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updated 5/16/2014 3:41:53 PM ET 2014-05-16T19:41:53

HARDBALL
May 12, 2014

Guests: Stephanie Schriock, Jamal Simmons, Susan Page, Jeremy Peters, Clarence Page

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Scare tactics.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews up in New York.

"Let Me Start" with this preventive war being waged on Hillary Clinton.
It`s right out in the open now, and on every front, from Benghazi to
Nigeria, all the forces of the right -- neocons, libertarians and Tea
Partiers -- are closing ranks to attack their common enemy for 2016. Bill
Kristol, that Iraq war field marshal of the home front, has declared war on
her very title, Secretary Clinton. He said yesterday, she`s going to pay
for that, he said, those four years at State. Rand Paul is said to relish
his direct line of attack on Clinton. And now Marco Rubio, looking for any
chance to line up with the far right attack squad, is joining the fusillade
of charges against the former first lady.

Some think this is preventive war, a nasty line of fire to scare Hillary
Clinton from evening entering the presidential race. This is just the
beginning, they`re saying, of what we`re going to throw at you the second
you throw your hat in the ring. If you don`t like the heat -- they`re
channeling Harry Truman here -- stay out of the kitchen.

Will this dreadful campaign of personal attack succeed? Will it drive the
Democrats` best hope from the field even before the battle? Or will it
shape the battlefield once she enters it, putting her on the nasty
defensive from the day and hour she formally announces? That`s all for
history to decide.

Right now, in May of 2014, the right is ganging up, turning its flame
throwers on the person they expect to face an open rivalry but a target
they can hit now with impunity, knowing she lacks the quick-reacting war
room that served Bill Clinton so well when he first ran for president.

The hard question for tonight, is the American right softening up its
target for 2016, or is it simply putting its fears on display, serving to
build up Hillary Clinton even as it tries to level her? In either case,
some of the same people who brought you preventive war with Iraq are
bringing you preventive war with Hillary Clinton.

Howard Fineman`s editorial director of the HuffingtonPost and an MSNBC
political analyst, and Stephanie Schriock is the president of Emily`s List,
two great guests, with a question. Howard and Stephanie, this weekend, I
began to notice the order of battle here. All of a sudden, all the guns --
I hate to use ballistic terms -- all the action, all the negativity, all
the blame game is going not after Barack Obama so much as on to the next
person they think they`ve got to hit.

Even Nigeria -- and I want to start with these Nigerian pictures. Let`s
start with this picture, which I think is going to inflame this country.
All these are young girls who were taken hostage, and God knows what future
they face. Maybe some have already been forced into marriage out there,
the ones not in the picture.

Howard, when the papers are picked up tomorrow morning, the American people
are going to see these faces and they`re going to be mad. The Republicans
want them to be mad at Hillary Clinton. Your thoughts.

HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST MEDIA GROUP, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Oh,
there`s no question, Chris. What they`re doing is what`s known in the
political world as prebuttal. It`s not rebuttal, it`s prebuttal. They`re
trying to get the narrative of Hillary Clinton`s time as secretary of state
out there in the public mind in the way they want to before Hillary Clinton
herself comes out with her own account in the book that she`s been writing,
called "Hard Choices."

Hillary Clinton knows for sure that her time as secretary of state is going
to be a key factor and a big argument in her campaign for the presidency.
I don`t think she`s scared by it at all. And I don`t think that if she
doesn`t run, that that will be the reason. I don`t think they`re going to
scare her out of the race.

But this essentially is campaign time. We`re already functionally in a
presidential campaign between the forces that you mentioned -- everybody
from Rush Limbaugh to Allen West to Marco Rubio to "The National Review" to
Rand Paul -- they`re all in a presidential campaign against a woman who has
yet to say for sure that she`s running.

MATTHEWS: I think that`s well said. Stephanie, are you surprised at the
earliness of all of this? I mean, here we are -- I said -- I`m going to
say at the end of the show, I think she`ll announce for president -- you
may know more -- about a year from now, if then, but probably about a year
from now, May of next year, I`m guessing, going by what I`ve heard.

So early to hit her. But is it unfortunate for her that she`s being hit so
hard now, when she doesn`t have a war room? She doesn`t have a George
Stephanopoulos down there with James Carville and people ready to hit back.
(INAUDIBLE) you, perhaps. Your thoughts.

STEPHANIE SCHRIOCK, EMILY`S LIST: Well, the Republican Party have been out
of power, you know, for six years. It`s going to be eight years by the
time this presidential campaign is finished. And they are desperate,
desperate to win back the White House, and they know that one significant
person stands in their way, and she hasn`t even decided to run yet or not.
And so they are throwing out everything they can.

And I have to say this personally -- I am disgusted by the fact that they
are using a national tragedy for political benefit to themselves, and I
believe--

MATTHEWS: You`re talking about Nigeria.

SCHRIOCK: And Benghazi in particular--

MATTHEWS: Oh.

SCHRIOCK: -- and the hearings coming up. We`ve had hearings after
hearings after hearings. The secretary released a report, which is a rare
thing to do, to be fully transparent. She`s been nothing but forthcoming.
And here they go again.

And not only are they doing more hearings, which is fine, but to use it for
political benefit and to raise money around it? I mean, this is how
desperate these guys are. And I`m a political operative. I`ve managed
some campaigns. I know that you attack the strength of your opponent, and
that`s exactly what they`re trying to do here.

