1. Headline
  1. Headline
updated 9/19/2011 9:53:26 AM ET 2011-09-19T13:53:26

Guests: Dana Milbank, Cynthia Tucker, Judith Browne-Dianis, Shushannah
Walshe, Frank Bailey


CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: All hat, no cattle.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

Leading off tonight: What Texas miracle? Since he jumped into the
presidential race, Rick Perry has presented himself as a job creator, 1
million jobs in his 11 years in office. But today, we learned that the
Texas unemployment rate hit 8.5 percent last month, the highest in Texas in
24 years. And the state actually lost jobs last month, even worse than the
national figure of zero jobs created.

So where`s the Texas miracle now? And how long will it be before Mitt
Romney or the Obama White House sink their teeth into these new numbers?

Also, voting blights. From coast to coast, Republican state
legislatures are searching for and finding ways to restrict access to the
voting booth, passing stricter voter ID laws, curbing early voting,
restricting registration. And what do all these have in common? They`re
all aimed at preventing Democrats in general and, some believe. African-
Americans in particular from getting to the polls. That`s a dangerous
game, and it`s our lead story tonight.

Plus, why does Wall Street hate President Obama? Hate him! And
that`s the correct word, hate. Some on Wall Street say it`s because the
president hates them and even business itself. Really? Let`s get into
that one.

And Joe McGinnis`s new book on Sarah Palin, "The Rogue." If Sarah
Palin does decide to get in the race, will this book hurt her chances?

And "Let Me Finish" with the hard test President Obama faces,
reminding the country that Republicans are willing to stall the economy in
order to defeat him.

We start with "What Texas miracle," and we`re asking that question,
what Texas miracle? David Corn is Washington bureau chief for "Mother
Jones" and an MSNBC political analyst, and the delightful Dana Milbank of
"The Washington Post" joins us after far too long a hiatus, if I must say.
I do miss you.

Let`s go to this whole thing -- let`s take a look at these numbers
here. If you look at the numbers this way, the unemployment rate is
rising, up to 8.5 percent in Texas. Texas. But it`s coming down
nationally, at least it had been (INAUDIBLE) stalled a bit down, but it`s
come down from something like well over 10 percent nationwide in 2009.

So in a way, the directions are off. A guy who`s saying, I`m the big
job creator, is having unemployment rise. The president who`s got a
problem is at least going in the other direction.

DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Rick Perry always had a
claim with the "Texas miracle" before now because there`s been a tremendous
population increase in Texas, which has led to jobs going up there. And
also, high energy prices have been good for Texas -- it`s bad for us in the
Northeast and good for Texas down there -- and created jobs.

But now, with all that being put to the side, we see unemployment
going up. There`s a lot of low-wage jobs, too, in Texas. So his claim to
be a model for the rest of the country is falling apart.

What made Texas, you know, somewhat better than the other states in
job creation up to now was something that couldn`t be replicated in other
states. It wasn`t because of his policies, it was because of the weather
and the conditions there. But now --

MATTHEWS: "Conditions," the key word. Here`s a guy who`s lived by
conditions, attacked Obama by conditions, and now finds himself, Dana
Milbank, suffering the consequences because presidents and governments
don`t necessarily control the unemployment rates.

DANA MILBANK, "WASHINGTON POST": No. Right. You`ve got the Texas
miracle meeting the Texas chainsaw massacre right now. And the massacre is
this nationwide economy. Now, it`s not Rick Perry`s fault that he has 8.5
percent unemployment.

MATTHEWS: Was it his fault -- was it his --

MILBANK: No.

MATTHEWS: -- claim to fame that it was lower?

MILBANK: It shouldn`t have been. And it`s not Barack Obama`s fault
that there`s 9.1 percent unemployment nationwide. Look, the president is
going to get blamed for the economy, no matter what, so he`ll suffer from
that regardless. But I think this is another lesson here, that these guys
don`t actually control anything.

The trend in Texas has been this way for 20 years. As Mitt Romney
loves to point out, the job growth rate was triple under Ann Richards and
George W. Bush. It just happens -- you know, it`s the luck of the draw,
when you show up in office and when you leave. These trends are larger
than --

MATTHEWS: Well, here`s his defense. A Perry spokesperson weighed in
on the jobs numbers today by saying, quote, "Texas is not immune to the
effects of the national recession. Even during this national economic
downturn, which the president`s misguided policies have only worsened,
Texas remains the nation`s top economy, attracting jobs and growing by more
than a thousand people." Excuse me. This is still a problem. I contend
it`s a problem when your unemployment rate is going up and the nationwide
employment`s coming a bit down.

CORN: Listen, Rick Perry had a glow in the race when people didn`t
know that much about Rick Perry. Now as he`s in the debates and he`s
saying all sorts of pretty outlandish or stupid things, people are taking a
second look at him. Independents are falling off in droves.

And on top of this, we`re now looking in detail not at the headline,
"Texas miracle," but at the actual numbers and what`s happening currently.
There`s no way he can sustain the "I did great in Texas" storyline if
unemployment goes up in the next few months there.

MATTHEWS: And guess who`s noticed? Romney.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Romney`s putting out in this e-mail today, let`s take a
look --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: They`re out there, aren`t they.

CORN: Oh, yes. this is the beginning of the opposition wars. I mean
--

MATTHEWS: Mitt Romney`s campaign has actually been putting out those
e-mails, like this one attacking Rick Perry this week. They were quick to
circulate the jobs numbers in these e-mail blasts this afternoon. So the
fight`s on. Trashing -- so you got Romney trashing Mr. Job Creation for
losing jobs.

