Guests: Pat Buchanan, Amanda Drury, Eugene Robinson, Joan Walsh, Tony Hopfinger, Claire McCaskill, Errol Lewis, Steve Kornacki
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Mad Hatter‘s Tea Party.
Let‘s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I‘m Chris Matthews in New York.
Leading off tonight: tea time. But is the country ready for it? Sarah Palin may have hinted at a possible presidential run when she kicked off her two-week campaign of Tea Party rallies. But could some Tea Party candidates cost the Republicans the U.S. Senate? You‘ve got Christine O‘Donnell questioning the Constitution‘s separation of church and state and Sharron Angle telling Hispanic students they look more Asian. Teed-off partiers—our top story tonight.
You can now count Joe Miller among those Tea Party candidates giving Republicans some major headaches. We‘ll talk to the reporter who was handcuffed and arrested by Miller‘s security force and find out if the Alaska Senate candidate was using his bodyguards to shut down press coverage.
Also, believe it or not, Carl Paladino had a hard time standing out in New York‘s gubernatorial debate last night, even when he bolted from the stage at one point to search for the bathroom. Isn‘t that a TV commercial? The face-off turned (ph) going “Gong Show” when a candidate from—get this—the Rent Is Too Damn High Party—spoke only in rhymes and a self-proclaimed madam of the Anti-Prohibition Party managed to delivered the wildest lines.
And then—and then we go to Jerry Brown. Boy, does he have a great comeback for Meg Winfield‘s (SIC) pitch that she‘s the fresh face needed in California. Wait until you see the Jerry Brown ad. It crushes her and it‘s really something.
“Let Me Finish” tonight, by the way, with some thoughts about why it is important to simply do it, vote.
OK, tomorrow, the HARDBALL college tour continues. We‘re going to be at the University of Illinois at Chicago, in Chicago, with Congress candidate Alexi Giannoulias. Governor Charlie Crist is going to join us from Florida. Also, on Thursday, it‘s back to my home town of Philadelphia, north Philly specifically, and the democratic Senate candidate Joe Sestak at Temple University.
Right now, let‘s get the latest polls from around the country. Let‘s go to the “Scoreboard,” the HARDBALL “Scoreboard.” We‘ll start with that Senate race in PA. A new PPP poll shows Sestak with real momentum—with real momentum. Sestak‘s now in the front of Republican Pat Toomey by a vote of 46 to 45. He‘s up. That‘s a robo-poll, but some pollsters say it‘s—well, we‘ll see what it means. Some tightening, by the way, in that Colorado Senate race, where Republican Ken Buck‘s lead over incumbent senator Michael Bennet is down to 3 points, 48 to 45. In the Florida Senate race, Republican Marco Rubio leads independent Charlie Crist by 8, 39 to 31, with Democrat Kendrick Meek at 22.
Now to Washington state, where Senator Patty Murray has an 8-point lead over Republican Dino Rossi. Murray‘s at 50. Believe it or not, she is moving. Rossi‘s at 42. And in the governor‘s race here in New York state, “The New York Times” now has Democrat Andrew Cuomo out to a—look at this lead, 59 to 24, a 35-point lead over the guy that threatened to take out that reporter the other day.
We‘re going to continue to check the HARDBALL “Scoreboard” on all the big races each night coming up to election day.
And now to Sarah Palin and the Tea Party. Pat Buchanan‘s an MSNBC
political analyst and Joan Walsh is editor of Salon. Here‘s Sarah Palin,
by the way, Monday on CNN. Let‘s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is the Tea Party movement? Why is it splitting the movement? And two, who do you stand with?
SARAH PALIN (R-AK), FMR. GOV., FMR. VP NOMINEE: You know, I don‘t think that it will because I think more of the machine within the GOP is going to understand that this “We the people” message is rising and it‘s resonating throughout with the independents, with hard-core conservatives, with moderates, because it‘s just so full of common sense and time-tested truths that can put the economy on the right track, that heaven forbid that the GOP machine strays from this message. If so, GOP is through.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow. Let‘s take a look at some more of this with Pat Buchanan and Joan Walsh. Pat, I heard today Doug Schoen, a big—big-time pollster in this city, up here in New York, thinks that Sarah Palin‘s running for president. Your thoughts.
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think she may be, Chris. I don‘t know if she‘s made up her mind yet—we‘ve got a little feedback here—I don‘t know if she‘s made up her mind she‘s running for president, but if she got into the Iowa caucuses, I think she‘d run extremely strong, and she could also win South Carolina.
But I have to say, Chris, a year ago, she was at that lakeside press conference, looked to me like she was almost gone for good. People called her a quitter. And now she is probably the single most influential figure in American politics in terms of endorsing candidates in primaries and caucuses, and she is a potential presidential front-runner for the Republican Party.
MATTHEWS: Joan, I want you to watch her here in Reno, Nevada, and tell me what you think. This is a serious push. Last two weeks to go. It starts tonight. Two weeks now to the election day. It looks like she‘s really jumping in this with both feet and really going to try to win with a bunch of Tea Party leaders in the Senate race and claim big-time victory election night, and then go on to announce at the end of the year. It could be the plan.
Here‘s Sarah Palin in Reno. Let‘s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PALIN: You‘ve been ridiculed. You‘ve been mocked. You‘ve been slandered by the left. Still, though, you didn‘t let big government-lovin‘ professional politicians and the complicit left-wing lamestream media tell you to sit down and shut—tell you to sit down and shut up! Instead, no, you didn‘t retreat! You reloaded! You came out even stronger, and you‘ve turned this country around!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow. Joan Walsh, that‘s—she‘s talking to us, I think. Nobody in the world I know has told her to sit down. We like her standing up.