MATTHEWS: Yes, it`s the old -- who -- Lee Atwater used to do that.

Anyway, the new charge from the right that Hillary Clinton bears
responsibility for those kidnapped girls over in Nigeria based on her time
at the State Department. Here`s Newt Gingrich. He`s always an
opportunist. "Hillary Clinton`s leadership at as secretary of the state
regarding the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram could become at least as
serious an issue as her decision surrounding the attack on the U.S.
consulate" -- it`s not a consulate -- "in Benghazi" -- ought to get that
straight.

He said it was indefensible that the State Department didn`t designate Boko
Haram a terrorist group. And quote, "a thorough investigation of the
decision process that protected Boko Haram from 2011 until 2013 could be
devastating."

By the way, Newt Gingrich -- Newtster -- the fact is they named the three
top leaders to the terrorist -- Boko Haram -- they named them to the
terrorists.

Meanwhile, Andrew McCarthy, writing in "The National Review" -- "Mrs.
Clinton, like the Obama administration more broadly, believes that
appeasing Islamists, avoiding actions that might give them offense,
slamming Americans who provoke them, promotes peace and stability. From
Benghazi to the Brotherhood in Egypt to Boko Haram and beyond, Hillary
Clinton`s tenure at the State Department was a disaster."

More ridiculous still, listen to what Rush Limbaugh said just today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The Boko Haram leader, or whoever,
Boko Haram had perform on video -- he`s a good-looking guy. This is why
Mrs. Clinton wouldn`t call this group a terror group, because they`re
black. Can`t afford to do that! This is how surface conscious the left
is! We can`t call them terrorists because they look like African-
Americans, and we just can`t go there!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: I have never heard more hogwash in 30 seconds. I`ve got to go
to Stephanie, a female, on this, a woman. He accuses Hillary of having
some sort of sexual attraction or romantic attraction to the head of Boko
Haram. Well, because he says -- and Rush doesn`t usually talk like this --
this is getting a little odd here -- that he`s good-looking, he`s black,
and he looks like an African-American. Well, I didn`t really -- I didn`t
get a good look at the guy.

But what is this about? You talk about -- I don`t know what to say,
sexism, weirdism, Rushbo-ism? I mean, he`s -- I don`t even think -- he`s
good-looking? What is that -- how do you get that out of this picture?

SCHRIOCK: It is shocking. The Republicans, all of them, they have nothing
to say, so they`re going to just the bottom of the bottom here on attacks,
pulling anything they can out, because the truth is, everybody knows that
her tenure as secretary of state was excellent. And on the record, you
know, month after month since she left, folks have been talking about how
great of a leader--

MATTHEWS: Does she need a war room right now, even if she`s not running?
Doesn`t she need somebody to defend her, even if she doesn`t run?

SCHRIOCK: The Republicans are going too far, and the American people are
seeing that.

MATTHEWS: No, I`m asking you. Doesn`t she need a war room right now?
Make news. Stephanie Schriock, doesn`t she need a war room? I mean, I`ve
always thought "The War Room" was one hell of a documentary on politics
because it talked about how George and James and those guys down there, and
women down there, did such a great job of firing back, instant response,
first responders.

We`ve learned from Dukakis and we`ve learned from John Kerry with the Swift
Boat, if you don`t throw the crap back fast, it absorbs. Your thoughts as
a pro.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Or can`t you say it, as a potential campaign manager? You can`t
say it?

SCHRIOCK: There`s no campaign, there`s no candidate yet.

MATTHEWS: Well, what about a war room?

SCHRIOCK: You know, they are trying to do everything they can--

MATTHEWS: Should there be a war room?

SCHRIOCK: I mean, she`s got a lot of friends out there that are out
speaking on her behalf. And here`s the thing. She`s going to go out and
do her book tour and really talk about--

MATTHEWS: OK.

SCHRIOCK: -- the truth of what happened. And that`s what`s going to be
(INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS: The trouble is, even a great book--

SCHRIOCK: And I do think--

MATTHEWS: -- can`t keep up with the fact of what they`re throwing at her.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: How can she possibly have Nigeria and the Boko Haram on her book
tour, Howard? She`ll do a great job on the book route. I know she will.
But they`ll have two more things by the time she hits on the road to throw
at her. Your thoughts.

FINEMAN: Well, since I`m not a campaign operative and just an observer
and--

MATTHEWS: That`s your strength, Howard.

FINEMAN: -- and a -- a reporter who`s covered a lot of campaigns, I know
that attacks unanswered are to some extent attacks accepted. And I said a
little earlier, Chris, that this is functionally already a presidential
campaign, so I guess I have to say, and I would say, that she does need
some more loud and vigorous and specific and caustic defenders--

MATTHEWS: Yes.

FINEMAN: -- on this kind of stuff because this is -- what -- what Rush
Limbaugh and these others are doing is playing with very deep fears and
resentments in the American public, and they need to be called out on it by
people who have respect in American society.

What they`re doing is that they`re saying that Hillary Clinton is an
appeaser. You heard that comment from the guy at "The National Review."
She`s an appeaser. She`s an appeaser of Islamists. In other words, she`s
soft on this stuff, and that she has -- she has thought that -- that soft
power and nice words are somehow going to make their way in the world,
which really isn`t Hillary Clinton`s world view--

SCHRIOCK: No.

