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updated 6/25/2012 3:38:14 PM ET 2012-06-25T19:38:14

Guest Host: Michael Smerconish

Guests: Michael Scherer, Erin McPike, Stacey Honowitz, Buzz Bissinger, Peter Welch, Josh Gerstein

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, GUEST HOST: He`s so Bain.

Let`s play some HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Michael Smerconish, in for Chris Matthews. Leading
off tonight: Here comes that Bainy day feeling again. Mitt Romney says it
over and over again. On day one, he`s going to get tough on China. Sounds
good, but today`s "Washington Post" reports that Romney`s Bain Capital
invested in firms that specialized in outsourcing jobs to countries like,
you guessed it, China. Just wait for that little morsel to make it to an
Obama ad near you. Romney and Bain Capital -- this story not going away.

Also, if you were to judge Mitt Romney and President Obama`s speeches
to Latino officials on reaction alone, it`d be a slam-dunk win for the
president. But the big question for team Obama -- can they translate the
enthusiasm that we saw today into votes?

Plus, the jury now has the Sandusky case, but the jurors don`t know
the two latest explosive pieces of news about this matter. Buzz Bissinger
will join us.

And the debate over Attorney General Eric Holder and Fast and Furious
has moved from the right-wing fringe to the front pages. The conservative
base is thrilled. So why has the Republican leadership been treating this
story like it`s Kryptonite?

And "Let Me Finish" tonight with my homemade solution to America`s
obesity crisis.

We begin with outsourcing jobs at Mitt Romney`s Bain Capital. Salon`s
Joan Walsh is an MSNBC political analyst and Michael Scherer is the White
House correspondent for "Time" magazine.

Mitt Romney frequently says that he`ll stand up to China and help
bring jobs back home from overseas, but that wasn`t always the case. A
damning new report from "The Washington Post`s" Tom Hamburger (ph) today
lays out clearly just how invested Romney`s firm, Bain Capital, was in
companies that outsource jobs, including to China.

Quote, "During the nearly 15 years that Romney was actively involved
in running Bain, it owned companies that were pioneers in the practice of
shipping work from the United States to overseas call centers and factories
making computer components, according to the filings with the SEC," the
Securities and Exchange Commission.

Michael, is this going to stick? I ask that question because Bain has
already been an issue, the charges of vulture capitalism. In the Beltway,
you hear people say that they didn`t play so well, yet out in middle
America and in focus groups, I think you get a different reaction.

What will be the reaction to this?

MICHAEL SCHERER, "TIME" MAGAZINE: I still think we`re at the very
beginning of this conversation. Mitt Romney so far is sticking to his
line, which is, I have experience in the private sector. He doesn`t really
want to go beyond that to discuss specifically what he did at Bain.

The Obama campaign is determined to hit them over and over again all
through the summer, and they have had some success in these swing states
doing this. I think this is just another piece of that. Romney`s going to
have to be able to establish a difference between his experience in the
private sector, which was not about creating jobs -- I think everybody
admits here -- it was creating more efficient companies, about increasing
profits and lowering the cost of products.

And what he plans to do when he comes into office, which is not
outsourcing jobs, despite what Chicago is sort of saying right now, that
you know, a vote for Mitt Romney is a vote for offshoring more jobs -- Mitt
Romney hasn`t made that pivot yet. He hasn`t yet made -- he doesn`t want
to have this discussion, but I think it`s going to have to happen at some
point. He`s not going to be able to...

SMERCONISH: Well, the president -- I can tell you the president was
quick to react to the "Post" story. He was in Tampa this afternoon. Let`s
take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today it was reported
in "The Washington Post" that the companies his firm owned were pioneers in
the outsourcing of American jobs to places like China and India.

(APPLAUSE, BOOS)

OBAMA: Pioneers. Let me tell you, Tampa, we do not need an
outsourcing pioneer in the Oval Office!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: We need a president who will fight for American jobs and fight
for American manufacturing! That`s what my plan will do!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SMERCONISH: And Romney`s camp responded quickly to "The Post" story.
According to Politico, Romney`s spokesperson, Andrea Saul, said, quote,
"This is a fundamentally flawed story that does not differentiate between
domestic offshoring versus offshoring, nor versus work done overseas to
support U.S. exports. As president, he will implement policies that make
it easier and more attractive for companies to create jobs here at home."

Joan Walsh, that`s a lot to follow. That`s a confusing issue. Is
that going to wash?

JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No. It`s an
intentionally confusing issue and statement, Michael, and I think you can
see that.

The problem for the Romney campaign is that the "Post" story is very,
very explicit that this was -- they were talking about offshoring. It is
true that outsourcing can be moving jobs out of a company to another firm
that does it cheaper in the United States, and that does happen. But "The
Post" was very careful to delineate the firms that Bain invested in whose
business model essentially was offshoring a lot of technology jobs

So I think -- you know, I agree with Michael. The Obama campaign has
had some success already with Bain. Top strategists seem a little bit
uncomfortable with it. And you`ve got the problem of Wall Street
Democrats, quite honestly, not sure how hard they want to hit private
capital, private equity firms.

