Guests: John Heilemann, Tyler Mathisen, Paul Krugman, Brian Schweitzer, Mark Foley, Fred Karger, Clint
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Not enough jobs.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington. Leading off tonight:
Numbers game. What are we to make of the latest jobs numbers? The economy
added 115,000 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate did drop another
tenth of a point to 8.1 percent. Republicans couldn`t wait to cheer the
bad news. But the "New York Times" columnist and Nobel-prize-winning
economist Paul Krugman argues things would be better if only the
Republicans got out of the way. He joins us at the top of the show.
Also, "Dirty, Angry Money." Montana`s governor, Brian Schweitzer, doesn`t
like much like it -- this PAC money and politics, that is. He`s hoping to
start a prairie fire out west to ban corporate money from politics. Brian
Schweitzer, the governor, joins us here.
Plus, why do gay Republicans want to be in a political party that won`t
defend them? Isn`t that a fundamental question? If people don`t like you,
why are you there? We`re going to ask former congressman Mark Foley.
And the Secret Service agent who protected Jacqueline Kennedy, Clint Hill -
- boy, is he a great man -- he joins us to tell us what he saw back in
And "Let Me Finish" tonight with some overdue praise for the Secret
We begin with today`s jobs report. Paul Krugman`s a columnist for "The New
York Times." He`s author of a new book "End This Depression Now." And
John Heilemann is national affairs editor for "New York" magazine.
Mr. Krugman, thanks for joining us. Today`s job report was a mixed bag, of
course -- 115,000 jobs were added to payrolls in April. The unemployment
rate did drop to 8.1 percent, the lowest rate since President Obama took
office. But however, economic forecasters were predicting bigger growth
this month, and they saw the smallest jobs gain in six months.
That said, in the bigger picture, there has been fairly consistent jobs
growth for some time now. Take a look at this chart. The recession
started under the previous president -- that`s, of course, W. -- shown in
red, has been -- has seen job gains for the nearly the past two years. The
Obama years are in blue. We can see the uptick there month by month.
Paul Krugman, for a lot of people, you`re the ideal. You speak what people
would like to see as policy in this country. So I`m going to give you a
minute or so, and then John to respond about the political possibility of
If you were in charge, there was no right-wing opposition, no middle-of-
the-road opposition, just you as an economist saying what ought to be
fiscal policy, what kind of policy would you have run since coming to
office for President Obama? What would you have done, if he could`ve done
PAUL KRUGMAN, ECONOMIST, "NEW YORK TIMES" COLUMNIST: Well, we should`ve
had a lot more. The stimulus -- they hate the word now. But the stimulus
should have been bigger and it should have been more sustained.
And above all, there should have been a continuing program of aid to state
and local governments so they wouldn`t be forced back -- forced to cut
their spending, forced to cut employment.
We actually passed a landmark. As of the latest jobs report, private
sector employment is now back to what it was when Barack Obama was sworn in
as president. But public sector employment has been falling all the way
through, layoffs largely of school teachers, which is the big drag on our
economy right now and totally wrong-headed.
You know, so we`re not really now talking about stimulus, we`re talking
about, Why are we doing this austerity that is actually preventing us from
a full-fledged recovery? So if I could have waved a wand, I would have
said -- or been dictator for a day, I would have said, Let`s have an
adequate, sustained program to keep government spending up, to keep people
employed until the private sector is ready to spend again.
There`s other stuff we can talk about. We should`ve had more housing
mortgage relief. We should have more aggressive policy from the Federal
But that -- this is the time for the government to spend. This is not the
time to be cutting back. And if I could have -- if we could have done that
-- I think you can actually look at the numbers right now and say if we had
done that, unemployment would be below 7 percent right now. We would be in
a just much better situation. We`d be well on the way to being out of this
MATTHEWS: OK, that`s if we had one-party rule, John Heilemann, but we
don`t. We have two parties vying for power, often checking each other,
preventing each other from doing what they believe. Why was that not --
just lay it out. Why was that not politically possible, what Mr. Krugman
said would have been ideal policy, a much more expansionary fiscal policy,
a lot more countercyclical aid to states and localities?
JOHN HEILEMANN, "NEW YORK" MAGAZINE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I
think, first, Chris, that it`s not just that we have a two-party system. I
mean, there are a fair number of conservative Democrats in the Senate and
in the House, as well, that would have been -- that would have -- that
would have quailed had Barack Obama pushed for a much bigger stimulus than
I think it`s still an open question, given the approval rating he had when
he came into office, at almost 70 percent, maybe a little bit above 70
percent, whether he could have done something bigger. The political
advisers in the White House thought you couldn`t get near that $1 trillion
number, even though there were some of the economists that work for him, as
we all know now, that were advocating that or thought that was the right
number. A political calculation was made.
It was very hard to pass that bill, even $800 billion. It just barely
passed, as you remember. And certainly, it`s the case that after that,
there`s been no appetite for that kind of expansionary fiscal policy again.
Not just -- Republicans certainly are steadfast against it, but there are a
lot of Democrats who, not seeing an immediate payoff in terms of the jobs
numbers, in terms of the economic picture...
HEILEMANN: ... are afraid to go that way. I think one of the biggest
mistakes that Barack Obama made was to not set expectations really low at
the very beginning of his administration, not talk about how long it was
going to take to get out of the trough. By raising expectations that the
first stimulus would solve the problem, he created a problem for himself
down the line when it didn`t work more quickly.
