November 12, 2013
Guest: Kellyanne Conway, Bruce Austin
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: When it comes to health care, the right wing
should put up or shut up.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews up in New York.
"Let Me Start" tonight with this. When it comes to health care, here`s a
healthy thought for the Tea Partiers and their allies. You got a plan? Do
you have a solution? Do you have a way to bring health insurance to the
40-some million Americans sitting in emergency rooms because they`re sick,
some really sick, and have no other option?
Just a minute. I didn`t hear that. You don`t have a plan? But you`re out
there making big-shot statements attacking the president`s health care law,
and you don`t have a plan yourself?
Did you tell that to the big media to which you`re spouting your criticism?
Did you tell them that you`re empty-handed, that you`re all about talking
down the Affordable Care Act, but you`ve got nothing to offer the cancer
patients out there stuck without insurance or all the other people with
I have a plan which is just perfect for you. It`s what we used to say in
the schoolyard. Put up or shut up.
Alex Wagner is the host of "NOW," weekdays at noon Eastern on MSNBC, of
course, and Eugene Robinson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for "The
Washington Post" and an MSNBC political analyst.
Alex, it seems to me that some of the big names, the bold print names we
read every time somebody`s talking down health care -- and it`s fair enough
for a person who actually has clean hands to do it -- you hear comments
from people that have no health care plan, never did have a health care
plan, belong to a party that has no -- even feels any shame about having
none. And yet they`re offered up to us in the big media as sidewalk
superintendents, as people who have a reasonable claim.
This is the craziest news world I`ve ever been in, where all you have to do
is not take your bat in the game of competition, just stand there and
criticize the other side, with nothing offered in return. Your thoughts.
ALEX WAGNER, HOST, "NOW": Nothing offered, and actively denying poor
people access to Medicaid. I mean, Chris, there are eight million
Americans, largely in red states, two thirds of poor African-Americans and
single mothers in this country, half of the working poor that are being
denied Medicaid because Republican governors want to stand on ceremony and
be ideologically pure.
And in the meantime, cancer patients, as you point out, are dying. People
who have preexisting conditions, people who are too poor to qualify for
governments -- who are too poor to qualify for government subsidies and the
same -- they`re in the donut hole here --
WAGNER: -- are not being offered Medicaid, and no one is holding these
Republican governors accountable for any of this. It`s actually
unbelievable, given all the air time that`s been devoted to people who are
middle class people who are losing crappy insurance and being offered
MATTHEWS: It`s a strange -- it`s a strange situation, Gene, in the sense
that there`s one health care plan that`s now a law. It`s in a process of
implementation. It`s not doing well, but it`s an effort. And I see no
other effort on the other side.
You would think, normally, politicians would say, You know, we got a better
idea how to do this. We can win this without doing it their way. We can
have less government, less regulation but more health care. And yet
there`s no requirement on the part of these commentators, political people,
to do so.
EUGENE ROBINSON, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. It`s
very cynical, Chris. It`s easier just to take potshots than, of course, to
come up with your own health care plan.
And in fact, if Republicans came up with a health care plan, it would have
to look exactly like "Obama care" because that was the Republican health
ROBINSON: It was -- it was from the Heritage Foundation, and then it was
"Romney care" before it was "Obama care." This is the Republican idea of
how to do this. But since Obama did it, it`s got to be, you know, the
MATTHEWS: And by the way, it`s mathematical. It`s not left-wing, it`s
mathematical. If you`re going to insure people who have bad health
records, people with preexisting conditions, if you`re going to insure
older people, you need healthier and younger people to include in the pool,
or else it`s not going to be insurance, it`s just going to be maintenance.
And everybody knows -- anyway, to this point, former governor Sarah Palin,
half-time governor, has been out in front and center, of course, in the GOP
war against the Affordable Care Act. And like pretty much everyone else
attacking the law, she has no alternative.
Take a listen to Palin`s vagueness during an interview with NBC`s Matt
Lauer only yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT LAUER, CO-HOST, "TODAY": From the Tea Party over and over again,
we`re hearing the words, No, defund, delay, repeal.
SARAH PALIN (R-AK), FMR. GOV., FMR. VP NOMINEE: Right on! Absolutely.
LAUER: What are we hearing from the Tea Party in terms of an absolute,
realistic plan that can be an alternative to "Obama care"?
PALIN: And it`s not just the independent grass roots Tea Party movement
saying this. This is many in the Republican Party --
LAUER: But where`s the plan --
PALIN: -- and the Democrats, too --
LAUER: -- from the Tea Party?
PALIN: -- especially Democrats in red states that are running for
reelection who are --
LAUER: Where`s the plan?
PALIN: -- running for political cover. The plan is to allow those
things that had been proposed over many years to reform the health care
system in America that certainly does need more help, so that there`s more
competition, there`s less tort reform threat, there`s less trajectory of
the cost increase.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: "There`s less tort reform threat." I want both of you to take a
crack at that one. If you could -- as David Gregory says, can you unpack
that one for me? She said there`s a threat of tort reform. I think her
right-wing side or center-right would say tort reform is a good thing. She
says there`s a threat of -- she doesn`t even know what the words mean --
WAGNER: She just --
MATTHEWS: -- and she`s throwing them out there! Your thoughts.
WAGNER: She just strings together -- she just string together words and
phrases she thinks are bad in order to --
MATTHEWS: It`s like that beauty contestant, remember, that was talking
about apartheid --
WAGNER: Exactly. She really --
MATTHEWS: -- and just throwing out phrases that mean nothing!
