June 26, 2014
Guest: John Feehery, Philip Dennis, Michael Tomasky, Alice Stewart, Robert
Costa, Robert Costa, David Freddoso, Nate Scott
STEVE KORNACKI, GUEST HOST: Tea Party Mississippi blues.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Steve Kornacki, in for Chris Matthews.
Leading off tonight, rage on the right. Their candidate lost in
Mississippi this week, but Tea Party supporters and their backers on
conservative talk radio aren`t quite giving in quietly. They accuse Thad
Cochran and his supporters of race baiting, cheating and betraying the
conservative movement by chasing the votes of non-Republicans. They point
to flyers and robocalls that targeted African-Americans before the election
that attacked McDaniel for his civil rights record and the Tea Party`s
obstructionist tactics against the first African-American president.
Chris McDaniel, the loser from Tuesday, has refused to concede the
race. He says that thousands of Democrats voted, quote, "illegally" for
Cochran in the run-off, and he might challenge the results in court.
Meanwhile, across talk radio, anger continues to boil over at Cochran
and the entire Republican establishment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: What bothers me -- and I`m really angry about
this -- every despicable tactic, false characterization, smear that the
left uses against Tea Party members and conservatives in this country was
used by the Cochran campaign against a fellow Republican!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And Cochran doing the political equivalent of
shaking a Klan hood out in the streets to scare up votes is really
unbecoming of anybody fit to hold elected office in this country.
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I wonder what the campaign
slogan was in Mississippi the past couple days, Uncle Toms for Thad?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, I have a -- I have a question for every black
Democrat in Mississippi. What the hell has this 90-year-old fart, a white
Republican, the same white Republican that for years, the Democrats have
been telling you are nothing but old racists -- you tell me exactly what
Thad Cochran did for you!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: So are these guys just sore losers, or do they have
legitimate gripes? And are Tea Partiers and the Republican establishment
heading toward, as Sarah Palin suggested this week, a total rift?
John Feehery is a Republican strategist and Philip Dennis is the
founder of the Dallas Texas Tea Party. Philip, I`ll start with you. I can
certainly understand why you`re disappointed, why you`re upset, why you
might really even be angry at the Republican establishment and at the
Cochran campaign. You know, you had your candidate lose this race because
they went out and very cleverly brought in Democratic voters who had, you
know, the right to vote in this thing. And looks like that`s how won the
But I guess at a basic level, listening to all this reaction, some
very sort of over-the-top reactions that we`re playing some of them, do
you, as a supported of McDaniel, accept the legitimacy of this victory for
Thad Cochran? Is this a legitimate victory?
PHILIP DENNIS, DALLAS TEXAS TEA PARTY: Oh, absolutely not. Every
registered Republican in Mississippi that voted in the primary soundly
rejected Thad Cochran.
KORNACKI: ... the word "legitimate" here. There`s no party
registration in Mississippi, right, so we`re not talking about registered
Republicans and registered Democrats. These -- everybody who voted had a
right to vote. Is that not correct?
DENNIS: Well, how many of the people -- how many of the 35,000
Democrats that voted for Cochran the other night are going to vote for him
in November? A big, fat zero!
KORNACKI: But that`s...
KORNACKI: That`s not the law, though. I want to just -- before we go
further, because I wanted -- I want to just make clear. Unless you have a
specific legal gripe, is this a legitimate victory? What`s the specific
DENNIS: I didn`t say it was illegal.
KORNACKI: OK, that...
DENNIS: If the Republicans have to depend on Democrat voters to get
their life-long corrupt politicians, big-spending, pork-spending
politicians elected term after term, then really, what is the need for the
Republican Party anyway? What we`re really seeing is there is very little
difference, if any at all, in Washington, D.C., between the Republicans and
And what we learned the other night is there is nothing, virtually
nothing that the Republicans will not do to keep the people they want
elected in office, even disparaging, wrongly disparaging and lying about
the opponents and the people who are supporting him as racist, as going to
take away your food stamps, as going to -- you know, not let you vote
anymore and go back to the Civil Rights -- this is ridiculous! And it was
And as low as the Republicans have been in the past, in my lifetime,
this is the lowest I think I`ve ever seen them go!
KORNACKI: So what do you want Chris McDaniel to do right now? What
do you -- do you him to -- do you want some kind of a lawsuit here? What
would the basis of that be? Do want him to run some kind of a write-in
campaign? I don`t even know if that`s legal in Mississippi. I know Austin
Barbour (ph), one of the -- one of the, you know, Barbour family members,
say that you can`t even do that in Mississippi.
What do you want Chris McDaniel to do right now if it`s this bad for
DENNIS: Well, those are options for McDaniel to come up with, but I
can address what I would like to see the people of Mississippi do. I would
like to see all of those who supported Chris McDaniel to either write him
in as a candidate or support his Democrat challenger because if the
Republicans are going to rely on Democrats to get their RINO Republican
senator, who`s been there since 1972, in office, a big pork spender, use
Democrats to get him elected, then the Republicans -- perhaps the Tea Party
Republicans who supported McDaniel should also vote for the Democrat in
November! Cochran cannot be rewarded...
KORNACKI: You would rather -- you would rather have a Democratic
senator in there voting for Harry Reid for majority leader, for Democrats
to chair every committee in the Senate, than have Thad Cochran go back? Is
that what I heard you just say?
DENNIS: Oh, absolutely because, like I said, we see very little
difference these days between the Republicans and the Democrats. Does
anyone -- and I know a lot of Tea Party people think there is -- that Mitch
McConnell -- does anyone think the Republicans will try to repeal "Obama
care"? Absolutely not. Mitch McConnell will be Harry Reid lite!
