Guests: Joe Conason, Sam Stein, Erin McPike, David Brody
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Health care up in the polls.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening I`m Chris Matthews in Washington, D.C.
"Let Me Start" tonight with the thunder now on the right. One leader
compared it to 9/11, an attack out of the sky. One conservative in the
media world branded the chief justice of the United States a traitor. Rush
Limbaugh called the Supreme Court itself a death panel.
If you ever wondered which side has gotten this country into a
partisan crazy world, listen to the souls now screaming from the starboard
side. The lunatic right feels burned and is raving mad, raving with rage
that they couldn`t destroy the country`s only health care plan.
Don`t believe this soft line you hear about "repeal and replace."
This fury on the right isn`t looking for a better health care plan, it`s
looking to destroy the only one there`s ever been.
Our guests tonight, David Corn of "Mother Jones" and Joe Conason of
Gentlemen, it`s great to have you on, true believers, and I think we
need some true believers. This reaction from the screwball right, is that
a precursor to the fact that Romney will fight this thing right through
November, the health care bill?
DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think Romney
has a big decision to make here. If you look at the poll numbers, the
country is kind of split on the decision, on health care reform...
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s go to that point. Gallup just polled Americans
after the Supreme Court decision of yesterday. They found the country, as
you say -- well, you couldn`t say it better, evenly split, 46 all -- 46
disagree, 46 agree. And among independents, which are going to decide the
election, there`s a 3-point split, this one favoring the president, 45 to
CORN: So it`s basically a toss-up, right, Chris?
CORN: And so it doesn`t give him an advantage to start banging
against this decision. I think a lot of the voters, particularly
independent voters, are kind of done and don`t want to...
MATTHEWS: How`s he appeal to the nuts?
CORN: ... hear this anymore. But the other thing -- this is a way to
drive his base out if he still is worried about his base, which he
shouldn`t be, but if he is.
But the other thing, too, if he starts going into, Repeal, repeal,
repeal -- I`ve talked to the Obama campaign people. They are prepared,
they are ready to go toe to toe with him on all the wonderful provisions
within the bill that get 60 to 80 percent, you know, approval ratings --
you know, the kids on insurance, preexisting conditions.
They know that "Obama care" as an abstract concept, it`s split 50-50
in the public. But if you look at those provisions, they have a lot of
ammo to go after Romney if his position is going to be, Get rid of it.
MATTHEWS: What`s your bet? He goes to fight this thing or he cools
CORN: My bet is that it trails off. But you have the guys in the
House. Don`t forget, they`re going to have a repeal vote in a week or two.
They may still press on.
MATTHEWS: I think they have a different agenda...
MATTHEWS: ... which is to try to win their little fight.
Joe, thanks for joining us tonight. I think that`s the hot question.
Will -- let`s ask this. We both -- we all watched that performance by the
president and his opponent yesterday. The president was out there saying,
Move on, basically. We got other things to fight about. Romney seemed to
be coming out loaded for bear up on top of that building he was at, some
insurance building somewhere in Washington he was yelling from.
This guy sounds like he wants to fight this bill. Do you think that`s
right or not, or are you with David, he hasn`t decided?
JOHN CONASON, NATIONALMEMO.COM: Well, I think it`s a tough choice for
him because I think it`s a trap. If he decides to continue the discussion
about this, here`s the answer from the White House. The part that you were
for in Massachusetts that we took from you, the individual mandate, is the
least popular part of this bill.
What David was talking about is right. Every other provision of the
bill enjoys, you know, anywhere between 62 to 80 percent-plus support among
voters, including Republicans. So it`s a bad discussion for him to get
into because the more you talk about it, the more people are going to
realize what they like about the bill is what President Obama did.
And then Obama has to say, You know what? This is how we pay for
these benefits. There is no way to make this bill work without the
individual mandate. He can be the stern, you know, sort of daddy who
CONASON: ... in order to have these benefits, we have to pay for
them, and this is how everybody kicks in, which is what Romney said...
MATTHEWS: Well, can he -- yes, but can he fight Romney on that and
say, You can`t come along -- I was quoting Roosevelt the other night saying
whenever Roosevelt had a fight with the right on something, he would say,
they always come along later and say, We could have done it for you, too,
and it wouldn`t have cost anything.
Well, here`s Mike Allen I think made a good point, guys. He wrote in
"Playbook" today in response to the president`s Supreme Court victory
yesterday -- and it was very prescient when you look at the polls today.
"Obama looks like a winner, and you can`t underestimate the subtle
impact it has -- that has on casual voters. The attack on Obama that has
tested best with focus groups, incompetent, in over his head, is now in
So this is backed up, the fact that Obama looks competent,looks strong
-- look at these numbers today. A couple of days ago, health care was down
around 30, 28, the independent -- the individual mandate, up around 46-even
now. So he`s already pulled even.
CORN: Not only does he look like a winner, Mitt Romney runs the risk
of looking like a right-wing whiner, you know, fighting again, something
that a lot of people want to move on, and having nothing to say about these
key issues except platitudes. So you know, winning is -- there`s nothing
better in politics -- you know this -- than winning. People want their
president to come across as...
MATTHEWS: Is there anything better anywhere than winning?