WAGNER: We should be glad that there is subject-verb agreement.
WAGNER: I mean, we are talking --
MATTHEWS: Predication, you mean. Yes. Go ahead.
WAGNER: Like, language is something that Sarah Palin has sidelined in the
same way that the Tea Party has sidelined actual policy. I mean, the
problem with Sarah Palin, though -- and we can dismiss her as being sort of
an intellectual laughingstock, but the words, We will judge ourselves not
on how many laws we have passed, but on how many laws we have repealed,
were said by Speaker of the House John Boehner.
This Tea Party stuff gets into the groundwater of the Republican Party and
then becomes a viable bargaining -- a viable position, not even a
bargaining position --
MATTHEWS: OK --
WAGNER: -- because they`re not actually advocating for anything. It`s
serious in that way, Chris.
MATTHEWS: You know, the problem -- the tough thing about Matt -- and he`s
the best there is at interviewing. You can ask somebody twice. If you ask
them three times, then you`re beating them up.
MATTHEWS: I mean, she never came up with an answer there. I mean, what
was this -- the proposals that have been out there before -- what kind of
talk is that in a serious news program?
ROBINSON: Well, you know, it`s just nonsense, Chris. She doesn`t know.
She wasn`t referring to anything specific.
ROBINSON: No, she wasn`t! I mean, she was -- you know, "tort reform
threat." I mean, she -- it`s just stuff that she`s heard in connection
with health care at some point. And she, you know, put together the
phrases and tried to make it sound like an answer, when, in fact, there
isn`t a plan. If there were, presumably she`d be able to articulate it
better than that.
MATTHEWS: OK. Well, my question tonight is how do they get a free ride in
this business of criticizing when they have no plan in the game? The Cruz
wing of the Republican Party is, in fact, so obsessed with sabotaging the
president`s health care law -- the only one we got -- that they`re
willingly sabotaging their own people`s right to free and low-cost health
care insurance under the law, as you point out.
Take a look at the map. At least 25 Republican-controlled states are
refusing the law`s expansion of Medicaid, which increases the coverage of
Medicaid to people above the poverty line. The law would have extended
insurance to more than five million people at virtually no cost to the
And here`s the irony. That part of the law was designed specifically to
help those states because their populations contain a disproportioned
number of uninsured citizens. There are more than a million people in
Texas alone, Cruz`s back yard, that won`t get access to Medicaid thanks to
GOP politics, which means the people of Texas will have to foot the bill
when those one million people receive emergency room care they don`t pay
Anyway, as "The Atlantic" magazine points out today in a report about the
GOP`s Medicaid sabotage, quote, "Eventually, the contrast should become
clear. States that do expand will have financially healthier hospitals,
literally healthier residents, less strain on public resources and even
broader economic benefits."
Two points, Alex. You made one of them already. They`re screwing the
chances of the hard-working poor, not the people at home not working,
people going to work, the working poor, who don`t get health care at the
office or with the work -- at the work place where they go. They get there
early, take the early bus, go to work, come home at 5:00 or 6:00 o`clock at
night. They don`t have health care. They`re not going to get it except
for Medicaid expansion.
Now we have a Republican Party out there in the state of Texas with the
largest number of people in total numbers who are uninsured saying, No, we
don`t want health care.
WAGNER: And Chris, and wear it like a badge, as if it`s a badge of honor
to have one in four Texans without health insurance and to give them no
options. And then the second part of that is, the hospitals they do go to
are getting their federal subsidies cut because they were supposed to have
more income from the new Medicaid enrollees.
This is disastrous. And beyond that, it is morally bankrupt.
MATTHEWS: Well, don`t the people living in the nicer parts of Harris
County -- I`ve been in some of those nice places down there -- don`t they
know that their health care -- the insurance policies they`re paying is
basically paying for all those people in the emergency room, too, because
those hospitals have to cover it? Don`t they know that?
WAGNER: People -- oh, I think they know that. This is so wound up in sort
of conservative ideology is all about everybody has to pay their fair
share, right? This is such a breach of that fundamental part of
conservativism, which is everybody has got to pay their due. And the fact
that the conservatives are arguing against the individual mandate makes no
But Chris, it`s not just emergency care. We are talking about cancer
patients who are literally unable to go to see preventative care doctors
and go into these emergency rooms, emergency cancer wards with their
throats bleeding from, you know, throat cancer because they haven`t been
able to see a doctor in forever. And those centers are closing.
MATTHEWS: Who are they rooting for? Are they rooting for "Obama care" to
reach them, or are they rooting for the guys rooting against the
president`s health care plan? It seems to me they`re rooting for it to get
to them. They`re not rooting for the -- Gene, for the sabotage crew.
ROBINSON: No, of course they`re rooting for it to get to them. And you
know, look, that "Atlantic" piece is right. Eventually, the contrast will
become clear. Eventually, the political pressures will mount.
But you know, the problem, and really, the moral tragedy here is that you
have to wait for the "eventually." People who are suffering, people who
need preventive care, people who would avoid developing serious conditions
two or three years from now, if they were getting the care they ought to
get now, will, in fact, develop those conditions because Rick Perry and Ted
Cruz and -- and the -- and the -- you know, the sort of Texas Tea Party
establishment, I guess you could call it that in ,Texas that denies them
the coverage they really should have.
MATTHEWS: You mean the ones that wear tuxedos with cowboy boots? Anyway,
it seems to me that the next time somebody interviews one of the usual
suspects, like Louie Gohmert or whoever else out there that`s criticizing
the president`s plan, the next question should be a very simple one word,
WAGNER: It`s exactly -- it`s --
MATTHEWS: What do you want to do?
