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updated 3/21/2014 10:39:46 AM ET 2014-03-21T14:39:46

HARDBALL
March 19, 2014

Guests: Michelle Bernard, Nia-Malika Henderson, Kurt Eichenwald, Greg Feith

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Worst case.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews, out here teaching at the University of
San Francisco.

"Let Me Start" tonight with this. Nothing concentrates the mind, said the
great Samuel Johnson, like the prospect of being hanged. Will knowing what
Republicans will do if they have control of the U.S. Senate this time next
year rouse Democratic voters to show up this November?

Will they turn out in far greater numbers if they get into their heads the
full GOP agenda for destroying the Obama presidency once and for all,
killing his ability to fill top appointments, including the Supreme Court,
running headline-grabbing probes of Benghazi and other favorite targets,
working all options to bring down affordable care, even pursuing
impeachment?

On that last item, Ted Cruz of Texas has been clear that it`s only a matter
of getting the numbers. Quote, "To successfully impeach a president," he
said, "you need the votes in the U.S. Senate." California congressman Dana
Rohrabacher put it more bluntly. "We`ve got three years to get this guy."

With that specter awaiting the president and the country come January, will
it concentrate the minds of Democrats to fight like hell to prevent it?

Howard Fineman`s editorial director of the Huffington Post Media Group and
David Corn is the Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones," and both are
MSNBC political analysts.

Gentlemen, it is great to have you joining me tonight for this big topic.
The Republicans look like they`re just randy to grab the Senate now. You
got Cory Gardner out in Colorado, Scott Brown making his move. All the
signs are that their appetite has been whetted to grab control. Whether
it`s John Cornyn or it`s Mitch McConnell, the thinking is one`s going to be
majority leader.

Howard, you`re first. Has that scared Democrats into trying to do
something really dramatic to hold on?

HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST MEDIA GROUP, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:
Well, It could scare some Democrats, and I think the Democrats would
probably be wise to raise that specter, as uncomfortable as it may be to
them, because it acknowledges the political reality that`s out there. But
they may as well as acknowledge that the conventional wisdom right now is
that -- and the numbers show that the Republicans have a good shot of
taking the Senate.

And what that would mean is that Mitch McConnell, I think almost certainly
Mitch McConnell, if he wins in Kentucky, would be suddenly majority leader.
And Mitch McConnell has made it clear, among other things, that he wants
to, for example, get rid of the Affordable Care Act, "Obama care," in his
phrase, is (ph) root and branch.

And I think that would be what the campaign is going to be about in 2014
for Republicans, and what the Republicans` first order of business would
be, to try to back the president in a corner, force him to veto things as
they try to dismantle "Obama care." That would be their number one
priority. And just the beginning because the whole philosophy of the
Republican majority, if they get it, will be to dismantle as much of
federal power as they can get away with.

MATTHEWS: Sounds right. David, is that -- is that -- do you see them
going that far, to basically keep sending measures to the president?
Because now you have both -- both houses in Republican control. They can
keep sending him bills for his signature which say, Change "Obama care,"
get rid of it.

DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It would be like a
frat house party for the Republicans. I mean, I don`t think they`d go
nearly as far as impeachment. I think that`d be pretty stupid and would
probably hurt them in 2016. But everything else is fair game.

Listen, I talked to a person just this afternoon who saw some internal
Democratic numbers, and she tells me that they`re looking at a tsunami --
tsunami! -- at this point. And so Democrats, if they`re not angry or
scared now, they only have a few more months to get that way because I do
think not only will you see the appropriations go, you know --
appropriators go after "Obama care" and everything else.

They`ll be blocking appointments, if there`s a Supreme Court vacancy, Obama
probably won`t get to fill it. He`s already been slow in filling judicial
appointments. And I do think you`ll see joint committee hearings on
Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi. They`ll bring back the IRS. They`ll bring
back Fast and Furious. And God knows what else they`ll be able to gin up
that we haven`t even heard about in terms of phony investigations. It will
be a circus.

MATTHEWS: Well, if Republicans do control the Congress, that means the
Senate, as well. What would stop them from pulling out all the stops and
trying to impeach the president? House Republicans have been abuzz about
this for the past year. Here are just a few comments. David, check these,
because you don`t think they`re that crazy, but let`s see what they`ve been
saying.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. BILL FLORES (R), TEXAS: I look at the president, I think he has
violated the Constitution. I think he`s violated the law. I think he`s
abused his power. But at the end of the day, you have to say, OK, if the
House decides to impeach him, I think if the House had an impeachment vote,
it would probably impeach the president.

REP. KERRY BENTIVOLIO (R), MICHIGAN: if I could write that bill and submit
it --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do it!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do it!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes!

BENTIVOLIO: -- -excuse me -- it would be a dream come true. I feel your
pain, I know. I went back to my office and I`ve had lawyers come in. And
these are lawyers, well-trained Ph.D.`s in history. And I said, Tell me
how I can impeach the president of the United States.