CORN: Yes. But they want the president to come across as a strong
leader and not to be pushed around by the opposition or by the Supreme
Court. You know, Romney`s out there pandering to the base, flip-flopping
on the mandate. This is a very difficult case...
MATTHEWS: I`m with you. You know, I remember -- well, I`m older than
you guys (INAUDIBLE) working for Carter as a speech writer back in -- when
I had that hat on, I got to tell you, Joe, when he lost that marathon race,
that 10K race, which he said he was going to win -- they`re looking for
signs, the voters, out there. Has he got strength or not? Some of it`s
emblematic. Some of it`s just, you know, human.
And this time, I think if he had lost this one yesterday -- I`ll go
back to where he was yesterday, Joe. Tell me if I`m right. If had lost,
it would have been much bigger (ph) than he wanted.
CONASON: That`s absolutely right. A win is a win. And the problem
that Romney has now is the president has won this. The Congress, the
Republicans in Congress want to still fight the last election. They won
big in 2010 on this issue, and a lot of them still want to fight that
fight. That`s not good for their presidential nominee.
MATTHEWS: Well, here`s Romney campaigning out with a new Web video in
response to the court decision of yesterday. Let`s watch this one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In a few months, Americans will cast their ballots
and make a choice. Do we continue stifling our economy with a growing
government that discourages hiring, or do we chart a new course and change
(INAUDIBLE) The Supreme Court may have made their decision, but the
American people haven`t.
MITT ROMNEY (R-MA), FMR. GOV., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... is to make
sure that the next president of the United States repeals "Obama care" and
replaces "Obama care."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Day one, job one, repeal "Obama care."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, wait a minute. Doesn`t he have some other number
ones? Wasn`t it the Keystone pipeline was number one?
CORN: He has a lot of number ones.
MATTHEWS: How many HR-1s this guy got in his barrel?
CORN: Now, the key thing to look for, Chris -- you know this...
CONASON: (INAUDIBLE) find out what`s number one. I mean...
CORN: It`s easy to do a Web ad. You know, it doesn`t cost you
anything. Are they going to put money and put these ads in swing states,
particularly -- you know, we talked about the Obama campaign. They`ve
already -- targeting women, targeting Hispanic voters -- have used health
care in a proactive way as a positive. So they think -- and if you ask the
Hispanic voters, they put health care actually as number one in a lot of
surveys. So is he going to air this...
MATTHEWS: Hispanic voters are very high on health care.
CORN: So is he going to put this air -- air -- ad up in Virginia,
Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, you know, Arizona? I don`t know if he`s
going to do that.
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s talk about the targeting of this ad. You saw
the -- can you see it, Joe? It was a young guy. He had sort of a designer
stubble. Kind of cool guy. He`s in his 20s. I was trying to figure out,
who are they talking to? This guy`s a little bit of a rebel, just a
little, but he didn`t shave today.
But is that their target, a young guy, a male, in his 20s, maybe, mid
to late 20s? What`s that all about? Is that the guy that -- that guy
might not even vote, I`m just thinking.
CONASON: Well, that guy might not even vote, and the likelihood,
based on everything we know about young voters, is that he`s not going to
vote for Mitt Romney.
CONASON: I think -- I think this is the same -- this goes to the same
issue. The way the polls are now going after yesterday, we`re going see a
shift in intensity on health care from the strong intensity opposed of the
last election to a stronger intensity in favor in this election.
MATTHEWS: How do you know?
CONASON: Well, because the -- because what the polls show, evening
out, in the Gallup poll, which is not particularly favorable to Democrats
traditionally, is very different from what we had, you know, a few weeks
ago on the same issue.
I think you`re right that the Supreme Court decision makes people
rethink this, and it makes them rethink it in the middle of the electorate.
And for Democrats, having won a victory is something they`re going to want
to defend, and the intensity grows around that.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about the second term. Obama has to at some
point between now and the end of this summer draw a picture of the second
term. Had he lost this fight, he would have said, Look at what I`m going
to do in the second term, walking with basically an empty slate on the
first term, on his major.
CORN: Right, right...
MATTHEWS: This way, he can say, I did this this year. I can do
MATTHEWS: I can make history. I therefore can make more history.
Had he been blown away on the main building block of this administration, I
think he would have had a hard time saying it. So again, I go back to
where I was yesterday. The biggest stakes yesterday were he could have
CORN: Oh, yes, yes, yes. I mean, often in politics, a win can easily
sort of blow away quickly, but a loss just hangs on.
CORN: Same thing with the bin Laden raid. If that raid had gone
south and gone bad, it would have sunk him. And the hurrahs that he got
for it quickly faded in the surveys.
CONASON: Oh, listen...
CORN: But I -- but I -- but I do -- but I do think that you`re right.
If he wants to make a case to the American public that he should stay in
the job because he can do things primarily about the economy and about
jobs, he has to be able to say, Listen, I did stuff before, and it stuck.
It worked out. That`s the...
MATTHEWS: OK, last -- quickly, Joe, this is to me a big story because
it`s an upset victory. Your thought.
CONASON: Well, yes, it is. And I think -- you know, to go back to
what you were saying a minute ago, this victory makes it easier to talk
about all the other things that he actually has done, like auto, like
CONASON: ... you know, all of the other...
