Date: September 26, 2014
Guest: Rep. Raul Grijalva, Howard Dean, Tavis Smiley, Charlie Dent, Jeremy
Peters, Michelle Bernard, Jeremy Peters, Michael Tomasky
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Voting with their feet.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
Something`s happened, and all of a sudden, we`re hearing members of
Congress saying they want to take this war to an up or down vote, this as
the United States continues the bombing campaign overnight, hitting targets
in both Syria and Iraq. By the way, no more hiding in the bushes, it
seems, no more playing footsie with the other side to protect both sides
from taking a political hit from those on the left and right who don`t like
going into yet another Muslim-killing war.
But here`s the kicker. The British just voted on the war in
parliament. And isn`t that why we had the American revolution back in
1775? Didn`t we want to vote, and they wouldn`t let us? Wasn`t that push
for democracy a big part of our Revolutionary War? Well, tonight, we look
at the new push for a congressional vote on the ISIS war. We look at Eric
Holder`s career as attorney general.
And then with the roundtable of Michelle Bernard, Michael Tomasky and
"The New York Times`s" Jeremy Peters, we catch the clown car`s arrival in
Washington as right-wingers Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz and Michele Bachmann hold
a jamboree. And finally tonight, a tip of the cap to the Yankees` Derek
Jeter, who reminds us all why we still look up to the stars.
Congressman Raul Grijalva is a Democrat from Arizona and co-chair of
the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which is calling for Congress to come
back to Washington for a war vote. And Governor Howard Dean is the former
DNC chair, presidential candidate, and of course, governor of Vermont.
I want to start with the chairman of the committee, Mr. Grijalva.
What is it that`s left the Congress -- led them all to come trooping out of
Washington last week, with the speaker, the Democratic leader, Nancy
Pelosi, Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid all quietly getting together,
holding hands and deciding not to vote on a war? What got them all
REP. RAUL GRIJALVA (D), ARIZONA: I think what got them all together
is what the president`s been saying -- the urgency of the situation. But
beyond that point...
MATTHEWS: No, getting them together not to vote. They agreed not to
GRIJALVA: The political calculation that was made not to vote, I
think, is a huge mistake. On just July 25th of this year, the House voted
on Resolution 105, a concurrent resolution, 370 to 40, to say that the
sustained use of force must come to Congress for authorization and
approval. So we go against that vote that we took. We go against the
constitutionally enshrined duty that we have to make those decisions.
The 202 resolution that the president says gives him this open-ended
authority with regard to the war that`s going on now, the conflict in Iraq
and Syria -- it`s 2002. The parameters, the boundaries, the scope have all
changed. And Congress, whether midterms or no midterm elections, needs to
take a vote. That`s our duty. That`s our responsibility.
The idea to say, Let the generals decide, goes against everything that
the founding fathers insisted, and that Congress and the civilians in this
country were preeminent when the decisions about war and peace occurred.
MATTHEWS: Well, as I said, the British parliament was called back
into session today to vote on their role in this war. The debate raged for
six hours today, with Prime Minister David Cameron on the hot seat. Take a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How long will this war last, and when will mission
DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Well, let me answer that very
directly. This is going to be a mission that will take not just months,
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Killing extremists doesn`t kill their ideas. To
the contrary, it can often feed their ideas.
CAMERON: And we`ve also got to think of the consequences of inaction.
How much stronger will they be before we decide we need to take action, as
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at what the House of Commons agreed to, Iraq,
Afghanistan, in this government, Libya, none are success stories!
CAMERON: We do have to realize that whether we like it or not, they
have already declared war on us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, they -- they voted overwhelmingly to join the
coalition fighting ISIS in Iraq after that good -- I love that stuff!
Governor Dean, that`s what we should have in this country! I want to hear
the left get up there and say, All this does is boost their recruitment.
You know, someone on the right can make their clamorous comment. But we`re
not having anything. We just said quietly, We`re leaving town. We`re just
leaving. Your thoughts, Governor.
HOWARD DEAN (D-VT), FMR. GOV., FMR. DNC CHAIR: Well, you know, first
of all, what I`m about to say about Congress excludes Raul Grijalva, who`s
been an enormous and wonderful friend to me over my political career. But
the leadership in Congress, particularly, of course, the Republicans in the
House, just have not shown an interest in doing anything for this country
for four-and-a-half years. So it`s not a surprise that they didn`t want to
take this on.
What really does need to happen is they need to have -- the whole
country needs to have a discussion about this. I suspect that the country
supports the president in what he`s doing. I suspect, though, that they
would not support the president if they were to put boots on the ground.
And that is the danger of mission creep. I`m not worried about
mission creep. I`m very supportive of what the president`s doing. But if
this were a different administration -- we saw the disaster that came from
George Bush and Dick Cheney`s ventures into Iraq. I don`t think it`s a bad
idea to have a debate about Iraq and Syria, and I think we should do it.
MATTHEWS: Well, I would say it`s nice to be constitutional, Governor.
I mean, I`m sorry, we`re falling into the slippery slope. You mentioned
the creep, mission creep. We`ve had this sort of war creep, Congressman
Grijalva, for decades now, where we get so loosey-goosey about that that
anybody who`s president who wants to use military power, whether it`s down
against Grenada or it`s down in Panama or wherever the hell it is, they
just do it. They don`t sit around and ask -- War Powers Act -- I mean,
it`s on paper, but it doesn`t seem to do anything.
Let me ask you -- when you -- as the Progressive Caucus, did you have
a formal way of addressing your Democratic leadership and the speaker with
your petition? How did you go about introducing this news that you want to
vote to the leadership?