REP. BLAKE FARENTHOLD (R), TEXAS: Here`s the issue. And you tie into a
question I get a lot. You know, if you`re -- if everybody`s so unhappy
with what the president`s done, why don`t you impeach him? And I`ll give
you a real frank answer about that. If we were to impeach the president
tomorrow, you could probably get the votes in the House of Representatives
to do it.

REP. DANA ROHRABACHER (R), CALIFORNIA: We all have to do it. We`ve got
three years to get this guy out. Hopefully -- well, let me put it this
way. I think he probably has been engaged in these unconstitutional
approaches that may make his own ability to stay in office a question.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: And here`s what Ted Cruz had to say to his supporters last
summer when he was asked, Why don`t you impeach Obama? "It`s a good
question, Cruz responded, "and I`ll tell you the simplest answer. To
successfully impeach a president, you need the votes in the U.S. Senate."

So back to you, David on this point. What makes you think that all the
real wild guys on the right, who make these statements over and over again
-- and they`re going to keep making them to their constituents at home --
won`t be driven to move into the House Judiciary Committee and begin a
process? What would --

CORN: Oh, I --

MATTHEWS: Why would the House leadership stop them from doing what they
clearly want to do, which is to impeach?

CORN: Well, I think some of them will try to do that. My guess is public
opinion would be, like, 80/20 against impeachment. There`d be two years
left in Obama`s presidency. And still, what is the reason that would
resonate with the public, that he changed some regulations for "Obama
care"? I don`t think they have a clear case. I think they`re wrong.
There`s no reason to impeach.

And I think anyone who`s worried in the Republican Party about 2016,
including some members of the Senate who might be running for president in
2016, Republican members, will say, This is not the way to go. This will
be the classic case of overreaching, which we saw -- I mean, some of these
guys may not be the brightest bulbs, but there`s a very strong lesson from
back in 1996 -- in `98 about what happens when you try to impeach a
president. The public doesn`t tend to like it, and there will be payback
for the Republicans.

FINEMAN: Chris -- Chris, I -- I -- I adore David but completely disagree
with him.

(LAUGHTER)

CORN: Good!

FINEMAN: I think that -- I think that it`s going to become a litmus test
for Tea Party Republicans heading into 2016 to advocate the impeachment of
the president. I think it`s catnip to these people on the right, and the
notion that Mitch McConnell, should he be in charge after defeating a Tea
Party candidate in Kentucky and then a Democrat in Kentucky -- Democrat
there, if he can do it -- the notion that he would be able to control Ted
Cruz and control other people, either in the Senate or the House, is a
fantasy.

They`re going to go out there and do it, and I don`t think there`s any
doubt about it because you can`t overstate -- if you talk to Tea Party
people around the country, if you travel around and talk to them, you can`t
overstate the paranoia and fear and resentment that they have of the
president. And even if they don`t have the constitutional reasons to do
it, even if, as David says, the reed that they are going to lean on is
changes in the Affordable Care Act, it`s not going to matter to them, and
they are going to push it.

Where it will get, who knows? But I think it`s going to -- I think it`s
going to be a strong theme from 2014 to 2016. If the Republicans take the
Senate, they`re going to take that as a sign to move ahead in the Cruz
direction.

CORN: That will be -- that will continue, though, Howard, I think, the
civil war that we see in the Republican Party --

FINEMAN: Right.

CORN: -- because a lot of people, Republican (INAUDIBLE) whether it`s
the Karl Roves, the Haley Barbours, or even, you know, the John McCains
will not want to see this because they know the party will pay a price. I
think you`re right, there will be a lot of motivation, a lot of impetus for
this to happen. But you know, this is -- this would be -- you know, this
is nuclear war, of course, political nuclear war. And I guess, you know,
I`m a little optimistic that they`re not that crazy.

FINEMAN: Well, me, too --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: They`re not going to get him convicted of anything --

FINEMAN: No.

MATTHEWS: -- because there`s nothing to convict him of. So let`s --

FINEMAN: No.

CORN: Right.

FINEMAN: No.

MATTHEWS: Short of that -- short of that, David, and then Howard, what are
the steps they can do to basically atrophy this president, to basically put
him in a straitjacket so he`s under house arrest politically? They`re
going to keep him -- if Ruth Bader Ginsberg decides to retire, they`re not
going to fill that seat, right? It`s not going to happen.

CORN: Yes, I think they will --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: -- can`t get a Supreme Court nominee as of today, probably.

CORN: Or I think any sort of major, you know, judicial nominee. There are
a lot of vacancies still on the court at lower levels that will totally
come to a standstill if the Senate controls -- if Republicans control the
Senate. And all other major appointments, if there are any major cabinet
positions, EPA, anything else comes up, they will just drag and they`ll
slow walk it. And he won`t be able to really run the government.

