1. Headline
  1. Headline
updated 3/2/2010 9:07:43 AM ET 2010-03-02T14:07:43

Guests: Wayne Slater, Chris Cillizza, Howard Dean, David Corn, Jay Newton-

Small.

HOST:  Two hundred and sixteen votes.  That‘s what

it‘s all about.

Let‘s play HARDBALL.

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

Reality bites.  Democratic leaders are charging ahead on health care

reform.  And what does Speaker Pelosi say to House Democrats who could lose

their seats in November if they vote for it?  Show some courage.  Is that

enough to get endangered Democrats on board?  Does she have the 216 votes

she needs to win?

Plus, how far will the tea party folk get in taking over the

Republican Party?  They‘re headed to victory in Texas tomorrow night with

their man, Rick Perry—doing the same in Florida.  How about Arizona and

Kentucky?  Who‘s going to stop the tea party people from taking over that

party?

Also, Howard Dean is here tonight.  And my question for him tonight:

Is he going to be the tea partier of the left?  Is he going to make his

party more progressive or is he going to try and purge it?  Are folks like

Blanche Lincoln fair game for him?

And Republican obstructionism strikes again.  Two thousand federal

transportation workers are out of work tonight, thanks to Senator Jim

Bunning, who‘s blocking a bill that extends federal highway and transit

programs.  But doesn‘t he have a point?  Why do we have to borrow from the

Chinese just to pay for unemployment compensation?  Has it come to that?

And something new tonight, a segment of all-out commentary that comes

at the end of this show.  It‘s from me.  It‘s called “Let me Finish.”

Let‘s start with that fight for health care reform.  Charlie Cook

edits “The Cook Political Reporter.”  He‘s the best there is.  He‘s also an

NBC not—well, he‘s the best there is.  He‘s also an NBC News political

analyst, which is the same thing.  And “Newsweek‘s” Howard Fineman, who is

also the best in his way.  And we‘re going to see how they‘re going to

compete!

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Here‘s House Democratic leader Steny Hoyer...

CHARLIE COOK, “COOK POLITICAL REPORT,” NBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  What

way are you, Howard?

MATTHEWS:  ... the number two leader in the House, on CBS‘s “Face the

Nation” with Bob Schieffer.  Let‘s listen to him yesterday.  He was giving

us a hint.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD), MAJORITY LEADER:  Well, I don‘t think we have

the votes in terms of a specific proposal because there‘s not a specific

proposal on the table yet.  The president has made some suggestions, which

I think reflects discussions...

BOB SCHIEFFER, HOST, “FACE THE NATION”:  When will you have...

HOYER:  ... between the House and Senate.

SCHIEFFER:  ... a specific proposal?

HOYER:  I would think within the next couple of weeks, we‘re going to

have a specific proposal and start counting votes to see whether or not

those proposals can pass either the House or the Senate or both and send

something to the president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Oh!  That is the slo-mo kind of politics.  I can—Steny,

Steny—I mean, I thought (INAUDIBLE) Bob Dole talk about—it‘s in mark-

up.  I mean, answer the question!  Answer the question!  Howard, let‘s...

HOWARD FINEMAN, “NEWSWEEK,” MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  I want Charlie

to...

MATTHEWS:  No, we‘re going to get to this because—fighting about

health—let‘s hear the Speaker here.  Here she is, Speaker Pelosi, Nancy

Pelosi.  She was on “This Week,” the ABC show.  Let‘s listen to her account

of where this stands because it‘s really coming down to it now on health

care.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Do you have the 217 votes necessary to pass...

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  Right now, we‘re

working on the policy.  From the meeting on Thursday, the summit meeting, I

believe that we‘re ready for the next step, which is to write legislative

language and then go from there.

First we zero in on what the policy will be.  And that is what we‘ll

be doing following the president‘s summit yesterday.  Secondly, we‘ll see

what the Senate can do.  What is the substance, and what is the Senate

prepared to do?  And then we‘ll go to the third step as to what my members

will vote for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Finally, the truth.  It comes down to this.  This whole

fight over health care that‘s been going on (INAUDIBLE) every night with

all the programs talking about it for more than a year now, it comes down

to this.  The House is going to vote on the Senate bill.  They‘re going to

reconcile in both houses to make changes necessary to make both houses

agree.  It‘s all up to the Democrats.  That‘s a fact.  It took them forever

to say it.

Howard, here‘s the point.  Does Nancy Pelosi have the guns, the stuff,

the juice, the willpower, whatever, the iron will to get this to 216, get

the votes she needs to win?

FINEMAN:  Well, she has the will to try.  I talked to a member of the

leadership today, not Nancy but somebody in the leadership, who put the

odds of passage at 45 percent right now.  So that‘s under 50.

Now, there‘s no specific final proposal yet, number one.  Nancy Pelosi

hasn‘t begun her arm twisting.  And by the way, she‘s very, very good at

it.

MATTHEWS:  She‘s got a good inside game.

FINEMAN:  She‘s very good at it.  And Barack Obama hasn‘t come around

one last time for the one-on-one meetings with the individual House members

and said, You really want to wreck my presidency or not?  So all that hangs

in the balance...

MATTHEWS:  So it‘s brinksmanship right now.

FINEMAN:  It‘s brinksmanship, but I—you know, I went over this with

a fine-toothed comb today.  I have all these categories of different things

I don‘t want to bore you with...

MATTHEWS:  Where are you at?

FINEMAN:  Where am I at?  I‘m—I‘m at—right at 215, 214.  You

know...

MATTHEWS:  They can do it.

FINEMAN:  It‘s not 218 anymore, by the way...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  ... the members keep quitting.

FINEMAN:  Members keep quitting.

MATTHEWS:  It‘s sort of—it‘s sort of like...

COOK:  And why is that?

MATTHEWS:  It‘s like that Agatha Christie play, “Ten Little Indians.” 

They changed the name of it, but they keep disappearing.  Charlie Cook,

you‘ve gotten more pessimistic about the House Democrats holding the House. 

But how about this house care—this health care bill?  Can they pass it,

given what they face this November in terms of losses?

COOK:  The Democrats that are in really tough districts, tough races,

I don‘t think they‘re going to get any more votes out of those guys.  In

fact, they could lose some.

MATTHEWS:  The ones that McCain‘s districts—where McCain carried.

COOK:  Exactly.  Exactly.  But where they could find something is, for

example, maybe some of the retirees, you know, like a Brian Baird, a Bart

Gordon, a John Tanner.  Could they go there?  And then, remember, you had

four liberal—four voted against the health care...

