Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 02/27/15
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Crazy time.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews up in New York.
As Congressman Peter King put it, we are living in the world of the
crazy people. This new Republican-controlled Congress has erupted into
hot-headed chaos over a vote to fund the Department of Homeland Security,
and the money runs out midnight tonight. The drama is turning into a major
disaster for the Republican leadership up there, this from the party that
prides itself on strong national security.
Well, late today, the House voted to kill an initial vote on a bill to
fund the department for a mere three weeks. Let me say that again. Just
for three weeks, they wouldn`t do it. Speaker Boehner made a bet that he
could pass the measure, if he had to, with only Republican votes to do it
and he was torpedoed by more than 50 Republicans of his own caucus who are
hell-bent on undoing the president`s actions on immigration. Democrats
would not help bail him out.
What now tonight? I`m joined by the moderator of “MEET THE PRESS,”
Chuck Todd. Chuck, you know, the Republicans took over both houses. There
was a notion a afoot that they would be unanimous in getting along with
each other, they would actually move together as a buffer to the president,
a challenge to the president. Now they`re a challenge to each other.
CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, “MEET THE PRESS”: Well, they are in this case,
that`s for sure. Look, there seems to be three options here, one of which
I don`t think Boehner`s going the take tonight. Option one is to put the
same three-week extension back on the floor right close to midnight and see
if you can – if he can beg Nancy Pelosi, beg the White House to go find me
25 Democrats, live to fight another day.
Option two is simply a seven-day extension, and I hear they`re looking
at that. Not sure he`d get any Democratic support on that, but maybe he
thinks he can find 218 Republicans.
Option three, of course, is to take the Senate bill which fully funds.
Boehner`s problem is he – if he caves, he can`t cave quickly and he can`t
cave tonight. The atmospherics will be terrible for him, and that`s why
he`s been trying to walk this line. He`s got his own politics worrying
about conservatives just suddenly gunning for his job.
So I think the question is, do they go the three-week at midnight or
do they try to seven-day-game it?
MATTHEWS: So if he goes along and votes the Senate bill, which he can
pass with Democratic votes, that would be a full extension of Homeland
Security without any of this Mickey Mouse about immigration, he would be
accused of backing amnesty, basically. He would be dead.
TODD: Well, especially if he did it now before you find out whether
the courts are going to allow the president to begin implementing his
executive order on immigration. And so – the whole reason why Boehner
went with this temporary extension is he`s trying to find out, what are the
courts going to say. Are the courts going to tell the president, You can`t
start this until the legal questions are cleared up by the Supreme Court?
If they do that, then Boehner`s job is easy. Then he`ll do a clean
bill and it`s done. That`s what Boehner`s trying to do. He just is
looking for breathing room until we find out what the fifth circuit`s going
to say about the president`s executive order.
MATTHEWS: And he`s got a 5-4 Republican control of the U.S. Supreme
Court. So if it does get that far, he`s got a better than even chance of
getting an agreement that this was beyond the bounds of presidential
authority, I think. What do you think?
TODD: I don`t think it`s – well, I mean, it depends on the lawyer
(INAUDIBLE) I don`t think – you know, forget you do have John Roberts,
who has believed in expansive executive power. So I don`t think that`s the
slam dunk that – but look, I think it`s an open question. And the most
important thing as far as John Boehner`s concerned is this would be an open
– this would be moot, the executive action, for at least a year.
So that`s the – that`s why Boehner wants this short-term extension,
to see if he can get the court – hope the courts go his way, and then
doesn`t – he can – doesn`t look like he`s capitulating.
MATTHEWS: Last question. How much bad news is this for the
Republicans if they can`t get this done by midnight and they go into
TODD: You know, it`s – it`s bad, but you know, this is not – it`s
not news, Chris. I mean, I guess it`s the same problem that John Boehner`s
had. He does not have control of just enough of the conservative wing of
his party. They don`t fear him, and he can`t just sort of run the House.
Now, I know the House isn`t what it was, but he can`t do it, and…
MATTHEWS: OK. Thanks so much.
TODD: You know, same story.
MATTHEWS: I think – I think it`s news for the night, but you may be
right it`s not new news. Anyway, thank you, Chuck Todd, Moderator of “MEET
THE PRESS.” We`ll watch it on Sunday.
For more on this drama tonight, let`s go to Capitol Hill itself and
NBC News reporter Frank Thorp. Frank, thanks for joining us. I`ve been
talking to you. It looks like, from what you`ve said, that this thing
isn`t anywhere near solved. He needs at least 14 more Democrats, 14 more
Republicans or a mix of the two to get this through, this short-term thing.
FRANK THORP, NBC PRODUCER: Yes, and Republican leadership is meeting
right now. They`re trying to figure out a way forward. And as Chuck had
mentioned, there is talk of the idea of a seven-day CR. But the problem
with that is that Democrats have said, Democratic leadership aides have
said that Democrats wouldn`t vote against – or wouldn`t for that, the same
as they wouldn`t vote for the three-week CR that just failed.
So they`re kind of in a little bit of a pickle. I mean, you know,
we`re going to look back at this as another one of those shining examples
of the Republican conference having a hard time passing bills that a lot of
us thought were actually just going to go ahead and pass.
