September 22, 2014
Guest: Carol Leonnig, Clint Hill, Bobby Ghosh, Jay Newton-Small, Clarence
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Trouble at the White House.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Philadelphia, home of the 3-and-0
Anyway, lots of news tonight, all pretty startling. Start with the
guy jumping the fence out in front of the White House, right there on
Pennsylvania Avenue, then sprinting right into the president`s house itself
through the formal entrance known as the North Portico. What if someone
from ISIS decided to try that route?
Speaking of which, we`ve got a top U.S. official now saying that some
Americans who went off to join ISIS in Iraq and Syria have come home to the
States. Add to this the latest audiotape released by the terrorist group
itself saying we Americans will not feel safe even in our bedrooms.
In the second half of the show, we`ve got a first-rate roundtable of
David Corn, Clarence Page and "Time" magazine`s Jay Newton-Small to look at
this incredible opportunity for the Democrats in Kansas to sail against the
wind this November. It`s in Kansas, of all places, as I said.
And speaking of wind, what do you make of the fact that more than
300,000 people showed up in New York yesterday to demand action on climate
Let`s get right away now to the threat to the White House, all of
which was caught on camera. At 7:20 PM Friday night, a man carrying a jack
-- actually, a knife -- and it was a switchblade -- jumped the White House
fence and ran unimpeded across the White House lawn and through the front
door on the North Portico.
As "The Washington Post" writes, quote, "It is a frequently used door,
just one flight of stairs away from the Obamas` living quarters. And until
now, the Secret Service didn`t imagine an intruder could reach it."
Prosecutors say they found more than 800 rounds of ammunition in the
man`s car, along with two hatchets and a machete. It turns out that Omar
Gonzalez was stopped by Virginia state troopers in July after a chase and
found to be carrying some assault rifles and a sawed-off shotgun and --
catch this -- a map with the White House circled on it. In August, he was
stopped while walking along the back fence of the White House itself with a
hatchet tucked in his rear waistband.
The Secret Service has launched an investigation into the incident,
but an early assessment of the security breakdown points to -- hot flash
here -- multiple failures and some alarming questions. For example, why
didn`t officers deploy attack dogs specifically trained to stop intruders
like this? And why didn`t guards lock the front door as soon as the alarm
sounded telling them that someone had jumped the fence and was headed
towards the building?
By the way, the incident happened just 10 minutes after President
Obama and his daughters lifted off from the South Lawn for Camp David.
Carol Leonnig`s a reporter with "The Washington Post" and Clint Hill,
I must say, is probably the most famous Secret Service agent of all time.
He guarded first lady Jacqueline Kennedy that day in Dallas her husband was
assassinated. He`s author of a great book, "Five Days."
Let me go to Carol on this, on the latest reporting. Is this as bad
as it looks?
CAROL LEONNIG, "WASHINGTON POST": It`s actually a little bit worse.
Several agents who used to work at the Secret Service have told me they are
flabbergasted that this has happened. They describe it as a worst
nightmare because while the president wasn`t in danger, he on, you know,
Marine One, heading north. This signifies that the Secret Service isn`t
able to sort of keep the fortress invulnerable or impenetrable, that
somebody actually got to the front door and got inside.
MATTHEWS: Well, Congressman Peter King, a member of the House
Homeland Security Committee, says his committee`s gearing up for hearings.
Here`s Peter King.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: There can be a lot of conspiracies
against a president, a lot of very complex assassination plots. This is
the most basic, the most simple type of procedure. And how anyone,
especially in these days of ISIS and we`re concerned about terrorist
attacks -- someone could actually get into the White House without being
stopped is inexcusable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Mr. Hill, Clint, thank you for coming on. Let me ask you
about the way they put information together. Put together the three
incidents. One`s the guy`s stopped by Virginia state troopers with some
assault weapons, a sawed-off shotgun, and a circling of the White House on
his map he`s carrying with him, which would seem to me to put him on a
watch list of some kind. Then he`s picked up along the south fence of the
White House (INAUDIBLE) other cases (ph) where they begin to think, What`s
this guy up to? And now again today (sic).
Was there a way of seeing that coming? This guy was coming at them
slowly, but he was surely leaving a trail of evidence that he was coming
after the president.
CLINT HILL, FORMER SECRET SERVICE OFFICER: Well, it appears that way.
And certainly, when he was detained by the Virginia State Police and had
that map with the White House circled and he had all the weapons involved,
I would think that they would have passed that information along. Whether
or not they did, I don`t know. If they had, he would have been a matter of
And when he appeared -- if it was the Secret Service who detained him
for having a hatchet in his belt line (ph), walking near the White House,
if the previous record would have been available, then that would have been
just added to that dossier. He would have probably been detained in some
The fact that he jumped that fence and ran -- that happens quite
often, the difference being that this particular individual made it all the
way to and in the front door. That`s not acceptable under any
MATTHEWS: Clinton, a lot of people would think that if they were that
guy running, that they`d probably, if they were lucky, get a warning shot
or a yell, "Stop or I`ll shoot," some really urging kind of warning that
they`re about to get killed. Does it surprise you that he was able to get
all the way to the White House without anybody drawing -- or releasing the
dogs on him, for example. They could have done that.