Let me go to this last night. Here`s Perry last night in this fight.
It`s an interesting fight that everybody`s watching between Perry right now
and Romney. Let`s take a look. Here`s Perry last night in Jefferson,
Iowa. He has taken off the gloves. He is singling out Mitt Romney, going
after the governor of Massachusetts, the ex one, by name -- or not by name,
but by position. Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: One of my opponents
in the Republican primary, while he was the governor of Massachusetts,
their job creation in that state was 47th in the nation. Government
mandated, government-run health care is part of what he put in place as the
governor of Massachusetts. It`s time -- I think it`s very important that
we put someone as our nominee that does not blur the (INAUDIBLE) between
President Obama and the Republican Party. The job creation in
Massachusetts and that legacy of health care in Massachusetts even makes it
worse today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: I get the feeling that Rick Perry, who`s always been a
superstar at sort of the pizzazz of politics, you know, the show, the hat -
- now he has to get into notes. He`s got notes on his lectern now. He`s
not as quite as fluent.

MILBANK: Not good to have notes for Rick Perry because he should be,
you know, waving his hat and riding in on his horse. I think Romney`s
rattled him a bit. And I think, in a strange sense, Rick Perry has been
good for Mitt Romney, who finally found himself as sort of the economic
maven in this race. But it really has emboldened Romney. And you could
see during the debate, Perry almost feeling, like, Who are these people?
How dare they question me?

CORN: My advisers never told me this was going to happen!

MATTHEWS: No, he`s getting more like he`s running "Meet the Press," I
mean, though, because Romney has now become the guy who says, Well, let`s
take a look at your --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: -- like Tim in the old days. Let`s take a look what you
said a year ago on Social Security. Like, Let`s take a look at what you
said. And this guy`s now got to defend it against a fellow Republican.

CORN: Rick Perry was a good prospect, but now it`s, like, Welcome to
the majors. And if you remember the movie "Bull Durham," you get the sense
that Mitt Romney wants to call him, Hey, Meat, this is how we do it here.

(LAUGHTER)

CORN: You haven`t been around the last few months, but you`re going
to have to answer this, and you`re going to have to deal with bad news
because guess what? He is a functioning governor. Mitt Romney is not
responsible for anything now except his own campaign. So on death penalty
issues, on the environment, on the economy, whatever he does in Texas for
the next few months is going to be open to scrutiny, the way that Barack
Obama`s governance is open to scrutiny. It`s a lot to handle.

MATTHEWS: So is it your sense, guys, who watch this all the time --
before I move on with my own notes here --

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Do you think it`s possible that here we are in September of
the year before, which is coming up quickly on the Iowa caucuses, that
could come very quickly in the beginning of next year, which is -- we`re in
that campaign now. Do you think there could be a dynamic here that Romney
could play the role of basically the press -- because these guys don`t talk
to the press basically anymore.

He will be the interrogator, the old "MEET THE PRESS" -- I mean, the
current "MEET THE PRESS," too -- he will start taking him apart every week,
point by point, every week, point by point, until there`s not really much
left of this guy, Perry. And then Romney will come along as sort of like
the prosecutor, but never that popular with the Tea Party people, and
become sort of their nominee by default.

MILBANK: Yes. I think you really have the potential in this race to
have the sort of a donnybrook in the Republican Party primary that we have
not seen in many, many years. I mean, not even really with Bush-McCain.
And you really have two solid guys -- well, maybe not the party`s best, but
very, you know, equally matched contenders, well financed, able to go at
each other for a few months.

The president is, you know, in a terribly vulnerable position of
saying, How did he get so blessed to have this sort of thing going on?

MATTHEWS: So (INAUDIBLE) elect one of those old Thomas Aiken`s (ph)
paintings of the boxers, with fists but no boxing gloves, pounding each
other until they`re bleeding all over the place?

CORN: Think of a "Rocky" film.

(CROSSTALK)

CORN: And the other thing is that this year --

MATTHEWS: Cut me!

(LAUGHTER)

CORN: Exactly. There are fewer winner-take-all states. So if you
come in second in one of these primaries, you will still collect votes, or
delegates. So that will keep both of them in the race for as long as they
can keep on standing. So if there`s no knockout blow early on --

MATTHEWS: Is this --

CORN: -- this could go on for a long time.

MATTHEWS: Well, I was at a briefing with the president recently. I
can`t quote it, but I got the sense coming out of that briefing that this
is the White House, let them do this.

CORN: Well, I think right now, they`re not engaging, which is the
right thing to do. They don`t know which -- who they`re going to get out
of this. Let them bloody themselves up. Mitt Romney`s opposition team,
which we saw go into operation this week, is the White House`s best friend
at the moment, although I do think they want to run against Perry.

MATTHEWS: OK, let`s talk about how they`re doing this because here`s
Romney going after Perry not just on this new jobs thing that they jumped
on today, but his fundamental charge against -- fundamental, essential
charge against the existence of Social Security.

I was listening to the rundown this morning on this network and I was
listening to one of these guys say, Hey, look, they`re not just against
Social Security as it needs to be refined, they`re against it
institutionally. There shouldn`t be Social Security, basically. If they
level that charge and land it, doesn`t Perry have a hard time coming back
and saying, Oh, yes, I really do believe in Social Security?

MILBANK: He`s had a very difficult time of it so far. And the way
the Democrats have handled this so far is to say -- to actually try to link
Romney to Perry and say they are identical. And the truth is, in terms of
private accounts, they are basically identical in terms of Social Security.

