Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 01/27/15
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Escape for New York.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
And the sprint to 2016 has picked up its clip this week. Republicans are
piling up at the starting game, with Wisconsin`s Scott Walker joining Jeb
Bush, Mitt Romney and Chris Christie in the quartet of governors. The
Catch-22 for Republicans, unfortunately for all of them, stares us in the
face tonight. Many of them think the only route to the nomination is the
clown car, riding through a crap storm of right-wing politics. They`re
just back from a right-wing summit out in Iowa hosted by a crazed U.S.
congressman who says most immigrants are drug mules with calves the size of
So at this minute, we`ve got two big stories for you tonight, the politics
of nasty weather, of course, and even nastier weather of Republican primary
Parts of New England right now are buried in close to three feet of snow,
with some of the heaviest snowfalls coming late today. Authorities urged
evacuations among several coastal areas. Wind gusts near 80 miles an hour
were recorded on the island of Nantucket. And those are hurricane-force
winds, of course.
The seawalls have been breached up there, leaving coastal towns under seven
feet of water and without power. And it`s not over yet up there. The
storm had expectations in New England, but the big surprise, as I suggested
in the cold open, is that it missed the main target in New York. Gotham
was braced for up to three feet of snow, but saw only a seven inches.
Philadelphia braced for more than a foot, but saw only a couple of inches.
An official at the National Weather Service publicly apologized for those
Well, last night, we showed you what happened when mayors don`t prepare for
a blizzard, that history was fresh in the minds, obviously, of leaders last
night, perhaps, when they shut down the entire New York metropolitan area,
making travel illegal, all for what turned out to be less than eight inches
of actual snow.
We`re watching some surprisingly nasty politics following all this good
news, actually. For the latest on this storm, I`m joined by NBC`s Miguel
Almaguer (ph), who`s up in Worcester, Mass, where the snowfall is historic.
THank you so much, Miguel, for joining us from where I spent four cold
winters as a young man at Holy Cross. But go ahead. What`s happening in
MIGUEL ALMAGUER, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Chris, good evening. Yeah, record
snowfall here, 31 inches and counting. They`re going to beat a record here
tonight. This is, as you know, the second biggest city in all of New
England, but right now, we are in the middle what should be rush hour.
Instead, all you can see behind me is this huge snow drift. It`s more than
20 feet high. The issue here and across so many cities in this region is
what do you do with all this snow once it stops snowing? That`s not going
to happen here until tomorrow morning.
Well, as you mentioned, in places like Nantucket, they have other worries.
That area has been completely cut off. Folks can`t get in our out.
They`re facing tidal surges, as well as the loss of some vital
communications systems, like 911. So they are bracing there as this storm
continues to batter the region.
Meantime, in cities like Boston, also a record, more than 18 inches of
snow, the snowfall still falling there. We were there with doctors earlier
today, who were brought into the hospital by police escort. One doctor
even skied in. Today, there was a birth of a baby boy during the storm,
his mother telling us she didn`t even know this storm was happening during
the birth, and she was thrilled to have missed it.
Certainly an epic storm here, many of folks glad they missed it. For the
good news, the storm has not been devastating. Many of the cities here are
shut down, but the services will likely reopen tomorrow. But it`s going to
take a long time for so many of these coastal cities here to dig out,
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, what`s your assessment out there in the bitter
cold of Worcester, that Worcester got all the snow, and so did Nantucket,
but New York City, Gotham, as I just called it, somehow whisked right by
this whole thing.
ALMAGUER: Yeah, it`s brual in Worcester. It`s very cold here, wicked
cold, as they would say. As you mentioned, yeah, New York and New Jersey
seemed to kind of just be breezed and bumped by this storm. It was snow,
of course, across the area, but it was not what officials had predicted,
which was several feet of snow. Instead, it was more of a dusting. They
shut down major transportation hubs, of course, a major issue in New York
City. And the storm never really materialized.
Of course, the big debate– should the governors and city leaders have done
all of that since the storm wasn`t a major impact. They say yes, they
should have, because if they didn`t and this storm had pile-drived into
that city, as it did not, there would have been chaos there. So they say
they made the right moves here in Worcester. Things are shut down for a
reason. It`s cold and snowy out here, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Miguel Almaguer telling us the great story up in Worcester,
Mass, one of my favorite cities.
William Pittman is the police chief out in Nantucket, 28 miles out into the
ocean. And that town has suffered some of the worst damage. Chief
Pittman, what`s it like up there on the island?
CHIEF WILLIAM PITTMAN, NANTUCKET POLICE DEPARTMENT (via telephone): Well,
it`s cold and it`s getting colder. The wind`s still blowing out here, and
the snow`s coming down, and the winds are still, I`m guessing, up probably
in the 30s steadily at this point. And so we`re getting a lot of blowing
and drifting snow. And we still don`t have power restored to a lot of
areas on the island.
MATTHEWS: Am I looking at Main Street here? Where is the flooding going
on up there?
PITTMAN: The flooding happens down around the harbor area, down Easy
Street, Broad Street, North Beach Street area. Those– they run parallel
or around the harbor. As the winds come up and the tide comes in, the
storm surge on top of it brings it over the seawalls and floods the
MATTHEWS: Permanent damage? What will it be, anything?
PITTMAN: Not really. We got a couple of houses that probably have some
damage. They had water a couple feet up the walls in the interior down on
Washington Street. But most of the damage has caused just tree limbs and
power lines down.