HILL: Well, it surprised me that he got as far as he did, yes.
Doesn`t surprise me that nobody fired a shot because that`s a matter of
last resort. Whether or not you release the dogs -- I would have hoped
that they would have done so.
I have a sneaking suspicion that because of the helicopter movement
that was just prior to that incident -- and that took place on the south
grounds, which is separated from the north grounds by the house and the
East and West Wings -- dog handlers may have been on the other side of the
house at the time that this individual came over the fence. I don`t know
that for a fact, but that would -- that`s, I think, probably what happened.
MATTHEWS: Well, anyway, the Secret Service seemed to praise how their
officers handled part of this situation, at least. Quote, "Although the
officers showed tremendous restraint and discipline in dealing with the
subject, the location of Gonzalez`s arrest is not acceptable."
And "The Washington Post" writes this. "The Secret Service trains its
personal not to shoot intruders on the grounds unless they appear armed or
are wearing bulky clothing or backpacks that could indicate that they`re
carrying a bomb. Many question how officers can assess the real risk in
the 20 seconds it takes someone to run from the fence to the mansions" --
the mansion itself, actually. "Officers at the scene considered Gonzalez
to be unarmed and likely mentally disturbed, and thus a low risk."
Let me go back to Carol on this. Carol, is that the sense, that they
instinctively saw a guy running like a madman, if you will, to use common
terms, and they didn`t think he looked like he was a premeditated killer?
LEONNIG: Well, since I wrote those sentences, I`m familiar with the
concept. And I`m also familiar with the fact that a series of agents have
said to me, How do we know in 20 seconds whether the guy is wearing an
underwear bomb? How do we know he`s not a suicide bomber? How do we know
-- how do we assess in that time period that his mental illness makes him
more dangerous or less dangerous?
Several people have said they would be fine with firing a lethal shot
if, you know, he`s going to literally cross the threshold of the portico
and get into the building, if he`s on his way. They know one thing, he`s
not replying to orders to stop.
Now, of course, this raises this big issue that`s so fundamental to
the White House. It`s supposed to be the people`s house. It`s supposed to
be a place you can look into and enjoy as a tourist. It`s supposed to be
the home of a president, not the fortress of a king. And it`s a
misdemeanor to jump the fence.
And so do you shoot someone who`s about to enter the president`s home
and the president`s center of sort of his offices over a misdemeanor?
That`s a serious question. Again, in this case, they decided he was not a
risk. But Omar Gonzalez had a blade in his pants. So whether he was
mentally ill or appeared to be armed wasn`t really the final story.
MATTHEWS: Was that a switchblade?
LEONNIG: Actually, it`s a two-and-a-half, I think, inch serrated
knife. That`s all I know.
MATTHEWS: You know, it`s interesting. Back in the `70s, in `74,
everybody got a kick, on the left at least, driving around the White House
-- Clinton knows this -- and they would blow their horns if you wanted
Nixon to resign. So there was that sense of 1st Amendment rights in
getting close to the White House.
But this isn`t the first big security scare at the White House in
recent memory. In 1994, 20 years ago, a man flew a stolen Cessna airplane
through secure airspace and crashed it right outside President Clinton`s
window, his bedroom window. Luckily, the president wasn`t in residence at
Also that same year, NBC News jumped on air with this special report
about a man unloaded 29 pounds (sic) from an assault rifle -- 29 rounds
aimed at the White House. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have some amateur videotape obtained by NBC
station WRC-TV. We`re going to roll it now. You will see in the lower
right-hand corner of your screen, or did see, a man in a raincoat who fired
the shots. The sound you heard just then was the shots being fired. He
was subdued and arrested by the Secret Service.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Anyway, in November of 2009, "The Washington Post"
reported, quote, "A couple of aspiring reality TV stars from northern
Virginia appear to have crashed the White House`s state dinner Tuesday
night, penetrating layers of security with no invitation, to mingle with
the likes of Vice President Biden and the White House chief of staff, Rahm
Emanuel." I don`t think that`s in the same league.
Mr. Hill, Clint, let me ask you about this question of the -- you
know, when they closed off Pennsylvania Avenue, a lot of us were very
unhappy about that because that was a great part (ph). You could take the
33 bus right past the White House. You could -- there was a bus stop in
front of the White House. It was part of the city. And now you can walk
through it, but you got all the tiger teeth there. The bus goes around.
Traffic goes around.
These decisions are tough ones because they hurt our democracy every
time we, as Carol says, cordon off the president.
HILL: Well, that`s exactly what happens. Every time an incident like
this happens, the rights of the rest of the population get diminished, and
But there have been incidents like this all the way back. In `74, we
had a helicopter approach the White House on the south grounds which had
been stolen. In `72, we had a guy crash through a gate, the northwest
gate, in a vehicle. He got all the way to the North Portico, jumped out,
had a vest on, looked like he had explosives. We didn`t shoot him. We
detained him and talked to him until we got him to surrender.
