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  1. Headline
updated 3/19/2010 10:42:39 AM ET 2010-03-19T14:42:39

Guest: Tim Phillips, Ken Gormley, Cynthia Tucker, Joan Walsh; Rep. Bart

Stupak, Debbie Wasserman Schultz

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  Sunday, bloody Sunday.

Let‘s play HARDBALL.

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

The road to—well, actually, the road to 216.  It‘s hard to say what‘s

happening with health care.  President Obama canceled his trip to Indonesia

to stay in Washington for the House vote, which is now expected sometime on

Sunday.  The Congressional Budget Office‘s much-awaited report on the

health care bill is out, and the Democrats seem to like it.

So will this be the deal-maker for Democrats to get the handful of

votes they say they need?  In a couple of minutes, we‘ll talk to a

Democratic congressman who‘s been the one constant roadblock to the bill,

Bart Stupak.

And remember this nasty picture we showed you yesterday from a

Columbus, Ohio, health care rally, where we saw protesters mocking a man

with Parkinson‘s disease?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘ll pay for this guy!  Here you go.  Stir (ph)

the pot.  I‘ll pay for you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘ll just...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, here‘s another one.  There you go!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Do you love a communist?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No more handouts!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Well, that protester in the white shirt there, who threw

money at the man suffering from Parkinson‘s disease, was carrying a sign

that reads “I Am AFP,” which stands for Americans For Prosperity.  And the

president of Americans for Prosperity will be here tonight to explain his

behavior, or that man‘s behavior.

Plus, the late word on the Monica Lewinsky scandal and Ken Starr‘s

investigation of former president Bill Clinton.  We‘re going to talk to the

author of a book who says that in order to keep from being indicted,

President Clinton had to cut a deal that required him to admit he had lied

under oath.

We‘ll also show you a much-interrupted Fox News interview with

President Obama.

And finally tonight, I‘ll finish with my thoughts on a South Carolina

congressman‘s attempt to drop Ulysses S. Grant from the $50 bill and

replace Grant with Ronald Reagan.

Let‘s start with the latest on the health care vote.  NBC News

political director Chuck Todd‘s also our chief White House correspondent. 

Chuck, I‘ve been trying to read it.  Which way is it going, toward the 216

or not?

CHUCK TODD, NBC WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT/POLITICAL DIR.:  Well, I

think this is a case that it‘s getting toward the 216, but they‘re not yet

there.  And more importantly, they need more time.  I mean, the most

important thing that Speaker Pelosi said was actually in an interview with

Rachel Maddow about a week ago, when she says, When you have the votes, you

call the vote.

And bottom line, on this schedule that the president had, which he

needed to leave on Sunday to get to Indonesia, it wasn‘t clear they were

going to have the votes by then.  She‘s not going to call this vote until

she has the votes, and they don‘t think—there is nervousness that they

need another 24 hours.  They may need until Monday.

They still want to say Sunday.  Everybody‘s saying Sunday.  But

frankly, the way this is going, you could see how this is stretching until

Monday.  The CBO report isn‘t completely finished.  They know that.  And

they wanted to have all their I‘s dotted and T‘s crossed, and it wasn‘t

going to happen on Sunday.  And they need that flexibility.  They don‘t

want him on Air Force One making phone calls.

MATTHEWS:  Well, tell me what you think or what your gut told you when

you heard the president‘s trip to Indonesia and Australia had been put off

until June?  That word came late today.

TODD:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  What did you make of that when you first heard that?  Did

you have a gut sense this means they don‘t have the votes yet, or what?

TODD:  Well, I think it means they didn‘t have the votes yet and they

were getting—and I think that means they‘re nervous about how the Senate

is going to do their deal next week.

Don‘t forget, this is a two-step process, right?  Step one, House

passes the Senate bill plus this reconciliation fixes.  Well, what‘s step

two?  That the Senate take those fixes, start this reconciliation process,

get the parliamentarian involved, make this decision about whether the

president has to sign the original health care bill first.  And then—

there‘s so many balls up in the air.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

TODD:  And the Senate is the Senate.  You don‘t know exactly how

they‘re going to react and how this whole amendment process is going to

work next week, that the idea of him not being on the ground, and him in

the middle of the Indonesian night...

TODD:  00not being able to focus on that and having to make phone

calls back here—it just was going to seem like an odd thing to the

public.  Look, he‘s been making the case to the American public that—he

hasn‘t, but others for him have, that his presidency, for the short term,

is on the line.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

TODD:  OK?  So what‘s he doing in Indonesia, right, the picture of

that, when...

MATTHEWS:  I agree.

TODD:  ... he‘s got to get it done here.

MATTHEWS:  It would remind a lot of people of Napoleon heading back to

Paris from Moscow, leaving the troops behind.  I mean that.  Anyway, thank

you so much, Chuck Todd, for that late report.

Let‘s go now to U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak.  He‘s a Democrat from

Michigan.  He‘s a pro-lifer.  He‘s a stalwart fellow.  He‘s not giving up. 

Let me ask you, what do you think your position on the bill is going to do

to the up-or-down, come perhaps Sunday, sir?

REP. BART STUPAK (D), MICHIGAN:  Well, right now, we‘d be in the no

column, along with a number of my colleagues who feel the same way I do. 

Lookit, current law says no public funding for abortions.  You don‘t put it

in legislation.  There‘s been a ban on it for 30-some years.  Why change

the law?  That‘s a principle we‘re standing up for and we‘re voting no.

MATTHEWS:  What do you make of the large organization of religious

orders, of religious nuns—apparently, this organization represents 90

percent of the religious sisters in this country.  What do you make of them

coming out for the bill as it‘s written?

STUPAK:  Well, with all due respect to the nuns, when I deal or am

working on right-to-life issues, we don‘t call the nuns.  I mean, we deal

with right to life.  We deal with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. 

I mean, their opinion...

MATTHEWS:  Why are the bishops more...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Why are the bishops more reliable than the nuns?

STUPAK:  Well, because I don‘t think I‘ve ever been—in my 18 years,

I don‘t think I‘ve ever had been contacted by the nuns to—on

legislation.  You know, it‘s seldom that you see them.  They‘re not

considered one of the groups that‘s actively involved up here on issues. 

