October 28, 2013
Guest: Chip Saltsman, Ezekiel Emanuel, Ceci Connolly, Ezekiel Emanuel,
Brandon Webb, Jay Newton-Small
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: The wacko-birds go pheasant hunting.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews up in New York.
"Let Me Start" tonight with this. Halloween is about pretend goblins. We
can laugh at what we`re afraid of -- death, zombies, ghosts, monsters, Tea
Partiers. But Ted Cruz is for real. And he`s not just a nightmare, but
out there this weekend in the broad, scary daylight of Iowa, he`s saying he
has nothing to be afraid of.
He denies he caused serious economic damage with that 16-day government
shutdown, even though economists who deal in real numbers say he did. He
said the real demons are those moderate Republicans who finally ended the
shutdown right on the edge of the government default.
Senator Cruz is the right-wing zealot of the season. His shutdown killed
public confidence in government. His attacks, relentless and righteous,
have stirred resistance to the president`s health care program. He tactics
of shutdowns and threats to default have hurt economic growth even as he
campaigns on a promise of, guess what, economic growth.
He reminds me of the kid who kills his parents, then begs the judge`s mercy
on the ground that he`s an orphan, a perfect candidate for Halloween week.
Howard Fineman is editorial director of the Huffington Post Media group,
and David Corn is Washington bureau chief for the "Mother Jones" magazine.
Both are MSNBC political analysts.
Anyway, next time you hear a conservative like Ted Cruz say the shutdown
was worth it, don`t believe it. "USA Today" on the cover surveyed 41 top
economists, and the news wasn`t good. Most agreed the shutdown hurt and
hurt badly. Only 7 percent of the economists say they are more optimistic
now than they were three months ago about the opportunity for this
country`s economic growth. More than half, 56 percent, say they are less
optimistic now after the shutdown. Well, the economists say the U.S.
economy would grow at a slower rate and job growth would be slower than
Let me go to David on this -- or let`s start with Howard. Howard, this
story that -- I do see a pattern here. Do your damage, and then when
you`ve done your damage, claim the failure was on the part of the person
you damaged. I mean, Cruz is getting it both ways, screw up the economy,
kill public confidence, and then say, Hey, there`s a lack of confidence,
and the economy`s not growing as fast as it could, so I`m going to bring
HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST MEDIA GROUP, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:
Well, Chris, I think there`s some validity to that based on the numbers.
That same study you were talking about estimated that job growth was
diminished by least 60,000 jobs a month over the last few months.
And that`s going to continue on into next year. It`s not like it stopped
because government is back in operation. There`ll be a continuing slowing
rippling effect over the next year. And as you point out, this whole
scenario could start up again in January and February, further sapping
consumer confidence. And that`s two thirds of the economy is consumer
So it`s a real threat, and it`s one reason why there`s a growing angry gulf
between Tea Party Republicans such as Ted Cruz and the business community,
which has been shut out to some extent, that wants its way back in here
before, as they see it, things get totally out of hand.
MATTHEWS: You know, I was skeptical, David -- and I`ll get back to you on
this, as well, Howard -- about this guy running for president. But there`s
Cruz out there with his gun, identifying with the NRA again -- especially
this weekend. So he`s tying together various elements of the right, the
gun people, the 2nd Amendment people, the hunters, very hard-right people,
not just hunters, obviously, or not all hunters.
But he`s out there doing the kind of thing that John Kerry did, the kind of
thing that Mitt Romney did. When you start seeing hunting season, you`re
looking at a guy running for president. I know it sounds wacko, but only
in this country would the wacko-birds sort of make their bones by being
seen with rifles and camo, or whatever this guy`s wearing.
DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, we`ve been
talking for weeks about the ongoing civil war in the Republican Party, and
a lot of viewers out there might think it`s too early to start discussing
2016, but --
MATTHEWS: I did, too, until now.
CORN: But indeed, all this tension within the Republican Party is being
played out within the early 2016 contest -- context. And what you have
here is really a fight -- there`s sort of two fights here. One is a fight
for who can be the wackiest of the wacko-birds and get that wing of the
party. The wacko wing of the party is, indeed, the wing that seems to be
the strongest now.
And the other question is, is there anybody on the right, you know, the
sane, pro-business, whatever you want to call them, Republicans who can put
the -- you know, who can put that to rest, whether it`s Chris Christie or
And just the other day, you saw Rick Santorum, who probably wanted to be
the wacko-bird nominee a couple weeks ago, now saying that he thinks Ted
Cruz is too far to the right and didn`t help with the government shutdown.
So when you see Rick Santorum doing that, it shows there`s a lot of
frustration that Cruz has jumped ahead of the wacko-bird pack --
CORN: -- to be the wackiest of them.
MATTHEWS: And here we are bird watching.
Anyway, despite the hit to our custody, not to mention the Republican
Party, Ted Cruz still blamed Senate Republicans for buckling too soon. He
said they should have gone off the cliff. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: We didn`t accomplish our ultimate policy goal in
this battle. And we didn`t because, unfortunately, a significant number of
Senate Republicans chose not to unite and stand side by side with House
Republicans. Had we stood together, I`m convinced the outcome of this
fight would be very, very different.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Howard, what do you make of this guy`s hand gestures? I mean,
there`s something evangelical about it, of course, something for Sunday
morning on television. But there`s something demonstrative about it. It`s
almost like he`s deciding who`s in, you know, (INAUDIBLE) and who`s out.