MATTHEWS: OK, what is a – what is a Democratic member of the
Congress say to his constituents – say he has a moderate district back
home, if there are any left – to why he wouldn`t or she wouldn`t vote for
at least a three-week continuation of Homeland Security? If they believe
in government, believe in national security, Homeland Security, why
wouldn`t they vote for at least a short-term extension? What would be the
argument at home?
THORP: Well, Democrats are arguing that if you go with the CR, that
there are still a lot of different grants that would not be able to go
forward, a lot of funding that would actually go – that would be included
within the full appropriations bill that is not included in the CR. So
their argument is that the clean bill that the Senate passed is actually
more of a full funding bill than the CR.
Not to mention the fact that – I mean if you – if they – their
argument is that if they pass this seven-day CR, if they pass this three-
week CR, they`re going to be back in the same place seven days from now,
three weeks from now. It`s going to be the same fight. So I mean, it`s
more of just kind of a stand of, OK, well, we`re going to do this now or
we`re going to do this in three weeks.
MATTHEWS: Do you hear the speaker – is he going around tonight with
his supporters, going around with Scalise, and of course, with McCarthy –
they going around asking for things or asking to offer things to get those
– all they need is 14 votes from their own caucus to get this thing
THORP: Well, I mean, they`re meeting in – they`re meeting in
Boehner`s office right now. They`ve been in there for over an hour, I
mean, up to two hours. And you`ve seen members walking in and out of there
mostly from the whip team. But you know, you have – there`s not very much
that they have to offer to conservatives. Conservative have a hard line
here. They want to be able to…
MATTHEWS: OK. So the little bags of peanuts aren`t going to do it
for the elephants.
THORP: Right. Yes, I mean, for the conservatives, I mean, they don`t
see this as a winning strategy. They didn`t see the cromnibus strategy as
a winning strategy.
THORP: They don`t see the idea of doing a three-week CR as a winning
strategy because they see that as temporarily funding…
THORP: … President Obama`s executive actions.
MATTHEWS: Well, this is going to look boneheaded for the Republicans
tonight. And too bad for Speaker Boehner. He can`t control his own team.
Thank you so much, NBC`s Frank Thorp.
Tom Ridge, by the way – he`s coming on right now – he`s the much
respected first secretary of Homeland Security under President George W.
Bush. He wrote an op-ed in today`s “U.S. News & World Report” titled,
“Protecting our nation is not a sport. The GOP can`t right President
Obama`s immigration wrong on the backs of Homeland Security patriots.”
I spoke with Governor Ridge late today.
MATTHEWS: Governor Ridge, thanks for joining us on this strange
Friday night. The Republican Party seems to have walked out too far on the
ice on this one. They may have wanted to play the game, but now they`re
stuck with the finish. The government`s perhaps going to shut down
tonight. They`re caught out there really endangering homeland security, an
issue I thought Republican were good on.
You were the first secretary of Homeland Security. Your party created
it. And now it`s being endangered.
TOM RIDGE, FMR. HHS SECRETARY: Chris, there are many dimensions to
this inside-the-Beltway game. One, I believe, as my Republican colleagues
do, that the president has really overstepped his constitutional limits on
his authority with the executive order.
But I distinguish that wrong from the means by which they are going to
try to redress what they perceive to be as an accepted use of
constitutional authority – unconstitutional authority. So what I`d like
to do is get my Republican friends to continue the battle on immigration in
a more appropriate way, but to continue to fund the Department of Homeland
And it`s all tied up in this inside-the-Beltway game. The only thing
I know, Chris, is the men and women outside the Beltway – they worry about
going to their jobs. They want their kids to go to school (INAUDIBLE) save
a few bucks to go out for dinner.
They know the Republicans won the House and the Senate, so you can
have this vote or that vote, but if we don`t fund completely Homeland
Security, not only do you jeopardize the work that they`re doing, but the
grants that they gave to the state and locals, emergency professionals out
there who are also responsible for safety and security, but I also think
it`s – it`s bad policy but it`s also political folly.
MATTHEWS: You know, I think there`s a difference between the Senate,
which has gone along with not getting these two entangled with each other,
at least as of a couple days ago, and the House. And I think it has to do
with demographics. Every senator represents a whole state, as we know, and
that includes a number of Hispanic people, Latino people, and those who are
rooting for them in terms of becoming Americans.
Many, many, many – in fact, I would bet a majority of Republican
congressional districts don`t have very many Hispanics in them. They don`t
fear this issue. It seems like this anti illegal immunity, whatever you
want to call it, the xenophobia, is very strong in your party, and they
don`t want to do anything that makes them sound like they`re for amnesty.
RIDGE: Well, I think – unfortunately, I think they`re mixing apples
and oranges. I think you can express your disagreement with the president
and his abuse of executive authority in many, many different ways. I, for
one, would recommend a bill or a series of bills to challenge the president
in a way that he`s historically been challenged. Send him a bill on
immigration and let him veto it.
But Chris, you know, it`s – somebody – and I said this the other
day, and I apologize for repeating myself. I kind of take this personal.
You know, these men and women go to work every single day. They have a
sense of mission about them. They have spouses that have to pay bills.
