June 12, 2014
Guest: Sen. Joe Manchin, Rep. Jim Moran, Michelle Bernard, Tom Davis
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Target, Baghdad.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
"Let Me Start" tonight with the threat to Baghdad, and to the entire
American investment of lives and treasure in that country, the thousands of
our troops who have died, the many more who`ve been horribly wounded, the
tens of thousands of Iraqis who died in a war we began in 2003.
A question now for my fellow citizens of this country. What`s the
difference between the Iraq we entered 11 years ago and the Iraq of the
future that now looms? Saddam Hussein led a Sunni-dominated Iraq. We went
in there and installed a Shia-dominated country. Now the Sunnis are
fighting their way back to power. Why wouldn`t they? Wouldn`t we, if we
Was there any reason to believe that Iraq, once we left, would not
revert back to what it was before, that the people who held power before
would not try to get it back?
It gets worse. Was there any reason to believe that in putting a
Shi`ite government into power in Iraq that we were not creating an ally for
Shi`ite-dominated Iran, an ally that Iran is now in the process of
defending, having sent in already the Iranian Revolutionary Guard to ward
off the attack on Baghdad by the Sunni-dominated insurgents?
Finally, why did someone think it was in the interests of our country
to shift power in Iraq from Sunni to Shia, from Iraq as a counterweight to
Iran to Iraq as an ally of Iran? Who was that genius?
And if George W. Bush was so out of it to embark on this American
excursion into insanity in the first place, why is President Obama or
anyone else, knowing now that we`ve achieved through all these sacrifices
nothing, talking about doubling down on it with still more U.S. military
engagement in turbulent Mesopotamia?
Senator Joe Manchin is senator from West Virginia. And one
"Washington Post" reporter, by the way, tweeted, quote, "Iraq is basically
falling apart. Today, Sunni militants already in control of parts of the
country vowed to march on Baghdad." On Tuesday, the insurgents took over
the northern city of Mosul, yesterday took over control of Tikrit, Saddam
Well, according to the Associated Press, they attacked an Iraqi
security checkpoint just 31 miles north of Baghdad. According to The Wall
Street Journal now, Iran`s Revolutionary Guard forces are now assisting the
Iraqi army to try to regain control of Tikrit. The White House said they
are not considering sending troops back to Iraq, but the president said he
wouldn`t rule out anything else.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What we`ve seen over
the last couple of days indicates the degree to which Iraq`s going to need
more help. It`s going to need more help from us and it`s going to need
more help from the international community. So my team is working around
the clock to identify how we can provide the most effective assistance to
them. I don`t rule out anything because we do have a stake in making sure
that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold in either Iraq or
Syria, for that matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Meanwhile, Speaker John Boehner blamed the president for
what`s happening in Iraq. Let`s watch him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It`s not like we
haven`t seen over the last five or six months these terrorists moving in,
taking control of western Iraq. Now they`ve taken control of Mosul.
They`re 100 miles from Baghdad. And what`s the president doing? Taking a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Senator Manchin, the president`s taking a nap. So we`re
back to political gaming this whole thing. My question to you is, when we
look at the situation over there, as I`ve just said, the Sunnis were in
power, we knocked them out of power, put the Shias in power. The Sunnis
are trying to get back into power. The Shias are now going for help with
Iran. They brought in the Iranian national guard, the Revolutionary Guard
in to help them.
How did we get in the middle of a civil war between Sunni and Shia
that`s been going on for a thousand years, that`s going to go on for
another thousand years, and we got involved in taking sides? I don`t get
it. Your thoughts.
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: Well, a lot of people don`t get
it, Chris, and that`s been predicted for quite some time. I`ve often said
this. If money or military might would change that part of the world, we`d
have done it by now.
And to bring us back into this, I don`t think anything will come out
of it. And how long do you want us to stay? I know I have my -- my fellow
colleagues, some of them, who think that we should have still had a
presence, we should have stayed in -- in perpetuity. I don`t -- I don`t
buy into that. I don`t agree with that.
Now, what do we do now? Can we help? We`ve got to see if they have
the will to defend their country. Do they have the will to defend
themselves? Are they willing to fight for it? We`ve got an awful lot
invested in that country, and the sacrifice our men and women and our
soldiers and families have made is beyond compare to anything else anybody
else has done, not counting the resources we put there.
Now we`re finding out that they`ve taken our equipment, our supplies,
our weapons, and now moving into Syria to reengage in that fight and use
them against us, I`m sure. And someone said, Well, what should we do?
They`ve suggested maybe air strikes. That`s something I think would be
more receptive, if we think that we can get the rest of the United Nations
involved with us to try to help them defend themselves.
But they`ve got to show the will to fight. And I don`t think, Chris,
there`s any. I haven`t detected any type of support to put troops on the
ground again back in Iraq.
MATTHEWS: Well, you did use the term "country" and you say defend
their country. I mean, you`re using American terminology we both grew up
MANCHIN: Yes. I know.
MATTHEWS: It`s nation against nation. But it isn`t exactly that.
It`s the Shia in power, that we put in power, against the Sunnis that had
power, who are now supporting those trying to retake it for the Sunnis.
So how do we say who`s the patriot here by even using our lingo of
patriotism? How does it fit in that kind of a context?