They may surface.  They might write a letter, but they‘re not up here

talking with members.  And they‘re not the recognized spokesperson for the

Catholic church.

MATTHEWS:  Well, I can remember my Aunt Eleanor, who‘s my mom‘s

sister, who‘s a sister of St. Joseph, and she came and lobbied Tip O‘Neill

when I was working for him.  So I know one example.  I know the Maryknoll

nuns used to come and lobby the Speaker.  I mean, I have experience with

nuns being quite capable of representing their religion, so—but it‘s up

to you to tell me who you want to listen to.

Let me talk about Dale Kildee, who‘s a pro-lifer.  I talked to him

last night.  He said he‘s guided by his conscience in these decisions and

he‘s for the bill.  What do you make of that?  He was with you, now he‘s

with the president.

STUPAK:  Well, all due respect to Congressman Kildee, he was never

part of my group of 12.  We might see this legislation differently, maybe

as the nuns see it differently from the bishops.

Lookit, there‘s a real principle here that I‘m standing up for.  And

when you take a look at this legislation, the Senate bill allows for the

first time ever abortion to be a covered benefit in federal health care

plans, plans that are a part of the exchange (INAUDIBLE) by the federal

government.

MATTHEWS:  What about the argument...

STUPAK:  Go ahead, Chris.

MATTHEWS:  What about the argument that the way the bill is written,

even by the Senate, that it discourages companies from offering that

service, that procedure, that in the end—I‘ve heard this argument, I

hear your argument—and by the way, I respect your argument...

STUPAK:  Sure.

MATTHEWS:  ... that there‘s another argument that the way this thing‘s

written in the Senate, you‘re not going to have many insurance carriers

that will want to deal with the government on this basis, that‘ll want to

have to meet their standards for the two checks and all this procedures,

that they‘ll won‘t end up offering abortion as a service if they deal with

the government on this?

STUPAK:  I‘ve heard the argument.  It is a little bit burdensome. 

Every month, you‘re not going to sit down and write check for $1 to an

insurance company for reproductive rights which include abortion, plus your

share of the premium.

Look, let‘s just keep current law.  Keep the current law.  Keep the

current principle that we all believe in, no public funding for abortion. 

Keep it out of this health care debate.  I want to see health care pass. 

Man, I sit on all these hearings about preexisting injuries, rescissions,

underinsured, small businesses being forced out of providing coverage for

their employees.  I‘d love to see health care.

So let‘s just remove this whole thing, this whole abortion issue from

the health care.  Keep current law, and let‘s pass health care whether it‘s

Sunday or Monday.  Let‘s get the job done for the American people.

MATTHEWS:  We just got the report that Bart Gordon of—I believe

he‘s from Tennessee—has just declared that he has gone from no to yes. 

He‘s a pro-lifer, and says he‘s going to vote for the bill now.  Your

reaction to that?  This is news tonight.

STUPAK:  Not surprised.  Not surprised.  Again, in order to win this,

you had 39 members in the House.  I voted for the bill.  But there were 39

others who did not.  So if they want to get around Bart Stupak and the rest

of us who are standing up for our beliefs, then you have to flip some of

these 39.  And I predict they‘ll get half a dozen of them to flip.  You‘re

still going to be short about six.

MATTHEWS:  You think the bill will pass right now, Congressman?

STUPAK:  Right now today?  No.

MATTHEWS:  Do you think it‘s not going to make it?

STUPAK:  Right now today?  No.

MATTHEWS:  OK.

STUPAK:  By Sunday?  By Sunday?  They could have the votes.

MATTHEWS:  OK.

STUPAK:  Let‘s continue working on it.  Let‘s get the job done.

MATTHEWS:  Look, I respect your position.  Never get me wrong on this. 

I think this is a really good argument to have.  And in our country, I

think we have to have these arguments.  They‘re very important to have. 

We‘re not a country that doesn‘t care about life.  Countries have to make

these decisions, sir.  Thank you very much, Bart Stupak of Michigan, for

coming on.

STUPAK:  Thank you.

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s listen to House Speaker Pelosi today talking about

the push to pass health care, and she‘s leading the effort.  Here she is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  For the health and

wellbeing of American people, for the fiscal soundness of America‘s budget,

for seniors, for our young people, for women, for small businesses, for

competitiveness, we will make history and we will make progress by passing

this legislation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s turn now to Democratic congresswoman Debbie Wasserman

Schultz of Florida.  She‘s the chief deputy whip in the House and she knows

what‘s going on.  So Congresswoman, I know you know more than I know. 

Share.  How close are you to getting towards 216 by Sunday or later?

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA:  I think by Sunday, or

when we vote, which I believe will be Sunday afternoon, we will have the

216 votes that we need to finally pass this historic reform and cover

everyone in America, make sure that we provide some security and stability

to people who already have coverage.

MATTHEWS:  Why is the president not going to Indonesia on schedule? 

Have you been informed as a whip?

SCHULTZ:  Well, I think it‘s pretty obvious why the president wouldn‘t

go to Indonesia, because this is the most significant and historic piece of

legislation that we‘ve ever considered and—you know, short of Social

Security and Medicare.  And this is an opportunity to finally do what every

president for the last 100 years has tried to accomplish, and we need

Barack Obama‘s leadership.

MATTHEWS:  Do you think the members who are making statements about

why they‘re voting against the bill are giving true answers, or answers

that meet their expediency?  For example, Stephen Lynch up in Boston—

he‘s a Southie—representative from South Boston.  He‘s just come out

against the bill and he says he‘s going to vote against it because of the

cost issue.  But I know he‘s a pro-lifer, and I wonder whether he just

doesn‘t want to offend the pro-choicers in his district by saying that‘s

the reason.  What do you think?

SCHULTZ:  I‘m not going to question my colleagues‘ motivations for how

they cast their vote.  Everybody has their own reasons.  And listen, we‘ve

spent a lot of time on this bill...

MATTHEWS:  Are they giving us the honest reasons?  Are they telling us

the honest reasons why they‘re voting?