They have kids they want to get to school, et cetera, et cetera.
And the whole notion that because they have a legitimate – and I
think they have a legitimate grievance with the president`s use of his
authority in this issue – you don`t redress that problem on the backs of
people who are part of this massive effort to keep America safer and
It is flawed policy. It`s wrong-headed. And hopefully, between now
and midnight, somebody just brings a clean bill to the floor. Let`s give
them the funding for the balance of the year, and then let`s do mano a
mano. Let`s take this immigration debate on head on, rather than playing
MATTHEWS: A rare voice of sanity there from Governor Tom Ridge,
formerly of Pennsylvania.
Coming up, the face of evil. Yesterday, we learned what Jihadi John`s
name was. Now we see his face. My question – now that we know who he is,
does it make it any easier to get the guy?
Plus, the governor who`s emerging as the point man for the Democrats.
Connecticut`s Dan Malloy`s out there. He`s coming here tonight. And he`s
taking it to Chris Christie, to Scott Walker and the rest of the Republican
And the demolition derby over there at the clown car convention this
week. There`s no love over at CPAC for Jeb Bush. You can tell that. To
the redhots on the right, Jeb`s going the way of the Whigs. Remember that
old party? Doesn`t agree anymore – doesn`t exist anymore.
Finally, good-bye Mr. Spock.
Tonight, this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, check out Senator James Inhofe. He`s the chairman of
the Senate Environmental Committee. And in his never-ending quest to prove
that climate change is a hoax, he showed up on the Senate floor with a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R), OKLAHOMA: I ask the chair, do you know what
this is? It`s a snowball and that – just from outside here. So it`s
very, very cold out, very unseasonal. So there, Mr. President, catch this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I`ll bet the senator really does know that climate and
weather are not the same thing. According to NASA, global temperatures in
2014 were the warmest on record. And January, this January, was the second
warmest on record, too, even with all the heavy snow in the Northeastern
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back. Now the face of evil. Yesterday, we learned
his name, today we have a face. It`s Mohammed Emwazi, Jihadi John, who has
terrorized us from behind a mask. He was identified yesterday in the press
as a middle class college graduate from London. Well, today we`re learning
more about him.
When he was 10, as pictured in these photographs, he listened to pop
music and watched “The Simpsons.” He said he wanted to be a soccer player
when he grew up. In this photo of Emwazi, published by England`s Sky News,
he`s a university student wearing a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball cap.
A few years later, the world would come to know him for his role in
the beheadings of American, British and Japanese journalists and aid
workers. Well, today the questions. How was he radicalized? And what
does his exposure now mean for our efforts to confront ISIS?
And that`s where we begin tonight with NBC News chief foreign
correspondent Richard Engel in Istanbul. Richard, now that we know who he
is, we have his name, will it be easier to find this guy?
RICHARD ENGEL, NBC CORRESPONDENT: In practical terms, no, probably
not. It`s not like the U.S. counterterrorism forces weren`t already
looking for him. Now they know his name. His name was already known to
many law enforcement agencies. The only difference now is it`s been
reported in the media, and now we have pictures of him, as well.
The one thing that it might do is it might demystify him. When you
see a murderer who`s making these statements and he`s trying to present
himself like he has the power of God to choose if one of the people he`s
holding will live or die and he`s wearing a mask, he could be perceived as
being more powerful, more mysterious.
Now that you see his pictures, you see his childhood photos, he`s less
mysterious. He`s just another kid from London from a middle class
background who went down this path and is now in Syria with ISIS or in Iraq
with ISIS, killing hostages.
MATTHEWS: Well said. That`s Richard Engel over in Istanbul.
I`m joined right now by Michael Kay, a former senior British army
officer, Andrew Liepman, who`s former deputy director of the National
Counterterrorism Center, and Michael Weiss, who`s co-author of “ISIS:
Inside the Army of Terrorists.”
In order, gentlemen, it seems to me every time we catch somebody,
realize who they are, one of these killers, one of these terrorists, we
realize that the authorities had been – sort of had a bead on the guy, had
been watching him. And then in this case, we find out they knew about him
before they told us about him. This rolling disclosure, this knowledge
about a person before even they convict their – commit their crimes is a
little disturbing because we how come why we couldn`t stop them.
Michael Kay, you first. Why can`t we stop these guys – if we`re
watching them, we got a bead on them, we know who they are, and we don`t
strike until they strike. Isn`t there any way of knowing who`s going to
strike? Maybe that`s infantile as a question, but it`s one we`re all going
to keep asking.
MICHAEL KAY, FMR. BRITISH OFFICER: Well, let me start in 2009, Chris.
What I find at the moment is, is why MI-5 and MI-6 were interested in this
guy in the first place. We know that they spoke to the Tanzanian
authorities and prevented him from going into Tanzania. He then had to go
back to the U.K. via Amsterdam. He was interrogated there. He then had to
get the ferry back across the English Channel. He was interrogated at
So there`s a little piece of the jigsaw missing for me in terms of why
there was interest in him in the first place and what had he done to garner
that interest. We know that Emwazi doesn`t fit the normal template in
terms of he came from a middle class, well-to-do background. He was well
educated. He`d just gone to the University of Westminster to study a
computing degree. And now, all of a sudden, we find – we find out that
he`s tipped (ph) in some way.
