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updated 5/10/2010 9:32:23 AM ET 2010-05-10T13:32:23

Guest: George Pataki, Chuck Devore, Gov. Ed Rendell, Rep. Joe Sestak, Joan Walsh, Chuck Devore, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Mike Papantonio

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  Flirting with disaster.

Let‘s play HARDBALL.

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

tonight: The blame Obama game.  Do Republicans actually root for bad news

these days?  Are they hoping for oil spills and bombing attempts so they

can blame President Obama?  Former New York governor George Pataki joins me

tonight.  I‘ll ask him if he‘ll separate himself from the dittoheads.

Also, watching the elephants.  The Republican purge is surging—

Arlen Specter, Charlie Crist, Kay Bailey Hutchison, and even Sarah Palin‘s

taking some heat.  Tomorrow Utah‘s Bob Bennett could hit the dirt.  Does

the GOP want to hurt the party to save itself?

The biggest primary in the country right now is in Pennsylvania, where

the Democratic establishment fears a surging upstart, Joe Sestak, will take

down career Republican Arlen Specter.  Sestak is with us tonight, along

with Specter supporter Governor Ed Rendell.

Plus, the Dick Cheney secret energy task force loosened safety

regulations as a favor to the oil ministry?  We‘ll ask Robert F. Kennedy,

Jr., who‘s looking into the gulf oil spill.

And “Let Me Finish” by saying good-bye to one of my Philly heroes,

Robin Roberts.

We start with the “blame Obama first” crowd.  George Pataki is the

former New York governor.  Governor Pataki, thank you for joining us.  Let

me play for you your remarks about the president and the apprehension of

that suspected bomber in New York and what you thought of how it was done

or wasn‘t done right.  Here you are earlier this week.  Let‘s listen and

watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE PATAKI ®, FORMER NEW YORK GOVERNOR:  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.  And 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.  And I think this

administration just has got to change its approach.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  So governor, the Obama administration, the New York Police

Department, nobody deserves any credit for catching the bad guy...

PATAKI:  Oh, sure.

MATTHEWS:  ... within 53 hours of the crime.

PATAKI:  Chris, absolutely.  They deserve a lot of credit—the

citizens, the street vendors, the NYPD, the NY Fire Department and the

Obama administration—for catching them so quickly.  I give them kudos

for that.

But the point is that we‘re talking about the response, and what

government needs to do more of is prevent these terrorists from getting so

close in the first place.  And we‘ve just seen time and again, as we did,

as I mentioned in that clip, with the Christmas Day bomber—he was on the

no-fly list.  For some reason, it wasn‘t appropriately enforced.  He got on

the plane.

And by the way, when finally because a citizen stopped him, we gave

him Miranda warnings, and told him he has the right to remain silent, when

this is not a citizen, it‘s clearly a terrorist trying to kill innocent

American civilians.  And we don‘t know what intelligence we may have been

able to garner from him but because of this administration‘s policy, in

that instance, we did not get.

MATTHEWS:  I mean, you‘re going after this guy on every point.  You‘re

playing a full-court press here.  You‘re nailing him for not nailing that

guy from Nigeria?  Who on God‘s earth knew that the guy coming from Nigeria

was the president‘s fault?

PATAKI:  Chris—Chris...

MATTHEWS:  And here you want to get the guy...

(CROSSTALK)

PATAKI:  ... one second, Chris.  Do you think that non-citizen

terrorists like the Christmas Day bomber, should be read their Miranda

warnings and told they have the right to remain silent?  Is that an unfair

criticism?  Because I don‘t think they should.

MATTHEWS:  No, I know it‘s a fair criticism.

PATAKI:  OK...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  ... this is America, after all.

PATAKI:  But Chris, let me ask you another one.  To this day, the

administration is stonewalling Senator Lieberman in his desire to find out

what we knew about the Ft. Hood shooter before that tragedy occurred.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  OK.  OK.

PATAKI:  And they won‘t give him the information.  Is that correct?

MATTHEWS:  OK, I get the message here.  Let‘s look at Rush Limbaugh...

PATAKI:  All right.

MATTHEWS:  ... because he‘s tougher than you are.  This is just in the

last 10 days we‘re hearing this heat from the right.  Your crowd won‘t give

President Obama a break.  Let‘s listen.  He catches the bad guys.  No good. 

Let‘s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Of course, who is dividing

America?  It‘s Obama.  He looks at people of color as the genuine owners of

the world‘s wealth who have been shut out of it.  Guess what?  Faisal

Shahzad is a registered Democrat.  I wonder if his SUV had an Obama sticker

on it!

This is an administration that is not of this country.  Obama knows

who his real enemies are, and there are many more of them in Arizona than

there are, apparently, in Iran.

My friends, this regime in its day-to-day actions is far more Nazi-

like than any identification law...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  You know, Governor, I‘ve always respected you as a sort of

a common-sense guy, somewhere in the middle, somewhere toward the right,

depending on what‘s going on.  And yet I can‘t find any Republican—

center, center right or right—who will take on this guy, Limbaugh, this

tub of whatever.  He says this guy‘s dividing America.  He says that blacks

are out there to take back what they rightfully own in this country and

he‘s on their side.  He says this bomber that we‘ve been talking about the

last five minutes is a registered Democrat.  He says that the president is

not of this country.  He says he‘s got enemies all over the country and

he‘s Nazi-like.

Will you distinguish yourself on at least one of these points from

Limbaugh?

PATAKI:  Of course.

MATTHEWS:  Where?  Just name one time you...

PATAKI:  Of course, Chris.

MATTHEWS:  Because you‘ll be the first Republican on this show...

PATAKI:  Sure.  Absolutely.

MATTHEWS:  ... to say you don‘t agree with—where are you not a

ditto-head here?

PATAKI:  I‘ll start at the end, with the last one.  I do not think

this regime in any way resembles Nazism.  I disagree with him on...

MATTHEWS:  It‘s a regime?