FINEMAN: -- really. She`s--

MATTHEWS: No, she`s a fighter.

FINEMAN: She`s a fighter, and -- and -- and she has to have people
answering for her on that. I know she doesn`t want to do it herself
because--

MATTHEWS: OK, we`ve got to go.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: -- make your points.

FINEMAN: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Here`s some -- and to make a point to Stephanie, too, how
serious this is. More examples now of what I call the preventive war
against Hillary Clinton this weekend. This is all brand-new stuff now.

FINEMAN: Right.

MATTHEWS: Senator Marco Rubio had some very tough words for her. Let`s
listen to him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Yes, I`m sure she`s going to go out and
bragging about her time in the State Department. She`s also going to have
to be held accountable for its failures, whether it`s the failed reset with
Russia or the failure in Benghazi that actually cost lives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So what grade do you give her as secretary of state?

RUBIO: I don`t think she gets a passing grade. In fact--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s an F!

RUBIO: Yes, because if you look at the diplomacy that was pursued in her
time in the State Department, it has failed everywhere in the world. So
here`s what I would say. If she`s going to run on her record as secretary
of state, she`s also going to have to answer for its massive failures.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: She`s the -- he`s the purest politician I`ve ever seen, by the
way, pure politics. He just wants to win.

Senator Rand Paul continued to go after Secretary Clinton over Benghazi.
Here`s more of Paul.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: This is about judgment. And we`re talking
about should we -- should we as a country -- have a commander-in-chief who
didn`t provide adequate security in Libya, didn`t send reinforcements and
then gave us nothing but spin? My opinion is that Hillary Clinton has
precluded herself from ever being considered from that position.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Meanwhile, as I said, Bill Kristol seems to be declaring war on
her whole role as secretary of state. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL KRISTOL, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": (INAUDIBLE) discussed Hillary Clinton
at the beginning of (INAUDIBLE) panel, Donna carefully said "Secretary
Clinton." I think that`s absolutely right. Let`s have a debate on
Secretary of State of the United States Hillary Clinton. What happened in
Libya? We intervened. I supported that intervention. I think Adam (ph)
did, too, in the early 2011. What happened in Libya over the next year
such that Benghazi got to the situation it was at? Why did Hillary Clinton
say the video caused the terrorist attack, when she knew -- she must have
known -- that it didn`t?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Bottom line, to you, Stephanie. What do you think the impact of
this early attack and perhaps relentless attack from here on out is going
to mean for Secretary Clinton, her decision to run, her ability to run and
win?

SCHRIOCK: Well, she`s going to make her decision, you know -- you know,
with a lot of factors in this. And she`s been through this fire before.
It`s not like she hasn`t been attacked before.

I think what we`re really going to start seeing here is voters who are just
disgusted by these non-stop attacks, particularly by a Republican Party
that refuses to talk about anything the voters actually care about. And
2014 is here. We have an election in November, where the voters -- and
everything I have seen, and I`m sure they`ve seen the same polling -- is
about economics, economic opportunity--

MATTHEWS: Yes. OK.

SCHRIOCK: -- equal pay for women and minimum wage. They are missing the
boat. They are so afraid of her, they`re trying to get her out now. And
their attacks are just not going to work.

MATTHEWS: I agree with that part. They can also be effective, even if
they`re scared. Sometimes, you`re most effective when you`re most scared.
By the way, I think attack ads work. I think attacks work. You got to
throw it right back in their face, or you lose. The master of that was
Bill Clinton.

Thank you, Howard Fineman. Thank you, Stephanie Schriock.

Coming up: Count Marco Rubio as a member of the Republican know-nothings,
the science deniers. He says he doesn`t believe humans are causing global
warming, doesn`t believe that (ph) "these scientists," he calls them, have
(ph) concluded. And now we know Rubio`s seriously ready to say just about
anything to woo the right. He`s trying to make his bones with the right.

Plus, Rand Paul has some advice for his party on alleged voter fraud -- Go
ahead and pass voter ID laws, just stop talking about it. People are on to
you.

And the wild cards of the 2014 Senate races, Democrats who have something
to sell besides just being Democrats. Some good Democratic candidates out
there are making tougher for Republicans than many people had expected.

And back to climate change. In his new Sunday show on HBO, John Oliver
takes on the science deniers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN OLIVER, "LAST WEEK TONIGHT": The only accurate way to report that one
out of four Americans are skeptical of global warming is to say a poll
finds that one out of four Americans are wrong about something.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, this is HARDBALL the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Here`s another advantage for Republicans heading into this
November`s mid-terms -- enthusiasm. Forty-two percent of Republicans and
right-leaning independents say they`re enthusiastic about voting this year.
Only thirty-two percent of Democrats and left-leaning independents say
they`re enthusiastic. Now, that`s a 23-point gap. Of course. Think about
it, if you don`t want to reward Republicans for six years of saying no,
staying home is hardly a great option.

And we`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. It`s a broadly recognized fact now
that humans are causing global warming. Ninety-seven percent of scientists
agree that mankind is making the planet warmer. There`s no debate among
the experts. But most on the right now don`t let facts get in the way of a
good political pitch.

