1. Headline
  1. Headline
updated 4/21/2010 9:32:56 AM ET 2010-04-21T13:32:56

Guest: Mark Halperin, Andrew Ross Sorkin, Chris Cillizza, Richard Clarke,

Barry Levinson

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  Senator Gordon Gecko.

Let‘s play HARDBALL.

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

The public interest versus a Wall Street mouthpiece.  What are the

Republicans really saying about Wall Street reform?  Just as Mitch

McConnell seemed to dial back the rhetoric that the Democrats‘ bill is

nothing more than a recipe for endless bank bail-outs, House minority

leader John Boehner dialed it right back up.  The bail-out falsehood is the

“death panel” of the Wall Street debate.  We‘ll try to get to the bottom of

the debate with real English and what the bill actually does right at the

top of the show.

Also, Republican purge.  Arlen Specter is out, John McCain, Charlie

Crist and Robert Bennett are all being threatened on the right.  Is this

any way to run a party, or run it into the ground?

Next: Where‘s the credit?  The top two leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq

were killed over the weekend in a joint operation by U.S. and Iraqi forces. 

Does President Obama get enough credit for being tough on terrorism? 

That‘s my question for former counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke.

Plus, wait until you see how the President parried with a gay rights

heckler.  We‘ll have it in the HARDBALL “Sideshow.”

And “Let Me Finish” with a tribute to a real American hero tonight.

Let‘s start with the politics of financial reform and the lingo. 

“Time” magazine‘s Mark Halperin is the co-author of the great book “Game

Change.”  And “The New York Times‘s” Andrew Ross Sorkin is the author of

“Too Big to Fail.”  We have two giants on the show tonight.  Gentlemen,

thank you for joining us.

It seems to me that the president has finally got the accent right. 

He calls it Wall Street.  He doesn‘t say “financial regulation” or all

these boring terms.  He says, We got to clean up Wall Street.  We got to

stop them from stealing our money.  He seems to be getting it right.  On

the other hand, the Republicans, thanks to that linguist, Frank Luntz,

continue to lie.  Is that too strong a term?

MARK HALPERIN, CO-AUTHOR, “GAME CHANGE”:  Well, I think they certainly

are changing their tune because you cannot sustain an argument in politics

if you don‘t believe it and it‘s not true.  You can get away with one or

the other, but I don‘t think you can get away with both.

MATTHEWS:  Can the Republicans continue to say an untruth, which is

Barack Obama‘s attempt to clean up Wall Street is an attempt to keep

endless bail-outs going on?  Is that fair or honest in any way?

HALPERIN:  Well, it does codify the notion of a bail-out fund.  But

it‘s not fair because there are always going to be bail-outs.  There‘s a

reason these guys all voted for it, or almost all voted for it last year

because if something is too big to fail, then you got to bail it out.

This is an attempt to try to remove the burden from taxpayers and it‘s

an attempt to try to make it a more predictable process, where failure is

less likely.  Again, I think the Republicans, you‘re seeing today...

MATTHEWS:  OK...

HALPERIN:  ... since this morning have really changed their tone

because they know they could not sustain (INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS:  Well, here‘s President Obama diagnosing the problem Monday

night at a fundraiser for Senator Boxer out in California.  Let‘s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  When we‘ve got a

situation where people are allowed to take wild risks, and all the down

sides are socialized even as the profits are privatized, then something‘s

going to have to change.  When we don‘t have basic rules of the road in

place that assures that consumers aren‘t abused and tricked and investors

don‘t know what‘s going on, then something‘s got to change.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Andrew, I shouldn‘t have used the word “lie.”  I don‘t like

the word.  But here‘s—it is an untruth, is it not, to say that this bill

to clean up Wall Street is, in fact, something to help create more bail-

outs?

ANDREW ROSS SORKIN, AUTHOR, “TOO BIG TO FAIL”:  Clearly, there‘s no

effort to create more bail-outs.  And that is something I think, in a way,

the Republicans may walk away from.  One of the things that we saw this

morning is Senator Bob Corker is moving towards a whole new argument, the

argument that somehow, this bill doesn‘t go far enough.

MATTHEWS:  Right.  Well, Corker—is Corker a reformer, as you

analyze this?  Is he trying to reform Wall Street?

SORKIN:  He‘s a very thoughtful guy, and I think he wants to do the

right things.  The question is how he‘s going to get there.  If you ask

him...

MATTHEWS:  So he‘s trying to do the right thing.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Is Mitch McConnell doing anything more than flack for Wall

Street?

SORKIN:  I‘m going to go back to Corker.  If you ask him what his

proposal is, what is the proposal that has teeth in it...

MATTHEWS:  Right.

SORKIN:  ... he doesn‘t have one.  So the question is, are they

obstructionists or not?

MATTHEWS:  Well, let‘s—here he is.  Here‘s Senator Corker from

Tennessee on HARDBALL last night.  Let‘s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. BOB CORKER ®, TENNESSEE:  I do believe that both sides, in

fairness, have begun to use this as a political football.  Again, that‘s

not what I came here to do.  I hope that—I think we will—by the way,

at the end of the day, in spite of all the rhetoric, I think we‘re going to

end up—I think we‘re going to end up with a 70-vote bill.  I believe

that with all my heart, and I think we‘ll do it (INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS:  That would be great.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEWS:  Well, speaking of rhetoric, here are the Gallup numbers. 

Look at how these numbers change, depending on how you ask the question. 

Forty-six percent support reforming large banks and financial institutions. 

Forty-three percent oppose it.  But look at—that‘s just a 3-point gap. 

But when you change the wording to “reforming Wall Street,” it turns into a

14-point gap, 50 to 36.

It seems to me, Mark, this is fascinating.  But why they have to do a

poll on this not to know that people are angrier at Wall Street, where the

guys make billions for doing nothing, than they are at the local, bank

where they get their interest rate with their passbook savings.

HALPERIN:  The reason the White House is so energetic on this, so

aggressive, the president going after Mitch McConnell—not by name but

specifically over the weekend—is because this is the one area where the

public wants big government.  They want big government to go after Wall

Street.

And again, the advantage the Democrats have is they believe in what

they‘re doing and they‘re being pretty clear about it.  And within the

party, there‘s some divisions, but they‘re pretty united.  I think you‘re

seeing the tensions in the Republican Party.  They don‘t want to give the

president a victory...

MATTHEWS:  OK...

HALPERIN:  ... but they don‘t want to be on the wrong side of this

issue.

MATTHEWS:  Not to be unfair to ACORN, but is this—is Wall Street

the Republicans‘ ACORN?