MANCHIN: Well, I...
MATTHEWS: That`s what I wonder what we`re doing shooting on either
side, at this point. I don`t know.
MATTHEWS: I`ve been against this from the beginning. I don`t like to
say I told you so because Senator McCain can say I told you so. Sure, if
we stayed there with 100,000 troops for 100 years, we`ll always be there
with 100,000 troops. But you know, McCain and the others, who I respect,
aren`t they talking about maybe 5,000 troops? And would that stop an
overthrow of that government? Do we have any reason to believe that, a
small contingent of U.S. forces who are not in combat somehow stopping
these people, insurgents, now from winning?
MANCHIN: If we haven`t been able train them and give them the skills
and the equipment to defend themselves now, right, wrong or indifferent,
whether it be Shi`ite, Sunnis, wherever we are, we`ve already made our bed.
And if that`s where we are, and we`re going to basically try to see if
they can hold onto what little bit of a country or a regime that they have,
I don`t believe putting 5,000 troops on the ground, we`ll ever get 5,000
troops out. I think it`ll be in perpetuity, and I am not that for that.
Chris, I don`t believe that we can change that hatred between these
sects. I just don`t believe that can be done.
So with that being said, can we help them gain control? How can they
have a unified government to where they can all work together in some form
of a democracy?
MATTHEWS: Yes, well, they don`t want one.
MANCHIN: They don`t want one, that`s right.
MATTHEWS: They didn`t want one. Maliki doesn`t want Sunnis in his
government. Last question. How dire is it, based upon the briefing you
got from the administration, in Baghdad?
MANCHIN: Pretty bad.
MATTHEWS: Are they worried Baghdad might be taken?
MANCHIN: Well, basically, they think of -- oh, my goodness, it surely
could. Whoever thought that they would move this quick and this fast?
Whoever thought that four regiments would completely give up and not even
fight? This has caught everybody by surprise. And we asked that question.
That was a surprise to everybody.
Well, if that was a surprise, what makes you think they can defend
Baghdad? Now, we have forces in Baghdad, basically, that`s protecting some
of our people there, and we`ve got to make sure that they are able to be
safe, and if not, get them out of there if it`s going to fall inevitably,
or if we`re going to be able to defend and help them strengthen themselves
to defend that area.
And are we going to divide the country? Is it going to be split up,
half of it going to Syria, half of it going to Iran? That doesn`t make
sense to me.
MATTHEWS: Well, Senator, as you know -- as you know, our business,
the media, hasn`t been able to predict what`s going to happen in Richmond,
let alone what`s going to happen in Baghdad.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you so much for coming. You`re a serious
man. Thanks for coming on tonight.
MANCHIN: Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Joining us right now is U.S. Congressman Jim Moran of
Virginia and David Corn, Washington bureau chief of "Mother Jones" and an
I want to start with Congressman Moran. You`ve been a critic of this
enterprise of going in there. We`ve -- 186,000 people have died in that
war in Iraq, and yet here we are headed towards, it looks to me, back to
the future. The future looks a lot like the past. The Sunnis want power
again. The soldier (ph) (INAUDIBLE)
And by the way, Congressman, there was an ad today, ironically, or
tragically, in "The Washington Post," full-page ad for Humvees, Lockheed
Martin. They`re selling that Humvee right there. And then we`re getting a
tweet today of a Humvee in the control of the insurgents. There it is. We
paid for the Humvee. We gave it to that government over there, so-called.
Now it`s in the hands of the insurgents because all the guys took off their
uniforms, turned over the keys to the cars, including the Humvees, and ran
because I don`t know why -- maybe they don`t know why they were in uniform
to begin with, except the weekly pay.
Your thoughts about this talk of us somehow losing a war in Iraq,
which we should have never been in.
REP. JIM MORAN (D), VIRGINIA: Well, first of all, the Iraq security
forces are primarily Shia, and they weren`t willing to defend a Sunni
community, Mosul or any of the others in Sunni territory.
The problem is that we have a government in there that doesn`t have
the trust or confidence of the Iraqi people, for good cause. In fact, this
guy could become another Saddam Hussein without the charm, if you can
But you`re absolutely right. You`ve been right on target for 14
years, Chris. $2 trillion later, 4,500 American lives, well over 100,000
Iraqi deaths, and we could be in far worse shape than we`ve ever been in
terms of our own security because these guys, ISIS, they have international
MORAN: They`re bringing in people from other countries. These are
international terrorists. Al Qaeda kicked them out because they were so
vicious. They`re psychotic, almost, in their desire to kill. And
unfortunately, that killing spree is recruiting a whole lot of people, even
from Europe, even from North America. This situation cannot be overstated.
And it`s far worse, really, as a security threat to us than it was under
But I do think that the Shia forces are going to be able to defend
Baghdad. Understand that there`s only 3,000 to 5,000 of these ISIS troops.
MORAN: They`re vicious, they`re intimidating, but we`ve got far more
MORAN: And we spent $14 billion in training and equipping them.
MATTHEWS: Congressman, hold on there. I want you to stay a bit
longer. David Corn, who`s been following this, and I think has been right
on this from the beginning -- you know, the irony is that the United States
Senate and other people in the Congress have voted to declare the Iranian
Revolutionary Guard to be a terrorist organization. Now, potentially,
we`re on their same side because they`re in there defending the Baghdad
government, their fellow Shia. This is so weird!
DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: You have people
like John Boehner and Lindsey Graham and John McCain today all saying, We
should do something, not boots on the ground, but air strikes or something
else, get more military equipment to the Shia military that isn`t fighting.
And what`s going to happen? They`re going to be fighting right
alongside the Revolutionary Guard, the Quds and everybody else. So we`re
going to give them equipment? Where do you think that equipment`s going to
go? Already, there are reports that ISIS, the beyond al Qaeda extremists,
got equipment from what the CIA was trying to give out to moderate rebels
in opposition in Syria.
So the question -- this is not the problem. They have so many more
troops, the government`s military in Iraq, than the jihadis. And the
question is not training them. It`s not giving them more equipment. It`s
what they`re fighting for, what they`re willing to fight for. And if
30,000 Iraqi, you know, military folks can`t defend the city...
CORN: ... against 800, I mean, what can you do at that point?
MATTHEWS: Well, I always wonder whether they saw themselves as a true
country or not, or simply the Sunnis and the Shia fighting a revolutionary
-- or a civil war that`s gone on, as I said, a thousand years.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, today, Senator John McCain, who mentioned is a
hawk, blasted President Obama`s Iraq policy and said he`d fire his entire
national security team. Let`s watch Senator McCain.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: And if I sound angry, it`s because I
am angry. Do declare that a conflict is over does not mean that it
necessarily is over!
We see this all now torn asunder because of a policy of withdrawal
without victory. And when those withdrawals and that policy was being
orchestrated, the senator from South Carolina and I and others stood up and
said, Please don`t do this. Please leave a small force behind in Iraq.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, Congressman Moran, I hate to say this because I
do respect -- who doesn`t -- John McCain`s service to this country and what
he went through as a POW. But the reason we lost Vietnam was we were
eventually going to come home. And if we came home, North Vietnamese were
going to be there. The Viet Cong were going to be there. And they were
going to be there forever because that`s where they belong. And we were
coming home. So sooner or later, they`re going to have their way. Nobody
thought that through. McNamara, the geniuses, "the best and the
Here we are, and John McCain -- again, I respect him, but here he is
wanting to repeat the same argument, that we should stay there forever,
just keep -- just keep on, keep on until when? And then whenever that is,
a year later, a year after (INAUDIBLE) 2014, a year after 2020, whenever
that year after is, we`re gone and they`re back in power.
Why does he think the longer you stay, you don`t have to leave
eventually? I don`t get it. It`s a weird kind of argument he makes.
MORAN: Yes, I read his speech. But you know, Korea is, I think, a
different case in point. He does cite Korea.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Definitely.
MORAN: But with all of these countries, as they say, we have the
watches, but they have the time. They`re going to outlast us. And the
attrition of our troops through IEDs and the cost, of course, financially -
- this is a democracy. We`re going to pull people out.
But Chris, this is a very serious situation. You know, they`re now --
this ISIS group is now the wealthiest terrorist organization in the world.
They looted the Mosul banks for $430 million, in addition to taking about
200 caches of U.S. military equipment.
So -- now, I don`t think they can get into Baghdad. But with regard
to John, Senator McCain, you know, he backed going into Iraq in the first
place. Bush 41 did not. It was Bush 43 had a very different approach to
this. Bush 41 said, Don`t go into Baghdad. Leave Saddam there because as
bad as he is, he`s probably better than the alternative.
And it turns out Bush 41 knew what he was doing. Bush 43,
unfortunately, didn`t. And unfortunately, to some extent, Senator McCain
may not have known what he was doing when he pushed us to get into Iraq in
the first place.
MATTHEWS: I think you`re so right. Well said. Let me ask John --
CORN: Well, you remember when Paul Wolfowitz testified before the
Iraq war, he said, It`s not going to be a problem. There`s no history of
ethnic strife in this country.
CORN: It`s all going to work out well. I mean, they didn`t know what
they were doing! They didn`t know the region. They didn`t care. And
there`s no way that we`re going to be able to send in air strikes or
limited amounts of military supplies that`s going to change the general
political dynamic. If you don`t address that, nothing else matters.
MATTHEWS: As I said a few moments ago, if we can`t figure out
Richmond, we can`t figure out Baghdad.
Anyway, thank you, gentlemen. Jim Moran may disagree because he
probably figured out Richmond! Anyway, thank you, Congressman. And thank
you, David Corn.
Coming up: We all remember where we were 20 years ago -- the murders
of O.J. Simpson`s wife and her friend, the white Bronco chase, the trial of
the century. Tonight, we have new information on the case we didn`t know
about then. A witness says he saw O.J. Simpson disposing of evidence.
Plus, the hard right is triumphant over Eric Cantor`s defeat this
Tuesday. It`s now hungry for more victories to knock off more incumbents.
And clearly, they want the next majority leader of the House to be one of
them. This fight for the Republican Party has gone national, and not at
And the Texas state Republican Party officially believes that gays are
tearing at the fabric of American society. Governor Rick Perry now says
being gay is being like an alcoholic. And a Republican candidate for state
rep in Oklahoma says gays should be stoned to death. Nice talk.