So I think the interesting bit about this guy is, in order to become
susceptible or craving this ideology – and let`s be in no mistake here,
it`s the ideology which tips them to being radical. What has marginalized
him, what has made him feel excluded, what makes him feel animosity towards
to society where he wants to go and seek out this jihadist movement?
That`s the bit that I`m trying to understand at the moment.
MATTHEWS: Andrew, let me follow – have you follow up on this
question. It seems to me – I`ve never bought the argument that hard cases
make terrorists. It seems to be more that if you look at the history of
revolutions, they`re all run by Fidel Castros, middle class people. The
French revolution, of course, the Russian revolution, all the
revolutionaries seem to be middle class people with decent education who
just develop an ideology. It isn`t about poverty leads to terror. It
isn`t that neat, nor is that even predictable. Your thoughts?
ANDREW LIEPMAN, FORMER U.S. COUNTERTERRORISM OFFICIAL: No, I think
And, in fact, I think what makes this business so difficult is that
there really is no template. Every individual is indeed an individual.
This Jihadi John seems to have come from a middle-class background. He
seemed to have been relatively normal. He went to college.
In other cases, you could have identified traumatic events or reasons,
motivations why they went bad. But I think what – the mistake here is
that we`re looking at this guy under a microscope. We now know a great
deal about him. So we can dissect where he should have been caught and why
mistakes were made.
But what we`re not looking at are the thousands of other cases like
Jihad John, the thousands of cases who are being sort of surveilled, who
have been stopped. The job here is massive. And just because one guy got
through does not mean that the system has failed.
MATTHEWS: Michael Weiss, your view, because this is going to be
problematic as we go on and, with expertise, developing it and catching
people ahead of time, knowing where the trouble is. But yet if the pool
was a thousand guys or women, including women, and one of them turns out to
be a terrorist, you can`t harass 999 without creating a good number of
other terrorists, probably.
MICHAEL WEISS, rMD-BO_”THE INTERPRETER”: Well, you know, to disagree
slightly with your other guests, I do think that this does fit a bit of an
archetype, especially coming from the U.K.
I lived in London for three years. I have seen innumerable examples
of people just like this, second-generation, first-generation Muslims who
were radicalized whilst living in British society, attending good
universities, getting degrees, advanced degrees in some cases.
I remember the case of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the so-called
underpants bomber who tried to blow up an airliner above the skies of
Detroit many Christmases ago. This guy was attending University College
London. He was the president of the Islamic Society, whilst president of
that society was celebrating the attacks on 9/11, attending sermons by
Anwar al-Awlaki, the al Qaeda cleric based in Yemen.
His father was a Nigerian government minister who actually blew the
whistle on his own son and said, I think my son is going down this dark
path. British authorities had been alerted. They did nothing.
In this case, what disturbs me most is, look, let`s assume that the
presentation of this organization, which is deeply controversial, by the
way, Chris, CAGE, is correct that this guy was – attempted to be – he is
recruited by MI5 or he was stopped in Tanzania.
This means the British security services knew his identity. He was
also allowed to return to U.K., and then leave the U.K., go to Kuwait, come
back to the U.K., and then leave the U.K. again in 2012 to go to Syria.
I`m sorry, but this does to me bespeak a failure on the intelligence
services, or at least on border control.
I mean, to enter and leave the British Isles, I have done it as an
American. I find it quite, you know…
MATTHEWS: OK. You solved the chicken and egg problem.
He said, at least in the reporting yesterday, one of the reasons he
radicalized or became radicalized, he was being harassed each time he
WEISS: Yes, but, Chris, look…
MATTHEWS: I don`t buy that, by the way.
And, also, let me just tell you a bit about this organization CAGE.
It used to be known as Caged Prisoners. The guy who is making all of these
elaborate claims he was such a sweet and soft-spoken and gentle boy, Mr.
WEISS: … in 2006, this man, Qureshi, stood in front of the U.S.
Embassy in London and praised jihadists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia,
Chechnya. He endorsed the acts of Hezbollah against Israel. CAGE has
defended any number of al Qaeda suspects.
MATTHEWS: So, he`s lying, basically.
WEISS: Actually, al Qaeda, people who have been found guilty of
terrorist offenses, including one woman who is serving 86 years in prison
for attempted murder against U.S. officials in Afghanistan.
This is a propagandistic organization. It`s not a human rights group.
It`s not a civil rights group. I studied them very closely when I lived in
MATTHEWS: I`m glad to hear that, because that was my sense of smell
when I first heard it.
But, Michael, let`s go back to you. We talked before the show tonight
about trying to find a template. Tell about us how far you have gotten
with that, being able to predict – a predictive model for who will break
bad, if you will.
KAY: Well, I think – I think there are a number of causal factors.
In fact, there are a myriad of causal factors and a number of
combinations. And you can look across racial profiling, religious
profiling, criminal profiling. You can look at high unemployment. You can
look at, you know, low job availability.