WAGNER: -- Matt Lauer --
MATTHEWS: What`s your plan? It`s usually the question you ask, So?
Anyway, in an interview with a digital news site, Bill Clinton, the former
president, explained the self-inflicted wounds the Republican states have
given themselves, as you pointed out, due to their mission to see the
Affordable Care Act fail. Here`s the former president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A lot of the states
with Republican governors are not taking the Medicaid money. And let me
explain that to people watching this. In the states that didn`t
participate, you`re going to have this bizarre circumstance where everybody
that didn`t have insurance with an income between 133 and 400 percent of
poverty level will be able to buy insurance on the individual market.
It`ll be cheaper than anything they otherwise could have gotten. The
prices are lower than were estimated, not higher. They`re going to be
But the other people are not. So they`ll have to go to the emergency
rooms. And because they`re not carrying money with them, the emergency
rooms will be giving uncompensated care. It`s going to impose a real
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, there he is, the secretary of explaining stuff doing a
great job again. Bill Clinton, who`s not only one of the greatest
politicians in history, he`s quite the wonk, as well, and a useful one, at
Thank you, Alex Wagner, for nailing that issue of Medicare (sic), and thank
you, Gene Robinson, for this whole question of how the media`s covering
Coming up: Chris Christie just had his best week ever in a smashing
electoral victory in his reelection, and hugely positive coverage from the
media. But yet he still trails Hillary Clinton by a fat 10 points in the
new NBC News poll. What does that tell you about the state of the
Republican Party, that the best guy they got out there is just not good
enough right now?
Well, one thing it might tell you is the GOP has a big problem with women.
They vote Democratic. And Republicans are hoping to change their
packaging. They might consider changing what`s in that package.
Another group Republicans can`t seem to win, African-Americans. So what do
you do if you`re a Republican running in a black neighborhood? Well, one
guy went out there and convinced people he was black, is black, which is
exactly what a white anti-gay activist did down in Houston, Texas. And he
won this week. Anyway, we`re going to talk to the man he beat to find out
how this all got past him.
And "Let Me Finish" tonight with why women lean Democratic. And I say it`s
a matter of interest, sharp interest.
And this HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: It`s official, Caroline Kennedy is the U.S. ambassador to Japan.
She was sworn in today by Secretary of State John Kerry in a private
ceremony. There she is with her husband, Ed Schlossberg, and their son,
Jack. Kennedy will take up her post in Tokyo later this month.
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey
is coming off perhaps the best week ever in his political career. He won a
resounding reelection last week, carrying women, Latinos and moderates. He
landed, of course, on the cover of "Time" magazine and appeared on four
Sunday talk shows.
The buzz around him for 2016 has been deafening, and yet Christie might
have had one problem he can`t seem to overcome already. It`s his party
label, the Republican Party. A new NBC News poll shows that in a head-to-
head matchup against Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former secretary of state,
beats Governor Christie by 10 points. And that`s not something to sneeze
at. She beats him in every region of the country, even the South.
Is the GOP brand so bad, so toxic that even a popular figure like Chris
Christie, who doesn`t seem like an ideologue -- he can`t overcome it?
Well, Michael Steele is the former chair of the RNC and Joan Walsh is
editor-at-large of Salon. Both are MSNBC fabulous political consultants.
Let me start with you, Michael. I have watched the polls. I`m a poll
watcher. And I got to tell you, before all the excitement of Christie`s
reelection and before the government shutdown, Christie was pretty close, I
think within the margin of error, with the former secretary of state. Now
he`s down by 10.
I don`t blame him for that. I blame the party. I think the bad news of
the shutdown has put a context around this guy he didn`t need. Your
MICHAEL STEELE, FMR. RNC CHAIR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think I would
tend to agree with that. It`s a little bit like 2006, Chris, when the
brand of the party had sunk to all-time lows, and those candidates who were
running for various offices, from the governor to U.S. Senate, myself
included, felt the sting of the party label. And you found yourself, you
know, battling your Democrat opponent, as well as battling against the
overall brand of the party.
And the challenge for Christie is going to be how he navigates these waters
in terms of establishing himself and his bona fides as the governor of New
Jersey, a red -- you know, a red governor in a blue state, but then also
reconcile with his own base within the party.
You know, one little disturbing moment in the interviews that he did, when
asked, Are you a conservative or a moderate, he blew the question off.
He`s going to have to answer that question --
STEELE: -- for a lot of conservatives around the country. And this was
not a good way to start that relationship building because of the brand.
And I know that was a big part of it.
MATTHEWS: And I hate to say this because I don`t think it`s right for
America. I think he`s going to be hit with a religious test. He`s going
to be asked by some of those pastors out there, those politically active
pastors, friends of the family, whatever they`re called, Focus on the
MATTHEWS: -- one of them is going to ask him -- and this is I think
unfair -- Are you born again? And as a Roman Catholic, I`m not sure he`s
going to be comfortable with that one. I don`t think that`s the language
you and I grew up with.
STEELE: Right. Exactly.
MATTHEWS: I think he may have a hard time doing anything but pander that,
and he won`t look good either way.
Anyway, running against Christie, Hillary Clinton performs particularly
well among -- no surprise here -- African-Americans, young people and
Latinos. For his party, Christie performs well among whites, seniors and
higher-income Americans -- you got that trio? As NBC`s "First Read" noted,
that`s just great, just what the Republicans want to hear, they`re the
party of old, rich white people.
JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Surprise!
MATTHEWS: Well, I don`t know. There`s nothing particularly wrong with
being an old, rich white person. But politically, that`s not exactly your
growth stock, is it.
WALSH: No. No. This is why the party is on a collision course with
demography, Chris. But you know, these are terrible. It`s very early.
We`ve got to stipulate that. But these are terrible numbers for Chris
Christie because, really, his big claim, his big argument right now, and
why the media love him, is that, Hey, I`m the electable one.
And when you put him in the ring with Hillary Clinton and he`s trailing
with all these groups and he`s trailing in every region, he`s really got a
problem. He no longer can say to the right wing of his party, Hey, you
know, you got to get to love me, even if I`m not born again and all these
things you want, because I am a winner. If he`s not looking like a winner
in these early polls, that argument gets less strong and it`s harder for
him to chase other people out of the ring.
I mean, his one path to the nomination now is Mitt Romney`s path, right,
that all -- that he doesn`t chase these guys out, but a lot of them run,
they split the vote and he kind of staggers to the nomination. But then
how far does he have to go to the right to do that?
WALSH: I mean, I guess I would take one issue with Michael on one thing.
You want him to say, hey, yes, I`m a conservative, I`m severely
conservative to the base. But then he`s never going to win an election
with somebody like Hillary Clinton by -- by going to the right.
STEELE: Well, no, the -- Joan, there`s a way you can talk about it.
I`m a conservative, and I talk very proudly about my conservatism. It`s
how you talk about it and how -- how people feel about it when you`re done
talking. And, right now, a lot of people don`t feel very good by the way
we talk about conservatism. I think Chris Christie, as a conservative, can
brand himself and brand the party in a much more positive way than we have
seen up until now. And that`s my only --
MATTHEWS: Well, anyway, there`s historic contrast, guys, in terms of unity
between Democratic voters and Republicans in this new NBC poll.
For Democrats, Hillary Rodham Clinton is the overwhelming favorite. And 66
percent say they would support her right now against another Democrat in
the race. That`s two-thirds, of course. The picture is different for
Republicans, who are now very divided. And 32 percent say they`re for
Christie, which is a big chunk of voters, a big plurality.
But 31 percent, of course, say they want some other candidate, all the way
over to Rick Santorum, I suppose. Another 35 percent said they don`t know.
That all makes sense. That`s the divided party. It`s way early over
there. And that divide could last.
Anyway, a number of conservative Republicans thought to be potential 2016
contenders themselves like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio, have hit
Christie as a moderate. Last night, Sarah Palin told Sean Hannity
Republicans shouldn`t settle for the candidate the establishment wants.
Let`s listen to this RINO hunting that`s already going on, thanks to -- to
that person from Alaska who loves this kind of talk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, FOX NEWS CHANNEL)
SEAN HANNITY, HOST, "HANNITY": This is not a coronation. This process
hasn`t begun yet, and there are -- are establishment people telling Tea
Party conservatives, he`s the only guy that can win.
What`s your reaction?
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Yes. Well, those establishment
people have been quite wrong, it seems, especially in recent days, haven`t
We certainly, though, don`t have to settle for any candidate, any
politician that would go along to get along with an agenda that stifles our
economy and that would strip any of our freedoms that are constitutionally
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: What is she talking about?
Anyway, one Tea Party activist, Scott Hofstra from Kentucky, took issue
with Christie calling him a conservative. He told "The New York Times" --
quote -- "We`re so frustrated with all this Christie talk, we can`t see
straight. He`s no more conservative than Harry Reid."
What do you think that, Joan? I mean, I don`t know what that statement --
you know what I think it means? If you`re not a wild, wild Tea Partier --
STEELE: Right. Right.
MATTHEWS: -- who hates the government --
MATTHEWS: -- who wants to bring it down, who is ready to just default on
budget, who doesn`t -- on the debt --
WALSH: And doesn`t --
MATTHEWS: -- and doesn`t care about anything getting passed, votes
against everything, if you`re not one of them, then you`re a liberal.
You`re a RINO.
WALSH: And if you don`t dispute -- if you don`t dispute the legitimacy of
Barack Obama and, God forbid --
MATTHEWS: His existence as an American.
WALSH: Exactly. And you`re seen high-fiving him and hugging him in the
aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Those are things that they can`t forgive him for, because, you know,
Michael`s right. He can make a plausible case that he`s conservative,
because he is conservative.
MATTHEWS: I think, on economics, he is.
And, by the way, I said this last night. I`m going to keep saying it. The
way the media and a lot of people start playing this game of, who`s a
moderate, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania --
STEELE: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: -- Bob Casey Sr., the great governor, was a liberal on every
single issue --
MATTHEWS: -- except he didn`t think abortion should be legal. That was
his position, morally taken. But they would always call him a conservative
Democrat, the media, which is an absurdity. It wasn`t -- he wasn`t a
Christie -- your thoughts about your party and how this labeling goes on,
STEELE: Yes. I think that that is a big part of it, Chris.
And I would agree with Sarah to the extent that she`s -- she`s right. We
don`t want someone who`s going to go along to get along and compromise on
fundamental principles. I don`t think that`s Chris Christie. I don`t
think that`s a lot of the names of individuals who have been mentioned so
far for -- as possible candidates.
That`s going to get sorted out in the wash of a Republican primary. And my
only point to the Chris Christies of the world who are -- are being
vilified by some on the right now as being not conservative is to stand up
and show that you are and prove that you are, not for the benefit -- their
benefit, but for the benefit of the party`s overall messaging as a
conservative party talking about those values and those ideals and those
STEELE: Very much like Casey did when he ran for the Senate.