And he`s sort of showing the bunches of them. He`s, like, putting these
bunches of senators in his hands and showing -- I`ll shake some of these up
and I`ll look nicely on these other ones.
It`s certainly a strange way of making a point, but very evocative,
provocative. And it`s like he`s giving orders. He`s giving the orders and
he`s saying who the bad guys are.
FINEMAN: Chris, a couple things. He definitely does have the evangelical,
the Texas evangelical style, which he gets from his own father, who`s a
preacher, a businessman turned preacher in Texas. This is the world that
Ted Cruz grew up in, the sort of preaching from the pulpit, kind of a
secular pulpit, if you will.
But it`s not that secular because his own religious framework is one of
believing that morals and church values are the ones that should be guiding
society, not government. They set up a direct conflict between government
and faith, and that`s what he`s pursuing both with his hand gestures and
And don`t forget, Chris, in Iowa, evangelicals are an important, important
part if, not the dominant part --
FINEMAN: -- of the grass roots of the Republican Party. And as David
said, if 2016`s already under way, Ted Cruz is making a direct play in
words and gesture for the evangelical vote in Iowa, which is where the
whole thing begins in the Republican presidential contest.
MATTHEWS: Tell me -- tell me -- you first, and then David. What is the
Republican right? What is the "we" they talk about? It doesn`t include
minorities. It doesn`t include, you know, Hispanics, generally speaking
although he`s half Cuban. It seems to appeal to certain white
evangelicals, gun-owning, anti-government -- what else? What are these
pieces of this -- this right wing -- the "we" when he talks about "we
Americans," "we grass roots"?
First (INAUDIBLE) does not include -- we`ll get to it later -- the vast
majority of Americans when it comes to information about who`s buying guns
and background checks because 89 percent of us -- that means the American
people really, literally -- are for background checks. So when they say
the grass roots or "we" or "us," who are they talking about, Howard?
Because it`s not --
FINEMAN: Well, Chris --
MATTHEWS: -- a lot of our viewers, I know. It doesn`t include
progressives, certainly. It doesn`t include moderates because he`s dumping
all over the very idea of moderation now, like Goldwater did.
FINEMAN: Well, Chris --
MATTHEWS: So it means conservative right-wing, gun-toting anti-government
-- what are the other -- and evangelical, you point out.
FINEMAN: OK. Couple quick things. Everybody in the society enjoys the
fruits of Social Security and Medicare eventually. So they all believe in
government to that extent.
But this is cultural. I would divide it between church-going, rural --
this is an over-simplification --
FINEMAN: -- but I`m going to do it for your sake -- church-going rural
and secular metropolitan. And that`s sort of what we`re talking about
here. Those are the bases of the two. And that then involves the Bible
Belt, that involves the NRA, that involves the belief in the primacy of
faith over government, even if you are taking your Social Security and your
Medicare, versus the cities, and Barack Obama, lawyer from a big northern
city, et cetera, and the more secular values of the big city.
I see it as a city versus rural kind of thing, ultimately.
MATTHEWS: Right. So it`s Texas without Austin, David -- Texas without
Austin, North Carolina without Chapel Hill --
FINEMAN: Charlotte --
MATTHEWS: -- or Charlotte. It`s anywhere you get away from where they
have Starbucks, maybe. I don`t know. How do you --
CORN: But the interesting thing, too, here is that when he talks about "we
Americans," what he`s really saying is "we real Americans," as --
MATTHEWS: Who are they?
CORN: -- we were talking about the other day, you know, the group that
Howard just defined, that there`s something about this that is evangelical
both in religion and political and cultural. If you listen to Ted Cruz`s
father speaking at some of these evangelical churches, he really has an "us
versus them" view spiritually.
There are a couple -- you know, there`s a minority of real Christians, not
even all Christians, just real Christians, who understand what`s going on.
And they`re going to benefit, and the world and the country really depends
And so you take that out to the secular political realm, and again, it`s
"we Americans," we don`t even have to be in the majority. It`s just we who
don`t like Barack Obama, who want our guns, who don`t want "Obama care,"
we`re the real Americans.
So it`s not as if we have a culturally, politically diverse country going
on and we go back and forth in between who wins and who loses in policy
fights. It`s really about what is the real America. And I think it has
tremendously deep religious roots, as well.
MATTHEWS: You know, Howard, a lot of people grow up -- I didn`t start out
the way I am politically. I moved from -- like Hillary Clinton, very much
from right to left. And I began to -- even in college or younger, I began
to think, Wait a minute, we do need Social Security. Everybody can`t end
up on welfare because they didn`t have enough for (ph) savings or real
savings out of their work. You need a program to get people to save.
And you need Medicare for people who don`t have health. Nobody can pay the
health care costs these days on their own. And of course, you need civil
rights. You can`t wait around the Southern states to agree to (ph) it
(ph), three quarters of the states. There had to be measures taken to move
And that`s when I started thinking through a lot of this libertarianism as
a kid. But these -- what Cruz offers is libertarianism for kids, like we
don`t really need Social Security, we don`t really need Medicare. We don`t
really need to have civil rights. All this stuff will be -- was taken care
of by whom (ph), but no responsibility that those were good things.
