Guests: Edward Markey, David Corn, Pat Buchanan, Denis McDonough, David
HOST: Good-bye Dubai.
Let‘s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I‘m Chris Matthews in Washington. Leading off tonight:
Cracking the terror plot. It‘s looking more and more like the Pakistani
Taliban was behind this weekend‘s Times Square terror plot. We‘re learning
now that the Taliban provided training to Faisal Shahzad during his five-
month stay in Pakistan last year. How is it that this guy got back
unexposed into this country after his Taliban training and then was able to
pay cash for a one-way flight to Pakistan, pass through airline security
and board that plane while the feds were hot on his tail? That‘s my
question for a National Security Council official in just a minute.
Also, David Rohde is the “New York Times” reporter who was held by the
Taliban in Pakistan—in Waziristan, in fact, for the seven months until
he escaped. He says we can expect more of these terrorist attempts if the
U.S. doesn‘t convince the government of Pakistan to go into tribal areas
and root out the terrorist bases. David Rohde joins us tonight.
Also, Congressman Ed Markey says if BP doesn‘t fix that oil leak in
the gulf and do it fast, their initials will stand for “bayou polluter”
instead of British Petroleum. His big question for the oil company, What
did you know, and when did you know it?
And leave it to the right to figure out how to blame President Obama
for both the oil leak and the Times Square bomb plot. The radio talkers
and right-wing bloggers are working overtime.
And “Let Me Finish” tonight with the American interest in stopping
illegal immigration the American way.
Let‘s start with how the feds caught the Times Square terror suspect.
Denis McDonough is the chief of staff to the National Security Council.
Mr. McDonough, thank you for joining us. Let me check with this on—
check with you on this. According to “The New York Times,” at 12:30 in the
afternoon on Monday, authorities asked Homeland Security to put Shahzad‘s
name on the no-fly list. Three minutes later, Homeland Security
electronically notified the airlines to check the no-fly list for an
At 4:30 Monday afternoon, more information about Shahzad was added to
the no-fly list, including his passport number. At 6:30, Shahzad called
the airlines and booked his flight. At 7:35, he bought his ticket in cash,
about 800 bucks, at the airport and got his boarding pass.
Why did it take six hours for the Emirates airline do absolutely
nothing, and to let this guy buy a ticket as if he was Joe Blow?
DENIS MCDONOUGH, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL CHIEF OF STAFF: Thanks a
lot for the opportunity to be with you today. Here‘s the deal, is that in
the first instance, we obviously have a system with redundancies built in.
We‘re not going to rely on airline—the airlines or even foreign airline
carriers to ensure that they make the right decisions.
So a point of fact is, the heroes over at Customs and Border Patrol
and at many of the agencies and offices that are watching our watch list
identified a problem here, and they found the person and stopped him from
getting away. That‘s an important bit of business.
But by the same token, when we have an effort like this, Chris, we
identify something that can be improved, we‘re going to go improve it. So
overnight, TSA has worked on honing these watch-listing procedures. And
now, as a result of that, we have a much more fast requirement for people
to review and update their watch list consistent with ours as we give
So in the first instance, we had a great bit of effort by Customs and
Border Patrol. We‘re very proud of them for that. And in the second
instance, we‘re updating the situation and the system to ensure it doesn‘t
MATTHEWS: But you understand my question. Everybody in New York—
in fact, everybody in the world—knew that the New York authorities were
looking for this guy, that somebody had committed this crime, attempted
blowing up of Times Square, and everybody‘s looking for the guy. And
here‘s an airline out issuing a ticket to a guy heading to Islamabad with
cash, day of—day of purchase, and never bothered to check the list, even
though they were notified six hours ahead to particularly check the list
for an update, and then were told a little bit later to check it again.
Isn‘t there any penalty for an airline to ignore the orders from the
MCDONOUGH: You know, Chris, I‘m not going to get into penalties for
the airlines. What I am going to get into is recognizing the good work of
the NYPD, 53 hours for them to identify and stop this guy...
MCDONOUGH: ... the good work of the heroes—the good work of the
heroes at Customs and Border Patrol, who checked this name against a list,
updated with and most recent information and intelligence and stopped him.
And now, having learned what we did in this instance, we‘re updating the
situation as it relates to our relationships with foreign carriers to
ensure that we‘re addressing and updating this information more
aggressively. So the bottom...
MATTHEWS: “The New York Times”—let me—let me just get a new
question here. Thank you for this, being on the show, Denis. But here it
is. “The New York Times” reported that the man that bought Shahzad‘s condo
six years ago was interviewed by the national Joint Terrorism Task Force
just after that purchase.
Did the United States government know about this guy a long time ago,
that he was a problem, Shahzad?
MCDONOUGH: I saw the same report in “The New York Times” this
morning, Chris. Obviously, I think what you‘ve seen in this instance,
since this fire first started on Times Square on Saturday evening,
unbelievable cooperation among FBI, NYPD, intelligence services to make
sure that we brought this guy to justice. I think that is the norm in this
instance, where when our guys get information, they act on it.
This report in “The New York Times,” I don‘t have anything to verify
that. We‘ll obviously track that down. But the bottom line here, Chris,
is this. Fifty-three hours after this guy attempted this attack in Times
Square, he‘s brought to justice. So that‘s a very positive development in
our view, and we‘re going to learn lessons from it, as we do from
everything we do around here. But the bottom line is NYPD, FBI, intel
MCDONOUGH: ... CBT (ph) and others did a good job here.
