Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 04/22/15
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Obama drama.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews up in New York.
The debate is on. Are Democrats for expanding U.S. trade with the
world and perhaps creating new jobs, or are they out to protect existing
U.S. jobs? Last night, we broadcast President Obama`s challenge to the man
soon to be the Senate`s top Democrat, New York`s Charles Schumer.
MATTHEWS: Why are some people like Chuck Schumer, who`s probably
going to be leader of the Senate – why is he switching from a big city
financial center pro-trader to being an anti-trader? Is that because of
upstate New York? What`s going on? I can`t figure this out.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think you got to talk
MATTHEWS: Well, President Obama also said that Senator Elizabeth
Warren is wrong in her opposition to trade expansion. Rachel Maddow has
her on tonight at 9:00 Eastern.
But let`s get to Senator Schumer.
MATTHEWS: Senator Schumer, thanks for coming on tonight. We had the
president on yesterday, as you know. And he said he wanted me to go to
you. He said, I can`t explain Chuck Schumer`s position on this. Ask him.
And I was saying that you`ve always represented a financial center of
New York, which is generally pro-trade, but you also have to worry about
upstate New York, which is an old industrial area.
What it is in your constituency that you`re particularly concerned
about with regard to the Pacific trade deal?
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Well, it goes way beyond my
constituency, Chris. As you know, I`ve said this on your show, the
greatest problem America faces is the decline of middle class incomes. And
to me, trade agreements, while they may increase corporate profits, and
they may even increase GDP, (INAUDIBLE) help middle class incomes decline.
And it`s obvious why. The studies have shown it. It`s obvious why
because of these trade agreements, our (ph) labor moves. The companies
move labor to the lowest-cost markets. And so I don`t – I used to support
these agreements. In the Congress, I lost the AFL-CIO endorsement a few
years because I supported them. But when middle class incomes are
declining, these agreements don`t work well for America.
Now, one other point I`d make here, Chris. The number one thing I
feel is that China is the most rapacious trading partner we have. They
manipulate their currency, number one. Number two, they steal our
intellectual property. And worst of all, they don`t let our companies in
when they do good things. They`ve already accomplished that in low-labor
industries – you know, furniture, toys, clothes. But now they`re doing it
in the high end.
And if you talk privately to our tech companies, our pharmaceutical
companies, our high-end manufacturing companies, the high end of America,
where the good-paying jobs are, China is not letting them in unless China
gets to steal their intellectual property in a company that`s 51 percent
owned by the Chinese.
So what I told the administration, if they would even – I wouldn`t
even entertain supporting this agreement unless we had a currency bill that
went after China. And that is consistent with their view that you need TPP
to bring these nations away from China. So far, they`ve said no.
And I feel very strongly that we need to change the way we do trade
because it has been one of the major factors that lead to decline of middle
class incomes. I know you`ve said we`ve created 30 million jobs since
NAFTA. Since NAFTA, middle class incomes have declined.
MATTHEWS: He argues, the president…
SCHUMER: You know, you`re trading…
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you about…
SCHUMER: You`re trading high-end – you`re trading high-end
manufacturing and service jobs for hamburger flippers.
MATTHEWS: But our…
SCHUMER: It`s more jobs. It`s less money.
MATTHEWS: The export market is based, the president argued yesterday,
on high-paying jobs. I`ve seen statistics that show that people make over
88 a year generally benefit from this because these are export jobs. You
don`t agree with that.
SCHUMER: I basically believe that until they stop stealing our
intellectual property, and until they stop keeping our companies out that
do good things, the amount we will gain from export jobs is minimized, and
the amount we lose in middle class incomes is maximized.
The currency bill we have would finally do something for China`s
rapacious policies. And so far, the administration – they`ve talked to
me, but they refuse to do it.
And everyone – you know, you talk to corporate CEOs, Chris, the
people who are for these bills, they say on China, Chuck, you keep doing
what you`re doing. We can`t say anything because China retaliates against
us, but you keep it up.
MATTHEWS: What about a deal? Can there be a provision in this before
it`s finished that does have something on – that stops these companies
from deflating their currency and playing these manipulation games?
MATTHEWS: How do you do it?
SCHUMER: That`s what I proposed to the administration.
MATTHEWS: Without affecting our own Fed and our own ability deal with
our own – does this…
SCHUMER: Our – our proposal…
MATTHEWS: Does it interfere with our abilities?
SCHUMER: Chris, our proposal, which is bipartisan, does not affect
QE2 or anything we do for monetary policy. It simply affects currency
that`s being manipulated for trade.
MATTHEWS: Are you still in this deal? In other words, if they do the
right thing by you, could you still be supportive of this by the time it
goes to a vote, up or down?
SCHUMER: Look, I am deeply skeptical of trade deals in general for
the reasons I`ve outlined. But the only way they can get a number of
Democrats is by doing a strong real currency bill that goes after the worst
of the trading partners, the one that`s stealing our high-end jobs…
SCHUMER: … our high-end industries, China. So far, this
administration, the Bush administration have done nothing. And as China
has manipulated its currency, we`ve lost trillions of dollars of wealth and
millions of good-paying jobs.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the politics. Last question, Senator.