MATTHEWS: Well, here`s this morning -- here`s Mitt Romney -- Mr. Krugman,
I want you to respond to Romney doing his political sort of knee jerk this
morning. He relished it. He must have had a good night`s sleep. It looks
like he was up early, loaded for bear. Here he is, enjoying the bad
numbers. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R-MA), FMR. GOV., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We should be seeing
numbers in the 500,000 jobs created per month. This is way, way, way off
from what should happen in a normal recovery. It`s a terrible and very
disappointing report this morning. Clearly, the American people are
wondering why this recovery isn`t happening faster, why it`s taken years
and years for the recovery to occur.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, there you go. Mr. Krugman, respond to that from Romney.
KRUGMAN: Yes, the last time we had a president who presided over 500,000-
a-month job numbers, it was a president by the name of Bill Clinton.
This recovery is actually better than the recovery that George W. Bush
presided over. And since Romney is proposing to recapitulate completely
Bush policies, why is he saying that he would do better? I mean, this is -
- it`s terrible. He`s completely right that this is not what we want to be
seeing. But the question is, is Romney proposing anything that wouldn`t
actually make it worse?
I think it`s important to actually take a look not just at the United
States but overseas. The Republican prescription is for big government
KRUGMAN: ... and they`ve been claiming that that will somehow create lots
of jobs. We`re getting those in Europe. Take a look at Ireland. Take a
look at Spain, where they`re getting exactly what the Republicans say we
should do. And those are catastrophes, right? So...
MATTHEWS: Well, these catastrophes -- you didn`t mention the Netherlands.
You didn`t mention the whole problem in Europe that`s rebelling against
KRUGMAN: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: ... slow-growth or no-growth policy. The Republicans sort of
layer it up, though. They say, Well, we`re going to cut spending, but
somehow, we`re going to stimulate economics. So they go both ways. They
say, We`re going to cut all the programs affecting poor people.
You know, in fact, a British Labour guy -- Labour Party guy said to me a
couple weeks ago over there, How come right-wingers, guys like Romney,
believe that the best way to get poor people to work is to cut them, and
the best way to get rich people to work harder is give them more?
KRUGMAN: That`s right. And...
MATTHEWS: Why is it better for one -- rich people that work hard if you
give them more money, but if you screw the poor people, they`ll somehow be,
you know, whipped into action somehow?
KRUGMAN: Yes. And if you`re trying to look for a logical explanation,
you`re not going to find it. But what you`re going to ask is, Who is --
who are the masters? Whose interests are the parties serving? And it`s
The Republican Party, given a choice between what actually makes sense
economically and what redistributes income from the poor to the rich --
reverse Robin Hood -- you know which one they`re going to choose.
So yes. And this is -- it`s very frustrating for somebody in my position,
although it`s -- of course, it`s much more frustrating for the 3.9 million
people who`ve been out of work for more than a year -- but to see that
we`ve actually had a kind of acid test of economic doctrines. Look at
what`s happened in Europe. Look at how austerity policies have worked.
Look at those countries, mostly not in the West -- look at countries like
South Korea that have had effective stimulus programs.
We`ve had an acid test of different economic theories. Keynesian economic
doctrine, the doctrine that says now is time for the government to spend
more, not less, has been overwhelmingly confirmed by experience. This is -
- so you know, (INAUDIBLE) we could end this depression now, we could end
it fast, 18 months probably, if we did the right thing...
MATTHEWS: Yes, but would that sell?
KRUGMAN: ... but nobody believes it.
MATTHEWS: I mean, what about John Heilemann`s question? I mean, how do
you sell to people a deficit of over $2 trillion? I mean, if you get to
$1.6 trillion, you get to $1.9 trillion, the American people are going to
see 2-to-1 spending over revenues. They`re going to say, This is World War
II without the rationing, without the bond sales.
Can you do that? Can you sustain that politically?
KRUGMAN: I think that the political people tend to think way too much
about the next news cycle and not enough about how things play out. The
best political strategy is actually the one that delivers the best results.
And let me say, even in terms of the short-run news cycle, last fall, Obama
made a bid for more economic support, which wasn`t enacted and didn`t
expect it to be enacted, but he went bigger than people expected. It was
It was -- I was happy. I was surprised that it was good. Apparently, his
political team were all saying, Oh, don`t do that! the numbers will scare
Turns out that it wasn`t that way at all, that the public actually welcomed
the prospect that Obama was trying to do something.
He needs to stand up for what he thinks is right. He needs to say, This is
the right thing to do, and then he has to do a Truman and say, Look, this
is a do-nothing Congress that is standing in the way of getting people
MATTHEWS: OK. OK, go back to that -- John, you have to answer the
question now. It seems to me if he had said, I want more than an $800
billion-plus stimulus package and didn`t get it, what would we have had?
Nothing. So this is the problem of dealing with Congress, right?
HEILEMANN: It`s a problem. And I would never put myself in a position of
arguing economics with Paul Krugman, but the politics of this -- I mean,
the White House doesn`t -- they worry about the next news cycle, for sure,
as do everybody in politics.
But there`s never been a White House, Chris, in our lifetimes that`s done
more research, that polls more intensely, that focus groups more intensely
than this White House does. And they would argue that when they`ve had --
they`ve had pressure, they`ve heard from voters who have gotten scared by
the size of these deficits.
Now, I don`t disagree at all with Paul when he says that, obviously, job
growth, economic growth, lower unemployment would be the best political
remedy for the White House in the long run.