MATTHEWS: Well, it`s one of the most beautiful parts of our country,
Nantucket, Massachusetts. Thank you very much, Chief William Pittman of
the police force up there on the island.
Anyway, politicians down in New York, as we said, and New Jersey, are
battling criticism that they overreacted by shutting down all
transportation and making travel actually illegal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: There are going to be a lot of critics saying that perhaps there
was too much done for this storm. What would your response be to that?
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Well, my response would be we were
listening to all of you.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: My job as a leader is to make
decisions, and I will always err on the side of safety and caution. You
can`t be a Monday morning quarterback on something like the weather.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: We had a storm several weeks ago where I
believe the forecast was for a relatively modest amount of snow. And we
then had seven feet of snow in Buffalo. I do not criticize weather
forecasters. I learn.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow. Dan Malloy, of course, is governor of Connecticut and
Jason Samenow is with me here in Washington. He`s “The Washington Post`s”
Governor, I am completely on the side of politicians who play it safe. You
know, better safe than sorry, we`re told when we`re 3 years old, and I
think after blasting the hell out people like Lindsay over the years and
Michael Bilandic (ph) out in Chicago, and of course, Mayor Barry down here,
and the new mayor down here because she got 1 inch wrong, basically, in her
first action as mayor– it was– it was two inches of now, rather than one.
She didn`t have the plows out, so she got blasted for that. And now people
are out blasting people like Cuomo and de Blasio.
I don`t want to blame them. And by the way, Christie ought to just keep
quiet. Attacking the media`s the dumbest thing I ever heard of. We didn`t
create the weather reports. They come from the weather bureau. Anyway,
MATTHEWS: Is it better to be safe than sorry?
GOV. DANNEL MALLOY (D), CONNECTICUT: Well, I agree with you. It is. You
know, I`ve been through a bunch of these, Irene and Superstorm Sandy and
unbelievable weather storms. We had on 40 inches February 13th in parts of
our state. You should always err on the side of caution and safety.
That`s why I closed our highway system down at 9:00 o`clock last night.
But it also allowed us to clean up a lot quicker than we otherwise would
have been able to do. You learn as you go along in these things, and you
always should err on the side of safety.
And listen, let me say this to the meteorologists. Thank you. You know,
you`re giving us the best information you have available. We need to act
on it as leaders. It`s not just public safety, although that has to be the
largest portion. It`s about how quickly you can recover after the fact, as
You know, I`m sitting here listening to you talk about Worcester. You
know, I played a lot of rugby against Holy Cross when I was at Boston
College. I have a nephew and a niece who live on Nantucket. He`s an
orthopedic surgeon out there. And of course, I was a prosecutor in New
These are vital places. They have– the people deserve to be protected.
That`s our job. That`s what we get elected to do.
MATTHEWS: Let me go to our expert here right now from “The Washington
Post.” Jason, how good is weather– I mean, I never– my mom used to stay
up all night waiting for the weather. I said, What are we, farmers? We`re
going to– I still have to go to school. Dad`s got to go to work. Why do
we check the weather? But people do it out of– how good is– what is it,
50 percent right, 70 percent right? I mean, how do you–
JASON SAMENOW, “WASHINGTON POST“: Well, I think it`s a lot better than
that. I mean, weather forecasting has made tremendous progress over the
last few decades. For example, about three decades ago, a three-day
forcast three decades ago is as accurate– a one-day forecast is a lot more
accurate than a three-day forecast was several decades ago.
MATTHEWS: I think you meant to say that backwards. A three-day forecast
is better than what a one-day–
SAMENOW: Yes, exactly.
MATTHEWS: I get it. So but were there two models out there last night for
the politicians to look at, the governors and the mayors, like Governor
Malloy? Were they looking at two possibilities or a range of possibilities
or what? What led Governor Cuomo to shut everything down at 11:00 o`clock
SAMENOW: Right. So there was a lot of differences in the various weather
models that we look at. Some forecasts were showing up to three feet of
snow in New York City. Some were showing closer to a foot. And I think
what politicians did–
MATTHEWS: It`s 8.
SAMENOW: Yes, I know.
MATTHEWS: Eight inches.
SAMENOW: I know. The models were wrong. They– our science is improving,
but sometimes, especially when storms– we`re right on the edge of a storm,
the modelds can be just a little bit off. And it was a difference of just
about 60 miles. Eastern Long Island got almost 30 inches of snow, whereas
New York City just got 8. So that`s a very fine line.
And so it`s a really tough call for forecasters in that situation. So what
forecasters were doing, they were looking at this information and telling
the officials, that, Look, this could be really bad. We could get up to
three feet of snow in New York City, crippling the most populous city in
the entire U.S.
MATTHEWS: So what`s going to be the message to figure politicians, when
Lindsay made a fool of himself, and so did Bilandic out in children and
Marion Barry for the hundredth time? Is the message going to be now, Be
careful, don`t be on the too cautious side, Governor? Or is it going to be
the message of–
MATTHEWS: –better be smarter than you are? Nobody`s smart enough to
predict the weather. You just admitted it. You can`t predict the weather.
You can`t. You can`t.
MALLOY: You can`t, but I`ll point something out to you real quickly. They
actually had the type of snow right this time. They told us what it would
be and that it would be a lighter snow and there`d be a lot more wind
pushing it around, and that sort of thing.
