Guests: Michael Steele, Maggie Haberman, Patrick Murphy, Wendy Murphy, Willie Brown, Wade Henderson, Amanda Drury
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Reelection.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews down in Washington.
"Let Me Start" tonight with politics. How do you win elections? You
start with your base. They`re the 1s. You lock them in. Then you go to
the reachables, those already inclined to vote for you. They`re the 2s.
Then you go for the undecideds, the 3s. You leave the 4s to the other guy.
And there we go. Watch Obama run. He`s worked hard these recent
weeks to lock in women voters with equal pay and underlining his position
on women`s issues. With a little push from Biden, he`s done the same on
gays, backing full marriage equality. Last week, he went further than any
president or major politician in history in protecting younger immigrants
brought to this country illegally by their parents.
In each case, he`s taken action that the other guy, Romney, won`t do
because he sold himself to the right-wing pressure groups. He`s gone where
the other guy can`t go, and he`s scored politically.
Let`s bring in "The Washington Post`s" Chris Cillizza and Nia-Malika
Henderson, both of "The Post."
Is this the name of the game, nailing down your base, going for the
reachables the other guy can`t get because you`re taking positions that
he`s kept himself away from by the commitments he`s made so far in the
Your thoughts, Chris Cillizza.
CHRIS CILLIZZA, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well,
look, I think on immigration, certainly, Chris, what you saw was President
Obama taking advantage of the power of his office.
Look, Mitt Romney can`t do something like this. Whether -- we can
debate whether he would or not -- and seems like he wouldn`t, but we would
not, cannot do something on this. President Obama can.
Hispanics are clearly a pillar of the Obama base. Go back and look at
`08. Minorities -- that is African-Americans and Hispanics -- young
people. Those are -- and affluent whites are really kind of the three big
pillars of the base.
Hispanics had become a little dispirited, you can see it in the
CILLIZZA: ... because the Dream Act -- the Dream Act didn`t pass.
You know, you could argue President Obama didn`t focus as much on their
priorities as they would have liked.
This -- and I`m not suggesting it was done for only political reasons,
but the political calculation behind this is to say to Hispanics, I am your
guy and Mitt Romney is not.
CILLIZZA: ... it boxes Mitt Romney in. It boxes Mitt Romney in
MATTHEWS: Yes. I think...
CILLIZZA: It makes it very hard for him to take a position.
MATTHEWS: I think the safe assumption, since it`s June of 2012, it
has something to do mainly with politics. Before...
CILLIZZA: I agree.
MATTHEWS: Nia, let`s take a look at something that was in "The
Politico," reported today. Quote "Obama`s strategists see this election as
a block-by-block knife fight to be fought in fewer than a dozen states and
likely decided by a very slim majority. `This isn`t 2008,` a top Obama
campaign adviser said. `We just think people are looking at the race the
wrong way.` The right way, according to that adviser, `The expansion of
the electorate is our base. It`s African-Americans, Hispanics, young
people and women.`"
Again, my point, you start with the people you think are going to vote
for you. You make sure they do. You don`t let the other guy poach any by
taking strong positions that you know he can`t follow you on. Romney can`t
be pro-choice, right?
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:
MATTHEWS: Romney won`t go for pay equality because he`s locked in
with the business crowd. They don`t like that stuff. He can`t go for
marriage equality because he`s in with the religious right. He is locked
out of all the things Obama`s doing.
I like this kind of politics.
HENDERSON: No, he is locked out. We`ll have to see what he says.
There`s a major speech that both Obama and Romney will give on Friday to a
Hispanic group, Hispanic leaders, so we`ll have to see what he says on
He`s also -- Romney -- trying to make moves into reaching out to
African-Americans. He`s going to be talking to the NAACP. He`s been
meeting with top African-American journalists. So he is trying to make
some move in that direction...
MATTHEWS: You know that`s not for black folks.
HENDERSON: I think...
MATTHEWS: Come on. Can we get sophisticated here?
HENDERSON: No, no, I...
MATTHEWS: That`s to make middle-of-the-road Republicans...
HENDERSON: No, no, no. It is.
MATTHEWS: ... feel better.
HENDERSON: It is to...
MATTHEWS: Who are white.
HENDERSON: ... brand himself as a tolerant person...
MATTHEWS: Yes. Right.
HENDERSON: ... to frame himself onto those independents who want to
see somebody who they feel like is tolerant and open.
HENDERSON: But you know, you talk to Republicans about this. They
are apoplectic about Mitt Romney`s sort of non-position so far on
immigration. They saw in Perry someone who had a stance...
HENDERSON: ... that would broaden the party. And so far, Romney
hasn`t been able to do that.
MATTHEWS: Exhibit A, Bob Schieffer this weekend. Let`s watch it one
more time because there`s a good bit of -- what I like about Bob is he does
what I do sort of, he just keeps asking.
HENDERSON: That`s right!
MATTHEWS: He`s a much more polite fellow.
MATTHEWS: He repeatedly saw, or forced, you might argue, Romney to
dodge ball his -- here he is, Romney, dodging the question that good, old
bob Schieffer`s Nailing him with, which is, Where do you stand on what the
president did giving legal protection to people under age 30 who came here
below age 16 because their parents came here and brought them here? Here
he is trying to dodge it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB SCHIEFFER, HOST, "FACE THE NATION": Would you repeal this order
if you became president?
MITT ROMNEY (R-MA), FMR. GOV., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, let`s
step back and -- and look at the issue.
With regards to these kids who were brought in by their parents
through no fault of their own, there needs to be a long-term solution.
SCHIEFFER: But would you repeal this?
ROMNEY: Well, it would be overtaken by events, if you will, by virtue
of my putting in place a long-term solution.