KORNACKI: But certainly -- I`ll bring in here. They did shut the
government down when Mitch McConnell was there. But John, listen, is this
-- is this a problem for you...
KORNACKI: You`re sort of the Republican establishment voice here, so
let`s go to you on this. I mean, you know, look, you guys -- as I say, in
my mind, this is a legitimate victory. There`s no legal question here.
This is a legitimate victory that Thad Cochran and the Republican
establishment scored. But this is -- this is your base talking to you
right now, saying, Hey, this is a little too tricky, what you guys just did
to us, and threatening some payback in the fall.
Do you guys have a problem here with making the base too angry?
JOHN FEEHERY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think it`s important that the
Republican Party unify because I think that the most important thing about
this election is to stop Barack Obama in the last two years. If we give
Barack Obama and Harry Reid a blank check, they`re going to fill up the
judiciary with all kinds of people that the Tea Party and establishment
Republicans will hate. This is the most important election I`ve seen in a
midterm election. If we do not stop Barack Obama...
KORNACKI: But John...
KORNACKI: Just listening to what you just heard Philip say there --
now, this is -- this is what we are hearing. Now, he took it a step
further than what I`ve heard from other people, saying, Hey, we should just
go ahead and vote for the Democrat this November.
But when you listen to what he`s saying there about, you know, the
tactics that are using (ph) (INAUDIBLE) going to get Democratic voters to
win a Republican primary, can you understand why the base of the Republican
Party right now is upset over this?
FEEHERY: Well, I understand that they`re frustrated. I get that they
lost. They lost legitimately. It was a legitimate election. The Cochran
campaign used (ph) -- all within the law. They appealed to a broader base
of voters, and he won.
Now they have to get over it, and we`ve got -- we`ve got to join
together and stop Barack Obama in the last two years. And I think the
stakes in (INAUDIBLE) election are very high. For him to say that he wants
Harry Reid to be the majority leader the last two years is so stunning that
he`s got to look in the mirror and say does he really want to be the guy
that gives Barack Obama a blank check the last two years? I don`t think
that`s right. And I don`t think that most conservatives...
DENNIS: Hey! Hey!
FEEHERY: ... agree with that.
KORNACKI: All right, well, conservative radio host Mark Levin...
DENNIS: What have you done? What have you done? I`m sorry. Let me
-- Mr. -- Mr. Establishment, what have you done? When you were -- when
KORNACKI: Hold on! Hold on! All right...
DENNIS: Take a breath. Take a breath.
KORNACKI: Hold on -- Phil, I...
DENNIS: In 2010, when we returned you to the House...
KORNACKI: All right. All right, Philip, we...
DENNIS: ... and you put Boehner in there, you had promised...
KORNACKI: We got the point. I want to move ahead to the next thing.
Conservative radio`s Mark Levin interviewed Chris McDaniel yesterday, and
here`s what he had to say about Cochran`s campaign tactics.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MARK LEVIN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Could you have imagined how corrupt
the Republican establishment was and the kind of race baiting and nasty
tactics that were used against you? Did you expect that?
CHRIS MCDANIEL (R), MISSISSIPPI SENATE CANDIDATE: No. No, not in a
million years. You know, these are people that always talk about party
unity and party cohesion and talk about how we`re supposed to stick
together. And they did some of the most despicable things to me and others
around me that I`ve ever seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And "MORNING JOE" host Joe Scarborough had a very different
take this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, MSNBC "MORNING JOE": If these people were my
children, I would be laughing at them, calling them the biggest whiners.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They cheated.
SCARBOROUGH: No, they didn`t cheat! They followed the rules! They
followed the law. You lost! They were smarter than McDaniel! As Laura
Ingraham said, McDaniel was running a Tea Party race in an open primary!
That is stupid! And if you are too stupid to win an election, don`t whine
about it the next day and say the other side cheated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So Philip, I mean, I -- again, I want to kind of get back
to this -- this sort of -- this point here about the future for the Tea
Party movement in Mississippi and a candidate like McDaniel. I mean,
you`re looking ahead and you`re saying you`d rather have a Democrat win
this thing in the fall than to have your candidate.
But isn`t there something -- you know, you`re talking about the
sanctity of the Republican process being violated here, supposedly. Isn`t
part of the sanctity of the Republican Party, or for that matter, if you`re
re a Democrat, the Democratic Party process -- the sanctity of it is you
give it your best shot. You take your best shot. You play by the rules.
If you win, congratulations. The other guy comes and supports you. And if
you lose (INAUDIBLE) you go and support the other guy. Isn`t that part of
DENNIS: Yes. Normally, absolutely. We vote conservative in the
primary. We Republican pretty much in the general election. But there are
a few things. In this case, the Democratic opponent actually was opposed
to "Obama care." He`s anti-gun law. And he actually may be more
conservative than Thad Cochran, who has a history of big spending.
And for this guy with the Republican establishment guy on the other
side to sit there talk about how the Republicans -- and giving Obama a
blank check -- that`s exactly what you have done! You passed every
continuing resolution. We`ve got a $17 trillion debt. You promised to cut
$100 billion in spending in 2010, when we returned you to the House, and
you cut nothing! You guys have lied to us all whole time.
And then you disparage us as a bunch of racists and kooks to win
elections for a guy that`s been in office for 72...
KORNACKI: I -- I...