Thanks for coming on tonight, especially tonight. What about the Clintons?
Bill Clinton is for this. He was for NAFTA. I heard him over in Tokyo
when I was over there for the – for the – St. Patrick`s day, it was. He
came out all (ph) said it was a great bill. Secretary Clinton was for it.
She called it the gold standard when she was secretary of state.
Isn`t this a big political fight for the Democrats?
SCHUMER: Well, look, I think the Clintons are going to make their
decision based on the merits. And their focus, like mine, is on middle
class jobs. And so we`ll see where they come out. We`re in a different
world than 1994. The China we dealt with in 1994 is a lot different than
the China today. You talk to…
MATTHEWS: Well, but Bill Clinton is for this now.
SCHUMER: You talk to our best companies, our Googles, our Apples, our
Microsofts. They will say nothing. But when you talk to some of these
companies – I`m not saying these three. I don`t want – but our best
companies will tell you China steals their property and keeps them out and
then manufactures it – they manufacture it themselves, and then they send
it here using currency manipulation to get an artificially low price.
MATTHEWS: Well, last word from the president, just repealing (ph)
what he said last night. He said if we get out of this business of trade
expansion, we turn it over to the Chinese. This brings us into partnership
with 11 other Pacific Rim countries.
SCHUMER: You know what?
MATTHEWS: And we could go to war with China more effectively. Your
SCHUMER: Chris, if we don`t do currency, we`re turning over our
economy to the Chinese. The way we`ve turned over the low-end stuff, we
will turn over the high-end stuff.
And I feel a passion about this. It`s not political for me. It`s
substantive. I truly believe that America`s greatness and billions and
billions of dollars of our wealth flows away because China doesn`t treat us
And we can do something about it, and this is the best time to do
something. That`s why I`m pushing my currency bill as part of this
MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you so much, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York.
SCHUMER: Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Thanks for coming on, Senator.
MATTHEWS: On our interview yesterday, President Obama attacked
critics in his party who are opposing trade expansion. He called them out,
including Senator Elizabeth Warren.
OBAMA: I love Elizabeth. We`re allies on a whole host of issues, but
she`s wrong on this.
Look, Chris, think about it. I`ve spent the last six-and-a-half years
yanking this economy out of the worst recession since the Great Depression.
Every single thing I`ve done, from the Affordable Care Act to pushing to
raise the minimum wage, to making sure that young people are able to go to
college and get good job training, to what we`re pushing now in terms of
sick paid leave – everything I do has been focused on how do we make sure
the middle class is getting a fair deal?
Now, I would not be doing this trade deal if I did not think it was
OBAMA: … for the middle class. And when you hear folks make a lot
of suggestions about how bad this trade deal is, when you dig into the
facts, they are wrong.
MATTHEWS: And today, Senator Warren responded to President Obama. In
a post on her campaign Web site, she writes, quote, “The administration
says I`m wrong, that there`s nothing to worry about. They say the deal is
nearly done, and they are making a lot of promises about how the deal will
affect workers, the environment and human rights – promises. But people
like you can`t see the actual deal.”
Well, Senator Warren will be on “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” tonight at
I`m joined right now by “USA Today” Washington bureau chief Susan Page
and NBC News senior political reporter Perry Bacon.
Perry, I don`t understand this one charge. I mean, this thing gets
pretty complicated, and there are both sides to the argument. But they
keep saying how secret it is. Any U.S. senator any time they want, at 3:00
o`clock in the morning, any time they want, they can go look at the exact
language of the trade deal as it`s being negotiated right now.
There`s going to be 60 days for public review of it. There`s going to
be 90 days altogether on notification. This thing could ask – could last
180 days, lots of exposure. Why are they pushing this argument that it`s
being done in secret? And is it honest? Is it an honest argument?
PERRY BACON, NBC SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: I`m confused by it, too,
Chris. I don`t get that (INAUDIBLE) I think is stronger is the one Senator
Schumer made when he was talking just now. The argument`s basically that
China manipulates its currency, one. And two, that since NAFTA, there`s
has been a greater growth in income inequality. Middle class wages have
Those, I think, are hard arguments to argue against, and those are
going to be the arguments going forward, I think. Those are really strong
cases. And I think a lot of Democrats are going to be hard – have a hard
time supporting a trade agreement that Senator Schumer and Senator Warren
both oppose this strongly.
MATTHEWS: Why is China a key factor in the 12 nation and Pacific Rim
issue? I mean, they`re not even in on this deal, are they?
BACON: They`re not, but I think that…
MATTHEWS: Well, then, why do we talking about them? This deal`s
against them. This brings us into a better trading partnership with people
who would like to trade with China or us. Doesn`t this help us compete? I
don`t get the continual focus on trade – or currency manipulation.
By the way, Jack Lew, the secretary of the treasury, who I respect a
lot, says you put that in, it`s a poison pill. There`ll be no deal.
BACON: I think the polarality (ph) is that – you know, Senator
Schumer and a lot of other Republicans and Democrats have been concerned
(ph) with the China (ph) issue for a long time. And I think you`re right.
Even though this issue is not directly related, they know this is a great
vehicle to, like, really take it on for the first time and push the
president on the issue.