GRIJALVA: We introduced a resolution. We knew that Boehner wasn`t
going to put it on the floor, but it was a message in hopes of rallying our
caucus and members of the other side of the aisle to ask for a vote, to
have that deliberate debate, to have the opinions of the members heard and
to set parameters, set ceilings, make the assurances about no boots on the
ground, do the kinds of things that Congress is supposed to do. And then
Boehner`s announcement the other day that, Oh, we won`t deal with this
until the new session, maybe in January.
MATTHEWS: Next year. Well, why don`t you guys -- I`m not a political
leader, but why don`t you go to Washington, stand in front of the Capitol
building, the entire Progressive Caucus -- you got a big crowd of people --
stand there on the Capitol steps and say, We want to vote. The American --
every network would cover it. Every newspaper would cover it because you`d
be voting with your feet and saying, We want to vote, in a way that Pelosi
and the rest of them would have to at least respond to!
GRIJALVA: Well, the suggestion that you made is a suggestion that`s
been made the last couple of days by members of the caucus and staff that
works in our office. It is not out of the realm of possibility. You know,
the Boehner statement I found particularly worrisome and hypocritical...
MATTHEWS: What`s he up to? Why next year?
GRIJALVA: Well, look -- look, he`s -- there he is telling President
Obama, You`re imperial, you`re overreaching when it comes to executive
orders on immigration, climate change, EPA, name it, you`re overreaching.
On this issue -- on this issue, where we have a dated resolution to gives
the president open-ended authority, it`s OK. We can wait. There`s no
GRIJALVA: And that`s not overreaching, that`s not imperial and...
MATTHEWS: What a joke.
GRIJALVA: ... and I find that particularly hypocritical.
MATTHEWS: Governor -- Governor, what they do is they sue him for
advancing the date or...
MATTHEWS: ... moving back the date on when the employee -- the
employer -- the employer mandate, which they all, you know -- I don`t know
what, it would help them, if they`re Republican business people. He did
something nice to the Republican businessmen, he said, You don`t have to go
with the employer mandate for a while. They call that a basis for
MATTHEWS: We`re starting a war? Oh, just go do it on your own.
We`re not going to get in your way.
DEAN: Hang on a second. Just -- let me just defend the president for
a minute. We in some ways are hanging him...
MATTHEWS: I`m not attacking him. It`s the Congress that has to
insist on its prerogatives. The Congress...
DEAN: Right, but...
MATTHEWS: ... has to insist on its powers.
DEAN: Yes, I think that`s right. But let`s -- there`s been a lot of
discussion about mission creep and all these kinds of things. I think this
president is very different than George Bush and Dick Cheney, and I trust
this president. And I know there are those who don`t who are on the
I do think the Congress needs to weigh in. I absolutely do. We need
to have a full-fledged debate about what we`re doing, which we did not
really have before Iraq because we were given all kinds of stuff that
wasn`t so, the weapons of mass destruction, the hints at the atomic program
and all that kind of stuff. That wasn`t true.
But presidents do need to defend the country. I think ISIS is a real
threat, unlike Saddam Hussein, who was a terrible person but not a threat
to the United States. And so what we -- what I -- what I -- what bothers
me a little bit is that we are -- we, on the progressive end of the
spectrum, are so bruised by the terrible tragedy of the 2003 invasion of
Iraq that we`re hanging some of that attitude around this president. I
think he deserves a clean slate.
But I agree. The question about...
GRIJALVA: I agree.
DEAN: ... whether Congress should vote is not -- is not up for grabs.
The Congress has to vote. I agree with that.
MATTHEWS: I`m still bruised by Vietnam, Governor. I mean, I -- you
know, we used to have hearings back then.
MATTHEWS: You had people like Fulbright -- you know, you`d have to
have big national hearings on the war on television, and people would all
watch, then there was a big debate in the hearing room. You know, that`s
good stuff. You know, it`s amazing.
DEAN: I agree.
MATTHEWS: The Brits are stuffy -- stuffed shirts at certain times,
but I love that debate, guys, that we just saw there. That`s what we could
have. It would be great with the liberals -- I mean, the progressives out
there yelling and throwing some stuff across the room and rhetoric. And at
the end of the day, we`d know what the fight was about.
And that would be a good thing, to know what the fight was about, and
the concerns which are real, that we`re -- that we`re stirring the pot of
the youth of the Muslim world. And by being the big shots going in over
there, we may be stirring up the beehive. We may be creating more trouble
than we`re ending. These are good points to make, I think.
Anyway, great having you -- gentlemen, I respect you both. Thank you
for coming on -- U.S. Congressman...
GRIJALVA: Thank you so much, Chris.
MATTHEWS: ... Raul Grijalva of Arizona and Governor Howard Dean up in
Coming up: Who will lead the fight for voting rights now that Attorney
General Eric Holder is leaving office? By the way, the right to vote
shouldn`t be a matter of politics. Everyone should have it.