MATTHEWS:  Who on the left that voted no the first time?

FINEMAN:  Kucinich.

COOK:  Dennis Kucinich, Eric Massa, Kosmas and Teague.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  They ought to be able to get Kucinich in the end.  Don‘t

they need him?  How can he vote no and bring down health care?

COOK:  You‘d think, but who in the world knows...

MATTHEWS:  From Cleveland.

COOK:  ... what‘s going on in Dennis Kucinich‘s mind.

MATTHEWS:  He‘ll vote for it in the end.

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN:  The leadership person I talked to today, in the room at all

times, says that they mentioned those three liberals that Charlie talked

about, who voted no.  And I can see Barack Obama calling Dennis Kucinich in

and saying, Hey, you can be a hero, man, OK?  It‘s not the perfect bill,

but...

MATTHEWS:  The progressives have got to be for this in the end.

FINEMAN:  So that‘s one category.

MATTHEWS:  It‘s better than what we got, right, for them?

FINEMAN:  Well, that‘s one category, and there‘s another small

category of what I call a swing good government people—Jason Altmire,

Stephanie Herseth...

MATTHEWS:  Western Pennsylvania.

FINEMAN:  ... yes—from South Dakota.  These are people who voted

no.  They‘re deficit hawks, but they‘re not quite...

MATTHEWS:  OK, here‘s the tough question.

FINEMAN:  ... the bluest of Blue Dogs.

MATTHEWS:  You know the old terrible canard against John Kerry, which

I think probably beat him, which is, I voted for it before I voted for it -

I voted for it before I voted against it.  If you‘re a Democrat and a

House member and you voted against it the first time, and now you decide

you‘re going to vote for it, can‘t your opponents trash you and say, Oh, he

was against it before he was for it, and run that ad against you?

FINEMAN:  Well, unless you‘re Dennis—you know, somebody like Dennis

Kucinich.

COOK:  One of the guys on the left.

FINEMAN:  The people on the left have more room to run on.

MATTHEWS:  How about somebody in the middle, somebody from a red

state?  Isn‘t that a tough one for you?

COOK:  I don‘t think so.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  You think so?

COOK:  The thing is, I think it‘d have to be one of the four from the

left.  I don‘t think anybody from the right—we just saw a poll...

MATTHEWS:  Nobody from the right will change and vote for this.

COOK:  No.  No.

(CROSSTALK)

COOK:  ... yes, unless it‘s a retiree.  But we just saw a poll in

Bobby Bright‘s district, Montgomery, Alabama.  Here‘s somebody that‘s voted

against the stimulus, against health care, against cap-and-trade.  He‘s 20

points ahead.  He has found that if you run as fast as you can from the

leadership, from the president, in a tough district, you can survive.  And

back in ‘94, we saw that, too.  The guys that voted against the Brady bill,

they voted against the...

(CROSSTALK)

COOK:  ... voted against both, their survival rate was 10 out of 11,

the ones that have been...

MATTHEWS:  So you‘re encouraging members to be disloyal to...

(CROSSTALK)

COOK:  I‘m just saying that the people—if you‘re going to put

distance between yourself and the White House, or yourself and the

leadership, run as fast as you can and you can survive.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  That won‘t work in the Senate...

FINEMAN:  ... categories of those people.  There are people who are

Blue Dogs who also voted with Bart Stupak on the abortion amendment.  I

count eight of those people...

MATTHEWS:  OK, you‘ve opened up that can of worms.

FINEMAN:  All right.  And then there are...

MATTHEWS:  How do they solve...

FINEMAN:  ... six Blue Dogs from...

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN:  ... six Blue Dogs from tough states...

MATTHEWS:  How do they solve the problem that you had 12 or so, at

least, maybe up to 40, who had their votes influenced positively because of

Stupak outlawing any of this money going to abortion services in the

insurance programs?  How do you deal with the fact that won‘t be in this

final bill?

FINEMAN:  Well, the way they‘re going to have to try to deal with it

is with a separate piece of legislation.  And as I understand it, it can‘t

be in the reconciliation bill.  In other words, they‘re talking about

passing...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Can I offer a suggestion?  Why don‘t they just pass the

Hyde Amendment again?  Everybody passes it all the time.  Here‘s the

problem—while they can.  The majority of Congress that supports the Hyde

amendment, which says no federal money should go to pay for an abortion—

it‘s still legal to have an abortion, but the government‘s not going to pay

for it—is not the same 216 that would vote for this bill, right?

FINEMAN:  The danger for them, Chris—as I count it, there are these

eight Blue Dogs who also voted for the Stupak amendment.  They‘re looking

for an excuse, I think, to go in Charlie‘s direction and get the hell off

this bill, OK?  They don‘t want to look like they‘re wishy-washy.  They can

say, It‘s a matter of moral principle with me.  I don‘t trust what the

Senate‘s going to do.  I‘m going to vote no based on...

MATTHEWS:  This is one of the great (INAUDIBLE) Let‘s take a look at -

here‘s White House adviser Nancy DeParle on “Meet the Press” this Sunday. 

Let‘s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NANCY-ANN DEPARLE, WHITE HOUSE ADVISER:  Health care reform has

already passed both the House and the Senate with not only a majority in

the Senate but a super-majority.  And we‘re not talking about changing any

rules here.  All the president‘s talking about is, Do we need to address

this problem, and does it make sense to have a simple up-or-down vote on

whether or not we want to fix these problems?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Well, she makes it sound easy.

COOK:  The problem is that they haven‘t single-mindedly defined the

problem.  Is it the uninsured or is it costs?  And that—now we‘re

getting away from vote counts back to the substance here.  If it‘s about

costs, there are questions since they put off the taxes until 2018, since

people doubt whether they‘ll get all the Medicare cuts they‘re talking

about in the end.

MATTHEWS:  Right.

COOK:  So there‘s substance behind this here for these other Blue

Dogs, for...

MATTHEWS:  In other words...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Can the concerns of those who will hold out, conservatives

from the South—and they‘re definitely being smart about their politics,

probably—is, can they be—their concerns be addressed so they can take

them home to the people and say, Look, I went to the Speaker, I went to

Hoyer, I went to Clyburn and I said, look, I need to save $100 billion or

whatever, on this bill and they did it for me?

FINEMAN:  Well, let‘s see what the president comes up with in his

final package.

COOK:  The thing is, these guys typically live, guys generically live

in districts with a lot of old people.  And when you—all you have to say

is $300 billion to $400 billion in Medicare cuts...

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

COOK:  ... and that‘s all they need to hear.

MATTHEWS:  You‘re so depressing on this.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  You are really...