But you can`t blame them when they go to the country and they talk to
people, poll test them, focus group them over and over again -- like at the
beginning of last year, when they tried to do the "grand bargain," they
were doing that largely because they were hearing from the public that the
HEILEMANN: ... was concerned about debt...
KRUGMAN: Well, let me say...
HEILEMANN: ... and deficits and they wanted a solution. They wanted to
see the president do something big and bold on that, as much as they wanted
to see some big expansionary fiscal measure.
KRUGMAN: I can weigh in on that a little bit. I think that you really
have to be careful because voters, by and large, are not actually tracking
these things. You say that the public wants lower deficits. Would the
public even know what`s happening to the deficit?
There`s some polls from the mid-Clinton years, where they ask people, Do
you think the deficit has gone up or down under President Clinton? And the
plurality of voters thought it had gone up, where as we all know that was a
period of incredible progress in reducing the deficit.
So if you poll on what voters say they want, you have to step back. And I
think this is a failing. I mean, it`s not my business, but I will
criticize the political team. I think that they tell elaborate stories
about what`s supposed to be going on in the minds of voters, which are not
what actually goes on.
People are busy. People have lives. They have children. People look and
ask, Is this guy trying to make my life better? And that`s what they care
KRUGMAN: ... and not whether he`s -- he`s...
KRUGMAN: If he`s responding too much to the focus groups, then it actually
loses them ground.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about the populism that this administration is
engaged in now. And you made a point in your column today, but I`m sure
you connected it. How do you connect the fact that the 1 percent, as you
say, the 1 percent of the 1 percent, the very, very rich, the people
spending in all this super-PAC money -- we`ve seen that it`s, like, 46
individuals and corporations doing most of the spending for these
How does that -- what`s their motivation in fighting your kind of fiscal
policy? Why are they against an expansionary fiscal policy? You make that
-- I`m not sure how that connects.
KRUGMAN: Yes, the hard right has always been really against the notion
that the government can create jobs. And they`ve been against it for two
reasons. One is, if you say that the government can do good stuff, then
maybe the government actually sometimes needs more money, which means that
it actually has to levy higher taxes on rich people.
So they want to say government can never do anything good, minimal
government because I don`t want to pay taxes. So they hate, in general,
the notion of government activism and hate worse the notion that it might
And also, there`s a big thing in the business world, the right in general,
which says you need confidence (INAUDIBLE) we have is confidence. And that
translates into you can`t say anything remotely critical about big
business. You can`t say anything remotely critical about Wall Street
because that would hurt confidence.
If you say, Actually, you know, but we can create jobs through federal
programs, we can create jobs by providing aid to states so that those
school districts can rehire those school teachers, then we don`t need the
confidence so much.
So you know, this is a club they`re holding over the head of the president,
and they hate the idea that there`s some alternative that would make that
club not so valuable.
MATTHEWS: OK. Well, the name of your book, of course, "End This
Depression Now." Paul Krugman, everybody reads you as the ideal. The
question is, how close can we get to the ideal?
Hey, John Heilemann, I wish we had more time for you tonight. We do miss
you. You`re one of our best guests, maybe one of our two or three favorite
MATTHEWS: Coming up -- I`m not saying who the other ones are. Paul
Krugman, thank you again.
Coming up: "Dirty, Angry Money." Citizens United opened the floodgates,
and Montana governor Brian Schweitzer doesn`t like it one bit, this "Dirty,
Angry Money" out there, we`re calling it. And it is all that. He`s
determined to get corporate money banned from politics. Let`s see how he`s
going to do it. Governor Schweitzer of Montana comes here next.
This is HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Well, there are battleground states, and now, of course, there
are battleground cities, the swing cities that will decide this election.
And the 17 cities on this map are the only media markets in the country
where Obama won in 2008 and Bush won in 2004. How about that?
These are the markets that will be flooded with ads during the presidential
campaign because they go with the winner. And take a look at the
commonwealth of Virginia. It has three sets of swing markets. Of the 17
markets, three are in Virginia -- Richmond, Norfolk and Charlottesville.
And speaking of Virginia, we`ve got new numbers on the race there. And for
that, we check the HARDBALL "Scoreboard."
According to the new "Washington Post" poll, President Obama`s leading Mitt
Romney in Virginia by 7 points now, 51-44. Without Virginia, Romney has a
very slim path to victory, even if he carries Ohio and Florida. Big state
for the president.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. As part of our HARDBALL series,
"Dirty, Angry Money," we`re looking at the influence of those super-PACs
and the money they have on our electoral system. It all stems from that
Supreme Court decision, Citizens United, which decided that independent
spending by corporations and labor unions in elections could not be banned.
Well, the center of opposition to that case seems to be the state of
Montana. In December, its supreme court upheld a 1912 law out there that
is essentially a direct defiance of the Supreme Court Citizens United
decision. The Montana law bars corporate spending in elections.
Well, yesterday Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana and his Republican
lieutenant governor, John Bohlinger, threw their support behind a ballot
initiative that would make it state policy to bar corporate money in
politics. Governor Schweitzer said the business of allowing corporations
to bribe their way into government has got to stop.
Governor Schweitzer, thank you so much for joining us. Tell us how you, as
a governor, and along with your Republican lieutenant governor, have the
power to challenge this, I would say, awful new Supreme Court ruling that
has dirtied up politics?