Does he ever say the Democrats were right? Does he ever say they were
right to do Medicare, right to do Social Security --
FINEMAN: Yes, well --
MATTHEWS: -- right to do civil rights? Why doesn`t he -- he doesn`t
offer any compromise intellectually.
FINEMAN: He doesn`t.
MATTHEWS: Like, we`re always right to be hard right-wing opposed to
everything. And yet everybody with a brain knows that`s not true.
FINEMAN: I know, Chris. But I would say, to some extent, Ted Cruz is
going to take what`s given to him on the table.
FINEMAN: And I think --
MATTHEWS: In other words, say we got Social Security, we got Medicare, I`m
not arguing about that.
FINEMAN: I`m not even talking about that.
FINEMAN: And there aren`t enough Democrats and there aren`t enough
progressives who have the same evangelical -- secular evangelical fervency
that David`s talking about to defend in a moral way the role of government.
I think President Obama tries to do it. He speaks the words. But you
don`t always feel the emotion behind it and you don`t feel the struggles
behind it. Every generation has to fight for these things anew.
FINEMAN: And there`s a generational struggle every time out. I think
right now, the sense of mission and fervency on the right, as represented
by somebody like Ted Cruz, is fiery, is attractive to their base in a way
that I`m not sure all the time that President Obama`s is to the base of
progressives and the Democratic Party.
MATTHEWS: I agree.
FINEMAN: So Cruz is operating -- he`s -- Cruz is fighting on the other
team`s turf at this point.
MATTHEWS: Yes. But I tell you -- real quick here, David. I want you to
finish up here. If you`re a minority in this country, you can hear Cruz.
If you question religion occasionally, you have doubts like a lot of people
do about their religion, if you have any kind of secular attitudes or if
you have any kind of liberal, progressive -- or you`re even realistic about
the need for Social Security, Medicare and civil rights, don`t you see this
guy as the enemy? And not just the Halloween man, but somebody could
really be dangerous.
CORN: Well, it all depends how big the other side is, the group he`s
playing to. You know, his father -- to go back to the religious end --
believes in Dominion Christianity, that these people have been anointed to
basically take over and run the government and all aspects of society.
And Ted Cruz has that sort of fervor. He does seem like to be -- to
believe he`s somewhat of a prophet. And you know, to what degree he can
expand that appeal beyond the people who go to the mega-churches where his
dad and people like him are popular, remains to be seen.
But we do see that in the Republican Party over the last four to eight
years that that`s where the heart of the party is. It`s not really -- it`s
the old evangelical religious right has become the Tea Party. They`re one
and the same. And there`s a little more of a libertarian, populist streak
perhaps put into that. And he is going right at the heart of that. And I
think that puts him in a very good position for the time being politically
MATTHEWS: It`s so -- by the way, I want to make a little point. It`s very
much "stand your ground." It`s very much going on -- it`s very much 2nd
Amendment. This guy is not looking out for the regular person out there on
the street`s worried about too many guns. When he started walking around
with the camo and the guns, I started (INAUDIBLE) that`s religion for you?
That`s your idea of religion, guns?
Anyway, Howard Fineman, thank you, David Corn --
CORN: Guns and God.
MATTHEWS: Coming up: The GOP now has two faces facing off against each
other, the ideologues we`ve been talking about, and then there are those
electable Republicans back East. It`s hard-core purists like Ken
Cuccinelli in Virginia versus Chris Christie. And who`s going to win the
fight (ph) of that fight? Who`s going to be the Republican nominee come
2016? And that`s the fight.
Also, "60 Minutes" hit the Benghazi button hard. Can Hillary Clinton put
the issue behind her?
And many states have had huge success with their health care Web site.
That`s a good sign for the president`s health care program and a warning to
the GOP, once the national Web site thing gets fixed.
Finally: It came soon enough. The Web site is now a live target for "SNL."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Still need guidance? Consult healthcare.gov`s
frequently asked questions for topics like "What the hell?" "How have I
been on the same page for three hours?"
MATTHEWS: This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, Ted Cruz may end up a big winner one day in Iowa, but in
New Hampshire, he`s well off the pace. Take a look at this new
WMUR/University of New Hampshire poll on the New Hampshire Republican
presidential primary. The big leaders right now, more than two years out,
are Rand Paul and Chris Christie. Paul`s at 17 percent, Christie right
behind at 16. Next comes Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush. Ted Cruz is well behind
with just 6 percent.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. In the upcoming marquee contest of
2013, the Virginia and New Jersey governors` races, we see the conflicting
problem that are at the root of the Republican civil war, ideology versus
The focus of the Republican candidate in the Virginia race is on
ideological purity first and foremost. The party needs to satisfy, he
believes, the extreme right.
Because, campaigning for the Democratic candidate, Terry McAuliffe, his
friend, spoke about the extreme nature of the Republican candidate and
anger as its (ph) motivator.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The one political
virtue of extremism is this. If you can really get people all hot and
bothered and their insides in knots, full of anger, steam coming out of
their ears instead of a light bulb going off in their brains, they will
vote. They`ll show up every time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Anyway, that`s proof of Bill Clinton`s ability. He grew up as a
senator -- actually, as a governor in Arkansas, where he always had to
worry about the hard right. There you (ph) show a very keen intelligence
about what you`re up against as a Democrat.
Anyway, an average of all the most recent polling by RealClearPolitics has
McAuliffe, his friend, up by 9 points in Virginia.