I think it is resonating with voters. And I think on this particular
issue, you`ve got a hypocrisy problem because you`ve got Mitt Romney
actually saying -- one of the few things -- one of the few concrete things
he says is that, basically, he`s going to pick a fight with China, and
we`ve got examples of how he worked to send American jobs to China. So...

SMERCONISH: Michael Scherer, how...

WALSH: ... I think this is going to stick with them.

SMERCONISH: How about the argument that you`ll hear, I suspect, from
Romney and his supporters that his job was not the same as that the job
which he now seeks? In other words, his job was to make money as a
business leader. He`s got an all different job description, should he
become the president?

SCHERER: That is the argument. And implicit in that is that someone
who has worked in the private sector, who understands why companies are
shifting jobs overseas, will have an advantage over the current president.
I think that`s the turf on which we`re going to be playing this out.

I don`t think it`s a situation in which Romney can just get through
this election saying, I was once a businessman, therefore, I`m going to be
a better president, I can lead us to a brighter future, or the president
can say Mitt Romney was once a businessman, therefore he wants to take your
job and send it to China. Neither of those will really wash.

The discussion is going to be about whether the actual proposals that
Mitt Romney has and the actual proposals that Barack Obama has will lead
the country to the future that more voters want. And that`s the turf on
which we`re going to play this out.

SMERCONISH: Joan, when Bain was last an issue, when the charge was
one of vulture capitalism, you know that there were a number of Democrats
who apparently spoke out of turn. Corey Booker comes to mind.

WALSH: Right.

SMERCONISH: I can`t see a circumstance -- a corresponding
circumstance when the issue is outsourcing, can you?

WALSH: No, I really can`t because -- and also, to get back to what
Michael was saying about the debate between their proposals -- I mean, Mitt
Romney also wants to slash taxes on corporations` foreign operations.

So there are very -- there are actually lots of ways for the Obama
administration to say this is very much about his proposals as president
and that his experience at Bain really did shape the way he looks at the
economy. And he`s coming into office, if he gets into office, with that
mindset which is really about how to help rich people make more money and
really leaves American workers out of the equation.

SMERCONISH: Well, to that end, Romney frequently invokes his time at
Bain to suggest that he would be a better leader on the economy. He says
he knows how jobs are created and what causes them to leave.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R-MA), FMR. GOV., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I spent my
life in private enterprise, 25 years. I know how businesses work. I know
what causes them to leave and what will bring them back. I want to use
that experience to get America working again. For me, it`s all about good
jobs for the American people and a bright and prosperous future!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SMERCONISH: And also, the president then focuses his attack on Romney
and Bain recently on the issue of outsourcing. Here was an ad that the
campaign put out just yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Running for governor, Mitt Romney campaigned as a
job creator.

ROMNEY: I know how jobs are created.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But as a corporate raider, he shipped jobs to
China and Mexico. As governor, he did the same thing, outsourcing state
jobs to India. Now he`s making the exact same pitch.

ROMNEY: I know why jobs come and why they go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Outsourcing jobs, Romney economics. It didn`t
work then and it won`t work now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SMERCONISH: Michael Scherer, a strange thing. I saw that that was
reviewed by "The Post," which had the story today, and it was the recipient
of several "Pinocchios," so it seems like within "The Washington Post,"
they can`t get it together as to the accuracy of those charges.

SCHERER: Well, no, I think you can say that the story was accurate
and that ad is false. I don`t think they`re exactly the same thing.

But you know, there is an argument here. You could have surrogates
for Democrats defending this. I can imagine Steve Rattner, if you had him
on, would come on and say, Look, there are -- there are financial -- there
are benefits to this sort of comparative advantage of allowing other
countries to produce things cheaper, if they can produce it cheaper. We`re
able to then buy the products cheaper. We have then more money to spend.

I mean, there are arguments to defend what -- what is not really a
good word in this election, the creative destruction of capitalism.

What Romney is saying in the clips you just played was, My job as
president will be different from my job as the private sector businessman.
My job will be to create jobs. I`m going to use the experience from my
private sector days, but my job as president is not going to be what my job
at Bain was, which was just to increase returns for my -- for my -- for my
shareholders.

SMERCONISH: Joan Walsh, quickly, it seems the Obama campaign all too
happy to make this a referendum on Bain.

WALSH: Yes, you`ve got David Axelrod already calling Mitt Romney the
outsourcer-in-chief. I think that they think that this is a really
productive avenue for them and that the "Post" story and the specific
revelations about China give them -- give that whole line of reasoning a
lot of new life.

SMERCONISH: Thank you, Joan Walsh. Thank you, Michael Scherer. We
appreciate your being here.

SCHERER: Thank you.

