Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 9/28/2016
Date: September 28, 2016
Guest: Gary Johnson, William Weld
ANNOUNCER: Gary Johnson…
GARY JOHNSON (NM-L), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`ve got issues, but
we`re going to deal with these issues.
ANNOUNCER: … and Bill Weld.
WILLIAM WELD (MA-L), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: People think this
is a horror movie and they can`t change the channel.
ANNOUNCER: The Libertarian ticket that could tip the scales in the
JOHNSON: Trump, Clinton – they want to kill each other! Does anybody
believe that that`s going to get any better?
ANNOUNCER: Tonight, just two nights after the most watched debate in
history, they`ll sit down and make their case to Chris Matthews.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
ANNOUNCER: It`s the HARDBALL “College Tour.” Live from the
University of New Hampshire, the Gary Johnson Town Hall.
Here now Chris Matthews.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews here at the
University of New Hampshire in Durham.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: There was a big presidential debate Monday night. Eighty-
four million people watched. And tonight, we`re here to bring two
additional voices into the debate.
Let`s welcome the Libertarian candidates for president and vice
president of the United States, former governor Gary Johnson of New Mexico
and former governor Bill Weld of Massachusetts.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: Well, today, President Obama responded to something that
happened at Monday night`s debate. And here`s the president.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You had somebody who
basically insulted women and then doubled down, I think, this morning, in
terms of how he talks about them and talks about their weight and talks
about, you know, how they look instead of the content of their character
and their capabilities, which is not something that I want – not somebody
I want in the Oval Office that my daughters are listening to and that sons
are listening to.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know what he was talking about. He was talking about
something Hillary Clinton brought up in the first debate last night. Let`s
listen to what Secretary Clinton said and how Donald Trump responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: And one of the worst
things he said was about a woman in a beauty contest. He loves beauty
contests, supporting them and hanging around them. And he called this
woman “Miss Piggy.” Then he called her “Miss Housekeeping” because she was
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: She was the winner, and you
know, she gained a massive amount of weight. And it was a problem. We had
a real problem. Not only that, her attitude. And we had a real problem
So Hillary went back into the years and she found this girl. This was
many years ago. And she found the girl and talked about her like she was
Mother Teresa. And it wasn`t quite that way, but that`s OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Governors, half the electorate are women. And here we have
one of the candidates for president engaging in a weigh-in of some kind.
What do you make of this kind of conversation from one of your opponents,
JOHNSON: Well, horrible. And I was actually reading about it in “The
Times” today, where he accompanied her to the gym…
MATTHEWS: With a camera.
JOHNSON: … where he subjected her to exercising in front of the
camera. I guess that was his role in the Miss Universe contest. Look, how
does it get any worse?
MATTHEWS: She was 18 at the time. She was an immigrant from
Venezuela trying to make it in this country. And what does it tell you
about Mr. Trump? Governor Weld?
WELD: You know, it`s bad. But take a number. You know, a lot of
things are bad in his approach to things and the way he talks about people,
tries to set group against groups, stir up envy and resentment, even
hatred. It`s the opposite of how I think a presidential campaign should be
MATTHEWS: Were you surprised when I interviewed him earlier this year
and I asked him about his position, which is now pro-life – that`s the
position he`s taking – and I asked him, Well, what should the government
do when they find out there was an abortion? He said, Well, there should
be some kind of punishment for a woman. That`s what he told me. What do
you make of that…
JOHNSON: I was shocked by that.
MATTHEWS: You`re Libertarian. So explain how a Libertarian looks at
the issue of choice.
JOHNSON: Well, that – how can there be a more difficult issue than
anyone is going to face – and by anyone, the woman involved – and that
that should be the woman involved`s choice, period.
WELD: Well, you don`t know what you`re going to get when you ask Mr.
Trump a question. The previous year, he was asked, What`s your position on
abortion and said, I`m pro-choice, of course. I`m from New York. You
know, it`s just random. It`s like a broken clock. He`s right twice a day.
JOHNSON: When you asked him that question, thought, at that point in
the campaign, maybe he had said, in my opinion, 50 things that would have
disqualified anyone else from being president. Now that number, I think,
is somewhere closer to 150.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about the other candidate, the other major party
candidate who`s running against you. That`s Hillary Clinton, the former
Secretary of State, former senator from New York, former first lady, of
course, a hell of a resume.
But she also has a resume with regarding wars. And she supported
regime change with regard to the Iraq war, supported W., President Bush.
She supported getting involved militarily to knock off Gadhafi in Libya.
She now today, I believe, still supports some sort of no-fly military role
in Syria. She seems to like U.S. military involvement.
Where do you guys stand on those questions? Should we be a country
that gets involved in regular – so regularly in regime change in the
JOHNSON: We should not be involved in regime change. And something I
would like to point is there have been three polls now conducted among
active military personnel, and I`ve been on top of those three polls. So I
would like to think it`s based on what I am saying regarding this.
We`re putting our military in a terrible situation. Look, we maintain
that if we`re attacked, we`re going on attack back, that we should have an
invincible national defense. But when we do involve ourselves in regime
change, we literally get ourselves on both sides of the issue.