SCHIEFFER: Would you leave this in place while you worked out a long-
term solution, or would you just repeal it?
ROMNEY: We`ll look at that -- we`ll look at that setting (ph) as we -
- as we reach that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Chris Cillizza, he`s a gila monster! He just grabs on you
like in a cowboy movie and hangs on to you -- Schieffer -- and he won`t let
go of the guy. He`ll go before that Hispanic group this week and say,
Well, on day three of me being a president of the United States, I will
bring to Congress a comprehensive immigration bill, something like that,
right? That`s the answer.
CILLIZZA: Well, he -- I mean, I think the answer broadly is, Chris,
is that they don`t want to talk about immigration -- they want to talk
about the economy -- and that he will pivot as quickly as he possibly can
to talking not about immigration (INAUDIBLE) economy, and the way that you
do that if you`re Mitt Romney is you say, you know, Look, President Obama
has done what he`s done.
I mean, Mitt Romney basically said what Marco Rubio had said a few
hours before, when he put out a statement on Friday. This is a short-term
solution. It`s an end run around Congress. President Obama should have
addressed this earlier.
But look, he is not going to dedicate any real time to talking about
immigration. He`s going to spend his time talking about the economy.
And I would say, Chris, you know, yes, this clearly will help
President Obama bolster turnout among Hispanics. But undecided voters,
that 7 to 12 percent of people who have not, amazingly to me, either gone
one way or the other, given how partisan the country is at this point --
those folks, in my opinion, are not voting on immigration. They are
voting, if you look at exit polling, if you look at...
MATTHEWS: Yes. Yes, well...
MATTHEWS: ... who he`s going after.
CILLIZZA: ... the state of the economy. I totally agree. But that`s
who Romney is trying to get to. He believes Hispanics may not ultimately
be reachable in this election. I think that`s a short-term calculation
because if Republicans...
CILLIZZA: ... Hispanics in the long term, they`re in trouble.
MATTHEWS: OK, let`s go to -- let`s go -- I do think, though, if he
points out that this is a short-term solution, I would come back with a bit
of history and say, The Emancipation Proclamation was a short-term
solution. It got us to the 13th and 14th and 15th Amendment. But you got
to start somewhere, and I think he`s got -- he`s got him wrong-footed here.
Let`s take a look at a congressman who`s got a tough primary fight.
His name`s Schweikert. He`s out there in Arizona, running against the
great Ben Quayle, son of Dan Quayle. And here`s what he said. "Wait and
see what Governor Romney has to say on this issue. Speaker of the House
John Boehner said the president`s move made it less likely to get
bipartisan compromise on immigration reform."
Meanwhile, Arizona Republican, as I said, David Schweikert, introduced
a bill to stop the president`s executive order. In a statement, the
congressman said, quote, "Last week, the president decided to grant amnesty
and hand out work permits to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants,
while over 23 million Americans remain unemployed and the civilian
participation rate is at a 30-year low. This amounts to an abdication of
duty to the American people, who are struggling in the economy. While
President Obama asks the Department of Homeland Security to look the other
way on immigration policy, I ask him to respect the rule of law."
Nice try. Go to the far right of Dan Quayle`s son, Ben. I mean,
here`s a guy -- and apparently, Boehner`s not (ph) promised to bring this
bill up to reverse the president`s executive order.
HENDERSON: Oh, that`s right. And you`ve seen, I mean, Rubio pretty
much back off of what he was going to try to do. You see Mitch McConnell
sort of throw the ball to Mitt Romney and say, You`re the leader of the
party now. Let`s figure out where we want to go on...
MATTHEWS: It`s a hot potato.
HENDERSON: Exactly. It`s a hot potato issue. But I think Chris is
right. Obviously, Mitt Romney wants to focus on the economy, the economy,
the economy. But the problem is that, oftentimes, Latinos are just more in
line with Democratic policies in how they see the role of government...
HENDERSON: ... and how they see tax reform...
HENDERSON: ... and health care.
MATTHEWS: This is (INAUDIBLE) the old $64,000 question, Chris
Cillizza. He`s going after Hispanics. He`s going after gay people, going
to after African-American, going after women, who are the largest group
there are in the country, obviously -- women, if just cross-cut all
What`s he going to do for white men, the president?
CILLIZZA: Well, you know, Chris...
MATTHEWS: Does he have something...
CILLIZZA: ... it`s always been...
MATTHEWS: ... in his bag for them?
CILLIZZA: It`s always been...
MATTHEWS: Per se.
CILLIZZA: ... his most difficult demographic group, particularly
downscale, economically, white men. I think, again, to the extent he has
something in his bag, I think it`s selling that the economy is slowly but
surely getting better. And I would say that cuts across all these group
(INAUDIBLE) women, men, Hispanics, you know, any kind of...
MATTHEWS: Can he get...
MATTHEWS: ... that argument?
CILLIZZA: I -- well, we`ll see. I don`t think -- he is not going to
win the white vote, but...
MATTHEWS: Will he get 40?
MATTHEWS: He needs 40.
CILLIZZA: If you think he`s going to win, then yes. I honestly don`t
know the answer to that. I think it is the...
CILLIZZA: It is to your point. It`s the $64,000 question. Can
Barack Obama convince undecided voters, white men, suburban women, that
they have a positive, affirmative answer to, "Are you better off than you
were four years ago?"
CILLIZZA: And even if you are one tenth of 1 percent better off than
you were four years ago. That to me is the next five months of the
HENDERSON: Yes, I think...
MATTHEWS: Well said. Well said.
HENDERSON: Yes, I...
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s go back to my tough guy question...
MATTHEWS: ... because I was thinking -- and I know this is a tough
MATTHEWS: Because it`s the -- is this -- the number 4s. I said the
1s are your people, the 2s are your leaners...