(CROSSTALK)

COOK:  I beat the heck out of Republicans for three years...

MATTHEWS:  You say the Democrats are going to lose the Congress...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  You really think the Democrats are in trouble no matter

what they do, don‘t you.

COOK:  I think things—there‘s eight months.  There‘s time for it to

change...

MATTHEWS:  OK, let me...

(CROSSTALK)

COOK:  ... have to change.

MATTHEWS:  Suppose you‘re a Democratic leader and you go to a tough

person, you say—I got to wrap—vote for this out now.  Get health care

behind us.  Start working on jobs.  By the time it gets to November, we

will have a lower unemployment rate, you guys can win.

FINEMAN:  That‘s got to be the bet that the president tells them to

make.

MATTHEWS:  That‘s got to...

FINEMAN:  It has to be...

MATTHEWS:  He‘s got to sell that...

(CROSSTALK)

COOK:  We‘ll have a jobs bill every three weeks from now until

November.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  That‘s what you‘ll need.  (INAUDIBLE) until we do health

care.  Thank you, Howard Fineman, and thank you...

COOK:  Charlie.

MATTHEWS:  ... Cafe Depresso here.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Coming up—but you‘re the—but you‘re good, Charlie.

Coming up: How strong an impact will the tea party have on tomorrow‘s

Republican primary in Texas?  Apparently, a big one.  And the question—

is this the start of something big?  Are the tea partiers taking over the

party?  If they get Kay Bailey Hutchison—they‘re going for Charlie

Crist, they‘re going for John McCain.  Who can‘t they beat?

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Back to HARDBALL.  The eyes of Texas are on tomorrow‘s

Republican primary down there for governor of Texas, where Senator Kay

Bailey Hutchison is challenging incumbent governor Rick Perry, and a third

candidate, Debra Medina, is running to the right of both of those other

candidates.  How big of a player will the tea party movement be in

tomorrow‘s election?

Wayne Slater‘s the senior political writer for “The Dallas Morning

News,” our friend—well, he‘s also our friend, Wayne is—Chris

Cillizza‘s is our closer-to-home friend.  He‘s at “The Washington Post”

newsroom, where he works.

Gentlemen, take a look at the latest poll.  This is a PPI—PPP poll. 

It‘s got Governor Perry, the incumbent, at 40 -- not quite 50 percent in

this poll needed for avoiding a runoff, and Kay Bailey Hutchison, who

looked very strong going into this race, down at 31.  And Debra Medina, who

seems to be the sleeper of the—and she‘s up—she‘s to the right of

both of them.

Gentlemen, I want to go to the home state guy, Wayne.  What do you

make of this race?  What does it tell us in terms of which way this country

of ours is going?

WAYNE SLATER, “DALLAS MORNING NEWS”:  Well, let me tell you.  This tea

party movement, this anti-Washington sentiment—so strong.  I was in

suburban Dallas a couple of days ago with Congressman Mike Burgess,

conservative Republican, and he said if he wasn‘t the representative from

that district, he would probably be leading the charge against the

representative from that district.  So this is really tough stuff.

Rick Perry has taken the anti-Washington fervor, has tried to seize on

the tea party movement, and has framed the race against Kay Bailey

Hutchison in a very successful way.  And he could go without a runoff—

win tomorrow without a runoff.

MATTHEWS:  So his statement months ago that we‘ve mocked on this show

about secession, really implying secession from Washington, not from the

country, I assume—I‘m being generous here—was really crazy like a

fox.

SLATER:  It was crazy like a fox.  Let me tell you, on that single

day, that was tax day, April 15th, he made that comment entertaining the

idea of secession on the same day in Houston, Texas.  Kay Bailey Hutchison

stepped out of a fund-raiser and told an aide when she heard about it,

Well, Rick Perry has just lost this race.  In fact, Rick Perry had just won

the race...

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

SLATER:  ... because that‘s the attitude that Texas Republican primary

voters have, Screw Washington.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  And using the language, Chris Cillizza, of the pre-

Civil War, war between the states, to use the Southern term, using the old

language of nullification, you know, ignoring Washington, saying you can

overrule anything with the 10th Amendment.  This is strong, almost

constitutional type challenging to Washington here.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, WASHINGTONPOST.COM:  Well, you know, to Wayne‘s point,

Chris, you wouldn‘t think that the 10 Amendment, states‘ rights and

secession would be the basis of a great formula for a campaign.  But that‘s

what Rick Perry has done.

I think, to Wayne‘s point, Rick Perry was very, very smart.  He saw

the energy in the tea party movement and he was among the first elected

officials anywhere in the country to put his name to it, appearing at

rallies and that sort of thing.  In doing it, he coopted a lot of the anger

on the far right.  I think we‘d be talking more about Debra Medina

potentially if Rick Perry hadn‘t done that.

It shows you how many people are in that group on the right that Rick

Perry is leading.  And Debra Medina, at least I‘ve talked to some people

say she could wind up finishing second.  It‘s a big group of people...

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

CILLIZZA:  ... in Texas.  Now, we don‘t want to necessarily

extrapolate it to the entire United States.  But I think dismissing the tea

party movement, the anger on the right, maybe the anger generally, as, Oh,

it‘s just a fringe—it‘s clearly not just a fringe in Texas.

MATTHEWS:  No, it‘s not.  I‘ve heard of that up in Massachusetts. 

They‘re concerned up there certainly after Scott Brown‘s victory.  They

know the Democratic Party‘s got to reconnect in very strong language.

Let‘s take a look at Kay Bailey Hutchison, who‘s really paying the

price of having been a U.S. senator and a highly respected one.  When you

get into this, Wayne, she‘s done her job for Texas.  She‘s really been a

great senator.  Everybody looks up to her.  She‘s apparently the most

popular person in the state, and yet here she says, “He, meaning Rick

Perry, the governor, has definitely made it more difficult for me.  I

protected Texas.  I brought Texas taxpayer dollars back to Texas very

successfully.  And I‘ve voted for Texas values.  I didn‘t think that anyone

could turn my success in producing results for Texas into a negative.”

And then the other day, she comes home and meets one of her supporters

and the guy says, Welcome back to Texas and she goes nuts, say, Wait a

minute, I live here!

What is going on, Wayne Slater, where you do your job as a senator and

you‘re hated for it?

SLATER:  Yes.  When was the last time we saw a race—and we do from

time to time—where experience and bringing home the bacon are not

positives but negatives?  And that‘s exactly the way Perry has successfully

framed this race against Hutchison.

I was on the bus with her two days ago, traveling suburban Houston. 