In Syria, for example, you just can`t make up what has happened. And
I don`t think it was intentional on her part, or Obama`s part, certainly
not on Bush`s part. But this is what happens when we get involved in
WELD: And you know, Governor Johnson likes to point out that wars
have unintended consequences, both economic and military and moral. You
know, I spent a lot of time abroad after the Iraq invasion of 2003. Nobody
can tell me that we didn`t have a – pay a moral penalty for that in the
world at large. And militarily, all the weapons that we armed the rebels
with in Syria and Libya wind up in the hands of ISIS. That`s militarily
MATTHEWS: When we go to war, nobody talks about what the calamities
are going to be. The old Europeans, they`ve been through 2,000 years of
war over religion, usually, and they know what a war is. Both sides lose
You know, I`ve spent some time recently with military guys coming
home, mostly men, who come home with arms missing, legs missing,
disfigured, blind, deaf. In one case, I met a guy with both.
Does anybody think about that when they submit – put guys into
combat, you know, a war that has questionable value?
JOHNSON: So here`s what I`m getting really emotional over. And by
the way, I blew this Aleppo question, OK? I want to take full
responsibility for that. But…
MATTHEWS: What have you done to correct the fact you didn`t know what
MATTHEWS: … or what it was?
JOHNSON: Well, forget about – forget about Aleppo…
MATTHEWS: I can`t!
JOHNSON: … completely.
MATTHEWS: I can`t (INAUDIBLE)
JOHNSON: Forget about Aleppo completely and get to the root of what
it`s all about…
MATTHEWS: OK, what was it that you didn`t appreciate and that you now
JOHNSON: I appreciated it from the very beginning that because a
politician can dot the I`s and cross the T`s on some geographic location or
the name of some foreign dictator, that in that context, now we should
believe them when it comes to these interventions.
And as a result of that – those interventions, our men and service
women are getting killed. They`re getting maimed. They`re getting injured
for the rest of their lives. And in this case, hundreds of thousands of
innocents in these countries that get caught in the crossfire of these
MATTHEWS: Is your point that a resume doesn`t give you discernment?
JOHNSON: Well, a…
MATTHEWS: Is that your point?
JOHNSON: My point…
MATTHEWS: Hillary Clinton`s resume didn`t prepare her for the right
JOHNSON: Well, in this case, politicians that beat their chest over
the fact they`ve got a microphone that gets stuck in their face – What are
you going to do about these atrocities? You know what? The atrocities are
real. But what`s not being realized is that when we go in to support
regime change, to address those atrocities, the situation ends up to be the
same or worse in many situations.
MATTHEWS: OK, what is your ticket now on the question of U.S.
involvement where it`s hot right now, Syria?
MATTHEWS: Should we be involved with military, troops on the ground?
JOHNSON: No, we should not. And what I`ve been saying now for seven
weeks is, is that we need to involve Russia in this to come to a diplomatic
solution to this. Of course, this ceasefire that was negotiated here a
week ago, it was wrought with problems from the very beginning because we
are supporting the Free Syrian Army, but they`re arm in arm with the
Islamists. Well, we`re not arm in American with the Islamists. You got
Raqqa. You got ISIS. We`re supporting the Kurds, but the Kurds are
sideways with Turkey who – who are our ally, but…
JOHNSON: … not as good an ally as they once were because of Iraq…
MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) except for the question of Vladimir Putin. Can
we trust or rely upon him as a partner in this kind of peace effort, if
there is going to be one?
WELD: Well, you know, I think Gary predicted that the only way out
was going to be a ceasefire involving Russia to some extent. And that`s
what`s happened and it`s blown up. I mean, it didn`t help that we killed
60 Syrian soldiers.
It doesn`t help that you`ve got all these different rebel groups over
there. You`ve got the original rebels. You`ve got ISIS. You`ve got
Nusra. You`ve got Jabhat, everyone waiting to be the next al Qaeda. And
it`s a complete mess.
And today`s news about, you know, the rocket that shot down the
passenger plane in Ukraine in 2014 came in by truck from Russia, boom,
downed the passenger plane, goes out at night, that same night so no one
can tell (ph) it came from Russia. Of course, Putin knew all about it.
And that`s not even taking responsibility for what you do. That makes you
less inclined to say, Russia…
MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) OK…
WELD: … Let`s work together.
MATTHEWS: Let`s get with the major thrust here. If you tend to be
dovish – I tend to be dovish – should somebody like me vote for you guys
or Hillary Clinton?
JOHNSON: Well, in the regard of…
MATTHEWS: Dovish versus hawkish. Simple question.
JOHNSON: Yes. Yes. You should.
MATTHEWS: You`re more dovish.
JOHNSON: You should. Yes.
JOHNSON: Well, by dovish…
MATTHEWS: Are you in on this?
WELD: I`m with him. I`m all in…
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: All right, let`s – we`re going to get back to this, I`m
sure, with the questions as we get there.
Let`s look at this exchange from Monday`s debate with 84 million
people watching when Donald Trump defended his birther crusade, where he
said that, basically, the president of the United States is an illegal
immigrant who snuck in the country, went to college, got into the Harvard
Law Review, got everything somehow through secretive sort of “Manchurian
Candidate”-style secretive conspiracy theory stuff.
Anyway, here he is explaining and defending.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LESTER HOLD, NBC, MODERATOR: We`re talking about racial healing in
this segment. What do you say to Americans…
TRUMP: Well, it was very…
TRUMP: I say nothing. I say nothing because I was able to get him to
produce it. He should have produced it a long time before. I say nothing.
And I think I did a great job and a great service not only for the country
but even for the president in getting him to produce his birth certificate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: So Donald Trump was doing a favor to the president of the
United States by saying, Show me your driver`s license, basically, since
you`re the first African-American president. That`s what he was doing.