PATAKI:  This government.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Sorry...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  You‘re falling into the trap of these whackjobs.

PATAKI:  ... but this government...

MATTHEWS:  No, I know, but that‘s what...

(CROSSTALK)

PATAKI:  OK, this administration, does not, in my mind, resemble in

any way a Nazi government.  This administration has put in policies I

fundamentally disagree with, but that‘s part of the democratic system.

MATTHEWS:  Do you believe that Faisal Shahzad is a registered

Democrat?

PATAKI:  Well, that‘s—that‘s...

MATTHEWS:  Where does your side get this nonsense?

PATAKI:  You know...

PATAKI:  Chris, Chris, Chris, that...

MATTHEWS:  He‘s not!

PATAKI:  Chris, I don‘t know.  He‘s a citizen.  And whether or not he

is, is a matter of public record.

MATTHEWS:  He‘s not!

PATAKI:  To me, it doesn‘t matter.  He‘s clearly a captured terrorist

and should be treated as such.

MATTHEWS:  Right.  Does it matter that you‘ve got someone on your side

of the political world that is out there accusing the bomber of being a

Democrat, like he‘s on assignment from the Democratic Central Committee?

PATAKI:  You know—you know, Chris...

MATTHEWS:  I mean, this kind of talk is so alien to America!

PATAKI:  Chris...

MATTHEWS:  Go ahead.

PATAKI:  Well, it‘s not really.  All you have to do is watch some of

your colleagues on MSNBC and you see the same type of talk from the other

side.  It is political rhetoric by people in the media.  When it comes from

people in public office, I think it is reprehensible.  And you should try

to have an intelligent dialogue, and I do.

MATTHEWS:  OK.

PATAKI:  I fundamentally disagree with this president‘s policies on

terrorism, from telling terrorists they can remain silent after they‘ve

almost committed an act to trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in lower

Manhattan...

MATTHEWS:  OK.

PATAKI:  ... in a civilian court.  I think that is a really dumb

decision.

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s take your—let‘s go to leaders of your party. 

You‘re still a Republican.  You‘re a registered Republican, sir.  You may

still have a political future with your party if it gets power back.  Let‘s

watch what your party, by your rules, not media people—here‘s elected

Republican leaders of your party, Mike Pence, John Boehner, Michael Steele. 

Here they go.  Let‘s watch them in action.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MIKE PENCE ®, INDIANA:  The American people deserve to know why

the administration was slow to respond and why the necessary equipment was

not immediately available in the region.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), MINORITY LEADER:  Yes, we‘ve been lucky, but

luck is not an effective strategy for fighting the terrorist threat.

MICHAEL STEELE, RNC CHAIRMAN:  Jobs are not being created in this

economy the way they should.  There are a lot of people have given up on

the one thing that this administration has been selling from the very

beginning, and that‘s hope.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Well, your crowd won‘t give him a break.  He created almost

300,000 -- the American economy did—let‘s get that straight—created

almost 300,000 new jobs, the highest production of jobs in four years...

PATAKI:  Chris...

MATTHEWS:  ... in addition to the Census jobs.

PATAKI:  Chris...

MATTHEWS:  Go ahead.

PATAKI:  Chris...

MATTHEWS:  No credit.

PATAKI:  Unemployment today went up to 9.9 percent.

MATTHEWS:  Right.

PATAKI:  When the stimulus was under consideration, the president

said, Pass it and unemployment will not go above 8 percent.  He has

borrowed trillions of dollars at a time—and raised taxes on the private

sector, particularly small businesses.  And where does job growth come

from?  It comes from small businesses.

And yes, we had job creation, but we also had higher unemployment. 

The job—we are in the midst of what I hope is a solid economic recovery,

but we‘re not seeing jobs.

MATTHEWS:  You know...

PATAKI:  And it‘s because jobs don‘t come from government spending and

raising taxes.  They come from small businesses and private-sector

investment and risk-taking.

MATTHEWS:  Right.  You know, this president came in inheriting an

economic pooh (ph) storm.  He elected—he basically came in facing what

could have been a second Depression.

PATAKI:  Yes, he did.

MATTHEWS:  He used Keynesian economics to address it.  He did strong

steps to address it.  You disagree with those strong steps, is that right?

PATAKI:  Yes, I do.  I certainly don‘t think...

MATTHEWS:  Which one do you—which one was bad?

PATAKI:  All right, the stimulus, the $787 billion of government

spending, many on programs which simply increased government costs...

MATTHEWS:  Right.

PATAKI:  ... instead of incentivizing the private sector, focusing on

a health care bill that the American people didn‘t want, including almost a

trillion dollars in higher taxes as part of that health care bill and

penalties on employers, instead of focusing on jobs, having a budget this

year with a $1.6 trillion projected deficit not counting health care, not

counting things like Freddie Mae (SIC) and Fannie Mac (SIC) at a time when

we‘re looking at a global economic risk because of the massive amount of

debt that government has put in place.

Yes, he had a mess when he took office.  But I don‘t think the focus

on jobs, the focus on...

MATTHEWS:  OK...

PATAKI:  ... incentivizing small businesses has been there at all.  In

fact, it‘s been the opposite.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  You know, he came in in February, basically, of last

year.  He came in—the 20th of January, he got into office.  He probably

didn‘t even move into the office hardly until late January.  It‘s now we‘re

getting the April job reports of a year or so later.

You‘re giving him a whole lot of time here, aren‘t you, about a year,

to turn around what is the worst case of any politician who‘s ever come

into office.  He came in facing TARP, which was already there, bail-outs of

the banks, which was already there, efforts by Paulson and all those guys -

Paulson—it was already—all the worst stuff you guys hate was

basically all going on.

And then you say he hasn‘t been fast enough of cleaning up the crap

pile that he inherited.  I think you‘re being pretty tough on this guy.