She did the Houston rodeo.  And basically, she was—and she was lamenting

this fact—Look, I‘m doing what I was paid to do.  I‘m doing what I was

elected to do, and I‘m being punished for it.

You know, the old saying is that—as we all know, that all politics

is local.  In this race, certainly in the Republican primary in Texas, and

I think we see it maybe in Massachusetts, potentially—we may see it in

Indiana—this year, all politics is national. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

You know, I haven‘t heard this sentiment, Chris, since back in 1991 in

Pennsylvania, when Richard Thornburgh was challenged by...

CHRIS CILLIZZA, “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  Yes.  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  ... by Harris Wofford, where he‘s—that big thing, I know

the halls of power and all that Washington swagger, was a big—you know,

was a big negative for Thornburgh.  But that took 12 -- 11 to 12 years for

the Republicans to get people that mad at them. 

The Democrats got people that mad at them in, what, less—hardly a

year now.  It‘s March of the second year. 

CILLIZZA:  You know, I think—I think you‘re right. 

MATTHEWS:  Why are they so mad now? 

CILLIZZA:  It‘s a much more abbreviated timetable.

I think it‘s in part at least because of the economic anxieties in the

country that exist.  People feel as though the government is doing the

wrong things.  They don‘t think the government is looking after them.  That

said, I think that what you saw with Kay Bailey Hutchison is a fundamental

misunderstanding of the electorate. 

While I do most people where you win if you run on your experience,

you don‘t win usually in campaigns when you have—you can‘t in one

sentence explain why you‘re running. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

CILLIZZA:  The only reason Kay Bailey Hutchison is running is because

she thinks it‘s her time. 

Well, that‘s not a compelling message. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

(CROSSTALK)

CILLIZZA:  Rick Perry is saying:  I‘m the conservative.  You like me. 

The economy is doing well.  Why would we want to change?  She‘s fine in

Washington.

MATTHEWS:  OK.

CILLIZZA:  Kay Bailey Hutchison never found a smart way to frame the

race, outside of, he‘s been there too long. 

And that‘s not a good argument. 

MATTHEWS:  No.

And let‘s go back to Wayne.  It seems that you made the point of all

politics ain‘t local right now.  Tip O‘Neill doesn‘t have this one right,

my old boss, because look at these other patterns.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s look at the map of the country right now.  Look at

some of these states coming up, where the tea partiers are challenging what

we used to consider unbeatable types. 

Like—like, in Kentucky, where Mitch McConnell pushed Jim Bunning

out of that race to make room for Trey Grayson.  Now Trey Grayson is under

attack from Rand Paul, the son of the ultimate tea partier, Ron Paul.

And then, out in Arizona, John—who would have thought John McCain

would have trouble getting renominated?  He‘s going to have a real battle

on his hands beating J.D. Hayworth.  And, down in Florida, Marco Rubio, who

is Pat Buchanan‘s favorite boy, he‘s already moving ahead of Charlie Crist

down there.  And Charlie Crist may have to go out and run in the—as an

independent. 

Wayne, it ain‘t just local in Texas. 

SLATER:  No, it‘s not.  You see this everywhere, all over the country. 

And the real measure will be who wins in the end.  There are a bunch

of these incumbents in Texas who are being challenged from the right.  But

if none of the incumbent loses, then the Tea Party isn‘t—didn‘t—

didn‘t really win.

If Hayworth loses to McCain, then the Tea Party activists talked and

squawked, but didn‘t actually deliver victory in the end.  We will see. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes, but—if it‘s even close... 

(CROSSTALK)

CILLIZZA:  Chris, if you needed any evidence that the Tea Party

movement is having some effect in American politics, Nancy Pelosi on the

Sunday talk shows said that Democrats have a lot in common with the Tea

Party, too.  So, everybody‘s trying to get a co-opt this group and get a

piece of it. 

MATTHEWS:  Wow.  Well said.

Thank you, Wayne Slater.  Great reports.  Wayne Slater, excellent

report.

And thank you, Chris, as always.

CILLIZZA:  Thank you. 

MATTHEWS:  Up next—Rod Blagojevich, God, this guy is unbelievable -

he has no superego—it‘s all id with this guy—has some advice for

the struggling governor of New York, David Paterson—that little apple

blossom next in the “Sideshow.”

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Back to HARDBALL.  Now to the “Sideshow.” 

First up:  Never mind the birth. 

And J.D. Hayworth, who is running against John McCain, as I said, in

that Arizona Republican primary has for a while now been babying the

birther crowd.  Right after the 2000 election, for example, Hayworth wrote

a letter to President Obama, president-elect Obama, saying, he should go

back to Hawaii and find his complete birth certificate. 

Then, last summer, Hayworth said on his radio show that questions

continue about President Obama‘s citizenship.  And, then, just a month ago

here on HARDBALL, Hayworth again said the president needs to come forward

with proof he was born in the U.S. of A. 

Well, Hayworth has just had a change of position.  Here he is on FOX. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE O‘REILLY FACTOR”)

BILL O‘REILLY, HOST, “THE O‘REILLY FACTOR”:  I want you to tell the

American public how you view the birther movement.  Is it legitimate? 

J.D. HAYWORTH ®, ARIZONA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE:  Look, Barack Obama‘s

the 44th president of the United States.  His election is certified.  I

believe he was born in Hawaii.  I made certain statements on the air to—

to provoke conversation.  That‘s what happens in broadcasting. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Whoa. 

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  So, J.D. played to the birthers to provoke conversation? 

He challenged the legitimacy of an American president for that reason?  Is

that just food for thought? 

Hey, look, if somebody questioned J.D. Hayworth‘s Americanism, I

wonder if he would view it as just provoking a little conversation out

there.  “You know, J.D., it‘s just what‘s happening in broadcasting.”

Fat chance you would like it that way. 

Anyway, next, live from New York, it‘s David Paterson.  Here‘s

“Saturday Night Live”‘s take of the soon-to-be-ex-governor of New York. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE”)   

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  Now, Governor, do you have any comment about “The

New York Times”‘ expose of your alleged unethical activity? 

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  Yes.  Congratulations, “New York Times.”  You

snared the elusive David Paterson.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  Finding something wrong with my administration is

like finding a needle in a needle store. 

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  You found out I was a bad governor?  Who tipped

you off?  Everyone? 

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  So, tell us, will you be supporting Andrew Cuomo

now? 

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  I never figured out who‘s going to get the kiss

of death yet. 

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  But, if Andrew Cuomo wants Albany, he can take

it.  Those upstate goblins are going to tear that guy apart and use his

blood for their cave paintings. 