But when you`re talking about shooting people, that is the absolute
last resort. When you make that decision, you shoot to kill, you don`t
shoot to wound. That`s just not the name of the game. And so when you
talk about shooting people, you have to be very, very careful about what
MATTHEWS: Great man. Thank you so much, Clint Hill, for joining us,
honoring us tonight. Carol Leonnig, thanks you much for great reporting.
I like it when we quote you and then you comment on our quoting you. Thank
you so much.
Coming up, a chilling and disturbing new audiotape from ISIS. The
terrorist group calls President Obama "a mule of the Jews," whatever that
means, while threatening to kill Americans. They`re clearly trying to goad
us into war. What are we doing about it?
Plus, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti is faced with an ESPN report now
that says team executives knew more about that frightening video of Ray
Rice and his wife than they ever admitted.
Plus, we`ve got an all-star roundtable of reporters tonight to break
down tonight`s other big stories. Can Democrats pull off a huge game-
changing win in Kansas and flip the momentum in the fight to control the
Senate? Looks like they could. This could be a major windfall for the
And the streets of New York are overrun yesterday by hundreds of
thousands people demanding action on climate change. Their voices are
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, "The New York Times" revealed which lawmaker called
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand chubby. "The Times" reports it was the late
Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii who told Gillibrand to not lose too much
weight now because -- here`s his quote -- "I like my girls chubby."
Well, Gillibrand talked about the story in her new book but didn`t
reveal who the senator was who made the remarks. Her office did not
confirm or deny that Senator Inouye was the one she was referring to.
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. ISIS militants reportedly
released a chilling new audio recording that seems to both be goading
America and European countries into fighting them, while at the same time
threatening Americans here at home. The audio mocks the U.S. decision not
to send ground troops.
Quote, "Are America and all its allies from amongst the crusaders and
atheists unable to come down to the ground?" It calls President Obama
"vile" and a "mule of the Jews." It also threatens Americans and
Europeans, saying, "You will pay the price as you walk on your streets,
turning right and left, fearing the Muslims. You will not feel secure even
in your bedrooms."
Well, the tape`s authenticity has not been verified by NBC News. But
meanwhile today, another chilling piece of news. According to "Time"
magazine, a senior U.S. official has said that some Americans fighting
alongside ISIS and other groups in Syria and Iraq have returned to the U.S.
The officials said the FBI is keeping a watch on them.
Bobby Ghosh is managing editor of Quart.come and Howard Fineman`s
editorial director for the HuffingtonPost and an MSNBC political analyst.
Gentlemen, starting with you, Bobby, put it all together -- the
audiotape threatening to get us in our beds, the fact that we find out that
some of these guys are coming back from working with ISIS, fighting
alongside them, back to the States, and the fact that the White House seems
penetratable as of tonight.
Maybe that`s putting it together too much, but the person watching
this show says, You know what? I can see a chain of events here that I
don`t like. Your thoughts.
BOBBY GHOSH, QUARTZ: Well, take them one by one. That audiotape is
classic sort of street thug language, and this is what you expect from a
group like this. This is not a conventional military, although they do
have some aspects of military. These are people who like bragaddocio.
They like -- the like to sound off on their enemies from a comfortable
distance. So expect much more of this kind of language.
We`ve been actually -- those of us who`ve been monitoring this group
for over a year now, we`ve seen this kind of rhetoric in the Arabic
language against their local enemies. So this is not entirely surprising.
On the question of how many Americans have come back from the fight in
Syria, I`d actually like to hear more about that because this was just a
tantalizing hint and the first time we`ve heard this, I think, from the
White House. I`d like to know some numbers, and I`d like to know what they
mean when they say they fought "alongside" ISIS. That suggests that they
may not have fought with ISIS.
Now, we know that in the Syrian fight, a lot of different groups are
constantly fighting in the same space. Sometimes they have a common enemy,
which is the Assad regime and sometimes they fight together alongside, even
if they don`t necessarily see eye to eye. So I`d like to know more about
And as far as the White House, boy, that is really chilling and I just
hope that that is a one-off.
MATTHEWS: Yes, Howard, that last one, I think, we led with it tonight
because it is our White House. And you and I have lived in the city and
known all our lives about -- our adult lives about the incredible security.
You can`t drive by on Pennsylvania Avenue. The old 33 bus, as I said -- I
used to take it up to Capitol Hill. You used to be able to ride right by
the White House. Now there`s tiger teeth there. You`re allowed to walk
along in front of the fence, but the president is basically a captive
inside the White House now. It`s very secure.
HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST MEDIA GROUP, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:
MATTHEWS: We thought it was.
FINEMAN: Yes. You`re right to mention that as part of the atmosphere
that is building in some quarters and really in a lot of the American
What interests me about that story today about people who fought
alongside ISIS coming back to the United States is that that was in a
briefing. That was a briefing that -- from a briefing that a senior
administration official held today, ironically in the Old Executive Office
Building right next door to the White House, behind those fences.
