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updated 4/28/2010 11:10:55 AM ET 2010-04-28T15:10:55

Guest: Sen. Jon Tester, Sen. Claire McCaskill, Chrystia Freeland, Steve Henry, Cynthia Tucker, Ken Vogel

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  Dirty business.

Let‘s play HARDBALL.

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

tonight, Wall Street on the hot seat.  Even before today, Goldman Sachs

loomed as the poster boy for all that‘s wrong with a culture that turned

Wall Street into a giant casino and left taxpayers with the bill.  Today we

can add arrogance and disdain to that portrait.  Goldman executives spent

the day under the bright, hot lights of Capitol Hill, where senators left

and right accused them, in effect, of running a casino rigged for their

benefit.  Their reaction?  How much are you worth, Senator?  Tonight, how

much longer can Republicans afford to be seen as their protectors?

Also, on the road again.  Over the past 50 years, perhaps nothing

tells us more about how the party in power will do in mid-term elections

than the president‘s job approval rating.  That‘s why President Obama, who

just bounced up over 50 percent in job approval, just began a two-day

campaign-style swing in the Midwest to talk jobs and the economy, and

frankly, to jack up his numbers and give fellow Democrats a big boost.

Plus, when an anti-illegal immigrant crusader like Tom Tancredo says

Arizona‘s new law overreaches, you might have to wonder if the state has

gone too far.  Tonight, we have an Arizona chief deputy sheriff who

supports the new law.  I‘m going to ask him how exactly we stop businesses

from hiring illegal workers, which is actually the problem.

Here‘s my favorite quote of the day, by the way.  It comes from “New

York” magazine‘s cover story on how Sarah Palin has made millions since

quitting her job as governor of Alaska.  The story says Republicans are

worried that Palin is a risk to their brand because of her, quote,

“conspicuous lack of depth and the sheer joy she takes in what she doesn‘t

know.”  It‘s hard to beat that line.  How Sarah Palin is pulling in the

cash later in the show.

And “Let Me Finish” tonight with something good to say about a

Republican who is actually trying to get something done in this country. 

My look at a real maverick.

We start tonight with Wall Street on the hot seat.  Senator Jon

Tester‘s a Democrat from Montana.  He sits on the Goldman Sachs

investigation subcommittee.

What a culture shock it is to watch you, the farmer from out West,

doing business today with the slick boys—rather, interrogating them. 

Were they playing a number on you?  Were they going slo-mo on you, asking

you to repeat yourself?  Were they lawyered up today?  Were they adding

insult to injury today, Senator?

SEN. JON TESTER (D), MONTANA:  I don‘t think there‘s any doubt about

it, Chris, they were lawyered up today.  I think that they were very, very

well coached, and they were coached so that they didn‘t answer the

questions.  And I think that that‘s very unfortunate.  I mean, you know,

taxpayers bailed these folks out.  I wasn‘t one of them who voted for it,

but they did bail these folks out.  We deserve better answers than they

gave today, I‘ll tell you that.

MATTHEWS:  I got the feeling they were looking down at you guys,

thinking like those guys do, How much is this guy worth, you know, like

they don‘t really have to deal with you more than a few seconds in their

life of making money.

Here‘s Senator Carl Levin, who really, I think, did a great job today

as chairman of the committee.  He kept asking clear questions, calm as ice,

and they just weren‘t answering.  Here he is.  Let‘s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CARL LEVIN (D), MICHIGAN:  You‘re trying to sell a (EXPLETIVE

DELETED) deal, and it‘s your top priority.  Come on, Mr. Sparks!

DANIEL SPARKS, FORMER GOLDMAN EXECUTIVE:  Mr. Chairman...

LEVIN:  Should Goldman Sachs be trying to sell—and by the way, it

sold it—a lot of it, after that date.  Should Goldman Sachs be trying to

sell a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) deal?

SPARKS:  Well...

LEVIN:  Can you answer that one?

SPARKS:  Again, I didn‘t use those words...

LEVIN:  Can you answer that one?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Well, let‘s bring in Senator Claire McCaskill.  She also on

the committee.  She‘s also like fireworks today.  She sits on the Goldman

Sachs investigating subcommittee.

Senator, thank you.  It‘s great to see you again.  Let me ask you your

reaction.  Were these guys disdainful of you, as well as dodging the

questions?  I thought a lot of arrogance up there, watching today.

SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI:  Well one of the things that‘s

happened in this area is that it‘s really complicated, and these large

investment banks have used that to their advantage, Chris.  They‘ve used

how complicated it is to kind of avoid people really understanding what‘s

going on.  But when you boil it all down, they are creating a lot of these

instruments just so people can bet on them.  There‘s not anything real in

the instrument, other than the fact that they have somebody who wants to

take a bet, just like a bookie.

MATTHEWS:  Well, what‘s complicated about selling a lemon?  People

have been on car lots for years, selling lemons, knowing they‘re lemons. 

What‘s so new about this, Senator?

MCCASKILL:  Well, there is nothing new about selling a lemon, and

that‘s the issue.  Don‘t we need to get some conflict of interest and some

disclosure rules on these deals?  That‘s what seems so unfair to most

Americans.  How can you be pushing something out the door that you‘re

betting against?  How can you be calling customers and saying, Buy this,

when the whole time, you‘re hoping that the thing tanks?

Now, they would argue that all they‘re doing is creating a market,

that they‘re just a bookie.  But it‘s like letting the quarterback bet on

the game he‘s playing in.  That‘s what it‘s like.