FINEMAN: But the other thing they`re going to do, Chris, is carpet bomb
him with more investigations. I mean, you see a preview of that today,
where Darrell Issa, who may be on his way out after 2014 as head of the
House Oversight Committee, is demanding all these e-mails and notes about
the political office at the White House. I mean, they`re going to be
spending all their time down at the White House answering requests for
documents and subpoenas. That`ll be another theme that they`re going to
pursue, the investigations. Even if they can`t move on impeachment,
they`ll just try to investigate him to a standstill.

MATTHEWS: Well, anyway, the question I started with is all this knowledge
that you and I -- both you guys and I can see in the numbers and see in the
fact that a guy like Scott Brown will move -- and make his move in New
Hampshire, where he could humiliate himself, but he obviously feels it`s a
good year. If ever he`s going to be in the Senate, this is the year he`s
going to have to get in, and New Hampshire`s going to have to be the state
that puts him in. And Cory Gardner out against Mark Udall in Colorado,
which is -- it`s a swing state many times.

They must sense the wind is so strong. And my sense to both of you
question (ph) -- to both of you now finally is do the Democrats feel the
wind coming at them the way the Republicans feel it coming with them?
Howard?

FINEMAN: Yes, I think -- yes. I talked to a senior member of the
congressional Democratic leadership just yesterday. And I said, Do you
think it`s as bad as everybody`s saying. And he said yes. He said, I
think -- I think we`ll hold -- our hopes of expanding our reach in the
House are finished. We`ll probably hold on -- I mean, we won`t lose more -
- many more seats in the House. You know, Republicans will maintain
control there. But our hopes of gaining in the House are vanished.

And the Senate, he said, is at best 50/50 at this point. That`s the
thinking within the Democratic leadership. The only good news for the
Democrats is it`s still only March, and between March and November is a
long, long time. But as of right now, I think the Democrats are only
slightly under the surface in a state of almost full panic at this point.

MATTHEWS: OK, thank you so much, Howard Fineman and David Corn.

Coming up, the Malaysian air mystery. Authorities now say data was deleted
from the pilot`s home flight simulator, and that`s raising more questions
about the pilot, the co-pilot and what may have gone on inside that
cockpit.

Plus, we`ve watched as Republicans across the country have pushed laws to
restrict the rights of women, and now Republican women are getting into the
act, essentially going to war with women themselves.

Now, I`ve been saying this here for years. Enough with the comparisons to
Nazi Germany. There`s nothing in the political battles we`re fighting to
day that have anything to do with the absolute horrors of the Holocaust,
and yet people, these days mainly on the right, keep making that
comparison.

Finally, another member of the far right puts Vladimir Putin on a pedestal,
this time for his stance on gay rights. Believe it or not, they`re liking
Putin.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: The Illinois governor`s match-up is set. Venture capitalist
Bruce Rauner won a closer than expected victory last night in the
Republican primary Now Rauner will take on incumbent Democratic governor
Pat Quinn. Quinn is among the more vulnerable governors out there in the
country, along with Republicans like Rick Scott of Florida, Pennsylvania`s
Tom Corbett and Paul LePage of Maine. Quinn is already up with a TV ad
today painting Rauner as a 1 percenter who wants to cut the minimum wage
and cut taxes for the rich.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Twelve days and the mystery
continues. What did happen to that Malaysian Airlines flight 370? For the
families of the missing passengers, the wait has been agonizing, and today
their frustration was on full display as some interrupted a news conference
in Kuala Lumpur.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I want you to help me find my
son! I want to see son! We have been here for 10 days and no government
official asked about us!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: If you`re a parent, you get that. hat`s the mother of one of
the passengers breaking down in front of journalists. She was removed by
Malaysian officials.

Meanwhile today, a lot of the focus turned to the captain and the flight
simulator he kept in his home. Malaysian officials say data was deleted
from that simulator just before a month before the flight. The FBI is
helping analyze the computer, looking for clues.

Robert Hager`s an NBC News contributor and former NBC News aviation
correspondent and Greg Feith is a former NTSB crash investigator.

Gentleman, I`ve been a little ill lately, and I`ve been watching this on
TV, including you, Bob. And it`s good to see you again, although you come
back for the toughest cases, I`ll tell you that.

This is such a sad tragedy, and it`s expressed in the face of that mother.
And anybody who has kids knows that -- imagines the horror of that feeling,
losing a child in such circumstances, which are vaguely mysterious in terms
of whether the kid might still be alive maybe on the outside and -- I guess
that`s what the horror of this whole thing -- it`s like Judge Crater and
D.B. Cooper. It`s one of these almost complete mysteries.

Bob, is it a complete mystery at this point?

ROBERT HAGER, NBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I --

MATTHEWS: Do we know anything really for sure that could lead us to
deliberate criminal behavior here? Are we there yet or are we still in the
area of general unknown?

HAGER: I think we`re more in the area of general unknowns. I mean, there
are some things we know, and there was that the one piece of evidence that
sounded like it might be conclusive about the flight management system,
which was flying the plane, being programmed before -- being programmed for
its deviant turn before the calm voice transmission of, "All right, good
night." And even that, there`s some question about that now, with what the
Malaysian people said at their news conference today. They left it a bit
ambiguous. So even that is not certain.