The latest to jump into the hard right`s know-nothing clown car is Marco
Rubio, the Republican senator from Florida, and of course, 2016 hopeful.
Again, 97 percent of scientists agree that climate change exists and that
humans are causing it.

And here`s what Rubio told ABC`s Jonathan Karl yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUBIO: I don`t know of any era in world history where the climate has been
stable. Climate is always evolving and natural disasters have always
existed.

JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS: But let me get this straight. You do not think
that human activity, the production of CO2, has caused warming to our
planet?

RUBIO: I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic
changes to our climate, the way these scientists are portraying it. That`s
what I do -- and I do not believe that the laws they propose we pass will
do anything about it, except it will destroy our economy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, between gulps of water, maybe Rubio ought to think once in
a while. Last June, the right wingers exploded in outrage over Rubio`s
work with Democrats to pass an immigration reform bill through the Senate.
It looks like he`s been trying to win them back ever since, and now it
appears like he`s willing to do or say anything to do it.

David Corn is the Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones" and Jamal
Simmons is an adviser to the Democratic National Committee and a former
deputy communications director of Al Gore`s presidential campaign.

Jamal, I want to start with you because I think Al Gore -- he can be a
little odd now and then, but he was very good -- very good at teaching us
about "An Inconvenient Truth." And the idea that a candidate of some
education, like Marco Rubio -- he`s probably got a good education -- comes
out and just blankly plays know-nothing, plays stupid for the American
people -- stooping to conquer! You run for president of the United States
by saying you don`t -- you don`t understand or believe in science? What
does he believe in, if not science? Does he have some other way of knowing
things? Explain, politically or whatever way.

JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It sounds to me -- it sounds to me,
Chris, that he is -- what he believes in is Marco Rubio becoming president
or getting a political future.

MATTHEWS: Thank you. That`s me. That`s I think.

SIMMONS: What he believes in.

MATTHEWS: He will say anything.

SIMMONS: And the problem for the Republicans here is that they are basing
their future on an ever-shrinking part of the American electorate, people
who maybe are upset because, you know, there are gay people in the NFL and
black people get to be president.

MATTHEWS: Well, how does that fit into climate change?

SIMMONS: All of that.

Because what happens with young people in particular, you have got 75
percent of young people believe that climate change is real; 66 percent of
them believe it`s real; 75 percent of them believe that it is manmade,
human beings are doing something about it. How do you have a future of a
party when you believe in things that the people who are going to populate
in the party in the future just don`t believe in?

MATTHEWS: Yes, but the Republican members, David Corn, are pretty bad on
this. There is a lot of Reaganesque here.

DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Well--

MATTHEWS: I think blindfolded rejectionism.

But they don`t want to believe in science, in a lot of areas, but
especially now climate.

CORN: Yes, Chris, only one out of 10, one out of 10 Tea Party Republicans
believe climate change is happening and that it`s human-induced. That
means nine out of 10 Tea Party folks--

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Explain the psychiatry of this.

CORN: -- are climate change skeptics.

I think they don`t believe -- I think it`s because it`s associated -- it`s
become associated with liberals, like Al Gore and, of course, Barack Obama,
who they detest. I mean, George W. Bush, Republican president, didn`t do
much about it, but he accepted the notion, eventually, took him a few years
into his presidency to accept the notion that climate change was real and
something should be done about it.

His old man, of course, started off by going to Rio and saying we should --
in the 1990s and saying we should do something about it.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I want to go more primitively.

Everything we believe in -- and you can get in here, Jamal, in a moment.
Everything we believe about the doctors we go to, the scientific method,
the nation -- the notion of biology, the whole idea of, you know,
evolution, everything is based upon what we looked in biology in high
school.

How can they just deny science? What, do they have some other belief
system than science?

(CROSSTALK)

CORN: It`s the same thins as creationism. It`s the same thing--

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: No, you can argue for creationism along theological and still
accept evolution. You can say that`s the way God did it.

(CROSSTALK)

CORN: People, they are out there denying science.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

CORN: And what they say -- it`s like, don`t tell me what`s going on there.
It gets in the way of what I want to think, what I want to believe.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

CORN: They associate climate change and concern with climate change with
the political enemy, as they see it.

MATTHEWS: I agree.

CORN: And they also have a conspiratory notion that liberals and Democrats
are pushing in order to do population control, to raise taxes and all these
other things. And it`s part of their theological view of politics.

SIMMONS: Well, as David just started out to say a bit ago, father Bush,
George H.W. Bush, actually wasn`t so bad on this.

And I remember talking to Roger Porter (ph), who taught me when I was in
graduate school way back so long ago, and they talked about cap and trade;
cap and trade was considered sort of a conservative way to go after dealing
with some of these problems.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: The market way.

SIMMONS: And now the Republican Party has just moved -- a market-based
way.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

SIMMONS: And now the market for the politics has moved so far to the
right, they can`t even acknowledge science and facts and numbers. And
that`s the thing that`s going to get them in trouble when it comes time for
these new voters.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Jamal and David, it fits into a pattern. By denying climate
change, Rubio is playing to a powerful force on the hard right.