So I think they are trying to add on an issue that may be unnecessary
to this deal. But this is the right time politically to do that. And
that`s the tactic here.
MATTHEWS: Let me go to the politics, pure politics with you, Susan,
front page Susan Page. Let me ask you this. Hillary Clinton – she has
been careful in this, like her husband, Bill Clinton, was careful back in
`92. He finessed it. She seems to be finessing it.
This gets more difficult because Bill Clinton`s come out for this. I
heard him in my own – standing in the room with him over in Tokyo a month
ago. He was for this thing. She has come out for it as secretary of
state. She said it was a gold – the gold standard.
How can she pull away with the finesse that Bill could pull away from,
for a time at least, NAFTA, and then came out when it mattered? Your
SUSAN PAGE, “USA TODAY”: You know, I think it`s very difficult for
Hillary Clinton to come out against this deal because of her work on it
when she was secretary of state and because of what she said about it when
she was secretary of state. Now, she doesn`t need to be the leading
Democrat advocate for the bill, and that`s where I think the finesse may
come in, that she doesn`t – that she expresses some concerns, that she
acknowledges some of the points that Elizabeth Warren and others are
But I think it would be really difficult – it would be a clear flip-
flop if Hillary Clinton said this is a deal that shouldn`t go through.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me be tough here. Shouldn`t leaders lead? And
here she`s sitting there – I know that`s optimistic and idealistic. But
shouldn`t leaders come out and say, You know what? I`m hearing a lot of
blasting of this deal. We can argue back and forth on this deal, but stop
attacking it as if it`s evil. This is a mixed bag. There`s always going
to be pluses and minuses.
Some jobs will – you know this, Perry. You`ll (ph) on this. Some
jobs will be created. The high-tech areas (ph) will do better. The high-
paying jobs will do better. Some of the older industries will continue to
suffer. But talk about it that way instead of this, This is awful. This
is whup-ass against this, this crazy language that people are using. Your
BACON: I would argue that Senator Warren and Senator Schumer and
President Obama are leading. They`re articulating their positions. Those
are fine. I think you`re right, Chris, that Senator Clinton could lead
more, could give a position (ph) on this issue.
But this is an American political campaign. We`re used to this,
politicians kind of being vague, not saying what they think. I do think
down the line, as this deal gets closer, she`s got to be for it or she`s
got to be against it. And I think Susan is right for two reasons. First
that she was so involved…
MATTHEWS: Well, Susan said she can`t oppose it.
MATTHEWS: Susan was clear on this. It wasn`t either way with Susan.
Susan`s not like other – like politicians. She`s a journalist. And she
said it`s very hard for her to oppose it, given her history.
BACON: And she`ll end up supporting it, I suspect. Also because if
she deposed (ph) it, you know, we`d have (INAUDIBLE) headlines saying this
is a stunning rebuke of the Obama administration. I think she probably
wants to avoid that (ph) at this stage.
But this is a tough issue for her because a lot of the people in the
Democratic Party are looking at her and saying, Why are you not more like
Elizabeth Warren? And if she comes out for this trade deal, there will be
even more complaints that she`s too centrist at the same time she`s
MATTHEWS: By the way – back to Susan. If she comes out against it,
we`re going to have Mary Matalin going against James Carville.
MATTHEWS: I mean, Bill Clinton is for this. He`s always been a free
trader, and here he is again on this one.
PAGE: You know, I…
MATTHEWS: Isn`t that going to be embarrassing to fighting with –
inside the family on this very hot issue?
PAGE: Yes. And you know – you know, there`s another thing. I –
it`s one thing for Hillary Clinton to adopt some anti-Wall Street language
to try to appeal to progressives. It would be another thing entirely for
her to come (ph) against this deal in terms of some of her base of
PAGE: … which is in Wall Street, which is with big corporations. I
mean, they`ll grant her a little room when it comes to rhetoric, but this
would actually be a serious policy matter. And that`s where I think it`s
just hard for me to imagine that she does not support it, although perhaps
not in a really full-throated way.
MATTHEWS: Very discerning. Thanks so much, both of you. Thank you,
Susan – no, I mean it. I mean it. I don`t use sarcasm here. Thank you,
MATTHEWS: Because that`s exactly I think, the way it has to be cut.
Perry Bacon, thank you, sir – both.
Coming up, can Rand Paul win in the war party? He`s going after the
war hawk in his own party, people like John McCain and Lindsey Graham.
He`s making a big bet that everyday Republican voters are as sick and tired
of war as everyday Democrats.
Plus, that trade fight that we`ve been talking about is putting the
squeeze on Hillary Clinton. She`s caught between big labor and big Bill.
He`s a free trader, and so is the president she served as secretary of
And today is Earth Day. Tonight, the Republican former congressman
who took on the climate change deniers in his party.
Finally, let me finish with that very hot trade issue.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: The penalty phase continues for the convicted Boston
Marathon bomber. Prosecutors are trying to portray Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as
having no remorse. And they showed the jury this photo of him giving this
sign of contempt to a security camera in his jail cell three months after
Well, today the defense tried to blunt the impact of that photo by
releasing video of that event. The jury is deciding whether Tsarnaev gets
life in prison without parole or the death penalty. But during jury
selection, every juror had signaled their willingness to support the death
A new Suffolk University poll, by the way, of Massachusetts voters out
today found that 58 percent thought Tsarnaev should get life in prison
without parole, while 33 percent favored giving him the death penalty.