Anyway, Michelle Obama, the first lady, spoke out on the birther issue
conspiracy theory today. Let`s hear her point of view.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: There are those who questioned and
continue to question for the past eight years whether my husband was even
born in this country.
M. OBAMA: And let me say, hurtful, deceitful questions deliberately
designed to undermine his presidency, questions that cannot be blamed on
others or swept under the rug by an insincere sentence uttered at a press
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Trump has said that Hillary Clinton`s people started this.
What do you make of that, Governor?
JOHNSON: Well, based on my following the story – and I`m not a rock
thrower. I`ve never, ever said a word about this. I just always thought
it was BS from the very beginning, and it just continues to be BS.
WELD: No, but that`s the biggest granddaddy of a whopper of all, him
saying, Oh, Hillary Clinton started this. I`m ending it. I mean, that`s
pathetic, it`s so palpably a lie!
MATTHEWS: Why do people – why would he do it? Who is he winning
WELD: I don`t think – I don`t think the Donald knows when the
curtain is down and when the curtain is up.
WELD: I mean, I think he`s a loose man with the truth. He has a
tenuous – sometimes, he seems to have a tenuous hold on reality. This is
a guy we`re going on give the football to? I mean, please!
MATTHEWS: Explain the football.
WELD: The nuclear codes.
MATTHEWS: Yes, the nuclear codes.
WELD: And he wants to arm, you know, Japan and South Korea with
nuclear weapons so he can have more nations with nuclear weapons, rather
MATTHEWS: “60 Minutes” the other night showed that the president of
the United States, whoever it is, has 10 minutes if there`s an alert that
comes up, if it looks like something`s coming at us (INAUDIBLE) to decide
which of the thousands of weapons we`re going to fire. In that 10 minutes,
has to decide that! He gets some advice from a general. He can ask a few
questions. But in 10 minutes, he`s got to decide what part of the world
we`re going to blow up.
Who do you – which of these two candidates would you trust with that
assignment, if you don`t win.
JOHNSON: Me. No, no…
JOHNSON: … would be me.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: Second choice?
JOHNSON: When you weight…
MATTHEWS: You think Trump and Hillary are equally qualified to be
commander-in-chief in a nuclear age?
JOHNSON: When it – when it…
MATTHEWS: No, OK, what…
MATTHEWS: I want some answers here. This is HARDBALL.
WELD: I don`t know that Gary and I are totally…
MATTHEWS: I like it when you disagree!
MATTHEWS: Let`s disagree here.
WELD: But no, Hillary Clinton is clearly qualified to be commander-
in-chief and president of the United States. Donald Trump…
MATTHEWS: How about the other guy?
WELD: … is clearly not qualified. And I`ve encouraged him almost
with affection to think some of other job or profession he`d like to…
WELD: And I`ve suggested the laundry business. He could do great in
the laundry business!
WELD: He`s got business smarts. But president of the United States
is just the wrong tree to be barking up for him.
JOHNSON: I think – I think she`s going to – I think she`s going to
press the button.
JOHNSON: I – I – well, confronted with that 10 minutes, she`s going
to be hawkish. She`s going to be more hawkish in that role.
MATTHEWS: You think she`s got a happy trigger.
JOHNSON: I think that she is not going to err on the side of not
being the aggressor.
MATTHEWS: OK. Well, let`s talk about something else that we probably
are going to have to face more immediately than nuclear war decisions,
which is climate. And look at this audience, average age 20, 23 – maybe
at the most 23 right now. I think we`re above the average, by the way.
And they`re going to live in this climate. And we have one of the
candidates saying there is no climate threat, even though anybody who lives
in Massachusetts sees the water level coming up here. It`s coming up
everywhere. The ice, the snows of Kilimanjaro have long gone.
JOHNSON: I`ve been to Kilimanjaro. They`re still a long ways from…
MATTHEWS: Well, OK. All right. So…
MATTHEWS: OK, so you`ve been up there.
JOHNSON: I`ve been up there…
MATTHEWS: My wife`s been there (INAUDIBLE) Let`s talk about your
firsthand report on the top of Kilimanjaro. Do you think climate change is
real because one of the candidates challenging you guys, Hillary Clinton,
believes it`s very real, the other says it`s a hoax cooked up in China.
JOHNSON: No, I think it`s real. I think that it`s real and that we
as human beings are demanding less carbon emission. That`s a good thing.
And we`re getting it. We`re 16 percent of the world`s carbon load. So
MATTHEWS: OK, you`re a Libertarian. How does a Libertarian avoid
overregulation because if we do think fossil fuel use is dangerous to the
environment, something has got to stop that use. How do we do it with the
JOHNSON: Well, in this case, the free market has dealt with coal.
The free market has…
JOHNSON: … well, has bankrupted, marginalized coal. Thirty-six
percent of the load remains coal. But if you are an electrical – if you
supply the electrical grid, which is currently 36 percent coal, you`re not
going to replace it with coal because…
MATTHEWS: So you wouldn`t…
JOHNSON: … because natural gas is still lower in price. So free
market. Natural – everything is being…
MATTHEWS: You wouldn`t put federal controls on emissions?
JOHNSON: No. I think the federal government has a role to protect us
against harm. I put pollution in that category. So federal government
setting standards, setting scientific standards regarding harm…
JOHNSON: Yes. Yes. You bet.
MATTHEWS: Because of the smell or what, bad air, but not on the…
JOHNSON: … we`re going to breathe it. We`re going to breathe it.
We`re going to inhale it.
MATTHEWS: You don`t have a problem with the government action to deal
with climate. You don`t have a problem with that generally.