HENDERSON: That`s right. These are...
MATTHEWS: ... 3s are independent...
HENDERSON: ... number 4s.
MATTHEWS: Those are the 4s, the hardest people to get. It could be,
if he would just go up and do a Rust Belt thing -- and Biden can help a
HENDERSON: That`s right!
MATTHEWS: ... Clinton can help a lot...
HENDERSON: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: ... talk about the fact that the other guy`s a free
marketeer, a boss kind of guy, who looks out for the boss and the money
people. He was the one who stuck his neck out.
HENDERSON: On the auto bail-out, right?
MATTHEWS: He stuck his neck out on going after bin Laden. He stuck
his -- men like to hear a guy stuck his neck out.
HENDERSON: I think...
MATTHEWS: They like to hear that.
HENDERSON: He stuck his neck out on the auto bail-out. He stuck his
neck out, took a real risk in going after bin Laden -- I mean, that bumper
sticker slogan that Biden always talks about, "GM is alive and bin Laden is
MATTHEWS: You`ve got great synapses! I love your synapses! Nia,
that is an amazing thing to remind me of that one!
HENDERSON: That`s right. That`s right.
MATTHEWS: "Bin Laden`s gone, GM`s alive."
HENDERSON: That`s right. I think that would play well with that
demographic. Barack Obama in 2008, 41 percent of the white male vote. He
did better than Al Gore, did better than John Kerry.
I think they`ve got something of an opening, but again, they`re
looking, I think, mostly out West to Latinos, to swelling that vote, and
HENDERSON: ... to maintaining that strong...
MATTHEWS: Twenty years from now, they got a great strategy.
HENDERSON: That`s right. That`s right. The question is...
HENDERSON: Is that coming demographic right now?
MATTHEWS: I remember watching that movie with...
CILLIZZA: That`s exactly right.
MATTHEWS: I remember watching that movie, Chris Cillizza, of --
General Custer`s talking to Crazy Horse in some imagined conversation and
he says, Sooner or later, we`re going to wipe you people out. He says,
yes, but not today.
MATTHEWS: Not today.
CILLIZZA: Look, that`s the question, is, like, is this the 2012
winning strategy for Barack Obama or is it the 2016 winning strategy for...
HENDERSON: That`s right.
CILLIZZA: ... a Democrat running against incumbent Mitt Romney?
MATTHEWS: You mean Hillary Clinton.
CILLIZZA: I`m sorry. I`m losing you!
HENDERSON: No comment! What is he saying? I don`t know!
MATTHEWS: I always like to cause trouble! Thank you, Chris Cillizza.
CILLIZZA: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: It`s great to have you on. As always, thank you, Nia-
Malika Henderson with the quick synapses, that ability to connect quickly!
MATTHEWS: Anyway, coming up: New reports say Florida senator Marco
Rubio isn`t being vetted even for running, not even being checked out. So
my big question coming up, Who is getting the vetting? And I`ve got my top
three candidates. In fact, my number one dark horse candidate who I
think`s going to be the nominee for vice president.
And of course, slime time, Penn State Jerry -- the Jerry Sandusky
trial is getting close to the end, with the wife on the stand today
pleading for her husband. She was upstairs. He was downstairs with the
boys. Why didn`t she ever go downstairs? Big question.
And Republicans in the House fought to get the subpoena power. Now
they have it, they`re using it to get to the president through his friend,
Attorney General Eric Holder. Is this "stop-and-frisk" at the highest
And Newt Gingrich reveals his dream job. It`s got something to do
with zoos. And that`s the "Sideshow." That`s coming up.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: So you want to know where the presidential race is really
being fought? Check out this week`s top television advertising markets in
the presidential campaign. These are the cities where the campaigns and
their allies are spending the most money on ads.
Number five is Cincinnati. At four, Roanoke, Lynchburg, Virginia.
Number three, Colorado Springs. Number two, Norfolk. And the market with
the most TV ads in this presidential campaign this week, Richmond. So you
know Richmond`s the number one target right now.
And there you have it, the cities where the most ad money is being
spent this week, and three of them are right there in Virginia, the Old
Dominion, mother of presidents.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. It`s been nearly two months now since
Mitt Romney appointed a long-time aide to head up his vice presidential
search committee, and speculation about who`d he pick is still going
strong, obviously. But news today that Florida senator Marco Rubio is not
even being vetted. That`s stirred a lot of noise right now. So who`s in?
Maggie Haberman`s a senior political writer for Politico and Michael
Steele`s former chair of the Republican National Committee, and of course,
an MSNBC analyst.
Maggie, you first here. ABC and "The Washington Post" have both
reported today that Marco Rubio, who`s the hotshot senator from Florida, is
not even getting vetted. That`s according to Jonathan Karl down there at
He said, "Knowledgeable Republican sources tell me that Rubio`s not
even being vetted by Mitt Romney`s VP search committee. He has not been
asked to complete any questionnaires or been asked to turn over any
financial documents typically required of potential VP candidates."
Rubio, by the way, appeared on CNBC this morning and wouldn`t even
comment about the VP process, but let`s listen to him not commenting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you heard from the campaign? And are you
someone who will be the vice presidential candidate?
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Well, as I`ve said repeatedly, I won`t
discuss the vice presidential process out of respect for Governor Romney.
I know he`s going make a great choice.
And I`m not discussing the vice presidential...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you already say that?
RUBIO: I did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: OK. Well, later, on home territory, here he is with Fox`s
Sean Hannity. He asked Romney -- Romney himself about news that Rubio
hasn`t been vetted. Let`s watch Romney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, HOST, FOX NEWS "HANNITY": What did you make of the ABC
News report this morning said Marco Rubio was not being vetted but Governor
Tim Pawlenty was being vetted? Any comment on that story?