MATTHEWS: OK. I will ask you a last question.
What would you say -- put the words in his mouth -- if you were Chris
Christie or Ted Cruz and somebody stood up in a town meeting, a Republican
town meeting, and said the president, whatever the term is, he`s an Arab,
he`s a foreigner, he is a Muslim, he`s not -- he`s from Kenya -- what would
you say if you were one of the front-runners to that person on TV, that
STEELE: Who, me?
MATTHEWS: Yes. No, if you were Chris Christie or you were Ted Cruz.
I`m sorry. Michael --
STEELE: Stop being --
MATTHEWS: -- the question is to you.
STEELE: Stop being -- stop being ignorant. Let`s move on. That is just
crazy talk. Let`s talk and let`s focus on where we fundamentally disagree
with the president on policy and positions that he`s taken and the types of
things that he`s done.
MATTHEWS: Stop --
WALSH: I love that, Michael.
MATTHEWS: Stop being ignorant.
WALSH: Stop being ignorant.
MATTHEWS: I -- I love it. I don`t think if it works politically.
WALSH: But I`m afraid that what you have is a room full of booing, angry
MATTHEWS: They will be.
STEELE: Then they just boo.
MATTHEWS: A lot of people who ignorant will say, who are you to call me
ignorant? You think you`re better than me? You think you`re better than
MATTHEWS: I can hear the yells from the back of the room.
WALSH: I would love to see it.
MATTHEWS: But I love the line.
STEELE: Come on, seriously?
MATTHEWS: What did you say? Shut up, you`re ignorant?
WALSH: He didn`t say shut up.
STEELE: Just stop being -- just stop being ignorant.
MATTHEWS: Stop being ignorant.
STEELE: The man is not a Muslim. Please.
MATTHEWS: I think that`s a quote. That`s a quote. We`re going to
remember that every time you come on the show, Michael. I`m going to
remind of that one, because I love it.
MATTHEWS: That is a Sister Souljah moment for the -- to live for.
Anyway, thank you, Michael Steele and thank you, Joan Walsh.
STEELE: You got it.
MATTHEWS: We will be right back after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "CONAN")
CONAN O`BRIEN, HOST, "CONAN": In a new interview today, Sarah Palin
refused to endorse Chris Christie.
Yes. Yes. Afterwards, Christie told Palin: Thanks. I owe you one.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome to the "Sideshow." That was Conan O`Brien, of course,
last night showing that when it comes to certain endorsements, less is
Well, CBS` "60 Minutes" may have apologized over the weekend for their
flawed reporting on Benghazi. But, last night, Stephen Colbert did a
little investigating of his own. Wanting to believe that the now debunked
report was in fact true, he sought out a source from inside the CBS
newsroom. Take a look at what he found.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE COLBERT REPORT")
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE COLBERT REPORT": Now, Poncho, you were
interning the night all hell broke loose at "60 Minutes."
SAM WATERSTON, ACTOR: Yes, Stephen, I was definitely there that night
because I`m an actual human witness.
COLBERT: Tell us what happened, Poncho.
WATERSTON: Well, I was coming back from getting chewing tobacco for Lesley
WATERSTON: -- when I heard explosions of shouting.
COLBERT: Who did you see?
WATERSTON: It was Hillary Clinton.
WATERSTON: She was swinging a bike chain and yelling, we`re here to kill
the story. Who wants to eat some chain?
COLBERT: So it was Hillary Clinton who made CBS apologize?
COLBERT: I knew it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: In case you didn`t notice, the so-called source there, it was
"Newsroom" actor Sam Waterston.
And just like "60 Minutes," Colbert was compelled to make an on-air
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE COLBERT REPORT")
COLBERT: We have checked with our sources at IMDB.
COLBERT: And it turns out we made a mistake. We shouldn`t have used him
in our report.
COLBERT: And for that, we`re very sorry.
COLBERT: The most important thing to everyone here at "The Colbert Report"
is the truth. And the truth is, it`s somebody else`s fault.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Anyway, creepy Uncle Sam is back. You might remember when the
conservative Koch brothers group Generation Opportunity introduced us to
their freakish anti-health care mascot in their horror movie-inspired TV
But on Saturday, the organization visited a University of Miami-Virginia
Tech tailgate party, where they set up beer pong tables and ordered 250
pizzas for the crowd of rowdy college students. The message? They`re
trying to encourage young people to opt out of Affordable Care Act. Isn`t
that wonderful? However, judging by the crowd and all that free beer, I`m
not sure how many of those students even cared that there was a message.
Wow. Look at that.
Up next: The Republican Party is trying to solve its woman problem, if you
will, with better language skills. How about trying better policies?
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger. Here`s
The State Department confirmed that two Americans were killed in the
typhoon that swept across the Philippines, this as the U.S. Navy has added
two amphibious ships to the region for relief efforts.
Hawaii may soon become a wedding destination for same-sex couples. The
Senate there has just passed a bill legalizing gay marriage.
And first lady Michelle Obama is taking on a new education initiative that
focuses on increasing the number of low-income students who get to attend
college -- back to HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "PBS NEWSHOUR")
DAVID BROOKS, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Women actually can vote now. It`s
been a hundred years or so, a little longer. Women have the vote, and the
Republican Party doesn`t seem to be aware of that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That`s said well.
Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was conservative "New York Times" columnist David Brooks mocking the
Republican Party for continuing to ignore issues important to women
especially, and nominating hard-line anti-abortion zealots like Ken
Cuccinelli in Virginia, where unmarried women in particular bolted from the
GOP actually for the Democratic candidate.
Well, last Tuesday was the Republican Party`s first electoral test since
their 2012 defeat. They largely ignored their post-Romney autopsy report,
which conceded that the party`s inability to attract women, who represent
53 percent of the electorate -- that`s a majority -- was costing them
Well, anyway, in Cuccinelli, Republicans neglected their own advice. That
included nominating candidates who argue that the Grand Old Party is
fighting for women and who have a forward-leaning vision that encourages
women to vote Republican.
Anyway, in the wake of defeats in 2012 and 2013, a group of Republican
women political operatives have joined forces and established a strategy
firm that advises Republican candidates on how to tailor their messages to
Now we have got an expert on the program tonight. Kellyanne Conway is a
Republican pollster and an expert. And Sam Stein is a political editor at
The Huffington Post.
Kelly, and I most want to hear from you. What do you -- just forget the
usual partisan arguments we have here and everywhere else. If you sat in a
room with a Republican candidate, a young guy, for example, or woman, who
wanted to try to turn this back so that he had a 50/50 shot at the woman
vote, what would you tell that person to do?
KELLYANNE CONWAY, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: I would say several things, many
which were not done in the campaign in Virginia, Chris.
One is, if you`re accused of holding a position and people are going to go
on eight cylinders against that position, in this case paint Ken Cuccinelli
as too extreme, as too anti-woman, anti-contraception, anti-abortion, anti-
divorce in Virginia, you either have to own it or explain it.
And I think what he did was, he allowed silence to be acquiescence. They
sort of hunkered down and ignored that and went the Romney route of jobs,
jobs, jobs, economy, economy, economy. Ken lost women overall by nine
points in Virginia and Romney lost them by 13 points a year earlier to
He also missed a tremendous opportunity really to burrow into some of these
pro-choice women who are pro-choice in the first trimester or before that,
say, for rape and incest or for life of the mother. Ken Cuccinelli could
have turned around and said, hey, Virginia`s women, do you know that Terry
McAuliffe holds a position that he is for sex-selective abortion, he is for
late-term abortion, he`s for --
MATTHEWS: Is he?
CONWAY: He`s for taxpayer-funded abortion.
We, you and I, Sam, I`m sure, knows pro-choice women who disagree with
those extreme views.
MATTHEWS: Yes, but you can -- but the facts also get in the way of
Cuccinelli, because he`s for personhood. And if you`re for personhood,
that means it`s murder if you kill --
CONWAY: Correct. Correct.
MATTHEWS: Yes. So, he has a hard -- how does he play defense?
CONWAY: Yes. And here`s the other thing.
We all know what women tell pollsters are most important to them. It`s no
different from men. It`s the economy. But I think when Republicans talk
about the economy, they sound like your accountant, not your next-door
neighbor or your friend. And so if they would talk about the affordability
of everyday life --
CONWAY: -- if they would talk about long-term financial security,
instead of just the debt ceiling and just taxes and just jobs, here`s
something else I would tell a Republican candidate and do routinely.
You know, when you talk to job creators, Republicans love to talk to
entrepreneurs and job creators. You didn`t build this. Terrific. Check,
check. But that`s about 7.5 percent of our country, Chris.
CONWAY: Then they talk to job seekers, another 7.5 percent of the country.
The vast majority of households in this country and the vast majority of
women-run households in this country are neither job seekers nor job
creators. They`re job holders. And who is really speaking to them in the
Republican Party with a message?
CONWAY: The other thing we told Ken eight months ago, run as the education
governor. I have never -- in 600 focus groups in my 25-year career, I have
never sat in a focus group with women and not heard an earful about
education. It`s always on their minds.
MATTHEWS: I`m going to talk about that later.
And, by the way, I just want to check on a fact here. You said that Terry
McAuliffe supports gender selection amongst unborn children? Did he
actually say that?
CONWAY: He was never -- he was -- he never -- he was asked, and he never
owned or disowned the official Democratic Party platform, which says that
they will oppose all restrictions and regulations on a woman`s right to
choose. So, the question --
MATTHEWS: Wait a minute.
The Democratic Party, as I understand it, supports Roe v. Wade, which makes
it very difficult to have an abortion in the third trimester. What are you
talking about here?
CONWAY: Well, that -- that`s not necessarily true. Every state has
different laws. And all that -- I`m telling you the advice I would give to
MATTHEWS: But I have never -- no, just to bottom-line. Have you heard
Terry McAuliffe say that he supports gender selection among fetuses or
unborn children, the mothers and fathers, whoever, mothers alone, would be
able to decide?
How does a doctor even know you`re doing that? I don`t know how that
becomes a policy, if you don`t even know a person`s mind-set.
CONWAY: Well, look, you are going to have to ask a doctor that. But there
are doctors who will tell you what sex of baby you`re having. And if you
don`t have that third daughter --
MATTHEWS: But how do you know that`s a policy of Terry McAuliffe`s?
CONWAY: I don`t. What I said was --
MATTHEWS: You just said you did.
CONWAY: -- the advice I would give Ken is to ask -- to make sure that
Terry McAuliffe is asked the same kinds of questions on abortion that Ken
Cuccinelli is asked.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I know. But you -- OK.
CONWAY: In other words --
MATTHEWS: But I don`t think it`s his -- but I don`t think it`s his policy.