MATTHEWS: Catching bin Laden.
CORN: ... progress -- bin Laden -- is -- has a bedrock now, which is
the biggest accomplishment.
MATTHEWS: Well said. And by the way, it was (INAUDIBLE) so I`ll
stick to that, is Lee Atwater said years go, the guy on the other side of
these fights, said, David`s still getting good PR for beating Goliath.
CORN: Oh, yes!
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, David Corn. Thank you, Joe Conason.
Have a nice weekend.
Coming up: The umpire strikes -- or streaks back. John Roberts said
he would be an umpire at the court, not a partisan, and now the right wing
is calling him -- oh, here`s a word that comes handy for them -- traitor.
They think the Supreme Court, by the way, is a tool of the right now. It
Also, the politics of natural disasters. President Obama inspected
the wildfires in Colorado today. How a president handles a disaster can
make or break a presidency. Just ask George W. Bush about Katrina.
Plus, God and government, how the evangelicals and the Tea Party
movements got together.
And how good a day it was yesterday for President Obama. Here`s how
the "Tonight" show, by the way, handled yesterday`s news.
I don`t know how they do that, but it`s great. Anyway, that and more
late-night spoofs coming up in the "Sideshow."
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: So will 2012 be another wave election in the House in the
spirit of 2006, 2008 and 2010? Well, not according to the Rothenberg
Political Report, which is predicting small changes in the House, anywhere
from a one-seat gain for the Republicans to a six-seat pick-up by the
Democrats. Either way, the GOP would remain in control.
By the way, the Cook Political Report, which is also -- which also
closely follows every election, agrees, no big changes in the House of
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. The right-wing anger machine has been
focused for three-and-a-half years on President Obama. Well, yesterday,
after the Supreme Court`s decision to uphold the president`s health care
law, that anger found a new target, the chief justice, John Roberts, who
voted with the liberals on the court.
Glenn Beck is now selling T-shirts -- look at that one! -- with
Roberts`s face above the word "coward." That`s sophisticated.
Conservative activist Brent Bozell says Roberts, quote, "will be seen as a
traitor to his philosophy." And Republican congressman Jack Kingston of
Georgia tweeted he doesn`t feel like being Roberts`s friend anymore.
That`s kind of high school.
We`re going to look at some of the wildest reactions from the right
with Joan Walsh, Salon editor-at-large and MSNBC political analyst. And
Ron Reagan is also an MSNBC political analyst.
So here we are back, basically, in high school, guys, when somebody
just won the student council election and somebody else didn`t. This is so
-- it goes from the ferocious to the childish. Sarah Palin tweeted -- I
guess that`s her only machine of -- method of -- or communication anymore -
- quote, "Abamo (ph) -- Abamo`s (ph) -- Abama (ph) -- Obama lies" --
somebody got this screwed up. "Obama lies, freedom dies." That was last
night on Fox.
She elaborated with some ominous, apocalyptic warnings. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN (R-AK), FMR. GOV., FOX CONTRIBUTOR: If Obama is
reelected, well, America, you will no longer recognize the country that
today you truly love and can enjoy all of its freedom and prosperity and
security if Obama is reelected because this "Obama care" is a harbinger of
things yet to come.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: She has that sort of sarcastic thing she puts into her
Anyway, Rush Limbaugh was also a bit overdramatic on his radio show.
Let`s listen to Rushbo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Our freedom of choice just met
its death panel, the Supreme Court of the United States. What has been
upheld here is fraud. And the Internal Revenue Service has just become
Barack Obama`s domestic army!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Was he wearing a prisoner`s costume on purpose there? Did
you see that? Black and whites stripes?
MATTHEWS: I think -- I think he was (INAUDIBLE) Joan, going to
dramatize the new imprisonment of this health care. There he is. Look at
that! Where`d he get something like that from? Anyway, that`s his
prisoner`s costume. All it needs is a number on it.
Joan Walsh, what do you think of Rushbo, and of course, Palin, with
this almost -- you know, this isn`t (ph) rehearsed, this stuff. I actually
think they`re angry. I think Rushbo`s an actor and a brilliant one and a
showman, but I think Palin really has just started screaming about this
thing. She is really hurt that she lost this one.
JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Obama lies and
freedom dies. I mean, it`s so over the top, both of them. It would be so
funny, it would hilarious if it wasn`t a little bit scary. I mean, I think
that what we have here, Chris, is an opportunity for the president to -- he
gets kind of a do-over. He gets to sell this plan again...
WALSH: ... with the light of the Supreme Court behind him. And so,
you know, they tortured him with death panels and all the other lies and
pulling the plug on grandma, and now Rush is calling the Supreme Court a
death panel. That`s lovely.
And the president gets to go out in the light of day and with this
great victory behind him and tell the American people in a very sober,
proud way, what it does. Yes, there will be more of the same. There will
be more of your children getting to stay on your plan until they`re 26 and
they can find a good job. There will be more people getting coverage even
though they may have preexisting conditions in their past.
MATTHEWS: I see.
WALSH: There will be more good things.
MATTHEWS: ... paying attention. And you`re right, people will now
begin to pay attention to the good stuff.
Ron, it was like one of those movie football games where the guy
throws the incredible block -- in this case, the guy you don`t expect.