And my question is, why is the White House saying that now? Why are
they putting that out now? And my interpretation of it is that`s a piece
of connective tissue between the politics in the Middle East and the
politics in the United States. And it looks to me like the White House is
beginning more of an effort to build support in the country for what
clearly will be a more open-ended and involved mission in that part of the
world than the president has yet stated.
MATTHEWS: So they`re building the case for war?
FINEMAN: I think so.
FINEMAN: I don`t know how else to interpret the fact that they held
this briefing and said, yes, you`re right, there are people coming back.
And Bobby is right. The language is carefully crafted, fought alongside
Query: Why do they put that out? Why do they put that out now? I
think they put it out because of the ongoing sort of dispute within the
administration not only about what language to use, but how far to go. And
I think this shows that the people who say we have got to go further have
the upper hand.
And even though, as Bobby says, a lot of the language that ISIS using
is thug, street language, designed to taunt, it`s having an effect
Well, Howard, I want to stay with you, because this is interesting,
because it seems to me that when you say administration official and you do
it at the EOB, you`re really disguising the fact that it`s a White House
person, it`s a Tony Blinken, it`s a Denis McDonough, it`s somebody who
works in the White House is doing this. Why else would they be briefing in
the EOB, right next door?
FINEMAN: Right. Exactly. Exactly.
MATTHEWS: It seems to me they cover themselves by saying, the
background on this is some administration source, as if it came from the
Pentagon or State. So clearly this has a grand policy purpose, is what
FINEMAN: Yes. It has a policy and political purpose.
I think that even though the president made this categorical statement
-- and sometimes President Obama makes categorical statements for political
reasons and to reassure the public that he then has to work around later --
I think the sort of no combat troops phraseology that he used is one that
could come back to haunt him and one that clearly Pentagon planners and
others who say, you shouldn`t dare draw such lines, are trying to fuzz up
both in and around the president`s own statements.
Bobby, I got one more thing for you. It seems to me I have read this
somewhere years ago that the Middle Eastern persons, the Arabs have watched
the Westerners, the whites from Europe basically cover their retreat with
artillery for centuries. You fire a few rounds, then you get out of town.
This charge that the Americans and the Europeans -- this is an ISIS
charge -- is very smart and deliberate -- they`re saying, you guys are
afraid to put your feet on the ground. You`re basically covering your
retreat. What are you kidding us. You`re not coming at us.
MATTHEWS: Is this a goading, or what would you call it in Middle East
psychology terms? What are they up to? Are they trying to get us in or
get us out?
GHOSH: Well, I think we`re already in. So that ship has already --
that ship has sailed.
If they are trying to communicate in any way indirectly with the Arab
street, well, the Arab street don`t want American boots on the ground.
Even the Arab countries that want our help, even Iraq, even the Iraqis, the
Kurds who want our help, do not want American boots on the ground. They
want air support. They want military firepower. They want intelligence
assistance and some training.
They are not asking for boots on the ground. So it`s not just that
the West is reluctant to put boots on the ground. Nobody in the region is
asking us to put boots on the ground.
GHOSH: So this taunting, sort of it goes over the heads of most
ordinary Arabs. And really we should let it go ourselves, because I don`t
think he should respond to that. We have enough real things to respond
with -- to. ISIS a genuine crisis.
MATTHEWS: So to use an American term, it`s trash talk, right? That`s
what it is.
GHOSH: That`s exactly what it is.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you.
Anyway, thank you, although Tony Blair today was saying, we can`t win
in the air, we got to go on the ground.
Anyway, Bobby Ghosh, Howard, you`re the best. Thank you, gentlemen,
for both coming on.
FINEMAN: Thank you. Thank you, guys.
MATTHEWS: Up next, the owner of the Baltimore Ravens answers to a
report that team executives did know what was on that horrid video. They
knew what was on it, bad news for them.
Anyway, this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, as the NFL continues to deal with the fallout over
the Ray Rice domestic violence case, new questions have arisen as to what
the Baltimore Ravens and the league knew after their star player assaulted
his then fiancee.
ESPN reported this Friday that just hours after the incident in
February, Baltimore Ravens director of security Darren Sanders reached an
Atlantic City police officer by phone. While watching surveillance video,
the officer, who told Sanders he just happened to be a Ravens fan,
described in detail to Sanders what he was seeing. Sanders quickly relayed
the damning video`s play by play to team executives in Baltimore.
The owner of the Ravens, Steve Bisciotti, pushed back against that
ESPN report, but was later asked if his director of security did in fact
relay a description of that tape to the team.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE BISCIOTTI, OWNER, BALTIMORE RAVENS: I believe he did. I
believe he communicated off of the description that policeman did, which
was off of what we now have as an incredibly shaky video.
Have you seen that? OK. So, that was what the policeman was
describing the scene to Darren off that original botchy tape that kept
going backwards and things like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, you saw every defense in the book. That`s a real
record in flackery, botchy, shaky, anything to explain why he didn`t see
what he saw.