ROMNEY: I get a kick out of some of the speculation that goes on.
And I`m not going to comment on the process, of course, but I can tell you
this. Only Beth Myers and I know who`s being vetted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: OK, well, first of all, that`s wrong, Maggie. Anybody
who`s being vetted, there are accountants, there are lawyers, probably
their spouses, do know. So the idea that he`s in some zone of silence here
that only he and the elite know about it -- if you`re vetting people, their
accountant and their lawyer have to know about it. They`re helping you
fill out these forms.
Why would he say something so ludicrous as, Only I, and his assistant,
Beth Myers, know this, when everybody knows that`s illogical.
MATTHEWS: I think he was trying...
MATTHEWS: As Mr. Spock would say.
MATTHEWS: I think...
MAGGIE HABERMAN, SENIOR WRITER, POLITICO: Thank you for that! I
think he was trying to tamp down some of the anger that is existing out
there among supporters of Marco Rubio. Marco Rubio`s aides also, just like
the senator did, won`t comment on this at all. They won`t touch it. But a
lot of their supporters are touching it. They`re very upset about it,
MATTHEWS: So he wants it.
HABERMAN: ... tell you privately. Well, I think that they don`t want
to seem like they`re being dissed. I mean, he`s hanging out there alone
today. It`s not like this was a list of people who aren`t being
considered. It was Marco Rubio who`s not being considered.
HABERMAN: And so I think that Mitt Romney was trying to deal with
that, but I don`t think that that was perhaps the best way to do it.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s go (ph) on (ph) the edges. Move off of Rubio.
He`s not on the list. Let`s go to these names.
My three picks are as follows. Let me tell you, I think it`s Portman
because you can`t win the Republican presidency -- a Republican can`t win
without Ohio. It never happened. He`s an economic heavyweight. He could
be president tomorrow, if you`re a conservative Republican.
That (INAUDIBLE) I think Jeb Bush -- if they could ever get him talked
into it, I think he`d be the nominee for sure. He brings in the most
important swing state there is, Florida. He could be president tomorrow.
He`s vastly respected right across the political spectrum. But of course,
he`s associated mostly with his brother.
The third one is my dark horse, which is John Thune. I`ve always
MICHAEL STEELE, FMR. RNC CHAIR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I like John.
MATTHEWS: He`s incredibly disciplined. He handled the defeat...
STEELE: Smart man.
MATTHEWS: ... the defeat by Tim Johnson (INAUDIBLE) Daschle, does
everything exactly the way he wants to. He`s evangelical, not just
MATTHEWS: What do you think of the top three?
STEELE: I like...
STEELE: I like two of your three. I think Portman is still the lead
person there. I would insert Tim Pawlenty or even a Bobby Jindal into that
-- into that second slot.
MATTHEWS: Isn`t Pawlenty too much of a moderate...
STEELE: No, I don`t...
MATTHEWS: ... from the conservative point of view?
STEELE: I don`t think so. I think Pawlenty was a good governor.
He`s got -- he still has...
MATTHEWS: Terrible candidate for president, lasted about three hours.
STEELE: Yes, that`s -- that may be true, but it`s a very different...
MATTHEWS: OK, your number one pick is?
STEELE: Portman. Number two would be Pawlenty, and I do like...
STEELE: ... John Thune...
STEELE: ... for number three.
MATTHEWS: Let me get Maggie in on your picks, if you dare to do this.
HABERMAN: I dare to do it. It`s actually not going to be that
I have the exact same list as Michael. I think that Tim Pawlenty is
very much under consideration. I mean, I -- this is based on reporting.
MATTHEWS: How did he get to be the hot tamale this week?
Why is it? Every one of my producers is talking about...
MATTHEWS: Is that because he`s all with the guy? He`s traveling
around with him? What is that about?
HABERMAN: It`s a couple of things.
It`s, A., they wonder whether he can put Minnesota in play. Whether
that is realistic or not, that is something they think about, number one,
and, number two, Mitt Romney likes him, trusts him. He`s been out there
very aggressively for him. It`s non-threatening. This is a do no harm
situation in terms of the way Mitt Romney...
MATTHEWS: Yes. I agree.
STEELE: We all agree on that.
MATTHEWS: So why do we all agree it`s do no harm? You`re not really
trying to get a game changer? Why -- let Maggie...
STEELE: I`m sorry. Maggie, go ahead.
MATTHEWS: Why would it be -- why do we agree he`s not going for a
game changer like Palin?
HABERMAN: I was going to say, two words, Sarah Palin. Because I
think she`s become the cautionary tale this cycle of what you don`t do,
which is frankly a little unfair. It`s not like she was the first ever
vice presidential pick that was slightly problematic.
But I think that there was a question about whether she was ready to
step into the office on day one. Romney thinks that is going to be one of
the most important qualifications.
MATTHEWS: OK. You know quarterbacks throw the long ball? You know
why they throw the ball at the buzzer in basketball? Because sometimes it
goes in. Why would Romney not want to take a chance? Because he thinks he
can win without it.
STEELE: I think it`s less about a Sarah Palin type pick and more
about him. It`s more about his personality, the kind of man he is and the
kind of presidency he wants to have. And the people he wants around him in
that top spot reflect that.
MATTHEWS: Not to knock him, what Nixon said in `68, it doesn`t matter
who I`m running with, I`m going to be the issue.
STEELE: Well, that may be true, but that may not necessarily be the
case here. If he throws that long ball, like you said, if he comes with a
Sarah Palin style pick, that then becomes the story.
And Mitt doesn`t want anything else to be the story but him. I think
he wants to this be...
MATTHEWS: Oh, which makes the case for Portman, because Portman is
sort of doubling down on good economics, dull...
STEELE: It reinforces his underlying message.