GOV. BRIAN SCHWEITZER, D-MONTANA: Well, we have the power because we`re
citizens of the United States of America. We have the power because in
Montana, we have Initiative 166, Stand With Montanans.
And we`re simply saying corporations are not people. Corporations will not
be allowed to bribe their way into our state capital, or I guess, even in
You know, there`s -- there`s something really perverse about this. In
1977, Congress said the Corrupt Foreign Practices Act made it against the
law for American corporations to bribe politicians in other countries. Now
they`re saying they can bribe them in the United States. So we have a
monopoly on bribery in this country? What is this saying to the rest of
Look, corporations spend money in elections so that they can get something.
They get something which means lower taxes or less regulation. You can`t
describe it any other way. Me as a shareholder, I -- I don`t dislike
corporations, but if I were to ask my corporate CEO, Why were we giving
money in that last election, well, he`d have to say to you, Because we want
to get something for every buck we spent, we got 5 bucks back. That`s
MATTHEWS: Yes. And you would think if that were the -- by the way, I have
thought this through this afternoon with our producers.
If this is really to make more money for people -- in other words, get the
right politicians in who will do your number, march to your tune and all --
you might as well get a tax deduction for it. Let`s go all the way in this
absurdity. Really, if it`s in your business interest to buy a politician,
well, that`s just another cost of doing business.
Perhaps that`s carrying it to absurdity. Let me ask you about this system.
Right now, we were looking at numbers now -- just to help you make your
case perhaps. Something like 46 people and corporations are provided a
lion`s share of all this corporate money. All the money run in this
campaign is down to less than 50 people right now.
It`s a few people, like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson, the casino
operator. They`re just -- it`s become like one of those old Latin American
horror stories, where like 17 families ran the country. It`s getting back
to that in our republic.
SCHWEITZER: Well, it`s even worse than that.
Again, I`m not anti-corporation. I`m a shareholder like a lot of America
is. But it`s -- if you were a little corporation, family corporation, you
might say, well, you know, we might want to get involved in politics too.
We have an extra $5,000 or $10,000. We may want to get this and invest it.
You are a piker. If you compare yourself to big pharma, to big insurance,
to the military defense contractors, you can never catch up. There isn`t
any possibility that you`re going to have a place at the table. It`s a
couple of dozen multinational corporations that will decide our elections.
And, by the way, these multinational corporations, they are also owned by
foreign nationals. So, are we also saying that if you are a resident of
Germany or Japan or even China or Iran and you are a shareholder in a
corporation, that now you get to have a role in American elections? Come
on. Nobody`s accepting that.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you about how you`re going to do this, because
it seems to me we`re looking down the road the next six months to probably
the worst amount of spending in American history in campaigns on both
sides, because the Obama people have to match it.
But here you have this negative advertisement that has no signature on it
in many cases. It`s totally negative in almost every case. They trashed
some opponents. All the Republicans will trash Obama. The Democrats will
retort and trash Romney, all -- just terrible things they say. So nobody
wants to vote.
My question is -- you have a 1912 law. What do you do now? You go to the
Supreme Court. Is Roberts thinking he may have made a mistake? Is Judge
Roberts inclined -- I have heard this rumor that they`re kind of
embarrassed by this series of decisions that has added up to this mayhem.
Is there any chance they will reverse?
SCHWEITZER: Well, they dang sure -- they dang sure ought to be embarrassed
But in -- on the ballot in Montana, we will have Initiative 166 that simply
says that we in Montana reaffirm that corporations aren`t people, that
corporations can`t bribe people in these elections. It will be on our
ballot, and we`re hoping that other states -- now, this ballot will also
direct our congressional delegation to support a constitutional amendment
that simply says that corporations are not people and that they cannot
Now, Montana maybe has to go first again. We went first in 1912, when we
banned corporate money in our elections. And we don`t mind going first
this time because we understand in Montana what corporations can do when
they own an entire state.
The copper kings, they owned all of Montana, lock, stock, and barrel, and
it was Montanans that stood up and said, not in Montana. So if we can get
this prairie fire started in Montana, when people hear about this in other
states, they will demand from their congressional members to pass a
constitutional amendment to make our elections clean again.
Otherwise, foreigners, by investing in American corporations, will be
involved in our elections. Corporations will be able to bribe members of
Congress and in state capitals to get whatever tax and regulatory treatment
that they want. This is not the American way. This is not what made this
And we want -- we want Americans to stand up. And we will start right here
in Montana, thank you very much.
MATTHEWS: And I think it`s amazing the point you make, just to finish up
for you, sir. You have done a great job making the point, but the fact
that we can -- you can go to jail for bribing Mexican officials, but you
can do it here under the law.
Anyway, thank you, Governor Brian Schweitzer, for coming in with your
campaign. Good luck with that.
Up next: So now that Newt Gingrich is out of the race, does he still think
Mitt Romney`s a liar? That was the word he used again and again. Wait
until you see Newt dance around that question now that he wants to be part
of the cotillion that is coming to Washington, they hope.
You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Now for the "Sideshow."
Now that Newt Gingrich is preparing himself for the torture of endorsing
Mitt Romney, people are waiting to see if he will take back some of his
Romney-bashing from the primary season.
Let`s take a look at one of those zingers from just a few months back and
how Newt danced around it in an interview just last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: I have to ask you, are you calling Mitt Romney a liar?
NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN: You still believe Mitt Romney`s a liar?
