1. Headline
  1. Headline
updated 12/10/2009 10:22:56 AM ET 2009-12-10T15:22:56

HARDBALL

December 9, 2009

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.

THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

Guests: Ron Christie, Ron Reagan, Eugene Robinson, Chrystia Freelandm Alan Grayson, Donny Deutsch

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Meanie Cheney.

Let's play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I'm Chris Matthews in Washington. Leading off tonight:

Dick Cheney. Dick Cheney was back again last night attacking President Obama, his latest barbs that President Obama is giving aid and comfort to the enemy, that he doesn't share our basic belief in America as a special place. In other words, Obama is a traitor who doesn't think much of this country, period. What is Cheney up to? My hunch? He wants to be the keynote speaker at the 2010 Republican convention and doesn't want to be dumped into daytime with the rest of the over-the-hill types.

Anyway, deal or no deal? Does Harry Reid really have a deal on health care, and does he have the liberals aboard? Let's hope so. Progressives get progress one step at a time-Social Security, then Medicare, now maybe, maybe a real commitment to national health care. It's coming up, by the way, on Christmastime, time to get the presents wrapped.

Plus, the public politics of Tiger Woods. What would a real communications professional tell the world's greatest sports professional on how to get back to his game, how to get Tiger's tail out of the trap? Ad man Donny Deutsch tonight on what Woods needs to do to get out of front -- and in front of this mess and repair his brand name.

And get ready for Gore versus Palin. The former vice president gets Palin straight-or sets her straight on her charges of global warming being simply "doomsday scare tactics." Those are her words.

And the senator and the singer, Orrin Hatch and Bruce Springsteen. They're both in the HARDBALL "Sideshow" tonight. One wrote a song, one didn't even agree to show up. Guess which?

Let's start with Dick Cheney's latest attacks on President Obama. Ron Christie's a former aide and long-time loyalist to Dick Cheney, and Ron Reagan's a radio talk show host with Air America.

Gentlemen, thank you for joining us. Let's hear what Dick Cheney had to say-he said on "Hannity" last night about the forthcoming trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I mean that I think it'll give aid and comfort to the enemy. I think it will make Khalid Shaikh Mohammed something of a hero in certain circles, especially in the radical regions of Islam around the world. It'll put him on the map and he'll be as important or more important than Osama bin Laden, and we will have made it possible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Interesting choice of words there, Ron Christie. You defend Dick Cheney generally on the show. Do you defend his use of the term "aid and comfort to the enemy"? That's what he charged the president with doing.

RON CHRISTIE, FORMER DICK CHENEY ADVISER: I do in this particular case for bringing these al Qaeda terrorists to the United States. This is a travesty, Chris. You had a group of individuals who said that they were guilty, they wanted to be executed, but instead, you're going to put them in open court. It's going to be a bonanza for all the al Qaeda people around the world who are watching these people just steps away from Ground Zero who are making a mockery of our system.

And the only proof we have of that, that this is going to happen, is Zacarias Moussaoui. Moussaoui was a menace. He was disruptive in the courtroom as it related to his particular trial. We have every indication to believe that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed will do the same in his.

MATTHEWS: So giving him a trial by jury in a New York-in the U.S. judicial system is giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

CHRISTIE: Giving...

MATTHEWS: One more try, Ron.

CHRISTIE: Giving aid and comfort to the enemy, Chris, is bringing people who are going to use our media and our court system against us when they do not deserve constitutional rights (INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS: Ron-I have a thought on this, but Ron Reagan next. He's accused the president of the United States of giving aid and comfort to the enemy in giving a trial to these-these terrorists.

RON REAGAN, AIR AMERICA RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Yes. Well, he's accused the president, apparently, of treason, which is a pretty-a pretty important charge to level against a sitting president of the United States.

I fail to see how actually utilizing our justice system, our system of justice here in the United States, makes a mockery of it. What makes a mockery of our system of justice is trying to end run it, as the Bush/Cheney administration did in so many instances, whether it was Guantanamo Bay, secret prisons all over the world, torture, of course, which Cheney promoted. That-that-made a mockery of our system here in the United States, not bringing people to justice in a court of law in the United States. That's far from making a mockery of anything.

MATTHEWS: Ron, you're an attorney, and I respect your professionalism, but let's take a look at the Constitution, Article 3, Section 3 of the United States Constitution, treason against the United States. Here's how it's defined. According to the Constitution, the United States shall consist-it shall consist only in levying war against them or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. The very language of the Constitution which defines treason he has now leveled against the president of the United States. You don't have a problem with that?

CHRISTIE: I...

MATTHEWS: "Aid and comfort" is a particular constitutional set of words, "aid and comfort to the enemy" in this case. You don't have any problem with him charging the president with doing that?

CHRISTIE: We are giving...

MATTHEWS: You don't have any problem with that wording?

CHRISTIE: No, I don't.

MATTHEWS: ... that wording.

CHRISTIE: We are giving aid and comfort to the enemy. And to my friend, Ron Reagan, I would say, no, this has nothing to do with our justice system. It has everything to do with our justice system. The Bush administration didn't condone terrorism. I don't understand why you would condone a system where people who are terrorists, who are captured on the battlefield, who were not given Miranda rights, would then be allowed to come into open court, be able to challenge the evidence against them.

It would make a mockery of our system, to say nothing of the fact, Ron, that the president of the United States and the attorney general have said, Oh, they'll be convicted and executed. As a defense attorney, I can tell you those attorneys are going to say, We can't get a good jury pool because the president and the attorney general have already condemned the well. It's ridiculous!