Maggie, do you think it`s important -- I think none of the three of us
are Protestants, but do you think it`s important that he have a Protestant
MATTHEWS: Is that important still in American politics for a
Republican to have at least one Protestant on the ticket? He`s LDS, he`s
Mormon. If he picks -- he could pick I guess -- Jeb Bush`s Catholic. He`s
a convert. Is that an issue anymore or not with people? Or is that just
HABERMAN: I don`t think it`s a huge issue now. I think there are
area where it plays, but I think that this is not going to be -- in terms
of the slice of the electorate that they`re looking at, I don`t think
that`s going to be what keeps people home or gets them out.
MATTHEWS: Well, it`s one thing I think about.
I just dug up some stuff, positive stuff for him. That John Thune,
beside being the lanky, attractive, very polished newcomer from out West,
he`s evangelical. He does cover that card, which is important as we know
in the South.
HABERMAN: So is Tim Pawlenty, though. So is Pawlenty.
MATTHEWS: Is Pawlenty evangelical as well?
STEELE: He, like Pawlenty, has good roots in that community, as well
more broadly in the base of the party.
MATTHEWS: How come we never talk about the guy from Arkansas?
STEELE: Because he doesn`t want us to talk about him.
HABERMAN: Because he`s hosting a radio show right now.
STEELE: That`s right. He`s got other things on his plate.
MATTHEWS: It seems like he was always a big charmer in this.
Anyway, here`s a few names I don`t think are going to make it. I
wouldn`t bet on them. Let`s take a look at the names, Wisconsin
Congressman Paul Ryan, New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, and former
Minnesota -- well, Pawlenty`s already on the list. Better take him off the
MATTHEWS: Let`s right back to you, Maggie, this time. What about the
possibility of these sort of darker horses, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan,
HABERMAN: One of the most interesting things in the last two days, in
addition, obviously to the Rubio bid, was "The New York Times" had a last
couple of paragraphs in a story I think that posted last night or yesterday
or Sunday night saying that Governor Romney has formed impressions about
Governor Christie as he`s doing the sort of V.P. auditioning with various
people on his bus tour.
Chris Christie hasn`t been on it, but he`s forming impression
nonetheless. And one of them is that Governor Christie is often late was
the line, that, essentially, he had shown up late for a fund-raiser that he
was co-hosting with Mitt Romney. It ended up that Mitt Romney was the
warm-up act for Chris Christie.
I don`t think that the candidate enjoyed that especially. I do think
he is grateful to Chris Christie for the help that he has given him. He
was an early endorser and he was an often endorser, but I don`t think that
he is of the impression that he would be sort of the top of the ticket in
that respect. The attention would be on Christie. It just would.
MATTHEWS: And you`re never late when you have to meet the boss.
STEELE: You`re never late when you have to meet the boss.
HABERMAN: That`s right.
STEELE: And it goes back to the point I made about that person
fitting into Romney`s...
MATTHEWS: Yes. That`s why I`m thinking Thune and Portman.
So I think we have agreed. Everybody says Portman. That`s the common
bet here, common bet. And the second bet is Pawlenty. My second bet is
Thune or you never know if Jeb decides he wants it. And you never know.
He would be unbelievable. That would be a game changer.
STEELE: Jeb, warm up for `16, baby, if you need to do that.
MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you.
There may not be a `16. If there`s a `12, there`s no `16, as you...
STEELE: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: If they win this time, he`s never going to be president if
he doesn`t get into the game now.
Anyway, thank you.
Remember, LBJ decided. He had to get aboard that team.
Anyway, Michael Steele, it`s great to have you on, especially when
we`re not arguing.
STEELE: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: And, Maggie Haberman, it`s great to you have on any time we
can have you.
Up next, we know Newt Gingrich loves zoos. I have talked about it
with him. Boy, is he focused on animals, so what do you think he`d want to
be in a Romney candidate? The job might be open in this case for him.
Just for him.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. And time for the "Sideshow."
First up, Mitt Romney wants to showcase his lighter side, even to the
point of putting on a Father`s Day video featuring his sons. David
Letterman gave us a rogue version of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN")
DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": You know, we
have got a hold of -- the Mitt Romney campaign has released now a video of
his family talking about Mitt himself as a family man and as a father.
It`s rather enjoyable. Watch this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was a goofball. He loved to horse around.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my gosh. My dad has legendary (INAUDIBLE)
he`s smelling this butter. It`s like, this butter turned. Smell how awful
this is. And you would go in smell it. You would put your nose in it.
I remember one time, he threw the gardener down a flight of stairs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The guy survived. Or maybe he didn`t. I don`t
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m Mitt Romney and I
approve this message.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: And in their first joint appearance, all five of the real
Romney sons without that last guy, Merb, will sit down with Conan O`Brien
tomorrow night. Set your dial.
Next, last night, the aforementioned Mr. Conan O`Brien debuted some
new political slogans for the campaigns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "CONAN")
CONAN O`BRIEN, HOST, "CONAN": Obama and Romney are trying really hard
to come up with a new batch of slogans and they`re trying them out. Take a
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are not going back.
We are moving this country forward.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We believe in ourselves.
Our greatest days are ahead.
OBAMA: I don`t get it.
ROMNEY: I`m not a good person or not a good guy.
OBAMA: I have an idea about starting a great hoagie shop.
ROMNEY: I`m not familiar precisely with exactly what I said, I but
stand by what I said, whatever it was.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I but stand by what I said, whatever it was.
That last one from Romney could be an all-occasion motto for him.
And, finally, former GOP presidential Newt Gingrich revealed the
Cabinet position he really wants.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I find myself
renewed at zoos. So, you come out here. Elephants are among my favorite,
partly because I`m Republican and partly because I`m big.
GINGRICH: Elephants make me feel like I`m the right size.