John Roberts blocks the defenders, and the scatback (ph) goes heading down
the sidelines, you know, all the way to the end zone.
RON REAGAN, AUTHOR, "MY FATHER AT 100," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Or
maybe it`s one of those football games where somebody grabs the ball and
runs in the opposite direction than you think he`s going to run.
MATTHEWS: Oh, yes!
MATTHEWS: "Wrong Way Corrigan."
MATTHEWS: "Wrong Way Roberts."
REAGAN: Exactly, "Wrong Way Roberts." You know, we can`t have this
discussion without mentioning a central irony in an issue that is full of
ironies here, and that is that the individual mandate to buy private
insurance is a Republican conservative idea.
It came out of the Heritage Foundation in 1993 as an alternative to
the Democrats`, liberals` universal single-payer idea. So the question you
have to ask Romney and all the Republicans is, If you want to cover
everybody and make sure everybody has access to health care, how are you
going to do it? Without a mandate and without universal single payer,
can`t be done.
MATTHEWS: And you`d think if the Heritage Foundation plan had come
directly from the Heritage Foundation except through the Obama White House,
do you think the Republicans would be saying it was unconstitutional? I
don`t know so!
REAGAN: I don`t -- I don`t think so.
MATTHEWS: Let`s go right now to right -- this is something I hate to
do, but I am going to let us quote Michael Savage, who is well-named.
MATTHEWS: He unloaded on John Roberts yesterday in a rant that is too
crazy to rationalize, but let`s listen to the worst.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MICHAEL SAVAGE, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: It`s well-known that Roberts
unfortunately for him has suffered from epileptic seizures. Therefore, he
has been on medication. Therefore, neurologists will tell you that
medications used for seizure disorders such as epilepsy can induce mental
slowing, forgetfulness, and other cognitive problems.
And if you look at Roberts` writings, you can see the cognitive
dissociation in what he is saying.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
For the record, by the way, Justice Roberts has had some seizures.
He`s never said he was epileptic. I don`t even know why we`re getting into
this. Nor is he taking medication for it.
Well, Congressman Jack Kingston of Georgia feels very disappointed in
Judge Roberts` decision. He tweeted today: "With Obamacare ruling, I feel
like I just lost two great friends, America and Justice Roberts."
MATTHEWS: Ron, this is so over the top. This is like some high
school. Somebody just -- I don`t know how to explain it, but it`s really
REAGAN: The Republicans feel -- Republicans feel betrayed here. They
thought that they had the Supreme Court comfortably on their side by a 5-4
REAGAN: And there goes Roberts heading off, as you said, Wrong Way
Corrigan, in the other direction, so they`re furious at him.
But Roberts, I think with an eye on the credibility of the court,
realizing that a 5-4 decision overturning this law would have cut the
slender thread by which the credibility of the court now hangs. And he
just wasn`t going to go there.
MATTHEWS: Joan, I think they thought they had tucked him in at night
upstairs in his bedroom.
MATTHEWS: And they look out the window and he`s got a placard and he
is protesting against him. They weren`t ready for this switch.
WALSH: Well, it is -- it`s a little bit scary, Chris, because it does
show you the extent to which they really believed that they had this in the
bag and that they had this court in the bag.
And you just lose the legitimacy of the court if it`s perceived as a
MATTHEWS: Well, shortly after the ruling, not to be -- not to be out-
shouted here or out-crazied, remember one of the founding members of the
birther caucus, Louie Gohmert, of Texas?
He responded by calling the -- calling for the impeachment of, catch
this, of Justice Elena Kagan.
MATTHEWS: Let`s watch. Why not, you know?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: We still have the issue of Justice
Kagan, as I have been raising for months now. Either she was totally
negligent in her duties as solicitor general and had absolutely nothing to
do with the most important bill to this president, her boss, or she did
have something to do with it.
She has violated federal law and, as such, she needs to be removed
from the Supreme Court. So, I think it`s important to look at Justice
Kagan for potential impeachment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, I don`t know what to say.
Let me ask -- go back to Joan on this. You know, it seems to me that
-- did you all watch Jean Schmidt, the congresswoman from the Midwest, and
her sort of physical reaction...
MATTHEWS: ... to what she thought -- she was listening to FOX and got
the story wrong.
MATTHEWS: And she was so seized with kind of a seizure of excitement
that the bill had been declared unconstitutional. It was physical.
WALSH: It was physical.
MATTHEWS: These people`s reaction, what do you make of it?
WALSH: Well, it`s...
MATTHEWS: Is it that important to them, that the president be
WALSH: Well, that`s exactly what it is. It`s that important to them
and they have been saying this all along. It was going to be his Waterloo.
Remember, Jim DeMint told us that, and the idea that he was going to
live to fight another battle, that he was going to -- that he won this
battle, Chris, and that it was John Roberts who did it to them was just too
much to bear.
But it wasn`t -- I don`t know how -- how do you spike the football if
you think that, oh, yes, now people -- sick people are going to be thrown
off insurance? Yay. Go, America.
How is that so exciting? The only thing that`s really exciting is
that they were going to deal the president what they hoped would be a
mortal blow. And you guys, Joe Conason, and David Corn covered it really
well. This is a huge victory for this president. It would have been a
disaster to have it overturned.
