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updated 8/23/2012 10:38:09 AM ET 2012-08-23T14:38:09

HARDBALL
August 22, 2012

Guests: Dee Dee Myers, Mark McKinnon, Bill Nye, James Peterson, Sam Stein

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HARDBALL HOST: Republicans achin` badly.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews down in Washington.

"Let Me Start" tonight with sex. We`re really talking about gender,
but here in politics, as in life, the contact point and the battle line is
sex. Here`s how it is and why it`s important politically.

Men and women have sex, only the woman can get pregnant, and therein
lies the conflict -- OK, the potential conflict. Many women watching right
now have a problem with men deciding on this matter. Many have a
particular problem with the notion that men are often out there saying a
woman has no right to deal with the consequences.

Pregnancy is only the male`s concern, it seems, when men are telling
women they have to accept what comes along. They have to accept it
because, again, men say so.

And now this matter gets more heated with a U.S. congressman declaring
that any woman who really doesn`t want to have sex can`t get pregnant, not
even if some guy has sex with her.

Why would someone make such an argument seriously? Why? Because it`s
a way to deny women the option of an abortion, even if they`re raped,
because if they`re really raped, if there was a "legitimate" rape, they
couldn`t possibly get pregnant, according to this congressman.

We`re going to start with that one because that`s where we`ve been all
week. Dee Dee Myers was press secretary for President Bill Clinton and
Mark McKinnon`s a former Bush campaign adviser and now a contributor to the
DailyBeast.

Dee Dee, I never thought I`d start a show by saying this is really
about sex (INAUDIBLE) really about that. Earlier today on the campaign
trail -- well, actually, on his plane, Paul Ryan answered questions about
Todd Akin and other similar stances on legislation in the past.

Let`s listen to him try to deal with this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: (INAUDIBLE) and
Jack Danforth and the rest of the Missouri delegation, current and former,
feel he should have dropped out of the race. But he`s not. He`s going to
run his campaign. We`re going to run ours.

QUESTION: You co-sponsored abortion-related legislation with
Congressman Akin.

RYAN: That bill passed --

QUESTION: Do you regret that now?

RYAN: -- I think, by 251 votes. It was bipartisan. I think HR-3`s
the one you`re probably talking about. I think had 251 votes, 16
Democrats. I`m proud of my (INAUDIBLE) Mitt Romney`s going to be the
president and the president sets policy. His policy has exceptions for
rape, incest, life of the mother. I`m comfortable with it because it`s a
good step in the right direction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: I don`t know about that. Anyway, last night in an
interview with Pittsburgh station KDK, which, by the way, was the first
radio station, Paul Ryan was questioned about his role in legislation
including the term "forcible rape." That was a phrase that came out of his
mouth, Ryan. He invented that one, a term NBC`s Kelly O`Donnell reports
Ryan himself proposed for an amendment back in 2009 and supported again the
next year.

Let`s watch him deal with this one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You sponsored legislation that has the language
"forcible rape." What is "forcible rape" as opposed --

RYAN: Rape is rape. It`s -- rape is rape, period. End of story.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So that "forcible rape" language meant nothing to
you at the time?

RYAN: Rape is rape. And there`s no splitting hairs over rape.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: These guys, Dee Dee, are on talking points now. They have
been -- they have been gagged. They can`t think what they -- say what they
think.

DEE DEE MYERS, FORMER PRES. CLINTON PRESS SECRETARY: Right.

MATTHEWS: He, that guy talking right there, was the guy that came up
with the phrase back in 2009 with an amendment to a Ways and Means bill.
It was beaten. He used it again in 2010, 2011 -- his phrase, and now he`s
saying it doesn`t mean anything.

MYERS: Right. Rape is rape.

MATTHEWS: Why`d he bring it up? Why is he playing this game of
working the edges of abortion rights? You know what he`s doing, limiting,
limiting, limiting, and now he`s denying that`s the game he`s playing.

MYERS: Right. During his years in the House, he sponsored, co-
sponsored 36 different provisions to restrict access to abortion,
including, as you point out, introducing this concept that you could --
that there were different variations of rape, some more serious, where the
federal government might pay for abortion through Medicaid or another
program. Others where no, you wouldn`t. And who knew that there were
different variations of rape? Rape is rape.

Now, Paul Ryan seems to have discovered that today --

MATTHEWS: By the way, even to give the guy all the credit in the
world for mental ability, could he have been talking about statutory, which
has to do with ages?

MYERS: Well, that`s --

MATTHEWS: Even in that case --

MYERS: Right!

MATTHEWS: -- you wonder why you`d make the exception.

MYERS: Exactly because if 13-year-old is the victim of incest from --
which --

MATTHEWS: Or just her boyfriend.

MYERS: Yes, exactly, or even if it`s somewhat consensual -- that`s
what they`re trying to get away from, is any kind of consensual. But what
they`re trying to do is say only rape that`s basically at gunpoint counts -
-

MATTHEWS: Yes.

MYERS: -- as rape and that women are responsible for anything else
that happens to them. And it`s -- it`s -- I mean, now -- the truth is, is
that Todd Akin didn`t misspeak. He actually said what he believed. And
that`s what`s ignited this controversy.

MATTHEWS: And by the way --

MYERS: And he outed all these other --

MATTHEWS: -- the Republican National Committee --

MYERS: -- Republicans who believe the same thing.