DENNIS: We don`t need that! If guess what? If you`re going to
insult your base, you`re going to lose your base! And normally, I would
vote for a Republican if he`s won the primary, even if he`s to the right of
the candidate I might -- or the left of the candidate I -- but not when
they disparage us! And Thad Cochran ran on, I`m going to spend more money
than anybody else.
KORNACKI: Well, I...
DENNIS: That`s contrary to the Tea Party message!
KORNACKI: Here -- John, here`s -- here`s the thing. When I -- when I
listen to that, I say -- I can`t think of how many times in the past few
years I have heard conservatives rail about how terrible Harry Reid is.
They cannot stand Harry Reid. They don`t want Harry Reid running the
And now I`m listening to a conservative say, Well, I`d rather have a
Democrat get elected and Harry Reid be majority leader. So that`s my
reaction to hearing that. But again, you, as sort of -- as a Republican
here, listening to the voice, a voice from the base of the party saying all
this, is this -- are we listening right now, are you listening to an
example of sort of why Republican leaders in Washington sort of had their
hands tied for the last few years because this is the -- every -- every
decision they make, they risk a revolt from the base.
FEEHERY: Well, listen, I think the Republicans are in a really good
position right now to capture the Senate. When they do that, they`ll be
able to finally put some legislation on the president`s desk to have him
sign or veto. It`ll do a lot of the things that we hope, hopefully, repeal
certain parts -- a big chunk of "Obama care" and other things.
But that will not happen if Harry Reid continues as the majority
leader. And I think that Mitch McConnell is probably the biggest opponent
that Barack Obama`s seen. He was the one who said he wanted to make Barack
Obama a one-term president. He`s been very uncooperative with the
And I think that for the Tea Party guys -- I understand how upset they
are. I get it. They lost. They`re mad. But you know what? We got to
get together because if we don`t, Barack Obama is going to have a blank
check the last two years, and we don`t need that.
KORNACKI: Can I -- can I -- I just -- quickly, I want to ask you one
more thing, though, John, because -- this is the question also I have. And
I think it was Glenn Beck in that -- in that little montage we played
earlier who -- who said this -- African-American voters who crossed over
from the Democratic Party to vote for Thad Cochran in this -- Thad Cochran,
if he`s reelected to the Senate this year, what are those voters going to
get from Thad Cochran? What is he going to do? I mean, this is -- these
are now sort of his constituents. They voted for him. They put him in
FEEHERY: Thad Cochran has been someone who`s always protected the
interests of Mississippi. And I think that that`s his constitutional role.
He`s always been -- he`s been someone -- I don`t think there`s any special
(ph) deal (ph). And understand that Democrats in Mississippi did not want
African-American voters to vote for Thad Cochran. They wanted Chris
McDaniel to win because they think that Chris McDaniel is the most
vulnerable person to beat.
We have Thad Cochran because he`s been a good senator. He`s going to
continue to be a good senator. And he`s going to continue to do the things
he`s been doing. And he`s a very conservative senator. He will continue
to be a very conservative senator.
But I think that the African-American voters within Mississippi said,
You know what? We`d rather have him because he`s going to look out for the
whole state. I think that was the right choice on their part. And Thad
Cochran is broadening the base of the Republican Party, which I think we
should all be for.
KORNACKI: All right. Well, thank you (INAUDIBLE) John Feehery.
KORNACKI: Coming up next, that House lawsuit against President Obama.
Speaker John Boehner is doing what he can to make the right feel good. But
not everyone thinks Boehner fully realizes what he just got himself into.
Also, the lost IRS e-mails. Republicans are crying coverup. The IRS
is saying, Hey, what can you do? Democrats aren`t saying much of anything.
How much might this hurt Democrats in the fall?
Plus, President Obama takes on the "What me worry" faction of the
Republican Party, who denies evidence of global warming by saying, What do
you I know? I`m no scientist.
"Let Me Finish" tonight with why the Republican establishment may not
be celebrating that victory in Mississippi very long.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
KORNACKI: Here are some poll results people didn`t see coming. Let`s
check the HARDBALL "Scoreboard."
A Survey USA poll shows Kansas`s Republican governor, Sam Brownback,
trailing his Democratic opponent, Paul Davis, 47 to 41 percent. Kansas has
been the tip of the spear for much of the conservative movement in the
country. This poll may -- may -- suggest that Kansans have had enough.
It`s only one poll and it`s an automated one, at that, but the result is
Be right back.
KORNACKI: Welcome back to HARDBALL. "We didn`t elect a monarch or
king." That`s what Speaker John Boehner wrote in a memo to his colleagues
yesterday announcing that he`s going to sue President Obama on charges that
the president is abusing his executive authority.
As we discussed on yesterday`s show, this historic legal challenge
appears to be Boehner`s way of once again trying to placate an angry,
volatile and cannibalistic base that just swallowed and spit out his top
deputy, Eric Cantor. But there`s more to this story. By basing (ph) this
lawsuit, Boehner has once again allowed the Tea Party to control the
agenda. And if history is any guide, that is a dangerous thing for him to
Michael Steele is an MSNBC political analyst and a former chairman of
the Republican National Committee, and Michael Tomasky is a special
correspondent with the DailyBeast.
Let`s get right to some of the reaction over the last 24 hours to all
this. Boehner`s facing some intense criticism within his own conservative
ranks from groups that are outraged he is both going too far and also not
On Fox yesterday, host Neil Cavuto called the lawsuit a giant waste of
time, with (ph) Cavuto ripping into Congresswoman Michele Bachmann for
trying to drag the IRS into her argument.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN), FMR. PRES. CANDIDATE: We need to --
where executive branch officials have broken the law, and they have -- the
IRS gave private donor information to the political friends of this
administration, they gave the private donor...
NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS: Separate issue, Congresswoman. Separate
issue. You`re conflating issues.
BACHMANN: No, it isn`t!
CAVUTO: You`re quite right...
BACHMANN: No, it isn`t!
CAVUTO: Where was your rage...
BACHMANN: Listen, listen, listen. Let me have one minute.
CAVUTO: Where was your rage, Congresswoman-...
BACHMANN: Neil! One minute!
CAVUTO: No, no, no. You`re conflating issues and you`re being silly.
Where was your rage when Democrats...
BACHMANN: No, I`m not.
CAVUTO: ... when Democrats were going after President Bush on the
same use of executive orders? Because I think you knew then that was a
waste of time then, I think you know in your heart of hearts this is a
waste of time now. There are far more important things that you guys have
to be addressing than filing lawsuits past each other.
BACHMANN: What we can do further is impeach the elected officials...
CAVUTO: Oh, man. Oh, man! Oh, man, oh, man!
CAVUTO: Rome`s burning and you`re filing!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: But the "National Review`s" Andrew McCarthy, who literally
wrote the book on President Obama`s, quote, "Faithless Execution" of the
laws, whacked (ph) Boehner for not going far enough. He writes, "Speaker
Boehner`s proposed suit is nearly as wayward as President Obama`s violation
of his solemn oath to execute the laws faithfully. In essence, Boehner and
company are fecklessly asking the courts to do their heavy lifting for
them, a classic case of assuming the pose of meaningful action while in
reality doing nothing."
So Michael, let me -- let me start with you on this because you`re
hearing, What, this is way too much, from one end on the right here, and
you`re hearing, Whoa, this isn`t nearly far enough, from the other end.
My read on the situation -- and I said this on the show yesterday, but
my read is that John Boehner is somebody -- and this is the story of his
term as Speaker of the House -- he knows that he is sort of at the mercy of
the Tea Party right and cannot be seen as betraying them.
At the same time, he has some decent little political instincts. And
he understands that impeaching the president in the middle of a midterm
election year is one of the few things Republicans could do to screw up
what is shaping up as a good year for them, so this is the solution. Do
this and they will stop talking impeachment.
I`m not sure that`s working, based on the reaction I`m hearing right
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No, it`s not working. Oh,
to be John Boehner. Oh, my God. That`s just -- it`s amazing the back and
forth on the shores here.
But the reality of it is, Neil Cavuto, at the end of the day, was --
was right. I think that there are much bigger issues, legislation,
processes, all of that, that Republicans in the House could have really put
to good use over the last few years to legislatively and on policy box this
administration into an appropriate political corner leading into an
election this fall.
This right now, I think, is a lot of extra effort that`s going to go
nowhere. So there is no guarantee that a court is going to give John
Boehner and the Congress standing to bring the suit.
KORNACKI: Right. Well, and that`s -- I think that`s the key point.
STEELE: But you think your lawyers would tell you that before you
file the suit.
KORNACKI: But so what -- but what happens if the lawyers -- what
happens if the courts do eventually say that? Because there is a lot of I
think sort of smart consensus here from legal types...
STEELE: Obama won`t be president of the United States.
KORNACKI: Right. But the Republican base, which has been talking
about impeachment for so long, and is being thrown this bone by the
leadership in Congress, is going to find out, oh, you know what? It`s
another -- it`s another meaningless thing that the Republican leadership
tried to do to placate us.
And, Michael, if this does go nowhere, three months from now, that
appetite for impeach within the Republican base that a guy like Boehner is
trying to tamp down, it`s going to only be harder to tamp down, isn`t it?
STEELE: It may be harder to tamp again, but again you`re still
putting the -- you`re still -- the party has got to think about governing
at this point. You have got the House and you`re trying to get the Senate.
And so you have got to position yourself on the arguments on policy, not
progress, and certainly not talk about impeaching the president at the
beginning of a political cycle.
KORNACKI: Well, what can so, Michael Tomasky, what can somebody in
John Boehner`s political position do?
Because if my explanation for this is right, and maybe I`m way off-
base here, because if I think -- if he`s trying to forestall an impeachment
push from his base, these people have been talking about impeachment from
the day Obama was inaugurated, and it`s only increased in number since then
on the right. If he`s trying to do that, and this doesn`t work, what else
can he do?
MICHAEL TOMASKY, THE DAILY BEAST: Not much.
And I think your explanation, Steve, is exactly right. And he knows
that impeachment would be really problematic for the Republican Party
heading into the election. There is nothing really right now that the left
base, that the liberal base is really worked up about and really fired up
Boy, if they start impeachment proceedings before November, you better
believe that there is going to be something that the left base is going to
be fired up about. And that`s the one thing that would really screw up
this whole year for them. So, he`s trying to avoid that.
TOMASKY: If there is a court decision that decides he and the House
of Representatives don`t have standing before November, that`s a big
problem for Boehner.
He probably knows a court might decide that, because courts are very
reticent about getting in the way of these kind of branch battles. But he
is going to hope it happens after November.
KORNACKI: Well, yes. And Boehner of all people certainly remembers.