And he goes out competent with a record -- with a kind of an amazing
record now, when you think about it, of achievement in this first term.
REAGAN: And there`s no substitute for victory, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Before the old charge was, before you tell us what we`re
going to do -- yes.
MATTHEWS: And Somebody once said, don`t tell me -- before you tell me
what you`re going to do, tell me what you have done. Now we know what he`s
Just for the fun of it, let`s watch Jean Schmidt. This is what it
would have looked like across this country for days and months...
WALSH: Oh, God.
MATTHEWS: ... had bill gone down before the Supreme Court.
WALSH: Oh, God.
MATTHEWS: Here`s Congresswoman Jean Schmidt thinking that the bill
has been struck down by the court. Here it is, just a clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Speak.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Speak.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did they uphold it?
REP. JEAN SCHMIDT (R), OHIO: No. They struck down the individual
They took it away?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow. That`s what it would have looked like nationwide.
MATTHEWS: Guys, anyway, have a nice weekend. You got something to
celebrate, both of you, Ron Reagan and Joan Walsh.
REAGAN: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: It`s great to have you on the show all the time, by the
Up next: The late-night comics take on the Supreme Court in the
"Sideshow." This is kind of a hoot. And it`s coming up here on HARDBALL,
the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL and to the "Sideshow."
It really was an historic moment yesterday when President Obama made
his address after finding out that his health care bill had been upheld by
the Supreme Court. Some late-night comics imagined if Obama had really cut
loose with his excitement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE")
JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": This is a big win for
President Obama. After the ruling, he addressed the nation from the East
Room of the White House, where he explained that this was a victory not for
him, but for all of us.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know there will be a
lot of discussion today about the politics of all this, about who won and
who lost. That`s how these things tend to be viewed here in Washington.
OBAMA: But that discussion completely misses the point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO")
JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": He didn`t want to
gloat, but if you watch his body language closely, you could see he was
feeling pretty good about it. Here he is today.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That is so well done.
While Democrats are celebrating that victory, the GOP continues to
blast the law and the ruling that upheld it. But take a listen to
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal on an RNC conference call this morning. He
might have ruffled some feathers over at team Romney.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: There`s only one candidate,
Governor Romney, who has committed that he would repeal the Obamney -- the
Obamacare tax increase. He will repeal Obamacare as soon as he`s elected.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Did you catch that? Obamney, which is the big putdown.
That`s what Tim Pawlenty had called the health care law, Obamneycare,
referring to Romney, of course, during a debate with Romney during the
And that`s not all Jindal has had to say on the ruling. Here`s how he
plans to handle implementing the provisions in his own state.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JINDAL: We`re not looking forward to the exchanges. We`re not going
to be implementing Obamacare here in the state of Louisiana. Instead,
we`re going to do everything we can to defeat President Obama and get rid
of Obamacare. The 10th Amendment to the Constitution has got to mean
something. Absolutely, we`re not implementing the exchanges, we`re not
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Yes, nullification. Anyway, just say no. That puts him in
the ranks with the Kentucky Senator Rand Paul who said yesterday that the
Supreme Court`s decision doesn`t change the fact that the law is
unconstitutional, according to him.
Anyway, finally, how`s this for timing? Guess how some members of
Congress rounded out one of the most politically charged days a lot of us
can remember? The annual baseball game. Sadly, for Republicans, the game
wasn`t much of a lift. The Dems, who have a star pitcher in Louisiana
Representative Cedric Richmond, blasted their opponents in a final score,
brutal, 18-5 for the Dems.
The event wasn`t totally devoid of politics. Hanging in the dugout,
Pennsylvania Democrat Mike Doyle said, "If anyone did get hurt today, they
would have all had insurance," because members of Congress have it.
Some spectators arrived with signs dubbing Chief Justice John Roberts
MVP. No doubt that team -- they were rooting for the Democrats, I think.
Anyway, up next, the president inspects the wildfires in Colorado.
There he is. How important is this trip? Just ask W. after Katrina, when
he didn`t quite do this.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
HAMPTON PEARSON, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Hampton Pearson with your
CNBC "Market Wrap."
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The Dow surges 278 points. The S&P jumps 33, and the Nasdaq gains 85
Anheuser-Busch InBev jumped nearly 6 percent after buying half of
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percent after its earnings failed to beat expectations, and Ford slid 5
percent after saying its international losses would likely triple in the
That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide -- now back to
HARDBALL -- now back to HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Whether it`s fires in Colorado or flooding in the northern
parts of Florida, when natural disasters like this hit, America comes
together. And we all recognize that there but for the grace of God go I.
We have got to make sure that we have each other`s backs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Late today, President Obama was in Colorado Springs, where he surveyed
the devastation caused by raging wildfires in that state. He also took the
time to meet with and thank first-responders there. President Obama
declared the wildfires a major disaster and offered federal aid to help
state and local recovery efforts.
More than 30,000 people have already been evacuated from their homes,
but there`s nothing like the power of the presidency when natural disasters
strike. And a presidential visit highlights the unique edge an incumbent
Erin McPike joins us now. She`s a reporter for RealClearPolitics.
Sam Stein is a political reporter for The Huffington Post.