GINGRICH: I still believe that the Romney campaign said things that
BLITZER: Forget about the Romney campaign. Is Mitt Romney -- is Mitt
Romney a liar?
GINGRICH: The governor said things at times that weren`t true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
So, for Newt Gingrich, lying is now a matter of degree? Actually, he said
And when you want to think that -- about that -- but forgotten Michele
Bachmann campaign, well, here`s a reminder.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: What people recognize is that
there`s a fear that the United States is in an unstoppable decline. They
see the rise of China, the rise of India, the rise of the Soviet Union, and
our loss militarily going forward.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Again, that old bugaboo about forgetting the Cold War and the
Soviet Union have ceased to exist 20 years ago -- over 20 years ago.
Here she is, by the way, reminiscing with CBN`s David Brody earlier this
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID BRODY, SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CHRISTIAN BROADCASTING NETWORK:
You actually ran close to an impeccable campaign in terms of a mistake-free
BACHMANN: Thank you. It really was. It really was.
BACHMANN: We were extremely careful. And we were almost mistake-free, but
for those two points, Elvis Presley`s birthday and John Wayne`s birthplace.
So, I have apologized, and we have moved beyond.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Bachmann, for those who have forgotten, said that she and John
Wayne both coming from Waterloo, Iowa, not realizing that the John Wayne
from Waterloo was serial killer John Wayne Gacy, not the Duke.
And now for a bit of a flashback. You may recall this 1984 Reagan campaign
ad about bears in the woods.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, POLITICAL AD)
NARRATOR: There`s a bear in the woods. For some people, the bear is easy
to see. Others don`t see it at all. Some people say the bear is tame.
Others say it`s vicious and dangerous. Since no one can really be sure
who`s right, isn`t it smart to be as strong as the bear, if there is a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Powerful ad.
Well, last month, Vermont`s Democratic governor discovered there were bears
in the woods as well, four of them, to be exact. Peter Shumlin says he
woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of four bears in his
backyard, at which point he burst on to the scene to retrieve his bird-
feeders and wound up getting chased by one of the bears.
Well, the campaign for campaign for Randy Brock, Shumlin`s Republican
challenger, apparently couldn`t resist a Reagan throwback.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, POLITICAL AD)
NARRATOR: There is a bear in the woods. For most people in Vermont, the
bear is easy to see. Why can`t Governor Shumlin see any of the bears, job-
killing cloud taxes, health care choices and freedom being taken? Why
can`t Governor Shumlin see any of them? Isn`t it smart to look out for
bears, since there are bears?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I think the Reagan one was better, sorry.
Anyway, up next: Here`s a big question after that Romney staffer was
pressured to quit. Why do gay Republicans want to belong to a party that
won`t stand up for them? We`re going to ask Mark Foley.
You`re watching HARDBALL.
TYLER MATHISEN, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Tyler Mathisen with your CNBC
The Dow sliding 168 points, S&P off 22, Nasdaq down by 68. As Chris
mentioned, the big news of the day was that April jobs report, the economy
adding a much fewer-than-expected 115,000 fresh payroll jobs. The
unemployment rate did slide, however, to 8.1 percent, the lowest in three
Also sliding today, oil prices. It`s not all bad news. They settled under
$100 a barrel. One big gainer, LinkedIn, it surged more than 7 percent on
a better-than-expected earnings report.
That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide. Have a great weekend --
now back to HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We wanted him to stay with our
team. He`s a very accomplished spokesperson. And we select people not
based upon their ethnicity or their sexual preference or their gender, but
upon their capability.
He was a capable individual. We`re sorry to have him go. And, actually, a
whole series of the senior people on my team and my supporters called him
and encouraged him to stay. But he expressed a desire to move on, and I
wish him the very best.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I think that`s why people really don`t trust politicians.
Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Those were -- that was presidential candidate Mitt Romney`s public remark
regarding the resignation of Richard Grenell, an openly gay man who had
been hired a couple of days ago, actually, as his foreign policy
spokesperson for the campaign. The question was -- Romney was asked was ,
what is your response to his resignation?
But that neglects the larger question. If Romney says Grenell was such an
asset, why won`t the candidate himself, his name is Mitt Romney, simply say
on that show he was just on, I want you back on the campaign? He won`t do
And it opens us a larger question. Why would an openly gay person like
Richard Grenell even want to be part of a party that won`t stand up for him
again and again and again?
Mark Foley joins us right now.
Let`s talk about it.
MARK FOLEY (R), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Yes, sir.
MATTHEWS: Gay man?
FOLEY: Yes, sir.
MATTHEWS: Let me tell you, we also have with us Fred Karger, by the way,
who is running for the Republican presidential nomination even as we speak.
MATTHEWS: As a gay activist, he`s on six ballots. He`s making a point.
We will get to you. I know this guy. I don`t know you.
Mark, look, I am -- I study politics. But common sense tells you that Mitt
Romney is B.S.ing us there. If he wants Richard Grenell to be his
spokesman on foreign policy, he could simply have said two days ago, don`t
quit. I need you, buddy. I need you. Don`t listen to these horses` asses
around you. I need you. Don`t listen to the right-wing guy on the radio.
I never even heard of that guy. I need you.
Instead, he lets his staffers call up the guy right before a big briefing,
which Richard Grenell, the guy who left this campaign, actually set up, and
said, the campaign has requested that you not speak on this call. It`s
best to lay low now. So go on the down low. We don`t really want you to
be known to be our spokesman because you`re gay.
Why would -- why do -- do people put up with this?