MATTHEWS: I want to get to the expert on this, Mark McKinnon, who`s
worked with the Republican -- here the Republican National Committee voted
on their platform language just yesterday regarding abortion. It did not
make any exceptions for rape or incest, in line with what they did back in
2004, 2008, no more exceptions.

It reads, quote, "Faithful to the self-evident truths enshrined in the
Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and
affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life
which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the
Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the 14th
Amendment`s protections apply to unborn children."

Mark McKinnon, this is exactly in line with the personhood approach
because that -- the 14th amendment says no person shall be denied life,
liberty and the other -- full -- full access to the law and equal
protection of the laws.

Why are they going into the personhood stuff in this platform that`s
going to be ratified Monday? Why are they getting into this in the midst
of all this trouble?

MARK MCKINNON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, Chris, as you know, the
platforms are usually a nod to sort of the ideological components of the
party on either side. And traditionally, these things are generally sort
of written in and then quickly ignored because the leadership or the
nominee often takes a different position, as is the case this time.

The problem with the Akin situation is the incident itself, but
compounding the problem in a really big way is the timing because look what
we`re talking about. We were all talking about Paul Ryan and his big ideas
and elevating the conversation, and look what we`re talking about right
now, going into the Republican convention at a time when Republicans wanted
to send a message of tolerance and inclusion, big tent, and here we are
talking about issues that have a lot of women running for the exits.

MATTHEWS: You know, they`re really getting into defining the rights
of the unborn child, the fetus, if you will -- whatever term you use.
They`re all appropriate, I suppose, but depending on your point of view and
your philosophy.

But here they are going into tremendous detail about the various
rights that should go to the unborn child, if you will.

MYERS: Right. Right.

MATTHEWS: And they`re talking about the 14th Amendment rights, all
the rights to a person.

MYERS: Right.

MATTHEWS: And then you have Paul Ryan saying "forcible rape" because
he doesn`t want to have any exceptions to the abortion law. And then this
personhood amendment.

MYERS: Right.

MATTHEWS: Why are they pushing so hard? You`re a student of
politics. Why would the right say it`s not simply enough that the Hyde
amendment says no money goes for abortions, except for rape and incest?
Why are they trying -- is this just part of that general push to shorten
and limit the possibility of any kind of abortion in this country?

MYERS: Yes, but that`s become the ideological center of the
Republican Party. And one of the reasons this is such an explosive issue
now is that it`s been -- you know, the Republicans didn`t want to talk
about social issues, they wanted to talk about economic issues. They
forced the conversation back onto these issues.

This is what the party believes. In that human rights -- human life
amendment that`s part of their platform, there are no exceptions, not for
the life of the mother, not for rape, not for incest. There is no
exception to that.

And that`s also true in the personhood amendment which Paul Ryan co-
sponsored, which would say -- not only would outlaw all abortion under any
circumstances, it would outlaw many forms of birth control --

MATTHEWS: IUDs.

MYERS: -- and in vitro fertilization.

MATTHEWS: Right.

MYERS: So those are not positions that the Republican Party wants to
talk about now.

MATTHEWS: OK --

MYERS: And it`s also not a fringe position within the party anymore,
Chris. That`s what`s, I think --

MATTHEWS: I know that`s interesting. By the way, we`re going to get
into the polling on this.

MYERS: It`s become a very mainstream party (SIC). It`s the center of
gravity. It`s where the energy in the Republican Party is today.

MATTHEWS: Absolute pro-life.

MYERS: Absolute under all circumstances.

MATTHEWS: OK. This morning on the "TODAY" show, Matt Lauer
questioned Todd Akin, the man at the heart of this controversy, about his
use of the word "legitimate," as in "legitimate rape." Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. TODD AKIN (R-MO), SENATE CANDIDATE: "Legitimate" does not --
should not be in the context of rape at all. That`s completely wrong and
what I understood that I had been offensive to people and that I had
misspoken, then I first off apologized.

There is no rape that is legitimate. It`s a heinous crime, one of the
most serious. And I understand that the victims are harmed for a long
time. And I take that very seriously. But while I apologize for the
misuse of that word, at the same time, I don`t apologize for the fact that
I am strong in my belief of pro-life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: He is really talking down to the person watching the show
and anybody watching that tape, Mark McKinnon. He is talking down. His
use of the term of "legitimate" meant there are only certain legitimate
events that can be categorized as rape. There are others that can`t quite.

He never said there was such a thing as legitimate rape. Here he is,
denying something he never meant to say as some sort of apology, which is
just bogus!

Anyway, Matt Lauer also asked Akin if he believed women were lying
about their rapes, which I think is what he was saying. Let`s take a look
at his answer to Matt.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATT LAUER, CO-HOST, "TODAY": Do you believe that many women -- and I
don`t mean just a few, but many women lie about being raped to gain access
to abortions?

AKIN: Well, no, I don`t believe that that`s the case. And that was -
- as I said, the -- comments were misspoken there, particularly on the word
"legitimate." I don`t think that`s the case.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Let me go back to Mark. That`s a complete contradiction of
what he said the other day when he talked about the Roe case and how he
thought -- he said there`s an example of somebody saying rape when there
wasn`t rape. That`s exactly what he`s denying, what he said before. He
wasn`t apologizing for what he said. He`s not even admitting what he said.
Go ahead, your thoughts, Mark.