MATTHEWS:  Well, you know what I liked about today is you folks had

the evidence.  You had the e-mails.  Let‘s take a look now at a common—

this is a montage, as we call it in our business, of you members of the

committee asking the right questions today, I think.  Let‘s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEVIN:  Goldman‘s actions demonstrate that it often saw its clients

not as valuable customers but as objects for its own profit.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ®, ARIZONA:  There‘s no doubt their behavior was

unethical, and the American people will render a judgment, as well as the

courts.

MCCASKILL:  It‘s the La-la-land of ledger entries.  It‘s not

investment in a business that has a good idea.  It‘s not assisting local

governments in building infrastructure.  It‘s gambling, pure and simple raw

gambling!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Senator, is the United States Senate smart enough to keep

up with these sharpies?

MCCASKILL:  Yes.  Absolutely.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  That‘s your answer.

MCCASKILL:  Sorry!

MATTHEWS:  Senator Tester, same question to you.

TESTER:  Well, I absolutely agree with Claire.  Yes, we can, we

should.  It‘s one of the reasons we need to get the Wall Street reform bill

passed.

MATTHEWS:  Is there such a thing as “too big to fail”?  Goldman Sachs

is humongous.  We asked—I think they‘ve got, like, 32,000 employees or

something.  Could you actually let them crash and burn?  I know they‘re

arrogant  I know they‘re well-dressed and they make a certain attitude up

there.  But when it comes down to it, don‘t they really have you guys over

a barrel?  Because if they go down, the economy goes down, or we fear it

will.  Senator Tester first, then Senator McCaskill.

TESTER:  Well, I mean, I think that‘s part of the problem.  And I

think that, once again, Chris, that‘s why we need to get the Wall Street

reform bill passed so that we have the ability to unwind these folks if

they do—if they do decide to go down.  I mean...

MATTHEWS:  Would you unwind them?  Would you do that?

TESTER:  You better believe it.

MATTHEWS:  As a senator?

TESTER:  In a heartbeat.

MATTHEWS:  Senator McCaskill, would you do that?  Would you be

standing there and pull the plug on these guys if they go back to the bail-

out operation again?

MCCASKILL:  Absolutely.  And that‘s what‘s really frustrating about

what Mitch McConnell has said to the American public, that somehow, this

bill is not pulling the plug on these guys.  The only—the only money in

this bill is money from the banks, and it‘s funeral expenses.  It is to

break them up and to sell them off, just like a commercial bank would

happen, just like a small community bank if they got upside-down.  We go

in, we break them up and we sell them.

That‘s exactly what has to happen to these big guys if they get

upside-down.  Never again can we allow the taxpayers to be on the hook for

this kind of risky behavior.  That‘s why we‘ve got to get to a debate on

this bill.  That‘s why the Republicans have to quit protecting Wall Street

by refusing to let us debate this bill.

MATTHEWS:  You know what I like about Missouri?  It‘s almost

impossible to figure out because you are almost the countercyclical state. 

You‘re the state that voted for Adlai Stevenson against General Eisenhower

after he was president for four years.

OK, let me ask you about your state, “Show Me” state, right?  Let me

ask you this.  Do you think it‘s right for somebody to be a multi-

billionaire this year, just this year, based on doing nothing good for the

country?  No value added, no product, no service, no “thing,” not even a

movie have this these guys made for America, and they‘re making billions. 

What‘s wrong with capitalism?  It‘s so departed from production.  Why does

capitalism exist, apart from production?

MCCASKILL:  Well, first of all, there is a reason for derivative

market that makes sense.  I mean, as my friend Jon Tester will say, there

are farmers who need certainty on prices.  There are airlines who want to

hedge fuel costs.  That‘s a legitimate purpose for a derivative market.

These guys have twisted that notion into something that‘s

unrecognizable by just creating these derivatives that are completely

synthetic—they‘re called synthetic because there‘s nothing there—just

so people can bet on them.  That‘s what we‘ve got to rein in.  That‘s what

we‘ve got to take care of.

MATTHEWS:  Senator Tester, you kept asking this guy today from Goldman

about how you create these synthetic—and you were getting nowhere with

this guy.  This guy was running around the bend so fast with you.  I

learned nothing from him.  I know you asked the right questions.  Did you

learn anything from this character today?

TESTER:  I didn‘t learn anything from him, either.  And I think Claire

touched on something earlier in her comments about these things are so

complicated, they‘re so complex, that that‘s what they run around.  They

don‘t think they can describe them to regular folks.  And the fact is, is

that that‘s part of the problem.  We need honesty.  We need more

transparency, more disclosure.  We need the Wall Street reform bill, Chris.

MATTHEWS:  OK, let me go back to Senator McCaskill.  The Republicans

are voting again today to kill the debate.  They‘re not—I mean, to keep

debate going.  They‘re not going to have a vote.  How long is this going to

go on, this cat-and-mouse game between the Ds and the Rs over whether we‘re

going to actually do anything about Wall Street corruption?

MCCASKILL:  Well, I think we‘re determined to make sure taxpayers

never get caught holding the bag again for these guys.  That‘s why we‘re

going to keep pushing.  We‘re going to keep calling votes.  I have to

believe the American public is going to say, Stop with the silly games and

start debating the bill.

I mean, Chris, realize that in committee, the Republicans didn‘t even

offer one amendment.  They haven‘t even come with any ideas as to how they

want to fix this.  You know, it‘s hard not to believe that they‘re not

playing block and tackle for Wall Street when they won‘t even be up front

with us about what problems they have with the bill.

MATTHEWS:  Do you think that‘s what they‘re doing?  Do you think

they‘re lobbying for the oil—the Wall Street crowd?  Do you think that‘s

what they‘re doing, Senator, working for them?

MCCASKILL:  It‘s an easy assumption to make at this point.  Why won‘t

they let us debate?  I mean, you understand how this place works.  Just

agreeing to debate?  We‘re not talking about—we‘re talking about

proceeding to debate is what they‘re blocking.  That‘s just nonsense.  It‘s

just nonsense.