MATTHEWS: So for the next couple months, it looks like these guys are
going to be doing your job for you, basically.

(CROSSTALK)

MILBANK: We`re going to go out for a drink.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Send us more e-mails! Please keep the e-mail account from
both Romney on Perry and Perry on Romney, the job`s done! Thank you --
have a nice weekend, guys. Great, guys, David Corn, and really, welcome
back, Dana Milbank.

MILBANK: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: You are a blistering critic!

Coming up, Republican lawmakers across the country are rewriting laws
restricting access to the voting booth. Guess why? Restrictions aimed at
hurting Obama`s chances for reelection. So they`re changing the name of
the game, changing the rules. Guess why? Guess why? So no one will
actually vote.

You`re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Call it patent reform. President Obama today signed into
law an overhaul of the U.S. patent system, the first significant change in
the way inventors can bring their products to market since 1952. In a rare
display of congressional bipartisanship, the new law`s being hailed as a
milestone that would spur innovation and actually create jobs.

The law aims to streamline the patent process, reduce costly legal
battles, and give the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office money to process
applications faster.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Wow, this is a hot one.

Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Elections are always about getting your voters out to the polls to
vote for your candidate. But Republican-controlled legislatures across the
country in the states from coast to coast are pushing efforts now to
rewrite election laws themselves in order to restrict access to the voting
booth. Do you get it?

More than 30 states this year alone debated changes to their voting
laws, according to "The Washington Post." And this is it. In 12 states,
legislators passed laws now that either created photo ID laws or made
existing laws stricter. In some states, the governor vetoed the
legislation, but not all.

At least five states passed laws limiting early voting. Three states
made it more difficult for ex-felons to vote. And two states, Texas and
Florida, placed restrictions on voter registration groups. And they`re all
literally rewriting the rules of the game in an effort to prevent, let`s
face it, Democrats from getting to the polls, minorities, poor people and
younger people in particular.

Cynthia Tucker`s a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist now with the
University of Georgia. And Judith Browne-Dianis is the co-director of the
Advancement Project. Judith, thank you for joining us. And as always,
Cynthia, my colleague.

Let me ask you -- this is such obvious gamesmanship. I mean, when you
start saying -- if you do have some voter, you know, irregularities
somewhere, you fix them, you catch them, you prosecute. But there is no
real examples out there floating around of cheating.

CYNTHIA TUCKER, UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA: None.

MATTHEWS: So why did they change the rules so you have to -- an older
person, 80 years old, who obviously doesn`t have a frickin` car, obviously
doesn`t have a driver`s license, has to go find some sort of document?
Where would an 80-year-old person go to get a voting piece of paper that`s
-- with a government picture on them? How would they do that even?

TUCKER: Well, in some cases, they have to go to the county seat. If
they don`t drive, they have to find a ride to get to the county seat.

MATTHEWS: And somebody has to tell them how to do it.

TUCKER: Exactly.

MATTHEWS: And they don`t know this until they get to the voting
booth, probably.

TUCKER: And let me just be very clear about this part, Chris. I come
from a rural part of Alabama. I know many little old church ladies who
fully participate in society who have never driven a car and never been on
a plane. It is not true that you are marginal just because you don`t have
a driver`s license.

MATTHEWS: Sure.

TUCKER: Furthermore, they`ve lived in the same place for the last 80
years.

MATTHEWS: And let me tell you about city people. They don`t all
drive cars, either.

TUCKER: So when they go to the polls, the poll watchers know who they
are. How are you today, Miss Susie?

MATTHEWS: Right.

TUCKER: They don`t need voter ID. But this is the Republicans` way
of trying to construct barriers so those little old ladies can`t vote.

MATTHEWS: There`s a name for this, voter suppression.

JUDITH BROWNE-DIANIS, THE ADVANCEMENT PROJECT: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: Sometimes suspected it back in 2000 in Florida. Hint,
hint!

BROWNE-DIANIS: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: About that election.

BROWNE-DIANIS: I remember that.

MATTHEWS: OK, let`s talk about it now. Here we go into 2012, what
could be a close election. We don`t know. But if it`s a close election,
this stuff matters. Tell us about what`s going on.

BROWNE-DIANIS: That`s right. We have not only the voter
identification laws, but we also have rollbacks on early voting. In
Florida, for example, African-Americans are twice as likely as whites to
vote early.

MATTHEWS: Why is that? Why is that social pattern (INAUDIBLE)

BROWNE-DIANIS: Well, I mean --

(CROSSTALK)

BROWNE-DIANIS: -- early voting is important because it`s convenient.
You don`t have to wait until Tuesday. You can vote on a Saturday. In
fact, the Sunday before election day, there are drives by the churches to
get out the vote because the polls are open the Sunday before the election.
But the Florida legislature --

MATTHEWS: Well, where do you go to vote, by the way?

BROWNE-DIANIS: You go and vote down at the county seat --

MATTHEWS: That`s what I thought.

BROWNE-DIANIS: -- at the election board.

MATTHEWS: I`ve done it (INAUDIBLE)

BROWNE-DIANIS: Right. And so -- and what happened was, this year,
they cut that back. And they specifically cut out that last Sunday before
the election day because they know who it`s going to impact --

MATTHEWS: The church people.

BROWNE-DIANIS: -- the people who turned out more in 2008.