REAGAN: Not allowing them their day in court would make a mockery of our constitutional principles, Ron, and I think you ought to know that as a lawyer.

CHRISTIE: I do know that, Ron, but I'd say to you military commissions and tribunals have been used since the Civil War. They did it with those who sought to assassinate Abraham Lincoln. We established it after Congress complained about it during the Bush years. We put this system in place. We have those people in Guantanamo Bay.

MATTHEWS: OK...

CHRISTIE: This is a terrible mistake.

MATTHEWS: Let me-the Constitution defines a traitor as someone who gives aid and comfort to the enemy. Is he a traitor, the president of the United States?

CHRISTIE: No. He's not a traitor.

MATTHEWS: Well, the constitutional language is clear here, so the vice president has used that, employed that specific language. You say you have no problem with it, but the language is clear. You're an attorney of the court here of public opinion. You really think it's fair to accuse the president of giving aid and comfort to the enemy, using those very words the Constitution defines as treason? You have no problem with that?

CHRISTIE: The third time is the charm, Chris.

MATTHEWS: With calling him a traitor.

CHRISTIE: The third time is the charm. Yes, it will give aid and comfort to al Qaeda to bring those people in the courtroom.

MATTHEWS: Well...

CHRISTIE: And no, Dick Cheney did not say that the president's a traitor and he did not say it's treasonous.

MATTHEWS: But I'm asking you, is he guilty of giving aid and comfort to the enemy?

CHRISTIE: Yes. By bringing these folks in here, yes.

MATTHEWS: And the Constitution defines that as treason.

CHRISTIE: Chris, you're trying to mince words here...

MATTHEWS: I'm asking! I'm not mincing words. Here it is.

CHRISTIE: The Constitution of the United States is one thing. The vice president did not say...

MATTHEWS: OK, so he doesn't...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: He's not using constitutional language, you're saying.

CHRISTIE: No. The vice president said that it's giving aid and comfort to the enemy. He didn't say, I'm defining that...

MATTHEWS: OK, so in other words...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: OK, so he's not using constitutional language.

CHRISTIE: The vice president...

MATTHEWS: Just say it.

CHRISTIE: Chris, you can use words...

MATTHEWS: I'm asking!

CHRISTIE: You can use words strung together and say, Are they constitutional language...

MATTHEWS: I didn't string them together!

CHRISTIE: ... or not. The vice president said...

MATTHEWS: I think it'll give aid and comfort to the enemy, the vice president...

CHRISTIE: That's exactly right.

MATTHEWS: You want to play it again?

CHRISTIE: We can play it again.

MATTHEWS: And you have no problem with that...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: OK, let's go on...

CHRISTIE: I don't have a problem with that.

MATTHEWS: ... to some of the other language. The president-the vice president, again on "Hannity" last night, said-let me get this (INAUDIBLE) "When you have a"-well, let's look at this. This is about American exceptionalism. Let's listen to that bite, American exceptionalism last night.

Well, here's what he said. Cheney last night said, "When you have a president who goes around and bows to his host"-he's talking about Japan, obviously-"and then proceeds to apologize profusely for the United States, I find that deeply disturbing. And that says to me this is a guy who doesn't fully understand or share that view of American exceptionalism that I think most of us believe in."

And you don't think he believes in America as an exceptional country?

CHRISTIE: I wonder...

MATTHEWS: Vice president (INAUDIBLE)

CHRISTIE: I wonder why the president of the United States would go over bow and put himself in front of other leaders and why he would go out and say things like, America has been arrogant. He's the president of the United States...

MATTHEWS: We can argue about whether...

CHRISTIE: He speaks for all...

MATTHEWS: ... he should have bowed or not. I've gone after that. But are you saying, A, he gives aid and comfort to the enemy, and he doesn't believe America as an exceptional place?

CHRISTIE: I think he...

MATTHEWS: You think he doesn't believe that?

CHRISTIE: I think he's giving aid and comfort-this is the fourth time I'll say it. I believe...

MATTHEWS: OK, do you believe he doesn't believe in American exceptionalism, as a special place?

CHRISTIE: I hope he does, though none of his public statements have given me reason to believe that he does.

MATTHEWS: Well, let's take a look. Here's President Barack Obama.

You say he does.

CHRISTIE: I say he does what?

MATTHEWS: He does believe this is a special country.

CHRISTIE: I hope he does. He's the president of the United States.

MATTHEWS: Well, why is the vice president-former vice president

saying he doesn't? Ron, you get in here. I've never-these charges are

so essential. It's almost like the birther crowd. It's so essentially

when you say the guy gives aid and comfort to the enemy and really he

doesn't share his love of country that we have here. I mean, when you go

after those essential things-you're not arguing with him whether he

should bow to a Japanese emperor. Now, I don't think he should have bowed

or not. I have a problem with the trial in New York. But these personal

attacks on the president of the United States get to the question of his

legitimacy. To say he doesn't-he's giving aid and comfort to the enemy

well, he shouldn't be president if he does that. Number two...

REAGAN: I agree.

MATTHEWS: ... if he's an American-if he doesn't believe in American exceptionalism, how the hell did he ever get elected? Your thoughts, Ron.

REAGAN: Look, I think-I think we're seeing the way the right likes to and then Dick Cheney perhaps likes to have it both ways. I mean, aid and comfort to the enemy, but I'm not calling him a traitor, I'm just using language that our Constitution defines as traitorous, "aid and comfort to the enemy." Exceptionalism? Dick Cheney's sense of the exceptionalism of the United States seems to be that when we feel like it, we can violate our domestic laws and international laws, as well, by, for instance, torturing people, which is a war crime.

