October 27, 2014
Guest: Michael Tomasky, Jeanne Cummings, April Ryan, Jonathan Silver
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Christie goes macho on Ebola.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie went viral this weekend. His people
shut the George Washington Bridge, now he wants to stop the spread of
Ebola. Having stopped cars from Jersey hearing to New York, he now wants
to stop the virus from coming the other way. The Trenton team that put out
the cones is now trying to put every Ebola suspect under quarantine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I don`t believe, when you`re dealing
with something as serious as this, that we can count on a voluntary system.
This is government`s job. If anything else, the government`s job is to
protect the safety and health of our citizens. And so we`ve taken this
action, and I absolutely have no second thoughts about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, for Christie, it`s another test of macho. In 2012, he
abandoned Mitt Romney for a waterfront bromance with Obama. In 2013, his
people stuck it to a small-time Democratic mayor for not ponying up an
endorsement. And now he`s teaming up with New York governor Andrew Cuomo
and sticking it to the president for not being as tough as he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: That`s a common sense approach that the federal government
wasn`t taking, that we took first here in New Jersey and New York, has now
been adopted by Chicago, has now been adopted by Maryland. As I said
yesterday on the news, this will become the national policy because it`s
smart, tough, common-sense policy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: And what is the smart way to treat Ebola, slamming doors and
closing bridges or getting help where it counts the most, the big noise
from Jersey or that cool one in the White House? To quote Billy Crystal,
Who`s more macho? Or better yet, who`s got the science on his side?
To help answer that question, let`s hear it from an expert.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it`s ridiculous. There are more Jews in the
NFL than people who have died of Ebola in this country, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is true.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One person has died. You can`t get it -- you can`t get
it -- all the people who have got it are the people -- I`m not going to
spongebathe an Ebola patient! There`s no way that I`m going to get it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, in a rather crude way, that was Howie Mandel from "Live
With Kelly and Michael" on this Friday.
And let`s face it, just two people have contracted Ebola here in the United
States. Does that tell us who`s right here, Christie and the other macho
governors that want to put traffic cones around West Africa, or the
Michael Tomasky is a special correspondent with the DailyBeast and Joy Reid
is the host of "THE REID REPORT" on MSNBC.
Joy, I want you to go first here. This is one of those interesting
battles. Seems like everything is political now, and certainly, Ebola fits
into that category. It`s become the football.
You have the macho man up in Trenton, of course, joining up with a guy in
Albany, are trying to out-fight Ebola with the president. They`re showing
more macho. What`s going on here? Who knows what they`re talking about,
and who`s simply playing theater against Ebola?
JOY REID, HOST, "THE REID REPORT": Yes, I mean, Chris, so much for the
party of individual liberty and small government, right? I mean, Chris
Christie said, this is what he got -- This is what we get into politics to
do -- to grab a nurse out of the airport and put her in a tent? She can`t
even do her quarantine at home, until they changed their mind and decided,
OK, maybe the (INAUDIBLE) and we`re good.
Look, I think for Chris Christie, this is about repairing some of the
damage he did to himself in 2012 with his party. This shows him as in line
with the base of the party, in line with the fear crowd, in line with the
party who insists that the scientists are all wrong and that the virus is
airborne, that you`ve got to come down heavy on anyone you think might be
carrying it into the United States.
And I think that this presents him in the guise he wants to be, not the guy
who was squishy and hugged Obama to get some aid for New Jersey, but the
guy who`s super-tough and who`s going to come down on those nurses, and
they`re not going to get away from him.
MATTHEWS: Michael, I agree with her.
MICHAEL TOMASKY, DAILYBEAST: Yes, she`s absolutely right. Of course. I
mean, it`s too bad he wants to run for president because if he didn`t want
to run for president, he might have handled this in somewhat a more humane
I mean, if you see what this woman said, this nurse, Hickox -- first of
all, she goes over there to be a good soul, to be a good Samaritan, right?
MATTHEWS: To work in West Africa.
TOMASKY: Yes, to work in West Africa and try and help these people. And
she comes back, and she goes through customs at Newark International
Airport. She says she`s not symptomatic. She doesn`t have these symptoms.
They misread her temperature. They take her temperature with an oral
thermometer, she has no temperature.
Christie goes out and says she`s symptomatic, but she wasn`t symptomatic.
He`s playing to the fear, the polls, the Republican base for 2016, and she
got horrible treatment as a result of it.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, that first quarantined under the new rules has become
the face of the movement against it. Nurse Kaci Hickox came back from West
Africa, she said, on Friday, was moved to an isolation tent at a Newark
hospital after a temperature scan showed she was running a 101-degree
fever. Hickox said she did not have a fever. She says the reading was
high because she was flushed and upset at being -- how she was treated.
She was released yesterday. In fact, she was released today, but only
after spending three nights in isolation. She said she`s considering
While in isolation, she called in to CNN to slam Governor Christie. Let`s
listen to her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KACI HICKOX, nurse (via telephone): I am not, as he said, quote, unquote,
"obviously ill." I am completely healthy and with no symptoms. And if he
knew anything about Ebola, he would know that asymptomatic people are not
I think this is an extreme that is really unacceptable, and I feel like my
basic human rights have been violated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Governor Christie responded today in signature fashion.
Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Governor, when you first (INAUDIBLE) "obviously ill" (INAUDIBLE)
CHRISTIE: (INAUDIBLE) I said, Michael.
QUESTION: OK. I mean, do you stand by that? Do you intend to maybe speak
to her, talk to her?