Listen, err on the side of public safety. You`re going to get blamed for a
lot of things as a mayor. I was a mayor for 14 years. They`re going to
forget that you kept them safe, and they got mad about that. They`re going
to remember if you don`t pave the road, if you don`t plow the street, if
you don`t pick up the garbage. Those are the things that people remember
on election day.
MATTHEWS: Why do politicians wear those– what do you call them, foul-
weather gear costumes, when they`re inside? I`m just– I was watching
Cuomo the other day, Governor, and every– you`ve got your shirt, your tie
missing, that`s fine. But every– they look like they`re off the Grand
Banks, the George (ph) Banks. They`rek, like, out there catching fish.
All they`re doing is walking outside for a few minutes for a presser and
they dress accordingly. It just– is this to identify with the people,
identify with the working guy out there who`s shoveling snow? What is it
about, the costuming?
MALLOY: It`s– well, first, the people who are home watching, you know,
that`s how they`re dressed. I suppose that`s part of it. I`ll also tell
you, it`s fun. I mean, you know, we got to wear ties all the time and to
have an excuse not to wear a tie is not such a bad deal.
MATTHEWS: Yeah, I thought Governor Cuomo should have had a harpoon with
him last night. Anyway, thank you, Governor Dan Malloy. Congratulations.
We rooted for your reelection. We`re glad the people chose you again, sir.
MALLOY: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: And Jason Samenow, for that very interesting admission now that
you say that you can predict three days out as well as you used to be able
to predict one day out.
SAMENOW: That`s exactly right.
MATTHEWS: But you didn`t get one day out yesterday.
SAMENOW: Well, that`s right. But can I make one more point?
SAMENOW: So what I want to say is that forecasters also have to accept
some responsibility here just in that there were a range of possibilities,
and I don`t think we did necessarily the best job at communicating the
uncertainty, that there could be this huge spread. I think there was too
much focus on the worst-case scenario. And so we have to do a better job
at presenting the range of scenarios so public– so that public–
MATTHEWS: The politicians are still going to have to make a call.
MATTHEWS: –because if it comes out high, they`re dead. Now it comes out
low, they`re surviving. None of these guys– none of these guys are going
to get beaten because they overreacted. Anyway, thank you so much.
SAMENOW: You bet.
MATTHEWS: Much more politics– Governor, again, thank you, sir.
And lots of news out here tonight on the 2016 race for president. That is
clipping along there. The right-wing clown car chugged into Steven King`s
confab out in Iowa over the weekend. What a joke that was, and I mean it.
Meanwhile, President Obama is at 50 percent in another new poll. So he`s
creeping up past the 50 marks, which is going to mean a lot to a lot of
people. It`s called success. That`s good news if your name is Hillary
Clinton, who`s going to definitely latch onto, I think, the second term
Plus, there`s a hot debate raging over the latest movie (INAUDIBLE) that`s
just grabbing this country. I saw it. I think it`s a good movie,
“American Sniper.” Big question– does it glorify war? I have an opinion.
Or is it anti-war? It may be a little of both, but I think it`s more the
first. Anyway, the answer may depend on your politics. And people who
like politics are watching here.
And can any of four of these Republican governors beat Hillary Clinton?
They may have the best chance among the GOP contenders. You`re looking at
Finally, “Let Me Finish“ with the International Holocaust Rembrance Day,
which is today, a day to never forget.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, a Texas judge ruled late today the case against former
governor Rick Perry can proceed. District Judge Burt Richardson (ph), a
Republican, denied a motion to dismiss the indictment against Perry. Well,
last year, a grand jury in Austin indicted Perry on charges of abuse of
official power and coercion of a public servant. Perry`s accused of
publicly threatening and then carrying out a veto of state funding for
public corruption prosecutors after the unit`s Democratic district attorney
refused to resign following a conviction for drunken driving. What a mess
And we`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, over the weekend, the Iowa
congressman, of course, the one we talk about a lot, Steven King, who gave
us the unforgettable imagery of calves the size of canteloupes– he`s
talking about immigrants there– and the new noun “departoble,“ as in
that guy`s a deportable, to describe the children of illegal immigrants–
he was the man to see this weekend for a host of Republican 2016 hopefuls.
Congressman King presided over the Iowa Freedom Summit, he called it,
considered by many to be the starting gun of the 2016 Republican race.
Let`s listen to Congressman King and the potential contenders.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: Do you believe that the next president of the
United States is going to be speaking from this stage to you today?
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
KING: As do I.
SARAH PALIN (R-AK), FMR. GOV., FMR. VP NOMINEE: Hey, Iowa, can anyone stop
Hillary? Yeah, and let`s borrow a phrase. Yes, we can!
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: In a Republican primary, every candidate`s going
to come in front of you and say, I`m the most conservative guy to ever
live. Gosh darn it, boo (ph) diddly (ph), I`m conservative! Well, you
know what? Talk is cheap.
CARLY FIORINA (R-CA), FORMER SENATE CANDIDATE: Like Hillary Clinton, I too
have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles around the globe, but unlike
her, I`ve actually accomplished something.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: I think people like the direction
they`re headed. Maybe that`s why I won the race for governor three times
in the last four years.
MIKE HUCKABEE (R-AR), FMR. GOV., FMR. PRES. CANDIDATE: I can give you a
little bit of news about Mitt. Most of you know he and Jeb had a private
meeting in Utah that was so private, it was on the front page of “The New
York Times.” And they called me late Thursday night after they had met and
told me that both of them were dropping out and throwing their support to
RICK PERRY (R), FMR. GOVERNOR OF TEXAS: Starting today right here in Iowa,
let`s give it to them!