MATTHEWS: I‘m impressed, as well. Thank you. But let me ask you
about Pakistan. How did we get them to participate? Within hours of
picking this up this guy in this country, Shahzad, Faisal Shahzad, we found
out that the Pakistanis are our allies, hopefully, in the fight against
terrorism, picked up either other people over there who were collaborating
with him. How did we get them to do it?
MCDONOUGH: Well, I‘m not going to get into that, Chris, but what I
will say is this. We‘ve undertaken over the course of the last 16 months a
rigorous and comprehensive effort to explain to the Pakistanis that those
extremists that mean them harm also mean us harm. So we want to work
together with them to ensure that we can bring these terrorists and
extremists to justice.
Nobody has suffered more at hands of these extremists than the
Pakistani people, dozens, hundreds, thousands of Pakistanis killed in
terrorist attacks by al Qaeda and their associates. We recognize that they
mean as much danger to the Pakistanis as they do to us. So we‘re going to
continue to deepen that cooperation. We‘re going to make clear to them
that these enemies, which are their enemies, are our enemies, too.
MATTHEWS: So it‘s 53 hours from the time this happened until the time
we picked the guy up, right?
MCDONOUGH: That‘s correct.
MATTHEWS: OK, thank you very much, Denis McDonough of the National
MCDONOUGH: Appreciate it, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Well joining us now is Roger Cressey, an NBC News terrorism
analyst. Well, that was Denis McDonough, who certainly knows how to stay
on message. He told us one thing, which is, basically, they did a good
job, and that‘s fair enough.
But let‘s get some more information here. How did they know about
this guy? Apparently, six years ago, they were looking into this guy,
checking on a purchase of his condo by somebody else, so they were watching
ROGER CRESSEY, NBC TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, the problem was, they did
not have any other corroborating information to identify him as a threat.
What has to be determined is, was information on Shahzad put into the
terrorism databases? And was there any other...
CRESSEY: ... corroborating information that they missed?
MATTHEWS: We can put things together. They went to the trouble of
checking him out on making a condo sale but didn‘t notice he went over
there, for what, five months to get some training in terrorism?
CRESSEY: Well, they know he went to Pakistan, but they didn‘t know he
was going to Waziristan.
MATTHEWS: How about connecting two dots?
MATTHEWS: ... checking him out before, and then they saw he went for
CRESSEY: So the question is...
MATTHEWS: One dot would be enough, I think.
CRESSEY: Well, sometimes that‘s true. The question is, did the FBI
know that there was a linkage to known organizations over there? Was he
just visiting his family?
MATTHEWS: Look, nobody likes the...
CRESSEY: That‘s the problem.
MATTHEWS: Most people—there‘s a guy on the show later on, a
politician, who likes profiling. Nobody likes profiling per se.
MATTHEWS: You look at a guy, he‘s got a beard, he‘s got dark
complexion, a certain accent. That‘s rotten, anti-American behavior.
CRESSEY: You bet.
MATTHEWS: But checking out a guy who‘s going—who‘s been
naturalized but is heading back over there for a period of months, who is
obviously a little suspicious in the beginning, you would think they would
do a better job on a guy like this.
CRESSEY: I think as long as they believed he was going to visit
family and he had no known connections to any of the bad guys over there...
CRESSEY: ... they had nothing to go on.
MATTHEWS: So we had nothing before he went over?
CRESSEY: I think that‘s the problem. Had we had information that
there was a Pakistani Taliban...
CRESSEY: ... or other organization...
MATTHEWS: Here‘s a question for you.
CRESSEY: ... we‘d have been there.
MATTHEWS: If we had knew so little, how come with the—our allies
over there were able to pick up eight guys within a few hours over in
Pakistan after we made the first arrest?
CRESSEY: Telephone tree. Once we were able to identify Shahzad‘s
phone and the number that he used, and then the numbers that he called over
there, they quickly were able to corroborate and put them together.
MATTHEWS: You mean his speed dial is what picked up all these guys,
CRESSEY: His speed dial, yes, a big part of it. Absolutely.
MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask you about recruitment. I said this the
other night. Somebody misinterpreted me because it often happens here.
I‘m an American. You‘re an American. We take great pride in this country
not because we have a common language or we‘re from the same ethnic
background or anything, because we‘re not, but because we have a belief in
this country and what it stands for.
So when somebody naturalizes and becomes an American, we go, Wow, you
want to join us? It‘s like a convert. Welcome! You‘re doing everything
right, OK? We find out that this guy, you know, Faisal Shahzad,
naturalized, became an American, went through all the final papers and
everything, and then became a radical enemy of the United States. That is
disheartening to me.
CRESSEY: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. And the question still is,
What radicalized him, and when was he radicalized? Did something happen in
Pakistan when he was over there that he said, I can‘t believe the United
States is doing, this I‘m now an enemy of the United States?
MATTHEWS: Is he willing to buy all of that—excuse me—crapola,
that we heard, that...
MATTHEWS: ... actually, we‘re going to hear later in the show about
how to be a member of the Taliban, you have to believe the Jews blew up the
World Trade Center, that everything was all—you know, was a trick to get
into war against Islam, that we really want to crackdown on Islam and
Islamic countries? Most Americans don‘t give three seconds‘ thought to
Islamic countries, let alone wanting to crack down or get rid of Islam
CRESSEY: Well, and the other point here is that Shahzad was an
educated man. He had his university degree...