There are a myriad of factors, but it all boils down to, what gets
that person to the point where they are susceptible or craving the idea of
the ideology? Do they become marginalized? Do they because – do they
develop animosity towards society? Do they become excluded? How does that
And I think it`s fascinating, because you have to have the ideology in
order to catalyze someone to become radicalized. And then they can either
become a lone wolf and stay in the same country or join a terror cell and
stay in the same country or they can travel to Syria.
I think there also needs to be the demand aspect. ISIS are left alone
at the moment to create this demand. And they`re doing it through this
ideology, through social media. And I think the context of globalization
here is absolutely fundamental, the ability to use the Internet, the
ability to travel across the world, the ability to push propaganda out on
YouTube, on Twitter, the ability to galvanize Western media.
These are all components that all come in to the whole process of
being radicalized. I think what I do know is, it doesn`t happen overnight.
It is a process that happens over months, if not years.
I want to thank you all, Michael Kay.
Michael – Michael Weiss, thank you so much for disabusing us of that
nonsense about what a sweetheart this guy was, because I`m so tired of
hearing about a cold-blooded killer who was such a quiet, good neighbor.
But, in this case, it looks like pure propaganda from somebody with a point
of view that was not helpful to the truth.
Thank you, Andrew Liepman, as well, sir.
Up next: a new point man for the Democrats. Connecticut Governor Dan
Malloy is taking the fight to the Republicans. He`s coming here next.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
He`s not taking over as chairman of the Democratic Governors
Association until next year, but Governor Dan Malloy of Connecticut is
already on the offensive.
In an interview with “TIME” magazine last week, Malloy took on the
role of Democratic Geronimo, if you will, calling out Chris Christie on the
issue of public pensions and New Jersey`s budget shortfall – quote –
“He`s in the process of destroying public pensions, which, by the way,
comes out of the Republican playbook. He hasn`t told the truth about what
he`s doing, but that`s what he`s doing. I think the state`s bond rating
will pay, perhaps not a permanent price, but a long-term price. He will
saddle that problem to some unfortunate Democrat who is going to have to
come in and do the right thing. And that`s the hard part about being a
Democrat. You have to clean up after the Republicans.”
Well, New Jersey`s credit rating has been downgraded seven times since
Chris Christie took office, seven times.
I`m joined right now by Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy.
Governor Malloy, I have to tell you, the Republicans seem to have a
new pattern. It`s called disruption. Disrupt pension plans, disrupt
Homeland Security. They`re like Sampson in the temple. Bring down temple.
Bring up chaos.
MATTHEWS: And somehow you will be picked as the new leader.
GOV. DAN MALLOY (D), CONNECTICUT: Well, don`t hold back now, Chris.
MATTHEWS: No, that`s what I think is going on. You have been pretty
MALLOY: Well, I am.
I think you have to call them as you see them. And I`m going to do
that. I`m going to do it. I have accepted this role as chair-elect of the
DGA. I think we have great some Democratic governors. I think, as
Democrat, however, we look at elections as cycles. And those days have to
If you look at Republican talking points, they`re the same week after
week, month after month. An election never, never stops. And what we have
to do as Democrats is make sure that we`re actually telling the truth,
which we do, and we`re repeating the truth and we`re talking about things
that are really important to people.
Their security is important to them. Republicans are misreading this
situation, in part because they have backed themselves or painted
themselves into a corner. Listen, I think every Republican congressman
thinks that some day they are going to run for president, so they have to
be tough on immigration.
That`s why I don`t think you can ever get an immigration bill out of
the Congress with a Republican president or not.
MALLOY: The only way that we`re ever going to change immigration in
this country is when Democrats take the Congress back. And that`s a –
that may be a ways away, but it is going to happen and we`re going to
eventually solve this problem.
If Republicans want to keep giving this issue to us, I`m happy to take
MATTHEWS: Well, Governor Christie was asked about New Jersey`s fiscal
problems at CPAC yesterday. Here was his response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: The fact is that what we will do
is do what I have done before, where we – we`re spending $2.3 billion less
in discretionary spending today than we spent in fiscal year 2008. We are
cutting the budget. We have 8,500 fewer employees than we had on the day I
walked in as governor in 2010.
That`s being fiscally responsible and we will cut spending if we have
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, Governor, I`m looking at the new Republican
And it seems to me how much trouble he can cause. There`s Scott
Walker, who beat Ed Schultz in the battle over his recall. He got
reelected again. Good for him. I like success. But here he is punching
the state university system in the gut. Let`s face it. Wisconsin is one
of the states, like Michigan, has one of these fabulous state university
systems, because, you know, the reason they didn`t have Eastern
universities like Yale in those days, and they built these great state
And now he`s going to war with them. Why is that pay dirt for
Republicans to attack the one great thing you have in Wisconsin, which is
the University of Wisconsin?
MALLOY: Hey, listen, times are tough. Revenue is growing slower than
expenses. But to go after the university to the tune of $300 million is
I want to go back to this Christie question. I mean, this is a guy
who has purposefully defunded the pension system. He wants to destroy it.
He`s taking – he`s taking orders from the Kochs and others. He wants to
destroy that system. If he can do it, he is going to do it.
You look at what has happened in Wisconsin, what Christie is doing on
the pension side in New Jersey is no different than what Walker has done to
unions. The unions, give them some credit. They helped build the middle
class in this country. He wants to dissect them. He wants to destroy the
systems that support working-class families in Wisconsin, but that`s also
what New Jersey`s doing right now under Christie.