SCHULTZ:  Chris, I‘ll tell you, I‘m just not going to question the

motives.  I take my colleagues at their word, you know, in the Democratic

caucus.  We‘ve spent a lot of time on this bill, and each member has to

reach their own conclusion.  And whatever reason they state is the reason

that I think should be taken at face value.

MATTHEWS:  OK, here‘s a tricky question.  Are people being told

different things, depending on their philosophies?  For example, are the

pro-lifers being told that, in effect, you probably won‘t have coverage of

abortion services because it‘s going to be too onerous on the companies to

have separate checks coming in and it‘s just going to bother them to have

to advertise this way or whatever, and other people are being told, no,

this is a pro-choice bill?

SCHULTZ:  No...

MATTHEWS:  Are people getting different messages from Nancy Pelosi?

SCHULTZ:  Not at all.

MATTHEWS:  She said there‘s no abortion—do you buy the fact there‘s

no abortion provided for in this bill?

SCHULTZ:  I...

MATTHEWS:  Even though you‘re a pro-choicer.

SCHULTZ:  I‘m pro-choice, and I believe that every member, whether

you‘re anti-choice or pro-choice, can be confident that this bill is

neutral on abortion, doesn‘t change current law at all and insures that we

can have a separation between personal funds and government funds when it

comes to abortion coverage.  That‘s the important thing.

MATTHEWS:  Does the bill provide services for abortions?  Does it in

any way finance abortion, this bill?

SCHULTZ:  It does not provide in any way federal funding for abortion,

just like current law currently prohibits.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  So it‘s consistent with Hyde?

SCHULTZ:  It is.  And at the end of the day, health care reform should

not be about abortion.  That‘s what we‘ve been trying to get across.

MATTHEWS:  Well, you can it‘s not about it unless it provides for it. 

If it provides for it, it‘s about it.  But you say it doesn‘t, so let‘s

move on.

SCHULTZ:  OK.

MATTHEWS:  Your point about the final decision-making as a whip—

without giving away names of what you‘re negotiating with, but we can

probably figure it out by looking at the list—what do you think is going

to decide whether you get the 216 or not between now and Sunday?  What will

be the critical voting issues, as we say, that decide members?

SCHULTZ:  Well, I think the members that are still making their

decision are really the members that cost control is the most significant

issue for them.  And the CBO score that came out today that shows we get a

$138 billion reduction in the deficit, that we preserve Medicare for an

additional nine years and get a significant $1.4 percent savings in

Medicare every year in this legislation for the first 10 years—those are

the kind of things that are going to move those members.

And at the end of the day, we‘re going to be able to get to that magic

216 that we‘re going to need.

MATTHEWS:  Thank you so much...

SCHULTZ:  You‘re very welcome.

MATTHEWS:  ... Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who‘s out there

getting the votes for the president and the Speaker.

Coming up, that awful event in Ohio where tea party protesters—and

we can see them do it—humiliate a man with Parkinson‘s disease—he‘s

the guy sitting there on the ground—telling him he wasn‘t getting any

handouts from them.  Well, you make your judgment.  It‘s pretty obvious

about the human nature of this thing.  We‘re going to talk to the national

president of one of the groups that sponsored that event and see what he

thinks about that kind of behavior.

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  Opponents of health care reform

got out of hand at a rally in Columbus, Ohio, earlier this week when they -

some of them berated and humiliated a man suffering from Parkinson‘s

disease.  Here‘s that video.  You‘ve seen it before.  It was taken by a

“Columbus Dispatch” reporter, who‘s describing the scene.  You‘ll hear his

narration as we start.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  At one point, a man whose sign said he had

Parkinson‘s sat down in front of health care opponents.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  If you‘re looking for a handout, you‘re in the

wrong end of town!  Nothing for free over here.  You have to work for

everything you get!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘ll pay for this guy!  Here you go!  Start a pot! 

I‘ll pay for you.  Here you go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘ll decide whether when to give my money!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Here, here‘s another one.  There you go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You love a communist!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No more handouts!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Americans for Prosperity was one of the sponsors of the

anti-health care rally, and one of the protesters who threw that money was

someone who had that sign on, there he is, advertising the organization. 

It reads “I am AFP.”

Tim Phillips is president of Americans for Prosperity.  Well, let me

get to this—what do you think of that picture?

TIM PHILLIPS, AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY:  It‘s terrible.  And it‘s

reprehensible, and it no way reflects the spirit that we want our grass

roots activists and that 99.9 percent of them display, which is being

civil, spirited but civil.  That doesn‘t do that.

MATTHEWS:  Well, what‘s the spirit of that guy?  Describe that guy‘s

spirit.

PHILLIPS:  Callous and rude.  And it‘s wrong.

MATTHEWS:  Well, why is he so angry?  Why is he so angry that he picks

on guy who is handicapped?

PHILLIPS:  I can‘t put myself in...

MATTHEWS:  Well, I can.

PHILLIPS:  ... his place, Chris.

MATTHEWS:  He‘s mad.

PHILLIPS:  Well, he‘s mad, but I don‘t know why.

MATTHEWS:  He‘s mad about something in his life.

PHILLIPS:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  He doesn‘t like being hit for taxes.  He doesn‘t like being

hit for a big government thing.  There‘s something that‘s—look at this

guy.  He‘s well-dressed.  He‘s a businessperson.  He comes up there—you

know, he looks like he‘s got an MBA.  He‘s got that look.  He‘s all

together there.  He‘s not some ragtag guy.  Look, he‘s dressed for success

and he has an attitude.  I work—and the other guy pretty—in this part

of town, you don‘t get handouts.  What‘s “this part of town” in Columbus

they‘re talking about?

PHILLIPS:  Yes, I don‘t know. 

MATTHEWS:  What—oh, you do.  What part of town? 

PHILLIPS:  I don‘t know.  I don‘t know.  I‘m not from Columbus, Ohio.

But, listen, Chris, there were a bunch of folks at that rally event

who are also angry and frustrated at this health care takeover attempt. 