SMERCONISH: Coming up: President Obama gets a spirited welcome from
the same Latino group that spent a lot of time sitting on its hands for
Mitt Romney yesterday. That`s ahead.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SMERCONISH: Which voters do -- which party do voters want in control
of Congress? There we go. We`ve got new poll numbers in the HARDBALL
"Scoreboard."

Here it is. A new Pew poll shows Democrats holding a 4-point lead in
the generic congressional ballot. That`s 47 to 43 percent. And Charlie
Cook over at "The National Journal" says we shouldn`t expect a fourth
consecutive wave election in the House this year. Republicans hold a 25-
seat majority in the House, and right now, Cook says, it`s not likely to
change much.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We should have passed the Dream Act a long time ago! It was
written by members of both parties. When it came up for a vote a year-and-
a-half ago, Republicans in Congress blocked it! The bill hadn`t changed.
The need hadn`t changed. The only thing that had changed was politics!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SMERCONISH: Welcome back to HARDBALL. President Obama kept up the
heat on Congress today, speaking before the National Association of Latino
and Elected Officials. (SIC) It`s the same event where challenger Mitt
Romney addressed this key constituency yesterday. The president made
reference to Romney`s visit, including a pause for dramatic effect.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Your speaker from yesterday has a different view. In a
speech, he said that when he makes a promise to you, he`ll keep it. Well,
he has promised to veto the Dream Act, and we should take him at his word.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

I`m just saying.

(LAUGHTER)

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SMERCONISH: President Obama needs the Latino vote to be motivated in
November. Their turnout could be key to his reelection, and that`s really
what today`s speech was all about.

David Corn is an MSNBC political analyst and author of the new book
"Showdown." Erin McPike is a reporter for RealClearPolitics.

Erin, does it seem like the president did what he needed to do to
energize that constituency today?

ERIC MCPIKE, REALCLEARPOLITICS: For the most part, yes, at least in
comparison to Mitt Romney yesterday. But President Obama simply said that
he would sign the Dream Act if it made it to his desk, which deals with a
smaller portion of the nation`s illegal immigrants, not all 11 million of
them.

So we heard from a lot of Republicans today who said that while
President Obama continues to support the Dream Act, he didn`t go much
further than that. It energizes the Latino community to a certain degree,
but not 100 percent. I mean, he`s been saying that his door has been open
for three-and-a-half years if Congress would like to work with him, but a
lot of Republicans started chiding him today, saying that`s really not
enough and it doesn`t show a ton of leadership.

SMERCONISH: David, to state the obvious, the importance of the Latino
vote -- 9 percent of those who came out to vote in `08. If that number
gets boosted to 10, 11, 12 percent, therein would lie the margin of victory
in a close race overall.

DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. and if you
compared Mitt Romney`s speech yesterday to Barack Obama`s speech today,
it`s like comparing mayonnaise to salsa. Now, mayonnaise is fine. It has
some binding properties to it. But Barack Obama spoke to this crowd as if
he understood them, and more importantly, shared their values.

He talked about comprehensive immigration reform in a way that Mitt
Romney couldn`t. He talked about those who cross the Rio Grande, like
those who came over in slave ships and those who came over looking for jobs
100 years ago as being part of the great American story. He talked about
justice. He talked about a lot of things that Mitt Romney couldn`t do.

And I think he was very specific in saying that he did try to pass the
Dream Act and that it was Republican obstructionism that prevented it, and
that also, his door is open to comprehensive immigration reform that he has
voted for in the past, and it`s Republicans who can`t see their way through
the threshold anymore.

SMERCONISH: Well, the difference -- the difference in the reaction
from the Latino crowd to Romney yesterday and Obama today was obvious.

First let`s take a look at President Obama`s wrap-up today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: America was built by people who said something different, who
said, Yes, we can, who said, Si, se puede!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: And as long as I have the privilege of being your president, I
will be alongside you fighting for the country that we together dream of!
God bless you! Thank you (INAUDIBLE) God bless the United States of
America!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SMERCONISH: And the reaction to Governor Romney`s speech was much
more muted. It`s easy to selectively edit these things, but actually these
are some of Romney`s bigger applause lines.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: As president, I won`t settle for stopgap measures. I`ll work
with Republicans and Democrats to build a long-term solution. And I`ll
prioritize measures...

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: I will stand for a path to legal status for anyone who is
willing to stand up and defend this great nation through military service.

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: Thank you so much. And God bless this great land. Thank
you.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SMERCONISH: These reactions are borne out in a new poll of Latino
voters in battleground states that shows President Obama with a huge lead.
There you can see it, 74 to 18 percent in Arizona, Colorado 70 to 22,
Florida 53-37, Nevada 69 to 20, Virginia 59 to 28.

Erin McPike, what drives these numbers, the economy, the immigration
issue, a combination of both?

MCPIKE: Oh, it`s certainly a combination of both. And of course,
President Obama used much of his speech to talk about his economic vision
versus Mitt Romney`s. So of course that`s part of it.