There is perhaps no more important example -- more potent example of
the power of incumbency than in that great movie that lasts even today "The
Candidate." Robert Redford plays a young liberal California lawyer trying
to knock off an entrenched U.S. senator. This short clip in the campaign
plane tees up the scene. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE CANDIDATE")
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Los Angeles International Airport. For those of
you going on with us to San Diego, our scheduled departure time will be in
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: We`re going to get off. There`s been a change of
ROBERT REDFORD, ACTOR: Get off? What about the group in San Diego?
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Never mind that. We have got a fire in Malibu.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: With that, the campaign team tears up -- tears up the
schedule and rushes the candidate to the scene of the fire. But he wasn`t
the only one with that idea. And let`s watch what the incumbent does.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE CANDIDATE")
REDFORD: So that you lose the root system that keeps the water in the
ground in the first place. That`s why this brush all dries out. Of
course, you need...
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Do you know who that is?
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Smokey the Bear.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Gentlemen, can we have your attention? The
senator`s going to make a statement.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: How are you?
REDFORD: I`m still hoping for a chance to debate you.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Hi, Jack. Glad to see you got your wet suit on.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: All right.
Now, I will -- everybody set? All right, I will make this very brief.
I have been on the phone to the president, and one hour from now, Malibu
will be declared a national disaster area.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Sam Stein, you know, sometimes these things go in cycles.
Then it was this conservative Republican who was taking advantage of a
natural disaster and his chopper and his federal aid. Now we have a
progressive president out there, a centrist of the left, I might say, a
center-left president, doing the same.
It`s very hard for Mitt Romney to compete with a president like this
we`re watching who goes to the scene, shows up, shows he`s on the job.
SAM STEIN, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Correct, because you look
And it`s very tough for Mitt Romney to do that when Barack Obama is
the president. You know, there`s little practical benefit to Obama showing
up at the scene, save, of course, drawing national attention to it, maybe
getting some charitable contributions for the recovery, perhaps pushing for
But it`s a great photo-op and it shows for a lot of people the essence
of leadership. And that`s what Obama is going for.
MATTHEWS: Compare it to George W. Bush.
STEIN: Well, that was the exact opposite, where you flew over a
disaster area. You didn`t actually step foot in one. And it seemed like
he just didn`t care about the plight of the people who were literally
drowning in New Orleans.
And these things work both ways. You can actually draw away attention
or resources from the disaster. There`s a school of thought that says you
don`t want to land in the disaster zone, because people who are there
should be focused on helping out with the disaster, not the presidential --
not the president`s visit.
At the same time, Bush got criticized for not stepping down there.
And there`s a big -- there`s a big political risk for not actually getting
your hands dirty or at least getting involved.
MATTHEWS: Yes. You know, Woody Allen said 80 percent of life is
showing up. I`m totally with him.
MATTHEWS: Your thoughts, Erin?
ERIN MCPIKE, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: Well, yes.
I mean, if you`re the president, you`re going to be criticized either
way, whether you look like you`re grandstanding or, you know, looking
callous. And it`s better to be criticized for grandstanding and always
So, it might be that Republicans are1 criticizing him because he`s
going out to a swing state to show some respect to the people of Colorado.
MATTHEWS: I forgot it`s a swing state.
MCPIKE: It is. Nine electoral votes and it`s looking like it`s
headed to the president`s way. A lot of Republicans think that President
Obama might soon have Colorado soon sewn up. But, of course, the Romney
campaign is competing there.
But you listen to the Republican National Committee --
MATTHEWS: Look at those fires. Go ahead.
MCPIKE: And they think that Obama is better off than Mitt Romney in
Colorado, but the Romney campaign still thinks they have a good shot there.
But it is a swing state.
MATTHEWS: But as you said, Erin, it didn`t take long for
conservatives to criticize President Obama`s first -- actual visit to
Colorado. The state`s former governor, Bill Owens, called it a, quote,
"distraction". Some conservatives blame Obama for not spending more money
on a federal fleet of air tankers that fights fires.
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper was asked about this particular
piece of right wing criticism. Here`s his rather brilliant response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D), COLORADO: Were these the same
conservatives that have been so worried about the Obama administration
spending too much money or these different conservatives?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, it is amazing, Sam, and the ironies are always
in politics, but they`re brutal when it comes to emergencies. People that
hate the federal government, despise Washington, are on the phone in
seconds with the 911 call when they want the federal money and I don`t
SAM STEIN, HUFFINGTON POST: Correct.
MATTHEWS: But there is an absolute inconsistency there. Yes?
STEIN: Yes, well, two things. One is it`s changed a little bit
recently where by you know, disaster relief funds used to be a very
nonpartisan thing. Nowadays, you have to find pay-fors for them in
Congress because they don`t want to appropriate more money. So, it`s
become a bit more contentious.
But with respect to the president showing up in Colorado, had he not
shown up, the criticism would have been ten times worse. You know, it`s a
very delicate thing.
MATTHEWS: That`s right.
STEIN: And there`s a very delicate thing here. Obama, when we went
down to the gulf when oil spill was happening, everyone was worried whether
he would distract resources or went too late.