He was there in 1998, when impeachment did screw up a midterm election for
KORNACKI: And they lost seats and in a year -- not since James Monroe
was president has the opposition party lost seats in a sixth-year election
Democrats though are using the lawsuit as an opportunity to revive
their attack on the -- quote -- "do-nothing Republican Party." This is
Senator Chuck Schumer earlier today at a press conference on immigration
reform which has stalled in the Republican-controlled House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: And the president decides to do something by executive
order, doesn`t that sort of correlate with what Speaker Boehner said, well,
this is another abuse of...
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Well, Speaker Boehner has a very
good antidote to what he fears. Put a bill on the floor.
He`s, like, shooting his parents and then throwing himself on the
mercy of the court as an orphan. Pass a bill, and that won`t happen. The
president has no choice. And we have made it clear to our Republican
colleagues, both publicly and privately. If, if, if they don`t bring any
bill to the floor, the president has no choice on a humanitarian basis and
on a policy basis to act where he can on his own.
Is it as good as a comprehensive bill? Not even close. But it`s
better than nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Michael Steele, I`m watching that right there, and Chuck
Schumer not always the easiest to read, but sometimes he is. I think he`s
enjoying this. I think Democrats are enjoying this.
STEELE: Oh, of course.
KORNACKI: This is a gift to Democrats, isn`t it?
STEELE: Of course it is. And it is a gift that will continue to give
over the course of the summer, if Republicans wind up in that space where a
court says, OK, you have standing and proceedings begin on some litigation
or if the court says you don`t have standing and, as Michael rightly noted,
the drumbeat for impeachment begins into the fall.
This is a no-win. If you think that 17 percent increase that we saw
in Mississippi in that special -- in the runoff election was largely driven
by the black vote for Thad Cochran was something, wait until you see what
happens if the GOP starts leading on impeachment going into this November.
It is not something that the country wants. They want resolution on
jobs, the economy. And, look, there is enough stuff we can throw around on
both sides about what the Congress, the Senate and the White House has not
done. And I think -- and when you go look at November, you`re going to see
some incumbents pay a dear price for that. So, both parties need to be
smart. Chuck Schumer may enjoy the moment. But longer term, it could be a
real problem for both Democrats, as well as Republicans.
KORNACKI: Well, and that`s the problem. I think the Republican base
is clearly already there when it comes to impeachment. It`s just been
leaders like John Boehner who have been trying to forestall that as long as
KORNACKI: Let`s see if he can string it out past the election.
Boy, it`s amazing that`s the standard now in politics.
Anyway, thank you Michael Steele and Michael Tomasky.
Up next, one of the American soccer fans you will catch in Brazil is
the 26th president of the United States. We are going to explain in a
minute. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
KORNACKI: rMD+IT_rMD-IT_Welcome back to HARDBALL. Time now for the
The world was watching today as the United States men`s soccer team
took on Germany in the World Cup. The U.S. lost 1-0, but they still
advanced to the next round. One fan who has been cheering on the Americans
in Brazil is none other than Teddy Roosevelt, or as fans at the World Cup
has taken to calling him, Teddy Goalsevelt.
His real name is Mike D`Amico from Chicago, and he told Yahoo! Sports
that he came up with the idea to dress as the 26th president to get other
fans pumped up at the game, because you can`t help but cheer along with a
president from 1901, I guess.
From President Roosevelt to President Obama on a soccer team -- well,
sort of. The U.K.`s "Daily Mail" discovered this mug, which is supposed to
be of Manchester United player Chris Smalling, but as you can see, the
company that manufactured the mug accidentally put Barack Obama`s photo on
it instead. The company, Wholesale Clearance, bought the entire stock and
explained the mistake, saying: "The apprentice claims that he used that
well-known search engine Google to source the pictures. When he Google
Image searched for Chris Smalling, he copied the first picture he liked the
look of. And the result was the president of the United States."
And here is the best part. Wholesale Clearance has since marked up
the mugs 300 up percent. So, they are now selling for 2,000 pounds, or
nearly $3,400. Talk about a profitable mistake there.
And, finally, the president took a sarcastic shot at climate change
deniers during an appearance at League of Conservation Voters last night.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They duck the question.
They say, hey, I`m not a scientist, which really translates into, I accept
that manmade climate change is real, but if I say so out loud, I will be
run out of town by a bunch of fringe elements that think science is --
climate science is a liberal plot, so I`m going to just pretend like I
don`t know, I can`t read.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: He may not be a scientist either, but maybe President Obama
has a shot at comedy after his term is up.
Up next, the case of those missing IRS e-mails.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
FRANCES RIVERA, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hi. I`m Frances Rivera. Here`s
Fifty more U.S. adviser have arrived in Baghdad to help provide
support to Iraqi security forces. A total of 180 U.S. personnel are now in
The president is asking Congress for $500 million to train and equip
elements of the Syrian opposition. The request marks the first time the
U.S. would seek to overtly supply weapons to rebel forces.
And President Obama held a town hall in Minneapolis earlier. He spoke
about issues ranging from climate change and wages to student loans -- now
we take you back to HARDBALL.
KORNACKI: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
A new poll by FOX News indicates that the missing e-mails have
broadened anger and suspicion about the IRS scandal and have now crossed
party lines. Three-quarters of people polled say the e-mails were
It breaks down by party this way -- 90 percent of Republicans say the
e-mails were deliberately destroyed; 74 percent of Democrats -- of
independents and 63 percent of Democrats.
And there is a big appetite to keep this story alive too. Again,
three-quarters of people polled say Congress should investigate the IRS
until someone is held accountable. And that includes 66 percent of
The IRS scandal is politically damaging. But does it stick to
Joining me, "The Washington Post"`s Robert Costa, Republican
consultant and radio talk show host Alice Stewart.