So what we have here is a few known things about where these blips were
recorded and where the plane may have gone, and so forth. But nothing
makes sense. Nothing really adds up. So it does continue to be a mystery,
which, as you say, is just awful for the families.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Greg, I`m trying to figure out the politics or the
motivation of the pilot or the co-pilot. And all I`ve come across in the
news coverage so far is that the pilot did side with the opposition leader,
and the other day, there was a court trial in which the -- he felt the guy
was screwed. The guy was, you know, brought up on charges of sodomy or
something they cooked up. And then the court overturned the -- what looked
to be the acquittal. The guy was basically held up again on charges. And
he -- he -- you know, I keep thinking, was there anything to the politics
of this guy, the pilot, who might have led him to this suicidal decision?

GREG FEITH, FORMER NTSB INVESTIGATOR: When you look at his politics -- and
then, of course, you got to remember Malaysia Airlines is government-owned.
It`s the flag carrier. So if you do something against the airline, you`re
actually doing something against the government.

MATTHEWS: That`s what I was thinking.

FEITH: And so --

MATTHEWS: Is this possibly a way to completely humiliate, which it has
done -- by the way, it has succeeded. This has been a success in that
sense of horror that you have a country that has been humiliated here.

FEITH: And on top of that, with all the liability, the litigation, the
government`s going to be liable for all the lawsuits that are sure to
follow. So now you have an economic aspect, too, not only that
humiliation. So I mean, there is some motive there from that particular
standpoint.

MATTHEWS: But we don`t know.

FEITH: We don`t know at this point.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Yes, Bob.

HAGER: Oh.

Well, you know, remember the other two suicides that we had, that we know
of in the past, and we are pretty sure they were suicides, SilkAir --
which, Greg, by the way, investigated or helped on the investigation -- And
Egypt Air here in the U.S., took off from Kennedy and crashed off
Nantucket, well, in both of those cases, it took the discovery of the
flight data recorders to show what the pilot had actually done, showed
conclusively that they put the nose forward and took the plane in.

And in this case, you have a plane that`s flying around for all of these
hours after they take the deviant turn. So that`s another reason why it
just doesn`t make sense.

MATTHEWS: It`s also possible, gentlemen, that a guy could -- somebody
could have done something deliberate to sabotage the plane, but then things
screwed up. Things didn`t work the way he -- or the two of them or the one
individual intended them to. It seems that is always a possibility here.

Let me ask you about what we`re asking about the flight simulator at the
home.

Greg, do you want to start with this? They found a flight simulator at the
home and they said some of the information was deleted within the last
month. What does that tell us?

FEITH: What it tells us basically is nothing right now, until we know
exactly what file or files were deleted.

I have got a flight simulator on my computer. It`s not as elaborate as
this captain. But you can record your flights and it goes into a file
folder called logs or previous flights or whatever. And it is curious to
see exactly what file or files this pilot has delivered -- deleted, only
because, if he had done a dry run, let`s say he has already fantasized
about what he is going to do and he is out there and he`s actually flying
this to perfect his technique and skill as to how he`s going to pull this
off, and that goes into the file, you can review those files and you could
play it back.

And it may be that on the day, I think it was February 3 or February 8,
that that file was deleted, he may have decided he has got enough. He is
going to do his thing on such and such day and he`s going to clean his
trail, if you will, and get rid of those files. The FBI is working with
the Malaysians right now to try and recover those file folders.

(CROSSTALK)

HAGER: Would you just naturally clear the flight simulator, the model of
the flight simulator just to clear the memory out, like you might delete
messages from your computer?

FEITH: You could do that as well. I have done that because they are big,
large files. You could also do that as well. And again they are going to
have to see what the content of that file folder or files are to really
make that determination.

But Bob brought up a point. When I did Indonesia in SilkAir, none of that
-- there was no telltale sign until you really started to dig into
backgrounds and that kind of stuff. And it was really the cockpit voice
recorder that shed light on the motivation with the captain. We found
things that he was doing out of character on that day.

He would never talk to the co-pilot and the flight attendants. And on that
day, he was Mr. Happy. He talked to the co-pilot. He never ate in the
cockpit. Yet, on that day, he was going to leave the cockpit and go get
something to eat. That is when he pulled the circuit breakers on the
flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder.

This goes real deep, not just trying to gather a piece of paper or flight
simulator at someone`s home. There is going to be some real investigative
work that`s probably going to -- to ferret out that little tidbit that
might give us the motivation.

MATTHEWS: Well, the motivation question -- it`s interesting, in the
Egyptian case, which horrified most of us who fly out of New York all the
time, that this pilot would be driven perhaps by zealotry, religious
zealotry or whatever, that he do it without any kind of sending a message
ahead of time or leaving anything behind.