CRESSEY: ... computer science, engineering. He wasn‘t part of this
population that‘s susceptible to radicalizing because he was uneducated.
MATTHEWS: And also total...
CRESSEY: Something drove him.
MATTHEWS: ... 180 belief from what we consider common sense...
MATTHEWS: ... which is the United States has a Middle East problem.
We wish we didn‘t have a Middle East, to be honest about it! We don‘t want
to deal with them. I mean, not (INAUDIBLE) get rid of them, we just wish
it wasn‘t our problem, let alone thinking about how we‘re going to de-
CRESSEY: So you have a population in the United States that—some
of that population is angry at U.S. policy.
CRESSEY: That doesn‘t make them activists against the United States
government. So we got to find out...
MATTHEWS: What do you think was the recruitment basis for this guy?
What got him aboard?
CRESSEY: If I had to guess, it was something happened while he was in
Pakistan or happened to his family in Pakistan. The other possibility is
his economic situation in the United States got so bad, he became
desperate, despair, became susceptible, and you know, went over there, and
boom, they got him.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, let‘s talk about the pattern now. What do we
know about recruitment efforts of naturalized or English-speaking people
with perhaps Islamic backgrounds who might be susceptible to alienation?
CRESSEY: So despite Shahzad‘s incompetence, he is the gold standard
for al Qaeda and its affiliates—naturalized American, clean passport,
can get into the United States, doesn‘t appear on anybody‘s database for
terrorism. So he is ideal for what they would love...
MATTHEWS: Would they rather have someone like him than some blond
from Denmark, you know, like the John LeCarre novel, where you have
somebody recruited from00 some lefty from northern Europe that plays ball
with the Palestinians in the old days?
CRESSEY: Oh, no. Ideally, they want a Western European Caucasian
CRESSEY: ... they...
MATTHEWS: That would be—that would be better than gold standard.
CRESSEY: That‘s ideal. And there was a concern a couple years ago
that al Qaeda was training in Waziristan in the fatah (ph) with Western
Europeans or Caucasians. We could never prove it, but that‘s what the
MATTHEWS: Are there any examples of them recruiting people like that,
like in a novel, where they actually find people, northern Europeans who
are lefties or whatever, have that sort of a—I shouldn‘t even say lefty
in an American sense, but in a northern European sense, like, you know, Red
Guard or something like that, where they—Red Brigades, where they really
are so far over left that they identify with all the zealots in the Middle
CRESSEY: What they‘re looking for are Muslim converts.
CRESSEY: So maybe Christians before, Western Europeans, Caucasians,
convert to Islam...
MATTHEWS: I hear you.
CRESSEY: ... then go to Pakistan and other places and then become
radicalized. Those are even more ideal than what we‘ve seen before.
MATTHEWS: How you can believe the West is evil, if you‘re from the
CRESSEY: Because if you have specific grievances, you want simple
solutions. And there‘s no simpler solution that the United States and the
West is a source of all of that ails us.
MATTHEWS: Do you have a sense, by the way, that the Taliban‘s the
Taliban‘s the Taliban, it‘s all connected, the Taliban in Afghanistan, the
Taliban in Pakistan?
CRESSEY: Well, this is important. The Taliban is not a homogeneous
entity, all right? There are multiple tribes. Afghan Taliban have their
own objectives. Pakistan Taliban have different objectives. They work
MATTHEWS: OK. So in effect...
CRESSEY: That‘s the important thing.
MATTHEWS: ... they‘re allies.
CRESSEY: They‘re definitely allies. They‘re allies of convenience
and they‘re allies for operational purposes.
MATTHEWS: OK. Roger Cressey—as I say before, when you‘re around,
it makes me disturbed because it means that the issue‘s hot. But it‘s good
to have you.
Coming up: How much of a threat is the Taliban over in Pakistan, where
this guy was working with? We‘re going to talk to “New York Times”
reporter David Rohde, who was held by the Taliban for five months over
there before escaping. So he knows all about the situation that this guy,
Shahzad, was in over there when he was getting training. He was there
himself and escaped.
But in one minute, results from last night‘s primaries in Indiana,
Ohio and North Carolina.
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Well, the establishment candidates fared pretty well in
last night‘s primaries. In Indiana, former senator Dan Coats won a five-
man Republican primary and will face Congressman Brad Ellsworth for the
U.S. Senate seat of retiring senator Evan Bayh.
In Ohio, Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher beat Secretary of State
Jennifer Brunner. Fisher will face former Republican congressman Bob
Portman for that Senate seat of the retiring George Voinovich.
And in North Carolina, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and former
state senator Cal Cunningham are headed for a run-off next month. They‘re
going to face Senator Richard Burr in November.
HARDBALL back in a minute.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. So what does the attempted Times Square
bomber story tell us about the larger fight against terrorism in
Afghanistan and in Pakistan? And what more can the U.S. do to stop it?
David Rohde is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who covered
Afghanistan and Pakistan for “The New York Times” from 2001 to 2008. He
was working on a book in 2008 when he was captured and held prisoner by the
Taliban for seven months. He escaped in June 2009, and now he‘s finishing
David, thank you so much for joining us.