MATTHEWS: -- stand even higher, Governor. Your thoughts, Joan.
JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: Well, look, of course she‘s trying to do that, but in fact, we may find at the end of the cycle, Chris, that she‘s hurt the party. You know, Sharron Angle—Harry Reid was dead until he got the gift that keeps on giving, Sharron Angle. I know you watched that tape where she tells those poor students that they‘re Latino, but they look kind of Asian and that she‘s been mistaken for Asian. She sounds preposterous. She doesn‘t—
MATTHEWS: Let‘s be fair here. What—I have watched that tape. I tried to understand what she meant. She‘s making, obviously, a visual ethnic observation. Did she think that some of the people in that group were from the Philippines? Let‘s take a look at this. Pat, I want your comment—
MATTHEWS: -- to be fair, let‘s figure out what she‘s talking about here when she said when she looked at a group largely of Latino kids and said, Some of you kids look Asian. I don‘t know what it meant. Let‘s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARRON ANGLE (R-NV), SENATE CANDIDATE: I don‘t know that all of you are Latino. Some of you look a little more Asian to me. I don‘t know that. My grandchildren are evidence of that. I‘m evidence of that. I‘ve been called the first Asian legislator in our Nevada state assembly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I‘m really trying to be fair here and trying to figure what we‘ve (INAUDIBLE) We‘ve got somebody calling the campaign again, trying to figure this out, what she meant.
MATTHEWS: Do you know, Joan, what she meant by that?
WALSH: You know, I think she meant that she is completely bewildered by modern multi-ethnic America, Chris. I think she thinks that that‘s a completely acceptable thing to say, to treat these students like she doesn‘t really know what they are. And you know, as far as I know, no one in Nevada politics can think of an example of a time when she was actually called Asian. So that seems to be either a misremembering or a lie.
WALSH: But she seems so out of her element in terms of dealing with people who are not white people, and that‘s really trouble, given the future of our society. Those are our children.
BUCHANAN: Joan is correct—Joan is correct in this extent. She is not politically correct at all. She is clearly trying to establish a sense of community with these kids. Hi, you kids are Hispanics. I see some of you kids may well be Asian.
Chris, in our generation, that would be a very nice thing to try to do. It is not politically correct, but the piling on of this woman for a statement like that, which I think is inoffensive and harmless—it may be antiquated—is just the appalling elitism that you see coming through—
MATTHEWS: OK, well, I‘m not doing it.
BUCHANAN: -- this media—through this media—
MATTHEWS: -- put this in context, both of you, Joan and Pat. The reason she got into this conversation about ethnic look—which is always very tricky to get into, especially—well, anytime it is, people are offended by it many times—is because she ran an ad that clearly identified Hispanics as border-crossers, illegal border-crossers—
WALSH: Yes. Clearly.
MATTHEWS: -- because she—the ad had Hispanics picked up at one of these casting calls or stock footage (INAUDIBLE) in this case. And then she tried to deny that they were all Hispanic. She said, Oh, they‘re all just people crossing the Mexican border. Well, I don‘t know what that meant except—
WALSH: Some of them Canadian.
MATTHEWS: -- she was trying to avoid admitting that she was making that big slur. Pat, that‘s where it came from. That‘s why she‘s saying—
BUCHANAN: But Chris—
MATTHEWS: -- to these kids, I don‘t know if you‘re all Hispanic.
WALSH: Right. And that‘s why—
BUCHANAN: -- question to me, Joan.
WALSH: Sure. Sorry, Pat.
BUCHANAN: Look, people coming across the border are Mexicans, by and large. Some of them are Guatemalan. Some come from other places. What would be wrong with portraying them as Mexicans coming across the border—
MATTHEWS: But she denied it.
BUCHANAN: -- if that‘s what they are?
BUCHANAN: That‘s where the mistake is. She should have said, Look, I didn‘t have anything to do with the ad. It does look like they‘re Mexican folks. Most of the illegals are Mexican. But however, we‘ve got a tremendous number—
BUCHANAN: -- of Mexican-Americans here who are legal.
MATTHEWS: Well, let‘s take a look at some of these Tea Party people that may be a problem for the Tea Party. I think the energy of the Tea Party is exceptional. They have created the Republican Party—I‘ll say it a hundred times—it wasn‘t John Boehner, boring John Boehner, or crusty Mitch McConnell that excited the Republican base, it‘s these guys.
MATTHEWS: Look at them. But these problems are right here. Sharron Angle, can she win? Christine O‘Donnell, probably not. Joe Miller, probably. Ken Buck, probably. Pat—Joan here—I think most of these Tea Party people are going to win. That‘s what I think. What do you think?
WALSH: I don‘t know. I don‘t know if Sharron—
MATTHEWS: Who‘s going to lose?
WALSH: -- Angle will win. Sharron Angle can still lose.
MATTHEWS: Could lose.
WALSH: Ken Buck can still lose. We know that Christine O‘Donnell will lose. I mean, here—
MATTHEWS: Yes. But they could almost all win.
WALSH: We‘ll see. We‘ve still got two weeks. If they keep opening their mouths—
BUCHANAN: You know, Chris—
WALSH: Look, Joe Miller—watch—I know you‘re going to have—you‘re going to show this later, but watch Joe Miller‘s thugs handcuff a reporter, who is a—who is just—
MATTHEWS: Could have been you, Joan!
WALSH: -- doing his job—excuse me?
MATTHEWS: It could have been me.
WALSH: It could have been! It could have been.
BUCHANAN: Chris—Chris, you know, you‘ve said—Chris, your hero, Jack Kennedy, once said sometimes party loyalty asks too much. I‘m a conservative. We came into politics with a guy who was certainly going to lose, Barry Goldwater. We nominated guys who might have lost, like Nixon. Reagan could have lost. He won. You know, George W. and Cheney won.