MCKINNON: Yes, well, nor did he apologize for the warped notions of
his physiology and biology of women. What bothers a lot of people like me
in the party is that we could nominate a guy like this in the first place.
I mean, how do we get --

MATTHEWS: Well, what about Ryan? What about Ryan? Is he any
different than this guy, except in his charm, perhaps, he`s a little more
charming guy? You heard him on the plane right there. He was double-
talking about what he himself had introduced, the language of "forcible"
rape.

MCKINNON: Yes. It`s unclear from that answer exactly what he had in
mind, whether it was related to consensual sex, as Dee Dee was talking
about. I don`t know. I`d sure like a clearer answer. It`s problematic.

As I said, we`re talking about Paul Ryan`s abortion record now, rather
than his economic and his tax plans. So that in itself is a problem.

MYERS: And it`s important to note that he said that 252, whatever
number of members voted for HR-3. That was only after the "forcible rape"
language was dropped.

MATTHEWS: Good point. Good homework!

MYERS: So he`s trying --

MATTHEWS: I didn`t know that. Thank you.

MYERS: -- to have it both ways.

MATTHEWS: Because I was looking at the notes today. Let`s take a
look -- I was listening to what he said, got confused by that.

Last night on Fox television, Sarah Palin called for Akin to get out
of the race -- now, there`s a standard! -- and floated the idea -- well,
she`s a wild one. Talk about going rogue. She wants a third party
candidate to emerge in Missouri to go against Claire McCaskill, the
incumbent Democrat, and this guy.

Let`s take a look at this thought process of Sarah Palin`s.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH PALIN (R-AK), FMR. GOV., FOX CONTRIBUTOR: What he`s doing right
now, Greta, bless his heart -- he`s inviting himself back into this general
election that`s coming up, and he`s going to get defeated. And that`s
unfortunate.

That is why we have to think pragmatically about this and we have to
think, Well, what`s another option? Is a third party another option? If
it is, let`s go. The status quo has got to go!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: I love that backdrop!

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) Nantucket, but nothing like that one! That`s
really an interesting backdrop in Alaska.

Let me ask you what -- what`s she talking about? She`s basically --

MYERS: I have no idea.

MATTHEWS: -- trash-canning (ph) the guy. He`s gone.

MYERS: Right. Right.

MATTHEWS: That`s the news.

MYERS: Right.

MATTHEWS: But then this --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: -- third party is always very hard.

MYERS: Right. Right. Right. So they want him out and he`s not
going. And they`re stuck.

MATTHEWS: OK, what`s this do, Mark? You`re an expert at imagery and
the way things develop on television especially. What happens if we go in
-- we`ll have a thunderstorm down there, maybe what, a hurricane, Isaac,
coming into town, everything but frogs, I guess, are coming to the
Republican convention.

But what happens if this is the story percolating all through Monday
morning right into the heart of the convention, this issue of this guy.

MCKINNON: Well, of course, that`s why it`s problematic, Chris, and
that`s why I think that we -- in part, why we`ve seen such a quick and
broad consensus among Republican leadership and grass roots people from
Hannity to Rush. I mean, everybody`s condemning it across the board. It
want this off the table before Monday so they can get on to issues that
(INAUDIBLE) have a broader appeal to the general electorate.

MATTHEWS: Well, I think he stays in. I think he`s very much
theocratic --

MYERS: I hope he`s staying in!

MATTHEWS: -- by his religion --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: There`s nobody is a higher authority to him than the higher
authority he`s listening to, and I don`t think these joker in the so-called
Republican establishment --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: -- have the slightest influence on this guy.

MYERS: -- and he won in spite of that. So he believes that --

MATTHEWS: He bet them once, he`ll beat them again.

MYERS: Exactly. We`ll see what happens.

MATTHEWS: And joy (ph) to the world!

(LAUGHTER)

MYERS: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Dee Dee Myers. And thank you, Mark
McKinnon.

Coming up: Reality bites. The Modern Republican Party -- global
warming not happening, they say. Evolution? A liberal theory. Rape?
Can`t cause pregnancy. How Republicans have become the party of science
deniers.

Plus, why is Mitt Romney running yet another ad that states quite
falsely that President Obama has ended welfare work requirements? Well,
here`s a hint. He`s not doing well enough among white voters as he`d like
to and so he`s pulling out that old -- well, let`s call it the old code
word.

Also, a number of new state polls in the presidential race. There may
be some movement, by the way, going on in those swing states.

"Let Me Finish" tonight, by the way, with the wonders of science, from
Ben Franklin to Thomas Edison and the moon shot, and why this latest
rejection of human knowledge is so, well, un-American.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: We`ve got some new poll numbers from key battleground
states in the presidential race. Let`s check the HARDBALL "Scoreboard."

First to Virginia, where a new PPP poll shows President Obama with a
5-point lead now over Mitt Romney. It`s Obama 50 -- - that`s a magic
number -- and Romney 45.