Plus, it`s a right-wing clown car reunion, and they`re all vying for
the spotlight at a summit for social conservatives here in Washington --
Ted Cruz, Michele Bachmann, Bobby Jindal, and of course, Sarah Palin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN (R-AK), FMR. GOV., FMR. VP NOMINEE: Don`t retreat! You
reload with truth, which I know is an endangered species at 1400
Pennsylvania Avenue anyway, truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue. By the way, this is the clown
car, not the brain trust, obviously. The president lives at 1600
By the way, stick around for more of these sugar plums and more of the
HARDBALL roundtable. We have all-stars on tonight. And this isn`t, by the
way, a sports show, but we are a show about America, and sometimes, a
sports figure transcends the game and becomes a figure of true national
admiration, and they do it the right way. He`s known across the country
simply as "the captain." And last night, Derek Jeter said farewell in
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Derek Jeter ends his final game with a walk-off
single! Derek Jeter, where fantasy becomes reality! Did you have any
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, she just appeared in an ad firing a shotgun. But now
Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes says she`s willing to work with President
Obama to close a loophole allowing the sale of guns at gun shows. She told
Kentucky Sports Radio that, quote, "It`s worth having the discussion to
actually work to close the gun show loophole that we see. You shouldn`t
have a different standard when you go to a gun store versus gun shows."
Well, I agree with that. Grimes is up against Senate Minority Leader Mitch
McConnell for the seat in Kentucky.
And we`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: The Justice
Department will remain determined to use every tool at our disposal to
secure the rights of every citizen. We will continue this fight until all
Americans have equal access to the ballot box, no matter who they are and
no matter where they live.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That`s Attorney General Eric
Holder, speaking before the congressional caucus today. Among his many
significant legacies, of course, will be his determination to protect the
right of every American to vote, and he`s had to fight hard to keep that
right available to all. In June of 2013, the Supreme Court effectively
gutted the Voting Rights Act Section 5. Immediately after that decision
came down, the attorney general vowed to protect that most important
American right. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOLDER: We will not hesitate to take swift enforcement action using
every legal tool that remains to us against any jurisdiction that seeks to
take advantage of the Supreme Court`s ruling by hindering eligible
citizens` full and free exercise of the franchise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, since that decision, Attorney General Holder has
filed lawsuits against restrictive voting laws in Texas and North Carolina,
and joined lawsuits filed in Ohio and Wisconsin that challenge new voting
The attorney general had a lot to combat, of course, from some
Republicans who saw voter restriction as a tool to win in, of course. In a
June 2012 -- in that month, a Pennsylvania state representative considered
voting restrictions a way to help Mitt Romney win Pennsylvania in 2012.
Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor Romney
to win the state of Pennsylvania, done!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Isn`t it amazing when they talk the truth, these guys?
Anyway, in 2013, the Pennsylvania Republican chairman talked about voter ID
requirements helping the party.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think all the attention drawn to voter ID
affected last year`s elections?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I think a little bit. I think we probably
had a better election. Think about this. We cut Obama by 5 percent, which
was big. You know, a lot of people lost sight of that. He -- he won. He
beat McCain by 10 percent. He only beat Romney by 5 percent. I think that
probably voter ID had a -- helped the bid in that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That`s calling it what it is! Anyway, in one of the
biggest goofs, a North Carolina Republican precinct chairman, Don Yelton
(ph), committed the gaffe of speaking the truth again here on the effect of
voter ID laws.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The law is going to kick the Democrats in the
butt. If it hurts a bunch of lazy blacks that wants to have the government
to give them everything, so be it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it just so happens that a lot of those people
who vote Democrat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gee!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: This guy keeps nothing behind the scenes! Anyway, Yelton
was forced to resign after that wonderful interview.
Anyway, joining me right now is Tavis Smiley, host of "The Tavis
Smiley Show" and author of a great new book, "Death of a King: The Real
Story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.`s, Final Year." Also joining us,
David Corn, MSNBC political analyst. Thank you, Tavis, for coming on.
TAVIS SMILEY, "THE TAVIS SMILEY SHOW": My pleasure.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about the Voting Rights Acts, how it`s been
gutted and how an attorney general like Eric Holder has to fight for it.
SMILEY: In King`s lifetime, of course, his -- one of his most famous
lines was that the Negro in the South, David, could not vote, and the Negro
in the North had nothing for which to vote. And so he spent his life
fighting for Civil Rights and voting rights. I think you and I agree,
Chris, that the best thing perhaps the Congress has ever done in this
country, certainly in the last century, was to pass the Civil Rights Act
and the Voting Rights Act, and LBJ deserves credit for that, although he
and Martin had a major issue, of course, on the Vietnam war.
SMILEY: Fast-forward to Eric Holder. The fact that he has to even
fight these fights again, that the Voting Rights Act could be gutted the
way it`s been gutted -- I think Congress has some work ahead of it. I`m
not holding my breath. But it`s just tragic that in the most
multicultural, multiracial, multiethnic America ever, we have to fight
again these fights...
MATTHEWS: By the way...
SMILEY: ... all over.
MATTHEWS: ... just like Tavis said, you know, it`s -- these numbers
are real. I`m getting these numbers from states like Virginia, where you
might have a race for Senate there. I think Mark Warner`s going to win
over Gillespie, but that`s only 9 points. 100,000 people disenfranchised
because of this new law, and they`re probably Democrats, most of them.
DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, the guy
you just had on had a real, you know, example that they cut Obama`s vote
spread from 10 percent to 5 percent in his state. So they do this for a
reason. You know, the demographics particularly don`t favor the Republican
Party, so they need to, you know, gerrymand (sic), they need to rig the
votes, they need to fool around with the Electoral College...
MATTHEWS: How come they admit it? Why do they admit it publicly?
Are they stupid? I mean, why -- I mean, you hear about gentlemen`s
agreement and -- you know, compacts...
SMILEY: They can`t help themselves, Chris.
MATTHEWS: ... from selling to blacks and all these secret deals.
CORN: They can`t help themselves, Chris.