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: If I was too blunt, too direct, too
loud and too New Jersey for Iowa, then why do you people keep inviting me
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, it reminds me of tagging up in baseball. Candidates have
to touch first base before rounding the horn, but is Steve King the base
Republicans really want to tag?
Joining me right now is John Brabender and Joan Walsh, editor at large for
I got to start with the home team here, Joan. Excuse me, ladies second
MATTHEWS: But I think there`s a catch-22 in Republican politics, which is,
if you want to win the presidency – and these guys and women in the case
of Carly Fiorina, all want to win – you can`t win unless you get the
You can`t get the nomination if you straight-arm the right wing. You have
got to go to the right wing, the evangelicals, the people on the – perhaps
the fringe even, to show you see will be their president, as well as other
people`s. Isn`t that a problem?
JOHN BRABENDER, FORMER SENIOR SANTORUM CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Well, it is.
The paradox, as I always says, is what can get you elected can prevent you
from being elected. That`s exactly what you were saying. And so I think
there`s some advice that comes with that, too, is that whatever our –
whoever our nominee is this time has to go beyond just checking the boxes
and – on things like social conservative and so forth.
The area and the target I think they have to be able talk to are
hardworking families, middle-income families who feel like, to some degree,
they have been abandoned by both parties, but particularly our party. I
mean, most of our candidates don`t believe in the minimum wage. I think
BRABENDER: So, whoever is going to win is going to fill a lot of different
MATTHEWS: So, there`s a lot more – my argument, because my parents were
among this crowd, there are a lot more cloth coat Republicans than mink
There`s a lot more regular people out there in the Republican Party than
there are Bushes or Romneys. And yet you don`t hear from them now.
BRABENDER: Here`s always been the case.
In the Republican Party, there`s been boxes or buckets of votes,
establishment and then the sort of – sort of just anti-establishment.
Then we added social conservative, then Tea Party and then libertarian.
This time, there`s going to be two more voter boxes that didn`t exist last
Number one is going to be middle-income, hardworking families. There`s
going to a real effort to say, look, we understand. And then the other
that didn`t exist last time was national defense and terrorism. We`re
seeing in polling data all across this country that what was a 2 percent
issue is now creeping up to 10 percent, 11 percent issue.
And that`s where a lot of these candidates are going to have to show that
they can also be commander in chief.
MATTHEWS: You know, Joanie, the last three Republicans to win the
presidency, which means win more of the people than – except for W. –
more people than the other guy got, basically forswore all the social
I mean, nobody thought Ronald Reagan was serious about abortion rights. He
used to address it by public address. He wouldn`t even go to the pro-life
rallies every year, certainly not the waspy Yankee George Bush Sr. He had
nothing to do with all the abortion, anti-abortion stuff.
JOAN WALSH, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
MATTHEWS: And same way W. basically said when he went in there – you have
to appreciate it – he said the times aren`t right to revisit that issue.
The people aren`t going to change. It would require a total change of
heart. It`s not going to happen, so I`m going to leave it alone.
It seems like the only way a Republican wins is to say, I don`t really take
seriously a lot of the platform that`s written down by the party. I don`t
– I sort of promise you I`m not going to mess with it stuff. Like, same-
sex, is somebody really going to go out there and run against same-sex in
WALSH: I think you will see some people doing that.
No, I mean, what George W. Bush did, he learned from his father`s defeat.
He spent a lot of time courting social conservatives. You`re right. In
the end on the issue of abortion, he didn`t do all maybe he could. I don`t
know. I don`t know how much more he could have done.
MATTHEWS: What did he do?
WALSH: Right. Exactly. He didn`t – he didn`t do very much.
But the thing that was different back then is, they had a kind of
narrowcasting way of getting to their key voters that didn`t necessarily
turn off everybody else who didn`t necessarily hear that message. Now you
have got – I really think it`s an incredible development that you have all
of these people, including top-line contenders, going to kiss the ring of
Steve King, which, again, it`s not just that he`s anti-immigration.
That`s a point of view. It`s that he`s so mean about it. And if there was
one thing that conservatives and moderate Republicans seemed to agree on
after 2012 was, you know, to the extent something like John is saying, we
really shouldn`t be talking to and about people this way if we want them to
vote for us.
WALSH: And here is Steve King, who said some of the worst things about
immigrant families that I can think of on the national stage. Why?
MATTHEWS: Isn`t it interesting? Joan, it`s interesting, and, John, it`s
interesting. There`s a number of ways to describe someone in this country
You can call them undocumented workers, which is what I think they prefer.
That`s sort of a euphemism, you might say. You can call them people in the
country who came here illegally. You can say that.
Or you can call them illegals, which is pretty damned cold, because you`re
saying that`s all they are is illegal.
MATTHEWS: And the worst of these is deportables. It`s like collectibles.
They`re not even people.
Why would you call somebody a deportable, as if that was a human – what is
a deportable? Is that a situation? It`s not a human experience. A
deportable isn`t a recognition of a person`s humanity. And they are human
WALSH: It`s cruel. It`s cruel.
MATTHEWS: They broke the law to get in here, for good economic reasons, to
get ahead. But you can`t dismiss them as they`re not people. Deportables?