Now to Wisconsin, Paul Ryan`s home state, and he may be helping. A
new PPP poll there has him very close, Romney 48, Obama 47. I think he`s
helping. Also from Wisconsin, the new Marquette University Law School poll
is also close, but Obama`s in the lead, 49-46 for Obama. And finally to
Michigan, the new Bawdwan (ph) or Baydoun Foster poll has Romney up 48-44.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think that he`s a
practical conservative. He`s got a very conservative voting record, but
he`s not a knuckle-dragger. He understood that TARP, while none of us
wanted to do it, if we were going to save -- save our economy, save the
world economy, it had to happen. I wish we didn`t have to do it, either,
but he understood that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That`s House Speaker John
Boehner`s assessment of Congressman Paul Ryan. He said -- not us, we
didn`t say it -- he said "he`s not a knuckle-dragger." By pointing out
Ryan`s not one of the knuckle-draggers in his caucus, Boehner does imply
that some GOP members are, in fact, knuckle-draggers. Given the adamantly
anti-science stance some Republican Party members have taken, we can`t
disagree.

Above and beyond Todd Akin saying women cannot become impregnated by a
rape, there`s more. Catch this. And this is a real pattern today.
Exhibit A, global warming. New York congresswoman Marianne (SIC) Buerkle,
a Republican, has been dubbed a member of the "flat earth five (ph)" for
her denial of global warming. Let`s listen to her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ANNE MARIE BUERKLE (R), NEW YORK: This cap-and-trade bill is a
tax on energy. That`s all it is. It`s a tax on energy and it`s based on
some specious global warming. That -- whether or not there`s real global
warming has not been determined.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: "Has not been determined." Buerkle`s in good company, by
the way. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney agrees. Let`s
listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R-MA), FMR. GOV., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My view is
that we don`t know what`s causing climate change on this planet, and the
idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try and reduce CO2
emissions is not the right course for us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: At least he`s admitting there is climate change. That`s
progress in that crowd.

Exhibit B, evolution. Who can forget Rick Perry on the campaign trail
explaining how they sort of teach evolution down in Texas. Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX): You know, it`s a theory that is out there.
It`s got some gaps in it. In Texas, we teach both creationism and
evolution.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ask him why he doesn`t believe in science.

PERRY: And I figure -- because I figure you`re smart enough to figure
out which one`s right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Unbelievable. Anyway, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann --
wouldn`t miss her -- isn`t so sure about evolution, either, and she says
she`s got science on her side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN), FMR. PRES. CANDIDATE: There is a
controversy among scientists about whether evolution is a fact.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, what is the aversion on the Republican side to
scientific fact these days? What`s it doing to the Republican Party, to
politics generally, and to Mitt Romney`s chance of becoming president?

Bill Nye is CEO of the Planetary Society, and of course, "The Science
Guy. And Howard Fineman, another kind of science guy, is editorial
director of the Huffington Post Media Group and an MSNBC analyst.

Bill, thanks so much for coming on. It`s an unusual question, but you
know, I`m doing a little commentary at the end of this show. You could do
much better. I talk about how the wonderful American tradition of young
kids growing up loving Ben Franklin, loving Thomas Edison, loving the moon
shot, all the days of Walt Disney and watching our attempts to catch the
Russians and beating them finally and loving it, and what we do with --
every time we win a handful of Nobel Prizes for chemistry or physics, we
just love rooting for that in this country.

What has gone against that in the Republican Party? Without being too
partisan, what has caused this rejectionism of thought?

BILL NYE, THE SCIENCE GUY: It is a mystery.

But it is generally agreed that you whatever you believe as a kid
sticks with you your whole life. And so I would say, in general, these
people got misperceptions when they were young and it is still with them.

And that wouldn`t matter, except we have climate change. We have
seven billion people living on what`s proven to be a pretty small planet.
So being anti-science at this point in history is very serious for all
humankind, and of course it`s very serious for us as citizens of the U.S.,
who have this expectation that we will be leaders in science and
technology.

And what I really encourage --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Yes, go ahead. Go ahead.

NYE: What I really encourage you guys -- well, no, I`m just asking
you in the media to ask these people who are running for president and vice
president, ask them directly about climate change and ask them directly
about science, ask them directly about evolution, rather than just getting
these sound bites, which are very compelling and creepy, unsettling.

Just ask them directly, why don`t you believe in climate change? What
is it about it that you find unacceptable? Because the science is
overwhelming.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Well, Mr. Nye, let me tell you, we did. Here back at the
last presidential campaign, back in 2008, we asked Mr. Romney and the
others about this whole question of evolution.

And watch this, what happened when we -- it was my Jim VandeHei, who
was co-anchor that night out at the Reagan Library, and he began asking
them about who believes in evolution and who doesn`t believe in evolution.
Here is John McCain sort of starting it off on the right foot and then
these other guys going the other way. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM VANDEHEI, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, POLITICO: Senator McCain, this comes
from a Politico.com reader and was among the top vote-getters in our early
rounds. They want a yes or no. Do you believe in evolution?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Yes.

VANDEHEI: I`m curious, is there anybody on the stage that doesn`t
agree in -- believe in evolution?

MCCAIN: May I just add to that?

VANDEHEI: Sure.

MCCAIN: I believe in evolution, but I also believe when I hike the
Grand Canyon and see a sunset, that the hand of God is there also.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, that sounds right to me.

But, look, Brownback, Huckabee and Tancredo all put their hands up.
They don`t believe in evolution there.

Howard, I think there`s a couple of things going on here. Obviously
business types think that if they accept the fact that there`s a mankind
influence on climate change, they are going to have to change some of their
regulatory laws. CO2 emissions, they will deal with that and it will hurt
their freedom in the marketplace. Right?