MATTHEWS: This is so obvious. By the way, here`s Senator Lindsey
Graham, a guy who I respect on a number of issues, at a hearing last week
praising the new law passed in his state, South Carolina, that requires
voters to show a government-issued ID card with a photo on it. More than
178,000 registered voters in that state alone do not have that kind of
identification card. Let`s listen to Graham -- Senator Graham.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I think what South Carolina
did makes eminent sense to me. And the law of the land, as I understand
it, is the Indiana system`s been upheld. And you will see more of this,
Mr. Chairman, not less. Thirty states have some form of voter ID
requirement, so I think this is the future of the country, something we
should embrace at the federal level because elections do matter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Where you sit is where you stand.

TUCKER: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: His votes are probably overwhelmingly white, probably
overwhelmingly middle class --

TUCKER: You got it.

MATTHEWS: -- and they have ID cards because they`ve got cars.
Anyway, after this week`s Republican debate, Herman Cain was asked by a
reporter what he thought of Senator Graham`s proposal for a federal law
requiring voters to show a government-issued photo ID in order to vote. He
said he`d support it. Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you need a license to get
-- a picture to get on an airplane, why shouldn`t you need one in order to
be able to vote?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, you want to respond to that?

TUCKER: Well, flying on an airplane isn`t in the United States
Constitution. The United States Constitution does not guarantee our right
to fly.

It does, however, guarantee our right to vote. And let me just say
again, you know, Republicans love to say that a photo I.D. is required for
modern life, if you`re going to get on an airplane. But there are -- I
know lots of voters who don`t fly. And so the comparison simply doesn`t
hold water.

BROWNE-DIANIS: But it`s also a myth.

MATTHEWS: By the way, I could live a whole life in a big city, I
could take the subway, I can go to my ATM machine, I can go to work, I can
go to church, I can go to the movies -- you never need a photo I.D.

(CROSSTALK)

BROWNE-DIANIS: That`s right. And it`s a myth. Actually, TSA will
allow you on a plane without a photo identification if you have other
pieces of I.D. This is about whether or not --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: If you`re willing to spend a half-hour talking to them.

BROWNE-DIANIS: Right, you can talk to them. Right.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

BROWNE-DIANIS: But you can get on a plane. So this is about, why do
we have to restrict it to this one piece of identification?

MATTHEWS: Don`t tell people, by the way, that, because they will show
up without --

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: But let`s talk about all of these -- let`s talk about the
politics of this thing --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: You know this stuff. What is going on here and how -- what
do the Democrats in these state legislatures do when they see this being
passed by -- don`t they raise red flags?

BROWNE-DIANIS: Well, they raise red flags, but these are mostly in
the states where the Republicans took over the state legislatures, and so
they can`t do anything to slow these things down.

This is like poker. It`s really stacking the deck. We are going to
see a different game.

MATTHEWS: Let me go home to the state I grew up in, Pennsylvania.
They`re now talking up there, the Republicans, about getting rid of the,
effectively, bloc voting of the Electoral College, the unit rule, which is
that everybody fights for Pennsylvania. The Democrats usually get it, not
always. Reagan got it.

TUCKER: Right.

MATTHEWS: But here we go. Why are they trying to break up the
Electoral College, so it`s now going to be by congressional district,
rather than by state?

TUCKER: Because Obama might win Pennsylvania. And if he gets the
most votes in Pennsylvania, he gets all the Electoral College votes.
That`s the way it has worked in most --

MATTHEWS: Twenty-three, I think --

(CROSSTALK)

TUCKER: -- in most of the states forever.

MATTHEWS: Right.

TUCKER: But you have to give Republicans credit for this much.
They`re all about power. They`re all about getting elected. And any
advantage they can get to turn an election in their favor, they`re willing
to go for. So destroying the Electoral College system, that`s fine with
them if it gives --

MATTHEWS: This reminds me of Tom DeLay having a new redistricting
halfway through the decade. Remember that?

BROWNE-DIANIS: Exactly. Exactly. Right.

MATTHEWS: That little game he had?

What about this breaking up the Electoral College vote? First of all,
it destroys the power of the small states that tend to be Republican, so
this could be counterproductive, right? It`s going to kill the --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: -- Montana and South Dakota.

BROWNE-DIANIS: Well, we will see, I mean, except for the fact that,
you know, in states where they took over the state legislature, we will
have to see what the outcome is.

I mean, if you move to this new system and you have taken over the
state legislature and you have redistricted yourself into power, then
you`re always going to get the votes.

MATTHEWS: Bill Clinton joined this. He told a group of liberal youth
activists that Republican governors and legislatures around the country
were trying to limit people from being able to vote. Let`s watch the pro.
Here he is, Bill Clinton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There has never
been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the other Jim
Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that
we see today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, he was comparing this to the worst of the stuff.

TUCKER: Well, and let me just say that many activists have made that
same comparison, and it doesn`t apply broadly. I will have no problem
voting, because I have a driver`s license.

But they will try to shave off enough votes of elderly folks, poor
folks, young voters to affect close races. And a lot of these races are
going to be close, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Well, look at this -- 25 percent of African-American voters
do not have valid government-issued photo I.D.s, compared to 8 percent of
whites who don`t have them. So they have a tilt right there.

BROWNE-DIANIS: Right.

MATTHEWS: Fifty percent of voters earning less than $35,000 a year
don`t have photo I.D.s.

So it`s almost perfect, isn`t it --

BROWNE-DIANIS: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: -- as a way to skim Democratic votes off?

TUCKER: Why not -- why don`t -- why don`t Republicans just campaign
for the votes of African-Americans and Latinos and poor people? Why don`t
they just go out there with some policies that would appeal to African-
Americans and Latinos and poor people, instead of trying to restrict their
access to the ballot box?