Now, Those polls that you show are largely in the West and also, of
course, Florida and Virginia, where President Obama is generally doing
better. I would point, though, that the population of illegal immigrants
and Hispanic voters in many of the states where Mitt Romney took his bus
tour over the weekend and early this week were through the Midwest, where
the population is smaller and that Romney is doing better in some of those
other states.

So, yes, this is where this -- this election is going to be litigated.
President Obama and his team think that they are in much better shape in
the West, where they have an advantage with this group, vs. Mitt Romney,
who thinks he`s got a path to victory through the Midwest.

SMERCONISH: David, we`re a week after the president`s executive order
relative to the children of illegals, and still a lack of specificity from
the Romney campaign on that issue.

CORN: Romney is boxed in, in a way I can`t think or recall a modern
presidential candidate being boxed in.

During the campaign -- the primary campaign, as the president noted
today, he promised the veto the DREAM Act, but he also had a very clear
policy on undocumented immigrants: You have to leave. You have to go
home, even to places that may not be your home.

So once you say that, you really take yourself out of the equation
when it comes to coming up with any long-term plans, which is why he
couldn`t define what his long-term solution is. And when you`re not in
favor of the directive that the president came up with last week, it sends
a signal to people.

If you`re not going to help the children who were brought here through
no fault of their own, why are you doing that? You`re only doing that to
pander to people who a lot of Latinos believe don`t like them. So, it`s a
threshold issue.

If you can`t help that part of this population, they`re not going to
listen to you because you don`t -- they think you`re either in league with
or you yourself don`t care much for this part of the American community.

SMERCONISH: Erin, so when...

CORN: So, put that all together, Michael, and I don`t think he can
recover from this. I think he`s -- this is -- it`s not a fatal wound.
It`s an untreatable wound.

SMERCONISH: Erin, when Mitt Romney spoke to the Latino group
yesterday, a lot of people expected him to give a specific response to
President Obama`s executive order that I just referenced. Here`s how he
handled it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Some people have asked if I
will let stand the president`s executive order.

The answer is that I will put in place my own long-term solution that
will replace and supersede the president`s temporary measure. As
president, I won`t settle for stopgap measures.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SMERCONISH: Not very specific.

And so today, the Obama campaign put out a Web video complete with the
sound of a ticking stopwatch in the background pointing out how many days
have passed without a response from Romney to the Obama executive order.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB SCHIEFFER, HOST, "FACE THE NATION": You have said this is just a
short-term solution to a long-term problem. But would you repeal this
order if you became president?

ROMNEY: Well, let`s step back and look at the issue.

SCHIEFFER: What would you do about it?

But would you repeal this?

I won`t keep on about this, but just to make sure I understand, would
you leave this in place while you worked out a long-term solution, or would
you just repeal it?

ROMNEY: We will look at that -- we will look at that setting as we
reach that.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: It can leave you scratching your head and
wondering why a man who wants to be president can`t tell us a little bit
more about what he would actually do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SMERCONISH: Erin, where do you see this issue going? He`s got to
come up with something with more specificity, no?

MCPIKE: One would think, but he`s not doing it because he knows, if
he`s litigating immigration policy with the president, he`s losing in a lot
of places where he needs to start winning.

Today, the Romney campaign put out a response, several responses from
Hispanic elected officials who support Mitt Romney, saying the problem with
this speech is that the Hispanic community has -- has seen its unemployment
rate increase under this president, and they don`t want to talk about
immigration policy.

Now, of course, when Mitt Romney was running for president in 2007 and
2008, he tried to grind down his opponents by running to the right of them
on immigration policy, and he did the very same thing against Rick Perry in
this past primary. So, if comes to and softens his position, as many
people think that he should, he runs the risk of looking like a flip-
flopper.

So, he`s really in a tough spot as far as immigration policy is
concerned.

SMERCONISH: David, one explanation might be that the thunder that he
expected to get with Senator Rubio by announcing their own proposal was
stolen and that, in fact, the two were going to be very, very similar.

(CROSSTALK)

CORN: Well, it was.

But thing is about Rubio`s proposal is that Romney had not really
endorsed it and most of the Republican leadership was very lukewarm on it.
Rubio was looking like an orphan with this idea.

But, regardless of that, the president came in and, in a very
politically savvy way, just totally undercut any possibility that Romney
had of getting covered on this issue through Marco Rubio`s plan.

So I doubt Marco Rubio will be on the ticket. And I -- as I said
earlier, I think, because of what Erin just said, too, Romney has really
put himself into concrete when it comes to the immigration issue in a way
that leaves him no opportunity to have an opening with this community.

And I think Obama hit it out of the park today. And if you had the
Latino voters the day before the elections watch Romney`s speech and this -
- and the president`s speech today, I would be surprised if the split
wasn`t 80-20.

SMERCONISH: David, thank you.