QUESTION: If Newt Gingrich were to serve in a Cabinet, what -- what
Cabinet position would he have? Would he be secretary of defense?
GINGRICH: Well, I think if they could -- look, I think if created
sort of a secretary of zoos and museums, I would begin to get really
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Secretary of zoos. Well, fortunately, HARDBALL scored the
most intensive Gingrich interview on that subject. I think it will last.
Up next, the trial of Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky`s wife took the stand
late this afternoon saying her husband never had inappropriate contact with
the boys who stayed at their home. It would have helped if she had ever
gone downstairs to see.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
AMANDA DRURY, CNBC, CORRESPONDENT: I`m Amanda Drury with your CNBC
Well, the Dow surges 95 points, the S&P 500 up by 13 and the Nasdaq
gaining by 34. Well, the Fed`s two-day meeting ends tomorrow and many
investors are hoping it`s going to take new steps to boost the U.S.
economy. Meantime, housing starts slid 4.8 percent in May, but new permits
rose a stronger-than-expected 7.9 percent. And shares of FedEx jumping
nearly 3 percent, falling a better-than-expected profit report. However,
its guidance disappointed.
And that`s it from CNBC for now. We`re first in business worldwide --
now it`s back over to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back.
And what a day in that Sandusky trial. So, late this afternoon,
Dottie Sandusky, the wife of the former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky,
took the stand in her husband`s defense and denied any inappropriate
behavior between her husband and the alleged victims.
Well, this came on the heels of several defense witnesses, including a
psychologist who diagnosed the former coach as having something called
histrionic personality disorder.
Well, this is in a defense move to try and explain what the alleged
victim called creepy loved letters Sandusky had sent him. Well, this
defense be enough to give jurors reasonable doubt or has the prosecution
argued a winning case already too hard to fight?
Former Democratic Congressman Pat Murphy is an attorney in
Philadelphia. He`s a Philadelphia lawyer, I must say. And Wendy Murphy is
a former sex crimes prosecutor.
Wendy, you start on this case.
I don`t know how a wife can defend her husband when all the testimony
we get outside out of court was that she never went downstairs when her
husband was entertaining these young lads in the basement. How would she
WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Yes.
MATTHEWS: ... if she made a point of not even hearing noises coming
from down there, even one kid yelling thinking it was soundproof because he
was making all this noise and nobody was coming to his aide?
And now she dare to come out and say not only did I not come to his
aid. Nothing was happening because I didn`t come to his aid.
W. MURPHY: Yes.
You know, I wish I could tell you that I haven`t seen this before. I
have even seen grandmothers of victims stand up for their sons who were
rapists. It`s a horrible thing to watch. But, look, the defense had to
put her up there for two reasons, number one, to make the claim in front of
a jury. And she`s not charged with a crime, after all, but to make the
claim in front of the jury, so they can at least argue it, that there was
no screaming going on from the basement.
MATTHEWS: Well, she says so.
W. MURPHY: The victim who testified that was very compelling, very
credible. And it`s a horrible piece of information, a child in the
basement screaming for help, nobody comes. Oh.
But, in addition, she in a sense becomes the face of Sandusky, she`s
got his name, she`s married to him. And the jury...
W. MURPHY: The defense wants the jury to think he can`t be dangerous
if she`s married to him because she seems nice.
It`s all theater, Chris. It`s all theater. The best part of her
testimony was the fact that the prosecution didn`t cross-examine her,
because that is so insulting to the defense. It`s like saying she didn`t
make a dent. And she doesn`t because the jury expects her to lie, sadly.
They expect her to get up there and stand by her man.
MATTHEWS: So well said. One of the great lines in political scandals
ever was the Profumo scandal in Britain, when one of the prostitutes who
was involved, Christine Keeler, was asked, what did you think of the
denials of the husbands who had been messing around with her, when they
She said, well, they would say that, wouldn`t they? That`s all you
have to say.
W. MURPHY: Yes.
MATTHEWS: They would say that.
W. MURPHY: Right.
MATTHEWS: Pat -- Pat`s laughing because some of this defense is
But here we have a case, Pat, which is about an institution which you
and I have come to love over the years, Penn State. Doesn`t this remind
you of the Roman Catholic Church? Doesn`t it remind me of any -- remind
you of any hallowed institution where the proctors of the institution look
out for the other proctors, instead of looking out for the constituents,
the congregation in this case, the true believers, those young boys, who
believed in this coach?
PATRICK MURPHY (D), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Yes, right.
And as you know, Chris, you and I grew up in the same neighborhood in
Philadelphia. And we`re both Catholic and we`re both Penn State fans, but
the fact is this. We both also know that the highest duty of a society is
to protect our children. And we both have children.
And I know, as a former prosecutor, but also someone who has seen what
these cases do. These sex assault cases against children completely and
utterly destroy their lives far too often and that`s whey they need all the
help they can get. And that`s why my heart and prayers go out to those 10
victims over those 15 years that this evil man really just hurt them
P. MURPHY: And I will say, to go back to your earlier point, the fact
that Joe McGettigan, Chris, another Philadelphia guy, who is a prosecutor
in this case, has done a masterful job, 21 witnesses, over three-and-a-half
When the defense puts on someone like Dottie Sandusky, he just says
let her say her piece. The facts speak for themselves. Eight of the 10
victims testified, two eyewitnesses, a janitor who said that he saw oral
sex happen, an assistant coach, Mike McQueary, who saw...
MATTHEWS: The worst of it, yes.
P. MURPHY: ... anal sex happening in the shower.
Yes. These things -- eyewitness testimony, not just from the victims
who talked about it, who had to live through that horrific, horrific
action, but two people who saw it and spoke up. I mean, that`s important.