There`s the other thing about the religious front. You and I were
trained in the Bible and we learned it was all part of the moral lesson we
were taught as children, so powerful in our lives. But the scientific
nature, we always said, yes, but that was important. There`s important
stories in the Bible, but there`s also science and archaeological fact out
there we have to deal with and the history of the dinosaurs. That all
occurred as well.

But these new people politically are saying, oh, no, no, all answers
are in the Bible. We politicians have to say so. And we have to deny the
history of mankind and the history of this planet. It is frightening.

HOWARD FINEMAN, NBC CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Chris, I`m not
making a value judgment when I say this. OK?

But the Republican Party has become a faith-based party. Starting
with Ronald Reagan, there was a marriage between the Bible Belt of the
South, the fundamentalist Bible Belt of the South --

MATTHEWS: Literal interpretation.

FINEMAN: Literal interpretation -- and Catholics elsewhere in the
country who are becoming more conservative socially.

They joined hands. And there are many good things that came from
that, especially if you believe in the Republican Party and its success.
But these people start from a fundamentally different point of view on
questions such as abortion, on questions such as evolution, on questions
such as climate change.

And they see, as John McCain belatedly said, the hand of God in
everything that happens and they look to God first. There are legitimate
concerns, for example, about genetic manipulation of the human species.
Who -- should we leave that to God or do we as human beings take that on?
There is a serious point underneath this.

MATTHEWS: I agree.

FINEMAN: OK? There is. But nobody in the modern Republican Party
dares question the orthodoxy of a faith-based Republican Party at this
point. That`s what it is. It is a Bible-based Republican Party.

MATTHEWS: And I think it`s also -- it is also market-based.

Let me go back to Mr. Nye here.

But, first of all, it seems to me that when you get a guy like this
guy Todd Akin saying you can`t get impregnated if you are raped, it seems
to me what he is wrestling with is this sort of fundamentalist notion, if
abortion is wrong, then how could God have allowed situations where it
might be necessary or appropriate by -- because of rape? Therefore, simply
dictate the fact, oh, well, that you can`t get impregnated -- you can`t get
pregnant if you are raped.

That`s a way of circumventing any scientific fact. Just create a new
one. Explain why a guy would say something like that.

NYE: Oh, yes.

Well, I think it is just what you are saying. It`s wishful thinking.
And I talk about this all the time. If you grow up -- if you had grown up
in Oklahoma with these wide-open spaces and your neighbor -- your nearest
neighbor is very far away, having human species change the climate of the
planet is literally unimaginable.

And so you -- you develop this world view that what you -- what you
expect to be true will be true. And I just want to add this point for both
of you guys while you are here. After this convention, just beware --
whether you are a conservative voter or a progressive voter, just beware
that Mr. Romney has long tradition of changing, of changing the way he
talks about these things.

And I will not be surprised if he goes much more to the center very
quickly.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Don`t count on it.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Let me give you some advice.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I do this for a living, Mr. Science Guy.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: I do this for a living.

(CROSSTALK)

NYE: Bring it on. I know.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: He ain`t even going to try that baby. That was the old
game. I think the old game was go to the center. This guy wants to heat
up his base. He wants to heat up the pressure cooker.

FINEMAN: I think what`s -- and Dee Dee Myers said it in the first
segment. Paul Ryan is representative of a new generation that was born
into that new Republican Party that I described just before.

MATTHEWS: And they are the ones having the convention this week.

FINEMAN: He is the first Gen Xer to be on a presidential ticket.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

FINEMAN: He`s 42 years old and he`s steeped in this.

He starts every consideration of public policy not from the standpoint
of science, but from the standpoint of faith. That`s who Paul Ryan is.

MATTHEWS: I know.

FINEMAN: And they are not going to shut him up if he gets into the
White House, I can assure you.

MATTHEWS: He is going to make Barry Goldwater look like Nelson
Rockefeller by the end of this convention.

Anyway, thank you, Mr. Nye.

NYE: OK. Oh, no, thank you guys.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I share your worry about this and I respect you so much.

Are you telling us how to do this thing?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Thank you, Howard. Thank you.

This guy is telling us how to do what we do all the time.

You explain the general --

NYE: No. I`m just worried. I`m worried.

MATTHEWS: -- theory of relativity, and I will try to explain this
stuff.

Anyway, up next, "Curb Your Enthusiasm"`s Larry David is looking up to
drum up enthusiasm among younger voters this election. His very funny plea
coming up next in the "Sideshow."

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON")

JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON": I just read that
a hurricane can threaten next week`s Republican National Convention in
Tampa. It could really hurt Republicans, which explains its name,
Hurricane Todd Akin.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Funny, but true.

But not only is there concern that the Todd Akin fiasco will be a dark
cloud over the convention, but weather forecasts show that a hurricane
named Isaac could hit Florida at the beginning of next week.

Anyway, Todd Akin is still attempting to ramp up support for his
Senate campaign despite pressure from all sides to get out of the race.

Yesterday, Akin`s Web site featured a petition for people who still
want to back him up. Notice the gaffe, though. "Tell McCaskill your
running with Todd Akin" -- Y-O-U-R. Well, OK, a relatively minor grammar
blunder, no big deal.

But check out take two, the second attempt, a nonexistent spelling of
the word "you`re" with an extra R in it. Never seen that one before.
Finally, by the third attempt, the spelling issues were squared away. The
gaffe that prompted -- prompted the petition, though, obviously far from an
easy fix.