According to a survey by the Center for American Progress` Action Fund,
more than 55 percent of congressional Republicans are climate change
deniers. And it gets worse from there. They found that 77 percent of
Republicans on the House Science Committee say they don`t believe it in
either. And that number balloons to an astounding 90 percent for all the
party`s leadership in Congress.

And here`s how Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe talks about climate change.
Inhofe is a senior member of the Senate Committee on the Environment.
Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R), OKLAHOMA: The assertion that global warming is
occurring today, that it`s occurring because of the release of CO2 and
anthropogenic gases, methane and such as that, that`s not a -- those people
are -- it`s really a hoax. The fact that all this is happening is due to
manmade gases, I really believe is the ever hoax ever perpetrated on the
American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Now, there`s an oil patcher talking.

Anyway, Rubio himself has charged hard to the right in recent months. And
that`s no accident. As I mentioned, last June, Rubio helped lead the
Senate`s gang of eight so-called to pass a bipartisan immigration reform
bill. It backfired on him in spectacular fashion, prompting the hard right
to call him a traitor, a RINO, a Republican in name only.

So, in July, Rubio made sure to prove his conservative bona fides by
leading a House bill to ban apportions after 20 weeks. In October, he came
out against his own immigration legislation. This January, he called for a
Senate probe of, you guessed it, Benghazi, which brings us to yesterday,
when he denied man`s role in climate change.

What is this? Is this him trying to make his bones, David, as we say in
the mob? You have got to make your bones, go out and kill a bunch of
people, prove you`re willing to do anything?

CORN: It seems that way.

Remember, before the immigration debacle for him, he was considered a
leading Tea Party candidate, a leading contender for 2016. And he just
completely botched it. He was shunted to the side.

MATTHEWS: You mean by doing one good thing?

(CROSSTALK)

CORN: By doing one good -- he watched Rand Paul and Ted Cruz get all the
Tea Party hoorays.

And he`s been desperate since then. I mean, this guy comes from Florida.
He represents Florida in the U.S. Senate. Every assessment of what will
happen to climate change points to Florida as one of the key parts of our
country that would be the hardest hit by climate change.

MATTHEWS: Guess what?

CORN: So people down there ought to be paying attention to what he`s
willing to sacrifice for his own political prospects.

MATTHEWS: By the way, just so everybody knows, what you`re talking about,
David, is that Miami is just about a few feet above the sea level down
there. And big climate change, which means the water level of the ocean
goes up, Florida, especially Miami, begins to go underwater. It`s a big
deal, as you point out.

David Corn, thank you so much.

CORN: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: It`s great having you, Jamal Simmons. Come back again.

SIMMONS: Thanks for having me.

MATTHEWS: Up next, a real television debate -- well, a real one sort of --
over climate change.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE")

BARBARA WALTERS, ABC NEWS: Well, here`s tip number three. OK?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: OK.

WALTERS: Do not be afraid to ask the tough questions, like, if you were a
tree, what kind of a tree would you be, or, your place or mine, Brokaw?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Time for the "Sideshow."

That was of course the great Barbara Walters on "Saturday Night Live"`s
"Weekend Update" making fun of at least one of her career highlights.

Next up, as we discussed in our recent segment, Senator Marco Rubio is now
the latest high-profile Republican to publicly question the cause of global
warming. But Rubio`s political posturing on the issue is no match for John
Oliver, who lost night pointed out how absurd the so-called debate over
climate change really is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER")

JOHN OLIVER, HOST, "LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER": You don`t need
people`s opinions on a fact.

(LAUGHTER)

OLIVER: You might as well have a poll asking, which number is bigger, 15
or five?

(LAUGHTER)

OLIVER: Or do owls exist?

(LAUGHTER)

OLIVER: Or are there hats?

(LAUGHTER)

OLIVER: The only accurate way to report that one out of four Americans are
skeptical of global warming is to say a poll finds that one out of four
Americans are wrong about something.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: As I mentioned in the last segment, 97 percent of climate
scientists agree that global warming is caused by human activity. So,
here`s what Oliver did to level the playing field on the political debate
over climate change.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER")

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John--

OLIVER: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- humans are causing climate change, no question.

OLIVER: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Before we begin, in the interest of
mathematical balance, I`m going to bring out two people who agree with you,
climate skeptic, and, Bill Nye, I`m also going to bring out 96 other
scientists.

(LAUGHTER)

OLIVER: It`s a little unwieldy, but this is the only way we could actually
have a representative discussion.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OLIVER: Climate skeptic, please make a case against climate change.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I just don`t think all the science is in yet, is
settled.

OLIVER: OK. And what is the overwhelming view of the entire scientific
community?

(CROSSTALK)

OLIVER: OK. OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Up next: The battle for the Senate rages on. Our new NBC
polling shows Democrats with surprising strength for now in some key Senate
races.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger. Here`s
what`s happening.

Keith Crisco, the North Carolina candidate in a primary battle with
"American Idol" star Clay Aiken, has died. The 71-year-old passed away
after a fall at his home.

The CDC says a second U.S. case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome has
been found in Florida. The patient traveled to the U.S. from Saudi Arabia.

And the National Weather Service said the powerful tornado that struck
Panora, Iowa, over the weekend was an EF-2 with winds up to 135 miles
Perdue hour -- now back to HARDBALL.

MATTHEWS: We`re back.