CHRISTIE: I don`t. This is -- I have no reason to talk to her. My job is
not to represent her, it`s to represent the people of New Jersey. And so
she was ill. She was obviously ill enough that the CDC and medical
officials hospitalized her and gave her an Ebola test, Michael. They don`t
do that just for fun.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow, it sounds like Christie before that bridge closing. Take a
listen to this. It sounds like this again. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: You don`t send your children to public schools. You send them
to private schools. So I was wondering why you think it`s fair to be
cutting school funding to public schools.
CHRISTIE: What`s her name?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s her name, guys, real quick? Because the
governor`s talking. What is it? Gail. Talk to Gail.
CHRISTIE: Hey, Gail, you know what? First off, it`s none of your
business. I don`t ask you where you send your kids to school. Don`t
bother me about where I send mine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Joy, it seems to me that there`s a difference between hard right
and hard left. And maybe not (ph) say (ph) he`s hard right, but there`s a
certain sort of rightist tendency there to take the interests of -- you
might call it the group against the individual, where the individual
doesn`t really matter so much. He made it very clear that, I don`t want to
talk to this person, no reason I should talk to that person. I represent
the group, not the individual.
Now, on economic issues, they are very much concerned with the individual,
of course, the right to make all the money you can. But on social issues
like this, or disease or something like that, it does seem like there`s a
real philosophical difference. These guys on the right are quick to say to
West Africa, Screw you, stay over there, don`t bother us. Keep that
disease to yourself, live with it. And then at the same time, they`re
quick to say, Let`s quarantine people.
The president and the scientists in this country are a bit more humane.
Their reaction is, Let`s be careful here, let`s respect people`s humanity,
let`s not shove people around out of some sort of, you know, overwhelming
fear. There is an ideological, even a human difference, a basic human
difference in the way people of these two different political stripes deal
with people, Obama and this guy, I think.
REID: Yes, no, and I agree. But first of all, it`s also kind of haphazard
be imagine how the right would have reacted if President Obama had
instituted a system where Americans coming back into the United States were
put into a CDC tent against their will. Just imagine the optics of that
and how that would play on the right.
REID: So there hasn`t been any consistency to the ideology. But one thing
that is consistent, especially with Christie, is this attitude, and
unfortunately, it`s twice that you played against women, of just
indifference to people`s opinion and even his role as a public servant to
even have to address his constituents. They have no right to question him.
Who do they think they are? I`m Chris Christie, you don`t question me!
And the interesting thing is Andrew Cuomo did essentially the same policy,
but if you look at New York`s policy, it was a lot more systematic. It was
a lot more about getting the patient to the hospital and making sure there
was a system. In New Jersey, it almost like, You`re a leper, get in the
MATTHEWS: You`re some prole, a member of the proletariat!
MATTHEWS: You don`t speak to me! Michael, it is fascinating, this
difference because there have been two cases of people who got the disease
here in this country.
MATTHEWS: It is not an outbreak. It is not exponential. It is not a
pandemic or anything like that. But it could be. And here we are, so
close to an election, and you can imagine it going either way, flattening
it out to just the two or three or four, and growing exponentially. We
don`t know. Therefore, the fear factor works. Probably.
TOMASKY: The fear factor works. And public fear of this is way out of
proportion to the actual numbers -- I mean, way out of proportion. You
look at polls--
MATTHEWS: Seventy-two percent of the people say they should be
quarantined, anybody coming here.
TOMASKY: Yes. Right. I mean, 72 percent, in two cases. It`s absolutely
MATTHEWS: Well, what about the military? Just to cloud things up here,
the military apparently is quarantining everybody that comes back from
working over there. They got a couple hundred people that are working
already in West Africa. They`re quarantined. Of course, those guys are
under orders, so they`re not exactly like free -- free-moving (ph)
citizens. They`re in uniform and under orders.
TOMASKY: Yes, right, it`s the military. The rules that apply in a free
society don`t necessarily have to apply to military, and that`s fine. But
this is a free society.
And you know, you`re right about the distinctions between Obama and
Christie and the differences in the philosophical approaches. And Obama --
you know, a lot of times, Chris, he has waited until the evidence came in
and he`s been prudent and he hasn`t spoken. And a lot of times, that`s
been kind of a disadvantage for him politically.
TOMASKY: But at this point, I think it`s the right thing for him to do.
MATTHEWS: By the way, both sides know what the fight is here about, and
they know it`s a fight. Look at this, Joy. The White House took a shiv to
Christie today, very nicely put by Josh Earnest -- who has an amazing name,
by the way, for a flack, Josh Earnest. Maybe a flack shouldn`t be called
Anyway, let`s take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: -- service of somebody like
Kaci Hickox is something that we should honor and respect. She didn`t
travel over there because she was getting a big paycheck. Presumably,
she`s not going to be inducted into the nurses hall of fame for it. Her
service and commitment to this cause is something that should be honored
and respected, and I don`t think we do that by making her live in a tent
for two or three days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, that`s interesting. Another thing about the
sympathies involved -- and again, I don`t -- I`m not a big class fighting
kind of political commentary -- commentary -- but I have to tell you, it`s
interesting that the Democrats, the president, and his spokesperson -- and
in other cases, they were looking out for -- you know, for Nina Pham. They
were looking out for people as individuals who are doing their job.
They`re not treated as Typhoid Marys, you know what I mean?