Next, "Curb Your Enthusiasm`s" Larry David has a new role. There he
is. He`s trying to get young people to hit the polls on Election Day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY DAVID, ACTOR: Young people, I would say to you it`s very
important to vote, that not to vote, why are you even living here? You
could be living anywhere. You could be living in Iran or North Korea. How
would you like that? Then -- yes, then you could sit on your coach.

But here you are allowed to vote, so you might as well do it. What do
you think of that, young person?

NARRATOR: You must vote.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, the message couldn`t be more clear. Get off your
you know what and register to vote.

President Obama had a similar get-out-the-vote message for a crowd in
Las Vegas just today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Part of the jobs bill
that I sent to the new Congress last September would have helped states
like Nevada prevent further layoffs, would allow them to rehire teachers
who had lost their jobs. But Republicans in Congress let --

(BOOING)

OBAMA: No, no, no, no. Don`t boo. Vote.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: I like that. Don`t boo. Vote, although in that case the
message, even more than Mr. David`s, was quite partisan.

Anyway, up next: Why`s Mitt Romney running yet another deceptive,
dishonest ad that President Obama wants to end the work requirements for
welfare? Maybe it is because he`s not doing well enough among white voters
and needs to blow that old dog whistle, you know, with the code on it?

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SUE HERERA, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Sue Herera with your CNBC "Market
Wrap."

Stocks ending mixed, with the Dow Jones industrial average skidding 30
points, the S&P 500 up just a fraction. And the Nasdaq added six-and-a-
half points.

The latest minutes from the Federal Reserve showed many members are
ready for another round of fiscal stimulus if the economy doesn`t improve
fairly soon. Meanwhile, Hewlett-Packard and Dell sagged on reports of
slowing sales ahead of the launch of Microsoft`s Windows 8.

That`s it from CNBC. We are first in business worldwide -- and now
back to Chris and HARDBALL.

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

It may not be true, but Mitt Romney has no plans to give up his attack
on President Obama that he`s dismantling those welfare work requirements
and simply handing checks to people. Well, today, his campaign released a
statement commemorating the 16th anniversary of President Clinton signing
welfare reform. It again accused President Obama of gutting work
requirements.

Earlier this week, the Romney campaign released their latest ad on
welfare. Let`s watch it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NARRATOR: Since 1996, welfare recipients were required to work. This
bipartisan reform successfully reduced welfare rolls.

On July 12, President Obama quietly ended the work requirement,
gutting welfare reform. One of the most respected newspapers in America
called it nuts, saying, "If you want to get more people to work, you don`t
loosen the requirements. You tighten them."

Mitt Romney`s plan for a stronger middle class will put work back in
welfare.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, the president didn`t end work requirements.

When he was asked about the Romney attacks, here is what President
Obama did say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: You have got Governor Romney creating as a centerpiece of his
campaign this notion that we`re taking the work requirement out of welfare,
which every single person here who has looked at says is patently false.

They can run the campaign that they want. But the truth of the matter
is, you can`t just make stuff up. And that`s one of the things you learn
as president of the United States. You get called into account.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: So why`s Romney, the candidate for president on the
Republican side, focused on welfare? And what`s the message he is trying
to send the voters?

James Peterson is director of Africana studies at Lehigh University
and a contributor to TheGrio.com. Sam Stein is political editor for The
Huffington Post and a contributor here to MSNBC.

I want to start with James on this.

And what do you make of this? This is something that they are running
relentlessly. They`re throwing in Bill Clinton here. And they are making
him the good guy. They`re making Obama the bad guy. I see race here. And
I don`t see it all the time. I see it. I see welfare queens. I see food
stamp talk. It`s the same old --

JAMES PETERSON, LEHIGH UNIVERSITY: Right.

MATTHEWS: It`s not even code. It is direct. My thought.

Yours?

PETERSON: It`s -- it is pretty direct.

No, you`re -- you are right here, Chris. And I`m glad that we can
move beyond the ad. Remember, this ad has been debunked across the board.
MSNBC`s own Joe Scarborough, who leans to the right quite a bit, came out
against these ads as being inaccurate.

So, you have to ask the question, why are they still being used? And
bottom line is there are racial codes that are inherent in our discourses
about public assistance and about welfare. We can talk about the history
of welfare queens. We can talk about the ways in which welfare has been
racialized historically, but once we realize that these particular ads in
2012 are not accurate, we have to conclude that the Romney campaign has a
pretty sinister strategy to tap into some of those old codes about welfare
and about public assistance being only used and exploited and fraudulently
used sometimes by people of color.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: You know, Sam, I remember during the primary
campaign got heated. I enjoyed it actually. It got so heated for a while
there. Ands people like Newt Gingrich saying Obama was the food stamp
president. That was more direct than this.

I`m sorry. Your thoughts on this? Is this simply trying to get the
certain percentage of the white non-college vote up to the level they
needed at and even if the cost of being ridiculed by the objective umpires
of this business who know these ads aren`t right?

SAM STEIN, HUFFINGTON POST: Well, you know, the -- race for the
African-American voter isn`t exactly a nail biter. The NBC/"Wall Street
Journal" poll had it at 94-0 for Obama. So, if that`s the premise you are
operating off of you have to -- you know, in due course get the other votes
out.