You want to call this thing a war on terror? Fine. That makes Dick Cheney and many of his friends in the Bush administration war criminals because they condoned and promoted torture, which is a war crime. So see you in The Hague, Dick Cheney.

CHRISTIE: Well, of course, you know that the United States did not condone torture. It's against the law...

REAGAN: Yes, it does.

CHRISTIE: ... to torture people.

REAGAN: Well, he did it anyway, then, Ron. Ron, we did that.

CHRISTIE: We did not...

REAGAN: We tortured people.

CHRISTIE: We did not torture people! And I...

REAGAN: Really? Would you call waterboarding torture, Ron?

CHRISTIE: Waterboarding was defined, again, as not being torture.

But it goes...

REAGAN: Defined by whom? Defined by whom, Ron?

CHRISTIE: We've already gone through this with congressional hearings. We've gone through the legality...

REAGAN: Oh, Ron...

(CROSSTALK)

REAGAN: Yes, we don't want to talk about it anymore, do we.

CHRISTIE: Oh! Oh, we do want to talk about it and...

REAGAN: Oh, I'd be happy to.

CHRISTIE: ... I think the United States did the proper thing. The thing I would say to you is...

REAGAN: Well, I don't.

CHRISTIE: Your father-your father would never have gone overseas...

MATTHEWS: OK...

CHRISTIE: ... and he would never have bowed to foreign leaders. He always talked about America being a great place...

REAGAN: Oh, stop with the bowing business! He was being polite to an elderly Japanese gentleman.

(CROSSTALK)

REAGAN: This bowing stuff...

CHRISTIE: Ronald Reagan...

REAGAN: ... is such nose-blowing nonsense, Ron Christie!

CHRISTIE: Ronald Reagan always...

MATTHEWS: OK...

CHRISTIE: Ronald Reagan always...

MATTHEWS: Let's get back to...

CHRISTIE: ... spoke of America's promise.

MATTHEWS: OK...

CHRISTIE: Barack Obama never does that.

(CROSSTALK)

REAGAN: Ronald Reagan didn't approve of torture and signed an international covenant preventing torture, prohibiting torture for the United States...

CHRISTIE: And Ronald Reagan...

REAGAN: So don't bring up my father's name in the realm of torture Mr. Christie!

CHRISTIE: I'm bringing up your father's name, Mr. Reagan, in the sense that Ronald Reagan stood for America. He knew what America's promise was. He protected the American people.

MATTHEWS: OK, OK...

(CROSSTALK)

REAGAN: Thank you for the boilerplate, Mr. Christie. Thank you for the boilerplate.

MATTHEWS: OK, let me-let me...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Let me go to something we can look at a tape of, gentlemen. And this gets to this charge by Dick Cheney. He's attacked the president aiding and comforting the enemy last night on FOX. And then he went further and said he doesn't share his-our love of country, which I think everybody here shares, and certainly, I think the vice president does, too.

But here he is attacking him as some sort of outsider who's not one of us. He says he doesn't share our view of American exceptionalism, and I think he means something pretty deep in this shot. And here's the president of the United States speaking about his view of this country at the 2004 Democratic convention, when I first noticed this guy. Here it is. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Through hard work and perseverance, my father got a scholarship to study in a magical place, America, that shone as a beacon of freedom and opportunity to so many who had come before.

I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me, and that in no other country on earth, is my story even possible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: That was an exceptional speech.

MATTHEWS: And what's he talking about?

CHRISTIE: That's an exceptional speech. We're talking about a man who was elected president of the United States, who could go around the world and go around this country and talk about the greatness of this country, that our greatest days are still before us, as opposed to going abroad and saying that America is arrogant, bowing before foreign leaders and being apologetic to this country. What happened to that Barack Obama, Chris?

MATTHEWS: Let me just say that to accuse the man who made those words and inspired so many of us with those words-and it was when I heard him say that, I said, This is going to be the first African-American president, because I've never heard anybody speak so beautifully about this country. And to have the vice president of the United States to go on FOX television last night, to use that organ to go out and blast this guy as a man who gives aid and comfort to the enemy, which is constitutional language for treason-whether you agree or not, it's in the Constitution, Article 3, Section 3. That is what it means. And then to go on and say he doesn't share our love of the exceptional nature of this country, when we have heard him say it from the time we first met this guy-and you-I don't believe you're this loyal to Dick Cheney that you can defend his language. Aid and comfort to the enemy-you've done it four times. I won't ask you to do it again. And to say that you don't think that this president shares a notion that this country is special, is exceptional in the world?

CHRISTIE: No, I said I think he believes it, Chris, but we need to hear it from him.

MATTHEWS: Oh, OK.

CHRISTIE: We need to hear from him. Obviously, I think he is patriotic. Obviously, he ran to become a leader of this country...

MATTHEWS: Well, would Dick Cheney say that...

CHRISTIE: No, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait! Let me-let me finish my point here. The point is Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton always talked about the greatness of this country. We want to-we need to...

MATTHEWS: OK, here's some more Cheney...

CHRISTIE: ... this from Barack Obama.