MATTHEWS: Whereas the other side treats them all as danger signs, you
know, scarecrows -- Oh, my God! Whereas the Democrats tend to look at them
as people, and actually as public servants, good people. I think people
overwhelmingly, by the way, love nurses. (INAUDIBLE) There`s a poll taken
after 9/11, all the young guys wanted to be firefighters. All the young
women wanted to be nurses again. So it is the care-giving good person
personified, the nurse.
REID: Yes, no, absolutely. And I think that there -- first of all, you
have to remember, too, that the Obama administration has an overarching
interest in getting people to go into West Africa to help. And so they
want to do anything to encourage it, obviously.
And I think that it is looked at as a public service that these doctors --
and look, even doctors who say that they prefer the option of a 21-day
quarantine for those coming back believe it should be done in the most
humane way possible. People shouldn`t be forced into a tent. There should
be a lot of compassion, a lot of reverence for what these guys are doing.
Whereas on the other side, there`s an accusatory tone against the people
who have acquired the virus. And remember, a large percentage of those who
are getting infected with Ebola are health care providers, people who are
doing this godly service to try to save their fellow man.
MATTHEWS: It is godly. You know, I have two ask you two flowers of
justice and joy--
MATTHEWS: I didn`t mean your name, Joy, just joy generally -- is this the
October surprise? You first, Michael. Is this the thing that`s going to
give the people a little bit of a wind, fear, at their backs, and go, Oh,
my God, I better vote right? Right-wing.
TOMASKY: You know, the people who are coming out to vote in this election
are already voting right-wing, so I don`t know if it`s much of an October
surprise. But I will say this. This is going to last through 2016 and
it`s -- and it`s--
MATTHEWS: Oh, I--
TOMASKY: -- hear a lot of that between now and then.
MATTHEWS: Joy, I believe fear makes people go to the right. Fear drives
people to the right.
TOMASKY: Oh, it does.
MATTHEWS: And we`ve seen it in the 20th century in the worst possible way.
But even within our moderate confines of politics in this country, left and
right not being that far apart, I think people are driven to the right when
they`re afraid. Your thoughts.
REID: Yes, I think Republicans do benefit from a fear-based environment in
general. But I agree with Michael that that crowd was already going to
vote in large numbers. The big question that really hangs over this
election is whether the crowd on the other side gets exercised enough
because the election is not nationalized on the Democratic side. It is
very much so on the Republican side, and this just adds to that.
MATTHEWS: Well, I hope everybody watching right now votes. I`ve done it.
Have you voted yet, Joy? I voted.
REID: I have not done it yet, but I definitely will. I vote every
election. I`m a super-voter.
MATTHEWS: Tomasky, have you put down your name and -- behind a candidate
TOMASKY: I go on election day, but---
MATTHEWS: I did the early voting. I`m -- "souls to the polls," that`s me.
Anyway, Joy Reid, thank you, Michael Tomasky.
REID: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Coming up, by the way, right to the wire. We`re going to talk
about the election right now. (INAUDIBLE) 4 billion bucks of it (ph) spent
(ph) out there in the campaign in TV advertising. But let`s face it, most
of the advertising you`ve seen has been attacking the president. That`s
what they do on the other side. As Joy said, they nationalize this thing.
Will those air strikes actually work?
Well, this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: With eight days to go, the aerial assault from Republicans, the
air strikes, are stepping up, with relentless air attacks against President
Obama and all the other Democrats. When we return, we`re going to survey
HARDBALL back after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FMR. SECRETARY OF STATE: You know, elections come down
often to who`s got more money, who`s peddling more fear, and who turns out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, the fear is right, and the turn-out is right.
Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was, of course, Secretary Hillary Clinton
stomping -- or stumping for Democratic senator Kay Hagan this weekend in
North Carolina, certainly one of the close races of the country for control
of the U.S. Senate and what looks to be, of course, a tough election for
I figure right now, they could lose as many as 10 Senate seats next Tuesday
or as few as 4, which would keep them still in control. Yet things remain
very close in so many races. Here`s conservative commentator George F.
Will yesterday on "Fox News Sunday."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE WILL, FOX CONTRIBUTOR, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY": It`s tight, and it`s
remarkable because what that means is, in Arkansas and North Carolina and
elsewhere, Democratic candidates are running double digits ahead of the
president`s job approval rating, which they simply shouldn`t be doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I don`t get that normative statement by George Will. He`s a
smart guy. What did he mean, "shouldn`t be doing"? We`ll get to that.
Three states in particular everybody agrees are the close babies. North
Carolina, we just talked about that with the secretary, Secretary Clinton.
Colorado and Iowa, which could be very close -- looks like they`re all
coming down to the wire. A new NBC/Marist poll shows Hagan -- Kay Hagan in
North Carolina deadlocked now with her Republican opponent, Thom Tillis.
That means he`s gaining. The same poll shows a tight race in Colorado,
where Republican Cory Gardner leads Democrat Mark Udall. He looks very
strong, by the way.
In Iowa, the pigs` worst nightmare out there, Joni Ernst, leads Democrat
Bruce Braley by just 3 points. But that one, I think she`s winning there.
Polls (ph) in all three states could determine who takes control of the
Senate just one week from tomorrow.
Howard Fineman, my friend, is an MSNBC political analyst, editorial
director of the Huffington Post Media Group, and Eugene Robinson is a
Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist with "The Washington Post" and also an
MSNBC analyst, and he will always be--
MATTHEWS: -- a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist!
Guys, I really, over the 30 or 40 years I`ve been doing this, take great
pride in my ability to predict elections.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, you have a very good record.