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  Andrew, if you‘re in Albany, I can recommend a

good place to go for dinner.  It‘s called Manhattan. 

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Just think.  This time next year, we could have a Cuomo as

governor of New York and an Edmund G. Brown—that‘s Jerry in this case—

as governor of California—change you can believe in. 

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  By the way, Rod Blagojevich, the impeached ex-governor of

Illinois, has his own words of wisdom for Governor Paterson.  Here‘s what

he said on FOX Business channel. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK)

ROD BLAGOJEVICH (D), FORMER ILLINOIS GOVERNOR:  My advice to Governor

Paterson—and I don‘t know the circumstances—if he didn‘t do anything

wrong, then you shouldn‘t quit.  You should fight. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Wow.  B-Rod goes up on federal corruption charges this

June.  Let‘s see how his advice looks then.  To tell you the truth, I‘m not

sure how that trial‘s going to go. 

Now for the “Number” tonight.

On ABC‘s “This Week,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked to rate her

performance this past year.  Her own grade, self-grading here?  An A for

effort. 

I agree with her in part.  She certainly gets an a for the inside

game.  She‘s masterful as speaker, perhaps not for the outside game.  Her

poll numbers are no match for her roll call numbers.  Speaker Pelosi‘s A

for effect—tonight‘s tough “Big Number.” 

Up next:  Howard Dean once said health care reform without the public

option was worthless.  So, would he support the president‘s plan now? 

That‘s our question tonight.  Governor Dean‘s coming to sit here right

after the break. 

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JULIA BOORSTIN, CNBC CORRESPONDENT:  I‘m Julia Boorstin with your CNBC

“Market Wrap.”

Stocks ending higher today, led by techs, thanks to a blockbuster

report on chip sales—the Dow Jones industrials gaining 78.5 points, the

S&P 500 adding 11 points, and a big day for the Nasdaq, up 35 points. 

January chip sales coming in around $22.5 billion worldwide.  That‘s

up more than 47 percent from a year ago, driven by high demand for P.C.s,

cell phones, and automobiles.  And flash memory maker SanDisk leading the

Nasdaq, after raising its forecast on the strong outlook for the industry. 

A report on the manufacturing sector showing a slight slowdown in

February, but still indicating expansion overall, but construction spending

falling for the third straight month to its lowest levels since 2003. 

And mixed signals from consumers in January.  Personal spending rose

half-a-percent, even though incomes gained only 0.1 percent.  Consumers

appear to be dipping into their savings to help sustain the economic

recovery. 

That‘s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide—now back to

HARDBALL. 

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

President Obama is expected to make an announcement—in fact, he

will—this Wednesday about the next steps on health care reform.  He‘s

going to define further where he stands, what bill he wants passed by both

houses now, as it gets closer. 

Former Democratic National Committee Chairman and former Vermont

Governor Howard Dean—he‘s also a medical doctor—he‘s been outspoken

on behalf of health care reform generally.  He‘s now a health care

consultant with the firm of McKenna Long & Aldridge, very Waspy, as well as

a consultant for the Democracy for America Group, and a contributor to

CNBC.

Well, now that that‘s behind—none of that stuff has anything to do

with what you‘re doing here, right? 

HOWARD DEAN, FORMER DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN:  Generally

not, actually.

MATTHEWS:  Generally not, OK.

Let‘s talk about this.  You are on the left.  You‘re a progressive. 

Are you one of the left people who will try to bring down the center of the

Democratic Party?  I‘m looking at Blanche Lincoln.  She‘s challenged

tomorrow morning by Bill Halter, the lieutenant governor of the state. 

He‘s launching sort of a Democrat tea party movement against the

center.  What do you make of that? 

DEAN:  There already is...

MATTHEWS:  Are you—do you think it‘s fair game to knock off—do

you think Blanche Lincoln is fair game? 

DEAN:  I think anybody‘s fair game.  You don‘t inherit this office. 

MATTHEWS:  No.  A Democrat who represents a conservative district, a

conservative state, that voted for McCain, should she be entitled to vote

her state, or does she have to go if...

(CROSSTALK)

DEAN:  She‘s entitled to vote however she wants.  Look, politics is

nobody—nobody owns a seat here.  Politics is a...

MATTHEWS:  But is there something wrong with somebody representing

their conservative state? 

DEAN:  Of course not. 

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

DEAN:  But you have got to be expected that other people may have a

different point of view. 

MATTHEWS:  so, are you a tea partier of the left? 

DEAN:  There is a tea party movement on the left. 

MATTHEWS:  Tell me about it.  Nobody talks about it.  I‘m going to

start you to talk about it. 

(CROSSTALK)

DEAN:  Thirty seconds or less.  We did talk about it last time.  You

didn‘t like what I said in the—with the polling in Massachusetts.  About

18 percent of all the people who elected Scott Brown were Obama voters. 

Here‘s an interesting one.  District 8 in Missouri...

MATTHEWS:  I happened to check that out the other night.  You‘re

right.  Some district went 60 percent for Obama, then went 60 percent for

Scott Brown.        

DEAN:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  So, explain. 

DEAN:  OK.

On the center-right, tea partiers, everybody knows about them.  You

all cover them.  On the center-left, they‘re demoralized.  They‘re mad. 

They don‘t think they got the change they asked for, so they stay home. 

But there‘s a huge—I think this movement is more anti-incumbent

than it is anti-Democrat or Republican.  The Democrats are terrified. 

They‘re in power.  They‘re going to have to make tough votes.  The truth

is, there‘s a guy, a veteran named Tommy Sowers running in Missouri 8 right

now who is going to knock off, I think, Jo Ann Emerson.

Nobody knows it.  It won‘t show yet.  He‘s been in all 28 counties in

28 jobs.  He goes up and says to somebody, I‘m a veteran running for

Congress.  The guy is a Green Beret.  He served in Iraq. 

I‘m a veteran running for Congress.  First thing out of the box, are

you the incumbent?  No, sir.  You have got my vote. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  Well, let‘s see if they actually vote that way,

because...

DEAN:  Well, we will see.  We will see. 

MATTHEWS:  ... every time I have watched elections, since the time I

began to watch elections, when I was about 5 years old, one party wins, one

party loses.  I keep waiting for this big anti-incumbent election.  It‘s

either anti-Republican or anti-Democrat.  And, this time, it looks like

anti-Democrat.

DEAN:  Yes, we‘re going to find out.  I think it will be mixed.

MATTHEWS:  Charlie cook was sitting there a few minutes ago, the

expert on it.