DAVID ROHDE, HELD CAPTIVE BY TALIBAN IN PAKISTAN: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Give us a picture of Waziristan, the place where you were
held, and to what extent can you tell us the place in which Faisal Shahzad
ROHDE: It is—Waziristan, where I was held, is the same place he
was trained, and it‘s essentially a Taliban mini-state. The regime that
the U.S. felt had toppled in 2001 in Afghanistan has simply moved a few
hundred miles to the east and is based in Waziristan today. It‘s a Taliban
government. There are Taliban police, Taliban-run schools, Taliban-run
work crews. It‘s literally their own state.
My guards were trained by foreign militants in how to make roadside
bombs that would kill American soldiers. And foreign militants were also
brainwashing young Afghan and Pakistani Taliban to carry out suicide
MATTHEWS: What you can tell us about the recruitment of people like
Shavad—Shahzad, rather, in terms of people who are in the United States,
naturalized, and brought over there, recruited and then sent back to mature
(ph)? What can you tell us from your experience?
ROHDE: It‘s hard for me to say about the specific recruiting. But my
guards and the commanders who held me, the Taliban, were very eager to
carry out attacks inside the United States. They told me that they had met
some people in Waziristan who spoke English, like Americans, like I did,
but I never met anybody by that description. But there‘s no question that
the people in North Waziristan—again, it‘s this mix of Afghan Taliban,
Pakistani Taliban and foreigners—you know, want to carry out attacks
inside the United States. That‘s what they told me over and over again.
MATTHEWS: There‘s a lot of notion out there—maybe we have
perpetrated it here because we keep hearing it—that the Taliban that‘s
in Afghanistan is different than the Taliban that‘s in Pakistan. Your view
of that, having experienced captivity by the Taliban in Pakistan?
ROHDE: The real—there are, I would say, some Taliban in southern
Afghanistan—and those are the ones that President Karzai‘s trying to
negotiate with—that potentially could be dealt with in a political
settlement. But the biggest problem again is Waziristan. The Afghan
Taliban based in Waziristan are no different than the Pakistani Taliban.
They all work together. They worked seamlessly during my captivity.
It‘s a—it‘s a generation of young Afghans and Pakistanis that have
sort of grown up among Arabs and Uzbeks in that area. And they really
believe they‘re part of a broader jihad.
And what‘s amazing is that the Pakistani army was asked in January by
Defense Secretary Gates to move into North Waziristan and eliminate this
Taliban mini-state, but the Pakistani army has refused to do so since then.
MATTHEWS: What‘s your gut sense, having had this experience? I know
you‘re writing the book now. But if you could share with us your—your -
sort of the gut feeling of having been their prisoner.
Are they evil? Are they very extremist? Where you would put them in
terms of just people that you have experienced in life?
ROHDE: They—they live in this sort of alternate reality. And
there‘s young boys who really don‘t know anything about the world beyond
Afghanistan and Pakistan.
They believe that they‘re fighting an effort by the U.S. to—to
forcibly convert Muslims to Islam in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They think
the U.S. is just out to eliminate Islam as a religion and occupy Muslim
countries. They don‘t believe that 9/11 was carried out by al Qaeda. They
think it was a secret American plot create a pretense to invade Muslim
And, again, the key thing is that they‘re able to run these schools
there. They‘re able to indoctrinate their young fighters. And the key
issue is, when will the Pakistani army move into this area and eliminate
this safe haven they have?
The 2005 London subway bombings were planned and carried out from
there, the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the recent case of Mr. Zazi,
the American Afghan who was arrested for plotting an attack in New York,
and now it appears that the Times Square bombing—all of these cases are
linked back to Waziristan.
MATTHEWS: But would the—the person who‘s been arrested now at the
airport, Shahzad, Faisal Shahzad, would he believe—would they believe—
would he believe in the fact that the United States government had faked
9/11, et cetera, et cetera?
ROHDE: Oh, absolutely. I mean, that‘s widely believed in many
countries, unfortunately. But it‘s—it‘s particularly believed in the
And my guards endlessly watched Taliban videos that portrayed
themselves as the victims of this vast international conspiracy led by the
United States, the United Nations, Israel, India, all designed to subjugate
Muslims across the world.
And they really believe it. And them having this free territory that
they control is just, you know, a very dangerous thing. And the Times
Square scare—excuse me—the Times Square case seems to show that it‘s
now a direct threat to the United States as well.
MATTHEWS: Well, I guess you didn‘t—you didn‘t—you didn‘t have
any effort as a prisoner to argue with people, did you, when you were over
there? Did you ever try a logical argument with them? Or that was
ROHDE: I did. I actually talked to them about, could there be some
compromise in Afghanistan, where they could have strict religious law in
some parts of the country and not in others? And they said, no, they
These very hard-line Afghan Taliban based out of the tribal areas,
they‘re part of a group called the Haqqani Network. They refused to
compromise. They said it was their religious duty to enforce hard-line
Sharia across Afghanistan.
The Pakistani Taliban I met said it was their duty to enforce hard-
line Sharia across Pakistan. They told me that the people, the average
Pakistani and Afghans living in Kabul and in Islamabad were no longer
Muslims because they lived under those governments.
ROHDE: They—they—I was surprised by the extremism.