Thank you, Erin McPike. We appreciate it.

CORN: Thank you.

SMERCONISH: Up next: Republicans are celebrating the Supreme Court`s
overturning health care reform, but the trouble is, it hasn`t happened yet.

Stick around for the "Sideshow."

If you want to follow me on Twitter, all you need to do is figure out
how to spell Smerconish.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SMERCONISH: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Time for the "Sideshow."

First up: a glimpse into the future, courtesy of Republican Senate
candidate Richard Mourdock of Indiana. In a video briefly uploaded to the
candidate`s YouTube account, he cheers the Supreme Court`s decision to
strike down the Affordable Care Act.

The only thing is, the Supreme Court hasn`t ruled yet. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD MOURDOCK (R), INDIANA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Well, we have had
our brief moment of celebration because the Supreme Court ruled that
Obamacare is in fact unconstitutional. It`s what many of us argue all
along.

But don`t sit back and think the fight is over, because it isn`t.
Barack Obama and Congressman Joe Donnelly are already putting Obamacare 2.0
together and they are going to try to pass it once again. We cannot let
that happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SMERCONISH: It turns out the Mourdock campaign is covering all its
bases and pre-produced videos for any decision the Supreme Court delivers.

The campaign spokesman, no doubt a former Boy Scout, invoked the
Scout`s famous mantra, "Be prepared."

Yesterday, we told you about a Bloomberg News report that the Romney
campaign asked Florida Governor Rick Scott to stop bragging about his
state`s strong economic rebound, very inconvenient for the argument that
President Obama has ruined everything.

Romney and Scott aides both pushed back on the story, but not before
team Obama released a mock letter -- quote -- "from the desk of Mitt
Romney."

And it reads: "Rick, I see you have been touting Florida`s improving
economy. Please stop. Your facts are undermining my contention that
Barack Obama is stifling the recovery, which is my whole platform."

Mitt Romney`s challenge extends beyond Florida, to states like
Virginia and Ohio, where Republican governors are presiding over improving
economies.

And, finally, Jon Stewart compares voting in Egypt to voting in
Florida.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART")

HARI SREENIVASAN, "PBS NEWSHOUR": Egypt`s election committee said it
will not announce the presidential runoff winner tomorrow, after all. The
group said it has to review hundreds of complaints about the voting.

JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": Hundreds of
complaints?

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART: You know what that`s called in Florida?

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART: The best, most efficient election in the history of Florida.

(LAUGHTER)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

STEWART: What are you doing? Take the money and run. You get more
complaints a night in Boca Raton at an Olive Garden.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SMERCONISH: Florida, Florida, Florida may never live down the 2000
election.

And one "Sideshow" Friday night bonus. As President Obama bounded on
to the stage in Tampa this afternoon, his feet got a little ahead of him.
Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SMERCONISH: He wrote off the bumble to enthusiasm. Nice save.

Up next, we`re awaiting a verdict in the trial of Jerry Sandusky, but
the jurors don`t know about two bombshell stories that broke in the case.

That`s ahead. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

AMANDA DRURY, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Amanda Drury with your CNBC
"Market Wrap."

Good news across the board today, with the Dow up by 67 points, the
S&P gaining nine, and the Nasdaq up by 33.

You might have expected banks to be a big drag, but not so. Morgan
Stanley in fact climbed 2 percent and others held their ground, despite
Moody`s decision to downgrade 15 banks. But, in some cases, it was better
than expected.

And Microsoft could get in on the smartphone game, according to one
analyst. The software giant has not confirmed or denied plans to launch
its own smartphone.

That`s it from CNBC. Have a great weekend. We`re first in business
worldwide -- and now it`s back to HARDBALL.

SMERCONISH: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

A jury in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, continues to deliberate in the sex
abuse trial of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky, but after the jurors
were sequestered yesterday afternoon, the rest of the country learned of
two more accusers, one, Sandusky`s adopted son, who says, he, too, was a
victim of his father`s abuse.

A second granted the first TV interview of any of Sandusky`s alleged
victims to NBC`s Kate Snow.

Buzz Bissinger is the bestselling author of "Friday Night Lights."
His latest book is tremendous. It`s called "Father`s Day." Stacey
Honowitz is a sex crimes prosecutor who`s written a children`s book called
"My Privates are Private."

Buzz, how odd that the whole country knows of these two developments,
and yet, theoretically, and we hope the jurors, because they`re
sequestered, are behind closed doors and they have no idea.

BUZZ BISSINGER, AUTHOR, "FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS": Well, you know, it is
odd, but I also think that, look, Joe McGettigan is an excellent attorney.
I just have to believe that in the case of the adopted son, there must have
been some credibility issues.

I think the prosecution put on an airtight case. I`m convinced of
Sandusky`s guilt. If the jury decides otherwise, it won`t make any
difference. To me, the man is a monster. I don`t see how possibly all
these witnesses got together and concocted this up, this story.