And they were acting in a way—the fellow in that green sweater that was

to his right, he was acting in a civil way.  And he‘s probably upset and

concerned, too.  So, I think it‘s hard to draw conclusions about folks. 

But those two guys were wrong.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s talk about the guy who is on the ground there.  What

should he be doing? 

PHILLIPS:  Well, look, he has every right to be there.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  No.  What should he be doing?  He‘s got Parkinson‘s.  He‘s

sitting on the ground there, engaged in this protest, to the extent he‘s

able to.  He can‘t stand up, obviously.  He‘s got a placard there. 

He believes in the health care proposal of the president.  Why is he

different than you, except that he has a need that you don‘t have?  I

noticed that all the people in your crowd there are all healthy, robust

guys, rough-and-ready characters.  They don‘t have any obvious diseases

haunting them.  They don‘t look like they have got cancer or something

that‘s really going to ruin their life, financially and physically, and

kill them. 

They look like they‘re the lucky genes pool.  And then you see the guy

on the ground who needs some help, and they‘re mocking a guy who needs help

because they don‘t think they do.  That‘s the spirit.  You say the behavior

bothers you.  What about the spirit of people who have been lucky health-

wise mocking a guy who has not been?  That‘s my question.  I will end it

there. 

PHILLIPS:  Two points.  The spirit...

MATTHEWS:  The spirit of those guys. 

PHILLIPS:  The spirit of a lot of people is this.  The government

can‘t do this job of taking care of health care and it should stay out of

it...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Well, what is—that guy, look, on the ground there, needs

help from the government. 

PHILLIPS:  And the second point is...

MATTHEWS:  But that guy on the ground needs help from the government. 

He says he does.  Is he wrong? 

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS:  I think that this health care plan is wrong for America. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Is that guy on the ground wrong to ask for help? 

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS:  He‘s there supporting a 2,000-page bill.  And I think he‘s

wrong in supporting that legislation. 

MATTHEWS:  What should he be doing? 

PHILLIPS:  I think he‘s wrong in supporting that legislation.  I‘m not

going to try to give him advice for what he should or should not be doing. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, ask—OK, pretend now you‘re recruiting him to

Americans for Prosperity.  Why don‘t you tell that guy sitting on the

ground who has got Parkinson‘s disease, probably a terminal disease in his

case, probably, he has, what, how many more years of this before he‘s gone,

right?  He‘s facing a bad future.  It‘s going to get worse.  This guy,

should he join your group? 

PHILLIPS:  Absolutely. 

MATTHEWS:  And what will you offer him? 

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS:  We had a lady with a brain tumor Canada who came down here

to get treatment.  And she stood with us.  And she said, Tim, I sought

Americans for Prosperity out because, in my country of Canada, I could

never have gotten the treatment that saved my life.  And so she sought us

out.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Wait a minute.  Where did her resources come from?  Not the

Canadian government. 

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS:  Absolutely not.  She had to do a second mortgage on her

house to fund this.  And it was pretty heavily resourced.  It stood up

under scrutiny.  She was in our first television ad. 

She came here and sought us out.  So, people—I have been at events

in Louisiana with a quadriplegic gentleman who stood and said—or was

there in his chair and he said, look, I don‘t want the government doing

this.  I‘m afraid they will decide my quality of life isn‘t worth saving,

Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  So that guy with Parkinson‘s should take out a second

mortgage on a house... 

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS:  Oh, come on.  I didn‘t say that.  Come on. 

MATTHEWS:  No, what should he do?  I‘m asking to you give this guy a

pitch, not the healthy guys.  We know where they stand.

PHILLIPS:  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  They‘re rough-and-ready guys.  They‘re probably

libertarians.  I can take care of myself—until they get in a motorcycle

accident, and somebody comes with an ambulance that they didn‘t pay for,

takes them to a hospital that they didn‘t pay for, puts them in an E.R.

that they didn‘t pay for, and then society pays their way.  And then

they‘re say they‘re self-reliant. 

They‘re not self-reliant.  They‘re potentially just as much a victim

as that guy.

PHILLIPS:  Here‘s the pitch I would make, Chris.   

MATTHEWS:  And they don‘t have the resources to do it, to deal with it

at the time.  They will take the free...

PHILLIPS:  Here‘s the pitch I would make to him.  Do you really want

the government deciding whether your quality of life at your age and with

the condition you have is worth saving?  I don‘t want some government

bureaucrat deciding that for you or for my mom and dad.  My mom just got

out of rehab.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Do you think that guy‘s getting good health care right now? 

PHILLIPS:  I‘ll tell you what. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  He‘s sitting in the street.

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS:  I think it‘s going to worse under the federal government.

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS:  I think it‘s going to worse under the federal government.

MATTHEWS:  He doesn‘t have anything.

PHILLIPS:  He‘s going to have a bureaucrat deciding that he‘s not

worth saving, potentially.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  He is as valuable to our society as any one of those

guys yelling at him. 

PHILLIPS:  No one‘s arguing that point here, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  What do you recommend he do? 

PHILLIPS:  I recommend that he not support legislation where

bureaucrat in this government may be deciding whether or not to cover his

sickness, because they‘re going to be deciding that. 

The section in the Senate law, 2713, does just that.  It establishes

boards that says, OK, we think this sickness and this sickness is worth

covering, but you know what?  That one‘s not.  And we‘re not going to cover

it.  We don‘t to trust them with that. 

MATTHEWS:  Here‘s my problem.  The 30 million people that are going to

get health care subsidized under this bill right now have relied on a

private sector program that doesn‘t exist.  They don‘t get health care now. 

So, whatever you‘re talking about doesn‘t exist.  There is no health

care for the 30 million people who will benefit from this program of the

president. 

PHILLIPS:  And we‘re going to destroy the best health care system for

the other people.

MATTHEWS:  No, but those 30 million people, those 30 million people,

of which that gentleman on the ground represents, those 30 million have

nothing.

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS:  Do you know that? 

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS:  I‘m not sure you know that, Chris. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  I know there‘s 30 million people, and I know that guy‘s in

desperate straits, and I know that guy‘s for the president‘s health care

bill, because he‘s got a placard on him that says so.  I don‘t have to make

any assessments here. 