So, Robert, I`ll start with you, because I have -- for various
reasons, I have not paid close attention. I haven`t followed this one as
closely, because I saw early, early last year, when this thing started to
break, there were Democratic groups targeted, there were Republican groups
When I saw the missing e-mails, I kind of perked up again. I`m still
trying to see. I have no problem seeing the IRS as a pretty nasty agency
in how it deals with some people, how it tries to intimidate people and the
sort of hypocrisy of this. What I`m trying to see politically though is
Republicans who are making a big deal about this, how do you connect an
IRS, which -- I don`t care if a Republican is president or a Democrat is
president -- there`s going to be problems with the IRS that need to be
addressed -- but how do you connect that to the White House and to the
president and make this a winning political issue?
Can they do that? Is there a way for them to make that happen?
ROBERT COSTA, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I think you`re already seeing it
Republicans ahead of the midterm elections are really focused on
oversight and they`re focusing on oversight perhaps even more than they
have in the past on Obamacare. They think that the administration`s
handling of Benghazi and especially the IRS is something that is going to
get conservative voters out to the polls.
And I think these latest questions about an inquiry into Senator
Grassley and also these missing e-mails, the questions are still
unanswered. It is still a murky situation. However, it is fueling
Republican fury toward the administration. And that is going to be a
political issue for Democrats to handle and address ahead of November.
KORNACKI: All right, Alice, Alice Stewart, voice of the conservatives
here, I want to get to that Grassley thing in a minute.
But first I just want to start out. Take me through this as a
conservative who has -- you have been sort of outspoken in saying you have
a problem with this politically. What is -- again, I have no problem
seeing the questions about the missing e-mails. And the IRS wouldn`t
accept that kind of an excuse from a taxpayer. I understand that and I
understand being upset about that.
But connecting this to the Obama administration and saying there is
something nefarious here, there is some kind of plot involving the Obama
administration, what is the case? What is the argument that you are
ALICE STEWART, FORMER BACHMANN CAMPAIGN SPOKESPERSON: Well, the
connection is, back in the 2012 election, when the conservative groups were
targeted, initially, the White House said this is a rogue bunch of agents
And now we know its connection to Washington, D.C.
KORNACKI: Alice, I don`t mean to stop you right there, but that`s
where it breaks down with me. That`s where I sort of stopped following
this closely about a year ago, there were liberal groups that were
targeted, too. That were Democratic groups that were targeted. You say
targeted. And what is this all about? This is all about adjusting to a
new world of campaign finance where these groups can claim tax-exempt
status, don`t have to disclose who their donors are.
So, it`s finding out what groups are explicitly partisan. And I don`t
know. I see there`s women`s -- a group called Emerge Nevada, a group
called Emerge Massachusetts to promote female Democratic candidates. They
were denied tax-exempt status. Conservative groups were.
Where is the targeting of conservatives?
STEWART: Well, I will refer you back to May of 2013. And Robert`s
own paper, "The Washington Post," headline says that the IRS acknowledged
that they targeted conservatives for tax scrutiny in 2012.
They go on to apologize for this. And, look, we had dozens and dozens
and countless of conservative groups that were targeted prior to the 2012
election, and just seven progressive groups who have all been finalized and
approved for their tax-exempt status moving full-speed ahead.
But when you have questions in 2012, you have the IRS now
acknowledging now they targeted, and when the really heat comes on,
magically, these e-mails disappear. This should be -- this should cause
concern amongst Republicans and Democrats.
KORNACKI: Again, I just...
KORNACKI: I want to be clear. I want to be clear here about what we
are talking about when we say targeted. And there is certainly lots of
scrutiny here. And, again, I have read this always as we`re entering this
new world of campaign finance laws where there is all this dark money
floating around. There`s now tax laws that allow groups to claim tax-
exempt status, and that they don`t have to disclose donors, and then they
can suddenly end up spending millions, tens of millions of dollars. Nobody
knows where the money came from.
And it`s finding out which groups are explicitly partisan. And, so,
again, a group like -- this group called -- it`s called Emerge Nevada,
Emerge Massachusetts, these are -- these are groups that were -- the IRS
denied them tax-exempt status because they were explicitly training female
Democratic candidates. They are denied.
Some of the conservative groups are targeted. There is a Tea Party
group in Alabama, they were doing GOTV training to, quote, "defeat
President Obama." Should that Tea Party group have tax-exempt status or
should they have been, quote-unquote, "targeted"? What would you say to
STEWART: Well, these are groups that are working to get their message
out all across the country. As we have said, the IRS has acknowledged they
targeted conservative groups. This is bad news. But now, it`s moved into
the scandal era of it because the evidence to discount any kind of scandal
is magically disappeared. That`s concern.
Now, now, we have news about Lois Lerner, head of the IRS going after
one of President Obama`s political enemies or opponents, Senator Grassley.
That`s truly moving into the area of a scandal.
Republicans and Democrats should be concerned about this. This is the
KORNACKI: Alice, OK, let`s do some context on this one because I
think this one is important. This week, some Republicans hoped they have
found the proof that Lois Lerner was targeting them in an e-mail exchange
about Republican Senator Chuck Grassley. But the actual e-mail between
Lois Lerner and a colleague don`t read like a smoking gun. The whole
exchange was kicked off because of an invitation meant for Senator Grassley
was mistakenly sent to Lerner by an unnamed organization.