PATAKI:  Well, Chris, I...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  I think your whole party blaming him from right to left—

I mean, Boehner says it was his fault that there‘s some kind of an oil

spill, even though—we‘re going to get into it in the show tonight—the

failure to regulate the pipeline industry, the failure to regulate offshore

drilling with any kind of adequacy was not his fault.

PATAKI:  Chris, what...

MATTHEWS:  Was it?

PATAKI:  Chris, what you‘re basically saying is that when you have a

fundamental disagreement with the policies of this administration and feel

that they have not helped to create jobs and get the economy growing, that

somehow, it‘s unfair political criticism.  I don‘t think so.

I don‘t think there are a whole lot of people who think that imposing

a trillion dollars of new taxes for a health care bill at a time when we

desperately need job creation is the right thing to do.  I don‘t think

there are a whole lot of people who—who in retrospect—and I at the

time—think that $787 billion in so-called stimulus...

MATTHEWS:  OK.

PATAKI:  ... spending is the right way to create jobs.  It hasn‘t. 

Yes, the president inherited a mess.  I do believe—and I‘m trying to be

sincere and not political here—that his policies have compounded the

problem and not been in any way helpful towards solving the problem.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  Well, the other point of view, of course, Governor,

is that for, well, a century we‘ve waited for health care, ever since the

days of Teddy Roosevelt, when he first promised it.  And nobody did

anything about the 30 million to 40 million people that kept growing who

didn‘t get any health care in this country.  And this president has tried

to deliver it.  Nobody else was trying to deliver it.

Whatever you say about this president, he inherited all the trouble

and the failure to act on that American agenda, which was health care. 

Now, how he did it is a subject of political debate.  But it just seems to

me I‘m getting from the right here day after day after day, from Boehner,

from the rest of them, from Eric Cantor, from all of them, Mike Pence,

negative, negative, negative.  It‘s like your side is rooting for him to

fail.

PATAKI:  No, Chris, you know, we‘re Americans, and we want our country

to succeed.  And the president, whether we agree with his policies or not,

is our president...

MATTHEWS:  OK.

PATAKI:  ... all of us, and we want him to succeed.

MATTHEWS:  OK.

PATAKI:  But we think we can help him to succeed by criticizing his

policies...

MATTHEWS:  OK.

PATAKI:  ... when they are wrong and supporting them when we believe

they are right.

MATTHEWS:  OK, just to get a couple things straight.  I think you‘ve

made history tonight, to your favor.  It‘s a good Friday night for your own

sake, here, Governor.  And I‘ve always liked you.  You‘ve said some things

tonight that (INAUDIBLE) You‘ve said that Rush Limbaugh is wrong, that

Barack Obama is not a Nazi, right?  He‘s not a Nazi, we agree?

PATAKI:  He is not.  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  And this administration was duly elected, it‘s not a

regime.

PATAKI:  Correct.

MATTHEWS:  OK, so...

PATAKI:  Of course.

MATTHEWS:  ... you disagree with him...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  No, it‘s amazing because you‘re not a dittohead.  You know

how hard it is to find a Republican who‘s not a dittohead?  I can‘t find a

Republican member of the Congress—and by the way, if there are any out

there, please call HARDBALL on MSNBC and let us know you‘re a Republican

elected official now in office and are willing to take on that large man on

radio.

Anyway, Governor, you did it tonight.  I award you the HARDBALL award

tonight.  You‘re not a dittohead.

PATAKI:  Well...

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, sir.

PATAKI:  ... thank you, Chris.

MATTHEWS:  George Pataki.  And that‘s an honor on this show, at least. 

You‘re going to take some heat from Rushbo on this on Monday.

PATAKI:  I don‘t think that...

MATTHEWS:  Coming up: The Republican purge is surging.  First it was

Arlen Specter, then Charlie Crist, then Utah senator Robert Bennett could

go down tomorrow, and now even Sarah Palin is taking some heat.

And in one minute, during the break, some real facts about how the

economy has created jobs under Obama.

You‘re watching HARDBALL, on only MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  The news today that the economy added 290,000 new jobs last

month was good news for the Obama administration and for the country.  And

so is this, a chart of job losses and job gains for every month since

December 2007.  Look how the losses got worse during the final months of

the Bush administration, peaked, those losses did, in January of 2009, when

President Obama took office, and have steadily improved ever since.

This economy is getting better under this administration—real

numbers, real facts to counter the spin coming from some on the right who

say the president‘s plans aren‘t working.

HARDBALL returns after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  Sarah Palin is taking some heat

for throwing her weight behind Carly Fiorina and passing over tea party

favorite Chuck Devore in California‘s big Republican fight for the Senate

out there.

Here‘s what Palin wrote on her FaceBook page to clarify her choice. 

Quote, “Carly has been endorsed by the National Right to Life, the

California Pro-Life Council and by the Susan B. Anthony List.  She‘s pro-

life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-military and pro-strict border security

and against amnesty.  She‘s against Obama-care and will vote to repeal it. 

And most importantly, Carly is the only conservative in the race who can

beat Barbara Boxer.  That‘s no RINO, that‘s a winner.”

Well, Chuck Devore, as I just mentioned, is one of the Senate

candidates running against Carly Fiorina in the California Republican

primary.  What a great honor to have you on, sir.  You were passed over...

CHUCK DEVORE ®, CALIFORNIA SENATE CANDIDATE:  Yes, I was.

MATTHEWS:  ... by the governor of Alaska.  Now, wouldn‘t you want—

why is there this tempest in this tea party?  What‘s going on here?  Why is

she dividing the troops, all of a sudden?  She was the leader for a while.

DEVORE:  Well, one thing we learned yesterday when we saw Governor

Palin endorse Ms. Fiorina is that I have the heart and soul of the

conservative movement and Carly Fiorina has Governor Palin.

MATTHEWS:  Well (INAUDIBLE) if you have the heart and soul, why don‘t

you have the leader?