But if I could say one thing, Chris, the comparison, we need to learn
a lesson from this, so this never happens again. You know, for 15 months,
in the state legislature in Harrisburg, they have sat in the Judiciary
Committee for extending or -- or getting rid of the statute of limitations.
They even had -- they have not even had one hearing, not one.
P. MURPHY: State Rep. Mike McGeehan and State Rep. Louise Bishop, both
yesterday said what`s going on here? What else do we need to do? Are
these children -- this happens all over the country.
MATTHEWS: We don`t need statute of limitations, we don`t need one
because these kids are 6 and 7, 12 years old. By the time they`re 18, it`s
already gone the statute.
Let me go back to Wendy on this key point.
What is the defense team up to here? Are they trying to get a
mistrial by finding one of the 12 jurors that`s willing to believe this
argument that somehow histrionic personality disorder, they was a show off,
was somehow an explanation of his horrendous in this case? His raping of
W. MURPHY: I don`t -- I mean, that is such a crazy theory. First of
all, it`s a whacko disorder that is highly disfavored -- the mental health
community doesn`t even respect as a diagnosis. It is very sexist. You
know, widely perceived as insulting to women because it pathologizes them.
It`s often used to make them seem kooky just for being expressive.
And you know, this guy clearly doesn`t have it even if you believe
it`s true because remember, he`s only acting sexual toward little boys. If
you have a histrionic personality disorder, you act like a kook and very
aggressive and sexual and inappropriate to everybody, not just little boys.
MATTHEWS: I see.
W. MURPHY: I think the jury`s going to say how much did this expert
to say what? It sounds desperate, Chris, and it`s just, I think it`s
helping to sink the defense. It`s hard to believe, but that a defense
witness could actually make things worse. But that`s hard --
MATTHEWS: Patrick, your last thought. Quickly, just quickly, what
is the defense strategy? Why are they doing this with the poor mother, the
poor wife coming in here, using her -- making this ridiculous claim? What
are they up to?
P. MURPHY: Well, I think they`re grasping at straws. I mean, some
people say he`s crazy like a fox, the defense attorney. But I think it`s
clearly -- he`s grasping at straws, whether it`s the histrionic defense,
whether it`s the investigators talking to the victims, saying well, I
didn`t hear anything.
He`s grasping at straws and people who criticize defense attorney and
said he should have took the plea, maybe they didn`t offer him a plea,
Chris, because the evidence is so overwhelming. He should go to jail
forever and --
MATTHEWS: I know. It`s going to be a horrible situation for him in
prison, by the way.
Anyway, thank you, Patrick Murphy. Thank you, Wendy Murphy. A lot
of Murphys here today, which we always like.
Up next, when Republicans won control of the House of
Representatives, their real prize, of course, was the subpoena power. They
have got it and they are using it to go after the attorney general.
Is this sort of stop and frisk at the highest level? Go after the
attorney general, get him to empty his pockets, stand in the spotlight as
long as they can and see if anything happens? That`s ahead.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: New poll numbers from Maine where there`s an intriguing
Senate race that could determine the balance the power on Capitol Hill.
Let`s check the HARDBALL scoreboard. That Senate race is a run away for
independent candidate Angus King, the state`s former governor the is up
big, 50 percent, to 23 percent, to 9 percent. King hasn`t said which party
he`ll caucus with if he gets to the senate.
With numbers like this, it`s more of a question of when than if. By
the way, President Obama leads big in Maine, a state that hasn`t gone
Republican in a long time. We`ll be right back.
(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, ATTORNEY GENERAL: We believe that we have responded --
ISSA: No, Mr. Attorney General, you`re not a good witness. A good
witness answers the question asked.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: There he is, Darrell Issa in action.
Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was the House Oversight Committee chair, Darrell Issa, behaving
in his usual way, two weeks ago hammering Attorney General Eric Holder for
not turning over documents related to the so-called Fast and Furious
campaign, the flawed gun tracking operation carried out by the ATF.
Shortly after that, Issa set a vote to hold Holder in contempt of court, or
contempt of Congress rather, for tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.
Holder and Issa just wrapped up a meeting, by the way, a few moments
ago, after which Issa says he`s still waiting for the documents he wants
and hopes to get them tonight, or wants to get them tonight.
Willie Brown is a former mayor of San Francisco, former speaker of
the California House, and Wade Henderson is the president of the Leadership
Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
Let me go to Wade first because I want to understand is there any
reason why we should put any trust in the good intentions of Darrell Issa
WADE HENDERSON, THE LEADERSHIP COUNCIL: None at all, Chris.
Chairman Issa is pursuing a politically motivated witch hunt that`s
designed to discredit the Justice Department and to force Attorney General
Holder to resign. He`s using Fast and Furious as the vehicle to pursue
that witch hunt. But the truth is, nothing could be further from the
factual bases for him making the assertion about Holder`s lack of
MATTHEWS: You know, when I look at this, Willie Brown, Mayor Brown,
I just look at it and I don`t mean to use this term too much, but it`s
almost like a stop and frisk.
Here`s a chance to humiliate a distinguished member of the United
States government. Close friend of the president`s. It`s a surrogate
operation. If he can humiliate this guy, if he can get to him, he`ll be a
big star in the Republican caucus. He`ll be Dick Nixon.
WILLIE BROWN (D), FORMER SAN FRANCISCO MAYOR: That`s what he thinks,
but obviously, that will not be the case, Chris. There are too many
Republicans, I think, that are responsible and responsible enough to know
that you`re, you don`t go down the road that he`s going down in terms of
contempt of a cabinet member. You just don`t do that unless it`s similar
to what occurred with reference to the Bush administration when two members
were cited in some manner or another for doing what they did of his staff.
After that, there`s nothing that you can justify such conduct. Other
than the fact that you`re leading kind of a lynch-like mob.