MATTHEWS: It`s greater, even, than some of my political passions, although
not always. So I really try to get it right. But I think it`s very hard
this time and unfair maybe because these races are so close, I don`t want
to screw them up by saying what I think`s going to really happen.
But I`m looking at North Carolina -- and the secretary -- Secretary Clinton
was there. (INAUDIBLE) North Carolina. You`re from South Carolina. It
seems to me that if Kay Hagan can`t squeak that baby, nobody could. She`s
done every single thing right to fight the winds in this country which are
EUGENE ROBINSON, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, no,
she`s done everything right. She`s maintained that little lead. Now if
the race is tightening up, you know, I think, frankly, that`s a tough sign
for her because--
MATTHEWS: And for the -- and for the Democrats.
ROBINSON: Exactly, and for the Democrats. If she -- if she doesn`t -- if
she wins that seat, it could be -- you could look forward to a decent night
for the Democrats. You could think the Democrats might--
MATTHEWS: I would agree, that she`s the firewall.
ROBINSON: But if she goes -- and then you also got to look at New
Hampshire. And if Scott Brown beats Jeanne Shaheen--
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s talk about New Hampshire.
If we turn on the TV, if we start that night and we see a Kentucky at 7:00,
that will be the first -- your state, coming in, Kentucky, if that`s too
close to call, I tell people, not a bad night for the Democrats. That
means that Alison Lundergan Grimes hanging in there, and it may be a
squeaker, which is a great credit to her, if it`s a squeaker.
FINEMAN: Yes. Yes.
MATTHEWS: If, however, at 8:00, one hour later--
ROBINSON: Right, it`s over.
MATTHEWS: -- one hour later, we say too close to call in New Hampshire,
God, they have never wrong, God, they`re damn wrong, this could be a night
the Republicans just sweep everything, because if they can beat a guy where
they just moved him into the state a week ago or whatever, and win, that
means they can win anywhere.
FINEMAN: That`s right. That`s right, because if that happens in New
Hampshire, that shows that the lay of the land nationally is such that a
guy like Scott Brown, as you say, who just moved into the state, people in
New Hampshire don`t even like people from Massachusetts, let alone ISIS and
people with Ebola and everything else.
FINEMAN: If they`re willing to elect that guy, then that shows that the
whole tilt of the playing field is on the Republicans--
MATTHEWS: There`s nothing really wrong with her.
MATTHEWS: I keep reading reports, Jeanne, of her being a popular senator.
FINEMAN: Jeanne Shaheen, yes.
MATTHEWS: And then you say popular senator running even with a newcomer,
with a dude who has come in from nowhere.
ROBINSON: Popular is a relative term this year, right? Because even a
popular senator can get knocked off by a carpetbagger, basically, who was
not frankly the most impressive senator when he was in the Senate.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk dynamics, a word I don`t really fully understand, but
everybody who is smart uses it.
If the Democrats decide the beginning of the year that Obama`s not popular,
looking at the polling and home state realities, and they stop advertising
any positive about him, on the other side, the other side, the R`s, the
Republicans, including the Tea Partiers run savage ads, one after another
about Obama, guess what? Obama doesn`t look too good.
And so going into the polls, the cycle is, don`t say anything good about
him, just say bad stuff about him, so by the time you get into the polling
booth, all you hear is about him.
FINEMAN: Yes. I think--
MATTHEWS: So, this thing may build on itself.
FINEMAN: I think that the Democrats had a difficult row to hoe regardless
because of the president`s unpopularity.
But what they needed to do and what I don`t think they have done enough of
is tease out the things about the Democratic agenda that while not
featuring the president necessarily mean that you`re a Democrat, mean that
you have something positive to say.
And one reason why Alison Grimes has made a race of it in Kentucky is that
she has relentlessly, relentlessly talked about minimum wage, raising the
minimum wage, equal pay for women, you know, those kinds of meat-and-
potatoes issues, which against a 30-year incumbent like Mitch McConnell
have some juice.
Now, she has -- she refused to say whether she voted for President Obama,
but yet she`s managed to get the Democratic message out there. Not enough
other people have done it. And I think it is a vicious cycle, as you say,
Chris. If the Democrats don`t defend the president at all, and the
Republicans attack, it weakens the president, which means the Democrats run
away further, and the Republicans attack even more.
FINEMAN: And the president`s approval ratings keep going down. He`s
suffered like $200 million or $300 million worth of negative advertising
against him personally this election.
MATTHEWS: Can you win in an -- I remember back in -- I don`t remember.
But back in 1952 -- I did read about this.
ROBINSON: You don`t remember.
MATTHEWS: They said -- because you couldn`t beat Ike. He had taken the
Nazi surrender. So, you couldn`t beat him. So you had to say, look in
your wallet. Oh, you have some money in there. Oh, you didn`t have that
back in `32, when we came in.
Oh, you have got a -- what`s the Social Security card? Didn`t have that,
did you? So they went through all these particular things, like Howard
said, to make the case for a guy like Stevenson, who didn`t have the
charisma of an Eisenhower. Does that work? It didn`t work then.
ROBINSON: Well, it didn`t work then.
FINEMAN: By the way, Ike is not on the ballot for the Republicans.
ROBINSON: Well, exactly. There`s no Ike on the ballot.
So, look, I do think the Democrats could have done more, as you said, to
highlight the Democratic agenda, and, frankly, to tell voters what will
happen if the Republicans take control of the Senate and what the
Republican agenda is like. Now, they have tried to do that.
MATTHEWS: What is it? Kevin McCarthy is talking about the agenda. We
will get to it at the end of the show. And he keeps saying, we need an
Wait a minute, if you have an agenda, you don`t need one. He doesn`t have
one. They don`t know what they want to do, except energy.