DEVORE:  Well, you know, it‘s—I think it‘s very difficult to

characterize who is the leader of what is essentially a decentralized

movement that cares very deeply about our Constitution and about all this

debt we‘re heaping on our children.  There is no self-appointed leaders of

the tea party movement.  It‘s broad.  It‘s varied.  It‘s vast.  And it‘s

very decentralized.

MATTHEWS:  Well, let me ask you about this.  One of the issues I‘ve

been watching, as anybody who watches politics is concerned about, is—

I‘m kind of stunned.  This is not the only issue out there.  Are you pro-

life?

DEVORE:  Yes, sir.

MATTHEWS:  Is Carly Fiorina pro-life, like you are?

DEVORE:  Well, she says she is.  She‘s a fairly recent convert to the

cause.

MATTHEWS:  No, no, no, no.  No, I don‘t know—I don‘t care what you

what you say she says.  I‘m asking you.  Is she like you?

DEVORE:  The difference is the track record.  I have a track record

and she doesn‘t.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Again, I‘ll try the question by you.  This is sort of

an interesting show, where we ask a question...

DEVORE:  Yes.  No.  Of course.

MATTHEWS:  ... and somebody has to answer it.  Is Carly Fiorina pro-

life or not?

DEVORE:  Again, she says she is.

MATTHEWS:  No, you‘re not answering—no, why...

DEVORE:  I have the book (ph) to prove it.  There‘s a difference.

MATTHEWS:  Well, why don‘t you give me the difference between the BS

we get on this show sometimes...

DEVORE:  No, no!

MATTHEWS:  ... and a truth-teller?  Is your opponent—because this

is a big fight out there.  I want you to explain your position.

DEVORE:  Chris—Chris, we don‘t know.

MATTHEWS:  You‘re pro-life.  Is your opponent?  You don‘t know?

DEVORE:  We don‘t know.  She‘s never had to vote on any of the issues. 

I‘m a proven leader.  She‘s an unknown quantity.  It‘s as simple as that.

MATTHEWS:  Is her lack of stature as a pro-lifer going to be an issue

in your primary fight?  Your skepticism, which you‘ve just voiced about her

position—will you make it an issue?

DEVORE:  Well, she herself made it an issue last week.  She told “The

San Francisco Chronicle” editorial board that Roe v. Wade was settled law

and that we shouldn‘t be talking about this issue.  So you know, to a

certain degree, she has made it an issue on her own.  And we have...

MATTHEWS:  What are you, a press secretary?  I thought you were

running against her.  What is her position, sir, on life, which I know is

important to you?  Do you trust—let me phrase it this way.  Do you trust

her as pro-life?  Will she fight Roe v. Wade...

DEVORE:  I believe that she‘s had...

MATTHEWS:  ... if she gets into the Senate?

DEVORE:  I believe she‘s had a battlefield conversion because she

wants to win a primary.

MATTHEWS:  OK, so you think it‘s cynical and not to be trusted.

DEVORE:  I think it‘s political.  It‘s a political calculation.

MATTHEWS:  OK.

DEVORE:  That‘s how you win primaries in California.

MATTHEWS:  OK, let me ask you about the tea party.  What is the most

important issue to tea party people these days?  Why should you be the

candidate to run against Barbara Boxer out there.  It‘s going to be a tough

race.  Boxer‘s won a whole bunch of races out there.

DEVORE:  Oh, yes, she has.  She‘s tough.

MATTHEWS:  How are you going to—how are you going to beat her as a

tea partyist who‘s pro-life in a state that‘s only elected pro-choice

people...

DEVORE:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  ... for years now?

DEVORE:  Well, last...

MATTHEWS:  I mean, years going back—going—I can‘t remember the

last pro-lifer to win in that state, can you?

DEVORE:  It‘s been a while.  That‘s for sure.

MATTHEWS:  Can you remember the last one?

DEVORE:  Oh, it‘d probably be S.I. Hayakawa, I‘d imagine.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Great.  OK.

DEVORE:  Quite a while ago.

MATTHEWS:  The man—the man in the Tam O‘Shanter.  I remember him

well.  He beat John Tunney.  Go ahead.  That was a long time ago.  That was

1976.

DEVORE:  The two...

MATTHEWS:  Long time ago.

DEVORE:  The two things I consistently hear from the folks...

MATTHEWS:  That‘s 36 years ago, sir.

DEVORE:  Well, there are a number of other issues, as well.  And of

course, what you‘re saying now counts both ways.  In other words, if Carly

Fiorina is, in fact, pro-life, then this would presumably be a hindrance to

her as much as it is to me.  But when you...

MATTHEWS:  But maybe—maybe she‘ll be lucky and people don‘t believe

her any more than you do.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Maybe she‘ll win both ways.  The pro-choicers will think

she‘s on their side because she‘s just doing lip service and she‘s really a

corporate success...

DEVORE:  Well...

MATTHEWS:  ... with her foreign (ph) -- she‘s a woman, perhaps.  That

might be the issue.  And you‘re out there saying you‘re a pro-lifer and

they really believe you, so they won‘t vote for you.

DEVORE:  Yes.  Well...

MATTHEWS:  You could get hurt both ways here.

DEVORE:  Going back to your question, What is it that the tea party

folks are really focused on?

MATTHEWS:  Right.  Good question.

DEVORE:  Again, I hear...

MATTHEWS:  Go ahead.

DEVORE:  I hear the debt above all else.  And one of the reasons why I

hear them as being more favorable toward me than toward Carly Fiorina is,

again, I have a record of fighting against higher taxes and for smaller

government, and that I‘ve actually put my reputation on the line.  For

example, last year, California enacted the largest tax increase in U.S. 

history at the state level.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

DEVORE:  I fought against that, and I resigned as chief Republican

whip in protest of that tax increase vote, and then I fought against the

ballot measure that would have extended that for two years on May 19th

And we won almost 2-to-1.  Now, of course, Carly Fiorina...

MATTHEWS:  OK, you know what I...