And we`ll be right back after this.
OBAMA: My goal is not to resolve conflicts and tensions in the region
through more war. My goal is to make sure that, you know, we are able to
negotiate a deal that we can verify.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was, of course, more from
my interview with President Obama yesterday, who talked about the need to
avoid war by partnering with other countries to resolve tensions and
Republican presidential contender Rand Paul has echoed the need to
avoid unnecessary entanglements abroad. But as the 2016 race heats up,
Paul is getting hammered by hawks in his party who always seem to want war,
like South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham yesterday on “MORNING JOE.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Rand`s a libertarian. He
has a view of the world that I don`t share. He said that we shouldn`t have
any troops in Iraq. He agreed with Obama that was a disaster. When there
was a chance to do something constructive about Syria with a no-fly zone,
he said we don`t need one.
Generally speaking, he`s been more wrong than right. He has an
isolationist view of the world that I don`t share.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: And Senator Paul hit back shortly thereafter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This comes from a
group of people who`ve been wrong about every foreign policy issue over the
last two decades. They supported Hillary Clinton`s war in Libya. They
supported President Obama`s bombing of Assad.
I`m really the one standing up to President Obama, and these people
are essentially the lapdogs for President Obama, and I think they`re
sensitive about that.
Their foreign policy is so disjointed, confusing, and chaotic that,
really, people need to reexamine those who want to be involved in every
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, as the war continues among the GOP`s 2016 contenders,
is there a disconnect between Republican hawks in Washington and everyday
Republicans out there who vote?
Howard Fineman is a global editorial director – the global editorial
director of The Huffington Post. And Ron Fournier is national
correspondent and editorial director of “The National Journal.”
I was struck, guys, as I have said to Howard before, Ron, that I was
struck by that poll that came out of Quinnipiac in Pennsylvania that
basically showed Rand Paul beating Hillary Clinton. Now, Hillary Clinton
does very well in Pennsylvania generally. I think she connects with the
working white people and all kinds of people that normally would have a
problem with the modern Democratic Party.
But I`m impressed that people out there, deer hunter country, have had
it with these stupid wars, that they don`t go along with the neocon
theology, they don`t go along with the big money people or the evangelicals
that always seem to want to fight, especially in the Middle East. I don`t
think they connect with the hawkishness of the people like Lindsey Graham
and John – even though they respect John McCain, him included.
RON FOURNIER, “THE NATIONAL JOURNAL”: Well, I will tell you about
CBS News did a poll in March that I thought was pretty revealing. It
shows that about 45 percent of Republicans think we need to take military
action now against Iran. But 41 percent, which is statistically almost a
tie, of Republicans think containment is what we should do, that we can
So the Republican Party is divided amongst itself. And I think you`re
right. I think in places like Pennsylvania, there`s folks who want our
next president to talk like a hawk, but fly like a dove.
MATTHEWS: Well said.
FOURNIER: Be tough, hold a tough line, but don`t be running off into
another war, especially since even if you support our troops and you want
to have a robust foreign policy, you recognize that we have – we have been
overdeploying our men and women, and we have been spilling our blood and
treasure, and we need to be more careful.
MATTHEWS: And we have a volunteer army, Howard, just to continue this
HOWARD FINEMAN, NBC CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
MATTHEWS: That means that the guys and women who signed up to serve
their country get sent back again, once again, again and again into the
breach, the same people.
FINEMAN: Yes, that`s true. And it`s a tremendous burden that is
hidden for most of the American people and in most of the coverage,
frankly, nationally, but is very well-known at the grassroots level in
places where people join the volunteer army.
You mention deer hunting – deer hunter country in Central
Pennsylvania. That`s part of it. And I think also people in states like
Pennsylvania know that a lot of money and effort and time needs to be spent
on knitting America back together, on the bridges and the roads and the
infrastructure and the education.
FINEMAN: They want the focus – people in a state like Pennsylvania,
especially in the middle of the state, as you say, want the focus on
repairing the state. Pennsylvania is a mess in terms of infrastructure.
They don`t want to blow up bridges over there. They want to build them
MATTHEWS: Every time I see we have a construction project somewhere
over there, I go, wait a minute, we could use that baby.
Anyway, “MORNING JOE” this morning, Joe Scarborough, had this to say
on the very topic about the Republican Party and war.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I do still think there is a big
disconnect between Republicans in Washington, D.C., and Republicans
everywhere I go. When you start talking about, you know, foreign
entanglements, they just don`t want any part of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Ron, let`s talk about the shape of the field.
The old rule in Massachusetts politics is shape of the field
determines the winner. If you have got a whole bunch of hawks, all the way
from Huckabee all the way across to Christie, that covers the spectrum on
every other issue, all hawks, all hawks, and one guy out there saying, not
me, Jimmy Carter won that way back in `76. I know it`s 1,000 years ago.
But he did win by being the only moderate to conservative candidate
among about seven or eight liberals. Can Rand Paul win against a crowd of
people that disagree with him?