Joining me now is Dianna Russini, the NBC 4 sports reporter here in
Thank you, Dianna. It seems to me that he admitted the fact here
after all that blah, blah, blah.
DIANNA RUSSINI, NBC REPORTER: Yes.
MATTHEWS: ... that the team owners knew -- they knew what had
happened in that elevator, just like the NFL probably did get a copy of the
tape. A woman executive got it. But, obviously, Roger Goodell refused to
do the obvious and walked around the office and said who here among the few
female executives got that tape, instead of having the former head of the
FBI spend the next six months or so wasting our time until the temperature
comes down and he can keep his 44 big ones in perpetuity.
That seems to be the strategy, just my thinking politically here.
RUSSINI: Yes, Chris, thanks for having me on.
Yes, I think right now we`re at a point now where we saw Roger Goodell
go up there. We now have seen the Ravens owner up there. And it seems
that everyone is really good at throwing each other under the bus.
No one seems to be standing up there taking full responsibility and
telling us the truth of exactly what happened and who dropped the ball
here. You know, we have been saying this since three weeks ago, that
something stinks about this case, and it seems to just get worse every
We still hasn`t been able to figure out exactly why the NFL, why the
Ravens haven`t been able to put together how Janay Rice was knocked out
unconscious. If they knew he so-called slapped her or punched her, no one
has answered that question yet.
Every single press conference I have been watching, I just keep
thinking, how did they think that she got knocked out? How is that
allowed? So I still think there`s tons of questions that need to be
answered, and this investigation is hopefully going to find those.
MATTHEWS: Wasn`t his original explanation, Ray Rice, that he slapped
her with an open hand and hit her against the wall and it was the wall that
did the damage?
MATTHEWS: I heard that was the original cover story. I don`t know if
it`s true or any element of it is true.
RUSSINI: Yes, that was definitely the original story there.
And, Chris, it was just brought up this zero-tolerance policy, that
maybe that the NFL should instate, which would basically work out the way
you would see a domestic violence case happen in the NFL or a player would
get arrested and then he would be immediately suspended from the NFL.
And, you know, the Ravens owner was trying to bring up a point. You
can`t do that. That`s not the way to solve domestic abuse in the NFL. So
right now, granted, this Ray Rice story has brought so much attention to
domestic violence, not just in the NFL, but in our country.
The NFL, it`s very obvious right now, they need to make changes. And
I believe the only way that domestic abuse is going to be handled the
correct way and at least get better in the NFL is if the organizations
start getting -- having to face fines, suspensions, draft picks. That`s
the only way that we`re going to see change with the rules with domestic
abuse concerning players, owners, coaches in the NFL.
MATTHEWS: Dianna, thank you so much. I understand it. What seems to
be the pattern here is keep the possession of the ball, keep the star
player on the field no matter what. Keep the secrets if you have to.
That`s the absolute, consistent pattern here from the NFL, from Roger
Goodell, and certainly from Bisciotti we just saw it again. They`re
covering up. They`re covering up. They`re covering up.
Up next, Democrats could score in the Senate battle this November.
And speaking of hot tickets, take a look at the heated debate this weekend
in Arkansas in that governor`s race between Democrat Mike Ross and
Republican Asa Hutchinson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASA HUTCHINSON (R), ARKANSAS GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: And Mr. Ross
spent 12 years in Washington in Congress. If you want to talk about his
record, he voted for Nancy Pelosi for speaker four times and he voted
against her twice.
MIKE ROSS (D), ARKANSAS GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Now, wait a minute.
The only time Nancy Pelosi had an opponent, I gave a nominating speech for
her opponent with her sitting in the front row.
HUTCHINSON: Mike, I just said you voted for her four times. I didn`t
say anything else. I said you voted against her as well. Don`t get so
defensive about your flip-flopping on Nancy Pelosi.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger.
Here`s what`s happening.
Three Afghan army officers who went missing over the weekend have been
found trying to cross the border into Canada. They disappeared during a
training exercise on Cape Cod.
The U.S. forces carried out four airstrikes today southwest of Kirkuk.
The strike targeted vehicles, a tank and a Humvee.
And regulators have cleared an experimental Ebola drug for emergency
use. It`s the same drug used to Dr. Rick Sacra, a missionary who
contracted the disease while working in Western Africa -- back to HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. PAT ROBERTS (R), KANSAS: The people of Kansas elected me to go
to the U.S. Senate. The U.S. Senate is in Washington. My home is Dodge
City, and I`m damn proud of it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Orman?
GREG ORMAN (I), KANSAS SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I suspect,
Senator, I have been to Dodge City more this year than you have.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was embattled three-term Republican Senator Pat Roberts and his
opponent, independent businessman Greg Orman, debating earlier this month.
In a potentially game-changing development, the red state of Kansas could
turn blue this November, making the GOP`s path to victory harder than they
Republicans may need to win seven seats, instead of six, to win
control of the Senate this November. Anyway, the latest RealClearPolitics
polling average has Roberts trailing Orman by one.