Lerner writes to a colleague, quote, "looked like they were
inappropriately offering to pay for his wife. Perhaps we should refer to
exam." That is referring to another department at the IRS. Her colleague
replies, quote, "Not sure we should send to exam. I think the offer to pay
for Grassley`s wife is income to Grassley and not prohibited on its face."
And then that`s where the exchange ends. There is no audit. She says
she backs off in subsequent email.
So, again, this is one of the things the headlines are shouting, you
know, that Lois Lerner was looking to audit Chuck Grassley. I read those
emails, we just put them in the air, Alice, I don`t see that.
STEWART: Yes, I don`t see an e-mail like that to any Democratic
senators who got the same invitation with the exact same offer to pay for
the exact same airfare for their wives, because it didn`t happen.
KORNACKI: If there was no -- there was no -- again, if there was some
kind of a plot here, don`t you think if there was a plot by the IRS, you
know, politically motivated plot, when the response comes back, hey, you
know what, I don`t think we can do that wouldn`t she say, no, damn it,
we`re doing it. That`s when there is a politically motivated plot.
She`s told, no, we`re not supposed to do it. She says, oh, OK, we`re
not doing it.
That seems like it`s a little ham-handed maybe, but there`s no
nefarious political plot there.
STEWART: Well, it`s kind of hard to say there`s no there there when
you didn`t -- there aren`t e-mails, as I said, going out to Democratic
senators. And the fact that this comes on the heels of two years of known
targeting of conservatives and political opponents of the president, that`s
when you have to perk up and go, what`s going on? Why is she trying to
silence anyone who`s speaking out against the president? And, certainly,
why is she trying to give the strong arm of the IRS to a senator who has
spoken out against Barack Obama?
This should be really seriously should be a concern for Republicans
and Democrats alike to take abuse of the IRS like this and to have the
current commissioner out there speaking as he did. Even Claire McCaskill,
a Democrat, saying he was arrogant in the way he answered questions. It`s
not just -- it`s not a good symbol for the IRS. It`s not good for fact
that these are people that have been beholden to Democrats for many years.
KORNACKI: All right. There it is. We heard the conservative case.
Robert Costa, I`m really sorry. I didn`t mean to push you to the side
there. I just kind of got into it with Alice.
I appreciate you both coming on. Robert Costa, Alice Stewart,
appreciate the time.
Up next, a lot of us have World Cup fever, myself included. So, why
does it make some Americans grumpy?
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
KORNACKI: One of the giants of the Senate has passed away. Howard
Baker of Tennessee died today at his home from complications of a stroke.
Baker was best known for asking the most famous questions of the Watergate
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THEN-SEN. HOWARD BAKER (R), TENNESSEE: What did the president know,
and when did he know it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Baker was part of a fading breed of Republicans, a moderate
who got along with Democrats and worked to make deals. It made him a
successful senator and a failed presidential candidate in a party swiftly
moving to the right.
Howard Baker was 88.
KORNACKI: We are back.
And there`s good news and bad news for American soccer fans. Germany
beat the U.S. one-nil today. That`s the bad news. But America is
advancing anyway to the next round. Thanks to Ghana`s loss to Portugal.
It`s expected that today`s match-up could break ratings records here
in the U.S., even the president took time to watch while en route to
Minneapolis. Later, he congratulated the team for advancing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We were in what`s
called the group of death. And even though we didn`t win today, we were in
the toughest grouping and we got through. So we`ve still got a chance to
win -- to win the World Cup. And we could not be prouder of them. They
are defying the odds and earned a lot of believers in the process.
And I want everybody on the team to know that all of us back home are
really proud of them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Well, almost everyone. Every time soccer is said to be
taking off in America, some people get upset. Now it`s taken a political
Here`s Ann Coulter`s opposition to the sport. Quote, "I`ve held off
on writing about soccer for a decade or about the length of the average
soccer game, so as not to offend anyone. But enough is enough. Any
growing interest in soccer can only be a sign of the nation`s moral decay.
I resent the force-fed aspect of soccer. The same people trying to push
soccer on Americans are the ones demanding that we love HBO`s `Girls`,
light rail, Beyonce and Hillary Clinton.
If more `Americans`, she puts that in quotes there, are watching
soccer today, it`s only because of the demographic switch affected by Teddy
Kennedy`s 1965 immigration law. I promise you no American whose great-
grandfather was born here is watching soccer. One can only hope that in
addition to learning English, these new Americans will drop soccer fetish
And last week, FOX`s "The Five" had a somewhat tongue in cheek
conversation about the sport, asking the question, is soccer is un-
Nate Scott is a sportswriter for "USA Today", and David Freddoso was
an editorial page editor for "The Washington Examiner".
David, my great-grandfather was born in America and I`m following
soccer, I`m watching soccer. I cheered along with everybody today. I was
excited -- most excited I`ve ever been when a team I`m cheering for lost a
game. But that`s way it goes in the World Cup.
But, you know, I hate when these things -- something like this takes
on a political edge. But, you know, we do hear this it seems every World
Cup from somebody like Ann Coulter. I generally hear this from the right.
Where is this coming from? Where is that attitude she`s expressing
coming from saying this is a liberal thing, this is not a real conservative
DAVID FREDDOSO, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: I think it`s probably about
as tongue in cheek and half trolling as the conversation that you
referenced. But, yes -- look, Americans have their things. Unfortunately,
soccer has never really been one of ours. We`ve never had a world class
soccer league in the United States. The best soccer is played in Spain,
Italy, in England, and places like that.
And, you know, we also have sports that we really do love. So there`s
a lot of competition if soccer is ever going to become a big deal. It`s
got to overcome a lot of obstacles that some of them may be insurmountable.