FOLEY: Well, they shouldn`t.
And I believe Mitt. I honestly believe...
MATTHEWS: Well, why doesn`t he tell him to stay?
FOLEY: Well, too much of a distraction when your spokesperson becomes a
distraction in the news cycle.
MATTHEWS: OK. Distraction to whom?
FOLEY: Well, to the campaign.
MATTHEWS: Is it a good distraction? Wouldn`t it be a good distraction if
Mitt Romney were known to be a guy who stands up to people, as he put it,
regardless of their orientation? Wouldn`t that be the kind of signal that
this guys needs right now to show his character? Wouldn`t that be good for
FOLEY: He`s an incredible person. He deserves the job. And Mitt
should`ve stood up for him.
MATTHEWS: OK. I know what you`re doing. You are -- this is the problem.
Let me ask it this way, Mark. I`m going to ask you it this way. If that
guy, Mitt Romney, this afternoon after we closed tonight, 2:00 in the
morning, wakes up and says, damn it, I made a mistake, calls up a staffer
and says, rehire that guy, wouldn`t you be thrilled?
FOLEY: I would be.
MATTHEWS: OK. So, there`s my point.
FOLEY: I would be.
MATTHEWS: Because it would show guts.
FOLEY: Well, and I think that`s what`s lacking.
FOLEY: I think that`s what`s lacking.
Look what the White House did to Hilary the other day on the comments she
made about Mrs. Romney.
FOLEY: They almost acted like they never met her.
MATTHEWS: But that wasn`t because of her orientation.
MATTHEWS: That was because she said Mrs. Romney never worked a day in her
FOLEY: But my point is, when you make a mistake, a tactical mistake, you
get punished, you get sent to the wood shack.
FOLEY: Democrat or Republican.
MATTHEWS: Well, what as Rick`s Grenell`s tactical mistake? Being gay?
FOLEY: No, that`s what I would like to know.
MATTHEWS: OK. I don`t think he made a mistake.
MATTHEWS: OK. You are such a team player.
Let me go to Fred Karger, who is running out there on his own, who is not a
FOLEY: Come in, Fred.
MATTHEWS: Here, we`re getting to a fundamental point. I have worked in
politics since 1971, longer than this guy`s been involved in it. I have
got to tell you, I have always known there were gay people working at high
levels in the Republican Party, all the way down to the -- from the top
aides. You can talk to anybody. It`s just a known fact in both parties.
It`s just part of the world we live in, in politics and in journalism and
everywhere else we`re in.
Now my question is, why do they continue to serve a party that will not
even give lip service to the rights of the people who work so hard for
them, Fred Karger?
FRED KARGER, INDEPENDENT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I actually have met
good fortune with the Republican Party, both at the national level, state,
I have been speaking. I have been treated very, very well. My problem,
Chris, has been with these third-party groups, like the Bryan Fischers of
the world, the American Family Association, the national association.
KARGER: They`re the ones that are ruining everything.
MATTHEWS: You mean the allies? You mean the allies? That`s like call
MATTHEWS: They`re not exactly independent. These are -- the right-wing
evangelical coalition which has built the Republican majority. So how can
you say they`re outside? They`re part of the team.
KARGER: I think they are.
MATTHEWS: Come on.
KARGER: They`re -- they`re driving people away. They`re driving a lot of
KARGER: And don`t forget, Brian Fischer was attacking Romney and his faith
just a few weeks earlier before Romney kowtowed and caved in and then he
got rid of Rick Grenell.
MATTHEWS: Exactly. OK. So, message to gay men and women, the Republican
men running for president, Mitt Romney, would rather have the crazy, right
wing religious nuts on his side than you guys.
MARK FOLEY (R-FL), FMR. U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Exactly. Exactly.
FOLEY: The party will be marginalized. The party will continue to be
marginalized. They exclude Hispanics, women, and gays.
MATTHEWS: Is it your experience, Mark, as you`ve worked in Congress. You
know a lot of people, people have always accepted you --
MATTHEWS: I never thought much about it, but fine.
Here`s my question: Republicans and Democrats basically from your
experience socially and politically have about the same percentage of gays
in the party, right?
MATTHEWS: There`s no gays or Democrats. The question is to gays that the
Democratic organize and say they`re for same-sex, they make noise --
FOLEY: Not all of them. They do to some degree.
MATTHEWS: But they`re actively participating in the leadership decisions
of the party on issues affecting them. Why don`t gay men and women get
involved in the leadership decisions and platform decisions? Your party`s
probably going to come out against -- it should probably stay neutral since
they can`t say anything positively on same sex. It probably will have a
platform plank that says we`re against it.
FOLEY: Which is regrettable. We do have GOProud. We have the Log Cabin.
FOLEY: They are working hard. They are trying their best.
MATTHEWS: Did they get on the floor of the convention?
FOLEY: Probably not.
MATTHEWS: Let me go back to Fred. This is you guys laugh it off. You
guys have good spirit about -- you`re great party members.
But, Fred, isn`t it odd, a major percentage, say one out of 20, or one out
of 10, I don`t know what the percentage we saw these days, of a party can`t
speak for its own interest? Isn`t that weird?
KARGER: Well, we`re trying -- I think Mark and I are trying to change
things from within. It would be very easy to leave the Republican Party
and then the crazies would truly take over. But, you know, don`t forget
the president of the United States is still evolving on gay marriage. We
have people like Laura Bush and Dick Cheney who support it.