MATTHEWS: Are you being sincere here?

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: I know you are, even though you know why they won`t,
because it`s too much work to make the case.

Anyway, it`s great having you on. But this is the kind of thing
voters, I think, in both parties have got to look seriously at, because you
start playing these kind of games, then both parties start playing this
kind of game, and we don`t have a fair system.

Thank you --

BROWNE-DIANIS: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: -- Cynthia Tucker and Judith Browne-Dianis.

Coming up: Mitt Romney is again on both sides of an issue -- big
surprise. That belongs in the "Sideshow."

You`re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Now for the "Sideshow."

First up, so what is it? In an interview yesterday, GOP candidate
Mitt Romney was asked for his reaction to his opponent Rick Perry calling
President Obama a socialist. Let`s hear what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Words have had a lot of
unintended meanings. And calling people socialists probably goes beyond
the fact that it is true that President Obama`s team and the president
himself seem to believe that government has a better approach to our
economy than does the private sector.

I don`t use the word socialist, or I haven`t so far.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Oh, yes? Well, it sounds like a reasonable approach, but
he seems to be emitting a well-documented statement from his own book. In
that 2010 book, Romney wrote, "It is an often-remarked-upon irony that at a
time when Europe is moving away from socialism and its many failures,
President Obama is moving us toward that direction."

Well, Perry accuses his opponent of being -- accuses Obama of being a
socialist and Romney accused of him of moving towards socialism, big
difference.

Next up, how to avert a crisis in an interview. Yesterday, Speaker
John Boehner gave a glimpse into some of the insider moments of his job.
Perhaps most interesting was Boehner`s strategy for getting some stray
House Republican freshmen to change their minds on that deficit reduction
bill. Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: There were a couple
of freshmen who -- I had a couple of young whippersnappers who seemed to
have all the answers.

So I brought them to my office and closed the door. And I know these
two pretty well. And I looked at them and I said: "Boys, that door`s not
going to open until you say yes."

(LAUGHTER)

BOEHNER: "This can be 30 seconds, 30 minutes. Doesn`t matter. It
could be three hours." I said, "I have got a week-and-a-half`s worth of
cigarettes in that chest over there." So --

(LAUGHTER)

BOEHNER: It still took about 45 minutes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Wow. Well, Tip O`Neill`s version of that little effort was
to hold a meeting in his office, light up his big cigar, let the heat rise
and the air grow thicker. I can remember, by the way, how great, how clear
and cold that air was in the hallway afterwards when you got out of that
room.

And now for the "Big Number." A new CBS/"New York Times" poll out
today puts disapproval of Congress at an all-time high. Not much surprise
there, but here`s something to consider. Now people are including their
own members of Congress, their own representatives, with a group of
lawmakers who should be shown the door. What percentage of voters don`t
think their own congressmen deserves to be reelected? Fifty-seven percent.

It`s typical for voters to want to see fresh faces in Congress, but
not at the expense of their own congressmen. Now 57 percent, that`s
tonight`s "Big Number," want the guy or woman out.

Up next: Corporate profits are up, CEO income is up, so why does Wall
Street hate President Obama? I`m not sure.

But you`re watching HARDBALL. We`re going to find out. Why do they
hate him up on Wall Street? Coming back on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMPTON PEARSON, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Hampton Pearson with your
CNBC "Market Wrap."

Stocks bouncing back from an early dip to make it a clean sweep of
positive sessions, the Dow Jones industrials gaining 75 points, the S&P 500
adding six, the Nasdaq picking up 15 points. Five positive sessions in a
row this week, resulting in gains of between 4 percent and 6 percent on the
major indices.

Today, investors shrugged off a report showing consumers` long-term
outlook falling to its lowest level since 1980. Analysts say even the
best-case scenarios point to sluggish economic and jobs sector growth in
the year ahead.

In stocks, Boeing gained after Air France-KLM said it will take orders
for 50 planes from Boeing and Airbus in a deal worth around $12 billion.
BlackBerry maker Research In Motion plunged 20 percent on a sharp drop in
quarterly profit and sluggish sales of its tablets and smartphones.

And Netflix continued its downward trajectory after cutting subscriber
forecasts for the second day in a row.

That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide -- now back to
HARDBALL.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "60 MINUTES")

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I did not run for
office to be helping out a bunch of, you know, fat-cat bankers on Wall
Street.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Wow. Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That`s President Obama on "60 Minutes" about a year into his
presidency. And although he may not have wanted to help fat-cat bankers on
Wall Street, the stock market has risen about 30 percent since the day he
was inaugurated. Indications are Wall Street should be happy with the
president.

But if you talk to Wall Streeters, they`re not at all happy with him.
What`s going on here? Why do they seem to hate him up on Wall Street?

Jim Cramer is the host of "Mad Money" on CNBC.

I have got to tell you, the disconnect between where you work and
think and where I work and think is so great, all the producers around me,
all my friends can`t get it. Why is the stock market, where everybody is
getting rich -- the market is way up from where it was -- everybody`s up
there is doing great if you look at the numbers -- hate this guy. Why?

JIM CRAMER, HOST, "MAD MONEY": OK, first, I`m going to agree with you
that the market has been fabulous, which is one of the reasons why I`m
always so astonished when people tell me that the problem is Obama.