DEAN:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  He thinks the Democrats have lost the House already. 

They‘re out of here.

DEAN:  It‘s—I think it‘s unlikely.  But it‘s—well, who am I to

argue with Charlie?

MATTHEWS:  What is unlikely?

DEAN:  Losing the House altogether.

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

DEAN:  I don‘t—hey, let me tell you why.  If this bill passes, all

of a sudden, people will rally to it.  The American people didn‘t want more

troops in Afghanistan.  Once the president made up his mind and said this

is what we‘re going to do, now the majority supports it. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, by the way...

DEAN:  Same thing is true with health care. 

MATTHEWS:  ... when it came to final passage of Social Security and

Medicare, the Republicans joined it.

DEAN:  Sure.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Let‘s talk about this. 

Coming up in the next couple of days, the president of the United

States by Wednesday is going to come out and stake out his position. 

Speaker Pelosi said they‘re going to going to for it.  They‘re going to

pass the Senate bill.  Then they‘re going to reconcile in both houses. 

We know the path now the Democrats are going to take.  They have

staked out their plan.  They have got to do it in the next—probably the

next couple weeks, right? 

DEAN:  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  Will they—will you help them? 

DEAN:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  How? 

DEAN:  Well, I will help them by—by getting them to pass part of

this bill that will be enactable right after the president signs it. 

This—you have got to have some piece of this bill that gives people

insurance between now and the election in 2010, not between now and 2013. 

MATTHEWS:  And what is that? 

DEAN:  Well, what a surprise, a public option that involves expanding

Medicare, so people above 55...

MATTHEWS:  But that‘s not in the president‘s plan. 

DEAN:  It may be. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  When, by Wednesday?

DEAN:  And if it isn‘t, it should be.

MATTHEWS:  And if it‘s not, what are you going to do? 

DEAN:  Well, I‘m going to support the bill.  But I think it would be a

whole lot better if there was a public option.

MATTHEWS:  Will you continue to talk public option after Wednesday if

he...

(CROSSTALK)

DEAN:  Absolutely.  I‘m going to talk public option until we get one. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  OK.

Well, you publicly criticized the Senate bill in December.  Let‘s

listen.

Governor Dean:

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP, VERMONT PUBLIC RADIO, DECEMBER 15, 2009)

DEAN:  This is essentially the collapse of health care reform in the

United States Senate.  And, honestly, the best thing to do right now is

kill the Senate bill. 

(END AUDIO CLIP) 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, DECEMBER 15, 2009)

DEAN:  You can‘t vote for a bill like this in good conscience.  It

costs too much money.  It isn‘t health care reform.  It‘s not even

insurance reform.   

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Well, here you are. 

DEAN:  The Senate bill hasn‘t gotten any better.  But the House is

going to add to it.  It‘s going to make it better.  And I think that‘s a

good thing. 

MATTHEWS:  How is the Senate bill going to be improved, so that it‘s

not a collapse of the Democratic Party on health care, like you just said

it was? 

DEAN:  Well, first of all, some...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  What‘s—have you changed or has the bill changed? 

DEAN:  Well, the bill‘s going to change, because it‘s not—the House

won‘t vote for it unless it does.  They made that pretty clear. 

MATTHEWS:  And what‘s going to happen, so the American people can

understand it right now? 

DEAN:  Well, first of all, a lot—hopefully, some of the ridiculous

deal-making will get out of there.  Hopefully, some of the pro-insurance...

MATTHEWS:  Well, that‘s all gone.  They are going to get rid of the

Cornhusker kickback.  They are going to get rid of the Louisiana purchase. 

They have got to get rid of all that stuff. 

DEAN:  Well, that‘s a good start.

MATTHEWS:  Well, they have to. 

DEAN:  Sure they do.  Of course they do. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Because it‘s been exposed as corrupt.

DEAN:  They‘re also—they‘re also going to do more on expanding

public health choices for people like Medicare—I mean, Medicaid, and

maybe even Medicare.  Why, wouldn‘t that be nice, to have real choices in

that bill for the American people?

MATTHEWS:  So, what is your role now?  Are you a booster of the

president in this effort, or are you a critic? 

DEAN:  Well, I‘m always a booster of the president, whether we agree

or we disagree. 

Look, I think this bill...

MATTHEWS:  You begin to sound like Ralph Nader outside the debate. 

You can‘t get in the debate, and you‘re out banging on the door to get in

the debate. 

DEAN:  I am in the debate. 

MATTHEWS:  How‘s it happen?  Where‘s it going to happen?  The president‘s

not for the public option.  It‘s not in the bill in the Senate.  It‘s not

in the House bill.  The president‘s not going to put it in.  The Speaker‘s

not going to put it in.  Harry Reid‘s not going to put it in.  Who‘s going

to do what you want done? 

DEAN:  I think there are a whole bunch of people in the House, a

whole bunch of progressives—

MATTHEWS:  Yes, they‘re all positioning themselves.

DEAN:  And there‘s also 30 senators that would like—

MATTHEWS:  That‘s all called positioning.  Are they going to have it

happen? 

DEAN:  We‘re going to find out. 

MATTHEWS:  When? 

DEAN:  When the vote comes. 

MATTHEWS:  No, no, the bill is going to be defined, and it‘s going to

go to the floor as of like Wednesday or so.  The president is going to say

what he stands for. 

DEAN:  Wait a minute, the president saying what he stands for and

having a bill on the floor are two very different things.  The last time I

saw, it was OK to amend a bill on the floor. 

MATTHEWS:  You are going to go for a floor amendment? 

DEAN:  I don‘t have a vote.  I‘m not going to go for anything. 

MATTHEWS:  I just don‘t see the reality of your position emerging

here.  I don‘t know how you get from you sitting here saying there‘s going

to be a public option to there being one. 

DEAN:  Chris, 82 percent of the Democrats in the United States of

America thinks we ought to have a choice of a public option, 82 percent. 

MATTHEWS:  According to what? 

DEAN:  According to multiple polls that have been done of the

Democrats.  Fifty nine percent of the American people think there ought to

be a public option, when you tell them what a public option is.  So to say

how am I going to have anything to do with this debate, all I have to do is

stand up for what the majority of the American people want, again and again

and again.  I‘m going to keep doing it.

And if we don‘t get it this time, we‘re going to come back in two

years and try to do it again.  This issue is not going away, whether it

passes or it doesn‘t pass. 

MATTHEWS:  And do you believe that your lobbying for this public

option is helping this bill get passed or hurting it? 

DEAN:  I have no idea. 

MATTHEWS:  You have no idea? 

DEAN:  That‘s not my worry. 