And I think McGettigan felt look, we have a tight case. This kid must
have credibility problems. It seemed sort of odd to me that the lawyer
would held a press conference or announce it as the jury is deliberating,
but, in terms of Sandusky`s guilt, I`m not worried about it.

SMERCONISH: Last night on "Rock Center" with Brian Williams, NBC`s
Kate Snow had an exclusive interview with one of Sandusky`s accusers.

Travis Weaver is the first victim to come forward and tell his story
on TV. Weaver has testified in front of a grand jury, but was not called
as a witness in the current trial. He is suing Sandusky and Penn State
University. And here`s a portion of that stunning interview.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KATE SNOW, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: If Jerry Sandusky were sitting
right here...

TRAVIS WEAVER: I`d punch him in his mouth.

SNOW: Would you say anything first?

WEAVER: No, there would be no reason to say anything. He knows what
he did. I know what he did.

SNOW (voice-over): Travis Weaver says Jerry Sandusky sexually abused
him more than a hundred times over a period of four years, starting in 1992
when he was just 10 years old.

He says he thought he was the only boy it happened to, until he saw
Sandusky on the news, arrested on charges he molested other boys.

Weaver, now 30, had never told a soul. But last fall, he told his
family his story for the first time. He says he still feels numb.

(on camera): You don`t cry about it now?

WEAVER: No.

SNOW: When`s the last time you cried about it?

WEAVER: A long time ago.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SMERCONISH: Stacey, you supervise a sex crimes unit. So you know
this subject so well.

For the rest of us, you look at that -- and I looked at it last night
and I said, why hadn`t he surfaced sooner? So many of these individuals
just were content to go on with their lives and never relive the tragedies.

STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA STATE ATTORNEY: Well, Michael it`s very
common in multi-victim cases.

Victims subjects to pedophiles, the shame and the guilt and the pain
that they feel, the embarrassment, the idea that someone might call them
homosexual, so many factors go into why a victim doesn`t come forward. I
see it all the time.

And plenty of times, they might report it. Then when it`s time to go
to court, they decide that they don`t want to talk about it and they can`t
talk about it in front of strangers. So I`m not surprised by either one of
these witnesses coming forward.

And so many times, the perpetrator`s own family member will be a
victim and they choose not to talk. They`re sometimes very supportive in
the beginning. And then they realize they can`t live with this secret
anymore. And so the idea that they came forward now, it`s not uncommon.

It`s a shock to everybody else, but it`s not a shock to somebody like
me, who is in the business and sees it all the time.

SMERCONISH: Stacey, Stacey in the defense closing argument, Joe
Amendola made a point of saying that Jerry Sandusky is accused of these
antics that would have begun when he was in his mid-50s and essentially
said to the jurors, do you really think a guy becomes a pedophile when he`s
at -- in that adult age bracket?

What thoughts did you have on this issue?

HONOWITZ: Well, he`s probably right. He`s probably been doing it for
a very long time.

I mean, when you see these guys and you see the amount of victims that
they are capable of abusing, it`s really not that farfetched. The fact of
the matter is, there`s probably many more victims that choose not to come
forward.

You might see victims coming forward now after the case is closed. The
idea that they would have to testify in front of a nation, not just a
courtroom of strangers, but a nation, is so frightening and scary.

So, it`s not usual. He probably did start early. There`s probably a
lot of other victims, a lot of other places.

SMERCONISH: Buzz, you`ve spoken and written about the cone of silence that
has surrounded Sandusky`s alleged bad acts at Penn State. You know, any
number of instances where adults had reason to suspect that there was
something going on here.

So, I guess my point is even when this verdict comes back, there`s
still a lot of questions to be answered in that regard.

BISSINGER: There`s a ton that needs to be answered because there`s a ton
that that`s come out in trial, and we know 1/10 of it. What is this secret
file that vice president Schultz had in which he finally admits -- I`ve
heard whispers about Sandusky.

If he`s heard whispers, you`re going to tell me that Paterno didn`t
hear whispers? The coaches didn`t hear whispers? Where is he getting this
information from?

You have the 1998 case, you have the 2002 case. You have a board
member accusing ex president Spanier of a cover up because he said Jerry
must be treated humanely.

And these victims, they`re going against -- yes, I`m sorry, Penn
State -- the monster of Penn State and the monster of football. They say
to themselves, "I go in, I say that a famous defensive coordinator abused
me," no one`s going to listen to them. Nobody. That`s the problem.

And so, if people at Penn State, you think you`re off the hook, you
think it`s done, forget it.

SMERCONISH: Hey, Stacey, what do you read into the fact that today,
the jurors wanted to hear the Mike McQueary testimony and they also wanted
to hear the Dr. Jon Dranov testimony. It was to Dranov that McQueary
reported that night, along with telling his father what he`d seen. He also
told Dranov what he had seen.

That was testimony the jurors wanted to hear again.