DEVORE:  ... was AWOL.

MATTHEWS:  You know what I don‘t believe about tea party people?  What

you believe.  Ronald Reagan doubled the debt, the national debt.  George W. 

Bush doubled the national debt.  And you guys didn‘t give a peep of

complaint.  You loved those guys.  You loved George W.  You loved Ronald

Reagan.  And they doubled the national debt, each in their own term and you

never raised hell about it.

Obama comes in, three minutes he‘s in, and you‘re attacking him as a

big spender when you haven‘t raised a sound beforehand.  You‘re really not

to be believed on this, are you?  What‘s your credibility in going after

Republicans who double the national debt?

DEVORE:  I actually criticized President George W. Bush for increasing

government at a more rapid rate than any president since Lyndon Blaines

(SIC) Johnson.  I was on the record.  I criticized him.  I criticized

Governor Schwarzenegger for doing the same in the state of California.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

DEVORE:  And so I‘ve got a bit of credibility on this issue.  I stood

up to my own party leadership.

MATTHEWS:  OK.

DEVORE:  And I think that‘s what the tea party is focused on and one

of the reasons why this move by Carly Fiorina, this battlefield

conversion...

MATTHEWS:  Right.

DEVORE:  ... to conservatism is not so believable because as chief

economic adviser to John McCain in 2008, she backed John McCain‘s cap-and-

trade lite.  She only, up until last night at our debate, refused to take a

position on amnesty, and finally last night said she was opposed to

amnesty.

MATTHEWS:  OK, got to go.

DEVORE:  Good enough.

MATTHEWS:  Chuck Devore, please come back.  Please come back on the

show.  We‘ll have more time next time.

DEVORE:  Delighted to.

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Chuck Devore, running for the Senate in

California.

Joan Walsh, this fight—the tea party‘s in a tempest right now.  You

know, it looks to me like they‘re not agreeing—Sarah Palin was the

leader of the party about a minute ago.  Now she‘s causing division.

JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM:  Yes.  Well, you know, she‘s done something

that I think is fairly pragmatic.  Two things, Chris.  Chuck Devore, with

all due respect, is not expected to win, and so she could only back so many

losers.  And then, you know, there‘s a little bit of McCain loyalty. 

Fiorina was a surrogate for John McCain, although she served him terribly.

The thing I remember about Fiorina was her saying that Sarah Palin

wasn‘t qualified to run a corporation, and then she had to take that back

and say, well, McCain wasn‘t.  Anyway, but—so there‘s a little bit of

that.  There‘s a little bit of—you know, if Palin wants to run for

president, and I think she does, you know, it‘s good to get in with

California Republicans and California money.  Carly Fiorina...

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

WALSH:  ... is much more tied into money.  And that‘s what she‘s

about.  Sarah Palin is about Sarah Palin, not the tea parties, and you

know, some of her followers are finding that out.  She‘s getting shouted

down on her own FaceBook page, which until now has been a big clubhouse

for, you know, Sarah‘s friends.

MATTHEWS:  OK...

WALSH:  So it‘s a rough time.

MATTHEWS:  You know more than I know about this, Joan.  Why are they

all going to California?  Mitt Romney‘s moved physically to California so

he can win the California delegation in the big fight, the primary out

there next time.  She‘s out there basically staking a foothold with

Fiorina, hoping she can beat Boxer and be like Nixon was in ‘66 and say,

Look, I built this person.

WALSH:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  I made this place.  Why is California becoming the ground

zero of the fight between Palin and Mitt Romney for the nomination next

time?  What‘s going on?

WALSH:  Because there‘s a lot of delegates.  It‘s a big—it‘s a big,

big state.  And there‘s also—there‘s so much money here.  People talk

about Hollywood money like it‘s Democratic money, but there‘s Hollywood

money for Republicans.  There‘s development and investment bank money for

Republicans.  So you know, people treat us like an ATM.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

WALSH:  And it‘s not terribly surprising.  There‘s also a lot of

media.  There are two, actually, exciting races here, with the governor‘s

seat being open, so...

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Thank you.

WALSH:  I think that‘s what it‘s about.

MATTHEWS:  Who wins, by the way—one-word answer—Palin or Mitt

Romney, the nomination next time?  Bet right now.

WALSH:  I can‘t say neither?  They‘re my only choices?

MATTHEWS:  OK.  OK, baby, you just said neither.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Joan Walsh.  I think it‘s your heart talking.

Anyway, up next, Steve Colbert tries to figure out the British

election.  We‘re all trying to figure that one out!  Stick around for the

“Sideshow.”  I thought it was simple over there.  It ain‘t.

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

British elections resulted in a hung parliament, meaning no party has a

majority of seats.  Last night, my good friend, “The Atlantic‘s” Andrew

Sullivan, tried to explain to Stephen Colbert how things are done across

the pond.  Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN COLBERT, “THE COLBERT REPORT”:  The election only lasts about

a month there.

ANDREW SULLIVAN, THE ATLANTIC ONLINE:  The formal.

COLBERT:  The formal election only lasts about a month.  In America,

it takes that long for someone to form an exploratory committee to find out

if they even want to run.

SULLIVAN:  Yes.

COLBERT:  How do you really get a good leader that way?

SULLIVAN:  Well, you also don‘t have any television ads, by the way. 

They‘re banned.

COLBERT:  What?

SULLIVAN:  You only have...

COLBERT:  Then why do you raise hundreds of millions of dollars?

SULLIVAN:  They don‘t.

COLBERT:  Then how do you know who‘s supposed to win?

(LAUGHTER)

SULLIVAN:  The queen will have to ask one of these leaders to form a

government.

COLBERT:  Wait a second.  The queen still has a role in government?

SULLIVAN:  Yes.

COLBERT:  I thought she was just a tourist trap.

(LAUGHTER)

SULLIVAN:  The leader of the party that has the most seats has to go

to the queen and ask permission to form a government, or the queen invites

him.  And that may be—that may be difficult because what if...