I mean, it`s clear Washington is going to be dysfunctional, but --
Democrats and Republicans not getting together -- but when you get offline
with CEOs -- it`s not just Wall Street, but industrial America -- what they
tend to say is, listen, we want to add, we want to hire, we want to grow in
the United States, but everything is so up in the air, and when it gets to
the point where we`re thinking about what Washington`s going to do, we know
we`re going to be the loser if President Obama is making the decision,
because President Obama does not favor wealth creation and corporate
profits.

Now, the profits are huge. People have made a lot of money. But that
is the rap that I hear.

MATTHEWS: What is it particularly when a banker, a rich guy, anybody
who`s got to make these big decisions -- well, let`s look at some of these
numbers first, because I think they`re really informative.

When President Obama took office January 20, 2009, the Dow Jones
industrial average closed at 7949. Today, it closed at 11509, up from
yesterday. That`s a 31 percent increase since Obama`s been president.
Well, that alone should be, well, this guy`s good.

And then there`s corporate profits. "The New York Times" cites a
study by a Northeastern University economist and reports -- quote -- "Since
the recovery began in June of 2009, corporate profits captured 88 percent
of the growth in real national income, while aggregate wages and salaries
accounted for only slightly more than 1 percent of that growth."

I mean, this is the stuff that causes revolutions, from the bottom,
not from the top. Why would Louis XVI at the top be angry at the rabble,
if you will, the way they might look at it, when the rabble ain`t got squat
out of this thing, the regular people? Explain.

CRAMER: Oh, well, I have got to tell you, it`s a mind-set, Chris. It
really is. What happens is, you will say to these guys, listen, your
stock`s up big, you`re paying yourself a lot, you`re doing real well, and
they will come back and say, in this country, we can`t grow. We can`t grow
because the government over-regulates us, of which I say, oh, give me a
regulation.

They usually cite the EPA or the NLRB. In this country, the
president, we can`t sit down with him and tell him how to improve the
economy. And I come back and I say, guys, why do you blame the president?
I mean, doesn`t it seem like that both sides are equal to blame?

It`s this guy. They keep saying, listen, the first two years, we
think he didn`t get it. Now we think he gets it and he just doesn`t think
we should do as well as we`re doing.

MATTHEWS: Well, here`s the president in December of 2009 on -- in
anger, by the way, against Wall Street. Let`s listen to some of his
rhetoric.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: They don`t get it. They`re still puzzled, why is it that
people are mad at the banks?

Well, let`s see. You guys are drawing down $10 million, $20 million
bonuses after America went through the worst economic year that it`s gone
through in decades, and you guys caused the problem, and we have got 10
percent unemployment? Why do you think people might be a little
frustrated?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Let`s get the attitude, as we say in Philly, Jim. We know
that word, attitude.

Is that what it`s about? Because I don`t see it. We`re operating
under the same tax rate that Bush left us. Let`s face it. Obama has not
moved it an inch. It`s still the Bush tax rate. So, don`t give me all
this crybaby stuff about taxes being higher under this guy. It hasn`t been
the case.

CRAMER: I think Obama is totally right about the facts.

MATTHEWS: He`s lost every fight on --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: So it`s attitude. Do they think he`s a socialist?

CRAMER: Yes, they do.

And I have got to -- I want to divide the world between the bankers,
of which, I have got to tell you, could you agree with Obama more? I mean,
what -- the horrible things that they did, they should pay. They should be
giving back the money that they just paid themselves because of all the --
of all the mortgage shenanigans.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

CRAMER: But these other just kind of like regular industrial guys,
they`re trying to figure out where to put the marginal dollar.

And, Chris, they`d rather put it in Asia, they`d rather put it in
Africa, they`d rather put it in --

MATTHEWS: Yes, where you can make a pair of pants for a quarter.

CRAMER: Well, I mean, they think --

MATTHEWS: Isn`t that why they go to Asia? You get a pair of khaki
pants stitched together for a few cents, rather than here. They want to
make a living wage. You get sneakers made in Vietnam for about a dime. Of
course, they want to make them over there.

CRAMER: But they want trade deals that we don`t --

MATTHEWS: That`s not Obama`s fault.

CRAMER: No, look, I`m telling you that when you get off the desk with
them, they really just feel like, look, if we got a Republican in there, we
could really do a great thing in this country by hiring a lot of people.

MATTHEWS: OK, OK --

CRAMER: That`s what they think.

MATTHEWS: You had a Republican, George W. Bush, that genius those
guys cooked up there, that guy ran the country, lowered taxes, did it all
his way, yes, and the economy tanked. And everything fell to hell, and
this guy comes in and tries to fix it. He hasn`t fixed it fast. It`s not
going up, but he certainly didn`t create this mess that Bush left us with
his no tax -- low tax regime.

Why do they think the Bush enterprise will succeed a second time
anymore than the first time?

CRAMER: Well, I think that they just like to have Washington out of
their hair.

MATTHEWS: OK.

CRAMER: I think they feel they can make more money for everybody if
they don`t have to worry about any regulations. And that`s -- look, that`s
what they think.

MATTHEWS: OK. So January 20th, 2013, Rick Perry`s in office. OK,
he`s a little erratic sometimes. I don`t think he`s stupid or anything.
He`s a little erratic. He hasn`t proven himself.

Will they unload the $2 trillion they`re sitting on because Rick Perry
has given them the confidence to invest? I`m serious about this. Rick
Perry has given Wall Street the confidence to invest that $2 trillion
they`re sitting on. Will they invest it, because they`ve got a happy
Republican and the good times are back? Or will they be scared to death of
this guy?

CRAMER: No, I don`t think so. We have a treasury secretary right now
that has done more to help business than anybody I`ve seen in years.