FOURNIER: He could possibly. Just look at that one poll. If you
have 45 percent of Republicans who want war now, well, that vote is going
to be divided up between the eight or nine candidates. Right?
FOURNIER: And if you have 41 percent, almost as many, who, like most
of America, want us to try to do everything we can to try to contain Iran,
who basically might not even agree with what the president is doing
exactly, but agree with the idea that we need to try to contain this
country, that all goes to Rand Paul in a Republican nomination,
conceivably, if this was the only issue on the table.
So I think what he is doing is interesting. And it could pay off for
MATTHEWS: Here is the shots going, Howard, against him.
MATTHEWS: Watch this. This is – they don`t want to be the only man
out there who disagrees with him. They are trying to hit him hard.
Lindsey Graham also said he is closer to President Obama and Hillary
Clinton than he is to Rand Paul on foreign policy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I`m closer to anybody who
believes that we should lead not from behind, but from the front. Rand
Paul is one step behind, leading from behind. So, yes, even Obama is more
aggressive. Obama believes you can kill Anwar al-Awlaki without getting a
Obama believes you can hold enemy combatants, unlawful enemy
combatants at Gitmo without a criminal trial because this is law of war
detention. So, Rand Paul is behind Obama, not just Hillary Clinton.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Howard, what is with this macho that we get from Lindsey
Graham? I`m sorry. It`s just over the top. It`s protesting too much. I
mean, it`s, I`m going to bomb everybody, put everybody in Gitmo, blah,
MATTHEWS: You know, who is he, the Lone Ranger? When is this – is
there any limit to the overkill here from the right, the hawkish Southern
right, but not only Southern right, because, as I said, Chris Christie is
out there with them?
FINEMAN: No, there is no limit. And if they`re not careful, not only
are the numbers against them, as Ron was explaining, but the sentiment
could go against them if Rand Paul is able to take advantage of two other
One of them is a desire for change of the system in the country, a
sort of let`s disrupt things. Let`s turn things upside down. We have had
too much of the Clintons, too much of the establishment, too much of
Bushes. We have had too much of the old names and the old theories. It`s
time for a new theory. So that can be on his side, and if he is able to
capture also a generational change.
FINEMAN: I mean, if it`s him against John McCain, even if it`s not
about the specifics of how many ships you send to the Persian Gulf, he can
say look, John, we honor you for the past, but you`re in the past. It`s
time to think anew and act anew. You remember that phrase, Chris.
FINEMAN: And that – that – if Rand Paul is going to go anywhere, he
is going to have to expand it beyond merely this argument about where we
put troops and don`t put troops and make it both a generational argument
and a change argument. And he`s got a chance to do that.
MATTHEWS: I`m so with you, Howard, on this generational thing.
Unless you`re 65 and have a really good argument that your experience has
added up to an advanced knowledge, that you`re smarter and wiser than the
younger guy, you have to make the case now.
Being a little older is not going to win this election. Being a
little younger might, especially if the older candidates, Hillary Clinton
included, can`t make the case that they have learned something that the
younger crowd doesn`t know. Tell us what you learned that we don`t know,
because when I hear Rand Paul, who is much younger, saying these wars are
verkakte, I agree with him.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Howard Fineman. That`s my word.
Ron Fournier, sir.
Up next, talk about a profile in courage. We have got the Republican
former congressman who stood up to his party on climate change.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB INGLIS (R), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Many conservatives, I think,
see action on climate change as really an attack on a way of life. That`s
really a hard pill to swallow, that the whole way that I have created my
life is wrong, you`re saying, that I shouldn`t have this house in the
suburb, I shouldn`t be driving this car.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was former Republican Congressman Bob Inglis, featured in the
film “Merchants of Doubt.” Inglis is receiving now the 2015 John F.
Kennedy Profile in Courage Award that is coming next month.
Back in 2004, at the urging of his children and scientists, Inglis
reversed his long-held position that climate change wasn`t real. He
ultimately proposed a carbon tax in the U.S. Congress.
In 2010, his Republican primary opponent, Trey Gowdy, attacked Inglis
on the climate, and he lost the seat he had held for 12 years representing
a conservative South Carolina district.
In announcing the award, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation noted
that Inglis – quote – “displayed the courage to keep an open mind and
uphold his responsibilities as a leader and citizen, at the expense of his
own political career.”
Well, joining me right now is the man himself from Washington on this
Earth Day, is former U.S. Congressman Bob Inglis.
Congressman, thank you for joining us.
What do you – do you think it`s – what is it? Is this about – is
it being troglodytes? Is it – what makes people not want to see what they
see about science and climate change?
INGLIS: Well, it really is sort of an indication that we have got to
change, you know? And change is hard, unless you`re in control of the
And that`s really what we have got to prove to conservatives, is that
there is a solution that fits with their values that they can control, and
that therefore works for them. And that`s been hard so far, but I think
we`re getting there some – and making progress on this front.
MATTHEWS: I have – I`m not a scientist, of course. But I have to
tell you, I have never seen wackier weather in my life than just the last
six months. It`s not that it`s gotten hotter and obviously so. It`s just
that it`s not seasonal, like it used to be.
Is that an evidence to you of climate change, or is that just weather?