MATTHEWS:  You‘re not worried that you might bring the bill down? 

DEAN:  I‘m not going to bring the bill down.  What we want is a

really good bill, the best we can possibly have.  If it means we have to

put pressure on Democrats to get it done, we‘ll do that. 

MATTHEWS:  You believe that this issue is still open? 

DEAN:  I believe it‘s open. 

MATTHEWS:  OK, thank you for coming on.  Thanks, governor.  We know

where you stand.  He‘s for the public option.  That‘s Howard Dean.

Up next, 2,000 transportation federal workers are out of work today,

all thanks to Republican Senator Jim Bunning, who is blocking a bill—

he‘s basically threatening to filibuster—that would extend federal

highway and transit programs, as well as unemployment programs.  But he

does have a point.  We‘re going to hear it.  When Republican pay for being

obstruction, will they pay?  That‘s ahead in the politics fix.  This is

HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  We‘re back.  Time for the politics fix with David Corn of

“Mother Jones” and PoliticsDaily.com, and “Time Magazine‘s” Jay Newton-

Small. 

Republican Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky is blocking a funding bill

that would extend, among other things, unemployment benefits, because he

says it would add 10 billion dollars to the national debt.  Well,

Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood put out a statement that said, quote,

“I am keenly disappointed that political games are putting a stop to

important construction jobs around the country.”

Here‘s Bunning on the floor today.  Let‘s listen. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JIM BUNNING ®, KENTUCKY:  If we can‘t find 10 billion dollars

to pay for something that we all support, we will never pay for anything on

the floor of this US Senate.  I have offered several ways to do this,

including trying to negotiate with the majority leader‘s staff.  None have

been successful. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Jay, what‘s the problem here?  This guy, Jim Bunning, I

know him.  I‘ve always rooted for him, a great Phillie pitcher and Hall of

Famer in both leagues.  What is this guy trying to do, by trying to

filibuster, a one man filibuster? 

JAY NEWTON-SMALL, “TIME MAGAZINE”:  He‘s trying to underline that the

Democrats haven‘t paid for this 10 billion dollars—

MATTHEWS:  They haven‘t.  So they‘re borrowing from the Chinese,

right? 

NEWTON-SMALL:  It‘s hypocritical in the sense that he voted for all

kinds of—he voted against pay-go, first of all, last week.  But he also

voted for all kinds of unpaid things like the Bush tax cuts.  So now he‘s

drawing a line arbitrarily, and where it really makes a difference, where

people are losing money.  People are losing unemployment benefits, health

insurance, jobs. 

MATTHEWS:  He‘s being very particular about what he finds offensive

in terms of deficit spending? 

NEWTON-SMALL:  Yes. 

DAVID CORN, “MOTHER JONES”:  The Democratic argument is this is an

emergency measure.  These benefits run out and—

MATTHEWS:  They‘re also immensely popular. 

CORN:  And they‘re very popular.  There are 2,000 people, as Ray

Lahood said, who are losing their jobs at the Transportation Department. 

And so it‘s 10 billion dollars in emergency funding. 

And Jay‘s right.  What he—Jim Bunning is being hypocritical,

because he voted for two Bush wars that were completely on the credit card. 

So now he‘s drawing the line.  He‘s saying it‘s principle.  The other thing

is, too, he can make his argument but he‘s not giving them a chance to

vote. 

MATTHEWS:  Here‘s more of Bunning‘s argument.   Let‘s all listen.  I

have a theory that he has a point.  The theory is, why put everything on

the credit card, even stuff that everybody on both sides of the—both

parties agree on.  If it‘s something that the American people agree they

have to do, it‘s worthwhile, why do we have to keep borrowing from the

Chinese for it?  At some point, we‘re going to have a problem here.  Why

not either raise taxes or cut some other spending.  If this is vital, take

away from something that‘s not vital.  Here‘s Senator Bunning.  Let‘s

listen. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUNNING:  We cannot keep adding to the debt.  It‘s over 14 trillion

dollars, and going up fast.  If the budget that is before us passes, it

will add another 1.5 trillion dollars to the debt. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  What do we make of the guy‘s personal situation right now,

Jay?  It‘s dangerous here a little bit.  It‘s a tricky matter.  But he‘s

been behaving in a way that‘s certainly outside the box.  Apparently, he

gestured indecently to a bunch of reporters the other day.  We can just

imagine what that is.  I‘m not getting into it.  But he did so.  It was

today apparently.  What do you make of that?  In the Senate elevator or

something. 

NEWTON-SMALL:  78 Years old—this afternoon, to a bunch of

reporters where he flipped them the Bird.  But he—look—

MATTHEWS:  Have you seen that before on the Hill? 

NEWTON-SMALL:  Not from a senator, no. 

MATTHEWS:  All right. 

NEWTON-SMALL:  But look, he‘s 78 years old.  He‘s really bitter about

being forced out.  He really wanted to run for election.  

MATTHEWS:  Mitch McConnell pushed him out.

NEWTON-SMALL:  Yes, Mitch McConnell pushed.

MATTHEWS:  So he‘s taking it out on the press. 

NEWTON-SMALL:  Yeah. 

MATTHEWS:  When in doubt, kick the dog, right?  Is that what is going

on here? 

NEWTON-SMALL:  He hasn‘t spoken to us for months.  I mean, every—

MATTHEWS:  Were you there to witness this gesture?

NEWTON-SMALL:  Gesture of good will?

CORN:  He‘s been erratic for years. 

MATTHEWS:  When I‘ve been with him, he‘s not erratic.  I‘ve talked to

him a lot of times.

CORN:  Listen, he missed almost every vote in December 2009.  In

January 2009, he disappeared for a week and wouldn‘t say where he was. 

Last time he ran for senator, he wouldn‘t go for a live debate with his

opponent.  Instead, he did it broadcast from a studio in Washington and

used a teleprompter.  He has shown no interest—“Time” Magazine, one of

the five worst senators.  So he‘s—even before he got into—

MATTHEWS:  I‘ve bumped into a number of times at church, a party. 

CORN:  You‘ve got baseball.

MATTHEWS:  I like him.  I‘m sorry.  Here is Vice President Biden in

Florida today.  He took a shot at him.  Here he is saying some nice things

about him.  He was with Bill Nelson, the vice president.  They were talking

about Recovery Act projects.  That is called stimulus.  Here is Vice

President Biden talking about Jim Bunning.  Let‘s listen. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  One of Bill‘s

colleagues is standing on the floor of the United States Senate as we

speak.  He‘s standing there and preventing the Senate from being able to

move forward on doing the kind of thing that we‘re doing here today. 