Finally, "Let Me Finish" with why I think the American people better
grab hold of this decision facing us right now in Iraq.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: It`s not just Congress that`s polarized, it`s the entire
country. A new Pew poll finds that partisan polarization is at its highest
point in recent history. It`s getting worse. The number of Americans with
consistently liberal or conservative positions has doubled over the past 20
years, from 10 percent in `94 to 21 percent today, one in five.
And among those people, huge numbers on both sides say the other side
presents a threat to the country`s wellbeing. Two thirds of consistently
conservative Republicans say Democrats` policies hurt the country, and 50
percent of consistently liberal Democrats say the same of the Republicans.
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The body of 34-year-old Nicole Brown Simpson, ex-
wife of O.J. Simpson, was found after midnight on the sidewalk outside her
West Los Angeles home, next to it, the body of an unidentified 26-year-old
man. Both had apparently been stabbed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
It was called the trial of the century and it all began with the
ghastly double murder of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman 20 years ago. From
the very start, the O.J. Simpson murder case was a media sensation; 95
million viewers watched the manhunt that unfolded four days later, those
now iconic images of Simpson in the backseat of that white Ford Bronco
cruising down the freeway while the LAPD carefully followed, all the way to
Simpson`s home, where he finally surrendered to the police.
The ensuring trial that played out over the next 15 months was
America`s first test -- taste, you could say, of reality TV, providing the
kind of gripping drama and plot twists that are now the work of creative
It started as a story of celebrity crime and punishment, but was
turned into a story about race, a powder keg issue, of course, back in L.A.
in the early 1990s.
O.J., of course, was acquitted, thanks to a dream team of defense
attorneys who successful turned the trial into the referendum on the LAPD`s
conduct itself, despite the mountain of DNA evidence that seemed to
implicate Simpson in the crime.
Joining us now is Josh Mankiewicz, correspondent with "Dateline" on
MSNBC. His two-hour-long documentary, "The People vs. O.J. Simpson,"
premiered last night.
Josh, it`s great to have you on. I have a lot of respect for your
reporting. And I don`t have great memories of that trial. I covered it
every night for two hours. I was mystified by the verdict, like a lot of
people. I thought the case was made, but I also saw the flaws in the
prosecution. I saw the problems of credibility with the police and how
they handled it.
I saw Johnnie Cochran`s brilliant charisma at work, playing the race
card, obviously, but doing it so effectively and deftly. And yet you come
back 20 years later and tell me stuff I never knew and the jury never knew.
Can you tell us some of those highlights, if people missed it last night?
JOSH MANKIEWICZ, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Look, prosecutors were
convinced that the blood evidence was going to carry the day for them.
You had Simpson`s blood at the crime scene. You had the victim`s
blood inside his car and inside his house. The prosecutors thought that
was probably all they were going to need. So, they didn`t put on other
parts of their case, parts of their case that they could have put on.
There was a woman that came forward who had seen O.J. Simpson just a
couple of minutes after the murders were committed. And she saw him
driving in between where the murder scene was and where his house was. No
question it was Simpson. She knew him because he was a celebrity. She was
able to remember his license plate number. He was in a white Bronco. He
cut her off. He glared at her.
She came forward. She testified before the grand jury. Then, she
sold her story to "Hard Copy," a TV show that was on at the time, and
prosecutors decided that that tainted her, and they decided not to use her.
MATTHEWS: But, then it went -- logically, you would have said, if she
came across as credible in court and had something to sell to "Hard Copy,"
it would make it even stronger that she actually had something to witness.
MANKIEWICZ: Well, exactly.
MATTHEWS: I mean, why would it discredit her?
MANKIEWICZ: The producers didn`t -- the producers of "Hard Copy"
didn`t buy her story because they thought it wasn`t true.
MANKIEWICZ: They did it because they thought it was.
And there was never anything that suggested she had not told the truth
about her story. She didn`t tell prosecutors about having sold the story
to "Hard Copy," which prosecutors thought exposed the woman to being
attacked as a liar by the defense, and it probably would have.
But there`s an argument, just put her on and see where the chips fall.
There was a man that the police found who was picking up his wife from LAX,
from the airport, that night.
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s watch that. We`re going to watch that scene
right now. Let`s go, Josh, with that.
You also spoke, as you just did then, about someone who could have
been a key witness for the prosecution again. His name is Skip Junis. He
actually saw Simpson, he said, at the airport, the L.A. Airport, just hours
after the murder. Here`s his story and a clip from your show last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANKIEWICZ: Junis, who has never told his story publicly until now,
says he had a clear view of Simpson. But Simpson, he says, never saw him.
SKIP JUNIS, EYEWITNESS: He was carrying this little cheap gym bag.
He only zipped it a few inches, just enough to get his hand in, and was
pulling things out and dumping them in the trash can.
MANKIEWICZ: You think he was disposing of the evidence then?
JUNIS: Sure. Of course I do.
TOM LANGE, FORMER LAPD DETECTIVE: That witness has evidence. They
have no reason to discount him or anything else. He has an entirely
MANKIEWICZ: So credible that Junis was subpoenaed to testify. But
like a lot of the prosecution`s case, things wouldn`t go quite according to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: What happened to that witness?
MANKIEWICZ: That`s a mystery.