And don`t write off the Democrats, not yet anyway. And that`s "The
Washington Post"`s Chris Cillizza is saying about 2014. For all the talk
about how bad the environment will be for the Democrats in November, the
GOP hasn`t got that Senate majority locked up by any means.

Cillizza says -- quote -- "The national environment isn`t entirely decisive
in modern Senate races. Candidates and the campaigns they run matter,
too."

And that`s why Democrats still have some hope of holding onto the Senate
this November. The evidence, take a look at the latest polls. With less
than six months until Election Day in November, our MSNBC/Marist poll
Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor, once considered an endangered Democrat down in
Arkansas, leading challenger Tom Cotton by 11 points, 51-40. That`s a
pretty good spread.

In Georgia, a possible Democratic pickup there, Democrat Michelle Nunn
trails the leading Republican candidate, David Perdue, by just four points,
and she`s within a few points up-or-down of her four other possible GOP
opponents.

In Kentucky, the Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes, is only
one point behind Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, 46-45, which
means not really behind.

The bottom line is Democrats are facing tough odds this year, but have some
good candidates. This thing isn`t over.

Chris Cillizza is with "The Washington Post" and an MSNBC contributor.
Susan Page is Washington bureau chief for "USA Today."

Chris Cillizza, as much as I admire you, sir, I got the feeling you were
like an announcer in the seventh inning, and one team was up by three runs
and you were saying, this game ain`t over yet, fans.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: I agree with you, but give the argument why it isn`t over, based
upon your analysis.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, Chris, it is
undoubtedly true that these Democrats, people like Mary Landrieu in
Louisiana, Kay Hagan in North Carolina, Mark Pryor in Arkansas, they would
rather be running in the 2008 version of the national political landscape
than in the 2014 version. There`s no question about that.

Now, that said, unlike House races, where it`s very difficult to
differentiate yourself from sort of your national party and the way that
the wind is blowing nationally, these Senate races, in terms of costs, in
terms of the kind of candidates who run -- you`re talking about a lot of
statewide elected officials, people who have been around this business for
a while -- they have taken on -- and I use this phrase in the piece --
they`re, fundamentally, sort of mini-presidential races.

You`re talking about somewhere between $50 million and $85 million being
spent on the most competitive of these Senate races. The voters are not
necessarily just choosing between two parties, which they do in the House.
They`re oftentimes choosing--

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: OK. Tell me how this -- I want to get to Susan on this about
her thinking. I get your point. Personality matters.

CILLIZZA: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Susan, can you see -- I know there are people who fight -- as
Ted Kennedy used to say, sail against the wind.

Joe Biden won in `72 when nobody won, I know. But I do look at the
patterns. And there are such things as sweeps, like in `80, when Reagan
came in, `94, when Reagan -- Bush -- when Clinton got hit so hard in that
midterm, and again in 2010. They are big sweep years.

How do you avoid a sweep if you`re Kay Hagan? How do you avoid a sweep if
you`re David -- Pryor? You`re asking the entire electorate in your state
to say yes to a Democrat in a year people don`t feel like doing that.

SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "USA TODAY": Well, I think, if there
is a true sweep, then I think it`s very hard for Democrats to hold on to
the Senate.

And there are some signs that we may be in for a sweep for Republicans.
But they`re not set yet. It`s six months off. A lot of things can happen
in six months.

If you just have a year where it`s not that great for Democrats, but not
truly a wave year, then you could see some of these senators who have run
before in these red states and won hang on, although these were -- and one
other thing to remember, these were senators who were elected in 2008 with
boosts from -- when Barack Obama was a big boost to them.

But it`s been clear to them for at least four years that that`s not going
to be the case when they were running for this next term. So, they have
had some time to try to distinguish themselves from the president, distance
themselves from the president on issues like Keystone pipeline or even the
Affordable Care Act.

MATTHEWS: OK.

I have a sense, Chris, making your point, that some states have made an
investment in some of these people. Begich is second-generation. Pryor is
second-generation. Landrieu is many generations.

CILLIZZA: Yes.

MATTHEWS: That the families have become so much a part of the fabric of
those states that they can withstand a really torrential rainfall. They
can get through the wind. Your thoughts?

CILLIZZA: There`s two ways of looking at it. I think Republicans would
essentially say, sure there are names, but that`s not going to help them in
state where is it`s very hard to cobble enough Democratic votes to get to
50 percent.

The other way of looking at it and I think this is the way Democrats
believe it will play out, is to your point, Chris, these are no-names.
It`s harder to say this person is just a rubber stamp for President Obama.

If that second narrative is true, the senator we probably should be talking
the most about is Kay Hagan in North Carolina, freshman senator. You know,
it`s North Carolina. They have a tendency to throw senators out after one
term. And if it winds out being whether you have roots -- deep roots, deep
named ID in the state or not, Kay Hagan is certainly different than
Landrieu, Pryor or Begich.

MATTHEWS: By the way, isn`t Keystone going to be a great opportunity for
separation politics here? I can`t imagine that oil staters like certainly
Mary Landrieu and Begich should know some people that developed, lived off
oil and extracted, would say I`m with Keystone, I`m sorry that`s what I
believe in. That could separate them from Obama because he`s probably
going to be against it. That could help them be re-elected.