HONOWITZ: Well, you know, it`s not unusual to have read back
testimony in a long complicated case. And it`s very hard to make a
judgment call as to what they`re thinking about. It could be as simple as
one juror saying I didn`t hear a certain portion. And the other jurors
saying, well, let`s have them read it back.

And lots of times, that`s what it comes down to. Some jurors maybe
heard something. Others jurors say we didn`t hear it, so the best way to
really resolve that issue is to have read back testimony.

SMERCONISH: Hey, Buzz Bissinger, breaking news on HARDBALL, come
Monday, you join the ranks of talk radio hosts. We can`t wait.

BISSINGER: Well, I`m excited and looking forward to it. You can
tell I have a big mouth, which will serve me well.

But I`ll tell you one thing, I mean when I say when I think about
this case, I get really, really livid because -- I mean, people reported
Sandusky. In 1998, in 2002, and nothing was done -- nothing was done until
finally what was it, 2007, when they had to investigate.

SMERCONISH: Thank you, Buzz Bissinger. Look forward to it.

Thank you, Stacey Honowitz, as well.

Up next, the fight over Fast and Furious has been red meat for the
far right fringe. But is it really a fight the Republican establishment
wants in an election year?

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SMERCONISH: Here`s a bit of good news for the White House and it
comes just in time for the Election Day. Gas prices are dropping and fast,
and analysts say they could be as low as $3 a gallon by autumn. The
national average for a gallon of regular is down to $3.47. That`s 47 cents
down from this year`s high in April.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: I want to ask you first of all
today, have you and your attorneys produced internally the materials
responsive to the subpoenas?

ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We believe that we have
responded to the subpoena --

ISSA: No, Mr. Attorney General, you`re not a good witness. A good
witness answers the question asked.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SMERCONISH: We`re back.

That was Congressman Darrell Issa at the helm of the House Oversight
Committee confronting Attorney General Eric Holder earlier this month. The
two men are at the center of the Fast and Furious controversy in
Washington, but it`s certainly not the first time they`ve butted heads.

Here with me now to discuss, Congressman Peter Welch, Democrat from
Vermont, and Josh Gerstein, White House reporter for "Politico".

Congressman, that`s some pretty nasty behavior on the part of
Congressman Issa. It seems awfully personal, not substance-driven. What`s
your explanation?

REP. PETER WELCH (D), VERMONT: Well, you know, the attorney
general`s been sticking up for people, the Republicans don`t necessarily
think should be stuck up for. For instance, Hispanics in Arizona against
Arizona law that basically targets them. Gays and lesbians, who think they
ought to be able to get married and, of course, voters in places like
Florida who are having their right to vote somewhat compromise.

So, Eric Holder`s been a target for Republicans, including Mr. Issa.

SMERCONISH: Josh, I see risk for both sides. I see risk on the part
of the Republicans because it`s not a jobs issue. People want to know what
are you doing about jobs, what are you doing about the economy?

The risk I see relative to the Democratic side of the aisle is the
president, in invoking executive privilege, sort of plays into that hand
now that there`s something to hide and he`s caught up in it.

How do you assess the politics of what`s transpired?

JOSH GERSTEIN, POLITICO: Well, you`re right. It does bring this
story into the White House where it hadn`t been before. It had been an
albatross around the neck of Eric Holder and other officials at the Justice
Department.

I think another danger for President Obama here is he has tried to
put forward this brand of being pro-transparency, being the most open
government in history. He`s gotten a lot of flak from the left about not
being as opened as he promised to be, and obviously invoking executive
privilege doesn`t go along with being totally transparent.

On the other hand, I think you`re right that there is a danger from
Republicans, not only in distracting from the main message they have that
the president is no good on the economy, but also that sense that maybe
we`re starting to return to the 1990s when you had things going like Dan
Burton shooting a pumpkin to try to stage what he thought was, you now,
what (INAUDIBLE) about a suicide.

SMERCONISH: Let`s watch what happened last night when Congressman
Darrell Issa`s phone rang in an interview with FOX`s Greta Van Susteren.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS: So, you weren`t necessarily getting
the pages that you wanted.

That may be the attorney general --

ISSA: If it`s Barack, I`ll tell him we`re not available.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SMERCONISH: Congressman, again, it strikes me that it`s very
personal what`s going on on this issue. I can`t help but think that the
White House, I mean, they`re smart politically, that they volunteered for
this battle because they want to pit themselves against the Congress -- no
disrespect to you -- but nothing is worse than the numbers -- the approval
ratings of the members of Congress.

WELCH: Well, that`s true, but, you know, I`ll say this. Darrell
Issa is very aggressive, but that`s OK. You know, our ranking member, Mr.
Cummings, is no slouch in the aggression department.

But if you`re in oversight, aggression has to be tempered with
restraint. And the big failings of what Mr. Issa has done in my view are
two things. Number one, the subpoena that he sent to the attorney general
was so over-broad it was actually requiring him to provide information that
if he provided it would have been -- it would have put him in jail.