MATTHEWS: OK.

CRAMER: He is a straight shooter, everybody respects him. I doubt
you`ll ever get a guy of Geithner`s quality in a Perry administration. No
way.

MATTHEWS: Well, why do they want Perry in there? Why are they
leading all the Republican polls, a guy who really could be a little more
confidence building? I`m not saying, again, he`s lightweight, but he
hasn`t proven himself as a guy Wall Street should be proud of or confident
of.

CRAMER: They want a guy who`s -- look, they really want business
people. They want to hear more chatter about how they were called into the
White House and they told the White House, look, here`s the five things you
should do. And then those five things get done.

MATTHEWS: I know what they want.

CRAMER: This is not that kind of administration.

MATTHEWS: They want someone to tell their kids that they`re great.

CRAMER: Well, you know --

MATTHEWS: That`s right, because all their kids voted for Obama and it
drives them crazy.

Anyway, thank you, Jim Cramer, you know that`s the problem. Not only
do the kids vote for the other guy, they listen to the guy who`s been
trashing him. OK. I know the problem.

But, you know, I think it`s rhetoric and I think it`s -- they need
psychological support up there. They need to feel better about themselves.

Anyway, thank you, Jim Cramer, you`re the best.

CRAMER: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Up next, a new book about Sarah Palin is out. Talk about
building up confidence, will it ruin her chances of running for president?
Lots of stuff in this book.

This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Wait until you get a load of this. How disgusted are
Americans with Congress? Well, let`s put it this way -- Congress has
reached a new low.

A "New York Times"/CBS poll just out today shows that only 12 percent,
that`s one in eight of Americans approve of the way Congress is doing its
job, one in eight. Only 28 percent approve of Democrats. And as bad as
that sounds, the approval number for Republicans, 19 percent. That`s the
approval number.

And here`s the kicker: only 33 percent of Americans believe their own
member of Congress they have elected deserves to be re-elected. We have
never seen a number like that.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: We`re back.

A new book out on Sarah Palin, the darling of the Tea Party, has
people talking. Author Joe McGinniss moved next door to the Palins just
last year to begin research for the book. And this is how he summed up his
investigation into Palin on the "Today" show with Savannah Guthrie just
yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE MCGINNISS, AUTHOR: An absolute and utter fraud.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, NBC NEWS: You call her a 10th grade mean girl.

MCGINNISS: Oh, that`s -- those are kind words compared to a lot of
what you would hear in Wasilla today. The thing that I found, Savannah,
that really surprised me was that the people who know her best like her
least.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Wow. Well, next week, McGinniss` book "The Rogue:
Searching for the Real Sarah Palin" will finally hit bookstores.

My question, if Sarah Palin decides to run for president, who knows
what she`s up to, will this book hurt her chances?

Joining me right now, Shushannah Walshe, she`s the co-author of
another book on Sarah, "Sarah from Alaska." And former Sarah Palin
staffer, Frank Bailey, he`s up in Alaska. Thank you both for joining us.

SHUSHANNAH WALSHE, "SARAH FROM ALASKA" CO-AUTHOR: Thanks, Chris.

MATTHEWS: We`re sort of previewing the fact that McGinniss is coming
on, the author is coming on this show next Tuesday. But let`s start with
some facts here.

Let me ask you, Shushannah, is there anything -- Shushannah, is there
anything in this book that you`ve heard about so far that would keep her
from running for president?

WALSHE: No, I actually think the opposite, Chris. We`ve talked about
this for a very long time. I still don`t know which way she`ll go, but I
think that, if anything, the claims in this book will make her want to run
more and will inspire her to say, you know what, I can show that Joe
McGinniss, I can show everybody that I am going to run for president and I
think it would encourage her more. And I think you`ll see that in her
supporters as well. But still, we don`t know.

MATTHEWS: So, it`s not so much the desire to take a job in
government, like president or governor, as it is the desire to show people
that the big shots can`t tell her what to do?

WALSHE: I think that will definitely be a part of it if she decides
to do it, and I think that`s always been a part of it, and it`s how some of
her moves are based on. And I think if that you do see her getting in and
if you do see her react to this book in the next few days, I think it will
be based on that.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask Frank, who`s written about it and has worked for
her and knows her close in. Is this the kind of thing, dishing on her,
that excites her, that actually helps her P.R. nationwide with her people?

FRANK BAILEY, FMR. PALIN AIDE: Chris, absolutely. I mean, sympathy
is the one-trick pony that Palin has been riding now for six years. She
thrives on it. We used it in the campaign to actually -- you know, fire up
the base and help her, and she will absolutely use this. It will benefit
her.

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s take a look. McGinniss, the author of this new
book, believes that Palin is guilty of abusing her power, and he points to
the now-famous meeting in 2007 as an example.

He writes, quote, "Overcoming her distaste for life in the governor`s
mansion, Sarah invited editors William Kristol and Fred Barnes and
`Washington Post` columnist Michael Gerson, former chief speechwriter for
George W. Bush, to lunch. After the meal, Sarah further dazzled her guests
by taking them on a helicopter ride, for which he billed the state $4,000.
The path was immediate. Barnes scarcely waited for the cruise to end
before writing in `The Weekly Standard` that Sarah was a Republican star."

Shushannah, it`s that kind of abuse someone would say is the normal
way politicians abuse their office any way, spending 4,000 bucks to show up
with some conservatives, have shown up on a boat cruise. Is that going to
hurt her?