In New Jersey, we see a very different Republican Party priority, winning.
Chris Christie`s the conservative governor whose focus is not ideological
but instead on winning elections. Just today, the basketball star and
likable fellow Shaquille O`Neal appeared in an ad endorsing Christie.
Here`s part of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHAQUILLE O`NEAL, FORMER NBA STAR: He`s a good man. Excuse me, he`s a
great man. Please join me in supporting Chris Christie for governor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: The governor -- that`s the tag line in that campaign. And the
RealClear average has Christie ahead in blue New Jersey by 26 points coming
into the election.
Joy Reid`s the managing editor of TheGrio and an MSNBC contributor. Chip
Saltsman`s a Republican strategist.
I think it`s possible to understand, Joy, that there`s such a thing as a
smart politician, not just an ideological right or left of middle-of-the-
road -- not all moderates are smart politicians. They can lose elections
just like ideologues can.
I would say that Bill Clinton is smartest politician of our time. And not
necessarily in his league but certainly up around the AAA level is this guy
Christie. I think the way he`s running his campaign is guaranteed to get
himself a 70 percent. Your thinking.
JOY REID, THEGRIO.COM, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first of all, don`t you
love the way Bill Clinton gets a little more Southern when he starts
MATTHEWS: -- can`t you?
REID: If pressed, I probably could.
I think the way he`s running his campaign is guaranteed to get himself a 70
JOY REID, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well -- well, first of all, don`t you love
the way Bill Clinton gets a little more Southern when he starts talking,
when he just digs into it? It`s great.
MATTHEWS: Well, you can do it too, can`t you?
REID: If pressed, I probably could.
REID: But, no, but I think Chris Christie understands how to be a
conservative running in a blue state.
He`s doing it exactly -- he`s calibrating -- his whole political life, his
whole political being is calibrated to New Jersey, which is a blue state,
which is going to vote for a Democrat in the next presidential election and
the next one after that probably. So, Christie understood that.
He also did something smart and expensive is that he moved his election so
he didn`t even have to confront the existence of Cory Booker when it came
to his own reelection.
REID: He separated those two. You don`t even have to think about the
Democrat, who`s also fairly popular, not as popular as he is, in that
MATTHEWS: No, fairly popular is fair enough.
And, by the way, I think it`s interesting just on the ethnic front.
Suburban Republicans don`t want to be thinking -- anybody thinking they
have got an ethnic problem.
MATTHEWS: And I think it just helps. You take a fellow who`s extremely
likable and nonpolitical like Shaq O`Neal, Shaquille O`Neal, who I have
always liked, by the way, and who has been always very good at commercials,
as I recall over the years.
MATTHEWS: He`s good at making the pitch. Chip, this is good timing too.
I think bringing in a nonpartisan person of color and obviously a very
attractive celebrity, bringing him in at this point sort of makes it easy
for the softer Democrat to go, I think I will vote for the Republican this
CHIP SALTSMAN, FORMER MIKE HUCKABEE CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Yes, no question.
Shaquille O`Neal has been known for great closure when it came to world
championships. And I think he is going to help close it out for Chris
Christie in this governor`s race. It`s the perfect spot for him to be in.
Governor Christie has run an -- almost a textbook perfect campaign. And
he`s going to have a big win next week. I don`t think there`s any question
MATTHEWS: It`s more fun being a governor, because you get to do things.
And I think Joy and I agree on this. And you don`t have to take
ideological positions on everything.
You can get away from abortion rights and same-sex -- mostly against same-
sex. He got involved in it, but he`s pretty much pro same-sex now.
Anyway, here was Ted Cruz on Friday making, speaking of the other kind,
making a case against running moderates. Never forget what you hear now.
This is the voice of the hardest right who says there`s something wrong
with compromise, something wrong with moderation. This is Barry Goldwater
writ large 2013. Here he is. Barry`s back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: What do all the Washington strategists say in
2014? Let`s go back to the model of `06, `08, and `12.
CRUZ: You guys pushing for a stand on Obamacare, that`s risky. No, no,
no, no, no. Just keep your head down and we will win races.
That`s not how you win races.
CRUZ: That`s based on the oh-so-clever idea that if your opponent is here
on the spectrum, that you want to be infinitesimally to their right so that
you can capture every voter right up to where they are.
The problem is if you do that, you destroy every single reason anyone has
to show up and vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Chip, moderation in defense of liberty is no virtue. I think I
read -- I just heard the Barry Goldwater anthem right there.
SALTSMAN: Well, I got to tell you, I`m not a Washington strategist. I`m
here in Nashville, Tennessee. I`m a pretty hard right guy as most people
on your show tweet me after your show to remind me that I am.
Look, winning elections is pretty important if you want to govern, and if
you govern, you are going to have to compromise sometimes. You don`t get
everything you want. Look, I`m pretty pure on a lot of different issues,
but I support candidates I don`t always agree with 100 percent of the time
because I have been involved for about 20 years.
I have only found one politician I agree with 100 percent of the time and
that`s me. And I can`t -- I have disagreements sometimes, and that`s what
we have got to deal with.
MATTHEWS: That`s pretty honest of you, I have to tell you.
I have discovered the politician you think you are and agree with 100
percent of the time often diverges from you over time. I have also noted
that dynamic, Joy. You think they`re completely with you. And then they -
- wait a minute, that`s another person. That`s not me.