When we nominate moderates and folks—excuse me—that Chris Matthews may like—Ford and Bush I and McCain and Dole—we lose. We want to win with our own people. I don‘t understand politics if people say, Well, let‘s go with—let‘s go with Arlen Specter because he‘s a sure winner when Arlen disagrees with me 50 percent of the time.
MATTHEWS: Well, here‘s—here‘s Christine O‘Donnell, one of your favorites, who is possibly going to lose, with Chris Coons in that Delaware Senate race. She‘s the genuine article, by the way, Pat. She‘s what you‘ve been looking for all these years. She‘s the real thing!
MATTHEWS: Let‘s listen.
WALSH: Oh, yes.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CHRISTINE O‘DONNELL (R-DE), SENATE CANDIDATE: Where in the Constitution is separation of church and state?
CHRIS COONS (D-DE), SENATE CANDIDATE: The 1st Amendment. The 1st Amendment establishes the separation, the fact that the federal government shall not establish any religion and decisional (ph) law by the Supreme Court over many, many decades—
O‘DONNELL: The 1st Amendment does?
O‘DONNELL: Let me just clarify. You‘re telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the 1st Amendment.
COONS: Government shall make no establishment of religion.
O‘DONNELL: That‘s in the 1st Amendment?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I was surprised—
MATTHEWS: -- she wasn‘t familiar with the establishment clause.
BUCHANAN: (INAUDIBLE) establishment clause, I agree with you. But the separation of church and state is in a letter by Jefferson.
BUCHANAN: It is not in the Constitution—
MATTHEWS: No, but her response was—
BUCHANAN: -- of the United States.
MATTHEWS: Pat, we can play the tape 40 times, but the fact is, she was responding to Chris Coons saying, The establishment clause, and she said, That‘s in the Constitution?
BUCHANAN: You‘re dead right. I don‘t defend that at all, Chris. But as for the Tea Party, you‘re dead right. Our party was completely moribund. They were—you know, it was “Do not resuscitate” in January of 2009.
BUCHANAN: And why is it alive and going win 40 or 50 or 35 or 60 seats? Primarily because of the energy and fire and passion of these people—
BUCHANAN: -- who care about the kind of people in politics and their convictions, not just winning with an R—
BUCHANAN: -- past your name.
MATTHEWS: Let‘s take a look at a new ad. Joan, I want you to respond to this. A conservative group has taken out an ad in Spanish out in Nevada, urging Latinos, Latinas not to vote. Here‘s part of the English language version of that ad. Let‘s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This November, we need to send a message to all politicians. If they didn‘t keep their promise on immigration reform, then they can‘t count on our vote. Democratic leaders must pay for their broken promises and betrayals. If we go on supporting them this November, they will keep playing games with our future and taking our vote for granted. Don‘t vote this November. This is the only way to send them a clear message.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Voter suppression. There it is. You‘ve seen it right there on the eve of the campaign, Joan Walsh.
WALSH: It‘s an old, old GOP tradition to try to, you know, convince minorities not to vote, tell them where the polling place is and tell them wrong, tell them the wrong election day. You know, Pat did a good job trying to split the white working class from the Democratic Party, and here you‘ve got Republicans, who are terribly scared, frankly, that this enormous constituency is growing up Democratic, using these same old tricks to tell them—
MATTHEWS: -- broad daylight. This is—Pat, this isn‘t saying there‘s federal marshals down at the polling place today.
MATTHEWS: This isn‘t scaring away people who might get picked up for some traffic violation. This is saying it on television.
WALSH: It takes all kinds.
MATTHEWS: Don‘t vote.
BUCHANAN: Also, Chris—it is also saying something that a lot of Hispanic leaders are saying to themselves. Why should we go out and vote, you know, when they‘re delivered nothing of what they promised? I agree with you that—
MATTHEWS: Wait a minute! Who stopped—
BUCHANAN: -- Republicans—
MATTHEWS: -- immigration reform? Was it the Republicans or the Democrats?
BUCHANAN: Barack Obama—they didn‘t even bring it up!
BUCHANAN: Because Lindsey Graham backed off. The Republicans they made it clear it was DOA—
WALSH: -- like so many other things.
BUCHANAN: Well, why didn‘t you guys—
BUCHANAN: -- at least get a vote on it?
MATTHEWS: Pat, before you go through complete, what do you call them
I don‘t know what—flip-flops, do you really can name one Republican who supports immigration reform—
MATTHEWS: -- the way the Hispanic groups want it?
BUCHANAN: No, I don‘t—
MATTHEWS: OK, then what are you talking about?
BUCHANAN: -- Republicans don‘t.
MATTHEWS: OK, then why do you blame the Democrats for not doing what
BUCHANAN: -- blame the Democrats for not fighting when they got both houses with veto-proof majorities, not even—
WALSH: Oh, they don‘t have veto-proof majorities!
MATTHEWS: -- Pat, there‘s not a single one of you guys who want what Obama wants. That‘s why he didn‘t get it.
BUCHANAN: Well, why didn‘t Obama—
MATTHEWS: It does take two parties.
BUCHANAN: -- go for a vote?
WALSH: Because he would have spent political capital unwisely—
BUCHANAN: Oh, my goodness! That is—
WALSH: Because you guys would have dropped—
BUCHANAN: -- is leadership, isn‘t it!
WALSH: He spent plenty of political capital. He showed plenty of leadership.
MATTHEWS: OK, we got to go.
WALSH: That was a dead issue.
MATTHEWS: Pat, I think you won on Christine O‘Donnell.
WALSH: I don‘t know about that!
