like AIDS are God`s punishment for what
he called immoral conduct.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
PHIL ROBERTSON, "DUCK DYNASTY": God says one woman, one man, and
everybody said, oh, that`s old hat. That`s the old Bible stuff. And I`m
thinking, well, let`s see now. A clean guy, a disease-free guy, and a
disease-free woman, they marry and they keep their sex between the two of
them, they`re not going to get chlamydia and gonorrhea and syphilis and
It`s -- it`s safe. Now, to me, either it`s the wildest coincidence
ever that horrible diseases follow immoral conduct, or it`s God saying,
there`s a penalty for that kind of conduct. I`m leaning toward, there`s a
penalty toward it.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, it`s obviously what he thinks, for whatever it`s
worth. Not much.
Up next: more troubles for the NFL. The governor in Minnesota says
the Vikings star Adrian Peterson should be suspended until his child abuse
allegations are resolved. Peterson is set to play this weekend.
And you`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
PAGE HOPKINS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Page Hopkins. And here`s
President Obama has arrived in Tampa, Florida. Tomorrow, he will be
at U.S. Central Command for a briefing on the campaign to defeat ISIS.
NASA will pay Boeing and SpaceX nearly $7 billion to build space taxis
to will take U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station. That
starts in 2017.
In California, the so-called Weed fire is now 20 percent contained.
It`s destroyed about 100 homes and forced more than 1,000 people to flee --
and now we`re going to take you back to HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK SPIELMAN, MINNESOTA VIKINGS GENERAL MANAGER: Based on the
extensive information we have right now, and what we know about Adrian, not
only as a person, but what he`s also done for this community, we believe he
deserves to play while the legal process plays out.
We feel strongly as an organization that this is disciplining a child.
And whether it`s an abusive situation or not, or whether he went too far
disciplining, we feel very strongly that that is the court`s decision to
make. But we also understand the seriousness of, you know, abusing
children as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was the general manager of the Minnesota Vikings football team,
of course, announced that Adrian Peterson, the team`s star running back,
who is facing a felony charge for injuring one of his children, will
continue to play in the NFL. He will play this Sunday. And the team will
let the legal process play out, as they put it.
Well, you can decide for yourself whether the Vikings` 30-7 loss to
the Patriots on last Sunday had anything to do with the team`s decision to
reinstate its star running back while -- quote -- "the legal process plays
We see in this picture right behind the general manager the Radisson
hotel logo. Well, the hotel chain could not have been too pleased to see
its logo associated with the Peterson story. And last night, the company
announced it was suspending its sponsorship of the Vikings, citing its
longstanding commitment to the protection of children.
And, today, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton expressed his disagreement
with the Vikings` decision to let Peterson play in a statement that reads
in part: "It`s an awful situation. Yes, Mr. Peterson is entitled to due
process and should be innocent until proven guilty. However, he`s a public
figure, and his actions as described are a public embarrassment to the
Vikings organization and the state of Minnesota. Whipping a child to the
extent of visible wounds, as has been alleged, should not be tolerated in
our state. Therefore, I believe the team should suspend Mr. Peterson until
the accusations of child abuse have been resolved by the criminal justice
Joining me now is psychologist Jeff Gardere and Shira Springer,
"Boston Globe" sports reporter.
We have two points here. Doctor, what is this syndrome of this
serious child beating that we see in the picture?
And pictures do tell a hell of a story here. It looks like the lines
you get on a hotdog when you broil it. These are lines one after another,
all across the body. These are not caused by a spanking.
DR. JEFF GARDERE, PSYCHOLOGIST: This is caused by a beating. And
quite often, what we see with parents who inflict corporal punishment, it`s
not so much about trying to teach the child a lesson. It`s that they are
out of control. They are angry at the moment, or they feel disrespected
and they`re not able to contain the situation, and therefore, they act out
that anger, that impulse they can`t control against the child.
And then later on, they feel badly. And even Adrian Peterson said,
well, I think maybe I went over the line. But then he backs up and says,
well, that`s what my dad did and that`s what I do.
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s get that straight about the dad thing. I think
in my generation, we were all hit with the belt pretty hard, and I talked
to a lot of people about it in my generation. You know, that was what
people did in the early `50s. They did.
But this idea of getting a tree branch and putting welts on the kid
all over this body, I didn`t like what happened to me much to say the
least, but this kind of behavior. He said it was something his dad to him.
This kid was 4 years old.
GARDERE: That`s the point.
MATTHEWS: It`s hard for me to think of what disciplining even means
at 4 years old.
What crime -- the kid apparently what he`d do, he used some bad
language. So, he beats him up in the car. You`re right, I don`t know.
But you`re saying it`s basically anger management. It`s a psychological
situation regarding the parent, obviously not some kind of disobedience by
GARDERE: That`s right. And you`re not teaching a lesson.
And we have found that even though you may get some short-term gain
from the child as far as better behavior, in the long run, you only end up
traumatizing the child and the child learns that violence is the way to
solve a problem. It`s just not the right way.