MATTHEWS: But these guys come right out and say it.
CORN: Because they can`t -- they can`t -- they can`t help themselves.
That`s the only explanation.
SMILEY: they -- and I think there`s one other. I think part of this,
Chris -- and I`m curious as to your point of view -- I think they want to
appeal to the base.
They know that we weren`t going to agree with that. But in terms of
appealing to their base, the message plays...
MATTHEWS: You mean the white conservatives that like that?
SMILEY: Absolutely. It plays to their base.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s talk about Eric Holder.
MATTHEWS: Because we all know the history of being an attorney
general for a Democratic president, Ramsey Clark, Bobby Kennedy. You are
the lightning rod. You are -- actually, you`re the rod up there. The
lightning hits you.
MATTHEWS: And the president steps back and said, well, it`s not me.
MATTHEWS: You know, Bobby took it for Jack, right?
MATTHEWS: Ramsey Clark took it for Johnson.
And this fellow...
CORN: This -- I think this was a particular case, for whatever
MATTHEWS: Because he`s African-American?
CORN: I -- listen, there was a guy, a person on FOX the other --
yesterday saying, you know, he was the most -- Eric Holder was the most
dangerous man in the country, and he let the Black Panthers run the Justice
Now, if that isn`t playing the race card -- we`re not even whistling
to the dogs. We`re saying, come here, Rover.
MATTHEWS: What he mean by the Panthers?
CORN: Black Panthers. I mean, well, you know what he`s talking
So that`s -- so that`s one reason it`s hard to get away from that.
They went after him as if he was the worst thing to happen in this country,
when we have had attorney generals like, say, John Mitchell, who ended up
MATTHEWS: I look at it from the left, from the center. You`re
MATTHEWS: What do you think? What kind of an A.G. has he been?
SMILEY: First of all, to be called the most dangerous man in America
is a compliment in the context of King. And you know they called King --
Hoover did -- the most dangerous man in America.
CORN: That`s not what they meant.
SMILEY: I got it.
But his only weapon was love. And he`s still the most dangerous man
in America, something to think about beyond tonight. Back to Holder,
MATTHEWS: By the way, J. Edgar Hoover had a lot of interest in his
MATTHEWS: He was focused heavily on that.
MATTHEWS: He listened to the tape recordings all night.
MATTHEWS: But let`s talk seriously.
MATTHEWS: ... King in your book and how, or not, Eric Holder has
carried it on.
SMILEY: I think Holder has served honorably. I had major issues with
him and said so publicly on public television and public radio when he
started digging into reporters` notebooks. I thought that was beyond the
pale and unacceptable.
MATTHEWS: Explain the situation.
SMILEY: Well, you know the situation. You can explain it better than
But the fact that you have got these -- the Justice Department digging
into what reporters knew and when they knew it and who they were talking to
and what their sources were...
CORN: Even mentioning them in indictments.
SMILEY: The Associated Press, the indictments.
MATTHEWS: What was the case?
CORN: Well, one involved James Rosen at FOX News when they went after
a leaker at the State Department, and they named Rosen as a co-conspirator
in the indictment.
CORN: Now, he has actually pulled back from that...
SMILEY: He`s pulled back on it, yes.
CORN: ... a little bit by going after the AP phone logs and things
SMILEY: They pulled back because they got spanked about it.
And other thing was when he sort of basically said that the banking
executives, they were too big to jail. I think those are the two black
marks on his record, the reporters and not doing anything in terms of
prosecuting people for the financial...
SMILEY: Those are the dark marks.
MATTHEWS: I want to show you some history. It comes back to your
Eric Holder of course has a personal connection, which I have always
loved, to the civil rights struggles of the `60s. His sister-in-law,
Vivian Malone, Sharon`s sister, was one of the two African-American
students to integrate the University of Alabama in that famous stop-at-the-
doorway thing where George Wallace, the governor, stood in the doorway, and
yet they integrated those two kids.
Let`s watch this amazing scene back in `63.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VIVIAN MALONE JONES, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA STUDENT: I`m glad that the
registration is over and everything is over now. I think we can get down
to studying. This is our main purpose here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Boy, that was a dramatic person there. She`s a very
attractive woman, the guy next to her. She comes in there young,
registering, in the face of 200 years of no blacks in this school.
And all of a sudden today, watching Alabama play football, I keep
thinking of the great irony of who is winning those games for those guys.
SMILEY: Yes, Eric Holder gets it, aside from these two blemishes that
we talked about earlier on his record. On voting rights, he gets it. On
mandatory minimums, he certainly gets it.
CORN: Sentencing reform.
SMILEY: He totally gets it on mandatory minimums.
CORN: On DOMA and gay rights.
SMILEY: Today, he received a hero`s welcome...
MATTHEWS: Give him a grade. Give him a grade.
CORN: I was going to say B too. I think those blemishes really are
important, but he`s tried hard.
CORN: Voting rights and also police brutality. We haven`t mentioned
the trip to Ferguson.
MATTHEWS: I am going to mention that.
CORN: OK, good.
MATTHEWS: And I give him extra credit for that, the way he handled
it, the way the president doesn`t handle these things sometimes.
People want to be heard. They hate being invisible, I think
especially African-Americans after all these years of invisibility. And
the fact that he went out and sat with them and listened and listened, and
not only listened, listened with his gut. He said, I know why you`re mad
at the police. I get it.
MATTHEWS: And whatever happens in that case, I think it helps.
Anyway, thank you, Tavis Smiley.
SMILEY: Good to see you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Good luck with this book.