Ed Rendell on his most recent book, on his book tour said, you know,
if Bill Clinton was president, he would have put on a wet suit and plugged
the well himself. You know, there`s always second-guessing and Monday
morning quarterbacking when these things happen.
But Erin`s right. Better to show up and get the criticism from
grandstanding than to not show up and seem like you`re, you know, uncaring
about the whole crisis.
MATTHEWS: You know, Ed Rendell really does think that Bill Clinton
MATTHEWS: Anyway, President George W. Bush has become the textbook
case for how not to react to a national disaster. This photo mentioned a
moment ago shows Bush surveying the damage done by hurricane Katrina as he
flew over New Orleans in Air Force One.
The image came to symbolize the criticism that Bush was out of touch.
After he left, Bush said the fly over and the photographer who get his
picture was a, quote, "huge mistake".
You know, I want to go back to something Erin pointed out. You`re
going to get heat either way. And I think it`s important. LBJ, one of
things showed up, I thought of President Bush to go back to something,
With all those African-American people there, with their kids dying,
dehydrating, terrible place they were all stuck at. If he had shown up
there in the helicopter like this guy in the movie with lots of water, just
bring in truckloads of water, just bottles of water for people so they
could get through the days ahead, they wouldn`t dehydrate. Somebody might
have yelled, but the country would have said, damn it, we`ve got a
MCPIKE: Yes, well, and you bring up LBJ in 1965 who went down to New
Orleans during Hurricane Betsy and he said, I am here, I am your president.
I want to make sure that the federal government is working for you.
I think the difference is, LBJ went, he got on the ground, he shook
people`s hands and President Bush didn`t. I mean, those -- the response in
Louisiana, the editorials that came out in 1965 after LBJ did that were
great for LBJ. Whereas President Bush had a huge media crisis on his hands
after the fact. You look at the difference those two, it`s no question
that President Obama had to go to Colorado.
MATTHEWS: Good for you. I would applaud right now. This is the
kind of thing I applaud on this show, when somebody has a sense of history.
MATTHEWS: No, I`m serious here, Sam Stein. She one upped you
because she talks about the real role model --
STEIN: Huey Long had to drive LBJ down to the coast. He was going
to go out first, he said if you come down here, you could beat anybody
including Eisenhower. So, it wasn`t that clear cut.
MATTHEWS: OK. You share the title of greatness. Anyway, thank you.
Happy weekend, Erin McPike and Sam Stein.
Up next, the Tea Party and evangelicals, a love story. Here`s a
Anyway, HARDBALL, back in a minute -- the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: We just talked about how President Obama toured the fire
damage in Colorado, but if you think the political campaigns are calling a
ceasefire on the negative ads during this, think again. According to
Kantar Media, which closely follow political ads, over the nearly 1,900
presidential ads that have run in Colorado Springs in June, 57 percent have
aired in the past 10 days when the fires were at their worst.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
Conventional wisdom says Mitt Romney needs to court independents to
win the presidency, but the Christian Broadcasting Network`s David Brody
argues that the key to Romney`s political future in this election hinges on
winning over the same Tea Party and evangelical voters who gave him the
cold shoulder during the primaries. He needs to win the people he lost in
the fight with Rick Santorum and New Gingrich.
David Brody makes his case in a new book "The Teavangelicals."
DAVID BRODY, AUTHOR: "Teavangelicals."
MATTHEWS: "The Teavangelicals: The Story of How Evangelicals and Tea
Party Got Together."
Let me ask you about it. First of all, pronounce it for me.
BRODY: The Teavangelicals, a love story.
MATTHEWS: OK. Who are they?
BRODY: They are conservative Christians who are breaking bread with
Tea Party libertarians.
MATTHEWS: Why do people care about prayer in school, about abortion,
being pro-life on abortion, against gay marriage, the normal social issues?
Why do they care about issues like taxes? Why do they care about issues
like health care? Obamacare?
Why are they focused on the economic stuff now?
BRODY: They see it all through a biblical world view. Let me give
you an example, return to fiscal responsibility. I mean, crank up the
"Proverbs" verses, all over the place, you know, a good person leaves an
inheritance to their children`s children, the borrower is not slaved to the
lender. I can go on.
They see it from a biblical world view.
MATTHEWS: Who said neither the borrower or lender --
BRODY: No, the borrower who said -- you`re giving me church history
No, but look, I mean, that`s part of it. The other part is a return
to -- get ready -- return to Judeo Christian principles. I know everybody
freaks out about that line.
But the truth is, all that is, is what libertarians are saying, which
is a constitutionally limited government. It`s the same thing conservative
Christians want the same things libertarians when it comes to that.
MATTHEWS: But how come when the government spends money on war, for
example, or the savings and loan bailout or something like that, the right
has no problem with deficit spending.
BRODY: Well, I mean, look --
MATTHEWS: I`m just asking.
BRODY: No, I understand it. I mean, it`s something like last
chapter of book, the challenges. Look, it can`t always be about, for these
teavangelicals, about just hey, we don`t want to increase the debt ceiling
and we`re going to be a pain on Capitol Hill. I mean, I address it.
MATTHEWS: Why would a guy or woman who goes to church on Sunday, a
good person, who believes in Jesus and salvation and everything the true
and good care about the corporate tax rate? Why would they want a lower
corporate tax rate? That looks to me like they`re being used.