REID: Until they`re not.
No, you know, what`s fascinating to me and a lot of us, Chris, is that
senators and governors, OK, both have to win statewide. They have to win
an entire state. But they live in sort of different ideological worlds.
If you`re a governor, you get elected and then you have to live there. If
you`re a senator, you get elected and you go to Washington, where suddenly
you`re subject to the group think and the group pressure of other
conservative senators or liberal senators, wherever your ideological camp
is, and you decamp to those positions.
Somebody like Ted Cruz I can`t imagine being the governor of any state,
even though the governor of his state is pretty far to the right too.
MATTHEWS: Exactly. You know why? Because the mayor of Austin, a liberal
city, will call him up and say we have problems with our sewers, can you
MATTHEWS: And he would put that straight arm of his, that evangelical arm
out. Don`t come to me with that.
MATTHEWS: You`re from the wrong side politically.
MATTHEWS: You know what I mean? But a governor has got to say, let me
help you. Let`s meet on Tuesday morning. I got an hour free. Let`s get
working on that. Right?
MATTHEWS: You have to do that.
REID: Rick Perry got -- Rick Perry is way to the right.
But when it came to driver`s licenses or, I mean, in-state tuition for
illegal immigrants in his state, he did that. He had been an apostate on
certain issues in order to govern, because you have to live there.
MATTHEWS: And he wants to have people who are helpful --
MATTHEWS: -- and productive citizens with good academic backgrounds.
Why wouldn`t you want to make your people better educated?
REID: That`s right, to attract businesses, to do all the things you got to
do as a governor.
MATTHEWS: Well, among Republican Party -- Republican Party ideologues, a
candidate`s position on the woman`s right to choose, for example, has been
a frequent way to measure party purity.
Today campaigning for Virginia`s Republican candidate for governor, Senator
Rand Paul said that scientific advancements could lead to eugenics, in
other words, selection of the hereditary qualities that will populate a
species unless conservatives fight against abortion rights right now.
Let`s listen to this scary talk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: In your lifetime, much of your potential or
maybe lack thereof will be known simply by swabbing the inside of your
In the process, will we perhaps eliminate something, some part of our
humanness, some part of our specialness, if we seek perfection? Will we be
flying too close to the sun?
But my hope, though, is that we don`t lose our appreciation of the miracle
that springs forth from tiny strands of DNA.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Joy, that reference to Icarus was probably better applied to
that guy talking than it is to the mother trying to get the perfect kid.
But why don`t we wait for the mother to be who does decide her about-to-be
baby is too short to have an abortion before we start criticizing this
behavior? Because it certainly is imaginative on his part. I wonder what
it`s got to do with the election for governor of Virginia in 2013.
REID: Exactly. It`s Byzantine. And this idea that you sort of go to
limbic brain of the far right and say that science is evil and it`s going
to destroy us and get rid of all the short people, what about the fact that
if you bring children into the world, but you follow the conservative ethos
that won`t give them preschool, that denies them Women Infant and
Children`s programs because you want to shut down the government, children
who can`t get a nutritious meal and go school and then you`re cutting
after-school programs and everything that helps them grow into these great
It doesn`t make any sense to say let`s just get them into the world and
then to hell with them. But that`s the ethos that these guys are putting
REID: And he`s helping a guy, Ken Cuccinelli, who`s so far to the right, I
can`t think of how women could possibly vote for him. He`s against
MATTHEWS: I know.
REID: They`re against science itself. It`s crazy.
MATTHEWS: Well, I was lucky to be born into a world where there`s 3
percent college loans. And that`s how I got to Holy Cross.
Anyway, thank you. Sometimes, the government is wonderful if you think
about it. Joy Reid, thank you. Chinese, thank you .
MATTHEWS: Up next, the Affordable Care Act is certainly popular with one
crowd, the late-night comics.
This is HARDBALL. I think SNL" is HARDBALL these days. The place for
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER")
BILL MAHER, HOST, "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER": I love this country.
Americans have waited 70 years for affordable health care. But if the Web
site takes more than an hour, (EXPLETIVE DELETED) it. I`m watching a cat
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO")
JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": I saw the most
unbelievable video today. And this is real. This is unbelievable. Watch
what happened. Watch. Look at this cat. Watch this. Look at that!
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
LENO: He was able to sign -- how is that -- how is that possible?
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Time now for the "Sideshow."
Like it or not, healthcare.gov has been a popular subject for late-night
comedians. And "Saturday Night Live" was no exception this past weekend.
Here is their rendition of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE")
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Still need guidance? Consult healthcare.gov`s
frequently asked questions for topics like what the hell, how have I been
on the same page for three hours, does Obamacare cover mental issues caused
by using this Web site?
And our most frequently asked question, who the government?
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Or you can contact us by mail. Just send a postcard
with the word help to the U.S. government.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Attention, Internet problems, Washington, D.C.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: And in six to eight weeks, you will receive an
informational brochure, along with a trial version of Encarta Encyclopedia.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Plus, 1,000 free hours of AOL.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Everybody hates paperwork.
Anyway, up next, despite the problems with the federal health care Web
site, the system`s working and working well on the state level -- on
states, that is, who want it to work, in those states. That`s bad news for
the haters out there.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger. Here`s
A federal judge -- judge has declared part of a new Texas law placing
restrictions on abortions as unconstitutional. The ruling allows a number
of affected abortion clinics in that state to remain open. That law was
supposed to take effect on Tuesday.