SMILEY: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: It`s called "Death of a King." Of course, we`re talking
about Dr. Martin Luther King in his final year here.
And thank you, David, as well.
Up next, you`re looking. It`s Central Park in New York, where this
time tomorrow, this time, 60,000 people are expected on the Great Lawn for
the Global Citizen Festival. It`s for a great cause, of course, the global
effort to end extreme poverty. We are going to have a preview of it coming
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Sixty thousand people are expected to attend the 2014 Global Citizen
Festival on the Great Lawn in New York`s Central Park tomorrow afternoon.
It`s the third annual concert and advocacy event and it benefits the Global
Poverty Project, which leads an effort to end extreme poverty worldwide by
the year 2030.
Dozens of world leaders, U.S. Senates and congresspeople will be
attending, along with a musical lineup that includes Jay-Z, No Doubt, The
Roots and Carrie Underwood, just to name a few.
You can MSNBC`s live coverage of the event starting tomorrow at 3:00
By the way, U.S. Congressman Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania will also be
there tomorrow. He joins us now, with Alex Wagner, host of "NOW WITH ALEX
WAGNER" on MSNBC.
Thank you, both.
I am going to start with the congressman, instead of Alex, for no good
reason, except I`m going to do it.
Thank you, Congressman, for joining us.
What do you make of this event and how do you end poverty with a
concert? Or is that too weird a question, too obvious a question?
REP. CHARLIE DENT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Well, first, thanks for having
me on the show, Chris.
And good to be with you, Alex, too.
Well, the idea of this concert is to raise awareness about some of the
global poverty and development issues around the world. And I have often
said that the United States has a three-pronged or three-headed national
security strategy, diplomacy, defense, development. We need to do all
Clearly, people understand if you have a strong defense posture, that
helps your diplomatic position, negotiating positions. By the same token,
we spend a lot less on development. But that development money, whether
it`s for the president`s emergency program for AIDS, PEPFAR, or in this
case Water for the World, we`re trying to show the these development
dollars can bring about greater political, economic, and social stability,
particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, which can mitigate the need for armed
And many in our defense establishment have said over the years that if
we did a better job on development, it could lessen the need for us to buy
DENT: And so the bottom line is, there`s a lot of human suffering and
this -- we`re trying to raise awareness of this.
There are over 35,000 people out there who are trying to influence
policy-makers around the world, particularly in the developed world, to try
to do more to help this particular global development initiative, providing
clean water, water sanitation, hygiene. That`s really what we`re talking
MATTHEWS: Well, I like what you`re saying.
Let me go to Alex on this thing.
What do you think of -- well, tell people the bottom line. When
groups raise money through concerts or whatever, dinners, whatever, they
like to say where the money`s going. Where is this going?
ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Chris, this is going to
the Global Citizen`s project.
And I think a really important piece of the concert is the 80 percent
of the tickets -- and we`re talking about 65,000 people expected to attend
-- are given away for free to people who have already engaged in activism
organization online in the Global Citizen`s platform. So you`re not going
to this concert until you are -- already sort of bought into the movement.
And it`s about sort of brokering a longer-lasting relationship between
the issues and the people who are interested in combating the problems
around the world. And I think that`s actually a really meaningful
difference. It`s not just a bunch of people going to Central Park,
enjoying a sunny day and listening to some music. There`s a real thread
MATTHEWS: So which group should I like the most?
WAGNER: Well, clearly, when I think of you, I think of Gwen Stefani.
She is just -- she has a rock `n` roll background. She crosses all
different kinds of genres. She`s a platinum blonde. And I see you really
-- I see you as a No Doubt fan.
MATTHEWS: OK. We`re in a problem area here.
Congressman, thank you so much for coming on.
MATTHEWS: I do think foreign aid of the right kind is something that
has been put down too long. I think if we use it the right way -- you`re
right -- it complements all of our efforts at national defense.
And PEPFAR is the best thing I think George W. Bush ever did. And I
think you see that in East Africa. I was in the Peace Corps over there.
You see that in Africa in places like Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania. They like
us. The polls show that, because we did the right thing for them. We
helped them fight the HIV war.
Thank you so much, Congressman, for coming on, a great cause for you,
Charlie Dent of Allentown.
DENT: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: ... lives in New Tripoli.
Anyway, you can catch live coverage of the Global Citizen Festival
right here tomorrow on MSNBC beginning at 3:00. That`s right here. Leave
your television set at this dial.
Up next, it`s the HARDBALL roundtable. The right-wing clown car has
pulled up, by the way, and the gang`s all here, especially that lady that
wants to someday be at 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue. That`s somewhere down
near Chef Jeff`s I think along Pennsylvania Avenue. I don`t think it`s the
White House is. Anyway, it`s called a Values Voter Summit that`s going
And, by the way, take a listen to Ted Cruz. Here he goes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: We ought to invite Hillary Clinton to spend
the day debating the Little Sisters of the Poor. She can embrace, yes, the
federal government should be suing and fining Catholic nuns to force them
to pay for abortion-inducing drugs.
As for me, I will stand with the nuns.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger.
Here`s what`s happening.
Authorities believe a fire in the basement of an air traffic control
center outside Chicago was set intentionally. The result has been chaos
for flyers. Nearly 2,000 flights have been canceled at O`Hare and Midway.
The man arrested and charged with abducting missing UVA student Hannah
Graham is on his way back to Virginia.
And police say the man who beheaded a co-worker and wounded another
would have hurt others had he not been stopped. The FBI is helping
investigating that incident -- back to HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: All you mama grizzlies out
there, rear up and charge against this lawless, imperial president and his
failed liberal agenda and the lying lapdogs in the media.