JOHNSON: Well, I think that free market does a better job of it,
Chris. And I`ll cite…
MATTHEWS: Do you agree with that?
JOHNSON: … for you right as an example…
WELD: Environmental regulation is an exception to my general
WELD: … because the economies of scale are so great, you can`t rely
on the market or a business or an individual to stop environmental
degradation, which as Gary points out, arms all of us, and avoiding harm to
our fellow man is…
JOHNSON: I support the Environmental Protection Agency. I think it
comes under the heading…
JOHNSON: … of doing us harm, and but for the Environmental
Protection Agency, there would continue to be pollution.
MATTHEWS: One thing I like about Libertarians is that vice presidents
can disagree with presidents.
JOHNSON: I hope we established that here tonight!
MATTHEWS: I`m seeing it.
Let me get a question from – go ahead, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. My name is Brendan Luke (ph). I`m from
Westchester, New York. And my question for Governor Johnson is, what do
you have to say to people that think a vote for you is a waste of a vote?
JOHNSON: Well, that a wasted vote is voting for somebody you don`t
believe in. That`s a wasted vote.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
JOHNSON: And right now, we`ve come up among young people to be tied
with Hillary among young people. We`re leading among independents. So
what I say is offering the two of us – offering a first vote to people –
that`s something that we`re very proud of.
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s get to some of the thing – because everybody
sees this happening in the Democratic Party. They know you guys are doing
well among younger voters, millennials.
Look at this. This was in “The Hill” newspaper today on Capitol Hill.
“Democrats panicked by third party candidates drawing support away from
Hillary Clinton are ramping up their attacks against Gary Johnson and
warning that a vote for a third party is a vote for Donald Trump.
And now listen to President Obama today on that very point. Here`s
President Obama warning about you guys.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
OBAMA: If there`s one message I want to deliver to everybody – if
you don`t vote, that`s a vote for Trump. If you don`t vote, that`s a vote
for Trump. If you vote for a third party candidate who`s got no chance to
win, that`s a vote for Trump.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: What do you make of that? He`s talking about you guys.
JOHNSON: Let me – let me tell you the way (ph) I make that for young
MATTHEWS: So you disagree with the president, obviously.
JOHNSON: Well, yes! Neither – neither – neither Trump nor Clinton
is going to do anything regarding for Medicaid and Medicare! So I`m going
to get my health care. I`m going to get my retirement, but you all are
going to foot that bill and you`re not going to get anything? Yes, I think
there`s a reason why young people are supporting us!
MATTHEWS: So they`re not going to – neither guy`s going to reform
JOHNSON: Nobody`s going to reform the situation! I mean, we`re
headed to bankruptcy with regard to the size and scope of government!
WELD: You know, Chris…
MATTHEWS: The government`s too big, you argue.
WELD: What`s going on this year is that both the parties, both the
establishment parties in Washington are trying to scare everybody,
brainwash them into thinking you have got to vote for an R or you have got
to vote for an D because we have a monopoly on power in Washington, and we
would like to keep the monopoly.
I would suggest they haven`t done a great job in Washington in the
last 15 years getting the people`s business done, because they so obviously
want to kill each other, just like the campaigns want to kill each other.
MATTHEWS: We`re going to talk a lot about that, Governor Weld and
Governor Johnson. We`re going to get some more questions from the audience
here when we get back.
It`s at the University of New Hampshire.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: This is great.
We`re back at the University of New Hampshire, a beautiful campus up
And we have got Governor Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, the Libertarian
You know, I grew up like you guys, argued Libertarianism. And it
always looked good when you`re younger. I mean great.
Let`s talk about the basics of Libertarianism. I guess one of the
ways it began to develop as an argument is, why should a young guy or woman
who want a ride a motorbike, a motorcycle, a big one, a big hog if they
want to ride one, why should the government tell them to wear a helmet?
Why should somebody in New York like Bloomberg tell us we can`t buy a
Coke bigger than 16 ounces? Why can`t we buy a big Coke? Why can`t we get
on a motorcycle if we want to and not put a helmet on? The nanny state,
What is Libertarianism about in that regard? I guess it`s against all
JOHNSON: Well, no, no.
JOHNSON: Well, in this case, I…
MATTHEWS: Are you for helmets?
JOHNSON: I wear a helmet.
MATTHEWS: But do you want to be told to wear a helmet by the
JOHNSON: No, I don`t want to be told to wear a helmet.
JOHNSON: And there`s an organ donor shortage out there, so there`s
unintended consequences regarding everything, Chris, Chris.
MATTHEWS: You`re making the news. Did you mean that? Did you mean
JOHNSON: Well, how about somebody with a sense of humor as president
of the United States?
MATTHEWS: OK. Great. That`s a sense – that`s great. All right.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: That`s why I asked you. Do you know why I asked you?
Because, the way print journalism works is, it just types the words down.
It doesn`t say made funny joke here for emphasis.
Things like the 16-ounce thing and all the stuff that left will argue,
the progressives will say, hey, if we have to pay for hospital care for
diabetes, if we have to pay for the crash site, and get the guy who is on a
motorbike to the hospital, put him under a nice – take care of the
surgery, take care of him, get him back to health, if society has to pay
those costs, can`t society say wear a helmet?
JOHNSON: So, in the case of – let me use Bloomberg as an example.
JOHNSON: I think he took a real leadership role. He`s doing that
MATTHEWS: On cigarettes or on sodas?
JOHNSON: Sodas. He takes a leadership role. He`s a mayor of a town.