And you haven‘t come up with a solution, your crowd, for the people

that are in need.  You have a solution for the people who are not in need. 

You, in other words, have a health care plan for the healthy.  That‘s

your...

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS:  That‘s ridiculous.  That‘s just not true. 

MATTHEWS:  I have just seen them there.

PHILLIPS:  That‘s not true.  There are a number—there are millions

of Americans with conditions, and they are deeply concerned about whether

or not their particular coverage and their quality of life is going to be

worth saving under this government. 

And, look, the president loves to bash these insurance companies.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  But you guys don‘t have a plan. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  But you don‘t have to plan for the 30 million uninsured. 

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS:  People trust the insurance companies more than they trust

this federal government.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  You and the Republican Party—I have guys on here like

Pence.  Night after night, they come on and they say, if only we had power. 

And I say, guys, when you were in power under President Bush, when you

had both houses of Congress, you didn‘t do any of this stuff.  You did

squat.  You never do anything.  You wait for the Democrats to propose

something and you point to the flaws in their proposals and have a big

rally about it, how excited you are to point to the flaws, but you have no

program. 

What is your program for the 30 million uninsured right now?

PHILLIPS:  Let me give you three good ideas.

MATTHEWS:  No, program to insure them, to give them health care.

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS:  You don‘t need a 2,000-page program to fix this.  That

doesn‘t work, Chris. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  OK.  What is your program to give them insurance, to give

them insurance? 

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS:  Allow people to go across state lines to get their health

insurance coverage.  That‘s going to make a difference.

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  That guy‘s going to walk across state lines. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  That guy, how is he going to get across state lines?  He

can‘t walk. 

PHILLIPS:  You can do it on the Internet, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

PHILLIPS:  The second thing is risk-pooling for small businesses and

families, so they can join greater pools of people and get coverage that

way.  Those two things alone, without creating some big 2,000-page

bureaucracy, would go a long way towards solving... 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  And what Republican congressperson has gotten that bill

passed or tried to in all the times Republicans have been in power? 

PHILLIPS:  I‘m not here to defend Republicans.  And they deserve to be

beaten up sometimes over this.

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS:  Chris, I‘m not going to do that.  I‘m not going to defend

those guys. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  What is your group called? 

PHILLIPS:  Americans for Prosperity, not Americans for Republicans. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  What has Americans for Prosperity done to get a bill passed

that meets the goals you just set of interstate competition and pooling

purchasing of medical products?  Where did this all—this is all

illusory?  You talk about it as if it exists.  You guys have nothing...

PHILLIPS:  We support it. 

MATTHEWS:  ... to offer except criticism. 

PHILLIPS:  That‘s unfair and it‘s wrong.  We have been calling for

these proposals for years. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Where‘s Pence on this?  Where‘s Boehner on this?  Where‘s

Eric Cantor?

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS:  They support those two provisions I just said.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Well, they have been in power.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Until recent elections, sir, they didn‘t do anything when

they had all the power.  Why not? 

PHILLIPS:  I can‘t speak for them. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, you‘re a lobbyist.  You‘re supposed to...

PHILLIPS:  I‘m a lobbyist?  I‘m a grassroots organizer.  I‘m a

community activist, Chris.  Come on.  come on. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  To what effect are you grassroots-organizing, if not to get

somebody to do something that you believe in? 

PHILLIPS:  I just laid out the things we‘re for.

MATTHEWS:  To what effect?

PHILLIPS:  And we‘re going to push those and we‘re going to keep

pushing those.

MATTHEWS:  It‘s just talk. 

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS:  But right now...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  You‘re throwing these ideas out as alternatives because

it‘s a way to discourage people to do something that might happen.  When

are you going to do something that might happen for the 30 million people

uninsured?

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS:  If you passed those two ideas, you would increase the

coverage for eight to 10 million of those.

MATTHEWS:  OK, what‘s the name of the bill?  What Republicans are

pushing these things? 

PHILLIPS:  Jim DeMint has a piece of legislation.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Oh, Jim DeMint is going to...

PHILLIPS:  Absolutely.

MATTHEWS:  Jim DeMint.

PHILLIPS:  Yes, Jim DeMint.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Jim DeMint, who votes against every single thing.  He votes

against—his voting record is a no for...

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS:  He would vote for that.  Put it up in a freestanding

amendment.  He would do it...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Everybody watching now knows that you guys have empty

pockets when it comes to a proposal.  What you‘re very good at is

criticizing.  You‘re really good at the.... 

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS:  Well, it‘s not hard to criticize a 2,000-page bill... 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  ... you share with that guy who was throwing money at that

guy.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  What he‘s really doing was mocking that effort of that guy. 

He was mocking it. 

PHILLIPS:  Two people out of hundreds.  Don‘t disparage the entire

effort, Chris.   

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Did you see anybody in that crowd disagree with those two

guys? 

PHILLIPS:  Yes, they did.  The guy in the green jacket looked like he

was talking to him. 

But, look, hundreds of upon hundreds of people were at that rally. 

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

PHILLIPS:  And they were being spirited and appropriate.  And please

don‘t denigrate all those Americans who were there doing the right thing. 

It‘s good...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  What was the right thing?  To be against health care?

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS:  The right thing is to stand up to a health care takeover

that‘s attempting to be pushed through by this Congress right now. 

MATTHEWS:  You know, you guys have very good rhetoric, takeover, you

know, socialism.  You‘re really good at that. 

PHILLIPS:  It is a takeover.

MATTHEWS:  What you‘re not good at is insuring the 30 million people

that don‘t have insurance right now.  That‘s what you‘re not good at.

PHILLIPS:  We have good ideas for those to help cover those people.  I

just gave you two of them.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  How come the 30 million aren‘t saying, let‘s have that

Republican plan?

PHILLIPS:  Hey, I don‘t see them out in the street pushing for Obama‘s

plan in big numbers either.  We can‘t find the other side.  They‘re

terrified.  They know they‘re losing right now, because their ideas are

being rejected by the American people.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  You know, you may be right. 

PHILLIPS:  Put them in the street, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  You may be right.

PHILLIPS:  I don‘t see them.