Let`s turn to our roundtable.
I think he`s trailing by a lot more than that.
Jay Newton-Small is a correspondent for "TIME" magazine. David Corn
is an MSNBC political analyst and Washington bureau chief for "Mother
Jones," of course. And Clarence Page is an opinion writer with "The
Chicago Tribune" and author of the new book "Culture Worrier."
Speaking of worrier, I got to get your thoughts about this White House
camp -- scam or whatever it was. This guy goes running across the fence.
He`s no genius. He`s no acrobat. Somehow, he clears the fence, makes it
to the North Portico inside the White House, carrying, I think it was a
switch blade. He had already been fingered before carrying assault weapons
with a map of the White House circled on it, a map circled with the White
There`s all the indications in the world this guy was maybe loony or
whatever, headed towards the president to possibly kill him. And nobody
noticed this, apparently. Your thoughts, Clarence? Because we do have
ISIS out there would like to know the route to the North Portico door right
now, and this guy is showing them the way.
MATTHEWS: Your thoughts.
CLARENCE PAGE, COLUMNIST, "THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE": I want to know what
happened to a missile dog, that great Secret Service dog that was supposed
to come out and knock down intruders like a missile.
It seems like everybody was a little bit snoozing at the switch here
with the presidential family being away. And obviously there`s going to be
lots of investigations and reprimands, et cetera, et cetera, going on and a
lot tighter security, but I think this guy got lucky, it looks like,
inasmuch as it`s worth.
MATTHEWS: David, along those lines, we just got a report today --
we`re getting these reports from this audio -- we haven`t verified that it
is, in fact, ISIS -- it probably is -- ISIS saying they`re coming to get us
in our beds.
They must -- this is an interesting segue and connection. The very
day the president`s house gets broken into, basically, and penetrated,
they`re talking about getting us in our beds. It has a credibility factor
to it. Your thoughts?
DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, nothing would make
ISIS happier than drawing the U.S. further and further into this war.
Right now, they are competing with other Islamic groups, other
extremist groups, for the hearts and minds of people who they believe are
anti-West. And going up against the United States, being fingered as the
number one priority by the United States is really in their interest. It`s
exactly what bin Laden tried to do in drawing us into war in Iraq and
So it doesn`t surprise me at all that they want to make this, you
know, not the break-in at the White House, but they want to make the
conflict in Syria and Iraq about the United States. They want to scare us
and have us move in more. And we`re going to continue to have that, and
that`s why it is going to be hard to have rational debates in which we
don`t let the emotions of being taunted affect how we come up with really
good policy decisions.
MATTHEWS: Well, Jay Newton-Small, it seems to me the White House is
trying to draw us into it too. Some high-level official walks across from
the White House to the Old Executive Office Building that is right there on
West Executive Avenue -- I used to work in that building -- and tells
everybody, hey, we got some Americans coming back from working alongside
ISIS. They could be up to trouble.
But we have them on watch or we`re watching them. The FBI is watching
them. Why would they put out that statement, unless they wanted to get us
excited about this war?
JAY NEWTON-SMALL, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, "TIME": Oh, clearly,
that`s -- they want to warn Americans that an attack is coming.
You saw -- I thought it was really striking. This weekend, you had
Dianne Feinstein, who is the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in
really the most -- the strongest terms that I think I have ever heard
anyone in the government say, that it`s not really a question of when.
It`s -- of if -- it`s a question of when. And she believes firmly that
there will be an attack on the homeland sometime soon. And they`re really
ratcheting up that language to sort of, in some ways, justify going to war
in Iraq and in Syria and fight ISIS, because otherwise the polling for
going back to war in the Middle East is just terrible. Nobody really wants
to go back to war in the Middle East. So, you have to sort of say there`s
imminent danger, there`s a reason why we`re doing this.
MATTHEWS: Clarence, it looks to me like a Democrat is going to flip
the Kansas seat. I know I`m jumping around here, but it is fascinating,
this day of news. They have a real shot with this Greg Orman, and
everybody assuming he`s going to organize with the Democrats, vote for
Democratic leader Harry Reid. He looks like he can knock off Sam Roberts
because of the fact that Roberts doesn`t have a house in Kansas. The
conservatives don`t like Roberts. The independents are out there saying
So, it looks to me that there`s a good shot at Democrats picking up,
ironically, like they picked up a middle of the road state like Maine,
picking up a conservative state like Kansas this way.
PAGE: Yes, this is what Vice President Biden would call a big F-ing
deal here. This is -- I mean, they haven`t had a Republican in the Senate
seat from Kansas in 80 years now. That`s an amazing turn, just Roberts is
in this much trouble.