MATTHEWS:  Well, you know why.  Senator Tester, you take a crack at

it.  They don‘t want to vote flagrantly for Wall Street, so it‘s better to

vote against having a vote.  That‘s a lot safer.  You don‘t get nailed for

that one yet.

TESTER:  We‘ve debated whether to debate before, Chris.  But the fact

is, is we need to end “too big to fail.”  We need to end taxpayer bail-

outs.  We need to have some consumer protection.  And the Wall Street

reform bill will do all those things.  And Republicans need to come to the

table and work together and come up with a bill that works for Main Street,

instead of a system that works for Wall Street.

MATTHEWS:  Were you surprised that the manure word was used so often

today on C-Span?  I‘ve never heard it used before, the “caca” word.

TESTER:  Well...

MCCASKILL:  Well, listen, I got to—I got to make sure you

understand this, Chris, because my mom is going to be calling me.  We were

only quoting an internal Goldman Sachs e-mail.  That word was not being

used by us.  We were only quoting Goldman Sachs, how they were describing

their own deal.

MATTHEWS:  I get it.  I get it.  I guess that‘s what the priests do

when they check out the porn movies.  Just kidding!

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  I‘m sure that‘s true.  I‘m just kidding.  They don‘t do

that.  Just to make sure they shouldn‘t be watching the wrong movies. 

Anyway—I‘m just kidding.  I don‘t mean that.  Anyway—and you didn‘t

mean it, either.  We‘re just quoting other people.

Thank you, Senator Claire McCaskill and Senator Jon Tester. 

Congratulations.  I thought the hearings were very educational today

because they showed the other side wouldn‘t answer the questions.

Coming up: President Obama kicked off a campaign-style swing in Iowa

today.  Can he boost his party‘s chances in November by boosting his

approval numbers?  History shows he can.

And in just a minute, during the commercial break: Utah senator Bob

Bennett may be about to make the kind of history no senator wants to make.

This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Utah senator Bob Bennett may be likely to make history he

doesn‘t want to in the next couple weeks, but not the kind that anybody

wants to make.  A new Mason-Dixon poll puts Bennett behind two Republican

challengers, Mike Lee and Tim Bridgewater, out there.  Should Bennett lose

in the May 8th primary, he will become the first incumbent senator in Utah

to lose reelection in seven decades.

We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  And that‘s why I came

to Iowa here today.  To talk with folks like you about the economic

hardship and the pain that this town has gone through and so many people

are still feeling is important, but it‘s also to talk about the economic

potential.  Lately, we‘ve been able to report some welcome news after a

hard two years.  Now, in too many places, though, the recovery isn‘t

reaching everybody just yet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  That was President Obama in Iowa

today in his first stop of a two-day swing through Iowa, Illinois and

Missouri.  Will the president rally more support for his Wall Street reform

plan and other issues and boost his party‘s chances in November by hitting

the road more?

NBC chief White House correspondent and political director Chuck Todd

is in Iowa with the president.  Also with us, Reuters editor-at-large

Chrystia Freeland.

Before I go on, I should say that priests don‘t watch movies—dirty

movies.  It‘s an old joke about—they used to check in the Catholic

League of Decency to see movies if they‘re dirty or not, to warn us against

seeing them.  Bad joke.  I take it back.

Let‘s go now—Chuck Todd, what do you think of the president—

how‘s he doing on the road?

CHUCK TODD, NBC POLITICAL DIR./WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT:  Well, it‘s

really just beginning to start.  And I‘ll be honest with you, Chris, this

was a trip that was supposed to take place about two months ago.  I know

that they have the agriculture secretary, Tom Vilsack, out here, and

they‘ve been trying to do this rural tour of the—sort of the Mississippi

River Midwest, if you will, this Illinois, Missouri, Iowa troika of states,

because, look, number one, it is part of the Democratic coalition, right? 

It‘s—they‘re not necessarily swing states, but Democrats aren‘t in power

if they‘re not winning in places like Illinois, Iowa and this one part of

Missouri that they‘re going to go to.  So that‘s number one.

Second, this is part of this whole thing that he hasn‘t done a lot of,

which is to, quote, “sell” the recovery, right?  You see all the

statistics, but then you have a lot of people, when they answer poll

questions, say they don‘t feel like recovery is coming.  They don‘t feel

like things are getting better.  And so it‘s got to—trying to marry the

statistics that people read about with, you know, Why is it that things are

supposedly looking up?

And look, in a place like Iowa—now, this is the hardest hit part of

Iowa, here in southeast Iowa.  But Iowa‘s overall unemployment rating is

below the national average.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

TODD:  So he‘s coming to a place that it‘s been—been relatively in

good shape.

MATTHEWS:  OK, here‘s part of a “New York Times” report today.  Quote,

“For the past 50 years”—half century—“nearly without exception, the

party has lost seats whenever its president‘s average approval rating in

September and October before the election dropped below 50 percent.”  And

today‘s Gallup poll has President Obama at 51 percent approval rating.

Chrystia, he‘s just above the line.  I think he bounces up every once

in a while, like he is right now.  He seems to be about a 50 percent

president on average.  So what‘s that tell you about November and what he‘s

got to do between now and then?

CHRYSTIA FREELAND, REUTERS:  Well, I think that Chuck emphasized a

really important point, which is jobs, jobs, jobs.  And as Chuck pointed

out, we are seeing signs of an economic recovery.  We had great numbers

from Ford today.  We are seeing, you know, businesses starting to feel

stronger.  Even, you know, Wall Street, despite the beating it took in

Washington today, feeling better.