MATTHEWS: Ron Reagan, hold on. Here's some more Cheney. I think we have this bit here. This is Cheney on Obama again last night, about him being a radical. Let's take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHENEY: I saw him when he got elected as a liberal Democrat but conventional in the sense of sort of falling within the parameters of the national Democratic Party. I think he's demonstrated pretty conclusively in his first year in office that he's-he's more radical, farther outside the parameters, if you will, of what we've traditionally had in Democratic presidents in years past.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: He's a traitor. He's radical. And he-never mind. I can't (INAUDIBLE) that! Your thoughts, Ron Reagan?

REAGAN: He's a radical traitor, I guess. He's such a radical traitor, in fact, that he kept on Robert Gates, George Bush's, Dick Cheney's secretary of Defense. He such a radical traitor that he renominated Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve, who, of course, George Bush and Dick Cheney also wanted as chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Yes, he's such a radical traitor, that Barack Obama. And how much do we have to hear about him about his views about America and what a beautiful and exceptional country this is? We've heard lots from him about that. So the idea that we haven't is just absurd.

MATTHEWS: Ron Christie?

CHRISTIE: Chris Matthews, I think that I agree with president-with Vice President Cheney's comments. I think that it is very clear to me that this is the most left-wing radical administration that we've seen in American history. They spent $787 billion in a stimulus bill that didn't work. They're trying to ram through a health care bill that will be one sixth of the U.S. economy without recognizing the consequences. I absolutely believe-if you're going to ask me, is that a radical vision, yes, it is.

MATTHEWS: Well, I'm not much of a radical and I think all this stuff's great. Anyway, thank you, Ron Reagan, especially Ron Reagan, and Ron Christie. I have never met-by the way, merry Christmas. And if you don't get Christmas cards and invitations from Dick Cheney to every party he's shaving, you've hooked your cart to the wrong horse.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Coming up-so what's the deal-by the way, best to your whole family, Ron. Thank you.

CHRISTIE: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: And that's-so what's the deal with this so-called deal -

well, maybe it is-to put the-to get rid of the public option where it looks like we're going into federal employee country, the federal employee program for everybody and also Medicare at 55. You don't have to retire anymore. You can get Medicare at 55 (INAUDIBLE) pay for it. This could be the working proposition here. Even the progressives might go for this. We're waiting to see what Ed Schultz has to say later tonight, but we'll see. We'll get everything and the answers to these big questions-how's health care doing? -- when we come back.

You're watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: This is a consensus that will help ensure the American people win in a couple of different ways. One, insurance companies will certainly have more competition, and two, the American people will certainly have more choices.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That's Senate majority leader Harry Reid reacting last night to a proposal that Democrats hope will get them 60 Senate votes. The plan would have the government's Office of Personnel Management, which already oversees health care plans for federal employees, set up a national health insurance plan for private insurance companies operating as non-profits. If enough companies don't participate, a public option would be triggered.

That's the plan. The proposal also would allow people between the ages of 55 and 64 to buy into the very popular Medicare program starting in 2011. So, you could start to get Medicare benefits, if you pay for them, at the age of 55. It would require insurance companies to use 90 percent of the money they bring in from premiums for actual medical care, instead of profits and marketing.

Well, after months of haggling, are these the elements that are going to make a winner?

U.S. Congressman Alan Grayson is a Florida Democrat. He's from Orlando.

Congressman, thank you for joining us. You are smiling. Maybe that is hopeful. Do you think there's a winning-is this the winning pill here, basically, to use a health care expression, having this set of plans, the federal employee plan, buy into Medicare at 55, and a trigger if doesn't work?

REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D), FLORIDA: These are all good ideas. The important thing is that these save lives and they will save money. And those are good things.

I would still like to see a robust public option, because it costs billions and billions of dollars to set up a provider network around the country. It is the hardest thing when you're setting up a health care plan. And we are wasting our Medicare provider network by making it available only to one out of eight people.

If the 55-and-over bill passes, then it will be one out of five people, but still four out of five people will not be eligible. And it is a waste. It is like saying that only people 65 and older can drive on the interstate highways. It just doesn't make any sense.

It's a public resource, the Medicare provider network. It used should

be used by everyone

MATTHEWS: So, you want Medicare for everybody?

GRAYSON: No. What I want is the Medicare provider network available for everybody. If we had Medicare for everybody, I would be fine with that. What I really want above all is health care for everybody.

MATTHEWS: OK. OK.

Well, let me ask you about the word progressive. Are you a progressive?

GRAYSON: Yes.

MATTHEWS: OK. Progressive means getting there one step at a time, doesn't it?

(LAUGHTER)

GRAYSON: Well, we are making progress. That's true.

MATTHEWS: A radical is someone who wants everything the way they want it now. That's what a radical is.

GRAYSON: Right. But what I understand is...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: A progressive is somebody that moves along step by step, so that everybody can get aboard, so that we have a democratic process that gets aboard this new change that we're going to in to. But that is a thought. I'm not your teacher. I'm your student.

Here is President Obama today. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Senate made critical progress last night with a creative new framework that I believe will help pave the way for final passage and a historic achievement on behalf of the American people.

I support this effort, especially since it's aimed at increasing choice and competition and lowering costs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: So, in or out brother Grayson, if you had to vote right now?

GRAYSON: Oh, I'm in.

MATTHEWS: OK.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: OK.

GRAYSON: I'm definitely in. And I think that the president is right. The bill that we are about to vote on is not terribly different from the bill that the president asked for when he was campaigning and essentially the bill that the American people voted on when they voted for him as president and the Democrats for the House and for the Senate.

MATTHEWS: Well, now that we have gotten the business over, let's have some fun.