HALPERIN:  Well...

MATTHEWS:  Each party has an ACORN.

HALPERIN:  It‘s bigger than that.  ACORN is still not pretty—very

widely known.  There‘s not a person in this country on the left or the

right who doesn‘t say there are problems with Wall Street based on what we

saw last year and...

MATTHEWS:  Well, why is Mitch McConnell playing defense for them, just

having a meeting with them or what?  What‘s that about?  Why is he playing

defense?  You know how McConnell doesn‘t mind being hated by the media.  He

doesn‘t mind saying, I‘m against campaign reform.  He doesn‘t seem to mind

being against Wall Street reform.  What is his game except just

stonewalling?

HALPERIN:  I—I—listen, I...

MATTHEWS:  Andrew, what is his game?

SORKIN:  I think—I think his game is stonewalling.  That‘s what I

think it‘s about.  But I think, in the end, as Corker said, I actually

think that they will all fall in line.

MATTHEWS:  But not him.

SORKIN:  He may not fall in line, but others will...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  ... you say “may.”  You‘re a little hesitant here.  You‘re

“The New York Times.”  Do you honestly believe there‘s a reasonable

possibility—reasonable possibility that he falls...

(CROSSTALK)

SORKIN:  That he falls into line?

MATTHEWS:  ... that he‘ll go into line?

SORKIN:  Perhaps unlikely.  I can‘t take a position on that.  I just

don‘t know.

MATTHEWS:  You can, Mark?

HALPERIN:  He might because...

MATTHEWS:  Is there any chance he‘ll go along with Barack Obama?

HALPERIN:  The politics of it may be better for almost every

Republican to vote for it...

SORKIN:  Exactly.

HALPERIN:  ... to take the sting out of it, to make it seem like, Oh,

this is noncontroversial (INAUDIBLE) it‘s not a big win for the president.

SORKIN:  And by the way, you add on...

MATTHEWS:  Do you honestly think Mitch McConnell‘s going to vote with

President Obama on this?

HALPERIN:  I think it‘s—I think it‘s possible, yes.

MATTHEWS:  Wow.

SORKIN:  All I was going to say is as we see more and more of these

investigations come out of the SEC and others on to Wall Street, when you

think about Goldman Sachs, and there‘s going to be much more of this...

MATTHEWS:  Oh, great.

SORKIN:  ... it‘s going to become increasingly less popular to be a

Republican and stand there and say that they cannot support this.  That‘s

going to be—that‘s the truth of it.

MATTHEWS:  OK, here‘s the president on Monday night again.  Let‘s talk

he‘s taking a shot here at Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, who

seems to be, according to our guests here—well, according to me—

stonewalling.  Let‘s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  The Senate Republican leader, he paid a visit to Wall Street a

week or two ago.  He took along the chairman of their campaign committee. 

He met with some of the movers and shakers up there.  I don‘t know exactly

what was discussed.  All I can tell you is when he came back, he promptly

announced he would oppose the financial regulatory reform.  He would oppose

it.  Shocking.  And once again, he‘s threatening to tie up the Senate with

a filibuster to try to block progress.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Well, you can tell when a politician, including the

president, has the crowd with him.  There‘s a president who‘s very happy to

debate this issue in public.  He knows it‘s not murky and a 50-50

proposition like health care.  The public is angry as heck against Wall

Street, right, Andrew?  And the more you get tough with them, the more

you‘re going to get popular.  There he is, playing to the crowd in that

regard.

SORKIN:  This was—this was political—the great political

theater, and the president knows how to do it better than anybody.  But

there is no question that you go around the country—you‘re traveling. 

People are so angry.  You—this is one of those issues that—I would

imagine, whether you‘re a Democrat or Republican, it almost doesn‘t matter

you can actually get behind this.  The bill itself...

MATTHEWS:  OK, let me tell you...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  You want to open up the can of worms?

SORKIN:  Yes, yes.

MATTHEWS:  The public‘s ripped about unemployment.  You can‘t get a

job out there.

SORKIN:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  People are losing—middle-aged people are getting thrown

out of work, OK?  It‘s a reality.  Number two, they can‘t get a loan at the

bank.  So what the hell‘s the matter?

(CROSSTALK)

SORKIN:  So give me the argument on the other side of reform.

MATTHEWS:  The financial institutions are not working.  The housing

industry is zero.  It‘s dead in its tracks except at the high end.

SORKIN:  You just made the—you just made the argument, by the way,

whether you‘re a Democrat or a Republican.  That‘s the issue across the

board.  It doesn‘t matter what...

MATTHEWS:  It‘s not just...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  It‘s not that you‘re jealous...

SORKIN:  ... what party line you‘re on.

MATTHEWS:  ... of some fat cat making a billion dollars a year for

doing nothing.  It‘s that they‘re frustrated about their own inability to

provide for themselves...

SORKIN:  But you are because you said it that way.

MATTHEWS:  Right because I‘m watching this thing with intention, with

a lot of attention.  I do wonder what they do for this country.  Can you

tell me?

SORKIN:  I would not dissuade you from that view.  I wrote a column...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Do they do any good at all?

SORKIN:  I wrote a column today about the fact that these synthetic

CDOs are, in fact—have zero social utility.

MATTHEWS:  People in this country do not have any problem with people

who make things, succeed at building things.  If you build—even Donald

Trump‘s fairly popular.  He builds things, at least.  You know what I mean?

HALPERIN:  If the Democrats—if the Republicans continue to make

this a fight and they lose because the president passes something, signs it

into law, they will suffer big political consequences.  That‘s why I think

you‘re seeing them today back-pedalling because they don‘t disagree with

the substance of it and they know that if they make a big fight and they

lose, they‘re in trouble, because people associate all the problems you

named with Wall Street, even though they‘re not all Wall Street‘s fault by

any means.

MATTHEWS:  I want to get back to something very simple that people do

understand.  If you‘re Bloomberg and you make a big communications industry

work out of nowhere, financial news, business news, fantastic.  He created

something that wasn‘t there before, right?  If you do something, people

say, OK, you ought to get some money.  He‘s a genius.  He figured out

something.  But these guys are making $4 billion a year because they bet

against us!

HALPERIN:  Right.

SORKIN:  And that‘s the problem, they bet against us.  They are

supposed to be the engine that helps power the economy, and they ended up

becoming an engine unto themselves for themselves.  And that—that‘s

really the problem.

MATTHEWS:  And the other thing is, a lot of these guys, it was said

the other day very well—you on this, Mark—they come from a really

high gene pool, smart people that could have been winning Nobel Prizes in

physics.  And what do they do with that incredible IQ?