MATTHEWS: Just kidding. No, I think Pat‘s right. I think the Tea Party has energized the Republican Party—
WALSH: They have.
MATTHEWS: -- like they‘ve never been energized, even going back as far back as the pitchforks, Pat. You have to go back that far.
BUCHANAN: Well, but the thing was that our people broke off from the Republican Party. These guys are giving the Republican Party—
MATTHEWS: Great. Thank you.
BUCHANAN: -- a great boost and a chance, just like Sarah Palin said, and the Republicans, Chris, better deliver.
MATTHEWS: OK, thank you, Pat Buchanan. Thank you, Joan. I think we see a preview of coming attractions there.
Coming back, we‘re going to get—that Alaska reporter is coming here. He‘s the guy that handcuffed them—he was handcuffed by the Joe Miller crowd, by people working for a political candidate, because they didn‘t like the question the reporter was asking.
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC. He‘s coming here.
MATTHEWS: Well, here‘s an insight. We keep hearing that voters are fed up, angry over things like taxes, of course. But most voters don‘t realize that President Obama actually lowered income taxes for most Americans the last two years. “The New York Times” reports today that only about 1 in 10 Americans is aware that President Obama‘s stimulus bill actually lowered income taxes on 95 percent of working American families. Instead of sending Americans a check, like George W. did, however, the Bush administration—or rather, the Obama administration just withheld less from people‘s paychecks, thinking people would spend it faster and get the economy moving again. Trouble is, no one noticed that their taxes were cut. So what may have been good policy wasn‘t good politics.
We‘ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Was Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller using his security detail to shut down reporters? Tony Hopfinger is the editor of the on-line news magazine Alaska Dispatch. He was handcuffed and arrested by a member of Senate candidate Joe Miller‘s security team when he was trying to ask Miller, the candidate, a question following a town hall event.
Tony Hopfinger is here with us today right now. Tony, thank you so much for joining us.
As a reporter, give us a report on this arrest by this group of—I didn‘t know you could arrest somebody—this group of characters that worked for the candidate.
TONY HOPFINGER, “THE ALASKA DISPATCH”: Yes. Yes. Thanks for having me tonight.
The—the name of the security firm is called DropZone. We—we had no idea that these guys were part of Joe Miller‘s posse, but, anyway, they actually had active-duty soldiers working for them.
So, those were some of the people that were involved in my arrest. I
was simply trying to ask Mr. Miller some questions that he admitted to on -
yesterday on CNN about his employment with the Fairbanks Borough and whether he had been politicking on borough time when he was an attorney there.
HOPFINGER: He made that admission yesterday.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you about what you did. What was it that sprung these guys into action? We‘re talking at the footage here. It‘s a little rough to figure out what is going on.
Narrate this for us, if you can, Tony. What was it that you were doing at the time these guys jumped you, put handcuffs on you, and detained you for 20 minutes, before the police got there?
HOPFINGER: Right. I asked Mr. Miller a question while he was still in the auditorium of this public school. He did not answer the question and started walking away.
I followed him into the hallway, continued to ask the question. He answered one of the questions. And then when I was trying to ask the second, he just turned around and went the other direction. And, suddenly, I was surrounded by these I guess security guards—they didn‘t identify themselves as that—as well as Miller supporters.
And, quickly, I was being chest-bumped, et cetera. Essentially, if there was any assault here, it was on me. They illegally detained me. Miller‘s version of events—I mean, they‘re talking about an apology from this campaign. It‘s just totally out of line.
MATTHEWS: Why did you let them put handcuffs on you? Could you not resist them?
HOPFINGER: I could have resisted them. I didn‘t know what was going on. I kept asking them if they were police officers—
MATTHEWS: I see.
HOPFINGER: -- even if they were off-duty police officers.
I‘m trying to be respectful here. I know what the line is. I have been doing journalism for a while. And these guys—these guys, almost it was like they were looking for a fight.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you about this context.
First of all, did you do anything to justify—and if you get into court against these guys—I‘m not asking if you‘re going to sue them or anything—but if you get into court with them on a question of fact, will they be able to say you were operating in any way beyond the pale, any way beyond say a Sam Donaldson, an aggressive reporter, a Maria Shriver, anybody that‘s worked a rope line and tries to grab the attention of a politician?
Did you do anything beyond that?
HOPFINGER: Absolutely not.
Well, let‘s get to the point here. What is Joe Miller‘s campaign about? What are you guys working on? You‘re trying to prove, it seems to me—or everybody up there is trying to prove that at some point, when he was holding a local office up there, he used that local office to campaign against somebody in the Republican Party as part of his Tea Party activities, right?
HOPFINGER: Yes, that‘s correct.
Just like Sarah Palin did not and probably still does not like our Alaska Republican Party chairman, Randy Ruedrich, Miller apparently was using computers in some kind of capacity is the accusation and was reprimanded while he was working for this borough.
He said some kind of polling activity. He used multiple computers at the borough.
HOPFINGER: But, yes, we filed a lawsuit about seven, eight days ago. In fact there was a hearing on it today. I‘m still getting reports of what happened at the hearing. We have asked for the release of these records so that we can find out what happened.
In fact, at one point, Mr. Miller said over the summer he would be willing to release records. Reverse course. He doesn‘t want to answer questions about his background anymore. He has singled out our news organization as being unfair.
MATTHEWS: What do you make of his charge that we use Stasi or Vopos from East Germany, those kinds of people to patrol our border?
I mean, we all what Vopos were. They‘re shoot-on-sight guys from the
let‘s take a look at what he had to say. This is pretty strong stuff.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JOE MILLER ®, ALASKA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: East Germany was very, very able to reduce the flow. Now, obviously, there are other things that were involved. But we have the capacity, as a great nation, to obviously secure our border. If East Germany could do it, we can do it.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Other things are involved. People were trying to escape from the communist world into the West and they were killing them on sight along this long—I was over there during the Berlin Wall coming down. I‘m telling you, it‘s pretty scary.