COLBERT:  Ma‘am, may we form a government, please?

(LAUGHTER)

SULLIVAN:  It‘s actually...

COLBERT:  Please, please, mum!

SULLIVAN:  It‘s mom.  It‘s mom.  Mom.

COLBERT:  Mom?

SULLIVAN:  Mom.  Mom.

COLBERT:  Mom, we‘d really like to govern for a while.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  OK, it‘s mom, the queen.  Up next: Did Dick Cheney‘s secret

energy task force loosen safety regulation to help out big oil?  And did

that contribute to this massive spill down in the Gulf of Mexico?  We‘re

going to talk to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who‘s trying to get the answers.

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MARKET WRAP)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  A headline on page one of

today‘s “Wall Street Journal” says, in a nutshell, what may have led to oil

rig explosion down in the gulf.  Quote, “Oil regulators ceded oversight to

the drillers.”  Well, how did it come to pass?  The answer may lie in the

oil industry-friendly Bush and Cheney years.

Michael Papantonio is a lawyer whose firm has filed a class action law

(SIC) in three states on behalf of shrimpers, fisheries, oystermen and

business owners.  And Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., is president of Waterkeeper

Alliance and a professor at Pace University.  Together, they host a

syndicated radio show called “Ring of Fire” that airs Saturdays and

Sundays.

Gentlemen, I‘m looking at this piece that talks about the fact—and

Robert Kennedy first—it seems to me they‘re talking about here a culture

of ethical failures by these regulators, supposedly, at MMS at the Interior

Department having sex, taking gifts from industry representatives.  It

sounds like they‘re literally in bed with those characters.  Is that the

problem here?

ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR., CHAIR, WATERKEEPER ALLIANCE:  That was one of

the major problems.  The agency during the Bush administration which is

responsible for promulgating regulations and for exercising oversight of

the industry really became just a sock puppet for the oil industry.  They

almost completely ceased any kind of oversight, and they relied instead on

what they call the voluntary regimen so that the industry would regulate

itself.

And one of the outcomes of that we know was that the—that the Deep

Water Horizon, the drill rig on which this tragedy occurred, was not

equipped with a piece of equipment, which was an acoustical dead man‘s

switch, which BP—which is required in Europe.  It‘s required in Brazil

and other nations.  It‘s used almost universally by the oil industry all

over the world.  But BP was not required to use it.  Although BP uses these

on its own oil rigs in the North Sea, it was not required to use it in this

country.

And that‘s—and the reason for that was because this agency, the

Minerals Management agency, really had simply lost—had a seamless

relationship with big oil.

MATTHEWS:  You know, Michael, it seems to me—following up on Bob‘s

point there—it seems to me that there was a real sweetheart relationship

there, the gifts, the sexual favors, all kinds of stuff between the so-

called regulators—and you get the idea that Cheney and his company, his

characters around him in the energy task force that had those secret

meetings, basically sent down the cue, You guys just leave these guys

alone.  We‘ll make a lot of money (INAUDIBLE) the oil industry.  We‘ll have

a nice relationship.  Don‘t regulate them too hard.  Is that what happened,

Michael?

MIKE PAPANTONIO, ATTORNEY FOR FAMILIES SUING BP:  Yes.  Chris, we‘re

going to have—yes.  We‘re going to have an answer to this.  The history

goes way back.  Before Dick Cheney began using his limitless political

influence around the house of Halliburton—you got to understand this. 

In 1992, they were very—almost an obscure company.  All of a sudden,

they get a $3 billion contract from Cheney.  And then Cheney—they‘re—

they‘re pleased, and then Cheney becomes the CEO of that company.

Then the next thing we know, Halliburton KBR, they‘re doing everything

besides what they—what they are is a cement (ph) company.  They‘re

delivering mail to our troops.  They‘re preparing, serving meals.  They‘re

doing laundry and dry cleaning.  They‘re having phone service.

This is pattern we‘ve seen with Cheney from the beginning.  It‘s—

from the beginning.  It‘s the same influence pattern that emerged after

Dick‘s closed-door meetings with the energy industry, where he had every

major driller in the world there, Chris.  And what they said, I don‘t know

today, but I got to tell you, Bobby and I are going to find out because

what happened after that is overnight, he—overnight, Halliburton becomes

the darling of the petroleum industry.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

PAPANTONIO:  They‘re deregulated.  The mineral management...

MATTHEWS:  So you‘re basically...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  So you‘re basically—you‘re saying that Dick Cheney, as

secretary of defense, fed these guys a fat contract.  They rewarded him by

making him CEO when he left the government.  Are you saying there‘s a

connection? 

PAPANTONIO:  I know there‘s a connection, Chris.  Go ahead, Bob. 

MATTHEWS:  Your thoughts, Bob? 

KENNEDY:  You know, I‘ll just tell you what they—what the

chronology was on the acoustical switch, which is really emblematic of the

entire relationship.  In 2001, the Minerals Management Agency was in the

process of a rule-making that would have provided new safeguards for

offshore drilling.  The rule-making, which we have copies of, says that an

acoustical switch is a, quote, essential component for all offshore drill

rigs. 

Dick Cheney then had his—he came in January of 2001.  For the next

100 days, he met in secret with over 100 executives from the energy

industry, from the carbon industry, from coal and oil.  We sued him to try

to get the minutes of those meetings, and Judge Scalia denied us at the

end, wrote an opinion denied, saying that he had executive privilege and

that he didn‘t have to share those. 

But immediately after those meetings, the Minerals Management Agency,

which was now headed by—was staffed by Dick Cheney, with his cronies

from Wyoming, led by Johnny Burton, who was one of the—a bureaucrat from

Wyoming, who was a crony of Dick Cheney.  Reversed the 2001 rule-making,

and in 2003 published a document saying, we‘re not going to require this

essential component. 