HALPERIN:  (INAUDIBLE) paper (INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS:  This!

HALPERIN:  Yes.  Look, they are villains and that‘s not new.  That‘s

historic.  But people remember what happened last year.  They associate

this very bad period with bail-outs by both parties.  And that‘s why one

party has gone against them, one party is standing up for...

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s be...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s be proactive.  Let‘s be prescriptive.  Is what the

president is doing now, what Chris Dodd and Barney Frank are doing right

now—would it prevent what we went through in 2008?

SORKIN:  I would actually argue it would.  I actually would.  I think

that it puts a backstop.  It ends “too big to fail” truly.  It doesn‘t bake

it into the cake.  It prevents the next Lehman Brothers from really falling

and having that domino effect.  So that‘s the benefit, other...

MATTHEWS:  You‘re one of these smart guys, right?  It doesn‘t bake it

into the cake.  What‘s that mean?

SORKIN:  It doesn‘t bake it—there are some people—the

Republicans are arguing that the bill itself is effectively baking into the

cake the idea that we will have “too big to fail” institutions forever and

we‘ll have to save them.

MATTHEWS:  Ah!

SORKIN:  This is the opposite.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  That‘s what...

SORKIN:  Bake it into the cake...

MATTHEWS:  ... Mitch McConnell‘s arguing.

HALPERIN:  Don‘t forget, the health care was an aberration, where the

Senate and the House passed the same—the House was willing to swallow

and pass the Senate bill.  Once they get past the Senate, (INAUDIBLE)

hurdle.  We still have to have a conference.  The House bill is pretty

tough, and we‘ll have to see what comes after that.

MATTHEWS:  This is going to take all summer, isn‘t it.

HALPERIN:  I think it could, but either...

MATTHEWS:  I heard they‘re talking about doing this so it gets done

and signed on the day that Lehman fell, Lehman Brothers went down, as in...

SORKIN:  And by the way...

(CROSSTALK)

SORKIN:  I don‘t think they‘re going to be able to time it that

perfectly.  But when you think about when the election is, if you can

stretch this out through the summer and actually win in the fall, that‘s

actually a good thing.

MATTHEWS:  OK, explain to me something I don‘t know.  Tell me

something I don‘t know, to use a common phrase.

SORKIN:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  Why would a person like Mitch McConnell—I know why he

was against campaign reform because a lot of the right-wing church groups

and others didn‘t like the—they didn‘t want to be limited in what they

could spend right before an election.  Why would you want to be known as or

pose as a guy who‘s a friend of Wall Street right now?

SORKIN:  I wouldn‘t think you would want to be, but I think there are

people out there who—there is a view out there that this legislation is

is against the free market...

MATTHEWS:  OK.

SORKIN:  ... that it‘s all of those issues all over again.

HALPERIN:  He wants—he wants to continue to try to define the

president as being against the free market because that‘s an issue that

they‘ve won on...

MATTHEWS:  Oh, he‘s a socialist again.

HALPERIN:  He‘s a socialist.  But also because he doesn‘t want to give

the president a victory.

MATTHEWS:  Did you hear the guy we had on last night, one of the

demonstrators yesterday?  He said that Herbert Hoover was a socialist.  He

had a long list, this guy.  Anyway, thank you, gentlemen.  Thank you, Mark. 

Continued good luck with your writing, and Andrew Ross Sorkin, “Too Big to

Fail,” right?

Coming up: What happens to Republicans who don‘t march to the right-

wing tune?  Well, they‘re getting purged.  This is Stalinesque, this stuff. 

But during the commercial break, guess what the nation‘s fastest-growing

political group is?  You won‘t be surprised, but you‘ll know in a minute.

This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Big news.  More Americans are now registering unaffiliated,

rather than signing up with one of the two major parties.  Nearly 4 in 10

voters now call themselves independents, a new Gallup poll finds.  In fact,

the number of independent voters has grown faster than Democrats and

Republicans in the past years in at least 14 of the 18 states that register

voters by party.  Unaffiliated voters now outnumber Democrats and

Republicans in nine states.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  From Arlen Specter up in the

Northeast to Charlie Crist down in Florida to Bob Bennett and John McCain

out West, Republicans for some reason are in the midst of a purge like

nothing we‘ve seen in a long time.  What‘s causing it, and how far is it

going to go?  Chuck Todd‘s an NBC News—well, he‘s our chief White House

correspondent and our political director.

Chuck, I‘ve been following politics an awful long time, and I don‘t

remember a time when a political party began to strip away the people they

thought weren‘t really necessary, now getting all the way down to the bone

matter, people like Bob Bennett not being seen as conservative enough. 

What is driving this purge?

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

think you could argue that we did see this, actually, right after the ‘76

election.  It was when the Reagan and Rockefeller wings of the party were

fighting it out in the late ‘60s and ‘70s.  And in fact, the ‘78 mid-terms

not to get too or arcane here, but those ‘78 mid-terms, we saw very

similarities here.  You were seeing it on both sides.

Look, you were in the—you were in the—involved in some of those

campaigns and the way you had it on the Democratic side between sort of the

Carter and Kennedy wings, and then you had it going on in the Reagan-

Rockefeller-Ford wing.  So we—we‘ve seen it before.

I think this time, it has to do with frustration.  You know, look,

when a party loses like they did in ‘06 and ‘08 -- and Republicans lost two

straight elections.  That doesn‘t happen to a political party.  They got

thumped two straight elections.  And when that happens to any political

party, there is always a return to the supposed base or the roots.  And I

think that‘s what you‘re seeing here.  You‘re seeing some frustration, and

some of these folks are getting caught up in that frustration—Charlie

Crist, I think, definitely did—where even the establishment

conservatives here in Washington didn‘t see it coming.

MATTHEWS:  Well, let‘s talk about the big race in Florida.  It‘s a

huge state.  It‘s one of the biggest states in the country.  It‘s a young

state.  Everybody thinks it‘s a retirement state, but it‘s a very young

state.  And somewhat in the middle—a little to the right, I guess it‘s

fair to say, but it‘s not a right-wing state.  It‘s not like Utah or one of

those states like Wyoming or Idaho.  It‘s not automatically Republican.

But look at this latest numbers here.  The Quinnipiac poll, latest

numbers got Crist just barely ahead in a three-way.  I think that‘s—

where he‘s got 32 percent against Rubio at 30 and then Meek down at 24.  It

seems to me that that‘s not even going to last, once they find out he will

organize with the Russia, once he gets into the Senate.