But as long as unemployment is at 9.7 percent, it‘s hard for a lot of

voters to feel really happy.  And so I think the president has to go out

and do what he‘s been doing today, which is go out, say to people, I know

things are tough, but they are getting better, and I am part of the reason

that there‘s a bright, sunny tomorrow.

MATTHEWS:  Is it smart—Chuck, you know as much about politics as

anybody I know.  Is it smart for the president to be such a big face in the

country?  Do you think it helps him politically to be so in our face?

TODD:  Well, here‘s the thing.  He‘s going to be—this election is

going to be a referendum on him, whether he wants it or not...

MATTHEWS:  OK.

TODD:  ... right?  And this is the determination—this is the

determination that David Axelrod and David Plouffe have already made.  And

they‘ve said, Look, if that‘s the way it‘s going to be, then we want to

make this a choice election, not just a referendum.  It‘s frankly ripped

from the page of the Bush playbook in ‘02, which is, Look, the other side

wants to nationalize the election, fine, embrace it and try to do some of

it on your own terms, which is—well, part of this strategy—look,

we‘re going to see him out on the trail more.

Now, they push back on this concept that this is a political trip. 

He‘s not doing any technical campaigning.  But this is laying the

groundwork in three states that are enormously important in 2010, whether

it‘s the Senate seat in Illinois and the Senate seat in Missouri or this

governor‘s race in Iowa. 

All of them, in a way, will be a reflection in some form on the

president‘s standing, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you think they‘re trying to create a nightly news

picture, you know, the split-screen, where here‘s the president out with

factory workers and real people, and then...

TODD:  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  ... on the other side of the screen is these guys in New

York who aren‘t exactly ready for prime-time, and that contrast between

regular people that make things that are real, and Wall Street guys who

make billions, but don‘t actually do anything that makes things good for

the country?

Is he setting up that split-screen? 

You first, then Chrystia on that question.

TODD:  Well, I will say this.  Is he setting it up?  I don‘t—in

hindsight, I don‘t think this is the way they planned it.  Like I said,

this trip was supposed to happen a few months ago.

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

TODD:  I don‘t think they realized the Goldman hearings were actually

going to happen today. 

But you‘re right.  This is the picture they‘re getting tonight.  They

look like, hey, look at all of these guys dropping four-letter words, all

of this back-and-forth going on in Washington. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

TODD:  I‘m the above—I‘m the above-the-fray guy eating rhubarb pie

in a diner in Fort Madison, Iowa. 

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Chrystia?

CHRYSTIA FREELAND, REUTERS:  I think, Chris, he is.

And I think the astonishing thing is that the Republicans are helping

him.  I mean, to me, politically...

MATTHEWS:  By playing no?

FREELAND:  ... purely in politics, it‘s astonishing to me that the

Republicans seem to have decided it‘s good for them to be the party of Wall

Street.  Whatever the merits of reform, it seems to be politically really

dangerous for the Republicans right now. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, let‘s take a look at the Republican ad.  Here‘s a new

RNC Web video about the president‘s Midwest swing.  I mean, they‘re right

on this guy.  Let‘s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE AD)

NARRATOR:  From big-government Washington, D.C., to Illinois, where

unemployment has jumped from 8.1 percent to 11.5 percent.  Sorry,

Caterpillar.  Looks like Obamacare is going to cost you $100 million. 

Ouch. 

Next stop, Iowa, from 5.2 percent unemployment to 6.8.  John Deere is

going to lose $150 million this year, thanks to Obamacare, of course.

Mr. Obama will then take his wild ride to Missouri, all the way up to

9.5 percent unemployment. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Well, I have just heard the most obnoxious voice in the

world.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  That‘s the guy who did that ad.  But is that—they‘re

right on his tail, Chuck. 

TODD:  Well, they are, because, again, this is—the fact is, of all

the politicians in Washington right now, nobody‘s popular, but he‘s still

the most popular one of an unpopular bunch. 

And so they just want to try to neutralize any effect that he might

have in a place like—look, Iowa is—Iowa is to Obama what New

Hampshire was to Bill Clinton, what South Carolina was to George W. Bush,

which is, you know, this was the state that gave him the presidency...

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

TODD:  ... gave him the opportunity to win the presidency. 

MATTHEWS:  So true.

TODD:  So, there is this recharge of batteries that he gets when he‘s

here.  We used to see it when Bill Clinton used to go to New Hampshire, and

we would see it when George W. Bush would get to Florida or South Carolina,

when he would go to those places that he feels like, this is the place that

delivered my victory. 

And it—and he needed to recharge his political batteries a little

bit.  And I think that‘s why the RNC wants to give him a hard time. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  He will be really popular in Iowa if he‘s out of

Afghanistan and Iraq by 2012. 

Thank you, Chuck Todd.

Thank you, Chrystia Freeland.

Up next:  Late-night comedians give advice on how to spot—this is

kind of a joke—on how to spot illegal immigrants—not really.  But

that‘s in the “Sideshow,” coming up, only on MSNBC. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Late night went to town on that tough new immigration law out in

Arizona. 

We start with Stephen Colbert, who highlights our HARDBALL interview

with Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray last week. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE COLBERT REPORT”) 

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, “THE COLBERT REPORT”:  Can you enforce this law

without racial profiling?  Yes.  I think we all know what an illegal

immigrant looks like. 

Governor? 

GOV. JAN BREWER ®, ARIZONA:  I do not know what an illegal immigrant

looks like. 

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

COLBERT:  Luckily, some people—some people have the gift of

spotting illegals, for instance...

(LAUGHTER)

COLBERT:  ... California Representative Brian Bilbray. 

REP. BRIAN BILBRAY ®, CALIFORNIA:  There is a different type of

attire.  There‘s a different type of—right down to the shoes. 