Why would this guy, Steve King, call them that? Well, why would anybody in
your party who wants to get elected talk like that?
BRABENDER: But let me say this.
First of all, if you watch the speeches, I thought they were pretty
remarkable, because people didn`t get themselves singularly defined on the
social issues, as sometimes as a party we force ourselves to do and
spending so much time –
MATTHEWS: Give me an example. Who avoided that?
BRABENDER: I think all of them.
In fact, I would say I think Carly Fiorina was probably the only one that
really spent a lot of time talking about the life issue, and also talked
about Hillary Clinton. You know, you had candidates talking about, how are
WALSH: No, Chris Christie – Chris Christie – I`m sorry – I will stop,
BRABENDER: Go ahead.
WALSH: Chris Christie and Scott Walker both said a lot about being pro-
And Scott Walker, who I think otherwise did a very good job there, felt
that it was important to tell the country that he defunded Planned
Parenthood. That`s not a mainstream issue.
BRABENDER: He did. But Scot Walker didn`t – wasn`t defined just by that.
He went beyond that and showed how he created jobs. He created a story
about taking on the unions, things that play well with Republicans.
MATTHEWS: Why do you have to show your leg like that in the party? I
mean, why is abortion such an issue in the party at this point?
BRABENDER: We – our platform is, we`re pro-life.
And you have got to remember, just like your party, who shows up in
primaries are the –
MATTHEWS: My party? You know, I have told you my voting record. It`s not
that simple. But I will accept that.
BRABENDER: Yes. Yes. Yes. All right.
MATTHEWS: I am left of center. I am left of center. I will admit it.
BRABENDER: Let`s be – I`m a political consultant. All right?
BRABENDER: I`m not a policy director, all that stuff. Who shows up in
primaries, Democrat or Republican, are the most conservative and the more -
- most liberal. And, frankly, these people know that and they have got to
But I will tell you –
MATTHEWS: You know where I`m really against your party? And we`re into
this partisanship little thing here, John Brabender.
I can`t stand the fact you fight too many wars. I think the Iraq war was
insane. And I think it was really bad for our country. And the attempt by
your party, Reince Priebus all the way down, to repress black voting in
this country – voting rights are sacred. You wouldn`t mess with them.
And you have got guys all over the country, Republicans, as Republicans,
saying, we`re going to screw the black voter.
That`s what you`re doing. So you want to get in this partisan game, I
couldn`t defend that if I were you.
BRABENDER: Yes. I think that –
MATTHEWS: And I don`t think you will.
BRABENDER: – the Republican Party is very simple. If you`re right –
you have a right to vote, you should have a right to vote.
MATTHEWS: Well, I wish you would act – I wish you guys would act on that.
BRABENDER: But I will tell you, this is now about things like shrinking
wages under this president or stagnant wages.
MATTHEWS: I`m with you on that. I`m with Santorum on that.
BRABENDER: All those type of things, that`s what we need to talk about.
MATTHEWS: OK. I have got to give Joan the last word.
Joan, what do you make of the fact that the president now, who they have
loved to say was under 50 percent, the latest poll, he is up at 50?
I have a feeling he`s going to climb to – if the economy gets back into
shape again, real wage growth, which is the key, he will be up in the mid-
50s. He will be up in the mid-50s. Your thoughts?
WALSH: You know, that`s the trajectory. I don`t want to predict anything.
But he`s up over 50. And people didn`t expect him to get there. There was
a lot of talk about how Hillary Clinton is really going to have to distance
herself, she can`t be the third term. She may want to be the third term by
the time – by the time the second term is through.
So, it`s good for Democrats, it`s good for the president, it`s good for
Hillary Clinton. And it`s also good for the country, because it is really
around the issue of economic recovery. It hasn`t gone far enough,
especially when it comes to wages, but it`s – it`s – things are better.
MATTHEWS: Well, as John Kennedy once said, and you know it well, victory
has 100 fathers, and defeat is an orphan. Right now, the president is
going to have 100 fathers, despite what Brabender tries to argue.
MATTHEWS: Anyway thank you, John Brabender.
You get partisan with me, I come right back at you.
BRABENDER: Yes. Yes. Yes. Wait until you see Obama –
MATTHEWS: Joan Walsh right now, thank you, Joan, as always.
Up next: The Republican governor of Indiana is catching heat from both the
left and the right for doing something that we usually see dictators do.
He`s not that bad, but what he did is really awful.
Anyway, this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART”)
PERRY: America is looking for a new path forward, and starting today,
right here in Iowa, let`s give it to `em!
JON STEWART, HOST, “THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART”: I mean, honestly,
Governor Perry, why bother buying the smart guy glasses if the real
affectation you`re going for is a big red moustache and a couple of six
shooters aimed at a cartoon rabbit?
STEWART: We`re going to show them here in Iowa. Ba-bing, ba-bing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL.
I love that guy.
Anyway, time now for the “Sideshow.”
That was Jon Stewart`s take on Rick Perry`s over-the-top performance at
Congressman Steve King`s Freedom Summit out in Iowa on Saturday.
Among the nine presidential 2016 candidates at that event in Iowa,
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was especially well-received by
conservative activists, but he`s now facing backlash from the band who
wrote the music he used when taking the stage. The song, which was most
famously used in the 2006 film “The Departed,” is by the punk rock band the
And they had a bone to pick, I would say, with the possible 2016 candidate
– quote – “Governor Walker, please to the using our music in any way. We
literally hate you. Love, Dropkick Murphys.”