I think, yes, this --

MATTHEWS: No, we got Ron Christie on here a lot, and I`ve to got to
get Ron to explain how he got a zero in the latest poll. I`m just kidding.
There are obviously some African-Americans, I know them, who are voting for
Romney. So, I don`t buy that poll. I just don`t buy it.

STEIN: It will not end up being zero.

PETERSON: It is not statistically significant, Chris.

STEIN: Yes. My point is still the same, which is that you do end up
having to -- if you`re running a campaign, you end up having to run up the
margins where it counts.

And, you know, my colleague Arthur Delaney, who looked into this
extensively, noted there is a study a brown professor did, the ads are
resonating among working class white voters. And I think they -- you know,
the historical legacy of these ads is very clear. They resonate with a
certain audience. That audience is the audience Mitt Romney needs to drive
up an election and he`s testing the president`s proposition that you can`t
make things up. He is making things up and he`s seeing if it works.

MATTHEWS: Well, as the first read blog pointed out today, the
welfare line of attack has a lot to do with Romney`s need to expand his
margin was white voters out there. Our latest NBC poll shows Romney up by
13 points in the -- among white voters generally. But that margin is one
point better than John McCain did in 2008, according to the exit polls that
year, of course. McCain lost decisively.

So, the argument out there seems to be, James, in real politics sort
of way, Machiavellian sort of way, as nasty as these ads are, as inaccurate
as they could be, they achieve a goal -- which is to get the white voter,
especially the non-college white voter really ticked off. Really ticked
off at Obama who he may personally like, even though he`s black and they
are white, he may have gotten past that and said -- I like the guy
personally. He is a good family man but I just hearing this ad, he`s out
there screwing up the system and letting welfare cheats make it`s easier
for themselves. So I got to vote against this guy.

PETERSON: Well, listen, while Sam is right, he is referencing
Michael Telster`s (ph) study which is -- I know the Republicans don`t
always like science so much. But it is a statistically important study to
think about what this sort of larger problem here is.

Bottom line is these things are going to appeal to people -- these
ads will appeal to people who are more conservative racially, who are
sometimes working class white males. But we have to also remember that if
this work for a lot of different issues that don`t have the same kind of
history is welfare. Things like health care, things like cap and trade,
are still also being racialized in the political environment that we`re in.

So, we need to really step back and think about this in a really -- I
think a more complicated way and realize what the Romney campaign is doing,
sacrificing the sort of public good of our real politics, as you say,
Chris, in sort of for the short-term advantage of getting these 2 percent
amongst white voters.

MATTHEWS: Last word, Sam. Last word, Sam.

STEIN: There`s been a concerted effort by the Romney campaign to
sort of portray Obama as, you know, fouling up the Clinton legacy, to
contrast the two Democrats against each other. Whereas Clinton was this
new Democrat, Obama sort of this old liberal statist Democrat. This goes
to that as well.

They want to portray Obama as something different than even Bill
Clinton was and so they`re harking back to these welfare reform debates.

MATTHEWS: Yes, just remember, Bill Clinton signed that welfare
reform bill because he politically thought he had to. Not because he --

STEIN: Bill Clinton also called these attacks by Romney dead wrong.
So --

MATTHEWS: He`s going to be part of this campaign, too. I think
Clinton will come out for Obama. What do you think?

Anyway, thank you, James Peterson. And thank you, Sam.

No. I`m being sarcastic. He`s going to campaign like mad, because
if Hillary Clinton is going to be president, she`s got a much better chance
of being president, not just running, if Barack Obama gets reelected. I`ll
argue that with anybody.

Up next, so how does President Obama get white working class voters
to come over to their side? That`s up and it`s a hot one for progressives.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Well, the Democratic Party released the names of more
speakers for their convention the week after next down in Charlotte, North
Carolina. There is a theme. Caroline Kennedy, Georgetown University
student Sandra Fluke, Wisconsin Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin, Illinois
Tammy Duckworth. Plus, Lilly Ledbetter, the equal pay crusader, whose bill
was the first bill that President Obama signed into law. And actress Eva
Longoria will also speak at the convention. Wow.

And the Democrats are looking to capitalize on the big gender gap as
we can see. Our latest NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll shows President
Obama leading Mitt Romney by 28 points on the quest of who would do more on
issues of special importance to women.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: We are back.

White working class voters used to be staunch Democrats. Back when
the government, back when the government helped build the middle class in
this country more than a half century ago. But these days, they largely
fall into the Republican camp, often voting against their own economic
interests and in favor of the wealthy. It`s a frustration for Democrats
who feel blue collar whites ought to be in their camp, but who often step
on their own message with famously with condescension and with talk of
those very people clinging to the guns and religion.

Well, Joan Walsh is author of "What`s the Matter with White Long
People: Why We Long for a Golden Age That Never Was". She`s also an MSNBC
political analyst and editor at large at "Salon."

Thank you, and congratulations, Joan. A cause very much in my own
heart, because I just want to start with this to help sell your book. A
picture I have in my mind.

It was the Bobby Kennedy funeral train --

JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: Oh my gosh!

MATTHEWS: -- coming down in 68 through New Jersey, and a lot of
African-American people along that route, emotionally driven to just to the
end of the line for losing Bobby.

WALSH: Right.

MATTHEWS: I saw the white people in that same railroad track along
those lines. One father and son apparently, dirty face that had working
jobs cleaning up around the yard or something -- regular, regular people
saluting. The father made the kid salute and he`s saluting.