Penn State says it will pay nearly $60 million to 26 men who claim they
were sexually abused by former assistant football Coach Jerry Sandusky.
And two of the four inmates that escaped an Oklahoma prison through the
shower room have been caught -- back to HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have got to
implement this health care law. The computer deal will get fixed up.
Don`t worry about that.
Everybody`s forgotten, by the way, that when President George W. Bush, a
Republican, put that Medicare Part D drug program in, it was more unpopular
than the health care law, and they had terrible problems with the
Our side, we`re not so ideological. So, instead of bashing them and
screaming about how incompetent they were, most of our people just tried to
help people understand the law and make it work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
And isn`t he great? That was former President Bill Clinton stumping for
his friend Terry McAuliffe in his bid to be Virginia`s next governor.
Coming up next, we`re going to talk about what really happened in Benghazi.
But, right now, let`s take a look at how the health care exchanges are
actually working. As former President Clinton just said there, George W.
Bush`s Medicare Part D program had its share of startup glitches. But the
difference is, Democrats wanted to make Bush`s plan program work, how about
that, and didn`t root for its failure, as Republicans are doing with the
Affordable Care Act today.
And despite the problems with the federal Web site, the system is working
and even, catch this, exceeding expectations in states that have set up
their own exchanges. And that`s evidence that the Affordable Care Act can
work across the country once the computer glitches are ironed out.
Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel was the health care adviser to President Obama. And
Ceci Connolly is with PWC Health Care Institute.
Thank you both for joining us. You know what you`re talking about, both of
So, let`s try to cut through this.
Exceeding expectations, what is the key differential, Zeke, in whether it`s
working or not in different states?
DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SPECIAL ADVISER: Well, I think, in
some places, it`s just having everyone work together to try to get the Web
site up and running, and to quickly address the glitches that inevitably
So, in California and Colorado, it wasn`t ideological. Everyone agreed
they had to do it. And they put competent people in place. They tested it
out. They tested it what`s called end from end, so that you started as a
consumer and you completed the process to make sure it all worked.
And also they brought the insurers in early to sort of assess it and make
sure that it was working to their specifications to reveal all the flaws
they were worried about. And I think those are the kinds of things you
need. Plus, they had a very good -- most states that it worked well in had
a good CEO at top who really controlled the whole operation.
MATTHEWS: Let me go to the same question to you, Ceci, because I have seen
the differential being states that did want to set up their own exchanges
and those that just didn`t and in some cases waited until the clock ran out
and told the federal government, oh, you do it. And then it was of course
-- put a lot of pressure.
These are the states, by the way, I want to show you these, that refused to
build their own health care exchanges, which has created placed
significantly more stress on the federal exchange, creating the problems we
have seen and been talking about so much. Again, it`s same coalition of
Southern and Republican-controlled states whose lawmakers want this law to
fail in many cases and are all led by Republican governors but for one.
On the other hand, there are the 15 states all led by Democratic governors
except for one that set up their own health care exchanges. And in
Connecticut, New York, Kentucky, Oregon, and Washington State, the
exchanges are exceeding expectations and seeing overwhelming enrollment.
Ceci, is that a fair division of success and failure, the fact that the
states that wanted to do it took the initiative, as opposed to those who
sat around and waited to dump it on the federal government to see if they
could blow it?
CECI CONNOLLY, PWC HEALTH RESEARCH INSTITUTE: Well, certainly, Chris, the
delays have hurt enormously. And we now seen that.
We also know that delays in getting funding for these exchanges were very
difficult, so that many of the parameters and the basic instructions in
terms of what they wanted the Web site to look like and do didn`t come
until very late in the process.
I think another distinction between many of those state exchanges and the
federal operation, the states have been a little bit leaner and meaner, if
you will. They have made some decisions to simplify some of the steps on
the Web sites.
They have decided to postpone some of the extra complexities. And, in
doing that, they have been much more nimble than the big federal
bureaucracy, with so many different agencies --
CONNOLLY: -- and so many different vendors attempting to talk to each
other. And that`s where the real mess has come in.
MATTHEWS: Let me go back to Zeke on this question. Did you see Bill
Clinton there? He`s behind -- standing in front of Terry McAuliffe. I
love to know what Terry was talking because he said this computer thing
that he`s sort of flipped his hand like it`s no big deal. Do you think it
is no big deal? He made it seem like it was just a little flap. It`ll be
all right by November 30th, for example, a date we all now focus on,
November 30th. It`s all going to be over.
EMANUEL: So I think in the big sweep of history, in the five or ten year
sweep of history, he`s absolutely right. It`ll be no big deal. In a year
or two we`re going to get it right and then it`s going to be smooth and
everyone will assume that it`s part of the background infrastructure. But
I do think that there is a sort of uncertain period here where we don`t
know the full extent of the problem still yet. And we`re hoping they`ll be
able to get it good enough by November 30th that you can shop in a
relatively short amount of time with it being relatively painless.
I do think that`s an important date, because then you give people two weeks
before they can get insurance before the January 1st start date. But
ultimately, whether they get it on January 1st or February 1st I think is
less material from the long sweep of history. This mostly is blocking and
tackling. This isn`t reinventing a major piece of equipment or reinventing
code that you need to start from scratch.