Well, that was nice.
Anyway, finally, documents obtained by “The Indianapolis Star” shows that
Indiana`s Republican Governor Mike Pence wants to create – you won`t
believe this – you will not believe this – a state-run news organization,
an outlet which is to be funded by taxpayer money and coordinated by the
governor`s own communications director.
According to “The Indianapolis Star,” the endeavor will – quote – “make
pre-written news stories available to Indiana media,” specifically
targeting – quote – “smaller newspapers that have only a few staffers.”
Well, needless to say, the endeavor has sparked backlash, not only real
journalists, but also from small government conservatives.
Dave Read of Indiana`s Coalition of Tea Parties told the conservative site
Breitbart News this: “A state-run, taxpayer-funded news organization
designed to compete with independent news outlets is a shocking develop to
many rank-and-file conservatives. He might as well call Pravda.”
Boy, that`s for sure.
Up next: the debate over the hit movie “American Sniper.” Is it pro-war or
anti-war? Well, it`s a Rorschach test, many think. It depends on who you
are and how you look at it, also probably who you`re watching it with.
You`re watching HARDBALL here, the place for politics.
PAGE HOPKINS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Page Hopkins. Here`s what`s
While the snow totals fell short of expectations in some parts of the
Northeast, other areas are still being punished by the blizzard of 2015.
MSNBC`s John Yang is in Portland, Maine, where the snow is still coming
John, what`s the latest?
JOHN YANG, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Page, 18 inches on the ground. And, as you
say, this storm still has a ways to go. It`s very slow-moving. The winter
storm warning here doesn`t expire under Wednesday morning at 7:00 a.m.
And at the same time, you have got wind gusts up to 40 miles an hour
blowing the snow that`s already on the ground, covering streets that have
already been plowed, creating a hazard for drivers, and that hazard will
continue. Even after the snow stops falling, that wind will keep the snow
blowing – Page.
HOPKINS: OK. Thanks, John, NBC`s John Yang in Portland, Maine.
And now we`re going to take you back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
“American Sniper” continues to dominate the box office, earning more than
$200 million in the last couple of weeks. It`s also set up a debate about
whether the film encourages war and even glorifies snipers.
Michael Moore, for example, has been one of its most vocal critics,
tweeting last week: “My uncle was killed by sniper, by a sniper in World
War II. We were taught snipers were cowards. They will shoot you in the
back. Snipers aren`t heroes, and invaders are worse.”
Well, he later tweeted: “What would Jesus do? Oh, I know what he`d do.
Hide on top of a roof and shoot people in the back.”
Well, that can be pretty rough.
Anyway, Seth Rogen also took heat for a tweet last week. He said,
“American Sniper” kind of reminds my of the movie that is showing on the
third act of “Inglourious Basterds.” Anyway, Rogen later tried to clarify
that he wasn`t criticizing “American Sniper.” “My comment about the movie
was not meant to have any political implications. Any political meaning
was ascribed to my comment by news commentary.”
Somebody else did it.
Anyway, on Friday, Bill Maher criticized what he saw as the film`s lack of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER”)
BILL MAHER, HOST, “REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER”: “Hurt Locker” made $17
million, because it was a little ambiguous and thoughtful. And this one is
just, American hero, he`s a psychopath patriot, and we love him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, on the other side, Sarah Palin this weekend slammed, well,
who else, Hollywood liberals who have criticized the movie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: You know why that movie is
breaking records all over this great nation? It`s because America needs a
hero again. And Chris Kyle has been that man.
And screw the left in Hollywood, who can`t understand –
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
PALIN: – what it is that we see in someone like Chris Kyle and all of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, to discussing this issue of your left right, pro-war,
anti-war is or panel tonight, former Vermont and presidential candidate –
former Vermont governor and presidential candidate Howard Dean, editor-in-
chief of “Roll Call”, Christina Bellantoni, and our friend, “Washington
Post” opinion writer and MSNBC contributor, Jonathan Capehart.
Jonathan, you saw the movie. (INAUDIBLE) people that saw the movie.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes.
MATTHEWS: Did you like the movie?
CAPEHART: I loved it. It was a – Sarah Palin makes my head explode.
Sure, Chris Kyle was a hero, but a complicated hero. He is a flawed hero
in this movie. This movie war – it`s a war movie, it was a tough movie to
watch. His first kill in this movie is a child.
MATTHEWS: A child carrying a grenade.
CAPEHART: Yes, a child carrying a grenade, but still a child. We, this
nation, filled with all these people most of whom will never see war –
MATTHEWS: Would you shoot a child who you knew was going to throw a
grenade at American soldiers?
CAPEHART: But the thing about –
MATTHEWS: Now, would you?
CAPEHART: That would be my job.
MATTHEWS: That`s exactly the way I looked at it. That`s why you`re there.
CAPEHART: But the thing about that movie was that – he didn`t see the
child and say, OK, time to kill the kid. You saw the struggle that he went
MATTHEWS: And he was calling in with his command. He was checking with
people. He had a guy checking. It wasn`t sloppy. It was very
CAPEHART: Right. The point I`m trying to make here is about us in this
country, I think it`s like 1 percent of the American population has been in
the military, you know? If anything, it reminds us of the choices, the
hard choices and the hard things that people in uniform –
MATTHEWS: SEAL training alone is frightening. How about SEAL training
alone? That was pretty frightening. They`re basically tied down at the
surf coming in. They`re basically being waterboarded by the in the surf.