The emotional connection the Democratic Party used to have with white
working people seems to really be in big disrepair to put it lightly.

WALSH: Yes. And I write about that period in my book. Bobby
Kennedy might have been -- was one of the last Democrats who had a prayer
of uniting African-Americans and the white working class and Latinos. I
mean, President Obama is trying, and I think he can make some inroads.

But, you know, when I talk in my book about the golden age that never
was, there was a golden age for some of us. You lived through it and I
lived through it where we did build that middle class with government
programs. We made a decision that we were going to flatten income and
equality after the tragedies of the Great Depression and World War II. We
really made decisions that built this vast middle class that we`re all so
proud of.

It was the G.I. bill. It was the New Deal, it was mortgage insurance
so that people could buy homes. We built public universities and built the
roads that let us drive out to our suburbs with our white picket fences. I
feel like a lot of white working class people don`t exactly know or
remember or realize the role they play --

MATTHEWS: OK. Well, let`s talk about today. I love your theory and
it`s a fact. My dad had the G.I. bill. He came out of the Navy --

WALSH: Yes.

MATTHEWS: -- in World War II and got us all through school. But to
help us get through school, the money he couldn`t help us with, we had NDA,
what they call loans. I was able to borrow when I went to holly cross
1,000 bucks every year at 3 percent.

WALSH: Right.

MATTHEWS: And you could pay for it when you got out of grad school,
when you got out of the peace corps, when you`re out in the military, you
can pay for it at 3 percent.

WALSH: Right.

Does the middle class enjoy those advantages from the federal
government that we had growing up, that got my father to bring us into the
middle class, allowed me to get a good education and obviously remember it?
Is that how it is today? Can the average person like us growing up today
get those advantages from the government that they can say, yes, I need the
government?

WALSH: No. First of all, we didn`t keep pace with the growth of the
population, and so we didn`t build the public universities and didn`t
extend the loans and Pell Grants and all that other stuff. Tuition has
risen astronomically. So even if you get your Pell grant or your loan,
you`re still going deeper into debt.

So, white people and other people, middle class people, have a lot to
be concerned about, have a lot to complain about. I think that the
president, you know, you and I are talking about this all the time now.
The president has gotten that message that we are all in this together. We
can do it and government has helped before, and government will help you
again.

And I like his messaging, and I think he can make inroads with the
white working class. He`s never going to win -- I don`t think he`s going
to win a majority. That`s impossible. But he did better with the white
working class and with white voters generally than white Democrats Al Gore
and John Kerry.

So, it`s not only about race, and I guess that`s my final message.
You know, I do feel that sometimes we can sound very condescending when we
talk about the reservations of the white --

MATTHEWS: But you never sound condescending. Never in my life have
I heard you say condescending word about the people we came from.

But I`ll tell you, the president is being guilty on this, when he did
make that comment about clinging to guns and their religion, he was talking
on Nob Hill somewhere, the really fancy part of San Francisco, talking to
people who think like that.

WALSH: Right.

MATTHEWS: And he was talking to them in their language, and he got
caught on tape talking like them, right?

WALSH: But the rest of his message -- that was a terrible thing to
say, Chris, but the rest of his message was that these people have been
abandoned, and they were also abandoned by the Democratic Party because we
went too far to business and Wall Street. So, there`s lots of things he
can do.

MATTHEWS: Talking to the contributors can ruin your language.
Anyway, thank you. The book -- I love the green cover by the way. There
it is for Joan Walsh appropriately covered in green. "What`s the Matter
with White People?" but has so many meanings. I`ve got to go get that
book.

Thank you, Joan Walsh.

WALSH: Thanks, Chris.

When we return let me finish why the Republican rejection of science
is downright, I`ll say it, un-American.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this. From the beginnings of
our republic, we Americans have been pioneers. We have gone on, as they
say in "Star Trek", where no man has gone before.

It`s not just geographic exploration, science and understanding the
wonders of the universe has been an American frontier since the days when
Ben Franklin put his kite in the air during a storm and excited us with the
nature of electricity. And Thomas Edison and his streak of genius that
seemed to invent just about everything.

How proud we are today each year when the American physicists and
scientists and chemists bring home their bundles of Nobel Prizes. And yes,
the engineers and their wonderful abilities to exploit and we`ve discovered
-- yes, we`ve got to the moon and yes we did. I used a cell phone and I`m
in wonder at it, still in wonder at the radio wave that can come through
concrete walls. I`m in wonder with the information I can come in on a
little device, small enough to fit in my pocket.

Isn`t science wonderful? Aren`t the people who did all wonderful?
Wasn`t Ronald Reagan right when he said his generation, the World War II
generation, were all born without all this wonder, that they were the ones
who developed it?

I don`t know where this new ignorance came from, this crazy rejection
of all mankind has learned. This refusal to rule out scientific evidence
that the Earth now is getting warmer, even as the snow and ice melt, in the
summers heat and lengthen. I don`t know what came of us, those religious
among us, who believed in moral truths of the Bible but have always
understood the discovery the bones and other artifacts, the long history of
this planet that predated the life of Abraham.

The reason we succeed, the reason America has marched this great
march is to learn and then to do the right thing. We cannot do good if we
refuse to do the other. Human knowledge is a good thing, and perhaps both
parties should put that simple declaration in the platforms this year.
Human knowledge is a good thing.

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

"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.


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