MATTHEWS: And that`s exactly what the word brutalizing means. It`s
always misused. Brutalizing is to make someone brutal.
Shira, thank you for joining us.
Let`s talk about the decision-making by sports organizations. I said
last night, of course, this angers everybody, but it just happens to be
true. Every establishment, whether it`s a university like Notre Dame or
UNC or schools I really care about, or it`s the Catholic Church, the
primary concern is the operation of the organization -- the operation, the
success of the organization, the reputation of the organization. Only
after time and intervention and exposition and you find out all the facts
and the public is outraged does it go to the concern about the victim.
You know, the altar boys rather than the priests -- the priests who
have a problem rather than the cardinals looking out for them. And the
same with the universities they got a program for football that makes them
a lot of money, gives them a lot of prestige, gets them great student
applicants that want to go to the school, they protect the image. And the
rapists get to go free.
This is what happened in these schools. Your thoughts?
SHIRA SPRINGER, THE BOSTON GLOBE: Yes, absolutely, you`re correct.
In the NFL, they have a phrase, protect the shield. That`s what`s going on
here. The NFL in its decision-making policy, to see what way the wind is
blowing, and that`s how it makes its decision.
And quite frankly, it needs to hear more voices like the governor of
Minnesota, more voices from outside what is essentially an echo chamber
within the league. Voices that aren`t concerned or have a broader
perspective than next Sunday`s game, and a broader perspective than the 10
billion in annual revenue that the league generates.
They need to hear from more people who think about more than football.
MATTHEWS: What about the fans? Do the fans really care? Do they
have a conscience, or do they just want a good win-loss record?
SPRINGER: I think it depends which fans you talk to. I mean, the
fans are so very -- as we saw with the Ray Rice situation, when the Ravens
played the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night, you had women showing up
in Ray Rice jerseys, defending Ray Rice.
And I believe this past Sunday when the Minnesota Vikings played the
Patriots and lost, that you had people showing up in Adrian Peterson
So, I think it`s a very diverse fan base. I think by and large fans
are pretty disgusted with how the NFL has handled this matter, and their
lack of transparency and what seems to be the league`s lack of sincerity in
meting out punishments.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me go back to Dr. Gardere. It seems to me,
everyone in the beginning of this case or in the middle, did the right
The mother took the 4-year-old child with the welts on him, to a
doctor. Her doctor, met the regular appointment. The doctor, she knew
what she was doing. She was bringing the kid in the condition he was in,
having been beaten to hell, and the doctor sees it.
So, the doctor did the right thing, he notified authorities. Then the
authorities did the right thing. Then you get to the NFL. Play the guy.
GARDERE: It`s really shocking. The NFL does need to take a stand and
have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to violence. What happened with
Ray Rice, they learned the hard way that they should have taken a tougher
This case is even worse than Ray Rice and I will say that, because,
yes, it was horrible that Ray Rice beat his wife, but now you`re talking
about a defenseless child, a 4-year-old boy that has been exposed to that
kind of brutalized punishment. It`s absolutely wrong.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, doctor, for being an expert, Dr. Jeff Gardere.
GARDERE: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Shira Springer, we`ll have you back on in a happier moment
about sports some night. Anyway.
SPRINGER: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Up next, from criminal indictments to affairs with
staffers, why are Congress`s bad boys poised for a good year at the poll?
We -- not we, me -- everybody keeps reelecting these bums with their
Anyway, this is HARDBALL, a place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, here`s the latest snapshot from New Hampshire in the
Republican primary. According to a new CNN/Opinion Research poll, Rand
Paul has a five-point lead up there. He`s getting 15 percent of the vote.
It`s for the presidential. Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan are at 10. Chris
Christie and Mike Huckabee down at nine.
We`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Several members of Congress who wants appeared doomed this fall
because of scandal have turned their prospects around, as "Politico"
reports today under the headline, "Good election year for bad boys of
Congress. By any traditional standard of acceptable behavior for
politicians, they should be dead men walking."
But they`re not. Staten Island Congressman Michael Grim is under
federal investigation for multiple charges related to arrest when he ran
before being elected to Congress. But the Democratic Congressional
Campaign Committee itself calls his reelection race a tossup.
Tennessee Congressman Scott DesJarlais, a physician impregnated a
patient with whom he was an affair, pressured to have an abortion despite
being considered the most vulnerable incumbent this year, DesJarlais eked
out his primary by just 38 votes, but is expected to cruise to victory in
the general election.
Former South Carolina governor and now Congressman Mark Sanford, still
plagued by an ongoing child custody battle, and public spats with his ex-
wife about his extramarital affair faces no opposition at all this fall.
And married Congressman Vance McAllister of Louisiana, known as the
"kissing congressman" after he was caught on tape kissing a female staffer
outside of her apartment, originally declined even to run for re-election,
but reversed his decision and now leads his field of challengers.
Why are voters so willing to give these guys a pass?