And how long -- that can still take a long time, Chris. So, we need to be
serious about that.
MATTHEWS: Ceci, you`re smiling, because for years, you`re a daily
reporter. And you had to deal with deadline reality. Not just the long
MATTHEWS: You know, who once said we`re all dead in the long term.
Anyway, my question -- I think it was Galbraith or somebody smart, it must
have been Keynes, John Maynard Keynes.
EMANUEL: It was John Maynard Keynes.
MATTHEWS: John Maynard Keynes.
Let me go to you, Ceci. In terms of daily reporting, why has it been such
a big story that even the late night comics are into it? We just showed
that in the sideshow. Did the average person know exactly what the problem
is? You can`t get online, you can`t make it happen.
CONNOLLY: That`s right. And I think that the reason this has captured the
attention and imagination of so many people are two. One, we`ve been
struck by how many Americans are out there hungry for affordable health
MATTHEWS: That`s the best part
CONNOLLY: That`s a big signal that not everybody was expecting.
Number two, we do so much online. We do so much of our shopping and live
our daily lives on our devices, our cell phones, our computers. That we
just figured it was going to go as smoothly as all of those others go.
MATTHEWS: OK, go to go.
CONNOLLY: But let me just say, Chris. I agree with Zeke in terms of the
long view. But here`s the danger: if you lose these people that are
interested right now, it might be hard to bring them back.
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s up to the president --
EMANUEL: That`s the issue. It`s the branding issue.
MATTHEWS: I think the president --
EMANUEL: Ceci is right. It`s the branding.
MATTHEWS: We could get them back. Anyway, thank you, Zeke Emanuel. And
thank you, Ceci Connolly.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Up next, Benghazi. Why didn`t our people get help?
HARDBALL back after this.
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
Republicans don`t need much of a reason to bring up Benghazi, which is why
conservatives are buzzing after a story airing last night on CBS "60
While it didn`t come in any new bombshells, it did raise a very real and
important question. For an attack that lasted more than seven hours, why
didn`t re-enforcements arrive in time? In that "60 Minutes" report,
reporter Lara Logan interviewed Gregory Hicks, the number two diplomat in
Libya, who was based in nearby Tripoli. This is Hicks recalling the moment
he realized that help wasn`t on its way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARA LOGAN, CBS NEWS REPORTER: You had this conversation. You ask him
what military assets are on their way. And he says --
GREGORY HICKS, DIPLOMAT: Effectively, they`re not. And I for a moment, I
just felt lost. I just couldn`t believe the answer. And then I made the
call to the annex chief. I told him, listen, you`ve got to tell those guys
there may not be help coming.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Brandon Webb is a former U.S. Navy SEAL and author of "Benghazi:
The Definitive Report."
And Jay Newton-Small is a reporter with "Time Magazine."
Let me go to Brandon first.
I guess this is the question that gets to me. If you`re out there pinned
down and the word gets back to Washington in real time at the National
Security Agency or national security desk, why didn`t we try to send
somebody from somewhere? What happened?
BRANDON WEBB, FORMER U.S. NAVY SEAL: Hi, Chris. I think people need to
understand this is a situation where as much as the people on the ground
working with the State Department in Libya knew that the threat was there
and requested security, the State Department just wasn`t prepared to deal
with this situation. And by being prepared, you have a list of things that
when something goes wrong like this you go down that list and make certain
phone calls and notify certain people.
And that just wasn`t the case. They had numbers from the DOD that had
expired. Then you run into a situation where these agencies, the CIA, the
State Department, and the military don`t necessarily talk to each other and
are in communications as much as you`d think, especially --
MATTHEWS: You know, as an American, that doesn`t work for me. The
president, the security agency people are sitting in the White House 24/7.
There`s officers on deck. They`re getting an instantaneous report of
what`s going on there.
Why -- what weren`t they looking at in terms of assets that could have been
sent? Where was the U.S. cavalry -- to use an American image -- where were
the people that could have come that tried to get there within however many
hours it took to save the lives of the people still living? Where are they
and why weren`t they called to do it? I`m going to ask that question until
I get an answer.
WEBB: No, I agree. I mean, there`s some blame on the secretary of
defense. You know, our sources say that Obama, before he left on that
campaign trip, told Panetta, you do everything talk save those people.
So, I think a lot of people in the military are wondering that were sitting
there standing by ready to go, why wasn`t the call sent down to send those
But a lot of people need to understand, you know, when you add the CIA and
the heroes that went on their own, took their own initiative.
MATTHEWS: That`s what I`m impressed by. You hear about the guys who got
in there, grabbed their uniform, grabbed their weapons on a plane and were
stopped en route. I mean, that`s unbelievable! Like people who were
volunteer fire department racing to save their colleagues, and what
happened to them?
WEBB: Well, I think that, you know, , the two heroes of the day are Glen
Doherty and Ty Woods, the two Navy SEAL CIA contractors that were taking
the initiative that day along with the JSOC or the Joint Special Operations
Command troops on the ground that noticed, you know, having worked in that
military system, noticing that help isn`t on the way and took their own
initiative to go in and rescue these folks.