ROBINSON: Right. Right. So you write it for them, because they won`t
tell you what it is. Right?
MATTHEWS: I got one. It`s called the subpoena power.
ROBINSON: These are the Republican policies, this is what they`re done in
the past, this is what they`re going to do now. And this is why you need
to vote to keep Democrats in control of the Senate.
FINEMAN: Yes, I haven`t seen very much.
I totally agree with Gene. The fact is, what the Republicans have mostly
run on is the idea they want to stop the president. They want to stop this
president. Well, quite frankly, this president has already kind of been
FINEMAN: It doesn`t make that much sense. But there`s enough resentment
of the president, his numbers are low enough that that gives them a shot.
MATTHEWS: Well, as I said, out of the $4 billion spent in this midterm on
TV advertising, the highest in history by far, much has been spent on ads
attacking Obama. Here`s one digital ad released by the Republican National
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE AD)
NARRATOR: ISIS gaining ground, terrorists committing mass murder, Ebola
inside the U.S., Americans alarmed about national security. What`s
President Obama doing? Making plans to bring terrorists from Guantanamo to
our country, ignoring the Constitution, Congress, and the American people.
November 4, Obama`s policies are on the ballot. Vote to keep the
terrorists off U.S. soil. Vote Republican.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That`s dastardly. He`s releasing terrorists into our
ROBINSON: Right, he`s bringing them here. He`s bringing them here.
MATTHEWS: -- that ad.
MATTHEWS: Although Kennedy, back when he was running against Nixon, would,
and now Khrushchev is in New York. He`s already here, the advancing
columns of the Soviet Union.
FINEMAN: You mean at the U.N.?
MATTHEWS: Yes, he said the U.N. He`s in New York. That`s an old trick.
ROBINSON: But that ad is just -- that`s the atmospherics. That`s, you
know, be afraid. Obama is not protecting you. The terrorists are coming.
Ebola germs are coming. Diseased Africans are coming.
FINEMAN: That`s for the churn. The late Lee Atwater, Republican
strategist, used to talk about the churn. That`s the Republican churn in
the last week. It`s an emotional thing.
Any spare votes out there on the table, they`re going to go for the fear on
that. And that`s what the -- that ad is the very distillation of it right
MATTHEWS: I don`t know what to say.
Anyway, I wish the president were out there campaigning and banging that
tub all across the country with something loud and clear that he believes
in what he wants to do. And that`s a problem, because they don`t want him
Anyway, thank you, Howard Fineman, as always. Thank you, Eugene Robinson,
Up next, where is President Obama`s Ebola czar? Well, he was on "Saturday
Night Live" and that`s next in the "Sideshow."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE")
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: According to reports, before the New York City doctor
diagnosed with Ebola began showing symptoms, he went for a run, visited the
High Line, then took three different subways and went to a bowling alley in
Brooklyn. This dude did more in a day with Ebola than I have done all
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Time for the "Sideshow."
That was of course "SNL"`s "Weekend Update" on New York`s first Ebola
patient who is now recovering at Bellevue Hospital.
But with fears of the disease mounting, many believe that Ron Klain, that
was him, the president`s Ebola czar, is working to limit the political
damage for Democrats running in next week`s midterm elections.
Here was "Saturday Night Live"`s take on his role in the Obama White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE")
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some have speculated you were brought in mainly to
handle this from a political perspective. Even the midterm elections are
in two weeks. Any comment on that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, right now, I am not worried about winning
elections. However, there are a few safety tips that people should know
heading towards Election Day.
For example, the Ebola virus actually flourishes in warmer clients --
climates -- excuse me. So if you live in a Southern state, such as
Louisiana, Arkansas, or Kentucky, you actually may want to avoid any large
public spaces, like, say, a polling booth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One exception, however, is that we believe Latinos in
red states may actually have an immunity to Ebola, so they`re good to go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Next up, scare tactics are nothing new in politics, of course,
but with Halloween coming up, Pennsylvania`s Republican Governor Tom
Corbett is hoping to capitalize on the fear factor in his bid for
reelection against Democrat Tom Wolf.
He`s out with a new TV ad inspired by some classic horror movies. Take a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, POLITICAL AD)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You think this is scary? Have you seen Tom Wolf`s plan
for raising the state income tax? One report says it would more than
double the income tax paid by many middle-class families. And that`s just
Tom Wolf, his higher taxes are so frightening it even scares people who
scare people for a living.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: What ridiculous advertising. Corbett is going to get clocked in
this race by 15 to 20 points.
Finally, the man who legally changed his man to Darth Vader to run for a
parliamentary seat in Ukraine was not allowed to vote in yesterday`s
election because he refused, believe it or not, to remove his mask at a
polling location. A member of Ukraine`s Internet party, that`s what it is,
he had campaigned to turn the country into a galactic empire to counter the
aggressive policies of neighboring Russia.
Unfortunately, it appears that the Force was not with him.
Up next, the roundtable joins us now with the big political question of the
day. Will Jeb Bush run for president and can we win when he`s so out of
step with his party on immigration?