As you said, it was only when they found the recorder, the black box.
There is a pattern. Do you think there is a copycat aspect here possibly
to that kind of a suicidal venture?

HAGER: I think that is a hard jump to make. It would seem to me like
something as strong as suicide that it is more than a copycat, that he has
got something in mind.

But if you wanted to make a statement with your suicide, make a political
point or show somebody that you have been mistreated or whatever, wouldn`t
you leave some evidence of it, a statement behind or something to show why
this was done?

MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, whatever he did, whatever the co-pilot did, whatever
role fate played in this, it seems to me the effect has been to really
damage the Malaysian government and its airlines. So, I don`t know. That
is where it has ended up.

Thank you. It`s good to see you on, Bob. I have been watching you all
day. Thank you, Greg Feith. It`s great to have you on.

HAGER: Thank you, Chris.

FEITH: You`re welcome.

MATTHEWS: Up next: more praise from the right wing for -- the right-wing
in this country, not in Russia, but the right wing here seems to love
Vladimir Putin. And this time, it`s about gay rights and the lack thereof
over there.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JIMMY FALLON")

JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JIMMY FALLON": This week, Mitt
Romney said the situation in Ukraine is a result of President Obama`s bad
timing. When he heard that, President Obama was like, my what?

(LAUGHTER)

FALLON: Incidentally, bad timing is also what Mitt Romney has when he is
trying to do the wave at a baseball game.

(LAUGHTER)

FALLON: Dang it. I missed it again. Tagg, tell me when it is coming
around. Dang it!

(LAUGHTER)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Time for the "Sideshow."

That was Jimmy Fallon on Mitt Romney`s critical op-ed on President Obama`s
handling of the Ukraine crisis, of course. Anyway, Romney didn`t go so far
as some Republicans, who actually praised Putin. Now a well-known
evangelical leader is doing just that, but on a separate issue entirely.

Evangelist -- evangelist Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham and CEO
of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, is commending Putin for his
hard-line policy against homosexuality. Here is what Graham said in his
latest issue of "Decision" magazine -- quote -- "In my opinion, Putin is
right on these issues. Our president and his attorney general have turned
their backs on God. Isn`t it sad, though, that America`s own morality has
fallen so far that on this issue, protecting children from any homosexual
agenda or propaganda, Russia`s standard higher than our own?"

Well, Franklin Graham of course is more a child of the right than of his
father. In 2012, he publicly questioned President Obama`s faith, saying he
wasn`t sure if the president was a true Christian.

Anyway, up next: You have heard about the war on women. Now Republican
women are joining the fight, believe it or not, essentially declaring war
on themselves. That`s coming up here on HARDBALL.

You`re watching it, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hey there. I`m Veronica De La
Cruz. And here`s what`s happening.

In an interview with NBC`s San Diego affiliate, President Obama said no
military option is on the table amid rising tensions over Ukraine, but the
U.S. will continue to ratchet up economic pressure on Russia if it
continues on its current course.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said interest rates will remain near zero for a
considerable time. The Central Bank will also cut monthly bond purchases
by $10 billion.

And two winning tickets were sold for last night`s Mega Millions jackpot.
Winners in Florida and Maryland will split the $414 million prize.

I`m Veronica De La Cruz -- now back to HARDBALL.

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Is the Republican Party`s war on women so ingrained in the party`s ideology
that the Republican women have begun declaring themselves part of this?
Last week, a Minnesota state representative, believe it or not, told
colleagues that supporting laws designed to protect women from
discrimination in the workplace and address unfair pay make women look like
whiners.

A progressive group got their hands on the audio of the remarks. And here
they are.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

ANDREA KIEFFER (R), MINNESOTA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: We heard several of
those last week about women`s issues. And I kept thinking to myself, these
bills are putting us backwards in time. We are losing the respect that we
so dearly want in the workplace by bringing up all of these special bills
for women and almost making us look like whiners.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Whiners.

Anyway, it doesn`t stop there. On Sunday, ahead of the conservative Texas
political action group named Red State Women railed against Texas
gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis by claiming that women voters don`t
support laws to address pay, the pay gap. Her logic? Because women are
too busy. Here`s that interview, if you can follow it, on a Dallas TV
station.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is the solution then, do you think, for equal pay,
then, Cari?

CARI CHRISTMAN, DIRECTOR, RED STATE WOMEN PAC: Well, if you look at it,
women are extremely busy. We lead busy lives, whether working
professionally, whether we`re working from home. And times are extremely -
- extremely busy. It`s just -- it`s a busy cycle for women, and we have
got a lot to juggle.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, the key word there was busy.

Also in Texas, the head of the state`s Republican Party said that women
were wasting their time with court battles over equal pay and
discrimination. Here`s her simply solution.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Men are better negotiators. And I would encourage
women, instead of pursuing the courts for action, to become better
negotiators.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: How about doing both?

Anyway, joining me right now is Michelle Bernard, president of the Bernard
Center for Women, Politics and Public Policy, and Nia-Malika Henderson of
"The Washington Post."