And you know, largely, most of the Americans in Benghazi were evacuated,
and relatively few lives were lost, other than the ambassador, Sean Smith,
and the two Navy SEALs.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, Jay Newton-Small, about the politics of this
I know it`s a hot opportunity for the Republicans, but my interest is on
facts, and the facts question I have about this are what was the State
Department`s role in real time, not beforehand, but at the time of the
attack in defending the lives of their people, especially the U.S.
ambassador, who was a friend, a friend of the secretary of state`s, Hillary
Clinton? What was their actions what was the tick-tock what did they do
when they got the warning of the attack?
JAY NEWTON-SMALL, TIME MAGAZINE: Hillary in her testimony before congress
said she was there, she was, you know, on the ground, in the State
Department listening to the response in real-time on the phone as it was
happening, and so, she knew what was happening.
But again, they also testified that there were waves of attacks, so they
thought that after the first wave that things were quieting down. That`s
when they said, well, maybe we don`t need to send help, and help was really
far away. It wasn`t like it was next door. It was several hours away in
Italy, so --
MATTHEWS: But the fight went on for seven hours.
NEWTON-SMALL: Yes, but then if you`re doing it in waves, you think the
attack is over and sending somebody`s not going to help anymore, right?
Then, all of a sudden, they attack again.
MATTHEWS: Would that be good -- now, let me ask you something. If that
was your brother or your father in there, would you say that`s an
acceptable response? Oh, it`s probably over by now, it`s no good to send
somebody? Or would you say, I don`t care if it`s over or not, I`m going to
go and collect the bodies if nothing else, I`m going to get there and show
I cared? That`s what I`d do.
NEWTON-SMALL: No, these are questions that Hillary is going to have to
answer and --
MATTHEWS: And the president and national security adviser and all that
people sitting in that Sit Room.
We had lots of coverage of people when we killed bin Laden. We had a lot
of coverage of that. There`s a lot of photographers around with that.
How come this is shrouded in mystery? What I can`t understand is why all
these months later, we`re still trying to figure out what happened? I just
want to know as an American, what happened? Did everybody do what they
were supposed to do? Did everybody make a really good desperate effort to
save the lives of our people over there or didn`t they?
If they didn`t, that`s a problem. But I want an answer.
WEBB: I think the biggest problem, Chris, is the State Department`s own
security environment threat list lists Benghazi and Tripoli as the top --
in the top 10 of the most dangerous facilities the State Department has
worldwide, and a lot of people don`t realize, Tripoli was evacuated to the
-- the embassy in Tripoli was evacuated to the CIA too because they didn`t
have adequate securities.
So, a lot of blame is on the State Department for just not being prepared
to deal for the response, a communique, effectively to the military to get
help. They really left their people hanging and I see them in Patrick
MATTHEWS: Are the Republicans doing this right? I mean, a broken clock
will be right twice a day. I`m not a big fan of Darrell Issa because I
think he`s on staff for publicity half the time, but is it possible we
could hope that Democrats and Republicans on the committees when they look
at this, will focus intently on the reasonable questions like why -- did we
do as much as we could at the time? That`s to me the most important.
NEWTON-SMALL: These are questions that Hillary is absolutely going to have
to put to rest and answer if she`s ever going to run for president in 2016.
It`s a huge sort of black mark on her. She`ll going to have to -- I mean,
answers, say what was she doing? Why wasn`t help given?
And when you look at her first term as secretary of state or Obama`s first
term when she was secretary of state, what were the achievements that she
had? I mean, she normalized relations with Burma, but --
MATTHEWS: I just care about what happened that night, because I do think,
I think that Lindsey Graham`s on to something here. And I know he has to
cover his rear end in terms of the right wing in that primary challenge,
but sometimes politics does coincide with reasonable government.
Anyway, thank you, Brandon Webb. And thank you, Jane Newton-Small.
WEBB: Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: By the way, thank you for your service, Mr. Webb.
We`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: "Let Me Finish" tonight with this:
Progressives, let`s face it -- you`re up to a new level of adversary.
Senator Ted Cruz and company are not playing by the usual rules of
political warfare. No Geneva Conventions for this crowd. They shut down
the government, tried to run the rest of us off the fiscal cliff, then
instead of showing any shame, come back this weekend and said that it
didn`t go far enough, that the real bad guys, they say, are their fellow
Republicans, who said enough, we`re not going to destroy the U.S. economy
to score some political points.
None of that squeamish patriotism for Senator Cruz. The Texas senator was
out there pheasant hunting this weekend with Steve King, raising the
question of who to root for, the pheasants or the wacko birds? Well, this
hunting season for votes, who could forget Mitt Romney`s focus on small
varmints, not to mention the other presidential candidates who have had to
display their two guns bona fide, suggesting that the senator from Alamo
Country may be ready to run himself for president.
I`m hopeful he tries it. It would be good to see this man`s full-scale
program for our country, what he`d do to insure tens of millions of out
there for health care, what he`d do to finance Social Security and Medicare
for the long haul, what wars he would fight, what he`d do to bring peace
and security to our country, what he`d to work the kind of bipartisan
compromises we need to meet the country`s challenges.
All he does now is stand back from government, take pot shots at pheasants
and Democrats alike, leaving the real work of running this country to the
people dressed for work, instead of posing out there with the nuts and the
And a quick programming note: I`ll be speaking tomorrow morning at the
National Archives. It will be actually at noon. And guess what? I`ll be
talking about "Tip and The Gipper" and my adventures as a young man
fighting the good fight.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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