COLBERT:  When you‘re legal, you wear Nikes. 

(LAUGHTER)

COLBERT:  When you‘re illegal, you make Nikes. 

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

JON STEWART, HOST, “THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART”:  How much of a

reach is this bill?  Well, let‘s hear what Tom Tancredo has to say about

it.  He‘s the guy who called Miami a Third World country and said the

Minutemen border control aren‘t vigilantes; they are heroes. 

TOM TANCREDO ®, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN:  I do not want the police

here, there, Arizona, anyplace else pulling people over because you look

like you should be pulled over. 

STEWART:  Holy (EXPLETIVE DELETED). 

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART:  He thinks you have gone too far, Arizona, Tom Tancredo...

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART:  ... the man Mexican parents tell their kids about to get

them to eat their vegetables. 

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Sadly, it‘s easier to mock the right than fix this problem. 

Next:  You think the political debate in this country is out of

control, catch scene earlier today in Ukraine.  You can see the opposition

lawmakers in the parliament throwing eggs and smoke bombs at the speaker as

he opens the session. 

The speaker was forced to preside shielded by an umbrella held by an

aide.  The opposition was protesting the government‘s decision to continue

leasing a key naval base in the Black Sea to Russia. 

Despite the chaos, the 430 -- 450-member legislature later voted to

ratify the deal with 236 votes. 

Now for the “Big Number” for us.

During today‘s Senate hearing on Goldman Sachs, one word stood out to

us as emblematic of how lawmakers view the business practices of the

investment banking giant.  It came courtesy of Democratic Senators Carl

Levin and Claire McCaskill.  Here‘s the hint:  The word rhymes with ditty. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CARL LEVIN (D), MICHIGAN:  How much of that (EXPLETIVE DELETED)

deal did you sell to your clients?  You‘re trying to sell a (EXPLETIVE

DELETED) deal.  You didn‘t tell them you thought it was a (EXPLETIVE

DELETED) deal. 

You knew it was a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) deal.  It was a (EXPLETIVE

DELETED) deal. 

SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI:  Called (EXPLETIVE DELETED)

LEVIN:  (EXPLETIVE DELETED) deal.

(EXPLETIVE DELETED)

MCCASKILL:  (EXPLETIVE DELETED)

LEVIN:  (EXPLETIVE DELETED)

MCCASKILL:  (EXPLETIVE DELETED)

LEVIN:  They sold that (EXPLETIVE DELETED) deal. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  There you have it.  We counted at least uses of the word

during today‘s Goldman Sachs hearing.  Senators Levin and McCaskill

combined for 13 uses of the expletive that rhymes with ditty—not one of

my words—tonight‘s big bad number. 

Up next:  An Arizona sheriff who supports the state‘s new immigration

law will try to explain how you stop employers from hiring illegal

immigrants. 

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

“Market Wrap.”

Stocks plunging today on debt rating downgrades for Greece and

Portugal—the Dow Jones industrials finishing near session lows, falling

213 points, the S&P 500 tumbling 28 points, and the Nasdaq dropping 51

points. 

Big concerns about sovereign debt driving the decline, after Greece‘s

debt was downgraded to junk territory and Portugal‘s rating was dropped by

two notches. 

That sent investors looking for save havens.  The dollar extended

gains against the euro, while gold prices soared to two-week highs of more

than $11.70 an ounce. 

In earnings news, Ford shares falling more than 6 percent, as weak

sales offset better-than-expected earnings—U.S. Steel falling nearly 6

percent as well, after reporting a smaller-than-expected loss, and saying

it expects to return to profitability in the second quarter. 

But Goldman Sachs shares trading higher today, as executives testified

before a Senate committee that‘s accusing the company of fraud. 

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

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

The battle over the new immigration law out in Arizona came to

Washington today. 

Here‘s Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano at today‘s Senate

hearing. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JANET NAPOLITANO, U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY:  The first thing

that needs to be done is—is for the Justice Department to review whether

the law is constitutional.  There are some real law enforcement reasons why

laws like that are misguided. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  And Napolitano also said there‘s no value added by giving

Arizona authorities the right to question anyone about their immigration

status. 

Steve Henry disagrees.  He‘s chief deputy in the Pinal County,

Arizona, Sheriff‘s Office. 

Chief, thank you for joining us.

What—what is the reason why people come in this country illegally? 

Isn‘t it jobs?  And if you made it impossible to hire somebody illegally or

in the country illegally, you wouldn‘t have the big immigration problem,

illegal immigration problem, we have today.  Isn‘t that the problem? 

STEVE HENRY, PINAL COUNTY, ARIZONA, CHIEF DEPUTY:  Hello, Chris. 

Actually, the reason that people normally come into this country

illegally is probably very many different reasons.  You‘re right; jobs is

part of it.  And some of it is, specifically, we are the land of

opportunity.  And we‘re viewed that way. 

And whether that opportunity is illegal activity or something above-

board, that remains to be seen.  That‘s an individual choice by the person

that comes into the country. 

MATTHEWS:  So, you‘re saying a lot of people come into the country

with the idea of what, doing—just doing illegal—just being criminals? 

HENRY:  Well, some of them do.  About 17 to 20 percent of them have

been convicted in the state of Arizona prior to being picked up again. 

It‘s specifically...

MATTHEWS:  Well, isn‘t that because they can‘t—again, it‘s the

circle.  They can‘t get a legal job.  I don‘t know.  It just seems like...

HENRY:  Well, specifically...

MATTHEWS:  Go ahead.  Go ahead, sir.  You know what you‘re doing.

HENRY:  I‘m sorry, Chris. 

HENRY:  Specifically, in my county, human smuggling and drug

trafficking is a very big job for what we see every day. 