TODD:  Well, see, that‘s—to me, that‘s a key question.  And in

fact, I think that one, that—look, Charlie Crist to me has not yet laid

the groundwork for going independent.  Remember, Joe Lieberman did it.  Joe

Lieberman sort of was saying, you know, the—you know, he started talking

about the process a little bit, and he tried to lay out a rationale for

doing this.  We haven‘t heard Charlie Crist‘s rationale beyond, It‘s my

only shot at winning the Senate seat.  He‘s got to come up with a better

rationale than that.

And if he talks about organizing with the Republicans immediately, I

think he greases the wheels for Kendrick Meek in this thing and makes the

Republican job impossible.  If he wants to be successful as an independent,

he‘s got to go out there and say, You know what?  I may not organize with

either party, because if he‘s going to run as an independent and you are

going to win this middle vote—you know, look, this is a lottery ticket. 

If he pulls this off—and I think it‘s a hugely uphill battle.  But if he

pulls it off, he becomes a huge national figure.  But he—to really pull

it off, he‘s got to actually figure out how to cut ties with either party. 

That‘s a tough thing to do.  And can he keep it up for six months?

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s bring in Chris Cillizza of “The Washington Post.”  He

writes “The Fix” for that newspaper.  I read it all the time.  Chris, it

seems to me we‘re getting into something here that I do think is

particularly nasty.  Chuck says there‘s precedence, and there may well be,

but here you see a party basically pruning itself, going around and saying,

Well, we really don‘t like Arlen Specter.  You go find something else to

do.  Go be a Democrat.  We see this with Charlie Crist perhaps being given

the boot.  Bob Bennett, a real conservative, getting perhaps the boot out

in Utah at some point in this process this year.  And then, of course, John

McCain, who was the Republican nominee for president last time around—

all being treated like—well, you know, like tissue rejection, like, You

don‘t belong here.  I think that‘s new.  What do you think?

CHRIS CILLIZZA, “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  I think it is.  We‘re—what

we‘re seeing, Chris, is a party that really reached kind of a low ebb and a

rock bottom after the 2008 election.  I think it‘s easy to forget where

they were about 18 months ago. 

They were at a place, they were down 40 seats in the House.  They were

down 10 seats in the Senate.  They had just seen Barack Obama get elected

with 365 electoral votes.  So, I think the natural process—and this

happened to Democrats in the ‘80s—is, go back and say, what do we really

stand for?

Now, the rise of the Tea Party movement, which, in my opinion, really

is kind of the vocal right, the sort of right base of that party that‘s

kind of got its own little wing here—but, really, those people, if you

believe polling, are really Republicans—the rise of that has really

pushed people like Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, those kind of people up into the

spotlight much more. 

That said, though, Chris, the one thing to remember, some of these

Senate seats, you‘ve got Mark Kirk, congressman from Illinois, as the

Republican nominee in the Illinois Senate race.  You have got Mike Castle,

moderate Republican from Delaware, as the nominee in that Senate race. 

So, I do think, broadly, there‘s a sense that, we need—in the

Republican Party, needs to return to their roots.  But there are those

examples here and there.  In California, you have got a conservative state

assemblyman, Chuck DeVore, struggling to compete with two moderates, Tom

Campbell and Carly Fiorina, for that Senate nomination on the Republican

side.

So, I agree with you broadly that that‘s the nature of it.  But I do

think there are these examples here and there that suggest that it‘s not

100 percent allegiance to that...

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

CILLIZZA:  ... to the right. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Could it be the problem—let me try to refine this

question. 

Could it be, Chuck and then Chris, that the Republicans are saying,

well, where we have a choice, where it looks like we win the general

election either way, let‘s get ourselves a real conservative?

Is that what‘s going on? 

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR:  Well, I think you‘re seeing

some of it. 

Look, let‘s look at Jim DeMint.  He‘s the South Carolina senator

there.  He‘s made this decision that, yes, that‘s what he wants to see. 

When given the choice, no, you don‘t want a moderate Republican; you want a

conservative Republican in there.  You don‘t even want an establishment

conservative.  You want an outsider. 

And he‘s getting aggressive.  He‘s going about—going against the—

the—the leadership of his own party in Colorado, in Indiana in

particular, in a couple of other places, where he‘s endorsing, in some

cases, a candidate that has almost no shot, probably Indiana, to a place in

Colorado where he may create an environment where the Democrats suddenly

have an easier time holding that Colorado Senate seat than they would

otherwise. 

So, I think there are some wings—and I think Jim DeMint, there‘s a

case where maybe he sees himself as sort of the conservative leader.  And

perhaps he‘s got national ambitions.  And I think some of that is playing

out in some of these places as well. 

CILLIZZA:  And, you know, Chris, just to add to Chuck‘s point—and

this is in keeping with yours—look, Jim DeMint has said publicly, I

would rather support someone who is going to lose, but supports my

principles, than support someone who doesn‘t believe with anything that I

believe makes up the Republican Party and see that person win. 

That‘s a very different philosophical approach than people at the

National Republican Senatorial Committee and some other sort of top party

strategists.  They say, look, we have got to get the person who fits the

district or the state who can win...

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

CILLIZZA:  ... because it‘s the whole Reagan 80 percent friend is not

your 20 percent enemy. 

Jim DeMint does not see things like that.  And he‘s not alone. 

There‘s a significant segment of the party—it‘s why Jim DeMint has

become a national figure—who agree with him.  But what Chuck said, two

races, Indiana..

TODD:  But it‘s a minority. 

CILLIZZA:  Right, absolutely.

Two races...

TODD:  It‘s a minority of the electorate, which is the danger they‘re

running on.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Well, you—so, you saw our report a minute or two before

you guys came on that most people now are identifying themselves as

unaffiliated, as independent.

CILLIZZA:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  Could it be that they‘re going to be turned off?

Look at all the guns that were in Virginia yesterday in that parade. 

I would think that would help in the rural areas, but a lot of people in

the suburbs, in the near cities, would say, wait a minute, I‘m not sure I

want to be part of a gun-toting party. 

CILLIZZA:  And, you know, Chris...

MATTHEWS:  I want—is there a point where this tips over?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  You first, Chuck.

Will it tip over and people will say, I don‘t want to join Jim

DeMint‘s Republican Party; I‘m a suburbanite around Philly or New York or

Chicago; I feel like a suburban moderate; I don‘t feel like one of these

people?

TODD:  Well, look, you make a good point.  I think, you know, one of

the unwritten—the less-written stories of the Republican loss over the

last decade, frankly, as they saw this erosion, was in the suburbs. 