MATTHEWS:  You may be right, but I think you‘re wrong.

But thank you.  It‘s great...

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS:  You bet.

MATTHEWS:  You have got a nice spirit.  You got some bad friends,

though. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Anyway, more HARDBALL after this. 

PHILLIPS:  Chris, that‘s just...

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  You have got to find that guy with your T-shirt on. 

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Up next:  Bill Clinton and that Monica Lewinsky affair, we

have got an author on that who is one going over it again.  We are going to

talk to him about how the president, the former president had to cut a deal

admitting he lied under oath, so that he wouldn‘t be indicted. 

We‘re going to get a little—this may be the last look at this case,

but an interesting one. 

And, later, President Obama repeatedly interrupted in a big interview

on FOX News.  You have got wonder about how that thing got booked.

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMPTON PEARSON, CNBC CORRESPONDENT:  I‘m Hampton Pearson with your

CNBC “Market Wrap.”

Stocks ending the day mixed, with the Dow pulling away from the other

indices late in the day, the Dow up nearly 45 points, extending its winning

streak to eight, count them, eight in a row.  The S&P off a fraction.  The

Nasdaq adding three points.

Some upbeat economic reports helping reassure investors today.  We‘re

talking about a slight drop in weekly unemployment claims, a flat reading

on the consumer side of inflation, and a better-than-expected report on

Mid-Atlantic manufacturing. 

In stocks, Boeing leading the Dow as its massive new cargo jet took to

the air for a final round of testing. 

Nike, another winner today, shares surging more than 5 percent after

knocking some of the socks off with a blockbuster earnings report.  And

Federal Express beating on earnings and reporting a 7 percent jump in

revenue, shares up more than 3 percent. 

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

HARDBALL. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1998)

BILL CLINTON,  PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I want you to listen

to me.  I‘m going to say this again.  I did not have sexual relations with

that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.  I never told anybody to lie, not a single time. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON:  Indeed, I did have a relationship with Ms. Lewinsky that was

not appropriate.  In fact, it was wrong. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Wow.  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Those statements were, of course, the bookends that came to define a

portion of Bill Clinton‘s presidency. 

Law professor Ken Gormley has done extensive interview with the key

people in that investigation and has new insights in his book, “The Death

of American Virtue.” 

Thank you. 

And why do you call it that, “The Death of American Virtue”? 

KEN GORMLEY, “THE DEATH OF AMERICAN VIRTUE”:  Well, really, Chris, I

was talking about public virtue, this notion that sometimes it‘s better to

have restraint on both sides, I‘m talking about.  And I think both sides

lost their compass on this and were fighting to the death.  And that was

not...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Should there have been—I have heard different stories

about this, that there are ways that it could have been avoided.  They

could have avoided impeachment.  They could have just done a resolution of

some kind. 

GORMLEY:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  Why didn‘t that happen?  Why wasn‘t something done

appropriate to the misbehavior, instead of putting the black mark against

President Clinton for life, really, in the record books?

GORMLEY:  Right. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Well, do you think it was worthy of impeachment?  First of

all, Andrew Johnson shouldn‘t have been impeached.  That was totally

political, back after the Civil War. 

GORMLEY:  Right. 

Well, I viewed Henry Hyde before he died.  He thought that this was

the honorable thing to do, that Clinton had lied under oath.  President

Ford told me this remarkable story, that he was trying to broker...

MATTHEWS:  Henry Hyde didn‘t do this because the Clinton people were

pushing the story about his youthful indiscretion?  This didn‘t get

personal with him?

GORMLEY:  No, I don‘t—I don‘t think it really did.

MATTHEWS:  But you know that story, don‘t you, that the Clinton people

were pushing that story?

GORMLEY:  Yes, sure I do.  Yes, I understand that.  But I don‘t think

that that was the reason. 

I think Henry Hyde really believed this.  But I also...

MATTHEWS:  Oh, I know, but he also had a personal attitude, which was

these guys are cutthroat in the way they play politics. 

GORMLEY:  Well, that‘s what I‘m saying.  Both sides lost it in this

thing and forgot about protecting the institutions of government. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  OK. 

Why did Bill Clinton, the president of the United States, even answer

questions about a relationship with Monica Lewinsky, when it had really

nothing to do with the Paula Jones civil case?  Why didn‘t he just say, I‘m

not going to sit here and tell you everything I have ever done with

anybody; it‘s irrelevant to this case; I‘m not going to answer; call the

federal marshals; bring them in; I‘m not answering the questions?

GORMLEY:  Yes, that‘s a great question.

MATTHEWS:  Well, what‘s the answer?

GORMLEY:  The answer is...

MATTHEWS:  Why did he get involved in perjury?

GORMLEY:  There was a federal judge, Judge Susan Webber Wright,

sitting in the room who said, you have to answer these questions. 

MATTHEWS:  So what?  Thank you, Judge.  I‘m not going to answer them. 

GORMLEY:  Well, that was one option.

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s take it to court.  We will go to the Supreme Court. 

I‘m president of the United States.

GORMLEY:  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  This has nothing at all to do with the Paula Jones case. 

GORMLEY:  Or he could have taken a default judgment and said, this is

a civil suit, so I will pay some money.  I‘m not answering.

MATTHEWS:  I will pay the money.

GORMLEY:  Right.  He could have done that.  But, at this point, he

thought that there were only two people in the world who knew about this

affair, him and Monica. 

Of course, he didn‘t know about the blue dress.

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

GORMLEY:  And so he assumed that it would never come out. 

MATTHEWS:  So he thought he could—he could push his way through? 

GORMLEY:  And I don‘t believe his lawyer, Bob Bennett, knew. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes, that‘s what you told me.  That makes sense in this

case.

What is the story here about this, that he had to offer up this

statement?  Let‘s put the full screen up here.  This is a statement that

the president put just as he was leaving office.  It was released just—

actually just literally before the other president came in.  Quote, “I

tried to walk a fine line between acting lawfully and testifying falsely. 

But I now recognize that I did not fully accomplish this goal, and that

certain of my responses to questions about Ms. Lewinsky were false.” 