SUSAN PAGE, USA TODAY: Yes, I definitely think you`re going to see
Democrats take that position. And you look at some of these races. Look
at Senator Pryor in Arkansas. This is the second poll, the second
respected public poll that shows him 11 points up over Tom Cotton. I mean,
that is not -- that is a real lead. That`s not like a lead of one or two
points that you really count as a tie. And you look at state like
Kentucky. I mean, that is interesting the Mitch McConnell, despite his
long history in that state, and his leadership position in Washington, that
he continues to be head to head in a race with the candidate who is pretty
no one --

MATTHEWS: What that smell like to you? Do you think he`s reached his
sell-by date? He`s not a family connection. He`s just Mitch McConnell,
politician who`s got a lot of clever moves. Has he run out of moves? I
just want --

PAGE: I think that`s what we`re going to see. I mean, Alison Grimes`s
strength is due somewhat to her appealing persona. But I think it`s more
to people in Kentucky not really approving, not really liking Mitch
McConnell. He`s got to overcome his unfavorable ratings if he`s going to
win another term there.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: David Gregory would say, unpack that baby.

Is Mitch McConnell only too many -- you only have so many tricks you can
pull on people. I`ve seen this guy make so many moves. I`ve had it with
him. Your thoughts? Can you do that?

CILLIZZA: There is a significant portion of the electorate. Look, Alison
Lundergan Grimes at this point, is essentially unknown. She`s run very few
ads. People may know her last anytime. Her father is an active
politician. She`s basically an unknown.

So, the vote she`s getting is the "I don`t want Mitch McConnell anymore"
vote. I would look, the analogue, why you say you don`t write Mitch
McConnell off? Number one, it`s Kentucky in a midterm election. That
looks good for Republicans.

Number two, Harry Reid in 2010. Harry Reid had the same problem McConnell
had, Chris, which was he was totally well known and not well liked. Now,
we he wound up winning. Why? Part of it was Sharron Angle -- a lot of it
maybe was Sharron Angle.

MATTHEWS: The Second Amendment solution.

CILLIZZA: If he was running in a swing state, McConnell is running in a
state that favors Republicans. So, I don`t think you write him off. But
it`s a harder race than I think a lot of people think.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, she`s recommending shooting politicians you don`t
like, which I think was a bit extreme.

Anyway, thank you, Chris. There`s no other interpretation. Second
Amendment remedies. Thank you, Chris Cillizza.

Thank you, Susan Page.

CILLIZZA: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: We`ll be right back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: What`s in a name? Well, when it comes to Affordable Care Act,
everything.

Take a look at our new NBC News/Marist Poll in Kentucky, a red state whose
Democratic governor has embraced health care reform. When asked about,
quote, "Obamacare," nearly six in 10 Kentucky voters had an unfavorable
view. And only a third said they had a favorable view. But when asked
about KYNECT, or K-Y-N-E-C-T, Kentucky`s health care exchange, that was
created as a result of the Affordable Care Act, a plurality of Kentucky
voters had a favorable impression.

So, a rose by any other name is not a rose apparently.

And we`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Republicans made suppressing the vote of people who tend to vote Democratic
a priority in Republican-led states. Their methods range from requiring a
photo ID to limiting early voting. In 2013, 33 states introduced
legislation to restrict voting and so far in 2014, 18 states are already
considering new laws to suppress the vote.

Yet, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, the potential 2016 Republican nominee, is
criticizing his own party on this. In a recent interview, he said, quote,
"Everyone is going completely crazy on this voter ID thing. I think it`s
wrong for Republicans to go too crazy on this issue because it`s offending
people."

Jeremy Peters of "The New York Times" did the interview on which Senator
Paul made those comments. Clarence Page is a columnist for "The Chicago
Tribune."

Gentlemen, let`s get -- cut to the quick here, Jeremy. Does he want to
stop this push to restrict the voters and win the demographic battle for
control of the universe? Or does he just not like the smell or the look of
it? Which is it?

JEREMY PETERS, THE NEW YORK TIMES: He does not want to stop these laws.
And I think that`s important to point out here. What he`s saying
essentially is let`s stop talking about these laws, and that`s why he`s not
getting a lot of credit on the left for saying what he did say.

Now granted, while that may not be heroic to a lot of people, it is farther
than lot of Republicans had been willing to go because, of course, to
criticize these laws, to criticize Republicans as being insensitive to
African-Americans for pushing the laws has been something that not a lot of
Republicans have been willing to point out.

MATTHEWS: I want -- Clarence, I wonder whether what he`s talking about is
shrewd, which is a lot of African-Americans, I think, probably showed up
out of defiance in 2012, because even though they were losing some of their
zest for Obama, we all know that, I think most people were, but they didn`t
like the idea of being locked out again like the old days.

CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Right, that`s right.

There was a lot of evidence of this that there was so much anger among
African-Americans over the possibility of having their vote suppressed and
made them all suppressed. It made them all that much more excited about
going out to vote, remembering Florida in 2000 and remembering enormous
episodes throughout history of voter suppression.

I think Rand Paul, Chris, this is what I call the education of Rand Paul.
You know, for those us like Jeremy is coming, (INAUBIBLE) can say the same
thing, Howard University debacle where he went in there lecturing the black
folks about black history that he knew less about than his audience did.
He has gone out and visited with African-Americans, with Hispanic
Americans, low income neighborhoods, on a big listening tour.