MATTHEWS: So, it isn‘t a case of people just being unhappy misfits,
if you will, in the United States, like some people are anywhere, I
suppose, and are looking for ways to sort of justify their alienation and
joining in some fringe, crazy—we would think crazy—zealous group over
You believe there‘s a real difference in world view, and it‘s just
fundamentally different; they look at the world as, us over here against
them, seeking to crush their religion and their culture, using even extreme
means like blowing up 3,000 people in New York; in other words, it‘s an
absolutely stark, 180 difference; it isn‘t a matter of just finding some
people who are Islamic who are upset about life in the United States and
recruiting them? They have to share that point of view to join them?
ROHDE: Yes, that‘s true.
And, again, because they have...
MATTHEWS: I‘m asking you. These are questions. I am sorry. I
didn‘t phrase it correctly with the right question mark at the end.
MATTHEWS: I‘m asking you. You say, basically, that we‘re dealing
with people who look at the world totally crazy, from our point of view,
and there‘s no arguing with them; it‘s not about people being unhappy and
joining them; it‘s about people accepting a totally 180 different view the
world than we have here?
ROHDE: I—well, I would say it‘s a 180-degree different view than
most Muslims have.
Most moderate Muslims do not support these people. And—and they
disagree with their sort of extreme interpretation of Islam. So, they have
a 180-degree, you know, different view the world than most Pakistanis and
But when they have, again, this area that they can control where they
can indoctrinate people and spread—it‘s really an ideology, you know,
that‘s where they‘re going to be so powerful. There were Arabs in that
area. I mean, and there were rumors that—and who knows, but this is an
area where Osama bin Laden could be hiding.
MATTHEWS: Anything we can do to beat them, except kill them?
ROHDE: Well, I think the key thing, again, is that the Pakistani army
is the long-term solution in the tribal areas. The drone strikes are
effective. They are knocking out leaders of the Taliban and al Qaeda.
But the long-term issue is getting the Pakistani army in there. The
United States has given more than $10 billion in aid to Pakistan since
2001. And the surprise is that the Pakistani army fails to go into this
one area. They have moved into other areas. They have lost 2,000
soldiers, and it‘s important to recognize the sacrifices that the
Pakistanis have already made.
ROHDE: But they really need to get into North Waziristan. This is
the last holdout of—of the hard-line extremists.
MATTHEWS: Well, David, good luck with the book. We can‘t wait to
read it. We will have you back when it‘s done.
ROHDE: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: David Rohde, thank you.
He was captured by the Taliban in Pakistan and has lived to tell the
Up next: A Republican candidate for Congress runs a campaign ad
actually calling—well, he‘s doing it—he‘s calling for racial
profiling. Wait until you see it. It‘s going to be in the “Sideshow.”
And we want to welcome, by the way, our viewers in South Africa on
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Now for the “Sideshow.”
First: the hot political ad that basically makes the case for racial
profiling. It comes from Dan Fanelli, one of several Republicans seeking
to challenge Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson down in Florida.
Here‘s Fanelli‘s ad as it ran on a FOX affiliate last weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, DAN FANELLI CAMPAIGN AD)
DAN FANELLI ®, FLORIDA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Does this look like
a terrorist, or this? It‘s time to stop this political correctness and the
invasion of our privacy.
Let‘s face it. If a good-looking, ripped guy without much hair was
flying airplanes into the Twin Tower, I would have no problem being pulled
out of line at the airport.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, I think the problem here is obvious. Do we really
want to have a TSA person making ethnic judgments on who gets in the slow
Next: Sarah Palin‘s potential 2012 bid got an early endorsement this
morning from a source very close to the candidate, Bristol Palin. Here‘s
Bristol on “The View” talking about her mother.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE VIEW”)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you like to see her get back out on the
campaign trail and run again?
BRISTOL PALIN, DAUGHTER OF SARAH PALIN: I would love to see that,
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow.
And would you go along with her?
PALIN: Yes, I would.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cool.
JOY BEHAR, CO-HOST, “THE VIEW”: How do you like it when Tina Fey does
an impression of your mother? Do you like that? Or does it offend you?
PALIN: It‘s funny to a point, but the accent, it‘s—it‘s not real
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No?
PALIN: No. It‘s not the way it is.
BARBARA WALTERS, CO-HOST, “THE VIEW”: Would you like your mom to be
PALIN: I would. I think it would be awesome.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, there‘s a lot of running room, I think, between
having the East Coast cultural elite run the country and having Sarah Palin
Anyway, speaking of the late, great presidential campaign, remember
Joe the plumber? Well, you might want to call him Joe the politician now.
In yesterday‘s election, Samuel Wurzelbacher—that‘s his name—won his
precinct‘s seat on the Ohio Republican Central Party Committee. The group
is responsible for selecting the county chairman and setting the local
Time now for the “Big Number.”
Catch this. Since 2003, there‘s not been a single black member of the
United States Congress—not a Republican one. Well, that could change
soon. “The New York Times” reports today that a new wave of African-
Americans are running for Congress this year as Republicans. How many? At
The surge is due to dissatisfaction with the Obama White House, it
said, coupled with a belief that black Americans can win these big
elections, as evidenced by President Obama.
Thirty-two black Republicans running for Congress this year—
tonight‘s very “Big Number.”
Up next: holding BP accountable for that massive oil spill which keeps
getting masser down in the Gulf. U.S. Congressman Ed Markey joins us next.
