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,
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
We‘ll also show you a much-interrupted Fox News interview with
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
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.
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.
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.
TODD: OK? So what‘s he doing in Indonesia, right, the picture of
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...
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
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
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...
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.
STUPAK: By Sunday? By Sunday? They could have the votes.
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
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
(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?
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?
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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?
PHILLIPS: I think that this health care plan is wrong for America.
MATTHEWS: Is that guy on the ground wrong to ask for help?
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?
MATTHEWS: And what will you offer him?
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
MATTHEWS: Wait a minute. Where did her resources come from? Not the
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,
MATTHEWS: So that guy with Parkinson‘s should take out a second
mortgage on a house...
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.
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.
MATTHEWS: Do you think that guy‘s getting good health care right now?
PHILLIPS: I‘ll tell you what.
MATTHEWS: He‘s sitting in the street.
PHILLIPS: I think it‘s going to worse under the federal government.
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
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
PHILLIPS: Do you know that?
PHILLIPS: I‘m not sure you know that, Chris.
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
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.
MATTHEWS: But you guys don‘t have a plan.
MATTHEWS: But you don‘t have to plan for the 30 million uninsured.
PHILLIPS: People trust the insurance companies more than they trust
this federal government.
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
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.
PHILLIPS: You don‘t need a 2,000-page program to fix this. That
doesn‘t work, Chris.
MATTHEWS: OK. What is your program to give them insurance, to give
PHILLIPS: Allow people to go across state lines to get their health
insurance coverage. That‘s going to make a difference.
MATTHEWS: That guy‘s going to walk across state lines.
MATTHEWS: That guy, how is he going to get across state lines? He
PHILLIPS: You can do it on the Internet, Chris.
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...
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.
PHILLIPS: Chris, I‘m not going to do that. I‘m not going to defend
MATTHEWS: What is your group called?
PHILLIPS: Americans for Prosperity, not Americans for Republicans.
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.
MATTHEWS: Where‘s Pence on this? Where‘s Boehner on this? Where‘s
PHILLIPS: They support those two provisions I just said.
MATTHEWS: Well, they have been in power.
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.
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
MATTHEWS: It‘s just talk.
PHILLIPS: But right now...
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
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.
MATTHEWS: Oh, Jim DeMint is going to...
MATTHEWS: Jim DeMint.
PHILLIPS: Yes, Jim DeMint.
MATTHEWS: Jim DeMint, who votes against every single thing. He votes
against—his voting record is a no for...
PHILLIPS: He would vote for that. Put it up in a freestanding
amendment. He would do it...
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....
PHILLIPS: Well, it‘s not hard to criticize a 2,000-page bill...
MATTHEWS: ... you share with that guy who was throwing money at that
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
MATTHEWS: Did you see anybody in that crowd disagree with those two
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.
PHILLIPS: And they were being spirited and appropriate. And please
don‘t denigrate all those Americans who were there doing the right thing.
MATTHEWS: What was the right thing? To be against health care?
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.
MATTHEWS: How come the 30 million aren‘t saying, let‘s have that
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.
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...
PHILLIPS: You bet.
MATTHEWS: You have got a nice spirit. You got some bad friends,
MATTHEWS: Anyway, more HARDBALL after this.
PHILLIPS: Chris, that‘s just...
MATTHEWS: You have got to find that guy with your T-shirt on.
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
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.
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
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
(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.”
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
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
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.> transcript
Watch Hardball each weeknight
at 5 & 7 p.m. ET
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