Oh, Bush`s war was bad, but Barack`s bombs, oh, baby, those red lines,
the strategery there that was thought up on the back nine, Barack`s bombs,
oh, they`re the bomb. Don`t retreat. You reload with truth, which I know
is an endangered species at 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue anyway, truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, she had it until the turn there, when she went to
1400 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Anyway, welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was Sarah Palin, the half-governor of Alaska, this afternoon at
the Values Voter Summit, apparently confused about the actual address of
the president `s home, which is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
She was joined by conservative thinkers like Michele Bachmann, Rick
Santorum, and the lieutenant governor of Texas, David Dewhurst, who warned
about the threat of terrorists infiltrating across the border. His proof?
Prayer rugs, he said, were found on the Texas side of the border.
Well, the clown car is back. It`s back in town and the gang`s all
Here was Michele Bachmann, of course, going after President Obama for
failing to confront the threat of Islamic extremists. You have to say it
that well if you`re a right-winger. You must say Islamic.
Here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: And, unthinkably, we have the
first anti-Israel president in American history. That`s the Obama-Clinton
During my time on the Intelligence Committee, I had a front-row seat
to a world set on fire for Islamic Jihad. And what we have seen is one
disaster after another from the Obama-Clinton foreign policy team. What we
need to do is defeat Islamic Jihad.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes! Yes!
BACHMANN: Sadly, sadly, our president has the wrong prescription. He
even fails to acknowledge their motivations for bringing about jihad. Yes,
Mr. President, it is about Islam.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, joining me right now is the HARDBALL roundtable,
Michelle Bernard, president of the Bernard Center for Women. And Michael
Tomasky is the columnist for The Daily Beast. And Jeremy Peters is a
politics reporter for "The New York Times."
I don`t where to start with these people, because here`s what I never
understood. And takes is something with Islamofascism and all the terms.
They have to get the word Islam in there. And the president talks about
extremism, violent extremism. He`s quite there. And he even talks about
the ideology behind those people.
But he will not let this become a Christian and Jewish fight against
Islam, because that war will never end once it starts.
MICHELLE BERNARD, FOUNDER, BERNARD CENTER FOR WOMEN, POLITICS AND
POLICY: Well, before you can even get there, if I could just add as the
female on the panelist today, if we could just get away from the terms
soccer mom, Wal-Mart mom and mama grizzlies -- I was listening to Sarah
Palin and I wanted to just pull my hair out. Like, just stop it.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Aren`t you rearing up now?
BERNARD: No, I`m not.
MATTHEWS: That`s her phrase, rearing up...
BERNARD: I want to rear up and just say, please stop it. We are an
important part of the electorate.
And these two people that we just heard from, at least on the female
side, Bachmann and Palin -- Palin -- are a national embarrassment. The
president is absolutely right. He -- I think he -- when he was inaugurated
in 2008, I believe he was the first U.S. president to even talk -- say the
word Islam or Muslim in an inaugural address.
This is about extremists. It`s not an indictment of the entire
MATTHEWS: Well, speaking of religion, she said he was the first
American president in the history to be anti-Israeli.
JEREMY PETERS, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Yes.
MATTHEWS: First of all, I don`t think he is anti-Israeli.
He certainly has his beefs with Netanyahu.
MATTHEWS: And you can talk about Netanyahu all you want, but he`s not
BERNARD: And he`s not anti-Israel.
MATTHEWS: I thought, first time in American history?
Well, Israel -- the state of Israel began in `48. It wasn`t like
going back to Jefferson and Jackson and all the bad presidents, the way she
-- through the sweep of American history.
What do you make of that, Jeremy, about her knowledge of history? I`m
sorry. It`s not there. It`s just not there.
PETERS: I will say, Republicans are very good at picking on these
rhetorical quirks of the president and I do think that they`re often quite
MATTHEWS: Give me one.
PETERS: Well, they play games with him a lot on the use of the word
"terrorism", for example. They always harp on him for not calling things
terrorism. You remember the Benghazi attacks.
MATTHEWS: Candy Crowley I think changed the course of mighty rivers -
MATTHEWS: Saying, he did say that, Governor.
PETERS: And Ft. Hood -- he did and he didn`t. But with Ft. Hood,
remember, they were slow to call that terrorism. And it doesn`t seem to me
all that difficult to acknowledge it as an act of terrorism. He won`t do
it for the reasons I think that you outlined pretty well.
MICHELLE BERNARD, BERNARD CENTER FOR WOMEN: And also his middle name
is Hussein. So, let`s remember, they`re tying him with Hillary Clinton and
pretty soon, we`re going to hear them saying, Barack Hussein Obama --
MATTHEWS: Why does the CIA use the word extremism? He`s not the only
that uses it -- rather than terrorism.
MICHAEL TOMASKY, THE DAILY BEAST: No, he`s not. Well, extremism
means an extreme version of a religion to differentiate it from the non-
extreme version of the religion. I think George Bush use that a term a bit
and George Bush also was a politician who set a precedent, who said, let`s
not make it all about Islam, and he went to that mosque shortly after 9/11.
MATTHEWS: They don`t just want to call it terrorist. They want to
call it Islamic terrorism. They want it to be tribal, just like the
Mexicans. It`s not that we have a problem with Mexicans across the border
or South Americans and Central Americans.
We got a problem with the Islam, Muslims. We find their clothing
along the border. We find their prayer rugs along the border. We know
they`re coming across. I mean, it`s so ethnic.