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
JULIA BOORSTIN, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I‘m Julia Boorstin with your CNBC
Stocks sliding again today, as investors remain skittish about
European debt—the Dow Jones industrials falling almost 60 points, the
S&P 500 slipping more than seven, and the Nasdaq tumbling almost 22 points.
Today, it was Portugal‘s turn in the debt crisis spotlight. Moody‘s
put their debt rating on review for a possible downgrade by one or even two
notches—one analyst telling CNBC that the crisis could lead to the
complete collapse of the euro.
A big media bonanza on the earnings front, News Corp blowing past
expectations in large part due to the success of “Avatar,” Time Warner
beating estimates as well on a rebound in ad revenue and strong DVD sales.
CBS reporting after the closing bell, beating on revenue. Earnings
were in line with expectations.
But Viacom missing its revenue target on a slow season for Paramount
releases and a slump in DVD sales.
That‘s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide—now back to
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Today, the latest effort to stop the oil spill in the Gulf begins with
a dome-like contraption making its way to the site. Has BP done enough?
U.S. Ed Markey met with executives of the oil industry yesterday.
Congressman Markey, what do you make of BP‘s—in terms of their
discipline, their backup systems, their training, their safety approach?
Generally, did they take the full responsibility before this happened to
make sure it didn‘t happen, even if it did?
REP. EDWARD MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: No.
I think that they were operating under an assumption that an accident
could not happen.
When I had executives before our committee yesterday, they made it
clear to us that they never thought the rig could ever sink. When they
were making an application to drill in this location, they said that the
total amount of any spill would only be 5,000 barrels in any eventuality.
We‘re now seeing 5,000 barrels per day.
And so it‘s clear that BP never anticipated that a worst-case scenario
could, in fact, be created. And that kind of boosterism leads to
complacency. And complacency leads to disaster. And that‘s what we see.
Now BP is taking steps to limit the damage, but a lot of this could
had been avoided if they had put in place proper safety measures right from
the get-go, defense in depth, one system after another, that could have
avoided this ever occurring in the first place.
MATTHEWS: In the last administration, which put in place apparently a
lot of these people that are regulators, these headless nails that are in
there supposedly regulating the oil industry, had a role—they got in
there because Cheney was in there with his secret task force. They met at
the White House. We never found out who in the industry was involved.
To what extent is the current regulatory regime that governs people
like BP in place because of the previous administration, which was run by
Cheney, based upon the Halliburton lifestyle that he came from?
MARKEY: Well, the Clinton administration recommended, for example,
that an acoustical trigger that would have made it possible to shut down
the well by remote control, be installed as an essential piece of
But when the Bush/Cheney administration took over, they made a
determination that it was too costly to build in that extra safety
precaution. And, again, when there is an assumption that an accident
cannot occur, $500,000, which is what that acoustical trigger would have
cost, seems very expensive.
But when 5,000 barrels per day are spilling out into the Gulf,
destroying people‘s livelihoods, it doesn‘t seem that costly at all. And
so that was the ethos that existed inside the Bush/Cheney era. And I‘m
afraid we‘re now living with the consequences of those assumptions.
MATTHEWS: Let me talk to you about what‘s happening today. We‘re
getting reports that BP‘s out there hiring en masse, basically, all kinds
of shrimp—shrimp boat operators, fishers, fisherman, and people like
that, hiring them a—sort of a per diem basis right now, and getting them
to sign off any possible suit against the company.
In other words what looks like a labor pickup, they‘re hiring people -
they‘re basically going around the Gulf hiring people and getting them to
sign letters that says, “I won‘t sue because of my loss of business.”
Do you have any sense that‘s going on?
MARKEY: Well, you know, these people are all victims. They could
lose their livelihoods. Their income for this year could just be
destroyed. And they‘re being asked to then sign waivers. The victims are.
MARKEY: Instead of BP saying, look it, we made six billion dollars in
the first three months of this year; there is no price that we are not
willing to pay in order to ensure that these people are made whole. We
have the money. We have a moral obligation. Instead, by asking them to
sign waivers, legal liability waivers, it just says that they still don‘t
get it. They have a responsibility. They said an accident could not
They should just basically make a commitment that there is—money is
no object. We will take care of these people because they‘re desperate.
Too many people are too desperate right now. They will sign anything if
they have to. They should never be forced to make that kind of a choice.
MATTHEWS: What would you recommend to President Obama right now, in
terms of offshore drilling? Would you say cool it in terms of your shift
toward allowing that as part of a compromise?
MARKEY: I would say that we need to have a comprehensive review of
what went wrong, as we did after Three-mile Island, when President Jimmy
Carter created the Kennemy (ph) Commission, the president of Dartmouth, to
do a complete evaluation, so that, going forward, there would be a whole
set of safety procedures that would minimize the likelihood that there
would ever be a recurrence.
I think we will have to do the same thing, with a blue-ribbon panel.
But I think that if you looked down at the Gulf, it‘s likely that there
will continue to be drilling, but we have an obligation to make sure that
we do so in a way that does not endanger people‘s lives or their
livelihoods, and that innocent victims not been created, which is I think
what is going to happen if—if our prayers are not answered over in
Florida, and in other parts of this country.