Why did the president say—it seems to me, obviously, it was true. 

He was making false statements.  He wasn‘t giving honest answers in the

deposition.  But why did he make that statement? 

GORMLEY:  This was part of the deal.  This wasn‘t made public as

much as it should have been, that there was a carefully-crafted dealing not

to indict President Clinton just as he‘s walking out the door of the White

House.  And Robert Ray, who took over from Ken Starr, sat down with

President Clinton, one-on-one, and told him he had to resolve all of these

issues, which led to suspension of his Bar license in Arkansas, paying a

25,000 dollar fine for contempt in the civil case, and also making this

statement that he had walked this fine line. 

Now, notice that he never says that he intentionally lied under oath

and committed a crime.  And his lawyer, David Kendall, was adamant that if

he was going to have to admit to a crime, he would fight to the death on

that.  You have to give Robert Ray a lot of credit for this, and he really

has never received credit.  He figured out a solution that was good for the

country here. 

MATTHEWS:  I made a statement on the air during this time.  I said

what was impeachable wasn‘t proven, and what was proven wasn‘t impeachable. 

Apparently, one of the Democrats who was defending the president used that

in a big plaque and used that in a big quote.  Is that true, what was

impeachable wasn‘t proven, and what was proven about his misbehavior, if

you will, wasn‘t impeachable. 

GORMLEY:  I agree with that. 

MATTHEWS:  Why was he impeached? 

GORMLEY:  I think that the House was pushing this because I believe

the House managers thought as long as they could have that asterisk next to

his name—

MATTHEWS:  They wanted to put the Mark of Cain on him, basically. 

GORMLEY:  I really do think that was part of it.  And I think it was

a terrible mistake.  And the Senate got it right and knew that this was not

impeachable.  It didn‘t have to do with a matter of state. 

Ultimately, Chris, you know who the heroes were in this otherwise

tragic story? 

MATTHEWS:  Yes, I‘d love to know.

GORMLEY:  The American public, because they ultimately put a stop to

it.  They got it.  They understood what he had done wrong.  The punishment

didn‘t fit the crime.  And they ultimately said stop, enough.  And that‘s

when the impeachment came to an end. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, it was also the senators. 

GORMLEY:  Sure.  But the American public gave that message to the

Senate and they understood. 

MATTHEWS:  Have you closed the book on this?  Is this the end? 

GORMLEY:  I would certainly hope so.  But you have to look in the

mirror and recognize both sides are responsible. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you so much.  You seem like a reasonable guy. 

Thank you so much for all this work.  The name of the book? 

GORMLEY:  The “Death of American Virtue, Clinton Versus Starr.”

MATTHEWS:  Thank you very much, Ken Gormley, for that.  We‘re going

to coming right back.  Up next, President Obama‘s unusually testy interview

with Fox news.  Again, I wonder who set up this interview.  Wait until you

see this one.  This was not pleasant.  This is HARDBALL coming up here. 

It‘s not HARDBALL.  This is Fox coming up.  We‘re going to show you it,

what you‘re going to see, on HARDBALL.  That‘s coming up.  More HARDBALL

coming back on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  Making his final push for

health care reform, President Obama appeared on Fox last night.  As this

montage showed, it was hard going, hard for him to get in a sentence, at

least a full one. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  And I don‘t think we should pretend otherwise, and if—

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT:  But Mr. President,

this Monday—

OBAMA:  Brett, let me finish. 

BAIER:  Let me insert this.  Let me get to more specifics on

substance, not process.  

OBAMA:  Hold on a second, Brett.  We‘ll have more security.  So—

BAIER:  How can you—you guarantee that they‘re going to be able

to keep their—

OBAMA:  Brett, you‘ve got let me finish my answers. 

BAIER:  But, sir, I know you don‘t like the filibuster. 

OBAMA:  I‘m trying to answer your questions.  You keep on

interrupting.

Let‘s assume that I had never proposed health care—

BAIER:  But you wanted to change Washington, Mr. President, and now

we‘re doing it the same way.

OBAMA:  Brett, let me finish my answers here. 

BAIER:  Mr. President, I‘m getting wrapped up.  I don‘t want to

interrupt you.  I apologize for interrupting you so much.  I was trying to

get the most for our buck. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  How‘s he doing.  I don‘t know why he gave him the

interview.  Joan Walsh is the editor in chief for Salon.com and Cynthia

Tucker is political columnist for “Atlanta Journal Constitution.”  Joan, I

don‘t know he got the booking or why he did it.  If I were him, I would

wonder who brought that character into the Oval Office.  Your thoughts? 

JOAN WALSH, SALON:  He wanted to get the most for his buck?  Did he

pay somebody, Chris?  That was ridiculous. 

MATTHEWS:  Who were the people that crashed the White House party. 

This guy must be their buccaneer buddy or something.  Your thoughts?  

WALSH:  Yes, somebody—I don‘t think Gibbs set that up for a buck. 

Trust me.  I don‘t know who set it up.  But it was a waste of the

president‘s time.  Except, Chris, I will say one thing.  He fights to get

his point across.  And you know, they just look really disrespectful.  It

was a really disrespectful thing to do. 

We don‘t expect much better than Fox.  But every time they want to

go around telling us that they‘re a news channel and not an opinion

channel, I think somebody should play that audio montage, because that was

extraordinary. 

CYNTHIA TUCKER, “ATLANTA JOURNAL CONSTITUTION”:  And that‘s why I

think it was important for the president to be there, quite frankly.  I

think he did score some points. 

MATTHEWS:  How so? 

TUCKER:  Not with loyal Fox viewers.  But there might have been a

few independents who were watching who would give the president credit for

walking into the lion‘s den.  This guy has some guts.  He knows that they

oppose everything he stands for.  But he‘s still there, trying to make his

point, even with Fox News. 

It clearly wasn‘t an interview, by the way.  You know, journalism

students in high school would recognize that that wasn‘t an interview.  The

guy was trying—the interviewer, Baier, was trying to score political

points himself, which is what Fox News always does.  It‘s not news.  It‘s

propaganda. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you now—we can agree on that, I think, just

watching it.  People have to make their own judgments.  I‘m sure there‘s

other versions of that interview available on the web.  You can probably

find other versions.  But looking at that, it looked like he was

interrupted like 16 or 17 times, and clearly those were a lot of real

interruptions in a reasonably brief interview. 