Do you think he‘s just tone-deaf, that he would actually compare the United States government need to protect our border with the communist Iron Curtain, need to protect the Iron Curtain?
HOPFINGER: It‘s hard to say, Chris. He won‘t talk to the media.
Mr. Miller wants just to be able to talk to the people and not talk to reporters.
HOPFINGER: He says we‘re the ones at fault. So, there‘s—I don‘t know.
MATTHEWS: Well, if you don‘t sue these guys, I think you‘re crazy. That‘s my view. Anyway, I have never been—I can‘t imagine being arrested by a bunch of characters working for some politician who‘s not even in office and putting handcuffs on you.
HOPFINGER: I think—yes, I think there‘s two key points that have come out in the last 24 hours.
One is a couple of these guys were active-duty soldiers. They didn‘t maybe even have approval to be working for this security firm. Second, the security firm apparently didn‘t have—wasn‘t licensed in the state of Alaska to be doing security. So I don‘t know how Mr. Miller hooked up with these guys, why he felt he needed force.
MATTHEWS: Let‘s bring in—thanks so much, Tony. It was great for -
having you on the show. Let‘s bring in—good luck with “The Alaska Dispatch.”
Let‘s bring in Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri.
Senator McCaskill, an old pal of this show, certainly, and a pal of mine, what do you make of this Tea Party crowd? They have got their own henchmen. They have got their Army, everything but uniforms.
MATTHEWS: And it‘s something on the right we haven‘t seen before.
SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: It‘s interesting.
I think that a lot of the people that are out there that are really agitating are honest, hardworking Americans that are frustrated and distrustful of government.
But some of these candidates, Chris, they don‘t understand that the working press is part of our democracy, and you can‘t run away from answering questions if you want to be a member of the United States Senate. That‘s part of the process of America. And it really is weird to me.
You see Sharron Angle running from reporters. You see this guy in Alaska saying he will not talk to reporters and having his private security guards arrest them. The irony is, these candidates are the ones that are waving the Constitution in the air and saying, we have to get back to the Constitution.
They somehow don‘t understand that freedom of press is essential to this democracy. And I completely don‘t get it.
MATTHEWS: Well, the other day, what‘s her name, O‘Connell—
O‘Donnell—Christine O‘Donnell didn‘t seem to know the establishment clause was in the First Amendment.
Take a look here at the Democratic candidate who seems to be confused about the separation of church and state. Here‘s Jack Conway running out in Kentucky. We were with him yesterday. Here‘s the ad he‘s been running against his opponent, Rand Paul, a Tea Partier. Let‘s judge it. Let‘s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, JACK CONWAY CAMPAIGN AD)
NARRATOR: Why was Rand Paul a member of a secret society that called the Holy Bible a hoax, that was banned for mocking Christianity and Christ?
Why did Rand Paul once tie a woman up, tell her to bow down before a false idol, and say his god was Aqua Buddha?
Why does Rand Paul now want to end all federal faith-based initiatives and even end the reduction for religious charities?
Why are there so many questions about Rand Paul?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, there you have an ad. I don‘t know who approved it. I guess Jack Conway did. It‘s tying together what a kid did in college, whatever it was—I don‘t defend it—with his—with a claim that the guy‘s anti-Christian, he wants to basically deny churches their tax deductions, he wants to get rid of faith-based programs.
All these, I think they‘re smear charges. What do you think?
MCCASKILL: Well, I think you and I can disagree about whether or not this is a smart ad. But I think the point they‘re trying to make is a valid point, and that is, this is an extreme guy.
This isn‘t even your mainstream Tea Party activist. This is somebody beyond that. This is somebody who thinks that government is the enemy, that we must dismantle all of government, that safety nets have no place in our country, that government should not even be regulating things like discrimination against African-Americans and minorities.
I mean, this is somebody who really is way out there. And I think that‘s the point the ad is trying to make. I think that‘s a valid—keep in mind, Chris, this is a candidate that Mitch McConnell thought was too extreme.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I agree with you on those general terms, but a couple of things here I think are a problem with this ad.
One, it says he‘s against religious deductions. This guy is against all deductions, because he wants a national sales tax, basically. He wants to get rid of the whole thing. He‘s not singling out religion.
And, secondly, he said it‘s scary sometimes when the federal government starts helping these religious organizations do their social work. And I agree and everybody agrees. Whenever you have the government coming in and giving money to religious organizations, they can start tying that money to national positions. It‘s a dangerous situation.
I don‘t think that‘s far-out. Do you, that concern?
MCCASKILL: I think it—I think it would have been better for them to make the point that he wants to charge everybody 23 percent when they buy gasoline, when they buy a car, when they buy a home. Twenty-three percent is a high, high price for most Americans.
MATTHEWS: I agree with you.
MCCASKILL: I think that might have been a more effective way to make the point that he is miles from mainstream in this country.
MATTHEWS: I agree with you, Senator McCaskill. I don‘t think anybody, a working-class person, is ready to pay a quarter of their income every time they spend something on anything.
Anyway, thank you.
By the way, it will kill the economy --
MATTHEWS: -- if you got to pay taxes just to buy something.
Anyway, thank you, Senator Claire McCaskill, out there campaigning.
MATTHEWS: Up next: a devastating new ad from Jerry Brown against Meg Whitman. I think this is the best ad I have seen. He‘s making the case that she‘s buying everything from an earlier Republican candidate for governor, in fact, lip-synching him. Wait until you see this ad.
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Now to the “Sideshow.”