Have you been watching Dick Cheney lately? He was on FOX last night. And it's like he is a homing pigeon when it comes to going to FOX, I suppose. He was on last night accusing the president of the United States of giving aid and comfort to the enemy-I mean, that was the words he used-by having a trial in New York for KSM.

And I was thinking, why did he choose constitutional language that defines treason? And then he went further and dug his whole even deeper, burying Barack Obama, I should say, even deeper, by saying the guy doesn't believe in America, basically; he doesn't believe in American exceptionalism, doesn't really love this country.

How far is this guys going to go so he gets to speak at the next Republican Convention? Dick Cheney is unbelievable lately. Just a thought.

GRAYSON: I don't know.

You know, on the Internet, there is an acronym that is used to apply to situations like this. It's STFU. I don't think I can say that on the air, but I think you know what that means.

MATTHEWS: Well, give me the first part.

GRAYSON: Shut.

MATTHEWS: Oh, I got you, yes, stop talking in crude language. Well, I don't think you're going to get him to do that.

Let me ask you this about the first year of the Barack administration. Do you believe we are going to get back home for the holidays for Christmas and Hanukkah and the rest? Are we going to have a season where some things are going to have gotten done in this Congress? Will we have a health care bill on the road to signature by a couple days before Christmas?

GRAYSON: The answer is yes.

But, before we leave the subject, I want to talk about the fact that the right wing has been ranting about the fact that the president showed respect for the emperor of Japan.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

GRAYSON: I can't believe this is happening. I remember when, first of all, President Bush senior did something really awful to the prime minister of Japan at a state dinner. And I don't remember those kinds of complaints.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Come on.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: He barfed, OK? You don't do that on purpose or on command, sir. I mean, he got sick.

GRAYSON: Well, what about Bush Jr.? What about Bush Jr.? I remember Bush Jr. kissing Prince Abdullah on the cheek...

MATTHEWS: Yes.

GRAYSON: ... and then holding his hand for an extended period of time. Maybe if he let him get to second base, then gasoline would be $1 a gallon.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: You are unbelievable. All we did was play-the Jo Stafford song. We played "See The Pyramids Along The Nile" while they were walking along there. We never said they were kissing.

Let me ask you this. Do you think the president-or the vice president is wise in saying there is a connection between bowing to the emperor of Japan, which I didn't think was a great idea at all, and the fact that we might get hit again by a terrorist? He has drawn this connection. I find it elusive.

Your thoughts.

GRAYSON: It is just too bad that it is too late to impeach him.

That's all I can say.

MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you, Congressman Alan Grayson, running for reelection in the Orlando congressional district of Florida.

Up next: two musical icons, Springsteen and Orrin Hatch. Check out Orrin Hatch, by the way. His new song is about Hanukkah.

You never what's coming next in the "Sideshow."

You're watching it, HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Time for the "Sideshow."

First up: It's a global conspiracy. Last night, on the House floor, Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California sounded the five-level alarm over this week's climate change summit in Copenhagen. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DANA ROHRABACHER ®, CALIFORNIA: This is about centralizing power into the hands of global government. That is what Kyoto and Copenhagen are all about. That is what the radical environmentalists and globalist alliance is all about.

Wake up, America. We still have time to turn this around. We must fight the globalist clique that is trying to shackle future generations of Americans to a burden of economy-killing debt.

We are not powerless. We will stand together, Americans of every race and religion, of every ethnic group and social status.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Wow, of every race and religion and ethnic group and social status, global, global, globalist cliques. Dana used to write for Ronald Reagan. Who wrote this stuff?

Moving overseas, a twofer tribute for the president. Tomorrow, not only will Barack Obama accept the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, but officials in Jakarta will also unveil this bronze statue of a 10-year-old Barack Obama. The president lived in Indonesia for four years as a child, and that statue is located right next to his old elementary school.

The local mayor says the statue will remind people that anyone from any background can achieve their dreams.

Finally, can you feel the love? Senator Orrin Hatch does. And this holiday season, he has got an early gift for those of the Jewish faith, the gift of song. The Utah senator, who is Mormon and a prolific songwriter, has just penned a ditty called "Eight Days of Hanukkah." The song's video was posted last night on Tablet, an online magazine.

Take it from the top, Senator.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALES (singing): Eight days of Hanukkah, come, let's celebrate. Come, let's celebrate tonight. Hey. La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la. Hey!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Senator Hatch told Mark Leibovich of "The New York Times," who is a close friend of mine-quote-"I feel sorry I'm not Jewish sometimes."

Now tonight's "Big Number," it deals with another big music fan, Chris Christie, the Republican governor-elect of New Jersey. Christie recently put out the word that he would like musician Bruce Springsteen to play at his inauguration. Springsteen, a well-known Democrat, declined.

So, Christie brought in the next best thing, a Springsteen tribute band called the B Street Band. After all, Christie is very-a very big fan of the Boss. How big a fan? You will love this. He has been to 122 Springsteen concerts, 122. And what does he get for that big day of his? A band of Springsteen imitators are going to show up. New Jersey's governor went to how many Springsteen concerts, and got a substitute for it all? One hundred and twenty-two concerts, and he gets nada-tonight's very bizarre "Big Number."

Up next: Each day brings another new bombshell headline about Tiger Woods. Can Tiger survive this scandal? Will his big money endorsements stick with us. Donny Deutsch joins us next with this interesting case of public politics and a great athlete having problems.

You're watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MIKE HUCKMAN, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I'm Mike Huckman with your CNBC "Market Wrap."