He wants to implement this.
I don`t want to implement this in the state. I don`t want to
implement this in the federal government. But you know what? I think, as
a result of what he said, I think we now have the eight-ounce can of Coke.
I think we have come to a better awareness nationwide because of what
Bloomberg did in New York.
MATTHEWS: But it was a law. Are you against – aren`t you against
JOHNSON: I am. But his action, his leadership in this area –
Michelle Obama, when she talks about nutrition, that is leadership.
Do we legislate that? No, because then we end up – because then it
is so successful, the reduction in the size of sodas, that I guess, at some
point, we will criminalize to it make sure that everybody complies with it.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s talk about dope. OK?
MATTHEWS: Why do they call it dope?
JOHNSON: Why do they call it dope?
MATTHEWS: Yes, marijuana, why do they call it dope?
JOHNSON: I don`t know why that came about.
And I will just tell you, based on my having done it for the first
time, which probably a few of the kids in here in this room have maybe had
the same experience, why do they call it dope?
MATTHEWS: You`re looking at me. Is this funny?
MATTHEWS: You`re giving me the look. Am I supposed to respond to
that? What do you want me to think here? You don`t think it`s dope.
JOHNSON: Well, it is the safest – it is so much safer than
everything else that is out there, starting with alcohol.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me read you something from your platform, because
I know you know this.
Basically, this is – we – this is the Libertarian platform. You
guys have read it, right?
WELD: I have read it.
MATTHEWS: OK. I just want to make sure.
JOHNSON: You don`t have to agree with every word of it.
MATTHEWS: OK. Well, here are some words you might have some
interesting comments on.
“We favor the repeal of all laws creating crimes” – that`s in quotes
– “without victims, such as the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational
That`s pretty clear.
Now, marijuana, OK, that`s legal in Colorado. It`s got different
degrees of legality or non-criminality in different states. But what about
we move it a little further? Recreational drugs. Some people might say
cocaine is recreational. Some might say crack cocaine. Some might say
meth. They might say heroin.
Where do you draw the line in terms of Libertarianism on drugs?
JOHNSON: Well, so, we are the Libertarian nominees.
And as a governor of New Mexico, I was the highest elected official in
1999 to call…
MATTHEWS: Did you mean that literally?
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
JOHNSON: I`m the highest elected official to call…
JOHNSON: I will use it again.
JOHNSON: All right?
Governor of New Mexico, called for the legalization of marijuana in
`99. I`m saying the same things today that I`m saying – that I was saying
then. I only favor the legalization of marijuana. But I believe we are
going to do that.
MATTHEWS: It doesn`t say that here in your platform. It says
JOHNSON: No. But platform is one thing. And, by the way, we can
extend that to Republicans. We can extend that Democrats.
MATTHEWS: I understand they`re not serious sometimes. I agree with
So, in this case, it`s not a serious statement, recreational drugs?
JOHNSON: No, but let me extend, too, that, when we legalize marijuana
– and I have said this since `99. I believe we are going to come to a
quantum leap when it comes to the understanding of the drug issue.
And it is going to start with recognizing drugs first as a health
issue, rather than a criminal justice issue.
MATTHEWS: Let`s get to the crowd. Let`s get to the students.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: First question.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My name is Hannah Matthew (ph). I`m from
Hebron, Maine, and I`m a student here at University of New Hampshire.
And this is a question for Governor Johnson.
What are your thoughts on combating climate change, as well as
potentially moving towards a more self-sufficient country in the future?
JOHNSON: Well, climate change, that it is man-caused, that we should
reduce carbon emission, that it is happening.
We`re 16 percent of the world`s carbon emission load. I don`t want to
put us out front to the point that we lose jobs over this. But I do
believe that we`re demanding less carbon emission. And, as an example,
coal, marginal coal assets have been bankrupted right now.
Why would you build a coal plant when, as depressed the price of coal
is at this moment, you can build a gas-fired plant for less?
MATTHEWS: How many here are concerned about climate change? Put your
Pretty strong, pretty much unanimous, pretty much, except the guy with
the beard. You don`t – no, that`s all right. No, that`s fair.
MATTHEWS: Odd man out is the good man sometimes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (OFF-MIKE) from Plymouth, New Hampshire.
And my question is for Governor Johnson.
How would you make college more accessible to students of lower
MATTHEWS: Bernie Sanders was here today. He was very powerful over a
couple blocks from here, about four or five blocks on campus.
He is still for free tuition. The tuition here for in-state tuition
is $29,000 a year. That covers being here, board and everything. But it`s
$29,000. Bernie says he is going to make it free for state college
tuition. Where are you on that? That`s not a Libertarian solution, I
JOHNSON: Well, I would just like the point out the reason for the
high cost of college tuition in the first place.
And the reason for high college tuition in the first place is
guaranteed government student loans. If guaranteed government student
loans were to have never existed, I`m going to guess that the cost of
college tuition today would be half of what it is, because there is a
skewed supply and demand. And government has interjected itself in that.
I think students have been sold a bill of goods. They`re graduating
from college today with a home mortgage without the home. I would
certainly be open to legislation that – similar to the bailout of Wall
Street, that somehow gets kids locked into much lower interest rates when
it comes to student loans.
But if you`re going to offer free college tuition for public
institutions, what you`re going to do is, you are going to bankrupt the
entire private university system. And the model of the future, I think, is
free education. It`s the Khan Academy. It`s a kindergarten through
doctoral degree in any subject whatsoever.
MATTHEWS: Where does that money come from?