Grand jury transcripts, he asked for that. That`s illegal to turn
over. Transcripts of wiretap applications, that`s against the United
States code to turn it over.

So it raises questions about the credibility of what`s really the
agenda here. Is it the pursuit of truth or is it a political hit shot?

And that is the credibility that the chair of the committee
fundamentally has to protect.

Second thing is that the attorney general has actually been very
responsive. He`s been in to the Congress eight times to testify, produce
thousands of documents. So this is something that could be worked out.
But sometimes you don`t want to take yes for an answer.

SMERCONISH: Josh, Congressman Issa told Rush Limbaugh in 2010 that
President Obama was one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times. He
walked it back, then came out with this zinger just two months ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ISSA: We`re very busy in Washington with a corrupt government, with
a government that I said more than a year ago was perhaps because of the
money, because of the amount of stimulus funds was going to be the most
corrupt government in history and it`s proving to be that -- just exactly
that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SMERCONISH: There`s been any number of issues that get raised
particularly on the far right about Eric Holder in particular, DOMA, the
voter ID laws, Arizona immigration, the issue of where to try.

Here`s the list: DOMA was one of them, voter ID was the second, the
Arizona bill was the third. And also, where the 9/11 detainees would be
tried. Always coming back on Holder`s watch and serving as a basis of
antipathy from the right.

Is it just related to substance? Or is there something else driving
this?

GERSTEIN: Well, I think there`s a degree to which Holder has become
the favorite punching bag of the right, and perhaps to some degree the
stand-in for the president himself. I mean, despite what we saw in the
Rose Garden the other day, there are limits in the American society to what
you can say about the president and what you can do to the president, and
say to his face.

They don`t apply so clearly to members of the cabinet. You can get
away with a lot more invective towards members of the cabinet. I think for
a lot of the Republicans who feel they can`t beat up the president directly
or as harshly as they or their constituents might want to, they feel a lot
more liberated going after the attorney general.

SMERCONISH: Quick question, Congressman. I`m very limited on time.
Do you expect members of your party to break ranks when there is a contempt
vote in the House?

WELCH: Well, I certainly hope not. Again, one of the points we made
is that we`re open to doing anything to get the information we need. But
why is it Darrell Issa, he`s as refused to let us bring in to testify and
get information the Bush administration folks who were in charge when this
whole Fast and Furious operation began.

SMERCONISH: Got you.

Congressman Peter Welch, thank you sir.

And Josh Gerstein, thank you as well.

GERSTEIN: Thank you.

SMERCONISH: When we return, let me finish with a homemade recipe to
fix America`s obesity crisis.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SMERCONISH: Let me finish tonight with this -- I have a home recipe
to solve the obesity crisis. In fact, you could say it`s an ingredient to
help tip the scales back in the right direction.

What`s undisputable is that we`re too heavy. The Centers for Disease
Control calculates that 68 percent of American adults are obese or
overweight, which explains the many recent efforts to combat the epidemic
in both the private and public sector.

First came Michael Bloomberg`s proposal to ban the sale of super
sized sugar sweet and drinks. And now, Cambridge, Massachusetts, the home
of Harvard, is contemplating a similar move. And those are just the public
sector initiatives. Disney took the lead with the private sector by
announcing it will soon ban advertising of unhealthy foods on its
television channels, radio stations, and Web sites geared toward children.

The approaches sound thorough, but there`s something missing: our
kitchens. Time constraints have decimated the dinner hour. We become a
society that loves to watch Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis cook on TV
while we`re eating fast food and General Charles chicken.

None of the government and private sector initiatives will work
unless there`s a corresponding return to basics in our homes. My mom is
one of 11. Eight sisters and three brothers, the Groviches (ph) of west
Hazleton, Pa. The sisters, all great cooks.

And not long ago I collected from them their favorite family recipes,
dishes developed before America was calorie conscious. In fact, there are
plenty of dessert recipes that will satisfy any sweet tooth.

My mom`s famous peanut butter cookies are revealed. So, too, shoe
fly pie. There`s also Dick`s mother`s sunshine cake. Aunt Dorothy`s
cheese cake.

But the dinners -- they bring back the memories, nanny stuffed
peppers, Mayline (ph) chicken, Dorothy Worcestershire sauce, (INAUDIBLE)
fettuccine, Uncle Tony`s beans, and Aunt Rose`s meat balls. Chili con
carne, oven roasted potatoes, hamburger stroganoff, city chicken, meat
loaf, and Thanksgiving stuffing.

But mostly, they`re evidence of an era where dinner was prepared and
then served at a regular hour, helping to delineate between meal and snack
time. To really address our obesity crisis, America needs to find the time
to make dinner again, limit the snacking, and rely on basic, unprocessed
ingredients like those that were found in the kitchens of the Grovich (ph)
girls.

That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. Chris will be
back on Monday.

"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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