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
RICHARD LUI, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hi. I`m Richard Lui. Here`s what`s
A 5-year-old boy rushed to New York`s Bellevue Hospital has tested negative
for Ebola. He was recently in one of the countries struggling with an
outbreak and developed a fever. U.S. soldiers returning from the Ebola
outbreak zone in West Africa are being quarantined at a base in Italy for
21 days. They are restricted to certain areas. And the CDC revising its
guidelines for health care workers and others coming back to the U.S. from
West Africa. None of them include forceable quarantines -- now back to
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Should health care workers returning from West Africa submit to mandatory,
mandatory quarantines? That`s the fight we saw today. And we saw it
unfold over the weekend between the White House and Governors Andrew Cuomo
and especially Chris Christie. Plus, we`re entering the final stretch of
the fight over who will control the U.S. Senate in President Obama`s last
two years in office. The stakes couldn`t be higher, of course. All kinds
of things, the subpoena power, everything else depends on how the polls go.
And the Bush family now says, as a family, it`s 100 percent behind Jeb
running in 2016. But is the Republican base happy about that?
Time now for the roundtable.
April Ryan is White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks.
And Jeanne Cummings is deputy managing editor of Bloomberg. And Jonathan
Silver is a clean energy consultant who knows many things.
I want to talk -- it seems to me, April, that this thing about -- I see an
interesting epiphany, a look into the window of how the two parties are
different, and the personalities. And that`s when Chris Christie says put
them in a quarantine tent. And before that, they were saying, keep them in
West Africa. Ban them. The president and the scientific community are
saying, let`s be humane here. Let`s try to figure out what`s the right way
to treat people, rooting for the nurses in every case and the health
workers, not treating them as pariahs or as Typhoid Marys.
It`s a real difference in the way I think the two parties and philosophies
APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: I`m not necessarily going to
say that because we`re hearing that Rahm Emanuel might be feeling the same
way as Chris Christie.
And I think what we have here is, what trumps what? As far as like the
nurse who we were trying to figure out if she has Ebola or not, is it about
her rights, or is it about safety for the nation or for herself? What
MATTHEWS: Well, what`s your answer?
RYAN: Well, I`m going to be honest with you. If you were saying, take the
reporter hat off, I want to know that I`m safe. I want to know that I`m
safe. And I think you have to figure out--
MATTHEWS: Yes, even if there`s no evidence that it`s contagious?
RYAN: Well, contagious how, though?
MATTHEWS: Well, contagious like on an airplane or the subway or walking
down the street past somebody.
RYAN: You could sneeze on someone. You can sneeze on someone and those
particles, that`s still bodily fluids.
MATTHEWS: We have two cases now. Is that a pandemic?
RYAN: No. It`s not a pandemic. How many millions of people live in this
country? It`s not a pandemic.
RYAN: OK, but it`s not a pandemic yet.
MATTHEWS: So, supposed it`s two for the next month. Would we stop acting
like that at that point?
RYAN: We are still going to be scared. We have been scared.
MATTHEWS: OK. You`re giving me the political answer I hear.
RYAN: I`m not giving you the political answer.
MATTHEWS: No, it is the political answer. It is the political answer.
RYAN: No, it`s not. It`s the truth.
JEANNE CUMMINGS, BLOOMBERG NEWS: What I don`t get is the tent. What is up
with the tent?
If you`re going to quarantine somebody, put them in a hospital, put them in
a room, give them a TV set. Was she going to sit in that tent for 21 days
and not complain?
MATTHEWS: Well, this woman, by the way--
MATTHEWS: She`s already talking suits.
CUMMINGS: What did they expect was going to happen?
You know, I think what may -- what we may see, because we`re starting to
see this -- Pat Quinn in Illinois is also a Democratic governor considering
some restrictions. Governor O`Malley today came out with his own protocol.
MATTHEWS: Well, they`re reading the polls, too. I`m not saying you are.
They`re reading the polls. They know which way the wind`s blowing
CUMMINGS: And it`s not to say there isn`t someplace in the middle here.
MATTHEWS: Well, maybe Andrew Cuomo which is home quarantine.
MATTHEWS: Where are we at here, John?
JONATHAN SILVER, CLEAN ENERGY CONSULTANT: This is scary stuff, and states
have a challenge in balancing public safety with the public`s concerns
which aren`t always accurate, but which are nonetheless legitimate.
On the other end, I think you have to say that the president, while a
compassionate response, has had a muscular response. He`s identified an
Ebola czar. And more importantly, the last pandemic we had was an AIDS
epidemic and President Reagan didn`t say anything about it for three years
while 12,000 Americans died.
So, this has been very positive --
MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s talk about a political impact, really politics here.
Now, you start, Jeanne. We`ve got eight days until Election Day. It seems
to me that you can call this the October surprise, anything you want to
call it. But it`s the only thing we`re talking about. So, it is the
atmosphere. It is the box this campaign is coming in, is Ebola talk.
MATTHEWS: And that`s not good for the president.
CUMMINGS: It`s not good for the Democratic candidate. You look down in
North Carolina, what little bit of a lead that Kay Hagan had held, pretty
stubbornly for months is now shrinking, in part because Thom Tillis has
seized on this and not let go. He was one of the earliest of the
president. He`s one of the constant critics.
The other thing we --
MATTHEWS: What`s worse, Thom Tillis or Ebola?
CUMMINGS: No --
CUMMINGS: The other thing, suddenly in the ad and that`s new too.
MATTHEWS: OK, let`s talk Republicans for a minute. Let`s talk about
somebody we don`t talk -- turn the page (ph) over to Jeb Bush. He`s ready
to run, to jump into the race apparently in 2016. Is he is or isn`t he?
According to his son, he`s strongly considering it.
Here`s son, here`s George P.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
INTERVIEWER: Is your dad going to run for president?
GEORGE P. BUSH, SON OF JEB BUSH: I think he`s still assessing it.