BERNARD: So, they don`t want little children coming across the border
any longer, and now, all of a sudden, I guess there`s a merry band of
Muslim Mexicans who are crossing the border also.
MATTHEWS: I know. Anyway, Ted Cruz said President Obama was making a
mistake negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program. What`s the
alternative to negotiating? However, he didn`t provide his alternative for
what we would do to stop them.
What is there -- here he is. Here`s Cruz.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: You know, right now, this week, the
government of Iran is sitting down with the United States government,
swilling chardonnay in New York City, to discuss what Prime Minister
Netanyahu rightly describes as an historic mistake, a very, very bad deal
that tragically is setting the stage for Iran to acquire nuclear weapon
capability. We so desperately need a president who will stand up and say,
these discussions do not even begin until you release Pastor Saeed and send
(END VDIEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Anyway, Cruz is referring to an American-Christian convert
of Iranian origin. He was arrested two years ago in Iran.
I think he wants to have arguments. But this swilling chardonnay, do
the Iranians do a lot of drinking?
MATTHEWS: It sounds like he wants to be swilling chardonnay. I mean,
he`s missing out on that.
BERNARD: Well, I mean, he`s sort of trying to bring into the old
argument of Barack Obama being elitist. I`m surprised he didn`t bring up
arugula also. I mean, but the bottom line is, they`re politicizing
something that is incredibly serious.
It makes me unbelievably angry on behalf of the American people, the
people who have been beheaded, the women and children who are being raped
as a tool of war over in Syria and Iraq and Iran and elsewhere and this is
MATTHEWS: It`s becoming, Michelle, a prominent theme in today`s
summit, the value summit, fear-mongering about the threat of terrorism
crossing our borders. Let`s watch here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
MAJ. GEN. ROBERT DEES (RET.), U.S. ARMY: We have been infiltrated.
The enemy is within.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: In order to keep the American
people safe, we have to secure the border! I was at Laredo and they told
me so far this year, people from over 140 different countries tried to come
in this year. Including Yemen, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Iran.
LT. GOV. DAVID DEWHURST (R), TEXAS: If we don`t stop the bad guys at
the border today, they`re going to be in your neighborhood tomorrow. The
leader of ISIS has said, I`ll see you in New York. Prayer rugs have
recently been found on the Texas side of the border in the brush.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MATTHEWS: Jeremy, you work for "The New York Times," it`s part of
your media market, the Canadian border.
MATTHEWS: How come this concern never mentions the millennial bombers
came down from Canada? That`s the only time they`ve had an example of one.
Is it purely ethnic with these guys? I know you can`t say objectively. It
seems like it`s only Texas they`re ever talking about, and it`s only
Hispanics that -- we would like to have more Hispanics come in, but we
can`t because there might be some Arabs among them. I mean, they come up
with a new one all the time. It`s drug dealers, legs as big as
cantaloupes, strange reference I think --
PETERS: Well, I will point out that the report, the only media report
that I know of, that they`re referring to, about members of ISIS or
suspected terrorists coming across the border is from a right-wing media
outlet. It was anonymously sourced and my colleague Michael Smith --
MATTHEWS: Is that the one with the prayer rug or with the clothing,
the Arab clothing found?
PETERS: My colleague Michael Smith who covers the FBI, covers
homeland security has done some really good reporting on this and he`s
found that there is absolutely no evidence of this. There are no alarm
bells going on at homeland security about terrorist crossing the border.
TOMASKY: That doesn`t matter to them.
MATTHEWS: We`re going to be right back with our round table in just a
moment. We are going to talk a little sports here, which is unusual. But
when you have all this bad talk about certain athletes beating up their
girlfriends and stuff, and some of this bad stuff, then comes along a guy
who really is -- I know he chases girls, but you`re allowed to do that when
you`re single. That`s right. And the guy is a real star and he ended his
career like a Babe Ruth story.
We`re going to get back to Derek Jeter in just a minute.
MATTHEWS: New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is accused of contributing to
the death of Charlotte G. Hogg. That`s with two Gs. The Staten Island Zoo
Back on Groundhog`s Day, De Blasio dropped The animal known as Chuck
during the holiday festivities. Chuck received a full check-up and showed
no sign of trauma. But on February 9, Chuck was found dead in her exhibit.
The zoo said she died of sudden internal injuries and the exact cause of
the injuries could not be determined.
The Boston administration said it was not aware of the animal`s death,
but the mystery remains.
And we`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here`s the throw from Markakis. Richardson is
safe! Derek Jeter ends his final game with a walk-off single!
Derek Jeter, where fantasy becomes reality. Did you have any doubt?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That was chilling, and we`re back.
That was Derek Jeter last with the game-winning hit. The bottom of
the ninth over the Baltimore Orioles in the last game of his career at
Yankee stadium last night.
And this is not a sports show, of course, but it is a show about
America. And last night, as I said at the beginning of the show, I saw, we
all need a true role model, that`s just for outlets, but for all of us, and
begin to wind down his career. But what a high note to end his career.
Anyway, Gatorade paid tribute to Jeter. He`s retiring this year with
this commercial early this week. This is pretty inspiring stuff.
MATTHEWS: We`re back to HARDBALL roundtable.
We`ve got Michelle Bernard here. Joining us are Michael Tomasky and
Jeremy Peters. You`ve got a couple New York guys here. So, I think here
"New York" magazine, you wrote for "The Times", you first.