INGLIS: Well, I think we`re all experiencing climate change. You
know, and experience is an effective teacher. It`s sometimes a very harsh
teacher. So we will be taught about climate change.
And it`s just that sometimes we want to discount the information
because we don`t want it to be so. It would be a lot more convenient if it
weren`t so. But, on the other hand, what we need to sell, and really
convince people of, is this idea that, really, good things can come out of
addressing climate change, that we can create more energy, more mobility,
more freedom around the world. And it really can be, yes, a danger, but
also an opportunity.
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s look at this. All four Republican
gubernatorial candidates in Kentucky actually deny that climate change is
caused by man.
Here is a former Kentucky Supreme Court justice in a televised debate
this week. Let`s listen to the judge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILL T. SCOTT, KENTUCKY GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: We have had five ice
ages. Scientists all agree, five ice ages, complete ice ages, and five
meltdowns, and we didn`t even get here until the tail end of the last one.
We didn`t even have fire then. So how did we cause it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: How did we cause it? I mean, talk about – it`s almost
like a debate against nature. Is like the Monkey trial again, the Scopes
trial? Is this a battle against science?
INGLIS: Yes, to some extent. There is a sense among people of faith
that perhaps this is an attack on faith.
Of course, I don`t see it that way. I see it that the science affirms
my faith. You know, the apostle Paul in Romans I says that what may be
known about God is clear from the creation itself.
So, I don`t think it has to be an attack on faith. In fact, it can be
a called to stewardship…
INGLIS: … for preserving this part of Eden that is left.
MATTHEWS: You know, every time you go camping as a kid and as a
grownup, you`re told leave the site better than you found it. And I think
we should say that about our planet too.
Thank you, Bob Inglis. And congratulations on getting this wonderful
award from the John F. Kennedy Foundation.
Up next: Hillary Clinton is caught in the middle, and not just on
trade, but on a bunch of issues. She is trying to strike the right balance
between the progressive wing in her party and the mainstream. But doesn`t
she need to go center-left for a big win next November?
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger.
Here`s what`s happening.
The Senate will take up Loretta Lynch`s confirmation vote tomorrow.
She was nominated to be attorney general back in November.
The man who shot President Reagan back in 1981 is seeking full-time
release with conditions from a Washington mental hospital. John Hinckley
was found not guilty by reason of insanity in that shooting.
And the obstruction of justice conviction of baseball player Barry
Bonds has been thrown out. In 2011, Bonds was sentenced to 30 days home
confinement, probation and community service in that case – back to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have pulled together
11 countries to come up with a high-standard, enforceable trade provision
that has unprecedented labor standards, unprecedented environmental
standards, fixes a lot of the problems that you had in things like NAFTA.
And, ultimately, I would not be putting this forward if I was not
absolutely certain that this was going to be good for American workers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was, of course, President Obama defending the proposed Trans-
Pacific Partnership, or TPP trade bill, in my interview with him yesterday.
Now, as Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton decides whether to
support the deal or not, she is caught in the middle of a divided party.
On one side, there is a Democratic president and the pro-trade legacy of
her husband. And on the other side, there are the labor unions and many
progressives. She is certain – she has yet to clearly position herself on
either side, of course.
But she did speak about the deal in New Hampshire yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Any trade deal
has to produce jobs and raise wages and increase prosperity and protect our
And we have to do our part in making sure we have the capabilities and
the skills to be competitive. We have to get back to a much more focused
effort, in my opinion, to try to produce those capacities here at home, so
that we can be competitive in a global economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: It does appear, however, that Senator
Clinton is more wary of a deal now than she was in 2011 when she was
serving as secretary of state. Here is what she said in support of the TPP
bill back then.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: There is new momentum in our trade agenda with the recent
passage of the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement, and our ongoing work on a
binding, high quality Trans-Pacific Partnership, the so-called TPP. The
TPP will bring together economies from across the Pacific, developed and
developing alike, into a single 21st century trading community.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I`m joined right now by the roundtable: MSNBC`s Joy Reid,
editor in chief of “The National Memo”, Joe Conason, and Michelle Goldberg
of “The Nation”.
I`m treating Joy with the joy of explaining what Hillary Clinton just
said. Is she for it or against it?
JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, I think
everything we know about Hillary Clinton is she is a free trader, she is a
globalist. That is who she is. But –
MATTHEWS: Are you?
REID: Myself personally?
REID: You know what? I`m sort of two minds.
MATTHEWS: The most educated people I`ve been taught from the time we
were in grade school, (INAUDIBLE) was bad, putting up big, closing the door
doesn`t work. Were you, with that setup?
REID: With that setup, I think the concept sounds so good on paper.
But I definitely am sympathetic to the motion that NAFTA did hurt American
workers in sense that since American wages are so much higher, the leveling
of wages that brings up the countries we trade with, which I think is
important. We have to bring up the wages of the people around the world,
outside the U.S. – the only places for American wages to go in that
equation is down.
So, I definitely think there was a downside to NAFTA. So I`m really
sympathetic with that argument. At the same time, the world is the world.
You can`t close yourself off from it. The United States has to either
compete or not survive, right?
I am very torn on the notion of free trade. But I think Hillary is
not. I think she is for it.
MATTHEWS: But, politically, she`s careful.