MATTHEWS: OK, thank you very much, U.S. Congressman Ed Markey of
Up next, from the oil spill in the Gulf to the failed—or actually
Times Square car bomb, the blame Obama First Crowd is desperately looking
for ways to blame the president. How far will they go? By the way,
they‘re pretty desperate. They‘re blaming him, saying he‘s out to get the
coal industry by blowing up oil rigs. I mean what they‘re claiming is
But in one minute, is President Obama finally enjoying a bump in the
polls over health care? New numbers in 60 seconds. This is HARDBALL, only
MATTHEWS: President Obama could finally be seeing a bump in the polls
after health care reform in a new “New York Times” poll with CBS, the
president‘s approval rating among independents is up to 48 percent, with 39
percent disapproving him. That‘s a nine-point swing from February, before
health care reform was passed. So he‘s going up a bit in the middle.
And on the specific issue of health care, President Obama‘s approval
among independents is up to 40 percent, with 45 percent disapproving, a big
improvement over February, when he was way down at 31 percent approval.
We‘ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We‘re back. Why are some far right wingers ready to say
just about anything to undermine this president‘s credibility or leadership
generally? Here‘s Former FEMA Director Michael Brown last night on
HARDBALL. Here‘s an encore. Let‘s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You‘re saying this, that the president delayed his reaction
to this disaster so that he could hurt the coal industry? I‘m confused.
MICHAEL BROWN, FMR. FEMA DIRECTOR: No, no, no, no, no. Hang on. He
said in 2008 that he wants a cap and trade bill that is so onerous that
carbon-based industries, like the coal industry, if they try to do anything
new, they will go bankrupt. The president is very anti-carbon energy. I
understand that. I get it. I just disagree with it.
I think in this case, he saw an opportunity to say, look how bad oil
and gas drilling is.
MATTHEWS: But don‘t you know that what you‘re saying, to a third
party, not somebody like myself or somebody like yourself, listening to
you, thinks that you‘re sounding insane?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, of course, Michael Brown was made famous by the
incompetence of the Bush administration during Hurricane Katrina. Is that
exactly what grinds the gears of these guys, why they‘re hitting Barack
Obama so much in this particular incident? Can‘t they stand a president
who seems to be able to handle an environmental crisis, a terror threat and
a broken economy, all at once. Is his confidence driving them crazy?
Well, that‘s food for thought. David Corn is the Washington bureau
chief for “Mother Jones” and a columnist for “Politics Daily.” Pat
Buchanan is an MSNBC political analyst.
Patrick, I was ready to hear about precious bodily fluids at some
point. I was wondering what Michael Brown was getting to, coal. Some
strategy against coal is leading the president to fake an urgency about the
oil drill when, in fact, he was out there secretly slow-walking this thing.
These are complicated conspiracy theories.
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think I don‘t agree
with Brownie on that one.
MATTHEWS: What do you agree with him on?
BUCHANAN: His Oil Spill Response Plan, Janet Napolitano delayed a
full week before implementing something like that. I think she‘s got real
problems. “The New York Times” is after him on that. But, look, you had
Congressman Markey on here, where they‘re listening. We hear Bush/Cheney
did this. Bush/Cheney did this. He tried to dump it if the lap of
What you get in this politics—
MATTHEWS: We have information that, in fact, these regulators were
put in office by—Bobby Kennedy Jr. has information on that.
BUCHANAN: You‘re doing the same thing, Chris, that Brownie and Rush
are doing, which is let‘s get it into politics, let‘s blame X, Y and Z.
Look, Obama had nothing to do.
DAVID CORN, “MOTHER JONES”: Listen, there is such a thing as
assigning real responsibility when things go on, not fake conspiratorial
responsibility. In fact, Barack Obama has gotten you know what from
environmentalists for being too supporter of coal when he was a senator
from Illinois. But Bush/Cheney, during those years, what is it, the
Mineral Management Service at the Department of Interior, where they were
having sex with oil industry lobbyist and not charging them for—and
saying that‘s OK, BP, you don‘t need to have—
MATTHEWS: I think, by the way—
MATTHEWS: Fairly originated on the right. Here‘s Michael Brown
again, the inimitable one, making his comments on Fox, hauling coal to New
Castle, I think it is called.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Only now is the president appearing to be engaged, and I think
the delay was this: it‘s pure politics. You know, they don‘t say these
things without it being coordinated. And so now you‘re looking at this oil
slick approaching the Louisiana shore. According to certain—NOAA and
others places, if the winds are right, it will go up the east coast. This
is exactly what they want, because now he can pander to the
environmentalists and say, I‘m going to shut it down because it‘s too
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Let me give you the line of thought I heard here last night
from Michael Brown, Pat. I don‘t think you share it. Barack Obama came
out for of offshore drilling not as a compromise, which we all thought he
was doing to get a climate bill through, which I think we all agree on, but
he did it as a fake, a head fake, because he knew or sensed that there
would come an opportunity where he would blame offshore drilling for an
environmental disaster and then he could say, see what happens when you go
with offshore drilling. I think that‘s mindless. It assumes a prophetic
ability on the part of the—a clairvoyance which is insane to believe on
the other side of the argument, I think.
BUCHANAN: I don‘t for a second believe that Barack Obama wants this
thing to go up the east coast of the United States. I don‘t believe any
American can want it to hit the Gulf Coast.
MATTHEWS: Brownie does.