MATTHEWS: But he`s not evolving against you, he`s evolving for you
probably. That`s the difference.
KARGER: He did evolve against it. He supported it. He supported it in
MATTHEWS: OK. I know. I know. I know.
KARGER: Now he evolved against it.
MATTHEWS: It`s easier when you`re a state senator of Chicago, I know.
FOLEY: Remember when Clinton signed the non-discrimination pledge.
MATTHEWS: Well, we know which way he`s evolving. He doesn`t have to wink
to us to tell us --
FOLEY: I had to go to Gingrich and I said, listen, if you`re really
serious about letting people who are gay be fired from their jobs because
of orientation, you better give a pink slip to half of the building over at
MATTHEWS: What did Newt say to that?
FOLEY: He looked at me like stunned but he shouldn`t have been stunned.
MATTHEWS: He was surprised?
FOLEY: He was to some degree surprised because I don`t think people look
at each other and say, gay -- credible, gay -- not credible. I think there
is an evolution.
FOLEY: It`s sad that there are those who use that as a litmus test. Rick
Grenell would have been a phenomenal spokesperson --
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you this, because there`s a new phrase I`ve learned
in this discussion which I sort of find fascinating. The glass closet
meaning, you don`t put up a sign, it`s not official. It`s funny maybe to
But, Fred, tell us what the glass closet, when everybody around you knows
but nobody`s putting up a sign saying we hire gays, it`s just everybody
knows it, right? So if that`s the norm for --
KARGER: I live in it.
MATTHEWS: OK. Live it. So, the norm of --
KARGER: No, I lived -- I lived that life for 30 years. Now I look at the
rainbow glass ceiling as a way of breaking out. I know a lot of people who
have come out, there`s a lot of dialogue because of Rick Grenell and his
courage here that have come out as a result of him.
So Romney, I was on the same program with Romney at the Lincoln Day
Breakfast in Ingham County, Michigan, right before the primary there. He
had mentioned Lincoln once, none of the other speakers except me mentioned
Lincoln. So, it`s not just as Mark says, ducking away from the gay issues,
are also backing away from immigration, from women.
KARGER: They`re driving so many people from the Republican Party they have
a death wish.
MATTHEWS: Yes, they`re in war with the guy on the other side of that civil
FOLEY: Remember the problem the senior Bush had when Buchanan gave that
ugly speech at the convention.
MATTHEWS: The cross-dressing speech.
FOLEY: He was rebuked. I hope this is a teachable moment --
MATTHEWS: You`re laughing at all my comments. I like you already.
Look, thank you, Mark Foley, buddy. It`s good to have you back to
Thank you, Fred Karger. Good luck in your campaign in those six states in
which you served well on the ballot.
Up next, the Secret Service agent assigned to Jackie Kennedy. This is
going to be great for the history. He was body guard for JFK that day in
Dallas. There the pictures are. And it became one of her closest friends.
The great Clint Hill joins us next here on HARDBALL.
We do everything here. This is HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Well, there`s trouble brewing for six-term Senator Richard Lugar
of Indiana. Let`s check the HARDBALL score board.
Senator Lugar now trails his Tea Party challenger Richard Mourdock by 10
points in a new Howey/DePauw Indiana battleground poll. He is in trouble.
It`s Mourdock with 48 percent. Lugar, the longstanding senator, down to
This is an ongoing story in the Republican Party. The moderates like Lugar
are getting squeezed out by primary challenges to the far right.
And a Mourdock win may put the Senate seat in play for the fall. Polls
show Lugar easily beating a Democratic candidate Joe Donnelly. But a
Mourdock/Donnelly match was much tighter. Boy, Donnelly, go for it.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
November 22nd, 1963 is the day that haunts the American memory, but perhaps
no one more so than Clint Hill, the Secret Service agent who raced to the
president`s motorcade after the car actually as Lee Harvey Oswald fired the
shots that kill John F. Kennedy. There`s some pictures of it right now.
Hill famous climbed on to the back of the president`s car just moments,
seconds really after the third fatal shot and positioned himself over the
first lady to protect her and the president.
Clint hill was assigned to Jackie Kennedy`s security detail for four years
back then. He recounts the whole experience finally now in his new book
"Mrs. Kennedy and Me."
I guess the question, Clint, is why you waited to write this incredible
CLINT HILL, AUTHOR, "MRS. KENNEDY AND ME": Well, I really vowed I`d never
write a book of any kind, never contribute to any book. And then I met
Lisa McCubbin, who is a writer, and I began to trust her and had confidence
in her. And she started to convince me that the information I had was
historic and should be documented. And I finally agreed and that is what
we decided to do.
MATTHEWS: I guess the question everyone wants to know is -- you heard the
MATTHEWS: And you raced to the car, what happened then.
HILL: Well, I raced to the car, but after -- just before I got there, the
third shot was fired. I didn`t hear the second shot because I was running.
The third shot was fired just as I was approaching the car hit the
president in the head, upper right rear, and it was a tremendous wound,
causing blood and brain matter come out of the wound over to myself and the
About that time, Mrs. Kennedy came up on the trunk of the car. She was
trying to retrieve material that came off the president`s head, off the
right rear, and I got up in the car and pushed her back into the seat.
When I did, the president`s body fell over into her lap.
MATTHEWS: And the car was moving all this time?