And stocks on the rebound today after a rocky start this week. The Dow Jones industrials finishing up 51 points today, the S&P 500 adding four points, and the Nasdaq climbing more than 10 points.

Citigroup shares slipping 2 percent, though, despite late word that it plans to pay back some of it TARP loans through a stock offering of as much as $20 billion. Meantime, Bank of America announcing it has repaid the entire $45 billion that it owed taxpayers, shares falling slightly during the session, but, like Citigroup, on the rise in after-hours trading.

And shares in 3M jumping more than 3.5 percent today, after a ratings upgrade from Citigroup. Analysts there are saying the materials company is lowballing its own potential for growth. And Pfizer shares climbing after an analyst said that the drugmaker is likely to raise its dividend up to 20 percent sometime later this month.

That's it from CNBC, first in business worldwide-now back to

HARDBALL.

MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL.

It has been almost two weeks now since Tiger Woods crashed his car into a fire hydrant and a tree. And it has been downhill ever since. How does he turn it around? How does he get back to being Tiger Woods?

Donny Deutsch is chairman of the advertising agency Deutsch Incorporated.

Donny, it's great to have you on. People think you're about the best person I could have on tonight.

This is not our usual territory. It's sort of sports, but it really is about scandal, and how a public official, a public person in this case, deals with it to get back. And we have a list here. I want you to look at this list of people who have been in situations which have been hugely embarrassing who have made comebacks.

They include-and worse than embarrassing, in some cases, horrible situations-Ted Kennedy, Vice President Joe Biden, Martha Stewart, Bill O'Reilly, Marv Albert, Robert Downey Jr., all with very different kinds of problems that were from the horrible to the merely embarrassing and personal.

But they all came back and were able to perform as professionals. How do you do it?

DONNY DEUTSCH, CHAIRMAN, DEUTSCH INC.: Well, I think you left out kind of the gold standard, Bill Clinton.

As a society, we have become somewhat, I don't want to say anesthetized, but used to kind of the human folly. Now, it really-it kind of ends up-where does it scale on what I will call the scandal continuum? Simple adultery, it's certainly not right. And, please, I don't want nasty messages, but we have gotten used to it.

Well, now we're into serial adultery. Now, where does that stand? He can get over this. Clearly, people are running around going he is going to lose endorsements.

Nike is not going anywhere. He is Nike. He is a $1 billion brand to them. And nobody is going to stop buying golf clubs or shirts because of his adulterous behavior. That's not the way people purchase products.

Having said that, though, some of the advertisers, the more what I will call broader AT&Ts that appeal to women and families, could be some issues.

But the way he gets past this is very simple. At a certain point in time, he comes forward, and, in a genuine, contrite, tearful way, says, I screwed up. I am lost. This is devastating, what I did.

And people will forgive. I mean, this is the world we live in. But this still has to play out. It also depends how kind of deviant maybe some of these things are as they come out. If it is just serial adultery, he will be fine.

MATTHEWS: But how do you deal with-it seems to me good public relations has to be grounded in reality at some point.

You are saying that he can come out and admit that he's had these problems and he's driven in this direction by whatever urges he's gotten. But you suggest that he will stop doing what he has been doing and thereby change his reality. If he continues to do what he has been doing, we are just back around the corner again in just a matter of time.

(CROSSTALK)

DEUTSCH: Well, on the flip side, also, if, let's say, his wife leaves him, which, interestingly enough, and I said this earlier in the day, would actually be good for his brand. Forget personally, because then he will have paid the price, and then he will be suffering. He will lose his family. There will be some justice.

And maybe he ends up single. Or, certainly, though, if he does stay married, this is a man that has got to stay on the straight and narrow. There's no question about that. So, once again, apologies, contrition don't matter if you are just back on the same wagon.

MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you professionalism. And it seems to me golf-I'm not a golfer-I keep trying, but I'm not a golfer-has to do with concentration and avoiding all the noise of all the people around you, and concentrate, like a good reporter can at a word processor in a busy newsroom. Ignore everything around you, and do your job.

Is that feasible, when he has got paparazzi and the people with the plastic autograph books now are going to be following him, and "People" is going to be following him, and the celebrity press and TMZ is going to be following him? They will be in the gallery now.

DEUTSCH: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Is that going to be something you just can't avert your glance from?

DEUTSCH: Interestingly enough, that is probably the only place he is going to kind of find solace and salvation. This is, by nature, a professional athlete. Particularly golf is a focus sport. I think he will kind of that is the only safe haven, on the golf course.

I would put in another way. He can't go out for dinner, which he has obviously had challenges with in the first place. I do believe-once again, I'm not a psychiatrist. I am not his friend. I am not a golfer either. But that is the one place where it is his world, and there are literally boundaries around the 18 holes. So I think the quicker he gets out on the golf course, for his image, for him as a person, the better. Obviously, there's a ways to go before that happens.

MATTHEWS: The fact is, every time you go to a restaurant-I have been a couple times, at least one time I was out with a really big movie star and his wife, who is also a movie star. I got to tell you, the owners of these restaurants just alert people. Somebody does. All of a sudden, the paparazzi are all over the place. I don't know how you can avoid them if you are trying to keep a social secret. Forget about it.

Let's go back to politics, where we're really good at, I think, here. Let's talk about somebody who has really gotten a tremendous amount of publicity. I'm not sure it is all sale and no cargo. That is Sarah Palin. Nobody has gotten more sail up than she has. People are talking about here. We are talking about her. Her numbers are really amazingly high in the Republican party, in terms of possibilities. Does she have to change something to possibly become the Republican nominee in 2012?