BRODY: Because, well, if you look at the corporate tax rate, you
know, that directly plays into the whole stock market situation. And if
the stock market situation is good or bad, it`s going to affect the family.
It goes back to the family, Chris. You see --
MATTHEWS: By the way, we saw the stock market moved up today because
things in Europe are looking better. It has nothing to do with the
corporate tax rate.
BRODY: But look, lower taxes in the conservative evangelical role,
lower taxes mean more money you`re going to spend on your family. That`s
the way they see it.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me tell you something about Christianity. It
used to be it was tied to the kind of thing you saw with the monkey trial,
suspicion of the East Coasts, suspicions of big banks, (INAUDIBLE), right?
And in the old days, Christians were moved by the fact we don`t like those
big New York bankers, the people with all the money. They are charging
tighter money, you know, how harder to borrow money, they`re the ones we
owe money, too, right?
MATTHEWS: So, how come it switched from being a populist
Christianity to a pro-big business establishment?
BRODY: Well, I don`t think -- as a matter of fact --
MATTHEWS: Because it`s effectively done that.
BRODY: But actually, what you`re making the argument for, actually,
what they`re thinking about is the same thing, which is this big government
-- you know, it`s government run amok.
They believe -- here`s what the teavangelicals believe. They believe
God is getting smaller and government is getting way out of control. Look
at the health care situation with Obamacare. This has become a rabid
situation for these teavangelicals. I mean --
MATTHEWS: How does it affect their lives? OK, you`re a regular
person, you have a job, you get a salary. You`re making $30,000, $40,000 a
year. You`re a regular person.
How does the government get bigger in the last four, five years or 10
years? How`s it gotten more in your face?
BRODY: It`s a threat.
MATTHEWS: It`s just a concept.
BRODY: But it`s more than a concept for them.
MATTHEWS: How is it more in their face?
BRODY: Well, look at Barack Obamacare. They`re going to make a case
on Obamacare that, you know, health care directly affects their lives. And
if Obama would, quote, "stay out of health care," there wouldn`t be the
potential problems down the road.
MATTHEWS: No. I would say that them in church, everybody ought to
take individual responsibility for their health care. You can`t have some
people buying and then other people coming to the E.R. because they don`t
have any money and there`s no help in getting insurance and no
responsibility in getting -- paying their share. I can make the Republican
argument for the Obama bill. And it sounds pretty Christian. Anything is
Christian is self reliance. Why don`t they believe in that?
BRODY: Well, look, everything is relative. You can argue both sides
of this, Chris.
MATTHEWS: I think it`s P.R. I think they think Obama is a socialist
and they`re against socialism. But if you told them the same argument, the
same exact health program coming out of the Heritage Foundation, that would
be Jesus. You know I`m telling the truth.
BRODY: But, real quick, the teavangelicals, you line them up on the
street, they`re going to say, look, Republican, Democrat, we don`t care who
you are. It`s just that the Republican Party is closer aligned with some
of their values.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let me tell you, Christians love Social Security.
Christians love Medicare.
BRODY: You`re absolutely right.
MATTHEWS: The idea they don`t like government is crazy.
BRODY: In the book, take a look. I`ve addressed it.
MATTHEWS: Well, you`re done your case here.
BRODY: The teavangelicals.
MATTHEWS: Teavangelicals, you created this? Have you patented this
BRODY: I`ve trademarked it. What do you think of that?
MATTHEWS: Good for you. Thank you always coming on and giving us
that view we don`t get from other people.
When we return -- David Brody, "Teavangelicals" -- when we return,
let me finish with the fever swamps of the right one day after the big
decision. Not you.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this dance of death we`ve been
witnessing this last 24 hours. Want to know the precise location of this
country`s political zaniness? Just pay close attention online or on-air to
the clenched teeth seething from the right, from Limbaugh, to Savage, to
The fury that knows how to get heard is screaming in paint and
rampage. It wants blood -- the chief justice to start with, and then on to
the Supreme Court itself. Then on to the president and all those people
who agreed with him that what he did was not only constitutional, but
This much we know right now. A new poll shows that the Supreme Court
decision of yesterday is building the case for the Affordable Health Care
Act. There`s now an even balanced view on the plan, a dramatic upsurge
before. People are beginning to open their minds about the bill, ready to
take a look at the features that affect them earnest and understanding
before and after the matter, how things will be better and at what cost.
The question now concerns the politics. Why were the liberals, the
Democrats, the reasonable people able to look forward to this decision by
the Supreme Court with some kind of equanimity, able to say to themselves,
let`s see how this goes -- preparing themselves to live with the results.
It`s called rule by law. Don`t have to like the law, just have to obey it.
Then came the thunder from the right last night, the lightning of
outrage, the charge of treason and calls for defiance, all the notes
beloved by the crazies. Don`t like something? Blast away at it, as if
it`s time to hit the barricades. Yell treason, charge all who disagree
with you as traitors. Call for massive resistance.
It`s what we saw in the civil rights movement, what we saw throughout
our history, when progress came, outrage, calamitous outrage, warnings of
the worst to come. Don`t ask who`s causing this country`s poisonous
discourse. You can hear it screaming and screeching right now from the
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.
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