Now this is a component that was designed to shut on—to turn on the

blow-out prevention device.  If the men on the rig could not reach the

button and try to throw the—manually activate the device.  That‘s the

place where the fire started.  And we don‘t know now whether they tried to

manually activate the device.  But this switch was designed, if they were

unable to, to activate it automatically. 

And that switch was never installed on the pipe.  And it may or may

not have resulted in—in the tragedy of Deep-Water Horizon.  But in 2005,

the energy bill was passed, which was a product of—

MATTHEWS:  Bobby, we have to go—

KENNEDY:  It was essentially a grab bag for the industry.  The

industry made a wish list and that became our energy bill, and it got rid

of all the safeguards. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  OK.  Well thank you for that.  It looks like Cheney is

involved deep in this.  It looks like that secret meeting at the White

House under the Cheney-Bush administration got a lot of bad stuff done. 

I‘m watching you, Michael, to see if you take legal action.  Michael

Papantonio and Robert Kennedy.

Up next, Pennsylvania‘s top Democrats say a Sestak win over Arlen

Specter would be cataclysmic.  The latest polls show it could very well

happen.  Joe Sestak joins us up next, as does Governor Ed Rendell, who

supports Arlen Specter. 

But in one minute, Charlie Crist has the lead in Florida.  Will he

hold it?  New poll numbers in 60 seconds.  This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Good news and bad news for Charlie Cyst and his decision to

leave the Republican party and run for the Senate in Florida as an

independent.  Check out the new Mason-Dixon poll.  Crist is leading with 38

percent of the vote.  Republican Marco Rubio has 32 percent.  And

Democratic Congressman Kendrick Meek is down at 19. 

Here‘s the problem: Crist is drawing strong support among Democrats

and African-Americans, support that will likely erode, or could erode,

should Meek‘s candidacy gain steam.  But we‘ll see.  I still think Crist

could do it.  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  We‘re back.  Eleven days to go until the hottest primary in

the country is up in Pennsylvania.  Will it be Arlen Specter, the senator,

the Democrat now, who was a Republican, against Joe Sestak, who is battling

him?  Who is going to run against Toomey in the general?  Pennsylvania

Governor Ed Rendell is a former DNC chair nationally.  H e‘s backing

Specter all the way for re-election. 

We‘re getting a lot of word out of Pennsylvania that your party

believes, governor, that if it is Sestak, he pulls an upset—he‘s running

even right now in the latest polls—that if he pulls an upset, you

believe—do you believe that he will lose the general? 

GOV. ED RENDELL (D), PENNSYLVANIA:  Do I believe—no, both Joe

Sestak and Arlen Specter have an uphill fight against Congressman Toomey. 

I believe Arlen‘s a stronger candidate.  But can Joe win?  I think can he

win.  But clearly Arlen, in all the polls, is a much stronger candidate in

the general election. 

MATTHEWS:  How do you square that with the fact that Senator Specter

left the Republican party because he couldn‘t beat Toomey in the primary. 

And he said so. 

RENDELL:  Again, no question, he was very honest about it.  I think it

was refreshing that he was so honest.  I think he still runs very well with

independents, Chris, Senator Specter, and still has some Republican

support.  There are some progressive Republicans around the Delaware Valley

who have been used to voting for Arlen, and they are not going to vote for

Pat Toomey, might vote for Pat Toomey against Joe Sestak.  But they‘ve been

Arlen voters for a long time.  I think not all of them, but a lot of them

are going to stay with him. 

That‘s why he runs so much better in the general election polls than

Joe does. 

MATTHEWS:  You said it was refreshing that Senator Specter admitted

that he basically had to switch parties because the other party got too far

right on him.  Let‘s take a listen to what Sestak is saying in this very

tough ad that‘s been put out by the campaign group.  Here it is, Sestak‘s

latest TV ad against the senator. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOE SESTAK (D), PENNSYLVANIA:  I‘m Joe Sestak, the Democrat.  I

authorized this message. 

SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (D), PENNSYLVANIA:  My change in party will enable

me to be re-elected. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  For 45 years, Arlen Specter has been a Republican

politician. 

GEORGE W. BUSH, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Arlen Specter is

the right man for the United States Senate.  I can count on this man.  See,

that‘s important.  He‘s a firm ally.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  But now—

SPECTER:  My change in party will enable me to be re-elected. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Arlen specter switched parties to save one job—

his.  Not yours. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  That‘s a tough ad, isn‘t it? 

RENDELL:  It‘s—it‘s a tough ad.  It‘s a good ad.  It‘s my ad

agency, Chris.  It‘s my ad agency. 

MATTHEWS:  I know, it‘s the Campaign Group.  But they finally hit the

bulls eye, which is Arlen Specter spent 45 years running on the Republican

label and, all of a sudden, in his own interests, which he says, in my own

interests, I have to switch parties.  How how does a regular bread and

butter Democrat, or even an intellectual suburban Democrat buy him? 

RENDELL:  Well, there‘s a very easy answer to Joe‘s ad.  It‘s Barack

Obama, Joe Biden, Ed Rendell, Mike Nutter.  All of us urged Arlen Specter

to switch parties.  All of us asked him to become a Democrat, because we

believe he‘d been fighting for Democratic values all along.  And, remember,

you haven‘t heard from President Obama yet.  You haven‘t heard from Joe

Biden.  You haven‘t heard from me.  I just did some robo calls.  Mike

Nutter has been pretty outspoken in the city. 

I think you‘re going to see those people weigh in.  Those are the—

again, no offense to Joe or Arlen.  But those are the leading Democrats

when it comes to voters throughout the state, and particularly in the vote-

rich southeast. 

MATTHEWS:  What is Arlen Specter?  All those years, 45 years, he ran

as a Republican.  Inside he was a republican.  He wasn‘t just voting

Republican.  He was rooting for the Republicans to win.  We have lots of

ads and tapes showing him rooting for George Bush, rooting for his father,

rooting for Reagan, rooting for Nixon, always voting for Republican, always

urging Republicans to win, I assume in his soul rooting for them. 