REID: Politically, her whole campaign that she is running right is I
am run to be the champion of the average American worker.
REID: So she can`t come out and fully embrace it. She`s got to say
I`ve got caveats and things I`m going to need to see first.
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, THE NATION: You know, we`re not talking about free
trade as a concept. We`re talking about a specific agreement with specific
problems. Even the free traders, libertarians, the Cato Institute have
come out against this thing because of some of the very specific advantages
it gives to corporations over the national sovereignty of the United
MATTHEWS: They`re sovereignty people.
GOLDBERG: But, well, not – but there are a whole host of problems
that you can have with this agreement that don`t necessarily mean that
you`re against free trade in principle. You know, it`s like when Obama
said I`m not against all war, I`m against dumb wars, right? You don`t have
to be against all free trade agreements to be against free trade agreements
that significantly weaken environmental protection or all sorts of other
JOE CONASON, THE NATIONAL MEMO: Well, I mean, I think what Joy said
is true. We do have to engage with the world.
And, you know, as one of the authors of pivot to Asia early in the
administration, she has some skin in the game with the deal with, you know,
the specific deal. The question that she is going to confront is this a
good deal, as Michelle said, or is there something about it that she needs
to push back on in order to represent the labor constituent circumstances
which is a big part of the Democratic base?
And that I think is why she was talking about currency manipulation,
for instance, which is a big issue for the unions. What does China do
about its currency, and is that going to be addressed in this agreement?
MATTHEWS: Well, in 2012, Secretary Clinton also said that TPP sets
the gold standard on trade agreements. Now, Republican candidate Jeb Bush
calling her out, saying, “Hillary Clinton`s TPP flip-flop is wrong. It
should move forward.”
Here is the statement he released today. This is Jeb Bush. “Last
week, less than four days after she announce herd bid for the presidency,
she cooled her enthusiasm considerably. Secretary Clinton`s campaign said
the trade agreements have to pass fresh tests and even greater scrutiny.
And among the issues she raised were elements like currency manipulation
that the Obama administration have said were poison pills that would kill
the negotiations. So much for the gold standard.”
Jack Lew, the secretary of treasury, has said if you put it in like
this, we`re not going to talk about currency manipulation. We all know
what you did to deflate your economy and make your goods cheaper. It makes
it tougher on your tourists, but a lot better for your manufacturers.
My question is this – we had Sherrod Brown, who`s a classic Ohio
Democrat. I`m not going to knock him. I actually like the guy and I think
he would be great on the ticket with Hillary. But he basically takes the
old position we have in Western Pennsylvania, trade deals have been
screwing the working man and woman year after year after year, going back
to the Kennedy round. We`re not going to do it, and certainly back to
And my question is this, if you listen to that argument all the way
through, and most people who are not protectionists, that would mean we`d
still be buying 1957 Fords, or Chevys, which are actually pretty good. But
you`d be getting planned obsolescence, cars that would last two or three
Thanks to international trade, you can`t put out a junker anymore.
You can deal with Honda. Toyota has changed the standard. Cars must last
almost forever, and they do.
And our cars are Fords, our Chevys, our GM cars, our Chryslers,
they`re really good cars today because of international competition. You
can`t tell a worker in Ohio, here is my speech, you can`t buy a foreign
car, because he knows, she knows, if you can`t buy a foreign car, you can`t
buy a good American car.
REID: Nobody is saying you can`t buy a foreign car.
MATTHEWS: Look, I`ve been through this. Hartke-Burke, the labor
unions back in the `70s, were trying to stop all trade.
MATTHEWS: That has been their historic position. Their historic
position is protectionists.
GOLDBERG: But it`s not just protectionists who have raised real
problems with this bill.
MATTHEWS: I know that. Should we listen to pure protectionists in
GOLDBERG: How about listen to Paul Krugman?
CONASON: The reasonable –
GOLDBERG: Go on.
CONASON: Well, I would say the reasonable position is that you want
the Chinese to be able to buy more stuff, right?
MATTHEWS: Yes, how do you do it?
CONASON: Well, the currency issue is part of it.
MATTHEWS: You can get them to do it through what?
CONASON: Well, if their currency was worth more, they could actually
buy more things.
MATTHEWS: I know. How do you do that?
CONASON: It`s part of the negotiation. You have to have something
that China wants.
MATTHEWS: They`re not in the negotiation deal.
CONASON: Yes, I understand that but it`s part of a whole gestalt as
we would say of how do you get other nations to consume more and consume
more American products.
REID: And I think the average voter, if you talk about just the
states you mentioned, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, the average voters in
the Rust Belt are not going to get that deep about it. They`re going to
say to themselves there`s is this specter of what China has done in terms
of flooding our country with cheap products, Walmart`s shelves are stocked
with cheap goods.
REID: Exactly. And Detroit, and Flint, Michigan. When you think
about it that way, I think that Hillary Clinton`s political argument she`s
making that we have to fight for the American job and bring back American
manufacturing is politically potent, TPP gets into some weeds that are less
politically salient. Jeb Bush can say whatever he wants. But currency
manipulation is not going to be the field on which the campaign is going to
MATTHEWS: I know, a lot of people are looking for hook to get out of
By the way, I`m a (INAUDIBLE), all right? My job to stir this thing
up. None of this thing that shuts the door in the debate.
Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us. And up next, President
Obama`s commitment to Africa. It shows his vision for America`s role in
the world. He is out there doing it as of last night, I can tell you.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Coming up, tonight at 10:00 eastern, watch MSNBC`s newest
documentary, “Just Eat It.” It`s about the staggering amount of food, good
food that is thrown away in our country. Forty percent of all edible food
is tossed out. And this documentary tracks two food lovers who vow to stop
grocery shopping and survive only on food that would otherwise be thrown
away. It`s called “Just Eat It”. It`s on tonight at 10:00 Eastern here on
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with a roundtable, Joy, Joe, and Michelle.
In my interview with President Obama yesterday, I asked him about a
pair of recent tragedies in Africa. The massacre at that college in
northern Kenya by al Shabaab that killed nearly 150 young people, and the
drowning deaths of almost a thousand migrants in the Mediterranean after
their boat capsized the other day. What I got was a strong hint into how
his views on how the world and America`s role in Africa have continued.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know the area I know you care about is Africa. And
your feelings about watching those refugees, 950 people drowning, just
trying to find a life. And also Kenya, a country we all care about. Very
moderate country, proof h western, getting terrorized, those college kids,
who were the hope of their families, getting killed because they`re
Christians. Are you going to still go to Kenya?
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am going to still go
to Kenya. Look, it`s a heartbreaking situation. There`s a lot of tumult
and chaos around the world right now. And part of our goal as the world`s
leading superpower is to work with partner countries to try to resolve
conflicts, to be ruthless in going after terrorism.
But we`re not going to do that by ourselves and do it just by
deploying more marines in every country that has these problems. We`ve got
to build up their capacity in these areas so that they`re not recruiting
centers and safe havens for terrorist activity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Joy, that really came through to me, that he knows that we
can`t be a military state. But we have to be involved in the world.
REID: Yes, absolutely. And I think because Barack Obama lived
overseas, because he has international – because his father was from Kenya
and he has that international perspective on the U.S., he knows that the
problem with the idea of always sending in the U.S. military to solve these
problems, the first week we`re there, we`re heroes and everyone`s so happy
to see us.
REID: After a month –
MATTHEWS: Mogadishu, look at what happened there.
REID: Exactly. And after a month, we are the enemy. And, you know,
organizations like al Shabaab terrorist groups, they would love to have us
there. It gives them a focus outside of themselves and the governments
have become too dependent on American power.
But I will say that I am glad to hear he`s going to go to Kenya. I
tell people the story, that my father who was the Democratic Republic of
Congo, who lives in Kinshasa, with whom I have very little relationship,
was the first person to call me on the night that Barack Obama was elected
in 2008, called me crying. You know, Africa writ large –
MATTHEWS: What relationship was he to you?
REID: My father.
REID: And Africa writ large had a great deal of hope in Barack Obama.
They see him as a son of Africa, although obviously he`s an American, and I
think he needs to have that moment in Kenya, because I think the continent
does need to spiritual uplift. But the governments need to be accountable
to their own people.
MATTHEWS: That`s enough. Sorry guys, she was too good. Thank you.
I didn`t know you had that kind of history, anyway, family history.
Joy Reid, great to have you, especially tonight.
Joe Conason, my friend, we`ll have you back. Michelle Goldberg as
When we return, let me finish with this hot issue of trade, which is a
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this trade issue.
I think it`s important that the Democrats take a hard look at any
trade deal for the impact it`s likely to have on jobs and economic
development in this country. It`s important that the country and the party
look at how the specific trade deal affects us overall. Will it help us
compete in the world? Will it help us create jobs for the future? Will it
give the U.S. worker the best possible shot at these jobs?
We all grew up hearing the calls against trade, we got before the
Great Depression – calls that led to the Smoot-Hawley tariffs, which many
believed were a direct cause from the Great Depression. And, yes, we`ve
heard the calls from presidents, Democratic presidents, including Jack
Kennedy, and Bill Clinton, arguing the advantages of trade expansion.
And yes, there are going to be trade-offs. That`s why it`s called a
deal, the challenge of our leaders to decide if it all adds up to a net
plus or a net minus. Do most people generally believe we`d be better off
if we cut off imports from Japan and Germany and Korea in the auto
industry? Do we want to go back to the days of the U.S. monopoly on cars,
before they lasted about two or three years before serious breakdowns, the
days of planned obsolescence?
I believe, like everyone listening, that we have done better with our
auto production, because of the competition from foreign producers. That
our customers – our consumers rather have benefited from having a wide
variety of choice from the best products in the world that`s how I look at
it. I look at the clothes you can buy today, the quality and variety and
price, you know you`re getting a lot better than you would have done
without the foreign market place.
All this should be up for debate. We should look for the culture, by
the way, as well as the economic impact of lost jobs, especially in the old
neighborhoods where I came from. People matter most, and it`s up to the
Democrats in this hot debate to look out for them, using all their
knowledge, all their experience, and not just let this become a battle to
see who can best shut down the other side`s argument.
Let`s hear the best thinking in this argument, and that means both
sides of the argument. And we`re going to give it to you here.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
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