Even when Republicans got back control of Congress, they were—they

weren‘t doing as well in these suburban districts.  And that‘s going to be

the test here, I think, for them, is it‘s—and I just came out of a

briefing with the—the National Republican Congressional Committee, Pete

Sessions, and he was talking about how they need to do better.  If they‘re

going to win the majority, they have got to win suburban districts in

suburban Pennsylvania—Philadelphia, both in the New Jersey side of the

border and in the Philadelphia side of things. 

And there‘s four or five seats there that, if—they got to win at

least two or three of them if they‘re going to be a majority party. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

TODD:  And that, I think, is going to be a fascinating test. 

Can Jim DeMint and the Sarah Palins of the world, does that—is that

a—is that a potent weapon for Democrats to go against Republicans in

those suburban districts?

CILLIZZA:  Right.  Playing to the base—look, Chris, playing to the

base is not—to Chuck‘s point, is not a majority strategy.  And I think

that‘s part of the problem is that, sure, you‘re going to get loud cheers,

you speak to a group of Republicans, you speak to a group of Democrats.

But Barack Obama didn‘t get elected because Democrats voted for him. 

They did, but he got elected because independents voted for him. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

CILLIZZA:  And that‘s the—that‘s the key that I think many

Republicans who are pushing this kind of purification of the party don‘t

grasp.  That‘s not a national strategy.  That will get you to 43 percent of

the national vote, but that‘s not going to win you the House back, not

going to win you the Senate back...

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

CILLIZZA:  ... and not going to get you...

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

CILLIZZA:  ... get Barack Obama out of the White House. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, I think, watching this, like all of us, I study this

thing, and it seems like one of the reason that the Democrats got 90

percent of the Jewish vote, for example, last time around for Barack Obama

is not so much love of him or knowledge of him.  It was this fear of this

theocratic, gun-toting party that begins to look more and more right-wing,

more and more Sarah Palin, than it did two years ago.

If this party, the Republicans, keep going over to Palinism and gun-

toters and Second Amendment types, I think a lot of people in the suburbs,

sophisticated people of all backgrounds, are going to say, that‘s not my

party. 

Anyway, thank you, Chuck Todd.

Thank you, Chris Cillizza. 

(CROSSTALK) 

MATTHEWS:  Up next: how to handle a heckler when you‘re the president

of the United States.  This is a great scene, showed some style here by our

president.  That‘s in the “Sideshow.”

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

First up: how to handle a heckler. 

At last night‘s fund-raiser for California Senator Barbara Boxer,

President Obama was heckled by gay rights activists protesting for an end

to don‘t ask, don‘t tell. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  She‘s passionate about

fighting for California‘s families.  She is—we are doing—we are going

to do that. 

Hey, hold on a second.  Hold on a second. 

We are going to do that. 

AUDIENCE:  Yes, we can!

OBAMA:  So...

AUDIENCE:  Yes, we can! 

OBAMA:  ... let‘s...

AUDIENCE:  Yes, we can!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  (OFF-MIKE) for all Americans!

OBAMA:  I‘m sorry.  Do you want to come up here?

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

OBAMA:  You know, the...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

OBAMA:  All right, because—can I just say, once again, Barbara and

I are supportive of repealing don‘t ask, don‘t tell.  So, I don‘t know why

you‘re hollering. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Well, as my hero, Winston Churchill, used to say, I like a

man who grins with a—when he fights.  And he was grinning there through

most of that.

Next:  Mayor Rahm Emanuel?  Could be.

Here‘s White House chief of staff on “Charlie Rose” last night talking

about what he calls his dream job. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE CHARLIE ROSE SHOW”)

CHARLIE ROSE, HOST, “THE CHARLIE ROSE SHOW”:  Is there any other job

in government you‘d like to have?

RAHM EMANUEL, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF:  In—in government?

ROSE:  In government.

EMANUEL:  Yes.

ROSE:  What?

EMANUEL:  Well, I mean, it‘s no secret...

ROSE:  That you want to be Speaker of the House.

EMANUEL:  Well, that‘s over.

ROSE:  Yes. 

EMANUEL:  OK?

No, I would, one day—well, first of all, let me say it this way—

I hope Mayor Daley seeks reelection.  I will work and support him if he

seeks reelection. 

But if Mayor Daley doesn‘t, one day, I would like to run for mayor of

the city of Chicago. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  I think Daley is running for reelection.  And Richard Daley

is the best mayor in the country.  And, if you don‘t believe that, ask any

other mayor.  He would be very tough person—a very tough person to

follow into office—very tough.

Finally, Democratic Congressman John Dingell, the longest serving

member of the U.S. House of Representatives, showed up on “The Daily Show”

with the memento from history.  Check out what happened. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART”)

REP. JOHN DINGELL (D), MICHIGAN:  This is the gavel I used when I

presided over Medicare‘s enactment and when I presided over parts of the

health bill, and which Nancy Pelosi used when she gaveled the bill into

law. 

JON STEWART, HOST, “THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART”:  This is a

historic...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(LAUGHTER) 

DINGELL:  Go ahead.  It will work. 

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART:  Damn big government.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Jon Stewart is pure id. 

Time for the “Big Number.” 

Tomorrow, the Senate Agriculture Committee will take up part of the

legislation to regulate Wall Street.  So will a huge number of lobbyists,

some of them intent on cutting the heart out of the bill, of course.

In fact, according to “The New York Times,” over 1,500 lobbyists,

executives, bankers and others will show up at tomorrow‘s committee

hearing.  You can bet they‘re not just there to watch the show -- 1,500

lobbyists show up at tomorrow‘s Wall Street cleanup to make their voice

heard, tonight‘s rolling-out-the-big-shots “Big Number.” 

Up next:  Should President Obama be getting more credit for being

tough on terrorism? 

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

“Market Wrap.”

Stocks pushing higher on rising energy prices and a solid round of

earnings reports, the Dow Jones industrial average up 25 points, the S&P

500 adding 9.5 points, and the Nasdaq finishing 20 points in the green. 

Two high-profile names in tech reporting just after the closing bell

today.  Apple blew expectations right out of the water with some astounding

sales figures for the iPhone.  Shares are soaring in after-hours trading. 

And Yahoo! trouncing expectations on earnings, but sales are down from

last year‘s levels.  Shares are moving lower after-hours. 

Coca-Cola also reporting today, beating on profits, but missing on

revenue, shares ending about 1.5 percent lower. 

Johnson & Johnson beating forecasts as well, but finishing flat after

slashing its full-year outlook. 

And Harley-Davidson shares surging more than 7 percent after beating

expectations, despite a 72 percent drop in first-quarter profits. 

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

HARDBALL. 