BUCHANAN: I don‘t believe anybody deliberately wants that to happen
to the human and natural ecology of one of the most important parts of this
country. But I do think—Obama‘s not responsible for this, but there are
people who are responsible for the response. And I do think Napolitano has
been slow here. I think this about the White House: they do seem to be so
defensive. Let‘s not look this way, let‘s not look that way, let‘s get
down there, should we go, shouldn‘t we go? They don‘t act like executives,
like Ronald Reagan did in that air controller strike—
MATTHEWS: Katrina was water coming towards New Orleans. This is oil
coming from an oil well run by BP. BP does have the first responsibility.
CORN: One big difference with Katrina was we knew it was coming. And
the question was whether the chief executive at the time got, you know—
got Brownie and everybody else prepared for that. He didn‘t. He was
celebrating John McCain‘s birthday. He was strumming guitars. Cheney was
off on vacation. They weren‘t prepared.
MATTHEWS: By the way, Ray Nagin didn‘t do a great job either.
CORN: No, but we‘re talking about federal response. In this
instance, I think BP -- one thing I fault the administration for is I
don‘t think they pushed BP hard enough, early enough on what was really
going on. They took the initial estimates at face value. Also, they‘re
not down there at the bottom of the ocean floor sampling themselves.
MATTHEWS: You want more regulation, right, Pat? Let me get it
straight, you want more industry regulation?
BUCHANAN: You drill a hole in there that can put out 5,000 gallons a
day, yes, I want it regulated if it‘s off Ocean City or if it‘s off
CORN: That‘s what Bush and Cheney didn‘t do, Pat. You weren‘t with
us back then before the tragedy. Now you‘re there afterwards.
MATTHEWS: I think this idea about big government being bad, at
certain times we really need government. Do we trust industry to self-
BUCHANAN: No, they don‘t.
MATTHEWS: You don‘t? Interesting.
BUCHANAN: Look, up there, if we‘re going to guarantee billions in
deposits, then you got to have regulations on them. Let‘s talk about
Arizona. Look at the response there. Whatever you say about what Arizona
did, they‘re trying to get people to show their federal cards, whether it‘s
a green card or a work visa. What does the government do? They pound
Arizona and say, we‘re going to get the Justice Department to watch you to
make sure there‘s no racial profiling.
Where‘s the help for Arizona? Why don‘t they say, we‘re coming in and
we‘re going to take it in. You guys help us out, but we‘re taking this
MATTHEWS: I‘m going to get to that in my final word tonight. It‘s
closer to you than a lot of other people, I‘ll tell you.
Times Square, by the way—let‘s talk about former Governor Pataki on
MSNBC Tuesday. Let‘s listen to former Governor Pataki.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE PATAKI, FMR GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK: This is another case where
this administration, we are responding after something is attempted. We
saw it with the Christmas day airplane bomber. We saw it in Times Square.
We were lucky in both cases. Then we saw it in Ft. Hood, where we were not
so lucky, and 13 of our great, young heroes, who put their lives on the
line to defend us, were murdered. I think this administration just has got
to change its approach.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CORN: Well, I remember something called 9/11. I don‘t think Pataki
was out there bashing Bush and Cheney for not catching the 19 hijackers
before the fact. This is really hard stuff. One car, one guy, maybe
conspirators over in Waziristan. We don‘t know for sure yet. Look what
Timothy McVeigh did with just a handful of people.
We‘ve caught a lot of this stuff. They caught the guy in Denver,
Zazi, and they caught five guys in northern Virginia. But it‘s really hard
MATTHEWS: Do you think we should have caught this guy before he
BUCHANAN: You‘re missing the point. You can‘t prevent it. I‘ll
agree with you. Look at the response. Let‘s Mirandize. Let‘s make sure
his rights to remain silent. We about to get the information—
MATTHEWS: I think this guy‘s singing, by the way. Anyway, thank you
BUCHANAN: Why would you Mirandize him?
MATTHEWS: I think he‘s singing. David Corn, Pat Buchanan.
When we return, I‘m going to have some thoughts about stopping illegal
immigration the American way. I‘m closer to Pat than some people are, but
I‘m not with Pat. You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with a poll that tells a great deal
about American attitudes toward illegal immigration. The poll taken by
“the New York Times” and CBS shows a majority of the country supports that
new law in Arizona that gives police officers the job of detaining illegal
immigrants. Nine percent say they think the law should be even tougher,
should go further. This fact that 60 percent, three in five, back a
measure at least as tough as Arizona constitutes powerful information.
Given the strong media criticism, this 60 percent figure might be seen
as only a minimum estimate of true public opinion. Think of how you would
respond if a pollster asked you what do you think of the controversial law
Here‘s more information from the poll: 89 percent, nine in 10
Americans, say that illegal immigration is a problem in the country; 65
percent, almost two thirds and growing, says it‘s a very serious problem.
Three quarters say illegal immigration is bad for the economy, that it
There it is loud and clear for all politicians to hear. Americans
don‘t like illegal immigration. Four out of five, they want the government
to take a strong action in dealing with it.
Get this, the same people who are tough minded about stopping illegal
immigration want to give the people who have come here illegally a chance.
Two thirds say they should be permitted to stay here either on a path to
citizenship and on the basis of being a visiting worker. Message to
politicians seeking re-election this fall, get serious about immigration
reform, true reform that stops the flow of illegal immigrants, not by
police profiling, but by stopping illegal hiring. Reform that gives hope
to an American future for those here illegally.
So why‘s it so hard to do what‘s so plainly right, what the American
people, most of us, so plainly want done?
That‘s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. See you tomorrow
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