DEUTSCH: She actually took the first what I would call smart step today by the op-ed piece in the Post, something that has to do with some policy. There is no disputing that she is a compelling figure. She is popular in the party. She is interesting, even if you don't like her. You like to watch her.

But there is a difference between being a popular media figure and an electable public figure. They're very, very different. Right now, in her current iteration, she is not electable. We all know that. She will be dynamite in the primaries.

MATTHEWS: Donny, how do you spin quitting. She took the oath of office to be governor of Alaska. That's an executive decision. She ran for it. She beat other people who wanted the job. The voters selected her among others. They could have picked one of the other candidates. They only picked her because she won. She then gave up the job of her own volition for other interests. That's a problem, it seems to me, of responsibility. I'm just asking. How do voters look at that and say wait a minute, the voters picked her. She walked.

DEUTSCH: Well, if I was running the Democratic campaign, that would be front and center to me. To me, that is an arrow you put through the heart and I don't know how you get up from that. Having said that, the Sarah Palin lovers will just ignore it. This is what we have here. We have a figure who is polarizing and the polls are not going to change. I don't mean the polls as far the Gallup polls, but the opposite end of the spectrum polls. It's not going to change. The people that love her, love her blindly. Don't even know why they love her. Don't know what she stands for.

MATTHEWS: It is visceral.

DEUTSCH: It is what it is. If she had a talk show, she'd be through the roof. She will never be elected to this high office. If you look at the numbers, this is not what people want. She is compelling television though.

MATTHEWS: Look in your crystal ball and your professionalism; tell me what Dick Cheney is up to. Accused the president last night on Sean Hannity's show of giving aid and comfort to the enemy in our foreign policy. Constitutional language for treason. He then said he doesn't share our belief in America being an exceptional country, notwithstanding everything he's ever said.

It's amazingly sharp, personal charges. I say it gets to the very heart of this man's legitimacy, our president. It gets into birther territory. He shouldn't be our president if he is giving aid and comfort to the enemy. He shouldn't be our president if he's out there not believing in the greatness of this country. He is getting to the heart of this man and he's making-I have never seen charges like this in politics.

DEUTSCH: I was watching at the top of the show. I was sick to my stomach. I was embarrassed as an American that this man was our vice president. That is disgusting and vile to suggest-to use constitutional language for treason to say that this leader of our country, whether you agree or disagree with his politics, does not believe this is an exceptional country. Dick Cheney is an irrelevant, angry man, who is concerned for his legacy because history will be very rough on him.

He is actually the guy in the corner of the room right now, in a

strange way-don't take this the wrong way-I won't say hoping for a

terrorist attack. He keeps going terrorist attack, terrorist attack. When

one day-unfortunately, at some point, there will be a terrorist attack -

he can say, I told you so. He is the guy warning against all. This is an evil, dangerous man at this point. He is no different right now in the media than Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. They are hate mongers and they should just go away.

Dick Cheney, go away. For your party's sake, go away.

MATTHEWS: Thank you for that opinion. Thank you, Donny Deutsch, for joining us.

Up next, is Dick Cheney's act getting old? Sounds like it's still pretty hot to me. Does this guy have anything good to say about President Obama? It sounds like he's got terrible things to say. Cheney's criticism keeps up. I call it meany Cheney. I think Donny just outdid me. Now he says the president is giving aid and comfort to the enemy. By the way, you can't do anything worse than that. The politics fix is next-you can't do any worse than saying that, by the way. This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: We're back. Time for the fix with the "Washington Post's" Eugene Robinson, who is an MSNBC political analyst, and the "Financial Times'" Chrystia Freeland. Thank you both for joining us.

Take a look at this. This is an interesting international fight. I think the world is going to be watching this. Sarah Palin, the possible next Republican candidate for president, has an opinion piece in today's "Washington Post." She writes, quote, "the agenda driven policies being pushed in Copenhagen won't change the weather, but they would change our economy for the worse." Interesting language there. Let's look at Al Gore here, too. Here he is with Andrea Mitchell on NBC. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL GORE, FMR. VICE PRESIDENT: Global warming deniers persist in this era of unreality. After all, the entire north polar ice cap, which has been there for most of the last three million years, is disappearing before our eyes. Forty percent is already gone. The rest is expected to go completely within the next decade. What do they think is causing this?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, that is a great question. Chrystia, I want to go with you. You write for the "Financial Times." I think the world laughs at the United States sometimes when we come out as a bit troglodyte about these issues. The world knows there is climate change. Everybody knows, except maybe the "Wall Street Journal," that there's climate change. On their opinion pages-the smart people who write the news columns know what's going on.

What is going on here? Is Sarah Palin really challenging? People know that she knows there's climate change. Damn it, she lives in Alaska. She knows what's going on up there. What is going on here with her lingo?

CHRYSTIA FREELAND, "THE FINANCIAL TIMES": Well, I was really surprised by one thing in her op ed, which was that she actually said that she isn't sure that climate change is caused by human actions. So, that to me was really, really interesting, and quite a radical position for her to take. I think a pretty dangerous one, because-

MATTHEWS: Who's writing this stuff for her, Randy Scheunemann or somebody? Is this some incredible ideologue-she's got to be smarter than this. I don't care what you think of her politics. Doesn't she know the reality of the ice cap? Doesn't she see?