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

Does President Obama get enough credit for being tough on terrorism? 

He has stepped up drone attacks in the Pakistan-Afghan border and just,

this past weekend, U.S. and Iraqi forces killed the top two al Qaeda

leaders in Iraq. 

Former counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke repeatedly tried to

warn top Bush administration leaders about an imminent attack back in the

months leading up to 9/11.  Now he‘s sounding the alarm bell about the next

great book in his new book—it tells you it all—“Cyber War.”

Thank you, Richard.  We‘re going to get to that in a second.

But I want to ask you about my opening question there, and that is

about the president. 

You know, Cheney was a tough talker.  Is there any difference in the

willingness or readiness of our country to face the challenge of terrorism

under this administration and the previous Bush-Cheney administration? 

RICHARD CLARKE, FORMER U.S. COUNTERTERRORISM OFFICIAL:  Yes, I think

that this administration is doing two things that are different. 

One is what you have just mentioned, the Predator attacks stepped up

by quite a bit and going across the border into Pakistan, which Bush only

did in the last few days of his administration.  That‘s where al Qaeda is. 

That‘s where Taliban leadership is.  That‘s where the attacks are now.

And they‘re hurting.  They‘re on the ropes now as a result of that. 

The other thing Obama is doing is, he‘s fighting the battle of ideas, which

Bush couldn‘t do.  Now, and you don‘t see that.  And that doesn‘t make

headlines.

But you go out to the Middle East—I was there three days ago—and

you can feel it.  The United States is respected there.  They‘re willing to

deal with us publicly.  There are intellectuals in the Muslim world now who

are willing to stand up and criticize al Qaeda and the terrorists.  You

never got that when Bush was in power. 

MATTHEWS:  An old question:  Were we wrong to go to Iraq and not

continue on the course of chasing al Qaeda? 

(CROSSTALK)

CLARKE:  Of course.  Of course.

We made it—we lost three or four, five years.  We made it much

worse, much more difficult to go after al Qaeda.  We created more al Qaeda

as a result. 

MATTHEWS:  Are we going to get bin Laden? 

CLARKE:  You know, I don‘t even know where he is. 

MATTHEWS:  But you‘re saying they‘re in Pakistan.  Are we sure?

(CROSSTALK)

CLARKE:  They‘re definitely in Pakistan, but I‘m not sure he is. 

MATTHEWS:  Oh.

CLARKE:  The leadership, the control of al Qaeda is there.  But he

could be somewhere else by himself.  We know he‘s still alive, pretty

confident of that. 

But the last time anybody really knew where he was, was December of

2001.  So, when the intelligence community says, we think he‘s in Pakistan,

that‘s a guess. 

MATTHEWS:  You know, I always wonder about the quality of our

intelligence.  And I want to get to the cyber thing. 

It seems to me we thought we were all joking back then about him being

the this enormously tall man, for the Arab world, like 6‘8“ or something,

riding a camel or a horse or whatever he‘s riding through the mountains

with—and he was on dialysis, and he had to be on dialysis all the time,

so he would be easy to spot.  We laughed about it, but he‘s still alive. 

CLARKE:  Yes.  Most of that intelligence was wrong. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

CLARKE:  I mean, we had intelligence that had him with every medical

condition except pregnancy. 

So, he‘s alive.  If he‘s in Pakistan, he‘s probably not in a cave. 

He‘s probably in some nice villa somewhere outside of Rawalpindi. 

MATTHEWS:  Is he the boss? 

CLARKE:  He‘s the intellectual leader.  He still has to sign off on

the big deals.  But, day to day, he‘s not running the show. 

MATTHEWS:  When you think of Al Qaeda right now in your head, I‘m

trying—I‘m trying to get this all the time by the people defending this

country, especially those in the administration.  And I‘m not satisfied.

Do you have an intellectual picture in your head of our enemy?

Are they in Hamburg?

Are they in the United States in sleeper cells?

Are they somewhere in Europe?

Are they somewhere in—well, as you‘ve said—you‘ve already said

they‘re partly in Pakistan.

Where are they?

Where‘s the enemy lying right now...

CLARKE:  The...

MATTHEWS:  -- ready to strike at us?

CLARKE:  The organized enemy—the organized enemy is in Pakistan,

Afghanistan, a little bit in North Africa, Saudi Arabia still.  But the

disorganized enemy—the individuals who can turn in a moment—are in

Europe and they‘re in the United States, as we—as we‘ve seen.  The

onesies and twosies.

MATTHEWS:  OK, let‘s talk about your book, because I want to know

who‘s coming when they go operational.  I‘ve got the book here, “Cyber

War”.

When our enemies go operational against us again, how will they

strike?

CLARKE:  Well, so every day, China is striking.  China struck Google

and everybody made a big deal about it.  But, Chris, China has been in

every major U.S. company stealing our corporate secrets, all of our R&D

from the pharmaceutical companies, the aerospace company.  They got the

secrets of our new F35 fighter before it ever took off.

MATTHEWS:  So this is industrial espionage?

CLARKE:  It‘s at least industrial espionage and losing our competitive

advantage.  And someday, those same techniques—if we ever got in a

little push-pull with somebody, whether that somebody is North Korea or

Iran, if we do sanctions against Iran—they‘re going to be able to come

in and do things like turn off the electric power grid.

MATTHEWS:  Who‘s got the candlepower, the brains and the technology,

state-of-the-art, to catch us that way?

CLARKE:  Well, it turns out...

MATTHEWS:  Which countries?

CLARKE:  It turns out about 20 or 30.

MATTHEWS:  Countries?

CLARKE:  Countries.  We just created...

MATTHEWS:  Nation states?

CLARKE:  Nation states.  This is nation state activity, for the most

part—some criminal gangs.  But we just created a military...

MATTHEWS:  OK.  North Korea.

CLARKE:  North Korea, Iran, Russia, China—those are the ones that

you see out there doing it now.  But there are 20 or 30 countries that have

military cyber units, including us.  We‘re doing it.  Don‘t get me wrong. 

We‘ve got a great offense, Chris.  But we have no defense.

MATTHEWS:  In this country, do we have people in this country, young

geniuses, who could do it?

CLARKE:  We do.  And they‘re all on the offense side.  You see the

Obama administration...

MATTHEWS:  You mean our offense against the other countries?

CLARKE:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  But they‘re not operational.  Nobody‘s—we‘re not using

them.  We‘re not trying to bring down anybody‘s power grid, are we?

CLARKE:  I would be surprised if we‘re not already in power grids

around the world.  No, we haven‘t pressed the button.  But if we—if we

ever have to.