Joan Walsh is with "Salon" and an MSNBC political analyst. And, of
course, Michael Steele is former chair of the Republican National
Committee, also an MSNBC political analyst.
Joan, I`m glad you`ve got the right attitude. I can see, with your
teeth. You`re talking to me already.
These guys, now, they`re all Republicans. I took out one Democrat
because his charge was totally vague. It didn`t look like a charge. It
was something to do with campaign finance or something. It looked to me
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Oh, yes.
MATTHEWS: Yes, yes, see, I`m honest with you, Michael, and you put
the dagger in my heart. But go ahead. That`s all right.
MATTHEWS: A lot of Republicans on tonight. In fact, you`re the third
or fourth on tonight. So, it`s a good night.
STEELE: It`s a good night.
MATTHEWS: Look, here`s my point, Joan, you`re first. What do you
think of this? Of these people being so complacent, including these
characters who are bums, right back in office again when they know they`ve
JOAN WALSH, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It`s the lucky dog club. You
know, these are lucky dogs. You know, it looks like they`re going back.
It`s not done yet. Some of them could still lose, not Mark Sanford,
But, you know, I think, Chris, people are tired of adjudicating
marital behavior for example. And, you know, they`re saying these guys are
no trying to be husband of the year. They`re going to Congress, they`re
not asking me the marry them. That`s a good thing.
I would take -- I would put Michael Grim in a really good category,
and that`s kind of mystifying to me. We have a 20-count federal indictment
that includes things like wire fraud, mail fraud, perjury, tax evasion,
hiring undocumented workers. I really didn`t expect --
MATTHEWS: Do you to tell me that a restaurant has hired undocumented
workers? I am shattered. I am shattered by this news.
WALSH: There are 20 counts. If that`s not a big deal to you, go down
and look at the other 19, OK?
So, that`s the one that to me is a little bit mystifying, I really
thought. We also had him caught on video, threatening TV journalists.
WALSH: So, you know, that`s a little bit mystifying. But Staten
Island is a tough community. He`s set himself up by somebody who`s being
attacked by elites. It looks like it`s working. We`ll see --
MATTHEWS: OK, Michael, defend Michael Grim who said he`s going to
break that rather slightly build reporter, he`s going to break him in half
like a boy. What a strange comment to make.
STEELE: It`s a strange comment, I`m not here to defend Michael Grim.
You know, he`s got a lot of indictments against him. I think what it
speaks to, though, is something it`s very interesting that`s within the
body electorate. And I think Joan has hit on it.
You look at the Eric Cantor race. Why did Eric Cantor get bounced
out? Because he didn`t pay attention to his district. Why aren`t these
folks getting bounced out for their behaviors outside of Congress? And
that`s because people don`t connect that to the job that they`re supposed
to do in Congress. Except for example with grim, there`s some overlay that
may come back to bite him.
But I think by and large, people have sort of bifurcated and
trifurcated the congressional behavior if you will and you don`t get
bounced out because you had an affair, or because you had campaign finance
issues, like you would have maybe 10 years ago.
MATTHEWS: So, if you vote pro-life and pressure your girlfriend into
having an abortion, that`s OK because it was off-campus?
WALSH: Unbelievable. And he did say --
STEELE: I`m not saying that`s a problem, I`m just saying the voters
are finding a way to parse and separate behaviors from their congressional
MATTHEWS: How about Mark Sanford walking the re-election list in
November without a care in the world. He might as well go out the
Appalachian Trail in the last week. Anyway, that metaphor --
MATTHEWS: Anyway, Joan Walsh, thank you very much for having I think
the right attitude here.
Michael Steele, buddy, a lot of Republicans tonight.
STEELE: I know. It`s a good night, right?
MATTHEWS: We`ll be right after you. We`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this NFL thing and child
beating. It seems to me that a number of people did the right thing in
this matter of Adrian Peterson. The mother took the 4-year-old to the
doctor. The doctor saw the welts on him and notified the authorities. The
authorities took action.
Now, to the NFL. The Vikings general manager said the court has to
decide this matter but also offered his own judgment. Quote, "We feel
strongly as an organization that this is disciplining in a child."
Well, apart from the bad English there, this is the pro-team`s verdict
on what constitutes defensible human conduct toward a four-year-old,
whipping him with a tree branch until the skin looks like a hot dog off the
grill. Did you ever think about how this whole thing looks?
When a player is out on the field, they call unnecessary roughness
when an attacker keeps running toward a quarterback who just tripped. He`d
get 15 yards for it.
What does the NFL do with a player who whips his 4-year-old with a
tree branch until a doctor has to take action just to protect the kid from
more unnecessary roughness? You can make -- suppose a player did something
like this to another player during a game, got ahold of a tree branch and
started whipping him with it. What kind of penalty would that have drawn?
One Sunday on the bench? That`s what Peterson got for doing just that,
just that to a 4-year-old who didn`t have a referee out there to protect
I`m with the kid. The NFL is with the beater.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for Tuesday, September 16th, 2014