You know, specifically, I had one deputy that has seized over 24,000

pounds of marijuana this year.  That‘s one single deputy.  And the problem

is tenfold of that.  For every two or three that get caught, there‘s

numerous that don‘t get caught. 

And, you know, on the trail of that illegal smuggling, whether it‘s

human or—or illegal drugs, is violence.  And we see that every day. 

MATTHEWS:  How would you, as a police officer out on the street,

enforce this new law? 

HENRY:  Well, essentially, Chris, it‘s—it‘s no different than what

we do now.  A car gets stopped for an infraction such as speeding, you

know, the driver has bloodshot eyes, maybe a slurred voice, an odor of

alcohol, we ask a linear line of questions.  And we come up to the

threshold of probable cause. 

It‘s no different with this.  You know, stop a car.  They‘re speeding. 

You ask the driver for a license.  He doesn‘t have one.  What‘s the very

next thing?  You know, you ask another question.  Do you have any

identification?  They show you a voter card from Mexico.  You know, it‘s

just a linear question.  Then we rise to the level of probable cause. 

MATTHEWS:  And so what would they have to show to prove that they were

in the country—suppose it was an Anglo, a non-Hispanic person and you

stopped them.  You wouldn‘t ask them if they were in the country illegally,

would you?

HENRY:  I—I don‘t ask anybody if they‘re in the country illegally

unless we go down that linear step.  If I ask—for example, you, if I

stopped you, and I asked you for a driver‘s license, and you didn‘t have

one, I would ask you why.  And perhaps your license was suspended or you

had a warrant for your arrest.  You‘re going to dodge that question. 

And, then, down the road, if, for whatever reason, there‘s some type

of suspicion that perhaps you‘re in the country illegally, we may come up

to that conclusion. 

MATTHEWS:  And then what do you do, under this new law? 

HENRY:  Under this new law, I contact ICE, immigrations. 

MATTHEWS:  And you—and you turn the person in? 

HENRY:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, I guess the question is, there‘s so many states that

issue these driver‘s licenses that are issued not on the basis of really

serious documentation.  They just issue them very, I think, casually.  We

know, like, 11 states do that. 

So, if a guy who has, say, a Spanish accent, he may be dark-skinned,

and he has a—one of these driver‘s licenses from some of these states

that issue them, I would say, a bit too casually, what would be the step

then?  Would you assume he was here legally, or would you say, ah, that‘s

one of the states that gives them out easy? 

What would you do?

HENRY:  Well, you know, personally...

MATTHEWS:  I‘m trying to get to the reality here. 

HENRY:  Personally, Chris, that has happened to me.  I have stopped

people that, you know, there was reasonable suspicion to believe they were

in the country illegally.  However, they had a driver‘s license.  And it

doesn‘t—go to the next level of probable cause.  They receive a citation

and go on their way. 

MATTHEWS:  So, even if it‘s a phony driver‘s license that it suggests

they‘re here legally, but they‘re not really, and you know it, you still

can‘t stop them; you can‘t go any further? 

HENRY:  Well, if it‘s a phony driver‘s license, that‘s a different

story. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, you know what I mean, a driver‘s license issued under

false pretenses, that they‘re not really here legally. 

HENRY:  I—and I can‘t prove it was under false pretenses on the

side of the road.

MATTHEWS:  Oh, I see. 

HENRY:  And, so, the assumption is that they‘re here legally and they

go on their way. 

MATTHEWS:  So, the only reason you would have to go further and turn

them over to immigration authorities is that they couldn‘t produce any

documentation that seemed real, any? 

HENRY:  Correct.

MATTHEWS:  They don‘t have to show a green card, in other words, or do

they?

HENRY:  Well, you—from what I understand, under federal law, if

you‘re here and you‘re on a workers permit, you‘re supposed to carry that

card with you.  You may or may not.  But there‘s other indications that a

person is here illegally.

MATTHEWS:  Like what? 

HENRY:  Well, for example, I mentioned earlier the Mexican voter card. 

Sometimes, they carry a Mexican birth certificate with them from whatever

state it was in Mexico.

And, more often than not, Chris, you would be surprised that, when we

talk to people, a lot of times, they‘re—they‘re dead honest with us. 

You ask them if they‘re here from Mexico.  You ask them for how long, where

did they come from, did they come here illegally, and, nine times out of

10, they will tell you, “Yes, I‘m here illegally.”

MATTHEWS:  Wow.  And then you still arrest them?  You don‘t get any

points for honesty, huh? 

HENRY:  Well I‘ve not arrested people for being here illegally.  You

know, that wasn‘t the statute here before last week.  I‘ve arrested people

for not having a driver‘s license. 

MATTHEWS:  But now it is. 

HENRY:  But now it is, but it‘s not into effect yet.  But it will be. 

MATTHEWS:  So what do you tell people when you pick them up now, if

you‘re an officer on the street, chief, and you pick a person up.  You say,

this is your bad day.  You‘re going back to the country you came from

originally.  It‘s just the end of your dream, right? 

HENRY:  I don‘t make those kind of comments to people.  I just say,

you know, you violated the law.  You‘re under arrest.  And we go through

the process.  It‘s not my job to pick on people. 

MATTHEWS:  Are you worried about how this is going to be when it comes

to enforcement, when you‘re going to see these scenes where a guy or a

woman is going to know, my number is up.  When this policeman stops me now,

it‘s not just going to be a bad ten minutes with this policeman.  I‘m going

to have to go back to Columbia or Mexico or Guatemala, whatever.  I‘m going

to have to leave my family or my kids.  Do you expect there‘s going to be

real trouble at that point, where they‘re going to say, wait a minute, I

can‘t let this happen. 