MATTHEWS: Well, unlike Christie, Governor Scott Walker is getting a
lot of political mileage, as I said, out of his past showdown with teachers
unions in the state of Wisconsin. It was a big applause line, by the way,
at CPAC yesterday. Here he is giving them red meat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: We returned the power back into the
hands of the hardworking taxpayers. They didn`t like that. They tried to
recall me. They made me their number one target. But, in the end, we
showed that we can fight and win for the hardworking taxpayers.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
WALKER: Because of that, in our states, we don`t have seniority or
tenure any more. We can hire and fire based on merit. We can pay based on
performance. We can put the best and the brightest in our classrooms and
we can keep them there.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Governor, I don`t run states or do anything big like that.
All I do is try to figure out what`s going on.
And I do think the Republican sweet spot, if they are going to
challenge Hillary Clinton in a close election next November, is to run an
executive. So, going after the governors, as you are, you`re really going
after their sweet spot. I don`t think they can run just a talker against
Hillary. They have got to run somebody who has done something, run
something big like you have.
And is that why you`re going after the Democratic governors – I mean,
MATTHEWS: Because are going to be, to me, the happy hunting ground
for the Republicans in looking for a candidate.
MALLOY: Yes, but every one of these guys has got to hide what they
have actually done.
You know, he talks about being able to hire and fire at will. You
know, we have a progressive movement in the United States that`s over a
hundred years old, was supported by Republicans and Democrats. Nobody
believes that teachers should be – good hardworking teachers should be
able to be thrown out of the classroom because the governor`s office
changes or the mayor`s office changes or there`s a new separate
superintendent of schools.
They`re rolling back things that are really vitally important to how
our democracy works. Why shouldn`t somebody be able to negotiate their
contract, to file a grievance, to work for a real wage? We, as Democrats,
have to be very clear. We support no one having to go to work sick. I did
that in my state in 2011, said that no one should be forced to go to work
if they`re sick. If they`re hourly wage earner, they should be able to
earn paid sick leave.
You know what? It hasn`t changed our economy, but it`s changed
individuals` lives. We need to raise the minimum wage. So there has to be
pressure on the bottom to raise these wages. No one in America should work
35 or 40 hours a week and live in poverty. It makes no sense. But that`s
what Republicans stand for.
In state after state after state, they have failed to raise the
minimum wage. They have been on the wrong side of it. And, quite frankly,
they`re on the wrong side of these issues in Wisconsin. Let`s be honest.
And Christie will rise and fall by what he`s done. I think what he`s done
to New Jersey, in seven downgrades, more to come, by the way, and in
defunding the pension, is going to catch up with him.
I think he`s a nonfactor in this election cycle.
MALLOY: You know, there will be other people who will rise and fall,
and we will point out their weaknesses as they rise and they then fall.
MATTHEWS: We will cross that bridge when we get to it.
Thank you very much, Governor Malloy.
MATTHEWS: And, by the way, if you need a platform for that message,
which sounds good to me, it`s right here on HARDBALL.
Thank you so much, Governor Malloy of Connecticut.
Up next: Twice elected, Jeb Bush didn`t exactly get a warm reception
today from the CPAC crowd. Did you think he would? They`re pretty right
of him. Jeb might be hard to beat in the general election, but will the
red hots on the right give him a chance to even get there? It didn`t look
good today for Jeb.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger.
Here`s what`s happening.
Eight people are dead following a shooting rampage in Missouri. A
gunman shot seven people, including four family members, before turning the
gun on himself.
President Obama called Attorney General Eric Holder a great friend and
great public servant at an event marking his anticipated departure from the
And, in Russia, a vocal critic of Vladimir Putin and the country`s
Ukraine policy has been fatally shot. Opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was
gunned down on a bridge near the Kremlin – back to HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, HOST, “HANNITY”: By the way, Jeb Bush, any supporters?
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Perceived 2016 GOP front-runner Jeb Bush faced a tough audience, as
you saw there, at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference down
in Washington yesterday and again today. Conservatives took some indirect
and also direct shots at the former Florida governor. Many of the right
wing think Jeb is too moderate to be their standard bearer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA INGRAHAM, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Why don`t we just – why don`t
we just call it quits and Jeb and Hillary can run on the same ticket? I
mean, go through the list of things they agree on. Common Core, amnesty,
giving Obama fast track trade authority. A lot of new trade deals with
China. The surveillance culture.
So, I`m designing the bumper sticker. It could be Clush 2016. What
difference does it make?
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: It`s the elites in Washington
who make backroom deals decide who the president is going to be, then he`s
definitely the front-runner.
DONALD TRUMP, BUSINESSMAN: Jeb Bush, he`s in favor – he`s in favor
of Common Core, he`s weak on immigration, now think of it for a second. In
favor of Common Core, he`s weak on immigration. You remember a statement
with they come over for love? That was his stance on immigration.
I don`t see him winning. I don`t see there`s any way. You people are
going to have to make your own choice. Who knows?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, that was the clown car in action.