And judging by the nature of his comments, think he`s been listening and
he`s sensitive to how even if he favors voter ID, he wants to soft pedal
it, because he knows there`s a backlash that starts up in the black
community.

MATTHEWS: There`s a lot broken field running on here, I wonder which way
he`s going.

Anyway, last month, David Axelrod asked Rand Paul about Republican efforts
to restrict voting rights. Here`s the answer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID AXELROD, FORMER OBAMA SR. ADVISOR: There`s been a lot of attention
paid all over the country rules to constrict voting rights, asking for ID
from voters, birth certificates to register, shorter hours and so on. Do
you think that will send a negative message to minority communities?

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: You know, I think it`s a mistake. I`ve done
the opposite. I testified in Kentucky for restoration of voting rights for
people convicted of nonviolent felonies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, that`s where he has been pushing against, keeping people
who are felons from ever voting. Last year at Howard University, Senator
Rand Paul defended requiring some forms of photo ID to vote and play down
the suppressive effects of voter ID.

Here he is going in another direction. Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: I think if you liken using a driver`s license to literacy tests, you
demean the horror of what happened in the `40s and `50s, maybe probably
from 1910, all the way through 1960s in the South. It was horrific.
Nobody is in favor of that. No Republican is in favor of that.

But showing your drivers license to have an honest election, I think is not
unreasonable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Clarence, what do make of this guy? I`m saying broken field. I
don`t know which way he`s running here because he says he`s for it, he`s
against it.

Is he saying do it on the down low to use a local expression? Is that what
it means? Don`t be caught?

PAGE: Listen to the nature of his comments. Again, you know, Rand Paul,
he`s an eye doctor, became a senator overnight, who is weaned in
libertarian theory. That`s what he was expounding on saying, hey, this is
not really a big inconvenience by the state to ask you to show an ID. No,
it`s not but, hey, we`re talking real world politics here, and the reaction
that this mentioning voter ID stirs up in black Hispanic, low income
communities.

Rand Paul recognizes that now, and he says, OK, on principle, I favor it.
But as a practical politician, it`s better that I just don`t talk about it
much.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Yes, I think a lot of us undocumented when it comes to these
issues, because I was told recently that what I feel is my birth
certificate from Nazareth hospital up in Philadelphia is not a birth
certificate. There`s some other document I didn`t even know about.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I think any new requirement is going to make it harder for
people who don`t drive cars, who live in row houses, don`t have all this
car documentation that drivers have to have. It just automatically
inflicts a burden on them. Your last thought here. Does he want to screw
the voter or not?

PETERS: Well, here`s what I would point out. I mean, this whole
discussion we`re having right now is one of tone, right? So, Rand Paul has
changed the way that he`s speaking to populations that have basically
shunned the Republican Party for the last ten years.

And what he`s doing that`s very different from the other Republican
candidates out there is he`s going to these populations, African-Americans
and Hispanic, and he`s doing more than just talking to them about being
poor. He`s talking to them about restoring voting rights. He`s talking to
them about charter schools, school choice. He`s talking to them about
economic opportunity.

And that`s where I think that he could make a real impact. Now, I think
the jury is still out. He`s got a long way to go. As he said to me the
other day, people will often say to me, I like what you`re saying, but I`m
still not voting for you.

I think that`s where a lot of Democrats are.

MATTHEWS: I think there`s a Gypsy Rose Lee aspect to this guy. He teases,
but I don`t think he actually delivers in the act.

Anyway, thank you. I figure that one out. Thank you, Clarence Page.
Thank you, Jeremy Peters.

We`ll be right back after this.

PETERS: Thank you, Chris.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with a big picture. It`s May. A year
from now, Hillary Clinton will probably make it official that she`s running
for president to succeed Barack Obama.

So, let`s look at the political facts. The Democrats entered the White
House in 2009 amid the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
Today, the U.S. stock market stands at its highest level in history,
approaching 17,000 points.

Under the preceding administration with Republicans in control, the United
States suffered its worst domestic attack in history. Under this
administration, U.S. forces found and killed the mastermind of that
historic attack. Under this administration, Congress passed the national
health care plan, which has been seriously advocated by presidents back to
every Republican`s favorite Democrat, Harry Truman.

It`s time for Democrats to showcase their successes, to cheer these
accomplishments and to push for two giant pieces of unfinished business.
One is rebuilding this country`s assets, our road, our rail, our urban
infrastructure. Second is immigration reform -- true immigration reform.

But the two either requires an historic upgrade in trust, trust for
Democrats. Liberalism is not only about winning the argument, it`s about
working, to build a moderate America Democrats have to make a real
commitment to efficiency that they will only spend on projects that deliver
more than dollar for dollar in the investment. They must prove themselves
a sharp and faithful steward of public spending. As I said, liberalism has
to work, only then will people trust Democrats with their tax dollar, for
the big jobs.

To accomplish the second goal, they need to commit themselves to a new
immigration law that greatly decreases the work incentive for people to
enter or stay in this country illegally. That means matching a path to
citizenship with a genuine determination to enact and enforce a tough
worker ID requirement. Otherwise, we`ll have to pass another immigration
reform bill every 20 or 30 years to deal with the new millions of illegal
immigrants. As I said, liberalism has to work.

That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.


END

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