HENRY:  I‘ll tell you what my fear is, Chris, is this is going to

ratchet up the fight-or-flight syndrome.  And my fear is that people know

that there‘s consequences, and instead of having a casual conversation with

law enforcement officer and letting the cards fall where they fall, that

perhaps they‘re going to run.  Perhaps they‘re going to produce an arm,

fight, something like that.  That‘s my concern. 

MATTHEWS:  That‘s a good concern.  Chief, good luck out there.  I see

you‘re doing your job.  Thank you, sir.  Chief Deputy Steve Henry.

Up next, Sarah Palin is making money, lots of it.  So why are the

Republicans worried? 

But, first, during the commercial break, will he or won‘t he?  Is

Charlie Crist ready to drop out of the Republican Senate primary in Florida

and run as an independent in Florida?  We‘re about to find out, apparently,

coming soon.  This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Florida Governor Charlie Crist said he‘ll decide whether by

Thursday whether to stay in his state‘s GOP primary as a Republican or run

as an independent.  The official deadline to decide is noon Friday.  So

he‘s gone right up to the edge.  Crist once had a commanding leads in

polls, but now he is trailing former Republican House Speaker Marco Rubio

in the Republican primary.  However, polls show he could possibly win a

three-way race as an independent against Rubio and Democratic front runner,

U.S. Congressman Kendrick Meek.  Be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH PALIN, FMR. GOVERNOR OF ALASKA:  So, folks, from now until

November, when they say “yes, we can,” we‘re going to all say, “oh, no, you

don‘t.” 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  That was, of course, Sarah Palin early this month, rallying

her troops to show her strength in November.  But is Palin seriously

contemplating a run for the presidency herself?  Or is it—well, is she

cashing?  That‘s very American, too.  According to the “New York Magazine,”

she‘s already amassed 12 million dollars, which includes a seven million

dollar book deal, a million dollars per year from Fox News as a

contributor, two million from her upcoming reality show about the state of

Alaska, and she is pulling six figures, 100,000 per speech. 

Let‘s turn to Cynthia Tucker, who is a columnist for the “Atlanta

Journal-Constitution,” and “Politico‘s” senior reporter Ken Vogel. 

Cynthia, it‘s interesting how America works.  You can become famous

quickly and you can sort of straddle the fence between running for office,

as she could still do, and being sort of a Will Rogers commentator on

American life, if you will, perhaps not as benign.  But what do you make of

this?  I mean, this money has never been seen before.  It‘s not Wall Street

money.  But God, 12 million so fast? 

CYNTHIA TUCKER, “ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION”:  Absolutely.  Well,

you know what?  I don‘t begrudge Sarah Palin a dime of the money she‘s

making.  You know, it does answer the question about why she quit her

office as governor of Alaska in the middle of her term, though.  It was

mysterious then.  She didn‘t admit that I want to go out and make a lot of

money.  But she‘s doing that.  It‘s the American way.  As long as people

want to buy her books and see her on TV, and pay for her to make speeches

at 100,000 dollars a pop, I say go for it.

I don‘t see how, how she comes back into political life after that.  I

don‘t see how she crosses the bridge to come back to make a serious

political bid. 

MATTHEWS:  What stops her? 

TUCKER:  Well, for one thing, Chris, remember, she sold herself as

part of the real America, you know, the working-class folks, the middle

class America.  She insists on private jets everywhere she goes.  She‘s now

as worth almost as much as some, some of those Wall Street execs who

testified before Congress today.  So it seems to me that she has set

herself apart from her base, for one thing. 

MATTHEWS:  Here‘s an excerpt from “New York Magazine.” quote, “Palin‘s

conspicuous lack of depth and the sheer joy she takes in what she doesn‘t

know is a source of angst among Republicans who see larger brand risk to

their party if Palin comes to define the Republican party.  Where other

likely candidates, Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty, are preparing for 2012

with staffs and advisers and carefully-planned travel schedules, Palin is

essentially winging it.” 

So let me go to Ken on this.  Do you agree that she‘s dead

politically, if she keeps making bundles of money? 

KEN VOGEL, “POLITICO”:  No, not at all.  We don‘t begrudge our

politicians their successes, just like Cynthia Said she doesn‘t begrudge

Sarah Palin going out and making a ton of money.  We‘ve seen plenty of

millionaire, billionaire candidates who have managed to get elected to

office, sometimes financing their own campaign. 

MATTHEWS:  But isn‘t her brand, according to Cynthia, just folks? 

VOGEL:  It is.  But, you know, she was just folks.  I mean, we looked

at her tax returns that she had to file for the first time when she was

running for vice president.  And she was just folks.  She wasn‘t doing very

well.  The fact that she left the governorship and made a bunch of money, I

don‘t think particularly her base and particularly Republicans, who even if

they are sort of Tea Party types who are concerned about a government that

is spending money unchecked, still nonetheless value the sort of

capitalistic idea, the entrepreneurial spirit that she is clearly embodying

at this point, to go out and make a bunch of money.  I don‘t think that‘s

going to hurt her. 

As to republicans who are sort of hemming and hawing over whether she

and hawing whether she‘s a good face to the party, I think we hear that

more from some of the folks who are her perspective opponents in the 2012

Republican presidential primary.  She has so much potential that she can

kind of wing it.  Although I do think that she is starting to build a

little bit more of an infrastructure.  Nonetheless, she doesn‘t need as

much as an infrastructure to be  able to raise money, to be able to have

the high name ID, and to be able to appeal to a wider swath of people than

a Tim Pawlenty, who‘s making all the right moves, but is just less known. 

MATTHEWS:  Maybe I can push your button with this one, Cynthia, my

pal.  It doesn‘t bother you that she‘s making zillions of dollars.  But how

about this, as someone who trained yourself, like I did, to learn some

things, who gets up every day and tries to know something before they talk. 