Anyway, let`s -- let`s --
CONWAY: It`s about giving advice.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let me go to this with Sam Stein. This whole question of
packaging versus package, where you stand -- can you offer up a better
version of the Republican policy? Say, you support a particular kind of
education, you`re for vouchers or you`re for teacher testing, the kinds of
tough education to support that a lot of Democrats support. Will that work
to get women voters who do care about the education of their children
almost more than anything else sometimes?
SAM STEIN, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Well, I mean, I don`t doubt that messaging
plays a role. I think Kellyanne`s right in the fact that Terry McAuliffe
spent a lot of money on advertising. And a lot of that, as you know,
Chris, in northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., it was focused on
contraception and abortion, and hammering Ken Cuccinelli on those two
So, I don`t doubt that messaging plays a role. But I would argue that a
more fundamental issue here is probably the policy platforms. What`s
hurting the Republican Party with women voters as I look at it is the
consistent appetite for votes on things like abortion restrictions, things
like the inability to take a position on the Lilly Ledbetter Act, for
instance, with respect to Mitt Romney.
And even with health care reform -- I mean, we`ve been talking a lot about
health care reform recently, one of the aspect that health care reform was
important for was ending discrimination on some of these regulations with
respect to women and coverage. So, for instance, prior to the Affordable
Care Act, in eight states women could be discriminated against because they
are victims of domestic violence.
So when you have health care reform, there is a pitch there for women
voters that this could be beneficial to them. And the Republican Party
hasn`t really addressed that when they go after the Affordable Care Act.
So all these things add up, but I would argue that it`s not just about
messaging. In fact, I think it`s more about the substance and the policy
MATTHEWS: My thought, just a hunch here. But I think one reason women, I
talk about it more on this, Kellyanne, but you know this better than I do,
I think one thing women who have children of school age or even younger,
and they work outside the home, as well as working at home. They have to
work at home and work outside the home and raise the kids and be worried
about child development, all those pressures to be the perfect mother, the
perfect spouse, they need help.
CONWAY: They need help, Chris. By the way, they`re also thinking about
the traffic. How am I going to get there to pick them up.
MATTHEWS: And their parents, and their aging parents.
CONWAY: I`m a parent, yes. I have four children. And let me tell you
something -- I`m very typical. In other words, what I think -- and by the
way, what you just described, the typical woman you just described, she`s a
very common example of today`s woman but she`s not common in the Republican
consultancy. That`s a problem for a lot of our candidates.
Who did you talk to this week, I would ask a lot of our male candidates and
office holders. Who`s within your inner circle? Where are you getting
And that`s something we`re lagging tremendously behind. I think the
Republican Party suffers from a little bit of staff infection, frankly.
But let`s just, Chris, that I`m glad that Sam mentioned the Affordable Care
Act. I watched your show on election night last Tuesday. I saw you
talking to Tom Davis and Margie Omero, two great political analysts. You
were also talking about the 24-point deficit that Ken Cuccinelli had,
according to "The Washington Post" poll among women.
So, either that was wrong or the Affordable Care Act mostly made up a lot
of those deficits. So, women as the chief health care officers of their
households, they control two out of every three health care dollars spent
in this country, they are -- they are disproportionately the health care
consumers and the health care providers in our nation.
MATTHEWS: I`m with you.
CONWAY: This is a -- this is a huge issue for them, even going out to --
MATTHEWS: OK. We share the premise. I`m going to talk about it later in
the show. We may have different conclusions.
Kellyanne Conway --
MATTHEWS: -- thanks for coming on the program, and I appreciate the roles
you have to play, many results you have to play, which make you an ideal
consultant for Republicans.
Sam Stein, thank you so much for coming on.
STEIN: Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Up next, the story of the white conservative who won in an
African-American neighborhood by convincing people he was one of the local
African-American guys around the corner. You know, one of the guys. It
turns out he was not exactly the way he seemed to be presenting himself.
Is this illegal? No. But is it troubling? I don`t know. We`re going to
get to that.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: I`m up here in New York where the New World Trade Center has
officially been named the country`s tallest building. Let`s check the
HARDBALL scoreboard, by the way.
According to the Council on Tall Buildings, which keeps the official score
on these sort of things, One World Trade Center is officially 1,776 feet
tall. They ruled today that the antenna on the top of the building is
actually a spire, and architecturally a part of the structure.
Well, the Willis Tower in Chicago which used to be called the Sears Tower
has given up the throne it held since 1973.
We`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
We don`t usually cover the results of elections for local community college
boards, but this one is different. In Houston, Texas, in a heavily black
district, a white candidate ran against a 24-year incumbent who`s African-
American. And the white candidate won by a razor thin 26 votes. But his
campaign literature certainly seemed to leave the impression he was
Here`s a portion of a segment from Houston CBS affiliate KHOU.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Most of the voters in the district involved in this election are
African-American. Wilson sent out a bunch of these direct mail pieces
implying that he`s African-American.
His flier depicted smiling African-American faces. The words said, please
vote for our friend and neighbor, Dave Wilson. The pictures, he admits,
were just lifted off the Internet.
All these supporters are African-American.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What a coincidence.
REPORTER: The fliers said he was endorsed by Ron Wilson. No, not the
former state representative. The fine print says Ron Wilson is Dave
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, so, let`s get it straight. The endorsement as we just
heard was not from a former local politician who was African American, or
is African-American. It`s from the candidate`s cousin of the same name who
lives in Iowa. And these faces of implied support for the campaign flier,
all of them African-American, the candidate admits were pulled randomly
from the Internet.