JOHNSON: In the case of the Khan Academy?
MATTHEWS: Yes. You`re talking about free – well, if you don`t to
have pay tuition, who pays the professor?
JOHNSON: Well, that we have become locked in this model that we have
Libertarians are all about competition. Libertarians are all about
free market bringing competition, the notion of better products, better
MATTHEWS: Well, what about – how many are here at UNH only because
they are able to get a loan? How many? How many paid the tuition full
bill, the full bill? Well, how did the other guys get here? Are you all
Anyway, I got a – I went to Holy Cross on student loans. So, you`re
making a hard argument to somebody like me.
JOHNSON: No, what I`m saying is, if student loans didn`t exist, you
would have – you would have – you wouldn`t – you would have paid half of
what you paid.
MATTHEWS: I wouldn`t have gotten in. I wouldn`t have been able to
JOHNSON: Well, of you would have been able to pay half of it.
And for a lot of kids, they wouldn`t have gone to school. But,
believe me, if everybody boycotted college next year because of the high
cost of college, guess what? Tuition is going to drop significantly.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: OK, before we go to break, I just want to say, I`m being
told through mechanical information, electronic information, that there is
a lot of excitement out there, Twitter excitement, right now because of
what you said about Hillary Clinton and the nuclear button.
You believe it would be a precarious situation if she had commander in
chief responsibilities over nuclear war?
JOHNSON: I think she`s going to shoot. I think she`s going to shoot.
She is not going to be herself. She is not going to be perceived as weak.
She`s going to shoot.
MATTHEWS: We will be back with Gary Johnson and Bill Weld.
You`re watching HARDBALL at the University of New Hampshire.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to this beautiful room here, Huddleston Hall,
at the University of New Hampshire, which is celebrating its 150th year in
We`re back now with the Libertarian ticket, Gary Johnson and Bill
We got a bunch of people, three people lined up.
But I got actually a little lightning round here. This is where we
have fun and maybe make some news.
Who is your favorite foreign leader?
JOHNSON: Who is my favorite…
MATTHEWS: Any – just name anywhere in the country – any one of the
continents, any country. Name one foreign leader that you respect and look
up to, anybody.
JOHNSON: Shimon Peres.
MATTHEWS: No, no, OK. I`m talking about living. Go ahead.
MATTHEWS: You have got to do this. Anywhere. Any continent, Canada,
Mexico, Europe over there, Asia, South America, Africa. Name a foreign
leader that you respect.
JOHNSON: I guess I`m having an Aleppo moment, in the former – former
president of Mexico…
MATTHEWS: But I`m giving you the whole world.
JOHNSON: I know, I know, I know, I know.
MATTHEWS: Anybody in the world you like, anybody. Pick any leader.
JOHNSON: The former president of Mexico.
MATTHEWS: No. Which one?
JOHNSON: I`m having a brain – I`m having a brain…
MATTHEWS: Well, name anybody.
MATTHEWS: OK. Who is your favorite foreign leader? Get him off the
hook. Name a foreign leader you respect.
JOHNSON: Fox. He`s terrific.
MATTHEWS: Any foreign leader.
MATTHEWS: OK, Merkel. OK, fine. Saved yourself. Can`t argue with
MATTHEWS: Anyway, let`s go.
Who is your favorite president in history, favorite president, most
JOHNSON: Jefferson. Jefferson, first Libertarian.
MATTHEWS: So, what do you think the Democrats getting rid of their
Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner because they didn`t like Jefferson because he
had, well, slaves?
JOHNSON: Well, the Constitution did have flaws, in that it was signed
by a bunch of…
MATTHEWS: So, you wouldn`t get rid of the J-J Dinners if you`re a
Democrat, would you?.
JOHNSON: I wouldn`t.
MATTHEWS: OK, what about…
WELD: We`re Jeffersonian liberals. We love Jefferson.
Who is your favorite Supreme Court justice? There are eight of them.
MATTHEWS: Yes, right now in 2016, favorite judge, favorite justice.
WELD: I would say maybe Kennedy.
MATTHEWS: Anthony Kennedy.
JOHNSON: Ah, yes.
Let`s bring up the next question, next question.
Bill Weld is your lifeline.
Anyway, go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. I`m for Gary Johnson.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is Justin Meirs (ph). I`m from Long
Island, New York.
I have a question regarding, what do you plan on doing to combat the
misconduct against African-Americans and police?
JOHNSON: You know, I do believe black lives matter, the movement
JOHNSON: There is discrimination that exists. Blacks are being shot
at a much higher rate than whites, being arrested and actually ending up
going to jail.
I think, as president of the United States, with the Department of
Justice, that we could find the common threads where least amount
discrimination exists, best incidence of violence exists, as opposed to
worst threads of discrimination, worst threads of violence, and could drive
a real education from the federal standpoint.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: OK. Do you think there`s bias? I
mean, bias – purposeful bias?
JOHNSON: I won`t call it purposeful but it is real. It is real. It
does exist. I`d recommend everybody watch the O.J. Simpson documentary
that for me, I felt like I was informed but when I –
MATTHEWS: Did he do it?
JOHNSON: Did he do it?
JOHNSON: Yes. He did it. But why did the verdict turn out as did
it? Well, it was based on everything that transpired prior to that
verdict, where atrocious actions on the part of police were not prosecuted.
BILL WELD, LIBERTARIAN VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Can I add one
thing? I think from police we need intensive training to get over this
prejudice against blacks. And I`ve seen intensive training work. When I
came into office in Massachusetts, we had a big epidemic of battered women,
black and blue every Sunday morning.