Here she is saying she has somebody to lose to her sheer joy that she gets

out of not knowing anything. 

I really think—not that she‘s unintelligent, but she‘s campaigning

almost for the role of a professional ignorant, like I don‘t know anything,

therefore I should be listened to.  She seems to aspire to knowing even

less.  It‘s a weird advantage that she claims that if I‘m really ignorant,

then you should really listen to me, because I‘m not like one of those

intellectuals back east.  It‘s a strange ambition.  I think she‘s pursuing

it effectively. 

TUCKER:  Well, I don‘t think she would pursue that effectively as a

presidential candidate, Chris.  That‘s where Ken and I differ.  It is fine

if she wants to go out and make a lot of money giving speeches.  I think

this idea of winging it, of not knowing anything about foreign policy,

knowing very little about domestic policy, would not serve her any better

in a presidential run than it served her when she was McCain‘s running

mate. 

I don‘t think the vast majority of voters respect that or want to see

that in candidates.  It‘s fine in Palin world.  She has a small

constituency of very enthusiastic supporters.  But the majority of voters,

including the majority of Republican voters, expect their candidates to

actually know something about policy. 

MATTHEWS:  Here‘s “New York Magazine,” again; it writes, quote, “some

in the GOP establishment whisper that they hope Palin stays in Wasilla.

She may be useful in raising funds and drawing crowds, but Palin‘s

unseriousness and carnival antics damage the brand.”  Quote, “there‘s a big

piece of the Republican party that doesn‘t want her to run,” said one

Republican strategist. 

Ken, again back to you, the question is can she do harm as a candidate

if she gets in that field against Pawlenty and Mitt Romney and maybe

Huckabee?  Can she hurt the brand by getting 50 percent or 40 percent of

the vote and winning the whole thing? 

VOGEL:  Certainly, Democrats will try to make that case.  And

Democrats have used her to raise money, have highlighted some of the gaffes

and some of the comments that I think you‘re characterizing as sort of

proudly ignorant.  I would kind of disagree with that characterization,

though, and say that it‘s more of an anti-establishment campaign.  We have

seen those run effectively.  We have seen that kind of rhetoric, that anti-

east coast intellectual rhetoric work, particularly in a Republican

primary. 

I do agree, however, that she stands the risk of kind of veering over

into this place where she can be easily stereotyped as not really being

informed.  I do think she‘s also guarding against that.  We look at her FEC

reports and her political action committee, Sarah PAC, is spending quite a

bit of money getting advice on domestic issues from a woman who is sort of

a domestic policy expert in—

MATTHEWS:  Wait a minute.  You say she‘s not uninformed.  Why does she

give speeches out of the proviso that all questions that are put to her in

these supposedly open sessions have to be cleared by her people?  What‘s

that about?  If she‘s not afraid of a simple question, like, what‘s the

capital of Japan, and getting stumped on some information question.  Maybe

that‘s what she‘s afraid of.  I don‘t know. 

VOGEL:  Clearly, all politicians are afraid of that and they try to

control the environment as much as possible.  Of course, we saw what

happened when she was unable to control the questions in the infamous Katie

Couric interview during the campaign, where she was stumped frequently,

repeatedly, so much so that it was parodied on “Saturday Night Live.” 

There are any number of politicians who would seek to get questions pre-

cleared. 

It does, however, play into this idea she doesn‘t have her footing

under her on some of the policy questions and she has to be careful of

that. 

MATTHEWS:  Cynthia, the question—the statement, rather, not the

question, the answer from Steve Schmidt, who ran John McCain‘s campaign

was, quote, “she doesn‘t know anything.” 

Anyway, we have to go.  That was the final word.  Cynthia Tucker,

thank you so much.  Ken Vogel.

When we return I have some thoughts about a Republican who‘s a real

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Let me finish tonight with a HARDBALL tribute to the United

States Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.  Senator Graham carries

the flag for the America envisioned by the founding fathers.  Jefferson and

Madison would like this senator because he honors the institutions of our

republic.  He exemplifies republican government as it was meant to be,

philosophical debate, good faith negotiation, and, finally, just as

important, action. 

We debate, we find agreement, we act.  I‘ve watched Senator Graham on

any number of issues since he came to Congress.  On an impressive number of

occasions, he‘s been the indispensable lawmaker, the senator who accepts

his oath to make the best possible laws for this country of wide opinion

and patriotic passions. 

He worked for the past year to find a bill that would meet America‘s

current and near-term energy needs, but also the need for renewables down

the road.  And he has shown the courage to offer a prudent concern for the

affected CO2 emissions. 

He has joined in sound approach to immigration reform that would deal

in a realistic way with people living and working in the country illegally,

but also insists on a workable, reliable system for preventing the hiring

of illegal immigrants.  His comprehensive reform, in which he has been

joined by Senator John Kerry, a Democrat, and Joe Lieberman, who was

elected as an independent, is what good immigration policy, good

government, and good Americanism looks like. 

Graham recently criticized the Senate Democratic Leadership for moving

to debate immigration reform before taking up the situation on energy and

climate, saying it would undermine his year-long effort to forge a

bipartisan approach to energy and climate challenge.  Until we see if the

Democrats are truly serious about comprehensive reform, I‘m worried Senator

Graham may be right. 

Senator Graham hasn‘t run for president, and he hasn‘t given up on his

ability to walk across the aisle to find a workable solution for America‘s

problems.  I hope I do neither man a disservice by saying that Lindsey

Graham is the real McCain.  That‘s HARDBALL for now.  Thanks for being with

us.  Right now, it‘s time for “THE ED SHOW” with Ed Schultz. 

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

BE UPDATED.

END   

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