What‘s that mean; 400,000 people will be kicked off the rolls this month if

he has his way. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  That‘s a strange site.  I guess that‘s a reconstruction

site.  You think the camera guy would have zoomed in on the guy.

NEWTON-SMALL:  It looks like he‘s speaking from Chile or something

like that. 

MATTHEWS:  What do you make of that?  The vice president taking this

guy—everybody agrees that he‘s the odd man out, and you‘re suggesting

he‘s a little bit off kilter here. 

CORN:  I‘m saying there‘s been long-term evidence of that.  Listen,

where are the Senate Republicans?  One or two kind of defended him.  Most

are laying low, which is giving the Democrats a lot of running room,

because they can portray this as a Republican -- 

MATTHEWS:  That‘s the big news.  Are the Republican party as a party

are they—I get my verb agreement—is the Republican party in

trouble for blatantly looking obstructionist?  And why don‘t they make them

play Jimmy Stewart and say—why doesn‘t Harry Reid say, OK, Jim Bunning,

you‘re out on the mound.  You stay out there and you talk forever, because

the minute you stop talking, we‘re passing the bill.  Why doesn‘t he do

that to the guy? 

NEWTON-SMALL:  Even in the 1964 no hitter that Jim Bunning pitched,

in the ninth inning, he felt bad for the catcher.  This guy—was it Gus

Triandas (ph)?  He like called him in to have a break.  Said, come to the

mound, have a break.  I feel really bad for you.  For some reason, you

know, they are not forcing him to filibuster.  It‘s something that Reid has

really shied away from. 

MATTHEWS:  Why doesn‘t the Congress make people play Jimmy Stewart,

make them do an all nighter, make them filibuster, so the American people

see them filibuster and say, get to work. 

NEWTON-SMALL:  It‘s a great question.  They should.

MATTHEWS:  There is too much collegiality after all this.  Here is

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs taking a shot at him as well,

going after Senator Bunning here.  Let‘s listen. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  I think what we‘re trying

to draw attention to is the fact that hundreds of thousands of—hundreds

of thousands of people who have lost their job and lost their health care

because of that, and their unemployment benefits—all of that is

threatened because—because one person has decided to stop the entire

process. 

It‘s hard to bargain with somebody if you say, I won‘t don‘t do that

because of this; and then you say, how about we vote on that, and you say,

I object. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  There‘s something in my being that says when only one guy

takes a position, everybody disagrees with him, I want to hear what that

guy has to say.  You say that is selling in Kentucky, his home state.

NEWTON-SMALL:  I was in Kentucky this Weekend.  I was following Rand

Paul around. 

MATTHEWS:  So “Time Magazine” still has a budget, huh?  That‘s

wonderful. 

NEWTON-SMALL:  And I was talking to Trey Grayson (ph), who is the

secretary of state out in—

(CROSS TALK)

NEWTON-SMALL:  They are both running.  Both of them thought it was a

great move.  Both of them thought, hey, you know, here we are, we‘re

finally talking about fiscal responsibility.  We‘re finally talking about -

-

MATTHEWS:  So maybe if one senator stands up against federal spending

that isn‘t supported by revenue or cuts somewhere else, and we‘re headed

towards a 20 trillion dollar debt, and we owe all of this money to

overseas, basically—maybe somebody, even if it‘s a conservative being

hypocritical—at least somebody is saying. 

Anyway, thank you, David Corn.  I know you don‘t like to say nice

things about Philly baseball players.  I do.  And Jay Newton-Small.  Thank

you for reporting on that.

I‘ll wrap up the show with my own special commentary in a new segment

tonight we‘re calling Let Me Finish.  You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on

MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Let me finish with something that is new here on HARDBALL. 

Well, not entirely new. 

When I was in grad school at Chapel Hill, I used to head every

evening to the student union building to catch Walter Cronkite and Eric

Sevareid.  This was in the autumn of 1967, and the air was alive with the

Vietnam War.  Nobody seemed to care that the young of this country were

being sent off to war that was never going to end. 

Then something happened.  You could see it every night on the evening

news.  A soft spoken poet of a senator from Minnesota, Eugene McCarthy,

announced that he would challenge Lyndon Johnson in the New Hampshire

Democratic primary.  Every night, Cronkite would describe the political

events of the day, and Eric Sevareid would come on and give it real

meaning. 

He didn‘t, as I recall, come out against the war, though Cronkite

did.  But you knew from his commentaries the importance he gave to

McCarthy‘s campaign.  He conveyed the zest and excitement of it all, the

history that was taking place, day after day of that great effort up in the

stows of New Hampshire. 

Well, Sevareid was under considerable constraint back then as a

commentator.  William Paley (ph), who owned CBS, wanted there to be just

one opinion to matter that network, the guy who owned it.  That explains

why Sevareid had to try and tell both sides of an argument, even if it made

him seem like, in the brilliant estimate of a bartender friend of mine,

Eric Several-Sides. 

At MSNBC, we have more latitude to express a view.  I intend to use

it this time each night to inform, to illuminate, and, yes, to insight some

reaction.  I know from the years of hearing from people who watch me, they

do it to agree and to disagree with me.  And I‘ve never seen anybody who

watches this show quietly. 

Let me finish tonight by saying my hope is simple: to give you

something to think about and perhaps to react to. 

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   

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2010 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Copyright 2010 Roll Call, Inc.  All materials herein are protected by

United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,

transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written

permission of Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,

copyright or other notice from copies of the content.

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

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

More on TODAY.com

  1. Reuters; AP

    Lupita Nyong’o is People’s Most Beautiful person

    4/23/2014 11:54:41 AM +00:00 2014-04-23T11:54:41
  1. Activist Mary Fisher: How HIV inspired me to 'lighten the darkness' for strangers

    Activist, author and artist Mary Fisher writes about why, in the aftermath of a devastating diagnosis, she dedicated her life to helping others.

    4/23/2014 12:35:31 PM +00:00 2014-04-23T12:35:31
  2. video Father and daughter inspire 100 good deeds
  1. Courtesy of Savannah Guthrie

    Savannah’s honeymoon dispatch: Letting it hang out on the best vacation ever

    4/23/2014 10:56:55 AM +00:00 2014-04-23T10:56:55
  1. TODAY

    video Texting driver: ‘One second can change everything’

    4/23/2014 1:35:43 PM +00:00 2014-04-23T13:35:43
  1. TODAY

    video Matching mom and daughter fashion for a cause

    4/23/2014 1:12:15 PM +00:00 2014-04-23T13:12:15