INTERVIEWER: Do you think it is more than 50 percent or less than 50
BUSH: I think it`s more than likely that he is giving this a serious
thought in moving forward.
INTERVIEWER: More than likely that he`ll run?
BUSH: That he`ll run.
If you would ask me a few years back, I would have said it was less likely.
INTERVIEWER: So, the family would be behind him 100 percent?
BUSH: The family would be behind him 100 percent if he decides to do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: There`s more from "The New York Times" here today. Peter Baker,
one of their star reporters, said, quote, "As Mr. Bush nears the decision
to become the third member of his storied family to seek the presidency,
the extended Bush clan and it`s intended network, albeit with one prominent
exception are largely rallying behind the prospect of pulling the old
machine out of the closet." That one exception is, of course, mother
Barbara who in the past has spoken out against a run by another bush."
But "The Times" also reports she`s been persuaded to stop airing her
concerns publicly. While the biggest cheerleaders of the family appeared
to be the former Bush presidents, 41, and 43.
According to a family insider, the one person who is really, really pushing
to get Jeb to run is George W. He`s talking it up all the time.
APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO: The albatross around Jeb Bush`s neck is
George W. At the Republican convention, if you remember, all the
Republican presidents were glorified. That one letter was left out -- W.
It was -- the silence was deafening.
So, his brother is going to be the albatross around his neck, and the
reason why he would have a glimmer of hope is because of Democrats who want
immigration, from the minorities who want immigration, and that`s
something, Chris, that after this midterm, a matter of fact -- I`m giving
you the news nugget after this midterms -- the White House is going to go
straight ahead trying to deal with immigration, right after the midterm.
MATTHEWS: But if they go by executive order, if the president just seems
to do it by fiat, Jon, that`s just going to enrage the Republicans. They
won`t even talk to him about it anymore.
SILVER: Well, that`s probably right. On the other hand, the Republicans
can`t win without the Hispanic vote and the Asian vote in 2016, and they
care dramatically about what happens with immigration, I completely --
MATTHEWS: But if nothing gets past, does that help the president? I
think, look, I look at these numbers, like 48 percent among the Hispanic
community. I think the president -- well, I can argue about how he`s doing
it, but the bottom line is he`s not getting overwhelming support in that
community, taken the posture he`s taking.
So, if he keeps failing to pass, they might just say, we don`t have any
faith in them either.
CUMMINGS: Or any of them. They may drop out after being energized for the
last couple of cycles. In addition, the president has made this promise to
that community and has stepped away from it twice now. For him to do it a
third time would be to the deep detriment of the Democratic Party.
MATTHEWS: Remember --
CUMMINGS: But I don`t see how he does that right after the campaign, given
that this campaign is very unlikely to end the fight for control of the
Senate, to end that --
MATTHEWS: Let me say something. This is so vivid, because here a guy has
Hispanic children. I mean, the fact is, George P. and Jeb Bush are dark-
skinned. They look Hispanic in many ways. And he`s still hold, remember,
the grandpa called them the brown ones? I mean, this is sort of, so close
to the bone, to the skin, that there`s no way there`s not going to be some
heated debate. Suppose Jeb gets into a debate with somebody, they make
slashing comments about Hispanics or --
RYAN: He`s married to a Hispanic, has Hispanic children. Yes.
MATTHEWS: This gets personal.
RYAN: It`s very personal.
So, for the Republicans, if there are some Republicans who believe, that
small minority who believe in immigration, he is the one to deliver it.
But he -- again, the albatross around his neck is his brother. Not
necessarily his father. But his brother, because he brought on a
recession, he brought a war that many didn`t want. And there are other
things that happened. So we have to see what happens.
CUMMINGS: But it`s not just his brother. It`s also his own policy. You
mentioned immigration. Education is another --
MATTHEWS: Common Core.
CUMMINGS: Yes, another area where he`s out of step with the base,
especially in the early primaries.
SILVER: His policies are anathema to party orthodoxy. So, the question is
really, how do you position yourself to run in the primaries and then
reposition yourself in the general?
MATTHEWS: Just to continue my old argument, there`s a compromise to be
had. It`s called the Senate bill on immigration. It`s a compromise bill.
It`s got teeth, it`s very tough on illegal hiring.
I don`t know why the president doesn`t say that and stop offering himself
up as an amnesty guy. He should say, damn it, I`m for a tough compromise
with real teeth in it. This is not a giveaway bill.
But he doesn`t want to do it because he wants the issue rather than the
bill right now. I hope he changes his mind after the election.
We`re coming right back with the roundtable to talk about what`s going to
happen, when and if the Republicans win both the House and the Senate? The
other side of winning is you actually have to do something, and that`s what
Kevin McCarthy is talking.
This party is all negative, the Republicans. What are they going to do if
they get the deal?
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: It`s not just the Senate races that are going down to the wire.
Look at this. That`s a map of all the states where the governor`s races
are within four points.
According to new polling for "The New York Times" and CBS, according to
them, it`s that close. You see some presidential battleground states
there, including Florida and Wisconsin. Results in those states are going
to matter big during the presidential race a couple years from now.
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Well, Republicans are, of course, excited about the possibility of taking
control of the U.S. Senate next week, away from the Democrats. But the new
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is giving Republicans a dose of
reality. In fact, a little scare themselves to go with their hub.
McCarthy gave some tough talk to a group of Long Island Republican donors.
"I do know this", McCarthy said, "If we don`t capture the House stronger
and the Senate and prove we could govern, there won`t be a Republican
president in 2016."