They`re just lying there in the cold, hours and hours and hours of it. And
everything else they had to do to qualify to be a SEAL.
CHRISTINA BELLANTONI, ROLL CALL: Yes, it`s a terrific film, those are
great scenes. Part of it is the reflection – what Jonathan is getting at
is what this does to communities that are touched by war, and then what
happens when people come home. And, you know, whether or not it ends up
winning a war and people can talk about the importance of caring for our
veterans and caring for people who do have mental illness. Even though we
know what happened to him in real life, there he was ill and had some
issues that he was grappling with.
MATTHEWS: He killed 162 people –
BELLANTONI: Right. And so, that`s – it`s a conversation the nation
should be having. And if you disagree or agree with Palin or anybody else,
part of it is that`s what we fight for in this country, right? We fight
for the right to be able to speak.
MATTHEWS: Governor, you`ve been in a situation, Governor Dean, on “Real
Time with Bill Maher” this week, you said, “People who go see this movie
are people who are very angry.” The actor Gary Sinise had a strong
reaction to that.
He wrote, quote, “You certainly have a right to make certain blank
statements, suggesting that all people who see this film are angry, but how
is that helpful, sir? Chris Kyle`s story deserved to be told. It tells
the story of stress that multiple deployments have on one military family,
a family representative of thousands of military families. It helps to
communicate the toll that the war on terror has taken on our defenders.”
HOWARD DEAN (D), FORMER VERMONT GOVERNOR: I`ll tell you something which I
almost never done in politics, I apologize for the veterans. I haven`t
seen the movie, and I think it was wrong. I talk to a lot of people about
it. I make no apologies to all the thousands of right-wing nut jobs who
have twittering me with a nasty language. But I do apologize to the
veterans. We owe them a lot and I think this movie was much more nuanced
than I thought.
MATTHEWS: But you would not take the word nut bags back?
DEAN: No, I don`t – the people who tweeted me all weekend and used a lot
of bad language, they`re chicken hawks and I have not respect for them.
MATTHEWS: We don`t like chicken hawks, like Dick Cheney.
DEAN: I have a lot of respect for the people who serve this country and I
MATTHEWS: Thank you, sir.
Let`s go around the table. I think it was – if you`re an 18-year-old kid,
and you`re this would be a recruitment film. You don`t want to go in the
military. Do you see it that way?
BELLANTONI: I don`t see it that way. I think it was a dramatization of
someone`s book based on their own personal story that Hollywood told a good
story, getting at all the different ramifications of war. War is ugly.
MATTHEWS: But it won`t encourage young men to join the military.
BELLANTONI: I didn`t look at it that way. I mean, I`m a woman, but it
certainly – I think gets at some of the worst elements of it, what you`re
leaving behind, your family –
MATTHEWS: I think it would make a young guy think here`s my chance to be a
DEAN: I think people join the military because of the situation – a ton
of people joined the military after 9/11 because they feel patriotism –
CAPEHART: As did Chris Kyle.
DEAN: I might get – yes, mostly I think these films don`t make people
join the military. I think that`s the circumstances of what happens to the
MATTHEWS: I don`t like the way they called the Arabs in Iraq as savages,
and I – not because it may not have been accurate in some instance.
Certainly, some woman who gives her son a grenade to take and throw and
kill a bunch of people with, knowing the kid already shot is a savage
pretty much, but the idea that Arabs, and somehow there`s a connection
between 9/11 and Iraq? That`s something I will not accept.
The Iraqis did not attack us. They had nothing to do with 9/11. That was
the sales pitch to get us in that war.
CAPEHART: But I think that gets to sort of the uncomfortableness, the
messiness of war, the messiness of that situation. I mean, no, Iraq had
nothing to do with 9/11, but we lived through that, we saw what happened
with the Bush administration and conflating 9/11 and Saddam Hussein. I
mean, people went over to Iraq under false pretenses for –
MATTHEWS: Including that guy.
CAPEHART: Including that guy, for the wrong reasons. And they went there,
they had a job to do. It was horrible, it was ugly, it was messy. As
Kristina said, they came back with problems.
We have to remember, this wasn`t just one tour of duty that the Chris Kyle
went through. He had four. If I have any fault with the movie, it is that
the movie did not spend enough time talking about his transition after that
last tour home. It was over within 10 minutes.
MATTHEWS: The same thing with “Unbroken”, the whole part of the story
about the guy coming home a drunk, a miserable life, cut out of the movie.
Anyway, we`ll have more with you, next. You don`t have to apologize in the
MATTHEWS: I don`t think I like apologies. I`ve been through them.
DEAN: I don`t like them either. I don`t do them very often. But this one
was worth it.
MATTHEWS: You know, sometimes, I wonder if they even work.
Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us.
And up next, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Chris Christie and Scott Walker, the
new kid in the quartet, can any of those four Republican governors beat
Hillary Clinton? My hunch is, unless you`re a governor, need not apply.
You have to be an executive to out-credential Hillary Clinton.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, House Republicans are still investigating Benghazi. And
in today`s hearing, frustrations spilled over on both sides of the aisle.
Here`s Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the Benghazi committee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: I`m saddened to report today that
there are major, major problems with this committee and its work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Congressman Cummings says Democrats have been included
from key parts of the investigation, including interviews with witnesses.