Skip Junis was entirely credible. He hadn`t sold his story. He
couldn`t have been accused of being tainted in any way. Prosecutors
decided not to use him because, I guess, they felt in their gut that the
blood evidence was working with the jury and there was no evidence -- there
was no reason to present witnesses like Mr. Junis, even though his story --
even though his story then and now rings completely true.
MATTHEWS: Well, obviously, Simpson`s defense attorneys, led by
Johnnie Cochran, who was brilliant, discredited the LAPD Detective Mark
Fuhrman, a key witness for the prosecution, after discovering the audiotape
of him, Mark Fuhrman, speaking to a screenwriter for a movie in L.A. with
this racially charged language that Fuhrman used on those tapes.
It proved explosive. Here`s that scene from your show from last
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK FUHRMAN, FORMER LAPD DETECTIVE: (INAUDIBLE)
CARL DOUGLAS, ATTORNEY FOR O.J. SIMPSON: This is Mark Fuhrman on the
tape. I have heard it myself and it is chilling.
MANKIEWICZ: Are you guys like hoisting champagne glasses when you
listen to those tapes?
DOUGLAS: It was manna from heaven.
MANKIEWICZ: It was live ammunition for Simpson`s attorneys. The
defense maintained that Fuhrman was a racist cop who, in an effort to frame
Simpson, planted the bloody glove at his estate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, Josh, the part of this defense I never bought,
which was the idea that these guys had been jock sniffers for months,
hanging around O.J.`s house. They love the guy.
At 2:00 in the morning, this guy Fuhrman, whatever his attitudes are
about race, the character he played in that interview, of course, decided
at 2:00 in the morning he was going to risk his career, his life,
everything, so he can screw O.J. At 2:00 in the morning, he comes up with
this glove. I mean, it just didn`t make sense in terms of self-interest.
MATTHEWS: I don`t care how bad a guy he was.
MANKIEWICZ: No, it`s -- it`s nonsense.
I mean, they didn`t even know where Simpson was at that point. So,
maybe he had an airtight alibi. There`s no -- to believe in the idea that
there was some sort of conspiracy to frame Mr. Simpson, you have got to
make sort of all the stars line up correctly, and you have got to have this
giant -- this giant police conspiracy, which just there wasn`t any proof
By the way, I mean, Detective Fuhrman, despite the charges against him
back then by the defense, he was never found -- there was never any
evidence that he planted anything.
MANKIEWICZ: There was never any accusation that he had.
MATTHEWS: Do you know if the jury -- I know that it was mostly
minorities on that jury. Do you know if they believed maybe immediately
afterwards or weeks later, did they come to the conclusion he was actually
innocent, meaning he didn`t do the killings? Or did they come to the
conclusion that the law -- the prosecution hadn`t made their case? Or
where were they between those two goal lines?
MANKIEWICZ: Look, for some jurors, this was very clearly sort of jury
nullification. This was an opportunity to strike back against what they
saw as a police department that had not just ignored them, but brutalized
them and hurt them and treated them very badly for a very long time.
But, for other people, you know, we just spent a couple of minutes
talking about what the jury didn`t hear. You know, you can not blame the
jury for acting on only the information that they were given. They were
never told about Jill Shively, the woman who saw Simpson right after the
They were never told about what they saw at the -- the guy who saw
Simpson at the airport. And you have got to remember, you know, DNA
technology was brand-new back then. Today, shows like "CSI" have sort of
done prosecutors` jobs for them. Juries now take it on faith that DNA
evidence equals criminal guilt. Twenty years ago, they didn`t.
MATTHEWS: Yes. And I thought that Cochran was brilliant and Barry
Scheck in using the word contaminated. Like, you put some dirt into Coca-
Cola and it becomes Pepsi cola? No, it`s still the same DNA.
MATTHEWS: The word contaminate was brilliant, was a brilliant word.
MANKIEWICZ: Yes, contaminated DNA does not change into somebody
MATTHEWS: Yes, that`s what I thought.
MANKIEWICZ: But back then, back then, that argument worked.
MATTHEWS: It sure did. Thank you so much, Josh. Great, great story
MANKIEWICZ: Thanks, Chris.
Up next: Just how many steaks does the $170,000 spent by the Cantor
campaign actually buy? Wait until you hear this waste of money, I think.
Anyway, this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Time now for the "Sideshow," of
The defeat of the House Majority leader Eric Cantor in Tuesday`s
Virginia Republican primary sent shocks throughout the political world, of
course. But, as you can see, it provided some good humor for Jon Stewart
and Stephen Colbert.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE COLBERT REPORT")
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE COLBERT REPORT": Who else created the Tea
Party by stitching together dead ideas and then filling them with rage,
giving it a jolt of power and letting it loose on the countryside,
terrified of fire and science?
COLBERT: Who could ever imagine it would come back to kill its
COLBERT: And who knows who it will devour next?
Daddy loves you, Tea Party.
COLBERT: Eric bad, Stephen good.
COLBERT: Oh, God, we have got to keep it happy. We must find it a
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That`s great.
One of the most talked-about tidbits to come out of Cantor`s stunning
loss was how much money his campaign spent on steak houses in Washington,
D.C. Well, according to the FEC campaign finance data, which we all should
get a look at, Cantor`s reelection campaign spent nearly $170,000 among
three restaurants. They all have steaks, of course.