I will get to that other argument about being better negotiators. Let`s
talk about the law and what it should do.

And, first answer, Michelle, what did you make of the charge that women are
too busy, to do what? I wasn`t sure about the causality or correlation
between the answer and the question.

MICHELLE BERNARD, FOUNDER, BERNARD CENTER FOR WOMEN, POLITICS AND POLICY:
Look, I am completely baffled and perplexed by the entire thing.

The bottom line is the pursuit of justice, fairness and equality through
any legal means necessary is not whining. It is the American way. And we
are -- and I say this to someone who believes in the free market. The free
market only works if we are equal and treated as equals.

And I really don`t understand how they make this argument or make a
statement about women being busy. Tell me something I don`t know. I`m not
too busy to earn the same amount of money as you earn for equal work.

MATTHEWS: Let me go to Nia-Malika Henderson. This -- the argument for
equal pay, we have Lilly Ledbetter on the law -- it`s on the books now.
And yet there is a disequality, like 70 cents on the dollar a woman is
making out there.

It does seem like, whatever laws we do get through the book and get signed
by the president -- and this is one of Obama`s major achievements, Lilly
Ledbetter -- it hasn`t obviously gotten to the reality level yet, has it?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST":
Well, that`s right.

This was signed in 2009, his first bill. He made a very big deal out of it
throughout his campaign even in 2012. And so I think what you have at the
state level are efforts to essentially pass state Lilly Ledbetter laws.

In Texas, for instance, Wendy Davis pushed through a bill. It got through
the state -- it got through the House there as well. But it was vetoed by
Rick Perry. And you have this -- this is happening in a number of states.
In Wisconsin, the equal pay law there was repealed. So, you have women who
are running in these states very much making a big deal out of this.

And at a time when Republicans are trying to really reset their approach to
women, one of the things they are trying to do is have more high-profile
women surrogates. And you have women carrying the message of the
Republican Party and their approach to equal pay, which is essentially to
say it is not needed because state laws are already good enough, and also
that any additional laws would hurt business and just lead to more
lawsuits.

I think that woman there, Cari, is clearly in over her head. She is just a
poor surrogate.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

HENDERSON: I talked to folks in the Abbott campaign down there, and they
were essentially saying that they don`t feel like you can blame the victim
for some of these pay disparities.

MATTHEWS: OK. But what is the good argument? I find this -- why are they
fighting like the Alamo -- for the Alamo on an issue that is never going to
win for them?

They will be fighting this for 500 years, and the Republicans will look
like they are anti-woman if they keep opposing equal pay standards.

Nia, they`re never going to win this argument, so why do they keep making
it?

(CROSSTALK)

BERNARD: Because they don`t -- I don`t think they understand that they are
never going to win this argument.

I think they have decided -- and there is a huge problem with the approach
and with the strategy. What they have decided -- I`m going to go back to
Wisconsin that Nia brought up earlier. They had a male state legislator
last year argue that they should abolish or get rid of, repeal Wisconsin`s
equal pay law, because in his words -- and I`m quoting him -- "One could
argue that money is more important to men than women."

So, we know that that is what a lot of Republican legislators at the state
level believe. Since there was some backlash, I think the strategy that we
see now is let`s find women who will say what we actually think and go out
there and do -- carry our water for us and see if that works.

And I think, eventually, they will realize when they start -- when they
keep losing elections, that this is not an argument that normal, free-
thinking women believe.

MATTHEWS: I thought that -- Nia, I thought that was an interesting
counterpoint that the woman was making earlier we showed in the clip there
of saying, well, why don`t we make women into better negotiators?

HENDERSON: Right.

MATTHEWS: How about both?

HENDERSON: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Because they don`t seem to be mutually exclusive, obviously.

If you have the law on your side, you are a better negotiator. Right? But
I came across an amazing story. A friend of mine who is a big recruiter
for a major accounting form said that when you go out to the colleges and
all, and you say, I want four standards for people to apply for this
company, a woman will say, well, I meet three of them, but I don`t meet the
fourth, so I better not apply.

The guy will look at the same demands --

(LAUGHTER)

HENDERSON: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: -- and they will say, well, I have got one for sure. I can
B.S. a couple of the other ones, and they won`t pay attention to the
fourth. Is that the reality? Women are so just formal and exacting of
themselves where men are into the B.S. business more.

Your thoughts?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, THE WASHINGTON POST: That`s right. Men are very
overconfident. You see that when it comes to men running for office.
Women tend to go for lower office. Men their first time out will try for
congress or senate. And the woman will try for school board. So, you see
that.

I think there is another issue. Women tend to cluster in jobs that are low
pay. There are all of these cultural expectations about what women should
do in terms of their career and what that -- what those careers are worth.
You see women who are teachers and nurses in the service sector. I think
what women talk to their daughters about. I majored in cultural
anthropology and literature.