Meanwhile, the Republican chairman of the committee, Trey Gowdy of South
Carolina, fired back at allegations that he`s drawing out the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: This is not a political exercise for
us. We`re going to ratchet it up, because I need access to the documents
and witnesses. And we need to be able to conclude our work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Congressman Cummings also said today that he`s spoken to
Hillary Clinton about the possibility of her testifying before the
committee. And according to Cummings, quote, “she did not hesitate for one
second.” Well, that would be quite a day when she`s back.
And we`ll be back after this.
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
And today, another candidate tossed his hat into the 2016 ring and I think
he has a shot – Wisconsin`s Republican Governor Scott Walker. Walker took
his first formal step toward a presidential run by filing paperwork to set
up a committee which will officially help Walker explore a bid for the
Walker is the fourth big name governor signaling intentions to run for the
GOP nomination next year. He follows the steps taken by New Jersey
Governor Chris Christie, who`s all over the place, former Massachusetts
Governor Mitt Romney, who is definitely back in, and former Florida
Governor Jeb Bush, who we`ll all be looking to run.
Back now with the former governor and who`s also ran for president, Howard
Dean, and Christina and Jonathan.
Governor, I want to ask you. You`ve been through this whole thing. I
think beating Obama will require winning on the executive issue.
DEAN: You mean Hillary.
MATTHEWS: Well, beating the record of Obama, which they`ll really be
running against. I think they`ll be running against Obama.
DEAN: If the election were held today, he`s got a 50 percent, he`s 50 for
the first time in t eight months.
MATTHEWS: It takes awhile to adjust. It will be all right.
DEAN: Yes, I would be all right. I do think – I mean, obviously, I`m
biased. I think governors that executive experience, so that`s an
The problem they have is there`s nobody with more experienced in the
country than Hillary Clinton. Nobody in doing all of the things that
president`s do. So, I do agree though. I think, you know, these four
governors, and one of them will probably get the nomination.
MATTHEWS: Yes. I just wonder if we want another talk or we had a very
good president, he is a great talker, but I sense that gear is warn out
BELLANTONI: It all depends on how they do with voters and how they do on
that debate stage with whatever the current events are, right? We never
would have predicted that the 2008 presidential election would have turned
on the economy. There was such little talk about the economy in any of
those debates, and that ended up being the defining issue for voters in the
MATTHEWS: In 2000 when?
BELLANTONI: And so, you just don`t know. And I think that`s one of the
great things about what we do is we get a chance to see all these
MATTHEWS: That`s why Mitt Romney –
BELLANTONI: Forget the polls. These guys are well known because we`re
MATTHEWS: What do you think of this Governor? I think Walker is a
sleeper. I think he can win it.
CAPEHART: Well, the good thing about this `16 crop so far, with these four
governors, compared to `12, is that, say what you might want to say about
Governor Romney, a race he ran, there are no clowns yet in the Republican
MATTHEWS: Did you catch Rick Perry`s act this weekend?
CAPEHART: Well, I mean, that`s Rick Perry. But we`re talking about the
four that we just mentioned. These are four serious people. So, I look
forward to seeing the debate that happens between them, I hope it`s
serious. I hope it`s serious.
DEAN: These are four serious people. It`s interesting. The best
politician of the four of them is Scott Walker. He`s also got the worse
record with the highest unemployment and the fewest jobs created. Given
his age, I think most likely Romney or Bush will win the nomination. He`ll
be a viable candidate for vice president.
MATTHEWS: I thought he`s (INAUDIBLE) Ed Schultz had him on the run a
couple of years ago and he came back.
CAPEHART: Well, as he likes to – as Governor Walker likes to say in his
speech, you know, he`s run for governor three times in one term and he`s
won. I mean, you got to have some, I don`t know –
MATTHEWS: We agree he`s in the run, OK? We do?
Howard Dean, Christina Bellantoni, and Jonathan Capehart –
MATTHEWS: Wait, I know who you are.
We`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this:
Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. I want to thank Martin
Goldsmith for alerting me to this during his classical music program on
serious radio over the weekend. Martin has written an important and
evocative book on this subject called “Alex`s Wake”, which chronicles his
journey retracting that of his grandfather and uncle, their trip on the way
to Auschwitz. Both of them could have been saved, by the way, from the
Holocaust had the United States let them enter this country, had the ocean
liner St. Louis been allowed to disembark back in 1939.
I urge you again to get a copy of Martin`s book and join him on his journey
Quote, “I have come to feel a deep need to connect with that vanished
generation”, he writes. “With those members of my family who were murdered
a decade before I was born.”
Well, to me, the vital point here is never to forget that the Holocaust
truly happened. It happened in Europe. With all of its modernity, its
science and Christian tradition, and that reality is something we are best
to accept into our very souls, only by knowing that it truly happened can
we guard all of us against any creeping back to that horror.
My uncle George, my father`s older brother, I will always be proud to say
was a tank commander who liberated one of the concentration camps. He told
my cousins of the shock of him and the other G.I.s of what they saw, the
starving survivors of Dachau.
I recommended everyone go right now to the United States Holocaust Museum
Web site and watch the documentary there free on the Holocaust. It tells
the stories of how the Nazis gradually isolated the Jewish people of
Germany as they slowly tightened the nut around them. It was all down with
cool, ruthless, meticulous precision.
Again, take a look of it tonight on the Holocaust Memorial Museum Web site.
No one should ever forget.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with all of us.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
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