First up: Say it again, Meg. Well, Governor Jerry Brown has a spectacularly effective ad out against Meg Whitman, who, remember, is trying to make herself the fresh face in this race. Catch this ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, JERRY BROWN CAMPAIGN AD)
GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER ®, CALIFORNIA: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
MEG WHITMAN ®, CALIFORNIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for different results.
SCHWARZENEGGER: I have built businesses.
WHITMAN: I built a business.
SCHWARZENEGGER: Met the payroll.
WHITMAN: Met a payroll.
SCHWARZENEGGER: I enter this office beholden to no one except you.
WHITMAN: I will owe my office to no one but you.
SCHWARZENEGGER: I don‘t owe anyone anything.
WHITMAN: I don‘t owe anyone anything.
SCHWARZENEGGER: It‘s all about leadership.
WHITMAN: This is all about leadership.
Jobs, jobs, and jobs.
SCHWARZENEGGER: Jobs, jobs, jobs.
We do not have a revenue problem.
WHITMAN: We do not have a revenue problem.
SCHWARZENEGGER: We have a spending problem.
WHITMAN: We have a spending problem.
SCHWARZENEGGER: Rebuilding California.
WHITMAN: Build a new California.
SCHWARZENEGGER: Rebuild California.
WHITMAN: Let‘s build a new California.
SCHWARZENEGGER: You need to run the state as a business.
WHITMAN: Running this thing a little bit more like a business.
SCHWARZENEGGER: What‘s the worst that can happen?
WHITMAN: What‘s the worst thing that can happen?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: We tried that; it didn‘t work. What an ad. That‘s one of the best ads I have ever seen. Nothing more to be said.
By the way, Jerry Brown is at least an original.
Next: fact-check. On Twitter this morning, Sarah Palin called on Pennsylvania voters to come out in support of Senate candidate John Raese. Here‘s her pitch: “Pennsylvania: makes sense 2 send GOP 2 Dick Cheney 2 avoid Pennsylvania economic disaster that will occur under Obama/Pelosi Cap & Tax scheme; workers need Raese.”
Well, John Raese is, of course, a candidate, but in West Virginia. Palin‘s Twitter post has since been replaced to make it correct. Boy, you think you would get your facts straight. Of course, you have to read to get the facts straight.
Speaking of the Senate, it‘s time for tonight‘s “Big Number.”
Of the 37 Republicans running for Senate this year, how many say they believe in climate change? Well, according to “The New York Times,” one, Mark Kirk of Illinois. One Republican Senate candidate, out of the whole caboodle, believes in science, believes in global warming—tonight‘s very backward “Big Number.”
Up next: Talk about a sideshow. The candidate for governor of New York debated last night, all seven of them. And, for once—it‘s hard to believe—Carl Paladino wasn‘t the wildest guy in the room.
Wait until you see this show.
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
AMANDA DRURY, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I‘m Amanda Drury with your CNBC “Market Wrap.”
Stocks racking up their worst losses in more than two months today, with the Dow plunging 165 points, the S&P slipping by 18, and the Nasdaq tumbling 43. The markets were already moving lower on disappointing earnings from IBM and Apple when news broke that a consortium of investment firms is suing to force the Bank of America to buy back $47 billion in mortgage bonds.
In late earnings news, Yahoo! reporting after the close, beating expectations on profit, but missing on revenue—now it‘s back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Well, you ain‘t seen nothing yet. Wait until you see this, the New York State gubernatorial debate among the candidates for governor.
The two leading candidates, Andrew Cuomo, son of the former governor, and the inimitable Carl Paladino, who said, “I‘m going to take you out” to a reporter the other day—by the way, this is open season on reporters—let‘s take a look at them and their fellow contenders last night. What a show, not a good one, but a New York one. Let‘s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN REDLICH, NEW YORK GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: My name‘s Warren Redlich. I‘m not your typical New York politician. I have never been caught with a prostitute.
JIMMY MCMILLAN, NEW YORK GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: They can‘t eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Listen, someone‘s stomach, a child‘s stomach just growled. Did you hear it? Got to listen like me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the career politicians in Albany are the biggest whores in this state. I might be the only person sitting on this stage with the right experience to deal with them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the topic of gay marriage, do you support it, yes or no?
CARL PALADINO ®, NEW YORK GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I do not support gay marriage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Mr. Cuomo?
ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Strongly support gay marriage.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. McMillan?
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MCMILLAN: The Rent is Too Damn High Party, if you—if you want a marry a shoe, I will marry you.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: If you want to marry a shoe.
Errol Louis is a columnist for “The New York Daily News,” and Steve Kornacki is political columnist for Salon.com.
Errol and Steve, your show. What do you make of this and why did Carl Paladino, who‘s got one chance in 10 of beating the front-runner, want to have such a—you know, a cocktail of craziness?
ERROL LOUIS, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: He made a serious miscalculation.
MATTHEWS: I mean, with all those people on the stage.
LOUIS: Well, he couldn‘t get the frontrunner, the Democrat, Andrew Cuomo, to agree to a debate. And he said, well, he‘s not being fair to me and he‘s also not being fair to these black candidates, this woman candidate, the Green Party candidate. And it was a good talking point, but then Cuomo, within minutes said, “OK, I agree, let‘s have all seven.”
MATTHEWS: He wanted it crazy.
LOUIS: Absolutely. He wanted to crowd it.
STEVE KORNACKI, SALON.COM: There‘s another theory though. There‘s—one of the advisers to the Paladino campaign is this guy, Roger Stone. You know, he‘s sort of this very unique New York figure.
MATTHEWS: I know all about him.
KORNACKI: Also an adviser to one of those fringe candidates, Kristin Davis. So, the thought is, he used his leverage with Paladino, to get his other candidate, Kristin Davis, a spot on the stage.