Well, BuzzFeed couldn`t help wonder just how much food that actually
buys. Well, more than $54,000 spent at Bobby Van`s steak house will get
you 1,086 order of the restaurant`s specialty steak. Or you could order
every item on the food menu 54 times, every item. At BLT Steak, you could
chow down on nearly 800 orders of their new New York strip, or just order
the entire menu, again, 29 times, the entire menu, which leaves you asking
the question, is this healthy?
And we will be right back after this.
FRANCES RIVERA, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hi. I`m Frances Rivera. Here`s
Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has left Germany and is on a U.S. military
plane headed to the United States. He`s expected to arrive at Brooke Army
Medical Center in Texas early tomorrow morning.
The State Department says U.S. citizens working as contractors in Iraq
are being relocated due to the advance of Islamic insurgents.
And security was tight as Brazil faced off against Croatia, winning
the first game of the World Cup. Protesters clashed with riot police in
streets of Sao Paulo ahead of the game -- now we take you back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
In the wake of Eric Cantor`s stunning defeat this week, insurgents are
mounting an aggressive insurgency in this country against the GOP
establishment. A fractured Republican leader is fighting on two fronts
now, filling the vacancy left by Cantor in the GOP`s high command on
Capitol Hill, but also an oncoming Republican primary series in Tennessee
and Kansas that could cost them big seats.
Conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin ,along with Laura
Ingraham, were active in defeating Cantor. And here`s what they said --
quote -- "Apparently, the leadership isn`t getting the message. We want a
constitutional conservative in leadership, not just the next guy in line."
But Tea Party activists are hoping David Brat`s victory in Virginia
over Cantor translates into a national wave. The Tea Party is intensifying
its efforts to knock off three establishment GOP Senate incumbent, Thad
Cochran, of course, in Mississippi in big trouble, Pat Roberts in Kansas
and Lamar Alexander both in the target zone, all facing conservative
challengers claiming momentum from that shocking Cantor upset this week.
And I think it matters.
Here`s Ben Cunningham, president of the Nashville Tea Party, which is
backing State Representative Joe Carr`s long-shot challenge to Lamar
Alexander -- quote -- "The text messages and e-mails have not stopped
flying. It`s been an amazing shot in the arm. Dave Brat stated Tea Party
principles simply, articulately, unapologetically, and he got elected doing
that. It`s just a great inspiration for everybody."
Well, Tom Davis is former Republican congressman from Virginia.
Michelle Bernard is president of the Bernard Center for Woman -- Women.
Is it Woman or Women?
MICHELLE BERNARD, FOUNDER, BERNARD CENTER FOR WOMEN, POLITICS AND
MATTHEWS: Women. See, that`s a Philadelphia accent problem -- Women,
Policy and Politics.
Let me start with Tom, because you haven`t been on in a while. And
you`re what I see as a -- sort of a reasonable conservative, a moderate
conservative, I guess from Northern Virginia. And you served for a long
time in Congress with people like Cantor.
What does this mean? Because I think it`s big time. But what do you
think? I think the fact that a leader, the majority leader of the U.S.
House of Representatives, gets knocked off, not scared, knocked off by 11
points, blown away in a race he usually took for granted.
TOM DAVIS (R-VA), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Well, it`s certainly going
to affect behavior by other Republicans who are still facing primaries this
cycle. I think it`s been through down those lines. I think of the three
Senate races you put up there, and my gut is the only one that`s going to
be really close is Mississippi. And we`ve known that for some time.
The Tea Party national groups haven`t really won anything this year.
They went after Mike Simpson in Idaho and came up way short. They did
force Thad Cochran into a runoff in Mississippi, but Virginia was
homegrown. That was just local groups going after Eric Cantor in that
group because he switched from being a hardnosed conservative in the
president`s face to trying to be a more responsible leader, trying to lead
the way on issues like the debt ceiling, opening up the government and
those kinds of things.
And, frankly, I think his constituents wanted somebody who`d be in the
president`s face, who`d give him a hard time. There --
MATTHEWS: But you`re papering over it, aren`t you, that a lot of
these guys like John McCain, last time around with J.D. Hayward chasing his
butt, went as far right as possible. That Mitch McConnell was trying to be
he`s around with Rand Paul, arm in arm, trying to go as right wing and
libertarian as he can.
So, these guys are basically cross dressing, if you will, to use a Pat
Buchanan-ism. They`re headed over there to look like hard right people.
And that`s how they survive. Is that victory for the center of the
Republican Party, to act like the Tea Party?
DAVIS: It`s been that way for 30 years when I first got involved.
You kind of lean right in the primaries and you kind of re-center yourself.
Democrats do the same thing sometimes.
MATTHEWS: OK. So, nothing is going on there, Tom. Nothing is
DAVIS: Oh, no, a lot is happening. The grassroots have moved to the
right. They`re very, very angry at this point. And I would just add this,
Chris. Come November, I think this anger, if you will, is going to show
yourself in the polls in a way that`s going to hurt Democrats.
MATTHEWS: I agree with that. I agree. So, I think the whole country
is moving right, right now. I think the Democratic left is holding on.
MICHELLE BERNARD, BERNARD CENTER FOR WOMEN: Absolutely.