He does -- well, Orman needs the help, of course, of the Democratic
candidate who is trying to stay off the ballot while the Republican
secretary of state is trying to get him back on to the ballot to divide
Roberts` opposition. If that effort fails and Roberts has to do a head to
head with Orman, I think you`re right. Orman has got a very good chance of
MATTHEWS: So, you`re betting with Orman, I am, too. Let me got to
Jay Newton-Small, who`s on top of this story. I know you got to be
objective here, but you`re in a round table, which is a dangerous place to
DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: Watch out.
MATTHEWS: Do you think this is a good one for the Democrats to dream
for, that they could actually make it very hard for the Republicans to
carry the Senate. Because they`d have to carry seven seats if they can
steal one in Kansas.
NEWTON-SMALL: To me, it seems it`s all about money, because last, you
know, right last month in August, actually the Democratic senator committee
had $5 million more than the Republicans did. Overall, Democrats have
raised a lot more money.
And you`re looking at the field where Mitch McConnell, who`s the
Senate minority leader, is in a race that`s going to cost him $100 million
to win, or it`s going to be $100 race overall, there`s no money for the
Republicans out there. If they have to defend yet another seat, they`re
going to have to have the sort of Sophie`s choice, come to Jesus moment,
where`re going to have to kind of decide, do you want to save your majority
or save your minority leader?
And that`s kind of horrible for them.
MATTHEWS: But who`s going to win in Kansas? I couldn`t get it out.
That answer. Who`s going to win in Kansas? Are you going to tell me?
NEWTON-SMALL: It`s so hard to say, but there`s a lot of anger against
Governor Brownback, and it seems to be trending towards the Democrats or
the independent Democrats.
CORN: There`s a lot of dark money out there, too. So, even though
the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee is behind the Democrats right
now, there`s a lot of folks out there, ever hear of the Koch brothers?
What state are they from? Kansas.
They and others, if they see this seat as being key to the Republicans
losing -- gaining control or not gaining control of the Senate, they have
lots of time left to flood Kansas with money --
MATTHEWS: OK, I don`t think money can buy you love. I don`t think
money can buy you love. I think the guy has got a problem with his
residency. I like Pat Roberts, but let me tell you something. Sam Roberts
writes for "The Times."
I got to tell you something -- the guy has got a real problem. You
can`t represent Kansas in the United States and not in some way live there.
Anyway, stick around. Jay Newton-Small, David Corn, and Clarence
Page, sticking with the roundtable.
Up next, we`re not used to seeing huge protest marches like we used to
get back in the good old `60s anymore. But yesterday, look at this, a show
of real concern.
Finally, people in the streets about something. This time about
climate change, and it`s all over the world, but especially in New York,
300,000 people -- 310,000 people took to the streets to call for action
with the United Nations coming to town.
This is overwhelming turn-out for the people. It shows the powerful,
under-the-radar strength of an issue that politicians don`t talk about.
Guess what? Al Gore was there.
And here`s another race to watch tonight, Wendy Davis, last year`s
queen of the filibuster, took on her opponent Saturday in the Texas
gubernatorial debate. Let`s watch them go at it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STATE SEN. WENDY DAVIS (D-TX), GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: My opponent,
on the other hand, has paid women in his office less than he`s paid men.
He has campaigned with a known sexual predator who has bragged about having
sex with under-age girls.
ATTY GEN. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX), GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Senator Davis,
do you regret voting for Barack Obama?
DAVIS: Mr. Abbott, what I am working on right now is running for
governor of this incredible state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: The arrival of Bill and Hillary Clinton`s first
grandchildren may only be weeks away now. During an interview this
weekend, the former president hinted that he may be a grandfather by the
beginning of next month, that would be October. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: I can`t wait. And we`re on watch
now. I hope by the 1st of October, I`ll be a grandfather.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Chelsea Clinton announced her pregnancy in April, but
never revealed the due date. The president seems to have done that.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
I`m back with our roundtable. The topic now: the overwhelming turn-
out, more than 300,000 people yesterday in New York. The People`s Climate
March, it was called. Images of the march covered the front page of "The
New York Times" with the headline, "Taking the call for climate change to
On MSNBC`s Web site, the New York City march and others around the
world, from London to Peru to Berlin and Rio, it was characterized as the
largest climate march in history. Celebrities, world leaders, policymakers
and concerned citizens filled the streets of Manhattan and around the
world, including the actor Mark Ruffalo, Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Gore, he`s
back. U.N. Secretary General Ki-moon, and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Well, today, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke at the U.N. about the
urgency of addressing climate change.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: It is absolutely imperative that we
decide, move and to act now. You don`t have to take my word for it. You
don`t have to take Al Gore`s word for it. You don`t have to take the
IPCC`s word, the framework convention, all of those people sounding the
alarm bells. You can just wake up pretty much every day and listen to
Mother Nature who is screaming at us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Tomorrow, President Obama will speak before the U.N. and
join more than 120 world leaders at a day-long climate summit.
And joining me again, Jay Newton-Small, David Corn and Clarence Page.