TOMASKY: Well, yes, class act -- total class actor, as you say. And
I speak of somebody who always cheered against the Yankees, and always
cheered against it in the World Series.
MATTHEWS: What`s your team?
TOMASKY: The pirates. So I don`t care that much about the Yankees.
But I do cheer against them. But, yes, he`s great. Last night, it was
absolutely unbelievable. Just a totally unbelievable --
MATTHEWS: So, he singles in the bottom of the ninth and wins the
TOMASKY: Yes, and drives in the winning run in his last home game.
It`s unbelievable and an amazing career. And he`s really like a throwback
to those great Yankees and he really connects that thread of history. You
can`t say anything bad about that.
MATTHEWS: So, where are we in short here? Because, you know, my wife
loves the Yankees because they`re all clean cut guys. You can`t even tell
them apart ethnically, sometimes. They have that same look, you know? The
Yankees, where is -- you`ve got the Red Sox with the Smith brothers look,
or whatever you want to call it. Where are you on that?
PETERS: Well --
MATTHEWS: A columnist with "The New York Times" can`t make a call
here. Short hair, or beards.
PETERS: Obviously, I`m not a big fan of short hair.
BERNARD: But in baseball?
PETERS: In baseball, no, I agree with you on the beards, right? So,
I don`t know why some of these baseball players -- they look like those
dirty hockey players.
MATTHEWS: Oh God.
BERNARD: Hey, I just love that we have a professional athlete that we
can have pride about. He made me think about Jackie Robinson. Everything
that is American about the game. About loving baseball, about loving the
country, and about being someone who doesn`t beat up women or children.
It`s been a great week.
MATTHEWS: That`s a hell of a standard.
Anyway, talk about kids having a respect for Derek Jeter in a perfect
picture moment. Take a look at Jeter`s nephew tipping his hat to his
BERNARD: I love that. I love it.
MATTHEWS: I love the whole thing.
BERNARD: And respect. It says respect on the hat.
MATTHEWS: You know, you don`t cover traffic if it`s not a traffic
accident, and it`s the only the accidents we cover. It`s where the news
But you look at these guys, and I don`t know how they ever get in
trouble. Michael Jordan, and Shaquille, Patrick Stewart, you know, Patrick
BERNARD: Patrick Ewing.
MATTHEWS: Patrick Ewing. Patrick Stewart now gets in trouble --
But these guys, it`s the norm. They don`t go to clubs until 3:00 in
BERNARD: Well, what it is. Baseball is sort of like our American --
it represents so much about the country and everything that`s good about
MATTHEWS: Let`s about the guy that`s more controversial. I like him
but I think we can talk. You start.
Eric Holder is leaving town. He`ll get replaced at some point,
probably a safer nominee than he is, I would vet. They`ll go down the
middle. But what`s his legacy?
BERNARD: I`m a huge fan of Eric Holder. He has never been a wimp
when it comes to matters of race. He has been outspoken. He has done the
job. I am hoping the day that Ruth Bader Ginsburg retires, Eric Holder is
the next nominee --
MATTHEWS: So, he`s not just been the first black A.G., but he`s been
a black A.G.
BERNARD: He has been a black A.G. He never shied away from it, ever.
Going to Ferguson, everything that he has done, talking about the country
being cowards on race. He`s got a hell of a legacy behind him.
PETERS: And I think sometimes his legacy on gay rights also gets
overlooked. I mean, let`s not forget. Often he`s been out in front of the
president on some of this stuff. I mean, he`s brought in --
MATTHEWS: Is he out front of Joe Biden?
BERNARD: No one is out front of Joe Biden.
MATTHEWS: Well, he was leading ahead on the ski.
PETERS: He presided over the Justice Department when the Justice
Department said we`re not going to defend the Defense of Marriage Act any
longer. And that was the pivotal moment.
MATTHEWS: That drives the right crazy.
PETERS: It still does. They still bring it up, actually.
TOMASKY: I imagine you heard a lot of it today.
MATTHEWS: So, where is he going to go for his appointment?
PETERS: After his appointment?
MATTHEWS: For his appointment, the president, for two years.
TOMASKY: To somebody that`s already been nominated for some other
job, I think, right? Someone who`s been through and can maybe get through
again. And they want to try to get somebody through, obviously, with this
Congress and this Senate. They don`t want to wait for the next Senate,
that`s for sure.
PETERS: Well, there`s talking -- yes, they were talking about doing
it during the lame duck. They would almost have to do --
MATTHEWS: Is Jennifer Granholm for real on that list?
TOMASKY: That`s not what your man Chuck said this morning. But, you
know, she`d be a pretty good choice as far as I can see.
MATTHEWS: Chuck speaks for me these days.
MATTHEWS: She hasn`t been through the mill yet, anyway. Anyway,
I like that idea that somebody who`s already been through the
Anyway, thank you so much, roundtable. I love Fridays now. Michelle
Bernard, as always. Thank you, Michael Tomasky, and Jeremy Peters. Thank
you from "The New York Times" and we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with a good word for Eric Holder.
During the hell of Ferguson, he came through. He went out there, amid all
the turmoil and bad blood, he showed up -- better yet, he made clear that
he got it. Understood in his mind, and his gut, what was hurting people,
what was driving them into the streets.
They wanted vivid, concrete proof that they mattered, mattered in a
way that Michael Brown`s body laying in the street for all of those hours
told them they didn`t. Attorney General Holder has said this in
substantial ways with his vigilant call for voter rights. He knows why
certain politicians want to suppress the black vote.
He knows, too, why those voter rights need to be protected.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" right now.
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