MATTHEWS:  OK, let me ask you about that.  There was some commentary

the other day from the right.  Palin and all them went nuts when the

president said the new rules of engagement with regard to nuclear weapons

is, basically, if you‘re in the non-proliferation pact, we‘re going to

treat you a little differently.

CLARKE:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  If you don‘t attack us with nuclear weapons, we won‘t do

the same.

CLARKE:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  This is so intellectual to me—and I hope we never

have to even deal with it, but we have to think about it.

Would any country—would our country go ballistic, go nuclear,

against a someone or a country, a nation state, you say it‘s a nation

state, that went at us—at our power grid?

CLARKE:  We wouldn‘t go nuclear, but we would try to respond.  And we

can‘t just respond in cyber space because they‘re better off defending

themselves than we are.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  You said—somebody told me you say the Russians

might do that.

CLARKE:  Well, they have been...

MATTHEWS:  They have threatened to go conventional all-out war against

a country that threatens them in this matter, with a new state-of-the-art

technology?

CLARKE:  Well, that‘s not Russian official policy.  I don‘t think

anybody is ever going to go nuclear because of a cyber attack.

MATTHEWS:  How about—how about a conventional attack on the ground?

CLARKE:  We may have no choice but to do a conventional attack back if

we‘re attacked in cyber space, because we may be flat out destroyed in

terms of our electric power grid, our ability to communicate, our

transportation network...

MATTHEWS:  Then what would be the purpose of an attack at that point,

revenge?

CLARKE:  Well, say—say we do sanctions on Iran.  Say we stop oil

exports out of Iran.

What do you think they‘re going to do?

MATTHEWS:  You tell me.

CLARKE:  Well...

MATTHEWS:  That‘s why you write books.

CLARKE:  I think one of the things they‘re going to do is a new kind

of attack and they‘re going to attack us here in this country, where—we

are defenseless in this country against cyber attack.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  The book is called “Cyber War.”

This is the expert who warned us last time.  Richard Clarke knows his

stuff.  I hope you‘re not right twice.

Up next, director Barry Levinson, one of my heroes, is coming here to

talk about the tense political climate.  He‘s the guy that wrote “Wag the

Dog.” He knows his politics.  He‘s also written—he‘s got a new movie

about Dr. Death, Jack Kevorkian.  I think it might be called the sunny side

of Jack Kevorkian.  We‘ll see.

But first, the 2012 election is no laughing matter—or is it?

We‘ll tell you during this next commercial break in one minute what‘s

up.

HARDBALL back on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Good news for the younger generation of political junkies. 

Comedy Central has announced that both Jon Stewart and Steve Colbert have

signed contracts to stay on through the 2012 presidential election

regardless of who the candidates are.  We can be sure that they won‘t be

spared by these two.  Look for them in our sideshow ongoing.

Back in a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM “YOU DON‘T KNOW JACK,” COURTESY HBO)

AL PACINO, ACTOR:  Is it really any different than what the Germans

did in Nazi Germany?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.  You want me to print

that?

PACINO:  Print what you want.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, we‘re talking about hospitals, not Nazis.

PACINO:  I mean this could be the same thing.  They‘re starving people

to death.  They cut off their feeding and their water and they let them

die.  And it‘s all legal.  The United States Supreme Court has validated

the Nazi method of execution.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Excuse me.  You—you obviously don‘t approve of

the current method?

PACINO:  No, I don‘t.

Do you?

Starving people to death?

No, I don‘t think so.  It‘s inhumane.  If a person is allowed to die,

then you inject them—painlessly, quickly.  You don‘t let them wither

away.  It‘s inconceivable.  It‘s unspeakable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  What a movie.

We‘re back with a clip.  That was a clip from Barry Levinson‘s new

film, “You Don‘t Know Jack.” It stars the great Al Pacino as Dr. Jack

Kevorkian.

How could you miss this movie?

It‘s HBO this coming Saturday night at 9:00 Eastern.

And here he is with me, the great Oscar winner himself, Barry

Levinson.  He‘s executive producer and director of “You Don‘t Know Jack”.

So now we will, huh?

BARRY LEVINSON, DIRECTOR:  Now, you will.

MATTHEWS:  We‘re going to get to meet this guy.

LEVINSON:  Saturday night you‘ll know him.

MATTHEWS:  Is Dr. Death a fair name for this guy or not?

LEVINSON:  Well, he actually, you know, said that he—he‘s had that

name, because he was originally a pathologist, you know.  And—and that‘s

where it began.  And he doesn‘t really take offense to it.

But what he is far more complicated than the sound bites we—we

heard about all during the ‘90s.  And he basically believes an individual

who has, you know, severe pain and suffering should have the option to

decide if they want to continue in life or not.

MATTHEWS:  Where does this stand in the law right now, as a public

policy debate, the right to die?

Where is it at?

LEVINSON:  I—three states have legalized it at this particular

point in time.

MATTHEWS:  The usual Northwestern states?

LEVINSON:  No.  Oh, yes, Washington, Oregon and—is it—I‘m not

sure if it‘s Iowa or Montana or one of those, actually.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  I would think those far Western states tend to be the

most liberal on social issues.  That would make sense.

LEVINSON:  Well, I—I think it‘s—you know, I think that trend is

coming, because I mean there are more and more of these situations come up,

you know, with this generation.

And how do we want to—how do we want to end life?

You know, are we going to wither away, as he said, or just cut off the

feeding tube?

Doesn‘t an individual have the—the—the option to say, no, I

cannot—I can‘t stand this.  The suffering is too intense.  And that‘s

all he ever said was that individual had that right.  And, of course, now

this—this movie takes place in that 10 year period in which he fought

the courts, etc.  And all the trials.

MATTHEWS:  Is this movie coming out on Saturday night—and HBO has

got a great viewership—is this going to ignite this debate again?

LEVINSON:  I don‘t know.  I mean we do live in strange times.  I mean,

you know, and there‘s a...

MATTHEWS:  Are you going to be hearing from Sarah Palin and the far

right, who are get rip—go rip over this thing?

LEVINSON:  I don‘t know.  I can never find the logic to a lot of those

kind of debates that they come up with.  I mean, you know, we live in, I

think, an era of, you know, junk food politics—things just sort of grab

at stuff and (INAUDIBLE).

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Let me tell you something I know that you don‘t know.

LEVINSON:  Yes?

MATTHEWS:  I was once out at a—a Christian right group out in the

Midwest.  And I was talking to people on camera.  And I was saying have you

been in a hospital room where you‘re sitting in one of those visitor rooms

and you‘re talking with a doctor about an end of life situation and you

have to make a decision about feeding someone who may have Alzheimer‘s or

something?