What changed in Arlen Specter?  Why did he stop rooting for

Republicans inside his heart?  Why is he a Democrat at the age of 80? 

RENDELL:  I don‘t think it‘s so important, Chris, who he was rooting

for.  I think it‘s more important what he was voting for.  And he was

voting for our values all along.  He protected the Community Development

Block Grant Program when Republicans tried to cut it.  He protected housing

funds when Republicans tried to cut it. 

He did things—he voted for the minimum wage when Republicans were

against it.  He‘s been there on the core Democratic values, and that‘s

what‘s important to me, not who he rooted for.  By the way, as you know,

Chris, he was a Democrat in 1965.  He only became a Republican because the

Democratic party was a pretty closed shop then and all young, new

candidates, if they wanted to go anywhere, had to become a Republican.  So

he‘s really returned to his Democratic roots. 

MATTHEWS:  I know.  I know.  He went because Billy Meehan offered him

a slot against Crumlish (ph).  I know.  I think it‘s great.  I‘m totally

for opportunism.  It‘s fine to be an opportunist.  The question is the

voters.  I‘m shocked, aren‘t you, that Sestak took this hard hit on the

fact that he was relieved of duty as a three star admiral?  And Specter hit

him hard on that and the ad was really tough. 

Yet, since that very tough ad, which I think is credible—we‘re

going to have Joe Sestak on in a minute—he‘s done well.  He‘s coming up

in the polls.  How do you explain it? 

RENDELL:  Well, first of all, he‘s spending a lot of money, which is

his right to do so.  He raised a lot of money.  Two, he has a good ad

agency.  Three, Joe has a good story to tell.  But the “Enquirer” today—

yesterday said Joe should release his records on that, because he responded

by calling Arlen a liar.  I think Joe owes it to the public to release

those records. 

MATTHEWS:  You have raised the issue, governor.  Thank you.  We‘re

going to go right now to Joe Sestak.  He‘s on the phone.  Congressman, will

you release your records, as the governor has just asked you, Navy records

that talk about the way in which you left the United States Navy? 

SESTAK:  Absolutely not.  Look, I spent 31 years in the United States

Navy.  I was proud of every single moment.  When I was on the ground in

Afghanistan as head of the anti-terrorism unit—to have a 30-year career

politician in Washington, D.C.—and as much as I love Ed—and we‘re

going to have a Rendell sandwich together—because remember when he upset

Bob Casey and run against the establishment.  Everybody told him, sit down. 

We‘re going to—look, I think no career politicians tell any vet—

MATTHEWS:  If you‘re proud of your record -- 

SESTAK:  Actually say a lie, because it was a lie about what he said. 

Look, what I want to talk about is the issues. 

MATTHEWS:  It‘s a lie that you were relieved of duty?  Why don‘t you

release your records and show that it was a lie? 

SESTAK:  Why?  Because Arlen Specter can‘t run on the Republican

agenda, where he voted for the war in Iraq, and I opposed it, for tax

policies that destroyed us.  He just wants to divert attention from his

record?  No.  Then he‘ll say something else. 

Enough‘s enough.  Barack Obama as well.  I‘m running to end Swift

Boating.  And we‘re not going to put up with it. 

MATTHEWS:  You know, John Kerry lost because he didn‘t defend himself

against the Swift Boating, but he didn‘t release his Naval records.  Why

don‘t you and beat this charge against you by Arlen Specter?  If it‘s a

lie, prove it with your records.  Why not? 

SESTAK:  Because no veteran has to listen to someone in Harrisburg or

someone way down in Washington, D.C.  Enough‘s enough.  Look, Joe Biden

even said he supported Rick.  You know, I‘d love to see the governor and

other people defend us.  We don‘t need them to.  I think for veterans, we

should say enough‘s enough. 

More than that, the other negative attack ads he‘s up there—we went

out with a very positive ad for a couple weeks.  We said who we were, what

we believed in.  (INAUDIBLE) Yet, the only thing after 30 years Arlen

Specter can talk about is how he nominated—how he actually voted for me

to be a three-star admiral, and then, because as a head—operations said

I was courageous in changing the Navy.  Then—

MATTHEWS:  Congressman, please come on.  Congressman, we want you on

live next time, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, any day.  Come on the show.  We

want you.  Congressman Joe Sestak, running for the Senate.  You‘re always

welcome on the show.

When we return, I‘ll have some thoughts about one of my Philadelphia

heroes on that topic, the great Robin Roberts.  You‘re watching HARDBALL,

only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Let me finish tonight with another Philadelphia story. 

Robin Roberts died yesterday.  We all have our sports heroes growing up. 

He was mine.  He was number one with me, the top pitcher for the home team,

the guy who could win 28 games and lose just seven, with a team that had a

record nothing like that. 

Six years in a row, Roberts won 20 games a season.  He did it the hard

way, winning two to one, losing two to one.  I think most of his games were

like that.  He was out there all alone getting the other side out, inning

after inning, after a bad first or second inning, only to have his team

never, almost never get out there and deliver for him. 

Life can be like that.  Maybe that‘s why a tough, gritty blue-collar

city like Philly respected Roberts so much.  Robin Roberts, his number 36,

long retired, will hang in the locker room the rest of this season.  He

made it to the Hall of Fame, obviously.  Before my time, Robin Roberts was

the ace on the famous Wiz Kids who won the National League pennant back in

1950.  He had his best stuff and one of his great fast balls of all time

when he was young in the early 20s. 

But there was something about him that stayed great, stayed with us

all those decades since, those young kids, those Whiz Kids from nowhere

went to the Series back then.  Robin Roberts, Richie Ashburn (ph), Dell

Ennis and Willie Pudding Head Jones. 

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

Sunday‘s Mother‘s Day.  So make sure you send her a card, pick up some

flowers or take the lady to dinner.  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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