MATTHEWS: I think the Democratic left is holding on. But the middle
-- it just seems like the anger and the steam is all out there on the
BERNARD: And there`s enormous amounts of anger, and there`s no room
for a center any longer. I spoke with somebody
MATTHEWS: What`s your favorite moderate Republican these days? Give
you an hour?
MATTHEWS: That`s too tough.
I`ll get back to Tom with that question. Christie looked all right
for a while there, I guess you`d say.
BERNARD: I did.
MATTHEWS: But now, he`s got all kinds of problems.
BERNARD: You can`t really figure out who is sort of staying true to
who they are anymore because we see people more and more having to say
crazy things and be crazy in order to win. I think you asked the
congressman earlier what`s going on. What`s going on is that people are
going far right.
I spoke with someone earlier who worked with the Cantor campaign and
was with him all day long, and sort of the conventional wisdom has been
that this was a victory for the Tea Party. But I was told, which turns out
to be true, is the Tea Party didn`t give the person who ousted Cantor any
money whatsoever. What Cantor`s people were telling him was that they
thought he was too liberal, that he made a mistake in voting to open up the
government. They saw that as being analogous to Cantor being pro-
Obamacare. They didn`t like immigration and they didn`t like the fact that
Cantor wasn`t listening to him.
So, it was local politics, it was not being out there with the
district. It had nothing to do, I don`t believe, with the Tea Party.
MATTHEWS: What about people like Boehner who are clearly listening
over that direction? It seems like you can not get hurt in your party by
being outrageously right wing in your attitude. I mean, you cannot be,
agreeing with saying things are terrible. What you -- Graham said, come
back things (ph), and Boehner was saying the president is taking a nap.
It seems like there`s no limit to what you can get away with on the
hard right in the Republican Party, can you?
DAVIS: Well, Chris, in 80 percent of the districts that`s probably
true. You have the other 20 percent that have to make up the majority,
where you need to be a little bit more centrist because they`re swing
districts. But in an era where 80 percent of these districts, the party
primary is the doming and only factor and November is just a constitutional
formality, this is the kind of behavior you`re going to get on both sides.
I think the Democrat splits are masked right now because you do have a
president to rally behind and their destinies are intertwined with that
president. You take him away from this, I think they break up into pieces
just like the Republicans are doing.
MATTHEWS: I think there`s a taste of November.
MATTHEWS: I think we just got a bad taste for everybody.
Anyway, thank you, Congressman.
DAVIS: Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Tom Davis, former Congressman Tom Davis of Virginia, and
Up next, the Texas Republican Party says homosexuality tears at the
fabric of society. They put it in their platform. Now, Rick Perry is
comparing being gay to being an alcoholic. And for Republicans, it gets
worse from there.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Former President George H.W. Bush turned 90 today and they
marked the milestone by jumping out of a helicopter. The former president
was picked up outside of his home in Kennebunkport, Maine. He was flown
6,000 feet into the air and he jumped in tandem with a retired Army
parachutist landing safely.
There he is. Unbelievable, 90 years old doing that, at a nearby park.
Bush made the vow to do the jump five years ago and he carried it
through, despite relying on a wheelchair when he`s down on earth.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Well, the hits keep coming from the GOP. On Monday, we told you about
changes to the Texas Republican platform, which already says that, quote,
"homosexuality tears at the fabric of society."
Well, to go even further, according to "The Associated Press", under
the new plank, the Texas GOP recognizes legitimacy and efficacy of
counseling which offers reparative therapy and treatment for those patients
seeking healing and wholeness from their homosexual lifestyle. That`s in
the official Republican platform right now, just was just put in.
Now, there`s this Texas Governor Rick Perry, we all know him, was
asked whether homosexuality was a disorder to which he answered that while
people may feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle, they have the
ability to decide not to. And then he made this comparison.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: I may have the genetic coding that I`m
inclined to be an alcoholic. But I have the desire not to do that. And I
look at the homosexual issue as the same way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our Kate Kogeran (ph) who was there tonight says
there were a few gasps from the crowd after Perry`s remark.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Governor Perry then apparently confusing attraction I
think with addiction. Anyway, that`s my commentary. And in comments made
last year on a Facebook conversation thread, a Republican candidate for the
Oklahoma state house agreed that stoning gay people would be the right
thing to do.
Here`s the exchange, starting with the non-candidate, who writes, "So
just to be clear, you think we should execute homosexuals presumably by
stoning, and do you think people are worried about the Muslims taking over
Anyway, the Republican candidate, Scott Esk is his name, replies, "I
think we would be totally in the right to do it. That goes against some
parts of libertarianism, and I realize I`m largely libertarian, but
ignoring as a nation things that are worthy of death is very remiss."
Joining me right now is Gregory Angelo, the executive director of the
Log Cabin Republicans, and MSNBC political analyst, Joan Walsh.
I`m kerfuffled by some of these things here. But let me go to Joan,
just because we`re familiar talking about these things.
What makes Republicans talk so much? Why don`t they just take the
Fifth when discussing gender politics, gay issues, generally, the existence
of gay orientation and identify, anything to do with this just seems to get
them in trouble with everybody.
JOAN WALSH, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Not with their hard-right, older
Christian conservative base, Chris. I mean, everybody in this country is
changing, but no that element of the base.