Key line there? Prove we could govern.
Republicans have had no governing strategy other than intransigence and
stonewalling. If they control both the Senate and the House however, and
still accomplish nothing, voters are going to figure them out -- wait a
minute, this party doesn`t want to do anything.
I`m back right now with the round table, of course, with April, Jeanne and
April, you mentioned during the break a drop in gas price.
MATTHEWS: And this is one of the things people are looking for. A little
hope. Gas price drop means -- it`s almost like a tax cut, more money to
spend on other stuff.
RYAN: The administration is saying that they, we now are at a time where
we -- this country is producing more oil than relying on foreign oil. So,
gas prices -- I was in Baltimore yesterday for the Race for the Cure, in
around that area $2.89 for unleaded regular. That`s a big deal when we
were at $4 a couple years ago. So, that`s a very big deal.
But, you know, it`s interesting, though, in these times, when the
president`s approval rating is down and the congressional approval rating
is down, $2.89 is not making a big --
MATTHEWS: Who`s going to celebrate that?
RYAN: I`m celebrating.
MATTHEWS: Jon, you`re the energy expert here. Is that going to last?
SILVER: Yes. And it`s going to last. It`s going to last for a long time.
MATTHEWS: Cheaper gas?
SILVER: Cheaper gas, and that`s great and the president has done a great
job in positioning the country for that.
MATTHEWS: With the Middle East going whacko, as it often does, how can
SILVER: Well, we`re general rating a lot of clean energy in this country.
We`re generating a lot of frac gas. We have enough resources, enough
energy resources here to power ourselves for many, many years to come.
The funny thing about what McCarthy was talking about in repositioning is
that he`s actually trumpeting style, not substance. He`s going back to the
same Republican agenda, the energy agenda that that he proposed in the
meeting you were referring to were simply more drilling on public lands and
the building out of the Keystone pipeline. That`s not where Americans are
CUMMINGS: Well, I -- the thing that strikes me is when they talked about
governing, I`m just trying to get my head around how that happens when
Boehner and the House caucus has a larger, unruly Tea Party caucus than
they had the last time. What kind of energy bill passes that chamber and
then goes over to a Senate where even if they take control, they`re going
to need 60 to get passed the Democrats.
MATTHEWS: What are they voting for? There are people who vote Republican
next Tuesday? What do they want? What`s their hope? What do they believe
in besides no?
CUMMINGS: Well, most of the polls show that it is a protest vote, that the
motivation is to vote against Obama and the Democrats. That is --
MATTHEWS: Well, do they get a tax cut? That`s always nice to get in the
CUMMINGS: Well, some of them assume they`ll get Obamacare repealed. I
mean, these are kind of messages that are still out there.
RYAN: And they used to think Obama would be impeached if the Senate gets -
- but I don`t we`re in this mood as a nation now for that to happen.
CUMMINGS: No, but I`ll tell you one. I pointed out before, that one of
the big developments, if they get 51 seats next Tuesday, they get the
subpoena power. They get the permanent investing subcommittee headed right
now by John McCain and he`s the ranking member. It could also be headed by
Rand Paul or Ron Johnson.
But they`re going to -- that means that any time the chair of that
committee wants to do this, he could issue a subpoena, doesn`t need the
Democrats to agree to it at all. This is enormous power. And it does
explain the Nixon impeachment effort, the Clinton impeachment effort. It
explains the Iran contra hearings.
If the other party has absolute control of the subpoena power in the
Senate, look out. Now, they may be responsible about it, but it`s one hell
of a lot of power.
SILVER: The Republicans have the subpoena power in the House and they --
MATTHEWS: No, no, it has to be done partisan.
SILVER: They just have investigations committee and they ran kind of silly
witch hunt after witch hunt --
MATTHEWS: But Darrell Issa is not serious. But John McCain is, and he
could get angry sometimes.
CUMMINGS: And that`s something that`s going to happen. And they`ll
elevate Benghazi because it`s about 2016.
SILVER: But the Republicans will still have to develop a platform for `16
and that platform is going to be something --
MATTHEWS: Well, Bob Woodward said this week, an investigating the IRS is
one of the plum opportunities he would like if he were a young reporter.
Don`t think they didn`t hear that.
Anyway, April, thank you.
RYAN: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Thank you for coming here.
Thank you, Jeanne Cummings. Thank you, Jonathan Silver.
When we return, let me finish with the news that Ebola has become a
political football. You better believe it, in this last week before the
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with the news that Ebola has become a
political football, as if to keep living or killing proof to this country`s
political dysfunction comes from Trenton now that Chris Christie wants all
to know that he, unlike President Obama, knows the smart, tough, common
sense way to stop the spread of Ebola.
Well, this is a long way, of course, from two years ago when Christie
joined Obama to survey the damage of Tropical Storm Sandy. Then, the two
politicians were on to displaying the bipartisanship and what it looks
like. Now, the man in Trenton wants to people of the world to know how
tough he is -- tough on disease, tough on those who might have it, tough,
It reminds me the time that he told a young woman who questioned a choice
of his children`s schools that it was none of her business, some tough talk
today, even if this time, it`s very much everyone`s business. We`ll have
to see how all this turns out, if there`s no outbreak of Ebola this side of
the Atlantic, the president`s calm handling of this will look more than
If, however, the two cases of Ebola contracted here grows exponentially,
then Christie`s tough actions will strike the country as tougher, but also
smarter, more presidential. Let`s hope we don`t have to go that far.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
Content and programming copyright 2014 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Copyright 2014 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.