And the judges didn`t get it. They would ask, what did you do
sweetheart to irritate your boyfriend or your husband last night? So, we
had the police come in and train all of our judges. And, you know, I`ve
backed them up. I was a former federal prosecutor. It had to be delicious
for the police training judges, right? But it really worked.
MATTHEWS: Because they knew what was going on –
WELD: They knew what was going on, and the judges were clueless and
they got it after a while.
MATTHEWS: Because the cops are called in again and again for domestic
violence and they got the picture.
WELD: Yes. And the judges were just out of it. They were too old
school, but it absolutely work and we turned it around and, I commuted the
sentences of some women who`ve been convicted of manslaughter for trying to
defend themselves with a curling iron when their husbands and boyfriends
were trying to beat them to death.
MATTHEWS: OK. We`re going to come right back with more. Hang in
We`ll be right back with more questions from University of New
Hampshire for our college tour.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL and our college tour.
The libertarian ticket for president and vice president, Governors
Gary Johnson and Bill Weld.
Our next student questioner – go ahead.
STUDENT QUESTIONER: Hi. My name is Kate. I`m San Francisco,
California. I`m a student here at the University of New Hampshire.
My question is for you, Gary Johnson.
A lot of candidates recently throughout the campaign have been talking
about cutting Planned Parenthood. I want to know what your opinion is on
it. Whether you would cut it or what is your stance on Planned Parenthood?
JOHNSON: Bill Weld and I are pledging that we`re going to submit a
balanced budget to Congress in the first 100 days. That would be a 20
percent reduction in all of federal spending. We would plan on cutting
Planned Parenthood 20 percent along everything with else.
But what we would do as president and vice president is we would stand
up to Republicans that would say, look, balancing the federal budget is not
eliminating Planned Parenthood. Give us a break.
MATTHEWS: OK. Next question?
STUDENT QUESTIONER: My name is Colin Noel (ph). I`m from Strafford,
New Hampshire. I`m a student here in UNH. This question is for Governor
With less than two months left in the election season, how do you plan
to gain a competitive edge against Hillary and Trump?
JOHNSON: This has to do it right here. This right here.
So, thank you, Chris Matthews. Thank you, MSNBC.
No, look, look.
We keep plugging away and by our analytics, we keep rising. So,
hopefully, we will be in the second and third debates. In my opinion, the
only chance we have of winning is to be in these presidential debates. I
do think that this could bounce –
MATTHEWS: Governor, where are you strongest in terms of the 15
percent? Where do you exceeded in the country? What are your big states?
JOHNSON: Big states would be New Mexico, Utah, Idaho, the Dakotas.
JOHNSON: Alaska, Maine, New Hampshire. I think we have a pretty good
showing. I mean, we`re at 17 percent plus in 15 states. So –
STUDENT QUESTIONER: Hi. My name is Molly. I`m from Shrewsbury,
This question is for both of you. I`m a student here at UNH and I was
wondering how your campaign plans to address the rampant sexual assault
that`s happening on college campuses, and as well as what your thoughts are
on the Campus Save Act, which only really supplies victims with second
JOHNSON: Being aware of it for starters. It is something that exists
and when you recognize that the preponderance, for to you claim that you
have been sexually assaulted, the odds are against you from the very
beginning to the point that you just don`t do it. So, recognizing it.
Recognizing that it is rampant and that the deck is stacked against you, as
MATTHEWS: How many women here, or men, everybody, how many believe it
is a problem here as well as elsewhere?
JOHNSON: Yes, yes.
MATTHEWS: Boy. That`s a bad showing right there. Thank you so much.
WELD: It`s like the battered women`s situation I was talking about.
You`ve got to take it seriously and change the culture. And that involves,
you know, aerating it and making sure these things become public and
they`re aerated in public. And then the culture of silence and culture of
wink, wink, is going to go away.
MATTHEWS: Next question.
WELD: Thank you.
STUDENT QUESTIONER: My name is Stephanie. I`m a student at the
University of New Hampshire as well.
Money and politics has been a huge issue throughout this election. I
was wondering how your campaign is funded and how that affects your ideals.
JOHNSON: Well, interestingly right now, apparently, Hillary is
spending more money than we have trying to discredit us at the moment. So,
we don`t have a lot of money. So –
But in the context of money, I think that there should be unlimited
campaign contributions, but that there should be 100 percent transparency -
- something that doesn`t exist today.
Something that is misunderstood is when you limit campaign
contribution, basically, that`s incumbency protection. Nothing changes if
you limit campaign contribution. It goes to those people that have a name
and that things stay very status quo.
I`ve always been also supportive of candidates wearing NASCAR jackets
with patches commensurate with the size of donations –
MATTHEWS: How do you approach that? How do you say Koch brothers on
JOHNSON: Well –
MATTHEWS: How do you make something for the Koch brothers –
JOHNSON: That there would be 100 percent transparency.
MATTHEWS: How about – yes?
JOHNSON: So, that, yes, you`d be able – as a fact checker, you`d be
able to make sure that the Koch brothers –
MATTHEWS: Do you think that`s a libertarian idea to make people wear,
costuming, to show where their money come from?
JOHNSON: Very libertarian. I think so. I think it`s very
libertarian myself. But I do get cross ways with the Libertarian Party
once in a while. But, you know, it`s an open debate and discussion –
MATTHEWS: You can`t say one person one vote when somebody is spending
$20 million on a campaign –
JOHNSON: Yes, when one person spends $20 million on a campaign and
publicly acknowledges that, then that`s up front and center and that person
for $20 million may be able to support –
MATTHEWS: You can`t turn on the television without listening to their
advertising. It`s like big brother. It`s relentless. That does affect
voting, doesn`t it?