It`s a great game.
And, you know, Europeans also like red wine. Are we going to stop
liking that because of that? I know that there`s -- I think this is just
an excuse for a lot of conservatives to poke fun at Europe. I don`t think
it`s much more than that.
KORNACKI: Yes. Maybe, Nate, is this the new -- I remember at the
start of the Iraq war they renamed French fries in the capital, you know,
Freedom fries. You know, God forbid we have any association with the
Do you pick up on that, Nate? Is there a strain in this country that
looks a soccer and just says, that`s Europe`s thing, that`s too European,
you know, it`s not American like football where we have tackling? Is there
something like that that`s holding soccer back here?
NATE SCOTT, USA TODAY: I think a bit of it. More so, we like being
the best at things. There`s the American exceptionalism that we like being
the best. And with soccer, you know, America hasn`t produced a world-class
talent yet and I think that might play into it, but also, yes, I think it`s
a little bit trolling. I think it`s a little bit -- it`s different. And
people fear what`s different.
KORNACKI: I got to say, I love that we`re not the best at it, because
I love cheering for underdogs. I love cheering for the team that`s not
supposed to win. I love the upset. I love the come from behind victory,
all of that.
So, I -- there`s no international sport that the U.S. competes in that
I love more than soccer. I think it`s just great. Every game we win, it`s
a surprise and it`s great feeling.
But there are skeptics that soccer will catch on as a force in the
U.S. permanently. Kurt Smith, an author and sports broadcasting historian
told "The Los Angeles Times", quote, "I have the maximum number of fingers
and toes and not enough to count the number of times soccer purists have
counted this, that, or the other event as the event that will make soccer
big time. It never happens and I don`t think it will now."
So, David, play this out for us because record television ratings.
We`ll see the number is for USA/Germany, but it`s almost 25 million people
watching the U.S./Portugal game the other day. It does seem every four
years this thing gets bigger and bigger here in the U.S.
Next year, World Cup is gone. It`s not going to come back for four
years. Anybody going to care about the MLS in this country?
FREDDOSO: Well, I think it adds marginally each time you do this, but
let`s keep that in mind. The number you just cited, 25 million. That`s
the same number of people who watch the college national championship
football game in January, just about.
That`s actually a pretty big deal. And if we advance further, the
numbers will be bigger.
So, you know, soccer is never going to be baseball. The MLS is never
going to be the NFL. But maybe it can come close to the NHL at some point.
I mean, it`s always going to be one of the sports that has some people pay
attention, some people are fans, and a lot of us couldn`t even name who won
the last Stanley Cup.
And, you know, Major League Soccer in this country has a chance, but
it`s not going to be the biggest sport in the country. That`s all.
KORNACKI: Well, it was the L.A. Kings. I`m here in New York. I saw
the depressed faces of Rangers fans. And the L.A. Kings won the last
Anyway, thank you, Nate Scott, and David Freddoso.
When we come book, the win that Republicans may live to regret.
KORNACKI: And, finally, let me finish tonight with the cries of
betrayal we`re hearing from the Tea Party right after that surprise victory
the GOP establishment pulled off in Mississippi this week.
In a way, this is nothing new. The Tea Party movement sprouted up
five years ago and it`s always been a two-front war. The first front you
know all about. It`s the right`s reaction to the election of Barack Obama
But the second front is more complicated. It has to do with how Obama
came to be president in the first place, what conditions were in the
country in 2007 and 2008 that made his candidacy take flight. And what you
had back then was a miserably unpopular Republican president, George W.
And so, when Obama came to power, the right blamed Bush. They blamed
him for growing government instead of shrinking it. Remember compassionate
Bush gave conservatism a bad name. That`s what they told themselves.
And because he gave it a bad name, country turned on Republicans and turned
to Barack Obama.
So, that`s been the second front in the war the Tea Party has been
waging. It`s not just against Barack Obama. It`s also against the
Republicans who helped Bush last decade. The ones who betrayed, quote,
"real conservatism" and hastened the rise of Obama. And that`s why what
the Republican establishment pulled off this week in Mississippi may end up
being a nightmare for them.
Sure, Thad Cochran was able to beat Chris McDaniel. But look at the
cost, outrage. Listen to the vows of retaliation this kicked up on the Tea
Party right. These people are furious and they`re not about to forget.
Cochran/McDaniel is something they`re going to talk about for a long time.
To the Tea Party right, this is the ultimate betrayal. The
establishment is so scared, so intent on knocking us down that they`d
rather team up with Democrats than let us win. That`s what they`re saying.
Really, this to them is the ultimate confirmation of everything
they`ve been saying and thinking and even suspecting about the Republican
I remember the story of the 1952 Republican convention. It was the
establishment`s candidate. Dwight Eisenhower against the conservative hero
Robert Taft. The conservatives showed up at that convention with the votes
to win, or so they thought -- because the establishment forces knew a lot
of tricks and got a bunch of Taft delegates disqualified and it was just
enough to musclize (ph) a victory.
But the right did not forget the betrayal of `52. Instead, it became
their rallying cry, proof of the exactly what they were up against,
motivation to never let it happen again. It was grit for a movement that
grew stronger and craftier over the next decade until it got its revenge in
1964. That`s when the Republican establishment had to look on in horror as
the right nominated Barry Goldwater for president.
It`s a story that Republican establishment might want to keep in mind
right now. Yes, they found a way to get Thad Cochran through the
Mississippi primary, because if they just give the Tea Party something even
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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