And how you deal with end of life decisions—and it‘s just family

members and it‘s a terrible time, but it‘s a nice time, in a sense, because

it‘s just your family making these decisions.

And I said, do you want the government in that room?

And all these conservative—Christian conservatives say no.

LEVINSON:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  They don‘t want the government in that room.

So people are pretty interesting when they come down to these family

decisions.  And it doesn‘t always fit with their so-called politics.

LEVINSON:  No.  No.  It‘s a complicated issue.  And I—I‘m not sure

that this will break down in terms of what you might consider liberal or

conservative, because even in the movie, you know, what you were saying is

is mentioned—do you want the government involved in this particular

issue?

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

LEVINSON:  This isn‘t—this is about, you know, humans and—and

suffering.  And that‘s not to be decided by anyone other than.  But look,

there are all these laws on the books that oppose it.  And Kevorkian was

willing to stand up.  You know, they took away his license.  You know, he

basically, you know, made no money.  He never took money from any of those

patients.  He lived this very Spartan life.  His clothes were from

Goodwill.  I mean, this man really was a...

MATTHEWS:  (INAUDIBLE) a question I‘ve never asked you on camera.

LEVINSON:  Yes?

MATTHEWS:  And I‘m going to ask you.

How did you know, in the case of “Wag the Dog,” where the guy started

a war to cover up for his personal sexual peccadillo, how did you know that

Monica Lewinsky was going to wear a beret?

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  That girl has a beret on in that movie...

LEVINSON:  Yes, I know.

MATTHEWS:  -- before Monica Lewinsky even showed up in our lives.

LEVINSON:  Well, the...

MATTHEWS:  How did you know that?

(LAUGHTER)

LEVINSON:  We didn‘t know, but, you know, the strange...

MATTHEWS:  This is biblical.

LEVINSON:  -- the strange thing about it is, is that someone saw it, I

remember a few years ago.

Did you put the beret on after the movie was (INAUDIBLE)?

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

LEVINSON:  I said, no, no, no.  That was just (INAUDIBLE).

MATTHEWS:  How did you know the girlfriend would have a beret?

LEVINSON:  It‘s one of the strange things.

MATTHEWS:  I want to know more.  I want to go to the racetrack with

you sometime.

LEVINSON:  Yes, let me see, number nine in the third.

KING:  Larry Levinson, thank you, anyway.

It‘s great having you on.

We have another minute.  I want to ask you about one more thing, Al

Pacino.

LEVINSON:  Yes?

MATTHEWS:  OK, this guy in this movie, Al Pacino—everybody loves

him.  Every movie you‘ve ever seen him in.  He‘s played everybody—Dick

Tracy.  He‘s played the Godfather.

As Kevorkian, he‘s not a likable guy, is he, in this movie?

LEVINSON:  I think you see...

MATTHEWS:  There he is.

LEVINSON:  -- all sides of him and you see all sides of Kevorkian in

this piece.  And—and Al is just brilliant in this performance.  I mean

it‘s just like a transformation.

MATTHEWS:  Now when you—somebody told me when I was reading this

that you bumped into him while you were working on it.  He came in to help

you with the editing or something and you said, I haven‘t seen you in a

while, because he was playing Kevorkian so well in character.

LEVINSON:  No, I had—see what happened is I—I had been, you

know, working for three or four months.  And then I said to Al, you know,

come see the movie.  And when he showed up I—I went, oh my God, it‘s Al

Pacino, because I got so used to seeing him as Kevorkian with the white

hair...

MATTHEWS:  Well (INAUDIBLE)...

LEVINSON:  -- and that image that you see.

MATTHEWS:  Get HBO if you have to, but watch this movie.

Barry Levinson, “You Don‘t Know Jack.” It premiers this Saturday night

at 9:00 on HBO and you don‘t want to miss this film.

When we return, I‘m going to have some thoughts about the passing of a

civil rights heroine, Dorothy Height, after this morning.

You‘re watching HARDBALL only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Let me finish tonight with a tribute to a major figure in

the American civil rights movement.

Dorothy Height spent 80 years working in this historic cause. 

President Obama just called her the godmother of the right‘s movement—a

hero to so many Americans.

Her achievement was to work successfully for the rights of women and

African-Americans as one great campaign.

Here she is at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DOROTHY HEIGHT:  In the recognition here today, we also recognize the

role that women have played (INAUDIBLE).  Women really were in the civil

rights movement.  In fact, we were the backbone of most of the marches and

other activities.  We also had to remember there were thousands of little

children and youth who took an active hand in the civil rights movement.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Miss. Height co-founded the National Women‘s Political

Cause.  She was up there with the big six of the civil rights movement,

along with the leaders we grew up with—Martin Luther King, James Farmer,

John Lewis, A.  Phillip Randolph, Roy Wilkins and Whitney Young.

“The New York Times” called her “the unheralded seventh.”

Height, who led the National Council of Negro Women for decades.  She

sat near Dr. King on August of 1963 when he gave his “I Have A Dream”

speech.  And she was sitting up there again in January of 2009 when Barack

Obama took his oath as president.

She was a champion for a better America in good times and bad.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HEIGHT:  I think it is very important for us to all remember what I

think we learned in the civil rights movement.  We may have our

differences, but unity does not fade uniformity.  We don‘t all have to be

the same for us to work in unity and work together and that our differences

not stand in the way of our achieving for what we want.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Well, this woman, who began her personal battle for civil

rights demonstrating against lynching in the 1920s, died earlier this

morning at Howard University Hospital.  This woman who saw it all and did

so much to turn bad to good was 98.

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   

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

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

transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written

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

copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>

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

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

More on TODAY.com

  1. TODAY

    video Duchess Kate climbs into fighter jet — wearing a dress and heels!

    4/19/2014 3:42:12 PM +00:00 2014-04-19T15:42:12
  1. TODAY

    video Young heroes: Twins fight off carjacker

    4/19/2014 2:47:18 PM +00:00 2014-04-19T14:47:18
  1. Dylan Dreyer / TODAY

    The gang is back together! Prove you’re a big fan of Weekend TODAY

    4/19/2014 11:14:33 AM +00:00 2014-04-19T11:14:33
  1. Jacek Turczyk / EPA file

    Busted! 81 percent of parents steal Easter candy from their kids

    4/19/2014 3:12:08 PM +00:00 2014-04-19T15:12:08
  1. TODAY

    video Underwater search for missing jet may end in week

    4/19/2014 1:57:46 PM +00:00 2014-04-19T13:57:46