JOHNSON: Well, if it`s coupled, for example, if you have a
billionaire that gave half a billion dollars to Bill and I and gets us
elected, that`s going to be for the benefit of the country, Chris. And
currently, you can`t do that. Currently, you can`t do that.
MATTHEWS: I`ve been seeing faces turning in both directions saying
they don`t agree with you.
We`ve got more questions from the audience when we return from the
University of New Hampshire.
MATTHEWS: We`re back at the University of New Hampshire.
What a crowd here with Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, the candidates of
the Libertarian Party.
We`ve got a little time left. Let`s get some questions about
libertarianism from one of the students. Go ahead.
STUDENT QUESTIONER: Hi. My name`s Elizabeth Gerard (ph). I`m from
And my question is for Governor Johnson.
I am very worried about my future opportunities. How would you
reshape a government for the benefit of my generation?
JOHNSON: So, I think what government can achieve and I did achieve as
governor of New Mexico is this notion of equal opportunity. The government
can provide equal opportunity for everybody. So, that`s entrepreneurs.
And crony capitalism – look, it`s alive and well. Government does
pick winners and losers, but it doesn`t have to. So as governor of New
Mexico, I just put an end to it, period, right from the very start.
Equal opportunity for everybody – in that context, I had the best
record on jobs at least in the 2012 presidential cycle.
MATTHEWS: Next, please? Thank you, sir.
STUDENT QUESTIONER: My name is Matt. I`m Rhode Island. My question
is for you, Governor Johnson. You said that you the support the Trans
Pacific Partnership in its current form would pass it.
Given that it was passed in secrecy without the scrutiny of the
public, would you consider postponing your support for it and passing it
when you`re elected president?
JOHNSON: No, I think that – and here`s a pledge that the two of us
have made also is that we`re going to support anything that makes things
better, and we do believe that it makes things better. And free trade in
our opinion is all about more U.S. jobs, not fewer U.S. jobs. So, this
eliminates a whole lot of tariffs.
May there be issues with TPP? Certainly. But I think that it reduces
crony capitalism as opposed to promotes it and it excludes China. But I
think Bill has some things to say.
MATTHEWS: OK, I want to use this time –
WELD: From a geopolitical point of view it gives us a beachhead in
Asia not including China.
MATTHEWS: Take a couple of minute. Explain – you first –
libertarianism, what does it mean to young people here who have to make big
lifetime choices about the world they`re going to face?
WELD: Well, what we bring to the table is we`re fiscally responsible,
so we`re not going to bankrupt the system. We`re going to balance the
budget. We`re going to cut down on the national debt, so that there may be
some money left over for you all.
And if we, you know, tinker with Social Security, it`s not to kill
Social Security, it`s so the system will still be there for you all when
you come of that age. Anything we do with Medicaid and Medicare, same
The two establishment party candidates have said we`re not going to
touch the entitlements. It just shows they`re not serious about balancing
the budget. It`s a political statement so they don`t take any heat.
We`re willing to take heat, but we`re doing it with you all in mind.
JOHNSON: Socially inclusive. Always coming down on the –
MATTHEWS: Pro-choice, pro-gay rights.
JOHNSON: Pro-gay rights.
MATTHEWS: Equality of marriage?
JOHNSON: Yes, legalized marijuana. Look, we`ll always come down on
the side – always come down on the side of you and I being able to make
choices in our lives, period.
MATTHEWS: Live free or die.
JOHNSON: As long as those choices –
MATTHEWS: Live free or die!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
JOHNSON: As long as those choices don`t put others in harm`s way. We
are against military intervention, against regime change, and we`re for
free trade – believing that ultimately free trade leads to more U.S. jobs.
MATTHEWS: Edward Snowden is a legal case. But, philosophically,
where do you stand on what he did?
JOHNSON: Based on what I know about the Edward Snowden case, I would
pardon Edward Snowden.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: So, we know where you stand. This hour, we`ve learned that
your more dovish than Hillary Clinton. You do, personally, wonder what
she`ll do if she has the nuclear trigger in her hands, right?
MATTHEWS: You said it twice. I gave you two opportunities to say she
wasn`t trigger happy. And you said she was.
JOHNSON: She`s going to be more hawkish. She`s going to be the most
hawkish of the –
MATTHEWS: Governor Weld, I`ve known you a good time. You`ve been a
great public servant. What`s the worst thing you can say about Donald
WELD: No, I think he`s delusional. He doesn`t study up on foreign
policy. He has no understanding of the international economy. He wants to
impose tariffs. He`d take us back to the horse and buggy era.
MATTHEWS: OK, (INAUDIBLE)
WELD: Oh, in personal terms, he`s capable of generosity. He`s not a
bad guy. I know him a little bit socially in New York. He`s a good family
man. He`s got good personals. That`s why he could do very well if he`d
just let go of this obsession with being president of the United States.
MATTHEWS: Thank you.
We`re at the University of New Hampshire celebrating its 150th
anniversary. It`s a beautiful campus and a great school. They couldn`t
have been nicer to us.
Thank you, gentlemen, for making this occasion happens. Governor Gary
Johnson and Governor Bill Weld.
Thank you to our hosts. We`re at the University of New Hampshire.
That does it for the HARDBALL College Tour here tonight.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
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