WALSHE: I don`t. In this situation, I really just don`t see this as
a big problem. I mean, this incident has been reported over and over
again, about how they had lunch, how they went in a helicopter ride. I
think the trooper-gate could still rear its ugly head even though it`s been
reported over and over again. In that situation, there were two -- there
were a situation where there was an abuse of power and that could be
brought back up, I think.

But with this specific one, I just don`t think it`s that big of a deal
and especially because we already know about it over and over again. I
mean, I don`t think this is really a revelation that could be brought back
on the campaign trail.

MATTHEWS: Is there any pay dirt, Frank Bailey, in this book or
elsewhere about her abuse of authority that would make people question,
even voting for her in a primary?

BAILEY: Chris, we wrote about it. I saw it firsthand. Abuse of
power took place. She was shown to be guilty of that. We saw her
absolutely destroy constituents. In another network that I went on said
that it was all no big deal, her, you know, violating finance campaign law
and all these things were, quote, "no big deal."

It is a big deal. And conservatives need to take a very, very hard
look at it.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, let`s take a look at this other one here.
Sarah was from the new book, "Sarah was peopling her administration largely
with high school friends and/or born-again Christians, whose qualifications
in no way matched their job requirements -- descriptions. She named born-
again Talis Colberg as state attorney general, and Wasilla high school
friend as director of prisons, director of the division of agriculture, and
director of the Alaska railroad. This took cronyism to a level that not
even Frank Murkowski, the former governor, would have dared to
contemplate."

Shushannah, what`s that? Is this going to hurt? This cronyism,
hiring the old pals from school that aren`t qualified -- does this hurt
her?

WALSHE: I think this is an interesting point and it`s something that
we`ve talked about. It`s more I think about how she doesn`t really trust
people and she wants to surround herself by loyalists and that is what`s
going on now is going -- went on then, and Frank can attest to it. I mean,
there were people, and continue to be, that surround her that really don`t
have a lot of have a lot of political experience, but they are very loyal
to her. Frank would say to himself, I mean, he started at the campaign by
saying that he wanted to work for her and he was a supporter.

And that continues with other people. And I think that`s something
that you will continue to see.

MATTHEWS: OK.

WALSHE: That she trusts very little people so people that say that
they are loyal to her are part of that group.

MATTHEWS: I understand.

BAILEY: Well said.

MATTHEWS: McGinniss also said that the people of Alaska believe that
Palin is a political extremist. He writes, "For at least 10 years, Sarah
has subscribed to an evangelical Christian ideology frequently referred to
as dominionism. The goal of dominionists is to put Christian extremists in
positions of political power in order to end America`s constitutionally
mandated separation of church and power."

Do you believe, Frank, I mean, word for it, that she`s a theocrat,
somebody who believes the church should run the state?

MCGINNISS: I think Joe misses the point on this. I really do. I
think trust is the bigger issue that Shushannah pointed out.

You know, it`s hard for me to see her as a religious extremist when I
saw her be dishonest and lie to Alaskans and things like that.

MATTHEWS: OK.

MCGINNISS: I mean, it just doesn`t wash out.

MATTHEWS: It sounds like it`s for show.

Anyway, thank you, Shushannah.

WALSHE: Thanks, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Thank you, Frank Bailey.

BAILEY: Yes, yes.

MATTHEWS: We`ll have you back again and again.

And when we return, "Let Me Finish" with the hard test that faces
President Obama in the weeks ahead, and he`s got a tough one.

You`re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this:

President Obama faces a hard test in the weeks ahead. He`s up against
the growing perception now that Republicans have the upper hand, that this
battle between Rick Perry and Mitt Romney is not just about the Republican
nomination, but about the American presidency, that whoever comes out of
that fight will be the country`s next leader.

Well, others have been in this position before that Obama is in now
being assigned. They have dismissed these losers long before the election
viewed as irrelevant with many months still to serve in the office to which
they were elected. Obama and David Axelrod made a good point today, he
made a number of points, in fact, reminding people that the president still
enjoys advantages other incumbents have not had.

The most vital, the most hopeful, is that overwhelming support he has
of Democrats, four out of fight back him now, when everything seems to be
breaking against him. Over 80 percent are with him even as he`s been
worked in to this corner of the ring. Look at the support the party has
given him.

Democrats have been in the past have been fairly accused of shooting
their wounded are now sticking with this guy.

So, the question is how the president will us this party support, this
die hard backing of his party -- will he rest on it or use it as a
springboard to come roaring back into the center ring of this country`s
political debate? Will he challenge Republicans who say it`s time to cut
government spending, even we`re at risk in another recession? Will he grab
the country`s attention with the charge that by doing exactly what Perry
and Romney are now saying we should do, will bring this country into a full
depression, giving us the economy that led to the first one in the 1930s?

Will Obama give the country a history lesson many of us grew up with,
that the worst thing a government can do now at a time when people aren`t
buying and business isn`t investing is to do what they are doing, cut back
on spending, tighten up, avoid borrowing? In other words, contribute to
the same pattern of deflation and depression, that is now scaring you --
the same pattern of retrenchment that is pressing the economy downward.

Well, it`s time for the president to make this fight. He`s out there
talking about bridges and roads that need fixing. He needs to go further
and say that the enemies of putting people to work, the enemies of such
spending are forcing this country into something worse than tough times.
They are attempting to slow the economy so that it stalls altogether.

And this is danger against which the president needs to warn the
country. He needs to place the responsibility for this peril for those who
prefer it -- prefer anything to another four years of Barack Obama.

And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.

END


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