David, I think the thing about this is you still have the no-nothings,
the science deniers, the clown card I like to call them on the Republican
side, mostly Republicans, who absolutely refuse any scientific evidence who
say that this isn`t something we should worry about let alone do anything
CORN: Well, this is the big problem politically, because while in the
scientific community, there is a 95 percent consensus that global warming
is real. It`s human induced and we better do something damn quick if we`re
going to prevent some catastrophe down the road in the next couple of
In the political arena, you have like 80 percent of Republicans in the
House Science Committee climate change deniers. And the way the media has
covered this over the past few years is often giving people like that more
say than they deserve rather than laugh them out of the room as being part
of that clown car. They`d still able to keep coming up to the fight. All
they have to do is come to a draw, say there are questions out there, for
the public to be not as engaged in this as they need to be, because it`s
always hard to engage the public and the problem that`s not knocking on
your door, but that`s going to be coming maybe knocking or howling the next
decade or two. And we keep struggling with that.
NEWTON-SMALL: And the fact, David, I mean, there`s -- it used to be
that climate change was not a partisan issue. It was Republicans you know,
there`s Republicans who are for it, some Democrats who are for it, and it
depended on what state you were from. Were you from a coal-producing
state, or a state with a lot of solar power? And then, all of the sudden,
in the Barack Obama age, it became this hyper-partisan issue where if
you`re a Republican you`re against climate legislation, and if you`re a
Democrat, you`re for it.
And what they need to do is sort of come back and depoliticize this
issue and say, let`s -- you know, find a way to actually work on this in a
realistic way that isn`t sort of crazy, throw the water bath out with the
Jesus baby, that kind of thing. It`s become so polarized.
CORN: John McCain was the leader of the Republican side in proposing
climate change legislation before he ran for president in 2008. Now, you
don`t hear a peep out of him.
NEWTON-SMALL: I interviewed John McCain, you know, actually four
months ago. I asked him, where do you stand on climate change these days?
He said I`d love to do another climate change bill, but there`s no one left
to work with anymore. It`s just a subject matter that`s dead.
PAGE: I don`t call it the clown car. I call it the cash car, because
industry -- the industries that are opposed to more regulation to try to
prevent the human action or human impact on climate change are very much
funding the side that wants to avoid for regulation, and it`s become part
of the conservative agenda to oppose anything that involves regulation.
And in this political season, we see the coal industry and other similar
industries that are heavily involved in this election for those very
reasons. So, I think --
MATTHEWS: Clarence, why do people who deny science want to be on the
science committee? Or is that too primitive a question? Why do these guys
try to get on a committee with science if they`re basically Old Testament
people who believe in literal interpretations of the bible, fine. They`re
fundamentalists. But why don`t they get on a committee where all they can
do is say I don`t believe this stuff.
PAGE: Because, as you know, those are the committees, they either
make regulation or block regulation. And that`s really a key part of this
debate, politically. It has very little to do with science per se as much
as it has to do with which side is able to get the legislation they want.
CORN: But, you know, if the Tea Party fever is not broken on the
Republican side, it`s really possible in the next five, 10, 15 years, that
we may pass a point of no return. There`s some climate scientists who are
coming up with these very, very -- you know, troubling and pessimistic
scenarios. They say there really isn`t much time here.
So, how you break that impasse, I don`t know. But when I hear Jay
about McCain shrugging his shoulders, saying there`s no one to work with,
well, actually he could be showing leadership on that, as well as
leadership fighting ISIS and maybe make a difference and change the debate,
rather than just throw up the white flag.
NEWTON-SMALL: I think the great thing about this march, though, is it
shows that people say constantly that nobody cares about climate change,
that in the polling, it doesn`t matter. No one is paying any attention,
and this actually shows that there are a lot of people out there who care
about climate change.
MATTHEWS: Look, I`ve been waiting for demonstrations on jobs and all
kinds of things, infrastructure, we finally got some people around ready to
push, 310,000 of them means something. As Woody Allen said, show up.
Anyway, thank you, Jay Newton-Small. Thank you, Clarence Page and
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with my father and the love he found
late in life. Dad and mom were married in the early 1940s when he was in
the Navy. When mom died five decades later, he found Trudy Webber (ph).
What they had in common was the shared life of being Alzheimer`s
Can you imagine the wonder of finding your late in life love by
showing your love for your wife of a half century? That`s just what
happened. It`s what I like to say, save dad from a life of eating a Pizza
Hut, that batch of existence is not really what you`d call life.
Well, Dad and Trudy had a great time together for the simple reason
they were a match made in heaven, even if for both of them, it was the
second match for two people who had already found one.
Well, today, down in Ocean City, New Jersey, where my brothers and I
spent so many summers, Trudy got her send off, mostly from her first
family, but also from my brothers and I who were there to join her, just as
my dad and her were joined to the time for their lives when they had come
to know what true love is.
I have to say that I`ve never heard a eulogy like we all heard today
from Trudy, Rocky, by God, he said such truth about appreciating what you
have, not judging others, not worrying about the past but looking at every
day you have before you and faced with it all yourself. Not a bad way to
live, especially, if you`re able, like Trudy Webber Matthews, to make it
just about to 92.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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