Joining me, the roundtable tonight, Michael Tomasky is a columnist for
“The Daily Beast”, Michelle Bernard is the president of the Bernard Center
for Women, and Emily Schultheis is political reporter with “The National
Emily, first question, objective reporter`s question. Is CPAC the
Republican Party or is it some side wing of the party that`s far more right
wing and angry and resentful of the establishment?
EMILY SCHULTHEIS, NATIONAL JOURNAL: I mean, look, CPAC does have –
CPAC certainly has influence. The people who come to CPAC have influence,
which is why in the past, you know, you`ve seen Mitt Romney move to the
right on some issues. It`s a group that does have significant sway in the
party but they didn`t love Mitt Romney and he ended up being the nominee in
2012. So, they`re not the be all and end all of the GOP primary.
MATTHEWS: Michelle, I don`t know where you fit on this thing. I
don`t think you`re part of this crowd, but is this the loudest, strongest
voice of the Republican Party? Is this the lion`s share? Are they in the
majority and the establishment moderate people for the Northeast out of it?
MICHELLE BERNARD, BERNARD CTR. FOR WOMEN, POLITICS AND PUBLIC POLICY:
No, this is definitely not – well, let me say they are the loudest voices
in the Republican Party, but I don`t think that they`re the mainstay of the
Republican Party. If you listen to all of the things that they complained
about, Common Core, immigration, things that most Americans will look at
from a very common sense perspective, most people will be saying to
themselves, are we really going to be against a candidate who someone is
saying that voluntary guidelines that say that we want our kids to learn
certain subjects K through 12 is so horrible that we should not elect them
as our next president of the United States is going to be kind of silly.
This is a small group of the Republican Party that Jeb Bush, for
example, was never going to win over. Ands he`s just got to keep moving
forward. He has to talk to them but he has to keep moving forward.
MATTHEWS: Michael Tomasky, when I hear at that convention is
resentment, almost hate, hatred of illegal immigrants, never wanting to
give them citizenship under any situation, any comprehensive deal, no
matter how tough the government gets on immigration. They seem to hate the
Common Core like anything that`s what at all objective, they want to home
school everybody. They seem to resent 2015, the year we live in. That
seems to be what they`re running against.
MICHAEL TOMASKY, THE DAILY BEAST: Yes, they do. And the common core
is also the big jackboot of the federal government and all that kind of
stuff. But, you know, CPAC I think, Chris, is maybe not representative of
the Republican Party in toto. But it is probably pretty representative of
the primary electorate of the Republican Party. And that`s, you know,
obviously where Bush is going to have his trouble, getting through a
primary with his position on immigration.
Now, historically, you can say that Republican primary voters, as
right wing as they are, they do tend to elect the chalk horse, as it were,
the establishment candidate. They went with McCain, they went with Romney.
But they end up voting for that person only after dragging him really far
to the right, so far to the right that he has to try to rush back in the
fall of election year like Romney tried to but it was too little too late
in his case.
And so, Bush is going to have to negotiate that same dance.
MATTHEWS: Well, here he is trying to do it. Jeb had his chance, as
you say, to dance to address the conservative audience earlier today and
argue the GOP needs to find something it stands for.
Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I think the conservatives in
Washington have been principled enough in opposing the overreach. And
they`ve actually done a pretty good job. Over time we have to start being
for things again. It`s good to oppose the bad things, but we need to start
being for things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, Emily, he seems like he`s teaching, not
preaching, but teaching but also making the case for Hispanics being part
of our culture now. They are historically. They`re a chunk of the
His wife is from Mexico. His kids, you could argue they`re ethnically
Hispanic because of the marriage. I mean, he`s Roman Catholic now, his
wife`s religion. He`s accepted, embraced the assimilation.
That party doesn`t seem to want to do that.
SCHULTHEIS: Right. That`s something and I do think it`s significant
that getting up there on stage that he didn`t change his tune on this
stuff. This is – Bush was saying the same things –
MATTHEWS: Where is gong to sell, Emily, where is that line in the
Republican – it`s not going to sell in Iowa. Aren`t those – as Michael
said, aren`t those caucus goers out in Iowa just the same way as that CPAC
crowd, just as right wing and angry?
SCHULTHEIS: On immigration, absolutely. So, that`s something that
won`t sell to these voters. You heard the boos in the crowd. That said,
when it comes time, Jeb said he`d be willing to lose the primary to win the
general. If he can get through the primary with some of these moderate
voters, he won`t have to deal with the same problems Romney did in the
MATTHEWS: What would they have done, Michelle, if – I mean, you`re a
person of color, I would assume he has sensitivity about this, why wouldn`t
anybody who comes to that. I mean, supposed he brought his Mexican wife to
that group today, would they have booed her? I mean, God, it`s pretty
rough out there today, pretty rough ethnically, I would think.
BERNARD: I think it`s absolutely a travesty the way we saw people
behaving at CPAC today behave on a regular basis and talk about immigration
and people of color in the country.