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s got to some of the things that Issa before he
even heard of this case. He was looking for a case.
He said when he got, before he even took the oath for this Congress,
Issa, the congressman look what he said. November 8th, 2010, before he
took the oath, I want seven hearings a week times 40 weeks. He didn`t say
what they were for. I`m just going to have lots of hearings.
He also said -- what`s your jurisdiction? He said "we own
everything." This is megalomania.
W. HENDERSON: Chris, you know, Attorney General Holder testified at
least eight times before Congress. He has turned over thousands of pages
of testimony. He is the only attorney general that actually appointed an
inspector general or referred a matter to an inspector general for review,
and he ended the program which was the subject of controversy.
Rather than investigating, for example, Attorney General Mukasey, who
started the actual program under debate, it was called Operation Wide
Receiver, Mukasey has not been before the committee, we`ve had no
discussion or with ATF officials, who were involved. It was A.G. Holder
who actually disciplined some of the ATF officials who were involved.
So the truth is this isn`t about the facts regarding Fast and
Furious. This is about creating a climate where the A.G. is going to be
discredited and will resign.
MATTHEWS: You know, I worked on the Hill. As you know, Mr. Speaker,
Willie Brown. You know, you are not supposed to make the come ad hominem
comments about someone else. You saw the tape where he makes fun of
Attorney General Holder by you are not my kind of witness. You are not a
What`s this? You get to be the teacher and you get to reprimand the
student? I mean, the kind -- I have never seen it aimed at a cabinet
BROWN: It really means you should not be given any opportunity to
exercise power. Chris, when you receive the mantle of leadership on the
power side, it automatically imposes up on you a higher level of
responsibility than this congressman seems to be able to discharge. He`s
got to be somewhat of an embarrassment to his colleagues just by his heavy
MATTHEWS: Let me -- I want to you take -- give us a narration here.
Darrell Issa, the attorney general, what`s been going on here? How long
has this been building?
W. HENDERSON: This has been building for months. As you pointed
out, Darrell Issa was determined almost from the outset of him holding the
gavel that he was determined to hold one member of the administration in
some degree of difficulty because of their actions.
He focused on Fast and Furious. Obviously this was --
MATTHEWS: Explain Fast and Furious.
W. HENDERSON: Fast and Furious was a gun-walking program where guns
were purchased in the United States, taken across the border back to
Mexico, and distributed by individuals who had no license or right to
MATTHEWS: And the idea was to track them.
W. HENDERSON: We were tracking those guns to find out where they went
and hoped to buy the purchaser -- to get the purchaser as well as the
recipient. It was started under the previous administration. General
Mukasey actually had Operation Wide Receiver which was the precursor of
Fast and Furious.
It ended up with in the depth of officials who were involved with the
U.S. government and ATF official, I believe, was killed. But this was a
terrible operation. It should never have taken place.
Much to his credit, Attorney General Holder ended the program, he
disciplined ATF officials who were involved. He convened and -- inspector
general to take a look at the issue. He testified over eight times with
the Congress and he`s provided thousands of documents --
MATTHEWS: And your theory is with this guy Darrell Issa, his goal is
to push this further into rub the guy`s face into it.
W. HENDERSON: Absolutely. And to force the attorney general to
resign as a discredited official.
Now, here`s what`s ironic -- there has never been an attorney general
held in contempt of Congress. There`s never been a vote by the House of
Representatives on the contempt citation. To do it now against Eric Holder
is to ignore all the facts of the case and to use a fiction to promote this
kind of political agenda and I hope that both members of the Democratic
Party as well as Republicans will see this for what it is.
MATTHEWS: I don`t want to start too much as far as fire here but it
is my instinct. Is this ethnic, Mr. Mayor?
BROWN: I think it has h some ethnic flavor to it. It will be
interrupted by some in that vein.
BROWN: And you have to be careful you don`t give the opportunity to
make that case factually and what Darrell Issa is doing is -- has given
some individuals the opportunity to make that case and to compare it to a
stop and frisk.
MATTHEWS: Well, I just did it because -- it smells like it to me and
I think there is a disdain on the part of some Republican, not all.
Certainly not Boehner. But some of them down in the rank and file, red hot
end of the team, that do talk down to the president and his friends
W. HENDERSON: Absolutely
MATTHEWS: Talk down to them.
Anyway, thank you, Willie Brown, as always, sir.
Thank you, wade Henderson for joining us. Great to have you on.
When we return, let me finish with my personal views of stop and
frisk thing that this congressman from California is attempting to
perpetrate on the attorney general.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: We finish tonight with this. There`s something unseemly
about the way certain Republicans are going after Attorney General Holder.
They are demanding he empty his pockets, demanding he`d submit himself to a
body search by a member of Congress who even before he took the oath of
office himself for this Congress promised to spend his entire time using
the subpoena power to hurt Obama. As he put it himself I want seven
hearings a week times 40 weeks. "We own everything," Darrell Issa said.
Armed with a subpoena power, he was going to spend his time hauling Obama
people before him.
So, here we go. A Congress that does about nothing to create jobs or
people without jobs decided the best way to do their job is to shower the
Obama administration with subpoenas, make headlines and hopefully skewer
someone close to the president himself -- in this case, Eric Holder.
It smells like Issa has one goal, get Erich Holder under the lights,
go through his pockets and looks like stop and frisk, doesn`t it? The mere
act of which shows who is the boss and who gets to let you go your way, who
says you`re clean. Well, that`s what this subcommittee of Issa is up to,
trying to make noise so people think they are doing something up there on
Capitol Hill -- which everyone knows that they are not.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. We`ll be right
back at 7:00 p.m. with our new edition with President Obama`s news
conference tonight at G20 Summit down in Mexico.
"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.
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