My God, I wish I would have majored in engineering. My mom kind of push me
in that, I was never really good in math. In those sectors, the pay gap
isn`t as vast. But I think in a lot of these races when you are talking
more practically about average women you look at minimum wage, two-thirds
of women are in those jobs. So, there has sort of re-thinking about where
we are in terms of these jobs because we have so many female headed
households, either through divorce or either through unwed mothers. So,
you know, I think it`s going to be a big debate.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Nia, I am so -- I say this all the time. I am so impressed by
A-section reporters who write for the A-section of a newspaper. They put
out their absolute hard news every day on incredible deadlines. I have
been on buses with you guys. I`m astounded by what you can do.

And I pick up the paper in the next day, there is a 1,500 word piece. That
person wrote that. How did they get it in? It is brilliant English and
perfect. It is toughest game in the world, daily reporting for major
quality newspapers.

So you`re at the top of the game. So, the idea --

HENDERSON: Thank you so much, Chris. I appreciate that.

MATHEWS: The idea of competing with men I think is way beyond that.
Anyway, thank you. I don`t B.S. about this stuff. I am always impressed.

Michelle Bernard, thank you so much for coming on, and, Nia Malika
Henderson.

It`s an interesting topic, men and women. It always will be.

Up next, Ted Cruz has done it. Ted Nugent has done it. Ben Carson has
done it. They`ve all recently compared the Obama administration to Nazi
Germany. And it`s time those analogies stopped for good. That`s ahead.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: The marquee matchup this November among the governor`s race
takes place in Florida between Republican Governor Rick Scott and his
predecessor, Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist.

Let`s check the HARDBALL scoreboard.

According to a new poll from University of North Florida, it`s a tight
race, with lots of undecideds. Right now, Crist leads by one. It`s Crist,
34, Scott, 33, but 70 percent of Florida say they haven`t made up their
minds yet.

And we`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: We`re back.

Comparing your opponent to Nazi Germany has become a political weapon of
choice over differences of opinion lately. Home Depot founder and Chris
Christie donor Ken Langone warned against populism in an interview with
"Politico", saying, quote, "Because if you go back to 1933, with different
words, this is what Hitler was saying in Germany," you don`t survive as a
society if you encourage and thrive on envy or jealousy."

Well, Kurt Eichenwald is feed with all in his latest article in "Vanity
Fair". He writes, quote, "How dare so many of you political and
entertainers spit on ashes of the earth containing the bodies of millions
of the slaughtered by making such asinine comparisons."

Kurt Eichenwald is a contributing editor for "Vanity Fair". Jonathan Alter
writes for "Bloomberg View" and is an MSNBC political analyst.

Gentlemen, I guess I`m up to here with this.

I guess as a Holocaust family member you are particularly bothered by it.
To me the bone-headedness, the lack of historic perspective, the lack of
any kind of breadth of knowledge about the world we grew up and the world
that was here before us, when it all goes back to this sort of comic book
World War II notion of Hitler. And you cannot -- to me, it`s a unique
period of history to be recognized, never forgotten as such.

Your thoughts -- why does it bother you, sir, that these people from left
to right keep talking about Hitler to anybody they don`t like?

KURT EICHENWALD, VANITY FAIR: Well, many different reasons. You know,
primarily the contempt they are demonstrating, the ignorance they are
demonstrating about what actually happened in the Holocaust. You know,
Nazi Germany was not the same as Obamacare. It wasn`t the same as the
national debt or all of these little things that keep being brought forward
as of such great import.

The problem is you have a bunch of truly ignorant, truly self-centered
people who think that the events of their daily lives are equivalent to
major traumas in world history.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I`m just reading a book, the classical music guy. He talks
about tracing the steps of his family that he lost in the Holocaust. And
when you go through that and all of that experience you know how unique and
horrible it was. And these people that just say Hitler.

Jonathan, you know history, you are a historian. Why do people have such a
lack, including Hillary Clinton, Secretary Clinton, a lot them are throwing
the Hitler word around these days, which is to me -- don`t they have
reference points? Can`t they say, you know, Assad in Syria or can`t they
say Mao or Joseph Stalin for a little variety now, and throw in some other
names?

I think it is almost total ignorance in history. They have seen a lot of
World War II movies.

JONATHAN ALTER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Or they`re misreading history,
Chris. You know, one of the reasons we got into Vietnam War was because a
lot of policymakers in the 1960 used what`s called a Munich and they
considered negotiating with North Vietnam to be the equivalent of Neville
Chamberlain negotiating with Adolf Hitler at Munich in 1938, which was a
preposterous comparison, just, you know, 25 years after the events.

You`ve got to draw a distinction here between people who go for the
ridiculous Hitler Nazi analogies when it comes to policy and leaders, world
leaders. We need a total moratorium on that. It doesn`t matter what side
of the political perspective you have, you`re on.