MATTHEWS: You know too much, sir. I advise you not to spend too much time investigating Roger Stone. Back off.
Let me go to this question. The governorship in New York used to be one of the most prized political offices in this country. I think one of the great public servants, Nelson Rockefeller, had for it years. Averell Harriman had it. Franklin Roosevelt had it. Teddy Roosevelt had it. It was an imperial position.
What happened to New York politics? What happened to the Republican Party? Let‘s start with that. Why is the Republican Party represented by Carl Paladino?
LOUIS: Well, they had a collapse.
MATTHEWS: What happened?
LOUIS: Their major figures, the Rudy Giulianis, the George—
MATTHEWS: Where‘s the Tea Party in New York? How come they don‘t have a robust right wing Republican Party in New York like the rest of the country?
LOUIS: Well, the Tea Party is Carl Paladino. He called himself a Tea Party candidate right from the start. Now, we‘ve got a lot of Tea Party groups and some of them don‘t really support him. But the mainstream Republican establishment sort of collapsed, basically they left town. When Rudy Giuliani decided to run for president, they don‘t have that deep of a bench.
MATTHEWS: Steve, why did two coasts still liberal? Out west, California, Jerry Brown‘s got a good chance. Barbara Boxer‘s got a good chance.
MATTHEWS: Patty Murray‘s probably going to win. So, in East Coast, the East Coast—it looks liberal to me.
KORNACKI: I think it‘s an outgrowth of what happened in 1994. In 1994, the Republican Party officially, after a 30 year transformation brought on by the Civil Rights Act, officially really became a party of the South, a party of social conservativism, a party of religious conservatism.
MATTHEWS: And they banded in the Northeast and the west.
KORNACKI: Those old Rockefeller Republicans in New York, out in the West Coast, you know, that brand of Republican became Democrat. And for 15 years, you know, when you had Newt Gingrich and George W. Bush and the Republican Congress, that—those states got bluer and bluer and bluer. And so, you get a year like this when the Republicans could actually win, there‘s no infrastructure in a place for Republican Party in a state like New York to take advantage of it.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the Cuomo tradition. Mario Cuomo, I think probably just stayed on too long. He tried to win, what, the fourth term?
LOUIS: That‘s right.
MATTHEWS: Was it three terms he had?
LOUIS: Yes, three terms.
MATTHEWS: He had that problem, sell by date, the same problem that maybe Boxer is facing, the problem that Arlen—is that going on in politics today and does he risk coming in as an establishment candidate?
LOUIS: Well, one reason Andrew Cuomo has I think been sort of a little bit out of the limelight, he hasn‘t gone out and aggressively campaigned, he was kind of hiding among those six other candidates last night. I mean, a part of that is—I‘m of the opinion that when he takes office or if he should win and take office in January, all of that power of incumbency, but also the problems of incumbency, are all going to get dumped on his lap.
MATTHEWS: It will be like he‘s been there 20 years.
LOUIS: Well, that‘s right. He can‘t claim to be an outsider.
MATTHEWS: Is that the same problem that Jerry Brown will get if he wins—all of a sudden, he‘ll be the incumbent and has been there for 40 years?
KORNACKI: Yes. And, you know, the other problem here with Cuomo, is this is the same set-up four years ago that Eliot Spitzer had. Eliot Spitzer was the attorney general, huge popularity as attorney general.
MATTHEWS: Let‘s not confuse these two guys.
KORNACKI: But when he came in, he won—he didn‘t have to fight.
The 2006 election was 40 points.
MATTHEWS: What‘s Spitzer doing now for a living?
MATTHEWS: He‘s on CNN.
MATTHEWS: I don‘t quite get that one by the way.
Anyway, let me ask you about this—the fact that we have a crazy political world this year. You had this don‘t raise the rent candidate. What‘s that all about?
LOUIS: Rent is Too Damn High. He‘s been saying that he‘s run for a number of different officers before. Nobody ever contested him, you know? I mean, nobody ever says that he‘s wrong about that, you know?
MATTHEWS: Well, he ranks too low.
LOUIS: Well, you know, this is—this is part of what we got. He went on and got 15,000 signatures like everybody else that was on that stage last night and he has been out there as a grassroots campaigners.
Might look a little bit strange to outsiders, but normally folks like that
MATTHEWS: OK, when this election clears, the clouds clear, the smoke clears, I think the Democratic Party is going to be in the two coats. That‘s going to be its last redoubt. Thank you—and strong in both cases.
Thank you, Errol Louis. Thank you, Steve Kornacki.
Up next: our own Eugene Robinson‘s new book is called, “Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America.”
We‘re going to talk to him about a key voting group in this coming election, African-Americans, and why President Obama seems to get them. Well, he doesn‘t quite get them. He‘s not quite getting credit for the people that really voted for him overwhelmingly. Are they going to vote? That‘s the question.
And we‘re thrilled to report that our executive producer, John Reiss, and his lovely wife, Elizabeth, are now as of today the proud parents of a new baby girl, Jocelyn Haley Reiss (ph). There she—I can‘t believe we have the picture of the girl already.
Congratulations, John and Elizabeth. Couldn‘t happen to a nicer couple.
Listen to this, “Be My Baby,” one of my favorite songs.
MATTHEWS: Wow. West Virginia Senate candidate Joe Manchin, the governor, and John Raese, the challenger, met last night in a big debate, with the Republican Raese trying to tie Manchin to President Obama. What else they have doing? Who‘s not popular out there in West Virginia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN RAESE ®, WEST VIRGINIA SENATE CANDIDATE: We have to start lifting jobs and manufacturing where they should be—not like Manchin and Obama.