Now what I will say is that their sort of ignorance about the way
America was started and the way that our country is moving forward in terms
of becoming a place where people of color are actually the majority might
actually inure to the benefit of candidates like Jeb Bush and to candidates
like Chris Christie. The primary`s going to be very difficult for either
one of them as a candidate but there are people that we sometimes refer to
as Reagan Democrats, Republicans who are moderate, people who self-identify
as independents that have – that will be receptive to the messages of a
Bush and a Chris Christie. They are for something, as Bush said. They`re
for education reform, which is particularly important in the African-
MATTHEWS: They`re not very loud, Michelle. They don`t make much
noise, do they?
BERNARD: They`re doing their best.
MATTHEWS: They`re very quiet. They have their hands folded on their
desk like Catholic school kids. They`re doing what they are supposed to do
but they`re watching the wild people make all the noise today.
We`ll be right back with our roundtable.
Up next, the big question everyone is trying to answer, blue and black
or white and gold. I can`t believe I`m doing this, but it`s happening
everywhere. By the tens of millions people are talking about it today.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: There`s a movement in Congress right now to award the Medal
of Honor posthumously to Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. Texas Congressman Roger
Williams introduced a bill this week that would authorize and request the
president to do just that. Kyle, of course, is the basis of the Hollywood
blockbuster “American Sniper.” He served four tours in Iraq and was
murdered in February of 2013. Kyle`s killer was convicted earlier this
week and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with our roundtable, of course, Michael,
Michelle, and Emily.
And now, we go to the most talked about story of today, Friday – the
dress that blew up on the Internet overnight. There`s been a heated debate
today over the color of the dress in this photograph which has been viewed
by millions of people over the last 24 hours. Some see it as white and
gold, others see it as blue and black. So, which is it for you? And why
do we all see it differently, I think?
Michael Tomasky, what color do you see on that dress?
TOMASKY: I saw white and gold when I first saw it. I was wrong and
it is – people say it`s silly, I think it is one of the most astonishing
things that I`ve discovered –
MATTHEWS: What do you see now, when you`re looking at it now?
TOMASKY: Now, I see black and blue, yes.
MATTHEWS: Wow, it`s changing for you?
Michelle, what`s your experience with this dress.
BERNARD: Same thing. When I looked at it this morning white and
gold, I`m seeing it as different colors right now.
MATTHEWS: What do you see right now? Locked in here, what do you see
BERNARD: I see blue and black.
MATTHEWS: OK, Emily Schultheis, your attempt at greatness here.
SCHULTHEIS: I still see white and gold. So, I don`t know if that`s
greatness or not. But –
MATTHEWS: A constant. Well, let me tell you, guys, I`m the opposite
of Michelle and Michael, because when I looked at it a long time today, I
saw on the – I had three versions of it was clearly black and blue and it
was beautiful actually, a little more faded in the middle, and still more
faded to the right, and I never saw gold. On this I see blue, vaguer blue,
and then white.
Michael, you first, what do you see right now looking at the three of
SCHULTHEIS: OK. From left to right on the monitor, I see white and
gold, and in the middle a light blue, a tar heel blue and sort of charcoal,
and on the right royal blue and black.
MATTHEWS: Exactly what I see.
Michelle, what do you see right now?
BERNARD: That`s exactly what I see too.
MATTHEWS: Emily, what do you see?
SCHULTHEIS: It still looks white and gold but in a shadow.
MATTHEWS: Wow, what is going on in this. We will never get
immigration, taxes, or war. We can`t agree on color.
Thank you so much, Michael Tomasky, Michelle Bernard, and Emily
Schultheis. Work on these this weekend.
When we return, let me finish with thoughts about Leonard Nemoy, Mr.
Spock, the great trekker and actor. He died today.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Spock is dead.
Let me finish tonight with that, with the news that the earthly Spock,
Leonard Nimoy, died this morning in a very terrestrial place, a beautiful
one at that, Bel-Air, California.
He lived, of course, in our minds and don`t try to hide it, our
hearts, as Mr. Spock, the half Vulcan, half human thinking force on the
starship Enterprise. How many times do we remember Captain Kirk getting
carried away with human emotion, only to get a course correction from the
elusive, enigmatic Spock, who would lay out for Kirk and for us the error
of our thinking, the excessive reliance we had place on the limited
reliability of human sentiment.
And how many times did Captain Kirk try to countermand Spock with the
OK smolchy (ph) invocation of the human factor, how we had to take into
consideration the caring, the thinking, the stakes, and the calculation.
Yes, this was a buddy story, the endless interplay of two guys, the one who
cares deeply and the pal who thinks hard and like in all such relationships
hopes dearly there is love here, not just the understood human love of Kirk
for his brainy partner, but Spock in return at least the most love of which
finding necessary half alien is capable.
The fact, this is precisely what this saga is about, the infinite
struggle to find human in life`s adventure, that as many miles as we
travel, we hope to have human love along for the ride, especially when so
much of life is traveling in alien territory, the new, the strange, the
occasionally ghastly. It is defined a marriage of the mind and heart, and
enriching, saving bond of science with human sentiment.
“Star Trek” is supposed to take place in the 23rd century, even as it
was born in the wildly changing, wildly stirring 1960s. It holds on to us
because we want to hold on to it. And if we people that we recognize as us
are still around in the 23rd century, it`s because we will, as we did in
ending the Cold War and the nuclear annihilation that threatens, show
ourselves capable, not just late Mr. Spock`s science, but of Captain Kirk`s
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
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