HILL: The car was continuously moving and began to accelerate just as I
got there, and which caused me to slip and I had to run a couple extra
steps to get up on top. My objective was to get up on top and form a
shield between the president and Mrs. Kennedy and whoever was firing at
them because we had no idea how many shots are going to be fired and what
was going on.
MATTHEWS: When you went back, I guess, 1990, and I`ve been here, it`s so
strange to see those pictures, even for me who had nothing to do with it.
It didn`t look like, when CBS did it (ph), it didn`t look like a hard shot.
HILL: It wasn`t. If you look from the window where the firing took place,
to the impact point on the street, it`s not very far at all.
MATTHEWS: And he has a telescopic lens and he was trained marksman for the
HILL: Correct. And he had all the advantages that day, we didn`t have
any, and he was to our rear, to the back. We didn`t have a chance to get
MATTHEWS: But today, you know, anywhere near the White House, anywhere
near the president now, we saw with the vice president coming to the studio
today, there`s so much Secret Service now and surveillance, you could not
stick a rifle barrel out a window.
HILL: Well, I don`t think he even stuck it out the window in that case.
He was (INAUDIBLE) inside the window, up on the window sill, without the
rifle barrel being outside the window.
MATTHEWS: I see.
HILL: So --
MATTHEWS: Could you do that today?
HILL: Yes, perhaps. But more than likely, it wouldn`t do any good because
the president would be in a fully armored car, n open cars.
MATTHEWS: Now, the other thing I think a lot of people wondered about is
if there had been the bubble top, if the head popped that day. It was
still not bullet proof, right?
HILL: Not at all, which is made out of plastic.
MATTHEWS: And he could have shot if he intended to.
MATTHEWS: My argument against all conspiracy theories by the way, is I
think this is a crime of opportunity. I think this guy was trying to get
Nixon one day, went after Edward Walker, Harvey Oswald had that job long
before that parade route was set that day. It couldn`t have been put there
because nobody knew what the parade route was going to be.
MATTHEWS: So I think it`s pretty simple. He was a commie sympathizer who
loved Castro, he was infatuated with him. Anyway, the story all makes
sense to me. Did you ever form any conclusions yourself?
HILL: Yes, he was a lone shooter. One shot -- one shooter, three shots,
off the same location.
MATTHEWS: That`s what I think.
Let me ask you about Jackie Kennedy. What was she like?
HILL: She was a wonderful woman, really a great hands-on mother.
Dedicated wife, a very athletic women, she loved to ride horses and was
very good at it, loved to water ski, played tennis.
MATTHEWS: She loved you guys, especially you. She wrote, you know, I got
ahold of the actual text, the typed text of her first interview after the
assassination with her in white. And she talked about you and how much you
loved the family and how much you really looked out for them. It was very
personal. Her affection for what you`ve done for them.
HILL: We did. We were very close, and we were very close with John and
Caroline. And we were with them all the time. I was gone from my own
family 80 percent to 90 percent of the time, and all the time, I was with
Mrs. Kennedy and the children. My two boys grew up without me, without a
father, for all intents and purposes.
MATTHEWS: You were always working.
HILL: Always with her. Took her to dinner.
MATTHEWS: Looked out for her. You know, I love the idea of John John
practicing, I saw an old picture, a tape of him down at Wexford, their
weekend retreat house, where she was rehearsing him.
HILL: Yes, she -- this all developed prior to (INAUDIBLE) in 1963.
MATTHEWS: OK. Name of the book, "Mrs. Kennedy and Me," weekend reading.
I recommend, I`m holding this out now because I think you should get this
book. It`s a great book if you care about our country and, let`s face it,
a real sentiment we all have about this guy here, Clint Hill.
Thanks, Clint for coming on.
HILL: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: When we return, "Let Me Finish" with my praise for the Secret
Service. It`s about time.
You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: "Let Me Finish" tonight with this:
We just had Clint Hill on to talk about his work with the Secret Service.
He is in a real way a sterling model of the agents that have been assigned
to the service over the decades. There are thousands of others, people
like Jerry Parr who saved Ronald Reagan`s life in 1981 by getting him to
George Washington University Hospital in three minutes. Had he not done
what he did that bleak day, covering and evacuating the evacuating from the
scene of the assassination attempt and getting him to the hospital, there
is a real question whether Reagan would have made it.
I don`t doubt there are many stories like this, stories of courage and
self-sacrifice on the part of those defending the president, and because of
a few knuckleheads, as President Obama said, down in Cartagena a few weeks
back, their reputation of the Secret Service has been harmed, not
permanently, but for a while. We have a couple of weeks for bad stories to
leak out, more bad stories to find a way to the surface. If they were
abundant, we would all be sharing them now. The tabs would be feasting on
them and we`ll be talking about them here.
Well, Clint Hill`s story, what he did on November 22nd, to try and save
President Kennedy, what he did to protect the president`s wife, belonged
among the real sterling stories of the Secret Services, along with the
quick, gutsy work of Jerry Parr, who I said they all tell the story that
makes young men and women want to grow up, even now, to some day take their
Every time I walk through the White House gate, I`m impressed by the
professionalism and dedication of the Secret Service. I`m gladden that a
story of a few knuckleheads who made bad, middle of the night decisions,
amid the beckoning of sexual excitement, the influence of alcohol and
foreign soil opportunity is just what it was. It happened, we covered it.
It is an episode involving a dozen agents out of 175 agents that weekend in
Cartagena. It is not the story of these men`s careers, and certainly not
of the justifiably proud civil service -- Secret Service.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.
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