And you know, I want to say some people genuinely, authentically
believe this, and other people pander, and I don`t know which person, which
kind of person Rick Perry is, but I kind of don`t care. It`s a disgusting
thing to say. It`s neither a disease nor any kind of moral weakness to be
LBGT. And I think he`s got to know that. The Oklahoma --
MATTHEWS: Yes, I wonder. I think -- well, let me -- you continue
your thought. Let me go to Gregory.
You know, I think people are born gay and I think a lot of people
think they are, and I`ve asked a lot of friends of mine, I say, when did
you know you were gay, and people, pretty early on. It`s not something
that comes in a flash. It`s not learned or anything. It`s not --
GREGORY ANGELO, LOG CABIN REPUBLICANS: It`s not a choice. It`s
certainly not a disease.
MATTHEWS: But it could be genetic.
But the idea that the genetic vulnerability to alcoholism may also be
genetic, but they`re not the same. I just think putting them in the same
pot is derogatory.
ANGELO: Yes, that`s true. Now, if I could go back a little bit to
your introduction and say, if there`s any several lining here, that
language about "homosexuality tearing at the fabric of society" was removed
by the platform committee at this most recent convention.
MATTHEWS: However, they put --
ANGELO: They put in this nonsense about ex-gay therapy.
MATTHEWS: Is that Michele Bachmann`s influence or what? Where`s that
ANGELO: It was the Texas Eagle Forum in particular that pushed this
language. And when you look at the Texas GOP platform, it has become,
instead of a single sheet of paper that lists a bunch of principles that
members of a party can coalesce around, a literal platform that launches
campaigns, it`s become this albatross around the neck of a lot of
candidates, where it`s this kitchen sink list of all of these laws that
members of the platform committee would like to see pass, but they`re not
courageous enough to run for office themselves. They`ve spent years --
MATTHEWS: Well, you`re a gay man, so maybe you can explain this. I
just think, why do you think they go to their -- they think it`s the middle
course, we can fix these people.
ANGELO: I mean, I don`t think that`s a middle course at all. I mean
MATTHEWS: No, but to them, to them -- why do they go from tearing
society apart to we can put you together?
ANGELO: Right. You`re trying to look at the silver lining --
MATTHEWS: From their -- I`m trying to figure out what they`re
ANGELO: I mean, I think what they`re thinking is that they`re trying
to appease a very small but very vocal segment of the GOP, the Texas GOP in
particular. What they`re not seeing is the larger picture, that they`re
actually alienating the greater electorate in the state of Texas. And
they`re even alienating Republicans within the state. We had delegates on
the convention floor in Texas, and once they got to the convention and
found out that these planks of the platform had been inserted in
subcommittee meetings that took place before the general convention began,
they were irate. They wanted to speak out against us. They were not given
that opportunity by the Texas state GOP.
MATTHEWS: You`re a great guest.
Let me go back to Joan on this, the politics of this, generally. Why
do they try to talk like this? Why don`t they just say, I`m no scientist,
WALSH: Because they believe it.
MATTHEWS: I`m not a psychiatrist, I have no idea about this genetic
thing I just spoke about. I`m guessing.
WALSH: Because they believe it. And you know, I think you`re right
in the sense -- I mean, you`re both right. It`s an extremist position, but
it is their attempt to be what they consider, quote, "Christian" and say,
oh, well, you know, there might be -- you know, we`re trying to work with
the science of this, and it might be innate, like diseases are innate.
And it`s just awful. And sort of like going back to the famous, the
infamous autopsy that Reince Priebus does. You know, one of the things
that he actually -- that they actually came out and said, they didn`t talk
about a lot of policy in that, but they did talk about how more openness to
gay rights was going to be crucial. Not only in reaching out to the LBGT
community, but to reaching out to young people, nationally and in Texas.
That young people are completely put off by this kind of language. And
that fell apart.
MATTHEWS: Can`t wait to see the Republican platform in 2016 up
against probably Hillary Clinton. They better be careful on this front.
Thank you very much, Gregory.
ANGELO: Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Good organization, I think, yours. The Log Cabin, I`ve
spoke with you guys. Haven`t changed your politics, but I`ve enjoyed the
Thank you, Gregory Angelo and Joan Walsh.
We`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this.
I think the American people better grab hold of this decision facing
us in Iraq. We were wrong to go into that country, wrong for the very
reason that we knew we would eventually have to leave. Why? Because if
you know you`re going to have to leave, you`re admitting to yourself, or
should be, that you can`t control events once you`ve left the scene. The
country will be controlled by the people we leave behind.
This was true in Vietnam. What we`re living through right now is the
lesson of Vietnam. Those who live in a country end up determining its
future. And those who come in, even for a good number of years, eventually
head home and leave the country to return to what it was before. Why on
earth did anyone believe that we could overthrow the people who ran Iraq
and think they would not try mightily to regain power once we left?
Whether we left in 11 years or 15 or 20?
It`s always going to be up to the people living in the country to
decide if that happens. It`s not we who have kept the Nazi party returning
from Germany, it`s been the German people. It`s not we who have kept the
militarists from coming back into power in Japan, it`s been the Japanese
And so, what we see right now in Iraq is precisely what we could have
predicted, precisely the reason why we never should have gone there in the
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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