FREELAND: What she says, Chris, as of course, you know, is she says

you know, she doesn't deny that the climate is changing, but the explanation to which she alluded in her op ed was that maybe this was just cyclical and natural and the sort of thing that has happened in the past. And it is true that the climate has changed a lot in the past. I think it's also true that the weight of scientific evidence, even if you set aside the East Anglia storm in a tea cup-tempest in a tea cup 00 is that human action is affecting the climate.

MATTHEWS: I think the industrial age we live in, the last hundred years has had an effect.

EUGENE ROBINSON, "THE WASHINGTON POST": No, the Palin piece, frankly, is a mess, because she trumpets the fact that-she set up a special panel when she was governor of Alaska to try to understand and deal with things like the thawing of the permafrost. You know, her whole state was thawing. And then she says, but, you know, these are just natural and cyclical changes, with no evidence to back that up, with no acknowledgement that the weight of scientific evidence is against that hypothesis. It's just a mess.

MATTHEWS: Here's the point, internationally, is there a world laughing at us for being still back in the Scopes trial, the monkey trial back in Tennessee in the 1920s? Are we still back-perceived in the world to be back there, not believing in any kind of Darwinism, any kind of science, anything, Keynesian economics? Are we just being laughed at, as opposed-as people who just don't learn, who hate knowledge? What is it? What's our perception?

FREELAND: Actually, I think the world has an incredibly high respect for America. And I think America is not just creationism to people outside the United States. It's also Google, right? America is still the land of invention and opportunity.

What I do think that the smart political point that Sarah Palin did make in that op ed-and I think Gene has written a column about this as well-is we are starting to get to the point where the discussion about the environment is going to be about real economic costs, and real winners and losers. And that's where I think maybe she thinks she can score some political points, by reminding some people, it's going to cost a lot of money and the impact will be differential.

MATTHEWS: That's the cheapest shot in the world. Everybody knows that. It's so obvious that she's playing to the crowd. Obviously, it's not going to be pleasant. Why would we be talking about-it's obvious what she's doing.

ROBINSON: Yes, it is obvious. And she's setting herself up to be able to say, he wants to raise the price of gasoline for your car-

MATTHEWS: Because he wants to do it, not because it's a challenge.

ROBINSON: Not-

MATTHEWS: By the way, I love these signatures she does. She doesn't write the book, and then she scribbles some indecipherable sign on the book as a signature.

We'll be right back with Eugene Robinson and Chrystia Freeland to talk about health care, which seems to be moving towards success, perhaps. Who knows? You're watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHENEY: I mean that I think it will give aid and comfort to the enemy. I think it will make Khalid Shaikh Mohammed something of a hero in certain circles, especially in the radical regions of Islam around the world. It will put him on the map. He'll be as important or more important than Osama bin Laden. And we will have made it possible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Aid and comfort to the enemy. That's Dick Cheney accusing President Obama of doing that very thing, by holding the hearings of the terrorist suspects up in New York. We're back with Gene Robinson and Chrystia Freeland.

Eugene Robinson, I think the vice president has a very high intelligence, and when he chooses the phrase "aid and comfort the enemy," when he takes the guy down on not being a believer in America, I think he knows what he's doing.

ROBINSON: I think he knows what he's doing. I think it's outrageous and pretty despicable, actually, to deliberately invoke that language, and then to go on-Dick Cheney, noted Islamic scholar, a scholar of the Islamic world, who understands the mentality and understands what people are going to say. It's just ridiculous. And this sort of, you know, Rottweiler in winter kind of Dick Cheney-

MATTHEWS: Good picture word there, pit bull. Chrystia Freeland, I

don't know, the "Financial Times," how you guys are covering this guy. But

he has come back, and he is ferocious. And he's no former vice president -

it used to be the protocol was, if you lose an election, you leave town for a while. You physically don't live in Washington. He has chosen to live here and to prowl and to bark.

FREELAND: Rottweiler in winter; I can't really improve on Gene's phrase, but what I would say is, you know, what really struck me about those comments from the former vice president is the hypocrisy. Because, on one hand, he has been really fiercely criticizing President Obama for weakening America by, in Dick Cheney's view, being too respectful of people outside the United States. But if what Dick Cheney is really worried about is the weakening of America, surely, a former vice president so fiercely accusing a sitting president weakens the office of the presidency.

MATTHEWS: You know, we can argue about things, which we argue about everything here, Gene. I don't even know where you stand, or, Chrystia, where you stand. I thought bowing to the Japanese emperor was a mistake. I think a slight business-type bow would have been fine. Going down below the guy's neck was ridiculous. But I don't think it weakens our image in the world. I don't think there's any connection to that in our vulnerability. He draws these connections, which are very political, but I'm not sure they're real.

ROBINSON: I'm not sure they're real, either. Yes, I think if-

Emily Post of Tokyo would have said that a lesser bow would have sufficed.

But what difference does it make?

MATTHEWS: He says it opens us up to attack.

ROBINSON: Yeah, but guess what, Barack Obama is president of the United States of America.

MATTHEWS: We're out of time. I'm sorry. You can't talk about the bow. Thank you, Chrystia Freeland, "Financial Times."

FREELAND: I had a point there to make. Next time.

MATTHEWS: We'll get you next time. Join us again tomorrow night at 5:00 and 7:00 Eastern for more HARDBALL. Right now, it's time for "THE ED SHOW" with Ed Schultz.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

END

Transcription Copyright 2009 CQ Transcriptions, LLC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research.

User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user's

personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed,

nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion

that may infringe upon MSNBC and CQ Transcriptions, LLC's copyright or

other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal

transcript for purposes of litigation.>

Watch Hardball each weeknight at 5 & 7 p.m. ET

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,