Let me ask you, Joan, first of all, where this stands.  It looks to

me like, slowly, the leadership is able to bring over people towards the

216, as we leave the airways at the end of this week.  We‘re heading

towards the end of the week.  Is it your sense that they have enough

stamina to take this across the finish line at this point, to 216? 

WALSH:  No one should ever doubt Nancy Pelosi‘s stamina.  So I

don‘t.  I think they‘ll get their 216.  I think they‘re talking to people. 

They‘re twisting arms.  They‘re cajoling.  They‘re doing what they need to

do. 

I really don‘t doubt that they will get to 216.  I know they flipped

a couple of no votes just today.  It‘s slow going.  It‘s really person by

person. 

Also, Chris, can I just thank you for standing up for the Catholic

nuns against Bart Stupak, because he didn‘t need to disrespect the nuns to

stick with his position.  So you have Catholic pro-life people coming over,

listening to the nuns and saying, this is a pro-life deal.  I think they‘re

doing a good job now of combatting the last bit of resistance. 

MATTHEWS:  I agree with you on that point.  I was being respectful

to him, as well.  But I do—on the point—

WALSH:  You were good..

MATTHEWS:  -- of treating nuns—my late mom‘s two sisters are

Sisters of St. Joseph.  You couldn‘t be more qualified to talk about public

policy.  One of my aunts has been teaching kids since 1942.  She taught

special education kids all those years, way before we even had the right

words to use. 

WALSH:  It‘s just so much guts for them to stand up.

MATTHEWS:  All of that, the vow of poverty, and people who disagreed

with their position on choice.  Just remember, these people devote their

lives, every day of their life, to helping people.  So they have a right to

have an opinion at least.

TUCKER:  Absolutely.  And I, too, was very pleased that they came

out and said, health care reform is the pro-life position. 

MATTHEWS:  That‘s your argument.  They have a different argument. 

In this case, I wasn‘t—weren‘t you, though, impressed—we‘ve got to go

to Joan on this.  Weren‘t you positively impressed, regardless of the right

or wrong of what side you‘re on, that the nuns as organization, 600,000 of

them, representing 90 percent of their religion sisters in this country,

got out there and did respect and offer their opinion.  And they didn‘t let

the bishops just entirely monopolize this conversation? 

WALSH:  I was moved by it, Chris.  They did.  Standing up to the

bishops, there will—I‘m sure there will be penalties.  They did it

because they are a voice of conscience, and they are a voice for the poor

in this country, and for the uninsured, unemployed.  It took a lot of guts. 

I really, really appreciated the way you stood up for them. 

MATTHEWS:  Cynthia, let‘s look at a couple of the people that have

moved over already today, Bart Gordon, I believe he‘s Tennessee, and Betsy

Markey of Colorado.  They‘re moving over a little at a time, Dale Kildee

yesterday, Dennis Kucinich from the progressive side.  They are picking up

people here and there.  They have to get to 216 and nobody says they‘re

there yet. 

TUCKER:  Nobody says they‘re there yet.  They‘re very optimistic,

Chris.  I think Dennis Kucinich was a very important win on the progressive

side, because now he‘s going to other progressives, trying to persuade them

to come over as well. 

On the conservative side, the CBO scoring of the bill, showing that

it reduces the deficit even more than the original House or Senate bill

were, that‘s good for the Blue Dogs.  And so, yes, I think they‘ll get to

216. 

MATTHEWS:  Cynthia, thank you.  Thank you so much, Joan.  We agree

on many, many things.  When we return, I‘ll have some thoughts about the

effort to replace President Grant on the 50 bill dollar bill with President

Reagan.  You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Let me finish tonight with this: a North Carolina

congressman is pushing the idea of take Ulysses F. Grant off the 50 dollar

bill and replacing him with Ronald Reagan.  I can only guess that there is

politics involved with this, dare I say local politics. 

My old boss, Tip O‘Neil, was famous for saying that “all politics is

local.”  I guess it could be good politics in North Carolina for a local

politician to celebrate a recent conservative Republican president.  I

guess it might also be a nice little grace note to do so by dumping from

the 50 dollar bill the face of the general who won the Civil War. 

But that bit of local politics is hardly a justification for this

idea.  The Civil War was a tragedy.  It cost this country 600,000 Americans

death.  Young men shot at each other at point-blank range across open

fields in places like Gettysburg.  Guys who were in the same class at West

Point went at each other, each man leading an army, trying to kill the army

of his classmate. 

We, the American people who fought in the Civil War, had

overwhelmingly the same Christian religion.  As Lincoln put it in the

Second Inaugural, “both pray to the same God.  Both sides spoke the same

language.  And both paid deep respect to the founding fathers,” and until

1861, the same republic. 

The historic fact is all that Americans owe the greatest respect

toward the general who won and ended this war.  Sam Grant went from leading

a local militia to leading the Union forces by winning battles.  Because he

won those battles, the war ended quicker than it might have.  Because he

believed in the cause of ending slavery, those victories meant something. 

Because he wanted the free slaves to have a true freedom, a true

opportunity to make it in this country afterwards, this enormously popular

two-term president was attacked in later years by revisionist historians. 

Remember this if you remember nothing else: the first southern

general that Grant beat in the Civil War was a close friend of his, Simon

Buckner.  The first friend he met at Appamatox Courthouse after the war was

another old classmate, General James Longstreet.  When he lay dying,

Longstreet was one of the last to spend any time sitting with him.  Many

southern officers marched in the funeral parade, including General Simon

Buckner himself, who served as one of General Grant‘s pall bearers. 

This is a great country, a unified country for the very reason that

there was this real personal respect among the men who fought in that

great, awful war.  We should not let our failed memory or inadequate

appreciation of true American history to pay disrespect to one of its

leaders in a lame attempt to honor another. 

That‘s HARDBALL for now.  Thanks for being with us.  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   

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