GOV. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA SENATE CANDIDATE: I hate to inform my opponent, but Mr. Obama‘s name will not be on the ballot for the U.S. Senate in West Virginia. It will be me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Manchin‘s wife lives in Florida. I got to figure this thing out.
Anyway, the latest polls show that race is neck and neck. But today, Raese picked up an endorsement of the state‘s largest newspaper, “The Charleston Daily Mail.”
HARDBALL will be right back.
MATTHEWS: By the way, a point I want to clarify there. That was, of course, West Virginia Republican John Raese‘s wife who votes and presumably lives in Florida.
Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Eugene Robinson is MSNBC political analyst and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for “The Washington Post.” His new book is “Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America.”
Gene, thanks so much for joining us and good luck with this book. I have been reading it about the different groups of African-Americans. And as an outsider to your community, it‘s stunning to rise to the clarity with which—I always know you are right with clarity—but the clarity with which you described a community in these very crystalline terms.
Is it that clear to the people who live on those groups?
EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you know, I think it is. I mean, I did the book first because I thought we were talking about black America as if it were a single entity, as if it were 40, 50 years ago, when you could generalize in a way that you can‘t generalize now and I just tried to survey the landscape as I saw it. My nomenclature is mine. You can—you can use whatever labels you want for these groups, but I think these are the groups. I think these are segments of the black community that grow apart in many ways or become more distinct as time goes on.
MATTHEWS: You know, as a white guy, when I look at people in the
street and I see people having a hard time, it‘s not hard to tell who‘s
having a hard time, in the inner city community, the black community, see a
guy who doesn‘t look like he‘s got a lot of breaks in the world, a lot of -
even good health and—or a good education. And I‘m thinking, how is this guy, he‘s not a working guy, doesn‘t look like he‘s got a job, how does he get up every way and notice that we have a black president? What does that mean to him except—maybe added frustration even, what‘s his—can you speak for that guy and say what you think based upon your reporting what he is feeling?
ROBINSON: Well, I can—I can speculate. I mean, look, president—the fact that we have an African-American president, I think I can safely say means a lot to the vast, vast majority of—almost unanimous of African-Americans. Given our history, given where we started to get here, it‘s a very, very important historical achievement and he embodies it.
So, I‘m not aware of anybody really who didn‘t feel the sort of swelling of pride when Barack Obama became president. But, you know, that guy is in the group that I refer to as the abandoned, probably, according to your description.
And my real urgent concern is how is he supposed to climb that ladder to the middle class when with the rungs of the ladder are missing? When you can‘t go down to the plant and get a union job with job security that support your family, buy a little house, send your kids to college and have a pension when you retire. That sounds like a fairy tale from the olden days.
MATTHEWS: But you and I are the same age and we know that same history and those ladders are missing, those rungs on the ladder about—my grandpa was a Democratic committeeman. We lived in the same neighborhoods that are black today in Philly and the north Philadelphia neighborhoods which you all know so well, there‘s no jobs to go to on the subway. There‘s no manufacturing job.
ROBINSON: Exactly. Those jobs are in China. They‘re in Brazil.
They‘re in Malaysia. But they‘re not here.
ROBINSON: -- what‘s left is this concentration of multigenerational black poverty and dysfunction that we just kind of look past.
MATTHEWS: Gene, let‘s keep talking about this in the months and years ahead. This is a hot story for every community, especially perhaps to African-Americans, but I think everybody. This whole question of why are the rungs on the ladder to get you to the middle class, we have to get them back in place.
Thank you. Congratulations on your book, “Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America.”
There it is. Get a copy. It‘s not going to overwhelm you; you can read it in three or four nights. I just started it.
When we return, let me finish with why it‘s so important to vote. And tomorrow, the HARDBALL college tour continues. We are going to the University of Illinois at Chicago with Democratic Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias. Then on Thursday, we‘ll be in Temple University in Philadelphia with the surging Joe Sestak. We‘re going back to the alma mater of Steve Capus. He‘s the head of NBC News.
You are watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with the election coming up just two weeks from today.
The key to this thing is voting yourself. Myself, I love the feeling of coming out to the voting station. It‘s a block from my house. Everyone is in a good mood, feeling very civic, very Election Day. It‘s a good feeling.
Everybody knows this is something we Americans started, this idea that everybody has a say. You know, every vote counts was the spirit of the thing, this democracy of ours. And after all the arguing and watching and being part of it, really, of shows like this, you really have to do it, get out there and be part of it.
I do think I‘m preaching now to the choir. I do think that people who watch HARDBALL have as much interest in this country and how it‘s doing as I do, but I‘ve got this microphone and I‘m using it.
Actually, a friend of mine up here in New York, the daughter of the former governor, Hugh Carey, told me to do it so I‘m doing it. Get registered if you‘re not, get a plan for Election Day to go vote, or get a plan to vote absentee, find out how to do it.
And then—and then, start talking to people about how you can‘t wait to vote. Sell them on it without seeming to. Get them a little excited, a little more excited to get to this thing.
If you are a Democrat, a progressive, and you think it‘s a bad year coming, that‘s all the more reason to be at that voting booth, walking away from them it with a little smile that you were one of the band of brothers and sisters who bucked the tide. Nothing wrong with that, done it most of my life.
If your Republican, a conservative—the same deal. This election matters, and the numbers matter, not just the result. There‘s a big difference, by the way, between a squeaker and a slam.
And when the results come in and you‘re sitting there watching the speeches there or here on MSNBC, of course, late at night, and there are tears and some joy, you can say, you did your bit.
That‘s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. And make sure you join us tomorrow night for the HARDBALL college tour, the University of Illinois at Chicago. We‘ll be out there.
Right now, it‘s time for “THE ED SHOW” with Ed Schultz.
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