You know, I have a story about Steve Schwartzman, a Jew in New York, a
billionaire, who went there in 2009 on Obama`s tax policy, preposterous.
It`s OK to use, some Nazi analogies when there`s real genocide like in
Rwanda or in Cambodia under Pol Pot. These analogies need to be reserved
only for genocide. Otherwise, you cheapen the memory of all of those
slaughtered.

So, Hillary Clinton made a big mistake. All the rest of them made a big
mistake going there. It`s also ridiculous apples and oranges comparison in
just -- you know, geopolitics.

MATTHEWS: Anyway. Well, Nazi references are not limited to one party as
much there. Jonathan, let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: You go to the 1940s, Nazi Germany. Look, we saw
in Britain, Neville Chamberlain, who told the British people, accept the
Nazis. Yes, they`ll dominate the continent of Europe, but that`s not our
problem. Let`s appease them. Why? Because it can`t be done. We can`t
possibly stand against them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Think about Nazi Germany. Most of those people did not
believe in what Hitler was doing. But did they speak up? Did they stand
up for what they believed? They did not. And you saw what happened.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: What I said yesterday is that
the claims by President Putin and other Russians, that they had to go into
Crimea and maybe further into eastern Ukraine because they had to protect
the Russian minorities. And that is reminiscent of claims that were made
back in the 1930s when Germany under the Nazis kept talking about how they
had to protect German minorities in Poland and Czechoslovakia and elsewhere
throughout Europe.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: I look back in history. In some of the
worst governments we`ve ever had. You know one of the first things they
did, they went after the trade unions. Hitler didn`t want unions.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

MATTHEWS: Well, the point there is, the absurdity and the evil.

Look at this -- let me ask you this, Kurt. Did you see the reference that
Ted Cruz was making there? He was comparing Republicans who recognized
they didn`t have 60 votes to accomplish certain things on the Senate floor.
Comparing them to Neville Chamberlain who, you know, like all of us, I`m a
student of Chamberlain to try to figure him out. He basically was an
idealistic who thought that Hitler only wanted the German people back
together, and he went along Sudetenland and the whole ball of wax, and he
changed, unlike Halifax was always an appeaser.

And I think to compare him to some Republican who looks at the numbers
rather than crazy talk, he`s basically calling Mitch McConnell a bad guy
and appeaser of Hitler. It seems so out of whack morally, a guy you
disagree with in your caucus.

EICHENWALD: Well, it`s also this thing of where -- someone like Ted Cruz,
who is he in that analogy. He`s the Nazi fighter, you`re talking about the
rise of Hitler, and here, the funding of Obamacare, he`s making that
equivalency.

And who is he? He`s the guy who`s standing up against the Nazis, no. He`s
a coward. He`s a coward who is taking the blood from the soil of people
who were actually fighting evil, who were actually confronting evil, and
bathing himself in it.

So, he can try to appear to be a lot more important than he is.

ALTER: Yes, I mean, the --

MATTHEWS: He also had his years wrong, it was 1938 Munich. It wasn`t the
40s by the way.

ALTER: Chris, even when Hillary Clinton`s analogy was actually accurate,
historically accurate if you look at what Hitler was saying about the
Germans and the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia. But it doesn`t matter
whether it was accurate. Once you go there with this kind of analogy, it`s
kind of like playing fast and loose with history in ways that just play on
people`s emotions and don`t actually go to the current arguments.

Yes, we need to be tougher on Putin, but we don`t need to be tougher on
Putin because he`s another Hitler. We need to be tougher on Putin for 2014
reasons.

MATTHEWS: And don`t accuse the Russian people who lost 20 million people
to Hitler, of being pro-Hitler. It`s absurd. The great patriotic war was
their great historic achievement, taking on the eastern front and beating
Hitler, all the way to Berlin. And then to accuse Russians, not Soviets,
of being pro-Hitler is an absurdity.

And I`m sure they got the message. They don`t like it.

Anyway, thank you, Kurt Eichenwald, a staggeringly important piece on what
could be a small thing. But you`ve raised it to the level of historic
conscience, which I`m so glad you did.

And we`ll be right back. Jonathan, too. Thank you.

ALTER: Thanks, Chris.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this.

There`s something embarrassing about these unthinking, unrelenting
references to Adolf Hitler, to become a kind of oratorical panic button.
In a desperate effort to grab attention, you cite the man responsible for
50 million people dead in World War II.

Let`s agree, it`s stupid to compare moderate Republicans to the appeasers
of Adolf Hitler. It`s stupid to compare the president`s health care plan
with Nazi Germany. And yes, the same goes to those who lightly Vladimir
Putin with Hitler.

Hitler didn`t organize elections to win over territory. He took over
territory, as he did with Austria, to prevent elections. The best thing
you can say for labor unions is that Hitler was against them. Well, that`s
your problem right there.

I adhere to the motto of the Holocaust, "Never forget". And the best way
to honor it is to remember its horrid uniqueness. Comparing everything or
anybody or everybody you don`t like to Hitler is to diminish the horrible.
It must be never forgotten.

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

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.


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