Well, joining me right now is Bruce Austin, who served on the Houston
Community College Board for 24 years before losing to this fella, Dave
And Jonathan Capehart is, of course, our friend, or the opinion writer for
"The Washington Post."
Sir, I don`t know what to say except this is bizarre. That`s why we`re
covering it. Did you get blind sided by this character who came out of
nowhere and presumed to be and sold himself as a member of your community?
In fact, of the same ethnic group or racial group as most people in the
community and people were confused, in fact, bamboozled by this guy.
Is that what happened here?
BRUCE AUSTIN (D), HOUSTON COMMUNITY COLLEGE BOARD: I don`t know. I`ll
tell you what did happen.
I think the -- in terms of transparency, in terms of honesty, it was a
deceptive trick he used on the population.
MATTHEWS: Talk about the fact he had a cousin who made it sound like he
was cousin to an African-American person of some prestige down there.
AUSTIN: He did sound like -- he did sound like he was the cousin to Ron
Wilson, our former state representative. And it was not true.
I think the basis of all the literature that I`ve seen has been to commit a
fraud on the community and on the population.
MATTHEWS: When did you first -- wait. You knew he was Caucasian. When
did you first see him pretending to be African-American? When did you
first spot that? Somebody said it was in August?
AUSTIN: Well, the first time one of my neighbors gave me one of the
pamphlets. That`s when I first say and thought why would he have these
pictures of black people on his literature? And that`s when I realized
that he was actually characterizing himself as being an African-American.
MATTHEWS: When did you first discover -- sir, when did you first discover
AUSTIN: Late August.
MATTHEWS: You had three months to fix the problem. Why didn`t you
advertise through comparison advertising --
AUSTIN: I did.
MATTHEWS: -- that this fellow is white and you were black and more
representative of the community.
AUSTIN: I did do that. The way I did that was sent out a mailer to the
registered voters with his picture and my picture. Obviously, I am not
white and showed his picture --
MATTHEWS: So they knew?
AUSTIN: -- and my accomplishments.
MATTHEWS: Do you think they knew? Did the pamphlet reach the voter?
AUSTIN: If the voters saw my picture and saw his picture, they would be
able to distinguish between who was black and who was not.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let me go to Jonathan for a more distant view from this. I
don`t know what your reaction. My reaction is this might be a clean trick
or dirty trick. It`s definitely a trick.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, THE WASHINGTON POST: Right.
MATTHEWS: And how far between clean and dirty do you go on this? I
assume, overtime, there must have been an African-American who ran in a
white area, didn`t make a big deal about his ethnic background. I assume,
but I don`t know of any case like that. But why wouldn`t somebody do that?
But then again, what is the honesty requirement of any politician to tell
them that might hurt them politically? Good question here.
CAPEHART: You know, Chris, I think Mr. Austin hit on it. Keyword he
talked about, transparency. There are all sorts of tricks that are used,
as you and I both know, in the game of politics to try to win votes.
But when -- and there`s nothing wrong with, you know, taking pictures of
smiling African-American faces and putting them on literature to curry --
to try to get African-Americans to vote for you. Where Mr. Austin`s
opponent went wrong was not putting his own picture on there saying, hey,
this is me the candidate.
MATTHEWS: Ha! Shouldn`t the voter have said where are you in this
CAPEHART: Right. And if you don`t ever see the candidate in --
candidate`s picture in a piece of literature, that should be a red flag
MATTHEWS: Mr. Austin, are you going to contest this in any way? You`re
going to ask for a recount? Where are you standing on this race? Are you
going to try to get back in the game here?
AUSTIN: I`m asking for a recount because I`m concerned about the future of
the voters and the people in this district. I am from this district. I
went to school, grew up in this district.
MATTHEWS: You know what I think you should do? Exploit the hell out of
this. Run next time. Beat the guy and become a much better known person
than you are right now. You`d be much better off.
I`m telling you -- don`t get mad. Get ahead. Don`t even get even. Just
get ahead. That`s the oldest political vice.
Good luck with you, sir. You were tricked. Thank you very much, Bruce
Austin, the once and future member of the school board.
Anyway, Jonathan Capehart, as always, a nice, distant, charming observation
from you. Thank you, sir.
We`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this.
Here`s a thought about women and politics. A long time ago, I tried
writing about why women tend to vote Democratic. I think it has to do with
the traditional division of concerns in the average American family.
Ask a husband and father to tell you what shots the children have had, what
inoculations they`ve gotten from the doctor or school for the usual
diseases. And then look at the guy`s face as you begin to notice that he
thinks it`s a question he hasn`t got the slightest idea how to answer.
Now, ask about the classmates and teachers of the kids, which are good for
your boy or girl to hang out with and which teachers are having a solid
impact? Which are question marks, see how the guy does.
Then, ask the husband where he`s covered on his health insurance or better
yet how his parents are doing on their health plans and how they`re able to
cope with the usual late in life health challenges.
Look, the fact, you can call it a sorry fact, is that mothers are
especially responsible for knowing the answers to questions like this. And
very often, maybe too often, men get off the hook.
Why do women tend to vote Democrat more than men? Because when it comes to
issues like health care and education and Social Security and Medicare, and
yes, health care, this is the party, the Democrats, that pays the closest
attention to those issues.
Yes, Republicans are good on gun rights, if you would call that something
good. And they certainly are more hawkish on matters of war and peace, and
they`re known to be tough on law and order. But the issues I mentioned are
where the Democratic brand shines, and that -- as much as reproductive
issues themselves explains the gender gap, don`t you think?
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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